What is a “Messianic Passover Haggadah”
What is a Passover Haggadah for Christians and Jews?
And what does “Messianic” even mean?
For a quick recap of why we even have a Haggadah, let’s start at the beginning….
About 1,450 years BCE (before the common era) the Israelites were held in Egyptian slavery. The book of Exodus gives us details as to what it was like for the Israelites during that time.
“So they [the Egyptians] put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor….” (Exodus 1:11)
It was not a very good situation for the Israelites. They cry out for deliverance and ultimately Moses (Hebrew: Moshe) is sent by God to deliver His people from Egypt.
Pharaoh, at first, seems to think this is all a joke. His own magicians can duplicate some of the things Moses is doing. But as the miracles (think plagues) become bigger and bigger, Pharaoh’s magicians realize that this is “the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19), but Pharaoh’s heart is hard and he will not let them go free.
Plague after plague occurs over time and still, he will not let them go.
Finally, the last plague (and worst one) was slaying of the firstborn son.
In one night, all the firstborn sons of Egypt were found dead. The Israelites were protected, however, because they put the blood of a spotless lamb on their doorposts the evening before. This made God “Passover” their houses and protect them from judgment.
After this plague, the nation of Israel was told by Pharaoh to pack up and finally “Leave!”
Yet, when Pharaoh comes to his senses and realizes his work force has just vacated his land, his heart is hardened yet again and follows Israel to the Sea.
God does a miracle there and the sea opens after a powerful wind blows “all that night.”
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22)
Of course, when Pharaoh and his army try to follow, they are drown and that is the last Israel will see of their taskmasters.
And this is where the Haggadah comes in…. God told the Israelites to have a commemorative event each year on the anniversary date.
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14)
And the Haggadah is just that… a booklet which takes you through the service remembering the above Exodus details with food and song!
So what is a “Messianic” Haggadah you may ask?
Well, a growing number of Jewish people believe that the Messiah has come to Israel and that His name in Hebrew was Yeshua. (That is the Jewish name of Jesus. He was Jewish and lived in Israel after all. You did know that, right?)
And as you might have guessed, the word “Messianic” comes from the word “Messiah.” Therefore, a “Messianic Jew” is a Jewish person who believes that the Messiah has already arrived and His name is Yeshua (Jesus)!
Our “Messianic” Haggadah follows the same pattern as the traditional Jewish ones, however, we additionally show how Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated it with His disciples (Hebrew: talmidim – תלמידםtalmidim) at what is commonly called “The Last Supper”.
We also believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the fulfillment of the lamb that was slain to protect people from judgment.
One final note: Notice the lamb’s blood was placed upon the Israelites doorposts and lintel. Dripping from the top, in a very real sense – it would have formed a cross. Today, it is the blood of the Lamb of God, Yeshua / Jesus, placed upon the doorposts of our hearts today that protects us from the judgment of God. (And trust that God knows EVERYTHING about you and I that deserve judgment, but He would rather “Passover” you, than judge you.)
And that is why He sent the Messiah!
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter…” (Isaiah 53:7)
Written seven centuries before Yeshua (Jesus).
So let’s recap – In Egypt, the “spotless” lamb died and its blood was placed on the door. Only then did no judgment enter. And that, my friend, is why Jesus being the Messiah is so, so important. The Messiah died so that we would not have to endure God’s judgment for our sins after death. He was our substitute.
Do you believe this? If not – then you are not saved from His judgment.
OR – Are you willing to let Yeshua (Jesus) be the servant He was foretold to be by Isaiah and let Him be your Passover lamb.
Just say this simple prayer from your heart and lips… “God, I am living apart from You. I am sorry for my sins. I turn from them. I need the Passover lamb – the Messiah in my life. Yeshua (Jesus) I believe you are alive and I ask You to enter into my heart right now. I trust in You to save me from my sins, both now and forever. Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer – let us know so that we can rejoice with you!
Here are a few sample pages from our Messianic Haggadah. We have also included transliteration (Hebrew spelled in English letters) for the main blessings and songs for the Seder.
So there you have it.
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Today we wanted to talk about feet and what the Scriptures say about feet.
In the Bible days, there really was only two modes of transportation for most people. Either ride on an animal (like a donkey) or put on your sandals and walk.
We believe that the Messiah and His disciples mostly walked everywhere they went.
This must have made for some rough looking feet. Perhaps that is why the woman in Luke 7:37 washed Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.
It was those feet that carried the message of the good news of the Kingdom of God to town after town in Israel for three years.
And physically, where did many people hear this message when Jesus sat down to teach in small groups? At His feet… ”She had a sister called Mary (Miriam), who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.” (Luke 10.39)
Being at the feet of a person meant you were in perfect submission to their authority. Either:
”Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool.” (Psalm 132.7)
”For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” (1 Corinthians 15.25)
And today, as believers in Messiah, we are told that we have beautiful feet!
How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace….
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
Notice where the beautiful feet go. They go to the Jewish people and tell them about ”Your God!” Sadly most Jewish people today don’t even know about who their God is.
Even the Jewish apostle tells us about feet. ”….and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” (Ephesians 6.15)
Moses knew feet were important…..
”Moses slaughtered it and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.” (Leviticus 8:23)
When Aaron was called into the priesthood – he had blood placed upon his ear, thumb and big toe! God wants him (and us) to be consecrated in our hearing, doing and walking!
And there are also feet that God hates. ”….feet that run to evil and they hasten to shed blood.” (Proverbs 1.16)
But the most important feet in the world were the two feet who took a long Roman nail in them for all the wrong places in life our feet went and our feet should have been punished for. These feet took our sin.
”…they have pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22.16)
Thank you Messiah of Israel.
While most all of Christianity calls the first part of their Bible ”The Old Testament”, the Jewish people have never called it that. Why? Because that implies there is a ”New” Testament – and to the Jewish people, there never was a ”New” testament.
Additionally – the word ”Testament” itself is a misnomer. ‘Testament’ is a Latin word used in English Bibles and the last time we checked, Jewish people do not speak Latin, nor did God ever write scripture in Latin.
The word God uses in scripture for this concept is ”Covenant.” He makes ”Covenants” with people.
So there is an ”Old” and ”New” Covenant that God made with Israel (see Jeremiah 31:31)
So why do the Jewish people call it the ”Tanakh” (also spelled Tanach). Well, Tanakh is actually an acronym. Ta-na-kh (also spelled Tanach) is the three parts to this acronym. And that is because the Hebrew Bible is broken down into three parts….
”Ta” is short for…. Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible)
”Na” is short for…. Navi’im (the major Prophets of the Hebrew Bible – like Isaiah)
”Kh” is short for….Ketuvim (the Poetry books like Psalms)
So the Jewish people have spoken of their Bible like this for over two thousand years.
Even Jesus spoke of the Hebrew Bible this same way.
”Then he said to them, ”These are my words t hat I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44)
Did you see that? Jesus spoke about the Hebrew Bible as having three parts.
1) The Law of Moses (Torah)
2) The Prophets (Navi’im)
3) The Psalms (Ketuvim) – meaning Psalms and all the poetry books like Proverbs, Song of Solomon, etc.
Jesus spoke about the ”Torah, Navi’im and Ketuvim.”
He just spoke the long version. Today we use an acronym to save time.
If you have ever watched the ”Today” Show, then you know how vibrant a host Kathy Lee Gifford is. But did you also know she is half Jewish and a lover of the Bible, Yeshua and Israel. Also, she has been to Israel four times with a Messianic Jewish Rabbi as a teaching host.
Well, she has just written and chronicled her past four rabbinical study trips to Israel in a new book entitled “The Rock, The Road, and the Rabbi: My Journey into the Heart of the Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began.”
This is encouraging to the Messianic Jewish community as Messianic Jews are becoming more well known!
The Biblical Feasts of Tabernacles (called Sukkot) begins the evening of October 4th. There are seven total feasts in Leviticus chapter 23. Four of them are in the spring. Three of them are in the autumn.
The Feast of Trumpets (Feast 5) and Yom Kippur (Feast 6) both occurred a few days ago in September. Now the last feast – Tabernacles (Feast 7) will be the last major Feast until the cycle starts next year again with Passover.
Since Yom Kippur (Feast 6) focuses upon forgivness of sins….. the last feast is a joyous one. After sins are forgiven – what do you do? Celebrate of course!
And they do this by building booths (huts) in their back yards that are up for seven days. They are richly decorated with fruit and things and are made of wood. They will set a table inside and families will eat and eat under the stars! This life we live in may be shaky like this tent, but God provided for us yet again!
According to rabbinic tradition, these flimsy sukkot represent the huts in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt. The tabernacle was temporary to remind us that this world is not our real home. It is like a tent (2 Cor 5:4). Our real joy should come from not the ‘tents’ of this world, but God alone.
Decorating the sukkah is among the most beloved of Jewish traditions, and like other practices (Tashlikh on Rosh Hashanah, dreidel on Hanukkah, the hunt for the afikoman on Pesach) provides Jewish children with an opportunity to play and show off their creativity. We decorate the sukkah with various fruits like oranges and pomegranates as well as artwork and decorative touches. The sukkah is a thing of beauty—fragrant, admitting starlight—but also frailty, letting in rain and prone to blow over when the wind is high.
Did you know that part of the Feast of Tabernacles was a water drawing ceremony done by the priests called ‘Simchat Bet Ha-Shoevah’ (The rejoicing of the House of Drawing Water). Based upon Isaiah 12:3, ‘With joy you shall draw water out of the wells of salvation.’
Did you know that Yeshua (Jesus) went to Jerusalem for this Feast? ‘In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.’ (John 7.37)
Ultimately this feast points to the REAL Tabernacle with God! ‘Behold, the tabernacle (sukkot) of God is with men, and He will dwell with them….’ (Revelation 21.3)
As we approach this autumn – let us remember that the fall feasts teach us that the BEST is yet to come! Messiah shall return. Israel shall repent. The Kingdom Shall come!
What were cities of refuge?
In real life – a man’s blood could be shed in two ways – on purpose or by accident. In biblical times, if someone was killed on purpose, and there were witnesses, then it was murder. They were put to death. Case closed.
But what about ”accidents?” And who determined if it was an accident or not? This is where the cities of refuge came into the picture.
You see – in ancient near east culture, when a man died suddenly and the person with him was suspected of murdering him, it was the duty of the next-of-kin to ”avenge” his family members blood. To track the killer down and make him pay for this.
But what if it truly happened by accident? After the event, with the heat of the moment strong and emotions running high, the next-of-kin might not be open to a rational explanation. Therefore, God set the terms for justice under these conditions.
”Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ”Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there. They shall be cities of refuge for you from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment.” (Numbers 35: 9-12)
The Mosaic Law stated that anyone who committed a murder on purpose was to be put to death (Exodus 21:14). But for unintentional deaths, God set aside these cities to which the murderer could flee for refuge (Exodus 21:13). He would be safe from the avenger—the family member charged with avenging the victim’s death (Numbers 35:19)—until the case could go to trial. It is assumed that the Levites would be the most suitable and impartial judges and therefore, their cites were chosen as the place to run to for protection.
If the avenger of blood were to defy the law and take the manslayer’s life anyway, either inside the city of refuge, or outside it after the high priest’s death, then he would himself become a murderer. The Cities of Refuge were six towns where the Levites lived where the perpetrators of manslaughter could claim the right of asylum.
Outside of these cities, there was no protection from blood vengeance. The Torah names the six cities as being cities of refuge:
On the eastern side of the Jordan: Golan, Ramoth, and Bosor.
On the western side: Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron.
The Talmud states that the roads to these cities were not only marked by signposts saying “Refuge”, but the roads were twice the regulation width—and were particularly smooth and even, in order that fugitives were as unhindered as possible.
A chapter in the Book of Joshua (chapter 20) also reiterates the regulations for the cities of refuge, adding that when a perpetrator arrives at the city, he had to disclose the events that had occurred to the city elders, after which they had to find him a place to live within the city. If he did, he would return to the city of refuge and live there safely UNTIL the death of the high priest who was in office at the time of the trial, at which point he could then safely return to his property.
However, if the manslayer left the city of refuge BEFORE the death of the high priest, the avenger would have the right to kill him (Numbers 35:24-28).
So what does this mean today? What lesson is in it for us? It represented, and still represents, the sinner who has broken the Divine law as pursued by an avenger, JUSTICE, following with drawn sword, exclaiming, ”The soul that sins—it must surely die!” (Ezekiel 18:4) The cities of refuge are types of Messiah, in whom the sinner will find a refuge. A place of safety.
The manslayer was to stay within the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. This concept indicates that the high priest bore the iniquity of the spilled blood to his own grave. By doing this he released the manslayer from the burden of accountability.
The manslayer could only leave the city of refuge after the death of the high priest. The believer today will never leave the city of refuge as the high priest will die no more. But that city is a glorious one! Why would we want to leave? (Hebrews 11:1)
Today we urge sinners to run to the city of refuge! The high priest (Jesus) will protect us from Justice! And we can live in His city forever as He will never die again!
So what are the parts to a modern Jewish Wedding?
Before the wedding: The Ketubah
This is a marriage contract that is prepared before the wedding so it can be signed on the wedding day. It is not a document that contains scripture nor is it one that is filled with poetry, but it is more like a legal document signed by the bride and groom (and witnesses) which testifies that the husband guarantees to his wife that he will meet certain minimum human and financial conditions of marriage. While made very ornately and beautifully, it is not a document of scripture or prayer. It makes no mention of the confirmation of God in marriage. It is also not an affirmation of perpetual love. It is a statement of law that provides the framework of love.
The ketubah restates the fundamental conditions that are imposed by the Torah upon the husband, such as providing his wife with food, clothing, and conjugal rights, which are inseparable from marriage. It is not a mutual agreement; the wife agrees only to accept the husband’s proposal of marriage.
At the wedding: The Chuppah
The Chuppah is a canopy which is set up in front with the bride and groom standing under it. In a real sense – it provides a visual focal point for all to see the wedding occur. It is basically a sheet or cloth (or sometimes a very large prayer shawl) that can be decorated very ornately and is held up by four poles. It is open on all sides and it is where the groom waits for his bride to arrive to meet him. The structure itself is light and delicate, even fragile, representing that a home is built on the love within, not the physical walls around it.
The Chuppah symbolizes the first home of the new bride and groom. Just as Abraham and Sarah lived in a tent – and that tent was open for friends and visitors – so too does this tent symbolize the same. It also is a reminder that God’s presence is above this new marriage. It is believed that God grace is present in every chuppah ceremony and thereby makes it holy.
During the wedding: The Bride circles the groom seven times
As part of the wedding ceremony, the bride will circle the groom seven times. This is symbolic with multiple explanations:
- The bride, by circling the groom, expresses her awesome power over him.
- This also symbolizes her protective care of her husband.
- It can also symbolize that fact that men often have a wall up in which they hide their feelings and hide any sign of weakness or vulnerability. Like Jericho, the walls fell after being encircled seven times. In other words – the bride, encircling him with her love, will make all his walls fall down.
- Some also say this is a reminder that the world was created in 6 days and on the seventh day, God and man had divine fellowship (A Sabbath rest). So too, marriage is a place of rest in this world of work.
At the close of the wedding: The breaking of the glass
One of the very last things to happen before they are presented as ‘Mr. & Mrs.’ comes the breaking of the glass. This is where a glass (perhaps a light bulb sized item) is placed inside a cloth and the groom smashes his foot down upon it as all hear the glass being shattered into a million pieces. Typically all will laugh and shout ‘Mazel Tov!’ (Jewish congratulations equivalent) at this time. Why? Several reasons:
- Some say it is a reminder of the Temple which was destroyed in Jerusalem. In other words – even at our most joyous moment, we still have a memory of the Holy Temple which was destroyed like this glass just was.
- Others say it is symbolic of their lives never being able to go back as they once were. Just like the glass cannot be brought back to the way it was, so to their lives will never go back to the way things were. They are moving forward from this point on.
- Others say (with humor) it is the last time the man gets to put his foot down.
After the wedding: The celebration!
A marriage is a cause for celebration and this is what the food and festivities are all about afterwards. One of the most fun events afterwards is when the bride and groom are placed into two chairs and picked up by several strong men. They are then danced around the room and people clap and celebrate the joy of the newly married couple.
A REMINDER FOR BELIEVERS
The joy of a marriage ceremony is a reminder for us as believers in Yeshua (Jesus) that we are betrothed to Him. When we see Him, it will be a time known as the ‘Marriage supper of the Lamb’! And what joy and celebration that will be!
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;” (Revelation 19:7)