To: Messianic Israel Affiliates
From: Batya Wootten
RE: Passover Message
From the forthcoming book.
Israel’s Feasts and Their Fullness
by Batya Wootten
The Father’s Passover Plan
(Note: Chapter footnotes are not included.)
I say to you, I shall never again eat it until...
We need to fully understand the above conditional clause because final fulfillment of Passover hinges on it. Furthermore, fulfillment of this “until” will require something of us. Seeing the point behind Y’shua’s stipulated clause will help us walk through a new door of end-time Passover celebration and fulfillment.
Many people gain greater understanding of Y’shua’s “Last Supper” (sometimes called “Communion”) when they see it presented in light of a traditional Jewish Passover Seder, or a Messianic Jewish Seder, in which traditions are modified and/or interpreted to reflect Messiah Y’shua.
However, if the Father will allow the eyes of our hearts to be enlightened (Ephesians 1:18), we will see a more excellent way that will enable us to move beyond both of these beneficial illustrations.
The traditional Jewish, and later Messianic Jewish, Passover Seders both can speak volumes to Believers in the Messiah. For example, according to Jewish tradition, before the Feast, the mother cleans the home of all leaven. Then, the night before Passover eve, or erev Pesach, the family has a bedikat chametz, a search for leaven. They search, because after cleaning the house, the mother places small pieces of leavened bread in key places, and that night the father leads the children in a candlelight search for the leftover chametz. When the children find this leaven, the father, feather in hand, brushes the crumbs onto a wooden spoon or paper plate¡ªall of which (feather, container and crumbs) is wrapped up to be burned the next morning.
This family practice can teach us the basic truth that leaven represents sin, and the “temples” in which we live also need cleansing from all sin by the power of the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit), represented by the feather.
The traditional Seder includes three pieces of “striped and pierced” matzah, or unleavened bread. Unleavened bread is used because our ancestors did not have time to wait for the bread to rise in their sudden departure for the desert. It was called the “bread of affliction” (Deuteronomy 16:3), or sometimes, the poor man’s bread, because many people believe it was all the Israelites had to eat at the time.
Messianic Judaism teaches that the three matzah speak of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that the unleavened bread speaks of sinlessness, and that “striped and pierced” bread depicts Y’shua, Who brought us healing by His stripes when He was wounded for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5).
Among traditional Jews, different reasons are given for having three matzah. Some teach that two loaves of bread are present on the Sabbath eve table, and that the third loaf is added at Passover as a reminder of the joyous nature of this “Festival of Freedom.” Some say the three matzah represent the three groups of people found in traditional Jewish religious life: Priests, Levites, and Israelites. Still others say there are three because Abraham asked Sarah to make three measures of fine meal for their Heavenly guests (Genesis 18:6).
Though the idea of “striped and pierced” matzah is used to teach about the Messiah, the historical reason for its use has to do with artistic women and the machine age.
Initially, all matzah was handmade, and since it was rolled-out dough, it was naturally circular or oval in form. To keep the dough from rising, perforations were made in it that allowed the air to escape. Ultimately, the women who baked this bread began to make their perforations in very artistic form, drawing pictures in their bread. Since these artworks could take a long time to finish, the rabbis felt they had to step in. To insure that the matzah would not be allowed to rise, and thus not meet the “unleavened” requirement, they decreed that the entire matzah process, from kneading to baking, must be executed within eighteen minutes.
This edict put a real crimp in matzah art. And with progress being what it is, in England, in 1875, a speedy matzah baking machine was invented. So began our era of “striped and pierced” square matzot.
However, those who appreciated the art form of traditional matzah were not happy with this strange looking square, uniform, uninteresting matzah brought forth by this new-fangled machine.
Perhaps the real reason for the matzah number and form is because the Father chose that representative number and chose to have it “pierced,” because He clearly wants to point us to His Son.
In traditional Jewish Seders, the middle matzah is broken in half, and the second half is called the afikomen, which is hidden away until the end of the meal. This Greek word is said to mean, He shall come again. Some say it means “that which comes last,” because it is like dessert, in that it is the last thing tasted at the Seder.
For Messianic Believers, the afikomen can typify our Messiah, Who promised us, “I will come again” (John 14:3).
During the traditional meal, four cups of wine are served. Messianic Judaism teaches that in the Upper Room during the Last Supper, Y’shua was following this rabbinic tradition. According to them, it was before drinking the third cup, called the Cup of Redemption, that Y’shua said, “This is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:15-20).
In this manner, the entire Seder celebration overflows with spiritual significance. We will elaborate on these Seder meanings in a later chapter, "Pesach Pictures."
We offer an abbreviated Messianic Jewish Passover Haggadah, which means "the telling of the story" (see Appendix A). This Guide, like the others, may be purchased from Messianic Israel Ministries, or the four pages may be photocopied for personal, home, or congregational use.
The Four Types of Passover
Beyond seeing the many truths in Jewish Seders, we need to see something more. To enter into a more meaningful appreciation of Passover, we first need to see that there are four types of Passovers in Scripture. To put this Feast into perspective, we must realize that when YHVH (hwhy) promised the Israelites, “I will pass over you,” it was not an accomplished fact, but a living promise.
He said He would stand guard over, protect, and defend His children. He would refuse the destroyer entry into their homes. He would cause the destruction to “skip,” or “pass,” over them. As Y’shua is One with the Father, Passover likewise depicts Y’shua’s promise to safeguard those who trust in Him (John 10:30; 14:18; 17:12-26).
To see the four Passovers in Scripture is to see a picture of the Father’s plan of salvation for His children. Our appreciation of Passover is deeply enriched and enhanced as we realize we are in the middle of the Father’s present-day plan. When we understand these four types in their on-going, living context, we know that we have yet to experience the most glorious Passover of all. We know that we, Messiah’s New Covenant followers, have much to do with the final fulfillment of Passover.
The Family Passover
We begin our year with the season of Passover¡ªjust as we begin our spiritual lives with redemption.
Our Father said of the Hebrew month, Abib (which corresponds to March/April on the Gregorian calendar), “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you....for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.”
He also said, “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to YHVH your God, for in the month of Abib YHVH your God brought you out of Egypt by night” (Exodus 12:2; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1).
With this first Passover our Father commanded:
“On the tenth of this month let each one take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. If the house-hold is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb... [and] keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then... kill it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire...You shall not leave any of it over until morning, whatever is left of it you shall burn with fire. You shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your h!
and; and you shall eat it in haste¡ªit is YHVH’s Passover. For I will...strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt... And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to YHVH throughout your generations ...as a permanent ordinance” (Exodus 12:3-15).
We are to diligently teach our children about all that the Father commanded us. When they ask, “What does this rite mean to you?” we are to answer them with all diligence and patience; we are to be dedicated to their spiritual maturation (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19; Exodus 12:26,42; 13:8,14).
We see that the Holy One designated the first Passover to be a time wherein:
• Fathers were to diligently teach their children
• The family was to sacrifice a lamb for their household
• They were to put the blood on their doorposts
• The families were to partake of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs in their respective homes.
The emphasis of the first Passover was on the godly household. The Father said it was to be eaten in a single house (Exodus 12:46). Thus He established what we will call the “Family Passover.”
The Congregational Passover
Later, our Father revised His Passover instructions. He moved the location of commemoration from their homes to His Tabernacle. He moved it from their house to His house. His command to observe Passover remained intact, but He changed the requirements about where and how it was to be observed.
“Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to YHVH your God, for in the month of Abib YHVH your God brought you out of Egypt by night. You shall sacrifice the Passover to YHVH your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where YHVH chooses to establish His name....You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns, but at the place where YHVH your God chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt. Cook and eat it in the place which YHVH your God chooses. In the morning you are to return to your tents. On the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to YHVH your God; you shall do no work on it...Be careful to observe these statutes” (Deuteronomy 16:2-12).
At the Temple in Jerusalem, Israelites were to sacrifice their lambs at twilight, and then roast them. This allotted day of sacrifice was immediately followed by a seven-day period called the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:15-20).
This new, congregational celebration was to take place in the Father’s house. There, His children would partake of lamb and unleavened bread.
This yearly celebration served as a collective time of commemoration, reflection and remembrance. Thus the Father established what we will call the “Congregational Passover.”
Choose This Day...
We now must make a choice. All would agree that the above-described Congregational Passover instructions were in place when Messiah Y’shua walked the earth. So how did He celebrate Passover in the last year of His life? Did He simply partake of the Congregational Passover as prescribed in Deuteronomy? Was He following Jewish tradition, as defined by the Jewish men of His day, or did Y’shua do something new? Did He change the way in which Passover was thereafter to be commemorated?
When Y’shua offered what is often called “The Last Supper,” was He eating of the Passover exactly as outlined in Scripture, or was Y’shua Himself the Passover Lamb that year? Did He celebrate that Passover according to the tradition of His day, or did He establish a new tradition?
He could not do both. He had to do one or the other in the year that He was sacrificed for us.
Some people say that at the time of Y’shua there were two Jewish Passover traditions that were commemorated on two consecutive nights. They claim Y’shua offered His Passover meal on the first evening, and then became the Passover lamb on the next evening.
However, Y’shua spoke strongly against the traditions of men. He said to those who followed man-made precepts, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men" (Mark 7:6-8).
Y’shua would not have observed Passover according to the traditions of men. He would have honored His Father’s instructions to the letter. Therefore, we must choose. Was it more important that Y’shua once more eat of a lamb, or to fulfill Scripture and actually become the prophesied Lamb?
Paul the apostle declares, “Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19). For in that fateful year, Y’shua became our Passover Lamb. That year He was offered as a “sacrifice” at the exact time that the Father commanded that the lamb of redemption was to be sacrificed. And when the cup of the New Covenant was raised by Messiah Y’shua on that fateful night, it was the first cup of a new Passover tradition.
When we see this truth, we begin to understand that new rules were again applied to Passover: Commemoration continued, but the rules were once more changed.
The Personal Passover
Our Father first established the Family Passover and He then changed it to a Congregational Passover. With Y’shua, Passover instructions were again modified. This happened when He took bread and wine into His hands and said to His Apostles, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).
Y’shua said He “eagerly desired” (NIV)¡ªHe “earnestly and intensely desired” (Amplified)¡ªto eat “this” particular Pesach meal with His disciples.
Why was He so earnest in His desire to eat of this particular Passover? Certainly He had participated in many Passover celebrations. Why was this particular Passover so special to Him?
Because it would prove to be a “Passover” meal unlike any other. The Passover that Y’shua “desired with desire” (KJV) to eat would prove to be different.
Luke says of the occasion, “When He had taken the cup and given thanks, Y’shua said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves.’ ...And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me, this is the new covenant in My blood’” (Luke 22:15-20).
Y’shua’s Passover marked the end of the Old Covenant Passovers and the beginning of His New Covenant Passovers.
In this Passover, Y’shua was sacrificed “once for all,” and we have no need for another (Hebrews 7:27). The central focus is no longer the blood of a substitute animal, which only “covered” sin. With Y’shua’s sacrifice, the focus became the pure and undefiled Blood of the Son of God, which has the power to remit, to even annihilate sin.
Through His death on the tree (cross), Y’shua became our Passover Lamb. It is written: “Messiah, our Passover, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Of this Passover, Paul said: “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim Y’shua’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
We desire to proclaim Y’shua’s death, because in our proclamation we declare that we belong to New Covenant Israel and not to the world.
When we partake of Y’shua’s Passover elements, we declare that He is our Passover; the angel of the second death will “pass over” us in the final judgement because we are sanctified by the Blood of the New Covenant Passover Lamb. Through Y’shua, we have an eternal sacrifice for our sins. Thus, we are called the eternal “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).
With Y’shua’s Passover there came a certain fulfillment of, and another modification in, the Passover ordinance. “When the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.”
In and through Y’shua, Israel’s priesthood was changed from the Aaronic order to that of Melchizedek. Y’shua is our eternal High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:6; 7:12). As our Eternal High Priest, He instructed us to partake of different Passover elements:
In the past, the prescribed elements were lamb and unleavened bread, but in the New Covenant the prescribed elements are bread and wine.
Unlike the old Passover sacrifices, Y’shua’s sacrifice is not an annual event, as was the slaying of Passover lambs. Instead, Y’shua is our ever-present, ever-available sacrifice. Commemoration of His sacrifice includes the elements from the prescribed daily offering: Bread and Wine.
Additionally, Y’shua moved the emphasis of our search for leaven. Leaven typifies sin, and all leaven was to be removed from their houses for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which immediately followed Passover. Y’shua moved the emphasis of that search to the areas of our hearts. That is why Paul instructs us to “clean out the old leaven of wickedness and malice from your hearts” (Matthew 15:18; 1 Corinthians 5:7).
In addition to having outward symbols of our faith that can help keep us on track, Y’shua wants us to deal with our hearts. “Behold,” He says, “I stand at the door [of the heart] and knock....If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
We will call the Passover established by Messiah Y’shua the Personal Passover, for only those on whose heart’s door He has knocked can invite Him into their lives. Only those who have personally invited Y’shua into their lives are called to partake of His intimate Passover Supper.
If you have not yet done so, invite Y’shua into your life right now. You do not need a priest or rabbi to lead you in a particular prayer. You simply need to repent of your sins and ask Y’shua to come into your heart and be Lord of your life.
Do it now. Knowing Him changes everything!
The Kingdom Passover
When Y’shua initiated the New Covenant Passover, He lifted high the broken bread and said to His disciples, “I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” When He had taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes“ (Luke 22:15-18).
In saying this, Y’shua foretold a coming, glorious, eternal Passover, one that will be celebrated in the Kingdom of God. For there is a glorious Passover that is yet to come. It will take place at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and blessed are those who are invited to it (Revelation 19:9). One day the trumpet will sound, and we who are invited will put on imperishable wedding garments, for we have been invited to a transcendent celebration.
At that time, the believing family of Israel will again be “passed over.” As overcomers, the second death will not be able to harm us. In utter jubilation, we will ask: “Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 21:7).
As prophesied, Messiah Y’shua will again take the cup into His hands, and perhaps in honor of the rabbinic custom of His Jewish brothers, He will call it the fourth Passover Cup, which is known as the Cup of Praise.
Certainly that would be an appropriate title, for when Messiah lifts high that cup, Hallelujah’s that will ring for an eternity will begin. Death, finally and forevermore, will be swallowed up in victory.
When we celebrate that Passover, then we will know the full and eternal glory of the Kingdom Passover.
Father, by your grace and mercy may we come to know the joy of that celebration!
Passover Celebration Guides are Available.
Also Available: "A Passover Guide"
Excerpts from the Forthcoming Book
"Israel's Feasts And Their Fullness"
by Batya Ruth Wootten
84 page Book.
Please Inquire. 1 800 829 8777