The Passover story really began in the beginning, when mankind gave over his dominion, therefore freedom, to Satan. In so doing, it is we who made Satan “god of this world”. God did not destroy Satan but promised to “bruise his head”. He would destroy the power of Satan and help us to do likewise. I first heard this “big picture” approach to understanding the Passover presented by Gary Petty in a bible study, February 2014 … and liked it very much.
God created man and immediately assigned to him a purpose.
“Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26) Important to notice: Man was not given dominion over his fellow man. God did not offer dominion to some and not to others. Dominion very strongly implies freedom from the rule of others.
God said they could eat of every tree except one.
“ … of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17) They chose instead to believe Satan who said “You shall Not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3: 4-5)
Once they had submitted to his authority, Satan became the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) Some translations read “god of this age”. Freedom and dominion is lost, Satan rules, man forfeits his dominion and in sinning, comes to know “good and evil”. More than just being aware of evil, he comes to know its great power, by suffering it . Satan, sin, suffering, and death all now become part of the human experience.
God chooses not to destroy or bind Satan yet, because Satan is not the only problem. The problem really lies within man; man has a nature more inclined to self will than worship of God. Self will easily leads to disobedience, sorrow and death. While man was created to have dominion over all the earth, the most elusive part of that task was gaining dominion over his own nature. Man cannot do that by himself, but God is willing to help.
He needed to become like one of us … mortal. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government (or dominion) will be upon His shoulder” (Isa. 9:6)
Being mortal, Christ could die and pay for our sins. Forgiveness allowed us to become His brethren and the children of the Father. The reason we were given dominion in the first place was because we are the very children of God. Dominion is the gift of a Father to His children. Dominion and freedom really are talking about the same thing.
“… we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:9-10)
“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: I will declare your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You … I will put my trust in Him … Here am I and the children whom God has given me” (Heb. 2:11-13)
By removing from us the penalty of death, Christ destroyed the power of death. This was the power Satan has held over man from the beginning. He destroyed the power of Satan not in the capacity as Almighty God, but as a man, and our elder brother.
“ … through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2: 14-16)
Being made mortal, Christ could become our High Priest.
Now it becomes our turn to defeat Satan.
Christ living a sinless life, dying a painful death, and destroying the power of death did not end the story. After His death, the resurrection was absolutely necessary for salvation to be perfected. Paul wrote: “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins … “(1 Cor. 15:17)
This is a powerful verse. As noted, Satan was not the only problem. We are still in possession of our human nature over which we must gain dominion. Consider by analogy the Israelites coming out of Egypt. God defeated Pharaoh, a kind of Satan. They passed through the Red Sea, a kind of baptism. In the wilderness however, they still had their slave like nature and acted like slaves. When tested, they yearned to return to the servitude of Egypt. They were not yet ready for self rule under God in the Promised Land.
Christ became mortal not just that He could die, but that through His resurrection and life, we may overcome that nature. He does that by being our faithful High Priest: “Therefore in all things, he had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest … for in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:17-18)
God gave us our human nature comprising of free will, a rational mind, emotions, and various drives. Christ does not help us destroy our human nature as He did the power of Satan, but He helps us gain dominion over it. He helps by working within us: “… for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13)
We have a role to play. We must draw close to God that He may draw close to us. We must put on the whole armor of God; He will not do for what we must do for ourselves. We must fight a good fight and lay aside every weight. Though his power of death is broken, Satan still tempts us. Christ already has overcome Satan’s power. Now “He is able to aid those who are being tempted” … and it is our turn to overcome Satan.
Dominion once lost to Satan is now restored.
Having overcome, there awaits for us a resurrection:
“It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory
It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
The first man was of the earth made of dust; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
As we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.
The sting, or power of death comes through sin, and sin is given power by the law.
But thanks to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that you labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15)
Putting it all together …
God granted mortals dominion over the earth because we are destined to become His children. But God did not grant us complete dominion over our own human nature. If we had perfect control, we would not allow our nature to become the instrument of our sorrow and ruin. The Passover is the story of Christ destroying the power of death and Satan. Then through His resurrection and life, He helps us overcome our own human nature and defeat Satan.
As His brethren, we share with Him the victory.
As His brethren, we unite as the spiritual children of the Father.