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Good Morning.

And if a stranger dwells among you, and would keep the Lord’s Passover, he must do so according to the rite of the Passover and according to its ceremony; you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land. (Numbers 9:14)

In the beginning of this chapter, the people of Israel kept the Passover for the second time, but this time, in the wilderness. However, an issue arose concerning certain men who had become contaminated due to contact with a dead body. The problem was they were considered ritually unclean and, thus, unable to keep the Passover. This prompted Moses to go to God to see what could be done. The result was what is called Pesach Sheni — the second Passover — observed exactly one month after the first Passover which is in the month Aviv. The second Passover was specifically for those who were in such a state as these men and for those who were “far off.” That brings us to our passage.

Those regarded as strangers or foreigners among the children of Israel but who desired to keep the Passover with Israel were required to do it according to the same ordinances. In other words, there wasn’t a “gentile way” of doing Passover — just God’s way of doing Passover. These were people considered strangers, and in a sense, “far off” in terms of relationship to the God of Israel.  Nevertheless, there was to be one law for all who came to this sacred meal. And so, here is the point: the Exodus from Egypt, synonymous with deliverance from sin. and the redemption that came at Passover was and is significant for the “stranger” — i.e. those not naturally born into the family of Israel.

It is important for us to understand this and to grasp what is insinuated by participating in the Passover as so-called “strangers.” Paul alludes to its importance in his letter to the church at Corinth. He said, “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). Please notice that he said, “our fathers” and not “my fathers.” Paul was strongly suggesting that those who recognized the true meaning of the Exodus, though not born into Israel, were nevertheless considered part of the family. Those who had been delivered from sin through the Messiah had been welcomed to sit at the LORD’s table as fellow citizens.

In a sense, Passover is a “family” celebration, which is why there is one standard for keeping it, and if one standard, then there is one family. Therefore, it is clear to me that those “strangers” who participated in Passover so long ago were essentially becoming members of the family. Likewise, those of us who have come to Messiah, though not born Jewish, are just as much a part of the family as those who were. That is exactly what Paul meant when he said to those who had been “afar off”: “You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). So then, let us be grateful that our Father in Heaven made a way for us “who once were far off” to be “brought near by the blood of Messiah.”

Blessings and Shalom,  




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