3-29-18: The Hidden Meaning of the Passover: What Every Christian Should Know
Sam Rohrer: Well today is Good Friday. In just two more days we’re going to celebrate Easter Sunday. Did you know that the actual days that Jesus was crucified and rose from the grave were actually earlier this week? That’s right. According to the Jewish calendar Christ has already risen and it’s tied directly to the observance of the Jewish Passover. The question is should Christians, therefore, know about the Passover? And since the Jewish Passover historically preceded Easter, what should Christians know about Passover? What messages or pictures did God actually design into the Passover so Jews and Christians alike would look to and recognize the redeemer of the world.
We’re going to talk about this today on Stand in the Gap Today, and to help us better understand the richness, really, truly, the richness of the Passover, and what God wants us to know about Himself because of it, with purpose that we as Christians can learn from it and better help to share the gospel with not only gentiles but particularly our Jewish friends. We’re going to invite in a special guest today to Stand in the Gap Today our messianic Jewish evangelist, JB Bernstein, founder of Gates of Zion. First, let me welcome each of you to Stand in the Gap Today this Good Friday. I’m Sam Rohrer, and I’m going to be joined today by Pastor Isaac Crocket. Isaac, thank you for being on the program with me today on this Good Friday. I know that you’re busy at your church. So thanks for being on board here with me.
Isaac Crockett: Thank for having me, Sam.
Sam Rohrer: With that, Isaac, I’m going to welcome in official now, JB Bernstein. JB, good to have you with us today.
JB Bernstein: Hi Sam. Hi Isaac. Glad to be with you guys.
Sam Rohrer: I tell ya, ladies and gentlemen, you don’t know this, but JB is actually calling in from Friday and just literally, literally moments before we went on the air someone ran into the back of his vehicle. He’s in his car. He’s going to be able to talk to us, but we just prayed and thanked the Lord for protection for him. Sometimes the devil works against things, ladies and gentlemen. I want you to know that. So I think today’s going to be a special day even though the devil tried to stop this effort here. JB, I want you to start right out. Take just a couple of minutes please. Tell us about your message as a messianic Jewish evangelist. You have started an entity called the Gates of Zion, but I specifically want you just to answer here briefly whom do you primarily share the good news of Jesus Christ with? Are you an evangelist in primarily gentiles or Jewish people or both? Just tell us a little bit about your mission as a messianic evangelist.
JB Bernstein: My call from God is to bring the truth of the messiah back to the very people He first came to, and from whom salvation comes. As the Lord said, salvation is from the Jews. Many Christians don’t realize that only less than 1% of Jewish people actually know the Lord, and these were the very people who He first came to, and part of what God has called me to do is to bring this message to Jewish people so they see that the gospel is a Jewish message to the Jewish people about the Jewish messiah and also to help Christians understand that they are called by God to bring the message that came to them from the Jewish people back to the Jewish people.
One of the places where I minister in Norway, they call it Return to Sender. It’s a very crucial thing, and it’s very much part of God’s heart who to this day is broken over His own people. He prayed over only one city recorded in the scripture, Jerusalem, and I believe He continues to pray and weeps also over that city. He wept over that city back then, and I’m convinced He’s weeping over that city now and he wants to equip and release His people throughout the body to bring that message of light back to the people from whom it first came.
Sam Rohrer: JB, this is a great setup. The theme I’m entitling this program here today is The Hidden Meaning of Passover: What Every Christian Should Know. And that’s what we’re going to go into. Let’s go immediately right now to the focus of this program today, Passover week. Now today is Good Friday. Easter’s just in a couple of days. These are some of the most important days in the Christian and Jewish calendar, JB, but most people, I think anyways, don’t know the rich meaning and the connection between Passover and Easter. Since Passover was begun a long time before Easter, but it’s directly connected to it. Give us a bit of history about the Passover. When did it begin? Why is it so important to the Jewish people and the nation of Israel?
JB Bernstein: Well, understand this. When Jesus, who we call by His original Hebrew name, Yeshua, when He was here in the land of Israel in the first century during his whole life He celebrated Passover. He never heard of Easter. There was no such thing. During Passover, Passover might be the most ancient celebration perhaps in all history. Passover has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. Every single year, year after year, Jewish families have come together on the exact same time, which is on the evening of the 14th day of the first month of the year. So you see we are actually in the first month of the biblical calendar, which today is called the month of Nissan and on the 14th day, which is the middle of the month the moon is full.
So on Monday when Jews all over the world celebrated Passover, the moon was full, and that is when the Passover was celebrated. Now, the very first Passover and every subsequent Passover is all about the lamb who is slain before the foundation of the world and that is why when Yeshua, when Jesus celebrated and observed Passover He read about the hidden meaning of it to His disciples. Again, Jewish people who believe in Him we celebrate Passover, which again was on Monday on the full moon and that is the day that the Passover lamb was sacrificed and he was sacrificed.
Sam Rohrer: JB, tremendous, tremendous. Ladies and gentlemen, we are focusing today, because it’s Good Friday on the meaning of Good Friday and looking at the Passover. Our general theme, The Hidden Meaning of Passover: What Every Christian Should Know. Our special guest, JB Bernstein is a messianic Jewish evangelist and founder of The Gates of Zion. When we come back right after this break Isaac Crockett and I will continue with our special guest, JB, How the Passover Seder meal revealed the Redeemer.
Welcome back ladies and gentlemen to this Good Friday special program here on Stand in the Gap Today. With me today is Pastor Isaac Crockett and our special guest, JB Bernstein. He’s a messianic Jewish evangelist and founder of The Gates of Zion where you can go there to that website, GatesofZion.net and see what he has there. Our theme today is The Hidden Meaning of Passover: What Every Christian Should Know. We had a little bit of a history in the last segment. In this next segment here today we’re going to talk about the Seder meal. JB, you have conducted many Seder meals. I was privileged to be a part of one that you led a couple of years ago, and I can tell you I was really blessed by that as we sat there on the ground in that building and you led through that entire process.
I’d like in this segment here if we could to go about explaining to our listeners what the Seder meal is all about, why it’s conducted, what it means to the Jews and to Christians alike. So let me start right off with this very short question to you first and then Isaac will come back and for you. In brief terms, what is the Seder meal, when is it observed, and why is it before we get into the meaning of it. So what is the Seder meal, when’s it observed, and why?
JB Bernstein: The Seder meal is the first of what are called the Moadim in Hebrew, the appointed times. So the first day, the 14th of Nissan which was last Monday is the Passover and then the next day is the feast of unleavened bread. The Seder meal is a meal that we remember what happened on the last plague that God sent to compel Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go or in bondage for 400 years. He had sent 10 plagues and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened after each one. Each of the plagues are intricately also judgments against the god’s of Egypt. For example, the Egyptians worshiped the sun god and so God sent the plague of darkness as an example.
The last plague, which was the most terrible is Pharaoh was considered god and so his son was also considered god and so the last plague was the terrible plague of the death of the firstborn, but what Israel was commanded to do was take a lamb without spot or blemish, a male, and to slaughter that lamb and the blood would be put in a basin and then they would take the blood and apply it to the door post and the top of the door post called the lentil of the door and when that final plague was unleashed the blood would cause death to pass over the home that had the blood applied.
You see, the reason why Christians would be greatly enriched in this and understanding the Seder meal is because that blood is also the blood, it was the blood of the Passover lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world. So the Lord Jesus, Yeshua, He not only fulfilled the Passover, but He is the Passover, and by His blood we, death passes over us today. Actually, in John 5:24 it says, “He who hears my word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment. The judgment of death does not fall upon him, but he passes over from death to life. And so understanding the Seder meal and all of the details of it is a blueprint. Hidden in it is a design in the sense just like the creation, there is an intelligent design that is shouting out that the Messiah has come, He is the Passover, He has died, He has been raised from the dead and it’s all in the Passover. I could go on and on. As you can see, I’m excited about talking about it because it is pure revelation from heaven.
Isaac Crockett: JB, this is exciting hearing about this and to see this in enrichment as we see the context unfolded for us especially a lot of us as Christians oftentimes don’t either understand or maybe don’t even study the old testament as we should. As we see this observance of the Passover, the Seder, we see the richness of this illustration that God has enriched us by giving this to us as well as other feasts in the old testament. These are pictures that show us God’s plan for Israel. It’s already, as you said, revealing His plan of redemption through Yeshua. Could you just explain, then, some of these major elements of the Seder meal then kind of walk us through how these elements point us to God’s plan of redemption.
JB Bernstein: Even before Passover we’re commanded to remove all leaven. Everything that has yeast from the house. That’s really where we get spring cleaning from. Getting rid of the leaven and the typology of leaven is leaven is figurative for sin. So we get rid of all sin, all known offenses against God. We put it away. Get rid of all malice, all anger, evil conduct, get it out of you. So we remove leaven, the physical leaven, but it speaks of removing sin out of our lives and repenting and getting rid of it. So that begins the Passover Seder and then Matzah itself unleavened bread, if you look at it closely it is striped, it is pierced, and it is reminiscent of the Messiah Himself who was pierced. “They pierced my hands and my feet.” In Zechariah it says, “When he returns,” it says, “They will look upon him who they have pierced.” So the Messiah is the pierced one. He is the unleavened bread. “Unleavened” meaning, He had no sin. So this is the feast of unleavened bread and Yeshua himself said, “I am the bread of life.”
This is the kind of bread He was talking about. He was talking about unleavened bread. When you are able to participate and experience Passover, you see this more clearly. Also an incredible thing is that Jewish people throughout the world, there is something called a Matzatash, which has three pieces of Matzah in it. Three slices of unleavened bread and it is a tradition to take the middle piece, break it in half, wrap it in a cloth and then bury it during the Seder meal. It’s amazing. Jewish people do this throughout the whole world for centuries, have no idea why they’re doing it, and so it gets buried at the end of meal. The children look for it, search for it, and it gets taken up away and then it is shared by all.
That is called the Afikoman. It’s the only Greek term in the Passover Seder and interestingly it’s meaning is it’s “what comes after” or “He who comes.” When Yeshua, when Jesus took that bread he said, “This is my body broken for you. Eat of it.” So the Afikoman, the piece of Matzah that is wrapped in a sense, in linen, in cloth, buried, it’s raised up at the end and divided among the family speaks so clearly of the body of Messiah, and that’s just one of the elements during the Seder meal.
Sam Rohrer: JB, I’m listening and I’m overwhelmed because I can see the picture. Jewish people, as you say, have been doing this for thousands of years, 3,000 years.
JB Bernstein: 3,000. Yeah. Over 3,500 years. Yes.
Sam Rohrer: What is a Jewish person looking for? The way you describe it, it is so clear of the picture of the Messiah who has come. Why isn’t that connection made in more people’s lives and their understanding?
JB Bernstein: I think it’s multi-faceted. I think one of the reasons has to do with a great need for the body of Christ to repent over the centuries, even almost 2,000 years of a really anti-Semitic spirit, attitude in the church where the Jews … You see, the gospel, this is very in for it. The gospel to Jewish people for the last 2,000 years-
Sam Rohrer: JB, JB. Hold that right now. We’re going go right into that in the next segment. Ladies and gentlemen, you’re listening to a special Good Friday emphasis here on Stand in the Gap Today, The Hidden Meaning of Passover: What Every Christian Should Know, our special guest, JB Bernstein, messianic Jewish evangelist as Isaac Crockett and I are walking through the meaning of Passover. Just as JB was heading that way, right there we’re going to come back after the break and we’re going to talk about how understanding the Passover should better motivate Christians how to witness to Jewish people.
We’re going to go forward now here. JB Bernstein, you were talking just before the break. You were talking about the meaning of the Seder and how it really should motivate us as Christians, and I want to go into this matter here now with you. Jewish families observe this wonderful tradition. They look towards the Messiah, and I was asking you the question of why is it that more don’t really understand that the Messiah has come. They’re still anticipating that Jesus, the Messiah will come. Now, I know that you have a real love for your Jewish people and so do I. I know Isaac does too and actually has some of his family in the past have had ministries to Jewish people. We know that that’s an important thing, and we rejoice in the fact that because Christ came that we, speaking of me and Isaac as well, as Gentiles have now become a part of the spiritual commonwealth of Israel.
We’re joint heirs with Jesus Christ a phenomenal, phenomenal thing. I think sometimes we too often take that for granted. Let me start out with you right now. Could you share with our Christian listeners, primarily on this program how that better understanding the Passover of the Seder meal you just walked through and this time of year in particular should help us be more effective in our witnessing to our Jewish friends. Kind of lay it down. You were going down that road of priority of the message of the gospel to Jewish people. Build that out a little bit if you could.
JB Bernstein: What I was saying, brothers, mostly the gospel to Jewish people for the last 2,000 years has tragically been, “Be baptized or we will kill you.” It’s almost like this. When Jewish people read Moses, the Word of God says that a veil lies over their minds. Well, my discovery ever since my eyes were opened about 40 years ago is that when Christians, most Christians, not all, read Paul there’s a similar veil that lies over their minds because they don’t really see that Jesus lived his entire life in the land of Israel, and all of His apostles were Jewish, and all of His disciples were Jewish, and that they celebrated Passover. They never knew about Easter. They celebrated the feast of dedication or Hanukah, not His birthday.
They celebrated all of the feasts of the Lord. They met at the temple. They went into the synagogues on Saturday, on the Sabbath. And so what was a Jewish culture has changed to what today is a foreign culture to Jewish people, and so in a sense Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah, has become a foreigner. Even the biblical account when we read the gospel we see that the people flocked to Him. The leaders of the Pharisees were very careful what they did with Him because they feared the people. Well, it wasn’t that they feared Indians or Chinese people, they were fearing the people of Israel, because the people of Israel were thrilled. He was famous in Israel. I believe God has called me and you to make Him famous in Israel once again.
By Christians understanding things like the Passover and being able to explain to Jewish people that, “Hey, I have become part of the covenant that God made with your people. I love and I serve your God. I worship your God. I read your book.” You see, the Jewish people have never heard that. They have been told, “You need to convert to our religion. You need to become one of us when that is not biblical. Because Christians, just like you mentioned, become part of the commonwealth of Israel. They are grafted onto the olive tree, which is their tree. The Jewish people are the natural branches. Those who were not born Jewish are wild branches grafted onto a cultivated olive tree. The Passover is such a striking example of the riches of that olive tree that are not really … Christians are not being nourished by it because they’ve bypassed it and yet, as you can see it’s so rich.
Isaac Crockett: That gives some great perspective, JB. It helps us really understanding this context around it, and you’ve really helped this emphasize this theme that Sam started out with about the hidden meaning of Passover. It’s interesting that it’s oftentimes hidden to us as Christians, but like you said, even the understanding of Paul and his explanations in the New Testament is hidden oftentimes to the Jewish people, that they don’t realize that Jesus did come and fulfill this. Of course, on your website, Gates of Zion, there’s so many good tips and helpful things, but as a gentile believer who, as you said, were part of this commonwealth through Christ, do we need to be afraid to try to witness to Jewish people? Are we less effective because we’re not Jewish when we’re witnessing to our Jewish friends?
JB Bernstein: It’s quite the opposite. Most Jewish people have come to faith through the witness of a gentile who’s made a decision to love Jewish people by blessing them and what is the greatest blessing that you can give to a Jewish person? Salvation. So, no. It’s the opposite of that. Gentiles, those who were not born Jewish need to understand and learn and the Apostle Paul said it clearly, “To the Jew I became as a Jew.” So to understand how to communicate to a Jewish person, that’s what my website is designed for. It used to be about my ministry.
Instead, now, it is an equipping portal designed to help Christians understand how to speak to Jewish people in their own language, through their own culture that it is their messiah who has come, and that it’s impossible that Jesus, that Yeshua, is not the Messiah and anyone that desires truth amongst the Jewish people can see that if they are gently drawn to consider these things and recognize that they don’t need to convert. In fact, the Jewish people are the only people group that do not need to convert to another religion. They need to get back to where they once belonged, as the Beatles once sang.
Isaac Crockett: That is so helpful. Like I said earlier, it gives a different perspective that many of us aren’t really looking for, but we see this now as you explain it, that it gives an option, an impact to have with our unsaved loved ones, maybe our Jewish and the really, like you said, they don’t have to convert because that’s what Jesus, He came as Jewish. My grandfather, he just recently moved in with my aunt and uncle, but for the last 10 years he lived in a retirement community that was run by Jewish people, it’s for Jewish people. He is a survivor of the Holocaust, was part of the Dutch underground, and he came to know the Lord, but also came to have a great respect for Jewish people during his time in the Dutch underground.
It has been neat to see what you’re talking about. I found myself talking to Jewish people that there is, I think, in me an innate fear that, “Oh no. I’m an outsider. I’m a foreigner,” but to remember that Jesus Christ came and He fulfilled the law. Are there any points that we should take? Any, maybe, scripture passages that would be good for us in remembering when we’re talking to a Jewish person?
JB Bernstein: On my website, www.GatesofZion.net I have an ebook that I wrote. It’s for free. Going on, you just need to give your email address and your name and it is sent to you by email, a link so you can have it for free. It’s called Five Steps to Provoke Jewish People to Jealousy. Yes, there is a way to really make Jewish people jealous because really as Christians have the inheritance of Israel. I teach in the little ebook I say, “When you approach a Jewish person, what you’re saying to them is, “I love, I worship, I serve your God. I am part of the covenant God made with your people.” And thanking them for the bible also speaks volumes.
Sam Rohrer: JB Bernstein, tremendous, tremendous information. I tell you, my heart is really touched. I have had a love for Jewish people for a long time, and I will tell you, understanding these things that you are saying makes it so very, very, very, very rich. I hope ladies and gentlemen that you are enjoying the program today. When we come back after the next segment we’re going to go and wrap this up and I’m going to ask the question, if there were no Jewish people, think about it, we’d have no resurrection. Think about that. We’re going to talk about what we should walk away from really understanding.
As we wrap up today’s program here on this Good Friday edition of Stand in the Gap Today, we’ve been blessed to have our special guest, JB Bernstein. He is a messianic evangelist, and also the founder of the Gates of Zion, which you can go to. A lot of good information three. GatesofZion.net is where you can find that. JB, as we wrap up the program, I have to say it again, it’s been a real blessing to have you on. The insights that I learned from Jewish people about what the bible says and particularly those who have come to faith in Yeshua is just an amazing thing. It’s rich, rich, rich.
If I could ask you, though, JB as we wrap this thing up here today, if there is one vital connection between the Passover, which the world is gonna be observing in just a day or two, what would be that one most important connection do you think that Christian people would remember about Passover as we are about now to celebrate Easter?
JB Bernstein: I just wanted to say one thing. On the Passover plate, which has the matza, one of the things is a bone. The bone reminds us of the Passover and the amazing thing is that when the Passover lamb was eaten you can read in Exodus that they were to eat it in haste. They were to eat to consume the whole and not to break a bone. How interesting was it when the Lord was crucified that the soldiers went over to the first and there were two thieves that were crucified with him, they broke the bones of the first, but when they went to the messiah, they saw he was already dead and they did not break any of his bones and this fulfilled the Word of God, “Not a bone should be broken of the Passover lamb.”
So here is death of the Messiah including the way He died and even the actual event where His bones were not broken relating right to the Passover lamb that was slaughtered right before Israel left Egypt before the plague of the death of the firstborn. That, to me, it just shows the intricate design of God in this feast to bear witness and the prophetic clarity of what it was speaking about so much so that when the Lord appeared, the prophet who ( actually there was an actual empty chair for Elijah at the Passover Seder because Elijah is tied up with the coming of the Messiah) was Elijah and Yeshua said John or Elijah who is to come and he announces him, his first words when he saw Yeshua is “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Isn’t that absolutely amazing?
Sam Rohrer: Oh it is. It is. It is. Isaac.
Isaac Crockett: Yes. It’s so amazing to hear how you describe this as Christians looking at this we see all of this coming into fruition. We see all the connections just as you’ve explained it through Passover, and it’s so wonderful to have knowledge. As we look at this Passover feast and we realize that understanding it, having the context of it makes a powerful impact on what we do as Christians on our belief and our understanding of Jesus, what He came to fulfill. We remember that the Passover is not the only feast that is celebrated. And there are many feasts on the Jewish calendar. Would you maybe take a little bit of time to tell us some of the things that are coming up next on the calendar and what we should, as believers in Jesus Christ be looking forward to with those.
JB Bernstein: Amazingly, yesterday, Wednesday was first fruits. In other words, the Lord rose on the third day, yesterday was the third day and that is the feast called first fruits, of course He is the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. So He rose from the dead on first fruits and now 50 days from the Sabbath following Passover, Christians know it as Pentecost and that’s when the Holy Spirit fell. So you see everything about the light of Jesus, of the Messiah, has to do with one of the feasts of the Lord. So the Lord is crucified on Passover, He is raised from the death on the Feast of first fruits. The Holy Spirit falls on Pentecost and then the next feast prophetically that has not taken place yet is the feast of trumpets.
And we know that the Lord will descend with the blast of the trumpet. So on the prophetic calendar all of the feasts of the Lord is fulfilled in Him. And so we’re waiting now. One of these feasts of trumpets, the day of the blowing of the trumpet of, not only of the trumpets, of the shout. And it says the Lord will descend with a shout. As I talk about this, it just excites me because it is so prophetic and it’s all about Him and He said, “My words are spirit and light,” and all of these feasts are the Word of God and He is the Word of God so He is all the feasts. So you can just go deeper and deeper with these realities.
Sam Rohrer: JB, I’ll tell you, my eyes tear. I’m thrilled to my heart by this. We’re going to have to close the program now. And you’re right. We could go much further. But I would like for you to pray here in the last remaining 45 seconds or whatever. Pray for the people of Israel. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for God’s people to have a greater burden for his people and for those who are not yet saved. Could you do that please for us?
JB Bernstein: …In the Father of the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob we ask you to open the eyes of Israel and to open the eyes of your church, of Christians, so that they begin to fulfill what you spoke about in Romans 11:11 and in fact that evangelism takes on the pattern that Paul said that, “I’m not ashamed of this gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, but to the Jew first.” Lord, restore that pattern. Fulfill Romans 11:11 and cause Christians to start making Jewish people jealous and Lord we ask you to open the eyes of Israel, Lord God. Give them dreams, visions. Bring them home. Bring them home into your arms in the mighty name of Yeshua, Jesus the Kind of Glory. Amen and Amen.
Sam Rohrer: Amen and amen. Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being with us on this special Good Friday program, the Passover and what it means. I pray that as each of you go forward now to the balance of this day and into Easter weekend remember the Passover. Yeshua has come. The next point is He’s going to come back with the shout of the trumpet. Be ready for that.
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