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Foundations – The Meaning of Passover Part 3

by | Mon, Apr 3 2023

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Leviticus 23:4-5, ‘These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocation which you shall proclaim at the times appointed them. In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.’

In our previous articles, we learned about the reasons behind the Christian church’s attitude toward the Jewish feast of Passover and why they insisted the dates for Easter differ from the dates of Passover and we also retold the basic story of the exodus of the Jewish people from approximately 400 years of slavery at the hands of cruel and barbaric Egyptian overlords. We also learned about the slaughter of Jewish baby boys as an attempt to slow down the birth rate of the Jewish people. It was a very dark time in Israel’s history…one of the many very dark times in their history.

God commanded His people to celebrate Passover every year, in fact there are seven mandatory feasts of the Lord. There are many Jewish feasts, but seven that were mandated by God Himself. Of those seven, three required travel to the Temple in Jerusalem. Those three are Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Tabernacles). These are called the Pilgrimage Feasts. The other four could be celebrated at home.

Every year, Jewish families around the world celebrate the feast of Passover because Scripture commands them to. God said that the Feasts of the Lord, are compulsory celebrations and are ‘appointed’ times.

The way the Passover is celebrated today is very different from Bible times because they no longer have a Temple and for the past 2,000 years, the Jews have been living in the Diaspora in very hostile situations much of the time. The Passover celebration has undergone a lot of change but the elements are still incredibly significant. In traditional Jewish homes there are 15 steps in the Passover meal or ‘seder’, however in Messianic homes, there are usually a few less.

It’s not just important to understand these feasts, it’s important to have take home value for us as believers. If all we’re doing is gaining information we’re missing the point. Learning this has to have an impact on us so that it grows us in our faith and helps us love and trust God’s Word more than ever. Every single word, element and lesson in the Word of God is fulfilled and points to Jesus. The feasts especially give us an incredible picture of Jesus and what His calling is and how He fulfilled it on our behalf. As you learn about the seven mandatory feasts, you see the entire story of redemption laid out….from the first feast – Passover – right through to the last feast – Tabernacles and you see very clearly that Jesus is the fulfillment of them all.

  1. Removal of all leaven from the home.

All Jewish families use the days preceding Passover to thoroughly clean their homes and remove all forms of leaven because during Passover, leaven symbolises sin and its removal symbolises repentant hearts that are determined to expel anything sinful or displeasing to God from their lives. Typically, small leavened pieces of bread are hidden in obvious places in the home and the children or the youngest members of the family are commissioned to find them and dispose of them. It’s a bit of a ‘hide and seek’ type game with is meant to be fun and involves the whole family.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7, ‘Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore, let’s celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.’

In this passage Paul was explaining that leaven is a representation of sin that needs to be purged from our lives. He also encouraged the believer’s in Corinth – who were primarily Gentile believers, to celebrate the feast properly and with a right understanding. This should answer the question about whether or not Gentiles need to understand what the feasts are all about. This explanation incorporates the fulfilment and application by Jesus.

  1. Lighting the Passover candles.

This is typically done by the woman, wife or mother in the family, just as she is the one to light the Sabbath candles each Friday evening as well. The lighting of the candles during Passover is a serious part of the celebration because they symbolise the presence of God among them and that in and of itself is both serious and sacred. As believers in Jesus, we recognise that He is the Light of the World come to bring light and life to those living in darkness.

John 8:12, 9:5, ‘Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”…..”While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”‘

There are 4 cups of wine during a Passover Seder and they all have incredible significance and importance. The four cups of wine during Passover come from Exodus 6:6-7, ‘Say therefore to the sons of Israel, “I am the Lord and I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burden of the Egyptians.”

Each mention of God saying ‘I will’ is represented by a cup of wine.

1 – I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians.

2 – I will deliver you from their bondage.

3 – I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

4 – I will take you for My people and I will be your God.

Listen to Mandy’s full message on Foundations below: