Lamb of God sacrificed on Passover – Resurrected on Feast of First Fruits – “I know that my Redeemer liveth.”
American Minute with Bill Federer
In his Easter Address, April 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan stated:
“This week Jewish families and friends have been celebrating Passover …
Its observance reminds all of us that the struggle for freedom and the battle against oppression waged by the Jews since ancient times is one shared by people everywhere.
And Christians have been commemorating the last momentous days leading to the crucifixion of Jesus 1,950 years ago.
Tomorrow, as morning spreads around the planet, we’ll celebrate the triumph of life over death, the Resurrection of Jesus.”
“Both observances tell of sacrifice and pain but also of hope and triumph …
Men and women around the world who love God and freedom – bear a message of world hope and brotherhood like the rites of Passover and Easter that we celebrate this weekend …
We want peace … And then they ask, ‘Do you think that we can have these things one day?’ Well, I do. I really do.
Nearly 2,000 years after the coming of the Prince of Peace, such simple wishes may still seem far from fulfillment. But we can achieve them. We must never stop trying.”
Passover was first observed around 1,400 BC, when the night before the exodus from Egypt, each Israelite family killed a lamb and put its blood over the doorposts of their house so that the angel of death would “pass over” during the final plague judgement.
On the Jewish Feast of Passover, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, around 30-33 AD, Jesus was crucified as the “Lamb of God.”
The Apostle Paul wrote: “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” (I Corinthians 5:7)
The lamb is considered the most innocent of animals.
The Gospel of John recorded when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he exclaimed:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!”
Exodus 12:8 instructed Israelites regarding the Passover lamb:
“And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”
“Crucifixion” is from the same Latin root word as “excruciating.” It was the most painful, tortured death on a cross used by Romans.
Justin Martyr (c.100-165) wrote regarding the crossed spits typically used in roasting the lamb:
“That lamb which was commanded to be wholly roasted was a symbol of the suffering of the cross which Christ would undergo.
For the lamb … is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb.”
The day after Passover, Israelites observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread, where they removed from their homes all the leaven or yeast — symbolic of sin.
Jesus, “who taketh away the sins of the world,” was in the tomb on the exact day that leaven was taken out of Israelite homes on the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Paul wrote in I Corinthians 5:6–8:
“Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven …
Let us keep the Feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleaven bread of sincerity and truth.”
On the third day, Israelites celebrated the Feast of First Fruits.
This was when the first of barley, the earliest grain to ripen in Israel’s growing season, appeared above ground to be harvested and brought to the temple.
“When you enter the land … and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest … The priest …shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted.”
Jesus rose from the dead on the exact day of the Feast of First Fruits.
Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:20–23:
“But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept … But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
Sir Lionel Luckhoo (1914-1997) who was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as world’s most successful criminal attorney, stated:
“The bones of Muhammad are in Medina, the bones of Confucius are in Shantung, the cremated bones of Buddha are in Nepal.
Thousands pay pilgrimages to worship at their tombs which contain their bones.
… But in Jerusalem there is a cave cut into the rock.
This is the tomb of Jesus. IT IS EMPTY! YES, EMPTY! BECAUSE HE IS RISEN! He died, physically and historically. He arose from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of God.”
George Washington’s tomb is engraved with the Scripture, John 11:25, where Jesus told Martha:
“I am the Resurrection and the Life; sayeth the Lord. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
Martin Luther remarked:
“Our Lord has written the promise of the Resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in the springtime.”
Pilgrim Pastor John Robinson (1576-1625) wrote in his Leiden letter:
“This holy army of saints is marshaled here on earth … under the conduct of their glorious Emperor, Christ …
Thus, through the Blood of that spotless Lamb, and that Word of their testimony, they are more than conquerors, bruising the head of the Serpent;
yea, through the power of His Word, they have power to cast down Satan like lightning; to tread upon serpents and scorpions; to cast down strongholds, and everything that exalteth itself against God.
The gates of hell, and all the principalities and powers on earth shall not prevail against it.”
The Gospel is that God is just, and therefore must judge every sin.
If He overlooks a sin, even the smallest, His silence would effectively be giving consent to the sin, as in law silence equals consent (Numbers 30:3-8).
If God gave consent to sin, He would no longer a just God; He would deny His just nature – He would be denying Himself.
But “God cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13) therefore He must judge every sin.
God, in His love, provided the Lamb to take the judgment for our sins.
In Genesis 22:7-8, Isaac asked his father:
“Where is the lamb for the sacrifice? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for burnt offering.”
God “gave his only begotten Son” to take all our sins away.
This was foreshadowed by the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16:21-22:
“Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat … And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited.”
Similarly, Isaiah foreshadowed the suffering Messiah:
“He was led as a lamb to the slaughter … For the transgressions of My people He was stricken … My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities … He bore the sin of many.” (chp. 53)
“A day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
Jesus experienced the day on the cross as if it were a thousand years.
The eternal Being, Jesus–the Son of God,
who is innocent,
suffering for a finite (limited) period of time
is equal to
all the finite beings (mankind)
who are guilty,
suffering for an eternal period of time.
Infinity times finite equals finite times infinity.
Jesus suffered the equivalent of eternal judgement for every person, so that every person could be accepted, free from sin, by God who is just.
A prophetic insight into what Jesus may have experienced is in Matthew 12, when Jesus replied to those demanding a sign:
“None will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
The Book of Jonah records:
“Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly, And said,
I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever:
yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.”
When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple.
They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.’
So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”
When someone believes the Gospel – that Jesus suffered in their place, that their sins have been taken away, that they are forgiven and accepted by God – they become grateful for what Jesus did for them.
With joy, they enter into a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the Scriptures.
The unconditional love they experience brings a behavioral change from the inside–out. “The goodness of God brings men to repentance.” (Romans 2:4)
They want to share the love of God by caring for everyone, irregardless of race, sex, economic status, or past sinful behavior.
Elias Boudinot was President of the Continental Congress, 1782-83, a U.S. Representative, 1789-95, where he helped frame the Bill of Rights, and Director of the U.S. Mint under Washington and Adams, 1795-97.
Boudinot became a genuine Christian during the Great Awakening, and was baptized by Rev. George Whitfield. He helped found the American Bible Society, stating in New Jersey, July 4, 1783:
“No sooner had the great Creator of the heavens and the earth finished His almighty work, and pronounced all very good, but He set apart … one day in seven for the commemoration of His inimitable power in producing all things out of nothing …
The deliverance of the children of Israel from a state of bondage to an unreasonable tyrant was perpetuated by the Paschal (Passover) Lamb, and enjoining it on their posterity as an annual festival forever …
… The resurrection of the Savior of mankind is commemorated by keeping the first day of the week …
Let us then, my friends and fellow citizens, unite all our endeavors this day to remember, with reverential gratitude to our Supreme Benefactor, all the wonderful things He has done for us, in our miraculous deliverance from a second Egypt–another house of bondage.”
James Logan was Secretary for William Penn, and Chief Justice of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, 1731-39. He stated:
“Remember thou art by profession a Christian; that is, one who art called after the immaculate Lamb of God, who, by offering Himself a sacrifice for thee, atoned for thy sins …”
“Borrowing one hour from the sleep of sluggards, spend it in thy chamber in dressing thy soul with prayer and meditation, reading the Scriptures …
Remember that the same enemy that caused thy first parents to forfeit their blessed condition, notwithstanding the gate is now open for restoration, is perpetually using his whole endeavors to prevent thee from attaining this, and frustrate to thee the passion of thy Redeemer.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon stated in his sermon “The Leafless Tree,” March 8, 1857, New Park Street Chapel:
“If we read the Scripture’s aright the Jews have a great deal to do with this world’s history.
They shall be gathered in; Messiah shall come, the Messiah they are looking for, the same Messiah who came once shall come again, shall come as they expected him to come the first time.
They then thought he would come a Prince to reign over them, and so he will when he comes again.
He will come to be king of the Jews, and to reign over his people most gloriously; for when he comes Jew and Gentile shall have equal privileges, though there shall yet be some distinction afforded to that royal family from whose loins Jesus came; for he shall sit upon the throne of his father David, and unto him shall be gathered all nations.”
Well-known British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge wrote in his 1975 work titled “Jesus”:
“As man alone, Jesus could not have saved us; as God alone, he would not; Incarnate, he could and did.”
In an Easter address in St. Peter’s Square, April 1, 1956, Pope Pius XII stated:
“This year’s celebration of Easter should be primarily a recall to faith in Christ, addressed to people who, through no fault of their own, are still unaware of the saving work of the Redeemer;
to those who, on the contrary, would wish to have His name wiped out of the minds and hearts of nations; and finally, in a special manner, to those souls of little faith who, seduced by deceptive enticements, are on the point of exchanging the priceless Christian values for those of a false earthly progress.”
In his Easter Message, April 2015, British Prime Minister David Cameron stated:
“The values of the Bible, the values of Christianity are the values that we need – values of compassion, of respect, of responsibility, of tolerance.
Now … you don’t have to be a Christian … to have strong values … but the point I always make is that it helps.
We’re always trying to tell our children not to be selfish, but is there a better way of putting it than ‘love thy neighbor …'”
“We’re always telling our children to be tolerant … but is there a better way of explaining tolerance than saying, ‘do to others as you would be done by’?
It’s the simplest encapsulation of an absolutely vital value and the Christian church and the teaching of the Bible has put it so clearly.
We’re always telling our children that they must make the most of what they have; they must not waste what they have been given, and is there a better way of putting that than ‘don’t hide your light under a bushel, make the most of your talents.'”
Spanish King Felipe VI stated December 13, 2016:
“Europe needs … to be honest and respectful to both our common Judeo-Christian values and origins.”
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl wrote in the foreword of the Hungarian translation of his book Out of Concern for Europe: An Appeal:
“Europe cannot be the new home for millions of people in need … (as many refugees come) from different cultural backgrounds.
They follow in significant part, faiths other than Judeo-Christianity, which is one of the foundations of our values and social order.”
President Donald Trump stated March 31, 2018:
“My fellow Americans, at this holy time of the year families across our nation gather in homes, churches, and synagogues to light candles and to praise God.
During the sacred holiday of Passover, Jewish families around the world give thanks to God for liberating the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt and for delivering them to the Promised Land of Israel.
… For Christians, we remember the suffering and death of God’s only Son and his glorious resurrection on the third day. On Easter Sunday, we proclaim with joy … Christ is Risen!
Both of these sacred celebrations remind us that God’s love redeems the world.
Almost 3,000 years ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote, ‘Darkness covers the earth, but the Lord rises upon you and his Glory appears over you. For the Lord will be your everlasting light.’
In America, we look to the light of God to guide our steps. We trust in the power of the Almighty for wisdom and strength. And we praise our Heavenly Father for the blessings of freedom and the gift of eternal life.
Happy Passover. Happy Easter. Thank you. God bless you and God bless America.”
John Milton Hay was private secretary to President Lincoln and ambassador to Great Britain under President McKinley.
He negotiated over 50 treaties as Secretary of State, 1898-1905, including the Open-Door policy with China; the Panama Canal; the Alaskan boundary; and the Philippine policy.
John Milton Hay had worked at the New York Tribune, 1870-1875, and he published:
SINAI AND CALVARY
But Calvary stands to ransom
The earth from utter loss;
In shade than light more glorious
The shadow of the Cross.
To heal a sick world’s trouble,
To soothe its woe and pain,
On Calvary’s sacred summit
The Pascal (Passover) Lamb was slain.
Almighty God! direct us
To keep Thy perfect Law!
O blessed Savior, help us
Nearer to Thee to draw!
Let Sinai’s thunder aid us
To guard our feet from sin,
And Calvary’s light inspire us
The love of God to win.
Philanthropist George Hay Stuart (1816-1890) was president of the U.S. Christian Commission, formed out of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in New York, November 14, 1861.
During the Civil War, the U.S. Christian Commission raised millions of dollars in private donations to provide supplies, hospital stores and clothing to the army and navy.
Stuart helped distribute 30 million gospel tracts and New Testaments to the soldiers. One of his workers was D.L. Moody, who later became a world renowned minister.
George Hay Stuart stated:
“I have prayed for this Union; and I have labored for it, simply because I believed that it would bring glory to my blessed Lord and Master, Jesus Christ …
I have labored and prayed for it, because it would bring brethren together, now unhappily divided, to see eye to eye, that the nations that have so long bowed down to idols might learn of Jesus and Him crucified …
Since these twenty-four hours have passed away eighty-six thousand four hundred immortal souls have gone to the judgment seat of Christ …
I never hear the funeral bell toll without asking myself the question, ‘What have I done to point that departed soul to the Lamb of God that died to save a perishing world?’
Brethren, buckle on your armor for a great conflict; buckle it on for giving the glorious Gospel of the Son of God to the millions of the earth who are perishing for lack of knowledge.”
Robert Morris Page (1903-1992), known as the “father of U.S. Radar,” was the physicist who invented pulsation radar used for the detection of aircraft.
The holder of 37 patents, Robert Morris Pages served with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.; received the U.S. Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award; the Presidential Certificate of Merit; the IRE Fellowship Harry Diamond Memorial Award; and the Stuart Ballantyne Medal of the Franklin Institute.
The son of a Methodist minister, Robert Morris Page wrote concerning the over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled:
“The authenticity of the writings of the prophets, though the men themselves are human, is established by such things as the prediction of highly significant events far in the future that could be accomplished only through a knowledge obtained from a realm which is not subject to the laws of time as we know them.
One of the great evidences is the long series of prophecies concerning Jesus the Messiah. These prophecies extend hundreds of years prior to the birth of Christ.
They include a vast amount of detail concerning Christ himself, His nature and the things He would do when He came–things which to the natural world, or the scientific world, remain to this day completely inexplicable.”
Democrat Presidential candidate in 1896, 1900, and 1908 was William Jennings Bryan, whose statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall,
He gave over 600 public speeches during his campaigns, the most famous being “The Prince of Peace,” printed in the New York Times, September 7, 1913, stating:
“The world had known love before … but Jesus gave a new definition of love. His love was as wide as the sea; its limits were so far-flung that even an enemy could not travel beyond its bounds.
Other teachers sought to regulate the lives of their followers by rule and formula, but Christ’s plan was to purify the heart and then to leave love to direct the footsteps …”
“What conclusion is to be drawn from the life, the teachings and the death of this historic figure?
Reared in a carpenter shop; with no knowledge of literature, save Bible literature; with no acquaintance with philosophers living or with the writings of sages dead, when only about thirty years old He gathered disciples about Him, promulgated a higher code of morals than the world had ever known before, and proclaimed Himself the Messiah.
He taught and performed miracles for a few brief months and then was crucified; His disciples were scattered and many of them put to death; His claims were disputed, His resurrection denied and His followers persecuted;
and yet from this beginning His religion spread until hundreds of millions have taken His name with reverence upon their lips and millions have been willing to die rather than surrender the faith which He put into their hearts …”
William Jennings Bryan concluded:
“How shall we account for Him?
Here is the greatest fact of history; here is One who has with increasing power, for nineteen hundred years, molded the hearts, the thoughts and the lives of men, and He exerts more influence to-day than ever before.
‘What think ye of Christ?’ It is easier to believe Him divine than to explain in any other way what he said and did and was. And I have greater faith, even than before.”
A Proclamation of Congress, 1778, quoted by Thomas Jefferson, as Governor of Virginia, and George Washington, as Commander of the Continental Army, stated:
“Above all, that he hath diffused the glorious light of the Gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory.”
George Washington Carver made comments on divine inspiration, after which he was criticized by a New York Times editorial, November 20, 1924.
Rev. Lyman Ward sent him an encouraging letter, to which Carver replied, January 15, 1925:
“My dear Bro. Ward, Many, many thanks for your letter of Jan. 4th. How it lifted up my very soul, and made me to feel that after all God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
I did indeed feel very badly for a while, not that the cynical criticism was directed at me, but rather at the religion of Jesus Christ. Dear Bro. I know that my Redeemer liveth.”
Composer George Frederick Handel quoted Job chapter 19 in his masterpiece Messiah, 1742:
“I know that my Redeemer liveth.”
The full verse from the Book of Job, 19:25-26, is:
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold.”
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.