God's Holy Day: Pesach and Chol Moed
Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
Pesach or Passover is the beginning of the spiritual year, because God tells us this is when the beginning of the
year takes place. Exodus 12:2: This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month
of the year to you.
Verse 3 begins the instruction for commencing the Pesach celebration, which starts on the 15th of Nisan in the
Jewish calendar year. Through the days, weeks and (thousands of) years man has lived, a repetition of theme
exists and continues to be played out: His people are redeemed and brought out from (the) slavery (of sin); we
come out of Egypt (the world) and are brought into the Promised Land (God's perfect place for his people) as
written by Moses in a dramatic story of salvation. This spiritual experience is just as relevant to us today because
the curse of sin is enslavement and death. It is worth our study more than just once a year and so, we are
commanded by God to remember this story and to teach it to our children.
This coming out of the world to become a kingdom of priests, ready to serve God in a land He gave, (remember
we can do nothing to earn it) in the end took a little over 40 years. However, only months had elapsed between
the parting of the Red Sea in Nisan (in the book of Exodus) and when Joshua, Caleb and the 10 other men were
sent to scout and observe the land (in the book of Numbers). These 12 representatives were exploring for forty
days, but upon return those 10 other men decided to put faith into what they felt were their own capabilities, "in
their own sight" rather than what God had told them He would do. Their choice destined the entire assembly to
wander one year for each day of their self-absorbed, arrogant and stubbornly negative observations. When God
makes a statement (His Word is His promise) we are to believe it. We are not to judge after the sight of our own
eye nor reprove after the hearing of our own ears, but walk in the way (Halacha, means way of life) of Yeshua as
stated in Isaiah 11:1-5.
The silver lining in that cloud hovering over the children for 40 years was instruction. Torah was given to them for
practical application in every day of those 40 years that God dwelt with them. He would come again and dwell for
forty years, but when He did, this time it would be as a man whose very name would be salvation... and this time
He would be the Passover Lamb, the One that takes away the sin of the world.
The first and the seventh days are celebrated as full Shabbats according to Exodus 12:16-17: And in the first day
there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner
of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall
observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of
Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever. The five days in between,
called the Intermediate Days (Hol HaMoed) are celebrated as half-holidays. Pesach is the first of the Shalosh
Regalim, the three annual pilgrimage holidays. Shavuot and Sukkot are the other appointed times when Jews
from all over Israel and beyond converged onto Jerusalem to celebrate and bring offerings during the Temple
The Seder meal, the four questions, the four cups of wine and the ceremonial retelling of the journey are very
symbolic spiritual traditions. They are meant to symbolize the horror of sin, the effect of being in the world and the
price that was required for redemption. For instance, the four cups of wine correspond to four different steps in
this redemption process:
I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians
I will free you from being slaves
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm
I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.
Leaning to the left at certain points during the Seder reminds of us freedom. In ancient times only free men ate in
a reclining or leaning position. It's also been said that leaning to the left prevents you from choking on your food!
The preparation for Pesach
During Pesach and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it is forbidden to eat leavened bread throughout the
celebration. As the children of Israel fled from Egypt, they didn't have time for their dough to rise. Instead the hot
desert sun baked it flat. We stay away from eating leavening in all our food for the entire eight days of the feasts.
It's so we understand and remember the careful planning and work we need to do in order to keep sin out of our
lives. Our kitchen and house are cleaned very carefully before the celebration to get all the crumbs of leavening
out of our life. We do this so we understand and remember how easily the little crumbs of sins build up and
maybe even go unnoticed.
We also ready our hearts for the Passover Seder (pronounced "say-dur," which means order of) service.
Tradition teaches that in each generation, we must consider ourselves as having personally been freed from
Egypt. This is the only exception we are ever given for comparing ourselves with other people. As we prepare for
this experience of personal redemption, we should allow our Heavenly Father to remove the leaven of sin hidden
within our hearts.
Haggadah means "the telling." Passover is a story that has been retold for thousands of years. It is a story of
miraculous transitions: from slavery to freedom, from despair to hope, from darkness to light. Much like our own
redemption, its greatness is the greatness of God. Its timelessness comes from the eternal truth of His
involvement with His people. As God cared for the children of Israel in ancient time, He cares for all who are His
today. On the table is a Seder plate, holding the ceremonial items of Passover. These are strange collection of
things on the plate: bitter herbs, a roasted egg, a sweet apple mixture, parsley, a cup of salty water and a bone,
yet all of them are part of "the telling" of the story. If we allow our senses to fully participate, taking in the sights
and smells, tasting each ingredient, listening to every word we will slip into the story to see, hear and feel the truth
of God's love. One of Messiah's last earthly acts was the celebration of the Passover. Gathering his disciples in
a small room in Jerusalem, he led them in a Seder. In Luke 22:15 He said: I have eagerly desired to eat this
Passover with you before I suffer.
|"Balancing the Goodness of Torah with the Grace and Mercy of Messiah"
serving Tacoma since 1991.
Yeshua (Jesus) is the KING
of kings and LORD of lords.
Congregation T’shuvat Yisrael - God's Holy Days: Pesach
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