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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary

Passover

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While we have the comment which God the Holy Ghost hath given us by his servant Paul, (1 Corinthians 5:7) concerning the Passover, in expressly calling Christ by that name, we must be convinced that it is our highest interest and most bounden duty to study the subject with the closest apprehension, in order to obtain the clearest sense of that the important subject of the Passover means. The reader, therefore, I trust, will bear with me if I call his attention somewhat more particularly to this point.

The Jews called the Passover Paschah or Pesach, and the original meaning is flight or passage—perhaps in allusion to the flight or hasty departure of Israel from Egypt. We have a very circumstantial account of the Passover, Exodus 12:1-51 to which I refer. The Israelites, no doubt, had higher views in the institution itself than to suppose it merely referred as a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt. They considered it typical; and the ordination of it being of perpetual standing in the church, must have led them to this conclusion. And may we not add, that, since all the leading features of the redemption by the Lord Jesus, in his person, work, offices, and character, are more or less exhibited in shadow and figure in the Passover, surely the Lord the Spirit gave to many a true Israelite grace and faith to eye, in the paschal lamb, the type of the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)

If the lamb appointed in the Jewish Passover was to be a male of the first year without blemish and without spot; such was Christ. If the lamb was set apart four days before the Passover—so was Christ, not only in the original purpose, and council, and foreknowledge of God before all worlds, but also in four days' entrance into Jerusalem, as it is remarkable Christ did before his sufferings and death. And if the Jewish lamb was roasted whole with fire, and not a bone of him broken, who but must see in this a type of him who, in the accomplishment of salvation sustained all the fire of divine wrath against sin in his sacrifice, and whose bones, it is expressly said, were not broken, that this Scripture might be fulfilled? (John 19:36)

Various are the accounts given by various writers of the manner in which the Jews of modern times observe the Passover. They all make it a very high festival. Eight days, for the most part they continue this festivity, during which time they would not for the world knowingly have any leaven within their houses. Nothing would hurt the mind of a Jew more than the discovery of any thing disposed to fermentation, or to make leaven. And on the fourteenth day of Nisan the Passover begins. And the ceremony generally commenceth in every family by the first-born observing fasting, by way of reference to the destruction of the first-born in Egypt. When this is over, and the time of the evening service being come, all the household enter on prayer, which when finished they proceed to the feast of unleavened bread, with some portion of a lamb, and bitter herbs. During the service they hold wine in their hands, and recount the history of their fathers in Egypt, and the Lord's deliverance of them. The close of their devotions is generally with some of the Psalms, such as from Psalms 112:1-10, to Psalms 118:1-29, always beginning with Hallelujah. When the devotional part is all over, they sit down to eat and drink, generally break up their meeting with praying for the health and prosperity of the prince in whose dominions they dwelt, agreeably to the advice of Jeremiah 29:7. So much concerning the method of the observance of the Passover by the children of Israel. I cannot dismiss this part of the subject without first remarking, that as far as decency and seriousness are observed by them in their seasons of worship, it were to be wished that many Christians would follow their example.

It appears from the relation given by the several evangelists, that the Lord Jesus observed this feast of the Passover four times during his ministry, which was but about three years and a half; but by our Lord's entering upon his ministry sometime before the first of the four Passovers he kept, the annual period came round the fourth time before his crucifixion, and therefore we count four in the life of Jesus.

The first public Passover Christ observed is related to us by John 2:13-25.

The second Passover which Christ graced with his presence is recorded John 5:1, etc. when he healed the cripple at the pool of Bethesda

The third public Passover where we find the Lord Jesus also present is recorded John 6:4. The feast we read of John 7:37 was the feast of tabernacles. (See John 7:2, etc.)

The fourth and last Passover the Lord Jesus honoured in the observance was, as is recorded by all the evangelists, when in the midst of it he summed up and finished the whole shadow of types and ordinances in that one offering of himself upon the cross, whereby "he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (See the relation of this Passover at large, Matthew 26:1-75; Mark 14:1-72; Luke 22:1-71; John 12:1-50 and John 13:1-38)

I would only make one observation upon the whole in this place, namely, if the Lord Jesus never once during his ministry omitted his attendance on the Passover, how hath he thereby endeared to his redeemed his holy Supper, instituted and appointed as it was by himself to take place in his church in the room of the Jewish Passover! Surely by this Jesus might be supposed to intimate his holy pleasure, that his people should be always present at the celebration of it. Methinks by this constant attendance of the Lord, he meant to say that not one of his little ones should be absent at his Supper. And his servant, the apostle, seems to have had the same views of his Master's gracious design in this particular when he saith, "For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26)

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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Passover'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/pmd/p/passover.html. London. 1828.

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