This sacred meal is a prescribed observance that takes place annually on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan. It begins at sundown and lasts for an entire week, during which the Israelites abstain from eating leavened bread, known as chametz, and instead consume unleavened bread, called matzah. This is to symbolize the haste with which the Israel
The Feast of the Unleavened Bread begins with the Passover meal on the evening of 15 Nisan (on the Jewish calendar) and lasts seven days. Together, these feasts commemorate Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt. The word Passover refers to the angel of death “passing over” Hebrew homes when killing the firstborn of the Egyptians, for the Jews had put lamb’s blood on their doorposts. Unleavened bread is a reminder of the haste with which the Hebrews left Egypt. This Passover was fulfilled in Christ, whose blood was shed to free humanity from bondage to sin and death.
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The Passover Meal In The Bible
Passover in the Bible originates from the book of Exodus, when God instructed Moses and Aaron and the Israelite people in Egypt to mark their houses with the blood of a lamb so that the Lord would “pass over” their house and spare their firstborn son. The biblical text is found in Exodus 12.
Many Bible scholars have noted how God’s instructions in Exodus 12 for the Passover lamb foreshadow Jesus’ coming when the Lamb of God died for the sins of the world. Here are some notable insights:
“Your lamb shall be without blemish. Without any spots or defects in it. Maimonides reckons no less than fifty blemishes in a creature, any one of which makes it unfit for sacrifice; see Leviticus 21:21–24. This lamb was a type of Christ, who is therefore said to be our Passover sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7) comparable to a lamb for his innocence and harmlessness, for his meekness, humility, and patience, for usefulness both for food and raiment, as well as for being fit for sacrifice; and who is a lamb without spot and blemish, either of original sin or actual transgression, holy in his nature, harmless in his life.”
Story of Passover In The Bible
The story of Passover is one of the most significant events in the Bible. It is a story of liberation, freedom, and redemption. The story of Passover can be found in the book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible, which relates the enslavement of the Israelites and their subsequent escape from ancient Egypt.
The story begins with the Israelites living in Egypt as slaves. Fearing that the Israelites will outnumber his people, the Egyptian Pharaoh enslaves them and orders every newly born Jewish son murdered. However, Moses, an Israelite who was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, is chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery.
God sends ten plagues upon Egypt to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites. The final plague is the death of every firstborn son in Egypt. However, God instructs the Israelites to mark their doorposts with lamb’s blood so that the Angel of Death will pass over their homes.
This event is known as Passover and is celebrated by Jews around the world to this day. After this final plague, Pharaoh finally agrees to let the Israelites go. However, he changes his mind and sends his army after them. The Israelites are trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army but are miraculously saved when God parts the sea so that they can cross on dry land.
The Israelites then wandered in the desert for forty years before finally reaching the Promised Land. During this time, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, which become the foundation of Jewish law and tradition.
Passover is celebrated with a series of rituals that symbolize different parts of the story. For example, Jews eat matzah (unleavened bread) during Passover to remember how their ancestors left Egypt in haste and did not have time to let their bread rise. They also drink four cups of wine during Passover to symbolize different aspects of their liberation from slavery.
Passover In The Bible Exodus
Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is a Jewish festival celebrating the exodus from Egypt and the Israelites’ freedom from slavery to the Egyptians. The Feast of Passover, along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was the first of the festivals to be commanded by God for Israel to observe (see Exodus 12). Commemorations today involve a special meal called the Seder, featuring unleavened bread and other food items symbolic of various aspects of the exodus.
Passover is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays. Along with Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost) and Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), Passover is one of the three “pilgrimage” festivals in Scripture, during which the Jews were commanded to travel to Jerusalem and observe the feasts together. Passover takes place in the spring, during the Hebrew month of Nisan. In Western countries, Passover is celebrated in early- to mid-April and is always close to Easter.
The book of Exodus tells of the origin of Passover. God promised to redeem His people from the bondage of Pharaoh (Exodus 6:6). God sent Moses to the Egyptian king with the command that Pharaoh “let my people go” (Exodus 8:1). When Pharaoh refused, God brought ten plagues on the land of Egypt. The tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of all the firstborn in Egypt.
The night of the first Passover was the night of the tenth plague. On that fateful night, God told the Israelites to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark their doorposts and lintels with its blood (Exodus 12:21–22). Then, when the Lord passed through the nation, He would “pass over” the households that showed the blood (verse 23). In a very real way, the blood of the lamb saved the Israelites from death, as it kept the destroyer from entering their homes. The Israelites were saved from the plague, and their firstborn children stayed alive. From then on, every firstborn son of the Israelites belonged to the Lord and had to be redeemed with a sacrifice (Exodus 13:1–2, 12; cf. Luke 2:22–24).
The children of Israel in Egypt followed God’s command and kept the first Passover. However, none of the Egyptians did so. All through Egypt, behind the unmarked, bloodless doorways of the Egyptians, the firstborn children died at midnight (Exodus 12:21–29). “There was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead” (verse 30). This dire judgment finally changed the Egyptian king’s heart, and he released the Israelite slaves (verses 31–32).
Along with the instruction to apply the Passover lamb’s blood to their doorposts and lintels, God instituted a commemorative meal: fire-roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8). The Lord told the Israelites to “observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever” (Exodus 12:24, ESV), even when in a foreign land.
To this day, Jews all over the world celebrate Passover in obedience to this command. Passover and the story of the Exodus have great significance for Christians as well, as Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, including the symbolism of the Passover (Matthew 5:17). Jesus is our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7; Revelation 5:12). He was killed at Passover time, and the Last Supper was a Passover meal (Luke 22:7–8). By (spiritually) applying His blood to our lives by faith, we trust Christ to save us from death. The Israelites who, in faith, applied the blood of the Paschal lamb to their homes became a model for us. It was not the Israelites’ ancestry, good standing, or amiable nature that saved them; it was only the blood of the lamb that made them exempt from death (see John 1:29 and Revelation 5:9–10).
Rules of Passover In The Bible
1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV / 224 helpful votes
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Leviticus 23:4-8 ESV / 196 helpful votes
“These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. But you shall present a food offering to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.”
Exodus 12:21-28 ESV / 188 helpful votes
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. …
Matthew 26:26-28 ESV / 148 helpful votes
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Exodus 23:15 ESV / 136 helpful votes
You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed.
Numbers 9:14 ESV / 131 helpful votes
And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native.”
Mark 14:12-25 ESV / 114 helpful votes
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. …
1 Corinthians 5:8 ESV / 99 helpful votes
Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Exodus 12:8 ESV / 99 helpful votes
They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.
Exodus 12:15-20 ESV / 88 helpful votes
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. …
Luke 22:15 ESV / 87 helpful votes
And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
Joshua 5:10 ESV / 73 helpful votes
While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho.
Exodus 13:3 ESV / 71 helpful votes
Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.
Luke 22:7-20 ESV / 67 helpful votes
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ …
Numbers 9:13 ESV / 61 helpful votes
But if anyone who is clean and is not on a journey fails to keep the Passover, that person shall be cut off from his people because he did not bring the Lord’s offering at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.
Exodus 12:1-51 ESV / 60 helpful votes
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, …
John 1:29 ESV / 57 helpful votes
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Exodus 12:11-13 ESV / 56 helpful votes
In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
John 2:23 ESV / 54 helpful votes
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.
John 2:13 ESV / 51 helpful votes
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Numbers 9:6-12 ESV / 51 helpful votes
And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses and Aaron on that day. And those men said to him, “We are unclean through touching a dead body. Why are we kept from bringing the Lord’s offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?” And Moses said to them, “Wait, that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you.” The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the Lord. …
Exodus 12:21 ESV / 51 helpful votes
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.
Mark 14:12 ESV / 49 helpful votes
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
Ezra 6:20 ESV / 48 helpful votes
For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were clean. So they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves.
John 18:28 ESV / 44 helpful votes
Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.
Acts 12:4 ESV / 43 helpful votes
And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.
Leviticus 23:5 ESV / 43 helpful votes
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the Lord’s Passover.
Numbers 28:16-25 ESV / 41 helpful votes
“On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord’s Passover, and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, but offer a food offering, a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; see that they are without blemish; also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths of an ephah shall you offer for a bull, and two tenths for a ram; …
Ezra 6:19 ESV / 39 helpful votes
On the fourteenth day of the first month, the returned exiles kept the Passover.
Exodus 12:48 ESV / 39 helpful votes
If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.
John 19:31 ESV / 38 helpful votes
Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.
Matthew 26:2 ESV / 38 helpful votes
“You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
Deuteronomy 16:1 ESV / 36 helpful votes
“Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.
Numbers 28:16 ESV / 36 helpful votes
“On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord’s Passover,
Numbers 9:11 ESV / 36 helpful votes
In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
Luke 22:7 ESV / 35 helpful votes
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
Mark 14:1 ESV / 35 helpful votes
It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him,
Leviticus 23:1-44 ESV / 35 helpful votes
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts. “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. “These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the Lord’s Passover. …
Deuteronomy 16:1-8 ESV / 33 helpful votes
“Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the Lord your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the Lord will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning. You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, …
Numbers 9:5 ESV / 33 helpful votes
And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did.
Matthew 26:17 ESV / 32 helpful votes
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
2 Chronicles 35:1 ESV / 32 helpful votes
Josiah kept a Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem. And they slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month.
Exodus 12:5 ESV / 31 helpful votes
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats,
Matthew 26:17-20 ESV / 30 helpful votes
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.
Leviticus 23:6 ESV / 30 helpful votes
And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
Psalm 81:3 ESV / 29 helpful votes
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
Numbers 9:12 ESV / 29 helpful votes
They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it.
Exodus 12:11 ESV / 29 helpful votes
In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.
Matthew 26:1-75 ESV / 28 helpful votes
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” …
Numbers 28:17 ESV / 28 helpful votes
And on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
Exodus 34:18 ESV / 28 helpful votes
“You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8 ESV / 27 helpful votes
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
John 13:1-2 ESV / 27 helpful votes
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,
John 12:1 ESV / 27 helpful votes
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
Luke 2:41-50 ESV / 27 helpful votes
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. …
Exodus 34:25 ESV / 27 helpful votes
“You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning.
Ezekiel 45:21-24 ESV / 26 helpful votes
“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a young bull for a sin offering. And on the seven days of the festival he shall provide as a burnt offering to the Lord seven young bulls and seven rams without blemish, on each of the seven days; and a male goat daily for a sin offering. And he shall provide as a grain offering an ephah for each bull, an ephah for each ram, and a hin of oil to each ephah.
Joshua 5:11 ESV / 26 helpful votes
And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.
Exodus 12:43 ESV / 26 helpful votes
And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it,
Exodus 12:27 ESV / 26 helpful votes
You shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
Exodus 12:6 ESV / 26 helpful votes
And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
1 Corinthians 11:20 ESV / 25 helpful votes
When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.
John 19:42 ESV / 25 helpful votes
So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
2 Kings 23:22 ESV / 25 helpful votes
For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah.
Deuteronomy 16:5 ESV / 25 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you,
In conclusion, Passover is a significant event in Jewish history and has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is a story of liberation, freedom, and redemption that has inspired people around the world for generations. The next time you celebrate Passover or read about it in Scripture, take a moment to reflect on its meaning and significance.