To begin with, let us verbally sketch the Biblical narrative of the Passover. The children of Israel, a people of covenant distinction, were foreign slaves within the vast area we know as Egypt.
This desert land, cut in two by the life sustaining Nile River, was a considerable influence in the ancient world. It was also a place of foreign gods, foreign customs and of near hopeless future for the descendants of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov3. In the course of time as the Bible explains, and according to the sovereignty of GOD, the time of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egyptian servitude had arrived. The GOD of Israel began to level plagues of increasing severity upon the oppressors of Israel due to the recalcitrance of Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt ...blood, frogs, gnats, flies... Each plague was accompanied by further warning from Moses and the continued expression, whether explicit or implicit, "Let My people go that they might worship Me, says the LORD’. Pharaoh, the deified ruler of Egypt, continued to oppose natural and spiritual liberty for the people of Israel and to acknowledge the distinct national call to worship of the covenant people. The foreboding plagues continued. Egypt was to experience such plagues as no other nation had incurred. ...livestock disease, boils, hail, locusts... The worsening plagues struck at the heart of Egyptian society, culture and daily life revealing to the discerning that nothing was beyond the finger of judgment of the GOD of the Israelites. The ninth plague was darkness.
"...there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings."4
That GOD was distinguishing between His covenant people and those of Egypt was painfully clear. After nine plagues, what would it take to gain freedom from the inordinate clutches of Pharaoh? The LORD would visit one final plague upon the Egyptians and affirm for all time that He does distinguish between those in covenant with Him and those who harden their heart and refuse His covenant provision. GOD’s plan for His covenant people centered upon the nearly unimaginable: obeying His voice, a lamb and the personal application of the shed blood of that one spotless lamb.5
The tenth plague, the slaying of the firstborn of men and cattle, spread as a terror at the stroke of midnight throughout Egypt. A great cry of anguish issued forth in all the land of Egypt, such as had not been in Egypt prior nor since. (Exodus 11:6) Only those families that had obediently applied the shed blood of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their house escaped the final plague. These families were also instructed to eat a memorial meal prepared in haste: lamb, unleavened bread (matzah) and bitter herbs.6
With the slaying of the firstborn of Egypt and amidst the harrowing wails of the afflicted of Egypt, the covenant people were hastily dismissed from an Egypt of carnal domination and inordinate servitude to a foreign master. After the feast of the Paschal Lamb, the GOD of Israel decreed that no leaven was to be eaten or even found among the covenant people for seven days, (Exodus 12:19-20) As a result, the LORD decreed that Passover was to be celebrated and observed in remembrance of "the LORD having brought them out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:42) The LORD further decreed that after the initial remembrance of Passover, "unleavened bread shall be eaten...seven days, and nothing unleavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders.’ (Exodus 13:7)
Spiritual Applications of the Eight Days of the Passover Season
By way of spiritual application, we see the powerful truths exemplified during the eight days of the Passover season: one day of redemption and seven days of unleavened bread. Everything seems to hinge upon redemption and central to our redemption is the shed blood of the Lamb of GOD. It was essential that our Messiah Yeshua laid down His life, once and available to all, as a propitiation for our sins. Furthermore, each individual must by faith activated in response to GOD’s decree, apply the blood of the Lamb to the doorposts of his or her heart. In the sight of the GOD of Israel, it is the application of the shed blood of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah to our hearts by active faith that distinguishes us from the remainder of mankind. The application of the shed blood signifies the entrance into the brit hadashah or New Covenant. This new covenant being foretold by the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 31) and affirmed by Yeshua Himself (see Luke 22:20) alone affords true forgiveness to all its recipients by faith. Whereas the wails of those left in Egypt issue forth, there is the sound of deliverance and rejoicing in the tents of the redeemed of the LORD. The covenant GOD of mercy has provided in Yeshua His Son, redemption and complete deliverance.
To reemphasize what we just stated: with the provision of a specific day of Paschal redemption out of Egypt follows seven days of no leaven. Seven, a day often associated with completion and fullness, reminds us that we are to live our lives knowing the Lamb’s redemption within the dictates of holiness. Our life as Messianic believers is "not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Corinthian 5:8) The GOD of Israel extends a call in the Spirit to all mankind: experience through Yeshua personal redemption and live thereafter in holiness before Him.
There is power in eight. ONE glorious provision of redemption to all who would by repentant faith receive Yeshua as LORD. SEVEN days of completion reminding us that we are to live our lives faithfully to the end, not allowing the leaven of sin within the borders of our heart. If such ‘leaven’ is found within us, we must confess with honesty our breach of covenant and humbly receive His provision in Messiah to walk more fully yielded to His Holy Spirit. Our redemption is both individual and corporate.
"It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt ..for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:8,9)
- Pesach is the Hebrew word for Passover
- Hag ha Matzot is the Hebrew name for the feast of Unleavened Bread.
- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Great Patriarchs of the book of Genesis.
- Exodus 10:22-23.
- Exodus 12:3,7,12,13
- Exodus 12:8-11