< The Feast of Pesach or Passover
Yahshuah's Memorial and Passover
Bet Yeshurun Assembly ("BYA") gathers for the moedim ("appointed times") of YAHUAH. Our festival season begins with Yahshuah's Memorial. The next evening, BYA celebrates Passover, which is immediately followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. YAHUAH spoke to Moses, saying, "Command the children of Israel, and say to them, 'My offering and My bread for My sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savor unto Me, you shall observe to offer to Me in their due season.'" (Numbers 28:1-2) "In the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of YAHUAH. In the fifteenth day of this month is the feast. Seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. In the first day shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no manner of servile work therein." (Numbers 28:16-18)
Our Messiah's suffering; trial, death, and burial are the most noteworthy occasions among the significant events that happened on the fourteenth day of the first month ("moon") of the Hebrew calendar. People remember special events in their life. For example, many celebrate birthdates and wedding anniversaries. Likewise, BYA remembers a very special day when Yahshuah sacrificed Himself to redeem us from bondage to our sins. YAHUAH also revealed that special day of His Redemption Plan to the ancient Israelites with their delivery from bondage in Egypt under Pharaoh. (Exodus 3:7 - 13:10)
Yahshuah's Memorial commemorates Messiah's death as a Passover Lamb. Once a year, YAH calls BYA to a special meeting. These are the feasts of YAHUAH, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is YAHUAH's Passover. (Leviticus 23:4-5) Scripture records that Yahshuah gathered His disciples that evening ("even") before His death. Yahshuah spoke of this evening as Passover. He (Yahshuah) sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare us the Passover that we may eat." (Luke 22:8) BYA follows this scriptural pattern by gathering just before sunset of the 13th day of the first moon of YAHUAH's heavenly calendar.
Like ancient Israelites, BYA prepares for Passover as we plan our meal of lamb and bitter herbs, and practice the faith of our ancestors. "Speak to all the congregation of Israel saying, 'In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house. If the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the souls. Every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You shall take it out from the sheep or the goats. (Exodus 12:3-5)
With great joy and gratefulness, BYA accepts this meal that is a spiritual sign of YAHUAH's Word and Yahshuah's blood sacrifice. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. They shall take the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. They shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire and unleavened bread. With bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw nor sodden at all with water. But roast with fire, his head with his legs, and with the appurtenance thereof. You shall let nothing of it remain until the morning. That which remains of it until the morning, you shall burn with fire. Thus you shall eat it with your loins girded, shoes on your feet and staff in your hand. You shall eat it in haste. It is YAHUAH's Passover. (Exodus 12:6-11)
The lamb's blood smeared on Israelite doors would spare ("pass over") YAH's people while Egypt's firstborn would die under Elohim's righteous judgment. In other words, the Israelite firstborns were redeemed ("ransomed") through a lamb's blood. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt. I am YAHUAH! The blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. The plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:12-13)
BYA observes this pass over event annually on the 14th day of the 1st moon. On this feast date, we recall Israel's redemption and deliverance from Egyptian slavery. This day shall be to you for a memorial. You shall keep it a feast to YAHUAH throughout your generations. You shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. (Exodus 12:14)
Israel's Passover prefigures a greater redemption through a greater sacrifice. John the Baptist ("Yochanon the Immerser") foretold that the Lamb of Elohim would one day serve as a sacrifice for sin. The next day Yochanon saw Yahshuah coming to him and said, "Behold the Lamb of Elohim, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
It is this sacrifice that BYA celebrates at Passover. As Israel was redeemed via a lamb's blood, we are ransomed ("delivered") from our sinful world via Messiah's blood. "For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers. But with the precious blood of Messiah as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19) How much more shall the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to Elohim, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim? For this cause, He is the mediator of the New Testament. That by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:14-15)
BYA follows the footsteps of Yahshuah's disciples. We reserve a special evening for fellowship. They said to Him (Yahshuah), "Where do You wish that we prepare?" He said to them, "Behold, when you enter into the city, a man shall meet you, bearing a pitcher of water. Follow him into the house which he enters. And you shall say to the good man of the house, The Master says to you, 'Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with My disciples?' He shall show you a large furnished upper room. There make it ready." They went and found as He had said to them. And they made ready the Passover. (Luke 22:8-13)
Yahshuah taught BYA how to observe His memorial. He spoke of His Passover sacrifice and how to remember Him as we break bread and drink wine (both spiritual symbols of His Body and Blood), which He sacrificed to pay our wages for sin. As they were eating, Yahshuah took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to the disciples saying, "Take! Eat! This is my body." And He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "You drink all of it!" For, this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sin. (Matthew 26:26-28) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of Elohim is eternal life through Yahshuah haMessiach our Adonai. (Romans 6:23)
It is written that Yahshuah took upon Himself the penalty of all our sins. For Messiah also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to Elohim. (1 Peter 3:18) In partaking of the bread and wine, BYA recognizes His offering of Body and Blood to cover our sins. Our faith in Yahshuah's sacrifice reconciles us to our Heavenly Father, YAHUAH Elohim.
When Yahshuah lifted a cup of wine (a spiritual symbol of His blood), He renewed the Mosaic Covenant with YAH's people. This act followed an ancient Israelite wedding custom of a groom who would propose marriage to his bride with a toast of wine. Yahshuah (the Groom) proposed to His Bride (the Church) to whom He will later return to bring to the marriage celebration of the Lamb. "Let us be glad and rejoice! Give honor to Him for the marriage of the Lamb is come. His wife has made herself ready. To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. He said to me, "Write, blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And He said to me, "These are the true sayings of Elohim." (Revelation 19:7-9)
Yahshuah's Memorial includes the practice of foot-washing. It is based upon Yahshuah's own example of being a servant who washed His disciple's feet. Now before the feast of the Passover, when Yahshuah knew that His hour had come, that He should depart out of this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. Supper being ended, the demon now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him. Yahshuah, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, that He was come from Elohim, and went to Elohim; He arose from supper, laid aside His garments; took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. (John 13:1-5) So after He had washed their feet, had taken His garments and was set down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Master and Adonai. You say well for so I am. If I then, your Adonai and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. (John 13:12-15)
Yahshuah's Memorial also remembers the intense suffering that began in the darkness of the 14th day of the 1st moon. After a fellowship meal with His disciples, He went to Gethsemane to pray. Then Yahshuah came with them to a place called Gethsemane and said to the disciples, "You sit here, while I go yonder and pray." He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even to death. Tarry ye here, and watch with me." (Matthew 26:36-38) We end our evening services after reading from scripture about how His disciples abandon Him to those who ultimately kill Him. We leave in the middle of night reflecting upon Isaiah's prophesy of a sacrificed Messiah, who heals us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Surely He bears our grief and carries our sorrows. Yet we esteem Him stricken, smitten of Elohim, and afflicted. But He is wounded for our transgressions. He is bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace is upon Him. With His stripes, we heal. (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Before sunset on the next day, BYA gathers again. At this time we recall Yahshuah's further suffering, trial and death. These all occurred in the morning and afternoon of the 14th day of the 1st moon. This day is often called the preparation day for the High Holy Day, which begins the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. Then Pilate said to him, "Do you dare not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to crucify you and have power to release you?" Yahshuah answered, "You could have no power at all against me, except it was given to you from above. Therefore he, who delivered me to you, has the greater sin." From thenceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Yahudim cried out, saying, "If you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar?" When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Yahshuah forth and sat down in the judgment seat in a place called the Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation of the Passover. About the sixth hour he said to the Yahudim, "Behold your King!" (John 19:10-14)
Before the sunset of the 14th day of the first moon BYA will recall Yahshuah's burial. Now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, which is the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a honorable counselor, who also waited for the kingdom of Elohim, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and craved the body of Yahshuah. (Mark 15:42-43) This man went to Pilate and begged the body of Yahshuah. He took it down, wrapped it in linen and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. That day was the preparation. The Sabbath drew on. (Luke 23:52-54)
Throughout Yahshuah's Memorial, during the nighttime and daylight services, BYA will read from scripture about our Messiah's renewed covenant and His total sacrifice (suffering, death and burial), all of which happened on the 14th day of the 1st moon. When the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. He said to them, "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." (Luke 22:14-15)
During our services, BYA will also break bread, drink wine and sing hymns (psalms). As they were eating, Yahshuah took bread, blessed it, broke it, gave it to the disciples and said, "Take! Eat! This is My body. He took the cup, gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it! For, this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sin. But I say to you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:26-30)
Paul encourages us to imitate Yahshuah from the scripture messages of YAH's teachers. Be followers of me even as I also am of Messiah. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you. (1 Corinthians 11:1-2)
At Passover, BYA gathers like Yahshuah's disciples: solemnly and humbly as Paul also said, "For, I received of Adonai that which I also delivered to you. That Adonai Yahshuah, on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread. When He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take! Eat! This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' After the same manner He also took the cup, when He had supped, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For, as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show Adonai's death until He comes. Wherefore who ever shall unworthily eat this bread and drink this cup of Adonai shall be guilty of the body and blood of Adonai. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For, he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself; not discerning Adonai's body. (1 Corinthians 11:23-29)
Eating bread, drinking wine, and washing feet are physical acts that help BYA understand YAH's spiritual messages. In other words, keeping Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, teach us about important steps in YAH's Plan of Salvation. For example, Passover memorializes Messiah's sacrificial death which reconciles us to Elohim. The Feast of Unleavened Bread memorializes the removal of leaven from our homes which pictures discarding sinful practices from our life.
As a youngster, Yahshuah kept Passover with His family. Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. (Luke 2:41-42)
As a grown man, Yahshuah entered Jerusalem for Passover as Israel's King. The next day, many people who had come to the feast, when they heard that Yahshuah was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, went forth to meet Him and cried, "Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel who comes in the name of YAHUAH." And Yahshuah, when He had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Zion! Behold, your King comes, sitting on an ass's colt. (John 12:12-15)
At Yahshuah's Memorial, BYA keeps Passover, following in the original disciples' example at the beginning of the 14th day of the 1st moon of the Hebrew calendar. After Yahshuah's death, resurrection and ascension, the early Church obediently kept YAH's feasts. When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (Acts 2:1) Indeed so does BYA.
And, as Israel discarded leaven (yeast) at Passover (a spiritual picture of removing sin from their homes), BYA shows our love and obedience of Elohim by sacrificing that which he wants removed from our lives. We seek to spiritually do this, not just for a week, but with Yahshuah's help, forever ……. Purge out therefore the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
Hallelu Yah! May Yah be with you and His grace with all, Elder Curt