Posts Tagged ‘Pesach’

Parashah 15: Bo (Go)

Parashah 15: Exodus 10:1-13:16

Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have made him and his servants hardhearted, so that I can demonstrate these signs of mine among them, so that you can tell your son and grandson about what I did to Egypt and about my signs that I demonstrated among them, and so that you will all know that I am Adonai.’ Moshe and Aharon went in to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Here is what Adonai, God of the Hebrews, says: How much longer will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so that they can worship me’” (Exodus 10:1-2).

This parashah is entitled Bo.  In Hebrew, bo has two meanings: Go and Come.  As Elohim continues to judge Egypt, He is bringing Pharaoh to the place where he tells the Hebrews to “Go” while also preparing the Israelites to “Come” to Him.   This parashah describes the last three judgments on Egypt and ends with Passover.

Locusts, Locusts, Locusts – Plague 8

“Moshe and Aaron went into Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Here is what Adonai God of the Hebrews says, How much longer will you refuse to submit to me?  Let my people go, so that they can worship me.  Otherwise, if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory.  One won’t be able to see the ground, so completely will the locusts cover it.  They will eat anything that you still have that escaped the hail, including every tree you have growing in the field.  They will fill your houses and those of your servants and all the Egyptians’” (Exodus 10:3-6).

The judgment of the seventh plague is against three of Egypt’s gods: Set, Anubis, and Osiris.  Set, the god of storms and disorder is depicted as an animal with a curved snout, long, rectangular ears, a forked tail, and dog-like body.  He held a scepter which set him apart as a ruler over Egypt except that he had no power over the eastern wind that brought locusts and disorder to the land.

Anubis,  the jackal-headed god associated with death and embalming weighed the heart of a deceased person using an ostrich feather to determine its place in the afterlife.  He also protected the fields.  Under his watch, every fruit tree along with its fruit was devoured.  His power had been quenched by Elohim.   Anubis’ authority over the ‘heart’ of a man was also being challenged by Yahweh’s ability to harden Pharaoh’s heart.  Pharaoh’s servants, not Anubis, began to weigh their leader’s heart and found it lacking when it came to the lives and land of his nation.

Osiris, the central figure in the ‘Order of the Morning Star,’ is the god of the afterlife, underworld and the dead.  He also taught the Egyptians about farming and agriculture.   He is depicted with green skin, a beard, and legs partially wrapped like a mummy.   He wore a crown with two large ostrich feathers and held a crook and flail.  With no green thing left in Egypt, it became clear that Osiris had been defeated by Elohim. 

The day after the plague of hail and fire, Pharaoh learns that locusts will cover his land.  There will be so many locusts that they will eat what the hail and fire had not destroyed.  They will fill the houses from Pharaoh’s palace to the average Egyptian.  With the prospect of this plague, Pharaoh’s servants begin to rebel against him.

“Let the people go and worship Adonai their God.  Don’t you understand yet that Egypt is being destroyed?” (Exodus 10:7)  

Pharaoh considers what his servants said and calls Moshe and Aaron.  He tells them they may go worship Elohim; however he wants to know who is actually leaving with them.  Moshe explains the Hebrews will take everyone,  their young and old, their sons and daughters, their flocks and herds.

Pharaoh’s response:  “Adonai will certainly be with you if I ever let you go with your children.  It’s clear that you are up to no good. Nothing doing!  Just the men among you may go and worship Adonai” (Exodus 10:11). 

The plague arrived by an east wind that blew on Egypt all day and night.  In the morning, the locusts invaded more severely than ever before or would ever again.  They completely covered the ground so that it looked black.  They ate every plant growing from the ground and all the fruit on the trees left by hail.  Nothing green remained, not a tree nor a plant in the fields in all of Egypt.

Pharaoh’s response: ”I have sinned against Adonai your God and against you.  Now, therefore, please forgive my sin just this once; and intercede with Adonai your God, so that he will at least take away from me this deadly plague!” (Exodus 10:17)

Pharaoh calls Moshe and Aaron and confesses he has sinned against Elohim. He  asks them to intercede for him as his gods have no power.  Yahweh reverses the wind and it blows from the west so forcefully that it drives the locusts into the Mediterranean Sea so that not one locust remained on Egyptian soil.

“But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he didn’t let the people of Isra’el go” (Exodus 10:20).

Darkness, Darkness, Darkness – Plague 9

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Reach out your hand toward the sky, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness so thick it can be felt!’” (Exodus 10:21)

The judgment of the eighth plague is against Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun.   He is depicted as a man with the head of a hawk and had a sun disc or sun halo over his head with a coiled serpent.  It is from Ra that catholicism puts halos or shooting rays of the sun on the heads of their ‘saints’ or gods.  Ra was worshipped by the Egyptians as the supreme creator.  Elohim proves the sun god was no match for the deep darkness in the souls of the Egyptians. They spent three days and three nights in the tomb of death’s abyss. 

Pharaoh receives no warning for this judgment. As soon as Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, Yahweh tells Moshe to reach his hand out to the sky.  A darkness that could be felt covered the entire land of Egypt for three days.  It was so dark that the Egyptians couldn’t see anything. No one could go anywhere for three days.  But in Goshen,  all the children of Isra’el had light in their homes.

Pharaoh’s response: “Go, worship Adonai, only leave your flocks and herds behind – take your children with you” (Exodus 10:24).

Pharaoh permits the Israelites to leave and take their children with them; however, they must leave their flocks and herds behind.  This is not a sufficient response for Moshe who reminds Pharaoh that in order to worship ‘I Am,’ they will need their animals for sacrifice.

Pharaoh responds with a prophecy not realizing that his own words will return to him.

“But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he would not let them go.  Pharaoh said to them, ‘Get away from me!  And you have better not see my face again, because the day you see my face, you will die!’” (Exodus 10:28)

Moshe answers: “Well spoken!  I will see your face no more!” (Exodus 10:29)

Death of the Firstborn – Plague 10

“Moshe said, ‘Here is what Adonai 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 hand mill, 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 Isra’el, neither against people nor against animals. In this way you will realize that Yahweh distinguishes between Egyptians and Isra’el.  All your servants will come down to me, will 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)

The tenth and final judgment is against Pharaoh, the god over all Egypt. He is given a prophetic warning about what is going to happen in his land, his people and his own family.  From the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the slave girl to the firstborn of all the livestock, all the firstborn in Egypt will die. 

To understand the seriousness of the final plague, it is important understand the hierarchy in Egypt. The firstborn had absolute power within the family unit.  Pharaoh was the firstborn of a firstborn of a firstborn and so on, and through this birthright he came into power.  The judgment against the firstborn was the final judgment against a cultural system where the oldest ruled over the youngest and the lower class needed slaves to control and dominate.

Selah

Moshe leaves Pharaoh’s presence ‘hot with anger.’

The Destroyer

The focus switches from Pharaoh and Egypt to Yahweh’s people, Isra’el.  Moshe and Aaron are no longer messengers to Pharaoh, but prophets to the Israelites. Through them Yahweh prepares His people for His Passover and their deliverance from Egypt.   He begins by sanctifying time. 

“You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you” (Exodus 12:1).

Beginning with a new moon, Elohim’s calendar would begin.  There are some who teach the timing of this new moon with the barley being ripe or aviv, but all the barley had been destroyed in Egypt would not have been a credible marker.  Along with the moon, Elohim set the stars in the heavens as signs to mark His seasons or mo’edim.  As an agricultural community, the Hebrews would have understood the new month began with the first new moon with the proper spring constellations in place.  Once the new month was established, they could begin counting the days, sunset to sunset until the tenth day of the month.

“Speak to all the assembly of Isra’el and say, ‘On the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb or kid for his family, one per household — except that if the household is too small for a whole lamb or kid, then he and his next-door neighbor should share one, dividing it in proportion to the number of people eating it” (Exodus 12:3-4)

Each family was to take a lamb from their flock and keep the animal until the fourteenth day of the month when the entire community was to slaughter it at dusk.  They were to take some of the blood and smear it with hyssop on the sides and top of the door frame at the entrance to the house where the family would eat the lamb.   It was to be roasted in the fire and served with matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs).  Nothing was to remain until morning, leftovers were to be burned up (Exodus 4:6-10).

ח

By smearing blood on the two sides of the door and the top of the door frame, they created the Hebrew letter chet.  The word picture is a ‘fence’ and symbolizes ‘protection in the inner chamber.’    Chet is also the first letter in the word chaim meaning ‘life.’

Hebrew Word Pictures

Life or chai – חיchet, yod

inner room protects like a fence from the hand

“Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:9).

Hyssop, sometimes translated as oregano, is a Biblical herb that is part of the mint family.  It is used for cleansing holy places and objects.  It comes from the Hebrew word ezob which means ‘holy herb.‘ Moshe uses hyssop to sprinkle the ‘blood of the covenant’ on the book of Torah (Exodus 24:8).  Hyssop was used to bring vinegar to Yeshua’s mouth when he was on the cross (John 19:29).  Today, hyssop grows wild between the stones on the Western Wall in Jerusalem.   This herb was used to spread the lamb’s blood on the doorposts and lintel of individual Hebrew homes symbolizing a cleansing from all the filth and defilement they encountered while enslaved in Egypt.

The children of Isra’el were also told how to eat the meal and what to wear. They were to have their belt fastened, shoes on their feet and their staff in hand.  They were to eat quickly.

“For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals, and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt.  I am Adonai.  The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over you–when I strike the land of Egypt, the death blow will not strike you” (Exodus 10:12-13).

In the movie, “The Ten Commandments,” the ‘angel of death‘ passes over Egypt.  However, Yahweh is the one going to execute the judgment of death.  It won’t be an angel, but Yahweh.  He will be the Destroyer or mashkhit.  This is not a person, but an attribute of Elohim’s power and an essence of the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.   It is actually in a verb form, not a noun,  and means ‘that which causes destruction’.  Mashkhit is also used for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as in reference to the “lion who would destroy the nations,” or Yeshua (Jeremiah 4:7).   When the Mashkhit sees the blood on the house,  He will passover or pesach that house because it has the ‘fence protection of life.’

There were several reasons for Yahweh’s Pesach. He wanted to once and for all time judge the gods of Egypt and prove their impotence.   He wanted to reveal His power over life and death to Isra’el so they would trust Him as their Deliverer.  And,  He wanted a memorial for their children who would ask questions about the meal and pass the account His great deliverance from one generation to the next. 

“When your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this ceremony? Say, ‘It is the sacrifice of Adonai’s Pesach because Adonai passed over the houses of the people of Isra’el in Egypt, when he killed the Egyptians but spared our houses. The people bowed their heads and worshipped.  Then the people of Isra’el went and did as Adonai had commanded Moshe and Aaron–that is what they did” (Exodus 12:25-28). 

“On that day you are to tell your son, ‘It is because of what Adonai did for me when I left Egypt.  Moreover it will serve as a sign on your hand and as a reminder between your eyes, so that Adonai’s Torah may be on your lips, because with a strong hand Adonai brought you out of Egypt.  Therefore, you are to observe this regulation at its proper time, year after year’” (Exodus 13:8-11).

The traditional Passover meal was developed to insure the authenticity of  memorial celebration. Within the haggadah (the telling), a small child asks four questions about the night and why it’s different from all other nights.  The father answers the questions by explaining what Elohim did when He delivered their ancestors out of Egypt.  Each of the items on the seder (order) plate are a reminder to the eyes and the mouth. 

Yahweh’s Pesach was about more than just delivering the Hebrewsfrom a culture of death.   It was about redemption, buying back His treasured possession from Egypt.  Though the sign of the blood kept the firstborn of the Hebrews alive, the Pesach executed the prophecy given to Abraham of El Shaddai delivering his descendants from 400 years of slavery in a culture of death and bringing them back to the land of promise.

At midnight on the fourteenth day of the month, by the light of the full moon, Mashkhit kills all the firstborn of Egypt from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon to the firstborn of the livestock.  Pharaoh is awakened by horrendous wailing as every house in Egypt had a family member die, including Pharaoh’s firstborn son.   Reeling from the cloud of death, the Egyptians wanted the Hebrews out of their land as quickly as possible.  They didn’t want Elohim to kill them too.

Pharaoh’s response: “Bo.”

“Up and leave my people, both you and the people of Isra’el; and go, serve Adonai as you said.  Take both your flocks and your herds, as you said; and get out of here!  But bless me, too!” (Exodus 12:31-32)

Blessings are only bestowed upon the obedient and Pharaoh has not been obedient.

He does not admit his sin nor does he repent.  He has hardened his heart against Yahweh. He has not listened to the cries of his own people or the wisdom of his servants. He has not accepted his humanity in presence of the deity and power of Yahweh Elohim.  He has not willingly submitted to Yahweh’s command to let Isra’el go.  Only because of his sorrow at the loss of his firstborn, he relents,  but soon after the Hebrews leave Egypt, he is arrogantly chasing them down.  He has cursed Abraham’s children and has brought the curse upon himself, his family and his nation.  The curse is not the ‘fat of the land,’ but the destruction of Egypt.

The First Mo’ed – Pesach

“This Pesach will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation” (Exodus 12:14).

The Hebrews have hope for the first time in four centuries.  They have been given a calendar created by the ‘I AM’ Himself.   On this calendar,  two dates were circled: one for bringing an animal into their house and another for slaughtering and eating it.  Though the Pesach will be a one-time deliverance from Egypt, it will be remembered perpetually.  They aren’t going to remain as slaves or be destroyed by Pharaoh; they will become and remain for all time, through all their generations, the nation of Isra’el (Jeremiah 33:19-22). 

“This is the regulation for the Pesach lamb; no foreigner [non-Jew] is to eat it.  But if anyone has a slave he bought for money, when you have circumcised him, he may eat it.  Neither a traveler nor a hired servant may eat it.  It is to be eaten in one house.  You are not to take any of the meat outside the house , and you are not to break any of its bones.  The whole community of Isra’el is to keep it.  If a foreigner staying with you wants to observe Adonai’s  Pesach, all his males must be circumcised.  Then he may take part and observe it; he will be like a citizen of the land.  But not uncircumcised person is to eat it.  The same teaching is to apply equally to the citizen and to the foreigner living among you” (Exodus 12:43-49).

Elohim gives regulations about Pesach for foreigners and slaves who desire to take part in the memorial as many Egyptians, through the judgments, have become god-fearers.  Any  slave or a foreigner living among the children of Isra’el must become a citizen of Isra’el through circumcision of the flesh.   No uncircumcised person may take part in Pesach, including uncircumcised Israelites.

According to Elohim, circumcision and the faith it symbolizes is necessary for becoming a citizen of Isra’el. This was not about converting to Judaism as Judaism didn’t exist at this time.  It also was about a conversion process as was the situation with the Galatians.  The circumcision of Elohim allowed the slave and foreigner to take part in His mo’ed with His people as one adopted into His family.   For Elohim, circumcision is not a religious act,  it is a sign of the faith covenant He made with Abraham through which all nations are blessed.  Signs are very important to Elohim; the ‘sign’ of the lamb’s blood made the difference between life and death.

Yeshua and Pesach

On the night of Yeshua’s betrayal, he celebrates a Pesach seder with his disciples.   The evening begins as every seder does with a memorial to the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt.  However, as his seder progresses, Yeshua uses the two of the cups of wine and the matzah to renew the marriage covenant that had been broken by the Israelites in the wilderness.  The disciples share the first cup of wine, the Cup of Sanctification,  setting them apart as Yeshua’s betrothed bride.  As with every Jewish marriage betrothal, there was a bride price.  Yeshua takes the second cup of wine, the Cup of Redemption, and explains the payment for his bride will be his broken body and blood, his very life (Luke 22:17-20).

With anti-semitism infiltrating the minds of church fathers in the first centuries, the Pesach seder was reduced to a short ceremony called ‘communion.’   It was no longer used to teach children about Yahweh’s historic deliverance of Isra’el from slavery.  It even lost the fullness of the message Yeshua offered those who would trust in Him: a betrothal,  a bride price and the hope of a marriage feast in the coming Kingdom.

To understand the true purpose of Pesach, it is important to keep it as Elohim commanded the Israelites and the foreigners who joined with them. It was to be a  perpetual memorial  mo’ed throughout the generations of Isra’el, not just until the Messiah came.

Sha’ul, the apostle to the foreigners to the covenant,  tells the Corinthians, a gentile congregation to “celebrate the Pesach Seder.” It is the way followers of Yeshua show forth his death until he comes again, not that his death ended the celebration.  A proper and complete Pesach seder celebrated in truth as a memorial to Yeshua’s work on the cross will unveil the eyes of the Jewish people and renew their covenant relationship with Elohim.

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

The Second Mo’ed – Matzah

“You are to observe the festival of matzah, for on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you are to observe this day from generation to generation by a perpetual regulation” (Exodus 12:17-18).

Pesach is bound to matzah or unleavened bread through the exodus from Egypt.  Both memorials include the removal of chametz from the house and eating bread without leaven.  Chametz is literally ‘soured dough.’  In ancient times, leavening was done through a starter dough called chamtez.  Some of this starter dough or ‘soured dough’ was mixed with flour creating a leavened dough.  More flour was added to the sour dough starter to keep it alive for the next use.  By removing the chametz from their homes, the Israelites were literally throwing away the ‘lump of dough’ and had to eat unleavened bread for seven days until they could make a new starter ((1 Corinthians 5:7).

During the seven days of Matzah, the Israelites were to eat only unleavened bread.  This would remind them of how quickly they left Egypt.

“They baked matzah loaves from the dough they had brought out of Egypt, since it was unleavened; because they had been driven out of Egypt without time to prepare supplies for themselves” (Exodus 12:39).

Like Pesach, Matzah is a perpetual regulation to be celebrated from generation to generation because it is the memorial to the exact day the Israelites were set free from Egyptian slavery.  It is also the exact day that Isra’el had entered Egypt 430 years earlier with Jacob and his family of 70.  Through the blessing of Elohim, the nation had grown to 600,000 men, not including women and children.  The festival of Matzah marked the end of the prophecy given to Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved in a foreign land for 400 years.

“All the people of Isra’el did just as Adonai had ordered Moshe and Aharon.  On that very day, Adonai brought the people of Isra’el out of the land of Egypt by their divisions” (Exodus 12:50-51).

Pidyon Ha-ben – Redemption of the Firstborn

“Set aside for me all the firstborn.  Whatever is firstborn from the womb among the people of Isra’el, both of humans and of animals belongs to me. …When Adonai  brings you into the land of Canaan, … and gives it to you, you are to set apart for Adonai everything that is first from the womb.  Every firstborn male animal will belong to Adonai.  Every firstborn from a donkey, you are to redeem with a lamb, but if you choose not to redeem it, you must break its neck.  But from people, you are to redeem every firstborn son” (Exodus 13:1,11-13).

Because Yahweh protected the firstborn of the Israelites, they became His possession and needed to be redeemed back to their families.  In order to redeem the lives of their firstborn animals, the Israelites needed to sacrifice a lamb.  If they didn’t want to redeem the animal, they were to break its neck.  Firstborn sons of the Israelites were also redeemed with a lamb. In the wilderness, Yahweh takes possession of the tribe of Levi in place of the Israelites’ firstborn sons. The difference between the number of Israelite firstborns and the Levites were ‘bought back’ for 5 shekels of silver each (Numbers 3:40-51).

“With a strong hand Adonai brought us out of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.  When Pharaoh was unwilling to let us go, Adonai killed all the firstborn males in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of humans and the firstborn of animals.  That is why I sacrifice to Adonai any male that is first from the womb of an animal, but all the firstborn of my sons, I redeem.  This will serve as a sign on your hand and at the front of a headband around your forehead that with a strong hand Yahweh brought us out of Egypt” (Exodus 13:14:16).

Yeshua, the Firstborn

“He will call to me, “You are my father, my God, the Rock of my salvation.” I will give him the position of firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. I will keep my grace for him forever, and in my covenant be faithful with him” (Psalm 89:27-29).

“When the time came for their purification according to the Torah of Moshe, they took him up to Yerushalayim to present him to Adonai (as it is written in the Torah of Adonai, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to Adonai’) and also to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the Torah of Adonai’” (Luke 2:22-24).

“Grace and shalom to you from the One who is, who was and who is coming; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Yeshua the Messiah, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the earth’s kings” (Revelation 1:5).

“Also he [Yeshua] is head of the Body, the Messianic Community — he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might hold first place in everything. For it pleased God to have his full being live in his Son and through his Son to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace through him, through having his Son shed his blood by being executed on a stake” (Colossians 1:18-20).

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

2 Kings 23:23

Ezra 6:19

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

Luke 2:22-24

Luke 22:14-15

John 19:31-37

Acts 13:16-17

Hebrews 11:28 

Midrash Bo: Pesach Seder

The traditional Passover seder plate has a lamb shank bone, horse radish, a mixture of apples and nuts, salt water, parsley, and matzah.  Discuss how these items point to Yeshua.  If you have never celebrated a Passover seder, click here.

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article.  For a hard copy of this Torah portion or the complete cycle, please purchase Open My Eyes, Wonders of Torah.

A How To – Celebrate Passover!

Haggadah

The most important part of celebrating Passover is having a ‘guide’ that explains not only what to do, but what you are doing.   When our family began celebrating the Passover many years ago, we used a Messianic Haggadah (a telling of the account)  put out by a well-known Messianic Jewish ministry.  It was simple and exactly what we wanted and needed.

As the years passed and we learned more about Yeshua in the Passover, we found there was a depth that was missing in the traditional-based Haggadah.  We decided that we should write our own.   We incorporated significant traditions that Yeshua used at his last seder into our Passover Haggadah as well as Scriptures that highlighted the shadows that became reality through Him.

Everyone at the seder or at least every two people will need a Haggadah. If you would like to use ours, it can be purchased on amazon.com. We have kept the price minimal with no profit to us so that anyone can afford to buy several or, in the case of a church,  purchase them for their guests and pass the cost on. As hosts, we provide Haggadahs for each of our guests who come celebrate in our home so they have a way to continue the celebration in their home the next year.  

If you’re thinking of having a seder with family, friends or even a church celebration, remember this is to be a FEAST.   Make sure you include a main dish of beef, chicken or even lamb that will serve everyone.  I suggest a main course per each 6-10 people.  You can have a small group prepare all the food or invite each family to bring a dish of something to share like a fruit salad, green salad, vegetable or dessert.   Ask that they do not bring anything that is leavened (with yeast or soured dough) or made with anything found in Leviticus 11 – especially pig products (ham, pork, bacon, sausage) and seafood.  I have linked some recipes for your convenience that we use for our seder dinners that include a main course, side dishes and unleavened desserts and cookies.

Traditional Food and Recipes

There are some traditional foods that can be served during the seder meal. Carrot tzimmesmatzah ball soup,  kugels: sweetbananamushroom, and  sponge cake or macaroons are all wonderful ways to include others in planning your meal.   Fresh fruit salads and green salads are welcome at a seder.   I always serve lamb though it is not tradition to do so.  Some people serve Gefilte Fish, Roast Chicken or Brisket.

Setting the Table

When setting the table, use some white table clothes (plastic, paper or even white sheets)  to make your table look like a ‘set apart’ dinner because it is!   It is a ‘Feast of the LORD’ – a memorial not just to the Passover found in the book of Exodus, but a rehearsal dinner for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Everyone will need a plate, soup bowl, forks, knives, spoons, napkin and 2 cups.   Paper and plastic products are fine to use, and with a large group makes clean-up much easier.   One cup is for drinking water; the other is for the wine or grape juice that will be consumed during the seder.  If you can, use wine glasses.  Plastic ones can be found in most party stores.   If you have a smaller group, feel free to use dinnerware and silverware.

Seder Plate

Seder Plate
Seder Plate

The seder plate will be the centerpiece on the table(s) along with the matzah, unleavened bread.  If you have more than one table, you will need one seder plate for each table to make it easier for people to share the items.  Special foods will put on each plate: charoset (apple mixture), bitter herbs (generally horseradish), sprigs of parsley (one for each person)  and a cup of salt water for dipping.

Seder Plate
Lamb Shank Bone

You will also need one lamb shank bone that you can get from a butcher. Wash it well and then roast it in the oven an hour or so to ‘seal’ it and you can use it year after year on your seder plate.  You only need ONE lamb shank bone, not one for each individual plate.  This is because we all share in the same ‘sacrificed lamb.’

NOTE: We do not use an egg on our plate to remember the destruction of the Temple as it too much resembles the spring ritual of Easter. We place a rock on our plate as Yeshua prophesied the destruction of the Temple in Matthew 24:1-3 and we still await its restoration.

Elijah’s Seat

When you are setting your table, set one extra place for Elijah.  With a large group, this setting could be at the leader’s table keeping it separate from the guests.  This is a tradition based on the Scripture that Elijah will come before the Messiah.  Traditionally, a child participates at the end of the seder by going to the door to see if Elijah has come.  We put our ‘check for Elijah’ at the beginning of our seder because our children were concerned that if he was at the door, we had already eaten and he would have no food!

Wine

There are four cups of wine consumed during the seder.  This means you should have enough wine (or grape juice if you want to avoid alcohol)  for everyone who is coming.  You will need one wine glass/cup for each person to fill four different times. 

Matzah

Matazh or unleavened bread  is central to a seder dinner.  You can buy it at a local store (Costco sells it in huge cases for large groups) or make it at home.  There is no substitute for matzah at a seder so be prepared with a lot as you will also eat it during the next week of Unleavened Bread.

Matzah Tosh Pillow

At each table you will need plates of matzah. Next to the leader of the seder there will be another plate of matazh for the ‘unity of matzah’ called a ‘matzah tosh pillow’.   This pillow can be created with a plate and four napkins. Place an opened napkin on the plate, then place one matzah on top.  Open another napkin and place it on top of the matzah, then add another matzah.  Top that matzah with another napkin and a matzah. Cover the last matzah with the fourth opened napkin.  You should have a ‘unity’ of three matzahs and four napkins when you’re done.  During the seder, the leader will reach into the middle of the matzah tosh and remove the center piece.  It will be broken in half. One of the halves is wrapped in a fifth napkin and set aside.  If you find that you celebrate the Passover year after year, you can also make or buy a matzah tosh.

Afikomen Prize

The word afikomen means ‘dessert.’  It is the piece of matzah that was wrapped in the fifth napkin.  It will be the last food eaten at the seder.  All other desserts will be eaten before finishing the seder so the taste of the afikomen is allowed to ‘linger’ in the mouth. The afikomen is part of the bread and wine that Yeshua shares with the disciples at his last seder.

There are special instructions for the afikomen after the meal has been eaten.   It becomes a game that includes the participation of the children. The afikomen can either be hidden or stolen by the children and redeemed for a price.  In our family, my husband hides the afikomen while everyone is eating the seder dinner.  Before sitting down to finish the seder, he asks the children to find it.  It is ‘redeemed’ for a prize.  Over the years our prize has changed depending on the ages of our children.  We have given stuffed animals, little trinkets and money.  If we know there will be small children at our seder, we try to have an appropriately aged gift.

Pillows

Pillows are an essential item during a seder.  Yeshua and his disciples reclined at the table and pillows are a way to emulate this behavior.  Our family actually sets a low table made of a piece of drywall sitting on plastic tubs and covered in white table cloths.  In this way, we actually do sit on the floor and recline with pillows by the table.  If you have a larger setting, it may not be possible for everyone to bring a pillow, so just make sure that someone at each table has one, especially the leader of the seder.

Foot Washing

In a traditional seder, there is a time for hand washing. Since Yeshua washed his disciples feet at the Passover, we have made the hand washing ceremony into a foot washing fellowship time.   You will need a basin, pitcher of water and some towels.  Explain to your guests before they come that you will be doing a foot washing as Yeshua/Jesus did so they come prepared to remove their socks and shoes.  If someone comes who cannot remove their shoes, their feet can be massaged.

During the foot washing time,  play quiet music while everyone blesses each other by washing feet.  Generally, we have husbands and wives wash each other’s feet while children and parents wash one another.   It is a wonderful time to watch servanthood in the lives of children!  At some Passover celebrations, the time of foot washing is a time to promise to pray for one year (until the next Passover)  for the person washing your feet.   If you are in a church setting and want to incorporate the prayer, men may wash men’s feet and women wash women’s and boys and girls divide between the men and women.

Music

Feel free to incorporate music during your seder.   You can choose to sing, dance, play instruments or just listen to songs – recorded or live –  about the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, your part in the Commonwealth of Israel, or just praise and worship for the God of Israel and what He has done for us through His Son.  We generally begin our seders by dancing the hora, the Israeli national dance,  to bring people into the joy of the celebration.

There are songs that are traditional to the seder dinner.  You will be singing “Dayenu”meaning “It Would Have Been Enough.”  The words are simple and the tune very catching.  You’ll find yourself singing “Dayenu” throughout the week of Unleavened Bread.  Video with music. 

At the very end of your seder, it is traditional to sing or say “Lashana Haba bi Yerushalayim” which means Next Year in Jerusalem!  May it be so … and may we  celebrate next year in Jerusalem with the Messiah, the King of the Kings at His Wedding Feast!  Video with music.

Here is a basic Passover Checklist as you prepare to celebrate your seder. Feel free to print it and use it along with the other recipes and links on this page.  If you are preparing your own seder or if you’re just wanting to learn more about Yeshua (Jesus) in the Passover, don’t hesitate to ask.

May you be blessed as you celebrate the memorial of the Passover as Yeshua did with his disciples.  May you not only see your deliverance from slavery in Egypt as part of the commonwealth of Israel, but your redemption from death to life  through the blood of the Lamb.  May the seder you celebrate prepare you for the week of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits of Yeshua’s resurrection from the dead! HalleluYAH!

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  

Passover: A Betrothal Ceremony

Yeshua and the Passover

“And he [Yeshua] said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15).

Yeshua longed to celebrate his final Passover in this world with his disciples.  He knew his time was short and he wanted to reveal God’s plan of reconciliation at its ‘appointed time.’  As the Lamb of God, he offered salvation to his brothers and sisters who were enslaved by sin and the consequences of their rebelliousness.  As the Son of God, he would transform the Passover seder’s traditional elements into a betrothal ceremony with a groom, a bride, a cup of wine, the bride’s father, the bride price, wedding preparations, and wedding guests.  With this Passover seder, Yeshua would institute the renewed covenant of marriage that would restore Israel to her Husband.

The Groom

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by Yahweh, smitten by him, and afflicted”  (Isaiah 53:2-5).

The groom is Yeshua himself.  Scripture describes him as having no beauty or majesty. He was not handsome like King David.  He had no desirable outward appearance and was so unattractive that men hid their faces from him, yet he desired a Bride.

The Bride

In a traditional Jewish betrothal ceremony, the hopeful groom would offer the potential bride a cup of wine as his proposal for marriage.  He would drink from the cup first and then offer it to her. If she accepted the proposal, the woman would drink from the cup of wine.  By sharing the cup with the man, she agreed to be ‘set apart’ as his bride.   She would remain faithful to him until the day of their wedding when their marriage would be consummated.  A week-long wedding feast would follow with friends and family. 

“After taking the cup [of Sanctification], he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes’” (Luke 22:14-16).

In the Passover seder, the first cup of wine is called the  “Cup of Sanctification.”  After blessing the cup, Yeshua offered the cup of wine to his disciples.  As each one drank from the cup, they were acknowledging their acceptance of Yeshua’s marriage proposal.  It became an individual commitment they each one was going to become Yeshua’s sanctified, holy, and set apart Bride.

Once the Cup of Sanctification had been shared, the bridegroom would not drink the fruit of the vine until the day of the wedding feast.  The bride, however, was to remember her betrothed and the marriage covenant, every time she drank from the cup. 

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

The Bride’s Father

“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I [Yeshua] came from God and now am here.   Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say.   You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning…” (John 8:44-6).

After the bride accepts the groom’s proposal, the bride’s father sets the bride price.   Generally it was something of value because the father was losing a daughter.   In Israel’s case (and ours) before we are redeemed, our father is the devil and murder is his specialty.  He would rather have Israel destroyed than to have her redeemed.  He would rather see us die in our sins than be restored to eternal life.  Our father, the Adversary, required the highest price that could be paid to take us from him.  He required  that our Betrothed die for us.  He required that he be beaten, bruised and killed.  He required that he shed his blood. 

The Bride Price Paid

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup (of Redemption), saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19).

Then Yeshua poured a second cup of wine.  In the traditional Passover seder, this cup is called the “Cup of Redemption.”  Along with some unleavened bread, he held up the cup and made a powerful declaration.  For us, his Bride, he would willingly pay the required bride price.

“… He humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 3:10).

Another cup of wine, a third cup called ‘The Cup of Plagues” was poured to remember the judgments on Egypt with the final one being the death of the firstborn.  Because God allowed the firstborn of Israel to live, they had to redeem or ‘buy back’  their firstborn sons with the sacrifice of a lamb.  Now, the Lamb of God was going to ‘buy back’ God’s firstborn son,  Israel (Exodus 4:22).   Yeshua did not pour this cup with his disciples in the upper room, instead he wrestled with it as he prayed to his Father on the Mount of Olives and sweat great drops of blood. 

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:42-44).

A fourth cup of wine called “The Cup of Completion” was not consumed during the Passover in Yeshua’s time.   Instead, it was consumed at the close of the following day to complete the Passover.  Yeshua drank this soured cup of wine while he was hanging on the cross.  With the words, “It is finished,” he completed the Passover  memorial, gave up his spirit, and died.   The bride price had been paid in full.

“Knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Yeshua said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Yeshua’s lips. When he had received the drink, Yeshua said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 18:28-30).

The Groom’s Preparation

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2,3).

After sealing the marriage covenant, the bridegroom would leave for a time to prepare a home for his bride. In Middle Eastern culture, he would add a room onto his father’s house.  The addition could take anywhere from two days to two years.   Before Yeshua dies, resurrects and ascends to his Father, he tells his newly betrothed Bride, that he was going to prepare a place in his Father’s house, the coming Millennial Temple in Jerusalem.  He promised to return for them so that they could be where he would be.

The Bride’s Preparation

“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness or sanctification out of reverence for the Lord” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

The bride, now bought with a bride price, would spend her time preparing herself for her wedding day (1 Corinthians 6:20).  It would arrive at an unknown day and hour so she always had to be ready.   Waiting as a wise virgin, she would light an oil lamp in her window just in case her bridegroom arrived during the night.  She had known of other brides being swept away sometime near midnight and she wanted to be ready when she heard:

‘Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him’!’  … The virgins who are ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.  And the door was shut” (Matthew 25:6,10).

In Greek, ‘sanctification’ is hagiasmos and means ‘to be set apart for a holy purpose.’  Sanctification is the process by which a person is incorporated more fully into the physical and spiritual reality of Messiah, being made more like him and doing the will of his Father. Being ‘set apart for a holy purpose’ is more than just drinking a small glass of wine and eating a dissolving wafer or piece of bread every other week. Sanctification is the course of life consistent with those who are separated out of the world as the Bride of Messiah.

Sanctification comes through Yeshua: ”For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:19).  Sanctification  comes through studying the Scriptures: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17) . Sanctification comes through the power of the Holy Spirit: “Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit …” (1 Peter 1:2).

Sanctification must be pursued by the Bride earnestly and unswervingly.  The Bride will make every effort to be holy for without holiness no one will see Yeshua (Hebrews 12:14).   The Bride of Messiah will “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” when Yeshua comes (2 Peter 3:1-4). 

The sanctified, holy character of the Bride is not transferred from one person to another.    This is the meaning of Yeshua’s Parable of the 10 Virgins.   Those Virgins who had oil in their lamps could not give it away.  Oil is bought at the cost of “keeping oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).   The Bride of Messiah will be ready with   oil and her lamp lit when her Bridegroom arrives at an unknown hour (Matthew 25).  She will have kept herself spotless, pure and holy.  She will have made herself ready for her wedding day. 

The Father of the Groom

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…”(1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The father of the groom determined the time that his son would return for his bride.  The groom could only return for his bride when the addition to the house was complete.  This was so that the groom wouldn’t rush, but properly prepare a home for the arrival is his bride.

Neither the groom nor the bride knew the exact day or the hour of their wedding, but it would arrive with the fanfare of the groom’s best friends and the excited wedding party. There would be lots of noise and shouting.  The excited bridegroom would then enter the bride’s home and ‘snatch her away.’  Together they would return to the groom’s father’s house and enter the wedding chamber where they would consummate their marriage.  A week later they would reappear and the wedding feast would begin.

On a day and hour unknown, at the ‘appointed time’ of his Father, Yeshua will be coming back for his Bride.  He will arrive with a great shout, a trumpet blast and his Bride will rise to meet him in the air.  They will go to the bridal chamber where they will consummate their marriage and then celebrate the grandest of all wedding feasts.

The Wedding Guests

“Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God” (Revelation 19:9).

Only a select few consisting of bridesmaids, groomsmen along with parents and immediate family members attend a wedding rehearsal dinner with the bride and groom.  The friends and relatives  of the bride and groom make up the enormous guest list.

Yeshua is speaking about his own wedding feast when he says it will occur in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 8:10-12, Luke 13:28-30).   The Kingdom of Heaven is not some remote corner of  the sky hidden above the clouds. The Kingdom of Heaven, according to Yeshua, is here on earth and will be restored here on earth.  He will return here for his Bride, have the ultimate wedding feast [Passover] and then take his Bride to his Father’s house [the Temple] and within its many rooms they will live as High Priest and royal priesthood.  

Yeshua describes the guests that will be at wedding feast of the Lamb in different parables. He says that many will come from the east and west and take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10).

In Revelation, there is a multitude of people wearing white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb.   They hold palm branches and cry out Hosanna just as those who accompanied Yeshua into Jerusalem.  This is an enormous group of people from every generation who acce[ted Yeshua’s bride price and Cup of Redemption. They are from every nation, tribe, and language.  They are overjoyed at being redeemed and sing at the throne of Yeshua. These men, women, and children are the invited  guests at the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Yeshua also says that not everyone invited to the wedding feast will attend.  Some make excuses like having just bought property or a cow (Luke 14).  Others will excuse themselves because a ‘Jewish‘   feast isn’t for them.  Some guests who thought they were important will find out they are not: ‘the first shall be last and the last shall be first’ (Matthew 20:6).  Other guests will be ‘thrown out of the kingdom into outer darkness’ for not following protocol and putting on the proper wedding clothes (Matthew 22:11).

The Wedding of the Lamb

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)” (Revelation 19:8).

The wedding of the Lamb will take place in the Kingdom of God. The wedding hall will be filled with guests too numerous to count.  The Bride’s sanctified way of life will be rewarded with a gown of fine linen, bright and clean, for her to wear in front of all the wedding guests.  The Bridegroom will once again drink the fruit of the vine with his Bride.

Until her glorious wedding day, the wise Virgin will spend her life  preparing herself with acts of righteousness.  She will keep herself pure and holy and unspotted from the world through personal sanctification.  She will keep her lamp full of oil waiting for the soon return of her Bridegroom at his ‘appointed time.’  Every year as she  commemorates the Passover, she has an annual reminder of her Beloved’s words to her while he is in his Father’s house preparing a place for them to live: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24).

© 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.