"Passover Kept. [1 - 19]"
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Josiah took the throne of the house of Judah at the age of eight, and from those tender years, he sought to do what was right in the name of the Lord. His father Manasseh humbled himself and sought the ways of the Lord after the Lord brought correction to his life. Manasseh was twenty six years old, the eighteenth year of his reign when he started to purge the land from all the idolatry and groves that he brought into the land at the start of his reign. At Manasseh's death, Josiah's older brother Amon was placed on the throne, but he immediately sought to bring Judah back into idolatry, but his servants saw his desire, and murdered him. The people had tasted of the goodness of the Lord, and they placed Josiah on the throne, for this child had shown that he loved the Lord.
II Chronicles 35:1 "Moreover Josiah kept a Passover unto the Lord in Jerusalem: and they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month."
Remember that the year was established by God and given to Moses to be the Spring Vernal Equinox. This was the first day of the year by God's calendar. This date was set while the children of Israel were in captivity in Egypt, and growing from a family of Israel and his twelve sons and their families, into a nation of more than two million people.
God told Abraham some four hundred year before, that his children would go down into Egypt, and be there for four hundred years. At the end of this time they would come out far richer than when they went into Egypt. That four hundred years had expired, and God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to "Let My people go." The Pharaoh refused, and because of his refusal, God sent ten curses to come upon the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:6 establishes the exact day that God will bring that final curse of the death angel upon Egypt. That tenth and final curse was the death angel passing over Egypt and claiming the life of the first born in every household, all that is except those with the blood of an innocent lamb placed over the mantal and sides of the door of the house.
Exodus 12:21 "Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, "Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the Passover."
Exodus 12:22 "And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it into the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning."
Exodus 12:23 "For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto you house to smite you."
The death angel came exactly as God said he would, and destroyed all the firstborn that were not covered by the blood of the lamb. After that night, God told the children of Israel to remember this Passover night and keep that feast for an ordinance for ever.
Exodus 12:14, 15 "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever."  "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel." 
In all Jewish homes today this Passover time is loved and respected; just as Christians love and respect those times of Communion that represents that time when Jesus Christ went to the cross and became our Passover. When our Lord gathered with His disciples before is crucifixion in that last supper, he showed them that night how they would remember this Passover time from then on; for He established the Communion Table.
Matthew 26:26 "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."
Matthew 26:27 "And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it;"  "For this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." 
You must understand the words of our Lord Jesus Christ here, to come under the New Testament, for this establishes the only way to our Heavenly Father. The New Testament is the New Covenant, and we celebrate it by taking it worthily, understanding that it is only by and through our faith and repentance in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus is telling you, if you believe that then you are saved, but if there is doubt, there is no salvation. Faith is accepting and acting on something that is sight unseen, which you are unable to touch or see with your physical eyes. But our faith is seen and accepted only through our spiritual insight.
Matthew 26:29 "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.
This established the new Covenant between our Heavenly Father and His people, those that come to the Father under the shed blood of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus arose and He and His disciples went out to the garden of Gethsemane, where He would be betrayed, tried, and crucified on that Roman cross.
However at the time of Josiah it was 513 years before the birth of Christ, and the method of showing respect for God's Passover then, was as stated in Exodus 12. Josiah and all Judah kept the Passover and killed the animals for the temporary covering of their sins, on the fourteenth day, and respected the days that David had written to Solomon about.
II Chronicles 35:2 "And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord,"
As we read in the prior chapter, Josiah cleaned up the land of all forms of idolatry that were there, as well as in the land of Israel. He had the priests and families of the Levites to sanctify themselves and set themselves aside to serve the Lord as written in the law, and by David. As the years passed, he continued to charge them and encourage them in their teaching and standing before God for the people.
II Chronicles 35:3 "And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the Lord, "Put the holy ark in the house of which Solomon, the son of David king of Israel did build: it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the Lord your God, and His People Israel,"
"Unto the Levites that taught all Israel," for this was the great and special duty of the priests and Levites. However they neglected it for many years for their heathen rituals, as do many priests and teachers of today have done from that day to today.
Josiah wanted all Israel that was left in the area, besides Judah to come back to the Lord and worship as God instructed them to through His Word. That is why the teaching was so important by these Levites, for it took the knowledge of the Word in order to abide by it. It's no different today than in these ancient times. You are taught right from wrong, then you build that wisdom into your actions and character. When the wisdom from God's Word is missing form your mind, you stray off into all sorts of directions, just as those two ancient nations of Israel and Judah did.
II Chronicles 35:4 "And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son."
II Chronicles 35:5 "And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren the People, and after the division of the families of the Levites."
You prepare yourself first, then when you gain that wisdom and understanding, you make your stand for the Lord. The holy place is where God places you. The Levites were placed; some at the altar of God; one family cleaning and taking care of the sacred things of God, and one family tending to the burdens of the heavy items. Its no different today for God gives each of us gifts to do the job He places us in.
Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
Romans 12:4, 5 "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:"  "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." 
It simply doesn't matter how smart or ignorant you are of the scriptures, for as we study His Word, we gain in knowledge. God requires each of us to work on the level of our understanding and in accordance with the gifts that He has given to each of us. One talent or ten, it just doesn't matter for you are accountable to God for only those talents that our Heavenly Father has place in your hand and mind.
II Chronicles 35:6 "So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses."
II Chronicles 35:7 "And Josiah gave to the People, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: there were of the king's substance."
II Chronicles 35:8 "And his princes gave willing unto the People, to the priest, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen."
II Chronicles 35:9 "Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen."
All the people of both Judah and the remnant from Israel were in Jerusalem to praise God and make their sin sacrifices and offerings to the Lord. For this Passover, 5,000 sheep and 500 oxen were slain for the Passover sacrifice.
II Chronicles 35:10 "So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king's commandment."
II Chronicles 35:11 "And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them."
The Levites killed the passover, and the priests, sons of Aaron offered the blood sacrifices and offerings to the Lord. All of the sacrifices and offerings were tended to exactly as God instructed Moses in the Law.
II Chronicles 35:12 "And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the People, to offer unto the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen."
II Chronicles 35:13 "And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the People."
"Sod" in the Hebrew text means "boiled'.
II Chronicles 35:14 "And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron."
This is the "alah" [Olah] offered up to the Lord, so called because it is completely burnt, with nothing left over.
II Chronicles 35:15 "And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them."
II Chronicles 35:16 "So all the services of the Lord was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the Lord, according to the commandment of king Josiah."
II Chronicles 35:17 "And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days."
Josiah saw to it that the children of Israel kept the Passover and feast of unleavened bread for the full seven day.
II Chronicles 35:18 "And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem."
This statement; "There was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet", is not a discrepancy with Hezekiah's Passover of II Chronicles 30:26; for up to Hezekiah's day that was the greatest since the days of Solomon. This Passover of the time of Josiah was much later, with more participation and it even exceeded that of Hezekiah's day.
II Chronicles 35:19 "In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept."
Josiah kept the letter of the entire law of Moses, and there was no one like him after his death. Josiah sought out those with familiar spirits, the wizards, and killed and burnt them to ashes just as he burnt their images, groves and any thing in the land that would be bowed to and worshipped. Remember he searched not only in the land of Judah, but Israel also. Even the Sodomites that stayed were killed and turned to ashes. He put up with no forms of idolatry and lose life style in which most of it has become common in the church houses in our land today.
Josiah sought to please our Heavenly Father in all that he did, and all that was subject to his rule within his kingdom. Most of the tribes of the house of Israel had been removed from this area of the middle east many years prior to Josiah, but there was a remnant that stayed behind, and these were the "Israel" that were present for this passover. After Josiah's death, there would never be another king over Judah like him, for Josiah never provoked the Lord in any manner, as did the kings that would follow Josiah to the throne in Judah.
II Chronicles 35:20 "After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him."
It was thirteen years after the start of the keeping of the Passover, that Necho and the Egyptian army was marching to the Euphrates River to fight with the Assyrians. During that thriteen years the Temple had been completely restored, and now it was pretty much peaceful in Judah. When Josiah saw Necho and his army going to war, felt that he had to take sides in the battle. However the battle had nothing to do with Judah of Israel.
By this time, the city of Nineveh, and the entire Assyrian empire was falling apart and in complete disarray. The Assyrian fort at Chemosh on the Euphrates river was torn apart, yet it had much of the wealth of Assyria within it. The grandson of Assyria had taken over the Babylon and built it into a world empire. Pharaoh Necho of Egypt thought if I want that wealth, now is the time to take it. Most of that wealth came out of the house of Israel, for when Israel fell, and the people were removed from off the land, so went their wealth also.
Josiah saw what was happening, and he made his move. Would God protect him for making a stand against Necho? In Pharaoh's eyes, God told him to march on Fort Charchemish on the Euphrates River.
II Chronicles 35:21 "But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, "What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, Who is with me, that He destroy thee not."
Pharaoh Necho sent his ambassadors to Josiah to ask him; "I'm not making war with you; why are you coming against me?" Necho's battle was not against any people but to obtain the wealth gathered at Fort Charchemish. He told Josiah; "Now go away and stop meddling with God's will, for God sent me to do this."
II Chronicles 35:22 "Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo."
Josiah's mind was not changed, and he would not stand by to allow the Egyptians to do what they were doing. Josiah disguised himself with the armor of an soldier going into battle; just as Ahab had done back in II Chronicles 23:29, and he was going into battle. Josiah and his army met the Egyptians in the valley of Megiddo for the battle, standing in the way to the approach to Fort Charchemish.
II Chronicles 35:23 "And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, "Have me away; for I am sore wounded."
Before the battle even started, Josiah was struck by an arrow from one of the archers of Necho just as Ahab did, and the battle was over before it started. When the king of Judah was killed, his servants got him out of the war chariot and put him in his royal chariot and took him home to Jerusalem.
II Chronicles 35:24 "His servants therefore took him out of the chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah."
We know from the distance today, that from Megiddo was not far from Jerusalem, but Josiah died on his return to Jerusalem. The whole nation mourned for the loss of their righteous king, for they would never see another man on the throne that tried to please God as much as Josiah.
II Chronicles 35:25 "And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.
Even though Josiah is referred to in the book of Lamentations, this verse does not refer to that book. Think of the great men of God, prophets that were living during this time of Josiah; The prophets Jeremiah, Zechariah, Isaiah and so on, Even Daniel was a child at this time. These men of God knew the loss that came to their nation of Judah when King Josiah was killed. Many of the books of the bible came from this time when King Josiah ruled over the House of Judah.
II Chronicles 35:26 "Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the Lord."
II Chronicles 35:27 "And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah."
From the death of king Josiah to the carrying away of the house of Judah into captivity twenty two years later, the nation of Judah will fall deep into sin and into idolatry. However in Josiah's life as the King of Judah, he sought the Lord diligently. He stood in the house of God before the people and made a covenant with God. Josiah encouraged the people to perform the words as they were written both in the book of Moses, and from the mouth and pen to his father David. He kept that covenant and the people stood behind him as he lead the children of God into cleaning their land of all forms of spiritual filth.
He not only burned the idols and groves where the sex orgies took place, but he sought out the diviners of spirits, those dealing with familiar spirits, the wizards, the sodomites, and all the others that were dragging the people of Judah away from the Lord. Then he had them killed and their bodies burned. He sought out those gravesites; the monuments where people went to pray and seek guidance from the angels, and he dug up their remains, and burnt the remains and destroyed the monuments. Josiah cleaned up not only his land, but the land of the House of Israel, that had been scattered many years prior. II Kings 23:1 - 30 gives us the spiritual side of the record of Josiah, as we read of the moral side of his life here in II Chronicles 34, and 35.
We move now into the final chapter, II Chronicles 36 will deal with the final days of the nation of Judah, that time when the kings of Judah, including their priest and levites turn their backs to the Word of the Lord that meant so much to this nation, under Josiah. We will see how a nation can completely destroy itself in less than a generation. As you read that final chapter, pay attention to what sins they had committed, how God and His Word was treated by both the priests, and the people, and what the curses and consequences were that followed.
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