Commemoration Of The Exodus From Egypt -
Thankfulness For The Redemption From Slavery and
Anticipation of the Coming (Return) of the Messiah

Birgit Barandica, April 2009

General Information on the Feast:
Pesach (Passover) is the first of seven biblical feasts (Exodus 23). It takes eight days and, according to the Jewish-Biblical calendar, it begins in the eve of the 14th Nisan with the Seder celebration. Nisan is the first month of the religious year.

The following seven days are the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, during which nothing leavened can be eaten. The day after the Shabbat within Pesach, is the feast of First Fruits. It is the day

Click on this picture and read more about the Seder celebration! You'll find complete explanations on each Seder element by clicking on them.

of Yeshua's resurrection!

God had told His people, "On the first day hold a sacred assembly (this is the Seder celebration) and do no regular work" (Leviticus, 23:7), and "on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work" (verse 8). This is why in Israel the first and last day of Pesach are public holidays. On the last day, there are also special prayers given in memory of deceased family members.

Together with Shavuot (3rd spring feast) and Sukkot (3rd fall feast), Pesach is one of the three major festivals where believers from all the known world back then flocked to the Temple in Jerusalem.

The word "Seder" means order and is a carefully choreographed meal that takes place in the home, together with family and often guests. The Seder follows the steps laid out in a booklet called the Haggadah, which is the narration of the events as described in the book of Exodus. Here you'll find a beautiful complete Haggadah in pdf-form. There is a special Seder plate on the table (see picture above) on which certain symbolic foods are being displayed representing each one element of the Exodus.

Pesach is the feast of freedom - the delivery from slavery in Egypt. The word pesach means "pass over", this is why in English this feast is also called Passover. The Seder celebration reminds believers of how, before the people left Egpyt, the Angel of Death (which most probably was Yeshua Himself) spared the firstborn of the Israelites: he passed over the houses of those who had marked their door posts and tops with the blood of a sacrificial lamb, as to Gods instructions (Exodus 12,:23). This blood was the sign that saved the Israelites. And this is why an immaculate shank bone of a lamb is used on this special Seder plate.
At the same time, Pesach reminds us of our eternal delivery from slavery, from sin! Yeshua HaMaschiach (Jesus Christ) is the real sacrificial Lamb as recognized by John, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) - for on the cross, HE poured out HIS blood for our redemption! And the immaculate shank bone on the Sedar plate indicates to Him, whom no bone was broken, as it was habitual in those days: the legs of
those crucified were broken to make sure they would die fast. Yet Yeshua had died already... Psalm 34:20 says it prophetically, "he (God) protects all his (Yeshua's) bones, not one of them will be broken." So in a way, Pesach can also be called the feast of the two Covenants!

Thus, Yeshua is the fulfillment of the feast of Pesach, just like He is the fulfillment of the whole Torah! HE is the ultimate freedom we can gain by His sacrifice! More and more Christians are joining in the celebrating and have Seder in their churches on the Thursday before Easter. Yet this has not been the correct date, which is why more and more believers refer to the Jewish calendar.

Agenda of the Feast:
Since its destruction in the year 70 AD, there are no sacrifices and feasts in the Temple anymore, it now became more of a family celebration. It consists of three parts: the first one being about the historical happenings in Egypt and after. The second part is the time for a festive dinner indicating to the great wedding feast of the Lamb
(Revelation 19:7-9). And the third part is about the future, hope and the ultimate redemption. Jews are waiting for the coming of the Messiah, Christians or Messianic believers, for His return! Like this, the whole celebration can easily take up to three to four hours. It is a feast in which hope, salvation and faith are being restored.

The host (usually the male head of the family) leads the ceremony. Each participant has his or her written Haggada so that they can read along. Everybody takes part with assigned roles, reading from the book of Exodus and others. Messianic believers also read from the Renewed Covenant. The plagues which Pharao and the Egyptians had to endure, because the did not listen to God, indicate to the plagues that people will have to face during the tribulation at the end of times, which is why particular parts of the Revelation (chapters 16,19,20) are being read, too.

Inbetween reading portions there is time for prayer and praise & worship songs. Traditionally, one place at the table is being kept free and decorated with the best cup - the cup of Elijah, who is to come before the Messiah. Messianic believers know that this part of the teaching has been fulfilled in John.

According to tradition, the youngest at the table, usually the youngest child of the family who is already understanding, puts four questions that lead to telling the story of the events of the Exodus in an understandable manner, why we are commemorating all of this and what we are hoping for. God told the Israelites to tell the accounts of Pesach to their children as if they themselves had experienced them (Exodus 13:8). Because they obeyed and taught their children already at a young age, the people survived until today!

The symbolic foods:
According to the Haggadah, all participants take small bits of symbolic foods and four glasses of red wine. The symbolic foods are:

Green herbs (karpas, for example parsely) represent the fruits of the earth which God causes to grow each year for us to live. Bitter herbs (maror, for example grated horseradish) remind us of the bitter years, the Isarelits had to endure in Egypt and later also in exile. The salt water (mej melach) stand for the tears the people cried. The shank bone (z'roa) symbolizes the sacrificial lamb. Charoset (deriving from the Hebrew word cheres, meaning clay), which because of its brown-greyish color represents the clay the Israelites had to work into bricks for Pharao's buildings. It is a sweet pebbly mixture consisting of grated apples, nuts, sweet red wine, cinnamon and honey. And ultimatly the egg (beitzah), which refers to the circle of life and the sacrifices in the Temple. The egg is usually not eaten during this symbolic act but during the feast meal.

Three matzot (matzah is the singular form for this unleavened bread) reminds of the fast Exodus: there was no time for the Israelites to let the dough rise. The three pieces lay next to the Seder plate, wrapped in a special linnen cloth, symbolizing Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (during the Feast, you will realize an amazing similarity to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!)

According to the Haggadah, four cups of wine accompany the meal. They are called the "cups of joy" and represent the promises of God, for He said, "'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out (first cup) from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you (second cup) from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you (third cup) with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you (fourth cup) as my own people" (Exodus 6:6-7a).

It is this third cup of redemption with which Yeshua renewed the First Covenant. He took the cup of Elijah and this is being remembered as the Last Supper, which many Messianic believers celebrate only once a year - at Pesach! 

DAYENU - It would have been enough!
This is the short version of a long traditional Pesach song
sung during the 2nd cup!

1 - Ilu hotzi-hotzianu,
hotzianu mimitzryaim,
hotzianu mimitzrayim dayenu!

Da-dayenu, da-dayenu, da-dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu x2

2 - Ilu natan natan lanu,
natan lanu et haTorah,
natan lanu et haTorah, dayenu!

Da-dayenu, da-dayenu, da-dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu x2

3 - Ilu shalat, shalat lanu,
shalat lanu et maschiach,
shalat lanu et maschiach dayenu!

Da-dayenu, da-dayenu, da-dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu x2

1 - Had He brought us out of Egypt
only led us out of Egypt,
brought us out of Egypt, well then dayenu!

Da-dayenu, da-dayenu, da-dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu x2

2 - Had He given us the Torah
but not led us into Israel,
given us the Torah, well then dayenu!

Da-dayenu, da-dayenu, da-dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu x2

3 - Had He given us

Da-dayenu, da-dayenu, da-dayenu, dayenu, dayenu, dayenu x2

The Seder celebration ends with the mutual call, "Next year in Jerusalem!"

Chametz - Sin - Salvation
Already before the feast of Pesach, people clean their houses of all leavened (chametz), for in Exodus 12:15, God told His people, "For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses." Leavened dough is a sourdough, which also symbolizes sin, whose effect causes us to become prideful - sour. And so Paul explains to the Corinthians, "Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"
(1. Corinthians 5:6-7). This why the celebration is often preceded by a big house cleaning!

For Messianic/Christian believers, this leavened dough represents sin of any kind, which we must try and get rid of - not only at Pesach... But this feast gives us a wonderful opportunity to conciously make ourselves aware of this, pondering Paul's advice putting it into pratice.

Matzah is a crispy flatbread made only by white plain flour and water. This is the same bread that Yeshua broke at the Seder celebration, during which He introduced the Renewed Covenant. In Mark 14:12 we read, "On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" We can clearly see from that question that the Seder celebration was a normal thing to do for Yeshua. In the following verses until vers 26, we see part of how He and His disciples celebrated. In its course we learn that Yeshua knew perfectly well that He will be betrayed, and also how He introduced the Last Supper.

In Luke 22:14-16, a wonderful statement of Yeshua is recorded, "When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God."

This tells me clearly that on one hand, the celebration of Pesach did not stop, but will symbolically be continued until Yeshua returns, which then on the other hand tells me that it will continue to be celebrated throughout the Messianic Age, the Millenium.

With His death, He fulfilled the Pesach celebration, for HE as the Lamb of God bore our sins for once and forever (Isaiah 53; John 1:29.35.36)!


Until the First Council of Constantinople (the Council of Nicaea) in 325 AD, Shabbat, Pesach and all other biblical feasts were still observed. Yet in that council they were abolished by Emperor Constantine in order to seperate from the Jews. Everything which came close to whatever Jewish, was prohibited. He arranged for a re-calculation of the dates (thus diverting from the Jewish calendar; those new calculations later flowed into the Gregorian calendar that is still valid today), introducing Christmas on the day of the feast of Sol Invictus (the invincible sun god) on December 25, and changed Pesach into "Easter", which has a mythological reference to the spring goddess Ostara. She is being associated with the Teutonic/ Germanic/Anglo-Saxon godhead "Ēastre". Like this, all Jewish roots had been cut off of everything Christian, which in its consequence tore Yeshua's resurrection completely out of its Jewish-Biblical context and created a vast Christian antisemitism. We have to get aware of this and also take a close look at the other traditional Christian feasts under this aspect. You can read more details on this subject in my article Urgency of our Time.

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