Passover, or Pesach (סח ַפ ( ֶin Hebrew, is one of the most descriptive of all of YHWH (God’s) appointed holy days. It masterfully recounts the history of Israel as they were released from the oppression of Egypt by the strong hand of YHWH Himself while drawing distinct connections to the sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus) our Messiah. Every element of Passover is rich with lessons and imagery that draws us close and helps us to identify with our spiritual ancestors, the Israelites. They bring light and glory to the true nature of YHWH’s unfailing, redemptive plan and the beauty of His word and His commandments.
The Spiritual Goals of Passover
As followers of Yeshua, we do not celebrate Passover simply as an act of obedience. We have been given revelation from the Holy Spirit, or Ruach Ha’Qodesh (ח ַוּר דשֶֹק ,(regarding the deeper meanings behind each feast day. We have also been given access to spiritual benefits that are reinforced through obedience to YHWH’s commandments. So, it is most important to consider the spiritual lessons YHWH is teaching us as we observe Passover.
At 24:44 Ready Ministries we have identified at least three main spiritual goals for Passover:
1. Remembering our predicament
2. Recognizing YHWH’s sacrifice
3. Realizing our identity
Each element of the Passover celebration helps us to achieve one or more of these goals. Now, let’s dive into the elements of Passover to highlight the spiritual benefits that awaits us! These will be listed in chronological order according to the order of ceremony. However, keep in mind that followers of Messiah are not legalistically bound to any specific order of events. Furthermore, as you begin to participate in Passover for yourself, the Ruach may reveal spiritual goals to you that are not listed here. Feel free to explore that with Abba Yah as you study His word.
The first element of Passover you will encounter is the removal of all leaven from your home. This is a command found in scripture:
“For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove dough with yeast from your houses; for whoever eats anything with yeast from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”
Exodus 12:15 KJV
This means going into your pantry, refrigerator, deep freezer, and wherever else you keep food and removing all products that contain yeast, yeast extract, or leavening. These terms are usually found within the list of ingredients. In general, any type of bread that is pillowy and soft usually contains leaven, but be careful! There are a great many products sold in stores that you wouldn’t think contain leaven such as chips, cereals, prepared frozen meats, and various other snacks. It is good to begin preparing to get rid of the leaven in your house about a month ahead of time so that you can consume those products instead of throwing them in the trash.
At some point just before sundown on Passover day perform a last check of the house with your whole family. For parents, this is an opportunity to engage your children in the process as well. Before you begin your final sweep of the house, the head of your household should sit down with the family and explain the deeper meaning of unleavened bread as noted below.
Leaven = Sin
Bread = The Body of Christ
Explain that following Yeshua means becoming a part of His body. Therefore, out of respect for His body, we do everything we can to eliminate sin from our personal lives and from the culture around us. We do this because YHWH’s Spirit causes a change in our hearts that makes us desire to be obedient to His every word. In doing so, we look forward to becoming more and more like Yeshua in everything we do.
You may read this scripture as a part of your discussion:
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”
1 Corinthians 5:7 KJV
The Red Sash
“And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”
Exodus 12:7 KJV
After the Passover lamb was sacrificed, the children of Israel were commanded to take some of the blood and apply it to their door frame. This would mark the house for protection against the death of the firstborn child in the home. We should note here that protection was not given to an Israelite because of his own blood or DNA. In other words, simply being an Israelite by birth did not protect them. An act of obedience was required that said “All who live in this house belong to YHWH.”
To signify this act of obedience we have adopted the hanging of a red sash over the front door of the house. It is a symbol to say, “This household is covered by the blood of the Messiah, our Passover lamb.”
The meal is the focal point of the Passover celebration. Each food item carries its own significance. Therefore, it is good to highlight the significance of each item just before eating. After you have gathered your family around the dinner table, be sure that everyone has a plate containing the following: parsley dipped in vinegar, a cut of lamb, a portion of unleavened bread, and a glass of wine or red grape juice. Direct your household to eat a small portion of each element as you reflect on what they represent.
The Bitter Herb
“And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”
Exodus 12:8 KJV
We use parsley dipped in vinegar to symbolize the bitter taste of oppression under the influence of sin. This also represents a change-of-heart that comes with receiving the Ruach Ha’Qodesh. Though we were once comfortable in bondage, even receiving pleasure in our sins, we are now being loosed from that stronghold through a renewing of the mind. A work has been done inside of us that has changed how we view sin. Where sin used to be comfortable and even pleasurable, it now leaves a bitter taste in our mouths when we contemplate the sins of the past and the culture around us that tempts us to stray from the narrow path that leads to life.(Matthew 7:13).
Thank YHWH for this bitterness, because without it we would find it nearly impossible to resist the desires of the flesh. Instead of comfort in sin we now find ourselves agreeing with Paul:
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Romans 7:24-25 KJV
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:“
Exodus 12:5 KJV
Christ is referred to as “Our Passover” or “The Lamb” on numerous occasions throughout scripture. Even among those who do not keep Passover, Jesus is known as both “The Lion and the Lamb.” This imagery cannot be denied as we sing Spirit-filled songs that proclaim “Worthy is the Lamb” and “Now Behold the Lamb.” Passover is an opportunity to reflect even deeper on the meaning of that imagery. As you prepare to eat a portion of lamb, also reflect on this scripture:
“18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”
1 Peter 1:19 KJV
Unleavened Bread & Wine
The bread and wine is one of the most familiar elements of Passover. This is because the tradition of eating bread and drinking red wine has been carried on in the protestant church in what is known as the Lord’s Supper, the Last Supper, or Communion. However, what is not commonly recognized is that Yeshua was not so much instituting another ritual for His disciples as He was teaching them the true meaning of Passover. He knew He would not be able to attend the Passover celebration because He would soon be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Therefore, when He proclaimed, “Do this in remembrance of me” He was establishing Himself as the ultimate Passover lamb.
Before eating the bread, reflect on this scripture which highlights the fact that Christ’s perfect, sinless body was broken for our sake.
“19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 KJV
As you drink the wine, reflect on the new covenant that has been established with all who are obedient to YHWH’s word. This new covenant involves the transference of responsibility for maintaining a righteous standing with God from us in our own efforts, to YHWH and His Spirit who dwells within us. Furthermore, this new covenant is only made possible by the shed blood of our Messiah. Before drinking the cup you may read this scripture.
“20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
Luke 22:20 KJV
Many ask, “Why are we consuming Christ’s body and His blood?” This is because His body was broken so that we might have life. It also indicates our acceptance of the role we have played in the death of our Messiah. No longer will we point the finger at another group of people with indignation for crying out “crucify him.” Our sins have also made Christ’s death necessary and it is only by the grace of God and the acceptance of His sacrifice that we escape judgment.
As you conclude communion it is important to be reminded that the ultimate Passover sacrifice was made so that we might have victory over the enemy. Prepare to celebrate that victory as you read the following scripture from the book of Revelation. “10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:10-11 KJV
Dinner and Fellowship
Once you have completed communion enjoy the rest of your meal with family and friends. Play music and fun games. Praise YHWH together and sing praises to the Lamb that was slain before the foundations of the world. Release all condemnation and guilt as you walk in obedience to YHWH’s word. Allow your fellowship with the Ruach Ha’Qodesh and with each other to be filled with joy as we look forward to Yeshua’s return!
Halleluyah & Amen!