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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - Easter and Passover Differences

Jonathan Bernis - Easter and Passover Differences

Jonathan Bernis - Easter and Passover Differences
TOPICS: Easter, Passover

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice. We are so glad that you're joining us today. I'm Jonathan Bernis. Today we're gonna be talking about both Easter and Passover. Now, many of you watching at home probably celebrate Easter and know that it's a great reminder of both the death and resurrection of Jesus, but what about Passover? To Jewish people it's perhaps the most important feast or celebration of the year, but did you know that Passover holds great meaning for you, as a Christian? In fact, Passover and Easter are actually not separate, they are connected. Today, Ezra Benjamin joins me to help decipher the difference between Easter and Passover or, Ezra, in actuality, the discovery that they're not so separate.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. Jonathan, it's such a common misunderstanding to say, "The Jews have their holiday, right"? In essence, it's like Hanukkah and Christmas. The Jews have their spring holiday, Passover, and the Christians have their holiday, Easter, and that these two things are sort of parallel, but never do they intersect.

Jonathan Bernis: That's the way that I was raised, and most Jewish people are raised. We have our set of our holidays, our Jewish holidays, and Christians have their holidays, a completely separate list, and they're not connected.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly, and maybe for you watching at home, you're on the other side of that same coin and you've celebrated Easter your whole life, but the only mention of Passover was, "Well, I know in the scriptures about Easter, we see that the Jews were celebrating Passover". You need to understand, Easter, as it happened in the year of Jesus' death and resurrection, was actually the fulfillment of what was foreshadowed in Passover.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. One of the things that I think is important from the onset to mention is that many Bibles talk about that final meal as the last supper.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: Like it was a Christian meal.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: But in reality, it was a Passover seder meal. It was a traditional, for that day of course, it's changed over the centuries. But, the essence of it is the same Passover seder that Jewish people celebrate, and Jesus was observing that final Passover with his disciples, and there's much, much more significance to a Passover seder than a supper.

Ezra Benjamin: That's absolutely right, and that's one of actually four things we're gonna talk about. Stick with us. Jonathan, four things, and really, I think that the kind of road map we can use here as we unpack this today is what's known in the Christian world as Easter week or passion week, right? And there's four things we'll look at. First of all, the triumphal entry of Jesus, you know, we call it palm Sunday, the triumphal entry of Jesus, Yeshua, into Jerusalem in the week that he's to be crucified. And then, as you said, we're gonna look at the last supper, which was really a Passover seder meal, and we'll look at the crucifixion of Jesus, his suffering and death, and then finally, the resurrection, and understand that these weren't isolated, new invention things for a new holiday called Easter, these were fulfillments of the Passover calendar and the Passover mandate for the Jewish people.

Jonathan Bernis: That's right. Let me ask you a question, Ezra.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: Just on general timing.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: It seems that some years everything lines up. In other words, we celebrate Passover a few days before Easter Sunday, before resurrection day. Other years, they're a month off. Why? Explain to us why that's the case.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, because Easter is set, I mean, there's actually, believe it or not, some of you at home know this. There's different celebrations of Easter. The Ethiopian orthodox church has their Easter day, and the Greek and Russian orthodox churches have their orthodox Easter day, and the evangelical or mainline community worldwide, including the Catholic church, has a set day for Easter, but those are all based on a Gregorian or an orthodox Christian calendar, not so in the Jewish world. The Jewish world goes on a lunar calendar, which most years has 12 months, and some, to make up the time, since it's 28 days instead of 30 or 31, we add a 13th month every so many years on the Hebrew calendar, and so, there's sort of a weaving together. In some years, as you said, those things line up perfectly and it's awesome for me when Passover and Easter weekend, Good Friday and resurrection Sunday, line up. It's just fun to celebrate it that way. Some years, they're as much as a month off, and it just depends on...

Jonathan Bernis: But, it's a different reckoning of time, lunar and solar.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly, but the Passover has to happen, we see back in the book of Exodus when God's delivering the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt, the first Passover, it has to happen in the Hebrew month of Nisan every year, which happens around March or April, depending on how it lines up.

Jonathan Bernis: Right. Now, this is a sideline, but I just, I want to point it out, that if you read about the Passover in the book of Exodus, you'll see it's the month of Nisan, which is the first month of the year.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: And a common question is, "But Jews celebrate the new year at a completely different time, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year," and I'll just say this, that biblically, Nisan is the first month. Later, the rabbis changed it to the first day of the seventh month, but actually, Passover is the first major moedim, the first moed, the first appointed time in scripture. It's the first holiday of the first month.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right. God says to Moses in Exodus, "This month," namely Nisan, "Shall be the first of months for you".

Jonathan Bernis: Right.

Ezra Benjamin: That's where God, in essence, sets the Jewish calendar.

Jonathan Bernis: You may not have even noticed that, but I'll throw that in and you'll see it now.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure, it's a bonus. So, Jonathan, without further ado, let's jump right in. The triumphal entry of Jesus, as we know it, he's coming in on a donkey, on a colt, making his way down the Mount of Olives, through the Eastern gate into the main City of Jerusalem, and there's palm branches being waved, and Jewish people are heralding him, at least those who were believers, that this is the Messiah, this is the one we've waited for.

Jonathan Bernis: Right. He comes on a donkey and he's fulfilling Bible prophecy, and I think we need to make it clear that the purpose of the program today is to show you that both Passover and Easter, for the believer, for the follower of Yeshua, are all fulfillments of Bible prophecy.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: We're all looking at Yeshua, at Jesus, at the center of all these, and watching Bible prophecy fulfilled, written hundreds of years before Jesus ever came. So, in response to this processional where Yeshua, where Jesus is riding on the back of a donkey, it's the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9. And so, this is Yeshua fulfilling Bible prophecy, and it says this. "Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion"! Read this, this is amazing! Look at it. "Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you, a righteous one bringing salvation". A righteous one bringing salvation. Did you know that the Hebrew name for Jesus, Yeshua, means salvation? That's his name! Bringing salvation, that the donkey is bringing salvation. "A righteous one bringing salvation. He is lowly, riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey". Again, written by Zachariah, moved by the Ruach, by the spirit, Ezra, and this is so specifically fulfilled. He's lowly, he's meek, he's king. He's the king of... The Psalm 2 king that's bowing, that other kings will bow down to him, my son, embrace the son, and yet, he's riding on the foal of an ass, he's bringing salvation. The donkey is carrying the very name, salvation. It's amazing. And what are the people doing? They're waving the palm branches and they're shouting something we do at Sukkot, the feast of tabernacles, because it's Messianic and we're crying out, "Salvation, salvation! Save us! Hoshiana"! And they're recognizing that this one is the embodiment of their salvation. And it's not gentiles, it's Jews.

Ezra Benjamin: It was Jewish people recognizing the Messiahship of Jesus. It was almost like a first fruits of what the scriptures prophesied, this great, kind of worldwide recognition among Jewish people, among all people, that Jesus is the Messiah.

Jonathan Bernis: What a shock for me to discover that palm Sunday, the Christian palm Sunday, is really hundreds of Jews, if not thousands of Jews...

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: Welcoming their Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: And what a shock for Christians listening to find out that palm Sunday, or what, you know, the heading in the Bible says, "The triumphal entry," was actually, if you will, a Messianic act, a recognition of the Messiahship of the Jewish Messiah and the Savior of the world.

Jonathan Bernis: I know we're going in the same direction.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: What's so amazing, 'cause it's so intricate, the fulfillment is so detailed it actually mentions that he's humble, it mentions that he's king.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: It mentions his very name, salvation, and then I believe that as they're waving these palm branches, they're reading the traditional hallel, Psalm 118.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: 113 through 118, but 118 actually has the words of, "Open to me the gates of righteousness and I will enter in, and you can carry on".

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: In detail, what they're changing is the very specific work that the Messiah is going to accomplish.

Ezra Benjamin: That's right, and for those who celebrate palm Sunday, you know, right? You get the palm branch, and what does everybody in the church say? "Hosanna, hosanna", in Hebrew, "Hoshiana," and the word, "Yeshua," salvation, and "Hoshiana," are the same root in Hebrew. So, these Jewish believers in Jesus, the week of his crucifixion, are shouting, "Save now we pray, o Lord". Amazing!

Jonathan Bernis: Look how specific the fulfillment is. It's amazing. I know you may be presented with a lot of different opportunities to give. I need to talk about this, but what I want you to know is that your donations to Jewish Voice are truly making a difference in the lives of people who are living in difficult conditions and need your help right now. I'm talking about Jewish people, the descendants of those that yelled, "Hoshiana, save us". So, please, take a moment to listen to our announcer as we share how you can get involved with Jewish Voice and also how you can receive some great resources that we've made available today. Ezra and I will be right back with much more.

Jonathan Bernis: We're talking about Easter and Passover, not separate holidays, not one being for Christians and another for Jews, but all being connected. It's all connected and it's for you, as a believer. But before we get back into the conversation, I just want to take a moment to say thank you. We could not do this work without you, and I sincerely mean that. Thank you for your generous giving, especially for joining Jewish Voice as a monthly shalom partner. I want you to know that your ongoing support to this ministry is deeply valued. We appreciate you so much. So again, thank you. We couldn't do this without our partners, Ezra.

Ezra Benjamin: Absolutely not. Thanks so much for standing with us as we stand with Jewish people around the world. Jonathan, we're unpacking Easter week, and we've made it through the triumphal entry, but now let's talk about the parallels of the second, third, and fourth things we're gonna unpack here in the few minutes that we have. Secondly, the last supper, was this just Jesus saying, "I want to have a special meal with my guys because I know I'm going to the cross"? What's the underpinnings here?

Jonathan Bernis: Absolutely not. When you put the whole story into its proper context, Jesus was an observant Jew, Yeshua. His disciples were observant Jews who never became Christians, they never converted. This was a critical, foundational part of their lives, celebrating the Passover, observing the Passover. In fact, I believe that they did it a day earlier because Yeshua died, sacrificed his life, along with the other sacrificial lambs, because this is based, the Passover and... Including the crucifixion, are all based on Exodus 12. The backdrop is the Passover, which is not just a meal, but it's about an event that took place in Egypt. Read Exodus 12. And I'm gonna cut right to the chase on this. In verse 7 it says that you're to, "Take the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the crossbeam of the houses where you will eat it". What's he talking about? He's talking about a sacrificial lamb without blemish, a male in the first year, and you're to sacrifice it, "The whole assembly of Israel is to sacrifice it. And then you're to take the blood, apply it to the doorposts of your houses in Egypt, and then enter in and eat this Passover meal with lamb, with bitter herbs, and with matzah," unleavened bread. When Yeshua broke the bread, he wasn't breaking wonder bread, he was breaking matzah. He was breaking this unleavened bread, which we're told was because the children of Israel left in haste and the yeast didn't have time to rise, the bread didn't have time to rise. Yeshua is now giving it fuller meaning and saying, "This is now my body". The matzah, no leaven, it's without sin. "Let sin..". You know, it's leaven represents sin, and he's redefining this as his body, broken for you. Matzah, at the Passover meal, part of the traditional seder, and he's then giving it to his disciples.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and again, the key here, I think, Jonathan, is commanded to eat. The children of Israel are commanded to eat bread made without yeast, and Yeshua commands his disciples, "Take this, eat it, and do this in remembrance of me. This is my body, broken". It's a command.

Jonathan Bernis: Right. And then, he takes the wine and he's saying, "Now, this is my...My blood". That's why I read the scripture about the blood, the blood of the lamb. "This is now my blood as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". And he drinks it with his disciples and said, "This is the last time I will drink with you".

Ezra Benjamin: And fast-forwarding to the next day, Jonathan, the crucifixion of Yeshua, his death for the sins of many, as we recognize in the cup the night before, right, at the Passover seder. "This is my blood, shed for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins". And the next day, he's actually shedding that blood on the cross.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, his disciples did not understand still what he was talking about, but what he was doing was prophetically declaring that he was that lamb, the lamb without blemish or spot, the lamb that was chosen by the people, the lamb who provided blood to cover the doorposts of their house. Why? So that the angel of death, the final plague, would pass over them and they would not lose their firstborn. They would avert death through the blood. All of that is contained in that declaration, "This is my blood, shed for you".

Ezra Benjamin: Amazing. And so, Good Friday, as the Christian world understands it, is actually the fulfillment of the command to sacrifice the Passover lamb as seen in Exodus.

Jonathan Bernis: Exactly right. It's sad that Christians don't have that understanding for the most part. Many of you are getting that, but that for almost 2,000 years it was void of that Revelation that he is the Passover lamb of Exodus 12.

Ezra Benjamin: Right. And then, you know, in the minute or so that we have left, Jonathan, with our audience, let's fast forward two days, the great victory, right? The greatest victory in history and in eternity, the resurrection of Yeshua. We don't see that in Exodus. The Passover lamb is sacrificed, but we don't see the Passover lamb rising from the dead, but Jesus did. What's the significance of that in the Jewish world?

Jonathan Bernis: Well, I want to... There's a few things, but it is prophesied. Isaiah 53, which talks about the lamb led to the slaughter, and by the way, John the Baptist identifies Jesus as, "Behold, the lamb who takes away the sins of the world". What's he talking about? Well, he was the son of a priest. He understood that Jesus, Yeshua, was the Passover lamb that was sacrificed during Nisan for the Passover. But in Isaiah 53, "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter," "By his wounds, we are healed," but it also says that, "He sees his offspring". What does that talk about? I believe that's a prophecy about the resurrection as well. So, it talks about, very clearly about his death and about his burial, that he'll be buried in the tomb of a rich man between two thieves. That's very clearly laid out, that he would suffer, according to Psalm 22, but also that God would prolong his days and he would see his offspring, the resurrection. That doesn't answer your question. The resurrection, resurrection of the dead, in Judaism, was like the sign of Messiahship. So, it's a major event, but it's also a prophesied event that's fulfilled. So again, the point is that in every detail, from the entrance into Jerusalem, Yeshua's fulfilling Bible prophecy written hundreds of years before he's ever born.

Ezra Benjamin: The confirmation of the Messiahship of Yeshua, of Jesus, is his resurrection from the dead. And I think, you know, Paul is clear: if there's no resurrection of the dead, if Jesus wasn't raised from the dead, then we, as believers, Jew or gentile alike, are to be pitied more than all men, but there is a resurrection from the dead, and that is the proof of his Messiahship.

Jonathan Bernis: Absolutely, and the foundation of our faith.

Ezra Benjamin: Exactly.

Jonathan Bernis: It's rooted in the resurrection. It's based on the resurrection, and without the resurrection, Paul says it's all in vain. I love the way he begins 1 Corinthians 15, where it says, "That which I was taught, I'm passing on to you now".

Ezra Benjamin: "As of first importance".

Jonathan Bernis: "As of first importance, that he died for our sins". And in each case, it's "According to scripture".

Ezra Benjamin: That's right.

Jonathan Bernis: According to scripture, according to scripture, according to scripture.

Ezra Benjamin: Yep.

Jonathan Bernis: That he died, that he rose from the dead. It's not the New Testament.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: He wrote the New Testament.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: It's according to the Tanakh, the Torah, the prophets, the writings. It's the Old Testament.

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and so, that's the gospel, right? Sometimes we say, "What is the gospel"? It's right there in a nutshell in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. The gospel is not this random thing that happened in history and the Messiah suddenly shows up on the scene. What Paul's saying is the gospel, the good news of the Messiah, the evangelion, is that he died, was resurrected, and was seen by many witnesses, according to the scriptures.

Jonathan Bernis: And that's the truth, not Christian holidays and Jewish holidays. Hey, we need to take a moment to share with you how you can get involved with Jewish Voice, and also how you can receive the resources we're making available to you today. It's all about the gospel, so would you please pray about joining me as a shalom partner today. Your continued monthly support will literally change lives and give us the opportunity to share the gospel with thousands of precious people, Jewish people and their neighbors. Stay with us. After this short message, Ezra and I want to come into agreement with you in prayer for your needs. We'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: I know this has been a very tough season for many of you watching. It's been a tough season for us, Ezra. But, here's the good news, God is still on the throne, there's nothing unstable about his kingdom, and he hears and answers prayer. I just want you to agree with me. We're gonna agree with you. The Bible says, "Where two or three agree on earth as touching anything, it shall be done". So, Ezra, if you'll agree with me, and you'll agree with me at home. Lord, thank you for a God who hears and answers prayer. Thank you that you're still on the throne. I declare over people that are under the attack of the enemy, just receive this now in faith, in the name of Yeshua, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, no weapon formed against you will prosper. I speak restoration, I speak divine protection, I speak healing over you, and I command all fear be gone, in the name of Yeshua. Confusion, go. Depression, go. I speak life, life, life to you, in Jesus' name. In Jesus' name. Hey, if you'd like more information about our ministry, you can log on to our website. It's "Jewishvoice," one word, ".Tv", and you can send us your prayer requests. Our team is dedicated, and we will pray over your prayer needs by name. We're committed to doing that. We believe in the power of prayer and we care about you, and more importantly, God cares about you. As I close our program today, I want to remind you that God asks us to pray. Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may they prosper who love thee". Until next time, this is Jonathan Bernis along with Ezra Benjamin, saying shalom and God bless you.
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