Passover ... Coming Home

It was the miracle at the first ever Passover that finally broke Pharaoh's hardheartedness to let the people of Israel go. Egypt had been devastated by nine previous plagues and judgements sent by the God of Israel to redeem His people, and to make them a people for Himself. After centuries of bondage in Egypt, the children of Israel were finally going home, "to a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:17), to the land promised to them as an everlasting inheritance.

The nations watched, their hearts gripped with fear and their courage fading away, as the God of Israel did great things to deliver His people from the most powerful empire of the time. Egypt was crushed, Israel lived.

Where is the nation today that can declare that God has done for them as He has for Israel? Indeed, nations today gladly boast their academic achievements and technological advancement, proudly applauding their own intellect, cunning and skill. Let them boast, but let it not be so in Israel, for God has done great things for them.

The feast of Passover is to be celebrated every year. "And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.' It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD's Torah may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. You shall keep this ordinance in its season from year to year." (Exodus 13:8-10)

The passover in Egypt was a prelude to even greater things that God would perform for His people Israel. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of another home-coming for the people of Israel. Like the exodus from Egypt, God would gather His people and bring them home to the Promised Land, Israel. But on this future occasion the people of Israel would be returning from all the nations of the world.

" 'Therefore, behold the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that they shall no longer say, "As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt," but, "As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them." And they shall dwell in their own land.'" (Jeremiah 23:7-8)

This prophecy is being fulfilled today. The Jewish people, after centuries of bondage and servitude in the nations, are coming home. This modern home-coming was foreshadowed by the first exodus from Egypt, when Israel were finally let go by Pharaoh. Just as the exodus was momentous in its day, so too, the present home-coming.

Equally rewarding is to note that the same LORD who "brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt" has, in our own time, brought His people home. The same Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, the LORD, He lives! And just as He succeeded the first time in the days of the exodus from Egypt, so He will fulfill His promise for this present time. Praise Him for all His works are true and His ways just!

Unfortunately, the international community today is reluctant to view the State of Israel as anything but a product of hard diplomatic efforts and democratic policies. Consequently, the international community can neither see nor say, "The LORD lives!" Sadly, the attitude of the international community toward Israel is more like that of the nations when Israel was redeemed from Egypt, some 3,500 years ago. There was no 'welcome home' then either.

The return of the Jewish people to their Land and their taking possession of it is precisely what God had purposed from the first Passover. One of the main reasons for leaving Egypt was to take possession of the Promised Land. It was the first Passover that broke Pharaoh's resolve and precipitated the exodus from Egypt. Thus the Passover and Israel's taking possession of the Promised Land are very closely linked. Therefore, the establishment of the State of Israel in our time, is cause for much celebration.

May the LORD who is bringing His people home get great glory for His awesome Name, as He gathers them from every nation.

Mark Warren

Passover is celebrated on the 14th day of Nisan, with the feast of Unleavened Bread immediately following, for the next seven days. This year in the Gregorian calendar, Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread commences on 30 March and finishes 6 April 2010.