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What the Bible says about Passover of the Most High God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:18-23

Melchizedek seems to appear out of nowhere, without any warning. Aside from a prophecy in the Psalms, this is the sole reference to Him until the book of Hebrews. Not only is this the Bible's first appearance of Melchizedek, but it is also the first time that a priest is mentioned. Furthermore, despite Melchizedek being called a priest, the text makes no mention of sacrifices—understandable since, as the One who would later be called Jesus Christ, He had no need for propitiation to come before God on another's behalf.

Notice also that the priest approaches the man on behalf of God, and not the other way around. This illustrates that God initiates the relationship and not man (John 6:44). It is impossible for man to worship God properly without His involvement first. We see Melchizedek bringing bread and wine, the symbols of the New Testament Passover, rather than a lamb and bitter herbs that were used in the Passover in Egypt. (As an aside, “bread” here is a general term in Hebrew, referring to either leavened or unleavened bread.)

This is also the first time God's title of “Most High” is used. It is used four times in this section on the eve of this Passover. Understanding how and where this divine title is used will help us realize how much of a blessing the Passover is to us.

Both Melchizedek and Abram tack on the description, “the possessor of heaven and earth.” We should consider the nature and the character of that “Possessor.” A landlord may possess a piece of property yet not care a whit about the tenants so long as the rent is paid. This, however, is not the way the Most High feels about His possessions. It is apparent from the rest of the Book that His ownership includes more care and concern for His possessions than we can fathom. His governance in the affairs of men springs from His will and purpose, which, despite human failure to understand them, can be described only as good.

Melchizedek ties the title “possessor of heaven and earth” with the fact that He delivered Abraham's enemies into his hand, showing just how interested the Most High God is in the affairs of men. He is interested enough that He will show Himself strong on behalf of His people and will judge the unrighteous. Without exception, whenever “Most High” is used in Scripture, God is shown blessing His people with whatever is needed for His perfect will to be accomplished, whether that blessing is of knowledge, physical provision, or especially defense and deliverance from enemies. He blesses His people with His perfect personal involvement.

The New Testament records a striking example of this. In Luke 1, the angel tells Mary that her Son will be called “the Son of the Highest,” the New Testament equivalent of “the Son of the Most High.” It is the same title. Just a few verses later, the angel tells Mary that this would take place because “the power of the Highest”—or the power of the Most High God—“would overshadow” her.

Again, we see God's people being blessed with His involvement in order to bring His perfect will to pass. In this case, His blessing includes the supernatural conception of the Son of God, which, as God promised Abraham, will end up being a blessing to all of mankind (Genesis 12:3). This sort of implication is made whenever the title, “the Most High,” is used.

David C. Grabbe
Passover of the Most High God

Genesis 14:20

This exchange with Melchizedek, right before the Passover evening, occurred on the heels of Abram returning victorious from a fight against multiple kings and their armies. Protection and deliverance from enemies are conclusive themes in the biblical use of the title, “Most High.”

Christians should consider this in relation to their enemies. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that our fight is not with the peoplearrayed against us, but with the principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness. These are the enemies who sow division within the church, who encourage offense to be given and taken, who fan the rumor mill, who stir the pot of circumstances, who work in the background to distract God's people from what truly matters.

The fiery darts of the wicked one fly and find their marks on any whose armor is deficient. These principalities often try to convince God's people that they are not good enough, that they are not worthy. They hold up sins as evidence, trying to blackmail Christians into giving up.

The Most High, though, blesses us with protection, if we ask for it. He blesses us with forgiveness, if we ask for it. Is there any righteous work God will not perform or any good thing He will not provide for His people?

Another enemy is the one we all face within: the carnal man, the old man, the flesh. This part of us will probably never completely die until we are incorruptible spirit beings, but we can hold it at bay through God's strength. All of our human efforts and setting of our wills would be useless without the Most High giving the victory.

In Romans 7, after Paul bewails the continual struggle he finds within himself, he asks, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (verse 24). He answers his own question: “I thank God—[He will deliver me] through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (verse 25). Once again, we see Christ, the Lamb, being provided as a blessing from the Most High as a means of deliverance.

The last enemy is death (I Corinthians 15:26). It will not be overcome until everything else has been overcome, and this does not happen until the resurrection from the dead. Our resurrection—our victory over death—is possible because our Captain went before us and blazed the trail (Hebrews 2:10). He is called the firstborn from the dead, showing that others will likewise rise from the dead. Thus, we see the Most High providing the life, death, and resurrection of His Son as a blessing to us so that we can follow in His footsteps, and even have the great enemy, death, delivered into our hands.

David C. Grabbe
Passover of the Most High God

Psalm 77:10-15

In this passage, we see that the “right hand of the Most High” involves all of His works, all of His wonders, all of His doings. Remember, this is the “Possessor of heaven and earth” (see Genesis 14:18-23), and His right hand is continually involved in the work of “possessing.” It means more than just “owning”; it implies “keeping” in the sense of “tending” or “managing.”

Specifically, verse 15 shows that the right hand of the Most High is used for redemption—such as securing the freedom of Lot when he was foolishly living in a sinful place. We see redemption in the protection of Abram when he attacked what was most likely a superior force. Redemption appears again when God slew the firstborn of Egypt and protected His people from the death angel.

We clearly experienced redemption when God blessed us with the forgiveness of our sins through the substitution of the sinless life of the Son of the Most High. We commemorate this redemption each year with gravity because of the tremendous meaning, but also with joy and thankfulness because God is governing in the affairs of men, and especially in the affairs of His people. He blesses us with everything necessary for us to take on His image, and the Passover represents the beginning step of that blessing.

David C. Grabbe
Passover of the Most High God

Psalm 78:17-22

This passage relates various works of the Most High's providence, but it carries a negative tone because of the people's unbelief and distrust. God blessed Israel with water in the desert, manna every day for forty years, and everything else that they needed. This was after He had delivered them from Egypt, led them between walls of water, and destroyed the might of the world's greatest empire. The people, though, would not believe that the Possessor of heaven and earth would govern His creation favorably for them! They would not believe because He was not real enough to them.

Do we believe? Do we trust in the salvation process that the Most High is leading us through? Do we believe in His deliverance? Do we believe in His ability and willingness to bless us with whatever we need to be a part of His Family—even to the point of providing a perfect sacrifice to take away our sins? Is there any righteous work that He will not perform or any good thing He will not provide for His people?

Do we trust in His nature and His unassailable character? Israel did not, and as a result, provoked the Most High to wrath. They created their own self-fulfilling prophecy. Because they did not believe God, they believed that things would turn out badly, and in not believing Him, things turned out badly!

In the same way, those who tend toward pessimism usually prove themselves right because the pessimism clouds their view of God and thus their belief of and trust in Him. When that happens, as with Israel, they run the great risk of provoking Him to wrath. People see either God or the negatives, and whichever one they see determines their trajectory.

David C. Grabbe
Passover of the Most High God


 




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