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What is Passover?

"Will you take your Bibles and turn to Exodus chapter 12. I'm afraid goeabe Gentiles are really weak on this. We think we know, but we're not quite sure what it's all about. Exodus chapter 12, believe it or not 99 percent of all those who live in Israel are going to celebrate this week the Passover. If there's one Jewish feast you don't want to miss, it's this one. The Lord told Jews that when the temple was standing that every Jewish male 20 years and above should attend three of the seven feasts, it's a requirement, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, three out of the seven, you got to go to. Just for your information Jerusalem was a city of about 350,000 people at the time of our Lord. Well, let me be very accurate, so you can get the whole impact of this. At a Passover when you sacrifice a lamb or a goat it has to be for a minimum of ten people. It can be a maximum up to 20. So a minimum of ten, we'll work with that figure, all right? The Roman historian Tacitus and the Jewish historian Josephus both recorded something that happened in 65 A.D., about 35 years after Christ. At a Passover king Aggripa asked that a kidney from every one of the lambs and goats be given to the Roman government. Just their little way of irritating the Jews. The number of kidneys that were distributed from lambs and goats killed makes the population of the Jewish people in Jerusalem over three million people in 65 A.D. You see, Jews came from all over the world to celebrate this Passover. Can you imagine what it was like, a city that swells ten times its size in just a week or so celebration? Now Jewish people cannot defile themselves, especially by dead corpses. And so one of the things they did is they whitewashed all the tombs and tombstones all over Jerusalem, for several miles around. That, by the way, is what I think Jesus was referring to when that same week he rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees [Matthew 23] and said "You're nothing but whitewashed sepulchres and you're full of dead men's bones." Well that was quite a site to see all those beautiful whitewashed tombs. They really had the place cleaned up and dolled up, so to speak, for Passover.

I want to talk to you about the Passover. Exodus 12 tells us where it all began. Verse 1, "Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 'This month shall be your beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel saying, 'On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons, according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the 14th day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight (or before the evenings {Jewish days begin at sundown}). And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two door-posts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw or boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire, its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it, with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand, so you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. [The Jews like to claim this day as theirs along with the rest of the Holy Days, but the Lord claims ownership, both here and in Leviticus 23.] For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and beasts and against all the gods of Egypt will I execute judgment. I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. When I see the blood I will pass over you..." Passover "...and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be unto you for a memorial. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread..." Matzah "...on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread, from the first day until the 7th day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation..." that's a Sabbath, treated just like a Sabbath..."And on the 7th day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them, but that which every one must eat. That only may be prepared by you. So you shall observe the feast of Unleavened Bread for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. In the first day on the 14th day of the month at evening you shall eat unleavened bread until the 21st day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, and whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he's a stranger or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened in all your habitations. You shall eat unleavened bread.' Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, 'Pick out and take the lambs for yourselves according to your families and kill the Passover lamb. You shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, strike the lintel and two door posts with the blood that is in the basin, and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two door posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. It shall come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as he promised, that you will keep this service. It shall be when your children say to you 'What do you mean by this service?' that you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.' So the people bowed their heads and worshipped. Then the children of Israel went away and did so, just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did." Will you join me in prayer. "Father, I would ask in these moments together that you would speak to our hearts by the power of your Holy Spirit and your Word. And that all of us would once again know that fantastic symbolism and illustration of the Passover as it relates to our salvation. Thank you, in Jesus name. Amen."

I want to tell you three things about the Passover, with a few points underneath each of those, anyway. Three points. One, the Passover is a season. That's the first thing you need to get in your mind. The Passover is a season which begins the Jewish religious year. Now if you're not familiar with Jewish calendars, there are two kinds, there's the civil which begins with Rosh Hoshana that we're familiar with in the fall of the year [Feast of Trumpets]. That's the civil year. But the religious year begins in the spring with the Jewish month Nisan which approximates March or April. And the Jewish calendars are based on the lunar calendar, the moon. You remember when God made the sun, moon and stars in Genesis one, he said that they will be for days, years and signs and seasons. And what happens to the use of seasons in the Bible refers to the religious gatherings of Israel--their worship times. So they used the moon to mark those calendars. They begin with the month Nisan, the first month of the Jewish religious year. Chapter 12, verse 2, "This month shall be the beginning of months, it shall be the first month of the year to you." It's a season that begins the Jewish religious year. Now several things about this season. One, the first thing that happens--it commences, it begins with the selection of a lamb or a goat on the 10th day of the month. Look please again at verse 3. "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, 'On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb according to the house of his father, a lamb for his household." Now a lamb goes for at least ten. If you're next door and you have ten people, you join with the neighbors. It can go ten up to twenty. And you have a lamb, you have a family, it's a household, it's a family celebration. It commences with the selection of a lamb on the 10th day of the month. You can also use a goat, according to verse 5. The lamb has to be without blemish, in verse 5, can't have a mark on it, a scab, a cut, nothing, has to be a perfect lamb. All of this symbolism is used in the New Testament of our Lord. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:18 "that we were redeemed not with corruptible things, like silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Now turn to Matthew chapter 21. On the 10th day of the Jewish 1st month of the religious year, called Nisan, you select a lamb. Now look at Matthew chapter 21. We call this in the religious calendar of Christianity, Palm Sunday, because it is the Sunday of the Passover week in which Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey, and all the crowds shouting out "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" Let's read about it. Matthew 21, "Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Lose them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them' and immediately he will send them.' All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying [this was from Zechariah 9], 'Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold your king"--the Messiah--"is coming to you, lowly and sitting on a donkey, a colt the foal of a donkey. So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them and set him on them, and a very great multitude spread their garments on the road, others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out saying "Hosanna to the Son of David." Hosanna means save now. "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest." "And when he came to Jerusalem all the city was moved." How many people in the city? Three million. All the city was moved saying "Who is this?" So the multitudes said "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee." Now folks, we have a lot of interesting things here. What did I tell you about the Passover? It's a season that begins the Jewish religious year. It commences with a selection of a lamb on the 10th day. How interesting that the time that Jesus died, recorded in the gospels--that Passover, the day on which the lambs were killed, was on Thursday, and on [the previous] Sunday is the 10th day of the month. Sunday, 10, Monday, 11, Tuesday, 12, Wednesday 13, and the 14th day is Thursday, the day the lambs were killed. And now some believe he died on Wednesday, [which equates to the 14 Nisan, 31 A.D.], some believe he died on Thursday, some believe he died on Friday. Regardless of your view, the Passover lambs were killed on Thursday of the week he died. [Unless you hold to the historic view that he died on Wednesday, 31 A.D., the 14th Nisan for that year.] Just want you to understand that before you come to any great conclusions about what day Jesus died. If all the lambs were killed on Thursday, then what day do you get that lamb? Where do you go and get the that lamb? Well, there are vendors and people all over the place, they are providing lambs and goats. Remember, we got about 300,000 of them. And you're picking one without blemish and without spot. And you're going to do it on the 10th day. On that very day is the day when Jesus Christ comes riding into Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophecy of the selection of the lamb that is going to be killed. He came into Jerusalem on the exact same day. Now that's not all. On Passover you've got all the Levitical priests and singers on duty. Normally they rotate through 24 courses, but not on Passover, they're all on duty. Now let me tell you what they're doing. They're singing constantly the "Hallel." "Halliluya, praise the Lord", it's a section of the Psalms chapter 113 to chapter 118. And in chapter 118 they sing, "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." So the crowds know the song. Jesus is riding on a donkey from Bethany into Jerusalem, and they are singing the Halell. If you were a religious leader, you'd say "Hey! Who told them [the crowd around Jesus] they could do that?! What do you think you're doing down there?! The crowds are singing the Halell as though the Messiah has come--right! The lamb is being selected. They're saying "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." You see, that's why the secret meetings were going on at night that you read about in the gospels where the religious leaders were planning to crucify Jesus, planning the death of Jesus, to manipulate the Romans to carry it out. Why? Because they saw the crowds. Remember, three million Jews, they saw the crowds saying "Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"--throwing the palm branches down the Jews use at the Feast of Tabernacles--the feast that symbolizes the Messianic age has come. [See--the Jews know what the Feast of Tabernacles represents! The man giving this sermon was brought up as a Jew and became a Christian pastor.] And they're throwing it down saying, "The Messiah is here!" How does Passover begin? It commences with the selection of a lamb. And Jesus fulfilled it right on the exact day.

Back to Exodus 12. It's very interesting what we read hear, blow by blow. I hope you came to think this morning because I'm going to really push you. O.K., you came to think, Amen? Ah, maybe half a crowd, I don't know. Exodus 12, alright? The second thing we tell you about this season is that it centers on the sacrifice of a lamb--that's the big deal. It centers on the sacrifice of a lamb, or a goat. Verse 6, "You keep it until the 14th day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight"--or between the evenings. Now a lot of you are already asking, "How in the world could three million Jews be all there in the temple area, and how could you kill that many, 300,000 lambs or goats?" Well, first of all. All the priests are on duty, and they work hard. You know that they tell us, when they go home on Passover, they can hardly move their hands. I mean, they got to soak them, they can hardly move their arms. They have been grabbing those things, you know what it says, "to lay hands on them"? Some of you see that as a nice little pity-pat on the head, but that's not what it means in Hebrew. They grab 'em by the neck and they're going to chop 'em, O.K.? Now, while this is going on, they are killing these lambs, can you imagine, blood is everywhere--all these singers are singing and the instruments are blowing away--it's a mad-house in there. You got to send at least two from each household with the lamb, see? Remember what Jesus did? He sent two. Remember that? Kind of interesting, he sent Peter and John to prepare the Passover, remember that? So you see what we have here is probably two out of every ten to twenty people. We still have a huge crowd all around while they're sacrificing and killing these animals. It's interesting, the Bible says in Hebrews 10:4 that the blood of bulls and goats does not take away sin. Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 5, which I'd like you to turn to, is called the Passover lamb. 1 Corinthians, chapter 5. Jesus Christ is called the Passover lamb. Now 1 Corinthians 5 is an interesting story. It's about incest in the membership of a church. We've got a real problem here of immorality, and Paul's telling them to get that person out of the church because they wouldn't repent, they wouldn't get right with the Lord. And he likens this to the whole feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread. You say "What's unleavened bread?" We're going to have visual aids this morning. This is unleavened bread, I'm holding a piece of it here, Matzah, it's made with wheat flour and water. Doesn't taste like anything, just tastes flat, O.K.? If you're a child, or if you're sick, got something wrong with you, we can mix egg with that for you. But that's it. But everybody else is going to eat just wheat flour and water mixed together. That's Matzah, unleavened bread. Leaven means yeast. It's not going to rise, there's no yeast. Leaven [in Bible symbolism] is a type of sin that pervades everything. There are many, many statements that you can read about this among the Jewish people, but the Talmud says that leaven represents the evil impulse of our hearts. So there's no leaven in the bread, feast of Unleavened Bread. They're going to eat Matzah for seven days. Can you imagine?--seven days. No wonder the kids want a little egg mixed in. Now it centers on a sacrifice of a lamb. And we're told in 1 Corinthians 5 in verse 7 the following words, "Therefore purge out the old leaven" the old yeast. Now he's talking about somebody who's guilty of immorality and won't repent. So get it out of your home. Now stop right there. Every Jewish person reading that knows what it's talking about, but if you're Gentile, you don't know. It doesn't connect in your mind. You see something happens the day before Passover begins, the day before Unleavened Bread in every Jewish home. You're gonna clean that home, I mean spotless. And you're not going to have any pieces of leaven or pieces of bread anywhere, I mean, you're going to scrub that place down. It refers to getting rid of kamatz. Kamatz is that which is sour, referring to leaven, and removing of leaven from your home. By the way, usually the father, in honor of perhaps the ten plagues or the ten spies, they don't know which, are going to put ten pieces of bread throughout the home, usually on a windowsill or somewhere else, just to make sure the kids do pick it up and know they're picking up the last vestiges of that before Passover begins. We're going to clean the home out. Paul takes that very thing and says "Clean that person out of the fellowship who has refused to repent, who is continuing in immorality." Fascinating, isn't it? "Purge out the old leaven." Now keep reading verse 7, "that you may be a new lump, since your are truly unleavened in Christ." That's the way God wants it. Why? "For indeed Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us." I didn't make it up. Christ is the Passover lamb. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming for baptism he said, "Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." He is the Passover lamb.

Back to Exodus 12 again. So this season which begins the Jewish religious year commences with the selection of a lamb. Secondly, it centers on the sacrifice of that lamb. Now number three, it concentrates on a special supper in which the lamb is eaten. Exodus 12 beginning in verse 8, "They shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire, with unleavened bread"--Matzah--"and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, or boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire, its head with its legs, its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. Thus you shall eat it, with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, your staff in your hand, so you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover." Now some of you who are Jewish are familiar with Jewish practices know they refer to this as the sedder, a sedder--S E D D E R. That is not referring to supper, it means ORDER. It's talking about the order of things on that night. And according to the Bible, the Passover is a special supper in which the lamb is eaten and there are a lot of ingredients. Today if you would go to a Jewish home and you would see the setup for Passover, you would say, "This is a knockout, we are having the event of the year." It was my privilege to live in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood before coming to Orange County, and on one Passover I was invited to see the whole presentation and how it was set up, and it was beautiful to say the least, gorgeous. Your finest stuff is out for Passover. We're going to have a wonderful time. We're going to have a little soft pillow up at the leader of the Sedder's table because he's going to lean on that to remind us we reclined on couches in ancient times to eat this as a symbol of our freedom, God has redeemed us from Egypt, we're not under bondage, we're a free people. O.K., at this wonderful table as we have everybody around it, there's a lot of interesting things. There's what we call a Sedder tray. It has six circular indentations on it. Maybe you've seen them in the stores. What goes on that is 1), it's called the Maror. That's bitter herbs, basically horse radish. As you all might imagine, the kids aren't thrilled about it. What's the point of that? The point of that is to remember the persecution in Egypt and all the suffering of God's people. Also on one of those six circular indentations on that Sedder plate is what we call carpis. It's a vegetable. It could be cucumber, it could be lettuce, parsley, radish. It's dipped in salt water before you eat it. The third thing we have is kazarat. It could also be watercress, cucumber, etc. It's a vegetable also that becomes bitter, remembering the affliction in Egypt. We also have what we call Karoset. Karoset is chopped apple, walnuts, cinnamon, and it is delicious, and it represents the mortar that the children of Israel put for the bricks they were building for the Egyptians. Now we have Zaroa, which is a shank bone of a lamb. Because the Temple was destroyed, we no longer have a lamb to kill, so we symbolize it with a shank bone of a lamb. Then we also have Betza, which is a roasted hardboiled egg. And that's a symbol of mourning over the loss of the Temple. O.K., we're at the Sedder, now we're going to do something else at this Sedder. We're going to begin with a blessing, and we've got four cups at the Sedder. But it's the same cup, but four times we're going to use it. First of all we're going to fill that up with wine (you say aha, I knew we could drink wine [some fellowships, like this one, don't believe in alcohol consumption. In Jesus' first miracle of converting the many gallons of water into wine at the wedding in Cana--that wasn't grape juice he made from water, but high-grade wine. This is one of those gray areas where some Christian denominations teach it O.K. to drink in extreme moderation where others teach against it.] ) Hang on. The rabbi said that you had to mix at Passover three parts water with wine so it wouldn't at all be close to being alcoholic. Our grape juice would be just fine, Amen? Amen? Just checking you out. O.K. so we've mixed it with three parts of water. So anyway, we're pouring it up. We're going to have the first cup. And we're going to give thanks. We're going to do that four times, but more about that later. We're talking about a supper. A supper that was actually eaten, a meal that was eaten and a lot of wonderful things are gonna happen in that meal. The youngest member of the family is going to ask the leader of the home, the father, four questions that night. He's going to say, "Why Matzah, why do we gotta eat this stuff for seven days?" Why Matzah? He's going to tell him 'Why Matzah.' "Why bitter herbs? Why bitter herbs?" He's going to talk about the suffering of the people of Israel when they were in Egypt. And the 3rd thing he's going to ask is "Well why do we dip it twice?" And there's a lot of different answers. But the primary one rabbi's say should be said is "The greens go in the salt water to remind us to replace tears with gratefulness to God." And then you'll take the maro, these bitter herbs and put it in the Karoset, the delicious apple-nut deal, to sweeten bitterness and suffering. With God's plan of redemption you see, it's kind of interesting. Anyway, he'll also ask the fourth question, "Why do we recline on pillows?" And of course it's a symbol of their freedom in the Lord. They will also sing the "Halell", Psalm 113 to 118. And in there you have that song we sing "This is, this is the day that the Lord has made..." Remember that? A lot of us think that's today. No, that's talking about the day when the builders of Judaism, the leaders, rejected the cornerstone for the whole building of the Messianic age, they rejected it, and he died on the cross for our sins. This is the day that the Lord has made. Then following that you say "Hosanna, save now, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." So it's all pointing towards the Messiah. You know, that's what we're going to do in this meal. We're going to have one cup sitting on the table filled with wine, and nobody takes of it. What's that cup? Who's that for? That's the cup of Elijah. You see, Elijah's a guest at every meal. You've got to have Elijah before you can have the Messiah. And then later in the meal, at the end of the meal, we're going to send somebody over to the door and we're going to all stand because we're going to welcome Elijah in. Is Elijah there? See Elijah has to come--Malachi chapter four--before the Messiah comes. So we're waiting for Elijah to come. Elijah dominates this we can have the Messianic age set up. Everybody still with me? I love this. "Next year in Jerusalem." You see, the whole Passover is filled with Messianic expectation and hope. And I'm here to tell you this morning that Jesus of Nazareth was a clear fulfillment of all that the Passover pictured and is our great Savior and Lord, and that is confirmation of his Messiahship and he is the only one who will bring in the Messianic Age. He's the Prince of Peace, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and he is our Messiah.

But what we're talking about is a Jewish season that begins their religious year. And it has several things. One, we said it begins or commences with the selection of a lamb. Two, it centers on the sacrifice of that lamb. And three, it concentrates on a special supper that'll be eaten that night. Jesus ate that supper with the disciples as we will show you in a moment. [One Christian fellowship believes that Jesus observed this Passover meal on the evening of the 13/14 Nisan, 24 hours before the Jews observed their sedder meal, so that his sacrifice on the cross would have taken place when all the lambs were being sacrificed. If that's the case, it meant he was able to get a sacrificed lamb on the evening of the 13/14th Nisan. This is a distinct possibility, although some knowledgeable Jews must think this a stretch to think he could obtain a slaughtered lamb the evening before the main sacrifices began in the Temple. I think it was possible by the mere fact that he was the Messiah. If he died on the Passover day, 31 A.D., on that Wednesday afternoon, when all the lambs were being slain, having observed his Sedder meal with the disciples the previous evening of the 13th/14th Nisan, then Wednesday afternoon/evening to Saturday afternoon/evening would have equaled exactly three days and three nights in the tomb, and his resurrection would have occurred exactly about the time everyone was waving the wavesheaf piece of barley around their homes! That is one scenario of one particular Christian fellowship that observes a Passover service yearly on the evening of the 13th/14th Nisan.]

Now the fourth thing we tell you about this Jewish celebration we call Passover, this season of the year, is that it continues as a series of events. It is not just one meal. "For seven days," Exodus 12:15 says, "you shall eat unleavened bread"--or Matzah. There are sacrifices as the Jewish sacrificial system and the Law says, that are to be offered every day [until the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.--See Numbers 28 which lists the entire sacrificial requirements for the daily continual evening & morning sacrifice, Sabbath, New Moon, Passover, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. As specified by the Law of God through Moses, the Jews know they can't hold sacrifices on their own, it must be performed at the Temple or a specified Tabernacle tent set up on the Temple mount, by an established order of Levitical priests. The genealogies that recorded who among those living in Palestine were of the tribe of Levi, and who were of the priestly family of Aaron were lost, destroyed by the Romans along with the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. The Jews are currently attempting to establish a new Levitical order (via DNA testing) and Temple structure so a sacrificial system can be set up again. Prophecies of the end times in Daniel and Matthew 24 indicate this will be done just before the beginning of the dreaded tribulation, so it's not something to wish for in one sense. WWII was bad enough, WWIII will be a global killer beyond all imagination, making necessary the return of Jesus, the Messiah to prevent global genocide as Matthew 24 clearly states.] "For seven days,"--Exodus 12:15 says--"you shall eat unleavened bread." It's very important. It continues every day, there are offerings every day. Oh, by the way, at Passover, we also want to take a special offering for the poor people. A Mayote Kateen. We're going to take this offering for the poor people because, because we don't want anybody not to enjoy Passover. We'll buy all the provisions necessary, for them to enjoy it, it's an offering for the poor. I ask you, my dear Christian friends, is it not of some interest now to your minds that on the night our Lord ate with the disciples and Judas had the bag and he left the meal and they didn't have any question that he was the one who was going to betray him. Now do you understand why? Because maybe in fact he was taking the offering for the poor to provide the things that are needed, because, in fact, that was the normal custom to do.

Anyway, there's another thing I want to tell you about this season, before we wrap it up in terms of your mind and how you relate to this. And that is that it celebrates with a sheaf, S-H-E-A-F, a sheaf of barely. It's a beginning of the barely harvest [winter wheat]. Now you do this every time the same way. Back in ancient times you do it every time when the Passover happens in the week, doesn't matter whether it falls on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Whatever [day] it is, after the Sabbath, the normal Sabbath of a Passover week [Saturday], that evening (remember a Jewish day begins at sundown and goes to the following sundown), so Sunday, the first day of the week, begins our time, Saturday night, shortly after sundown, we have a little celebration. We bring in a sheaf of the barley harvest and we're gonna wave it in the air and say, "This is what we got coming folks! And God's going to give us a great harvest this year!" That's called the feast of firstfruits. Now turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 15, I'm going to show you something. It says, chapter 15, verse 20, on the resurrection of Christ, it says, "But now Christ is risen from the dead and is become"--the what?--"the firstfruits." What's a first fruit? It's waving a little part of the barley harvest on Saturday night, which is really Sunday. The 1st day of the week, it always comes on Sunday. When did Jesus arise from the dead? Sunday. Why do we worship here on Sundays? Because we're commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I'm not real thrilled about Easter [using the word Easter to commemorate the resurrection] you understand? Oh, I love Resurrection Day. I don't like Easter. Easter's a Babylonian name for Ishtar [a Babylonian goddess, one of the main deity's of the pagan Babylonian religious system]. I'm not interested in that. [I believe part of this pastor's doctorate was done on ancient Babylonian history.] I'm not into eggs and bunnies, O.K.? I just want you to know. I'm into talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's why we're trying to say all the way through our advertising, that it's a resurrection Sunday. But you see, every Sunday's a resurrection Sunday to me. We're celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, the first fruits, the first fruits of what? The harvest that's going to come. What's the harvest? Keep reading, verse 21-23, "since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead, for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive, each in his own order, Christ the"--what?--"firstfruits, then when he comes, those who belong to him." The barley harvest are those of us who are going to be resurrected from the dead [at his 2nd coming] because he arose, because he lives we shall live [read the rest of 1 Corinthians 15 to learn more of this resurrection]. He's the firstfruits, he's the Lamb that was selected on the 10th day, he was killed on the 14th day. He is the Unleavened Bread for those seven days, he is the feast of firstfruits, the resurrection. As a matter of fact, all seven Jewish Feasts are fulfilled in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah. [One correction: Leviticus 23, verse 1 quotes the Lord God, who states, "These are My appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies." So even though these feasts were commanded to be kept by the Israelites, God calls them "My appointed feasts", not "Jewish feasts."] I love this. What a wonderful thing. You know what I believe? I have no way of proving my point. But I would say this is just like our Lord. I happen to believe that when every Jewish home grabbed that sheaf (they called it "the counting of the omer"), when they were waving it in the air is the moment Jesus came out of the grave. You see all we know about when he rose from the dead is that he rose on Sunday sometime at Saturday after sundown. We know by dawn he was gone. I think, just to fulfill the type, just to make sure we understand, I think as they were waving those sheaf's in their homes Jesus is coming out of the dead. I love to think about that.

O.K., anyway. Let's get on with it. Everybody still with us? We got a problem here. People say "What day did Christ die?" Well I can tell you this, the Passover season, there is no question about this, the lambs were killed on Thursday [for the particular year this pastor is computing that Christ died on--depending on the year he died, 31 A.D.--Wednesday--32 A.D.--Thursday--etc.]. Some people have Jesus dying on Thursday [or Wednesday for 31 A.D.]. Now seriously, knowing what I told you about the killing of the lambs, do you really believe that everybody left there and went outside the wall to watch Jesus die on the day of Passover? No way! Plus the fact, how could he die on Thursday since not going to eat the meal till after the lambs are killed. Some Christians push this and say that Jesus never ate the Passover. Yes he did. He ate the Passover with his disciples the way we'll show you so he couldn't have possibly have died on Thursday, or Wednesday for that matter. [Now one fellowship, as I stated believes he died on Wednesday, 31 A.D., when Passover fell on a Wednesday. This would mean he ate the Passover on the evening of the 13th/14th Nisan. This creates a problem, but I don't believe this problem was insurmountable for Jesus Christ, whom John calls the Word, or Logos, YHVH of the Old Testament. Jesus had some disciples and friends pretty high up in the Temple counsel. Joseph of Arimathea for one. To get a lamb slaughtered by a Levite on that evening would not have been impossible for Jesus, in this fellowship's estimation. He would have had his Passover Sedder meal with his disciples and died on Passover day when all the other lambs were being slain, perfectly fulfilling the typology of the very Passover. If Jesus didn't overlook making his selection as the Lamb of God on the 10th day of Nisan, why would he overlook his sacrifice being on the 14th day, Passover, when all the other lambs were being slain?] But when did he die? Probably on Friday, the historic traditional view. [Like I said, everyone has different views on this, and it's not ironclad nailed down, but this much is sure. He did observe a Passover Sedder meal with his disciples, and the very next day he was crucified, sacrificed on a cross the pay the sins of the world, as the Lamb of God, no matter what day you chose to believe he died on.] Well you say, "Wait a minute! How could he die on Friday?" Oh, very easy, because it says he rose again the third day. Friday, one, he was in the tomb. Saturday, two, and he rose from the dead some time on the third day. It doesn't say after three days. It says he rose on the third day. You say "Wait a minute! It says he was in the grave just like Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days." And yet that is a Jewish idiom that can be any part of a day. It does not need to be pressed to a 24 hour period of time. It's even used that way in the book of Esther. We don't need to push it. We need to understand the facts of what went on. And then let's see whether or not we can put our Gentile Christian views on it. Let me tell you one more thing. Go back to Exodus 12, and I want to show you something. The day after the lambs are killed is the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread. That would be Friday [of the particular year this pastor has Jesus dying on--not 31 A.D. obviously]. On Friday in ancient time we had the Kahiga sacrifice when the religious leaders would not go into the Roman Pavement, the Roman hall, they said they wouldn't do it lest they be defiled because they had to offer a sacrifice. They offered a sacrifice on the First Day of Unleavened Bread and also on every day of the week of Unleavened Bread. But let me show you something. Exodus chapter 12, here we are, verse 16, "On the first day there shall be a holy convocation." What is a holy convocation? A holy convocation is a Sabbath day. It's treated exactly like a Sabbath. Now we have a regular Sabbath on Saturday, you also have the First Day of Unleavened Bread, no matter what day of the week it hits, as a Sabbath day. The week Jesus died, they killed the lambs on Thursday according to Jewish tradition, and on Friday is a Sabbath day. I find this extremely interesting. Why? Because in Matthew 28:1 speaking of the resurrection it says, "Now after the Sabbath" but in the Greek text it's plural. Our English translators already interpreted the text and couldn't believe that he died on Friday, so they changed it. Because in fact, in the Greek text of Matthew 28:1 it says "after the Sabbaths"--plural. How could there be two Sabbaths? Because the First Day of Unleavened Bread is a Sabbath and so is Saturday a Sabbath, so after the "Sabbaths" Jesus arose from the dead. The Bible is very accurate with the facts. I have found this and studied this in great detail, comparing the four gospels and amazing clarity in the Bible. That fits everything that was going on in Jewish history. I think some of us impose our own views on it and that's why we get messed up. [Passover, the 14 Nisan when the lambs were slaughtered, was also referred to as The Preparation Day, and it is on this day that the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate "Matthew 27:62" to get an armed guard to guard the tomb. So this indicates that Jesus died on the "Preparation Day" (John 19:31), some time before sundown when the 15 Nisan began, which was the First Day of Unleavened Bread, and a High Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during this High Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. That means Jesus died before the "Sabbaths" or on the 14th Nisan. That meant he ate his Passover meal (or Sedder) on the evening of the 13th/14th Nisan instead of the 14th/15th Nisan as the other Jews did. Thus he was being sacrificed when all the other Passover lambs that symbolized his sacrifice were being sacrificed on the 14th Nisan--Passover day! You say preposterous, how would he get a Levite to slay a lamb for him. Joseph of Arimathea was on the Sanhedrin, and yet was a friend of Jesus. Jesus was the one, as Paul brings out in Scripture, that before his human birth created all things, the whole vast universe. Technically, the lambs were supposed to be slain on the 14th, and the 14th Nisan began at sundown. Several Christian fellowships believe it happened this way, and that he died 31 A.D. when the 14th was on a Wednesday, and the beginning of the 14th was on a Tuesday evening after sundown. So we have some differences of opinion, which in no way detracts from the historic fact that Jesus died, was in the tomb, and rose on or after the third day--and that the resurrected Jesus was seen by upwards of 500 people (I Cor. 15).]

Now, we said there are three things about the Passover. One, that is a season that begins the Jewish religious year. Number two, it is a sign that remembers what the Lord did for the children of Israel. Look at Exodus 12 please, and look at verse 13. "Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. When I see the blood I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." Verse 14, "So this day shall be to you a memorial. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance." Until God tells the Jewish people to quit, they should continue to do it. You say "Well, what about Jesus fulfilling the typology?" God said keep it as an everlasting ordinance and never told them to quit it. It's interesting. You say, "Well, are we responsible to continue?..." No, it's for the children of Israel, it's an everlasting ordinance. God wants it to be a sign to remember what the Lord did. Now, if you're thinking with me, Christian people, listen. When we take the Bread and the Cup, which I'm going to show you how it's connected to the Passover. In just a moment I'm going to physically demonstrate it. But anyway, when we take the Passover, the Communion, the Bread and the Cup, the Bible says "We are to do this in"--what?--"remembrance." Do you understand? What is the purpose of the Passover? It is a sign to remember what the Lord did for you. O.K., you still thinking with me? Now let's come to the 3rd point.

The 3rd point is, it's not only a season that begins the Jewish religious year, it's not only a sign to remember what the Lord did for the children of Israel, but here comes the punch line. It is a symbol that reveals the basis of our salvation today. Turn please to Luke 22. It is a symbol that reveals the basis of our salvation today. Hope you're ready for this. Luke 22, verse 7, "Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent for Peter and John, saying, 'Go and make preparation for us to eat the Passover.'" You go by two's with the lamb. "So they said to him, 'Where do you want us to prepare?' He said, 'Behold, when you enter the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water, follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the Master of the house, 'The teacher says to you 'Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' Then he will show you a large furnished upper room. There make ready.' So they went and found as he had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. And when the time had come"--so Jesus did eat the Passover, he was there--"he sat down and the twelve apostles with him. Then he said to them, 'With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it's fulfilled in the kingdom of God." That would have caused them second thoughts. "This is your last Passover?--until the Messianic age?" Verse 17, "Then he took the cup and gave thanks and said..." Have you ever read Luke accurately? It says he took the cup and gave thanks and said, 'Take this and divide it among yourselves, for I say to you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." Is that the cup we celebrate in Communion? No, that's down in verse 20, a cup that's taken after supper. So now I understand the Passover again. Are you ready for this? I said there were four cups in a Jewish Passover. Actually only one cup filled up four times. We fill it up first time--cup of blessing, that found in Luke 22 and verse 17. You take this cup, you give thanks, we all sip off of that cup. That's the first cup. That is the cup that is mentioned in Luke chapter 22 and verse 17. We call it the cup of thanksgiving. It parallels, all four cups, parallel four statements of the Lord in Exodus. 1) "I will bring you out of Egypt." The cup of Thanksgiving, "Thank you Lord for that wonderful promise of bringing us out of Egypt." Now the second cup a little later, we call "The Cup of Plagues." Now what we do with this is we take a little spoon in some Jewish homes, or a finger in others, and we are going to spill it on the table ten times, one for every plague in Egypt, to remind ourselves of the ten plagues of Egypt--called 'The Cup of Plagues.' Some do it with their finger, reminds them of what God said concerning the magicians of Egypt who could no longer do what Moses could do, and they said 'This is the finger of God.' It was God behind the ten plagues of Egypt. Now, according to the Jewish Passover, you do the third cup after supper. Now let's just read this carefully and see if this is accurate. Luke chapter 22, verse 20. "Likewise he also took the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you.'" Turn please to 1 Corinthians chapter 11. What is the third cup of the Passover called? It's called the Cup of Blessing or the Cup of Redemption. It reminds them of the blood that was put on the top of the door and the side posts. That's what this cup's going to represent, the blood, the redemption, it's called the Cup of Blessing. [So we have] the Cup of Thanksgiving--"I'll bring you out of Egypt; the Cup of Plagues, "I'll deliver you form bondage", the remember the bondage; The Cup of Redemption [3rd cup], God said, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm." He'll redeem us, 'The blood must be on the door posts, when I see the blood, I'll pass over you.' I read in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 16 "The cup of"--what?--"Blessing." Paul is referring to the 3rd cup of the Jewish Passover. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?" Now we learn, and perhaps startled by it if you were in the church of Corinth and Jewish, that the actual symbolism of the 3rd cup of the Passover is speaking of the blood on the door posts, that blood is the same as the blood of Jesus Christ. 'What can wash away my sin? Nothing, but the blood of Jesus Christ,' Remarkable, how careful the Bible is with the details. Look over at chapter 11, let me show that to you again. Chapter 11, 1st Corinthians, verse 23. "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, when he had given thanks, broke and said, 'Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same manner he also took the cup"--watch this--"after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, this do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death till he comes." Now my dear friends, when you take the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the fellowship which we bless, in the blood of Christ? I'm asking you, my friends. As you come to a "Christian" Communion, do you understand that the cup that you are taking represents the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and when you take it and taste it, it's indicating that you do truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you have fellowship with him. 'The taste of faith, Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.' It symbolizes your faith in the shed blood of Christ, it's for believers.

But what about the Bread? The Bread which we break is the communion of the body of Christ. Are you ready for this? At a Jewish Passover we have Matzah bread, and on the table we have three sheets [of this Matzah bread] which are wrapped in a white linen cloth, three sheets. Early in the meal we take out number 2, not 1, not three, we take out number 2. The question is, why do Jewish people have three? I have studied every rabbinical source I can find. They don't know. Some say it means priests, Levites and the rest of the Israelis. They don't know why they have three. I've read all their views. They basically say, "We don't know, but it's a custom." I have an idea. But anyway, we have three [and] we pull out number 2. We've been doing this for years. You know what we do with number 2? We break it in two pieces. Now we stick half of it back between those two [# 1 and #3]. Set it on the table, the father, leader of the sedder or the children, they do it either way, depending on the Jewish tradition, goes and hides this somewhere in the house--Othekomen--or the dessert. We're going to hide it. Later on in the meal we're going to have the kids go out and see if they can find it. And they find it and they bring it back. And you know what we're going to do when they bring it back? We're going to break, all of us, off of that Othekomen, the dessert. Jesus said, "After supper, the bread that we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" Everybody with me know? The unleavened bread represents the sinless body of Christ. We all break off of it and taste. We are symbolizing our faith and trust in him who alone died on the cross--in his own body bore our sins. Why was it broken earlier? Because I believe these three sheets represent the Tri-unity of God--the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and it's the second, the Son, who is broken, he died on the cross. Why do we break off of his broken body? To illustrate our faith and our fellowship in our communion in the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen? That's what it's all about. We praise the Lord for that. And when we take the Bread and the Cup this is serious business. That Matzah bread, the bread that we break is the communion of the body of Jesus Christ, wounded for me, wounded for me. "He was bruised for our transgressions. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. With his stripes"--with what?--you ever see Matzah bread? "With his stripes we are healed." Zechariah says one day the Lord's Spirit of grace and supplication will be poured out on the house of Israel and they will look on him whom they have pierced. Pierced? Have you ever taken a look at Matzah bread? It's all pierced. You can look straight through the holes. By his stripes we are healed, pierced, wounded for us, the broken body of the Lord Jesus Christ--Wow. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Let's pray:

"Father I do not know the hearts of people here, but you do, and I thank you for that. And you know how many people have just heard what I've said and really have never tasted, who have never exercised...He [Jesus] was the fulfillment of the Jewish Passover, he is our Passover, sacrificed for us. He is our Firstfruits, our resurrected Lord, guaranteeing that we, the rest of the [Pentecost] harvest, will also be raised from the dead. You've asked us to believe that he died on the cross for our sins--to believe that there is no other sacrifice capable of paying the price of our sin, to deliver us from the consequences of the worst bondage's of all, greater than the bondage of Egypt, the bondage of sin, death and hell. And thank you that we've been set free by our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. And I pray here in this meeting that those here who have never made that commitment to Jesus Christ would do so now before it's too late. Give everybody who's made that commitment the courage to boldly say so. You tell us, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so", that we're to confess you before men, to not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Give us courage to do that we pray. And it's in Jesus name we ask these things. Amen."

CLICK HERE to go to The Exodus from Egypt

CLICK HERE to go to a copy of the Internet Churches of God Christian Passover.

For a very good Messianic resource on the Holy Days of the Bible, CLICK HERE.

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