Book Review: Christ in the Passover
|Book Title:||Christ in the Passover|
|Author:||Moishe Rosen (Author), Ceil Rosen (Author)|
|Date Published:||May 1, 2006|
|Publisher:||Moody Publishers; New Edition edition|
Christ in the Passover might seem to make as much sense as “Buddah in the Sukkah” to some people. On the other hand, Christianity does have its roots in Judaism. Nobody denies that all the first believers in Jesus ..were Jewish. The Rosens believe that, in fact, “Christ in the Passover” makes a great deal of sense. Once you get beyond the seeming disparity of the title, you begin to find out why. For starters, the authors bring together a lot of material that you don’t usually find under one cover.
Between the pages of this non-technical tome, you’ll flnd such topics as the institution of Passover; how it was celebrated in the time of Jesus (the end of the Second Jewish Commonwealth); how it’s carried on today; how the Last Supper and Passover are related (in contrast to Da Vinci’s portrayal, we Jews have never eaten broiled fish and loaves of bread at a seder); and the Messianic position that the ancient Passover lamb finds its greater counterpart in Jesus, “the Lamb of God.”
This book is easily read· in one evening and includes a comprehensive glossary, index and bibliography, plus a chart of the main Jewish holidays with the authors’ viewpoint on their present day application. The chapters are laid out in such a way that you can readily find the general subject you’re interested in and turn to that first. For instance, if you’d like to know about the symbolism behind many of the Passover items, chapter 3, “Passover, God’s Object Lesson” discusses the meaning of the lamb, the bitter herbs and the unleavened bread with instructive word pictures:
Leaven in. the Bible is almost always a symbol of sin… The Hebrew word for leaven is chometz, meaning “bitter” or “sour.” It is the nature of sin to make people bitter or sour. Leaven causes dough to become puffed up so that the end product is more in volume, but not more in weight. The sin of pride causes people to be puffed up, to think of themselves as far more than they really are (page 29).
Indeed, Christ in. the Passover is a veritable potpourri of information. American Jews, for instance, tend for the most part to be unaware of the rich heritage of Sephardic Jewry. But here they will learn that typical Sephardic fare includes tomatoes, eggplant, dates and figs, and that Sephardim recite over the afikoman, “In memory of the Passover sacrifice eaten after one is sated” (pages 8–82). And did you know that “from a passage in the Mishnah (Pesahim 7:13), it would appear that the wine (in the early centuries C.E.) was warm because the water was heated” (page 51) or that, in the same era, the number of Jews who made the yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover was about “two million… (swelling) the city’s population to almost four times its normal size” (page 42)?
The Rosens clearly relish such bits of Judaica and take pains to emphasize the Jewishness of what they believe. “The Jewish believer in Jesus,” they tell us, “finds deeper significance and reinforced faith in seeing God’s commandments and the customs of His people, Israel, in the new light of salvation in Christ. These things are relevant to our faith, not in opposition to it” (page 60).
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Scholar in Residence, Missionary
Rich Robinson is a veteran missionary and senior researcher at the San Francisco headquarters of Jews for Jesus. Rich has written several books on Jewishness and Jesus, and he received his Ph.D. in biblical studies and hermeneutics from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1993.