Saturday, March 13, 2021

A Beginners Guide to Observing Passover




By Maria Merola
© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, March 2004

There are many followers of Messiah, Yahuwshuwa that would like to begin observing Passover, but they do not know where to begin. This is the same situation I found myself in back in 2002, when I first began celebrating the biblical feast days all by myself, in my home.

Gradually, I began inviting people over to my home that were ready to give up pagan holidays, and they were ready to learn about the Hebraic Roots of our faith. To keep it easy, (and to fulfill the commandments of Passover), I would like to suggest a simple guide from Exodus 12. 

Many believers are intimidated by the Jewish Seder meal, (and all that goes into preparing for one), so they shy away from keeping it altogether. 

However, YaHuWaH honors our “baby steps,” so please do not refrain from celebrating a Passover memorial, just because you are afraid of not doing things perfectly. 

One thing that particularly stands out to me in Scripture, is when King Hezekiah sent letters to the exiled House of Ephraiym, and he invited them to attend the Passover in Jerusalem, even though they had not participated in many years. 

The Ten Northern Tribes of the House of Ephraiym were forbidden by King Jeroboam to attend Jerusalem for the feasts, and thus, they had not been allowed to attend during their exile in the Assyrian Captivity. 

What I particularly find fascinating is that in 2nd Chronicles 30:15-27, we read that YaHuWaH honored the actions of Hezekiah, because he was taking “baby steps” to reintroduce the Passover celebration to these lost sheep, even though they were not fully sanctified. Yet, his efforts were rewarded by Elohiym. 

2nd Chronicles 30:15 Then they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of YHWH. 

2nd Chronicles 30:16 And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the Towrah (law of Moses), the man of Elohiym: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites. 

2nd Chronicles 30:17 For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the Passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto YHWH. 

2nd Chronicles 30:18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good YHWH pardon every one 

2nd Chronicles 30:19 That prepares his heart to seek Elohiym, YHWH Elohiym of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary

2nd Chronicles 30:20 And YHWH hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people

Therefore, it is more important that you begin to observe the memorial of the Passover, than it is to do everything perfectly. I am not suggesting that you cut corners on purpose. Obviously, we want to come as close as possible in doing things correctly. 

So what are we commanded to do exactly? 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:1 And YHWH spoke unto Mosheh (Moses) and Aharown (Aaron) in the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt), saying, 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you

Shemoth (Exodus)12:3 Speak you unto all the congregation of Yisra’el, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 

Shemoth (Exodus) 12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 

Shemoth (Exodus) 12:6 And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Yisra’el shall kill it in the evening. 

*Note: the Hebrew Masoretic text says “beyn ha’ erebiym” meaning “between the two evenings.” The English translation says “In the evening.” For further explanation of the meaning of the phrase “between the evenings,”  see these two blogs:



Shemoth (Exodus)12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden (boiled) at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:10 And you shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remains of it until the morning you shall burn with fire. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:11 And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is YHWH’s Passover. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:12 For I will pass through the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt) this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt), both man and beast; and against all the gods of Mitzrayim (Egypt) I will execute judgment: I am YHWH. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt). 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to YHWH throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever

*Note: notice that Yah commands us to keep this feast “Forever, throughout your generations.” He did not say “Only until Messiah dies on the cross.” 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:15 Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Yisra’el

Shemoth (Exodus)12:16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you

Shemoth (Exodus)12:17 And you shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Mitzrayim (Egypt): therefore shall you observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever

Shemoth (Exodus)12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at evening

Shemoth (Exodus)12:19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Yisra’el, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall you eat unleavened bread

Shemoth (Exodus)12:21 Then Mosheh (Moses) called for all the elders of Yisra’el, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the Passover. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

Shemoth (Exodus)12:23 For YHWH will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, YHWH will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 

Shemoth (Exodus) 12:24 And you shall observe this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons forever

Shemoth (Exodus)12:25 And it shall come to pass, when you be come to the land which YHWH will give you, according as he has promised, that you shall keep this service. 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean you by this service? 

Shemoth (Exodus)12:27 That you shall say, It is the sacrifice of the YHWH’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Yisra’el in Mitzrayim (Egypt), when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped

Now that we have read all of the requirements from Exodus 12, let’s narrow it down to what we are commanded to do under the Renewed Covenant, while living in exile in the nations.

1.) Remove all leaven (yeast) from your home before the Passover begins. This means fermented yeast that has been baked into bread, cakes, cookies, etc. This does not include packets of yeast that have not been activated. Baking Soda and Baking Powder are allowed, since they are not considered yeast. These are leavening agents that can be used in baking products, however they are considered kosher for Passover.

2.) Tell the story to your children of the Exodus and the Gospel Passover. 

3.) Eat Roasted Lamb (if you can find it in the store), with bitter herbs (I use Dandelion Greens and/or Chicory in my salad); Eat this with Unleavened Bread for seven days. We may not eat leaven (yeast) or leavened bread for seven days, from the 14th - 21st of Abib (Leviticus 23:4-8).

If you cannot find lamb, I believe beef is a good substitute. I do not believe in using chicken, because our Messiah was no chicken! When trying to kill a chicken, it runs away and squawks. When killing a lamb, it lays down quietly and allows you to slit his throat. Our Messiah fulfilled the pattern of the Passover Lamb, as well as the Red Heifer, therefore lamb or beef are acceptable metaphors, but not chicken. 

5.) Read the Scriptures out loud. We take turns with family members and rotate around the table, each reading ten verses, and then on to the next person, until we have completed reading. We also read about the Passover crucifixion in the Gospels. I will be publishing in a blog, a list of Scripture readings to follow from Exodus and the Gospels. 

While I am not against using a traditional Jewish Haggadah (Passover Service), I want to make it easy for those that feel intimidated by the idea of conducting a Passover Ceremony in their home. I do have a Renewed Covenant Passover Haggadah that I published years ago. I will also attach it to this blog later. 

*A word of caution: 

You may want to invite Christians and Church people over to your home to learn how to keep Passover. However, if you decide to do this, please warn them ahead of time, that they must abandon all pagan holidays, and repent of all sin before deciding to keep the Feasts of YaHuWaH. 

The basis for this can be found in Acts 15:29. Gentiles wanting to learn the Torah or the Mosaic Law (after being born-again by the blood of Yahuwshuwa), were expected to adhere to the following commands before being allowed to fellowship with mature believers. 

Acts 15:29 That you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if you keep yourselves, you shall do well. Fare you well.

To break this down in modern vernacular: 

1.) Abstain from unclean animals as per Leviticus 11. 

2.) Abstain from unclean holidays offered up to Baal (i.e. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.) 

3.) Abstain from animal blood or human blood (no vaccines). 

4.) Unless you own a farm and your own livestock, it is nearly impossible to find meat that is killed properly. The next best thing is to soak your meat in icy cold salt water to extract the blood before cooking. 

5.) Abstain from roadkill (animals that are not killed in the proper way), via strangulation, or being hit by a car, or torn by another animal (Exodus 22:31). Animals must be killed in the most humane way via a sharp knife that slits the throat, so that the animal bleeds out rapidly, and feels no pain.

Venison is clean for eating, but if it has been killed with a bullet or a bow and arrow, this is not considered clean, because the blood of the animal has not been properly drained. However, if the animal is hung upside down, and the blood is allowed to drain, this will eliminate the blood from the muscle tissue. Also, soaking the venison in salt water will draw out the remaining blood. In Genesis 27, we are shown that Isaac loved to eat venison stew that had been hunted by his son Esau.

6.) Abstain from sexual sin (including pre-marital sex). Scripture commands that no uncircumcised person may keep the Passover with an Yisraelite. 

Shemoth (Exodus) 12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the Passover to YHWH, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof

At this point, I believe an explanation of this passage is required. The original way of keeping Passover involved conducting a lamb sacrifice, and then applying the blood on the doorposts of your home. Moving forward, (after Yisra’el was finally settled in the Promised Land, and Joshua allotted each tribe their land), the Passover sacrifices had to be done in Jerusalem only, and in no other place on earth. 

However, we are still commanded to observe Passover as a “memorial,” and we are told that this is to be done “Forever, unto all generations, in all of your dwellings.”

We are commanded to “remember,” and to tell the story to our children of the first Passover in Egypt. We are also commanded to observe the Passover “in remembrance” of our Messiah’s sacrifice on the cross. 

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 

1st Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 

Therefore, even when we are living in the gentile nations, we are still commanded to celebrate “A memorial of Passover,” but not an actual Passover Lamb sacrifice. The reason why all males participating in the Passover sacrifice are required to be physically circumcised is because of Temple protocol: 

Ezekiel 44:9 Thus says YHWH Elohiym; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Yisra’el

Unless you will be conducting an animal sacrifice in Jerusalem, there is no need to be “Physically circumcised in the flesh.” Physical circumcision in the flesh serves only as an outward “sign,” not a means to salvation. 

Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 

However, all participants must be circumcised inwardly in the heart (in other words, born-again, and having repented of all paganism). If you want to invite some believers over to your home to keep the Passover, I suggest leading them into a prayer of renouncing Baal worshipping holidays, and baptizing them in water (in your home, or in their home), in the bathtub, or in a local body of water, a swimming pool, etc. I would suggest doing this a week or so prior to having them participate in the Passover meal with you.

Understanding Circumcision

While it is true that outward circumcision is required to be part of the  Abrahamic Covenant, it was always meant to represent inward circumcision of the heart.

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And YHWH your Elohiym will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love YHWH your Elohiym with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live. 

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to YHWH, and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Circumcision of the heart, and circumcision in the flesh are both required to enter into the sanctuary in the Temple, according to Ezekiel 44:8. YaHuWaH commands that the Passover Lamb be sacrificed only in Jerusalem, where he has chosen to place his name (Deuteronomy 16:2-6; 1st Kings 11:36; 2nd Kings 21:4-27; 2nd Chronicles 6:6; 33:4-7). 

When keeping Passover any other place in the world besides Jerusalem, we may not conduct a lamb slaughter on Passover. It is perfectly permissible to buy lamb from a kosher farm, butcher, or the store. You may also kill your own lamb the day before Passover (so as not to be misconstrued as a sacrifice). 

I do believe we should circumcise our baby boys on the eighth day, as Scripture commands. However, for grown men wanting to be circumcised in the flesh, it is strongly advisable for cleanliness and for practical reasons, yet it is not required to keep a Passover Memorial.

If you are a grown male that lives in Jerusalem (where we are required to sacrifice the lamb), you are required to be circumcised in the flesh before offering up a Passover sacrifice. The key word is “sacrifice.”

During the one-thousand-year reign of Messiah, those who belong to him will be given a resurrected glorified body, which means we will be given a full-body circumcision. 

Colossians 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Mashiyach

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Ruwach of Elohiym and glory in Mashiyach, Yahuwshuwa and put no confidence in the flesh. 

1st Corinthians 7:19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision but keeping the commandments of Elohiym

Galatians 5:6 For in Mashiach Yahuwshuwa neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love

Romans 2:25-29: 

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the Torah (law), but if you break the Torah (law), your circumcision becomes uncircumcision

So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the Torah (law), will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 

Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the Torah (law) will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the Torah (law). 

For no one is a Yahuwdiy (Jew) who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Yahuwdiy (Jew) is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from Elohiym. 

Galatians 6:15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

Romans 4:11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well. 

Jeremiah 9:25 “Behold, the days are coming, declares YHWH, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh.” 

Ephesians 2:11 Therefore, remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands. 

This subject was also addressed in Acts 15:1-41:

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 

And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. 

So, being sent on their way by the assembly, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. 

When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the assembly and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that Elohiym had done with them. 

But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the Law of Moses.” 

What was wrong with what the Pharisees were saying? 

They were “Placing the cart before horse.” In other words, they were placing more importance on outward circumcision, rather than inward circumcision of the heart. 

Therefore, they were missing the entire meaning of circumcision. It is no different than a man who gives his wife roses for her birthday, but during the rest of the year, he ignores her, and barely gives her the affection she desires. YaHuWaH wants our circumcision to be genuine---from the heart. Not merely going through the motions.

In conclusion, outward circumcision in the flesh is meant to be an outward sign, akin to water baptism. However, circumcision of the heart is more important. Nevertheless, outward circumcision has health benefits for cleanliness in marriage, to prevent the wife from developing cervical cancer. See the following articles:




What about the Passover Seder Haggadah?

There are many prophetic things that are part of a traditional Passover Seder, and these things are beautiful, because they point us to our Messiah. Traditionally, there are four cups of wine served at the Seder. 

The ministry of Messiah speaks to each of these four promises: 

1.) Messiah sanctifies us – “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17:17-19). 

2.) Messiah delivers us – “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). 

3.) Messiah redeems us – “But when the fullness of the time had come, Elohiym sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). 

4.) Messiah is our joy – “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

The four cups represent the four expressions of redemption: Sanctify, Deliver, Redeem, and Marry. 

1.) The Cup of Sanctification - I will separate you from the Egyptians, and will make you my peculiar treasure upon the earth (Exodus 19:5).

2.) The Cup of Deliverance -  I will deliver you out of bondage  (Exodus 6:5-6).

*Note: This is also called “The Cup of Wrath,” for the wrath of Elohiym was poured out on Egypt to deliver Yisra’el. The “Cup of Wrath” was also poured out upon our Messiah to deliver humanity from the curse of sin.

3.) The Cup of RedemptionI will redeem you with my outstretched arm(Deuteronomy 26:8).

4.) The Cup of the Restoration I will take you as my bride.(Hosea 2:19-20).

The bride will drink of the fourth cup at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with the bridegroom (Matthew 26:29), as it was the fourth cup that our Messiah refused to drink. However, although he pleaded with the Father to “Let this cup pass from me,” (Matthew 26:39); Nevertheless, he drank of “The cup of wrath” (Revelation 14:10; 16:19) for us sinners.

Another prophetic picture that I love about a traditional Passover Seder is the Elijah Cup. It reminds us that before Messiah returns, the Spirit of Eliyahuw (Elijah) must manifest through the end-time Two Witnesses (Malachi 4:4-5; Revelation 11:4-6).

I love the tradition called “The Afikomen,” where the three sheets of Matzah are “broken” and then
wrapped in a napkin to be  “hidden.” The napkin is also symbolic of the burial cloth our Messiah was wrapped in. Matzah has no leavening or yeast it it, therefore, it symbolizes that our Messiah is “That bread from heaven,” (John 6:51) who is also the sinless lamb (Exodus 12:5; 1st Peter 1:19). The bread being without leaven reminds us that we are to rid our lives of all sin, and that Messiah was perfect and sinless (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). 

The fact that there are three pieces of the Matzah hidden reminds us that our Messiah was hidden “In the heart of the earth for three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40). The word “Afikomen” literally means “To be eaten at the end.” 

This reminds us of when our Messiah declared that moving forward (after his Passover meal), he would no longer be eating the Passover meal with his disciples until the end, when he returns to set up his kingdom here on earth (Luke 22:16). It also tells us that at the end, the Yahuwdiym (Jews) who search for him will find him standing on the Mount of Olives, and they shall mourn for him whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10).

Interestingly, the Matzah is pierced and striped before being placed in the oven. This is a prophetic picture of our Messiah who was pierced(Psalm 22:16; John 19:34-37; Revelation 1:7) and by his stripes we were healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1st Peter 2:24). 

The only person who is allowed to search for the Matzah is the youngest child in the home. This reminds us that many from the Kingdom of Yahuwdah (Judah) still are blinded to their Messiah, thus, he is 
“hidden” from their eyes (2nd Corinthians 3:14-16; Romans 11:7). 

The youngest child going in search of the three pieces of Matzah reminds us that those who seek after Messiah, will find him, and will be given the “Hidden Manna” (Revelation 2:17). Although this is a tradition, it is one that is full of prophetic meaning, for our Messiah is still hidden from many of the Yahuwdiym (Jews). The Afikomen is an allusion to this beautiful passage:

Jeremiah 29:13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

When those from the kingdom of Judah humble themselves as children, they will find him! For our Messiah told us we must become “As a little child to enter into the Kingdom of Elohiym” (Matthew 18:3; Matthew 19:14). We are shown that we must become “The least, before becoming great” (Matthew 9:48). For those who Humble themselves shall be exalted (Luke 14:11; 18:4).

Back in the year 2006, I had written and published in a PDF, a Sacred Name Passover Seder Haggadah. However, I will be making some edits to it to simplify it. Hopefully, by next Passover in 2023, I will be able to attach it here to this blog, and publish it on Amazon.

In the meantime, please see my other blog for a simple Scripture Reading Guide to read on Passover, Unleavened Bread & First-Fruits:

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