By Keith Green [Published 30/3/2010] [Edited 29/4/2016]
Passover and Unleavened Bread – about those in First Resurrection
Today, many Christians believe Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, that took place in ancient Israel, were designed by God to typify events in God’s plan concerning the salvation of ALL humanity. However, a study of scripture shows the following:
1) Passover observance in ancient Israel was intended only to typify the saving from death, by Christ’s sacrifice, the spiritual FIRSTBORN (those in the first resurrection).
2) Feast of Unleavened Bread was intended to picture only God’s spiritual FIRSTBORN nation living God’s way – on a journey out of spiritual Egypt (sinful world ruled by Satan).
Is Christ’s sacrifice for all humanity
Yes, Christ’s sacrifice is for ALL of humanity (2 Corinthians 5-14,15), and those not in the first resurrection will eventually have an opportunity to have their sins atoned by the sacrifice of Christ and live God’s way of life. However, in the context of picturing God’s overall plan for salvation for all humanity, it is the day of Atonement (about forgiveness of sin) that was intended to picture Christ’s sacrifice atoning for the sins of those who are not in the first resurrection.
The following study shows that the Passover observed by ancient Israel in Egypt (connected with saving only the firstborn) and the Feast of Unleavened bread is about the Israelites (called God’s firstborn nation at that time) journeying out of Egypt – pictures spiritual events in connection with the spiritual firstborn of spiritual Israel being saved from death, and on journey out of a world inhabited and influenced by Satan. Whereas, regarding the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles, there is no such symbolic picture. In fact, all indications are that the Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles picture the rest of humanity, who don’t take part in the first resurrection, being saved by the sacrifice of Christ and then living God’s way of life in a world ruled by God – in which Satin no longer inhabits.
The positioning of the day of Atonement on the calendar, after the Day of Teruwa (“trumpets”) and just before the Feast of Tabernacles, indicates that the Holy day is about atonement for the rest of humanity – and not those in the first resurrection. It does not make sense that this Holy day, which is about atonement for sin (by killing the sacrificial goat), is about those who are in the first resurrection because according to God their sins were ALREADY forgiven when they were baptized (Acts2:38) – not after they were resurrected. The day of Atonement, involving the removal of the second goat, in contrast to what is typified by Passover, pictures the removal of Satan’s influence while the of the rest of humanity have their opportunity to live God’s way of life.
What does Passover typify in regard to Spiritual Israel?
It is generally agreed by festival keeping Church of God splinter groups that the passing over of the Israelite’s houses by the death angel was designed to typify spiritual events that would take place in the future concerning spiritual Israel. However, many have ASSUMED that the passing over of the houses of the Israelites in Egypt pictures the saving from death of ALL humanity. In view of this belief it needs to be considered, in regard to the type, that there is absolutely no mention that ALL of the Israelites were under any threat of being killed by the coming of the Lord at midnight. Rather, it was ONLY the firstborn in ancient Israel who were saved from physical death by the blood of the lamb – not anybody else. Thus, indicating that the saving of the physical firstborn in Egypt was intended by God to be a type of the saving of spiritual firstborn who live in Spiritual Egypt (this present world, enslaved to Satan). The reason I say is because there are so many other different obvious types in the Bible, involving the firstborn, that do refer to a spiritual firstborn – not only in the book of Genesis, but in other books of the Old Testament.
1) How the firstborn of animals were given to God from the beginning when Abel offered the firstborn to God (Genesis 4:4).
2) How laws were instituted in Israel concerning the firstborn of both man and beast and their redemption from death because of the sparing of the firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 13:11-14).
Therefore, the logical conclusion, when looking for the spiritual parallel concerning Spiritual Israel, is that the Passover event in Egypt was yet another allegory designed to typify only the ‘spiritual firstborn’ of Spiritual Israel being saved from death by the sacrifice of Christ.
However as previously mentioned, Christ’s sacrifice will eventually be relevant to the rest of humanity who are not in the first resurrection when they are given their opportunity to understand and take part in the second ascension.
Who are the ‘spiritual firstborn’
The answer to the question “Who are the spiritual firstborn?” is put forward by Adam Clarke’s in his comments concerning Hebrews 12:22-23:
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven,…” (NKJV).
“[The first-born] Those who first received the Gospel of Christ, and who are elsewhere termed the first fruits. This is spoken in allusion to the first-born among the Israelites, who were all considered as the Lord's property, and were dedicated to him. The Jews gave the title bªkowr, first-born, to those who were very eminent or excellent; what we would term the head or top of his kin. The church of the first-born is the assembly of the most excellent.” (from Adam Clarke's Commentary) [my bolding for emphasis]
These comments by Adam Clarke, concerning how the term ‘firstborn’ and the term ‘firstfruits’ refer to the same group of people (consisting of Christ and those in the first resurrection) are supported by the fact that just like the firstborn in the ancient Israel were later taken from among the rest of the Israelites and sanctified by God for his holy use or purpose and belonged to him, so to the first fruits of the early harvest in ancient Israel were holy and offered up to God.
“ Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine…” (KJV; Exodus 13:2)
“You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord...
The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the Lord for the priest.” (Leviticus 23:17-21;NKJV)
Further support, that the ‘spiritual firstborn’ are the same as what scripture refers to as the first fruits, which are those who will be in the first resurrection mentioned in Revelation 14:4, is the fact that just like the Levites were sanctified in place of the firstborn (Numbers 3:9) from among the people of ancient Israel, after Mt Sinai, and were then given the role of serving the rest of Israel by providing tabernacle service – so to will those who are sanctified in this age from among all of humanity become Christ’s spiritual wife in the first resurrection, and help him do the work of God concerning the rest of humanity to be saved:
“And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation,...” (Numbers 8:19
Also, just like the Levites, along with Aaron (type Christ as high priest), did not receive any inheritance in the land of Canaan, in contrast to the rest of ancient Israel (Numbers 20:24) – so to Christ and those in the first resurrection do not receive there inheritance at the same time as those who will enter the Kingdom of God in the second ascension. In fact they received there inheritance BEFORE the rest of Spiritual Israel, when they partake of the first resurrection.
Another interesting piece of information that appears to typify the reward of the spiritual firstborn (firstfruits) is that all the firstborn in ancient Israel, according Deuteronomy 21:17, received a greater inheritance. This inheritance is described as a double portion:
“ But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.” (NKJV).
Notice also, Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary comments concerning the double inheritance, under the heading Birthrights:
“ In Israel, as in the rest of the ancient world, the firstborn son enjoyed a favored position. His birthright included a double portion of his father's assets upon his death “(Deuteronomy 21:17). Part of the firstborn's benefits also were a special blessing from the father and the privilege of leadership of the family
The fact that the firstborn in ancient Israel received a greater inheritance is further evidence that God intended them to typify those who take part in the first resurrection. Those who will be in first resurrection will have a greater reward because they will be the spiritual wife of Christ and partake of the spiritual blessing of producing and nurturing the spiritual children that come as a result of such a union.
“ Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6; NKJV).
“...behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;.(Psalms 127:3-5; NKJV).
Unleavened bread – only about God’s firstborn nation
Just like the Passover as practiced by ancient Israel was only about the saving from death of the firstborn, so to the days of unleavened bread were about God’s ‘firstborn son’(nation).
“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD:"Israel is My son, My firstborn.” (Exodus 4:22-23; NKJV).
In the above verse it is clear that the nation of Israel that existed at the time of the exodus was referred to by God as his firstborn son (nation).
Since, according to Exodus 12:17, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a celebration of Israel’s journey under God’s rule towards the boarder of Egypt it follows that the days can be described as a celebration of God leading (ruling) his firstborn son (nation).
“So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:17; NKJV)
What does the feast of Unleavened Bread typify in regard to Spiritual Israel?
The seven days of unleavened bread were to be observed by ancient Israel, because they were a memorial of their departure from Egypt under God’s rule, which meant complete freedom from any further enslavement to the Egyptian taskmasters.
“So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt ”(Exodus 12:17).
The meaning of the symbolism involved in the Feast of Unleavened Bread is revealed in a letter written to the Corinthian church:
“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).
In this verse Paul is talking to those who have the Holy Spirit, and shows that leaven symbolizes ‘the practice’ of sinfulness, which in this case was malice and wickedness. In contrast he also shows that unleavened bread symbolizes the OPPOSITE which is Gods way of life – the practice of righteousness (under God’s rule) which is described as sincerity and truth.
However, as previously discussed in this article concerning the Passover, the term firstborn typifies those who will take part in the first resurrection.
Therefore, taking into account the following:
1) The Feast of Unleavened Bread follows immediately after Passover, which is about the saving of the firstborn from death
2) The Feast of Unleavened Bread is placed at the beginning of the harvest agricultural season in Ancient Israel.
3) God referred to Israel, at that time, as his ‘firstborn son’(nation)
– it follows that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was designed to only picture the Christians in this age, living his way of life (under his rule); on a journey out of this sinful ways of this spiritual world (Spiritual Egypt), and who will later take part in the first resurrection.
The festival is a celebration about living God’s way of life which means that we have been set free from the hard bondage of sin. This rescue from slavery is mentioned in Exodus 6:6:
“Therefore say to the children of Israel:'I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you…”
The above account of physical Israel being rescued from bondage is a direct parallel of what has happened to individuals who are God’s true people in this age today – those who will be God’s spiritual firstborn nation in the first resurrection.
They are delivered from spiritual slavery to sin as described by Paul:
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered…” (Romans 6:16-18).
The Passover and Feast of Unleavened bread are connected with the firstborn.
Passover typifies those who will take part in the first resurrection being saved from death.
The Feast of Unleavened bread typifies those who will take part in the first resurrection living God’s way of life as human beings, under his rule, as they journey out of the spiritual word of sin towards God’s Kingdom. While human, they are from God’s perspective viewed as new creations, free from enslavement to sin.