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Passover (pesach) - The Feast of Liberation

by Robert Kay

“You shall observe this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons forever. . . And it shall come to pass when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you will say, ‘It is the sacrifice of Jehovah’s Passover, who passed over the homes of the children of Israel in Egypt when he smote the Egyptians and delivered our homes’” (Exodus 12:24, 26-27).

God’s Appointed Times—Spring

Israel’s God Jehovah gave “appointed times” or “feasts” to be observed by all Israel. Spring feasts are (1) Passover (pesach); (2) the feast of Unleavened Bread (hag hamatzah); (3) First Fruits (bikkurim); and (4) Weeks (Shavuot).

Passover (pesach) occurs on the fourteenth day of the first month of Israel’s calendar, the month called Aviv (also Nisan) (Leviticus 23:5).

Unleavened bread (matzah) is eaten for seven days, beginning the first day of Passover (Leviticus 23:6-8)

First Fruits (bikkurim) of the barley harvest is observed during the seven days of unleavened bread on the day following the weekly Sabbath, on the first day of the week, which we call Sunday (Leviticus 23:9-11).

The feast of Weeks (shavuot) is also known as Pentecost, a Greek word that means “fiftieth.” From the feast of First Fruits we count fifty days, called the counting of the omer. The actual feast of Weeks is celebrated on the fiftieth day following the feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:15-21) and it marks the conclusion of the Passover season.

The Significance of Passover

Israel’s God Jehovah declared the observance of Passover a permanent ordinance to all house of Israel throughout all their generations. Historically, Passover remembers God’s deliverance of the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt (mitzrayim), in which Egypt is a type or figure of the world and its systems, with Pharaoh, Egypt’s ruler, being a type of Adversary. The slavery of the people of Israel represents people’s bondage to sin when they follow the systems or ways of the world.

At the first Passover, the people of Israel were instructed to put the blood of a slain unblemished male lamb on the doorposts of their houses (Exodus 12: 2, 6, 13). That night, the angel of Jehovah passed over the firstborn sons of Israel but slew the firstborn sons of the people of Egypt. This prefigured Israel’s Messiah standing in as a Passover lamb for those who believe in him, who are delivered from bondage to sin and from the rule of the Adversary in their lives.

That is why Yeshua (Jesus) is called the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” All who covenant with Israel’s God and observe the covenant’s terms accept Yeshua as Israel’s Messiah and are numbered among the house of Israel. Through “faith” or “loyalty” (emunah) in the blood shed by Yeshua, the Passover lamb, we obtain freedom from the bondage of sin (Galatians 4:3, 2 Peter 2:19).

During Israel’s first Passover, the head of every household was instructed to take a yearling lamb on the tenth day of the first month and set it aside until the fourteenth day. In the evening of the fourteenth day, the lamb was slain and its blood sprinkled on the lintel and doorposts of the house. The lamb was roasted in the fire with bitter herbs and eaten with unleavened bread by the entire household. The Israelites were instructed to eat in haste and to prepare to leave Egypt during the night.

At midnight the angel of death passed throughout the land of Egypt. Any house that didn’t have the token of the blood on the doorposts and lintel suffered God’s judgment. The Hebrew word pesach demonstrates two principles. First, it shows God’s passing over in judgment from sin and death to life in Messiah. Second, it shows that by exercising faith in the atoning sacrifice of Messiah his blood delivers us from the power of the Adversary.

Robert Kay is a convert to the LDS Church of dual Jewish and Christian heritage. Born in Alabama, he served a mission in Quebec, Canada. He has lived in Utah sixteen years and is active in the Association for Torah Observance

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