Thursday, March 26, 2015

A quick message about Passover

Passover/Pesach (Nisan 14) celebrates the deliverance of the slaves from Egypt. It is the story of redemption by the killing of the Passover Lamb. The Israelites obeyed God by applying the blood of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their houses so that their firstborn would be spared the Tenth Curse against Pharoah who refused to let God's enslaved Chosen People leave Egypt. When the Angel of Death passed through the land and saw the blood, he "passed over" those houses and spared the first born (Exodus 12:1-13).

This was a picture of Yeshua, God's "Passover Lamb" who willingly allowed His own blood to be shed on our behalf and thus became our redemption. The Messiah fulfilled this holiday when he was crucified! 

Please note:  The lamb for the original Passover was NOT a sacrifice - and neither was Yeshua! The lamb was offered as a substitute, not as a "sacrifice"!  So, though not a "sin" sacrifice, the lamb's blood was offered as a substitute, giving the Hebrew first-born males the chance to live. This is the connection: Yeshua was our substitute - and by believing and following YHWH's Torah to help us to lower our tendency to sin, and do our best to NOT sin anymore, we have the chance for eternal life. And this, of course was the point: Eternal life.

Yeshua took our bitterness so that we might live the abundant life. We remember and identify with the bitterness of slavery by eating the bitter herbs and the matza (unleavened bread) on Passover. The innocent died for the guilty. Yeshua's willingness to "sacrifice" (offer) His life not only meant death - it also meant LIFE (Isaiah 53).

So - the prophetic fulfillment of Passover is clear: Redemption! Passover is a time to thank God for our freedom - and that covers several types of freedoms ... To be a free people, and to be free to worship God.  Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) summed up this theme in his letter to the Corinthians in which he addressed moral problems within their membership. To solve this problem he drew upon a well-known analogy of Pesach:

1 Corinthians 5:  6. Your bragging is not praiseworthy. Don’t you know, that a little leaven leavens the whole mass?  7. Purge out from you the old leaven, that you may be a new mass, as you are unleavened. For our Passover is the Mashiyach, who was slain for us.  8. Therefore let us celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of wickedness and bitterness, but with the leaven of purity and sanctity.  (AENT)

Footnote:  The word for “leaven” here is makhmae, the cognate in Hebrew of which is chometz.  Therefore, Rav Shaul is teaching the Corinthians by using Passover imagery, by commanding them to purge the chometz from the house of their hearts, so that they can be sanctified. Of course, the rest of this verse and the next proves this interpretation.

In 1 Corinthians 5 above, he was telling Believers to celebrate Passover and to have a Seder (Passover meal) that celebrates the deliverance from slavery and being a free people ... To set aside this day to thank, praise and worship God. 

NOTE: In case anyone is interested, we offer a free downloadable haggadah (liturgy) for Pesach/Passover on our website. Just click on our Essays and Articles page, and scroll down until you see "Free calendars, Siddurs & Pesach Seder", and choose one of the final two links...

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