Explore the Jewish Feast of Passover and its prophetic significance with guest Richard Hill and hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!
Air Date: April 1, 2023
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Tim Moore: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy. Last week we launched our series on the Feast of Israel. We gave a very broad overview of all the feasts, including Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Shavuot or Pentecost, Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Today we kick off our deep dive by examining the feast that originally marked the beginning of the Jewish year.
Nathan Jones: The Feast of Passover was the first feast ordained by God for His chosen people. It points back to their bondage in Egypt and to His great deliverance through His servant, Moses. Exodus 11 and 12 describe the horrific final plague that had struck the Egyptians, and God’s provision for preserving His people as the firstborn throughout the land were killed by the Lord. In Exodus 13:10, the Lord commanded, “You shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.” So Jews have done just that down through the many centuries.
Tim Moore: The prophetic significance of Passover is so obvious that even the spiritually undiscerning see its implications to Christian faith. But aside from a vision of the scene offered by Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments, many Christians are still unaware of the significance and beauty of the feast and how it offers insight to those with eyes to see. In order to peel back some of the mystery and expound on, again, the beauty of this feast, we’re joined by Dr. Richard Hill, a recognized expert in all things Jewishness because of your Jewish roots, Richard, in fact, that you are a Messianic pastor of a congregation, Beth Yeshua, right, in Las Vegas. So welcome once again to Christ in Prophecy.
Richard Hill: Thank you for having me once again. And I’m just excited to be here and be able to teach about Pesach. That is the Hebrew name for Passover.
Tim Moore: All right, so we should use some more Hebrew today. But I want to dive into this with the understanding that the average American Christian, envisions Charlton Heston when they think of Moses and Yul Brynner when they think of Pharaoh. And so those movie scenes play over and over in their minds when it comes to Passover. Tell us how accurate those portrayals are, and really what the true basis of Passover is in Scripture.
Richard Hill: Well, I love that movie. It’s a great movie, isn’t it?
Nathan Jones: I see it every year.
Richard Hill: Charlton Heston is great.
Tim Moore: Yes, he is.
Richard Hill: And so is Yul Brynner as well, right, so. But is it completely scriptural? Is any movie completely scriptural?
Tim Moore: No.
Richard Hill: It’s better to go to the Scriptures.
Tim Moore: Let’s do that.
Richard Hill: Exodus chapter 12, we are going to look at the first 14 verses, and this is the Lord speaking to Moses and Aaron, as they are in the land of Egypt. So verse one, “Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt. This month shall be the beginning of months for you. It is to be the first month of the year to you.” So obviously it wasn’t prior to this time.
Tim Moore: Right.
Richard Hill: They were following a different calendar. Now they’re following the Egyptian calendar. And now God has decided to begin a new calendar.
Tim Moore: So He did establish this as the new year.
Richard Hill: This is the new year for the Jewish people. Yes. Verse three, “Speak to all the congregation of Israel saying on the tenth of this month.” Right, tenth of Nisan. This is the month of Nissan. “And the tenth of the month they are to each one take a lamb for themselves according to their father’s household, a lamb for each household.” Now, what’s interesting is the Hebrew word here is śeh and it means kid. So it can be a lamb. It could be a sheep. It could be, well, those are the same. And it could be a?
Tim Moore: A goat.
Richard Hill: You read ahead didn’t you?
Tim Moore: I read ahead, yes, Sir.
Richard Hill: Verse four, “Now, if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them, according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.” So each household had a lamb. And if you didn’t have enough people well guess what you had to do? You had to invite your neighbor or a household close by and say, okay, you guys come over to our house and we’ll have this lamb together, or this goat together. And it’s kind of interesting, the rabbis have determined now that every lamb that is slain, you’re supposed to have at least 10 to 20 people.
Tim Moore: Wow.
Richard Hill: 10 to 20 people, yeah, that eat that lamb. So that’s a lot of people. And this is only a one year old lamb, as we’re going to see right here in verse five. “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male, a year old; you may take of it from the sheep or from the goats. Can you imagine? I mean, what Jewish people eat goat for Passover?
Tim Moore: Not very often anymore, yeah.
Richard Hill: None of us. We always have lamb or well, we always used to have lamb I should say that now, we don’t do that anymore. 70 AD the Temple was destroyed, so the rabbis determined from that time on, you are not allowed to have lamb because you can’t sacrifice it in the Temple.
Tim Moore: Okay.
Nathan Jones: So what do you substitute?
Richard Hill: Well, you can have anything brisket, chicken, turkey. Different parts of the country or in the world eat different things. Verse six, “And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.” So now you had this lamb, this little poor little lamb that you know, father knows, and the mother knows we’re going to be killing that lamb in four days. What about the children? What’s going on in their mind?
Tim Moore: Yeah, they’re becoming attached to that little lamb.
Richard Hill: Exactly. Isn’t that the point, though?
Tim Moore: I think so.
Richard Hill: Come attached to the Passover lamb. And knowing that that little lamb is going to be dying for your redemption. So, yes, I think the Lord wanted them to become attached, to understand what this death really is going to mean for that household. Verse seven, “Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts on the lintel of the houses in which they eat.” And so after you, obviously, you slit the lamb right on the jugular vein so that lamb dies instantly.
Nathan Jones: No suffering then.
Richard Hill: There’s no suffering whatsoever. And that’s a kosher thing within Judaism. You’re not allowed to have the animal suffer. And so they’ll take a bowl and then collect the blood. And so what do you do with the blood? Well you paint it on the doorpost, the lintel, upper middle portion, the side, and then the right side. And so what sign is that? If you just paint a little bit up here, and a little bit on the side, and a little bit on this side, it’s a sign of the cross. Now, that’s what I teach for the Christians. But what do you teach for the Jewish people?
Now, can you imagine being a Jewish person at that time and God said, I want you to paint the blood on the door, put it on the doorpost. Well, now you know I’m part Jewish, I’m thinking I’m going to paint my whole house. I don’t want that angel of death to not see my blood, you know, see the blood that’s on my household. And so you go across the whole lintel. You go down the whole side, and all down that side. And that’s what I’m wearing. This is a “chai”. And the first letter there is a “chet.” And so when you’re painting that blood, it’s a “chet.” And of course, the letter “chet” is for the word “chai”, “chai” means to life.
Tim Moore: Like “l’chaim.”
Richard Hill: “l’chaim,” to life. And so it means life. And obviously you put the blood on your doorpost of your house then you’re going to have life. You’re not going to have death. Yeah.
Tim Moore: Okay.
Richard Hill: So that’s why I’m wearing this outside right now.
Tim Moore: Very good.
Richard Hill: Pretty cool, huh? Verse eight, “They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” And so everything needs to be roasted by fire, there’s no boiling in water, anything like that. And here’s where unleavened bread comes in. So when we teach on this feast, we’re going to find out that they’re intersected, when Passover is the whole day, and then you eat the Passover meal at night. Well, that first night is then the first night of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And God says, eat unleavened bread, but also, what? Bitter herbs. And so Rabbi Gamaliel, you know that name?
Tim Moore: Yes, we do.
Richard Hill: In the New Testament.
Tim Moore: Right.
Richard Hill: That’s Paul’s rabbi. Well, he’s the one that came out and said from that time that every Jewish person needs to talk about at least three things during Passover. Guess what they are? The Passover lamb, the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs. Verse nine, “Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water,” which we explained, “but rather roast it with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left over,” right, “whatever’s left of it until morning you shall burn it with fire.”
Nathan Jones: So there’s nothing left.
Richard Hill: Destroyed. It’s a done deal.
Tim Moore: The fact that he wanted more people to eat of this lamb, He didn’t want a lot of waste. And so, really, God being a great steward of His own creation, just wanted to make sure that it was sufficient, just as His grace is sufficient.
Richard Hill: It is sufficient.
Tim Moore: There you go.
Richard Hill: I like that, yes. Verse 11, “You shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand: and you shall eat it in haste- it is the Lord’s Passover.” So they were to eat in haste, and get ready to leave as quickly as possible, even afterward. Now, we know they didn’t leave right away, but God, wanted them just to be ready to go, and be out of there. And that’s a good thing, right. Now, we do not celebrate Passover that way anymore.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, I was wondering about that? You’re not killing lambs and putting blood on your doorposts and stuff like that?
Richard Hill: Nor are we girding our robes into our waistbands. No, instead, we have pillows nice soft, cushy pillows that remind us of our slavery.
Tim Moore: So actually, the proper way to eat it is reclined, is that correct? At a table.
Richard Hill: And we still do that, yeah, we still do recline.
Tim Moore: So you almost picture Jesus, you know, in the painting, the famous painting by DaVinci is Him sitting at a table, but really they would have been reclined modeling this freedom. We don’t have to work. We don’t have to stand. We now are free, we can recline.
Richard Hill: And He would have had a smaller table and they would have pillows on the ground.
Tim Moore: And which is why the disciple He loved was leaning almost on Him. They were close in together, this was a very family oriented, community oriented, and with these close friends just enjoying this meal together.
Richard Hill: And the bread wasn’t this high.
Tim Moore: No.
Richard Hill: It was very thin. Unleavened bread.
Tim Moore: Yes.
Nathan Jones: Leaven being, that’s the yeast that makes it rise. So they didn’t put yeast in it because they had to make bread and get out of there, I mean out of Egypt as fast as possible.
Richard Hill: Exactly. And so you see that right in verse 11 where it says that they’re going to eat it in haste and said and also the unleavened bread they had to leave in haste, and so they weren’t able, they didn’t have the time to put the leaven in their bread. Later on, they cooked it, of course, that night they cooked it for their meals. Verse 12, “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night and I will strike down all the first born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt, I will execute judgments– I am the Lord.” So I love this verse right here, guys, when they’re talking about Passover, because, well, first of all, we see the striking down of the firstborn. I don’t love that, of course you don’t want death, but that was the punishment that came upon the Egyptians and the pharaoh, of course. But then it’s against all their gods. All those judgments were against their gods.
Nathan Jones: It undermined each one of them, right?
Richard Hill: Undermined the top ten because Egypt had a lots of gods as well. But these are, I guess, the top ten that God took care of and showed that He is God of all their gods. He’s the one and only God.
Tim Moore: If there’s any quote in the Ten Commandments I love most is when Yul Brynner says at the end, he says, “Their God is God.” And he comes to realize, and you have to think that Pharaoh finally understood the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Hebrew God is God because he had defeated all the Egyptian Gods.
Richard Hill: He defeated them all.
Tim Moore: So that’s theologically correct in Mr. DeMille’s movie.
Richard Hill: Yeah, and the issue is that God needs to be honored. God needs to be worshiped. It is the same in the Ezekiel aspects as well, in the Ezekiel War, God says, I’m doing all these things so that I will be God for all. Verse 13, “And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” And that’s where we get the Pesach, that’s the Hebrew passing over you. “And no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Now, this day will be memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.” So Jewish people are to continue even to this day and to the future to celebrate Passover and to remember what God did, the miraculous deliverance of His Jewish people out of the land of sin, out of the land of Egypt, and bringing them into the land of Israel.
Nathan Jones: I mean, you think about it’s been, what, 3,400 years since the Exodus? And yet here we have it’s still being done today. I mean, what ceremony is still being, or what celebration is still being celebrated after millennia? And the Jewish people still celebrate it.
Richard Hill: I know of no other.
Tim Moore: But there is a later prophet who will say that there’s a coming deliverance that is even greater than God’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt. As a matter of fact this ceremony, this feast, that’s been commemorate, as you said, for thousands of years and is so culturally central to Jewish identity, will be surpassed by a latter day deliverance when He brings the Jewish people back into their own land. And we virtually have witnessed that, gentleman, within our lifetimes. And yet people, ah you know, they don’t really consider it as being the great miracle it is of a modern fulfillment that is even greater than the Exodus.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, Israel going back into the land and becoming a nation again and the Messiah returning will be remembered more than their deliverance from the Exodus. That’s just mind-boggling.
Richard Hill: There are two worldwide regathering’s as well.
Tim Moore: Yes.
Richard Hill: One we’re going through right now, and then the one that’ll be at the end of the Tribulation.
Nathan Jones: Hosea says one in unbelief, and then one in belief.
Richard Hill: Exactly.
Tim Moore: I think it’s fascinating that God, it’s not just an accident that He said take this animal. And of course He loves His whole creation, it was all declared good at one point. But the same kind of animal that He provided, even as Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, and just at the last instant, God said, “Stay your hand.” And then there was a ram caught up in the bush. So, you know, a sheep, a goat, but He was providing an animal, foreshadowing the sacrifice that He would provide for the Jewish people. So they commemorate every year, at least as long as there was a temple, by killing a lamb, but there was a greater Lamb coming. So we can go all the way to John 1:29 when John the Baptist seeing Jesus coming toward him, says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” I mean, it comes full circle again to point to Jesus Christ.
Richard Hill: Why did he call Him the Lamb of God? Yeah, because Jesus is the fulfillment of Passover. He is the Passover lamb, the one and only, He would take the sins of the world upon Himself.
Nathan Jones: Well, Richard I’ve attended a few messianic Passover seders, some hosted by Jews for Jesus, where they show that the Old Testament Passover ceremony and all the other ceremonies, how they have Messianic implications. And you just said the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So are we to say then that this was meant to be for the Jewish people to see Jesus Christ die on the cross and make that connection? And then the question is, why haven’t they made that connection? Only a remnant like you yourself have?
Richard Hill: Well, yes, that is the connection, obviously, Jesus, they need to see Jesus as the Messiah, who would be the Passover Lamb, the one that is going to die for the sin of the world. They have a really difficult time understanding that a human being is dying for sin. That is very difficult for them to understand. Now, we don’t classify Jesus as only human, of course, we could consider Him as God as well, 100% God, 100% man, that’s what they don’t understand.
Nathan Jones: That’s interesting.
Richard Hill: We have to be able to try and reach them with that message.
Nathan Jones: Well, why haven’t they made the connection?
Tim Moore: There’s a veil, and the Lord has allowed it to be over their eyes because I think there’s a greater glory coming. I think, like any of us, we sometimes wonder, why am I suffering this way? Why have certain circumstances? But all things are to bring God greater glory, it’s not just about us. So why was a man born blind? Jesus said, “It’s not because his parents sinned, it’s not because he sinned, it’s because God will gain glory through his sight being restored.” So I think the answer to that question is because in the end God will be glorified even greater when He fulfills His promises to the Jewish people. And it really is all about Him.
Richard Hill: But also, it’s got to do with persecution under the name of Jesus. And that’s really the issue for the last 2,000 years, Jewish people have been persecuted under that name. Hitler claimed to be a Christian, and he came out and killed 6 million Jewish people.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, he liked Luther right?
Richard Hill: And other leaders, mashugana leaders, I like to call them, crazy leaders that came out and killed Jews under the name of Jesus, and so that is the big problem that a lot of Jewish people have. But I was talking theologically where they don’t understand 100% percent man, and 100% God.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, because you can read the book of Malachi, for instance, and it’s all about how the Jewish people were bringing blind, and lame and blemished, and they even stole their sacrifices. They didn’t understand why they had to sacrifice, why the lamb had to be white, and why it had to be unblemished, and why it had to be a certain age, and why its bones couldn’t be broken. And it’s strange that for a celebration that’s been practiced for say 3,400-3,500 years, that the elements in it seem to have been lost to many people.
Tim Moore: Or they get caught up in the elements alone without realizing that they point to something greater. These are just the shadow of something greater to come. So we’ve talked in a past episode about the Seder meal and we don’t have time, but every element has meaning. The bitter herbs, the bowl of even salt water everything points symbolically backward and yet forward to a fulfillment in Jesus’ day and age.
I’d like to take us for just a minute, though, to the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with His disciples. And so in Luke 22:15 He says, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover,” the one they were about to partake in right before His crucifixion, “with you, before I suffer.” And then He said, “For I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” So there’s a coming fulfillment. Yes, Passover pointed to Jesus Christ, but there’s even a greater fulfillment that He says in the fullness of time, the entire feast will be fulfilled.
Richard Hill: We’re going to be celebrating all the feasts in the Messianic Kingdom as well.
Tim Moore: There you go.
Nathan Jones: Well as a Gentile, I’d be saying, hey, wait a minute, that’s the Last Supper. What does this have to do with the Passover? But you’re saying that the Last Supper and Passover were one and the same event at the time?
Tim Moore: They certainly were, that’s what it says right there in verse 15. And the other thing we as Gentiles, you know, we have taken part of what Jesus established there at that last supper when He took the bread and He took the cup, the wine, and He shared it with His disciples. And He said, “Now take this it’s a new covenant in my blood.” And I’m quoting right there again from Luke 22. But Paul tells us that even our commemoration of that new covenant in the act of Communion, whether in a Christian church, we share bread and wine. Paul says that we should do that as often as we eat that bread and take of that cup, proclaiming the death of the Lord, the Lord’s death until He comes. So there’s a forward looking aspect, even of this commemoration of Jesus death, burial and resurrection that He ordained there at that Last Supper.
Richard Hill: At this communion Jesus is pulling the elements right out of the Passover Seder. He’s pulling the matzah that is eaten after supper, and then He’s drinking the third cup of redemption at that moment.
Tim Moore: And Jewish people get that they are anticipating something else because don’t they leave one seat empty at a Seder table for who?
Richard Hill: For Elijah.
Tim Moore: For Elijah? Why? What’s Elijah’s role prophetically?
Richard Hill: Elijah is going to proclaim to the world that Messiah is coming. And so the Jewish people at their feasts, they all want Elijah to come to their feasts because that will be a special time, right? So they have an extra chair, empty chair, and then Elijah is going to proclaim. So if he comes to their household, well then they’re excited and he’s going to proclaim it at their house first, and then of course he’ll tell the world that Messiah is coming.
Tim Moore: So, Richard, I think your insights have been tremendously helpful to begin to allow us to understand even the Jewish flavor of Passover and how central it is to pointing to Jesus Christ. I would assert that even as the Jews would anticipate perhaps Elijah coming to their table, that misses the bigger point, because Elijah is just the precursor, he’s the messenger announcing the Messiah. So don’t get excited about the messenger, get excited about the Messiah. Exactly. And so that’s what we get excited about. That’s why I enjoy commemorating the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection until He comes.
And so, folks, if you have not already put your trust in Jesus Christ to where you’re also looking forward to Him coming, we hope that this episode and all of our series on the Feasts of Israel will whet your appetite and make you want to dive into God’s Word and study Bible prophecy.
Obviously, Dr. Hill has a tremendous book referring to Israel in Prophecy. It takes an approach from a chronological perspective, and we hope you’ll get a copy of that.
We’re also offering today Dr. Reagan’s “God’s Plan for the Ages” as our resource that we’d love to give a copy or send a copy to you. So for a gift of only $20, including shipping, you can get this tremendous resource to understand all of God’s prophetic Word and how it fits together into what we anticipate in the end times. Just call the number on the screen or visit our website as you’ll see down below as well.
We hope this series has already been a blessing to you.
Tim Moore: This has been a wonderful discussion about the significance and prophetic meaning of the Feast of Passover.
We want to share the testimony of a dear friend of this ministry about what Passover means to him.
Insights of Passover by Mottel Baleston
Mottel Baleston: Shalom, friends. My name is Mottel Baleston, and both my parents were born into traditional Jewish homes in New York City. I came to faith in Messiah Jesus as a young adult as a result of reading the Messianic prophecies in my own Jewish Bible, it was clear to me that Jesus was the Messiah. I serve in full-time ministry, sharing the good news of the arrival of Messiah with my own Jewish people.
One of the most important holidays to me in the Jewish calendar that God gave is the holiday of Passover. As a young person, I would often go to Passover Seders and one of the things that they were Jews there is this matzah tosh this matzah holder, and it would hold the three sheets of matzah, the unleavened bread that is described in the book of Exodus. And as I learned more about the story of Passover, even as a young person, I wondered so much about some of the similarities to some of the things I had heard Christians say.
Only later did I find out that the matzah not only is unleavened, but there are many other characteristics which link this to the eventual greater Passover Lamb that God would send to our own Jewish people. All of these truths come together. None of them exclude one another. Judaism gave birth to Christianity, it looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. The two need not be in conflict. And if properly understood, it is clear to a growing number of us who are Jewish believers in Yeshua and Jesus as the Messiah, that Yeshua Jesus is the Messiah that God sent to our Jewish people.
This is something that our friends at Lamb & Lion Ministries have been saying for so many years. I look forward to many other times when we’ll be able to collaborate and talk about the importance of the Jewish calendar of Leviticus 23, a calendar which, although God gave to the people of Israel, it has importance to all believers because it talks about the way in which God would bring a Savior to the Jewish people and ultimately to all of the world. Of course, we know that that savior, that Messiah, as in His Hebrew name, as Yeshua or Jesus of Nazareth. So I look forward to these times of collaboration.
And here, starting with Passover, the holiday that talks about the fact that our Jewish people were once in bondage. The Haggadah, the Hebrew Haggadah, the liturgy booklet says “Avadim hayinu lepharo bemitzrayim” we were slaves onto Pharaoh in Egypt, is a translation, but with an outstretched arm and a mighty hand God redeemed us from the house of bondage. All of us were in bondage to the cycle of sin and death, and through the sacrifice of the greater Passover Lamb we can be released from that. That’s why 1 Corinthians 5 says that Messiah, that Christ is our greater Passover Lamb.
Tim Moore: I’m so grateful for Mottel and his powerful ministry. His testimony has led Jews and Gentiles to accept our Jewish Messiah. And Richard, I’m so glad you were here today to help unpack the Passover for us.
Richard Hill: Ah, it is a blessing for me to be here as well. Passover is one of my favorite feasts.
Nathan Jones: Well, folks, there’s much more to come in our series on the Feasts of Israel. Join us again next episode as we explore the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits.
Tim Moore: Until then, on behalf of all of us here at Lamb & Lion Ministries, “Look up and be watchful, for our perfect and blameless Passover Lamb is coming again soon!”
End of Program