Pesach: Observance & Preparation
"Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the festival not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5:7, 8)
Happy and blessed New Year to all who read this when its published. Greetings to those who find this post sometime later on in the year. Currently, it is springtime, we are in the Hebrew month of Nisan (Abib), and Father blessed us with a fresh start and a new cycle of His appointed festivals. I pray that with this fresh start and renewed beginning, all of us will draw closer to Father in likeness, character, and will for our lives. We are in the beginning of not only a new year, but the beginning of new deliverance, and restoring of the joy of God's salvation in the Mashiach. Pesach, that is, Passover, is near to us all.
What comes with Pesach? A blog post on Pesach! Unlike the Hanukkah series, this topic will be singular, and there will not be multiple parts to it. Over the years, as I've seen Father give His children the grace and the desire to learn and/or celebrate His appointed festivals, I have witnessed people so desperate and eager to celebrate and learn about Pesach, out of all the festivals. I share this blog post a couple weeks before Pesach with the hope that people will learn how to prepare for and observe Pesach, even in this short amount of time. The beauty of Pesach is that it is simple in nature, and in that simplicity, Father blesses His people with so much. I treasure that, and I hope my readers will treasure that as well.
By the cause of it being two weeks before Pesach, I will not share a lot of the traditional side to the day, I will share mainly the instructions and significance that are seen in Scripture.
What is Pesach?
Pesach (Passover in English) recalls the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery (history recorded in Exodus). It is called "Passover" in English because God passed over the homes of the Israelites when the Destroyer killed the Egyptian firstborns (Exodus 12:23). This day teaches Jewish children the importance of God’s faithfulness to Israel, and for Messianic believers, it honors the redemptive work of Yeshua the Mashiach, and Him being our Passover (Lamb) once and for all.
Pesach is celebrated in the early spring, in the first Hebrew month (Nisan), on the fourteenth day of the month (Leviticus 23:5). Along with this day comes the festival of Unleavened Bread, which falls on the fifteenth day. This festival lasts for seven days, on the first day, regular work is not allowed, and there should be a holy gathering on that day. On the the seventh day is also a holy gathering, regular work is not allowed. This can be found in Leviticus 23:4-8. Below this blog post, I will share a site that has both the Gregorian and Hebrew calendar so it is easy for people to find the dates.
"Your lamb must be perfect, a male, one year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You must care for it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then the whole community of Israel will kill it around sundown. They will take some of the blood and put it on the two side posts and top of the doorframe of the houses where they will eat it. They will eat the meat the same night; they will eat it roasted over the fire with bread made without yeast and with bitter herbs. Do not eat it raw or boiled in water, but roast it over the fire with its head, its legs, and its entrails." (Exodus 12:5-9)
"This day will become a memorial for you, and you will celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—you will celebrate it perpetually as a lasting ordinance. For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. Surely on the first day you must put away yeast from your houses because anyone who eats bread made with yeast from the first day to the seventh day will be cut off from Israel." (Exodus 12:14, 15)
The observance of Pesach throughout the years has come with added tradition, because people value tradition. Tradition on its own is not wrong, but when it comes to the instructions of God, the more tradition we add to His instructions, the further we stray from the original matter, and what God intended to teach His people from generation to generation. The beauty of Pesach is this: lamb or goat, bread/matzah made without yeast (or hametz), and bitter herbs. We bridge this with the meal our Lord Yeshua had with His disciples (Luke 22:14-16), that "on the night in which He was betrayed took bread, and after He had given thanks He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.” ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-25)"
There is a meal as we see in Luke 22:14-16. This was NOT a Pesach seder (as we know it today), However, in the first century, there are records of a ritualized meal on the night of Pesach:
In Jerusalem an observant group of from ten to twenty people ate the Passover. (A yearling animal is full-grown, and the dress-out weight of a 150 lb. lamb would range from 55-78 lbs. The same calculation for a 120 lb. goat would range from 54 to 66 lbs.) We reconstruct a priestly observance beginning the afternoon on the 14th of Nisan, which was followed by a family meal or ritual-group meal that began after sundown. The family meal at homes in Jerusalem is assumed in Josephus, Luke, Philo, and the Mishnah, even if it may not be a wide-spread custom at the time. 
Seder means "order," and this meal is a retelling of the first Pesach (Exodus 12). In the time when the Temple stood, Pesach night (transitioning into Unleavened Bread) centered around the paschal offering, making use of the abundance of spring lambs and goats. It was after the destruction of the Temple, the seder got its name and evolved into its current form.
According to Scripture, the focal points of the Seder are:
Eating a lamb or goat
Eating bread made without yeast (buy at store, or make it yourself)
Eating bitter herbs
Wine or grape juice
(Traditionally) a Haggadah. The Haggadah is a book that retells the story of the Exodus, from which the Passover seder is conducted. In the past, I created a Messianic Haggadah that I used with my family for a couple Passovers. You can find it here, and you may customize it to your liking and usage.
Other observances include: removing yeast from the home, eating unleavened bread for seven days, and among some Messianic households and communities, in the seder, we perform the ritual of washing each other's feet, as our Lord Yeshua did for His disciples (John 13:1-17).
Pesach is glorious time, as we remember the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. It is also sober for Messianics, because we proclaim the Lord's death. During this time leading up to Passover and Unleavened bread, I reflect and focus on the goodness of God in Yeshua’s sacrifice. In Exodus, God instructed Israel to remove all leaven from their home, so the week before Passover and Unleavened Bread, my family and I remove everything with yeast and such from the home. Leaven or yeast symbolizes sin. The spiritual significance is about cleaning our inner man from ungodly ways. Apostle Paul instructs believers to clean out the old yeast so that we may be a new batch of dough, because we are unleavened (1 Corinthians 5:7), We are unleavened through our Lord Yeshua, and how He laid His life down for us.
Preparing for Pesach also means having the circumcised heart God desires us to have (Deut 10:16, Deut 30:6, Jer 9:26, Rom 2:25-29). Anyone who desires to partake of the Lord's Pesach, must be circumcised (Exo 12:43, 44, 48-49, Josh 5:2-10).
"...For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself..." (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
The Lord's Pesach is not something to be taken lightly. This is not about having a dinner with good food, and casual get togethers most people have in mind. It is an exclusive and holy gathering, not an open table. Biblically, the Lord's Pesach is not for the unregenerated and the unrepentant. For the life our Lord Yeshua gave for us, He deserves reverence and honor. The heart posture we should have up to Pesach is gratitude and godly fear for all that Abba brought us out of, and will bring us out of.
For the sake of having a short and biblical approach to this day and festival, that is all. I pray that this helps the saints in their preparation for Pesach, Stay unleavened and happy holy days!
Dayenu (It would have been sufficient): Dayenu is a song of gratitude sung toward the end of Maggid, when the story of the Exodus is recounted during the Passover Seder.
L'Shana Haba'ah: L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim (Next year in Jerusalem) is a phrase that is often sung at the end of the Passover Seder. L'Shana Haba'ah evokes a common theme in Jewish culture of a desire to return to a rebuilt Jerusalem, and commentators have suggested that it serves as a reminder of the experience of living in exile.