One of the most well-known Biblical feasts is Passover. We are all familiar with the story, from singing songs about the ten plagues in Sunday school to watching Dreamworks’ fantastic adaptation of the Exodus in The Prince of Egypt; however, many confuse Passover and the Feast of Unleavened. Bread as ONE feast when in actuality, it is TWO!
What is Passover?
The story of Passover begins when a baby is found in a basket by Pharaoh’s daughter. Adopting him as her own, she calls the baby Moses and raises him as an Egyptian. Years later, when Moses is grown, he sees an Egyptian beating an Israelite and kills him. Fleeing the wrath of Pharaoh, Moses escapes to Midian, where he encounters the angel of the Lord (or Yeshua – click here) in the form of a burning bush.
Having seen His people’s misery under the hands of the Egyptians, the Lord calls Moses to return to Egypt and set the Israelites free from slavery. Nine plagues later, the Lord warns Moses of the final plague, instructing His people on how they are to observe the Passover meal and prepare for their escape.
Exodus 12:2-14, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.”
How does Yeshua play a role in Passover?
Nothing God does is a coincidence. His ways are perfect, and there is a purpose in everything He does! While God could’ve set the Israelites free without the plagues, He used each of them to display His power, destroying the gods of the Egyptians. So, it is also no coincidence that God would use the feast of Passover as the day His Son, Yeshua, would sacrifice Himself on the cross, becoming the true Passover lamb!
John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”
Food for thought: While this contrasts popular Christian belief, I want to prose a question: If Yeshua is our Passover lamb (as the Scriptures often suggest), how can His ministry be more than a year old? Yeshua fulfilled Biblical prophecy; He kept the Law (Torah); and, He was without blemish, so it would be improbable to suggest that He wouldn’t also meet the requirements to be Israel’s Passover lamb! I won’t go into detail now, but I encourage you to research Yeshua’s ministry being 70 weeks (just over a year) rather than 3.5 years.
Yeshua’s death on the cross not only changed the course of our relationship with our Creator, but He made Passover an even greater celebration! Before, Passover was a meal (or Seder) to remember the Israelites deliverance out of Egypt (Exodus 12:26-27). Now, Passover not only reflects on the Exodus but serves as a feast to praise Yeshua, who delivered all mankind, the Greater Exodus!!
Hebrews 10:19-22, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
What is Unleavened Bread?
Though the Feast of Unleavened Bread is usually combined with Passover, it is a separate holiday. While Passover is a ONE-night observance (occurring the night of Yeshua’s crucifixion) to remember the night the Israelites congregated in their homes with the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a SEVEN-day observance and festival to remember God’s deliverance.
Note: You’ll soon notice that each feast begins and ends with a High Sabbath, which allows believers to rest and celebrate these momentous holidays!
Exodus 12:15-20, “For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do. Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
If any of you have tried to clean your homes in preparation for Unleavened Bread, you’ll know how easy it is for the tiniest breadcrumbs to wind up in the unlikeliest of places. In the same way, when sin enters our lives, it can often hide in the smallest crevices of our hearts. While many people go above and beyond to make sure their homes are clean and completely free of any piece of bread or yeast, it is also vital that we not only clean our physical homes but our spiritual ones as well!
1 Corinthians 5:6-8, “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Why should we celebrate these feasts?
Every year, believers all over the world commemorate Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross with traditions like Good Friday; however, is this really how the Father wants us to observe His son’s death? When we look at the significance of Firstfruits (read here), we will go into more detail about the timeline of Yeshua and why Friday to Sunday does NOT amount to three days and three nights (Matthew 12:38-40; John 2:19). For now, I want to challenge everyone reading this to not only dive into the Scriptures for yourselves but study the origins of the traditions many Christians have “dedicated” as Holy Days.
God’s feasts ALWAYS line up with Yeshua’s life, death, resurrection, and second coming. Understanding the timing of these feasts will not only open your eyes to how each holiday is centered on Yeshua but, I pray, will also reveal the unbiblical origins Christians have adopted and celebrate rather than observing the feasts! I know that this might ruffle a few feathers; however, I encourage you to ask yourself this question as you study, “Which is more pleasing to God, serving Him by observing the feasts HE instructed us to follow or observing pagan traditions that hold very ungodly practices disguised to represent the Bible when in they are far from honoring God and serve more to worship FALSE gods?”
Passover and Unleavened Bread are my all-time favorite feasts! Going through the story of Exodus and Yeshua’s ministry is always an awakening time. Each year, my family welcomes friends and family into our home to experience a joyful Passover Seder that highlights God’s glory and mercy. We don’t sit and read a three-hour Haggadah like most Jews do on Passover; we feast, sing, dance, and laugh the night away! While remembering Yeshua’s death can be a somber moment, I genuinely believe that it is better to worship our Savior on this monumental day, acknowledging that He defeated death and is ALIVE, rather than putting Him back on the tree to suffer. Yeshua is no longer on the cross; He is dwelling within us, so let’s celebrate and truly rejoice in His majesty and power!
Thank you, Yeshua, for being our Passover lamb and cleansing the leaven out of our hearts so that we can have a personal relationship with you and no longer have the barrier (veil) preventing us from being close to you!