Anglican Morning Devotion for 4 November 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches Worldwide
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:7)
The nation that represented the Children of Israel was ordained on the first month of Nisan as a beginning of years for Israel – to be precise, the fourteenth day of Nisan which roughly equates to our Easter. The date was calculated by the Hebrew Lunar Calendar (based on the cycles of the moon) as opposed to our Julian Calendar based upon the sun. In fact, the dating of Easter, or Passover, was a cause of great contention between the ancient English Church when the Romans Catholic presence was later established in England. The ancient English Church based the date of Easter upon the same lunar date as Passover while Rome insisted on the Sunday Easter based on the Julian calendar. The English Church was almost completely eradicated save for small contingents of the faithful who served until the re-birth of the Church at the time of the English Reformation.
Nisan was the New Year for Israel and remains celebrated in much of the Middle East as New Year’s (or Noh Ruz in countries such as Persia and other Islamic countries). Since it comes at the beginning of Spring, and new life, it makes a bit more since than the mid-winter New Year that we celebrate.
You will remember that Israel was in bondage in Egypt – a land that has become symbolic to the world of sin. No matter the geographic domain, sin imposes bondage on all who fall victim to its grip.
The first prophet, Abel, was obedient to God’s Word in his offering of a lamb as sacrifice before the Lord outside Eden. His brother Cain viewed the prescribed sacrifice which the Lord required all too lightly. Instead of a blood sacrifice, Cain brought the fruit of the ground – a source that was cursed at Eden. “. . . . cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” (Genesis 3:17-18) The Lord was not well-pleased.
Now, to inaugurate His stamp of calling and approval of Israel, God directed the first, and continual, celebration of the first Passover in Egypt on the eve of their departure from the bondage of Egypt. The sacrifice was to be a tender young lamb without blemish whose blood was to be brushed over the lintel and door posts of the families of Israel on the Eve of 14 Nisan. This blood application foreshadowed the sacrifice of the Lamb of God at Calvary. Even the innocent animal whose blood God shed at Eden to cover the nakedness (sin) of Adam was a precursor to that sacrifice of the Lamb of which John spoke: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
That Passover in Egypt was to be a CONTINUAL observation. Though we still partake of the unleavened bread, we do not partake of the blood sacrifice since it has already been made once and for all by our Lord. Wine takes the place of the blood of Christ since that has already been shed for us. But our Holy Communion continues as our perpetual observance of that Passover begun in Egypt in the twilight of our faith. “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” (Exodus 12:14)
The day we celebrate as EASTER is truly the Passover of the Lord in which the Angel of Death will Passover all those who are covered by the blood of the Lamb of God, but those who reject Him are doomed for eternity (see Rev 13:8)