This year during the Passover Seder at the Synagogue my Rabbi said: "The most important part of Passover is the matzah (unleavened bread). It is the central symbol. So why is it that we take the matzah, lift it up and break it? Why do we break the most important part of the Passover Seder?"
My mild-mannered and highly intelligent Rabbi then answered his own question like this: "I guess we belong to a religion that asks questions; we are the 'Why?' religion. And Judaism has more questions than answers." With that our Passover Seder began.
There is so much symbolism of the Messiah during Pesach (Passover). Here I will share some examples:
1) The Season of our Freedom (Z'man Cherutenu): We call Passover the Season of our Freedom, or Liberation. If the Passover Lamb is Yeshua the Messiah, then this is a totally prophetic term for this eternal sacrifice. Once we step out into trusting the Messiah, we truly enter the Season of our Freedom.
2) Being delivered from and coming out of our Egypts (Mitzrayim): We read from a special book during Passover. This book is called the Haggadah, which literally means 'telling'. It tells of the original account of the Exodus, drawing heavily on the Hebrew Scriptures, Jewish discussions and thoughts through the ages. Every person at the Passover table has their own copy, so basically the whole Synagogue! In the Haggadah that we keep at home, I have the following footnote from the publishers:
"Just as slavery has connotations beyond physical bondage, so the reference to Egypt is more than just geographic. The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, signifies constraint, the feeling of being stifled. A slave is certainly constrained and stifled. And aren't we all? Can't we all admit to ourselves that there are aspects of our lives that seem to be beyond our control - or anyone else's? That no matter how desperately we want something, we can't seem to discipline ourselves in ways that faciliate achievement? That no matter how hard we try, we keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Well, how about this for a radical idea - ask G-D for help! It's not like He took early retirement after the Exodus from Egypt, you know. If an atheist in a foxhole will always turn to G-D for help, why can't we?" This Haggadah is produced by The Judaica Press, yet these words of wisdom could be lifted from most church sermons at that same time of year.
There is a modern Hebrew song my son found for me online that sings of the Mitzrayims of the Mind; so true. Only the Living God has the power to change aspects of our lives that are beyond our control. And only the Living God has the power to liberate the parts of our mind that continue to see ourselves as slaves, when we are in fact... free.
3) The Four Cups: during the Passover Seder (Service) we have 4 cups of wine on the table. These represent the 4 acts the LORD accomplished in Exodus/Shemot 6. 6-7. In order:
This is a beautiful description of the life-walk of all believers. Heartbreakingly, many times I have seen a person in the church trying to be delivered before they have come out of the sin they are in. Or desperately being thwarted from living in loving knowledge of their Redemption because they are still bound in something from which they need deliverance. Let's drink all four cups of the Messiah's wine, as often as we can.
4) The Afikoman: During the Seder we have three pieces of matzah which are placed inside a three-pocketed white cloth. Then we take the middle piece out, lift it up and break it in two. The largest of these two broken pieces is then wrapped in a white cloth and hidden somewhere in the room, while the children aren't looking. This hidden piece is called the Afikoman. Afikoman means "that which comes after" or quite literally "dessert". Later in the Seder, the children hunt to find this "hidden unleavened bread" and bring it back to the Passover Table. We then all eat it together.
I have heard two different answers to the following questions from my Jewish 'family' around the world: "Why are there three pieces of matzah?" and "Why do we break the middle one?"
The first answer given is: "The three pieces represent Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob)." But this doesn't make sense to me. Isaac wasn't broken and he is the 'middle' one in this trio. Isaac was bound, yes, but not broken, because Adonai provided a substitutional sacrificial lamb. The lamb was broken, not Isaac.
The second answer given is: "The three pieces represent the three people-groups you need to make up the nation of Israel - the Cohanim (priests), the Levites and the people of Israel." This doesn't fit either, as the Levites were never 'broken' in two.
However, if the 3 pieces represent the three facets of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) then it fits. We are taking the middle piece (the Son) and breaking Him to show He was broken. Clearly from the Jewish perspective, if Isaac’s "binding" (Akedah) represents anything it represents the Ram’s substitution for us. We can see through the revelation of the Holy Spirit that the Ram is Messiah.
During the Passover, the Jewish family worldwide will therefore break the middle matzah, wrap it in a white cloth and hide it for the children to find. Jesus/Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, was lifted up and 'broken', His body wrapped in a white cloth and hidden in a tomb.
Towards the end of the Passover Seder, the children find the missing piece. This part of the Passover Service is called Tzafun, which means 'hidden'. The children (the Gentile church) find the 'hidden' Messiah ('the dessert' or 'that which comes after the Abrahamic covenant') and bring Him back to the original family (Jewish people). When they do this, the Passover leader (representing our Father) gives the children (Christians) a reward! God rewards those in the Gentile church who have ‘found’ Messiah when they then take Him back to show the Jewish people!
The Passover meal therefore acts out the mission of the Gentile church. My heart breaks when the Gentile church hasn't done this. Omission is sometimes only a lack of heavenly knowledge and we've all lived in that 'place', and continue to in many ways, until Adonai opens our spiritual eyes more and more. But when the church attacks Israel and boycotts the Jewish people on purpose, I see an unwise and isolated child who doesn't understand their role within the family and will not receive their reward from the Father. This also breaks my heart.
So, why is the largest piece of the broken matzah hidden, while the smaller piece stays with the Father? The answer is hidden in the parable of the Prodigal son, which from a Hebraic family perspective might be called "Two Brothers and their Father." The older brother represents the Jewish people and the younger brother represents the Gentile church. I believe the LORD said that this is why the older brother gets jealous of the younger brother, just like the promised people will get jealous of the Gentile church (Romans 11.11). Also, the characteristics are the same. The Jewish people tend to work hard in their work for God, just like the older brother. Gentile believers sometimes demand to have all their spiritual inheritance now! “LORD, give us this and that, we want Your blessings now!” The modern church has become worldly in many ways, mixing the purity of the God of Israel with the trappings of the world. To a religious Jew the modern church can sometimes look pretty dirty and worldly. On the other hand, to a free-spirited Christian, the Jewish brother can sometimes look boring and too strict with himself. The younger brother ended up mixing himself with uncleanness, because of who he was 'feeding' (pigs represent uncleanness). But thankfully in time he realises he must return to the safety of his Father's Land (obedience to His Father's Love). The Gentile church is forgiven and welcomed back into God’s arms upon repentance. The older brother (Jewish people), who has strived hard to please their Father all this time, questions this "grace" and becomes jealous of it. But the Father says a beautiful and profound thing to His eldest son: “You have been with me all the time.” (Luke 15.31) When the modern church thinks in error that the Father of Israel has forsaken Israel, they are not understanding this statement of Eternal Love to His eldest son hidden in this parable.
Significance to Passover: When the matzah (unleavened bread representing Messiah) is broken the smaller piece (Remnant of Israel) stays with the Father (the first piece). The larger broken piece represents the grace of God to the multitudes of the nations. (Revelation 7)
So at the Passover Seder at Synagogue we act out the entire history of Messiah's Love for Israel and the nations without fully realising it! The Matzah, the Unleavened Bread without sin, represents Yeshua. The spotless Passover Lamb was lifted up and broken so that God's wrath passes over us. The first Passover is a pre-echo of what came after - Yeshua as the Afikoman Who came after.
At the Passover Seder we eat the broken pieces of Matzah. There is another of Yeshua's miracles that has this Passover message hidden secretly all through it:
5) Feeding the 5000 and Feeding the 4000: The first time the multitude were fed there were twelve baskets of pieces, or remnants, left (Matthew/Mattityahu 14.20). I believe this is a sign that after the multitude of the church have fed on the bread of Messiah, the LORD will collect up the remnant of the twelve tribes of Israel. The second time He performs this miracle in Matthew/Mattityahu 15. 32-39, there were seven baskets left. Seven means perfection or completion. When the LORD has fed the multitude, and collected up His twelve tribes, then His plan will be perfected and completed.
Significance to Passover: We break and eat both the larger piece of matzah, (representing the Gentile church) and the smaller piece (remnant of Israel) which stayed with ‘the Father’ (as His inheritance). Both the Gentile and Jewish congregation will be satisfied by eating the Bread without Sin, the Bread of Messiah's body broken for us both. We are, after all, two brothers with One Father returning to One Promised Land, forever.
And when did the LORD perform the miracle of the feeding of the 5000? “And the Passover was near, the feast of the Jews. And Yeshua, lifting up His eyes and seeing a great multitude is coming to Him, said to Phillip, ‘From where may we buy bread that these may eat?’ But this was to test him, for Yeshua knew what He was about to do.” (John/Yonatan 6. 4-6)
This is like Jesus/Yeshua is saying: “Passover is drawing near. There is another Passover (my sacrifice) drawing near. I lift up my eyes to Heaven and see that a great multitude of the nations are coming to Me. Where shall we get the Passover bread to protect them? I have already protected my Jewish people in passing over them in Egypt, both forward and backward through time. How am I going to provide the passover bread of life to all these multitudes, so that death will ‘pass over them’? Mmmm,… just testing. I know what I am about to do! At this very season, in one year's time, I am going to give up my body as the Passover Lamb (Korban Pesach) to be their bread without sin. And then afterwards, at the very end, I am going to collect up my twelve tribes of Israel, the remnants, after the multitude from the nations has eaten of Me.”
He even points this out a few days later by saying “For the bread of God is the One coming down out of Heaven and giving life to the world.” (John/Yonatan 6.33)
As the Passover Lamb He had to be without sin. Paul being Jewish speaks about leaven representing sin:
"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 Mashiach, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5 v 6-8)
6) The Cup of Elijah. During the Passover Seder we have The Cup of Elijah filled with wine (Yeshua's blood) throughout the evening on the table. And at the end of the Passover Seder, a child will literally open the front door of the house and welcome in the Spirit of Elijah! This is quite literally acting out the prophecy in Malachi 4.6.
Significance to Passover: The LORD says before He returns He will send the spirit of the prophet Elijah (Eliyahu) to "return the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers" (Malachi 4.6). I believe this is a prophecy of the Jewish people and the Gentile church in the LORD. The fathers are the Jewish people. Christianity was birthed out of the Jewish faith and Tanakh (Old Testament).
So the children represent the Gentile church. This is not disparaging but beautiful. Yeshua said: “You cannot enter heaven UNLESS you enter like a little child.” (Matthew/Mattityahu 18.2-4) He was saying, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless you give up trying to earn your salvation and instead trust in the true Passover Lamb and what He has done for you. This needs to be balanced with the truth that in order to be protected by the Blood of the Passover Lamb the LORD told the Israelites to "stay in the house" i.e.; don't go your own way!
In the end times, I believe the LORD is sending His Spirit to join the Jewish people in understanding the Gentile believer in Messiah, and the Gentile believer in understanding the Jewishness of the Messiah. This makes the Bride maturer and stronger in following the correct Messiah, who was after all Jewish. Through this miracle of the Spirit of Elijah, the LORD is therefore clearly fulfilling His Promise in Ephesians 2.11-22: “He is making both one and breaking down the wall of hostility… and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, slaying the enmity in Himself.” Sadly not all in the church think of Jesus/Yeshua dying to join the Jewish person of God to the Gentile person of God. But I believe that is exactly what the LORD God of Israel is saying; like two chambers in one heart, without which both suffer. The church’s heart will return to a more Jewish understanding. The Jewish people will recognise the grace of her Father Adonai over the nations who believe in Yeshua.
7) Miriam’s Cup: This one cup, which is placed on the Passover table, is filled with water – not wine. The water represents the water of baptism and the Water of Life who is Yeshua. He is the same as the water that flowed from the Rock in the wilderness for the Jewish people. "For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses (Moshe) in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10.1-4) Jesus/Yeshua the Messiah literally travelled through the wilderness (midbar) with my Jewish ancestors. In many ways we've been in a wilderness ever since, until He opens all our eyes to see Who the Water from the Rock truly is!
8) Saved the best until last: Yeshua's first public miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding. He always prophecies Who He is and what He has come to do through His miracles. His miracles are therefore not just miracles, they are signs - if we will ask the Holy Spirit to reveal their hidden ‘Kingdom of God’ meaning.
The Messiah was in the wilderness with the Jewish people as the Water from the Rock. He is timeless. Then for His first public miracle as Messiah out in the open, He turns water into wine – this represents His blood. He was our Water in the desert. Then He will become the blood. Amazingly through all our Jewish feasts wine represents joy. I can think of no greater joy than being saved by the Blood of Adonai's Passsover Lamb.
Then, when His task is completed on the Cross His blood turns back into… water! When He is pierced by the Roman soldier's spear water comes out, not blood.
He is showing Himself in this first miracle. He is showing what He has come to earth to do. He is the Water of Life that becomes the blood, then when His Task is completed turns back into water. His task is to save both the Jewish people and the nations through turning His water, His wells of salvation, into the Wine of His blood. Pure joy!
He performed this first public miracle on “the third day” – the same words that are used when He conquered death and sin on our behalf, for He rose again on "the third day". He is showing us signs of what He is going to do later on. Like someone who falls in love with you at first sight. You glimpse that something profound has just happened, but you don't even remotely understand it yet. He also performed this first miracle at a wedding, to show through the miracle of His blood that His Wedding will be possible - because of His blood poured out for us - in the age to come. Notice what the master of the wedding feast says to Jesus/Yeshua: “You have kept the best wine (joy) until last (dessert)" (John/Yonatan 2.10). This is like saying in Hebrew: "You are the afikoman, You are the dessert, You are that which comes last!"
He is therefore so clearly the Afikoman, (the hidden dessert) of the Passover. He is the Lamb that was slain so that death passes over us. To not see all these clues as Messianic can only be a supernaturally imposed blindness. A blindness that is only there to give time for the Gentiles to come into the Kingdom of Heaven too. Such amazing Grace!
Thank you Holy Spirit for all You teach us. Help us to keep seeking You in the hidden things to find more of Your Kingdom of Heaven. Make us more and more humble and in awe of Your Salvation Plan for Your Jewish and Gentile bride.
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