Chapter 17 The Mystery of the Passover
【Luke 22:20】 「…This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.」
【Heb 13:20】 「Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,…」God helped those who kept well the covenant of the Old Testament to escape the plague.
When the Israelites came out of Egypt in about 1498 B.C., they were saved because the blood of the Passover lamb became a sign. And in the days of the King Hezekiah also, Hezekiah and his people who kept the Passover, received the help from angels in the castle of Jerusalem and were saved from the invasion of Assyria. Its history is as follows;
【2Chr 30:4-10】 「And the matter pleased the king and all the congregation. So they resolved to make a proclomation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner. Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the commandment of the king: “Children of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (come to keep the Passover); then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to astonishment, as you see. Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has santified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord (if you come to keep the Passover), your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful (to those who repent and come to keep the Passover), and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh (region of Samaria), as far as Zebulun; but they laughed them (the runners) to scorn and mocked them.」
Let’s look into those day’s history in detail; Judah, which had not kept the holy Passover of God for a long time, repaired the destroyed temple (2 Chr. 29:1-3) by the advice of the prophet Isaiah, as soon as King Hezekiah acceded to the throne. And Hezekiah resolved to keep the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month by Sacred year in 726 B.C., and sent runners from Judah even to Samaria.
But the people of Samaria, couldn’t know the Passover itself, to say nothing of the truthful meaning of the Passover, because they had not kept the Passover for a long time over 250 years. So they scorned and mocked the runners, who bought such a good news. (2 Chr. 30:10)
After three years from that time, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it. And in 721 B.C., the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, at the end of three years after they besieged it, Samaria which scorned and mocked the Passover, was captured and came to the end. Millions of victims came out, and hundreds of thousands of people were taken captives, and millions of people were scattered all over the world and became wanderers. Samaria, of which Jeroboam became the first king in 975 B.C., came to the end 254 years later, by rejecting the Passover of the Lord and worshiping idols.
【2King 18:9-12】 「Now it came to pass in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea the son of Elah, king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up ahainst Samaria and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is, the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away captive to Assyria, and put them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant and all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; and they would neither hear nor do them.」
Judah seemed to keep the law of God, but they didn’t realize the most important law, the Passover, and didn’t keep it. That is why Judah was invaded by other countries and afflicted occasionally.
But King Hezekiah was encouraged by the prophet Isaiah and kept the Passover as soon as he sat on the throne. He proclaimed the Passover and kept it, because he wanted to get the stability of the nation through God’s blessing and to get the protection of God in the time of affliction.
Indeed, Judah was under the protection of God while they were keeping the Passover with faith and even in the time of distress.
【2King 19:30-35】 「And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. ‘For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion. The Zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.’ Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, not build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return; and he shall not come into this city,’ says the Lord. ‘For I will defend this city, to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’ And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses-all dead.」
Judah continued its history until 586 B.c. under the protection of God, being put a seal of redemption through the Passover, while Samaria was destroyed because the people did not keep the Passover.
But Judah also was invaded by Babylon and Jerusalem was desolate for 70 years, because the descendant forsook the covenant of God. Among them, those who followed the word of true prophet, returned to their home country again, but those who followed the word of false prophet were destroyed. Now, by studying the things of those days more in detail, we come to know not only the will of God of those days but of these days, that we can carry out the will of God.
Becoming the Captive of Babylon by Forsaking the Covenant
It was in about 587 B.C. that Judah was invaded and perished by Babylon because of forsaking the Passover and the covenant of God; Jerusalem was taken and millions of people died, hundreds of thousands of people were taken captives, and got along wearisome life until 70 years were completed as the prophecy of Jeremiah. As it is written,
【Jer 44:22-23】 「So the Lord could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed. Therefore your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day. Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, in His statutes, or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.」And it is also written,
【2King 24:14】 「Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem; all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives and the craftsmen and smiths. None remainded except the poorest people of the land.」
【2King 25:8-12】 「Now in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all the houses of Jurusalem, that is, all the houses of great men, he burned with fire. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls of Jerusalem all around. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive the rest of the people who remained in the city and the defectors who had deserted to the king of Babylon, with the rest of the multitude. But the captain of the guard left some of the poor of the land as vinedressers and farmers.」 The prophet Jeremiah wrote;
【Jer 25:11-14】 「’And this whole land shall be a desolation and astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations. (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their own hands.)’」
Indeed, the people who heard the word of the prophet Jeremiah and obeyed it, got along safely and sometimes achieved physical success, and they returned to their country at the end and made efforts to build the castle and to repair the temple with joy and pleasure.
But the people who believed the prophecy of the false prophets like Hananiah, perished all. The prophet Isaiah wrote as follows;
【Isa 9:16】 「For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed.」
While the people who were led to err by the false prophets were destroyed all by revolting against Babylon, the people who believed the prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah endured and waited to see the glory of returning to their country.
They returned to their own land twice in B.C. 537 and B.C. 457 with joy and pleasure and devoted themselves to build the temple of Juresalem. Since then, they thought that they were invaded by Gentiles and lost their country and cursed, because they forsook the covenant of God and didn’t keep the holy feasts, the truth of life.
From that time on, they closed the gate of the castle to prepare the Sabbath on the day before the Sabbath at sunset. With the firm resolution to keep all the feasts thoroughly according to the law of Moses, they had kept them until the time of the first coming Jesus. As it is written,
【Neh 10:29-31】「they joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes that we would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons; that if the peoples of the land bring wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and that we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exaction of every debt.」
The above word was spoken from the resolution of the people of Judah, who were released from Babylon and returned to their land. Rebuilding earnestly Zion which had fallen down, they resolved not to betray the covenant of God again and to keep it for generations to be blessed.
From that time they continued to observe the law of Moses until the time of Jesus. Nevertheless, their excessive sticking to the principle of the law made them betray the Messiah, who came to save themselves, and crucify Him. Their sin was that they didn’t believe in Jesus, and the greater sin was that they crucified Him, crying out without hesitation, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
【Matt 27:25-26】 「And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.」 The sin that they volunteered on themselves could not be passed without any trouble.
In A.D. 70 Jerusalem was surrendered by the attack of the Roman force. They volunteered the sin like this; “His blood be on us and on our children.” But God did not give them a punishment immediately, because He wanted to save His people in Jerusalem and fulfill the prophecy of the prophet Ezekiel, “Bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty years.” As it is written,
【Ezek 4:6-7】 「And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year. Therefore you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem; your arm shall be uncovered, and you shall prophesy against it.」
According to this prophecy, in A.D. 70, the fortieth year after Jesus was baptized, Jerusalem was taken; one million and one hundred thousand of people died and ninety-seven thousands of people were captured as slaves, and the remnant were scattered to all the nations and became wanderers without a nation. They went through bad treatments and sufferings.