The Feast of Passover is also known in Hebrew as Pesach.
Many who have seen Cecil B. DeMille's film, The Ten Comandments, are familiar with it because Moses' family celebrates the first Passover on the night that the angel of death slew the firstborn of the Egyptians, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, to the firstborn son of the poorest families of Egypt. Only the Jews were spared because they had applied the blood of the Passover Lamb on the doorposts and the lintels of their dwellings.
The Feast of Passover is about the Blood of the Pesach Lamb that was sprinkled on the door posts and lintel (the horizontal cross-beam supported by the door posts). Thus the blood of the lamb was applied vertically and horizontally. Does this remind you of the Cross on which Jesus died at Calvary?
From the sacrifice of the lamb whose skin was used by God to clothe Adam and Eve after their sin in the Garden (Genesis 3), to the last chapter of Revelation, the Lamb and His Blood are the central message of the Bible.
That's because they picture the sacrifice of Jesus.
Passover is a celebration of redemption and deliverance by the power of the blood. This feast celebrates Israel's deliverance from Egypt but also our deliverance from Satan and sin by the blood of Jesus, our Passover Lamb. When we understand the story of Passover,(see Passover video 5-minute recap) we can better overcome the demonic forces that hold us, as God's children, in bondage. The good news remains the same for us, just as it was for the Israelite slaves in Egypt: God has a plan for freedom!
His Blood is important, because the demands of justice have been satisfied, the wrath of God appeased, and the records of iniquity erased through the shedding of that Blood.
Passover in context of the Feasts of the Lord
God gave His people of Israel 3 Festival Seasons which are broadly outlined in Exo 23:14-16 and the details of which are found in Lev 23.
These 3 Festival Seasons are:
- Passover (also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, HaMatzoth) -- this occurred in the Hebrew month of Abib (also known as Nissan), very roughly corresponding to our March/April in the international calendar. Leaven is yeast. So unleavened bread is bread made without any yeast in it. In addition, Jews will not eat, possess, or even look at, anything made from any of five types of grains that can ferment, all of which are included in the definition of Khametz.
- Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Weeks, Shavuoth) -- this occurred in the Hebrew month of Sivan, very roughly corresponding to our May/June in the international calendar
- Booths (also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or Tents, Succoth) -- this occurred in the Hebrew month of Tishri (also known as Ethanim), very roughly corresponding to our August/September in the international calendar. But in Jewish leap years, it may come as late as October. For example in the 2008, Succoth starts on the 13th October (evening)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread has 3 parts: 14th of Abib/Nissan would be Passover (Pesach) - in 2012, this fell on 6th/7th April.
In 2012 as in certain other years, it coincides with the Easter weekend. But note the sublime contrast between God's instructions for knowing the date of Pesach with the Catholic man-made complex formula for calculating the date of Easter.
The day of Pesach would be followed by a week in which the Jews eat only unleavened bread (Matzoth) from 15th to 21st of Abib. In the week of unleavened bread, on the morning after the Sabbath, would be the Feast of Bikhurim (the offering of sheaves of firstfruits before the Lord). The day after Bikhurim is the first day of counting the Omer. Today's orthodox Jews count the omer from the day after Pesach. For the difference between the two different methods of counting see Counting the Omer.
Similarly, the Feast of Tabernacles also had 3 parts: the 1st of Tishri would be the Feast of Trumpets (Yom T'ruah). This is celebrated as the New Year's day (Rosh HaShanah) of the Jewish civil calendar. (The New Year of the religious calendar is the 1st of Abib/Nissan.) On the 10th of Tishri, the Jews observe the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This is really a fast, not a feast. The 15th of Tishri starts a week of celebrations which is the Feast of Tabernacles proper (Succoth). This would conclude on the 21st of Tishri. The 22nd of Tishri is a festival called Simhat Torah (the Joy of the Torah or the Joy of the Law) on which the weekly readings from the Torah in the synagogues are completed with the last chapter of Deuteronomy, and the new cycle of readings begun with the first chapter of Genesis.
The Triple Significance of these Festivals
Each of these Festivals has 3 aspects. The first aspect has to do with how God dealt with His people in the past. (This is the only aspect that most Jews understand.) The second aspect has to do with what He wants His people to do in the present. (To some extent, some Jews understand this also.) The third aspect has to do with what God plans to do for them in the future. (This is the part that the Jews don't understand at all.) In other words, each of the feasts has a backward look into history, a forward look into prophecy, and an upward and inward look into God's relationship (upward) with us (inward) in the present.
Between the backward look and the forward look, the feasts cover 3,500 years of spiritual history from time of Moses to 2nd Coming of Christ.
The Past Aspect
Passover is a memorial feast to remember Israel's deliverance from Egypt. Exo 12:1-14.
Pentecost is a memorial feast to remember the giving of the Law at Sinai. Exo 19:16.
Tabernacles is a memorial feast to remember the years Israel lived in temporary shelters (tents) in the desert. He 11:13.
The Future Aspect
The Passover Season prophesied that the Messiah would be slain, buried, raised. This Season was fulfilled in the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Yeshua HaMashiach (the Messiah). (Note that ch in Hebrew is pronounced as kh but with a sound like the kh in the Urdu word "khabar"). Pesach was fulfilled when Jesus was slain at Calvary on the day of Passover. Ha Matzoth was fulfilled when He was buried as the sun was setting bringing in the Feast of HaMatzoth. Bikhurim (Firstfruits) was fulfilled when He rose from the dead, becoming the Firstfruits of the Resurrection.
Pentecost prophesied that the Holy Spirit would descend to inaugurate the New Covenant. This was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit descended on the 120 disciples in the Upper Room on Pentecost..
Tabernacles prophesied that the Messiah would live among us. This was partly fulfilled in Jesus' first coming, and will be fully fulfilled in His Second Coming. There are many signs that this Festival Season will be fulfilled shortly.
The Present Aspect
Passover testifies that Christ must be received as our Passover Lamb - our deliverance from Sin and Hell.
Pentecost testifies that we need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Tabernacles testifies that we can have an intimate relationship with Jesus, the fullness of which we will experience in His Second Coming.
Why the Festival Seasons
The Festival Seasons honored the Relationship between God and His people. Passover celebrated God as the Deliverer. Pentecost commemorated God as the Lawgiver. Tabernacles honored God's desire to tabernacle with us.
The Festival Seasons also acknowledged people's need of God. They were harvest festivals (of barley, wheat and fruit respectively), and they reminded people that the nation was dependent on Him for rain and a plentiful harvest.
The Festival Seasons also gave people opportunity to express their faith in God, trust that God would bless them with plenty in in the months succeeding each of these harvests, and enable them to enjoy the harvest in peace.
Why should we observe these Festival Seasons in the New Testament?
We should observe these Festival Seasons in the church today, because the New Testament revealed the prophetic significance of these feasts, as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:10-11. For example, in Acts 2:16, Peter remembers Joel 2:28-29, and says that what the people were witnessing was the fulfillment of that prophecy on the feast of Pentecost, thus fulfilling the prophetic significance of Pentecost. He also used that sermon to explain the prophetic fulfillment of the Passover Season. (See also Luke 24:46, when Jesus explained to two disciples the way that the Passover had been literally fulfilled. John the Baptist proclaimed to the people that Jesus was the Lamb of God in John 1:29.) Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 5:7 that Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us.
Specifically about Passover Day
The command to observe Passover
This command given by God in Exodus 12 (see verses 2,3,6,7,12,13).
The Meaning of Passover
Passover was the day on which God delivered Israel out of Egypt. This deliverance was prophesied by God to Abraham as early as Gen 15:13-14.
Pharaoh wore a crown with a cobra at its front. The snake, as you know, is a symbol of Satan. Gen 3:1-14; Rev 12:9. Satan, therefore, was the ruling principality over Egypt.
The time had come for God to take His people out of Satan's Kingdom under Pharaoh and place them in God's Kingdom under Moses.
But Pharaoh wouldn't give up God's people without battle. (Similarly Satan battles to retain the people whom God is delivering. As a punishment for His resistance Pharaoh (and Egypt) received 10 plagues. The 10th plague was the last plague for Pharaoh but a new beginning, the first Passover, for Israel. Exo 12:2.
For Israel, Passover meant deliverance from slavery in Egypt. For us, it means deliverance from sin. For us too it is a new beginning. 2 Cor 5:17. It means a new family, a new genealogy (we are the heirs of God), a new covenant in Jesus' Blood, a better and more wonderful Deliverer.
Moses saved his people from the bondage of slavery. Jesus saved His people from the bondage of sins. Mat 1:21.
Passover signified "household salvation". Read Exodus 12:3."A lamb for a house." Now read what Jesus said to Zacchaeus in Lu 19:9. And read what Paul said to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31-34.
Checking the Lamb for Purity
In the Passover season, the lamb was set aside on Abib 10. Jesus entered Jerusalem on Abib 10, when lambs were being set aside. He too was coming before the priests for examination. John 1:20. Hebrews 7:26.
Now read Matthew 22:15-46. Jesus was examined by the Herodians (v.15-22), the Sadducees (v.23-33), the Lawyers (v.35-40) and the Pharisees (v.41-45). No one found anything wrong with Him (v.46).
Jesus was not only examined by the Jewish religious authority, but by the civil authority as well. Read John 18:12-19:4. The civil authority also found nothing wrong with Him. (Read John 18:38, 19:4,6.) The verdict "I find no fault in Him" was declared thrice, as seen in the above verses.
Pilate didn't know the Law as given in Exodus 12:5 or Deuteronomy 15:21.Yet he said, "You crucify Him, for I find no fault (blemish) in Him." (Pilate probably meant to say, "You crucify Him, because I will not, for I find no fault in Him." But what he actually said was "You crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him." That was the point, though Pilate didn't realize it! The Passover lambs were to be sacrificed only if, and precisely because, the authorities found no fault in them.
The result? At the same time as the Passover Lambs were being slain on the altar at the Temple, Jesus was being slain at Calvary. The prophetic aspect of Passover was fulfilled when the Lamb without blemish was slain.
Protective Covering Exo 12:13. 1 Peter 1:19.
The blood was placed on the door in the form of a cross, in the sense that there was the vertical placement on the door posts at the sides of the door, and the horizontal placement on the lintel at the top of the door. Exo 12:6,7,22,23.
The blood of the lamb became a covering for the Israelite home that had the blood on the door. So the Blood of Jesus is the covering on the believer's home. Jesus is our Savior, Deliverer, Protector.
Psalm 91 describes our protection when the Blood is applied to the door of our heart.
Satan is the Destroyer, the Death Angel. Revelation 9:2,11. And Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan. 1 John 3:8.
Thank God if you have experienced Your Personal Passover!
Blood on the Door made the death angel powerless. The Blood of Jesus makes the Devil powerless. Hebrews 2:14. John 8:32,36.
As you know, it is simple to receive salvation: Confess with the mouth, believe in the heart, and receive salvation. Ro 10:9-10. The Greek word for "save" is "sozo". This word means not only "save from punishment", but also "save from ill health, save from financial problems, etc." It has to do with total well being: physical, emotional, mental, financial, spiritual. It means all-round salvation.
Just as Passover is the first feast in God's calendar, so it is the first we must personally experience to inaugurate our relationship with God.
At this time of celebrating Passover, it is good to see with the eyes of our spirits the awesome purity of God's Lamb. It is good to thank Him for placing Himself over us as our covering. Yes, that's right! He is the covering prepared by God for us -- the garment of righteousness we put on (Ro 13:14), as Adam and Eve had garments made from the skins of sacrificed lambs placed on them in the Garden of Eden. When we are covered, no curse can be placed on us, and no magic or witchcraft will work against us (as Balaam found when he tried to curse the people of Israel, who had been covered by the Passover Lamb's blood. Numbers 23:23).
A side point that's very interesting is that Pesach is the only feast which is also a personal name. There are Jews who are named Pesach, and indeed, we know of someone in our circles whose name is Pesach. This illustrates a point often made by our Jewish friends, that God wants each Jew to not only commemorate Pesach as a memorial of the freeing of the Israelite nation from slavery, but something so personal that it's as though each individual Jew of today has himself with his family come out of the oppression of Pharaoh.
The Jewish people are a people of songl My favorite music is Jewish music. I could listen to Jewish music for hours. here is a Passover Medley danced by a Messianic group called Tree of Life.
Dai-dai-einu (It wold have been enough for us!) A Traditional Jewish Passover Song