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Messiah our Passover Lamb

Updated: Apr 4, 2023



The Torah Reading cycle is suspended for the holiday week of Unleavened Bread (called "Passover Week" in the Jewish tradition), with each day of the week (from Nisan 15 through Nisan 22) assigned additional readings from the Torah and Haftarah.


Because the Jewish calendar is solar-lunar, the dates for each day's readings are not fixed, but vary from year to year. This means that the intermediate days of Passover, called chol hamo'ed (CH"M) will vary from year to year. Remember the day begins at sunset and runs through the following day until 18 minutes before sunset.... To ensure the accuracy of a particular day's readings, always check a good Jewish holiday calendar.


 

Day 1 Reading


In Exodus 12:21-51, Moses instructs the elders of Israel in the laws of Pesach. All generations to come are to observe the Passover traditions. In addition, the children of succeeding generations are to be instructed at Passover as to the origin and significance of the festival. The maftir from Numbers 28:16-25 explains the laws of Passover. The Haftarah is taken from the Book of Joshua (Joshua 5:2-6:1, 6:27) and describes the historic Passover that the Israelites observed at Gilgal after they had crossed the Jordan River. It was the first celebration of Passover in the Holy Land. (In the Reform tradition Isaiah 43:1-15 is the prophetic reading for the first day of Passover.)


 

Day 2 Reading


In Leviticus 22:26-23:44, Moses instructs the Israelites in the observance of the Sabbath and festivals, including Passover, Shavu'ot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. The maftir passage from Numbers 28:16-25 explains the laws of Passover. The Haftarah for the second day of Passover (2 Kings 23:1-9, 21-25) regards great Passover celebrated after the good King Josiah initiated reformation among apostate Judah.


 

Day 3 Reading (Shabbat)


In Exodus 13:1-16 Moses calls for the consecration (and redemption of) the firstborn and instructs the Israelites regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Haftarah from Ezekiel speaks of the famous "dry bones" vision - a picture of Israel's future restoration after the Mashiach returns to establish the millennia kingdom. It also customary to read the Song of Songs (Shir HaShirim) on the Intermediate Sabbath of Passover. Rabbinic tradition interprets the book as a love song where the "beloved" is taken to mean God and "the bride" is Israel (though the picture of Yeshua and His bride, the Church, is also a fitting analogy, especially because the Beloved Son comes disguised to woo and win his bride). The resurrection of Yeshua our Savior corresponds to Reishit Katzir (first fruits or "bikkurim") and the tenufah (wave offering) that marked the countdown to Shavu'ot (the day the Ruach HaKodesh was given to the Church). Nisan 14 - Yeshua crucified Nisan 15 - Yeshua in the tomb Nisan 16 - Yeshua in the tomb Nisan 17 - Yeshua resurrected Yeshua rose from the dead on the 1st day of the week, after being in the tomb three days and three nights. The disciples then encountered the risen Lord on Nisan 17, a Sunday morning (Matt 28:1-10). In short, He was crucified on Nisan 14 and resurrected on Nisan 17 (the corresponding Gregorian dates for these dates vary from year to year).


 

Day 4 Reading


In Exodus 13:1-16 the laws of the first born (bechorim) are given, including the laws regarding the observance of the feast of Unleavened Bread. The maftir from Numbers reviews the sacrificial laws for Passover at the Mishkan / Temple.


 

Day 5 Reading


The Torah reading for the fifth day of Passover concerns various social laws in Israel, including laws about lending money and accepting surety for a loan. Additional social laws (mishpatim) are given, and laws regarding the observance of the Sabbath day and the Shemittah are given, as well a reminder to keep all the appointed times of the LORD.


 

Day 6 Reading


The sixth day's reading has to do with the laws of Passover observance on the 14th day of the month of Nisan. A second chance for observing Passover (Pesach Sheni) was given to accommodate those who are ritually unclean for the seder. This second day would be one month later, on Iyyar 14. various sacrificial requirements for the holiday of Passover.


 

Day 7 Reading


The Torah reading (Exod. 13:17-15:26) describes Israel's experiences following the Exodus. Pharaoh mobilized the Egyptian army and began his pursuit of the fleeing Israelites. When the Israelites reached the Red Sea, Moses raised his rod, the waters split apart, and the Israelites were miraculously saved. When the Egyptians reached the water, they became bogged down, sank to the bottom, and drowned. Moses and the Israelites sang a magnificent song of thanksgiving (the Song of Moses). In the Haftarah (2 Sam. 22:1-15), King David composes a song of thanks to God for all of his victories over his enemies. The Haftarah concludes with this sentence, which is also included at the conclusion of the grace after meals, "A tower of salvation of His king, who shows mercy to His anointed, to David and to his Seed forever" (2 Sam. 22:51).


 

Day 8 Reading


The Torah reading for the eighth day of Passover (Deut. 15:19-16:17) deals with a variety of laws, including those related to tithes, the year of release (Yovel), the release of slaves, and further description of Shelosh regalim, the three pilgrimage festivals. The Haftarah (Isa. 10:32-12:6) gives Isaiah's message of hope that the Israelites will be gathered together from lands of exile and return to Israel. Several allusions to the exodus from Egypt are given. It includes a vision of the Millennial Kingdom era when peace and harmony will reign supreme among all people.



 

About Passover - פסח


Passover (i.e., Pesach) is an eight day holiday that commemorates the liberation of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt by the outstretched arm of the LORD and the blood of the Lamb some 3,000 years ago. Since the events of the Exodus led directly to the covenant given at Sinai (and the revelation of the altar), Passover also memorializes the emergence of the nation of Israel in history.


The Passover Seder remembers the fateful night when the faithful were protected by the blood of the lamb - foreshadowing the great sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). Before his crucifixion, Yeshua used the symbolism of the Seder to foretell of the New Covenant given in his broken body and shed blood (Matt. 26:26-28). His followers are expected to purge out the "the old leaven" and to keep the feast, understanding how He is the embodiment of this sacred holiday (see 1 Cor. 5:7).


The Holiday of Passover is actually a month long celebration. Over and over it is referred to as the "month of spring" (חדֶשׁ הָאָבִיב), the "month of redemption," the month of Nisan, and so on. The word Nisan might come from either the word nitzan (נִצָּן), meaning "bud" (Song 2:12), or the word nissim (נִסִּים) meaning "miracles," both of which suggest physical and spiritual resurrection in our lives. Others think the word comes from the verb nus (נוּס), meaning "to flee," both in relation to Israel's flight from Egypt and Egypt's flight from Israel (i.e., when the pursuing Egyptian cavalry fled (נָסִים) before the sea closed upon them (Exod. 14:25, 27). We also see this usage in the verse: "The wicked flee (נָסוּ) when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Prov. 28:1). The devil's power is found in the lie. If he can make you afraid, you will not think clearly. Establishing your faith in the truth will embolden you to deal with the lies and distortions that are intended to enslave you in fear. As Yeshua said, the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Note that the three spring festivals occur in the month of Nisan and overlap and run into each other: Pesach (Passover), Chag Hamotzot (Unleaved Bread), and Yom habikkurim (Firstfruits). The fourth and climactic spring festival is Shavu'ot (Pentecost). Shavu'ot is held exactly seven weeks (or fifty days) following the morning after Pesach. In general, the spring holidays portrary the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah: Yeshua was crucified on erev Pesach, buried during Chag Hamotzi, and was resurrected on Yom Habikkurim (Firstfruits). Shavu'ot was the day the Holy Spirit fell on the followers of Yeshua in fulfillment of the promise given by our Lord.


 

About the Spring Holidays...


The commandment to sanctify the very first new moon of the year (i.e., Rosh Chodashim) reveals that it is our responsibility to sanctify (i.e., observe) Biblical time in general. In other words, when we observe "the beginning of months," we are acknowledging that time itself is rooted in the Biblical calendar with its divinely inspired cycle of festivals (i.e., the moedim). Note that this year the Biblical New Year began on Friday, April 1st at sundown, and therefore Passover begins exactly two week weeks later, Friday, april 15th at sundown.


Three spring festivals occur in the month of Nisan and overlap and "run into" each other: Pesach (Passover), Chag Hamotzot (Unleaved Bread), and Yom habikkurim (Firstfruits). The fourth and climactic spring festival is Shavu'ot (Pentecost). Shavu'ot is held exactly seven weeks (or fifty days) following the morning after Pesach. In general, the spring holidays portrary the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah: Yeshua was crucified on erev Pesach, buried during Chag Hamotzi, and was resurrected on Yom Habikkurim (Firstfruits). Shavuot was the day the Holy Spirit fell on the followers of Yeshua in fulfillment of the promise given by our Lord. Click the timeline below for more information.

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