9 Things You Didn’t Know About Passover

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Passover is one of the most anticipated and celebrated holidays in Jewish culture, but did you know these little-known facts?

1. SPRING CLEANING

Yep, it’s that time of year! A time to declutter… and finally go through that pile of papers staked on the countertop to find your tax documents.

Most people are familiar with the concept of spring cleaning, but did you know it most likely comes from Passover?

Jewish people worldwide intensely clean their homes before Passover to make sure that there is no yeast left anywhere, just as God commanded (Exodus 12:15). They must remove all leaven and eat unleavened bread for seven days.

Well, it’s quite possible that all their Gentile neighbors thought this was a good idea, and the worldwide tradition of “spring cleaning” was born!

2. CALENDAR

It’s 2018: Two-Thousand and Eighteen what? Years. We keep track of dates based on the number of years since the estimated birth of Jesus.

However, God had the Jewish people record time according to a different, significant event— the Exodus from Egypt following the Passover.

In Exodus 13:3-4 and Deuteronomy 16:3-4 the Jewish people are commanded to always remember all the days of their lives the time God took them out of Egypt with a powerful hand.

In Numbers 1:1 we start to see that they are keeping count of their years according to the Exodus, “The LORD spoke to Moses…in the second year after they had come out of Egypt…”.

And they kept counting time in this way: | “in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt” (Numbers 33:38).

And even after hundreds of years, they still kept counting, “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt…” (1Kings 6:1).

3. LAST SUPPER

Believe it or not, the oldest recorded account of a Passover Seder is not found in the Old Testament!

But where is it found? The New Testament!

The “Last Supper” was actually the first formally documented Passover Seder. This recording of Jesus celebrating the Last Supper with his disciples is a text that scholars worldwide study, as a template of how Passover was observed in Second Temple History!

4. NEW COVENANT IN OLD TESTAMENT

At Jesus’ “Last Supper”, the Messiah holds up a cup and proclaims that this is the cup of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28).But the New Covenant is actually found in the Old Testament too.

In Jeremiah 31:31-40 God declares He will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah which promises that all of Israel will one day know Him! His law would now be written on their hearts!

So, while it is common to celebrate the “Lord’s Supper” in such a way that we think only of our own salvation—or our right standing with the Lord; when Jesus asked us to remember Him through the Passover,

He was also commanding us to remember and look forward to the salvation of all of Israel! Just like how they were saved out of Egypt.

5. GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE

In Exodus 12:42, the LORD commands the people of Israel to keep a vigil the night before death would pass them over.

In preparation for being the Passover Lamb, Jesus kept a holy vigil at Gethsemane.

6. PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

Within the institution of the Lord’s Seder, there is not only the element of looking back to the Exodus from Egypt, but it also anticipates the future!

Jesus held up the cup at Passover and said He would not drink of that cup again until He drinks it in His Father’s Kingdom (Matthew 26:29). The “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” will actually be the fulfillment the promise Jesus made during the Passover!

7. “NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM”

Passover is one of the three pilgrimage feasts in which Jewish people were required to come up to Jerusalem to celebrate.

For over 2,000 years the Jewish people dreamed of celebrating the Passover in their Holy City.

All Seders would have a section where the people would cry out that “next year in Jerusalem” they would be able to celebrate as God had commanded.

This dream finally became a reality in 1967.

8. WORLD’S LARGEST PASSOVER SEDER

This would lead one to believe that Jerusalem is the greatest gathering of Jewish people for Passover, right? But the annual site for the world’s largest Seder happens to be in Kathmandu, Nepal!

Why?

Because hundreds of Israelis travel to India each year after their army service as a means of celebrating. But they still keep the Passover, as one huge family, in Asia!

9. SPECIAL GUEST

In Jewish tradition, there is a Messianic expectation involved in the Passover Seder. Malachi 4:5-6 speaks of the prophet Elijah as the forerunner of the Messiah Son of David. Therefore, he is an anticipated and longed-for guest at the Seder.

Many people will save a seat at their table or even put out a cup with his name engraved on it in hopeful anticipation. What a creative illustration in the context of Passover to awaken our expectation for the arrival of the Messiah Yeshua – the Lamb of God. He is our liberator from slavery to sin!

Truly the Passover is an excellent way to remember all that Jesus has fulfilled and done for us!

Happy Passover and Chag Sameach!

FIRM Staff
FIRM is a global fellowship of Biblically-grounded believers committed to cultivating Messiah-centered relationships that bless the inhabitants of Israel—Jews, Arabs, and others—and the Jewish community around the world.