Some scholars say the Passover story is not historical. Only God knows for sure. Nevertheless, it has happened for billions of people in the reading and telling of it in annual commemorations whether or not thousands of frogs ever hopped into Egyptian beds and all the rest. Obviously, God wants us to know the Passover story for a good reason which makes Passover as real in our minds as the moon landing.
The ALIVE account of the Passover offers imagined details that evoke the rich meaning, and therefore the purpose of the story.
The Passover is the second major work of God in a triptych designed to gradually restore His people to the state of human origin in which we clearly reflected His image and likeness, when we were designed to have dominion over nature with its decay, malfunction (illness), and natural death.
We became subject to the cycle of nature (e.g. childbirth pain, difficulty farming, death) when Eve, then Adam believed the lie that God was not trustworthy, and then ate of the poisonous tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Creation story may be an allegory too, but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful.
They were forbidden to eat of that tree for God’s good reason. Adam and Eve were originally in the world but not of it. Jesus showed us what that means. He was in the natural world, but not of it, because like Adam and Eve, He had dominion over nature as demonstrated by the many miracles.
Distrust opened the floodgate of good and evil, which could only be mitigated by exhibiting extraordinary faith, as demonstrated by Noah and Abraham. Faith looks at evil and sees the good hiding behind it. Faith ignores both to seek God’s mysterious will.
The Flood, the Passover, and the Resurrection take God’s chosen people, step by step to a new Promise Land, revealed by the Apostle John in his revelation, where we will live in incorruptible bodies, and once again enjoy dominion over nature.
For those of us who wonder why God allows evil, the answer is that once upon a time He didn’t. Yet, the Flood tells us that annihilating everything was a short term solution, but key.
Making children of God, through God’s will and man’s cooperation is an ambitious project, particularly in the face of such great opposition.
First step. Noah’s Flood defined the essential elements of life, which are salvation, baptism, and mercy.
When wondering about salvation imagine those who drowned outside the ark. Drowning is easier to picture than Armageddon.
Baptism signifies death and rebirth. Everyone died in the Flood except Noah and his family who were reborn through the combustion of equally intense fear and faith. As with Noah’s family, true life begins, not in the oblivion of natural birth, but rather with the will to be in the ark of salvation from the doomed world. One appropriates the powerful and meaningful event through re-enactment, as though it is happening for the first time, and for the same purpose.
The concept of mercy is perfectly defined by the olive branch presented by the dove. Ελέησον. The Greek word for mercy literally means to olive me. Stop. Clear your mind of all noise, and imagine intense of relief after 180 days at sea. Imagine being the only life form on the entire planet, and you are starving and scared, and then you see a dove approach you with an olive branch. Hallelujah!!! Noah and his family were given mercy and they received relief. Ask for mercy to receive relief from your suffering or to prevent punishment. Olive oil is the manifestation of a powerful concept, God-bestowed relief. Keep in mind too, the months of faith and suffering before the olive branch appeared. Patience is a virtue. To touch your forehead, the shell of your mind, with Holy Water, or olive oil (Holy Unction) is a flashback.
As big and meaningful as The Flood was, it would be as a fleck of gold buried deep in the earth had it not been for Passover.
Passover opened the gilded altar doors to reveal God to all His people. Passover was as God’s third beginning. The Creation birthed man, the Flood baptized him, the miracles of Passover ushered the sons of God into a new world in communion with Him.
When the angel of death passed over the blood-stained doorways, it was as if the olive branch appeared after four hundred years.
Four hundred years in Egypt made the descendants of Jacob into a solid nation. Slavery bound them together, lest in freedom they scatter throughout the earth and were dissolved. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart and the nine calamities gave this nation time and conditions to pry them loose from the mold of an Egyptian slave.
The epic story starts with the bloody Nile to recall the days when Pharaoh drowned the Hebrew baby boys in the Nile. Only Moses was saved from the deadly Nile as if baptized to begin life anew as the grandson of Pharaoh. The bloody Nile echoed the Flood. Again, baptism initiates a new different kind of life.
To explain His purpose for the Passover God tells Moses that He will:
- Free them from the burdens of the Egyptians
- Deliver them from slavery
- Redeem them
- Take them as His people
- Be their God
- Bring them to the Promise Land
- Give it to them, that they may know that He has...
- Freed them (past tense, as if it already happened)
- Keep His promise.
During the worst of times during the last days in Egypt, God repeated His overarching purpose which was to demonstrate that He is the Lord, the powerful, to make His name resound through all the Earth (Exodus 9:16). God impressed upon this nation of His that He is their God who will free them from the harsh bonds of slavery. Millennia will go by before He associates slavery with sin and consequently with death, from which He ultimately intends to free His people, forever.
And now let’s go cross the Red Sea.