Appointed Times — Passover
The Seder: The Meal of Messiah
Passover is one of the seven major Appointed Times of God. It is the time that commemorates the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. God tells Moses, "On the tenth of this month (Nisan on the Jewish calendar), each man is to take a lamb for his family, one per household... You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and then the entire assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter it at dusk. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the two sides and top of the doorframe at the entrance of the house in which they eat it... Here is how you are to eat it: with your belt fastened, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you are to eat it hurriedly. It is the Lord's Passover." This will be a day to remember and celebrate as a festival to the Lord from generation to generation. You are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation.
"For seven days you are to eat matzah; on the first day remove the leaven from your houses... You are to observe the Festival of Matzah (sundown of the fourteenth day), for on this very day I brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12). Leaven represents sin. How significant this feast is when you think that Yeshua (Jesus) was sinless, and He took upon Himself all of our sins (leaven) so that now we can be a sinless offering to God, Unleavened Bread!
Messiah Our Passover Lamb
The apostle Paul tells us, "Clean out the leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover Lamb also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).
Paul also tells us that we are to examine ourselves before partaking in the meal of the Lord. The Passover was to be performed year after year as a remembrance. Our Messiah tells us the same thing, but He adds that not only are we to remember Moses and the Israelites and how God delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians, but we are also to remember how God sent His only Beloved Son to die on our behalf so we too may have the same experience of being delivered out of the hand of Satan, who held us in bondage. And so we remember as we partake of the Seder Meal that the matzah represents His body and the Cup of Redemption represents His blood, and for this, we too must prepare our hearts to receive.
Don't Forget the First Fruits!
In later years, the Jews combined the feasts of Passover (the fourteenth day) and Unleavened Bread (the fifteenth day) and called it all the Season of Passover. But during this time, another feast day occurs: the Feast of First Fruits. This feast is on the sixteenth day of Nisan. It includes the offering of the first fruits of the barley harvest. It was at this time that Messiah rose. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 tells us that Messiah has been raised from the dead, becoming the first fruits of those who are asleep. This began the countdown to the next feast, the Feast of Pentecost.
During the time between the first fruits and Pentecost, fifty days, the people would count every day and this was called the counting of the Omer. This represented the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Mount Sinai and our journey from slavery to life. The Torah was given at Mt. Sinai on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was also given on the day of Pentecost to the Apostles. Scripture tells us in Ephesians 6:17 that the Sword of the Spirit in God's armor is the Word of God, thus linking the two together!
It's all worth remembering; it's all worth celebrating!
The Seder Plate
The word seder means "order," and it all corresponds with the Exodus from slavery to freedom. As you partake in the meal, remember your own deliverance from slavery into freedom.
Shank bone (Zeroah): represents the lamb that was sacrficed on that Passover eve in Egypt.
Roasted Egg (Beitzah): a symbol of mourning that the temple does not stand any longer; but we know that one day Yeshua will rule and reign from Jerusalem.
Bitter Herbs (Maror): usually horseradish; it reminds us of the bondage in Egypt and our former bondage to sin.
Vegetable (Karpas): parsley is used to allude to the crushing labor, and it is dipped in salt water to remind us of the tears of the Israelites as they cried out to God.
Sweet paste (Charoset) : a mixture of apples, spices, and grape juice which represents the mortar used between the bricks the Israelites made in Egypt.
Lettuce (Chazeret): this reminds us of life and how we can go from joy to sadness when sin enters our lives and enslaves us.
Unleavened Bread (Matzah): the bread of affliction.
Four Cups of Wine
1. Cup of Sanctification: "I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians." Israel is marked as God's chosen.
2. Cup of Deliverance: "I will deliver you from their bondage." This reminds us that we were in great need of deliverance and unable to rescue ourselves.
3. Cup of Redemption: "I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements." This represents Yeshua, who shed His blood for our redemption.
4. Cup of Hope: "Then I will take you for My people and I will be your God." The fourth cup reminds us that our redemption is not fully realized yet.