Passover is the first of the High Holidays of the Lord. It is also the first of the holidays that occur in the Spring which can also be called the Spring feasts. Passover is on the fourteenth of the first month of the Hebrew calendar, in the month Abib or Nisan ( in the Gregorian calendar March or April ). This holiday begins the Passover feasting period, which is actually made up of three holidays – Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits.
Passover is the day that the angel of death came and killed all the firstborns in Egypt and those who did not have the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and lintels. But those who did were passed over!
Exodus 11: 4 – 8:
And Moses said, These things saith the Lord, About midnight I go forth into the midst of Egypt. 5 And every first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharao that sits on the throne, even to the first-born of the woman-servant that is by the mill, and to the first-born of all cattle. 6 And there shall be a great cry through all the land of Egypt, such as has not been, and such shall not be repeated any more. 7 But among the children of Israel shall not a dog snarl with his tongue, either man or beast, that thou mayest know how wide a distinction the Lord will make between the Egyptians and Israel. 8 And all these thy servants shall come down to me, and do me reverence, saying, Go forth, thou and all the people over whom thou preside, and afterwards I will go forth.”
Leviticus 23: 5 – 8:
5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evening times is the Lord’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast of unleavened bread to the Lord; seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread. 7 And the first day shall be a holy convocation to you: ye shall do no servile work. 8 And ye shall offer whole-burnt-offerings to the Lord seven days; and the seventh day shall be a holy convocation to you: ye shall do no servile work.
How to Celebrate the Passover
How do we celebrate Passover? The 14th of Nisan – usually in the months of March or April is Passover. On this day we usually read scriptures from the Exodus story, and a few Psalms, and enjoy a joyous dinner together as a family.
One of the things that are most prevalent about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the command to rid our homes and dwellings of everything that contains leaven. All baked goods, dry goods, drinks, and condiments that contain yeast, baking powder, and baking soda should be used up and/ or thrown away before Passover begins. As well as, cleaning the areas where these items may have been eaten and might still be on the floor and in the cabinets.
Shemoth (Exodus) 12: 15:
“Seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread, and from the first day ye shall utterly remove leaven from your houses: whoever shall eat leaven, that soul shall be utterly destroyed from Israel, from the first day until the seventh day.”
All leavened food products should be avoided for the duration of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Yeast and leavening are a symbol of sin and is a reminder that we should be diligent at removing sin from our lives.
This is a feast day and a reflection day. The next day, the 15th of Nisan is the first day of the seven-day holiday of Unleavened Bread, and the first and last days are sabbath rest days, where we are not to do any work.
Shemoth (Exodus) 12: 16
“And the first day shall be called holy, and the seventh day shall be a holy convocation to you: ye shall do no servile work on them, only as many things as will [necessarily] be done by every soul, this only shall be done by you.”
Many times people might refer to Unleavened bread as Passover, however, these are two separate feasts. They both have a connected meaning and celebration, so that’s why they are thought of as the same holiday.
The Feast of First Fruits
During the Feast of Unleavened Bread occurs another High Holiday, the feast of First Fruits. The Feast of First Fruits is oftentimes overshadowed by Passover and Unleavened Bread, but another major reason is that this holiday is always on the same day as the secular Easter.
Command to Count the Omer – Counting to Shavuot
First Fruits is also the day when we start to count fifty days or 7 weeks plus one day, until the last spring feast – Shavuot/ Pentecost!
Leviticus 23: 15 – 16
15 And ye shall number to yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which ye shall offer the sheaf of the heave-offering, seven full weeks: 16 until the morrow after the last week ye shall number fifty days, and shall bring a new meat-offering to the Lord.
It can be a little weird to celebrate on the same day as Easter but celebrate it according to the Torah.
The Four Elements of Passover
While many things are done traditionally to celebrate Passover, the only things required in the Torah are: to eat lamb, to eat bitter herbs, to eat matzah or unleavened bread every day, and to remove leavening from our homes (Exodus 12: 1 – 20). We also usually have grape juice as well.
These four elements of Passover all have meaning and serve as reminders for different elements of the Exodus story.
The lamb that was slaughtered and its blood was placed on the doorpost and lintels. This reminds us that we were covered and passed over from destruction by the angel of death (Exodus 12: 13; 21-23).
The bitter herbs remind us of the bitterness of slavery under the Egyptians (Exodus 1: 8-14).
The matzah or unleavened bread is also called the bread of affliction, so it’s another reminder of the bitterness and hardships our forefathers endured as slaves in Egypt (Deuteronomy 16: 3 – 4; Exodus 12: 39).
The removal of leavening from our homes. All leavened products should be removed from our homes before Passover begins. Afterwhich, we refrain from eating anything containing leavening until after Unleavened Bread ends, seven days later (Exodus 12: 19 – 20).
Feasts of the Lord
The feasts of the Bible are often seen as the feasts of the Jews, and ones that one no else can participate in, but the Bible says that these feasts – the feasts of the Bible, are the feasts of Elohim.
Leviticus 23: 1-2
“And Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying ‘Speak to the children of Yisrael, and say to them, The appointed time of Yehovah, which you are to proclaim as set-apart gatherings, My appointed times are theses.’”
Elohim gave us these feasts as joyous occasions to celebrate Him and His provision for us. The Passover is a celebration of when Elohim caused the plagues of the Egyptians to pass over us and to punish them instead. It is a celebration of the freedom and deliverance Elohim gave us from slavery.
Shalom! And Happy Passover!
All Old Testament scriptures are from the Septuagint.