Christ In The Passover Article Bookmarks:
|Messiah as The Lamb||Messiah was God and Man|
|Messiah as the Paschal Sacrifice||Messiah Looking for Leaven|
|Messiah as the Blood of the Lamb||Afikomen and the Matzah Tash|
|Messiah as our Doorway to Heaven||Messiah in the Four Questions|
|Psalm 22||Messiah in the Fifth Question|
Out of all of the feasts celebrated in the Old Testament, Passover presents us with the clearest glimpse of the Messiah. Let us compare some of those events.
Why is it we associate Jesus the Messiah with the Passover Lamb?
The answer comes from the scriptures themselves.
In Chapter 1, Verse 29 of the Gospel of John, we have a scene where John is baptizing many people. He looks up and sees Jesus coming towards him and he says, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
1 Corinthians 5:7 makes it even clearer when Paul says,"For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
The prophet Isaiah compares the Messiah to a lamb in the Book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 53:7: " He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer's is silent, so he did not open his mouth."
Learn more about this Isaiah 53 Prophecy which is one of the strongest prophetic scriptures in the Bible.
I have heard others say that this passage does not refer to the Messiah. A careful look at Judaism during the second temple era would say otherwise. There is a passage found in the Talmud that relates the 53rd chapter to the suffering of the Messiah (Sanhedrin 98a). For more on this please read What The Rabbis Said.
In Revelation 5:12 He is the lamb that was slain.
The concept of a Sacrificial Lamb was a familiar one to Jewish people. They knew of Abraham's confidence that God would provide a lamb to offer in place of Isaac (Gen. 22:7-8). Lambs were also sacrificed at Passover and as part of a daily ritual in the temple as a sin offering by individuals (Lev. 5:5-7). God also made it clear that none of the sacrifices were sufficient to take away sin (Isaiah 1:11). They were also aware of Isaiah's prophecy liking Messiah to "a lamb that is led to slaughter" (Isa. 53:7; cf. Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19. Though Israel sought a Messiah who would be a prophet, king, and conqueror, God sent them a lamb.(1)
There are other scriptures which state that the Messiah, in some ways, was to be compared to the Passover Lamb offering by name, character, (sinless spotless life) by the way it died, and what that death accomplished.
The Messiah had to die in a certain way to resemble the original Passover offering.
1). When the original Passover Lamb was sacrificed, none of its bones could be broken (Exodus 12:46).
When the Messianic Passover Lamb was sacrificed, none of His bones were broken either.
We know this because of John 19:33-37.
But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," (Possibly a reference to Psalm 34:20 and/or the Passover lamb) and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced" (John 19:33-37).
Consider what the Prophet Zechariah foretold hundreds of years earlier.
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son" (Zechariah 12:10).
Learn more about this Zechariah 12:10 Prophecy.
The children of Israel were considered God's first born (Exodus 4:22).
2). The Paschal Lamb offering had to be blemish free.
For four days, the Passover lamb was to be kept in public view so that anyone who wished to examine the animal could do so, ensuring that the animal was without blemish or defects as commanded (Deut. 15:21). While this was going on, the Pharisees and Sadducees were trying desperately to find fault with Yeshua Jesus, but could not do so.(2)
In the animal's case the phrase "without blemish" would mean something such as no broken bones or ugly spots. To be without blemish is another way of saying that the lamb was without defect and would qualify it as an acceptable offering.
Jesus was also the perfect sacrifice in the sense that He never sinned. The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it this way; For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Learn more about Messiah Our High Priest.
Another similarity may be in the timing of the crucifixion. According to some Bible historians, the Passover lamb was sacrificed about 3 p.m., the same time when Yeshua Jesus cried out in a loud voice and died. (Matthew 27:45-50).(2)
It is important to know what was done with the blood of the original Passover offering and how that compares to the blood of the Messiah.
In Exodus 12:7, the Israelites were told what to do with the blood of the Passover offering.
"Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs."(Exodus 12:7)
The original Paschal Lamb was to have its blood smeared on the doorpost of the homes as a form of protection. From this pattern of the application of the blood, we can see the cross. It's the same pattern that someone makes when they want to make a symbol of a cross on their chest. First they touch the two sides and then they touch the top.
There are other instances in scripture where a special mark was needed to be immune from something bad about to happen. We find this biblical truth in Ezekiel 9:4-6 and again in Revelation 7:2,3 and 9:4.
The Lambs' blood had several purposes.
Why was it necessary to place the blood on the doorpost? Israel was originally included in this plague. All the firstborn were (Exodus 11:5). This placing of the blood on the door frame was considered an act of faith and a tremendous one at that. It was never the blood's physical properties, including the temple sacrifices, that saved the Jews. Even the Egyptians could have killed a lamb and covered their doors. It was the faith the Jews had believing that the blood would be a substitution for their own blood and a substitution for their own first born death sentences when it was time for the Angel of Death to come. Their faith was rewarded that night as the Angel of Death passed over the children of Israel. (And when I see the blood I will pass over you Exodus 12:12).
This is also the idea behind Jesus as our Passover lamb. We now have the opportunity to take His blood (the blood of the Messiah) and mark our own doorpost. We don't need to do this physically, because God is more concerned with our inside beliefs than our outward actions (Paul writes about this in Romans 2:28-9). Since God is more concerned with our inside, our door is now a spiritual door that can be described as our heart and mind. We can mark our spiritual doors with the same faith that Israel had back then. We can believe with faith that God will once again pass over us when it comes judgment time. We can believe the Messiah's blood will replace our own the same way the first Passover lamb's blood replaced the first born of Israel's at the original Passover.
The first Passover offering was in some ways similar to a greater Passover offering to come later. Jesus sacrifice of Himself, as the Passover lamb, is sufficient for the all sin. It is sufficient in the sense that it was acceptable to the father the same way the blood on the doorpost was acceptable to the Father. The Angel of Death passed over Israel that night in Egypt, and as Israel was released from slavery, she had a "new birth" in the sense of freedom, and the ability to become it's own nation. The judgment of eternal death, will pass over those who use Messiah's blood to paint their doorpost, before the time of their physical death. That's the grace that Messiah's blood brings to us. He is the one Passover offering that provides absolute reconciliation for all the past, present, and future sins. To make sure there would be no misunderstanding about this, God being the sovereign God that He is, allowed the Temple to be destroyed in 70 A.D. This meant that there could be no more animal sacrifices.
So we must ask ourselves, where does our substitute blood come from that is needed to make atonement for our sin?
Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul."
The blood of the Lamb was the cost of the redemption. Israel was brought out of its slavery (redeemed) and paid for by the blood of the lamb. Redeemed means to buy back. Israel was redeemed from the plague of the death of the first born, because it was bought with the blood of the lamb.
There is now an even greater redemption to commemorate: the forgiveness of sin and new life through Jesus.
Exodus 15:15:"Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today."
The New Testament confirms this with passages like 1 Peter 1:18-19.
18: "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
While the temple was standing, the only place you could sacrifice the Lamb was in Jerusalem. That may explain why Jesus died in Jerusalem.
Symbolism in the Cup of Wine:
Shortly after Jesus offered this cup as a symbol of the new covenant, soldiers came and arrested Him. He was crucified the next day.
Consider what John says about the way that the Roman soldier checked to see if Jesus was dead or alive.
"Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water" (John 19:34).
At Jesus' last Seder meal (Last Supper), He took a glass of wine and gave it a symbolic meaning.
1 Cor. 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."
After Jesus was sacrificed on the cross, a Roman guard thrust his spear into the side of Jesus and out came a mixture of blood and water.
When it came time to drink wine at the Seder table, the Rabbis often recommended a mixture of three parts water one part wine (Pesachim 108b). There is also some talmudic reference to the wine being warm.
Learn more about the Four Cups Of Wine and what they represent at the Passover Seder meal.
For those that do put their faith in the Messiah's blood, the Messiah then becomes the doorway for their salvation. Consider what John writes in John 10:9.
John 10:9 "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."
Messiah's arrival in Jerusalem:
When Messiah entered Jerusalem to celebrate His last Passover, He arrived the way the prophet Zechariah had written about hundreds of years earlier.
From Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
Learn more about Zechariah's prophecy which foretold The First Coming Of Israel 's King.
This is how Matthew describes Jesus triumphal entering of Jerusalem.
"As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away. This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" (Matthew 21:1).
If you keep reading Matthew, you will notice that some of the people there recognized Jesus as Messiah.
Matthew 21:9: "The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" Son of David is a recognition that Jesus' bloodline is tied to David's which was another prophecy of the Messiah. Hosanna means "save now" and those saying it were quoting from Psalm 22, which was recognized as being a messianic Psalm.
"O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you." (Psalm 22:25-26).
Along with the crowds chanting Psalm 22 when Jesus rode into town on a donkey, Psalm 22 is prophetic from the viewpoint that is references Messiah's death on the cross, His thirst on the cross, soldiers gambling for His clothing and Messiah will speak of His Father.
Learn more about this prophecy found in Psalm 22. This Psalm was considered a Messianic Prophecy.
This was 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes mentioned in Daniel 9:24. This was another messianic prophesy about the timing of Messiahs death. Learn more about Daniel's Prophecy Of 70 Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) which foretells the timing of the coming of the Messiah along with giving us an idea of what's still to come.
Articles related to Messiah in the Psalms include:
There are many predictions on how the Messiah would die, and He fulfilled those. Some of the Jews at the time recognized Him as God who had come to Earth in the form of man to save mankind. That's why He is the perfect sacrifice, the perfect Messiah, because He was God Himself in the form of a man. That's how He could be sinless. Not sinless in the eyes of the Pharisees that had added to God's original laws, but sinless in the original law itself. Since God is eternal (Jesus' divine birth and resurrection proves He is a part of God), we know that His sacrifice of part of Himself will last eternally also.
Articles related to the Divinity of our Messiah include:
No other blood will ever be needed as a substitution for our own, because no other blood could ever compare to the righteousness of His blood. In other words, there is nothing we can add to the blood of Jesus. That is why salvation is based on faith and not on works. We can, however, do good works out of appreciation for the salvation He has given us.
When we make our homes kosher for Passover, we clean our house to remove all the leaven (Exodus 12:15). This is also an opportunity to think of leaven as sin and how we can clean our own lives up. It could be that because Jesus considered the temple His fathers house, that he was cleaning the house of leaven (sinners) when He approached the money changers and overturned their tables (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46). Jesus recognizing that leaven could represent sin or evil, warned us to "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:11).
This example of searching for leaven used metaphorically can also be seen in the Book of Zephaniah. And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil (Zephaniah 1:12).
Just think of how we search our homes with candles to find the leaven in every single place.
One of the best parts of the Seder meal, especially for children deals with a hidden piece of Matzah known as the piece of Afikomen. On the Passover table, we find three pieces of matzah inside a special holder (matzah tash - unity pouch) covered up. This holder has one piece of Matzah inside each of the three separate compartments. At one point in the meal, the middle piece of matzah is removed, broken, wrapped in a napkin or an Afikomen holder and then hidden. This is the piece of Afikomen which is a greek word (the only Greek word in the entire Seder) meaning "I come or I came." Later on, towards the end of the meal, the children are encouraged to find the hidden matzah. The Afikomen is hidden, then searched for, then ransomed from the child who finds it, usually with a small amount of money or kosher for Passover candy.
While this has been a custom for a long time, scholars disagree on where it started and what it represents. There are a couple of traditional interpretations.
1) Some believe that the three pieces of matzah (Matzo Tash) resembled the three patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
2) Some believe that the three pieces of matzah represented the three groups making up all of Israel's being, the Cohen, the Levi, and the Israelite.
3) Some believe that the three pieces represent the three Temples with the third being rebuilt when the Messiah Returns.
None of these traditions would explain the matzah leaving and coming back again. The three patriarchs remain the same and so does the three divisions of Israel. The third temple is already rebuilt before Messiah comes. (See Daniel 9:24-27 Prophecy)
Now consider that the three pieces represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This part of the ceremony may illustrate how the Son came to the earth as the Messiah. He was broken (died), wrapped up, hidden away (buried), and brought back to life (resurrected). He was broken for you and me. Interestingly, Isaiah 53:5 tells us "He was pierced for our transgressions... and by his stripes, we are healed." This may very well be a picture of the matzo by its holes and stripes.(3)
There is the possibility that this custom was started by the disciples after Jesus died. After His death, the first church was begun and it was mostly Jewish. It wasn't until around the year 50 A.D. that there was a division inside Judaism. Up until then, believers in Jesus were considered just another sect like the Pharisees or Sadducees. There would have been at least 15 Seder meals in between the death of Jesus and the year 50. That would have been ample opportunity to introduce this custom. The Seder meal was still developing. It may be that one of Jesus followers instituted this as a symbol of Jesus leaving earth and coming back or perhaps His death and resurrection.
By tradition the children that search for the Afikomen are rewarded when they find it. We are rewarded with salvation and become His adopted children.
Consider also the four questions asked at the Seder table are associated with four different kinds of sons. The wise son, the wicked son, and the simple son. The fourth son is one who cannot or wishes not to ask a question at all.
Some have found a pattern for the four sons in the Gospel of Mark 12:13-17 "A Pharisee asks a question about taxes like a wise son might ask."
18-27 "A Sadducee who doesn't believe in resurrection mockingly asks about life after death as a wicked son might."
28-34 "A simple scribe tries to learn how to conduct himself as a simple son might."
35-37 "No one asks any questions but Jesus teaches anyway in the temple."
Learn more about The Four Questions.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If not, God makes you a promise. This promise is found in Romans 10: 9-10.
9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
To confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord is to recognize His Deity. It is a willingness to make Him Lord over your life and everything in it.
To believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead is to believe that God the Father found Jesus to be an acceptable substitute sacrifice for ourselves. The proof being in His resurrection and ascension into heaven. There He can now be our High Priest making intercessory prayers for us the same way the High priest did on the Day of Atonement.
Consider this scripture from The Book of Hebrews:
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews: 6:19-20).
Our heavenly father looks forward to the time when you come before Him on your knees with a sincere heart to pray that He will allow this relationship to happen.
For those who want to take this step now, I want to make you aware of God's promise from the blood on the Passover door.
Consider this passage from The Book Of Matthew:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).
There will never be the need for another sacrifice to add to what Jesus has already done.
Heb. 10:12 "But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God."
Our Salvation - We are saved from the wrath of God by faith in the blood of the Passover Lamb "And when I see the blood I will pass over you." (Exodus 12:12).
Our Redemption - The Crucifixion - The Paschal Sacrificial Lamb:
Peter compares Jesus to the sacrificial lamb that was without blemish or without sin in 1 Peter: "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:18-19). This is a picture of our redemption.
Our Justification - Without Blemish - The Paschal Sacrificial Lamb:
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Our Sanctification - The Paschal Sacrificial Lamb:
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-- as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7). Here the yeast (leaven) represents old sin in our life.
If you are not a believer in Jesus yet, just try a simple prayer tonight. Pray, Lord, please show me the truth about the Messiah. If you pray this prayer, sincerely from your heart and keep an open mind, the Lord will show you.
1). The MacArthur New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur - John 1-11 p.55.
2). A Rabbi Looks At The Last Days by Rabbi Jonathan Bernis p.164-166.
3). Midwest Messianic Center newsletter April 2007.Many other people made contributions to this page.