“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD — a lasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:14).
“And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians’” (Exodus 12:27).
The LORD’s Passover is the first annual Feast of Adonai. It is the memorial to the extraordinary account of God’s judgment on Egypt’s gods and Israel’s miraculous deliverance from a life of slavery. The Passover began Israel’s physical redemption as God’s holy nation. They were to remember their salvation from death and bondage to life and freedom in the ‘appointed time’ called Pesach.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Passover or Pesach – פסח
Peh פ – A Mouth means ‘to speak.’
Samech ס – A Prop means ‘to support.’
Chet ח – A Fence means ‘protect.’
The Hebrew word picture for pesach: to speak, support, and protect.
For hundreds of years the descendants of Jacob were enslaved in Egypt building Pharaoh great cities. They were oppressed with hard labor –– digging clay for making bricks and gathering straw in the fields. They were shown no mercy by their Egyptian overseers. In spite of the oppression, their numbers increased. Pharaoh became afraid of the Hebrew population and commanded the midwives to kill all Hebrew baby boys as they were born, but because they feared God, the midwives let the boys live. Pharaoh then ordered his citizens to throw any Hebrew baby boy into the Nile River.
One infant boy from a Levite family was placed in a papyrus basket and floated in the Nile River. He was found by Pharaoh’s daughter who named him Moses, or Moshe in Hebrew, which means ‘pulled out of the water.’ She located his mother and paid her to nurse him. When he was old enough, he left his mother and went to live in Pharaoh’s house as a prince of Egypt.
As an adult, Moshe struggled with what he saw happening to his people, the Hebrews. In a moment of anger, he killed an Egyptian overseer who was beating a Hebrew slave. When word of it spread to Pharaoh, he feared for his life and ran to the land of Midian, on the northwest Arabian peninsula, and became a shepherd. He married Tzipporah, the daughter of a Midian priest, and they had two sons, Gershom and Elieazer.
God heard the cries of the Hebrew people. He saw their bondage and heard them groan. Speaking through a burning bush, Adonai called Moshe to become the deliverer. He told Moshe to go to Pharaoh and tell him to “Let My people go.” However, God warned Moshe that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart. He wanted Pharaoh to understand through the death of his firstborn son that Israel is the firstborn of Adonai. Ready with a staff in his hand and the memorial name of God –– the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh –– Moses started out for Egypt. Moshe met his brother Aaron during his journey, and together they returned to Egypt to confront Pharaoh.
Egypt was culture of death. Their plethora of gods and goddesses glorified death. Pharaohs were immortalized in great pyramid tombs filled with symbols of death. The Egyptian ‘holy book’ for immortalizing those who passed on was called the Book of the Dead. So God gave them what they worshiped and honored the most -– death.
Adonai judged each of the gods of Egypt through plagues: blood, frogs, lice, flies, cattle disease, boils, hailstones, locusts, and darkness. The people of Egypt suffered. The priests of Egypt suffered. The land of Egypt suffered. Still, Pharaoh would not relent and set his Hebrew slaves free. Adonai’s ‘appointed time’ for redemption had come.
“Moshe said [to Pharaoh], ‘Here is what the LORD says: About midnight I will go out into Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl at the handmill, and all the firstborn of the livestock. There will be a horrendous wailing throughout all the land of Egypt — there has never been another like it, and there never will be again. But not even a dog’s growl will be heard against any of the people of Israel, neither against people nor against animals. In this way you will realize that the LORD distinguishes between Egyptians and Israel. All your servants will come down to me, prostrate themselves before me and say, ‘Get out! — you and all the people who follow you!’ and after that, I will go out!’ And he went out from Pharaoh in the heat of anger’” (Exodus 11:4-8).
Preparing God’s People
“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household’” (Exodus 12:1-3).
“Take care of them [the goat or lamb] until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs”(Exodus 12:-6-7).
Though the Hebrews experienced the first three plagues with the Egyptians, God made a distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians with the last six plagues. In order to protect His people from the consequence of the tenth plague –– the death of the firstborn –– Adonai had them bring a lamb or goat into their home for four days. It had to be an animal without defect, a first-year male, and enough to feed each household.
After caring for the animal four days, the Hebrew family was to slaughter it at twilight when the sun is below the horizon and a soft glowing light emanates from the sky. They were to put some of the lamb’s blood on the sides and tops of the door frames where they were going to eat the meal.
In the Hebrew alphabet, the eighth letter is chet representing the number 8 and ‘new beginnings.‘ The Hebrew letter picture for chet is a ‘fence,’ meaning ‘protect.’ The manner in which the blood was placed around the sides and top of the door formed the letter chet protecting the Hebrews with a ‘fence’ so they would have life and a ‘new beginning.’
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt” (Exodus 12:12-13).
The Hebrews remained in their homes and the blood on their doorposts was a ‘sign’ for Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the Destroyer. When He saw the blood, He would ‘pass over’ the firstborn son who was in the home and protected by the blood while allowing the firstborn sons of Egypt to die.
“This is how you are to eat it [the meal]: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11).
Adonai’s Passover meal consisted of roasted lamb, bread without leaven, and bitter herbs. The Hebrews were not to break the bones of the Passover lamb or take any of the meat outside of their homes. They were to eat it in haste. He also gave specific instructions: no foreigner, slave or traveler was allowed to eat the meal unless they were circumcised. After being circumcised, they would be considered the same as a citizen of Israel and could take part in the memorial.
“At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead” (Exodus 12:29-30).
Pesach is to be celebrated throughout all the generations of the people of Israel wherever they lived. In Joshua chapter 5, the Israelites celebrate Pesach in Gilgal after taking flint knives and circumcising all the men who had come out of the wilderness. In 2 Kings chapter 23, King Josiah destroys all the high places and idols in Israel, and the nation celebrates Pesach in Jerusalem for the first time since the days of the Judges. In Ezra chapter 6, when the Israelites return from captivity in Babylon, everyone who renounced the pagan practices of the nations celebrated the Pesach. Ezekiel chapter 45 prophesies about Pesach being celebrated in the Messianic Era by putting blood on the door frames of the Millennial Temple, on the four corners of the Altar, and on the supports of the gate to the Inner Courtyard.
The ‘appointed time’ of Yeshua
“He [Yeshua] replied, ‘Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, “The Teacher says: My ‘appointed time’ is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house’” (Matthew 26:18).
The ‘appointed time’ of Passover was celebrated by Yeshua in the upper room with his disciples. Using two cups of wine and unleavened bread from the traditional Passover seder, he began to renew the covenant given to Israel at Mount Sinai (Luke 22). However, in order to institute the new covenant, there had to be the shedding of blood –– His blood.
Another cup of wine, a third cup, was also poured at a traditional seder to remember the plague judgments on Egypt with the final one being the death of the firstborn. Yeshua didn’t mention this cup of wine at his seder probably because he knew the cup of judgment –– death –– was upon him as the Lamb of God. Even though he prayed earnestly for his Father to allow this cup to ‘pass over’ him, he knew he had to complete his ‘appointed time.’ There would be no lamb’s blood on the doorposts of his Father’s house to protect his life. His blood was going to be poured out.
Isaac, Abraham’s beloved son, experienced the ‘pass over’ when the blood of a ram saved him from death (Genesis 22). The ‘binding of Isaac’ became the prophetic vision of redemption for God’s people. When God allowed the firstborn sons of the Hebrews to live through the plague of death with the substitute sacrifice of a lamb, He again revealed His plan of redemption. When Yeshua hung on the cross, he drank the seder’s final cup, the cup of completion. Crying out the words, “It is finished,” Yeshua fulfilled the ‘appointed time’ of Passover and the redemption of Israel and the world began.
“For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
If you are interested in celebrating the Passover, use our Passover Haggadah booklet. A Children’s Haggadah with pictures to color, mazes and word searches complement the Passover Haggadah.
For more about Yeshua fullfilling the ‘appointed times,’ purchase Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts.
©2000 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this blog post, please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.