Introduction. Most Christians are typically quick to dismiss Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as Jewish festivals. But both of these festivals pointed to Jesus. The New Testament states that these holy days reveal the “shadows” of Christ (Col. 2:17). These “holy convocations” or “miqras” can also be translated as “rehearsals.” (Lev. 23:2). In celebrating these festivals, the Jews gave thanks for God’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt. They also unknowingly rehearsed for Jesus’ deliverance of all believers from the bondage of sin.
From this chapter, God reveals seven lessons. First, Passover is God’s appointed time to give thanks for Christ, the Passover lamb, who died for you to allow judgment to “pass over” you (Isa. 53:7; John 1:29). This day is a day to stop and remember the terrible sacrifice that Christ paid for you so that death would pass you over. Second, during part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jesus was in the grave. Through Christ, you are freed from your sins, the “leaven” in your life (1 Cor. 5:7; 6:13-20). This is the day to flee from the sins of your old life the same way that the Jews fled from theirs in Egypt. Third, through the symbolism of the hyssop branch, Christ wants you to stay clean through the cleansing of His blood. Fourth, through God’s commandment that the Jews make a yearly ritual to remember His deliverance, all believers are encouraged to come together and Honor Christ’s sacrifice at least once a year. For the Jews, the Seder dinner provides a ritual to remember God’s deliverance. Every aspect of the Seder dinner pointed to Jesus. Christians also follow God’s request to honor and remember Jesus’ deliverance when they celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Fifth, through God’s warning that He would judge the Egyptians, He wants every believer to warn the nonbelievers of the judgment of sin that awaits. Sixth, through God’s direction for the Jews to flee Egypt, He wants you to flee from the things of the flesh that once held you in bondage. Finally, through God’s direction that the Jews limit the Passover celebration to believers, God wants you to treat the communion that Jesus offers as holy. He also wants you to be obedient in following His commandments.
(1) The timing of Passover / Pesach. Passover was the first of three festivals. It is now observed on the 14th day of Nisan, which was historically calculated based upon the first new moon after the spring equinox, sometime in March or April: “1 Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 ‘This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. 4 Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.” (Ex. 12:1-4). “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.” (Dt. 16:1; Lev. 23:5-6, 11). The Passover celebrated that, during the final plague, the shed blood of the lamb allowed each family who acted in faith to have death “pass over” their firstborn child (Ex. 12:12-13, 22-23). To protect the poor who could not afford a lamb, the rabbis interpreted these verses to allow at least ten but not more than twenty to pool their resources to buy a Passover lamb. The Jews observe Passover during the month of “Abib” or “Avivi”, a Hebrew name which refers to the month in which the barley harvest was ripe. After Babylonian captivity, the name of this month changed to “Nisan.” (Neh. 2:1; Esther 3:7). The name “Nisan” is still used today. It was also the beginning of the first month of the religious calendar. It was the seventh month (eighth, in leap year) on the civil calendar. Both the changed name of the month and the beginning of a second calendar system had meaning. Both foreshadowed your “new beginning” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Like the Jews, you also have two calendars in your life. You have the day that you were physically born. This is your civil calendar. You also have a day on God’s calendar when you accepted Christ and were “born again.” (Jo. 3:3-7).
God gave Moses the commandments for all generations to observe the Passover1
The year of Jesus’ sacrifice. The year that the Messiah would be “cut off” was also predicted in Daniel, 483 years after the rebuilding of the Temple (Dan. 9:24-26 – “69 weeks” with each “day” representing 7 years). Thus, the Jews should have been looking for the Messiah when Jesus entered Jerusalem. The specific day was also foretold in advance.
The date and hour of Jesus’ sacrifice. God also gave the blood of His firstborn son to allow judgment to “pass over” His believers: “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7). On the 10th day of the month of Nisan / Abib, the Jews selected the Passover lamb (Ex. 12:3). On the 10th day of Nisan / Abib, Jesus also entered Jerusalem on a donkey with people shouting “ Hosanna in the highest.” (Matt. 21:5-9; Mk. 11:8-10). This fulfilled a prophesy identifying Him as the Messiah (Zech. 9:9). On the 14th day of Nisan / Abib, the Passover lamb was to be slaughtered on the ninth hour (3:00 pm), counting from 6:00 am. (Nu. 28:16; Lev. 23:5; Ex. 12:6). On the 14th day on the ninth hour Jesus also died (Matt. 27:45-50; 28:1; Mark 15:29; John 2:19). What day of the week was the 14th? Christians believe it was either Thursday or Friday. Jesus rose on the “first” day of the week. This was Sunday (Matt. 28:1; Mk. 16:9). He also made clear that He would spend exactly three days in the grave: “for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matt. 12:40; Jonah 1:17). Counting backwards from Sunday, three days and three nights in the heart of the earth would require that He be sacrificed on a Thursday, not a Friday. Friday would only allow for two days and two nights. Other Christians believe that He was crucified on a Friday because His body was removed before the Sabbath day, which normally happens on Saturday (Ml. 15:42; Lk. 23:54). How do we reconcile these verses? Both sets of verses can be harmonized if the Passover was a “special Sabbath” on Friday that preceded the regular Sabbath on Saturday: “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.” (John 19:31) (NIV). Regardless of its actual calendar day, the Passover was a holy convocation where no work was allowed (Ex. 12:15-17; Lev. 23:5-7). Many further believe that it was a Tuesday when Jesus warned that the Passover and His crucifixion was two days away (Matt. 26:2). (e.g., Hershberger, Ervin, Seeing Christ in the Tabernacle, Vision Publishers (2010)). This again would be a Thursday. Also, being selected on the 10th and killed on the 14th would make for a complete week of seven days if He spent three days in the earth beginning on the 14th. Yet, this debate is not a salvation issue. Whether you give thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice on a Thursday or a Friday doesn’t matter.
The foreshadow of Jesus on the cross2
(2) The unblemished lamb. The Passover lamb (the “korban Pesach”) had to be without blemish or it could not be used in the sacrifice: “5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” (Ex. 12:5). Jesus also was unblemished: “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:18:19). At the end of this chapter, God further specified that the sacrifice could have no broken bones: “nor are you to break any bone of it.” (Ex. 12:46). This again foreshadowed Christ. He died on the cross without any of His bones being broken (Ps. 22:17; John 19:32-36). To make sure that the lamb was unblemished, it was observed between the 10th and the 14th of Nisan / Abib. During this time, Jesus was tried by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. But Pontius Pilot could find no fault in Him (Lk. 23:4; John 19:6). He lived as a holy sacrifice for you. In turn, He wants you to live a holy life without blemish or sin for Him (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:45; 19:2).
God’s people carefully selected a lamb without blemish3
(3) The entire assembly kills the lamb. The entire assembly participated in the killing of the lamb: “6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.” (Ex. 12:6). The “people of the community of Israel” were to slaughter the Passover lamb (Ex. 12:46). Jesus was also put to death by the people of the community of Israel: “Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Crucify Him!’” (Matt. 27:22). But it wasn’t just the Jews who killed Jesus. Every believer killed Jesus with their sins.
Jesus was the Passover lamb4
(4) The blood on the doorposts. After killing the lamb, the Jews put some of the blood on their doorposts to remember how the angel of death passed over the Jews: “7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.” (Ex. 12:7.) If a Jew applied the blood but did not believe in it, he or she would still be judged. By contrast, if an Egyptian applied the blood and believed in it, he or she would be saved. The blood of the lamb was available to all. Jesus was the door upon which the person must place the blood in faith to be saved: “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.’” (John 10:7). “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9). It is only through your faith in Him that you are saved. If you believe that your good works make you eligible to go to heaven, His blood is not on the doorposts of your heart.
The blood of the lamb required faith in its redemptive power5
(5) The eating of the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The Jews were to eat the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (“maror”): “8 They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails.” (Ex. 12:8-9). Leaven is a symbol of sin because sin rises like the leaven in bread (1 Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 5:9). Jesus was the unleavened bread. He was the “unleavened” bread because He lived without sin (2 Cor. 5:21). He also became our bread to sustain us. At the Last Supper, “Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.”’ (Matt 26:26; 1 Cor. 11:24). The bitter herbs reminded the Jews of their suffering in Egypt. They also remind us of Jesus’ suffering in having His blood spilled as part of the New Covenant: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ [Christ] said to them.” (Mark 14:24; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24; Is. 53:4-12). Before being nailed to the cross, He was brutally whipped (Matt. 27:26; Jo. 19:1). Does your worship remember Jesus’ suffering for you?
(6) The commandment not to delay in eating the sacrifice. Because the Jews were commanded to flee Egypt, they were not to delay in eating the Passover sacrifice: “10 And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11 Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover.” (Ex. 12:10-11). Jesus also does not want you to delay in consuming what He offers you. This was the first of seven times where this commandment appeared in the Torah: “‘6 It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and the next day; but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire. 7 So if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an offense; it will not be accepted. 8 Everyone who eats it will bear his iniquity, for he has profaned the holy thing of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from his people.’” (Lev. 19:6-8; 7:14-15; 22:29-30; Ex. 23:18-19; 34:25(b)). Christ rose before the third day so that His body would not be corrupted (Acts 2:27; Ps. 16:10). We can therefore eat the Communion that He offers from His body because it is holy. By telling the people not to delay until morning, Jesus was also telling them not to delay in giving the best of their time, talent, and treasure for Him. “But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”’ (Matt. 8:22). Are you acting upon Jesus’ calling in your life? Or, are you putting it off?
(7) The blood is the only means for escaping judgment. The blood of the lamb was not optional. It was the only means of escaping God’s judgment: “12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 12:12-13). Without the blood of Jesus, none are righteous before God: “[T]here is no one who does good.” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Ps. 143:2). “There is none righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” (Rom. 3:10-11). Only the blood of Christ can save you from judgment: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). The shedding of the blood at the altar symbolized the exchanging of His life for yours (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.” (Rom. 3:25). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, . . .” (Gal. 3:13). What are you doing to thank Him? (Ro. 12:1).
The angel of death passed over only those with faith in the blood of atonement6
What Deuteronomy and Leviticus add to the Passover laws. The separate account of Passover in Deuteronomy reveals that the sacrifice had to be performed at the “appointed place”, which at that time was Jerusalem: “5 You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which the Lord your God is giving you; 6 but at the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt. 7 You shall cook and eat it in the place which the Lord your God chooses. . . .” (Dt. 16:5-7). In Leviticus, God also revealed that the “flesh” of the sacrifice had to be taken outside of “the camp” (Lev. 4:11-12; 6:10-11; 9:11). Jesus became mankind’s “flesh” and mankind’s sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Thus, to fulfill these laws, He was also led outside of Jerusalem to die on Calvary Hill (John 19:16-19; Heb. 13:11-13). Calvary Hill is also most likely “Mount Moriah,” where Abraham prepared to offer up his son Isaac (Gen. 22; 2 Chr. 3:1). In a foreshadow of Christ, Abraham said at the time: ‘“God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’” (Gen. 22:8). The ram was later “caught in a thicket.” (Gen. 22:13). This again foreshadowed Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns (Jo. 19:5). Thus, Jesus was the Passover sacrifice who died at the predicted time and the appointed place. He fulfilled the Law perfectly. He also died outside the gates of Jerusalem on Calvary Hill (Jo. 19:16-19; Heb. 13:10-13). If Resurrection Sunday has become a mere yearly ritual for you, mediate on these statutes that Jesus fulfilled.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread. During the same week as Passover, the Jews also observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “14 Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land. 20 You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’” (Ex. 12:14-20; Dt. 16:3-4, 8). The quick departure of the Jews did not give them the time required to bake leavened bread (Ex. 12:34, 39). No yeast was used because leaven is a symbol of sin (1 Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 5:9). The “matzo” or bread was also without yeast (which normally adds to the taste) to remind the Jews of their “affliction” while in bondage (Dt. 16:3). For the Jews, the bread without yeast over seven days symbolized a prolonged attempt to make a break from the sins of their past. It also symbolized the importance of acting quickly upon God’s calling in one’s life.
Remove the sins from your life. Jesus was in the grave during part of this festival. Through Jesus, we are freed from our old sins. On the first day (Palm Sunday), believers were to purge their houses of leaven (Ex. 12:15). By tradition, this was done by the wife of the family. Again, leaven is a symbol of sin (1 Cor. 5:6-8). If we leave any hidden sin in our lives, it will rise like leaven in bread. The rabbis taught that if a Jew had to wait for the bread to rise before they could join God’s people, their heart was still in bondage of Egypt. Today, believers are the bride of Christ (Rev. 22:2, 17). The house or temple where the Holy Spirit dwells is in your body (1 Cor. 3:16-17). Through Jesus’ death, your body has also been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). If you were once a slave to sin, you have now become a slave to righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). As a slave to righteousness, you cannot follow the morals of the world (Lev. 18:1; Ezek. 20:18-19). You should therefore be looking to purge sin from your body to celebrate the festival of unleavened bread (1 Cor. 5:7; 6:13-15; 18-20). If you long for the things of the world, this is the time to remove those things from your life. Look at the things you do or watch to see where to remove the leaven. Are you making a sustained effort to keep the yeast out of your life? Are you acting promptly on God’s calling for you?
The hyssop branch dipped in blood. At Passover, God directed the Jews to use a hyssop branch to sprinkle the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes: “21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. 22 You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.” (Ex. 12:21-22). These things also pointed to Christ.
The hyssop branch. The priest could not use any branch to sprinkle the blood, it had to be a hyssop branch, “origanum maru” (Ex. 12:22). Every detail in the Bible has meaning. The hyssop branch was also used in connection with the cleansing of a healed leper (Lev. 14:4, 6, 49, 51-52). It was also used with cleansing from the red heifer (Nu. 19:6, 18). This was a small weak branch. Yet, it symbolizes cleansing: “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps. 51:7). The plant is of the mint family. The mint would have helped remove the odor of sin. It had a straight stalk and white flowers. The straight stalk symbolized a right path, and the white flowers symbolized purity. The leaves also had hairs that trapped liquids and made it ideal for sprinkling: “For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,” (Heb. 9:19). Christ was the righteous branch (Jer. 23:5; 33:15). In Hebrews, it further tells us that Jesus was the one who sprinkled His blood on us (Heb. 9:21). On the cross, He was also offered sour wine to drink using a soaked sponge that was put on a branch of hyssop (John 19:29). Jesus also warns that if you do not allow Him to wash you, you can have no part of Him: “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (Jo. 13:8(b)). The hyssop branch also symbolizes “meekness.” You must be humble before others like the lowly hyssop branch. In other words, you must show strength under control. Are you, like the hyssop branch, spreading the blood of Christ to those around you? Are you letting Christ wash you as you are dirtied by the sins of the world? (Eph. 5:26).
A memorial for redemption. God further ordered the Jews to institute practices to always remember His deliverance from their bondage: “23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. 24 And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever. 25 When you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped. 28 Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.” (Ex. 12:23-28). The Jews remembered what God did as part of a Seder dinner. In the same way Jesus’ work on the cross was not only for one generation. Instead, His sacrifice was for all future generations to remember (Lk. 22:14-20).
Jesus in the Seder dinner. When Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, He was observing a Seder, which means “set order.” (Lk. 22:7-23). Each aspect of the Seder dinner foreshadowed Christ’s death. During the initial escape from Egypt, the Jews slaughtered a lamb (Ex. 12:3-4, 6). Today, Jews will not eat lamb during the Seder because sacrificial lamb cannot be made ceremonially clean without their Temple. Fortunately, God did not restrict the Jews to the use of a lamb. The sacrifice only needed to come from their “flock” or “herd”: “2 You shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God from the flock and the herd in the place where the Lord chooses to establish His name.” (Dt. 16:2; Ex. 12:5). By being born a Jew, Jesus was also a member of their “flock”. Jesus also revealed to believers the need for further sacrifices. His body was a one-time sacrifice for all your sins (Heb. 10:12-14). Several parts of the Seder pointed to Christ.
(1) The removal of sin in preparation for the Passover. Before the Seder, the host had the children use a lighted candle, a wooden spoon, a feather, and a napkin to find and remove any hidden leavened bread in the house. The family was symbolically purging the sin in their household. Today, the wife usually hides pieces for the children. When the children are done, the host wraps the last piece of bread in a napkin and says “Kal Hamira.” – “Now I have rid my house of leaven.” Believers should also purge any sin from their households (1 Cor. 5:7). This is the idea behind Lent in some Christian traditions.
(2) The matzos (unleavened bread). An important part of both the Seder and the Feast of Unleavened bread was the matzos or wafers of unleavened bread (Ex. 12:8). These matzos also foreshadowed the communion bread of Christ. Christ directed His believers to take communion to remember Him (1 Cor. 11:24-26). He made this request during the Last Supper: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me.” (Lk. 22:15-19). Christians have different interpretations regarding how often to take communion. Yet, during the Feast of Unleavened bread, it was done daily (Nu. 28:24; Lev. 12:8). Jews still eat the matzah on each of the seven days. These unleavened wafers are pierced and striped during the baking process. The piercing and striping process symbolize Christ. He was whipped and pierced for our transgressions (Is. 53:5; Matt. 27:26; Jo. 19:1).
(3) The hidden matzo. The Seder dinner also includes matzo broken into three pieces. Together, the three “matzos” are called the “unity.” The three symbolize the Triune God. After breaking a matzo into three pieces, the host removes the middle matzo. He hides or buries this piece by wrapping it in a white napkin and placing it under a pillow. This foreshadowed Christ’s burial. When the Seder dinner ends, the host clears the dishes. The host then tells the guests that it is time for the children or guests to find the “afikomen,” the buried half- matzoth. Once it is found, the host breaks the matzoth into small pieces for everyone to eat. Jesus performed this ceremony during the Last Supper and revealed that the bread was His body (Lk. 22:19).
(4) The dinner pillows. During the Seder, the chairs have a pillow for guests to be comfortable to show that they are no longer slaves. This also foreshadows what Christ has done for believers. He has set believers free from their captivity (Lk. 4:18; Is. 61:1).
(5) The bitter herbs. The Seder was eaten with bitter herbs to remind the Jews of their prior suffering (Ex. 12:8). The bitter herbs also foreshadow the suffering of Christ (Matt. 27:26; Jo. 19:1). Yet, they also foreshadow the suffering of the Church as it is purified of its sin (Pet. 2:16-24; Ro. 8:31-36). Thus, don’t expect your freedom to bring comfort.
(6) The hand and foot washing. Also during the Seder, the host brings in a small towel and bowl of water for ceremonial hand-washing. This is used several times during the diner. This foreshadowed Jesus’ washing of the feet of his disciples during the Last Supper (Jo. 13:1-17). Again, believers must let Jesus wash the filth of the world from their lives.
(7) The wine. During the Seder, the host poured four special wine goblets. Everyone drinks from a wine-goblet called the “cup of sanctification, “Kos Yeshu’ot”. This foreshadowed the shed blood of the Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9). During the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples that the cup of sanctification represented His blood. “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me.” (1 Cor. 11:25; Lk. 22:20). Four goblets correspond to the four “I wills” in Exodus 6:6,7, “I will bring you out; ... I will deliver you; ... I will redeem you; ... I will take you to be my people.” Each verse speaks to a part of the character of Jesus, the great “I AM.” (Jo. 8:58). The first cup celebrates Christ’s promises that His yoke is easy when you follow Him: ‘“I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians,”’ (Ex. 6(b); Matt. 11:30). The second cup remembers how He freed them from bondage. Here, God used “I will” twice to confirm His promise: ‘“I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage.”’ (Ex. 6:6(c)). The third cup celebrates how Jesus “redeemed” us: ‘“I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”’ (Ex. 6:6(d)). The fourth cup recites the format of the lines that couples in the Near East would say to each other to be married: “I will take you for My people, and I will be your God .. .” (Ex. 6:7(a)). A fifth wine-goblet sits at the table. Yet, it is not used until the very end. It is called “the cup of Elijah.” There is also an empty chair, waiting for Elijah to come. This is done because of the promise that Elijah will come again “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Mal. 4:5-6). During the Seder, the children or guests make a ritual of going and looking closely at the cup, to see if Elijah has come and sipped some. One of the children or guests goes to the door, opens it, and looks for Elijah. Everyone then says, “Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the LORD.” This foreshadows the coming of Christ during the Tribulation. At the end of the Seder, everyone drinks from the fourth cup of wine. After one more prayer of blessing, which contains the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem,” the Passover celebration is finished. This foreshadows the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2).
Honor Jesus on the appointed time for the “Last Supper.” God commanded that His people observe the Passover on the appointed day, the 14th day of “Nisan” “forever”: “And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.” (Ex. 12:24). He also called this day a “permanent ordinance: “14 Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.” (Ex. 12:14). Most Churches today observe Resurrection Sunday. Some observe a Good Friday to remember the crucifixion. Yet, few have any observance for the “permanent ordinance” of the Passover dinner on the 14th day of “Nisan”. This was the date of the Last Supper. While observing the Seder, Christ gave His commandments about communion that believers observe today. If we are supposed to follow Christ’s example, why don’t Christians observe a Last Supper each year to glorify Christ? The answer does not lie in any passage of scripture. Nor does the answer lie in the traditions of the early Church. All of the early Church members observed a Last Supper. They used it as an opportunity to give glory to Jesus while observing communion in the manner He requested. It was not until emperor Constantine banned the observation of the 14th day of Nisan during the council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. He and the bishops decided to only observe Resurrection Sunday and the crucifixion. In a letter to the churches, Emperor Constantine appealed to a then common belief that the Jews were the enemy of Christians in explaining this decision: “The commemoration of the most sacred paschal [Passover] feast being then debated, that it would be well that it should be everywhere celebrated upon the same day . . . It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in their celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded . . . Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries.” (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, 3:18; quoted in First Fruits of Zion, Torah Club (2013) Vol. 1 Unrolling the Scroll – Bo p. 241). Thus, by the edict of an anti-Semitic rant, the Church stopped observing the Passover dinner of the 14th and only observed Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Yet, the Church later had no trouble adopting the pagan term Easter based upon the Germanic goddess who was worshiped during the month of April, called “Eostre.” (First Fruits of Zion p. 241). The translators of the King James Bible even deleted a reference to the early Church observing the Passover dinner in Acts 12:4. The translators changed the Greek word for Passover (“pascha”) to Easter, something that did not exist until centuries later. Jesus warns believers not to choose the traditions of mankind over His Word: “‘Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”’ (Mark 7:6-8; Matt. 15:7-9; Is. 29:13). Even if your Church ignores the Last Supper, you can still observe it to honor Christ.
The Last Supper7
God’s judgment of the Egyptians. After providing the blood to cover the Jews from judgment, God then judged their oppressors by taking every first-born in Egypt: “29 Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. 30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.” (Ex. 12:29-30). This fulfilled God’s promise to Moses. God foretold that Pharaoh would not let the Jews go until He forced him to do so (Ex. 3:19-20). He also foretold that this would impact every firstborn of Egypt (Ex. 4:21-23). Thus, believers should take God’s warnings of future judgment seriously.
Every family which rejected the blood of redemption suffered judgment8
J. M. W. Turner (1775 – 1851) “The Tenth Plague of Egypt” (Death) (painting 1802)9
Share the Gospel to save those who will be judged. God does not want any to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). Yet, because He is just He must eventually judge sin (Rev. 20:11-15). To save others from judgment, you are to share the good news with them (Matt. 28:16-20).
God’s deliverance. After delivering the Jews from their oppressors, God told the Jews to quickly flee from the land that had enslaved them: “31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, ‘Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the Lord, as you have said. 32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also. 33 The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, ‘We will all be dead.’ 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.” (Ex. 12:31-34). “When Israel left Egypt, it was a nation born in a day. It was as if the 430 years were a time of gestation when the baby grew large. The plagues were like labor pains before birth and now the nation was born.” (David Guzik on Exodus 12).10 Like the Jews, Jesus wants you to “flee” from the things of the flesh that might enslave you (1 Cor. 6:18). “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:62). “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1 Cor. 7:23). Are you staying pure with the freedom that you have been given? Or, are you longing for the things that once held you in bondage?
God’s people left Egypt in a hurry11
God’s provision for His people. God not only freed His people, He also blessed them with the means to keep themselves free from bondage: “35 Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; 36 and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. 37 Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. 38 A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock. 39 They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.” (Ex. 12:35-39). God has also blessed you with everything you need in life to stay free. Every good and perfect gift is from Him (Ja. 1:7). God promises to provide all that you need when you first seek after His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Are you trusting Him to provide?
God is faithful to keep His promises. By freeing the Jews, God fulfilled His promise to Abraham to free His people and return them to the Promised Land: “40 Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 12:40-41). “God said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.’” (Gen 15:13; Acts 7:6; Gal. 3:17). The extra 30 years included the time when Jacob lived in Egypt. If God can free an entire nation to fulfill His promises, is there any struggle that you have that God cannot free you from. If you are struggling with a long-term bondage, you must deny the flesh and pray for the strength in Christ that makes all good things possible (Phil. 4:13).
The Passover is limited to believers. Finally, to keep the Passover festival holy, God ordered Moses to limit it to the Jews: “42 It is a night to be observed for the Lord for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the Lord, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations. 43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it; 44 but every man’s slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it. 45 A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it. 46 It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it. 47 All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this. 48 But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it. 49 The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Ex. 12:42-49). Yet, any person could eat the Passover sacrifice if that person became a Jew. These laws also pointed toward the universal salvation in Christ and the need to keep His sacrifice holy.
Keep the blood of Christ holy. In handing the cup to the disciples, Jesus said: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” (Mark 14:24). When you drink from the cup of communion, you remember that your sins were transferred to Him and His blood (1 Cor. 11:25). Someone who drinks the symbolic blood of Christ without believing in what He did brings damnation onto himself (Heb. 10:29). For a believer, drinking the blood of the sacrifice also requires reverence. Does your life offering to God honor the blood sacrificed for you? If you are in open sin or rebellion towards God, how much appreciation do you have for His sacrifice?
God desires obedience to keep you out of bondage. To keep themselves free from bondage, the Jews had to be obedient to what God had told them: “50 Then all the sons of Israel did so; they did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that same day the Lord brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.” (Ex. 12:50-51). According to the Apostle Paul, you are a slave to whatever you serve: “[Y]ou are slaves of the one whom you obey . . ” (Ro. 6:16(b); Gal. 4:7-9). Jesus said, if you love Him, you will keep His commandments (Jo. 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1 Jo. 5:3; 2 Jo. 1:6). His “disciples” were the “disciplined ones” in keeping His commandments. As bondservants or freed slaves, they were obedient out of love, not obligation. Whether you follow the law out of love instead of obligation is a test for whether you really know God (1 John 2:3). Satan has placed your flesh at war with God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:19; 1 Tim. 1:10). In the end, you must pick which you will serve: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” (Matt. 6:24). Are you trying to serve two masters? Or, are you being obedient to God?
Shadows of Jesus in Old Testament Festivals Col 2.16-17
|US||Events||Jesus’ birth sequence|
1st. Ros Hashana – New year
1std Feast of Trumpets Lev 23.23
10th Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur
Num 29.7 / Lev 23.26
15th Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles
A must to be at the temple
Num 29.12 / Lev 23.34
15th. If Jesus was born here
If 15th Tishri, then Jesus conceived
Lk 1.26, 36 Elizabeth’s 6 month.
|6||Adar||12||3||14th or 15th Purim Esther 9.17-18|
14th Passover – Pesach Ex 12.18
15th – 21st Feast of Unleavened Bread Lev 23.5
16th to 6th of Sivan – Feast of Weeks 50 days
17th Feast of 1st Fruits = Resurrection Lev 23.11
|9||Sivan||3||6||6th Shavout (2nd) Harvest - Wheat Giving of the 10 Commandments/ Giving of the Holy Spirit Lev 23.15|
If 15th Tishri John conceived
|Purple||Jesus’ birth sequence|
|Aqua||3 Pilgrimage Festivals|