The Second Passover and the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel

Numbers 9:6–11, Defiled by a human corpse. This passage can also be understood allegorically. The second Passover is a prophetic picture pertaining to the lost and scattered sheep of the house of Israel who, like those individuals in this passage, had been journeying in exile (just like the prodigal son in Yeshua’s parable) among the Gentiles in a foreign land and away from the land and Elohim of Israel. In the process of their spiritual wandering, they have become defiled by sin and death (likened here to touching a human corpse), since the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and all have men have sinned and fallen short of the YHVH’s glory (Rom 3:23). While in exile (again like the prodigal son in the parable), they awake to their spiritual apostasy and want to come back home to observe the Passover (a picture of redemption or salvation).

Passover is the only biblical festival for which YHVH’s allows a make up. At the first Passover in Egypt, those who weren’t in their houses under the lamb’s blood-painted doors fell under the death penalty for sin and were killed. This teaches us that Passover is a picture of man’s obtaining salvation through the blood of Yeshua, the Messiah who is the Lamb of Elohim.

YHVH desires that all men be saved and come to know Yeshua the Savior, and Passover is a picture of this. This is why he gives men a second chance to keep the Passover—he wants all to be saved (John 3:16; 2 Pet 3:9), including his lost, scattered, exiled and prodigal children from the house of Israel.

After Passover, why do we need the Day of Atonement?

Leviticus 16:1–34, Passover and the Day of Atonement compared. A cursory reading of the Scriptures seems to indicate that there exists overlapping similarities between some of the blood atonement ceremonies of Passover or Pesach and the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.

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What are the differences between the sin atonement offerings of Pesach and Yom Kippur?

Perhaps realizing the fact that the Passover occurs during the spring feast day season and the Day of Atonement occurs during the fall feast day season may answer this question.

Prophetically the spring feast days picture Messiah Yeshua’s first coming, while the fall feast days prophetically point to his second coming. How does this understanding shed light on the answer to this question?

Both Pesach and Yom Kippur picture redemption through the shed blood of Yeshua; that is, being delivered from bondage to sin and the rudiments of this world.

Passover symbolizes the first steps a new believer takes when coming out of spiritual Egypt and accepting Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, as one’s Savior and Master.

Yom Kippur, on the other hand, pictures the blood of the Lamb covering over the sins of the individual and the corporate sins of the nation of Israel. Yom Kippur also prophetically points to the time when Yeshua will return to the earth to initiate the final regathering of lost Israel, and to prepare to marry his bride, redeemed Israel.

Perhaps this understanding will help to answer why another Passover-like feast is needed.Yom Kippur doesn’t focus so much on leaving Egypt, but rather on YHVH’s people preparing to enter the millennial kingdom under the Messiah.

How the First Passover Perfectly Pictured Yeshua the Messiah

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For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Messiah, for it is the power of Elohim to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Rom 1:16)

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:18)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved [except the name of Yeshua the Messiah]. (Acts 4:12)

According to the laws of statistical probability, what are the chances of an event happening and then fifteen hundred years later another event occurring bearing an uncanny resemblance to the first one? Now suppose that not only did fifteen hundred years separate the two events, but that they occurred in two different countries several hundred miles apart, which in the ancient world considering the difficulties of travel and communications may as well have been halfway around the globe. Now suppose that the second event involved the death of a person, and that the events leading up to their death including the manner and timing of that death was beyond the control of the individual dying so that in no way could the person dying stage his death to mirror the first event. In fact, those killing the individual possessed no foreknowledge of the event that had occurred fifteen hundred years earlier. What are the chances of this occurring? Well beyond the laws of possibility!

This is not a fictional story! Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. The details of these two events are chronicled in the pages of the Bible. The first event occurred in ancient Egypt and is recorded in the Book of Exodus chapters eleven and twelve. There we find recorded the details of the children of Israel’s first Passover while they were yet slaves in the land of Egypt. A whole series of events led up to this first Passover, which culminated with each family’s ritual killing of a lamb, smearing its blood on the frame of their doors, roasting the lamb, and then eating it. Doing this insured that YHVH would pass over their homes leaving those inside alive. The firstborn of those whose homes did not have the blood on them were killed.

The second event involved a descendant of those ancient people who was born in a different land fifteen hundred years later. His name was Yeshua of Nazareth, a Jew, and viewed by many of his day as the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. One of the proofs of his Messiahship would be whether he would fulfill the many prophecies that had been foretold concerning him as recorded in the Tanakh (Old Testament) in the Bible. Not only that, the Jewish sages had predicted that many historical occurrences in Israel’s long history were but foreshadows of events to occur in the future. Israel’s first Passover was somehow to replay itself in the death of that prophesied Messianic figure who was to arrive sometime on the scene near the beginning of the fourth millennia from the creation of the world. Was this Yeshua of Nazareth to be that person who would fulfill those Messianic and redemptive expectations of the Israelite people from ancient times?

Let us now compare the historical facts of the first Passover in Exodus with those events surrounding the death of Yeshua of Nazareth on the cross by the hands of the Romans. In the following study, we’ll juxtapose the details of the first Passover with the events leading up to and including the death of Yeshua to see how Yeshua supernaturally and amazingly fulfilled, in fine detail, that which was prophesied to happen to him 1,500 years earlier. In this way, you can see for yourself this amazing story of the Bible unfold before your eyes. If you already have a faith in Yeshua the Messiah and Redeemer of the world, then let that faith be strengthened. If not, then consider the truth of the Bible and its divinely inspired message and whether you will believe it to be the Word of Elohim.

YHVH’s judgment comes upon the Egyptians at midnight because of their sins (Exod 11:4; 12:29).

Judgment was pronounced upon Yeshua late at night (after the Passover seder) in the Garden of Gethsemane where he was betrayed and arrested, and later during his trial (Luke 22:53, 66–71; 23:1–25). Though he was sinless, he carried the sins of mankind upon himself (2 Cor 5:21; Isa 53:6).

The first born had to die at the hand of YHVH as a judgment against sin (Exod 11:5).

Yeshua was the firstborn of Elohim and the first man born of the Ruach haKodesh (Set-Apart Spirit), and was the firstborn of Mary. At the first Passover, the firstborn of each family was to be the head, priest and patriarch of his household and was to lead his family in obedience to YHVH. If he failed to do so, then had to bear the judgment meted out by YHVH. Likewise, Yeshua bore the judgment because of our sins (our failure to obey YHVH’s word), which is death (Rom 6:23; 1 Cor 15:56).

A perfect, blemish-free lamb was to be chosen for the Passover lamb (Exod 12:5;Deut 15:21).

Yeshua in accordance with Torah-law was selected four days before Passover and anointed (set apart) as the Lamb of Elohim at the erev Shabbat dinner in Bethany, which occurred on the tenth day of the first month after having arrived in Bethany six days before the Passover (John 12:1–3). For an explanation of the timing of this event, see our chart of the timeline of the Passover at

  • The people of Israel examined and accepted Yeshua at his triumphal entry in Jerusalem (John 12:12).
  • The religious system examined and rejected Yeshua (Matt 26:27–67) because he was a threat to their religious establishment.
  • Judas, one of Yeshua’s closest associates, declared him innocent (Matt 27:3–4).
  • Pilate’s wife declared Yeshua to be innocent (Matt 27:19).
  • The political system through Pilate declared Yeshua to be innocent (Matt 27:23–24).
  • Elohim, the Father of Yeshua, pronounced him guiltless and without sin (Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 1:19).

This perfect lamb was marked for death and was set aside for a special purpose (Exod 12:3–6).

Yeshua was such a lamb (Isa 53:7; 1 Pet 1:19–20).

The lamb was to be a year old; that is, a mature adult (Exod 12:5).

Yeshua died for our redemption in the fullness of his manhood.

The lamb was separated out on the tenth day of the first month (the Passover was on the fourteenth day of the first month, Exod 12:3).

On the same day Yeshua came to Bethany (John 12:1) where on the evening of the tenth day of the month Mary anointed Yeshua with spikenard (John 12:2–37), the very day the Passover lamb was to be separated.

The lamb was to dwell with the Israelites in the family’s house until the Passover day when the lamb was then slaughtered (Exod 12:5–6).

Yeshua dwelt with the Jews during this time, including having a meal in Bethany, making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, turning over the money changer’s tables at the temple, and enduring his trial.

Yeshua, our Passover Lamb, wants to dwell in the spiritual house of our lives.

The blood from the lamb was to be painted on the door posts and lintels of each family’s house (Exod 12: 22–23).

Messiah’s blood (or mark) must be placed on our foreheads (representing our thoughts) and hands (representing our actions) for us to be redeemed from the penalty of sin and to protect us from Elohim’s judgment against sin (Rev 7:3; 9:4; 22:4; Exod 3:9, 16; Deut 6:8;11:18).

In order for one to be saved from YHVH’s judgment on Passover eve, one had to enter the blood-painted door and be inside the house (Exod 12:22).

Yeshua is the spiritual door to salvation and the way to the Father in heaven. No one can be saved without coming through his blood for the remission of sins. There is salvation through no other “door” but Yeshua (John 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rev 1:5; Heb 9:22; 1 John 1:7).

Hyssop was used to paint the blood onto the door posts (Exod 12:22).

Yeshua was given sour wine (a figurative symbol of blood) on hyssop while hanging on the cross (John 19:29). Hyssop was an aromatic “paint brush”-like herb. It was used in purification ceremonies in the tabernacle (Lev 14:4, 6, 51–52) and was used as a poetic metaphor of inner cleansing in Psalms 51:7. Blood can symbolize many things, yet, when add to it hyssop, its cleansing powers from the stain and condemnation of sin and death are emphasized.

Later in Israel’s history, the Passover lamb was taken to the tabernacle (and later to the temple in Jerusalem) to be sacrificed.

Yeshua was condemned to die by the Jewish priests in the temple in Jerusalem.

The lamb was roasted by fire (Exod 12:8–9).

Fire is a biblical metaphor for judgment. Yeshua suffered the fire of his Heavenly Father’s wrath and judgment against man’s sins (Matt 27:46; 2 Cor 5:21). What’s more, while a person was dying a slow and agonizing death on the cross, it would feel like he was on fire as his body was burning up with thirst in the hot sun.

No bones of the lamb were broken, or else it would not have been blemish-free (Exod 12:46).

No bones of Yeshua were broken while hanging on the cross, although it was customary for the Romans to break the legs of the crucified to expedite the victim’s death (John 19:31–33).

Each Israelite was commanded to take a lamb and eat of it (Exod 12:3).

Salvation is an individual matter. Each person must partake of the Lamb of YHVH individually. This is symbolized by each person taking communion (the bread and wine—a symbolic representation of the Passover meal), which is traditionally done during the third cup of wine during the Passover seder.

Later, according to Jewish religious rules, the Passover lamb was roasted whole over an open fire spit with a pomegranate skewer running through in its mouth and out its vent (like a rotisserie, see The Temple: Its Ministry and Service, p. 182, by Alfred Edersheim, Hedrickson, 1978).

Yeshua was “impaled” on a wooden cross—whole, and suffered the “flames” of Elohim’s judgment against sin.

The Passover lamb’s blood was placed on the lintel and door posts of the Israelite’s doors.

Yeshua was pierced in the hands and head (as well as his back and side) and bled therefrom. The blood on the door was a perfect outline of the blood on Messiah’s body while he was hanging on the cross.

The Passover lamb was killed about 3 PM in the afternoon. This was the same time the priests would offer up the afternoon (or evening) daily sacrifice in the temple, and the same time that they offered up the Passover lamb for the nation of Israel.

Yeshua died on the cross at the ninth hour, or 3 PM in the afternoon (Matt 27:46–50).

You be the judge. If you see a pattern here that is outside the realm of natural possibility, then it might be wise to consider the Bible to be truly the inspired word of Elohim, and that Yeshua was indeed the long-awaited Messiah and the Redeemer, the Lamb of Elohim who sent Yeshua his Son to take away the sins of man. The message here is that it’s the blood of Yesua, when applied to the spiritual door frame (or your thoughts and actions) of your life, that will cause YHVH’s judgment against you because of your sins to pass over you.

By placing your faith in Yeshua, the Lamb of Elohim, you will thus be spared from the consequences of your sin, which is death (Rom 6:23). Believe that he died to pay the price for your sins through his shed blood, and that he died in your place so that you would not have to die (Rom 10:9–13). Repent now of your sins (breaking Elohim’s commandments as revealed in his law), and resolve to never sin again (1 John 1:9). Then ask Yeshua to take up spiritual residence within your mind and heart by his Set-Apart Spirit, and ask him to become the Master (Lord) of your life. Let him supernaturally transform your life from the inside out (John 3:15–18; 5:24). Now by his divine grace and empowerment walk with him, obey his word (the Bible) as Yeshua leads you into eternal life!

Why Celebrate the Passover?

Passover, Happy

Isn’t your life already busy enough? Who has time for a six-hour Passover Sedercommemorating something that happened thousands of years ago? What could this possibly have to do with my life here and now, you may ask? How can a 3500-year-old Biblical ritual in any way relate to those living in the age of the laser, satellites, the worldwide web and computers? Well, let’s see!

The Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 3:15, “That which is has been already and that which will be has already been.…” Life is full of paradoxes. Do advancements in technology, science, economics, medicine, religion, and world government really promise to give men the rest for their weary souls for which they long?

How about a different approach to the questions and problems facing modern man? Is it possible to go forward by going backwards? This is a thesis that the ancient prophet Yermeyahu (Jeremiah) proffered to those who had ears to hear. He said, “Thus says YHVH, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk in it’” (Jer 6:16). What were those ancient paths to which this white-haired Jewish prophet referred?This question is answered three verses later: “Because they have not listened to My words, and as for My Torah, they have rejected it also” (verse 19). YHVH through his prophets has been showing men the way of rest for their souls for thousands of years, yet men consistently refuse to listen. They always have a better way, so it seems!

The festival of Passover is one of the most ancient paths to be found in all of the Scriptures. In it are contained clues that will help the partakers of it to understand the past, present and the future.

A God-hater, Karl Marx, the father of modern communism, said that religion is the opiate of the masses. Yes, this can be said of dead, truthless and spiritless religion. But how about that religion which gives definition, purpose, meaning, hope and destiny to a man’s life? How could anything that comes directly from the Loving Father who created you and me in his own image be detrimental to us?

It has been said that the religion of the Bible tells a man where he has come from, where he is at and where he is going. Could it not be said that a man who knows the answers to these questions possesses true wisdom and wealth, and has indeed found rest for his troubled soul?

One of the most important scriptures in the Jewish faith is the famous shemapassage of Deuteronomy 6:4–9. This passage, which is like a “pledge of allegiance” for the Jews, starts out by saying, “Hear [shema], O Israel …” The word shema literally means “to hear and to do.” Later, in verse five, the shema continues, “And you shall love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might.” Loving our Heavenly Creator is not just a mind-thing, but also an action and a doing thing. It is something we act out and participate in. This is the Hebrew way … the ancient paths! As a path is for the purpose of walking down, even so, Passover is meant to be celebrated. This is how YHVH’s people showed their love and devotion to him. Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, reiterated this when he said, “If you love me, keep my commandments [or Torahmitzvot]” (John 14:15).

This is what the Passover Seder is all about. We, as humans, learn by doing. We learn obedience by obeying. We learn to love by loving. We learn about heavenly and spiritual mysteries by walking out the types and shadows found in Scripture (of which Passover is but one) that point to the heavenly and spiritual domain or dimension of YHVH himself. The French have a saying: L’appétit vient en mangeant. Translated this means: Appetite comes while eating. Or we could say that the more one eats (delicious food) the more one wants. David said in Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that YHVH is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.” The more we walk out the commandments of our Heavenly Father, the more of his goodness we behold, the more of his blessings we receive, the more our soul finds rest, the more we want to walk out his commandments, the more we behold his goodness, and so on goes this wonderful spiritual growth-cycle.

So why do we go to the trouble, expense and time to celebrate a Passover Seder? First, it helps us to fulfill the commands YHVH gave to us to do at Passover, such as eating lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs; telling our children the story of the Passover; holding a “set apart convocation” and so on (Exod 12:14–20, 43–49; Lev 23:4–5; Num 9:2–3;28:16; Deut 16:1–3). But again we ask, what is the significance and relevance to us of this celebration?

Passover is but the first piece of a panoramic puzzle or the first thread in a rich tapestry of YHVH’s plan of redemption of mankind. Though the children of Israel kept the first Passover 3500 years ago in the land of Egypt, this ancient celebration is not only a memorial of what occurred then, but is of utmost significance to the spiritual life of the Believer today. It has future or prophetic implications, as well. Passover is the first step of a spiritual journey that, if one continues in it faithfully to the end, will lead one into the very presence of YHVH Elohim, our Heavenly Father, himself. What a journey! Let’s look at it.

Ancient Israel, the covenant people through whom YHVH had chosen to reconcile all nations of the earth to himself, was in slavery in Egypt. YHVH heard their desperate cries, and remembering his promises to Abraham, with a mighty hand he brought down proud and powerful Egypt by his judgments and set his captive children free. Israel was in bondage to Egypt even as you and I were in bondage to our past sinful lives and under helpless control of the world, flesh and the devil. As the Israelites slew a perfect lamb and smeared its blood on the sides and top of the door posts of their homes they were spared the judgment of the death angel who smote sinful Egypt and all those who were not under the blood. Likewise, there is deliverance for us if we but recognize our state of sin and lostness, and if we but come repentantly to the cross of Golgotha upon which the bleeding Lamb of YHVH, slain from the foundation of the earth, hung. If we too will apply his blood to the door posts (thoughts and actions) of our lives, we, like our ancient forefathers, can escape YHVH’s terrifying judgment, for he will have no claim on our lives if we are under the blood of the Lamb.

Passover is but the first step in a parade of seven prophetic dress rehearsals or convocations (each is called a miqra-ee) represented by the seven glorious festivals of YHVH (called moedim or appointed times) all of which point to the redemptive work of Messiah Yeshua in the life of the redeemed believer. There are three set-apart festivals (called moedim) in the spring of the year that are prophetic shadow-pictures of Messiah’s first coming to earth, and there are four set-apart festivals in autumn which are prophetic shadow-pictures of his second coming at the end of the age.

Passover represents the redeemed believer coming out of spiritual Egypt.Interestingly, Passover falls at the beginning of YHVH’s sacred year. Not only is it at the beginning of the New Year, but it is the first festival of the year and represents the first step in a believer’s life—all falling in the spring season of the year: the time of rebirth and new beginnings!

Hag haMatzot (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), which immediately follows Passover and which is often considered to be a continuation of Passover, represents the believer putting Egypt out of his life, which is symbolized by putting leavening out of our homes and living in a leaven-free environment for seven days.

After that comes Shavuot (Pentecost). It is impossible for one to live sin-free for very long without help from above. Man needs a guidebook on righteous living, and one needs divine enablement to follow the instructions within the guidebook. YHVH’s Torah (i.e., the first five books of the Bible) is that guidebook and was given to Ancient Israel at Mount Sinai. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the first-century believers had not only been given Yeshua, the Living Torah (the Word of YHVH made flesh), but they were promised that the Ruach haKodesh (Set-apart Spirit) power of Yeshua, the Living Torah, would live inside of them empowering them to walk faithfully in the light and truth of the Written Torah.

After the Spring Festivals there are the fall festivals, which speak of a great harvest of believers at the end of the age corresponding to the second coming of Yeshua. Those festivals are Yom Teruah (Day of Blowing Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), andSukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) immediately followed by Shemini Atzeret (the Eighth Day). Each of these contains a whole world of spiritual and prophetic meaning of tremendous significance to the believer pertaining to the regathering of Israel, the resurrection of the righteous dead, the return of Yeshua the Messiah, the marriage of Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim to his spiritual bride (the believing saints) and the establishment of YHVH’s millennial kingdom on earth. Learn about them. You will be blessed!

The central theme of the Passover Seder celebration was the lamb, along with the matzah (unleavened bread) and the bitter herbs. The Lamb is a picture of Messiah Yeshua who was crucified for you and me at the exact moment when each family of the children of Israel was killing its own lamb, and later on when the high priest was killing the Passover lamb up on the temple mount in Jerusalem.

In the Gospels we find recorded how Yeshua celebrated an early Passover or “Lord’s Supper” memorial celebration with his talmidim (disciples). At that supper, he instructed them how he would perfectly fulfill the role of the Passover lamb and that they were to continue that memorial meal to which Paul makes reference in 1 Corinthians 11:17–34.

In the Seder are four cups of wine around which the Seder revolves. They are called the Cup of Sanctification, the Cup of Deliverance, the Cup of Redemption, and the Cup of Praise or Completion. The four cups are based on Exodus 6:6–8, in which YHVH makes seven promises (called the Seven Steps of Redemption) to Israel where he elaborated how he would start by delivering Israel from Egypt and end up bringing them into the Promised Land that he would give them.

It is believed that Messiah will drink of the Fourth Cup with his spiritual bride in his kingdom, for it is recorded in the Gospels that Yeshua drank of at least two of the four cups with his disciples during the Last Supper. But the last, or Fourth Cup of Praise or Completion, he said he would not partake of “until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt 26:29). Many see this as a reference to the long-awaited Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

And this, my beloved friends, is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg in the explanations of these wonderful events that Bible Believers celebrate during the Passover Seder. It is a journey, if you stay faithful to him, that will never end, for the more you grow and learn, the more you will realize how little you know and how vast the ocean of YHVH Elohim’s unsearchableness really is!

 Now all these things happened unto them for examples and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (1 Cor 10:11)

But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Elohim has prepared for them that love him. But Elohim has revealed them unto us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of Elohim. (1 Cor 2:9–10)

Overview of Key Elements Pertaining to the Passover

Here are some important facts about the Passover.

What is the meaning of the word Passover (Heb. Pesach)?

Pesach in Hebrew and Pascha in Aramaic and Greek means “to step, leap over.”

When does Passover occur?

Passover occurs on the fourteenth day in the month of the aviv, which usually in our month of March.

The Hebrew month always begins at the visible new moon (Heb. rosh chodesh).

The month of the aviv is the first month of YHVH’s biblical (sacred) year (Exod 12:2 and13:4).

The word aviv (Strong’s H24) refers to when the barley grain is green in the ear (Exod 9:31).

The Passover must be observed on the correct day on the biblical calendar. The physical and spiritual worlds unite around the biblical calendar.

The Hebrew calendar is lunar-solar based. Metaphorically, this teaches us that Elohim and man come together at the biblical feasts, since the sun symbolizes Yeshua, the spiritual light of the world, while the saints, pictured by the moon, are to be reflectors of Yeshua’s light into the dark world around them.

The sun and moon must interact to coincide with the agricultural cycle to keep Passover in the spring of the year to fulfill the types of YHVH’s plan of redemption in the seven feast days. This is evidenced in the ripening of the barley grain in the land of Israel.

The feast days are in their seasons (Lev 23:4); i.e., the seasons were created around the feasts, which represent YHVH’s plan of redemption for mankind.

Heaven (the sun and moon), earth, the weather and the seasons literally come together harmoniously  synchronize with each other in perfect choreography to picture YHVH’s plan of salvation. How few people are aware of this fact! Yet now you can walk in the light of this understanding and be apart of YHVH’s divine plan as you celebrate the biblical feasts.

Passover occurs at the full moon in the middle of the month on the fourteenth day of the first month.

Passover occurs when the moon has reached its full strength. The moon in harmony with the sun reflects its light and shines in the darkness of this world. This is a picture of Torah-keeping saints in Yeshua who reflect Yeshua, the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2) and the Light of this world, into the darkness of this world.

Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which immediately follows the Passover, are the first of three aliyah or pilgrimage feasts.

As a spiritual pilgrim or sojourner who is passing through this world on his way to the Promised Land of YHVH’s eternal kingdom, each saint must embrace the idea of pilgrimage in their heart. This we do by going to the place where YHVH’s has placed his name to celebrate the Passover.

There are actually four Passovers. Each Passover unfolds and expands into the next one to bring the plan of redemption into fuller view.

The First Passover. This Passover was kept in Egypt. Unique aspects of this Passover are:

  • The Israelites were about to leave Egypt.
  • The Israelites were dressed in their traveling clothes with loins girded, sandals on and walking staffs in hand in preparation for leaving Egypt.
  • There was no Levitical priesthood yet, and so the head of each family acted as the priest of his home, and thus the responsibility fell on him to kill the Passover lamb for his family.
  • Passover was kept in the home.

The Second Passover. This was the Passover that ancient Israel kept once they were in the Promised Land. Unique aspects of this Passover are:

  • Passover was kept wherever YHVH placed his name, which was were the Tabernacle of Moses (and later, the temple) was located.
  • The Passover lamb was killed in the tabernacle and later in the temple.
  • A memorial meal was eaten on Passover in the homes of each family.

The Third Passover. This Passover is known as the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:20) and is the one that Yeshua instituted in the Renewed Covenant for redeemed believers. Unique aspects of this Passover are:

  • Yeshua instituted this Passover at his Last Supper.
  • This Passover is totally Yeshua-centered and focuses on the salvation of the individual believer through the salvific and redemptive work of Yeshua at the cross (Matt 26:28; 1 Cor 11:24–26).

The Fourth Passover. The Millennial Passover will be celebrated during the 1000-year-long Millennium or Messianic Age. Unique aspects of this Passover are:

  • This Passover points to the wedding feast of Yeshua the Lamb when he will drink of the fourth cup (Cup of Praise) of the Passover Seder in his kingdom (Matt 26:29).

The commemorative Passover meal is called a Seder.

Seder means “order of service.”

At the Seder a haggadah is used. This is a booklet that is used to tell the Passover story to our children. The word haggadah means “telling or recounting” and it is following the command YHVH gave to the Israelites in Exodus 10:2, “And that you may tell in the ears of your son, and of your son’s son, what things I have done in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that you may know how that I am YHVH.”

Four cups of wine are central to the Seder.

The four cups of wine are based on the first four of the seven “I will” promises YHVH made to Israel in Exodus 6:6–8.

The four cups are not only commemorative, but also celebratory and prophetic. We drink the wine to commemorate and celebrate past, present and future events.

The First Cup. The Cup of Sanctification points to redeemed believers being set apart from the world.

The Second Cup. The Cup of Deliverance pictures redeemed believers being delivered by the strong arm of YHVH-Yeshua our Redeemer or Savior from the world, flesh and the devil.

The Third Cup. The Cup of Redemption points to the redeemed believer’s salvation. This is the “communion cup” or Cup of Acceptance (the first of two cups of wine) of the Jewish wedding ceremony, and it corresponds with Romans 10:9–10 when the new redeemed believer says “I do” to Yeshua. These first three cups point to Yeshua’s first coming as the Suffering Servant, or the Messiah Son of Joseph.

The Cup of Elijah. This sub-cup points to the coming of the end-times “Elijah” who will be preparing the way for Messiah’s coming again.

The Fourth Cup. The Cup of Praise or Completion points prophetically to Yeshua’s second coming as the Bridegroom to his bride (the Torah-obedient saints). This cup speaks to the millennial marriage feast of Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim.

The Key Elements of the Seder that were part of the original Passover in Egypt include:

The lamb, which points to Yeshua’s death on the cross as the Lamb of Elohim sent from heaven to redeem sinful man from the wages of sin, which is death.

  • The matzah (unleavened bread), which points to the perfect and sinless (or unleavened) life of Yeshua the Messiah, which the saints must eat (or appropriate to themselves spiritually).
  • The bitter herbs, which are metaphors for the bondage and bitterness of life in Egypt under Pharaoh, which is a spiritual picture of the life of the believer in bondage to the world, the flesh and the devil before his salvation.
  • We are required to tell our children the story of the Passover as YHVH commands us in Exodus 10:2.
  • Passover is a feast where we’re commanded to celebrate our deliverance from “Egypt” (Lev 23:4–5).
  • Passover is a set-apart (or holy) convocation when the saints are commanded to meet together (Lev 23:4–5).
  • Passover is prophetic in that it points to Yeshua’s second coming.

In the traditional Jewish Passover Seder between the third and fourth cups there is a sub-cup of wine that is called the Cup of Elijah. A place is set for the prophet Elijah at the table, a cup of wine is poured for him, and the door is ceremonially opened to let him into the house where the Seder is occurring. This prophetically pictures someone who will come in the spirit of Elijah just before the second coming of the Messiah. At Yeshua’s first coming, this person was John the Baptist. Now in the end times,  you and I are those who are coming in that spirit of Elijah to help prepare the way for Messiah’s return (Mal 4:5–6).

Did Yeshua Celebrate an Actual Seder at His Last Supper?

I believe that Yeshua kept an actual Passover Seder or “Pascal Supper” as Alfred Edersheim calls it in his book, The Temple—Its Ministry and Service (p. 193). Consider this brief overview of the Passover Seder and let us consider which parts, if any, the Gospels document that Yeshua did with his disciples during his last supper with them.

Kiddush and the First Cup. During the Kiddush, the first of four cups of wine is blessed and drunk. This first cup is called the Cup of Sanctification. Before the wine is drunk, a blessing is recited: “Blessed are You, YHVH our Elohim, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.” Yeshua partook of this first cup in his Paschal Supper (Edersheim, p. 194; Luke 22:17).

Ur’chatz (the washing of hands). Yeshua changed this custom and washed his disciples’ feet instead (John 13:1–14).

Karpas (the eating of the green vegetables). This refers to the place in the Seder when the celebrants dip a green vegetable in salt water and eat it (John 13:26–27). The oldest will sit on the left side of the table and will dip the sop. From this, we can conclude that Judas was the oldest disciple. According to Alfred Edersheim, the sop and bitter herbs are synonymous (The Temple and Its Service, p. 194).

Yachatz (the breaking of the bread). The middle piece of three pieces of bread, ormatzot, is ceremonially broken in two. Matzah (plural is matzot) is unleavened bread. The larger piece is wrapped in a napkin and set aside as the afikomen, the matzoh that is eaten at the end of the meal. This can be seen in Luke 22:19 when it is recorded, “he took the bread and gave thanks and broke it, and gave unto them saying, This is my body which is given for you …”

The Maggid (the telling of the Passover story and the Exodus). The purpose of this is to teach young children the Passover story. Since there were no children present at the Last Supper, perhaps this is why the Gospels don’t record Yeshua performing this ritual.

The Second Cup (the Cup of Deliverance from the wrath or judgments of Elohim).The Maggid concludes with the second cup of wine, which is called the Cup of Deliverance. Yeshua symbolically partook of this second cup at the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42–44). In telling the story of the Exodus, each person is to see the Exodus as if Elohim personally redeemed them! This is based upon Exodus 13:8.

Rachtzah (the washing of hands with a blessing).  There is no record that Yeshua did this ritual, although he instituted the foot washing ceremony.

Motzi Matzoh (the eating of the unleavened bread). Yeshua did this in Matthew 26:26. In John 13:23, we can see that the disciples were leaning or reclining. This practice is still a tradition in modern the Passover Seder. This custom symbolizing freedom from the bondage of Egypt, a picture of sin. The Israelites in one day went from being slaves to being a kingdom of priests (Exod. 19:6). Only kings and those who live in ease recline while eating, and the Believers in Yeshua are kings and priests before Elohim (Rev. 1:6;5:10).

Maror (bitter herbs are blessed and eaten). Maror is bitter herbs. These bitter herbs are symbolized by romaine lettuce and horseradish and picture the bitter bondage and suffering of the children of Israel while in Egypt According to  Barney Kasdan (God’s Appointed Customs, p. 28), Yeshua fulfilled custom (Matt 26:23).

Korech (the matzah and maror are eaten together). There is no record that Yeshua performed this ritual.

Shulchan Orech (the festival meal). Yeshua instructed the disciples to prepare for the Passover in Luke 22:8, which could have included purchasing a Passover lamb, which they would have eaten during the Shulchan Orech part of the Seder. The primary meaning of the Greek word pascha is “paschal sacrifice or lamb.” The meal or service itself is a secondary meaning.

Tzafun (the eating of the afikomen). This ceremony could have been fulfilled with the eating of the matzah.

Barech (the blessing after the meal). Yeshua prayed for himself and his disciples after the Passover meal (John 17).

The Third Cup (the Cup of Redemption). At the conclusion of Barech, the blessing for wine is recited over the third cup. Then the cup is drunk. This is the cup of redemption (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 10:16) and is a picture of communion (Edersheim, p. 195).

Hallel (psalm of praise). In ancient times, Psalms 115–118 were chanted in special praise to Elohim. The fourth cup is now filled, and a door is opened for Elijah to enter and proclaim the coming of Messiah.

Nirtzah (conclusion of the Seder). A final song is sung and ends with the phrase, Next Year in Jerusalem! The Yeshua and his disciples singing of a hymn is recorded in Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26.

In conclusion, it seems to this author that the scriptural account of the Last Supper shows us that there were enough elements of the Passover Seder contained in it for this meal to qualify, for all intents and purposes, as a fairly traditional Passover Seder, which is very similar to the modern Seder.

The Power of Passover

Screen_Shot_2016-04-17_at_11.07.07_AMSecond to saving the world at Calvary, I think that the Passover miracle is God’s favourite. He talks about it often in scripture, and made Passover month the beginning of the whole year (Exodus 12:2). He even defines himself by the event: At the beginning of the ten commandments he introduces himself like this: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery”.

He used to call himself “The God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob”, or “I AM” up to this point… But “The One who brought you out of Egypt” is what he calls himself repeatedly from the Exodus onwards, literally hundreds of times. God is passionate about the whole Passover saga, and the more we dig into the story, the more we discover that it’s full of rich beauty, meaning and power…

The Passover miracle is recalled with wonder throughout many of the Psalms, and although many Jewish people see Sinai as the defining moment of the Old Testament, I would venture to say that God sees the Passover as the cornerstone of the story of Israel. As will be explained below, it is the moment in history when the Jewish race became the Jewish faith. Plus, it is a huge neon sign pointing to the coming release which would be bought with the blood of another spotless lamb – our saviour Jesus.

The God of Freedom

I love the fact that our God is all about freedom; he freely gave everyone freedom to choose at every stage in the Passover story described in the book of Exodus. Even though he famously hardened Pharaoh’s heart, it was after some serious choices on Pharaoh’s part to harden his own heart first[1]. God just consolidated his free choice.

He also gave freedom to his people, Israel, about whether to go along with the plan or not. They were not rescued from the Angel of Death by force – he gave an “opt in” clause: to have death pass over your house, you must sacrifice a lamb and daub its blood on your doorframe. This was an act of faith. It was an active response to a command of God, which had a promise… and all who believed it was true and acted accordingly were saved. That means that those who escaped from Egypt had freely chosen to obey God and follow him by faith – not just because of their ancestry. This is the moment that the people of Israel became a faith community.

As we mentioned, the ten commandments are introduced by God’s reminder that he loves to set slaves free, and the very first command when he subsequently lays down the rest of the Torah is this: “These are the laws you are to set before them: If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.” (Exodus 21:1-2). What a strange subject with which to start a new code of government, spiritual life and ethics! But God is determined that his people should not be in slavery – they should be free. This is the message of passover. That is what the exodus was all about. God is serious about making his people free.

God-Appointed Memory Aids

Remembering is very important to God. He jogs our memory all the time in the Bible, urging us, “Remember!” I think one of Satan’s best strategies is dimming our memory. If we remember what God has done, what he has said and who he is, we can have faith in him today and trust for tomorrow. The opposite is often true as well. The Passover Seder meal is a multi-sensory teaching experience, instituted by God himself, in order to prevent the people from forgetting. It involves sight, smell, taste and touch, and was designed to teach generation after generation the amazing story, and to keep it alive in the Jewish collective memory.

Today the family celebration is based around four cups of wine and a “haggadah” or “telling” which is like an order of service. There are different ideas about what each of the four cups represents, but generally the first cup is about sanctification, and being set apart for God, the second is the time to tell the story, the third is drunk after the meal, when Jewish people usually say grace for their food, and the last one is “hallel” or praise, after the songs and Psalms of thanksgiving.

Each item of food on the table symbolises something in the story – the dry unleavened matzah bread represents the dryness of slavery, in contrast with the richness and blessing of wine, which represents freedom. It is also commonly believed that yeast represents sin, and that this is a time to do away with all yeast, and all sin. The bitterness of the bitter herbs speak of the suffering, and so on. Each aspect of the evening helps the Jewish people to remember the miracles God did for them and even to re-live them. It is not so much about recalling some historical event lost in the sands of time, as actually re-living the story and making it part of life today… and hope for the future.

It was this very Passover seder that was the last supper that Yeshua ate with his disciples, in the traditional Jewish way. It was unleavened, passover bread that he broke, when he told his disciples to “do this in rememberance of me”, and it was one of the four cups of wine that he drank when he spoke of it representing his blood. We drink it to remember the blood that bought our freedom, and caused death to “pass over” us as well. He is in every way the embodiment and fulfillment of the Passover story. And we will remember what he did for us each time we eat the bread and drink the cup.

The Four Stages of Liberation

“I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 5:5-7)

Jewish tradition states that the four cups represent the four aspects of redemption listed in these verses from Exodus:

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

This is the first stage of liberation – the practical and actual rescue from captivity. It is the physical transition out of Egypt and towards the Promised Land. As believers, we can see that when Yeshua paid for our sin on the cross, we were made free from condemnation, and can start our journey of a life walking with God. The fact that the Jewish people went through water might also parallel the believer’s baptism as part of the liberation process.

2. I will free you from being slaves to them

This second stage is more about mental liberation. Even when freed, humans and animals can sometimes still act as if they are not. Sometimes this is called institutionalisation. We get so used to living in a cage, we don’t know how to walk in freedom. Here, God promises to free Israel of the slave mindset, and we too need to be liberated from a mind that has been in bondage to sin. We need to understand more and more that we really are free, and learn how to live accordingly.

3. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgement

The Exodus story is full of the supernatural. I often wonder if these miracles happened today what we might think… are we willing to accept God in all his supernatural wonder? His mighty outstretched arm? Some of the miracles and judgements are hard to accept – especially when seen from the perspective of the ordinary Egyptian. This is our God – mighty in wonders, unfathomable, unstoppable, and unlike anything we could possibly understand. But this is our rescuer. He wants us to embrace him and his redemption, and let him decide how things must be done.

4. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God

The ultimate goal is relationship. God wants intimacy with his people. The desert can be seen to represent walking in intimacy with God, and in fact God looks back at that time right after the exodus as something of a honeymoon with his people:

“This is what the LORD says:“‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest”. Jeremiah 2:1-3

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” Hosea 2:14-15

My pastor once said “a dessert is something you want and don’t need, but the desert is something you don’t want, but you do need”. Desert life is not easy, but it’s often where our walk with God gets deeper and more intimate. One day we will be in the promised place of ultimate rest but until then, life with God is not always going to be a walk in the park. It’s a time to learn about our rescuer, and grow in our ability and willingness to trust, love and follow him. We are with him, and he is with us. We are his people, and he is our God. We are bonded in relationship, and that is our joy and his.

More Glorious Stories To Come!

So while this is just the very tip of the iceberg when thinking about the Passover story and its fulfilment in Yeshua our Messiah, it’s easy to see why this event is so pivotal, and such a perfect foreshadowing of our salvation story. God reminds Israel of who he is and what he’s done for them over and over again by adding the events to his name: “You know, me – the one who brought you out of Egypt”… And like all of us, the Israelites needed a lot of reminding. But Jeremiah writes something curious about this description of God:

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but it will be said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.” Jeremiah 16:14-16 (23:7-8 says much the same thing).

The story of God and the Israelites is not over yet. God has indeed brought the Israelites out from the land of the north (Russia and surrounding area) and out of all the countries they had been banished to for almost two thousand years. He is still not widely known by name for this action. But the days are coming…

The physical, practical and actual restoration of Israel took place last century. Now we prayerfully anticipate and work towards the spiritual restoration of Israel.

Happy Passover, and God’s richest blessings to you as we celebrate the resurrection of our sacrificial lamb that bought our freedom.

1. Pharaoh hardens his own heart by his free choice on two occasions (Exodus 8:15, 8:32) before God hardens his heart (Exodus 9:12). Then Pharaoh once again freely chooses again to hearden his own heart, along with his officials (9:34). After that God hardens his heart four more times, so that his glory can be seen (10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:8)

The picture of sitting under your own vine is a Biblical image of freedom, rest and peace (Micah 4:4 and Zechariah 3:10).