(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of a five-part series written by Thomas M. (Tom) Saltsgiver, the president of Muncy Homes Inc. and Wirerope Works Inc. He has been involved in philanthropic giving and Christian ministry since 1985, when the Lord touched and changed his life. He has served in various positions on advisory boards of his local church, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Episcopal Renewal Ministries, Acts 29 Ministries, Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, The Sentinel Group, Regent University and The Christian Broadcasting Network. Tom teaches the adult Bible study at 9 a.m. Sunday at the G.A.P. Fellowship, 312 Maynard St., corner of Third and Maynard streets, in Williamsport.)
In Chapter 12 of Exodus God comes to Moses and Aaron and says, "This is going to be the first month of the year for you (the month of Abib), go out on the 10th day of the month, get a lamb (1 year old), it can be of a sheep or a goat, take it to your father's house, each family was to have one, examine it, make sure it is without spot or blemish, and slay it at twilight on the 14th day of the month. He told them how to cook it. It was to be roasted over an open flame, to eat it fully dressed, ready to go. They got the lamb, they slayed it at twilight, they roasted it, they ate the flesh and they put the blood on the door lintels and posts. At midnight the Angel of Death passed over. I always thought the Passover was the Angel of Death passing over; but, if you look closely at the word, it says eating the lamb was the Passover. Eating the flesh of the sacrificed lamb was the Passover. And he told them to be fully dressed, ready to go, when they ate it because they would be leaving Egypt and the bondage of Pharaoh. And, as soon as we eat the flesh of the lamb, we are leaving the bondage of Satan.
Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which we celebrate as Palm Sunday, was on the 10th day of Abib, the same day they were to go out and get a lamb and take it to their father's house, the same day that Jesus came into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday, and he went to his father's house and he taught for three days for everyone to examine Him. He was examined by the scribes and the pharisees, by Pontius Pilate, by Caiaphas and Annas, the high priests and by Herod the king. The final verdict from Pontius Pilate was, "I find no fault with this man." He was slain at twilight (3 p.m.) on the 14th day of the month and was buried before day's end (6 p.m.) He rose from the grave at dawn (6 a.m.) on Sunday the 17th of Abib. The nation Israel was released by pharaoh on the 15th of Abib (the same night that they ate the lamb) and emerged from the Red Sea at dawn (6 a.m.) on the 17th of Abib. These are the same dates and times as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The way they got out of Egypt is the same way that we get out of the bondage of Satan - through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and through the eating of the flesh of the sacrificed lamb. The thing is, they ate the flesh but they put the blood on the lintels and the door headers. Jesus said, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you." Obviously, the life Jesus is talking about is spiritual life. It is being born again of the Spirit of God. We must be born again of the Spirit to have life in us; because, when Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they died spiritually. That is why we say you must be born again to be in the Body of Christ. And that requires that we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus.
So, even though they ate the flesh of the lamb and that delivered them out of Egypt across the Red Sea, they did not drink the blood; so, when did we eat the flesh and drink the blood? Now, I've asked that question before in a Bible study and everybody said, well we do that on Sunday at Communion. No, because Communion is a sacrament, an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. It is a sign that something else already has taken place within us. It is not the substance, it's a sign. So, when did we eat the flesh and drink the blood? Well, eating the flesh is easy enough to understand because the Gospel of John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God - and the Word became flesh." So, when we believe the Word by faith, we have eaten the flesh. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves. It is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. The Book of Hebrews (chapter 11) says the nation Israel crossed the Red Sea by faith. Therefore, they had faith and they were delivered out of bondage, in the same way, when we believe God's Word, we have faith, and we are delivered out of the bondage of Satan. They were saved, they were justified and they were given the Holy Spirit in the Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire. The pillar would lead them and guide them but it was external not internal.
Therefore, their faith delivered them out of Egypt; but, only put them in the wilderness. They were saved - they were justified; but, let's look at the nation of Israel. What happened to them? The Spirit led them to the Jordan and God told them to go in and possess the land. They sent spies in and except for Joshua and Caleb they came back and said, "No, we can't do it. We're grasshoppers and there are giants in the land" and they disbelieved God and so they perished in the wilderness. God said, "They will never enter my rest." When God says "never," I think that's a long time. They will never enter his rest, and yet the Bible is talking about, in Hebrews, a future rest. We are all looking yet for a future rest, which is the millennial reign of Christ. It is the seventh day. The seventh day is the day of rest. God created in six days; the seventh day he rested. But the Bible says, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day to the Lord. That means God will have created in six thousand years and, the seventh day, the seventh thousand years, will be the day of rest. That is the rest that is yet future that we are looking toward, which is the millennial reign of Christ.