Passover Symbols

Passover Symbols

BONDAGE AND EXODUSGod'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 LAMBOne 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 lambChrist portrayed as "Lamb of God"
THE MAROR (Bitter Herbs)One of the 3 items commanded in Exodus 12:8May have been the "sop" which Jesus handed to JudasRepresents the bitterness of Egyptian slaveryEaten at the contemporary seder; given the same significance as in rabbinic tradition
THE UNLEAVENED BREADOne 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 traditionMany churches use matzo as Communion element
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 PharaohEaten at the contemporary seder; given the same significance as in rabbinic tradition
THE CEREMONIAL CUPSThe 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 traditionOne of the elements of Communion
THE KARPAS (Greens)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 tearsEaten at the contemporary seder; given the same significance as in rabbinic tradition

* 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.


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