To all of you interested in Messianic types and shadows within Jewish culture, welcome to this study... Hello and Shalom! By way of introduction, I am a Messianic Jew, which translates as a Jewish believer/also known as a "Hebrew Christian.” (Yes, you can be both!), or "a completed Jew.” As far as secular credentials, I am simply just a believer, without the benefit of D.D. degree in Philosophy, Hebrew ethics or Jewish culture, and I do not have any Ph D’s in Hebrew politics or government. My only credibility lies in the years of practice and experience I gained growing up in a conservative Jewish home, and around the Seder table, and in Bubba and Zadee’s kitchen. I guess you can say, I graduated from the school of “Kosher Kitchens,” and if there was a medallion awarded for all the Manischewitz wines and foods consumed, I’d be a candidate! No, I can’t boast of any formal degrees, and yet, I am a PROFESSOR … not in the academic sense, but as in one who PROFESSES to Love the God of Israel and His word ….which is the reason for this study: to share with you the depth of God’s truths that are hidden within the beautiful traditions of Passover… just waiting to be discovered.
During the course of growing up, I had observed and celebrated many Passovers, Chanukahs, Purims and Yom Kippurs, only to have a constant hunger within my heart that longed to have more than just a knowledge of God...I wanted to have a relationship...something "real" in the way of interaction with Him, not just prayers from the Sedur, (prayer book), but a 2 way conversation! And why not? Abraham did! Isaac spoke to God...Jacob, also; ... Moses had a 40 day conference with Him! The point is, all the Patriarchs had a 2 way relationship with their God...they talked, He listened! He talked, they listened! …and in spite of all the things I did, to be a good Jew, (confirmation; Hebrew school, Jewish history, etc) ...none of that seemed to score Brownie points, because after I prayed to Him, I listened...only to the silence of my room! I was no different than Moses and Jacob and the rest of the clan...we were all cut out of the same mold: We were all flesh and blood...humanity, trying to reach up to God. We differed, only separated by time and culture. Why wasn't I getting any answers? I asked my Rabbi and my teachers, never receiving any valid answers to my questions, but always suggestions to "do mitzvahs", (good deeds), and "busy myself", and "look for God in you fellowman". These answers were all distractions from the real issue: I knew the law, but wanted desperately to know the LAWGIVER!
I turned to the Torah, (the first 5 books of the Old Testament), and the Prophets and the many prophecies and promises God made to the Jews, but the lack of fulfillments left me with even more unanswered questions. I had no idea, then, that many of the answers and fulfillments of those O.T. prophecies were recorded in the New Testament, and some are even in the daily newspaper unfolding in events around me daily! (How could I know what the New Testament contained? I was told it was a Gentile book, and never on the "Book-of-the-Month" list for Jewish readers!. I never knew it was written by Jews, for Jews and about Jews!). The Tenach, (Old Testament), teaches that "God is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.", and seek Him I did. First, within Judaism, and then, in other religious frameworks, but never found anything more than a trade-off in doctrine or philosophy...still no reality! Finally, through the events following a tragic accident involving my son, I came to a place with God, even felt His touch, heard His voice and experienced Him with all the reality I had been seeking and hungering for! That experience changed my life and made the God of my forefathers as real and personal to me as He had been to them. Because of that experience, God opened my eyes of understanding as to Who the Messiah is, and how He has revealed Himself through, not only our Jewish Scriptures, but through our culture and even our traditions! Even rites and rituals we pride in speaking of the Messiah, hidden within types and shadows*, spoken of in allegories (listed below), parables and similitude’s. Our eyes are blinded to these things, and only a desire and an honest heart will allow the veil over our eyes to lift and reveal truth.
In Colossians 2:17, the Rabbi Saul wrote to the believers, (Messianic Jews, the Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah), that the Holy Days were "shadows of things to come", but the Substance of those shadows was the Messiah, Yeshua, (Hebrew for name Jesus). It is with this Scripture in mind that I present the Passover, a ceremony practiced by Jews worldwide, in obedience to the command from Moses. (Exodus 12:14) As we go through this feast, I will point out the types and shadows of Yeshua within the rites and rituals, in hope that I can show you, very clearly, the SUBSTANCE of those shadows...the anointed One for Whom the Jews have been taught to look for...the Messiah, Yeshua.
*Types and Shadows: In the Bible, there are certain story settings and characters that are a parallel to other events that appear later in history. They are factual, but because of their similarities, they are referred to as "types" or "shadows". Just as a hand shadow made a vague outline of the actual substance, so it is with Biblical types and shadows. They are stories pictures, and projected on the wall of time, but the "substance", is seen after with greater a definition as the brightness of the morning hour become clearer. As the dispensations of time rolled by, the shadows of parallels and similitudes disappear, and the reality and substance of those shadows become distinct. Sort of wiggling your fingers to make a shadow, and the shadows take shapes of birds or dogs.
In discussing the law, Rabbi Saul taught that the Jewish holidays and feasts were only temporary rules that ended when the Messiah appeared; they were only "shadows" of the real Substance, which was the Messiah, Himself. (Colossians 2:17) In essence, these holidays and feasts pointed to and spoke of the fulfillment that Yeshua defined more clearly by his actions.
(I want to emphasize the fact that this is NOT a study for the purpose of teaching Gentile Christian believers to observe and practice Passover.) This is presented only to educate anyone interested, Gentile and Jew, as to why we observe certain traditions, and their relevance to Messiah. For the many years I observed and practiced Passover with friends and family, I never understood the hidden meaning and how it all pointed to Yeshua. Now I can partake of the feast of Passover, filled with gratitude and love for my heritage, knowing that God has placed within this Feast the story of His Love and desire for His people.
The History of Passover
Over 400 years before the first Passover, the Patriarch Jacob, moved his family of 70 children and grandchildren from Canaan to Egypt, where his son, Joseph resided. Joseph was a high ranking officer in the Egyptian Government, and this was at a time when most of the then known world was going through the stress of famine. Joseph moved his family into a secure and fertile valley in Egypt. After 400 years, the name of Joseph was now a dim memory, however his family now numbered over 3 million! The current reigning Pharaoh now regarded the Jews as a potential threat to Egypt's security because of their size. They seemed to regard the Jews as a nation within a nation. In order to weaken any strengths that might be used against Egypt, the Pharaoh stripped the Jews of Power, position, education, and rights. They were reduced down to a labor task force, treating them as slaves and they were coerced into a life of labor and servitude, forced to build roads, buildings, and cities under the Egyptians and cruel taskmasters. The Jews cried out for deliverance, knowing from their Prophets that God had promised Abraham the land of Canaan. It seemed like a good time to return to their homeland!
The Passover Story
The book of Exodus records that God raised up a Hebrew child to be a Savior for the Jews, who were in a dilemma because now all boys were to be kill. Together with his brother Aaron, they would become instruments for deliverance. In Exodus 12, God gave Moses and Aaron (his brother) exact instructions which included a certain type of Lamb, at a particular time, in a special place, to be done on a specified day and time. The Lamb had to be one year old without blemish. It had to be observed for four days, in the month of Nisan from Nisan 10th to Nisan 14th. The Lamb was killed in the evening and the blood of the Lamb had to be applied to the doorpost of their homes on the 14th of Nisan (Exodus 12:1-7). (GOD was and Is, very specific, which demands of his followers obedience without excuse. He left nothing for man to contribute to the plan of deliverance, but only to obey it. There was No guess work or help haphazardness to this plan).
The Exodus deliverance was as carefully planned as was the creation of the world. Every detailed had it's importance in the overall scheme. All details together would provide a plan that would give the Jews escape from a Nation that would very soon experience God's wrath and judgment ...and give them deliverance from their bondage. God has a similar plan today that would enable all people to escape His soon to come wrath and judgment on this world, and give deliverance and protection to those who obey. This plan is based on the same principles and concepts ...a Lamb, the Blood, where and how it is applied, and when ...all found within the Passover types and shadows.
In reading the events recorded in Exodus 12, we see how the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt after they took from their Egyptian neighbors all kinds of provisions for their journey such as gold, silver, jewels, clothing, animals, or anything else they asked for (Exodus 12: 35 and 36). The Israelites left laden down with merchandise, leading behind them grieving and desperate Egyptians who had just suffered the lost of their first born children as a result of God's 10th and final plague against the Pharaoh. This was the total fulfillment of the prophecy that God gave Abraham 630 years earlier, much before Israel was even born. (Genesis 15: 13 and 14). "and He said unto Abraham, know of a surety that thy seed, (Israelites), shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, (Egypt), and shall serve them; they shall afflict them 400 years; also, that nation whom they shall serve, will I judge. (God killed all their firstborn), and afterward, they shall come out with great substance." (The Israelites left with great abundance). With such precise clarity, can anyone doubt it was GOD Who predicted this event 600 years before it happen, or to doubt His plan? Moses was instructed to keep the Passover in our generations FOREVER (EX 12:14), and so we do as a memorial of how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt's bondage, and that we should never forget what The LORD did for them, or doubt what He is still able to do for us today!
Moses was no superman ...He wasn't a spiritual giant or a guru of his day ...He was just a man given to human faults and frailties as we are, but he made himself available to God and His direction, and it became the source of his deliverance, and also for the Nation of Israel. We have the same opportunity to seek the same God and enjoy spiritual deliverance. The Israelites were instructed to start observing the Passover after they entered the the land of Canaan, but this was short lived because they were attacked and slaughtered . After they were attacked in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. history tells us they were scattered worldwide. and didn't return as a nation until 1948! For over 1800 years, they were dispersed to the 4 corners of the world and struggling for their existence. Through the centuries, having assimilated through the various cultures