When the Easter season begins in the U.S., there are both religious and spiritual elements present from both Judaism and Christianity. I say Christianity because its foundations lay in Judaism and the institution set forth by Yeshua (Jesus); the Church (universal Body of Christ). Furthermore, with this season, we also have the Judaic festivals of Purim, Unleavened Bread, and Passover. In addition, there are several important days for Christianity: Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter (Resurrection) Sunday; all of which give object reference to the person of Yeshua as the Messiah. Although this selection is not in a formal academic format, much research has been done through established Jewish and Christian organizations, books, and articles.
A Messianic Seder Meal Experience
Last year, I read and learned about the festival of Unleavened Bread and Passover that is practiced by many Jewish congregations. In fact, I had the opportunity to partake of a community Passover Seder meal with a Messianic congregation in San Antonio, TX. I attended the festival with the company of a friend and partook of the elements as the Passover Seder meal was led through a Messianic Haggadah (liturgy used to lead a Passover Seder meal). I learned about the meaning set forth in the Torah (books of law in the Bible), but also about how after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, modifications were done by Judaic leaders to the order and elements used in future Passover Seder meals. Nonetheless, this Messianic congregation stretched my knowledge in regards to the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies fulfilled by the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), as the "Lamb of God", but also the last Passover sacrifice that satisfied the criteria set forth by YHWH (I AM, the name of God) to take away "the sin of the world". More importantly, how this fulfillment is acknowledged in the Messianic Passover Seder meal.
This Year's Easter Season
This year, as the Easter season has approached its due dates. I have spent much time reading over the original Passover meal and the addendum made to future Passover Seder meals. I have also read many arguments that exist in both favor and denial for partaking of a Passover Seder meal. In addition, I have read about the participation or non-participation of Christians in partaking of a Passover Seder meal. Furthermore, I have found myself studying the diverse food elements that are used in a Passover Seder meal, as well as their ascribed meaning. Some of the ascribed meanings have changed over the years, but not by much. However, many substitutes have been made for the food elements for either lack of access to the original elements, not being certain of the modern day name of the element, or changes in physical health of people over the years; they cannot consume a certain element. Through the course of my research, I have looked into the "Lord's Supper", that was initiated by Yeshua; with the elements of unleavened bread and red wine.
The Significance and Practice
The significance and practice of the original Passover meal was to remember what YHWH did in acknowledging the consecration (setting apart) of the People of Israel, His nation, and His power to deliver them from the bondage and hardship they experienced by both the Rulers and nation of Egypt.
In the original Passover meal, there were three principal food elements: Pesach Lamb, Matzah, and Maror, (Exodus 12:8).
Over the years, other elements have been added to the Passover Seder meal, of which I will not bring into discussion in this selection because of the diversity and inconsistency that I found in the significance for each of the elements.
The Years of the Messiah Yeshua
In the years in which Yeshua was alive on Earth, He and his earthly family (Luke 2:41-42) would all practice the original Passover meal in Jerusalem along with the Festival of Unleavened Bread. In addition, in the older age of Yeshua continued to practice these festivals, however, with some slight changes leading towards His sacrificial death (Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13, John 2:13, 23; 13:1). The Passover was noted as one of three festivals of pilgrimage for the People of Israel to go into Jerusalem to practice it. In addition, John the Baptist also noted the Messiah Yeshua as "God's Lamb who takes away the sin of the world" on the day that he baptized Him and on another occasion as well, (John 1:29-31; 35-36). It is interesting to note that no longer was the work of the Messiah Yeshua restricted for the People of Israel, but now it included "the world".
Time after Yeshua's Sacrificial Death, Burial, and Resurrection
In the Book of Acts, The Apostle Luke, acknowledges a parallel with the proclamation of the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:7-8) and that of the Messiah Yeshua; He would be "as a lamb to the slaughter". In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul acknowledges the Messiah Yeshua as the "Passover Lamb", (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). For many Messianic and Christian Congregations, the section that notes, “For our Pesah Lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed.”, has been accepted as an anchor for leaving out the actual Passover Lamb from their Passover Seder meal. They have claimed that since Yeshua did not just die as a lamb, but in fact experienced a burial, and body resurrection, it would be inappropriate to eat a lamb that would not do such as thing. In addition, it would make void the last and final sacrifice of atonement made by Yeshua to YHWH.
Relationships and Significance
To further appreciate the Passover Lamb of Yeshua, it is necessary to observe the relationship and significance of bitterness and sin, slavery and sin, and sacrifice and righteousness. In addition, there is the "Last Supper".
Yet through out the years that were to follow the People of Israel could not keep their covenant with YHWH, in accordance to His standards. So through the prophet Jeremiah, YHWH presents that He will put into practice a New Covenant with the People of Israel.
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
Though this New Covenant was presented through the prophet Jeremiah, it would be many years until it was activated by YHWH. In the book of John, it can be observed how Jesus referred to Himself as the "bread of life" (John 6:22-40). However, it was not until the time arrived that Yeshua brought this New Covenant into activation at His "Last Supper" (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20). In addition, the book of Hebrews (9:1-15) goes on to present how Yeshua's work led Him to become the Mediator of the New Covenant for everyone and anyone who desires to present themselves to YHWH. He did it, once and for all, by meeting the criteria of a perfect sacrifice and willingness to be the sacrificial lamb for the sanctification but also redemption of all sins.
It has been many weeks since my work begun. I have put-in many hours into this work. However, what is important to me is that I understand both in my heart, mind, and soul what Passover is now to me. In essence, it is Yeshua, providing not just a washing, but continual covering of His blood upon my heart so that I may be able to come before the presence of YHWH. Furthermore, I am no longer a slave to sin, nor heading towards eternal death. I now have the opportunity to remain in Yeshua and be able to spend my eternal life with Him; my Savior and Lord. In addition, through the Holy Spirit, I am sealed as His. When Yeshua returns, I will meet Him in the air, and I will be one step closer to sharing with Him the marriage-supper of the Lamb; along with other believers who held-on to Him in faith until the end.
Let Us Pray. God, YHWH, You who are great and grand, I come before You to thank you for this great adventure of the Passover. Thank You for taking me from the People of Israel, to Yeshua as the Paschal Lamb, and to my salvation on the day that I received Yeshua as my Savior and Lord. Thank you Yeshua for the work you have done in my life and the presence of the Holy Spirit as well. Now I ask that you may bless this work and use it to draw others to You; bless them Lord. Amen.
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R. A. Gómez