Friday, March 26, 2010

Feast of the Passover Symbolism

Did you know that Jesus's birth, the beginning of His ministry and His death and resurection all took place during the Feast of the Passover?

Read the full article here Was It Symbolic of His Coming? by
John P. Pratt, “Passover—Was It Symbolic of His Coming?,” Ensign, Jan 1994, 38

Not only was Passover a prophetic symbol of the Lord’s sacrifice, its timing foreshadowed the coming of the Savior in the meridian of time

Passover Feast:
The day of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. (See Num. 33:3.) The Lord declared it to be an annual holy day in order to remind Israel of its liberation from the bondage of Egypt. (See Ex. 12:17, 42; Ex. 13:3.) It was a day of rejoicing, and even today Passover is practically synonymous with “liberation.”
The Israelites began a one-week celebration called the feast of unleavened bread. (See Lev. 23:6.) The first day was the feast of the Passover, at which the Passover lamb was eaten. It was a special sabbath day of rest.

The Exodus as a Type of His Birth
First: “Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” (Ex. 4:22.) Thus, Israel represented Christ, the firstborn of God. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)
Second, the Lord related the day that Israel was delivered to the birth of Jesus
Third, Israel symbolized Christ, and Egypt the womb, Moreover, there is a Jewish tradition that the Messiah would come on the night of the Passover feast.
Finally, the Exodus was indeed the birth of the nation of Israel; that is, after a long gestation period in Egypt, the nation was literally born on the day it was delivered.

His Coming to Minister at Passover
Following the baptism and temptation of Jesus:
Apparently it was not until the Passover, which followed “not many days” later, that Jesus began to perform miracles openly, marking the beginning of his public ministry..
Levites typified Christ. The Lord told Moses, “I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn.” (Num. 3:12; see also Num. 8:18.) Because the Levites were thus a symbol of Christ as the Firstborn, perhaps we can also expect to learn part of the pattern of the Savior’s life from the laws given to the Levites. The law of Moses stated that Levites “thirty years old and upward” should enter into the service of the Lord. (Num. 4:3, 23, 30.) Consequently, if the law was symbolic of Him, we might expect that Jesus would also begin his ministry at age thirty.

Cleansing the Temple
The Savior cleansed the temple just before Passover both at the beginning of his ministry (see John 2:13–16) and at the end (see Matt. 21:12–3). That is, part of the prescribed actions at Passover include searching the house for any leaven and putting it entirely outside the house. (See Ex. 12:15.) It would seem that leaven could symbolize false teachings (see Matt. 16:12), hypocrisy (see Luke 12:1), or wickedness (see 1 Cor. 5:7–8), which the Savior put out of his Father’s house, the temple, by “cleansing” it of those who defiled it.

His Coming to the Spirit Prison
His coming to the spirit world was at the beginning of the Passover feast day, the day symbolic of deliverance from the house of bondage. (See D&C 138:50.) This coming fulfilled one Jewish tradition which insisted that the Redemption could take place only on 15 Nisan, as foreshadowed by the Exodus. The tradition is: “God said, ‘Let this sign be in your hands: on the day when I wrought salvation for you, and on that very night know that I will redeem you; but if it is not this night, then do not believe.’ ” A footnote clarifies: “This apparently means: Should a pretended redeemer come at any other time, do not believe him, for the redemption will take place on that day and on no other.”

The Passover Time Pattern
Birth: Thursday, 6 April 1 b.c. Since the organization of the Church on 6 April 1830 members have been informed that Jesus was born on 6 April 1 b.c.
Beginning the Public Ministry: Saturday, 6 April a.d. 30. The most likely date for the feast day (15 Nisan) on which the Savior began his ministry on his thirtieth birthday is Saturday, 6 April a.d. 30.
The Spirit World: Saturday, 2 April a.d. 33. Similarly, the most likely date for the Passover feast day on the Judean calendar three years later, at the end of Christ’s ministry, appears to be Saturday, 2 April a.d. 33. It would have begun after sunset following the death of the Savior on Friday. Thus, if this view is correct, both the Savior’s ministry in life and in the spirit world would have begun on Saturday, the Sabbath at that time, these particular Sabbaths being doubly sacred by also being the Passover feast day.