The Passover Ritual, Part 21 -- By: Bruce K. Waltke

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 021:1 (Summer 2012)
Article: The Passover Ritual, Part 21
Author: Bruce K. Waltke

The Passover Ritual, Part 21

Bruce K. Waltke

Bruce Waltke is Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Knox Theological Seminary, Fort Lauderdale, and professor emeritus of biblical studies at Regent College, Vancouver. During his professional career he also held professorships in Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, and Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando.

Chapter 2: The Typology Of The Passover
An Exposition Of Exodus 12:1–11


In this series of articles we are considering the Passover ritual, a ritual celebrated by the Israelites centuries ago. The details for the instructions of this ritual are given to us in Exodus 12:1–11. In this passage God gives detailed instructions to the Israelites on how to kill a lamb, how to take of its blood and strike it upon their homes, how to cook it, and how to eat it.

Now I think it is perfectly obvious to all of us that the Bible is neither a handbook for butchers on how to kill lambs, nor a cook book on how to prepare a good lamb dinner. As we shall see, when God prescribed this ritual for the Israelites, they and the whole land of Egypt were under a sentence of death. Surely on such an ominous occasion as this, God was not telling his people how to prepare a tasty lamb dinner.

In fact, to my taste it wouldn’t be a very good dinner at all. As we shall see, the lamb was charred black, even as the Samaritans serve it to this day. The side dishes were bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Now quite candidly, I hope you never invite me to your home for charred lamb, a bitter salad, and matzah. Obviously God had something else in mind than just a lamb dinner.

Is it not more reasonable to suppose that this supper was more like the Lord’s supper, which we celebrate in our churches? When we eat the bread or wafer, and drink the wine or grape juice, we are not eating a meal as we eat any other meal. In fact the apostle Paul told the Corinthians that if they ate the Lord’s supper just to feed their bodies, they actually were eating and drinking damnation to themselves instead of nourishment for their bodies. In a word, we eat the Lord’s supper to teach ourselves and remind ourselves of spiritual truths. The bread reminds us of the body of Jesus Christ, and the red grape juice or wine reminds us of the blood of Jesus Christ. So likewise, God gave the Passover ritual to the Israelites to teach them and us spiritual truth.

Before we begin to consider th...

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