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Passing Through Prophecy: The Passover Seder and the Last Supper of Christ

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Was the Jewish Passover Seder actually a prophetic precursor to the Last Supper of Jesus Christ? From menus to meanings, the parallels are amazing.

Passover Recalled

The Passover celebration recalls God’s miraculous rescue of the Hebrew people from bondage in Egypt. The series of ten plagues (rivers to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, blighted livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of the firstborn) finally convinced the Pharaoh to let God’s people go from Egypt to the Promised Land. The first twelve chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus recount these events.

In the last plague, the angel of death smote the eldest of each family (human and animal) throughout Egypt, but it passed over all of the Hebrew homes. These homes were covered by the blood of a spotless lamb.

Christians may refer to Jesus as “Christ, our Passover” or “The Lamb of God,” because His blood covers sins and saves believers from eternal death.

The Seder Dinner

A Seder might include the following foods: charoset (a compote of apples, nuts, wine, sugar and cinnamon), gefilte (pickled) fish, matzo ball soup, roasted lamb, brisket of beef, roasted potatoes, red cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, and dried fruit. Unleavened bread (matzo crackers) is eaten to symbolize how the Israelites left Egypt quickly, without waiting for their bread to rise.

The Last Supper of Christ was actually a celebration of the Passover Seder with Jesus and His disciples in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. The Gospel of Mark states this clearly: “His disciples said to Him, where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?" (Mark 14:12).

The New Testament Scriptures describe how Jesus and His followers dipped their bread together into the cup of wine.

The Passover Lamb

The Passover lamb is of particular significance. In the Old Testament, a spotless lamb was the sacrifice to atone for sin. Isaiah 53 refers to the Savior as a suffering lamb. In the New Testament, John the Baptist called Jesus “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

The Apostle Paul called Jesus “our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7), because of His vicarious sacrifice to pay for man’s sin. Jesus' sinless life, coupled with his dual humanity and divinity, made Him the spotless Lamb of God and the perfect final sacrifice for sin.

Maundy Thursday

The eve of Good Friday (or the Thursday before Easter Sunday) has been commonly known as Maundy Thursday. Translated from the Latin “mandatum,” the word “Maundy” refers to an entrusted order or instruction. (The word is related to our modern term, “mandatory.”)

Jesus washed His disciples’ feet and then instructed them to do likewise. He explained the significance of the bread and the wine, as representing His sacrificed body and blood for mankind’s sin. He told His disciples to recall this every time they ate or drank together.

This practice, or ordinance, became known as the sacrament of thanksgiving, the Holy Eucharist or Communion. Catholic churches practice this at every mass. Most Protestant churches celebrate Communion once a month. Worldwide, Christians celebrate this sacrament on Maundy Thursday as well.

The Coincidal Calendar

At the same time Christians are marking Maundy Thursday, their Jewish brethren are celebrating the Passover. Christians break bread together, while the Jews sit down for the Seder meal.

In fact, a growing number of Christian churches are actually observing an adapted form of the Passover Seder, as a means of recalling God’s faithfulness to His people. Some churches hold potluck dinners on the occasion, followed by a worship and Communion service.

Waiting for Elijah?

At the Passover Seder, families set a place for the prophet Elijah, anticipating his imminent arrival to proclaim the coming of the Messiah.

Christians celebrating Communion, on Maundy Thursday and throughout the year, are recalling the death of Christ and also His expected return. The Apostle Paul wrote: "For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26).

The parallel is clear: both feasts display the eager anticipation of a Savior. What a cause for celebration!

Catholic Rosary

The Catholic rosary is a symbol of faith for many people. When you have something to hold onto while praying, it can give you a sense of comfort with your faith. There are different types of rosary beads with some of them having an ornate crucifix, and some are just the strand of beads. The [...]

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