The Hidden Meaning of Passover

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

The Hidden Meaning of Passover

By Jacqueline Napoli

One of the coolest things about the Bible is its predictive prophecy. Throughout the Bible, God is described as precisely foretelling future events.  The riveting story of the Jewish feast of Passover recounts not only an entire nation’s epic rescue out of slavery, but foreshadows God’s supreme rescue operation to liberate mankind from sin, evil, even Hell itself.

Around 3,500 years ago the Jews found themselves brutally enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt.  They were over worked, and were succumbed to Pharaoh’s commands. Mothers to be were forced to endure their newborn boys to the creatures in the Nile River; but God heard their cries and sent Moses to rescue them.  God commanded the Jews to be freed, warning the obstinate Pharaoh with 10 devastating disasters and plagues, but it became a contest of wills.

Before the final disaster, Moses told his people to get a perfect lamb and sacrifice it to the Lord. He commanded them to use its blood to smear on the top and sides of the door of the house. Moses did this to warn the Isrealites of the Angel of Death. The 10th disaster was when God sent the Angel of Death to wipe out Egypt’s oldest sons as a final game changer, the homes with the blood would be “passed over”— the first Passover. This was the birth of the nation of Israel, and it was also one of Israel’s greatest prophetic stories.  Here are some specifics.

Upon sighting Jesus at the Jordan River, John the Baptist exclaimed in John 1:29, “The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus, like the Passover lamb, had no sin in Him at all (no spots or defects).  He left Heaven and came and lived in our home (the world) with us as a gentle and loving friend, just like the little lamb. His death was a sacrifice that frees us from slavery (to sin and its punishment–hell), if we take His blood and apply it to the doorposts of our lives (our hearts).  The blood when it was applied in Egypt would have dripped from the top of the lintel onto the ground, and with the blood on the side lintels, the red marks would make the shape of the cross, foretelling how He would pay our ransom. The cross’ salvation is for all people, just as shown in Egypt, where Jews and Egyptians alike were spared by merely applying the blood of the lamb.

Central to celebrating Passover is the wine and the matzah (a white cracker). The matzah has no leaven, which stands for sin in the Bible; likewise, Jesus was sinless. Matzah has stripes, representing the ones marring Jesus by the Roman whips. It is pierced through with holes, as He was also, for the sins we commit against God.  Jesus said the Passover matzah was His “body” broken for us.

The afikomen, one of three sacred matzahs, is broken, “buried” in a linen napkin, hidden, and then found by a child during dinner, who then receives a gift.  This foretells how the Son would be broken, buried, and resurrected, and found only by childlike faith, in simple, trusting people.  Similar to finding the afikomen, “finding” Him yields a gift, except it’s the greatest one possible—eternal life with God as His precious sons and daughters.

This Easter, as we are reminded of the death and resurrection of Jesus, let’s remember the Passover. Bunnies and chicks are fluffy and cute, but they offer little to the story than that.  Connected to the holiday of Easter is something true, real, historic, and prophetic.  Jesus came to die so we could live free forever, and He told us about it ahead of time, in the compelling and beautiful celebration of the Jewish Passover. Maybe grab some matzah and a little Manischewitz kosher wine, and do like Jesus and the disciples and Jews throughout history have done, celebrating God’s incredible rescue of us all.