For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. (Exodus 12:19)
The ordinance regarding eating unleavened bread was a serious one. It was so serious, in fact, that anyone who failed to keep this command was to be considered as “cut off” – i.e. cast out of the congregation and considered to be as the heathen nations. On the hand, those who were not born into the congregation of Israel but who had joined themselves to the family could — and should — participate in this festival.
The Hebrew word translated as “stranger” — ger — refers to those considered to be a resident alien. It is a term used to describe the foreigner who has been received into the covenant of Abraham and thus regarded as being part of the family. Just as any who were native born, these “strangers” enjoyed the privileges and the responsibilities of being part of the family of faith.
Thus we see that, from the beginning, the people of Israel has never been determined exclusively by bloodlines and genealogy; it has always been a matter of faith and devotion to the God of Israel. Those who are born into the physical family aren’t guaranteed a free ticket into the Kingdom and those who are born outside of the family aren’t automatically forbidden entrance into the Kingdom. All who commit themselves to the Almighty are considered to be His children and, consequently, duty bound to abide by His house rules. Thus Paul, writing to those born outside of the family said:
“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:18-19)
Our Father saw fit to make a way for us to come into His house and partake of the blessing given to Abraham and his seed. In Messiah, we are heirs of the covenant which means we do get to enjoy that blessing but it also means we are expected to embrace the responsibility that goes along with being His sons and daughters. That is not something to lament but to be grateful for — today and every day.
Blessings and Shalom,