Shalom, chaverim! (Hello, friends! 😉 )Today begins the eight-day Jewish festival of Passover, or Pesach. If you attended Sunday School as a child, or watched the iconic film, The Ten Commandments, you’re probably very familiar with the story of the first Passover found in Exodus.
However, if your memory’s a little foggy, allow me to slice through the haze with some highlights:
- The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years (just as God prophesied to Abraham in Genesis 15:13).
- God sent Moses to Pharaoh with the message to let His people go (Exodus 3:7-10). This message comes with warnings, which Pharaoh ignores.
- 10 plagues fall upon Egypt: water to blood, frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, thunder and hail, locusts, darkness, and finally, death of the firstborn, which ultimately moved Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt.
- To protect themselves from the death angel which was sent by God to take the lives of the firstborn, the Israelites followed the Lord’s command to slay a lamb and apply its blood to the doorposts of their dwellings. Seeing the lamb’s blood, the angel passed over…
- When Pharaoh finally agreed to grant them their freedom, there was so little time to skedaddle, that the Israelites couldn’t bake; consequently, they only took raw dough on their journey.
- Fleeing through the desert, they would bake the dough in the hot sun, forming crackers called matzohs. To commemorate that event, Jews eat matzohs today during Passover instead of bread. In fact, devout Jews rid their entire homes of any food product containing any sort of leavening agent that causes dough to rise.
- But the Jews’ escape was not yet complete – Pharaoh’s heart became hardened, and he decided to chase after them towards the Red Sea.
- When the Egyptian army reached the Israelites at the banks of the Sea, they cried out to God, and Moses encouraged them to stand firm.
- Charlton Heston—I mean Moses—then stretched out his hand and the Red Sea parted by the power of God interceding on behalf of His people. With a wall of water on either side of them, the Israelites walked across the seabed.
- Pharaoh’s army was swallowed up and swept away.
Most Christians don’t celebrate or even give much thought to the Jewish feasts, which I find regrettable because the moedim (“appointed times”), given by God Himself, are rife with symbolism and spiritual meaning pointing to the Messiah, “the substance” of the feasts’ shadows. (Colossians 2:16-17).
The Passover Meal was actually a commemorative meal, a time to reflect upon the Exodus and freedom from bondage before wooden stakes were driven through the lambs, which by the way, occurred at the exact same time Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was nailed to a wooden cross (9 a.m.). For Gentile believers in Yeshua (Jesus), we can see magnificent pictures of Christ and our eternal redemption woven throughout the Exodus story, culminating with our individual deliverances from the bonds of sin and oppression, represented by Egypt and Pharaoh, respectively.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned to see that nothing in God’s Word is irrelevant or outdated, nor is anything meant merely to provide material for Sunday School storytelling. In a forthcoming blog, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about “Easter” itself, the Passover meal, and each of the God-commanded elements that comprise it.
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di