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Passover (פסח), the oldest and first of the three Biblical Pilgrim Festivals, celebrates God’s deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and his creation of the Israelite people. Jesus fulfilled the Passover when he instituted the Lord’s Supper during the Seder and was sacrificed the following day as the Paschal Lamb for the sins of mankind.
“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD’s Passover.” Leviticus 23:5
Moses parting the Red Sea
Celebrating the Lord’s Passover
The term Passover refers to the tenth and final plague, the death of all the firstborn of Egypt, God brought upon the Egyptians to persuade Pharaoh to let the people go. In obedience to God’s instructions through His servant Moses, those who believed placed the blood of an unblemished lamb on the door posts of their homes, so that God would “pass over” those homes.
The festival actually celebrates the entire sequence of events that led to and culminated in the Israelites’ freedom from slavery. While based in those Biblical events, the celebration encompasses much more as it becomes a vehicle to celebrate the very nature of God and His gracious work in the world. It is in this larger dimension that Jesus (ישוע) adopted the Passover service as a sacramental remembrance of God’s new work of deliverance in the Messiah (המשיח), and allows believers in Christ to celebrate this ancient festival with even deeper meaning.
Much more detail about Passover and its celebration can be found in the background, Seder preparations, and Haggadah presented in the latter half of our book on The Biblical Festivals, some of which is available for viewing through the links below. As it has been written in Scripture,
“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance forever.” Exodus 12.14