Most Christians know very little about Passover. It is considered a “Jewish” celebration. However, many wonderful teachers, preachers, evangelists and prophets are teaching the Feasts of the Lord. Church by church, year by year, finally, the teachers of The Word are letting go of Easter and accepting that it is a Pagan holiday/teaching that is not biblical. See our March/April 2012 articles on Passover, The Truth about Easter, and The Feasts of the Lord. This year we encourage everyone to read about Passover and Feasts of the Lord, and celebrate Resurrection Sunday versus Easter. Please do not buy your children Easter eggs, Easter Bunnies, dresses and suits. Forget about Easter dinner–ham and all the trimmings. It’s all Pagan worship. We can only worship one God. We must grow up and be accountable and respectful every day to our Heavenly Father. We are going to share a brief summary–and this is information anyone can research at the library or online. Passover is celebrated all over the world by God’s People. Many Christians do not understand the Passover Seder. Jesus the Messiah celebrated the Seder with His disciples. The new covenant teaches that we are to have communion. Many Messianic congregations continue to have Passover Seder. I feel every “Born Again” Christian should experience a Passover Seder. Below is synopsis of the Passover Seder meal to help those who are not familiar know more about what goes on.
Before the beginning of the Passover, all leaven, which symbolizes sin, (1 Cor. 5:6-8), must be removed from the Jewish home. The house is thoroughly cleaned, top to bottom. Anything containing leaven is removed. The evening before the Passover, the father of the house searches the house for any specks of leaven which might have been missed. Once the leaven is removed, the family sits at the table and ceremonially washes their hands. Once the house and the participants are ceremonially clean, the Passover seder can begin. The woman of the house says a blessing and lights the Passover candles. Haggadah means “the telling” – the telling of the story of Passover. The story is told in response to questions asked by the children. The first question is: ”why is this night different from all other nights”? The father proceeds to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, reading from a book called “The Haggadah” using symbols and object lessons in order to keep the attention of the little ones.
The first cup of wine: The seder begins with a blessing recited over the first of four cups of wine: “Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine.” Jesus himself blessed the first cup in Luke 22:17-18. The second cup of wine: The second cup is to remind us of the Ten Plagues and the suffering of the Egyptians when they hardened their heart to the Lord. In order not to rejoice over the suffering of our enemies (Prov. 24:17), we spill a drop of wine (which is a symbol of joy) as we recite each of the Ten Plagues, thus remembering that our joy is diminished at the suffering of others.
The seder plate: The rabbis have devised a series of object lessons to keep the attention of the little ones during the Passover seder. These items are tasted by each person, as each is instructed to feel as if they themselves had taken part in the flight from Egypt. Karpas – greens: The first item taken is the karpas, or greens (usually parsley), which is a symbol of life. The parsley is dipped in salt water, a symbol of tears, and eaten, to remind us that life for our ancestors was immersed in tears. Beitzah – egg A roasted egg is on the seder plate to bring to mind the daily temple sacrifice that no longer can be offered because the temple no longer stands. Maror – bitter herb: This is usually ground horseradish, and enough is eaten (with Motza) to bring a tear to the eyes. We cannot appreciate the sweetness of redemption unless we first experience the bitterness of slavery. Charoset: Charoset is a sweet mixture of chopped apples, chopped nuts, honey, cinnamon, and a little Manischewitz grape wine (kosher for Passover). This sweet, brown mixture is symbolic of the mortar that our ancestors used to build bricks in the land of Egypt. Why do we remember an experience so bitter with something so sweet? We can find sweetness even in the bitterest of experiences because we know our Lord’s coming is near. The Meal: Steaming hot chicken soup with fluffy motza balls; slices of home-made gefilte fish with ground horseradish; more motza; chopped liver on a bed of lettuce; delectable green salad, this is the appetizer. Next comes the meal: Tender, sweet brisket with cabbage; more motza; home made flanken; chicken, it could be stewed chicken, roasted chicken, broiled, boiled, or sautéed, chicken; more motza; a whole roasted turkey; fresh-cut green beans with onions; more motza; carrot and prune tzimmes; sweet potato and raisin tzimmes; home-made mashed potatoes; more motza. Are you ready to hear about desert? Well, not so fast, because now it’s time to get on with the seder!
The Search for the Afikomen: After the meal is finished, the leader of the seder lets the children loose to hunt for the Afikomen, which was wrapped in a napkin and hidden before the meal. There is ususally a reward, maybe $5.00. Once the leader has retrieved the Afikomen, he breaks it up into pieces and distributes a small piece to everyone seated around the table. It is widely believed that these pieces of Afikomen bring a good, long life to those who eat them. The tradition perhaps dates back to the time of Jesus, and if this is the case, Luke 22:19 takes on a greater meaning: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” Jesus the Messiah would have taken the middle one of the three pieces of motza, the piece that stood for the priest or mediator between God and the people, broken it as His body would be broken, wrapped half in a linen napkin as he would be wrapped in linen for burial, hidden it as he would be buried, brought it back as he would be resurrected, and distributed it to everyone seated with him, as He would distribute His life to all who believe. As He did this, he was conscious that this middle piece of motza represented His own, spotless body given for the redemption of His people. As the motza is striped and pierced, His own body would be striped and pierced, and it is by those wounds that we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). This middle piece of motza, or the Afikomen, is our communion bread.
Third Cup: The third cup of wine is taken after the meal. It is the cup of redemption, which reminds us of the shed blood of the innocent Lamb which brought our redemption from Egypt. We see that Jesus took the third cup in Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25, “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” This was not just any cup, it was the cup of redemption from slavery into freedom. This is our communion cup. Fourth Cup: The fourth cup is the Cup of Hallel. Hallel in Hebrew means “praise,” and we see in the beautiful High Priestly Prayer of John 17, that Jesus took time to praise and thank the Lord at the end of the Passover Seder, his last supper. The spotless Passover Lamb had praise on his lips as he went to his death. Elijah’s Cup: A place setting remains empty for Elijah the prophet, the honored guest at every Passover table. The Jewish people expect Elijah to come at Passover and announce the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). So a place is set, a cup is filled with wine, and hearts are expectant for Elijah to come and announce the coming of the Messiah. They do not realize that Messiah has come. But those of us who believe in Yeshua know that He is the one the prophets spoke of. He is the spotless, unblemished Passover Lamb, whose body was broken for us, whose blood was shed. and who now lives. Shankbone of the Lamb: In every Jewish home, on every seder plate, is a bare shankbone of a lamb. In the book of Exodus, Jewish firstborns were spared from the Angel of Death by applying the blood of a spotless, innocent lamb applied to the doorpost of their homes as God brought the people from slavery into freedom. Today we know Jesus was the perfect Passover Lamb, and when we apply His blood to the doorposts of our heart, we too go from death into life, from the slavery to freedom and we become a redeemed child of God. As John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus coming towards him, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)