Passover (Pesach)

Passover (Pesach)

Pesach (Passover) is unknown to many, but when we say: Easter, people start nodding their heads. I wish it could be said that only unbelievers are the ones who think of the bunny and the egg, but unfortunately there are also Christians who see only that much in this holiday.

The majority of Christians only receive praise for connecting this holiday with the death and resurrection of Jesus. But somehow they don't get any further than that, and the reason for this is the loss of interest. Because if they researched, they could find out what this holiday is really about, where it comes from, how it should be kept, and how it affects Christians.

Unfortunately, from the very beginning, Christianity tried to separate itself from its Jewish roots, so the feasts of the Lord were forgotten, they were renamed, and in practice they were kept differently.

It is no different with Pesach, it was renamed Easter, from the festival of the Queen of Spring, and its celebration was reduced to wine and bread, which was called the Lord's Supper. But despite the law, bread is also eaten leavened, practiced monthly or even several times a month, in many cases church leaders exclude certain members from eating it.

Because what is the Lord's Supper? A fictitious exercise supported by misunderstood biblical texts. But let's start at the very beginning to understand the birth of Pesach, its practice, its foreshadowing, its fulfillment and how it affects us today!

„The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. "Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. 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 shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread."” (Exodus 12:1-20)

This is where the holiday of Pesach was born. They had to take a lamb with them for three days, and then on the 4th day they had to kill it. For three days the lamb was with them knowing that they would kill it, although they could certainly love the lamb in 3 days. Then it was the blood of the lamb that chased away death from the door. They were able to make the long journey with the strength of the lamb's flesh. It all points to Jesus.

They had to eat it quickly, but not only the meat of the lamb, but also the unleavened bread. Why did the bread have to be unleavened? For two reasons. Primarily because the unleavened bread symbolizes the Messiah's sinlessness, and secondly:

„You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction--for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste--that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 16:3)

They had to get out of Egypt in a hurry! No time to leaven the dough, no time to be idle. They had to come out of Egypt immediately, just as we have to come out of worldly desires. We cannot be idle, we must immediately leave our sins and follow God.

Nothing has changed to this day. In the New Testament writings, bread and wine are primarily mentioned, but not because that is all we have left from the Pesach dinner, but because they are mentioned as their main parts.

When Jesus took the wine and the bread on the day of his betrayal, his communion with the disciples did not only consist of what we know today as: the Lord's Supper. After all, we can even see in the seating order of the disciples that the Seder dinner was held. Since the youngest (John) lay to the right of Jesus, because everyone lay leaning on his left side, it was possible for John to lean on Jesus' bosom. There was also lamb on the table, not just unleavened bread and wine:

„And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?" And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us." And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.” (Mark 14:12-16)

Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn't specifically tell the disciples where to go? Why did he say that someone will meet you with a jar of water and you will follow him? Because Judas was already looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus, he could not find out where the Seder night was being held, so that Jesus would not be caught prematurely.

In the passage just read, it is therefore clear that there was also a lamb on the table, the seating order was also the same as on the Seder evening, and the dipped snack that Jesus gave to Judas Iscariot was the so-called afikoman, which is indeed a part of the Seder dinner. So Jesus did not replace the Seder evening with the Lord's Supper. But what about the additional writings we read from the apostles?

For example, if two American citizens are talking about Washington, they do not have to mention in their conversation that it is the capital of America, since it is clear and unquestionable to them, just as in the days of the apostles they did not have to run in unnecessary circles in their letters about keeping Pesach. Instead, the reference was to the wine and the bread, just as Jesus emphasized on the Pesach evening about the bread and the wine, that is, His body and blood.

When we read that bread was broken from house to house, it was not about Pesach (or the so-called Lord's Supper), but about community engagement. The message of eating together is that we take communion with each other.

When Jesus broke the bread and drank the wine, saying that we do this in remembrance of Him, He did not say that we should take only these two, but what He said before that:

„And he took bread, and when he had 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."” (Luke 22:19)

In other words, like Jesus, we should do what He did. Let us not live for the will of our flesh, but for others.

„I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

We receive His body and blood unworthily if we do not fulfill the meaning of the bread and wine. We must give both our body (bread) and our soul (wine) to the will of God. Because the soul is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). So whoever walks in the desires of his own flesh and eats the Pesach bread and drinks the wine will be judged.

In short and concisely: the Lord's Supper as a new holiday is not in the Bible. Jesus kept Pesach with the laws of the Seder evening, Christians created a new holiday, in which only wine and bread (in many cases leavened) are included, which are taken daily, weekly or monthly. However, it can be taken once a year, at the specified time and method.

Pesach is still relevant, it has not been replaced by another holiday. Pesach used to point to Jesus' death as a prophecy, but today it points back to Jesus' sacrifice. After all, when the Passover was celebrated before Jesus' death, they were also waiting for the coming of the Messiah, but since he had already come and sacrificed, therefore, as Jesus said, we take the bread and wine consumed at Pesach as a remembrance.

Who cannot keep the Passover? Although the so-called Lord's Supper, for example, is forbidden to those who are not baptized, in fact anyone who meets the following criteria can keep the Passover:

„"Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the LORD. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it. But if anyone who is clean and is not on a journey fails to keep the Passover, that person shall be cut off from his people because he did not bring the LORD's offering at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin. And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native."” (Numbers 9:10-14)

Antal Farkas
(April 20, 2024)

Tagged: passover, pesach, Jews, Messiah, resurrection,

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