.Passover is celebrated this year on April 22. This biblical feast is prophetic of the crucifixion of Yeshua the Messiah and shows His death, burial, and resurrection in the Seder meal. The "Afikomen" is the most important part of the Passover meal. After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, when no Passover lambs could be sacrificed anymore, the Jewish people eventually borrowed this part of the Seder Meal from a widespread custom among the early believers, as a substitute for the lambs without fully knowing what they were doing. This is the most unique thing about the Passover Seder. At the beginning of the meal three pieces of matzah are stacked in a bag with sections which is called the "Unity" or the "Matzah Tash." The middle piece of matzah is taken out and broken in two. The larger of the two pieces is wrapped in a white linen cloth and hidden away.
The half of the middle matzah that is hidden is called the "Afikomen." One Rabbinical tradition says that the three matzahs represent the priests, the Levites and the Israelites. Another tradition says that they represent Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but the rabbis don't know why the middle piece is broken and hidden away. The reasonable explanation, of course, is that the Unity represents Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that the second person of the Godhead, the second matzah, was broken for the sins of the world, wrapped in a linen cloth, and buried. Remember from my last blog that the matzah is pierced, flat (unleavened) and striped, a picture of the crucifixion, according to Isaiah, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities ... and by His stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5).
Near the end of the Passover Seder the broken middle matzah ("Afikomen") that was hidden in a linen napkin is retrieved. The children are dispatched to go and look for it, and the one who finds it receives a prize. The Afikomen is brought back, clearly symbolizing the resurrection of our Lord! It also symbolizes His Second Coming! However, most of the Jewish people have not yet understood this symbolism, and the identity of their Messiah is hidden from them.
The strange thing is that "Afikomen" is the only Greek word used in the Passover ceremony. Its literal meaning is "I came!" Yes, the Messiah has already come! The use of a Greek work, "Afikomen," is an indication that Yeshua will be revealed to Israel through the Gentiles, as Paul writes in the Book of Romans, "because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious" (Rom. 11:11).
The leader breaks the Afikomen into little pieces and shares with everyone. It was at this point in the Seder that Yeshua said, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19). Then Yeshua took the third cup of wine which is fittingly called the Cup of Redemption, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20). This part of the Passover meal is what Christians celebrate today as The Lord's Supper or Holy Communion.
Rabbinical tradition says that the Afikomen now represents the lamb in the ceremony and that everyone must eat of it as the last part of the meal and let the taste linger in the mouth. Can the symbolism be more obvious? The Afikomen is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, Yeshua the Messiah!
It is quite an enriching experience for Christians to attend a Passover Seder. Yeshua is present in every detail!