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Judaica Resources Passover Symbols

Passover Symbols

In O.T. Accounts At Last Supper and/or in Early Church In Rabbinic Tradition In Contemporary Judaism As Applied in the Church Today
BONDAGE AND EXODUS

God's dealings with Israel -- yearly celebration and remembrance (Ex. 12:24-27)

Freedom in Christ from Bondage of sin (Romans 6:18)

"In every generation let each man look on himself as though he himself came forth out of Egypt" (individuals to personalize the meaning of Passover)

In the Soviet era, the plight of Russian Jewry was seen as a counterpart to ancient bondage in Egypt. Reform Judaism especially has always related Passover to general hopes for freedom for all peoples.

God as Redeemer of lost humanity

THE LAMB

One of the 3 items to be eaten at the Passover meal (Ex. 12:8)

Christ is the Passover lamb (I Cor. 5:7)

No tradition because not eaten at Passover since destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.

Among Ashkenazic Jews (those of Eastern European origin) chicken often substituted; Sephardic Jews (those of Mediterranean, Spanish, and Middle Eastern origin) may continue to eat lamb

Christ portrayed as "Lamb of God"

THE MAROR (Bitter Herbs)

One of the 3 items commanded in Exodus 12:8

May have been the "sop" which Jesus handed to Judas

Represents the bitterness of Egyptian slavery

Eaten at the contemporary seder; given the same significance as in rabbinic tradition

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THE UNLEAVENED BREAD

One of the 3 items commanded in Exodus 12:8 (called matzo)

The body of Christ given in sacrifice (Luke 22:19);* Absence of sin (leaven) (I Cor. 5:8)

Represents the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt (they could not wait for their bread to rise)

Eaten at the contemporary seder and 7 days following in place of leavened bread; also year-round non-ceremonial use; given the same significance as in rabbinic tradition

Many churches use matzo as Communion element

* Some Jewish scholars believe the afikomen ceremony may reflect an early messianic symbolism. Many Jewish believers today see this ceremony of breaking, burying, and retrieving a piece of matzo as a picture of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.

THE CHAROSETH (A sweet mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon)
--

Another possibility for Judas' "sop"

Represents the mortar used by the Israelite slaves to make bricks for Pharaoh

Eaten at the contemporary seder; given the same significance as in rabbinic tradition

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THE CEREMONIAL CUPS
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The cup before the Last Supper (Luke 22:17-18); The cup after dinner (Luke 22:20); The cup of blessing represents the blood of Christ (I Cor. 10:16)

Represents the four phrases in Exodus 6:6-7: "I will bring you out"; "I will deliver you"; "I will redeem you"; "I will take you to me for a people"

Four cups taken at the contemporary seder; given the same significance as in rabbinic tradition

One of the elements of Communion

THE KARPAS (Greens)
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Probably eaten at the Last Supper, but not specifically mentioned (greens were a likely part of festive meals during that time period)

Dipped in salt water, they represent the lives of the Israelite slaves immersed in tears

Eaten at the contemporary seder; given the same significance as in rabbinic tradition

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0 # David Francis 2013-04-05 17:10
I never thought of the burial and resurrection in the afikomen. I like that but I also like that the the Lion of Judah is coming. In my family's tradition the afikomen represents the 2nd coming that fulfills the prophecies of the Lion. The Lamb has come but the greater Lion is still hidden. “He came unto His own but His own received Him not. But as many have received Him, He gave the right to be called sons of God.” We who have received and give thanks for Jesus, the Bread of Life, are the children who enjoy looking for the afikomen. Eagerly we wait, watch and seek the return of our Savior. To our chagrin, we sometimes look at silly things as signs of His coming because we long for Him so much. We’re like the children who may look in unlikely places for the matzah that comes later.
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0 # David Francis 2013-04-05 16:36
An application to the church for the maror is a reminder of the bitterness of our sin, to which we were once slaves. At our house a full teaspoon of raw horseradish is eaten at once. That much bitterness is hard to swallow. Then we rush for some matzah to take the edge off. The sacrifice of Jesus was once hard to swallow because it brought out this bitterness but the Bread of Life will make it go away. We laugh at each other's grimaced faces as we eat the maror, and we laugh at each other's tears. In our lives we sometimes cry when we remember the real bitterness of our sins.
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