It is written:
“The LORD’S Passover is on the 14th day of the first month just before dark.” (Leviticus 23:5)
Passover is the first yearly feast of Israel. It is the celebration of how God brought the people of Israel out of Egyptian slavery (as recounted especially in the Book of Exodus). This feast falls in the Hebrew month of Nisan (which on our English colanders is between March and April). God instructed the people to slaughter a lamb and cover their homes in its’ blood. When the angel of God was on its’ way to kill the firstborn of the Egyptians, it would “pass over” the homes that were covered by the blood of the Lamb. This was prophetic of Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Several things are interesting and worthy of notice.
First, prior to Passover, the Jewish people must go through their homes and remove all leaven. This includes not only bread, but anything with leaven. As one author has pointed out:
““Among the special and positive directions given at the institution of the Passover, the Hebrews were told: “Seven days shall ye eat imleavened bread; even the first day, ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.” (Ex. 12 : 15.). “The Hebrew word (JSeor) here translated leaven, is some times rendered, Yeast or Ferment or Sourer; and the Hebrews have always understood it as embracing all fermented things) wine as well as bread….“Rev. C. F. Frey, a converted Jew, and good authority on this subject, says in his remarks on the Passover: “Nor dare they drink any liquor made from grain, or any liquor which has passed through the process of fermentation.” Their drink during this feast, says another distinguished Hebrew scholar, ‘is either fair water, or raisin wine prepared by themselves for the purpose; but no kind of leaven must be used.’ Calmet says-‘The Jews before the Passover, carefully examine all the house, with scrupulous care, to eject, not merely fermented bread or wine, but whatsoever may have any ferment in it.’ “Rabbi Manasseh Ben Israel in a work published on this subject (in 1656) more than two hundred years ago, says: ‘Here, at this feast, every thing ought to be so pure as not to admit of any ferment, or any thing which may ferment.’ “Mr. A.C. Isaacs, whose testimony is entitled to the fullest confidence, says: ‘I spent six and twenty years of my life among my own people; and prior to my becoming a convert from the Jewish to the Christian faith, I sustained among them the office of a Hebrew teacher. I can therefore speak confidently upon the subject; all the Jews with whom I have ever been acquainted, use unfermented wine at the Passover-a wine usually made by themselves expressly for the purpose. If it should ever be fermented it is certainly unknown to them, and against their express intentions; but I have never known it to exhibit any of the symptoms of fermentation.’ “Thus we have conclusive evidence, both from the Bible and other history, that the Hebrews never did, on any occasion, use fermented wine at the Passover.” (Ralph S. Cranton, The Wine Of The Bible, 218-247 (Kindle Edition))
This fact is one of the ways that we know that the elements of the Lord’s Supper were unleavened bread and fruit of the vine (i.e., unfermented grapejuice and not alcoholic wine).
Second, the Passover had amazing details which pointed to the Cross of Jesus. Long ago, the second century Christian, Justin Martyr, wrote:
“”The lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross. For one spit pierces right through from the lower parts up to the head, and another one pierces the lamb across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb. (Justin Martyr (c. 160, E), 1.215.).
Even more specifically, Johnson has written:
““Preparation for the Passover Nisan 14 According to the Mishnah, Moed (set feasts), Pesahim (Passover), the father of the house would go choose a lamb without spot or blemish on the tenth of Nisan and take it home. For four days all could inspect the lamb to guarantee it was truly perfect. “Then on the fourteenth of Nisan at the time called “between the evenings,” or 3 PM, the father would bring the family outside of the house and place the lamb in the doorway of the house and kill it. He gathered the blood in a basin placed in the threshold of the doorway. “The father then put his family back inside the house and took hyssop and dipped it in the blood and used it to place the lamb’s blood on the lintel and the two door posts. The blood then formed a pattern of a cross on the door, when it dripped down to the threshold. “The lamb was then skinned and roasted upright on a pomegranate stick with a cross piece to hold it open. The intestines were prepared and placed around the head to be roasted also. This was called “the crowned sacrifice.” So we see the lamb on a cross with a crown on its head! “The mother and father must finish cooking the lamb before the evening. That evening as dusk turns into the 15th of Nisan (which is a high Sabbath[b]), the Passover Seder meal begins.” (Ken Johnson, Th.D, Ancient Messianic Festivals And The Prophecies They Reveal, 36-37 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added, M.T.)
In our next study, we will learn more about how the Passover points prophetically to Jesus Christ.