Posted by: Heather | March 29, 2010

Shadows of the Messiah – Passover Introduction

John 5:39  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  (KJV)

These words were spoken by Jesus just after the healing of the man at Bethesda.  The Jews wanted to kill him for healing on the Sabbath.   But, He was informing them that the Father had sent Him, and that the scriptures they diligently searched were telling them about Him.  They were trying so hard to find their Messiah, but He was standing there in front of them, and they didn’t realize it!

Likewise, if we search the Old Testament scriptures, we will find Jesus in the pages.  God is so orderly and detailed, it’s like hunting for a treasure.  When we find Him, we learn to love Him even more than we did before.

This teaching is an introduction to Passover, which starts this evening at sundown, and how we can find Jesus woven all through it.  The Christian church has been under the impression that we don’t need to concern ourselves with the “Jewish holidays”, because they’re in the Old Testament, and they don’t apply to us.  No, we’re not required to celebrate these feasts as part of our salvation.  However, learning about them gives us great insight into Jesus and His work in our lives.  There are also many Christians these days that do celebrate them…not as a legalistic work, but in remembrance of the awesome things our God has done to redeem us.

Leviticus 23:1-2  The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them:  ‘These are MY appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies’. (Emphasis mine)

The first error we’ve made is to decide that the feasts the Jews keep are “Jewish holidays”.  However, this scripture in Leviticus easily refutes that idea.  The Lord calls these feasts His feasts.  They are appointed times that God chose to meet with His people in a special way.  The word ‘feast’ is the Hebrew ‘moed’ (singular), or ‘moedim’ (plural).  It means just that; a set, appointed time.  The feasts happen at set times each year.  Several times throughout Leviticus 23, we are reminded that these are the Lord’s feasts, not the Jewish feasts.   The feasts are also called ‘sacred assemblies’, meaning they are a time set apart from the rest of the year as holy to the Lord.

Passover is the first of the appointed feasts.  One interesting thing to note is that in Acts 12:4, the word translated ‘Easter’ in the King James Version is the Greek ‘pascha’, which is ‘Pesach’ in Hebrew.  Pesach is the Hebrew word for Passover.  So, the events of Acts 12:4 actually took place at the time of Passover.  ‘Easter’ wasn’t celebrated or named until several hundred years after the Biblical events took place, but it was well known by the time King James ruled (when the KJV was written).  Easter and Passover do not always fall during the same week of the year, although this year (2010) they do.

The feasts are celebrated by the Jews annually.  They are celebrated as ‘rehearsals’ or ‘anniversaries’.  The easiest way to explain this is to think of a wedding.  Before we get married, we rehearse the ceremony.  Then, the actual event takes place, and every year thereafter, we celebrate an anniversary.   It’s the same way with the feasts.  For some of them, the major events have already taken place, and now they are celebrated as an ‘anniversary’ every year.  For others, the annual ‘rehearsal’ is still taking place, because the actual event hasn’t occurred yet.

Passover is actually part of a set of feasts that occur in the spring.  Basically, there is a set of 3 feasts celebrated in the spring, one single feast in the summer, and another set of 3 in the fall.  Passover is part of the spring feasts, which also includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Firstfruits.  For ease, it’s often called just Passover, but Passover is simply the first feast in the set of three that occur at the same time.  The first day of the set is Passover, immediately followed the next day by the Feast of Unleavened Bread (which lasts 7 days).  The Feast of Firstfruits occurs within the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Throughout this week, I’d like to discuss various aspects of the spring feasts that will point to Jesus Christ as our redeemer.  Easter Sunday is very important to the Christian church.  I truly believe that this set of messages will help give you a new perspective on how great Resurrection Sunday really is.   God’s order and detail are so incredible.  I think you’ll be as amazed as I was to see how it all fits together.

May God bless you today, and the entire week.  Walk with the Lord, and rejoice in His provision for you!

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Responses

  1. Thank you Donna! Yes, Shavuot is coming up soon…it’s time for me to start studying it again. I love seeing all of the parallels between the Old and New Testaments. God’s detail is so perfect, and fascinating to me…I could just spend all day learning!

  2. I am so glad to see you writing on this subject. It always amazes me to see such discernment in some Christians, that I believe the Holy has chosen, that reveal truths that just wasn’t taught to them in the church. I look forward to seeing more of your articles. Pentecost, The feast of Weeks, is coming up and I received some of my biggest blessings after this appointed time in observing it and reaching out to the widows, the orphans and doing ministers baskets with the 7 species in them. We serve a God of order and when we learn his seasons and numerical order and come before him in his appointed times, especially the Sabbath, blessings overtake you. Great article!


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