At the time of this writing, Nazarene Israel is in the dispersion. Since neither the Tanach (“Old” Covenant) nor the Brit Chadasha (Renewed Covenant) address what to do in the dispersion, it can be difficult to know what to do. Matters are made worse by the rabbinical traditions, most of which directly contradict Yahweh’s words.
In order to understand how to celebrate the Passover in the dispersion, let us understand the Passover story. First let us look at the first Passover in Egypt, and then let us look at Yeshua’s sacrifice. This will show us several key principles, which we can apply no matter what situation we find ourselves in.
Passover is a one-day festival which is followed by seven days of Unleavened Bread. While these two festivals are technically separate, they run together seamlessly, Unleavened Bread (ULB) beginning just as the Passover ends. Because of this, these two festivals are often thought of as one long eight-day festival—and indeed, Yahweh also refers to them in this way.
Passover and Unleavened Bread speak of Israel’s redemption from slavery and bondage. Since we are presently in bondage in spiritual Egypt (i.e., the world), we still need to keep these festivals today. Indeed, as we explain in The Torah Calendar and in Nazarene Israel, the festivals still serve as shadow pictures of coming prophetic events. This becomes apparent from a close reading of Colossians 2:16-17 in the source texts.
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body of Messiah
|BGT Colossians 2:
16 Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει καὶ ἐν πόσει ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς ἢ νεομηνίας ἢ σαββάτων·
17 ἅ ἐστιν σκιὰ τῶν μελλόντων, τὸ δὲ σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Colossians 2:16-17 says to let no one except the body of Messiah judge us in what we eat, what we drink, or in what festival days we keep. That is, we should only take advice on these things from the body of Messiah. This is because the festivals are prophetic shadow pictures of things still to come. For example, while our forefathers went through the first exodus, we and our children will undergo a second exodus, in the future.
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 23:7-8
7 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” says Yahweh, “that they shall no longer say, ‘As Yahweh lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’
8 but, ‘As Yahweh lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land.”
Children learn how to behave through their training. If we raise them up to do what Yahweh says in His Torah (without adding or taking away), then when the time comes for the second exodus, our children will have a much better idea what to do. This is one application of the principle in Proverbs, that we should train up our children in the way they should go, so that when they are older, they will not depart from it.
Mishle (Proverbs) 22:6
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
One of the most important things to know about the Passover, then, is that we are preparing our children to leave spiritual bondage in the world. Just like the first exodus, our children will need to be part of a greater overall nation of Israel, whom Yahweh will lead, and protect.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 52:12
12 “For you shall not go out with haste, Nor go by flight; For Yahweh will go before you, And the Elohim of Israel will be your rear guard.”
While we don’t know that the second exodus will look exactly like the first one, there will be a second exodus, and so we need to train our children to expect one. This is where we catch up with the original Passover story.
In Torah Government and in other places, we explain that while Pharaoh was an evil tyrant, one reason Yahweh allowed Israel to go into slavery in Egypt was to help forge a sense of national identity. Had Pharaoh not held the tribes together after Israel’s death, they would likely have drifted apart. While this was a blessing, it was surely a blessing in disguise, because pharaoh attempted to wipe the Israelites out. Israel’s cries reached Yahweh’s ears, and Yahweh sent Moshe (Moses) to tell pharaoh to let His people go.
Pharaoh, of course, was not about to let his laborers go, and so he refused to let Israel go. At this point, Yahweh brought a series of plagues upon Egypt.
In Exodus 11, Yahweh tells Moshe that He will bring a tenth and final plague upon Egypt, and that this plague will be so horrible that Pharaoh will drive Israel out of Egypt, just to be rid of them and the plagues.
|Shemote (Exodus) 11:1
1 And Yahweh said to Moshe, “I am bringing yet one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that he is going to let you go from here. When he lets you go, he shall drive you out from here altogether.”
|(1) וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה עוֹד נֶגַע אֶחָד אָבִיא עַל פַּרְעֹה וְעַל מִצְרַיִם אַחֲרֵי כֵן יְשַׁלַּח אֶתְכֶם מִזֶּה | כְּשַׁלְּחוֹ כָּלָה גָּרֵשׁ יְגָרֵשׁ אֶתְכֶם מִזֶּה|
The word “drive” is garesh y’garesh, (גָּרֵשׁ יְגָרֵשׁ), which is a doubling of the meaning to drive out.
OT:1644 garash (gaw-rash’); a primitive root; to drive out from a possession; especially to expatriate or divorce:
That Yahweh said Pharaoh would “drive” Israel out of Egypt shows us the exodus was not a slow event, but a rapid one.
In the next verse, days before the actual exodus was to take place, Yahweh told Moshe to have the children of Israel plunder Egypt, by asking the Egyptians for objects of silver and gold. The language seems to indicate that the children of Israel asked for these objects right away, since “Yahweh gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians” at that time.
Shemote (Exodus) 11:2-3
2 “Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, objects of silver and objects of gold.”
3 And Yahweh gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. And the man Moshe was very great in the land of Egypt, in the eyes of Pharaoh’s servants and in the eyes of the people.
After Israel took the plunder, Yahweh commanded each family in Israel to take a lamb or a kid on the tenth of the month, in preparation for the first Passover.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:3-5
3 “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.’”
This spotless lamb, of course, was a prophetic shadow picture of Yeshua. Verse 6 tells us the children of Israel were to keep these lambs until the fourteenth day of the same month, and then they were to kill them “between the evenings.”
6 “Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the evenings.”
|(6) וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת עַד אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה | וְשָׁחֲטוּ אֹתוֹ כֹּל קְהַל עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם|
Scholars debate the meaning of the phrase “between the evenings” (בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם). Some believe it means at sunset, but this does not work, because it takes several hours to slaughter and then dress out a lamb. If one begins at sunset there is not enough time to finish.
Historians tell us there are two evenings in Hebraic thought: one at noon, and the other at dusk. The point between those two evenings refers to mid-afternoon, when the sun has begun its descent, but has not yet set. This understanding harmonizes with Deuteronomy 16:6, which tells to sacrifice the Passover at the time “when the sun comes” (כְּבוֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ) back to earth.
6 “but at the place where Yahweh your Elohim chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun comes [back to earth], at the time you came out of Egypt.”
|(6) כִּי אִם אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם תִּזְבַּח אֶת הַפֶּסַח בָּעָרֶב | כְּבוֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ מוֹעֵד צֵאתְךָ מִמִּצְרָיִם|
The passage continues with the instructions as to how the first Passover was to be eaten.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:7-10
7 “And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.
8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire — its head with its legs and its entrails.
10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.”
Next, verse 11 specifies we are to eat the Passover in haste, with our loins girded, sandals (or shoes) on our feet, and our staff in our hand. What this alludes to is a readiness to depart suddenly.
“And so shall you eat it: loins girded [belt on your waist], your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Passover to Yahweh.”
|(11) וְכָכָה תֹּאכְלוּ אֹתוֹ מָתְנֵיכֶם חֲגֻרִים נַעֲלֵיכֶם בְּרַגְלֵיכֶם וּמַקֶּלְכֶם בְּיֶדְכֶם | וַאֲכַלְתֶּם אֹתוֹ בְּחִפָּזוֹן פֶּסַח הוּא לַיהוָה|
The word na’aleichem (נַעֲלֵיכֶם) translates directly as what you go upon (i.e., what you walk on), so it refers to any footwear (including boots or shoes).
The phrase “in haste” is בְּחִפָּזוֹן (b‘chippazown), which means in hasty flight. From Strong’s OT:2649:
OT:2649 chippazown (khip-paw-zone’); from OT:2648; hasty flight:
Looking up the reference to Strong’s OT:2648, we get:
OT:2648 chaphaz (khaw-faz’); a primitive root; properly, to start up suddenly, i.e. (by implication) to hasten away, to fear:
Earlier we saw how Shaul tells us Yahweh’s festivals are prophetic shadow pictures of things still to come. Therefore, rather than eating a fancy sit-down dinner, we should treat the Passover like a dress rehearsal for the second exodus. Whether we are driven out in haste or not, our forefathers in Egypt ate the Passover in haste, as they were told they would be driven out when Yahweh struck the first born.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:12-13
12 “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the elohim (gods) of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Yahweh.
13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
The blood on the doorposts was to be a sign that the persons within the house were faithful to Yahweh (in that they were keeping His commandments). Their obedience is what would spare them from destruction. This is also prophetic of how Yeshua’s blood “marks the doorposts of our hearts,” so we also are spared from destruction.
While Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (ULB) are technically two separate festivals, Yahweh refers to them as if they are one in the same. For example, verse 14 says “this day” (i.e., Passover) is a memorial, and a feast by an everlasting ordinance. However, in the very next verse Yahweh says to eat unleavened bread for “seven days”—and that whoever eats anything leavened, or who does not remove the leaven from his house, shall be cut off from Israel.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:14-15
14 “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.
15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”
The next verses tell us not to work on the first day of unleavened bread (1ULB) or on the last day (7ULB). Instead, we are to conduct a set-apart gathering. It is a rest day, sometimes called a “high Sabbath.” While we are not to do any ordinary work, or any work for pay, we can cook a fresh hot meal, in order to make the feast that much more enjoyable.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:16-18
16 “On the first day there shall be a set-apart gathering, and on the seventh day there shall be a set-apart gathering. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat — that only may be prepared by you.
17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.
18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.”
Yahweh wants us to eat unleavened bread from the evening ending the 14th day (also called the late 14th) until the evening ending the 21st day (the start of the 22nd day). We must not have any leaven in our houses (or on our property) during that time.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:19-20
19 “For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land.
20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.”
Now let us skip ahead to verses 33-34, which tell us that our forefathers were sent out of Egypt in haste.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:33-34
33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.”
34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.
Because the plundering is mentioned in the narrative the morning after the Passover (below), some people believe the Passover took place on the conjunction of the 13th and 14th (also called the early 14th.) However, this does not work, because the narrative mentions the plundering of Egypt in the past tense (“had asked”), showing that the children of Israel had already asked the Egyptians for their goods before they were driven out (on the morning of the 15th).
35 And the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moshe, and they had asked from the Egyptians objects of silver, and objects of gold, and garments.
36 And Yahweh gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, so that they gave them what they asked. And they plundered the Egyptians.
|(35) וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עָשׂוּ כִּדְבַר מֹשֶׁה | וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם כְּלֵי כֶסֶף וּכְלֵי זָהָב וּשְׂמָלֹת
(36) וַיהוָה נָתַן אֶת חֵן הָעָם בְּעֵינֵי מִצְרַיִם וַיַּשְׁאִלוּם | וַיְנַצְּלוּ אֶת מִצְרָיִם
Verse 39 tells us the exodus was so hasty there was not even time to prepare food.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:39
39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt, and had not been able to delay, nor had they prepared food for themselves.
Exodus 12:51 gives another witness that the children of Israel did not take an extra day to plunder Egypt, for Yahweh says He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt “on that same day” as the Passover/First Day of Unleavened Bread (i.e., the morning of the 15th).
Shemote (Exodus) 12:51
51 And it came to be on that same day that Yahweh brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their divisions.
Returning back to verses 24 and 25, Yahweh tells us to perform this service when we “come into the land.” What this means to us is that in the dispersion, we do not need to slaughter a lamb by houses.
24 “And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your children forever.
25 When you come into the land which Yahweh will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this service.”
|(24) וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה | לְחָק לְךָ וּלְבָנֶיךָ עַד עוֹלָם:
(25) וְהָיָה כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן יְהוָה לָכֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר | וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת
However, Numbers 9:1-3 tells us that the children of Israel did keep the Passover the following year in the wilderness. Yahweh commanded the children of Israel to keep the Passover in the same fashion as they had done during the Exodus, including the same rules and regulations.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 9:1-3
1 Thus Yahweh spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2 “Now, let the children of Israel observe the Passover at its appointed time.
3 “On the fourteenth day of this month, at evening, you shall observe it at its appointed time; you shall observe it according to all its statutes and according to all its ordinances.”
Yahweh even adds ordinances in verses 6-14. These pertain to those who cannot keep the Passover in its time because of contact with a dead body, or because they are away on a long journey.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 9:6-14
6 Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; and they came before Moshe and Aharon that day.
7 And those men said to him, “We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time among the children of Israel?”
8 And Moshe said to them, “Stand still, that I may hear what Yahweh will command concerning you.”
9 Then Yahweh spoke to Moshe, saying,
10 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep Yahweh’s Passover.
11 On the fourteenth day of the second month, between the evenings, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.
13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.
14 And if a stranger dwells among you, and would keep Yahweh’s Passover, he must do so according to the rite of the Passover and according to its ceremony; you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land.’”
The second Passover is called Pesach Sheini. It does not give us a choice of when to keep Passover, but only gives an alternative, if we are not able to keep the Passover in its time due to factors beyond our control. The timing of Passover is unpredictable, and if we are away on business, or if we have a death in the family, then we can keep Pesach Sheini. Yahweh did not give these rules for the original Pesach because everyone had to leave the land on time (whether they were ritually clean or not). However, while we are rehearsing for the second exodus, we have to abide by His rules of ritual purity. (A woman’s monthly times do not apply to the Pesach. they only apply to the temple.)
The next time Scripture records the children of Israel as offering the Passover is in Joshua 5:10, just after they arrived in the Land of Canaan.
10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening on the plains of Jericho.
|(10) וַיַּחֲנוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּגִּלְגָּל | וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת הַפֶּסַח בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ בָּעֶרֶב בְּעַרְבוֹת יְרִיחוֹ|
Rather than painting their doorposts with blood, the Israelites may have brought their Passover lambs up to the tabernacle. This is because in Deuteronomy 12, Yahweh begins a several chapter long monologue, which gives additional rulings for how we are to hold the feasts when we live in the land.
1 “These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which Yahweh, the Elohim of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the soil.”
|(1) אֵלֶּה הַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְרוּן לַעֲשׂוֹת בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֶיךָ לְךָ לְרִשְׁתָּהּ | כָּל הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם חַיִּים עַל הָאֲדָמָה|
One of these rules (for when we live in the land) is the need to make a pilgrimage to the place where Yahweh chooses to place His name.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:1-2
1 “Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover to Yahweh your Elohim, for in the month of Aviv Yahweh your Elohim brought you out of Egypt by night.
2 You shall sacrifice the Passover to Yahweh your Elohim from the flock and the herd, in the place where Yahweh chooses to establish His name.”
When the tabernacle stood, Yahweh placed His name wherever the tabernacle was. Later, that place became the temple in Jerusalem.
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 14:21
21 Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which Yahweh had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there.
We only need to go up for the feasts when we live in the land. Outside the land, we may go up to the feasts, but it is not necessary (nor was it always possible in ancient times). For example, Shaul did not go up to the temple during the fourteen years he lived outside the land (perhaps because it was just too far).
Galatim (Galatians) 2:1
1 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.
The principle we have seen so far is that Yahweh’s Passover is a preparation to leave Egypt (whether physical or spiritual). In order to prepare to leave Egypt, we need to have our war belt on our waist, our shoes on our feet, and our staff in our hand, ready to travel, and to protect our families, come what may. We are also to eat it in haste, as if prepared to flee at any moment.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:11
11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is Yahweh’s Passover.
Things will get interesting in the Renewed Covenant, because Yeshua was in the land. He led His apostles to partake of the Last Supper (the evening before the Passover) as a rabbinical sit-down Seder meal. We will see why this does not affect or alter Yahweh’s Torah commands, and why we should always default to Yahweh’s commands (especially in the dispersion), except for the fact that we do not sacrifice a lamb.