Joshua and Judges: Passover - a ritual with great reality. Jos 5:2-10; Num 14:28-35; 1Co 5:6-8.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Passover - a ritual with great reality. JOS 5:2-10; NUM 14:28-35; 1CO 5:6-8.


Announcements/opening prayer:



JOS 5:1 Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer, because of the sons of Israel.


JOS 5:2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, "Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time."


JOS 5:3 So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth.


JOS 5:4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way, after they came out of Egypt.


JOS 5:5 For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised.


JOS 5:6 For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, that is, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord, to whom the Lord had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.


Hence the reason is given as to why some of the men were not circumcised.


NUM 14:28 Say to them, 'As I live,' says the Lord, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you;


NUM 14:29 your corpses shall fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me.


NUM 14:30 'Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.


NUM 14:31 'Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey —  I will bring them in, and they shall know the land which you have rejected.


NUM 14:32 'But as for you, your corpses shall fall in this wilderness.


NUM 14:33 'And your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they shall suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.


NUM 14:34 'According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you shall know My opposition.


NUM 14:35 'I, the Lord, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they shall die.'"


The Lord is then said to have sworn that all the men of twenty years old and upwards, who had murmured against Him, should perish in the wilderness. They had rejected the Abrahamic covenant and so the ritual of circumcision, the token of that covenant, was discontinued until their sons entered the Promised Land. Since this was discontinued so was the Passover. The uncircumcised could not celebrate the Passover. Therefore, since they were under the curse of death there was no need to celebrate a feast which signified their freedom from slavery and their formation as a nation.


And though their sons should enter the promised land, they too should be shepherds, or in other words lead a nomad life, for forty years in the wilderness, and bear the apostasy of their fathers till the fathers had fallen in the desert.


The sons of the first generation out of Egypt bore the apostasy of their fathers in the wilderness for forty years living as nomads.


This is a curse by association and it is a fact of life. Every child suffers under bad parental authority, yet God always has a solution and a deliverance for all who are so unjustly treated.


This clearly means, that not only was the generation that came out of Egypt sentenced to die in the wilderness because of its rebellion against the Lord, and therefore rejected by God, but the sons of this generation had to bear the apostasy of their fathers from the Lord, for the period of forty years, until the latter had been utterly consumed; that is to say, during all this time they were to endure the punishment of rejection along with their fathers. The difference is that they would not die, but enter the land and enjoy the fruits thereof.


But now that those who rejected God and His covenant, which is one and the same, had died in the wilderness, their punishment fully executed, the token of circumcision - depicting the covenant with Abraham, and the Passover - depicting the Mosaic covenant and the freedom of the people from Egypt, these were restored.


JOS 5:7 And their children whom He raised up in their place, Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them along the way.


Okay, so we know why the children were not circumcised in the wilderness after the nation rejected God from the report of the spies. But why didn't God instruct Joshua to circumcise them on the east side of the Jordan in Moab before they crossed? They certainly had plenty of time to do it and those who were to be punished were all by that time dead.


God saw fit to show the proof of His magnificent grace by defeating the Amorite armies, crossing the Jordan, safely setting camp in the PL and then incline the hearts of the people to carry out His commandment.


God works and gives and then He asks of us. He always supplies for us the means and the motivation before He gives the commands.


It is the rule of divine grace to give and then to ask. God performed before the ritual, so then the ritual is a token of what God can do. God doesn't do because of the ritual.


This is the opposite of paganism and legalistic, ritualistic religions.


The Lord did not enjoin circumcision as a covenant duty upon Abraham himself till He had given him a practical proof of His grace by leading him to Canaan, and by repeated promises of a numerous posterity, and of the eventual possession of the land. He did not give the Law to the children of Israel at Sinai till He had redeemed them with a mighty arm from the bondage of Egypt, and borne them on eagles' wings, and brought them to Himself, and had thereby made them willing to promise gladly to fulfill all that He should say to them as His covenant nation.


JOS 5:8 Now it came about when they had finished circumcising all the nation, that they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed.


JOS 5:9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.


Gilgal - to roll away. The reproach is not the flight from Egypt but the opinion of the Egyptians that God had brought Israel out in to the wilderness in order to destroy them.


Safely camped in the Promised Land is a clear removal of this reproach and so the place was called Gilgal - to roll away.


No town or village ever existed there, either at the period in question or at any later time.


JOS 5:10 While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal, they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho.


The many who were uncircumcised would prevent them from participating in the Passover.



Unleavened bread

First fruits






Ever ask yourself why God chose celebrations, meals, blood sacrifices, and songs to convey His truth of the coming nation and coming Messiah?


God instructs on the precise nature of the celebratory feast so that it will imprint precise images upon the hearts of the participants.


This may explain why the festivals are used rather than the instruction only. God writes out the facts and demands that they (ourselves included with our own facts) believe them and never forget them. But on top of that He gives celebrations and songs and feasts to implant a deep image of the fact upon the heart of the hearer and participant so that it is ingrained within his heart, emblazoned or etched so that time will not cause it to fade.


You may ask, "Then why has God suspended these rituals in the church. Why didn't He maintain them so that we may benefit in the same way?" The answer, as so many for us in the church do, lies in the reality of Christ.


For us, the truth written in the pages of scripture is etched and emblazoned upon our hearts through their reality in the person of Christ. Hence we have one ritual - the Lord's supper so that we may never forget Him and the new covenant in His blood.


If we fail to see the doctrines that we study embodied in the person of Christ, alive and powerful, then we fail to see the reality of those doctrines.


The cycle of Temple-festivals appropriately opens with ‘the Passover’ and ‘Feast of Unleavened Bread.’ For, properly speaking, these two are quite distinct, the ‘Passover’ taking place on the 14th of Nisan, and the ‘Feast of Unleavened Bread’ commencing on the 15th, and lasting for seven days, to the 21st of the month. But from their close connection they are generally treated as one, both in the Old and in the New Testament; and Josephus, on one occasion, even describes it as ‘a feast for eight days.’


The Passover is the first and most important feast. It marked the beginning of spring and the first of the harvest. Nisan was their first month and so it marked the beginning of a new sacred year. Historically it marked their deliverance from bondage and the commencement of their existence as a people and a nation. But most importantly is what the feast represents, which is the redemption of the people of God through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. The feast is full of types that all point to the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement that would redeem mankind in order to set them free.