This is the season of Passover, and it is always an exciting time of revelation for me as a believer. Every year as I restudy the crucifixion, and the Passion of Jesus, I glean more and more amazing details about what this feast of the Lord means. Most Christians celebrate “Easter”, which is celebrated as the resurrection of Jesus. But, the Bible calls this celebration First Fruits. Jesus was the first fruit out of the ground when he resurrected. Jesus was crucified during the Lord’s Feast known as Passover. This special feast, or appointment with God, is celebrated for a total of eight days (or seven days in some traditions). Most Christians celebrate “Easter”, but do not know much about the feast of Passover. Some see it as a “Jewish” feast. The Bible does not say this is a “Jewish feast.” What the Bible does say is that it’s a feast to be remembered forever. “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord- a lasting ordinance.” Exodus 12: 14 Also, when you look at the feast itself, it points directly to Christ, who was the Passover lamb, sacrificed during Passover for our sins.
The feast of Passover goes back to the Ten Plagues. The Israelites were slaves in the land of Egypt. God told Moses he would free the Israelites from the cruel rule of Pharaoh. He sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to set the Israelites free. Pharaoh was not pleased with this request and he vehemently said he would not free them. This led to the ultimate showdown and we know who won! God sent 10 awful plagues to show Pharaoh he was the God in charge, and to convince him to set the Israelites free. The last of the ten plagues was called “The Death of the Firstborn.” This plague would kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt. The angel of death would come and bring death. But, God had special instructions for the Israelites. The instructions were specific and symbolic. They were told to choose a one year old male that is UNBLEMISHED (had no defects). At twilight on the 14th day of the month (the month of Nisan), they were to slaughter the lamb. Then, they were to take the blood of the lamb and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of their houses. Next, they were to eat the lamb inside the home. They were to eat it roasted over fire. They were to eat it with their cloak tucked into their belt, sandals on their feet and a staff in their hand. On that same night the “angel of death” would pass through all of Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals. But, the BLOOD WOULD BE A SIGN. It would be a sign for the angel of death to PASS OVER that door. Death would not come to that home.
This blood spared the Israelites. There was no death among them. The Egyptians, on the other hand, were dealt a crushing blow. There was not a household without someone dead. Pharaoh, in anger and despair, set the Israelites free. Thus, the blood of the Passover lamb was their ticket to freedom. They were free from slavery and they would soon be on their journey to the Promised Land.
Perhaps you can clearly see the symbolism in the Passover. If not, let me point out a few things. Firstly, did you notice it was a male lamb that had to be sacrificed? How about the fact that the lamb had to be without defect? Also, the lamb was slaughtered and its blood was placed on the door frame. All these things point to what happened to Jesus. He was the son of God. He was UNBLEMISHED- WITHOUT DEFECT. He had no sin in him. When his blood was shed on the cross, he overcame sin and death. Just as lambs were sacrificed to atone for sin, he was sacrificed for our sins. This blood became the DOORWAY to life. The blood that was smeared on the doorpost during Passover was a foreshadowing of the blood that would be the key to life. Christ would die so that we could have life in him. Also it was the FIRSTBORN sons of Egypt that would die without the blood of the lamb. Jesus was the firstborn son of God, sent to save us from death.
The symbolism of the blood on the doorpost is stark, and utterly amazing. Here’s something else that will amaze you. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. If you study each one you will see they all point to Jesus. Keep in mind the Hebrew alphabet was created before Christ was born. It is ancient, and rich in meaning. It is God’s alphabet- given to his people to point to his son Jesus. Each letter began as a pictograph, and each letter symbolizes something different.
The eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is CHET (see picture). This letter represents A DOORWAY. If you look at the shape of the letter, it certainly does look like a doorway. You are hopefully thinking about Jesus, who is the door, or doorway. The Hebrew word “CHAI” means life. This word consists of two Hebrew letters- CHET and YUD (see picture). The word for sin comes from the Hebrew letter CHET as well. The word CHATA means to sin, miss the mark, go wrong and uncleaness. It is interesting that both “life” and “sin” have the letter chet at the beginning of the word. How could life and sin go together? Well, when you put Jesus into the equation they make a lot of sense. Jesus is the one who takes away sin so that we can have life. Like the blood on the door at Passover, his blood allows death to pass over us. The death that comes from sin and “missing the mark” does not fall on those who are in Christ. We are “passed over”. Death cannot touch us. Our earthly bodies may die, but our spirits will not. We are buried and raised with Christ. We are even “marked” with a seal that comes from Christ’s blood! But, this is the mark of life, instead of the mark of death, which is sin. Life comes through the doorway- through the lamb. During the Passover meal the Israelites were sealed within their home- the blood was the seal. This protected them from death. Look at the verse and read what it says about those who are in Christ:
Ephesians 1: 14- “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were MARKED IN HIM WITH A SEAL, THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT.”
You are MARKED WITH A SEAL. The seal is the Holy Spirit you receive when you accept Christ. This seal is very important because……….
“Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God who has given us the SPIRIT as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
This is an important point to understand. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SEAL THAT GUARANTEES LIFE- OUR ETERNAL SALVATION (LIFE) IN JESUS. DEATH HAS NO STING. IT HAS NO POWER. IT CANNOT TOUCH US.
You see, the Passover was more than a reminder of the plague. It was a reminder of LIFE. This is why God commanded it to be remembered. The Jewish people continued to celebrate Passover through the generations, and they continue to this day. In fact, the tradition is the retell the Passover story out loud to their children. Many Jewish people who know Jesus understand the rich meaning in this feast, as they see it foreshadowed the Messiah. Christians are also to remember this feast because the same Savior belongs to them. Christ died for both Jew and Gentile. He brought FREEDOM FROM SLAVERY TO BOTH! How meaningful it would be to celebrate the whole feast, from the crucifixion (Passover) to the resurrection (First Fruits).
There’s something else about the letter CHET that is fascinating. The shape of the letter is actually made up of two other letters. These letters are VAV and ZAYIN. See pictures. The letter VAV has a number value of 6. If you look at the picture of the letter, it is supposed to represent a NAIL. The other letter ZAYIN, has a value of 7, and represents a SWORD. It also means to cut or pierce. In the Bible, 6 is the number for man, while 7 is the number of God. So, we have two letters representing man and God, and they make up the letter CHET, which means doorway. Put this together and we see that the doorway to life is through a NAIL and a SWORD . What happened to Jesus on the cross? Nails went through his hands and feet. His death was the SWORD to the enemy. He defeated the enemy. Man (6) was redeemed by God- Jesus (7) at the cross, creating a doorway to life. Jesus was actually on the cross for six hours, which equals the number of man. In addition, in Matthew 27:45 it says, “from the SIXTH hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.” The darkness permeated the area while Jesus was on the cross during that time. You can clearly see Jesus took on the darkness and curse of man (6) and these things played out in a symbolic way. Man was created on the sixth day and we see man redeemed by Jesus (7). The six hours on the cross- the darkness at the sixth hour- it’s hard to miss the connection.
The value of CHET, by the way, is 8- remember, this is the Hebrew letter that means “a doorway”. The numerical value being 8 is no accident. It is a watermark of God. Why? Because the biblical significance of 8 is resurrection life, new beginnings and new birth. How do we know this? There are many examples such as: When the earth was flooded, God chose 8 people to start a new life on Earth. Circumcision occurs on the 8th day of life. This represents being born into the family of God (new birth) symbolically. It was meant to signify a spiritual change, or new beginning in the person. For Christians this is applied to the heart- a new beginning when we accept Christ. The 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles is referred to as the last great day. It is a picture of the Millennial Kingdom when Jesus will rule on Earth and it will be a new beginning. Passover is also an eight day feast, with the last day pointing to Christ’s resurrection and of course a new beginning. These are only a few examples.
There is an essential fact you must completely understand to realize you have LIFE in him, and not death. We know Christ was crucified ON A TREE. In Galations 3:13 it says, “Christ REDEEMED us from the curse of the law by BECOMING A CURSE FOR US- for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” Do you understand what this is saying? In Jewish culture you were considered CURSED if you were hanged from a tree. Only the worst of criminals were crucified. It was a death reserved for the lowest of society. Jesus willingly went on the cross- HE LITERALLY BECAME THE CURSE FOR YOU. God chose for his son to be hanged on a tree for a reason. He was symbolically showing you that his son has taken our curses- our sin, our shame, our sicknesses and everything that is broken. In Old Testament times you incurred curses when you did not follow the law of God. Jesus came and nailed those curses to the cross. That is why we have life and not death. It happened on that cross- that tree.
I was reading the story of Jericho recently and I noticed something that never caught my eye before. It was this scripture. “On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover.” Joshua 5: 10-12. I never noticed the Israelites ate the Passover meal before they went in to conquer Jericho. Why is this significant? Well, Jericho was the first piece of the Promised Land the Israelites would inherit. They would circle Jericho and the walls would come down. They would rush into Jericho and destroy the city, except for Rahab the prostitute and her family(because she had helped them previously). The land would be theirs. Eating the Passover meal beforehand was a reminder of the great miracle of when God brought them out of bondage. Likewise, it was foreshadowing of how Christ would lead their people out of bondage in the future. They would eat the Passover meal and then take the first piece of the Promised Land. Likewise, when we accept Christ (the Passover lamb) we inherit the Promised Land- heaven. By the way, the leader who brought the Israelites into Jericho (the Promised Land) was Joshua. Did you know that Jesus’ Hebrew name is Yeshua, which is also spelled Yehoshua, or in English JOSHUA? Chew on that one for a while………………………. Even the Hebrew letter CHET I mentioned earlier points to Jericho. CHET means doorway, but it also means WALL. (see pic of ancient drawing of the letter CHET). At Jericho the WALL was brought down by the power of God. The story itself is an allegory of Jesus (seen as Joshua), who would bring down the wall between Jew and Gentile and one day bring down the wall between heaven and earth when he returns. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing WALL of hostility.” Ephesians 2:14.
Why don’t we observe the entire feast of Passover today? Well, that’s where we can talk about man’s influence and how many of the Lord’s feasts were cut out of the lives of God’s people. Unfortunately, we have replaced God’s traditions with man’s traditions. Easter egg hunts are fun, and so is the Easter bunny, but they have nothing to do with God’s traditions. Passover does not include any of these things. Passover is an seven/eight day celebration that God instituted to point to his son, not the Easter bunny. I’m not condemning anyone for having egg hunts and fun with the Easter bunny because I have participated in all that stuff. But, the problem comes in when those things overshadow the real meaning behind Passover and the Resurrection of Christ. The closer I get to Jesus, the less those man made traditions mean to me. I also begin to see why God instituted his seven holy feasts, and why certain biblical traditions are followed.
The Hebrew name for feast is CHAG– This includes the letter CHET, which means a doorway. The Lord’s Feasts are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles. These feasts are not ancient traditions that God threw out the door. When Jesus came to Earth he fulfilled the first four of them to the day and the hour. There are just three left (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles). These feasts are actually a DOOR into the heart of God. I’m not saying they save you! Only Jesus does that- he is the door! I’m saying these feasts show us the love of God and how he sent his son to love and save us. He is coming back again by the way! He lives in our hearts now but he will return. These feasts are a doorway into the mind of our Lord- the things he envisions for us and our future. Don’t you want just a little glimpse of that? I do, so I continue to study his feasts (his appointments) and I know that one day they will ALL be fulfilled by the Passover Lamb who was slain.
Shortly before I began writing this blog I had been studying the Passover feast and that particular day I had been taking notes on the Passover door. A few hours later I decided to take a walk in my neighborhood. I was just walking along, enjoying the sun when I saw something unusual. See picture. It was a DOOR lying on the ground. I took a double take because I thought to myself, “Wasn’t I just studying and thinking about the Passover door?” Anyway, this door was on the ground in front of this house. I wondered why it was just lying on the ground. I looked closer and it was actually over a HOLE. Perhaps the owners of the house were trying to cover up the hole so no one would fall into it. As I looked at that door, covering the hole, I realized something. That is exactly what Christ did for me. He laid down his life so I would not have to live it that deep, dark hole. He became sin for me. By doing this, he became the doorway to life. He covers my sin, just like that door covered the hole. His blood is the covering, just like the blood that covered the Passover door. I knew the Lord was confirming what he’d shown me about Jesus and the Passover. By the way, I think one of the most amazing things about God is how he delights in confirming his word. Study his word and just wait for him to show you both small and big things around you.
Why should we observe the Lord’s Feasts: 1. They are instituted by God, not man. God’s Feasts are from him and no where in the Bible does it say to throw them out. 2. They give us a closer connection to Jesus as he is clearly shown through the feasts. 3. Certain feasts, such as Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles) will be celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom. 4. The Apostle Paul kept the feasts and Jesus kept them as well. 5. The Feasts are PROPHETIC. We still have three that have yet to be fulfilled – Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles.
Observing the feasts is not a substitute for knowing the Lord- we are not saved by the Law or the feasts. Jesus became the law for us and we are saved by grace when he becomes our Savior. But the feasts are a reminder of his sacrifice and his coming glory.
I hope this Passover season (sundown March 30 -sundown April 7), you will take note of your Savior, so clearly represented in this time of remembrance.
Below are the lyrics for the Old Rugged Cross by George Bennard (1913) The words are a beautiful reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
Below are verses in the Old Testament that clearly point to Jesus the Messiah
Isaiah 53 Explained by Mitch Glaser
The Fall Feasts of Israel by Mitch and Zhava Glaser
Christ in the Passover: Rose Publications
Copyright: Angela Rodriguez