The Signs of the Times


March 25, 1880

The Passover


The Lord gave Moses special directions for the children of Israel, in regard to what they must do to preserve themselves and their families from the fearful plague that he was about to send upon the Egyptians. Moses was also to give his people instructions in regard to their leaving Egypt. On that night, so terrible to the Egyptians, and so glorious to the people of God, the solemn ordinance of the passover was instituted. By the divine command, each family, alone or in connection with others, was to slay a lamb or a goat “without blemish,” and with a bunch of hyssop sprinkle its blood on “the two side-posts, and on the upper door-post” of their houses, as a token, that the destroying angel, coming at midnight, might not enter that dwelling. They were to eat the flesh roasted, with bitter herbs, at night, as Moses said, “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord's passover.” This name was given in memory of the angel's passing by their dwellings; and such a feast was to be observed as a memorial by the people of Israel in all future generations. ST March 25, 1880, par. 1

Leaven works secretly, and is a fit emblem of hypocrisy and deceit. And on this occasion the children of Israel were to abstain from leavened bread that their minds might be impressed with the fact that God requires truth and sincerity in his worship. The bitter herbs represented their long and bitter servitude in Egypt, also the bondage of sin. It was not enough to simply slay the lamb, and sprinkle its blood upon the door posts, but it was to be eaten, thus representing the close union which must exist between Christ and his followers. ST March 25, 1880, par. 2

A work was required of the children of Israel, to prove them, and to show their faith in the great deliverance which God had been bringing about for them. In order to escape the terrible judgment about to fall upon Egypt, the token of blood must be seen upon their houses. And they were required to separate themselves and their children from the Egyptians, and gather them into their own houses; for if any of the Israelites were found in the dwellings of the Egyptians, they would fall by the hand of the destroying angel. They were also directed to keep the feast of the passover for an ordinance, that when their children should inquire what such service meant, they should relate to them their wonderful preservation in Egypt: That when the destroying angel went forth in the night to slay the first-born of man, and the first-born of beast, he passed over their houses, and not one of the Hebrews that had the token of blood upon their door-posts was slain. ST March 25, 1880, par. 3

The people bowed their heads and worshiped, grateful for this remarkable memorial given to preserve to their children the remembrance of God's care for his people. There were quite a number of the Egyptians who were led to acknowledge, by the manifestations of the signs and wonders shown in Egypt, that the gods whom they had worshiped were without knowledge, and had no power to save or to destroy, and that the God of the Hebrews was the only true God. They begged to be permitted to come to the houses of the Israelites with their families upon that fearful night when the angel of God should slay the first-born of the Egyptians. The Hebrews welcomed these believing Egyptians to their homes, and the latter pledged themselves henceforth to choose the God of Israel as their God, and to leave Egypt and go with the Israelites to worship the Lord. ST March 25, 1880, par. 4

The passover pointed backward to the deliverance of the children of Israel, and was also typical, pointing forward to Christ, the Lamb of God, slain for the redemption of fallen man. The blood sprinkled upon the door-posts prefigured the atoning blood of Christ, and also the continual dependence of sinful man upon the merits of that blood for safety from the power of Satan, and for final redemption. Christ ate the passover supper with his disciples just before his crucifixion, and the same night, instituted the ordinance of the Lord's supper, to be observed in commemoration of his death. Up to this time the passover had been observed to commemorate the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. But in its place he now left an ordinance to commemorate the events of his crucifixion. After partaking of the passover with his disciples, Christ arose from the table, and said unto them, “With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” He then performed the humiliating office of washing the feet of his disciples. Christ gave his followers the ordinance of washing feet for them to practice, which would teach them lessons of humility. He connected this ordinance with the supper. He designed that this should be a season of self-examination, that his people might have an opportunity to become acquainted with the true feelings of their own hearts toward God and one another. If pride existed in their hearts, how soon would it be discovered to the honestly-erring ones, as they should engage in this humble duty. If selfishness or hatred existed, if would be more readily discovered as they engaged in this humble work. This ordinance was designed to result in mutual confessions, and to increase feelings of forbearance, forgiveness of each other's errors, and true love, preparatory to engaging in the solemn ordinance of commemorating the sufferings and death of Christ. He loved his disciples well enough to die for them. He exhorted them to love one another, as he had loved them. ST March 25, 1880, par. 5

The example of washing the feet of his disciples was given for the benefit of all who should believe in him. He required them to follow his example. This humble ordinance was designed not only to test their humility and faithfulness, but to keep fresh in their remembrance that the redemption of his people was purchased upon condition of humility and continual obedience on their part. “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” ST March 25, 1880, par. 6

Jesus then took his place again at the table, whereon were placed bread and unfermented wine, which arrangements had been made according to Christ's directions. He appeared very sorrowful. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me. Likewise, also, the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” “Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” ST March 25, 1880, par. 7

Here our Saviour instituted the Lord's supper, to be often celebrated, to keep fresh in the memory of his followers the solemn scenes of his betrayal and crucifixion for the sins of the world. He would have his followers realize their continual dependence upon his blood for salvation. The broken bread was a symbol of Christ's broken body, given for the salvation of the world. The wine was a symbol of his blood, shed for the cleansing of the sins of all those who should come unto him for pardon, and receive him as their Saviour. ST March 25, 1880, par. 8

The salvation of men depends upon a continual application to their hearts of the cleansing blood of Christ. Therefore, the Lord's supper was to be observed more frequently than the annual passover. This solemn ordinance commemorates a far greater event than the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. That deliverance was typical of the great atonement which Christ made by the sacrifice of his own life for the final redemption of his people. ST March 25, 1880, par. 9