The Memorial Feast

The Memorial Feast

David Craig

“And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord, throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt; this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generation,” (Ex. 12:14-42).

At an earlier date in Food for The Flock, I wrote on the subject, “The Memorial Name.” Let me now suggest to you certain thoughts relative to “The Memorial Feast.”

For a clearer understanding of the facts we are dealing with, it would be better to read the entire portion suggested at the close of the above quotation, for in this passage there is a nation-wide call. No one dares to ignore this call; all are expected to respond. Every one is invited to a feast, and this feast is to be a perpetual ordinance to be handed down through all succeeding generations. This feast cries, remember, remember, remember! Remember deliverance, emancipation, and freedom, all wrought by Israel’s covenant-keeping God. Let us in imagination go back to that night. The air is heavy with excitement and anticipation. The Divine stroke through the plagues has fallen nine times. Fear and consternation grips the Egyptians. A haughty and hardened monarch sits in wicked defiance of the Divine command, and is determined not to let Israel go. The zero hour approaches. God is about to strike again. His hand is poised. What a sickening blow is about to fall, a blow that will plunge Egypt into extreme grief, for it will affect every one from the palace of Pharoah to the dungeon of the captive. Little do they dream of the aftermath that is to follow the sweeping death-stroke of Jehovah’s sword. Glance at Israel for a moment. How are they feeling? For days they have been watching God’s wonder - working hand plaguing their enemies, and putting to confusion the subtle skill of ,the magicians. They are waiting to see what God will do next. They know little of the final act that will mark the grand hour of deliverance from slavery and bondage. Hear them exclaim, “Is this the end of the iron furnace? Are we about really to be delivered from the biting lash of the oppressor? Shall we be no longer the objects of his unpitying hate?” It seemed too good to be true, but it was true on that night much to be remembered by means of a memorial feast.

Fellow saint, does this remind you of anything? Does it not recall for you the time when you were Satan’s slave? Does it not bring back to mind those heavy chains, the misery, the sorrow, the despair of sin? Listen! If I could but call you together, I would ask you to sing with me out of a glad heart, “My chains are snapt, the bonds of sin are broken, and I am free; O let the triumph of His grace be spoken, Who died for me.” His ancient people were ever to remember their deliverance; let us do likewise.

How was this feast of the Lord to be observed? All was by Divine arrangement, for this was to mark their new beginnings. The previous six months were to be dropped from memory. Do you remember YOUR NEW BEGINNING, and the fragrant and blessed words, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” ?

As we look into Exodus chapter 12, what is it that holds our attention with an irresistible magnetism? Is it not “a lamb,” “the lamb,” and “your lamb”? As the significance of these words grip our hearts, we cry, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” for surely here we have a foreshadowing of the adorable Lord Jesus.

Notice in the passage the seven outstanding verbs, “take,” “keep,” “kill,” “strike,” “eat,” “roast,” and “burn.” They display the seven rays of Messiah’s glory which throw their beams into the New Testament, and show us:

First, He was taken; foreordained before the foundation of the world but manifest in these last times for you, (1 Pet. 1:20).

Second, He was kept before the eye of heaven, earth, and hell, and during this test was proved to be without blemish and without spot, (1 Pet. 1:19).

Third, He was killed, and yet He gave His life a ransom for all, (1 Tim. 2:6).

Fourth, His blood avails, for being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him, (Rom. 5:9).

Fifth, He satisfies our souls, for Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, and we keep the feast, (1 Cor. 5:7).

Sixth, He paid the penalty of our sins, and endured the heat of wrath Divine, “Christ also has once suffered for sins,” (1 Pet. 3:18).

Seventh, He saw no corruption, for there was nothing left over to decay, but which was burned with fire, even so, “He, whom God raised saw no corruption,” (Acts 13:37).

What a galaxy of glory! As we read, and ponder; we worship, and join with Rutherford singing, “The Lamb is all the glory of Emmanuel’s Land.”

Pass behind the blood stained door. See what peace prevails there; what joy abounds! The judgment is passed! The first-born lives! A complete family sits at the festal board spread with the roast lamb portioned without the breaking of a bone. What rich fare! They are eating of the head, the legs, and the purtenance, things which typify, the mind of Christ, the motions of Christ, and the motives of Christ; He Who did not sin, Who knew no sin, in Whom there was no sin. As we look we see JESUS IN THE MIDST.

At this feast there is also unleavened bread. Of what does this remind us? Surely this, that THEY ONLY FEAST ON CHRIST WHOSE LIVES ARE HOLY. Leaven is always typical of evil. As all leaven was excluded from that first passover supper, even so, we must, “Purge out the old leaven, that we may be a new lump… Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

There is another item on the paschal menu, bitter herbs. God would have them recall how bitter the bondage had been which had brought about the pangs of the slain lamb. As the firstborn would gaze at his cold lifeless substitute on the ground, as he would watch it roasted thoroughly with the fire, he might have said, “What a price for my redemption.” Fellow-believer, journey by faith to Calvary, fix your eye upon the form hanging on the tree, and even although there is a deep-dyed blush of shame for that guilty past, the past that would have sunk you down to hell, look upon Christ’s sorrow; see His dreadful agony; watch Him die, and tell me this. Can you look, and not feel THE ARMS OF YOUR AFFECTIONS reach out, and wrap themselves around that bruised and bleeding form of your substitute? Do you blame the old English farmer who stood motionless, with tear stained face, in the great Art Galleries of London, gazing long at the reproduction of the crucifixion, for crying out, “Bless Him; I love Him.” Do you blame the others in the group, for joining their hands and repeating with him in unison, “Bless Him, I love Him”?

Outside the blood sheltered door, the dark dark night has passed. As the morning breaks, we sense the change. We listen to the woeful cries which fill the morning air. Poor bereaved Egypt! Grief indescribable is seen everywhere. There is not a house where there is no one dead. What a lesson we have here! Let us WARN FELLOW TRAVELLERS TO ETERNITY OF IMPENDING JUDGMENT. Let us tell them to hasten within the blood procured shelter. Let us make them understand that all outside must perish in the eternal fires of God’s judgment.

This memorial feast was to be observed by Israel when they had entered into the Land of Promise. Their great deliverance was never to be forgotten. Yearly they were to appear before the Lord, and none were to appear before Him empty. THEY WERE TO GIVE TO THE LORD as He had prospered them. (Deut. 15).

Israel’s memorial feast reveals also that this remembrance of the first Passover was intended to provide incentives to a KINDER AND A MORE LIBERAL TREATMENT of their poor brethren.

Let us gather up the threads of this great object lesson, so that we may apply its teaching to ourselves, “Who have known redemption from bondage worse than theirs by far.” May we display our appreciation to the Lord; first, by showing a greater devotion to Christ in our service; second, by manifesting a more practical generosity in our returns to the Lord; and, in third place, by a more literal openness of hand and heart to our dear fellow believers against whom the winds of adversity have blown.

May the lessons of the memorial feast of Israel ever remain with us, and may there ever be to Him, the blessed Antetype, praise, honour, and glory. Amen.