Nathan Jones: In Part 1, we took a verse-by-verse look at Exodus 12:1-14 and learned how the very first Passover meal was to be prepared and eaten. In Part 2, the true Passover Lamb was revealed. Now Dr. Richard Hill, a “Jew born anew” and who serves with CJF Ministries and as the Messianic pastor of Beth Yeshua Messianic Congregation in Las Vegas, Nevada, will show why the Passover is tied to the Last Supper and Communion.
Passover and the Last Supper
Tim Moore: Every element in the Passover Seder meal has meaning. The bitter herbs, the bowl of salt water — everything points symbolically backward to the Exodus and also forward to its fulfillment in Jesus’ sacrifice.
Let’s look at the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with His disciples. In Luke 22:14-23, Jesus says, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover…” the one they were about to partake the night before His crucifixion, “…with you before I suffer.” Then He added, “For I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” So there’s yet another coming fulfillment. Yes, Passover points to Christ crucified, but there’s another possibly greater fulfillment that Jesus says will come in the fullness of time in which the entire feast will be fulfilled.
Richard Hill: Yes, because we’re going to be celebrating Passover and all of the Jewish Feasts during the Messianic Kingdom.
Nathan Jones: Are you saying that the Last Supper and Passover were one and the same event at the time of Christ’s crucifixion?
Tim Moore: Jesus established the Last Supper when He took the bread and cup and shared them with His disciples. In Luke 22:20, Jesus said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” The Apostle Paul tells us that our commemoration of the New Covenant is by the act of Communion. Paul says that we should remember Christ’s sacrifice as often as Christians together eat the bread and drink of the cup to proclaim the death of the Lord until He returns. So, there’s a forward-looking aspect to this commemoration of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in His ordained Last Supper.
Richard Hill: At this Communion instituted at the Last Supper, Jesus was pulling the elements right out of the Passover Seder. He’s pulling the matzah, which is the bread eaten after supper, and He’s drinking the third Cup of Redemption, which is the cup in Communion.
Tim Moore: The Jewish people get that they are anticipating something else because they leave one seat empty at a Seder for Elijah. What’s Elijah’s role prophetically?
Richard Hill: Elijah is going to proclaim to the world the coming of the Messiah. The Jewish people at their Passover feasts all want Elijah to come to their meal because it becomes more of a special time. So, they keep an extra chair empty for Elijah who will be arriving to proclaim the advent of the Messiah. Should Elijah come to their household, well then, they’re very excited that he’s going to proclaim the good news at their house first. Afterward, of course, Elijah will then tell the rest of the world that the Messiah is coming.
Tim Moore: Richard, your insights have been tremendously helpful in allowing us to understand the Jewish flavor of Passover and how central the feast is pointing to Jesus Christ. I would assert that even as the Jews anticipate Elijah perhaps coming to their table, that misses the bigger picture because Elijah is merely the precursor. He’s only the messenger announcing the Messiah. Few should get excited about the messenger, rather we should all be excited about the Messiah! Jesus is the one whom we should be getting excited about. In the meantime, while we are waiting, we enjoy commemorating the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection in Communion or a Passover Seder until He returns.