Looking in Faith

How were the gentiles related to Passover?
By watching it, and putting faith in it.

bronzeserpent-sIn order for a stranger to eat Passover, he had to circumcise himself and his household (Ex. 12:45-49). If he did so, he became “like a native of the land” (v. 48). We are so accustomed to connecting Passover with the Lord’s Supper that it seems strange to consider that perhaps Passover was only for the priestly people, but such was the case. Converted gentiles were not to eat of it unless they were circumcised, and thereby were incorporated into the seed line of Abraham. Did this exclude them from salvation? No, it only excluded them from priestly duties. Did it make them second class citizens? Only in the eyes of the Pharisees. Biblically speaking, their downstream cultural labors in Havilah were just as important as Israel’s sanctuary task. After all, if everyone had become an Israelite, then who would mine the gold of Havilah? Who would bring it to the sanctuary? Israel had its task, and the converted nations had theirs.

Passover was not a sign of salvation, but of coming salvation. Passover constituted Israel a “peculiar” people, particularly redeemed by God, and given a special priestly task. How were the gentiles related to Passover? By watching it, and putting faith in it. Someday, according to the promise of the covenant, they would be let in the House. For now, they were to stand at the doors and windows and look in. They watched the peculiar people eat the Passover, and they trusted that God would save them as well. They watched the peculiar priestly people circumcise their children, and they trusted that the benefits of that act were theirs as well.

From James Jordan’s The Sociology of the Church, p. 103 (Download PDF here.)

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