The Levitical Pesach
The Levitical Pesach shows us how we are to hold the Pesach under a cleansed Levitical Order (and especially in the land of Israel). It also lays some important groundwork for when we talk about how to keep Pesach under the Melchizedekian order.
In this book, we have been talking all about the Melchizedekian Pesach, the Passover that we keep when we are under Yeshua’s Renewed Melchizedekian Order.
In the last chapter, we talked about the No-Priesthood Pesach. What we saw is that Israel had been down in Egypt, in captivity, for 430 years and there was no standing priesthood. And we saw that in the very first Pesach, in Exodus chapter twelve, Yahweh had Israel keep the Pesach as preparation for leaving Egypt suddenly and moving to the land of Israel.
Now, some things are going to be specific to the situation in Exodus chapters eleven and twelve. For example, in Exodus chapter eleven, verse one, we see that the specific situation in Exodus chapter 12 was going to be different than in other times of Israel’s history.
Shemote (Exodus) 11:1
1 And Yahweh said to Moshe,
“I am bringing yet one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that he is going to let you go from here. When he lets you go, he shall drive you out from here altogether.”
Another example of something specific to the situation is in Exodus chapter twelve, verse thirteen.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:13
13 “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
[Specific situation in Exodus 12.]
The blood that the heads of the households were to apply and paint on the doorposts was to be a sign for them on the houses where they were. That is not repeated in other scenarios. Verse thirteen is specific to the situation in Exodus chapter twelve.
But Yahweh also gives other things that carry over for all time. Let us look at verse fourteen.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:14
14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.”
[Precepts, principles, ordinances.]
So we have seen that sometimes there are specific situations that affect how we keep the feast at that specific time. And then there are other things that count as principles, precepts, and ordinances that never change. Those are for all time.
But what do you do if you have already left the land of Egypt? You are already in the land of Israel, and you are no longer under the No-Priesthood times? Now you are under a Levitical Order. How does that change Israel’s observance of the Pesach?
In this chapter, we are going to see that there are two main things that affect how we keep the feast. One is which priesthood are we under and the second is what the specifics of the situation are with which we are dealing. We are going to see that the specifics can change, but there are other things that are always going to remain the same. Sometimes those things are called principles or precepts. Here we are going to see the new term ordinances. And while the specifics can change, the ordinances are always going to remain the same.
Let us look at some examples of some things that are never going to change about the Pesach.
One thing is that Yahweh wants us to remove all leaven from our houses and from our properties. The second thing is that we are supposed to eat only unleavened bread for seven days and that we are not allowed to eat anything leavened. We are also going to see that we are supposed to take off the first and the last days of the feast from work. The first and last days of the feast are called the High Days, the other days are called the Intermediate Days. We are supposed to assemble on the High Days. In fact, some people believe we get those days off from work so that we can assemble.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:15-16
15 “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.
[Immutable principle (ordinance).]
16 On the first day there shall be a set-apart rehearsal, and on the seventh day there shall be a set-apart rehearsal for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you.”
[Immutable principle (ordinance).]
Now let us look at verse twenty-four.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:24
24 “And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance to you and to your sons forever.”
The fact that we keep the feast is an immutable ordinance, but the way we keep the feast might change from one priesthood to the next. It also might be impacted by the specifics with which we are faced. In other words, we might keep the feast differently depending upon whether there is no priesthood in Israel, a Levitical priesthood in Israel, or a Melchizedekian priesthood in Israel. So, we need to learn what the principles are so that we can apply them to our specific situations.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:25
25 “And it shall come to pass, when you come into the land which Yahweh will give you, just as He has promised, that you shall keep this service.”
In Exodus chapter twelve, verse twenty-five, we see that the situation is now changing. Once again, the way that we will keep this service is going to depend upon what priesthood we are under and what the specifics of the situation are. We are also going to see that the transition of how we keep Pesach under one priesthood to the next priesthood sometimes takes time. Very important. We will see this again in a couple of chapters from now when we talk about “The Melchizedekian Pesach”. This is a hard concept for some people to understand but it is really not difficult. Just know that sometimes the transition from one way of doing things to the next way of doing things takes a little bit of time.
For example, we are going to see that two years after Israel left Egypt, Yahweh said to hold the Pesach service the same way in the wilderness, even though they now had a Levitical order. Let us take a look.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 9:1-3
1 Now Yahweh spoke to Moshe in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying:
2 “Let the children of Israel keep the Pesach at its appointed time.
3 “On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time. According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it.”
In verse three, Yahweh tells us that the Pesach was to be kept according to all its rites and ceremonies. This causes a lot of discussion among the commentators. Because the situation changed. Now, we are no longer in the land of Egypt, and we no longer have what we would call a patriarchal priesthood (no priesthood). Here we had a Levitical priesthood. And we no longer have doorposts because Israel lives in tents here. So, there is a lot of discussion among the commentators on how exactly is it that we are supposed to keep Pesach according to all its rites and ceremonies.
My comment here is that we need to be aware of the concept of transitional phases. And we will see this again in two chapters from now, in “The Melchizedekian Pesach”.
Let us continue the passage.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 9:4-13
4 And Moshe spoke unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the Pesach.
5 And they kept the Pesach on the fourteenth day of the first month at evening in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that Yahweh commanded Moshe, so did the children of Israel.
6 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the Pesach on that day: and they came before Moshe and before Aharon on that day:
7 And those men said to him, “We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time among the children of Israel?”
8 And Moshe said unto them, “Stand still, and I will hear what Yahweh will command concerning you.”
9 And Yahweh spoke unto Moshe, saying,
10 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the Pesach unto Yahweh.
11 The fourteenth day of the second month at twilight they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Pesach they shall keep it.
13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Pesach, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.”
So, People ask here, “What are we talking about here?”
Let us say that a family member dies, or you come into contact with a dead body, and they need to be buried. Yes, this does make you ritually unclean. However, it is not your fault that you miss the Pesach, so you can keep a second Pesach. We will talk about this further in “The Melchizedekian Pesach” chapter.
Also, let us say you are traveling and perhaps on a business trip. And the barley comes ripe much sooner than you expected. In other words, you did not plan a trip to take place at the same time the barley becomes aviv, but the barley just suddenly becomes aviv. This happened just last year (2021). The barley became ripe much sooner than anyone expected. You get another chance in that circumstance because it was a surprise, it is not really your fault.
However, to answer another common question, this exception does not apply to the feasts of the seventh month. Because once the feasts of the first month are known, we know that the feasts of the seventh month come six months later. And we know those dates within a day or so. So, it only pertains to when there is a surprise.
Another common question is whether this pertains any to do with a woman’s times of regular monthly cleansing. The answer to that is no. Because ritual defilement by means of coming in contact with the dead does invalidate the Pesach, but a woman’s times of monthly cleansing does not invalidate the Pesach. And if we think about it, it would not really help to delay things a month. Because if she is cleansing at this time of this month, she is probably going to be cleansing at similar times on the following month. So adding a month really would not change anything.
Now, Yahweh does modify the commandments when we live in the land of Israel. He gives us some very situation-specific modifications around living in the land of Israel and we need to obey those. And these are specifics that we need to remember because these are going to come into play again in the chapter on the Melchizedekian Pesach.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:1
1 “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which Yahweh Elohim of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the soil.”
In Deuteronomy chapter twelve, verse one, Yahweh tells us something especially important about when we live in the land of Israel. This is particularly applicable to anyone who is dwelling in the land of Israel right now. If the land of Israel is your home, these pertain to you.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:1-2
1 “Observe the month of the Aviv, and keep the Pesach unto Yahweh your Elohim: for in the month of the Aviv Yahweh your Elohim brought you forth out of Egypt by night.
2 You shall therefore sacrifice the Pesach unto Yahweh your Elohim, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Yahweh shall choose to place His name there.”
Yahweh says to observe the month of the Aviv, meaning the aviv barley. He is not saying to keep the rabbinical calendar system or the Hillel 2 calendar. He is saying to observe the month of the aviv barley and to keep the Pesach unto Yahweh your Elohim. For in the month of the aviv barley your Elohim brought you forth out of Egypt by night.
He says that you shall sacrifice the Pesach unto Yahweh your Elohim of the flock and of the herd. If you recall what we learned before, that is a change. Let us flash back to Exodus chapter twelve, verse five, to the No-Priesthood Pesach, to when the heads of the houses were performing the sacrifice offerings and painting the blood over the doorposts.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:5
5 “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats…”
Both sheep and goats qualify as the flock. So, in Exodus, Yahweh allows only the flock (only the sheep and the goats). But here in the land of Israel, in Deuteronomy sixteen, verse two, Yahweh says that the sacrifice may be of the flock (sheep and goats) and of the herd (which includes cattle).
And Yahweh says several times, in the place which Yahweh shall choose to place His name.
Okay, let us continue.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:3-5
3 “You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.
4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.
5 You may not sacrifice the Pesach within any of your gates which Yahweh your Elohim gives you…”
In verse five, Yahweh says again that they were not to sacrifice the Pesach within any of their gates which Yahweh gave them. This is important because in the first Pesach, it had to be sacrificed within our gates. Because the males of the households painted the blood upon the doorposts. Yahweh says that this is a change when we live in the land of Israel. We are no longer allowed to do sacrifice in our gates, but rather at the place where He chose to make His name abide.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:6
6 “but at the place where Yahweh your Elohim chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Pesach at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.”
This is especially important. This is something we need to understand. Because part of the purpose of the Levitical Order is to unify the nation around a blood altar. That is why Yahweh has the people come up to wherever His name is abiding (presently Jerusalem) three times a year. Because it helps to unify the nation around a blood altar three times a year. He emphasizes several times that the sacrifice is to be done in the place which He chooses.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:7
7 “And you shall roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose: and you shall turn in the morning, and go unto your tents.”
Once again, the purpose is to bring the whole nation together three times a year when we live in the land of Israel so that the nation becomes unified. That is one of the functions of a Levitical Order.
Now, we know that presently, Yahweh has chosen Jerusalem. In times past, it has been in Shiloh and in other places. But in First Kings chapter 14, starting in verse twenty-one, we are told that Jerusalem is the city which Yahweh chose out of all the tribes of Israel to put His name there.
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 14:21
21 And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which Yahweh did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there…
We see further witness to Yahweh choosing Jerusalem in the book of Zechariah.
Zekaryah (Zechariah) 1:17
17 “Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts: “My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; Yahweh will again comfort Tsion, And will again choose Jerusalem.”
Zekaryah (Zechariah) 2:12
12 “And Yahweh will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Set-apart Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”
We believe that he did that in 1948 when the nation of Israel was born in one day.
Finally, Deuteronomy sixteen, verse eight.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:8
8 “Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a set-apart assembly to Yahweh your Elohim. You shall do no work on it.” (Immutable.)
Again, He is repeating the ordinances (the things that remain immutable).
So, what are some of the changes that we have seen take place in between the No-Priesthood Pesach of Exodus 12 and the Levitical Pesach? (Keeping in mind that the land of Israel is typically where you are going to find a cleansed Levitical Order, at least past the last thirty-eight years of the time in the wilderness.)
One change is that Yahweh added a second Pesach for those who are legitimately unclean by way of a dead body, or for those who are legitimately traveling and could not keep the Pesach in the first month. Maybe the barley came ripe early, and they were taken by surprise and were not able to keep the Pesach. Or someone died in the family, and they were legitimately unable to keep the Pesach in its appointed time. So, Yahweh added a second Pesach a month later. That is something you could not do in Egypt because all of Israel had to leave Egypt all the same time. They had to leave suddenly.
Another change in the land of Israel is that we can also take the Pesach from the herd (cattle) in addition to taking them from the flock (lambs or goats). However, we are not going to be able to offer the Pesach within our gates. Meaning, we no longer offer the Pesach in our homes when we are under a cleansed Levitical Order situation. We are no longer applying the blood to our doorposts. That was specific to Exodus 12. Now we are going to roast and eat the Pesach in the place where Yahweh chooses to place His name. In times past, that has been Shiloh. Nowadays, it is Jerusalem. We know that Yahweh again chose Jerusalem in 1948 when the nation of Israel was born in one day. So, at least when we are living in the land of Israel under a cleansed Levitical Order, we are to eat the Pesach in Jerusalem.
And it is an important thing that we need to understand. One of the reasons Yahweh does that is because when the nation of Israel was traveling in the wilderness, they were all traveling together. The nation was already together and unified. But now, once Israel is going to come into the land of Israel, they are going to spread out and they are going to be in various locations. And so having the people come up to a blood altar three times a year is going to help unify the nation around that blood altar, or around Yahweh’s place of worship. And one of the primary purposes of a Levitical Order is to help bring the nation together three times a year around a blood altar.
But let us now ask ourselves this question. What if we are already living in the land of Israel? Say it is the first century and we already have a Levitical Order or at least a modification in the Levitical Order (You might call it the Rabbinical Order). If we are already in the land of Israel and we do not need to flee the land of Egypt, then do we really need to rehearse fleeing Egypt? We will talk about all that in the next chapter when we talk about the Last Supper.