Passover is one of the most unique of the seven Feast Days. One of the most interesting things about this feast is that Passover is not a day. Feast such as The Day of Atonement or Pentecost start at sunset and run one complete day until the next sunset. Passover is not this way. Passover is two separate events that take place on different days, Performing and Eating.
Performing Passover is the killing of the lamb, and this takes place between the evenings or on the afternoon of the 14th day of Nisan/Abib on the Hebrew calendar. Eating the Passover takes place after sunset on the 14th of Nisan, so the Passover meal is actually eaten on the first day of Unleavened Bread. Keep in mind that Hebrew days begin and end at sundown. So after the sun sets on the 14th the 15th starts and that is when the Passover Meal is eaten.
Before we get into any scripture about Passover, we want to make it abundantly clear that without a Temple/Alter and a Priesthood in the land, it is impossible to keep Passover. That’s right, impossible! As we will see in a moment, there are very strict guidelines that must be followed in order to celebrate Passover according to the instructions that YHWH gave us. With that said, what we do today to celebrate Passover is simply a memorial. We do the best we can to celebrate it according to scripture, and we try to observe as many of the instructions as we can, but because we are without a Temple, Earthly Priesthood and are not in the land, what we do today is just a memorial.
We are not going to get into much detail about traditions and modern day Seders. We are going to focus only on what Scripture requires. From there you can start to incorporate various traditions. We read about the very first Passover in Exodus 12.
Exodus 12:5 You must have an unblemished animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
One of the first requirements we find is a spotless male lamb no older than a year old. Today most of us do not live on farms or in agricultural communities, so it’s impossible for most of us to get a male lamb or goat under a year old that is without blemish. We do the best we can in our current environment which for most of us means buying lamb from our local mega-mart.
Exodus 12:7 They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them.
The next thing we see is that the blood of the lamb was placed on the doorpost of their homes. This was something unique to the first Passover and not a requirement for today.
Exodus 12:8-10 They are to eat the meat that night; they should eat it, roasted over the fire along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or cooked in boiling water, but only roasted over fire — its head as well as its legs and inner organs. Do not let any of it remain until morning; you must burn up any part of it that does remain before morning.
Next, we see that the lamb is to be roasted in fire and eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Also, there should be no leftovers, whatever is left over is to be burned. We see in verse 6 that the lamb is to be killed; this is “performing” the Passover and verses 8-10 are talking about the “eating” of the Passover. In regards to eating, we see that the only three requirements are Lamb, Bitter Herbs, and Unleavened Bread.
The first Passover was different from others, and they were required to do things for this first Passover that were not done in future Passover’s. Once the people were out of Egypt YHWH gave them additional guidelines about how to perform Passover. Those are found in Deuteronomy 16.
Deuteronomy 16:5-6 You are not to sacrifice the Passover animal in any of the towns the Lord your God is giving you. You must only sacrifice the Passover animal at the place where Yahweh your God chooses to have His name dwell. Do this in the evening as the sun sets at the same time of day you departed from Egypt.
Verses 5 and 6 are important to note because these two verses change things slightly from the way things were done at the first Passover. The lamb is now only allowed to be sacrificed where YHWH has placed his name, The Temple.
So, how should we observe and celebrate Passover? Since it is impossible to do it according to biblical guidelines, anything we do now is just a memorial. What we can do is eat the Passover meal after the sun sets on the 14 of Nisan or Abib. What should we eat? The only thing things that are required are Lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. Most traditional Seder’s include wine, eggs, and some other things that are purely traditions. There’s nothing wrong with these traditions, but they are just traditions.
Many of the Feast days are also Sabbaths, meaning no work is to be done on these days. Passover itself is not a Sabbath, but the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover is eaten, is a Sabbath, and we should do our best not to work that day.
The last thing we want to touch on is the day that we celebrate Passover. There are a few different calendars out there, ranging from a couple days difference to as much as 30 days or more. In an effort to be unified with our big brother, Judah, we observe Passover when the majority of Jews do, according to the Hillel II calendar. However, if our congregations are observing it on a different day, we also observe it with them on that day. The important thing is that we do our best to observe YHWH’s Feast Days to the best of our ability, not that we get them 100% right 100% of the time.
The prophetic significance of Passover is that Y’shua is our Passover lamb. This is a topic that is beyond the scope of this resource and warrants its own resource entirely.
Click here for our resource on The Feast of Unleavened Bread
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