Passover and Yeshua

“When the time came, Yeshua and the emissaries reclined at the table, and he said to them, “I have really wanted so much to celebrate this Seder with you before I die!” (Luke 22:14-15).

In the recent years, I have begun to hear believers in Yeshua say that he didn’t actually celebrate the Passover with his disciples. After all, how could he be the sacrifice and celebrate the ‘appointed time’ with a sacrifice? There are big-name ministries suggesting that he celebrated at another time and even creating whole feasts because of this idea which ultimately makes null and void Yeshua becoming the ‘sacrificial lamb’ at Passover. The confusion lies in the many traditions that have developed over the centuries regarding Passover coupled with a lot of ignorance and even some arrogance from the nations who have joined Isra’el by separating themselves from the Jewish people, the natural branches.

Did Yeshua really celebrate Passover with his disciples? I tend to take the Scriptures more literally and when Yeshua says that he really wanted to celebrate this particular Passover with his disciples, it was what he meant and did. He was not wishful thinking (another argument I have heard). As indicated by Sha’ul, Yeshua actually celebrated the Passover, was betrayed and then died.

“For what I received from the Lord is just what I passed on to you — that the Lord Yeshua, on the night he was betrayed, took bread; and after he had made the b’rakhah [blessing] he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this as a memorial to me”;  likewise also the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant effected by my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, as a memorial to me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).

In the beginning, God created days from evening to evening. This means that a ‘day’ actually began at sunset. This year, 2020, Passover is April 8 and sunset begins at 7:03 p.m. in Jerusalem (for those who need specifics). That’s when the ‘day’ begins and at the next sunset 7:04 p.m. that ‘day’ will end.

In the days of the Temple during that 24-hour time period, there were two sacrifices – the morning sacrifice and the evening. The evening sacrifice was actually done at 3 p.m. before the next day began. So, with this little bit of knowledge, let’s look at the Passover, the original one in Exodus.

Egypt

When Moshe told the Israelites to take a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts, it would have had to be before sunset on the 14th day of the month. Why? Because by sunset beginning the 14th day of the month, the families should have been their homes with the blood on the doorposts, eating the lamb, the unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. They would have remained in their homes until morning after God delivered the last plague upon Egypt – the death of the firstborn.

Sometime during the daytime of the 14th, Pharaoh told Moshe to leave, to take the Hebrews/mixed multitude and get them out of his country. They loaded up their belongings, took plunder from the Egyptians and left the land of their slavery. By the evening, they were heading toward freedom and the Land of Promise. The memorial to this specific event is the 15th day of the month (Exodus 12). Hence days of Matzah when their bread didn’t rise.

Jerusalem

Fast forward to the Passover of Yeshua. In Luke 22:8, he told his disciples to go prepare for the Passover. Everyone who celebrates the Biblical holy days knows the daytime before the sunset arrives is known as a ‘preparation day.’ So on or around 3 p.m. on the 13th day of the month, there was a sacrifice of a lamb for the seder meal, the sacrifice of preparation.

After sunset, beginning the 14th day of the month, Yeshua reclined at the table with his disciples. He shared one cup of wine with them and they shared it with each other. He explained the sacrifice required to institute the promised new covenant with a second cup of wine and unleavened bread. During the evening meal, Judas leaves. Yeshua and his disciples spend the evening on the Mount of Olives. They sleep. He prays. Judas returns with soldiers who take him to the Sanhedrin to be tried as a criminal, blasphemer.

During the early morning hours, the leaders of Isra’el take Yeshua to Pilate who washes his hands of the ordeal and sends them to Herod. Herod sends him back to Pilate who offers Barabbas to be killed, but the people cry out for Yeshua’s death. By noon, he is taken to Golgotha and hung on the cross. He dies, as the Passover lamb of God, at the evening sacrifice on the 14th day of the month, 3 p.m. Voilá. He can celebrate the Passover and be the sacrificial Lamb.

Because it is ‘preparation day’ for the sabbath of Unleavened Bread, he is removed from the cross and buried quickly. As a memorial to the days of Matzah, our sinless Savior is set free from this life to become in three days’ time the Firstfruits of those who are raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20). The mention of Sabbath in Luke 22 regarding Unleavened Bread cannot be the weekly Sabbath. If it had been, Yeshua would not have been in the tomb three days and three nights and would have effectively nullified his own prophecy using Jonah in the belly of the whale. The sabbath mentioned is the ‘sabbath’ of the beginning of Unleavened Bread as the Feasts of the LORD were called ‘sabbaths’.

In order for Yeshua to fulfill the ‘appointed times’ of his Father, he had to celebrate/become them as they are written in the Scriptures. Though there are many variations today, like Matzah and Passover being one unified celebration, how it happened in the time of Moshe must concur with the memorials described in the Scriptures for Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection.

“Go into the city, to so-and-so,” he replied, “and tell him that the Rabbi says, ‘My time is near, my talmidim and I are celebrating Pesach at your house” (Matthew 26:18).

The word ‘time’ in this verse is the Greek kairos and means ‘opportunity,’ ‘fitting time,’ or ‘season.’ The NIV translates the the word as ‘appointed time,’ following the idea of ‘season’ or moed pointing to the Feasts of the LORD. The Amplified Bible states clearly that Yeshua is to keep the ‘appointed time’ of Passover with his disciples.

“He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time [to suffer and atone for sin] is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples” (Matthew 26:18 AMP).

In These Days

With so many non-Jews entering the Commonwealth of Isra’el, it is important to know and understand the Scriptural foundation for the Feasts of the LORD and Yeshua’s centrality to them all. It is also important to know and understand the Jewish traditions that have developed over the centuries and discard them if they nullify a commandment (Mark 17, Isaiah 29:13). However, it is also important that when non-Jews begin to discern the difference between helpful traditions or nullifying traditions that we do not create new traditions or doctrines that effectively nullify the very commandments we are trying to obey.

For example, without a Temple there can be no sacrificial lamb. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat lamb at Passover, but it does mean you should not sacrifice a lamb for Passover. There is only one place for sacrifice and that is the Temple in Jerusalem. Until there is a Temple in Jerusalem, no sacrificing lambs or goats or anything else. Another example, when the Hebrews ate their Passover meal, they were told to have their staffs in hand and sandals on their feet in order to leave quickly. By the time of Yeshua, the children of Isra’el reclined at their tables because they were no longer enslaved. To wear sandals and hold a staff is a wonderful teaching tool, but if we have been set free from sin and death through the blood of the Lamb, we should relax and enjoy the seder, even reclining if you are so inclined.

Finally, may we never forget that Isra’el was called to be a light to the nations and from them came the Light of the World. It is possible to embrace the traditions of the Jewish people (without breaking any commandments) and learn more about the God of Isra’el and His Son, Yeshua of Nazareth by celebrating the Passover with a seder. As non-Jews, we are called to make them envious of the Light of the World, and we cannot do that if we are implementing all manner of nonsense into the ‘appointed times’ as they were given by Elohim.

“Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed.  So let us celebrate the Seder not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Leave a Reply

*