(No video today; sorry, but you’ll have to read this one)
As I write this it is the beginning of the 14th day of Nisan 5782, which is the same as the evening of April 14, 2022.
In the morning Jews all over the world will be engaged in preparing for the Seder, and Christians will be preparing for their Good Friday activities. In my house, Donna and I will also be preparing for our Seder, which will be blessed with the addition of a friend of mine from my high school days who lives close by. She is a Gentile and was happy to be invited to join us.
Donna and I have been inviting friends to join our Passover Seder for almost as many years as we have been having one, which is close to some 26 years now- maybe more- and every one who has joined us has been impressed and happy they came.
We use a Messianic Hagaddah, so our Gentile friends, many of whom aren’t “Born Again” get to see how Jesus and Passover go together.
Speaking of which, some will be celebrating Good Friday by having their own version of the Last Supper, but they will not be performing it as Yeshua did. And come Sunday, they will be celebrating his resurrection from the dead, most likely eating the ever-popular Easter Ham, which Yeshua would consider to be an abomination on his table.
Yeshua is often referred to as the Passover Lamb of God, but in truth, he wasn’t the Passover lamb, per se’, because his sacrificial death was a sin sacrifice, and the Passover lamb was not a sin sacrifice- it was a Peace, or Thanksgiving offering.
Read the first 7 chapters of Leviticus, where God gives us the rules for the different sacrifices. The only sacrifice where the person bringing the sacrifice shares in eating of it is the Thanksgiving sacrifice. A portion of the lamb that is sacrificed for Passover is taken home and eaten at the Seder, so this is not a sin or guilt or cleansing sacrifice- it is a Thanksgiving sacrifice.
And that makes sense: after all, having the Angel of Death pass over your house is certainly something to be thankful for, isn’t it?
Yeshua’s sacrifice is more akin to the Yom Kippur sacrifice.
Actually, Yeshua’s sacrifice acts as both the Thanksgiving and sin sacrifice. By means of his substitutionary sacrifice, we no longer need to bring an animal to sacrifice at the Temple, which the Torah required, in order to be forgiven of sin. And, by means of the cleansing blood of the sacrifice, we can be forgiven of our sin and, thereby, draw near to God to commune with him. That is what the Thanksgiving sacrifice was all about, and that is why we shared the meat of that sacrifice, and only that sacrifice; and, not only that, but it was to be eaten in the presence of the holy place.
When archeologists discovered shards of plates and cups all around a high place at a dig in Shiloh many years ago, when they told a Rabbi about it he danced with joy. When they asked why he was so happy, he said that they found the place where the Tent of Meeting had been. He knew that because the broken pieces of plates and cups all around the area, but not on the high ground, meant that sacrifices were eaten there, which meant that had to be the Tent of Meeting (I heard this story from the Israeli guide we had when I was in the Holy Land.)
The Torah, as I mentioned, required the people to sacrifice only where God placed his name, which he commanded in Deuteronomy 12:13-14:
“Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt-offerings in every place that thou seest; but in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt-offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.”
That is why it was so devastating to Jews when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed- that was where God placed his name, and as such was the only place where the sacrifice to remove our sin could take place. With no temple, there was no means of having our sins removed.
That is why Yeshua is now our only means of removing sin: his sacrifice replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple.
Passover always falls on a different day because Jews use the lunar calendar, and Good Friday and Easter are also based on the moon, but in a different way. To determine when Passover begins, the new moon for the month of Nisan (it used to be called Aviv, which means “spring”) is when we start to count. The evening of the 14th day (which begins after sunset of the 13th day) is when we have the Seder, and that is also when we begin Hag HaMatzot, or Festival of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for 7 days.
For Christians, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon on or after 21 March (a fixed approximation of the March equinox). Often Passover and Easter come very close to each other, but rarely ever fall on the same day.
The one significant difference between the Jewish Holy Day (meaning God-commanded) of Pesach and the man-made holiday of Easter is just that- Passover is a Holy Day that God created and Easter is something men created.
God tells us we must celebrate the Passover; in fact, it is one of the three pilgrimage festivals when the people had to go to the temple in Jerusalem. The other two are Shavuot (which Christians celebrate as Pentecost) and Sukkot. That is why, when you read in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2 about the giving of the Spirit to the Apostles, there were thousands of people in Jerusalem.
They weren’t Christians, they were Jews who were there for the commanded appearance for Shavuot. Often when they came for Pesach they just stayed there another 50 days to wait for Shavuot.
There are many people who have been Born Again, especially Gentiles, who have rejected Easter and all the traditional Christian holidays, and celebrate the ones God tells us to celebrate- you can find them in Leviticus 23.
There are many more Christians, Born Again or not, who say that whatever is in the Old Covenant is just for Jews. They seem to ignore the fact that Jesus was, is, and always will be a Torah-observant Jew.
It’s sad that so many people wearing that WWJD bracelet (What Would Jesus Do) have been taught by their religion to do anything BUT what Jesus would do.
I think what pleases God (which would also please Yeshua) more than anything is to do as he said we should do, so I leave it up to you to celebrate what God says to celebrate, or to reject God’s commandments and instead do what men tell you to do.
הג פסח סמח
Hag Pesach sameach! (Happy Passover)