Ezra 6 tells us the first Passover celebrated when the Temple of Zerrubabel and Joshua is complete. We saw that there are specifically 3 Passovers in Scripture in the last and first message in this series. 2 of those Passovers have already happened. The first being the night before they were thrust out of Egypt. The “Pass-over” refers to the angel of death sees the Blood of the Lamb and judgment does not touch that home, where the blood is painted on the doorposts of that home. This is the first Passover.
The 2nd Passover is Jesus’ Blood applied to the doorposts of our lives on Calvary, for which we are going to investigate in other messages in this series. We are going to deal with this in detail. Even the Last Supper has all to do with the 1st Passover and Jesus prophesies into the 2nd. The 2nd starting in John 1 when John the Baptist declares Jesus to be the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. The first Lamb only covered sin so that God could take them out of Egypt. The 2nd Lamb, Jesus, now deals with the sin question. He redeems it and erases its power from our lives if we depend on His Grace by faith to overcome temptation. Now what we also saw is the 3rd Passover, which by the Blood of Christ, activated in God’s people, now the Blood of the Saints brings the unfolding of the 3rd Passover where Jesus deals with not only taking the sin domination over man, He now deals with the author of sin and all evil, causing satan and his kingdom to be judged and cast to the firey lack of brimstone and sulphur. We know that this is true from Revelation 19:10, that it says that they overcame the beast and all his kingdom by the Blood and the word of their testimony. This Blood in their lives by relationship, covenant, sonship, is martyred in the last days bringing a response in Revelation 8, where these same souls ask when divine vengeance would come for their sacrifice of life for the Blood and the Testimony. It seems in some kind of way that the 3rd Lamb is the Redeemed dying for perfection in a New Creation to come, in the shape of the New Heaven and New Earth, where Jesus is the Eternal King, and the Church, the Bride in union with Him. So all these things we will deal with in this series. Here we are dealing with Passover in a context of Restoration.
The finished Temple can be connected to Amos’ promise that God would lift the fallen Tabernacle of David, which James recognised in Acts 15.
I love studying the history of the Captivity of Israel in Babylon, in that Israel spent 70 years in Babylon for her own backsliding, the corruption of prophet priest and king. All had become idolatrous, greedy and corrupt. According to Jeremiah 29 the letter spells out 70 years to them, to settle down and God would prosper them there. The Captivity is a pivotal moment, because where David’s Kingdom would be phased into the Root and Offspring of David, being Jesus, and a spiritual Kingdom. Passover is about transition in each of them. We see from the 1st, they go from being slaves to a nation. The 2nd we see a nation become an ecclesia of the Redeemed, and the 3rd we see the Redeemed in their eternal estate. They pass from this sphere of things to the eternal, a passing over. In Ezra 6, we see the stirring of God of Cyrus, to let the captives return, one motive only, to build the House of God. Read Ezra 1 to verify this. Ezra 6 tells us the finishing work, what do they do? They celebrate a Passover to not be forgotten. However this Passover forms the beginning of a transition to prepare for the revealing of the Consolation of Israel, in the form of a forerunner in John the Baptist, to the Messiah who is Jesus.
In Acts 15 James, leader of the Church in Jerusalem, recognises that God is about to lift the fallen Tabernacle of David, and as we examine what this really means, is a part fulfilment in Acts, and is being unfolded in our day until Jesus returns. This prophetic application in the mouth of James prevented the division of the Early Church by accepting that God had taken away the exclusivity of His covenant to Israel, He was now including the Gentiles. The veil had been torn, and His Glory is accessible via the Holy Spirit. And there has been various seasons in contexts of division, where minds have introduced the exclusivity afresh, God has lifted the Tabernacle again, tearing down religious veils. I am not sure we can appreciate the extent of this miracle, this generation did not see Nebuchadnezzar demolish the other Temple of Solomon. They did not share in the heart ache of displacement. We may be able to visualise it through the modern example of Ukraine, right now, due to war over 2 million have fled the country, cities reduced to rubble. So with those images we can appreciate how Jerusalem looked when Nehemiah surveyed it, in Nehemiah 2. However, this captive people, were restored to the land through a king who saw the value of God having His House restored.
Would it not be wonderful if the ruling class in the world be stirred as Ezra 1 describes. It can happen.
This restoration of Ezra 6 is God lifting again the favour He afforded David through his tabernacle, now in a similar way He has lifted up His House among men. This Temple is symbolic of Psalm 126, when Zion was dreamed about. I get the sense that through 2 generations God began a “stirring” in the heart, where before the Temple was neglected, and all what it pertained. Prayer, sacrifice, intercession, the Law, the Glory, were taken for granted. We see this analogy mapped out through the 2nd Passover, and that finished work, paving the way for Acts 2 and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit. How marvellous, how tortuous was that way and walk. How many confused what was going on. The death on the cross dismayed the disciples, and the hope of many was shattered. Yet what was needed was all political aspirations for the Messiah be shattered, and the Kingdom be glimpsed as some dimension that exists in the heavenlies, coming to the human heart, saving and redeeming them. Just as the Restoration is preceded by complete destruction and displacement, so the 2nd Passover also has some kind of “destruction” of the ideas of the Messiah. This Messiah being revealed by the Holy Spirit. Not all Israel received it and rejected it completely. The 3rd Passover will be preceded by Israel’s inclusion.
God will bring us into His Temple when we enter into the 3rd Passover
Revelation 22 says the Lamb will be the Light of Eternity, and we shall have a spiritual Temple where God’s presence will be a constant of celestial life. Just as they entered and Dedicated the Temple in Ezra 6, they then celebrated the Passover, remembering Moses and the whole nation being spared the judgments. The Blood being the distinguishing of nations. We can see in the Passover to come, that we shall be brought into some kind of dedication, of God’s Temple among His Redeemed, and we shall celebrate our passing over. This may be somehow disconnected from where we are now. However the Ecclesia, the Church is a preparation for this now, in terms of the fact the Holy Spirit is taking us on a journey through judgments of the world, similar judgments that we read in Exodus. All the plagues, and signs were judgments on the various gods of that nation of Egypt. There are gods which are being judged right now, we are seeing fame, entertainment, politics, rulers, being affected by the birth pangs of eternity coming into time.
When we consider also the dreams of Psalm 126, they began to live out the impossible, especially as the Captives began to be freed to make the journey back to Israel. It is not the same generation of Nebuchadnezzar’s day. Jeremiah the prophet had died at that time. It was a new generation. God put a smile on their faces, a laugh in their mouths, as they saw Zion approach their sight. All nations saw this and recognised that God had done great things for them.
It was not a chance occurrence as Ezekiel had prayed through, prophesied to the captives, Daniel prayed in the King’s palace. Nehemiah interceded before the King for Jerusalem. Ezra is given favour to build priesthood and temple. Zechariah prophesies the turning of the face of God toward Jerusalem, with Consolation, and God dealing with the nations who punished Israel. There is a prophetic supervision of this whole process. And let us not think what we are living now, day to day, and even in the Church, is a chance thing, it is a process in action for the challenge is to prepare for the next Passover.
We have examined many times on this site how “pleroma” or fulness is the trigger for God to transition things toward eternity. There is the sensation that the Church must be ready. Jude speaks of this in terms of presentation before the Father, by Jesus, being without blame and pure. This process is conducted by the Holy Spirit. So the Amos prophecy which James quoted, preventing division, must be embraced again to prevent deception. It is God who lifts David’s Tabernacle. It is not a ministry, nor a Church building. It is how Ephesians 2:20 says that we grow into becoming the HABITATION OF GOD. The process being that as God’s Spirit fills this corporate habitation it prepares those end time events. Then just as the Temple in Ezra 6 is finished, so they moved into a new sense of passover. We too as the Spirit finishes the preparing and building of the Church, so Passover, the 3rd one, shall come forth.
Passover is a process, we must embrace it
The 1st passover included the judgments from Palace to the whole nation of Egypt. This culminates with the Pascal Supper, the Lamb living in the homes of the people of Israel, is killed on that night, the blood painted on the doorposts. They are thrust out with a great spoil. God deals a great blow on Egypt in the Red Sea, and separates Israel as a nation. The 2nd is preceded by “judgments” proclaimed by Jesus on the religious system, the Last Supper, preceding the work of Calvary. Then the Disciples go through their “Red Sea” of Resurrection and are separated by God as a Royal Priesthood and Holy Nation on the Day of Pentecost. The 3rd will be no different, judgments shall come forth upon “Egypt” and then we shall go through a “Red Sea” after the world persecutes us, we being separated after God deals with the Egyptians. Our supper being the Supper of the Lamb. The same elements are all in the 3 Passover events. In each event God shows His people remarkable power and restoration of hope. Ezekiel 37 deals with this hope, how God causes a dead army to stand together and the wind of God bring new life.
We must recognise the processes, and embrace them. Just in Ezra 6 the people saw this process in their own restoration and celebrated Passover as it should, with them personally identifying with it. Let us embrace and celebrate this Passover with this same expectation.