Passover/Pesach The Feast of Freedom Pesach or Passover is a treasured feast of the LORD and falls in the winter/spring time of the year. Passover is also called the Feast of Freedom as Israel remembers their freedom from slavery from Egypt. It is a part of what is known as the “Spring Feasts of the LORD,” and is followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of First Fruits culminating up to the Feast of Shavuot which usually is at the end of spring and beginning of the summer season. Passover is the first of the spring feasts and marks the end of the winter which usually symbolizes death and darkness and the beginning of the spring which symbolizes newness of life. The seasons tell us a lot about how YHWH has setup the universe and the changing of the earth from year to year. The feasts of the LORD also tell us about the timing of the universe and the prophetic time piece of where we are from year to year. This is why scripture tells us to keep these feasts in their “seasons.” Lev. 23:4 “These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.”
The Facts: What do the Scriptures say about it? Exd 12:11 KJV – And thus shall ye eat it; [with] your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it [is]the LORD’S passover. Exd 12:3 KJV – Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth [day] of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of [their]fathers, a lamb for an house: Exd 12:6 KJV – And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. Exd 12:8 KJV – And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; [and] with bitter [herbs]they shall eat it. Exd 12:11 KJV – And thus shall ye eat it; [with] your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it [is]the LORD’S passover. Lev 23:5 KJV – In the fourteenth [day] of the first month at even [is]the LORD’S passover.
When is it? Lev 23:5 KJV – In the fourteenth [day] of the first month at even [is]the LORD’S passover. What should you do? 1.- A lamb of the first year is selected on the10th day of the first month (Exod. 12:3) 2.- The lamb is to be roasted in fire (Exod. 12:8-9) 3.- You are to eat the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs in the evening of the 14th (Exod. 12:6,8) 4.- All leaven or yeast should be removed from your home before the meal. (Exod. 12:19)
The First Passover- The sons of Jacob (Israel) came down into Egypt and settled in the land of Goshen. Scripture tells us that a new Pharaoh rose up that did not know Joseph or the God of Joseph. This Pharaoh saw the blessing of God upon Israel because they prospered at all they did. Their cattle and their crops were greater and even their sons and daughters multiplied greatly. Pharaoh became fearful that the children of Israel would try to take over Egypt so he devised a plan of putting them under slavery to keep them from multiplying any further. For 400 years the children of Israel served Mitzrayim (Egypt) and it became known to the Pharaoh that a deliverer was coming to set the people of Israel free who would be born among the Hebrews. Moshe (Moses) was that deliverer and through 10 judgments or plagues the hand of God through the prophet Moshe slew the “Goliath” nation of Egypt and cut off the head or posterity of the King of the known world. It was at the 10th judgment that the children of Israel would be set free. It was the judgment of death to the first born and the only judgment that offered instruction for those that would obey to escape this death penalty. Through the blood of a spotless yearling lamb placed on the door posts and lintel anyone (Hebrew or non-Hebrew) would be saved from death. The blood was a sign so that the death angel would “pass over” the homes that had it and only enter the homes that did not have the sign. The Passover meal is a remembrance of this day and includes elements that are to remind and teach future generations about the deliverance of the children of Israel with a “mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” Yeshua the Lamb of God- Ever since Avraham laid Isaac upon the altar and offered up his only begotten son there has always been an awareness and expectation of the son of God that would be the perfect Lamb sacrifice. Just as Isaac carried the wood of the sacrifice on his shoulders up the hill, so the Son of Man carried his own cross on his shoulders up that same hill. Intuitively, Isaac asked where the sacrifice was going to come from. Avraham answered with prophetic confidence that “God would provide his own sacrifice.” From generation to generation Hebrews looked and waited for this perfect Lamb of God, the one that would take away the sins of the world. Scholars say that after the prophet of Malachi finished his written scroll there was approximately 400 years of “silence” when no prophet spoke to Israel and the land was void of a voice from heaven. During this 400 years Israel was taken over by the Babylonians, the Medio-Persians, Greece, Egypt, Syria, and finally Rome. Instead of slavery to one nation they were slaughtered and pillaged by many nations and during the reign of King Herod (not from the lineage of David) there arose a rumor of a King of the Jews and deliverer to be born at this time. Like in the days of Moshe, the ruler of the Jews decreed for the slaughtering of innocent male children in a futile attempt to debunk the Sovereign’s plan. In fact the similarities don’t stop there. Joseph and Miriam were told by the Angel of the Lord to flee to Egypt and to return when it was safe. Miriam was the Hebrew name of Mary and in the Tanakh Miriam was the young sister of Moshe that hid him in Egypt. Egypt of all places and by a damsel named Miriam! The time came and Joseph and Miriam returned to Jerusalem during the Feast of Sukkoth in the fall when all of the inns were full for the festival and in a stable under a Sukkah (temporary dwelling) Yeshua was born. This isn’t the typical place where kings were born but perhaps lambs instead. Yeshua grew up in a town called Nazareth and when he had become of age and the time had come He approached Yochanan (John) the Baptist or Immerser. It was at this particular time while he was “baptizing” at the Jordan River that Yochanan looked up and saw Yeshua coming from the wilderness and exclaimed, “behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).” Then when the disciples were called we can read that they had recognized Yeshua as the Messiah as already written in the scriptures: John 1:45 “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” There was an expectation of the Messiah to come and Yeshua fit the bill. He later confirms this over and over again throughout his ministry and ultimate death and resurrection. It is through the final Passover of Yeshua that this prophetic fulfillment comes to a head. Let’s look at the Pesach feast and the final days of Yeshua until the cross and see the magnificent fulfillment of prophecy in the heart of the holy city:
- 10th of Nissan/Aviv: On the tenth day of Nissan/Aviv, the month of Passover a lamb is to be selected and for the next six days it is to live in your home and be scrutinized and picked over to find any blemishes or flaws. As prescribed by the Torah the lamb is not to be sickly or unfit in any way. [Exo 12:3, 5 ESV]3 “Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. … 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats…” It was at this time that Yeshua rides into town and is heralded by “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest,” as palms were waved. This was the time when the Cohenim (Levitical Priests) would triumphantly walk into town with the selected lamb but this Passover Yeshua beats them to the punch and as the people cheer for the Lamb, the Son of Man enters instead, symbolically representing the chosen Lamb of God (Matt. 21:9-10)
- Yeshua went straight way into the Temple and for the next six days the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Lawyers all tried to find fault in Him. Just like the Paschal Lamb, Yeshua was scrutinized and tested but was found without fault. No blemish of character or doctrine. Perfect.
- 13th of Nissan/Aviv: As Yeshua was taken on what was probably the evening of the 13th of Nissan He continued to be tested, beaten, and examined all night but fulfilling the words of the Prophet, [Isa 53:7 ESV]7 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” Yeshua was questioned by Caiaphas the High Priest, King Herod, and finally Pilate the Roman Governor over Judea.
- 14th of Nissan/Aviv: It would be prophetically announced through Pilate, what the High Priest announces when the final examination is complete of the Paschal Lamb and declares it is ready to sacrifice: [Jhn 19:6 ESV]6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” This was the sixth hour (noon) on the 14th of Nissan/Aviv, the day of preparation for the Passover meal (John 19:14) to be eaten that evening just before sunset. Yeshua was taken and carried OUR cross outside of the “camp,” where the Torah prescribes is where the refuse and garbage is to be buried and/or burned (Deut. 23:12-14). This is also where the mysterious Red Heifer sacrifice is slaughtered according to the Torah (Num. 19). As in many cases throughout the Bible oftentimes there are many layers of fulfillment of prophecy and the Passover prophecy is no exception. Yeshua is hung on a Roman cross or stake. Some believe that He only carried the cross beam and it was then fastened to a rooted tree; an Olive tree. In any case I am sure it was extremely painful and humiliating, especially hung in the company of criminals, knowing fully that the Torah declares (Deut. 21:23) that anyone who is hung on a tree is cursed: [Isa 53:12 ESV]12 “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” That last part of Isaiah 53:12 rang true as Yeshua asked for forgiveness for those that mocked Him and ignorantly crucified Him; [Luk 23:34 ESV]34 And Yeshua said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” From the sixth hour (noon) to the ninth hour (3pm) the whole land was darkened by what theologians believe was an eclipse (Matt. 27:45). It was at this exact time that the Cohenim (Priests) were slaughtering the Lambs for Passover and placing them in the ovens to be roasted. Thousands if not millions of Jews filled the streets the Jerusalem as Passover was one of three pilgrimage feasts that required all males to report to the Temple with tithes and offerings and the passover lambs for the priests to prepare. As the Cohenim would tirelessly slaughter one lamb after another, covered in blood, they would declare, “I thirst!” as a servant would bring them a drink to refresh them. It was then that Yeshua, our great High Priest, declared, “I thirst,” and a sponge full of sour wine was pressed against His blood stained lips. When all of the Lambs were finished being slaughtered and the last one placed in the great ovens the Cohenim would declare, “IT IS FINISHED!” It was at this exact moment that many believe that Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, “IT IS FINISHED!” And then He died. Not a single bone in His body was broken just as commanded of the Pashcal Lamb (Exd. 12:46). Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy righteous Jew, asked Pilate for the body of Yeshua (Luke 23:50-53) and placed Him in a rich man’s tomb, again fulfilling prophecy: [Isa 53:9 ESV]9 “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”
- 15th of Nissan/Aviv: Yeshua was wrapped in a shroud and placed in a tomb with a stone rolled over the entrance as ordered by Pilate to prevent anyone from stealing or vandalizing the body. Scripture tells us that this happened just before sundown which would have started the 15th of Nissan/Aviv which was the first day of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) and it is a Sabbath according to the Torah: [Lev 23:6-7 ESV]6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. Many scholars have read this in [Luk 23:54 ESV]54 “It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.” and have come to a wrong conclusion that this meant the weekly Sabbath so “Jesus had to have been crucified on a Friday.” After all, that’s where we get the term “Good Friday” from which is the Friday before Easter Sunday, when supposedly Jesus rose from the grave? The only problem with this conclusion is that Yeshua declared a sign of His authenticity as the Messiah, that He would be in the grave just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. Let’s take a look at that scripture: [Mat 12:40 ESV]40 “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” So the great mystery is this… How can you get three days and three nights from Friday evening to Sunday morning? This is impossible in any time zone and even in a leap year (a little humor sorry). I know God can do anything He wants with time but why would He give a clear sign and then break it? God is not a liar so we should stop showing Him a liar by making things up to fit times and seasons that are NOT biblically inspired. Take a look at this infographic of the Passover fulfillment of Yeshua Messiah and the critical error of Good Friday to Easter Sunday (click to enlarge):