Messiah in Passover

Posted: March 30, 2012 in Christian Living
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Passover in 2012 will start at sundown on Friday, April 6th and will continue for 8 days until sundown Friday, April 13th. There are several symbolic clues during Passover that were fulfilled by Messiah:

Passover Observance:                                 

A lamb without blemish                           

A lamb was the firstborn                           

The lamb was set put on display for 4 days on the tenth of Nisan     

The lamb was chosen to die for a sin offering                                                 

The lamb was killed at 3 PM                         

The lamb’s bones were not broken                 

(Ex. 12:46, Num. 9:12)                                      

The lamb’s blood saved the Israelites                

The Israelites could not save themselves; only the blood applied to        

the doorposts could save them.

Messianic Significance:

Jesus was without blemish

Jesus was the firstborn son of God

Jesus entered the temple and was on display on the tenth of Nisan

Jesus was chosen as to die as a sin offering for us.

Jesus was crucified in the 7th hour (3PM)

Jesus’ bones were not broken (Ps. 34:20, Jn. 19:31)

Jesus’ blood saves us

We cannot save ourselves; only the blood of Jesus can save us

John the Baptist introduced Yeshua (Jesus) by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

The Jews who had been celebrating Passover for years understood the significance of John’s statements. Isaiah 53, written hundreds of years before Messiah, recorded the suffering the human lamb would experience:

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.  (Isa. 53:7-10)

Triumphal Entry of the Lamb

In the first century, a lamb was chosen by the high priest outside of Jerusalem on the tenth of Nisan. Then the priest would lead this lamb into the city while crowds of worshippers lined the streets waving palm branches and singing Psalm 118, “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.” The High Priest would then take the lamb to the Temple, where it would be tied in public view for four days so that it could be inspected for blemish.

  • Yeshua, our Messiah entered Jerusalem that same day, sitting on a donkey (usually ridden by a king), possibly right behind the High Priest’s procession. The crowds that had just heralded the entrance of the sacrificial lamb also heralded the entrance of the Lamb of God.
  • ·(Mat 21:1-16)
  • Yeshua sat and taught in the Temple courtyard and for four days he was inspected and questioned as the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the teachers of the law sought to trip him up in His words and entrap Him.  (Matthew 21:23) But they couldn’t do it because He was perfect and without blemish. Accordingly, Yeshua identified himself with the Passover sacrifice. (John 12:9-16) The next day, as Yeshua entered Jerusalem, His entry fulfilled prophecy.

To believers in Messiah, the Passover feast has a special meaning. Although we were not slaves like God’s people in Egypt, we were slaves to our sin, our own wants and desires. Sin was our master until Yeshua, our Passover Lamb, delivered us from our own Egypt. The lamb slain during Passover is a symbol of the redemption we find in Yeshua, the Messiah. He is our Passover lamb. We needed to be redeemed from the bondage of slavery to sin and given freedom from its domination (John 8:31-36) Yeshua, the Messiah purchased our freedom with His blood as the payment for our redemption. (Ps. 34:22; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:7)

During Passover the priest was to teach, pray, and offer sacrifice.

  • As Yeshua ate the Passover meal with his disciples he taught, prayed, and then after the meal he offered Himself as our sacrifice.
  • Yeshua died as the lambs for the Passover meal were being slain. Not a bone was to be broken in these sacrificial lambs (Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12). Yeshua, the Lamb of God, was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. (1 Cor. 5:7)

Messianic Symbolism in the Passover Seder

The Karpas

We eat parsley or celery greens dipped in salt water to remember the hyssop with which our ancestors painted the lamb’s blood on their doorposts. We dip the greens in salt water to remind us of the tears of bondage in Egypt and sin. It can also remind us that Yeshua was given vinegar on the cross and because of his death we have tears of joy at our redemption.

The Matzo

We eat unleavened bread to remember how our ancestors had to leave Egypt in such a hurry that they had not time to allow their bread to rise, and it baked in the sun right on top of their packs.

The matzo is striped and pierced to represent the wounds of our Messiah who was pierced for our transgressions and striped for our healing.

The Yachatz and Afikomen

Yachatz (Divide) is the fourth step in the Seder.  In the center of the Passover table, we place three pieces of matzo wrapped in white linen. (Matzah tosh) Sages speculate that the three pieces represent Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Each piece is in a separate fold or compartment of the cloth. At the start of the Seder, we break the middle matzah in half, wrap it in a separate cloth and hide it. According to the Sages, this middle piece represents the binding of Isaac by Abraham on Mount Moriah. (The same place where Yeshua was sacrificed) This is called the afikomen and reminds us of how the Messiah’s body was broken for us, wrapped in a linen burial shroud and buried in the tomb for three days. It also reminds us that he was taken away and hidden from our view after his resurrection.

At the end of the Seder, the children all go to find the afikomen. This tells us that only those who are willing to look for the Messiah with the heart of a child will find him. The child who returns with the matzah may bargain with the leader for a reward. When the Messiah returns to rule God’s kingdom, he will be coming for those who are pure, like a child. He will test our works as with fire and He will reward us for whatever survives. (1Cor. 3:11-15)

The Maror

We eat horseradish or some other bitter herb to remind us of our ancestors’ bitter suffering in Egypt. Although their suffering was great, so was their redemption and reward. We suffer too, but Yeshua said to rejoice when we are persecuted for righteousness sake. Our reward in heaven will be more than just compensation.

The Charoset

We eat a paste made of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine to remind us of the mortar used to lay bricks in Egypt. We should remember however, that even though God’s kingdom is not built with bricks and mortar, we are servants of the Lord that labor together as the body of the Messiah that will bind us together and strengthen us as families and as a nation. (Act 2:18, 1Pe 2:16, 2Cr 4:5, 2Cr 6:4, Rev 22:3)

The Lamb Shank Bone

Since there is no Temple in Jerusalem, we cannot have an actual Passover lamb. Many families will include a roasted lamb bone on the Seder plate to symbolize the lamb whose blood marked the doorposts of the faithful in Egypt. The bone is roasted to remind us that the Passover lamb is to be roasted over a fire and eaten in whole. Whatever is leftover must be burned in a fire. The lamb also represents the Lamb of God who was slain to take away the sins of the whole world.

The Wine

We drink four cups of wine at Passover. The cups represent four promises that God made to Israel regarding slavery:

Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and (1) I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and (2) I will rid you out of their bondage, and (3) I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And (4) I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (Exodus 6:6-7)

We drink the first cup (sanctification) immediately after the opening blessing to remind us that God saves us from our sins, while we were yet sinners. He took our ancestors out of Egypt before he gave them His laws or told them to do anything at all except to trust in him. Likewise, we do not need to work to complete our transformation of being saved, but only to trust Him and commit ourselves to the process.

We drink the second cup (deliverance) after telling the story of the Exodus and explaining the significance of the various items on the Seder plate, but before eating the main meal. This represents our sanctification through obedience to God’s law after our salvation from sin. God gave his Torah to Israel after delivering them from Egypt and before allowing them to enter the Land. Yeshua’s blood frees us from the bondage to sin so we can we partake in the full richness of God’s promises.

We drink the third cup (redemption) after the meal. This is the cup that Yeshua held when he said, “This is my blood of the new covenant.” Since sin entered the world through one man, so sin can only be taken away through one man. As the perfectly sinless only begotten Son of God, the Messiah is the only person whose blood can redeem all of mankind from sin. Although we work hard to rid our lives of sin, we could never remove it through our own efforts. True redemption can only be a gift of God.

We drink the fourth cup (restoration) to symbolize our union with God as his own people. Yeshua did not drink the fourth cup because his mission was not yet complete. (Luke 22:20) Although his blood was given as an earnest of that time, the New Covenant has not fully come. Only when Yeshua returns to rule God’s Kingdom will He drink the fourth cup and usher in the age of the New Covenant. It’s at that time that God will write His Torah on our hearts so that we will no longer have to teach or be taught about God because by our very nature we will know Him and His ways. (Jer. 31:31-34)

Although many people celebrate with large feasts of chicken or some other bird on Passover so as to avoid even the appearance of having sacrificed somewhere besides the Temple, there is no commandment to that effect.

I believe that the Passover Seder is only a rehearsal for the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:5-21)

v.5) Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” 6) And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7) Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the MARRIAGE of the LAMB has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8) And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9) Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”

This Passover, I pray that you will gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the Messiah’s sacrifice and His great love that He has for you.

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