(Note: My wife Pam and I conduct “Christ in the Passover” services every year during the Passover/Easter season. These services include the full Passover celebration, including the complete Seder dinner. In each element of the service, we explain how that particular element represents Jesus Christ, and how He fulfilled the purpose of every aspect of the Passover celebration. Many of the photos with this article are from those services.)
“These are the appointed times of the Lord; holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of that month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover” Leviticus 23:4-5.
In the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus, Jehovah God commanded the children of Israel to faithfully recognize a full calendar of feasts that He was setting before them. He ordered Moses to proclaim to His people that these were the “Lord’s appointed times.” In other words: “I, the Lord God Jehovah have established them, and the times set are my times.” What God did in these two sentences was to establish what is known as “The Seven Feasts of Israel.” All of them would bring remembrances of some great thing Jehovah God had done for His people; and prophetically point to the future fulfillment of each by the coming Messiah.
It should be noted that on His last night on earth, just before His crucifixion, our Jewish Messiah Jesus chose to celebrate Passover with His disciples. He placed His personal imprint on the celebration that night, in a way that would impact the Church for all time.
The Feast of Passover is the convocation that begins the Festival Year for the Jews, and occurs at the beginning of spring. Exodus 12 and beyond tells in great detail the story of how the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian bondage and slavery. The critical time slot in this saga was the night of the tenth plague. From this historic night, God begins to set dates.
Now, we need to understand that the Hebrew calendar is much different than the Roman calendar we use today. It is a lunar calendar, based on the phases of the moon, not on the revolutions of the earth around the sun. Each month starts with a new moon, and reaches a full moon in the midst of a 28-day cycle. Passover always falls on the first full moon of spring, in the month of Nisan, the first month of the Sacred Festival calendar, and the month that is equivalent to our April.
An interesting sidelight here is the beautiful story of how God uses the almond tree at this time of year. This tree grows profusely in the land of the Hebrews and blooms at the end of winter. Even if a Jew could not read or understand the calendar, he would not miss Passover. All he had to do was watch the almond tree: when blooms appeared, the next full moon was Passover.
Well, what is the meaning of Passover? In one word: SALVATION! On that night in Egypt, because of “a male lamb without blemish” and its shed blood, there was deliverance and life! The message in both the Old Testament and New Testament is very clear: the Blood of The Lamb saves and delivers. That blood delivered the Jew from Egyptian bondage and death and the Christian from the bondage of sin and death.
It is no coincidence that Jesus was sacrificed on Passover. He spoke with resolute firmness in Matthew 26:27, “This is my blood of the New Testament, shed for many for the remission of sin.” John the Baptist had declared earlier as he introduced Jesus on the banks of the Jordan River, “Behold the LAMB of God who takes away the sins of the world.” God set the dates, and the principle involved here is present in all of the remaining feasts.
The faithful Jew today celebrates Passover in commemoration of the deliverance of their ancestors from Egypt while looking forward to the ultimate deliverance through the Messiah to come. On the other hand, the Christian today, both Jew and Gentile, celebrates Passover, not only recognizing the deliverance from Egypt, but also seeing the feast as a prophetic shadow — pointing to the Messiah, Yeshua Jesus, who has already come and fulfilled this wonderful convocation. In Egypt the Hebrew children marked their house with the blood of the lamb. Today, as Christians we mark our hearts and body with the Blood of Christ, the true Paschal Lamb of God. We have already been passed over; the death angel cannot touch us. Our eternal life has already begun — RIGHT NOW!
On that night, at the Passover table with His disciples, Jesus took the unleavened bread, gave thanks and broke it. He then passed it to the disciples and said: “Take and eat, this is my Body given for you…” Then He raised the Third Cup, “The Cup Of Redemption,” prayed the prayer of thanks, and passed it to the disciples saying, “Take and drink; this is my Blood of the New Covenant shed for you…”. And thus, our Holy Communion was born! As they ate the Bread and drank the Cup Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” He is literally saying, “I am now the Paschal Lamb of God; it is My Blood that saves from death and brings life more abundantly.”
Not only did Jesus fulfill the Feast of Passover by going to the Cross, but He also fulfilled the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Feasts. He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, arose from the Tomb on the Feast of First Fruits, and sent the Holy Spirit to His church on the Feast of Pentecost. In the not too distant future, He will fulfill the 5th Feast — The Feast of Trumpets — when He comes for His Bride! Can you shout “GLORY!”?