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Passover Facts: 9 Things You Don’t Know about the Holiday

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April 2nd, 2018

Passover is one of the most anticipated and celebrated holidays in Jewish culture, but check out these lesser-known Passover facts!

Passover Fact #1: SPRING CLEANING

Yep, it’s that time of year! A time to declutter… and finally go through all the piles of papers at your home to find tax documents.

Most people are familiar with the concept of spring cleaning, but did you know it most likely comes from Passover?

Jewish people worldwide intensely clean their homes before Passover to make sure that there is no yeast left anywhere, just as God commanded (Exodus 12:15). They must remove all leaven and eat unleavened bread for seven days.

Well, it’s quite possible that all their Gentile neighbors thought this was a good idea, and the worldwide tradition of “spring cleaning” was born!

Passover Fact #2: MULTIPLE CALENDARS

What year is this? Most of us keep track of dates by counting the years from the estimated birth of Jesus.

However, God had the Jewish people record time according to a different, significant event— the Exodus from Egypt following the Passover.

In Exodus 13:3-4 and Deuteronomy 16:3-4 the Jewish people are commanded to always remember all the days of their lives the time God took them out of Egypt with a powerful hand.

Then, Numbers 1:1 starts to show that they are keeping count of their years according to the Exodus, “The LORD spoke to Moses…in the second year after they had come out of Egypt…”.

And they kept counting time in this way: | “in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt” (Numbers 33:38).

And even after hundreds of years, they still kept counting, “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt...” (1 Kings 6:1).

the last supper

Passover Fact #3: LAST SUPPER

Believe it or not, the oldest recorded account of a Passover Seder does not come from the Old Testament.

So, where can it be found? In the New Testament!

The “Last Supper” was actually the first formally documented Passover Seder. This recording of Jesus celebrating the Last Supper with His disciples is a text that scholars worldwide study as a template of how Passover was observed in the days of the Second Temple.

Passover Fact #4: NEW COVENANT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

At Jesus’ “Last Supper”, the Messiah holds up a cup and proclaims that this is the cup of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28). But the New Covenant appears actually already in the Old Testament too.

In Jeremiah 31:31-40 God declares He will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, which promises that all of Israel will one day know Him! His law would now be written on their hearts!

It is common to celebrate the “Lord’s Supper” in such a way that we think only of our own salvation and our right standing with the Lord.But when Jesus asked us to remember Him through the Passover, He also commanded us to look forward to the salvation of all of Israel! Just like how they were saved out of Egypt.

bible open to psalms

Passover Fact #5: STAYING VIGILANT 

In Exodus 12:42, the LORD commands the people of Israel to keep a vigil the night before death would pass them over in Egypt. 

In preparation for being the Passover Lamb, Jesus kept a holy vigil at Gethsemane.

Passover Fact #6: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Within the institution of the Lord’s Seder, there is not only the element of looking back to the Exodus from Egypt, but it also anticipates the future!

Jesus held up the cup at Passover and said He would not drink of that cup again until He drinks it in His Father’s Kingdom (Matthew 26:29). The “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” will fulfill the promise Jesus made during the Passover!

jerusalem rooftops

Passover Fact #7: “NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM”

Passover is one of the three pilgrimage feasts, during which the Jewish people were required to come up to Jerusalem to celebrate.

For over 2,000 years the Jewish people dreamed of celebrating the Passover in their Holy City.

All Seders would have a section where the people would cry out that “next year in Jerusalem” they would be able to celebrate as God had commanded.

This dream finally became a reality – fully – in 1967, when the Jewish people were allowed into the Old City. 

Passover Fact #8: WORLD’S LARGEST PASSOVER SEDER

One would think that Jerusalem holds the greatest gathering of Jewish people for Passover, right? Well, you would be surprised.The annual site for the world’s largest Seder happens to be in Kathmandu, Nepal!

Why? Because hundreds of Israelis travel to India each year after their army service as a means of celebrating. But they still choose to keep the Passover in Asia!

a globe zoomed into maylasia

Passover Fact #9: SPECIAL GUEST

In Jewish tradition, the Passover Seder includes a Messianic expectation. Malachi 4:5-6 speaks of the prophet Elijah as the forerunner of the Messiah Son of David. Therefore, he is an anticipated and longed-for guest at the Seder.

Many people will save a seat at their table. And some even put out a cup with his name engraved on it in hopeful anticipation. What a creative illustration in the context of Passover!

This helps to awaken our expectation for the arrival of the Messiah Yeshua – the Lamb of God. He is our liberator from slavery to sin!

Truly the Passover is an excellent way to remember all that Jesus has fulfilled and done for us!

Happy Passover and Chag Sameach!

Transform Lives in Israel this Passover

Are you looking to make a difference in Israel, and help bring the true facts about Jesus’ sacrifice for us this Passover? You’re invited to join in God’s plan for his people!

The Tribe is a passionate and faithful group of monthly donors on a mission to transform lives in Israel through the love of Jesus. Join the Tribe today: firmisrael.org/thetribe

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FIRM is a global fellowship of Biblically-grounded believers committed to cultivating Messiah-centered relationships that bless the inhabitants of Israel—Jews, Arabs, and others—and the Jewish community around the world.
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