PASSOVER is the first of the three pilgrim festivals, beginning on Nisan 15. It commemorates the Exodus from Egypt, and, according to tradition, the Hebrew name is derived from the verb "to pass over."

The festival is observed for seven days. The first and last days are feast or holy days in which no work is to be done. All leaven (hametz) is removed from the home on the evening before the festival, and during the Passover period it is forbidden to eat or possess leaven, and only unleavened bread (matzah) is eaten. During the period of the first and second Temples, the paschal lamb was slaughtered on the afternoon of the day before the festival (Nisan 14). After the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., a home celebration (seder) was instituted; this takes place on the first night of Passover (after sunset on the 14th of Nisan) and the Passover Haggadah is read.

The apostle Paul attributes pictorial significance to the Passover. He says: For, indeed, CHRIST OUR PASSOVER has been sacrificed. (1 Co. 5:7) Here he likens Yeshua the Messiah to the Passover lamb. John the Baptist pointed to Yeshua, saying: See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!(John 1:29) John had in mind the Passover lamb.

Certain features of the Passover observance were fulfilled by the Messiah's death on the tree. One fulfillment lies in the fact that the blood on the houses in Egypt delivered the firstborn from destruction at the hands of the destroying angel. Paul speaks of anointed Christians as the congregation of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23), and of Yeshua as their deliverer through his blood. (1 Thess. 1:10; Ephesians 1:7)

No bones were to be broken in the Passover lamb. It had been prophesied that none of the Messiah's bones would be broken, and this was fulfilled at his death. (Psalms 34:20; John 19:36) Thus the Passover kept by the Jewish people for centuries (indeed, millennia) was one of those things in which the Law provided a shadow of the things to come and POINTED TO YESHUA THE MESSIAH, "the Lamb of God." -- Hebrews 10:1; John 1:29.