We, as Messianics, do not observe the solstice event of Easter as the observance of Messiah Yeshua’s passion. We do observe Passover as being the biblically chronicled time of Messiah’s death. Although we are not commanded by scripture to observe Messiah’s death it is so inextricably linked with Passover and our eternal relation with Creator Yahweh that we cannot ignore the linkage.
It is important to be able to give proper observance to both.
Therefore, it is essential that we understand what is the message of the Feast of Passover. The use of “passover” even in scripture seems at times to merge the two events without always a clearly distinction. The first being the passover by the Death Angel of the houses of the Israelites that were blood identified. The blood that was used came from specially selected lambs that were all slain at the same time. The second event is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That this observance was to follow the next day after the Passover was not necessarily experientally obvious at the time. However, it immediately became a commanded feast. (Ex 12:1-28 and 13:3-10)
There are likewise two events concerning Messiah Yeshua where the distinction is blurred. The prevalent practice in the Christian church and probably spilling over into Messianic thinking is the magnification of the crucifixion of Messiah. To me it is a subtle but very important distinction that is to be made. Was it the death of Yeshua, Son of God, and His resurrection that is to be the essence of observance or the shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God?
It is here that I see the symbolism of the original Passover as being the clue. In the first observance in Egypt the lamb was slain, but NOT as an altar sacrifice. It was the blood of the lamb that was the source of salvation for the Israelite first born. The lamb was roasted and consumed by those protected by its blood. There is no mention of an altar or offering to Yahweh. The lamb that remained was to be burned and not kept over. This act was a faith statement. Leftovers wouldn’t be needed tomorrow because we had our sandals on, staff in hand and were leaving the bondage of slavery. The symbolism can be further understood as representing Yahweh’s provision for our earthly, physical needs (roasted lamb) as well as our eternal, spiritual wellbeing (the blood of the lamb exempting us from death).
It is interesting that Yeshua said we are to “eat my flesh” (John 6:54) Is He drawing a parallel to the Passover lamb? He also said in the same verse in John, “drink my blood.” Was that a dramatic metaphor for saying to apply His blood to the doorposts and lintel of our hearts? I believe so. God has never suggested human sacrifice. Yes, He asked Abraham to “sacrifice” Isaac, but He did not require it. He provided a ram for the sacrifice. It was a test of faith, of obedience. The Torah specifically speaks against the practice of human sacrifice. (Lev 20:1-5)
It may seem I am splitting hairs in the distinctions I make, but please follow me to understand why I am so desirous of the right emphasis. I do not believe Yahweh sent His Son to be sacrificed. He knew that Yeshua would suffer, that His blood would be shed. Of course, all knowing, He knew he would die. But it was really Sin that took Yeshua’s life. It was not God sacrificing His Son except to the extent He sent Him knowing what the outcome would be, as did Yeshua. It was our sin which required the shedding of the divine, unimpeachable blood for the removal of our sin. No reproach or condemnation can ever question the cleansing of sin washed away in this blood. (Rev 1:5) It was far removed from the shedding of the blood of animals. Without it there could be no assurance of enjoying the holy presence of the Father.
I am not endeavoring to diminish the “sacrifice” of Yeshua in the passion of the last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the trial, beatings and piercings, but to reemphasize the shedding of the blood. Had there been no shedding of blood the death of Yeshua would have accomplished nothing in terms of our eternity. His death would have been that of just one more martyr of the faith. The Torah clearly says in Lev 17:11 “it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” It is reaffirmed in Hebrews 9:22, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” In Rev 1:5 it says, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” The fact of the crucifixion, death and resurrection was certainly a testimony that Yeshua was God come in the flesh, but had His blood not been shed we would still be dead in our sin.
All this to say I feel we must take a different tack, as Messianics, from the Rabbinic view of the Passover observation as a “feast of celebration.” My understanding is that in today’s observance the first night of, while not necessarily requiring the blood of a lamb to be shed, is deeply contemplative. Emphasis is to be on the shed blood and especially the shed blood of the Lamb of God. I see each redeemed believer as first born—blood bought, sanctified and set apart unto Yahweh. Interestingly this 14th day of Abib (Nisan) is not a Sabbath. Do you suppose that means we are never to rest from knowing and acting on who we are in Messiah and the work His blood has done?!
The Feast of Unleavened Bread (FUB) commences the next evening at sundown. This would be after sundown on the 14th which is then the 15th . I believe the daylight of the 14th (that is the daylight hours that follow the passover of the Death Angel) is then for the removing of leaven and meal preparation. We, in practice, actually use all seven days of FUB for leaven removal—not physical leaven but those spiritual ingredients of leaven in our lives. We have taken the Torah instruction to make an offering by fire each of the seven days of FUB (Lev 23:8) to include this discipline. There is no sweeter savor to Father, I’m sure than giving His Spirit opportunity to bring under the blood those things in our lives that would separate us from His presence. As priests and kings the altar in the tabernacle of our spirit (heart) should carry this fragrance to Father. (Rev 1:6)
Sequentially then, first comes the shedding of the blood. The Passover meal is simple so it does not distract from the introspective appreciation of the original exemption in Egypt from death; from the inescapable parallel to our personal encounter with the shed blood of Yeshua. Then, the second event (FUB) is in effect a celebration of freedom from slavery (first in Egypt, then from our individual sin). This is tempered by seven days of spiritual “sacrifice” being placed on the altar of the tabernacle jn our heart. Lastly, comes the final feast on the seventh day—it being a Sabbath-a recognition of the promise of rest in the presence of Yeshua. This rest having been purchased by His blood. The rest being symbolic of a life cycle of leavenless living.
May Yahweh bless you as you explore anew the beauty and depth of Passover.
April 19, 2016