ALL ABOUT PASSOVER – by Elaine Haynik
This weekend is one of an unusual convergence of holy days in two of the world’s major religions, Jewish and Christian, which occur on rolling dates. Passover or Pesach, is a Jewish feast celebrated over 8 days in the early spring, always on the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. In the Hebrew calendar it’s from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nisan. This year it is celebrated worldwide from sunset March 30, 2018 to nightfall April 7, 2018, and commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Holy week for the Christians runs 8 days, from Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, through the last supper, agony in the garden, his trial, the passion and crucifixion of Jesus, burial in the tomb, to the Resurrection Day, celebrated on Sunday April 1. Are they related ? Let’s look at Passover first.
The story of the Passover is recorded in the Bible in the book of Exodus. The Israelites worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They had to leave the land of Canaan when a famine caused them to be destitute. Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob, was assistant ruler to Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. He brought his family of 70 persons to live in Goshen, a part of Egypt. As the famine progressed, it came to Egypt, causing all people, even Joseph’s family, to sell all they had and become slaves. They endured more than 430 years of slavery and oppression in Egypt crying out to God for relief.
Moses was called by God to tell Pharaoh “Let my my people go that they may serve me”. Because of Pharaoh’s stubbornness in refusing to let the Israelites go, God sent a series of 9 plagues on Egypt and was about to send the 10th and final plague: killing the firstborn of all people and animals. This occurred in the month of Nisan. On the 10th of Nisan Moses told the people to select a perfect lamb or kid. On the 14th of Nisan they were instructed to kill the lamb, put the blood on the 2 doorposts and top of the door frame. They were to roast the lamb and eat it, burning any leftovers. Then they were to close the door, stay in their homes, have shoes on and be prepared to leave. At midnight the Death Angel would go out and slay the firstborn of man and beast. The death angel would “pass over” the homes with the blood. Death reigned from Pharaoh’s palace to the stables, killing all firstborn of man and beast.
All Egypt was in turmoil and grief. As the Pharaoh told the Israelites to leave, Moses led the people to the Red Sea. Pharaoh changed his mind and headed after the Israelites to bring them back. Another miracle – Moses lifted his rod and the Red Sea parted, so over six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, went safely across. As the army of Egypt pursued, the waters came over them, drowning all the host of Pharaoh. The movie, the 10 Commandments with Charlton Heston, portrays this scene vividly.
Passover (Pesach) is observed by gathering the family in homes, and conducting a Seder meal, retelling the story of the Exodus. Two other feasts are celebrated during the same week. The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on Passover and continues for 7 days. All leaven is removed from the house. Unleavened bread (matza) is eaten for 7 days because the children of Israel had no time to let bread rise during the Exodus. The Feast of Firstfruits came on the day following the Sabbath, that would co-incide this year with Resurrection Sunday April 1. The first sheaves of spring ripened barley were offered to the Lord in a ceremony before allowing the people to eat the harvest. Oh, one more detail from Leviticus 23:15-16, the counting of the Omer. Starting on the second day of Pesach, when an omer (sheaf) of grain is to be brought as an offering, seven complete weeks. On the 50th day celebrate the Feast of Shavuot and offer more grain.
Happy Pesach – Happy Passover, Chag Sameach – Happy Holiday To be continued in part 2: How Easter and Passover are related.
more by yhebrew author…..
I Corinthians 5:7 Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiach, has been sacrificed.
5:8 So let us celebrate the Seder not with with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth.
Exodus 12:11-14 It is the Lords’s Pesach (Passover). The blood is a sign that I will pass over you…..
12:14 “This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to ADONAI; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by perpetual regulation.
Since Christian are grafted into Jewish heritage via Abraham, Isaac and Jacob….this applies to them. It also shows the Suffering Servant being resurrected….
Do this in memory of me…Do what? The Seder….talk about this….remember this….do communion and raise the cup of juice…so the world will not forget the lamb chosen before the foundation of the world. God came in the flesh, died and rose again so his sheep would not be lost.
Find the door and spread his blood across your heart.