Posts Tagged ‘Pesach’

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

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

Passover Haggadah

“The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness” (Psalm 38:19).

Passover is a story that has been retold for thousands of years. It is the account of God’s miraculous deliverance of His people from slavery to freedom, from despair to hope, from darkness to light. It encompasses the eternal truths of His character and personal involvement with His people. It endures as a testimony to His grace and merciful redemption because of the faithful who have told the story to their children from the time of ancient Egypt through the days of Messiah until this very day.

Our Passover Haggadah is a compilation from several different sources: the Covenant Community Church in McCook, Nebraska, two Messianic Haggadahs that were formatted from a traditional Jewish one, and our own personal insights from years of celebrating the memorial to the LORD’s Passover.

Messiah Yeshua is the reality in the shadows of Passover and his last Passover seder is central to our Haggadah. From it you will learn more about your Savior, his words to his followers and this ”appointed time” of God.

Use the How-to celebrate Passover to prepare your table and food in order to have a memorable celebration.

Kindle edition available on Amazon.com.

Parashah 15: Bo (Go)

To read this Torah portion, please purchase “Open My Eyes – Wonders of Torah” on Amazon.com. Thank you.