THE PASSOVER UNDER THE JUDGES.
Down the Hebrew history, they followed the law God himself, laid down. "Thou shalt keep this thing as a law for thee and thy children forever." 1 "This is the observable night of the Lord when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, this night all the children of Israel must observe in their generations." 2 In the desert of Sinai, when God commanded them to hold the Easter feast, he said: "Let the children of Israel make the Phase in its due time, the fourteenth day of this month in the evening, according to all the ceremonies and justifications thereof." 3 For the third time the Lord repeated the rule relating to breaking a bone of the lamb, or leaving any part till morning, and ends with these words. "They shall observe all the ceremonies of the Phase." 4
The Hebrews could not again celebrate the feast of the Passover till they camped round Sinai, the second year after leaving Egypt, because they could not be circumcised while on the march. After being circumcised and receiving the Law and the Ten Commandments from the fiery Shekina, 5 the Holy Spirit, covering Mount Sinai, God renewed the command regarding the Passover, 6 to foretell how Christ first preached his Gospel and then was sacrificed. They did not keep the Passover for the next thirty-three years in their march through the Arabian deserts, for the males could not be circumcised during their continual wanderings. But when they crossed the dry Jordan and camped at Galgal within the Promised Land, Josue ordered the rite of circumcision, and then they held the Passover. 7
Under the Judges they seldom held the Passover, because they were continually at war with surrounding heathens. But when peace came they held the feast with great solemnity each Easter. As the ages passed new rites and ceremonies were added to the Passover, each being a revelation of the sacrifice of Calvary and the Mass. Let us describe the most striking.
When the good king Josias brought back the Jews from idolatry, begun under Solomon, he commanded the people saying: "Keep the Phase to the Lord your God, according as it is written in the book of this covenant." 8
GREAT HISTORICAL EVENTS.
At a later date, "King Ezechias sent to all Israel and Juda, and he wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasses, that they should come to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem and keep the Phase to the Lord, the God of Israel." 9 The account says the priests received the blood which was poured out from the hands of the Levites, 10 showing that only priests could sacrifice the lamb in the days of Jewish kings. "And the Phase was immolated, and the priests sprinkled the blood with their hand, and the Levites flayed the holocausts." 11
After the Captivity, king Darius of Persia gave orders to search in the library for the holy books, and decreed the renewal of the sacrifices. "And the children of Israel of the Captivity kept the Phase on the fourteenth day of the first month." 12
Again the Lord renewed the command of the Passover through the prophet Ezechiel, after Herod's temple was shown him in vision. 13
Hebrew writings show that during the Passover the chief event of the history of the Israelites happened like the morning light of Christianity rising over the world before the Incarnation of the Sun of justice. At midnight of Passover, Abraham divided his forces, and conquered his enemies; 14 Sodom with all the wicked people were destroyed, while Lot, who, in the city filled with sinners, baked the paschal unleaven cakes, only was saved. 15 To Abraham, during the feast, appeared the Son of God, with an angel each side of him. 16 During Passover, Jacob wrestled with and overcame an angel; 17 Prince Haroseth's army was destroyed; 18 Bel's idol was overthrown, and dreams revealed the future to Joseph.
Passover night, proud Belshasser, king of Babylon, celebrated his feast in the great palace on the banks of the Euphrates; within the city's impregnable walls, praised his idols, mocked the God of Israel, called for the sacred vessels of Solomon's Temple, and from them drank to the glory of his kingdom and the gods of Babylon.
EASTER OFFERINGS FORETOLD.
On the wall of the great banquet hall appeared the hand of light, wrote the sentence of doom on him and on his kingdom, which only Daniel could read to the horror-stricken king, satraps, rulers and concubines, while Cyrus' armies marched into the doomed city along the dry bed of the river which they had turned out of its course. That Passover night, Babylon was captured, king and nobles slain. Later, Cyrus, seeing his very name foretold by Isaias, sent back the Jews to rebuild the destroyed city and Temple. 19
At the Passover the lands of Moph and Noph were swept of idolatry, Esther directed the Hebrews to fast and Haman was crucified. All the miracles God performed for the Hebrews took place at the feast to foretell the delivery of mankind by Christ, who was to be crucified the second day of this feast.
This was the order of Passover at the time of Christ as laid down in Scripture. The tenth day 20 the lamb was selected, washed, and tied to a stake till the 14th day of the moon, 21 the day they searched the house for leaven. 22 During this their great Holy Week, they were to eat only unleaven bread, foretelling our Easter Week and the reception of the sacraments. 23
Every male Hebrew, not laboring under a legal impurity, under pain of death was to appear at the national sanctuary, the holy Temple, 24 bringing an offering in proportion to his means, foretelling Easter offerings in our churches. An offering was brought to every feast, but this was the oldest and greatest festival, and numerous costly gifts were brought. Part of these offerings was spent for burnt offerings and the rest for the Chagigah as the Talmud says. 25 Special rules related to the firstborn. 26
Women went up to Jerusalem with the men, 27 but they did not then eat the Passover with the men, 28 preach or take part as leaders in the synagogue. The feast was held in the evening of the fourteenth of the month to remind them that their fathers in Egypt celebrated it at night.
God commanded them to sacrifice a lamb, because from the days of Abel the patriarchs sacrificed it to foretell "the Lamb of God sacrificed from the foundations of the world."
STRIKING TYPES OF THE SAVIOUR.
The lamb was a type and emblem of Him who was to come and bear the sins of mankind, who was "Like a lamb led to the sacrifice." 29 The sacrifice of the lamb in patriarchal times degenerated into pagan rites when Adam's religion had become dim, and in Egypt and other places Jupiter was adored under the form of a ram. The beasts first offered to God had become the gods of paganism.
A striking figure of Christ was that paschal lamb. Its immolation, by which the Hebrews were delivered, foretold the delivery of the whole human race by the sacrifice of Christ. Its blood, sprinkled on the door-posts, pointed to the Lord's blood sprinkled on the cross by which we are redeemed from sin and hell. The "Angel of death," God the Son striking the Egyptians, tells of the death of the soul by sin when not delivered by the Redeemer's blood. The lamb killed in the night typified the Lamb of God arrested at midnight, sacrificed in the darkness of infidelity at the end of the Hebrew nationality, typified by the darkness on Egypt and at the crucifixion.
As the lamb was sacrificed by the whole people, it pointed to that later time when the whole nation cried out: "Crucify him." "His blood be on us and on our children." The lamb was to be without spot or blemish to shadow forth the sinless Saviour. A kid might be sacrificed at the Passover in place of a lamb, for the goat represented Christ loaded with the world's sins as the scapegoat bore the sins of Israel. Jacob clothed in hairy kid-skins when his father blessed him foretold the Lord carrying our sins. The kid was prepared and roasted the same as the lamb.
The little lamb was to be not more than a year old, to foretell Christ sacrificed in the flower of his manhood, and without blemish, emblem of the sinless Christ. He was separated from the flock on the tenth day of Nisan, or Abib, because on this Monday the local Sanhedrin or Law Court of Jerusalem were to condemn the Lord to death, and that evening Christ hid in the Grotto on Olivet. These details we find in Moses' Law. Later the prophets and great Seers of Israel, following the Shekina's directions, added more details to the ceremonial.
THE DAILY IMMOLATION OF THE LAMB.
The leader of the band of Jews select the lamb; the women wash it, as Christ took a bath before the Passover. They sent it with perfume to shadow forth the odor of good works of the Lord's humanity. They tie it to a colored stake, as Christ was fastened to his cross. They called it after its selection the "Lamb of God," the name John the Baptist called the Saviour. 30 They anointed it with oil as the Lord was anointed by the Holy Spirit to be the Messiah. "The Anointed Jehovah," in Greek: "The Christ." For high priest, king, judge, and ruler of Israel were anointed and hands of ordination imposed on him. 31
The lamb was the most striking image of Christ among all the various Temple sacrifices. Therefore morning and evening with an elaborate ceremonial like a pontifical High Mass, the high priest presiding, a lamb was sacrificed in the Temple. The daily immolation of the lamb in the Temple and the eating of its flesh, then took the place of what is now the Consecration and Communion during Mass. But the sacrifice of the paschal lamb was a still more strikingly typical of Christ.
The lamb was killed by the priests in the Temple to foretell how the Jewish priesthood would later demand of Pilate the execution of the Saviour. The blood was sprinkled on the great sacrificial altar, as the blood of Christ was sprinkled on his cross. The lamb was skinned as Christ was scourged. Then the dead lamb was brought to the house of the Jewish family.
There they drove a pomegranate stick down through its body, and out into the tendons of its hind feet. They were forbidden to use a metal spit, for the Lord was to be crucified on a wooden cross. They carefully opened out its body, and drove a pomegranate stick through the tendons of its fore-feet, as butchers do to-day. They called this operation "The crucifying of the lamb," to foretell Christ with his hands and feet nailed to the cross. The victim they now named the "Body of the Lamb" to which Christ alluded at the Last Supper when he said "This is my Body." This was the way the lamb was prepared centuries before Christ.
THE EUCHARIST PREFIGURED.
Roasting was the original way of cooking meat, and the shepherd patriarchs stuck the flesh on the ends of sticks, drove the other ends into the ground so the meat would roast over the fire before their tent. Thus they used to roast whole lambs, chickens and animals. In Arabia, Egypt and in the Orient, you will see the Bedouin roasting meat in this way.
The crucified lamb was then placed in the oven resting on his cross, the flesh not being allowed to touch the oven, to foretell how Christ completely hung from the cross. Thus the lamb was roasted that its body might be penetrated by the fire, as the fire of the Shekina, the Holy Spirit, filled Christ with the love of mankind, moving him to die for our salvation. When cooked, the lamb was placed on the table, still resting on his cross, and was a striking prophetic portrait of the body of the dead Christ on the cross, his skin all torn off in the flagellation, the yellow serum oozing out and dried, made him look as though he had been roasted.
The flesh could be eaten only in the house, no part could be carried out, 32 for Communion is received only in the Catholic Church, and not in sects which have not holy orders—an ordained priesthood. Not less than ten, or more than twenty members, formed a "band" to eat the lamb, to image the congregation assembled for the celebration of the Eucharist. The tenth day of Nisan, 33 when the Hebrews celebrated their first Passover, they sacrificed the lamb on the Sabbath to foretell that on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, the real Lamb of God would be sacrificed in our churches.
The waters of the Nile were turned into blood; in the ceremonial of tabernacle and Temple, the victims' blood was poured out on the altar; they were forbidden to eat meat with the blood. Even in our days, Jews complain that the "kosher" meat, completely drained of blood, tastes insipid. What did these rites of the Jewish religion mean? They were to bring before their minds the value of human life. They forgot all these that fatal Friday, when the whole nation cried out, "Crucify him!" "His blood be on us and our children!" 34
The blood of the paschal lamb was sprinkled on the door-posts of their houses, as a type, a prophecy, of the blood of Christ sprinkled on his cross.
SYMBOL OF THE REAL PRESENCE.
The first-born of the families living in the houses marked with the blood were saved that night. And Moses with the lamb's blood sprinkled Aaron, his sons, and all the utensils of the tabernacle. "What did you say, Moses? Can the blood of a lamb deliver a man? It is true, he said, not because it is blood, but because it was an example of the Lord's blood." 35 Beautifully, in his eloquent words, the Archbishop of Constantinople explains the great mystery of the blood.
The Hebrews were forbidden to eat any raw part of the Lamb, for the fire of the Holy Ghost completely filled the whole body of Christ. If they broke a bone in the lamb in the preparation, they were punished at the time of Christ with thirty-nine stripes on bare back and shoulders. This was to foretell that the soldiers would not break Christ's limbs when they came to remove the bodies of the crucified that day within the Passover. 36 Only circumcised Hebrews could eat the paschal lamb, as only baptized Christians should receive communion. Only in Jerusalem was the lamb sacrificed, so in the Church is the Lamb of God sacrificed and eaten. The lamb was eaten with unleaven bread, like the altar breads used to show forth the sinless Christ, on whom was no sin, prefigured by fermenting yeast. It was eaten with wild lettuce dipped in vinegar, to remind us of the bitterness of sin, and with what sorrow for our sins we should approach the table of the Lord.
The whole lamb was eaten, with its head, feet, entrails, etc., to tell us that under the appearance of bread and wine we partake in the whole Christ, receiving both his Divinity and human nature. What remained after the feast must not be taken out of the house, but was to be burned that night, 37 to foretell how the Lord's body was removed that afternoon he died.
The lamb was eaten by the Jews with loins bound up, shoes on their feet, staffs in their hands, clothed as for a journey, for as priests we partake of Communion clothed in vestments on a journey to our home, not in Palestine, like Jews, but in heaven, the Christian's real home.
THE SACRED NUMBER SEVEN.
On the fifteenth, the next day, in the time of Christ, the Hebrews gathered in the Temple to assist in the great celebration, held holy meetings in their synagogues, kept the day like a Sabbath, and did no work except what was required for preparing food. 38 This day and the six following days, two young bullocks, a ram, and seven lambs, a year old, were offered in the Temple. 39 With flour seasoned with oil, they made cakes of unleaven bread, and offered them in the Temple to foretell the Mass. On the sixteenth took place the ceremony of the Omer, a striking figure of Christ's arrest the night he was betrayed.
In the history of Abraham and his "Seed," the "Seed of the woman who was to crush the serpent's head," God bound up in prophetic history the future of the nations. Nature, history, blessings, symbols, ceremonies and graces combine to give a special meaning to the feast. The New Testament is filled with allusions to the going out from Egypt, the feast appearing under the names of pascha, phase, the paschal lamb, the bread and wine, the Last Supper, the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
In countries bordering deserts, like Palestine, they plant crops in the fall and harvest in the spring-time, as God gathered Israel to himself from slavery in the Nile Land, and to foretell when Christ would rescue mankind from perdition, so Passover fell in the middle of the month Abib, later called Nisan, both words meaning "sprouting," "green ears." 40 It was the " beginning of months, the seventh month—the sacred month, reminding us of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, 41 the seven sacraments. All through the Bible runs the sacred symbol seven, and in sevens the Gospels were written in the original Greek. In the most astonishing way they are interwoven as though the first Evangelist wrote last, and the last first, and altogether run in and out, one with the other under the same divine inspiring Spirit. From the days of the Apostles, the Gospels have proven impervious to attacks of infidels.
From Adam down, in Bible Books the spring feast of Passover was celebrated by the patriarchs with the lamb, the bread and wine. When God established the Hebrew ceremonial, he enlarged the Passover rite into the grand ceremonial of the tabernacle and of Solomon's Temple.
MEANING OF THE BITTER HERBS.
The stately Liturgy and service of the Temple of Christ's day were but an extension of the patriarchs' Passover.
The patriarchal Passover with the roasted lamb foretelling the crucifixion, and the unleaven bread of the Last Supper and the Mass, had come down from prehistoric times to the Hebrews living in Egyptian bondage. But the night of their delivery God ordered bitter herbs to be added to the rite to remind them of the bitter slavery the race had suffered in the Nile-land. Later God revealed to them his laws, established the tabernacle ceremonial built on the simpler ceremonial of their fathers, the patriarchs. But as ages passed over the world, inspired prophets added new rites, new objects, and a wealth of details to the Passover and the Temple worship, each filled with types, figures and emblems of the crucifixion and the Mass.
The unleaven bread developed into the feast of unleaven bread celebrated for a week. But to show that the crucifixion and the Mass are one and the same sacrifice, this series of festivals was interwoven into the Passover held the first night. Thus Passover and feast of unleaven bread, often called by the same name, were never separated, always intermingled one with another. 42 Now let us see the other foods eaten at Passover and their mystic meaning, remarking that history is silent regarding the epoch when they were introduced.
The behemoth "a large beast" 43 represented during the Passover by a dish of meat, meant either the hippopotomus, "river horse," or the elephant, "chief animal." The former is a large species of the cow family like the buffalo, and the Fathers say it foretold the demon conquered, not by Job with his skin-disease, but by Christ in his Passion and death.
1 Exod. xii. 24.
2 Exod. xii. 42.
3 Numb. ix. 3.
4 Numb. ix. 12.
5 Exod. XX.
6 Numb. ix. 9.
7 Josue, v. 2.
8 IV. Kings xxiii. 21.
9 II. Par. xxx. 1-5.
10 II. Par. xxx. 16.
11 II. Par. xxxv. 11.
12 I. Esdras vi. 19-22.
13 Ezechiel xlv. 21.
14 Gen. xiv. 15.
15 Gen. xix. 3.
16 Gen. xviii.
17 Gen. xxxii.
18 Judg. iv.
19 Daniel v.
20 Exod. xii. 3.
21 Exod. xii. 6.
22 Exod. xii. 15.
23 Exod. xii. 15.
24 Deut.. xvi. 16-17.
25 Chagigah 1,2 etc.
26 Exod. xiii. 15.
27 I. Kings 1. 7: Luke ii. 41-42.
28 Exod. xxiii. 17; xxxiv. 23; Deut. xvi. 16, etc
29 See St. Augustin, Contra Littera. Petil. L. ii. n. Ixxxvii. Isaias liii. 7.
30 John i. 29,
31 See Migne, Cursus Comp,, S. Scripturæ, vol. ii., 863, 873.
32 Exod, xii. 46.
33 Exod. xii. 3.
34 Luke xxiii. 21; Matt, xxvii. 25.
33 Exod. xii. 3.
34 Luke xxiii. 21; Matt, xxvii. 25.
35 St. Chrystom, Horn. 48, in Joan. C. 19.
36 John xix. 33.
37 Exod. xii. 8. 9,10.
36 John xix. 33.
37 Exod. xii. 8. 9,10.
38 Exod. xii. 16.
39 Numb, xxviii. 16-21.
40 Esther iii. 7.
41 Isaias ii. 2, 3.
39 Numb, xxviii. 16-21.
40 Esther iii. 7.
41 Isaias ii. 2, 3.