Rabbi Schneider - The Mystery of the Afikomen
Rabbi Schneider: Shalom beloved and Baruch Hashem, welcome today to Discovering the Jewish Jesus. Cynthia and I we're excited as we're going to part number 2 of an authentic Messianic Passover Seder. Honey when we were talking just a few minutes ago, you were sharing with me some of your memories that we've had over the years celebrating Passover together.
Cynthia Schneider: Yeah, well I think what's so special about the Passover Seder is family and friends celebrating together. Breaking bread, having fellowship, the joy, the singing. It's a beautiful heavenly picture of the family of God around the table and celebrating what God has done.
Rabbi Schneider: Amen. Honey, to your point, what's really unique about Passover is that for many of the holidays that the Lord gave us in the Hebrew scriptures, we go to synagogue. The ancient Israelites went to the temple. But Passover today, it's celebrated in the home. It's not a synagogue holiday, it's a holiday that we celebrate at home. And when you think about Jesus, He celebrated Passover with His disciples in a very intimate, small environment. In fact we're gonna be revealing mysteries today that Jesus showed us in the Seder. One of the things that I didn't get to show on the teaching today is how when Jesus said, when He was celebrating Passover with His disciples, "One of you will betray me". And they said "Who? Not me, Lord"! And then Jesus said, "He that dips with me is the one". And what was happening was Jesus was dipping His matzah in the bitter herbs at the same time that Judas was. And so Jesus said "The one that's dipping with me," Judas' matzah was in the bitter herbs as well, you're the one that's gonna betray me. So you're gonna be excited and thrilled today as you see Jesus and the gospels revealed in this authentic Messianic Passover Seder.
Rabbi Schneider: One of the most intriguing items on the Passover table is this pouch called a matzah tosh. It has three separate compartments in it, and in each compartment is a piece of matzah. The matzahs are separated from each other through these compartments.
All together: Though the matzahs are concealed, yet we know that they are there.
Men: But now the middle matzah is removed from its place among the others and made visible to our eyes. It is broken, and half is returned to the matzah tosh, while the other half is wrapped in white linen. In a moment, it will be hidden from view.
Rabbi Schneider: I'm going to now hide this right before we eat, and at the end of the meal, I'm gonna have Brooklynn try to find it. And if she can find it we have a special treat for Brooklyn. There's a very deep historical mystery around this ceremony, and we're gonna explain that tonight after we eat the Passover meal.
Pastor Josh: Alright.
Pastor Leo: Awesome!
Rabbi Schneider: Children are especially important to the Seder meal, because it's the children that's gonna carry the memory of who God is and what He has done for His people forward. And that brings us to a very important part of the Seder. And we begin this discourse by singing in Hebrew, Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot?
Ashlynn and Brooklynn: Why is this night different from all other nights?
Michael Hardy: During the time of Joseph in the Bible, there was a great famine, so all the sons of Israel moved to Egypt. There Israel flourished and became a mighty people. However, Pharaoh feared the house of Israel. So he enslaved the Israelites, forcing them into cruel physical labor. He also ordered the execution of every Hebrew infant son by drowning them in the Nile river. But God was faithful to His covenant and He protected the infant Moses. Moses became the leader of the Israelites and was sent to the courts of Pharaoh to deliver the message of the Lord "Let my people go". Pharaoh refused and so Moses pronounced God's judgement on the land of Egypt with severe plagues. The final plague was the death of every firstborn male. To protect the children of Israel, God made a way for the angel of death to pass over their houses. They were to sacrifice a spotless lamb and apply its blood to the doorway of the household.
All together: "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 Egypt".
Pastor Leo: "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations".
Rabbi Schneider: Pharaoh defied the Lord and placed his will above the will of God. As a result, he brought destruction upon his house and land. How often do we like Pharaoh choose our desires over God's direction? And how often do we like Pharaoh bring harm upon ourselves and upon those closest to us? Because we share with Pharaoh the sin of disobedience, and because we regard all people as God's creation, we do not rejoice over the destruction visited upon the Egyptians.
All together: For our sake they met with suffering and death. We mourn their loss and express our sorrow over their destruction.
Rabbi Schneider: If everyone would now please lift their glass with me. The point of this part of the liturgy is that we have sin in us just like Egypt had sin in them. And even though we're so thankful that Father God chose us and delivered us, we don't glee in the fact that other people get judged because of their sin because number one, we have sin in us, just like the whole world does, and our desire is to see everybody saved and to come to a knowledge of King Jesus. And so in this part of the Seder we're gonna be dipping our finger in the cup of wine, which represents judgment, ten times. This is called the Cup of Judgement or the Cup of Salvation. It's the cup of judgment because it represents the cup of destruction and judgement that God poured upon the Egyptians. But it's also called the Cup of Salvation because it was through these judgements that Israel was finally delivered. And then each time we dip our finger in and throw it into our plate, what it reflects is that our joy has been diminished because someone else had to suffer. In other word Egypt had to suffer for us to be liberated, but we don't take joy in the fact they had to suffer, in fact somebody else's suffering brings a deficit to our own joy, it depletes our own joy. We're not looking for other people to be hurt, we're looking for other people to be blessed. Recounting now the plagues that fell upon Egypt that will also fall upon the world during the great tribulation. The first judgment that fell upon Egypt was that their rivers turned to blood. The plague of dam, blood. The second plague that fell upon Egypt was the plague of frogs or tsz'far'dea. Thirdly, the plague of lice, or kinim, covered the land of ancient Egypt. The fourth plague, the plague of wild beasts, arov. The fifth plague, the plague of dever, the cattle plague. How the cattle died in ancient Egypt. The sixth plague, the plague of boils, sh'chyin. The seventh plague, the plague of hail. Giant hailstorms fell upon Egypt. The eighth plague, the plague of ar'beh, locusts, that invaded Egypt. The ninth plague, the plague khoshech, or darkness, covered the earth. And finally, the tenth plague, the plague of makat b'chorot, the slaying of the firstborn. What we see in ancient Egypt locally because of God's judgment against sin will come again upon the entire world before Jesus' return. What was is what will be. You see, really Passover is the gospel in its primitive form. We saw in the Passover the shadow of what will be fully completed with Jesus in His final end time judgements as He delivers His people from all sin and from all torment.
All together: Amen!
Rabbi Schneider: Now we're gonna lift our cups together in commemoration of God's judgement and act of salvation as we say Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha'olam, bo're p'ri hagefen. As we partake now of the second cup of wine, or juice. Fruit of the vine. It's now time friends to take a break from our liturgy to eat the Passover meal. And Brondon if you'd lead us in a word of thanksgiving and prayer, please.
Pastor Brondon: Heavenly Father, we thank You for the opportunity that we have to commemorate this great Passover, this great event that was and will be. In Jesus' name. Amen.
All together: Am Yisrael Hai, Am Yisrael Hai. Am Israel, Am Yisrael, Am Yisrael Hai.
Rabbi Schneider: Here we go!
All together: Ohd Aveeneu, Ohd Aveeneu, Ohd Aveeneu Hai. Hey! Ohd Aveeneu, Ohd Aveeneu, Ohd Aveeneu Hai. Hey! Am Yisrael, Am Yisrael Hai.
Rabbi Schneider: Well, you know Brooklynn I shared with you earlier that before the meal we took the middle piece of matzah and we broke it. And what I did then was I wrapped it in linen and I hid it somewhere and I promised you, Brooklynn, that if you could find it after dinner that I had a special treat for you. So let's see your best Sherlock Holmes presentation and see if you can find that piece of matzah.
Cynthia Schneider: Alright!
Pastor Leo: Nope...
Brooklynn: Found it!
Rabbi Schneider: She found it! Wow! Good girl, good job! For completing the afikomen fun. You're a winner! And I told you that we were gonna give you a special treat. And this isn't any piece of candy, but it will last in your mouth, I pray, a very, very long time. So it's interesting that Jewish people all over the world when they celebrate Passover, when they have the Seder meal, they do exactly what we just did. The mystery is, where did this rite come from? And what does it mean? We believe as Messianic Jewish people that this rite of the afikomen was actually inserted into the Seder ceremony by the early Jewish believers of Yeshua. You see the first Jewish believers of Yeshua were included in the larger Jewish community. Today myself being a Messianic Jew I am not included in the larger Jewish world. They look at me because of my faith in Jesus as not being an authentic Jew. But back in the first century, the Jews that believed in Jesus were very much still a part of integral Judaism. In fact, the first church that we read about in the book of Acts were all Jewish. Jesus' followers were all Jewish. Jesus died on the cross with a sign above His head, "Yeshua of Nazareth, King of the Jews". So here's what we believe. Ancient Jewish believers, the Messianic believers, were using the afikomen sack to demonstrate the multi-dimensional nature of the Godhead. One God, we have one matzah tosh, but yet one God exists in three persons. And so we have three compartments. And again I want you to hear. This is not something that just Messianic Jews do, this is something that every Jew that celebrates Passover is doing. They're putting three pieces of matzah in the matzah tosh, and then they're before the meal, they're removing the middle piece of matzah as we did. They break it, even as Yeshua, the second person in the trinity, was brought out from glory, revealed, even as the second matzah was brought out from being hidden and revealed. Then Yeshua died on the cross, was broken, even as that center piece of matzah was brought out and broken.
Pastor Leo: Wow, wow.
Rabbi Schneider: And then that second piece of matzah was hidden, buried in the linen cloth, even as Yeshua was hidden buried in a linen cloth.
Pastor Leo: Yes! That's right.
Rabbi Schneider: And then what happened? Three days later He was brought back out and revealed to the world.
Pastor Leo: Thank you, Jesus.
Rabbi Schneider: With that said, let's return to our haggadah. It was at this point in the Seder that Yeshua revealed Himself by saying "This is my body, broken for you, take and eat". Remember the matzah. It's pierced, just like Yeshua's pierced. It has stripes on it, just like Yeshua had stripes because of the lashes for our sin. And it's unleavened because He's sinless. He took that Passover matzah, remember John the Baptist said "Behold the Lamb of God" at His baptism. Jesus is bringing it to fulfillment now with crystal clarity before He goes to the cross, celebrating this last Passover meal with His disciples, saying "As often as you do this, do it in remembrance of Me," because this is all about Me. It all points to Me, and it's fulfilled in Me. So He took that piece of matzah, beloved ones, He broke it, He said "Take and eat, this is my body, broken for you".
Pastor Anita: Amen.
Pastor Leo: Wow, wow, thank you Jesus.
Rabbi Schneider: We'll pass that around. Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha'olam, hamotzi lehem min ha'aretz. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. Thank You, Lord Jesus. It's during this time of the Seder meal that the third cup of the Passover wine is drunk, the Passover juice. It's called the Cup of Redemption. Remember I said earlier in the Seder that we're gonna drink four cups of juice. And the four cups of juice represent the four expressions of what God does for us as His people. It's taken from the book of Exodus chapter number 6 verse 6 and 7. Let's read it once again. God is speaking to Moses. He said, "Say therefore to the sons of Israel, 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out,'" that was the first cup that we drank earlier in the Seder tonight. It's the Cup of Sanctification. God brought us out of the world to Himself. I will take you "'out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you.'" That was the second cup we drank, the Cup of Deliverance, or the Cup of Judgment, because God delivered Israel by pouring out judgments upon the Egyptians. Now we come to the third cup, the Cup of Redemption. I will also, the Lord said, "'redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.'" So it was during this point in the Seder, we believe, that Yeshua lifted up the third cup of juice. He said something like Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha'olam, bo're p'ri hagefen; Blessed art Thou, Father, Lord of the earth, who brings forth the fruit of the vine, the Passover wine. And He said "This is my blood, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Take and drink, all of it, for I will not drink it with you again until the coming of the Kingdom". Beloved, every time we celebrate Passover we do it in honor of King Jesus, realizing that Passover is all about Him. He is the Passover Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.
Pastor Anita: Amen.
Rabbi Schneider: And He's coming back to be revealed as the reigning King of the Father. Take and drink.
Pastor Leo: Yes, Hallelujah!
Pastor Anita: Hallelujah!
Rabbi Schneider: Thank you for redemption, Father. And finally as we get close to the end of our journey today, we still have how many more cups to drink?
Pastor Josh: One more.
Rabbi Schneider: One more cup to drink. This is called the Cup of Praise. And during this time in the Seder, we go through and recite portions of the Psalms.
All together: Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
Rabbi Schneider: Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good.
All together: For His mercy endures forever.
Rabbi Schneider: And now it's time to drink from the fourth cup, the Cup of Praise. Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha'olam, bo're p'ri hagefen. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth the fruit of the vine. Now you'll notice, we have a seating at the table where no one is placed. Who is that empty seat for?
Pastor Anita: Elijah.
Rabbi Schneider: It's for Elijah. Again, beloved ones, all over the world when we celebrate Passover, we have an empty spot set for Elijah. Why? As Jewish people celebrate Passover, they don't just remember how God delivered them in the past through Moses 3500 years ago, but they're looking forward with anticipation to Messiah's coming. But why Elijah? Because the Bible tells us in the book of Malachi that before Messiah comes, Elijah will come first and announce His coming. And so Jewish people set a place for Elijah because they're saying we're longing for the Messiah to come, we're longing for our future redemption. But we know that Messiah won't come, He won't arrive, until Elijah first announces that He's here and is coming. So they're saying Elijah come and announce that Messiah is here! He's not at the table but perhaps, He's on His way. So why don't you Ashlynn go check to see if Messiah may be just a few feet away?
Rabbi Schneider: And this is a tradition that we do in Jewish homes all over the world.
Cynthia Schneider: Come Messiah!
Pastor Leo: Come Messiah!
Rabbi Schneider: Amen. A little one walks out to the front door, looks up and down the street for Elijah, symbolically commemorating the fact that we're looking in our hearts for Elijah to come.
Ashlynn: He's not there!
Rabbi Schneider: He's not there. We know that Messiah has come.
Pastor Leo: Yes.
Pastor Anita: Amen!
Rabbi Schneider: The Jewish community is still looking for Him to come, whereas we know that He already has come. In fact when Yeshua walked upon the earth, some religious Jewish leaders came to Jesus and they said "If you're the Messiah, where is Elijah? For we have read that Elijah will come first to announce His coming". You know what Yeshua said?
Pastor Anita: "He has come".
Rabbi Schneider: "He has come". Yeshua said in the book of Matthew chapter 11 verse 14, "John the Baptist was he, if you can receive it".
Pastor Leo: That's right.
Rabbi Schneider: Well beloved ones as we celebrated Passover together I believe that we've all been touched with the warmth of the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Leo: Yes!
Pastor Anita: Yes! Amen.
Rabbi Schneider: To be able to be united to Him, and united to each other. Baruch Hashem, blessed be the name of the Lord. And we close the Seder by saying, next year in Yerushalayim. In other words, may we celebrate the Seder again together next year in Yerushalayim, the city of the Great King.
Cynthia Schneider: Amen.
Rabbi Schneider: We know Jesus will soon return, that He's gonna reign from Jerusalem. It's hard for us to imagine exactly how that looks. All I know, God still has a special call upon His ancient people, the Jewish people. And He still has a special relationship with Israel and the chosen city, the city of Jerusalem. And we know that when Jesus returns, He's gonna return as the Lion from the tribe of Judah, and as the offspring of David.
Pastor Leo: Yes! Yes.
Rabbi Schneider: And He's gonna take all of us together to the heavenly city whether you're a Jew or a gentile!
Cynthia Schneider: Amen, amen!
Rabbi Schneider: And we're gonna get to the heavenly city called New Jerusalem.
Pastor Leo: Yes, thank you Jesus! Hallelujah!
Rabbi Schneider: And when we get there we're gonna see twelve gates. And the twelve gates will be inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel as well as the twelve Jewish apostles. So all I can say beloved is what Jesus said, he said "Salvation is from the Jews". Baruch Hashem, I love you. God bless you, and Chag Sameach, Happy Passover!
All together: Hineh ma tov uma na'im, Shevet achim gam yachad. Hineh ma tov uma na'im, Shevet achim gam yachad.