Preparation for the Passover Meal on the Night of Watching (No. 93)
(Edition 1.0 20020324-20020324)
The annual Passover Meal, when prepared for and correctly observed, will provide an excellent environment to instruct the children and the unconverted. It is a good opportunity for all to develop their understanding and their ability to explain the reasons for their faith.
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 2002 Diane Flanagan, Ed. Wade Cox)
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Preparation for the Passover Meal on the Night of Watching
The preparation for correctly observing the 15th of the First Month (Abib) begins with discerning the body of Christ or the church (1Cor. 11:29) and assembling at the place where God has placed His name (Deut. 16:2,6-7). We cannot keep the Passover within our gates (Deut. 16:5,6). All leaven must be put out of our permanent dwellings prior to leaving for the Feast (Ex. 12:15,19; Deut. 16:4). Baptised members assemble with their brethren to keep the Lord’s Supper after dark (EENT) on the 14th of the First month.
During the daylight portion of the 14th day, the service commemorating the Death of Lamb occurs at 3:00 p.m., this being the time the lambs were sacrificed (Ex. 12:6; Deut. 16:6). The first of the three annual offerings is taken up prior to the morning (Ex. 23:18; 34:23; Deut. 16:16,). We are able to have the privilege to bring our freewill offering before God the Father.
The remainder of the daylight portion of the 14th day of the first month will now be reviewed in detail.
Tasks to be accomplished
We assemble at temporary accommodation and we need to remove all leavened products from the rented rooms (Ex. 12:15,19; Deut. 16:3-4). Any emblems honouring idols and/or false gods must be removed or covered while the Feast is in progress. They can be returned to their place or uncovered at our departure.
Whatever each group decides to prepare for their Passover and following Sabbath day meals is an individual choice, except we are to have no products that contain leaven. The meals must contain unleavened bread since we are to eat unleavened bread for seven days (Ex. 12:15; 13:6-7; 23:15; 34:18; Lev. 23:6-8; Num. 28:17; Deut. 16:3).
The 15th of the First Month is a High Day Sabbath, being the First Day of Unleavened Bread. This is the night that the Angel passed over Egypt and slew the firstborn of man and beast. Israel was passed over this punishment from the slaying and eating of the lamb while in their dwellings (Ex. 12:7-13).
Therefore, we have the responsibility to purchase and prepare all food before dark (EENT) of the 14th (Lev. 23:6-8; Num. 28:16-18). We do not buy or sell on the Sabbath (Neh. 10:28-31; Amos 8:5). Neither do we do any servile work on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15). There are specific requirements for the Passover Meal on the Night of Watching as described below.
An animal of the herd
The meal is to include an animal from the herd, meaning cloven-hooved ruminants, and is to be cooked in the place where God places His name (Deut. 16:2,6-7). It is to be roasted and not sodden or boiled and none of its flesh should remain till morning (Ex. 12:8-11; Num. 9:11-14; Deut. 16:7).
Originally no flesh or bones of the lambs sacrificed in Egypt were to remain till the morning. Anything that was left over was to be burned completely; a holocaust. This would prevent anyone using any part of the sacrificed lambs as an offering to false gods or for constructing any pagan object of worship from the sacrificial relics. Just as the lambs were completely sacrificed, so was Messiah’s sacrifice a complete sacrifice (Heb. 7:27-28; 9:12; 10:10-19; 1Pe. 3:18). It filled all the requirements and aspects of the various offerings. Any clean animal of the herd such as beef, lamb, goat, etc. is acceptable to be served (Lev. 11:1-8; Deut. 14:4-8).
We are separated in families or small groups to observe the Passover meal (Ex. 12:3-4). Therefore, just enough meat is prepared so that all will be consumed by those present.
Blood from the sacrifice was at first placed as a sign on the doorposts (Ex. 12:7,23). We now have Christ’s blood sanctifying us, and through us our unconverted family members are sanctified.
No bone is broken (Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12; Psa. 34:20; Jn. 19:33,36) and typically a lamb without the bone is prepared.
Plan on approximately 4 ounces (125 grams) of lamb per adult serving. For example for 12 people one would need a boneless leg of approximately 3 pounds (or 1.5 kg), or for 20 people, 5 pounds (or 2.5 kg) roasted at 3250F (or 2000 C). Roasting takes approximately 40 to 45 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer registers 170-1800F. Allow the meat to stand 10–20 minutes before attempting to slice.
There are various recipes for preparing lamb. Here are two samples.
Spread approximately 150-gram jar of Hot English Mustard over the entire piece of meat, sprinkle liberally with rosemary, and roast as stated above. The fat bastes the meat as it cooks and individuals should trim the fat from their own servings (Lev. 3:17). (Jars of Hot English Mustard are available from the Queen’s Pantry in Leavenworth Kansas and similar stores in the US).
Using the point of a sharp knife, make small slits over the surface of the lamb. Insert slivered cloves of garlic, pressing the cloves deep into the meat. Rub the meat with a mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper (use approximately 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of each spice per 3 pounds (1 kg 500 grams) of meat. Roast as above.
Fat should be trimmed off the lamb after cooking otherwise the meat will dry out.
We are also instructed to have bitter herbs at the meal (Ex. 12:8). This could include freshly grated horseradish, and a plate of bitter vegetables such as radishes, parsley, and celery.
We are commanded to have unleavened bread on the Night of Watching (Ex.12:8,15,39) and for the remaining six days of the Feast (Ex. 12:15; 13:6-7; 23:15; 34:18; Lev. 23:6-8; Num. 28:16-18; Deut. 16:3). From Exodus we see that the bread was unleavened because they left in haste (Ex. 12:34). In Deuteronomy it is referred to as the "bread of affliction" (Deut. 16:3).
Recipe for Unleavened Bread
4 cups plain wholemeal flour
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
220 ml milk or water
ADD salt to flour.
CUT UP butter into small pieces and add to flour.
BEAT egg yolks, oil and milk or water together.
ADD mixture to flour, stir well, then knead.
DIVIDE dough into pieces about the size of a golf ball and roll out thinly.
BAKE in a moderate oven 1800 C (3500 F) until golden brown.
For other recipes see Recipes for Unleavened Bread (No. R2).
The grain offerings made to God were not to contain leaven or honey (Lev. 2:11).
All offerings were required to be salted so the salt of the covenant of our God would not be lacking (Lev. 2:13). The Salt covenant is forever (Num. 18:19) See note in the Companion Bible on Numbers 18:19 regarding the salt covenant. We are all to be salted (Mk. 9:49-50).
We clearly know we are commanded yearly to renew our baptismal covenant with God by partaking in the Lord’s Supper. There we consume wine, which is symbolic of the blood of Messiah. Originally drink offerings occurred with many of the sacrifices (Ex. 29:40; Lev. 23:13; Num. 15:5, 7,10; 28:7,14). In the future, the morning sacrifices will be instituted again, but it would appear from Ezekiel 46 the aspect of the drink offerings is fulfilled, because they are absent from the other aspects of the offerings. This seems to indicate that Messiah and the elect fulfilled all the symbolism of the drink offerings.
We are told to go to the feast and eat in the presence of God the tithe of our grain, oil and new wine with rejoicing (Deut. 14:23,26). We are to assist those widows and orphans who would genuinely be unable to attend on their own (Deut. 14:28).
The meal can include other items such as potatoes, vegetables, and deserts (that are unleavened), but the above-mentioned items are commanded to be present by scripture. As with all aspects of life, the meal preparation involves planning and organization to have it prepared on time, so all can partake of the meal after dark (EENT), yet early enough so that the children can learn the meaning of the Passover (Ex. 12:26). The Night of Watching is to be observed by the sons of Israel forever (Ex. 12:42).
The Night of Watching
The meal commences after dark (EENT). This is the Passover meal (Ex. 12:6-11). It is also referred to as the Night to be Much Observed or the Night of Watching (Ex. 12:42; 13:3) (see Companion Bible note Exodus 12:42; also the paper The Night to be Much Observed (No. 101)).
This is a night for children and those unconverted to attend and learn about God Almighty’s plan to redeem all of mankind and the fallen host.
Near the end of the meal a child (or unconverted of any age) will ask, "What do you mean by this service"? (Ex. 12:26); as it relates to the meal (Ex. 12:8).
The meaning of the sacrificed lamb (Ex. 12:27), the unleavened bread (Ex. 12:39) and bitter herbs (Ex. 1:14) shall be explained. All can then learn and fear God (Deut. 6:10-16; 14:23; 17:19).
Everyone in the room should pause so that the question can be heard and if necessary be read from the Bible by the individual asking for an explanation for the faith that we hold (Phil. 1:6; 1Pet. 3:15).
Different members of the group should explain different aspects relating to the question. This could be planned ahead of time, but others can add to the point being made. This is so that all can learn to participate and learn to state the reason for their faith. This should be an informal but intimate review, presented in a manner that the young can understand and that may stimulate their pondering on the plan of God.
The focus needs to be on reflection, study, and teaching rather than distracting conversations. We should continue with this focus at least past midnight when God the Most High historically demonstrated His redemption of Israel (Ex. 11:4-5,12:29).
Concepts that should be discussed include but are not limited to:
Lord’s Supper, Passover, Wave Sheaf and the Days of Unleavened Bread are a sign forever (Ex. 13:9-10).
Redemption is firstly of the first-born (Ex. 15:13; Deut. 21:8; Luke 1:68) and then of all in their own time, sequence, or order (1Cor. 15:23).
We came out in haste (Ex. 12:11, 33).
Remember we were slaves in Egypt and came out of that system. We are to reflect weekly on the Exodus during the Sabbath (Deut. 5:15; 16:3; Psa. 81:10).
Bread of Affliction (Deut. 16:3).
Unleavened bread to be eaten 7 days (Ex. 12:15; 13:6-7; 23:15; 34:18; Levi. 23:6-8; Num. 28:16-18; Deut. 16:3).
Bitter herbs (Ex. 1:14).
Blood Covenant (Ex. 24:8; Zech.
9:11; Mk. 14:24-25; Lk. 22:20; 1Cor. 11:25-29; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14,20; Heb. 9:14-22; 10:29; 13:20-21; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 12:11).
Kept by all for all generations (Ex. 12:14,17, 23-27).
Review the magnitude of the Exodus and the fact that both Israelites and the mixed multitude left together. What symbolism does that indicate for today? Should we look towards a future Exodus? (Isa. 66:18-24).
Our Sanctification, which is by:
God the Father (Ex. 31:13; 1Pet. 1:2)
Christ (Eph. 5:25-27; Heb. 10:10; 13:12)
Spirit (Rom. 15:16; 2Thes. 2:13)
Faith (Acts 26:15-18)
Truth (Jn. 4:23; Jn. 17:17,19)
Fasting (Joel 2:15)
Prayer (2Chro. 30:18-20)
This Night of Watching needs to be correctly observed and all will benefit as a result.
It is truly a blessing to know, understand, and be able to be a part of the One True God’s plan of redemption for the planet. Let us all learn to fear and worship Him more fully and completely.