The True Meaning of the Passover Celebration for Jews


The Jewish tradition of Passover celebrates the liberation of Jewish slaves by Moses over three thousand years ago. Almost everyone knows the story, but it is worth retelling. Spring is a time of hope and renewal and that is why this holiday is perfectly timed.

The Jews were made slaves around 1700 BC by Egypt. It would be Moses who freed them. Chosen by God, he went to the Pharaoh and demanded that the slaves be freed, by the will of our Lord. The Pharaoh and his priests were worshipers of paganism. They laughed at Moses’ claims and immediately asserted their magic to be the superior.

Sticks turned into Snakes

They took three sticks and turned them into cobras, slithering up to Moses and hissing. The Pharaoh laughed and claimed the superiority of his magic. Then Moses thrust his staff onto the floor, where it became a large serpent. It slithered up to the other snakes and ate them alive.

This impressed the Pharaoh, and so he promised Moses he would think about it. After a few days with no answer, Moses returned again. The Pharaoh said he thought about the proposal and had rejected it. Moses warned that there would this time be great retribution for these acts, and the Pharaoh laughed once again. Moses grimaced and left.

The Pharaoh’s people were attacked by a series of divine plagues and calamities, a new one each day. Frogs rained. Rivers turned to blood. These caused the Pharaoh great stress but did not change his mind. His resolve seemed only to increase. This is when God brought the most powerful statement of all.

The killing of the Firstborn in Egypt

This is when the Lord decided to kill every firstborn in Egypt.

On the eve of the seventh day of the attacks, God told Moses to inform the Jews to smear the blood of a sacrificed lamb onto their doors, so the angel of death would know that their house was to be spared, and “pass over” it. This is the origin of the name Passover.

After this seventh plague, the Pharaoh relented. Moses freed the Jews and they began their great journey toward the Promised Land. After a few days the Pharaoh was overcome by a fit of rage and decided to hunt them down. He and his armies race after the Jews. Moses asks for God’s help and through the power granted him parted the Red Seas. His followers walked through unharmed, with the Pharaoh and his men behind them. The Jews got everyone out and then God let the waterfall and drown the Egyptians.

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