The joyful feast of Passover (Pesach) will be celebrated March 27. Many believers have come to understand that Passover foreshadows the Crucifixion of the Lamb of God, Yeshua our Messiah. What is less commonly known, however, is that Passover also serves as a type of blueprint for understanding the endtimes mystery of God’s final judgments, mercies and earth-shaking deliverance.
Tradition and Truth
Passover corresponds to the 14th day of the first month of the biblical year, known as Nisan. (Exodus 12:2) By rabbinic tradition, the Jewish community does not celebrate the new year on Nisan 1, but in the seventh month of the year, on the Feast of Trumpets. This explains why the Feast of Trumpets is traditionally called Rosh Hashana (meaning Head of the Year). As God’s people increasingly embrace the biblical foundations of faith, however, we may soon see the new year celebrated as God ordered it, on Nisan 1.
Passover is traditionally seen as an eight day holiday. According to Scripture, however, it is a one day feast, commemorating the Israelites’ exodus from slavery and death passing over them in Egypt. (Exodus 11:4-7) The one day Feast of Passover is followed by the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Leviticus 23:5-6) In practicality, the two feasts are traditionally combined into one and called Passover. This means that for eight days, we abstain from leavened bread and other leavened products.
In the Scriptures leaven typically represents sin. Abstaining from leaven reminds us that we are called to a lifestyle of abstaining from the leaven of this world. We can observe Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, therefore, as a re-consecration to God and His holiness at the start of a new year. “Therefore, purge out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)
If you’ve been reading our articles over the years, you know that the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits prefigure, and were fulfilled in, the Crucifixion, burial and Resurrection of Yeshua. But you may not know about the further, prophetic mystery of Passover as a foreshadow of that which is yet to come.
Passover is a Blueprint for the Endtimes
The feast of Passover serves as a type of blueprint for understanding the endtimes mystery of God’s judgments, mercies and deliverance. To unlock the mystery, we must understand the story of Passover in the context of YHVH’s meta-narrative of redemption. His overarching and majestic plan of redemption applies not only to Israel and the ekklesia (faithful Church or Body of Messiah) but to all the earth.
To begin, God chose Abraham and told him his descendants would dwell in a foreign land (Egypt) until “the sin of the Amorites” was complete. (Genesis 15:16) The Amorites were an ancient people inhabiting the Promised Land at the time. Now, the Hebrew word translated “complete” can also mean “full” or “paid for.” It comes from the same root (shalem) used for “peace” (shalom). Only when the Amorites’ sin reached its completion or full measure, could God’s righteous judgment be released. His judgment would be in a sense His payback, cleansing the land and resetting it for the children of Israel. Meanwhile, He would watch over Jacob’s descendants and grow them into a nation. He would prepare them to eventually steward His holy land.
Several generations after the Israelites went down to Egypt, a pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph. This pharaoh greatly feared the potential influence of Joseph’s people who worshiped YHVH. First, he enslaved all the Israelites, treating them with harsh cruelty. Then he ordered the murder of every newborn Jewish boy. The biblical account records the first anti-Semitic persecution and genocide driven by the spirit of anti-Christ. For if the Jewish people had been destroyed as pharaoh desired, Messiah Yeshua would not have been born. No atonement for sin would have been made and Satan would have retained his enslaving stronghold over humankind.
As a foreshadow of the endtimes, Egypt represents the world under the rule of anti-Messiah powers and principalities. The king of Egypt represents the anti-Christ or Satan, or perhaps both. The spirit of anti-Christ or anti-Messiah, already present in the world and gaining power, will intensify in the endtimes as it did in Egypt. That spirit will persecute and seek to destroy Jewish people living in and out of Israel. It will also persecute and seek to destroy non-Jewish followers of Yeshua from all nations.
God, however, will be very much in control. He will intervene, release His judgments and deliver His people when the sins of the nations are complete, as with the Amorites of old. He will use the hardships His people endure in the endtimes to purify them. For Israel, this will mean a national turning to Yeshua as Messiah. For the ekklesia, this will result in her being prepared to exercise dominion over the earth realm with the authority God entrusted to humankind before the Fall. Together, under the leadership of King Yeshua when He returns at the end of the age, Israel and the ekklesia will gloriously serve Him and rule the earth.
Back in Egypt, meanwhile, God miraculously spared and raised up Moses as the apostolic prophet, lawgiver, teacher, intercessor, judge, miracle worker and type of national senior pastor through whom He would deliver His people. But this was no easy task. Repeatedly Moses would approach the pharaoh with the Word of the Lord, “Let My people go, that they may serve and worship Me.” (Exodus 7:16) Sadly, ten devastating plagues would befall Egypt before the pharaoh finally let God’s people go.
The ten plagues in the Passover account foreshadow the judgments of God during the endtimes. Moses can be seen, together with Aaron, as prefiguring the two endtimes witnesses in Revelation 11:3-6. In another sense, Moses can also be seen as a foreshadow of Yeshua, the consummate Deliverer of God’s people. (Acts 3:22)
The ten plagues were expressions of divine judgment on gods worshiped by the Egyptian people. (Numbers 33:3-4) Since the pharaoh himself was worshiped as a god, the tenth plague struck down the deity of human governance when his firstborn son, who was next-in-line for the throne, was killed. Death of the firstborn son of every Egyptian household also served as judgment for the pharaoh’s infanticide of the sons of Israel. It represented God’s righteous payback, for those who curse Israel will be cursed. (Genesis 12:3)
Plagues, Judgments and Glory
The ten plagues described in the book of Exodus parallel many of the judgments described in Revelation. We have listed them below in very broad strokes, not differentiating among the trumpets, scrolls and bowls of Revelation. Nevertheless, these comparisons can serve to inspire and prepare us to stand firm in days and years ahead.
Some traditional rabbinic scholars teach that the Israelites, who lived in an area of Egypt called Goshen, were spared from all ten plagues. Other scholars disagree. We have indicated below where the Scriptures state that Goshen was protected.
1st plague: blood – Water is turned to blood in Exodus 7:20 and Rev. 8:8; 16:4.
2nd plague; frogs – Frogs inhabit the land in Exodus 8:6 and are described in Rev. 16:13-14.
3rd plague: gnats – Gnats (lice) cover the land in Exodus 8:17 and may be described in Rev. 6:7-8; 9:1-11.
4th plague: flies – Flies (swarms) overtake and destroy the land in Exodus 8:24 and are described in Rev. 6:7-8; perhaps also 9:1-11.
5th plague: livestock disease – While Goshen is protected, disease strikes livestock in Exodus 9:6 and Rev. 6:7-8; perhaps also 9:1-11.
6th plague: boils – While Goshen seems to be protected, boils and sores cover people and animals in Exodus 9:10 and Rev. 16:2, 11.
7th plague: hail – While Goshen seems to be protected, hail destroys the land in Exodus 9:23-24 and Rev. 8:7; 16:21.
8th plague: locusts – While Goshen seems to be protected, locusts swarm the land in Exodus 10:13-15 and Rev. 6:7-8; 9:1-11.
9th plague: darkness – While Goshen is protected, thick darkness covers the land in Exodus 10:22 and Rev. 16:10.
10th plague: death – While all who apply the blood of a lamb to the doorposts of their homes are protected, the death of every first born male occurs in Exodus 12:29. The book of Revelation indicates one third of humankind perishes during the endtimes. (Rev. 9:15, 19:19-21)
God engineered each of the ten plagues to magnify His name and display His redemptive glory. His judgments should not be seen as primarily punitive in nature, but as His righteous administration of justice. Bear in mind that the Hebraic concept of justice includes mercy. This is why many Egyptians turned to YHVH, joined faith with the Israelites and left Egypt together with them in the exodus. (Exodus 12:38) The Egyptians’ turning to God was the result of His redemptive mercy. Similarly, God’s endtimes judgments should be seen as His righteous administration of justice more than as punishment. Because of His redemptive mercy, multitudes will turn to Him in a wonderful and final, global harvest.
Consider yet another, important parallel between Passover with the endtimes. Thousands of years ago the Israelites suffered cruel atrocities as slaves in Egypt. They were not spared from the wrath and oppression of the anti-God governance of their day. But they were graciously and miraculously spared from the outpouring of God’s wrath—most notably, from the final and most severe plague of all, death.
Death mercifully passed over the Israelites because they’d applied the blood of a lamb to their households. In the endtimes God will once more spare His people, all those covered by the blood of the consummate Lamb of God, Messiah Yeshua, from the outpouring of His wrath. Believers in Yeshua will not experience divine punishment for sin. This may be accomplished by the rapture of the ekklesia or other supernatural means. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 5:9)
Some compare the parting of the Red Sea to the rapture. To be sure, the parting of the Red Sea demonstrates that God is faithful to spare His people from the outpouring of His wrath. He does not always spare us, however, from the outpouring of the wrath of His enemies. Our interpretation of Scripture is that He does not always spare His people from the wrath of the anti-Messiah. We cling, nevertheless, to His wonderful promise to use all things together for good for His purposes and our eternal destiny. (Romans 8:28)
For God’s covenant people, great glory is ahead, even during times of trial. Let us prepare now to stand firm in such times. Let’s settle in our hearts to embrace and demonstrate the holy love of Messiah to those around us when hardships increase. Let’s be humbly bold to share the truth of the Gospel to our communities and nations. For the day is coming soon when our Deliverer will declare, “Let My people go that they might serve and worship Me!” A great Passover celebration awaits.