Archive for the ‘Passover’ Category

Passover or Communion?

When my oldest daughter was very young, she asked “Why do some churches at communion drink wine first and then give you bread while others offer the bread first and then drink the wine?” What a powerful question from an eight-year-old child.  We wanted to answer her question so we opened to Luke 22 to read the account of Yeshua and ‘communion’.   

“Then, taking a cup of wine, he [Yeshua] made the blessing and said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on, I will not drink the ‘fruit of the vine’ until the Kingdom of God comes.’ Also, taking a piece of matzah [unleavened bread], he made the blessing, broke it, gave it to them and said, ‘This is my body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of me.’  He did the same with the cup after the meal, saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by my blood, which is being poured out for you’ (Luke 22:17-20).

According to Luke’s account, we saw there were two cups of wine, one before eating the bread and one after. Backing up to read the verses in context,

“Then came the day of matzah [unleavened bread], on which the Passover lamb had to be killed. Yeshua sent Peter and John, instructing them, “Go and prepare our Seder, so we can eat.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” He told them, “As you’re going into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters, and say to its owner, ‘The Rabbi says to you, “Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Pesach [Passover] meal with my disciples?” ‘He will show you a large room upstairs already furnished; make the preparations there.”  They went and found things just as Yeshua had told them they would be, and they prepared for the Seder.  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! For I tell you, it is certain that I will not celebrate it again until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God.”

By putting the wine and bread in context, we noticed more details.   Yeshua was celebrating a traditional Passover seder with all of its unique preparations.  It was a special Passover and Yeshua wanted to celebrate it with his disciples because he would not celebrate it again until it was fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.  In context, Yeshua wasn’t doing ‘communion,’ he was taking part in a traditional Jewish seder. 

The Hebrew word seder means ‘order’.  In a Passover seder there is an order to telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt.  It includes talking about the plagues, the sacrificial lamb, and the death of the firstborn.  While celebrating this memorial to God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt’s kingdom of darkness into His Kingdom of Light, Yeshua instituted the new covenant.   Since our family had already been celebrating the Passover for several years, we understood those two cups of wine and the unleavened bread Yeshua used during the seder.    

The first Cup of Wine was shared among the disciples which unified them and set them apart from the rest of the world as ‘holy to him’ – his beloved Bride.    This is known as sanctification and the first Cup of Wine in a Passover seder is called the Cup of Sanctification. 

Along with some unleavened bread, a cup of wine is consumed after the meal.  This is known as the Cup of Justification.  It is through the broken body (the unleavened bread of affliction) and the blood of Messiah that we are justified and redeemed back to God.  This is the ‘cup and bread’ used in communion.

From my daughter’s question came another quesiton: Why doesn’t communion include two cups of wine when Yeshua used two cups of wine? Where did the idea of communion come from when Yeshua was specifically celebrating a Passover seder and we are told to do the same by Paul:

“Get rid of the old hametz [soured dough], 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 [Passover] Seder not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

Origins of Communion or Lord’s Supper

“Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is … a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1418). 

The Blessed Sacrament is a devotional term used in the Roman catholic church that refers to ‘communion’.  It is further delineated as eucharist  which specifically means the bread and wine transubstantiates into the body and blood of Christ.  The key term here is ‘transubstantiates’ which means that the bread and wine actually turn into the substance of the body and blood of Christ and only the appearance of bread and wine remain. 

According to the catholic church, the eucharist or communion is not a memorial to the work of Christ on the cross, but a repetitive sacrifice each time the eucharist is taken. First Corinthians 10:16 is often used as the ‘proof’ verse:

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Messiah? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Messiah?” (1 Corinthians 10:16).

However, this verse only describes what the wine and bread represent – a connection or relationship with fellow believers and with Messiah.  It is not meant to be given some specific title like blessed sacrament or communion. A more accurate rendering of the verse would be:

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not the fellowship of the blood of Messiah? The bread that we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Messiah?”

The Greek word translated as “communion” is koinonia which means “fellowship.”   There is no Scriptural basis for the terms ‘The Lord’s Supper’ or ‘Communion’ when describing Yeshua’s last evening with his disciples.  When believers eat unleavened bread and drink wine remembering Yeshua’s sacrificial atonement, the correct Scriptural description is called Passover.  The Scriptures also make it clear that Yeshua’s sacrifice was once and for all time;  it is not a repetitive act. 

“For Messiah also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God” (Romans 6:10).

The Proclamation

“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 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.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes.Therefore, whoever eats the Lord’s bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of desecrating the body and blood of the Lord!” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Paul states in 1 Corinthians 11 that every time we celebrate the Passover by drinking the wine and eating the unleavened bread, we are proclaiming Yeshua’s death until he returns.  Never once in my years of growing up in the Lutheran church did I understand or know that part of my communion experience.  Not once.  This is because ALL communion sacraments are from catholic roots and  always about sacrifice and death, not hope.  

Paul also says that all who drink in an unworthy manner desecrate the body and blood of the Lord.  Could it be  the eucharist is really “trampling underfoot the blood of Messiah and insulting the grace of God” and holds  great punishment? (Hebrews 10:29).

So let a person examine himself first, and then he may eat of the bread and drink from the cup; for a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. This is why many among you are weak and sick, and some have died! If we would examine ourselves, we would not come under judgment” (1 Corinthians 11:27-31).

Paul, as a Jew,  understands the significance of the Cup of Sanctification.   If we do not examine ourselves and recognize the body of Messiah, we bring judgment upon ourselves.  How we treat our brothers and sisters in the Kingdom of God, the Body of Messiah,  has a direct result on how weak and sick we become; how we may even die an early death!  This is a judgment because we don’t examine our motives or our actions within the community of believers.   

As we learned in our little study, there is only one cup ever consumed in communion and that cup is Justification, not Sanctification.  The concept of becoming sanctified, holy, and set apart for God through introspection and alignment with the commandments of God has become lost in a tradition of the catholic church and embraced by every Christian denomination.   They drink to be justified,  but they do not drink to be sanctified.  Those who celebrate the Passover as a memorial to Yeshua’s atonement have a unique place in the Body of Messiah.  As they proclaim Yeshua’s return, they illuminate the new covenant he instituted for his very own Jewish brothers and sisters who look for his arrival.  

Choose This Day

Yeshua and his disciples

Yeshua never meant for the two cups of wine and unleavened bread of Passover to be dissected into a few moments of eating a wafer of bread and a sip wine on a daily,  weekly or bi-weekly basis in a church setting.  In fact, Paul’s admonitions to the Corinthians seems as if they had already begun to dismantle Passover into a communion food festival at their weekly gatherings.   This was not supposed to be happening.   They were to ‘keep the Passover’ with the unleavened bread truth while proclaiming the Lord’s death until he returned.  They were to ‘keep the Passover’ with the unleavened bread of purity showing the unity of their faith and honoring one another as co-heirs of the Kingdom in Messiah. 

Communion, one of the church’s deeply-held dogmas is not found in the Scriptures.  Neither Yeshua, his disciples, Paul or even the early congregations celebrated a communion service.  Communion is rooted in the catholic eucharist created by Rome centuries ago.  

To answer my daughter’s question: Because they celebrate a communion service, the bread and wine have no ‘seder’ or order.  It has nothing to do with the Passover that Yeshua celebrated with his disciples on the night he was betrayed.

©2016 Tentstake Ministries

Feasts of the Lord: Shadows and Realities

“What will you do on the day of your appointed festivals, on the feast days of the LORD?” (Isaiah 9:5).

“Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me” (Revelation 3:20).

There are many different calendars in the world today.  There is the Gregorian/Julian calendar which is internationally accepted as the civil calendar.  This calendar begins in January and ends in December and includes American holidays like New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

There is the Liturgical calendar that was generated by the Roman catholic church with the holidays that have been universally embraced by the Christian church worldwide.  On this calendar is the weekly Sunday and yearly dates for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.

There is also the Biblical calendar established by God with Israel at Mount Sinai.  This calendar focuses on the weekly and annual festival days called The Feasts of the LORD.  These are the ‘appointed times’ that God has set to meet with His people in prophetic ways.

The Mo’edim or ‘appointed times’

The Hebrew word for ‘feasts or festivals’ is mo’edim and means ‘appointed times.’  Within the meaning of mo’ed is the idea of  a ‘meeting of two or more at a certain place and time.’ Mo’edim  is the word used in Genesis 1:14 for the word ‘seasons‘ when God created the sun, moon and stars.  The Feasts of the LORD, found in Leviticus 23 are prophetic seasons, meeting times of the LORD, determined by the sun, moon and stars.   From the Creation account, days are rendered sunset to sunset as ‘there was evening and morning,’ for each day.   Months are approximately 28 days based on the lunar cycle of new moon, full moon, and crescent moons.  Years are determined by the  constellations that move across the heavens.

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies” (Leviticus 23:1).

The ‘’appointed times’ given by God were called sacred assemblies or holy convocations. In Hebrew, the word for ‘assembly’ or ‘convocation’ is mikrah. This word has its root in qara and means to ‘call out loudly’ or be ‘invited.’  Mikrah has the added nuance of  meaning ‘rehearsal’ and associates the ‘appointed times’ of God with being invited to a rehearsal dinner

These ‘appointed times’ were not given just to the Tribes of Israel, but also to those Egyptians who had heeded Moses’ command to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts.  This mixed multitude of men, women and children left Egypt and became one community known as Israelites at Mt. Sinai. 

The ‘appointed times’ of the LORD had agricultural foundations with festivals for firstfruits and harvests allowing for each festival to have a prophetic vision to the complete redemptive plan of God.  Each festival held a shadow of the Messiah who was, is, and will be.   Yeshua became the reality of the spring ‘appointed times’; he will become the reality of the fall festivals at their ‘appointed times.’

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that are coming; the reality, however, is found in Messiah” (Colossians 2:16-17).

This verse in Colossians has been used as a proof-text that gentiles or non-Jewish believers don’t need to celebrate the Biblically ‘appointed times’ because they have Jesus in their lives. Instead of understanding the Scripture in the context that judgment should not come from Jews when gentiles join together with them in celebrating their holy days, they rid themselves from what is found in the reality of Messiah.

This inherited lie has kept the believing gentile separated from their full inheritance in the Messiah of Israel. Instead of accepting the spiritual blessings that come from celebrating the Sabbath, the Festivals and the New Moon, they reject the very substance of Yeshua’s prophetic life in their own.

Shadows and realities go together.  Shadows imply that there is some substance causing it because something of substance causes a shadow.  If we are in Messiah and he in us, then we have the light that brings the reality out of the shadows.  The shadows spoken of in these verses to the Colossians are in the progressive present tense, that are coming,  meaning that they are still in process in the present and have yet to all be fulfilled.

Weekly ‘appointed time’

Sabbath is the first ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly.  You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:3).

Present Shadow and Reality

The seventh day Sabbath is a memorial to Creation ‘in the beginning.’  It is so important that God included it in the 10 Commandments as well as listed it as the first of the mo’edim. Yeshua taught that God made the Sabbath for mankind and he is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 8:12, Mark 2:27).   

First of Months and the Spring Feasts

These mo’edim of the LORD have been fulfilled by Yeshua on their appointed day and time.  The first three represent the past work of Yeshua, justifying the individual before  God and bringing the hope of redemption to the world. 

Passover is the second ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their ‘appointed time’s: The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month” (Leviticus 23:4-5).

Shadow:

The Passover mo’ed is a memorial to the deliverance of the people of God from Egypt through the blood of the lamb.  They were taken from a life of slavery to a life of freedom.  They were taken from the darkness of a pagan world into the light of the God’s Kingdom.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua is our Passover lamb.  Through his sacrificial death, we are taken from a life of slavery to sin to a life of freedom in righteousness.  We are taken from the darkness of the sinful world to the light of the Kingdom of God.

Unleavened Bread is the third ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come” (Exodus 12:17).

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt.  They had no time to let their bread dough rise. 

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua was the sinless, unleavened bread of life.  He was hastily taken off the cross and buried before the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.  He was wrapped in cloths and put in a tomb.

Feast of Firstfruits is the fourth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“‘On the day of firstfruits, when you present to the Lord an offering of new grain during the Festival of Weeks, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work” (Numbers 28:26).

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the firstfruits of the wheat harvest.  It is celebrated on the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath following Passover.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua rose from the dead and ascended to his Father and offered himself as the first sheaf of grain from the harvest.

The Feast of Weeks is the fifth ‘appointed time’ given by The LORD.

“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:15-16).

Shadow:

There are 50 days between the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks called Counting the Omer.  For 40 of these days Yeshua walked on the earth, met and ate with his disciples.  Then, he ascended into heaven.

Fulfilled Reality:

The Spirit of God came mightily upon the Jewish believers as part of the promised new covenant.  Tongues of fire rested on them and filled them with power to speak in other languages enabling those who heard the message to take the gospel to the nations.   This festival represents the present work of Yeshua sanctifying the individual through the Holy Spirit and preparing him for the world to come.

Fall ‘appointed times’

“For the revelation awaits an ‘appointed time’; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).

These mo’edim of the LORD have not yet been fulfilled by Yeshua.  This is the future work of Yeshua restoring the glory of God to Israel and the nations.  These ‘appointed times’ are a vision of hope.

The Feast of Trumpets is the sixth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts” (Leviticus 23:23).

Shadow:

The Feast of Trumpets is a memorial to something that has not yet happened. 

Reality: To Come

At the trumpet call of God, the dead will be raised and changed from mortal to immortality.

The Day of Atonement is the seventh ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,[d] and present a food offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:26).

Shadow:

On this day, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and made atonement for himself and the nation of Israel.

Reality: To Come

On this day, our High Priest, Yeshua will enter the Holy of Holies in the restored Temple and all Israel will be saved. 

Feast of Tabernacles is the eighth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days” (Leviticus 23:34).

Shadow:

The Feast of Tabernacles is a memorial to the Tabernacle in the wilderness when the LORD lived among His people. 

Reality: To Come

When Yeshua returns, he will Tabernacle with the nation of Israel and rule the nations from the restored Temple in Jerusalem.

The Eternal Sabbath

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”

(Revelation 21:3).

Shadow:

We are living in the shadow of the eternal Sabbath with the vision of a remaining Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:8).

Reality: To Come

The restoration of the Kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven.  God will dwell with mankind. 

The weekly and annual cycle of The Feasts of the LORD give us the complete picture of God’s plan of salvation.   Yeshua was, is and will be the reality in each and every mo’edim.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound (who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts); they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance”

(Psalm 89:15,  The Amplified Bible).

©2010 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

Journey With Jeremiah

Journey with Jeremiah

(Purchase on Amazon, Book or Kindle)

Have you ever felt like you’ve ‘inherited lies’ in your faith? That something was missing and you needed more to grow in the grace as well as the knowledge of the Lord?  Well, we did and this is our family’s journey of how we ‘tore down’ those lies,  ‘replanted’ and built up a re-newed covenant walk of faith in the Messiah of Israel using scriptures in Jeremiah as our vision.  This book is written with reasoned and documented Biblical responses to questions we have been asked and challenged with over the past 30 years.  This book is a unique tool for those just learning about their Biblical heritage or needing a reference that explains to friends and family how you have not ‘fallen from grace’, but want to walk as Yeshua/Jesus taught and as the chosen, redeemed, holy nation of people of God should.

We are not theologians, scholars or even affiliates with any ‘brand name’ ministry or teachers. We are  believers in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, who desired to know Him and our Father more deeply.  The Spirit of God was faithful to teach us.

 

“I just finished your book.  I loved it!  It had some amazing and profound insights.  Great job!” D. Carlson

“”This book is so good I can’t put it down.  Everyone should have a copy!  My Bible study group could learn so much from this book.” A. David

“I am going to buy a copy of this book for everyone in my family.”  K. Pilger

“I am so excited that all of your writings are now in one book that I can read and reread.” P. Nelson

“Thanks so much for writing this book.  I look forward to joining you on your Jeremiah Journey!”  D. Griffith

“I have been learning so much from reading your book!”  S. Campos

“This book changed my walk of faith in such a profound way.” R. Woods

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

The LORD’s Passover – Pesach

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“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).

The LORD’s Passover is the first annual Feast of the LORD.  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, or Pesach in Hebrew, began Israel’s physical redemption as God’s holy nation and they were to  remember their salvation from death to life in the ‘appointed time’ called Passover. 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Passover or Pesach – פסח

Peh פ – A Mouth means ‘to speak, pour out’

Samech ס  A Prop means ‘to support and protect’

Chet ח – A Fence means ‘inner chamber’

The Hebrew word picture for pesach: “To pour out protection in the inner chamber.”

For hundreds of years the descendants of Jacob were enslaved in Egypt building Pharaoh great cities.  They were oppressed with hard labor from digging clay to making bricks and all kinds of field work.  They were shown no mercy by their overseers.  In spite of the  oppression, their population increased.  Pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill all baby boys as they were born, but because they feared God, they let the boys live.  Pharaoh then ordered that all baby boys be thrown 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 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 Hebrew people.   In a moment of anger, he killed a man.  When word of it spread to Pharaoh, he feared for his life and ran to the land of Midian on the northwest Arabian peninsula.  He became a shepherd and married Tzipporah, the daughter of a Midian priest.    They had two sons named Gershom and Elieazer.   

God heard the cries of the children of Israel.  He saw their bondage and their misery.  Through a burning bush, He called Moshe to become their deliverer.  He told Moshe to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let His people go.  Even so, God warned Moshe that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart until he understood through the death of his firstborn son that Israel is the firstborn son of God.  Armed with a staff in his hand and the name of God – the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the “I Am that I Am”- Moses started out for Egypt.  During his journey, Moshe met Aaron and they returned to confront Pharaoh together.

Egypt was culture of death.   Their gods and goddesses glorified death.   Their Pharaohs were immortalized in grand pyramid tombs filled with symbols of death.   Their book for immortalizing those who passed on was called the “Book of the Dead.”   So God gave them what they worshipped and honored the most – death.

Through Moshe, God judged each of the gods of Egypt with plagues: water to blood, frogs, gnats or lice, flies, cattle disease, boils, hailstones, locusts, and darkness.   The people of Egypt suffered.  The land of Egypt suffered.  Even with the loss of livestock and crops, Pharaoh would not relent and set his slaves free.  Then, God’s  ‘appointed time’ of deliverance arrived.

“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).

Preparations Begin

“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).

Though the children of Israel experienced the first three plagues against Egypt, God separated them from the rest.  In order to protect His people from the death of the firstborn, He 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. 

“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).

After caring for their animals for four days, the Israelites were to slaughter them at twilight, after sunset, when the sun is below the horizon and a soft glowing light emanates from the sky.  They were to put some of the animal’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 ח and represents the number 8 and ‘new beginnings.‘   The word ‘life’ or chaim also comes from chet and means ‘life.’  The manner in which the blood was placed around the door sides and top formed the letter chet for a new beginning of life.

ח

“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).

As the Israelites remained in their homes, the blood on their doorposts would be a sign for God, the Destroyer.  When He saw the sign of the blood, He would ‘pass over’ the firstborn sons who were in the home protected by blood while allowing the firstborn 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).

The Passover meal consisted of roasted lamb, bread without leaven, and bitter herbs.  The Israelites were not to break the bones of the lamb or take any of the meal outside of their homes.  They were to eat it in haste.

“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).

Lasting Ordinance

“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). 

Passover was to be celebrated forever throughout all the generations of the Israelites no matter where they lived.  There were also specific regulations regarding the Passover.  No foreigner, slave or traveler was to eat the meal unless they were circumcised.  Once circumcised,  they would be considered a citizen of Israel and could take part in the meal.   The meal was always to be eaten in the house and no meat was to be taken outside.  The bones of the Passover lamb were never to be broken.

In Joshua chapter 5, there is the account of the Israelites celebrating Passover in Gilgal after taking flint knives and circumcising all the men who had come out of the wilderness.  In 2 Kings 23, Josiah destroys all the high places and idols in Israel and the nation celebrates Passover in Jerusalem for the first time since the days of the Judges.  In Ezra chapter 6, when the Israelites returned from captivity, all who renounced the pagan practices of the nations celebrated the Passover.  Ezekiel 45 speaks about Passover being celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom by putting blood on the door-frames of the Temple, on the four corners of the Altar’s ledge and on the supports of the gate of the Inner Courtyard.   

The ‘appointed time’ of Messiah

“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 with his disciples.  Using two cups of wine and unleavened bread from the traditional Passover memorial called a seder, he began to renew the marriage 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 plague of  death was coming for him as the Lamb of God.  Even though he prayed earnestly for his Father to allow the cup of death to ‘pass over’ him, he knew he had to go forth with his Father’s plan.  There would be no lamb’s blood on the doorposts of any house to protect his life.  His blood was going to be poured out. 

“They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn …” (Numbers 8:16).

Isaac, the beloved firstborn son of Abraham, had experienced the ‘passover’ when the blood of a ram saved him from death.  This ‘binding of Isaac’ became the vision of redemption for God’s people.  When God allowed the firstborn the sons of Israel to live through the plague of death with the substitute sacrifice, He again revealed His plan of salvation through a lamb.   When Yeshua hung on the cross, he cried out, “It is finished.”  With those words he died. The beginning of the salvation of Israel and the world began with the substitute sacrifice of the Lamb of God. 

“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.

©2000 Tenstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

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