I’ll bet that some wheels are turning in your head and you’re already putting together the pieces of this puzzle. Jesus is our Passover Lamb! And you are right. But there is so much more, oh so much more, for us to see how gloriously He is the fulfillment of the message of the feasts.
It is a lot of information and a bit difficult to present in this format so bear with me and pray for clarity of mind - mine and yours :)
Last post we unpacked the historical events that these spring feasts commemorate. Passover - the provision God gave for the angel of death to PASS OVER the homes with the blood of a lamb on their doors. Unleavened bread - remembering the hasty exodus from Egypt, not even leaving time for bread to rise. First fruits - to be observed once they were in the Promised Land, expressing gratitude for the first of the barley harvest and dedicating the rest of the harvest to the Lord. Pentecost - remembering the giving of The Law to Moses as well as celebrating the first of the wheat harvest and dedicating the rest of it to the Lord.
OK…so what is the scoop on how Jesus is the fulfillment of these feasts? It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, right?
We could just read I Corinthians 5:7 and know from there that Christ is our Passover. And that would be enough. But God is so glorious that He has much more in store for us to discover. He so beautifully demonstrated step by step that Jesus IS our Passover so that we would amazed at His glory. Truly it is beautiful!
In Exodus 12:1-13, we read about the process God commanded His people to follow as they observed the Feast of the Passover. He established the month of observance, Nissan, to be established as their first month. (This is significant because we later learn that in the seventh month of Tishri, the fall feasts are celebrated - and one of those is about the New Year! How can that be if Nissan is the first month??? Think about how we view the school calendar - August is the “first month” of school but January is the first month of the year. Same concept here)
On Nissan 10, the Israelites were to choose a lamb and bring it into their homes…the same lamb that would later be sacrificed. In John 12:12-15, we see Jesus coming into Jerusalem, hailed by the people and “chosen” as their King, only to be later crucified on Passover, the Lamb of God, whose blood takes away the sin of the world and covers us from the penalty of death.
Matthew 26:1-18 tells us about Jesus’s celebration of the Passover, an event that is often referred to as The Last Supper. At this meal, He explained to them that His body is the bread and His blood, the wine, His blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
Also in this passage we see reference to one cup of wine that Jesus refrained from drinking. In the Passover celebration, God’s people drank from four cups through the meal. They represented the four promises God made to His people in Exodus 6:6,7 - the fourth one was referred to as “The Cup of the Kingdom”, and was also used at wedding celebrations as the Cup of Consummation for the Bride and Groom. This promise looked forward to the day that God would set up His Kingdom on earth for His people.
So what Jesus is saying, when He declined that fourth cup,is “I’m holding off on that one because I’m about to set in motion the establishment of that Kingdom. And when you’re with me in our Eternal Home, as my Bride, then I’ll celebrate!”(Luke 22:15,16)
In Exodus, God instructs His people that the lamb is to be killed on Passover “between the evenings” which is considered to be 3:00PM. Matthew 27:45, 46 tells us that Jesus died on the cross on the ninth hour, which is, you guessed it, 3:00 PM. On Nissan 14, Passover. Can you imagine? The priests are in the temple courtyard, the lambs are being slaughtered, at the very moment that THE LAMB is being killed, His blood being poured out for the permanent remission of sins.
(It’s a lot of detail to go into here, but in studying the timeline of Jesus’s last week as recorded in the Gospels, and accounting for the difference in how the Jews viewed a day - evening to evening - it is clear that Jesus was not crucified on Friday but rather Thursday. It’s not worth getting stressed over — just wanted to clarify the timeline of events for us. And then it makes more sense that He fulfilled what He proclaimed in Matthew 12:40 - “for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” )
When the people brought their lamb to the priests to be sacrificed, they tied a sign around its neck with their family name written on it so it could be identified and claimed for them later. Matthew 27:37 tells us that our Passover Lamb Jesus also had a sign placed on Him, identifying to whom He belonged. “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews”
At His death, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that the veil of the Temple was ripped in two, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). So what’s this veil and why is it significant?In the temple, based on the blueprint God designed, a thick veil separated the inner sanctuary from the rest of the temple. (And when I say “thick” - I mean really thick - as in a curtain 60 feet high, 30 feet wide, and four inches thick - pretty hard to tear, yes?) The Holy of Holies housed the Spirit of God and this veil was the visual representation of the separation between God and man. Once a year (on Yom Kippur, which we will learn about when we cover the Fall Feasts), the high priest would enter this inner sanctum and make a sacrifice to cover all the sins of the people and to cleanse any unholiness of the temple.
When Jesus died, the sacrifice was made once for all.(Hebrews 10:10 - by this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all ) The gap between God and man was gone; no longer did sin separate us. And it is critical and beautiful to see that the tearing of this veil of separation was from top to bottom - in other words, Heaven (top) did the tearing! The death of Christ made God accessible to man!
I know this post is growing long but let’s cover the next feast and then we can reconvene tomorrow.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
This festival is celebrated the day after Passover, Nissan 15. For seven days, no bread with leaven is to be eaten. This reminds the Israelites that they left the land of Egypt in haste, with no time to even let bread rise. And because God uses leaven to represent sin, this was His call to them to examine themselves and to remove sin from their lives, just as they were physically removing all leaven from their homes.
We just saw that Jesus died on Passover and now we see what happened the day after, on the feast of unleavened bread…He was buried. (Matthew 27:57-60) And He not only tells us very clearly in John 12:24 “truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone but if it dies, it bears much fruit”
AND He not only tells us in John 6 that God gives the bread and that HE IS THE BREAD, but also that His hour - HIS APPOINTED TIME - has come! The timing of this statement about His hour has come? Between the time He entered Jerusalem, hailed as King of Israel, and the time of His death on the cross. He, the Bread of Life, had come for this appointed time. Wow.
One other gloriously beautiful tidbit of truth (and then we will close out this post and continue the rest of spring feasts tomorrow), check out John 6. This is the story of Jesus’s feeding the 5000 by miraculously multiplying the loaves and fishes a lad had shared with the disciples. He, the Bread of Life, supplied food (loaves of bread) to needy people…during the week of the feast of Unleavened Bread. And Scripture tells us these were barley loaves…which we will find out the significance of tomorrow :)
This is My Body which is given for you….I am the Bread of Life. If anyone eats this bread, he shall live forever….Wow. Just Wow.