THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:
Pesach (פסח | Passover)
Torah: Exodus 12:21-51
Haftarah: Joshua 3:5-7, 5:2-6:1, 6:27
For the Jewish people, Passover is a day of remembrance of the exodus from Egypt, but disciples of Yeshua have another important aspect of Passover to remember.
Fourteen hundred years after the exodus from Egypt, Yeshua went to Jerusalem with His disciples to keep the appointed time of Passover. He and His disciples had been to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover many times, but this time, as they neared Jerusalem, Yeshua said, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover” (Matthew 26:18). He knew that He was going to fulfill the appointed time in a marvelous and unexpected way.
The Torah instructs the Jewish people to keep the first day of Passover as a “memorial” of the exodus from Egypt. It works as one of God’s reminders. God rescued Israel from Egypt and told the people to keep the festival as an appointed time and a remembrance of their salvation.
Now this day will be a 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. (Exodus 12:14)
The Master kept the seder meal with His disciples in Jerusalem. He took the unleavened bread and the customary Passover cup and instructed His disciples to do so henceforth in remembrance of Him. On the day of the sacrifice, He became a spiritual sacrifice—Israel’s Passover lamb. At the appointed time for the Jewish people to sacrifice their Passover lambs in remembrance of the nation’s salvation from Egypt, Yeshua went to the cross.
When believers keep Passover, we have two things to remember. We remember the historic salvation from Egypt as the Torah commands us, but we also remember the salvation granted to us through the sacrifice of Yeshua. The two remembrances are not mutually exclusive. They naturally complement one another.
Every year we keep Passover in remembrance of Yeshua. Messiah Himself told us to do so: “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19). Did He have in mind only the breaking bread and a sip from the fruit of the vine? No. He spoke within the specific context of Passover. The commandment to do “this” in remembrance of Yeshua refers to the Passover Seder meal. It is not one cup but the traditional cups of Passover. It is not any bread; it is the unleavened matzah bread of Passover. What could be more appropriate for a disciple of Yeshua to do than to keep the festival of Passover in remembrance of Him, just as He told His disciples?
Torah Portion for April 17-23, 2016
From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets.
We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.
Pray for the presence of Ruach haKodesh—the Holy Spirit/Holy Wind—
to attend the Holy Word which will be read throughout the week of Passover!
READINGS FOR THE FESTIVAL OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
DURING THE WEEK OF PASSOVER, THERE ARE READINGS EACH DAY IN THE SYNAGOGUES. FOLLOWING ARE THE READINGS FOR SATURDAY THROUGH NEXT MONDAY. IN NEXT WEEK’S UPDATE WE’LL PROVIDE THE TEXTS FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK OF UNLEAVENED BREAD!
Day 1 (Saturday, April 23): Exodus 12:21-51; Numbers 28:16-25
Joshua 3:5-7; 5:2—6:1; 6:27
The Exodus passage recounts the first Passover, the slaying of the lamb and the placing of blood on the doorposts, the passing of YHVH through Egypt, the “skipping over” of those households with blood on the doors, the striking of the Firstborn of Egypt; the sending of Israel out of the Land, their going out arrayed as armies of the LORD 430 year to the day after being exiled to Egypt.
The Numbers reading details the sacrifices to be offered on Passover during future observances (This reading will be repeated in some form each day throughout the week). The Haftarah from Joshua details the time, over forty years later, when the next generation, before entering at last into Canaan is required to be circumcised. After this is done and the reproach of Egypt was rolled off of them at Gilgal, the Children of Israel celebrate Passover in the Land on the plains of Jericho, the manna ceases, and the Commander of the Army of the LORD appears to send Joshua into the Land.
Day 2 (Sunday, April 24): Leviticus 22:26—23:44; Numbers 28:16-25
IIKings 23: 1-9; 21-25
The Leviticus passage enumerates the “Feasts of the LORD”—Shabbat, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, the Counting of the Omer and Shavuot (Weeks/Pentecost), Yom T’ruah (Festival of Shofars/Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Booths/Tabernacles). The II Kings Haftarah relates a great revival in the days of King Josiah in Jerusalem, in which he cleansed the land of idolatry (as it were, leaven); then the people celebrated a wonderful Passover, unlike any which had gone before, because Josiah “turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Torah of Moses” (vs 25).
The first and seventh days of Passover Week are Sabbaths. This Sunday, the day after the first Passover “sabbath”–is the day on which most of present-day Judaism considers the Ceremony of First Fruits would have been performed (Leviticus 23:9-14). A sheaf (omer) of the first of the grain harvest was brought and waved before the LORD. It was on this day, the third day after his His death, that Yeshua was raised and presented Himself as “firstfruits from the dead” to the Father
(I Corinthians 15:23).
This also marks the first day in the “Counting of the Omer” to Shavuot–the “Feast of Weeks”/ “Pentecost” (Leviticus 23:15), which this year will fall on June 12th.
Day 3 (Monday 25 April): Exodus 13:1-16; Numbers 28:19-25
The Exodus passage recounts the LORD’s instructions immediately following the Children of Israel’s coming out on the night of the first Passover. Israel is admonished to consecrate to the LORD all the firstborn. She is regularly to remember this day in which she went out of Egypt, “out of the house of bondage.” She is to remember to celebrate this Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days each year.
A Happy Passover to each of You!!