And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:Exodus 4:22 (KJV)
Firstborn – As a follower of Yeshua, it is easy to forget history when you believe the history of the faith began with the advent of Jesus in the first century. When all we read is the New Testament, the history prior to it becomes irrelevant. If I believe that Yeshua completely absolved everything written in the Old Testament to create a new religion called Christianity, then I have lost perspective.
During the time of Passover, I am pulled in two directions as both an observer of Torah and a follower of Yeshua. Most of my Christian peers recognize Jesus’ suffering during this time and His resurrection, and I with them, mind you. It is, after all, the time of Yeshua’s death and resurrection. And that is a momentous occasion that a faithful believer honors yearly, if not daily.
But it is also important to recognize that Passover is God’s holy day that He instituted for a particular reason. He even specifies our remembrance of it. Let us read what God says about this time of year.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?Exodus 12:26-27
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
Passover is a direct call back to when God heard the suffering of His firstborn. Yes, Israel is God’s firstborn son. This holy day is to remember how God redeemed His firstborn. In correlation to that, Yeshua is God’s only-begotten son. Did you catch that? Yeshua is not God’s firstborn.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3:16
But God calls us to remember Israel. Remember the suffering of God’s firstborn son. Surely, as followers of Christ, we can see the obvious ties to Christ, the redemption He provides, and His suffering and ultimate victory. The Old Testament is filled with relationships that lead to Christ’s work – His death and resurrection. But as Christians, we do not have the authority to change what God instituted and the purpose of His holy day – Passover. It’s still about Israel.
As we commemorate the Passover, we can recall both accounts of suffering and redemption. But when my children ask about this holy day, as they always do… I will remind them of the suffering of Israel and how God redeemed them with many miracles. As my children mature, I will watch them make the connections to Christ on their own and smile at their wisdom.