feast, fellowship meal, Hezekiah, Josiah, Passover, peace offering
Of the five general types of sacrifices (burnt, peace, trespass, grain, and sin), the peace offering resembles the Passover the most. The peace offering is also referred to as the fellowship offering because of the fellowship it brought with God and the company they enjoyed with one another. After the fellowship offering, the people were to take the meat home and have a barbecue. There was to be a feast. God likes barbecues. He had a small grill built for them in the tabernacle. Then He upgraded to the Super Weber® for the temple!
The purpose of the peace offering was a fellowship meal, but the meal wasn’t just enjoyed with the family or close associates; it was understood that God attended as well. The peace offering mirrors the Passover sacrifice not only in this respect, but also in the fact that nothing was to be left over. The whole animal was a sacrifice. The blood was sprinkled on the sides of the altar and the fat was offered on its flames. After the communal meal, whatever was left was to be burnt up.
Not only is Christ our Passover sacrificed for us, He has also bought us peace with God by His blood. The application of His blood in our lives has a purpose that transcends the forgiveness of sins. He wants our worship; He desires our fellowship; He wants to be in communion with us. Because of the blood of Jesus, God could have His children come home again and not have to kill them. The saints of old recognized this principle in the Passover. This is why it is featured so prevalently in revivals.
In the long litany of the kings of Judah, periods of apostasy, loss of holiness, and failure into idolatry were all too frequent. If you have ever read through the books of Kings and Chronicles, you know how encouraging it is to come to a king who repents and brings the nation back to God after all those who “did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” A hallmark of these revivals was the reinstitution of the Passover feast. One such revival was Hezekiah’s.
2 Chronicles 30:1
And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel.
Hezekiah became king at the age of twenty-five. His father Ahaz had reigned for sixteen years before him and was a wicked man. From his youth, Hezekiah had been exposed to idol worship, the sacrifice of his siblings, and the ravages of war. He was denied Jehovah worship in the temple along with all Judah, for his father had plundered it and shut its doors. But once he assumed the throne, he began to implement reforms. The temple was repaired and cleansed; the priests and Levites were sanctified. And then Hezekiah called for a celebration of the Passover.  What was the result of its observance?
2 Chronicles 30:26-27
26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.
There was great joy, and the prayer of the priests for the people was heard all the way in heaven! Their prayer was heard! We are priests to the Lord our God, and the only way our prayers really get heard is if we keep the true Passover—the application of the blood of the Lamb on the doors of our heart for fellowship with Almighty God our Father.
Josiah became king of Judah at the ripe young age of eight. His father was Amon, a wicked king who only ruled for two years. I suppose one can’t be too surprised, for Amon’s father was Manasseh, who had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, used witchcraft, and consorted with familiar spirits and wizards. At the age of eighteen, Josiah ordered the repair of the house of the Lord. During the construction, a copy of the Torah was found and delivered to the king. His response was repentance with mourning and a call to Passover.
2 Kings 23:21-23
21 And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.
22 Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;
23 But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem.
The observance of this Passover had a dramatic impact on the land. For years, his grandfather and father had infested Judah with enchantments, idolatry, and witchcraft. But now, Passover had been observed; the blood had been poured on the altar and the grip of the occult was broken.
2 Kings 23:24
Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.
Those involved in the occult and idol worship no longer had sanctuary in the land. They were found out and put away. This was a direct result of celebrating the Passover. And just as the land was cleansed, our hearts and lives can be cleansed from the effect and influence of unclean spirits. Covered in the blood of the Lamb, we need have no fear of the spirits of the evil kingdom or their minions, the wizards and witches. On the contrary, like Josiah we can go on the offensive!
 Eph 2:13-18
 2 Chron 28:1
 It is interesting to note that the feast itself had more import than the time of the feast. By the time the priesthood had been cleansed, the Passover season had come and gone. But instead of waiting for Pentecost, they decided to hold the feast in the second month. This shows that it was crucial to begin their national consecration to Jehovah with the Passover, regardless of when they celebrated it. See 2 Chron 30:1-4.
 It appears that his spiritual awakening began when he was 16, the eighth year of his reign (see 2 Chron 34:3). His achievements are a testimony of the importance of seeking God while one is “yet young.”