Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pesach (Passover)


The name "Pesach" (PAY-sahch, with a "ch" as in the Scottish "loch") comes from the Hebrew root Pei-Samekh-Cheit, meaning to pass through, to pass over, to exempt or to spare. It refers to the fact that Yahweh (YHWH) "passed over" the houses of the Jews when he was slaying the firstborn of Egypt. In English, the holiday is known as Passover. "Pesach" is also the name of the sacrificial offering (a lamb) that was made in the Temple on this holiday. The holiday is also referred to as Chag he-Aviv (the Spring Festival), Chag ha-Matzot (the Festival of Matzahs), and Z'man Cheiruteinu (the Time of Our Freedom) (again, all with those Scottish "ch"s).

To a large degree, the Passover lamb has been eliminated from the Passover festival (with the only remnant being the roasted lamb shank bone). The New Testament says that Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb. The Passover lamb was to be a "male without defect," which is the same description given to Jesus. In addition, when the lamb was roasted and eaten, none of its bones were to be broken. This fact was also prophesied for the Messiah, whose bones were not to be broken. It was customary during crucifixions to break the leg bones of the person after a few hours, in order to hasten their death. The only way a person could breathe when hanging on a cross was to push up with his legs, which was very exhausting. By breaking the legs, death followed soon by asphyxiation. However, in the case of Jesus, they broke the legs of the other two men, but did not break His, since He was already dead.

Much of the symbolism of Jesus' last Passover week is lost to us because we are unaware of the customs of the time. For example, Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem five days before the lamb was killed in the temple as the Passover sacrifice for the sins of the people of Israel. Five days before the lamb was to be sacrificed, it was chosen. Therefore, Jesus entered Jerusalem on lamb selection day as the lamb of God. The people did not understand the significance of this, since they greeted Him with palm branches and hailed Him as King, shouting "Hosanna," which means "save us." However, they were not looking for a spiritual Savior, but a political savior. Palm branches were a symbol of freedom and defiance, since Simon Maccabeus had entered Jerusalem with that symbolism. Jesus' reaction was to weep, since He realized that they did not understand the Messiah's purpose in coming.

Good Friday was the day of the Passover celebration and the day that the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed. For the previous 1,200 years, the priest would blow the shophar/shofar (ram's horn) at 3:00 p.m. - the moment the lamb was sacrificed, and all the people would pause to contemplate the sacrifice for sins on behalf of the people of Israel. On Good Friday at 3:00, when Jesus was being crucified, He said, "It is finished" - at the moment that the Passover lamb was sacrificed and the shophar was blown from the Temple. The sacrifice of the lamb of God was fulfilled at the hour that the symbolic animal sacrifice usually took place. At the same time, the veil of the Temple (a three-inch-thick, several-story-high cloth that demarked the Holy of Holies) tore from top to bottom - representing a removal of the separation between God and man. Fifty days later, on the anniversary of the giving of the law (Pentecost), God left the earthly temple to inhabit those who call on the name of Jesus through His Holy Spirit.

Christian symbolism in the Passover occurs early in the Seder (the Passover dinner). Three matzahs/matzohs are put together (representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The middle matzah is broken, wrapped in a white cloth, and hidden, representing the death and burial of Jesus. The matzah itself is designed to represent Jesus, since it is striped and pierced, which was prophesied by Isaiah, David, and Zechariah. Following the Seder meal, the "buried" matzah is "resurrected," which was foretold in the prophecies of David.

It was during a Passover Seder that Jesus proclaimed that the meal represented Himself and that He was instituting the New Covenant, which was foretold by Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. The celebration of this covenant has become the ordinance of communion in the Christian Church. At the end of the meal, Jesus took the unleavened bread, broke it, and said that it represented His body. Then He took the cup of wine, which would have been the third cup of the Seder - the cup of redemption. He said that it was the new covenant in His blood "poured out for you." It is through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are declared clean before God, allowing those who repent of their sin and surrender their lives to follow Christ, choosing to accept His pardon, to commune with Him - both now and forevermore through the eternal life He offers.

This reminds us that God did not begin his revelation of Himself in the world with Christians, but to Hebrews---to Israelites---to the Jew---first. It also reminds us that Jesus was a Jew. It is only in recognizing that connection we have to four thousand years of God at work creating a people that those of us who are born again (regenerated) can truly appreciate who we are as the people of God.

Pesach will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:
  • Jewish Year 5769: sunset April 8, 2009 - nightfall April 16, 2009
  • Jewish Year 5770: sunset March 29, 2010 - nightfall April 6, 2010
  • Jewish Year 5771: sunset April 18, 2011 - nightfall April 26, 2011
  • Jewish Year 5772: sunset April 6, 2012 - nightfall April 14, 2012
  • Jewish Year 5773: sunset March 25, 2013 - nightfall April 2, 2013

some of the above information is from:
Judaism 101
God and Science
The Passover Seder for Christians

6 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

'It refers to the fact that Yahweh (YHWH) "passed over" the houses of the Jews when he was slaying the firstborn of Egypt.'

'It refers to the fact that Yahweh (YHWH) "passed over" the houses of the Jews when he was slaying the firstborn of Egypt. In English, the holiday is known as Passover. "Pesach" is also the name of the sacrificial offering (a lamb) that was made in the Temple on this holiday. The holiday is also referred to as Chag he-Aviv (the Spring Festival), Chag ha-Matzot (the Festival of Matzahs), and Z'man Cheiruteinu (the Time of Our Freedom) (again, all with those Scottish "ch"s).'

To a large degree, the Passover lamb has been eliminated from the Passover festival (with the only remnant being the roasted lamb shank bone). The New Testament says that Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb. The Passover lamb was to be a "male without defect," which is the same description given to Jesus.

Yes, and frequent sermon material. A good topic for you to cover.

I hope all is well Jeff, and I hope you will like, if you have not seen already, my vids on latest thekingpin68 comments. I think commenters have been busy. When I went from eight to four blog articles a month I thought this would give myself and commenters a break and my fewer posts would receive more comments...not so far...Lol. Anyway, I am sticking with four posts (both blogs total) a month.

It seems the blogging is sagging...to be blunt.

Facebook and my guess Twitter are somewhat to blame. People only have so much time on line and these are taking time from Blogger and Word Press it seems.

Russ:)

Jeff said...

Russ,

I think commenters have been busy. When I went from eight to four blog articles a month I thought this would give myself and commenters a break and my fewer posts would receive more comments...not so far...Lol.

LOL!

Facebook and my guess Twitter are somewhat to blame. People only have so much time on line and these are taking time from Blogger and Word Press it seems.

I suppose. I know Twitter has become really popular, and Facebook is supposed to be even better than Google now, for advertising. Both could be used to advertise your blog site, but the question is, would people leave Facebook or Twitter to visit your blog?

My sister was in the hospital the other day. She hurt her back, and is on pain medication. She owns a Montessori school, but can't even work right now.

DJRodger said...

Really enjoyed reading this post, I love learning about the Jewishness of christianity it makes what was already amazing even more so. Could you recommend any books on this subject if possible?

Jeff said...

DJRodger,

Thank you for your comment!

One book I have read and would definitely recommend is "Betrayed!" by Stan Telchin. It is a biography of a Jewish man whose daughter becomes a Christian, so he searches the Bible to prove that Christianity is false.

Some other books, which I have not read (and therefore do not know how good or bad they are):

-"The Messianic Passover Haggadah"
by Barry Rubin and Steffi Rubin

-"Messianic Judaism: A Modern Movement With an Ancient Past: (A Revision of Messianic Jewish Manifesto)" by David H. Stern

-"Coming Israel Awakening, The: Gazing into the Future of the Jewish People and the Church" by James W. Goll

-"Lost in Translation: Rediscovering the Hebrew Roots of Our Faith" by John Klein and Adam Spears

-"Christ in the Passover: Why is This Night Different" by Ceil Rosen

-"Not Ashamed: The Story of Jews for Jesus" by Ruth Tucker

-"Walk Deuteronomy!: A Messianic Jewish Devotional Commentary"
by Feinberg, Jeffrey Enoch

thekingpin68 said...

Thanks for thekingpin68 comment Jeff...it has been slow, thanks Facebook, you Twitter.;)

Jeff said...

thanks Facebook, you Twitter.;)

LOL! Yeah, I saw one article from last year that said Twitter is growing like crazy, and another article from last year that said Twitter is the new Facebook.

From an article this month on Scobleizer

"...the publicness of Twitter is like crack. Facebook might have more users, but it’s hard to be “public” on Facebook. Google’s spiders (the software that indexes web pages) can’t get into Facebook easily while those same spiders eat up Twitter.

The “publicness” of Twitter makes a TON of sense for someone...who wants to reach a world-wide audience with very little work. Facebook makes less sense because it’s not only more work (there’s a lot more to do on Facebook than just write simple text messages from a cell phone) but it isn’t as public so it’s harder to get new followers.

But this is exactly why people tell me they use Facebook instead of Twitter. So, Facebook has the numbers (about 180 million for Facebook vs. about 10 million for Twitter)."

Here's an interesting article on How I Use Twitter To Promote My Blog. The article claims, "Since I started using Twitter, I have more than doubled my blog traffic."

Here's another one on Blogging vs. Twitter.

This one might interest you, Russ: Growth of Twitter vs. Blogger.

And lastly, this article titled Blogs vs Twitter? It’s the Interactivity