Passover means to “pass over” or to spare. It is a yearly celebration to remember how YHVH delivered the nation of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. Ten plagues came upon Egypt with the last being the death of all firstborn of all men and animals in Egypt. YHVH gave specific instructions to Moses so that the nation of Israel would be redeemed: a spotless lamb would die in the place of their firstborn.
The instructions began the months of the year for Israel in the spring. On the tenth day of that month, a spotless lamb was to be chosen. It spent four days in the house with the family. They would inspect it and become fond of it. On the fourteenth day of the month, the lamb was to be killed, the blood put on the posts and lintel of the door. The blood would form the Hebrew letter “chai” which is a symbol for ‘fence’ and means ‘life’. The flesh of the lamb was to be eaten by the family with bitter herbs (bitter bondage) and unleavened bread (made in haste) that evening. The blood over the door posts was a sign for YHVH to “pass over” that house allowing the firstborn of men and animals to live (Exodus 12).
Yeshua the Messiah is our Passover lamb, “For Messiah our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” 1 (Corinthians 5:7-8). He was sacrificed for us so that eternal death or separation from God would ‘pass over’ us. On the tenth day of the first month, when the lamb was chosen, Yeshua rode into Jerusalem upon a donkey and was hailed as King by the people. “This took place to fulfill what was spoken by through the prophet, … your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey…” (Matthew 21:4,5). Four days later, as the Passover lamb was being prepared for the altar in the Temple, the same people cried “Crucify him.” Yeshua died on the cross as the priest raised his hands for the last sacrifice of the day. Three full days later, after the Passover, after the start of Unleavened Bread, and after the weekly Sabbath, Yeshua rose from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23, 1 Corinthians 15).
The Bible teaches in Romans 3:23 that all of us fall short of God’s glory. We are each in bondage to sin as the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt. We need the shed blood of the Lamb of God to take away our bondage and give us a life of freedom from sin. In Egypt, YHVH sent plagues upon the Egyptians’ gods. Before we know Yeshua as Savior, we also experience the plagues of the world: materialism, idolatry, alcoholism, drugs, immorality, and diseases caused by sinful heart issues of anger, bitterness, jealousy, envy…. It is only because Yeshua became our Passover Lamb that we are set free from the bondage of sin and YHVH ‘passes over’ us giving us not only eternal life, but a full life now. “… I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
“Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8).
Keeping the Festival of Passover is a yearly reminder that it was during the Passover seder that Yeshua explained to His disciples the re-Newed Covenant he was establishing with them (Israel) as promised by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31). After the disciples shared the first cup of wine, he took a second cup of wine, known as the Cup of Redemption. He told them it was His blood that would be poured out for the forgiveness of sins “for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). He also took a piece of unleavened bread, called matzah, and broke it. He explained that the center matzoh, taken from a group of three, was his body that would be broken to redeem many. He said that every time we drink the cup (of Redemption) and eat the unleavened bread (of affliction), we are to remember Him. “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
Passover is God’s appointed time to remember the Israelites’ escape from Egypt by the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. It is God’s appointed time to remember our own journey from sin to redemption through the blood of the Lamb on our hearts. It is God’s appointed time to remember Yeshua who transformed the Passover from a memorial to Egypt into a memorial of His death, burial, and ultimately, on Feast of Firstfruits, His glorious resurrection.
©March 2002 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.