Posts Tagged ‘Passover’

Most Christians think of the “Last Supper” as more of a symbolic communion than a feast meal. Because of this, many often miss out on the full meaning of the Passover and the additional meaning Jesus gave to it.

Jesus kept Passover as a child and an adult. (Luke 2:41-43; Mark 14:12-26; John 12:12) Mark 14:12 shows that the last supper was not a memorial observance, but a Passover meal. “his disciples said to him, where do you want us to go and prepare, that you may eat the Passover.” (cf. Matthew 26; Luke 22)

If Passover was replaced with the Last Supper, shouldn’t it also be commemorated once a year? Because once a year on the anniversary date of Jesus’ death would be more consistent with the belief that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper at the time of the Jewish Passover.

Many believe that Passover is a Jewish festival made only for Jews. And some even teach that every Jew who has become a Christian, should no longer celebrate these very important festivals. Because they believe that the Lord’s Supper replaced the annual feast days, they say that no Christian should observe the Jewish Passover and that the death of Jesus Christ is the only event, which Christians should memorialize.

But Scripture states that Passover, and ALL the feasts that are celebrated once a year are God’s feasts. In Leviticus 23 we read, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’ “ (Emphasis mine)

These are God’s feasts, NOT just Jewish feasts!

“And a mixed multitude went up also with them…” (Exodus 12:38) Some of these “mixed multitude” were Egyptians, and some of other nations that had resided in Egypt, and who, for various reasons, chose to go along with the children of Israel. In doing so, the mixed multitude became part of the children of Israel—And were recognized as such by Moses and by God.

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

“If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Exodus 12:48-49)

“You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.” (Ezekiel 47:22)

“Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:11-13)

Did Jesus and his disciples observe Passover or the Last Supper?

Passover associates 4 or 5 cups of wine, not just one. In Luke’s account of this supper the wine is taken at least twice; at the beginning and end of the meal. It is most likely that the ‘last cup of wine’ is associated with the third Passover cup, the cup of  redemption, (Exodus 6.6) associated with the coming of Elijah and the expectation of the coming of the Messiah. The fourth cup—the cup of consummation, Jesus declined to drink (Matthew 26.29; Mark 14.25; because between the third and fourth cups he would not drink until his return and consummation of his kingdom.

‘Dipping in the bowl’ in Matthew 26:23 and in Mark 14:20 may refer to the dipping of bitter herbs in either water or wine during the Passover Seder.

The meal concluded with the singing of hymns (Matthew 26.30; Mark 14:26), possibly the second half of the Hallel, (Psalms 113-118) traditionally associated with Passover.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church these words: “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:7-8)

Notice, Paul said plainly enough, “Let us KEEP THE FESTIVAL” Not only did Paul in this verse exhort the Corinthians—many of whom were Gentile believers—to observe this Passover festival season, but he himself did so, setting them an example. Keeping the festival of Passover and Matzah symbolizes living the Christian life in holy dedication to God. That is why Paul uses the illustration of leaven when writing to the Corinthian Church.

What other scholars say about this:

“The construction of the Greek verb translated “let us keep the feast” is called horatory subjunctive, which is commonly used to exhort or command oneself and one’s associates. This use of the subjunctive is used to urge someone to unite with the speaker in a course of action upon which he has already decided.” (Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 464)

“Some go to great lengths to attempt to sidestep this clear command to “keep the feast” by alleging that the expression is in some way figurative, since he uses other figurative language in this section of Scripture. But the reason he gives to “keep the Feast” is because “Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us.” Christ’s sacrifice was a literal event; so is keeping the festival that relates to His sacrifice. And a cardinal rule of interpreting the Bible is to prefer the simple, obvious meaning.” ( Edward W. Goodrick, Do It Yourself Hebrew and Greek, p. 12:1 )

Jehovah Witnesses claim to know exactly the date when Jesus Christ introduced the Last Supper.

According the Jehovah Witness website, “Jesus Christ instituted the Memorial of his death (the Lord’s evening meal or Supper) on Nisan 14, according to the biblical Jewish calendar that was common in the first century. Jesus Christ also died on Nisan 14 (in the afternoon about three o’clock). Why that? Because in the first century the Jewish day began at sundown and extended until the following sundown. So Jesus Christ died exactly on the same Jewish calendar day. Jesus instituted the Memorial of his death after sundown on Nisan 14, at the beginning of this day.”

But when is Nisan 14 in our calendar? Jehovah Witnesses claim it was March 23, 2016. But the14th of Nisan in 2016, (Hebrew calendar 5776) begins at sundown on April 22, 2016 not March 23rd. March 23, 2016 is the 13th of Adar II and is the date that Purim begins. (http://www.hebcal.com/hebcal/?year=2016&v=1&month=x&yt=G&nx=on&o=on&vis=on&d=on&c=off&maj=on&min=on&mod=on)

It is interesting that Hebrews 11:28 regards Moses’ keeping of the Passover as an act of faith, not ritual. It was observed in direct trust in God’s means of salvation from Egypt—however illogical it may have seemed at the time.

Thus, the “last supper” was not a memorial symbolized with just the breaking of bread and drinking wine, but a full feast meal—not only looking back on the exodus, but also looking forward to the crucifixion and ultimately towards the second coming of Jesus and the consummation of the messianic kingdom. (cf. Isaiah 25:6-9)

As such, the early church continued to observe it, but eventually exchanging God’s Agape (love) feast for the more symbolic last supper/eucharist. (Perhaps because of the kind of excess mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22)

In the end, the Agape was forgotten and the eucharist became more formal, central and even ‘magical’ in the later doctrine of transubstantiation. The Passover symbolism is mostly lost on gentile believers. Jesus was the ultimate Passover lamb, (1 Corinthians 5:7) and as such died with all his bones intact. (cf. Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20)

God’s Passover feast is considered by some to be outdated history. But the treasuring of our freedom through education and enactment is a joyful occasion.

Why does the Church emphasize the morbid death of Christ through the symbolic last supper/eucharist more than his joyous resurrection or return? Indeed, the purpose of Passover is a way of proclaiming our redemption and freedom from the bondage of sin through the sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God!

NEXT YEAR IN THE NEW JERUSALEM!

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The Church today observe Christian holidays such as Good Friday, Easter and Christmas but almost totally ignore God’s feasts we are specifically commanded by God to observe.

Now before you start thinking that I’m some sort of legalist, let me say that I’m not here to judge Church traditions. Nor am I going to discuss the pagan origins of Easter. I have no problem with those who want to celebrate Christmas and Easter to commemorate Jesus’ birth and resurrection. But what do lighted trees and Santa Claus have to do with Jesus’ birth? What do bunnies and egg hunts have to do with Jesus’ resurrection?

I’m in no way suggesting a legalistic approach to the Old Testament feasts. But they are, at least according to my understanding, commandments of God. All of the Holy Days are prescribed as part of God’s TORAH right along with the Ten Commandments. They require an active participation even though there is no longer a Tabernacle or Temple.

Many Christians today believe that God’s feasts are only for Jews. And besides, it would be nearly impossible for anyone in modern times to observe the holy days as biblically commanded without the Israelite theocracy. But when the Hebrews left Egypt a mixed multitude (Non-Jews) left with them. (Exodus 12:38) This is probably why God told Moses, “An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD’s Passover must do so in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for the alien and the native-born.” (Num.9:14)

When Christ was celebrating the Passover with His disciples, and instituting the emblems with their new meaning, He said to “…do this is in remembrance of me”. The New Testament Church celebrated this “remembrance Passover” also: “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.

Therefore let us keep the Festival, (Passover) not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. (1Cor 5:7-8) [Emphasis mine]

These people were aware that the Passover was to look back in remembrance of what He (Jesus) had done for them. What Holy Days did Jesus, His disciples, and the first century Christians actually keep? Why don’t the modern churches celebrate these Holy Days that God commanded in the Bible? Was the Passover abolished because Christ died for us, or was it commanded to be observed as a memorial of His death?

As I said before, I have no problem with traditional Christian holidays but have you ever questioned why the Church substituted Easter for God’s appointed Holy Day? Did God approve of this change? What do the symbols of Passover mean, and why isn’t it possible to observe the biblical Passover as well as Easter?

The Bible and secular history both record that the early Christian Church did not celebrate Easter. More than twenty years after Christ’s resurrection, the Apostle Paul wrote to both Jewish and Gentile converts urging them to properly keep God’s Passover. Further, true believers continued to keep the Passover for another 270 years until an unconverted Roman emperor ordered believers to keep Easter or suffer the loss of their property.

Are you willing to prayerfully examine the facts with an open mind? God instructs believers to search the scriptures and prove all things (Acts 17:11; I Thessalonians 5:21). Can you put past personal prejudice aside and accept the challenge to search out the truth, proving it for yourself?

Passover lost and found and lost and found and…

Over time, Israel let the Passover slip into disuse. They adopted the pagan practices of sun worship again, going so far as to offer their children in the fire, believing their offering would purify the family. Finally, God sent the ten-tribe House of Israel into captivity for their abominations. Their more obedient Jewish brothers in the south were spared for a hundred or so years, but in time they too, fell prey to the same seductive pagan practices. The Passover was again lost.

In time, King Hezekiah was born. This great man restored the worship of the true God. As a part of his reformation movement, he commanded Judah to once again keep God’s sacred Passover:

Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the LORD, the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. (II Chron. 29:1-5)

Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel. (II Chron. 30:1)

So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan that they should come to keep the Passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. (II Chron. 30:5)

Hezekiah instituted many reforms, but after his death, God’s people again yielded to pagan influence slipped back into idolatrous worship, losing sight of Gods Holy Days. After this, many decades passed before a priest chanced upon God’s Word, and gave a copy to the new leader, King Josiah. The king studied God’s law and was moved to deep repentance. His immediate response was to restore the Passover.

The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD–to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant. The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem.  (II Kings 23:3, 22-23)

Whenever God’s people returned to true worship, they observed the Passover, rejoicing in the truth they had found. But the pattern of apostasy continued and eventually the Jews lost sight of God’s law again, falling away a final time. God then allowed Babylon to take them into captivity. After seventy years, the Jewish people were finally released from their captivity in Babylon. Led by Ezra and Nehemiah, they returned to their land where they once again revived the observance of the Passover. There the people of Judah awaited the coming of their Messiah.

Jesus Kept Passover

Jesus kept the Passover every year even as a young child. Luke records:

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.  (Luke 2:40-42)

Since Jesus always kept the Passover, he taught His disciples to keep it also. In fact, the last meal Jesus ate was on Passover. Jesus told His disciples to prepare for this annual observance that final evening: Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” (Luke 22:7-8)

The Apostle Paul Kept Passover

For those who think that observing Passover is only under Old Testament law, you may want to rethink that. In 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 Paul was not addressing whether the Gentile Church should keep the Passover Feast. Paul was teaching them the WAY they were to keep the celebration. The fact that they were to keep the Holy Days was a foregone conclusion. Later in his first letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul explained more about how to properly keep God’s Passover. The Corinthian Church had been confronted with a number of heresies, and Paul corrected them regarding the proper relationship of men and women. He then discussed the importance of hair length, and finally explained that the Christian Passover was not to be celebrated as an ordinary meal. Paul wrote: When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat… (I Corinthians 11:20)  Some were hungry, others were eating large meals, and a few were actually drinking too much. Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that he was teaching them what Christ had taught him as he wrote the following instructions:

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread… (I Corinthians 11:23) Notice that the Passover Paul spoke of was not a monthly Sunday morning observance as some celebrate today. Instead, it was an evening Seder in remembrance of the night that Christ was betrayed. And that night was the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month. It was God’s Holy Passover. That evening Christ changed the symbols from eating a lamb to the eating of bread and drinking a small amount of wine. Therefore, Paul taught that Jesus took bread: and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (I Corinthians 11:24-25).  Paul reminded Christians that Christ said “do this” twice that night. Therefore, Christians are to do THIS and NOT something else! It is a command not from the Old Testament, but from Christ! Jesus observed Passover, as did the Apostle Paul. And from what I read we are to observe Passover as well. Jesus and the apostles kept it as God commanded, and Paul taught the Gentiles to practice this observance once a year.

The early Church continued to observe Passover

God’s Church has always celebrated the Passover observance as Jesus directed. After Christ was crucified and resurrected, the entire Church continued this practice. In fact, Passover and the corresponding Days of Unleavened Bread were always an important part of the early Christian’s every day thoughts and lives. Notice how the inspired author of the book of Acts records the time of year in scripture by referring to the days of the Passover celebration:

When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 12: 3)

Luke, himself a Gentile, would not record time in terms of the Passover unless this day was paramount in both Christian thinking and practice. Illustrating this, in the next verse there is another reference to Passover. The translators of the King James Version of the Bible mistranslated this however. They put the word “Easter” into the text where it did not belong. The verse reads:

When he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. (Acts 12:4)

The Jewish people never kept Easter. Further, this holiday was never an official part of the Church until corruption entered after 300 A.D. Consequently, the word “Easter” would never have been a part of Luke’s vocabulary, and it has no legitimate place in this verse. The original inspired Greek is “pasha,” and it should have been translated “Passover.” Many margins today show the correct wording, and most modern translations render the word as “Passover.” The NIV Bible conveys the meaning of the word as follows:

. . . Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. (Acts 12:4) Paul and his assistants kept the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Notice how Luke refers to Paul’s travels:

But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days. (Acts 20:6) The early Church observed Passover, and all scholars acknowledge this truth. Illustrating this, the Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition states:

There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it, of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed. (P.828) Historians realize that the early Church faithfully kept the Passover for three centuries. The original teachings of Christ and the apostles were eventually lost and along with it God’s sacred Passover. It was much like the apostasy of ancient Israel.

How did Easter replace Passover?

During the first three centuries after Christ began His Church, the observance of God’s Passover slowly dwindled until it was all but extinguished. In time, God’s feast was eventually replaced by a different form of worship. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible Explains:

“The development of the (modern) church calendar was a remarkably slow process in Christianity, and equally striking is the fact that so little of the Jewish year originally found a place in Christians celebrations. Where we should have expected a Christian transformation of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Succoth, Chanukah, Purim, etc., we find only the retention of the paschal festival (in the keeping of Easter). This is due to the fact the church year was largely the creation of the Gentile church, and the background of such notable days as Christmas, (and) Epiphany, etc. is pagan, not Jewish.”

Understanding how today’s Christian holidays came to replace the original Church celebrations is of great value in determining how we should worship God today. The change from Passover to Easter did not occur from a command of God. It did not evolve over time based on a biblical principle or scripture. Instead, this radical change in Christian worship followed the same pattern of apostasy as ancient Israel. Many decades after Christ built the Church, new leaders looked upon the old ways as outdated, and too “Jewish.” Desiring to appeal to the masses, they took it upon themselves to modify the church in order to bring it into their modern age and culture.

I think it’s interesting that if you trace the Church’s traditions and holidays back to their origins it will almost always lead to paganism. When you trace Judaism back to its origins it will always lead you to God.

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.