Reference: Passover, The
This was instituted when the Israelites were in Egypt. Jehovah being about to cut off all the firstborn of Egypt, the Israelites were ordered to sprinkle the blood of a lamb, taken for each house, on the lintel and two side posts of their houses, and the promise was given, "The Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you." The Israelites obeyed, and in perfect safety fed upon the lamb, under shelter of the blood. When they should come to the promised land they were enjoined to keep the Passover, as one of their yearly feasts. Ex 12:3-28; Le 23:4-8. See FEASTS.
The Passover sets forth typically the offering of Christ as that in which the righteousness of God in regard of sin has been declared. The blood was a witness of death, that is, of the removal from under the eye of God of the man, or order of man, that had sinned against God. This removal was brought to pass vicariously in the person of the righteous One who gave Himself a ransom for all. In the eating of the lamb roast with fire the people were to enter into the solemnity of what had been effected.
The Lord Jesus greatly desired to eat the last passover with His disciples, forming, as they did, a unique 'family' circle. It was about to be fulfilled in the kingdom of God, and the Lord takes the place of separation from the earth until the kingdom of God should come. Lu 22:15-18.
The Jewish authorities state the manner of eating the Passover at the time of the Lord to have been as follows:
1. When all were seated, the head of the feast gave thanks, and they drank the first cup of wine mingled with water.
2. All washed their hands.
3. The table was spread with the paschal lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and a dish of thick sauce (said to signify the mortar with which they made bricks in Egypt).
4. They all dipped a portion of the bitter herbs into the sauce, and ate it.
5. All the dishes were removed from the table, and the children or proselytes were instructed in the meaning of the Passover.
6. The dishes were then brought back, and the president said, "This is the passover which we eat, because the Lord passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt." And holding up the bitter herbs he said, "These are the bitter herbs that we eat in remembrance that the Egyptians made the lives of our fathers bitter in Egypt." He then spoke of the unleavened bread, and repeated Ps. 113 and Ps. 114, concluding with a prayer. They all drank the second cup of wine.
7. The governor broke one of the cakes of unleavened bread, and gave thanks.
8. They then all partook of the paschal lamb.
9. As an ending of the supper they all took a piece of bread and some of the bitter herbs, dipped them in the sauce, and ate them.
10. They then drank the third cup of wine, called 'the cup of blessing.'
11. The governor rehearsed Ps. 115, Ps.116, Ps.117, and Ps.118, and a fourth cup of wine concluded the whole.
Connected with the Passover is the FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD. It was kept for seven days, during which all leaven had to be put away. The first day and the seventh day were holy convocations, on which no servile work was to be done. This feast was intimately connected with the Passover: "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." The unleavened bread sets forth that sense of grace, through faith, in the Christian, in which, apart from influences of the flesh and old associations, he can be habitually in the appreciation of, and in communion with the sacrifice of Christ, so that his whole life is consistent therewith.
It appears evident that the term 'passover' was also applied to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as in De 16:2: "Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd." The 'herd' here must refer to the seven days' feast; and this may account for the Jews refusing to go into the judgement hall "lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover," Joh 18:28, though they had eaten the paschal lamb the night before.