The Seder – a Denial of Christ


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The Seder - a Denial of Christ



The Passover Service ended at the death of Christ.

But Jews, denying Christ as their Saviour, have continued

celebrating it down to the present time. After

the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, the Jewish

people switched to a family Passover, held in the

home—which eventually acquired the name, “seder.”


As we will learn below, in the middle of the meal,

the father of the home tells everyone that, since there is

no sacrifice of a lamb at the Temple anymore (since there

is no Temple now in Jerusalem), the family has “no sacrifice

to make them righteous.”


Thus, everyone who participates in the seder has

rejected the Great Sacrifice—the death of Christ on

Calvary. For this reason, no genuine Christian should

take part in a seder, with its wine drinking and ceremonial

repudiation of Christ as our Sacrifice and Mediator.


In the place of the Passover meal, Christ instituted

the Lord’s Supper just before His sacrificial

death on our behalf. That is the only commemorative

meal we are to attend.


While the Jewish seder looks forward to the first

arrival of their messiah, the Lord’s Supper looks back

to the first advent of the Christian Messiah.


Surprisingly, some Seventh-day Adventist Churches

are beginning to have complete seder services at their

churches at Passover time (in April this year)—at about

the same time that Orthodox Jews will be holding their



In view of this fact, you may want to know more

about this ceremonial meal which was devised by Jewish

rabbis over a period of centuries after A.D. 70, to

help comfort their flocks and encourage them to keep

hoping that the promised Messiah would one day appear.

As we will learn below, one of their predictions is

that He will arrive in the evening while they are sitting

at the table during one of their seders.


The Passover Seder (or say-der) (the Hebrew word

literally means “order” or “arrangement”) is a special

Jewish ritual which takes place on the first evening of

the Jewish holiday of Passover (the 15th day of Nisan

in the Hebrew calendar) in the nation of Israel, and on

the first and second evenings of Passover (the 15th and

16th days of Nisan) among Orthodox Jews outside of

Israel (in the Jewish diaspora).


Reading from the Haggadah—At a special meal,

portions of the Haggadah are read and explained to all

who are present, about how the Jews were enslaved in

Egypt and then left one night.


While the Haggadah is read, those at the table drink

Four Cups of Wine, eat the matzo, and other symbolic

foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate.


The Mitzvah—The seder is an integral aspect of

Jewish faith and identity; it is part of their ceremonial

laws, as given in the Haggadah, which is a heavily revised

and changed Biblical Passover service.


It is considered a mitzvah to embellish one’s retelling

of the Exodus on this night, telling many imagined

details of what happened during the Exodus. Often the

seder lasts into the early hours of the morning of the

next day, as participants continue to learn Torah, talk

about the events of the night, and sing special Passover

songs included in the Haggadah.


Where held—Unlike other public holiday observances

that are traditionally held in the synagogue, the

seder is specifically designed to be conducted by a family

at home, with or without guests. (However, the seder

may also be conducted by any group of Orthodox Jewish

believers.) This focus is derived from the opening

words of the Torah verse which is the source for the

mitzvah of retelling the Exodus from Egypt: Vehegadeta

levincha bayom hahu leymor ba’avur zeh asah Adonay

li betzaysi miMitzrayim - “And you shall tell it to your

son on that day, saying ‘Because of this God did for me

when He took me out of Egypt’ ” (Exodus 13:8).


The words and rituals of the seder are a teaching

device for the transmission of the Jewish faith (as revised

during the Dark Ages since Christ) from parent to

child and from one generation to the next.


What happens during a seder?


Removing the leaven—Before the beginning of the

Passover, all leaven must be removed from the Jewish

home. First, the house is cleaned from top to bottom;

and anything containing leaven is removed. Then, the

evening before the Passover, the father of the house takes

the traditional cleaning implements: a feather, a wooden

spoon, and a bag, and searches the house for any specks

of leaven which might have been missed. He may spend

an hour or two looking in all the drawers, etc.


Setting the table—The table set for the beginning

of the Passover Seder includes the Passover Seder Plate

(front center), saltwater, three shmurah matzo (rear

center), and two or more bottles of kosher wine. (As we

will learn below, everyone, including the smallest child,

drinks quite a bit of it.) A Hebrew language Haggadah

sits beside each place setting.


Washing hands—Once the leaven is removed, the

family sits around the table and ceremonially washes

their hands with a special laver and towel.


Lighting the candles—Once the house and the

participants are ceremonially clean, the Passover Seder

can begin. The woman of the house asks God to bless

the food. Then she lights the Passover candles.


Haggadah—As the lengthy meal begins and continues,

portions from the Jewish Haggadah are read.


The first cup of wine—The seder begins with a

blessing recited over the first of four cups of wine:

“Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe,

who hast created the fruit of the vine.”


The second cup of wine—The second cup of wine

is drunk next. It is to remind the group of the Ten Plagues

and the suffering of the Egyptians. Each of the Ten

Plagues is recited; and, as each one is mentioned, a drop

of wine is spilled on the plate by each person present.


Afikomen—A very curious ceremonial tradition

occurs next. At the table is a bag with three compartments

and three pieces of motza. The middle piece of

motza is taken out, broken, and half is put back into

the bag. The other half is wrapped in a linen napkin

and hidden, to be taken out later, after the meal.


(Matzo—also matzoh, matzah, matza, motza— is a

Jewish food item made of plain flour and water, which

is not allowed to ferment or rise before it is baked. The

result is a flat, crispy, cracker-like bread, with no leaven

in it.)


The seder plate—Over the centuries, the rabbis

devised a series of object lessons to keep the attention

of the little ones during the Passover Seder. These items

are tasted by each person, as each is instructed to feel

as if they themselves had taken part in the flight from



Here they are:


• Karpas (greens)—The first item taken is the

karpas, or greens (usually parsley), which is a symbol

of life. The parsley is dipped in saltwater, a symbol of

tears, and eaten, to remind us that life for our Jewish

ancestors was immersed in tears.

• Beitzah (egg)—A roasted egg is on the seder plate,

to bring to mind the roasted daily temple sacrifice that

no longer can be offered because the Temple no longer

stands. In the very midst of the Passover Seder, the Jewish

people are reminded, by the one leading out at the

seder, that they have no sacrifice to make them righteous

before God.

That is a significant admission! It also means that

everyone who takes part in the seder agrees that he has

no sacrifice or mediator between him and God. We know

that, after the death of Christ, the earthly Passover no

longer has any significance. Therefore, to take part in

the seder is to deny Christ our Lord.


• Maror (bitter herb)—Maror is usually ground

horseradish; and enough is eaten (with Motza) to bring

a tear to the eyes. It is to remind those at the table of

the bitterness of slavery, which their Jewish ancestors

experienced in Egypt.

• Charoset—Charoset is a sweet mixture of chopped




apples, chopped nuts, honey, cinnamon, and a little

Manischewitz grape wine (kosher for Passover) just for

color! This sweet, pasty, brown mixture is symbolic of

the mortar that our Jewish ancestors used to build

bricks in the land of Egypt. The question is asked, Why

do we remember an experience so bitter with something

so sweet? The leader at the table then explains that the

rabbis say it is to remind all Jews that the promised

Jewish Messiah is yet to appear.


Shankbone of the lamb—In every Jewish home,

on every seder plate, is a bare shankbone of a lamb,

stripped of meat. That is to remind those at the table of

the blood of the lamb which was placed on the doorpost

and lintel of the home.


The meal—Next comes the meal: steaming hot

chicken soup with huge, fluffy motza balls; other motza,

in the form of crackers; slices of pungent, homemade

gefilte fish with just-ground make-you-cry horseradish;

more motza; chopped liver (with lots of schmaltz and

crunchy fried onions) on a bed of lettuce; more motza;

enough delectable green salad to feed a colony of hungry

rabbits; more motza; more crispy fried onions on the

side; more motza—and that was just the appetizer!


Next comes the meal! Tender, sweet brisket with

cabbage; more motza; homemade flanken; stewed

chicken, roasted chicken, broiled chicken, boiled chicken,

sautéed chicken, baked chicken; more motza; a whole

roasted turkey; more motza; fresh-cut green beans with

onions; more motza; carrot and prune tzimmes; more

motza; sweet potato and raisin tzimmes; more motza;

homemade mashed potatoes swimming in butter; more

motza—and on it goes! Remember that this meal lasts

for hours; and the celebration often continues until early

the next morning.


(Schmaltz or schmalz is rendered chicken or goose

fat used for frying or as a spread on bread. Schmaltz,

rendered from a kosher-slaughtered chicken or goose,

is popular in Jewish cuisine; it was used by Northwestern

and Eastern European Jews who were forbidden,

by dietary laws, to fry their meats in butter or

lard, the common forms of cooking fat in Europe.)


(Tzimmes or tsimmes is a traditional Jewish casserole.

It is a sweet dish, a combination of fruit, meat,

and vegetables cooked slowly over very low heat, flavored

with honey and sometimes cinnamon.)


The Search for the afikomen—After the meal is

finished, and most are too stuffed to get up from the

table, the leader of the seder lets the children loose to

hunt for the afikomen, which was wrapped in a napkin

and hidden somewhere in the house. The home is in a

ruckus as everyone rushes around to be the first to find

the afikomen and claim the prize (usually about $5.00);

and Grandpa redeems the afikomen from the lucky locator.

Once the leader has retrieved the afikomen, he

breaks it up into pieces and distributes a small piece to

everyone seated around the table. Jewish people don’t

really understand either the origin or meaning of this

ceremonial tradition, but they happily enjoy it. However,

it is widely believed that these pieces of Afikomen bring

a good, long life to those who eat them.


Elijah’s cup—A place setting at the table remains

empty for Elijah the prophet, the honored guest at every

Passover table. The Jewish people expect Elijah to come

during the Passover Seder and announce the coming of

the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). So a place is set, a cup is

filled with wine, and hearts are expectant for Elijah to

come and announce the good news that the Messiah

has come to deliver them, by conquering their enemies.


At the end of the seder meal, a child is sent to the

door to open it and see if Elijah is there. Every year, the

child returns, disappointed; and the wine is poured out

without being touched.


Third Cup—With everyone once again settled at the

table, the meal is now officially ended; it is now time to

drink the third cup of wine. This is the cup; everyone is

reminded by the leader that, although the Messiah did

not come this time, He will soon come and redeem them.


Fourth Cup—As if that is not enough wine, it is

now time for the fourth cup: the Cup of Hallel. The word,

hallel, in Hebrew means “praise.” After four cups of wine

inside every man, woman, and child at the table, they

must surely feel in a happy mood!


What is the origin of the Haggadah?—Where did

this Haggadah come from, which is read to everyone in

attendance at the seder? The Haggadah, which includes

the order of the Passover Seder, is very important in the

home of every Orthodox Jew. This is because it contains

a promise that the Messiah is soon to come. It is

this promise that the faithful rely on. It also helps them


resist suggestions, by Christians, that they should accept

Christ as their Saviour. —For has not the

Haggadah promised them a future Messiah?


According to Jewish tradition, the Haggadah was

compiled during the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods;

but the exact time is not known.


The Haggadah could not have been written earlier

than the time of Rabbi Yehudah bar Elaay (around 170

B.C.), who is the latest tanna (expert) to be quoted in

the Haggadah. According to most Talmudic commentaries,

Rav and Shmuel argued about the compilation

of the Haggadah; and hence it was not completed by

that time.


However the Malbim, along with a minority of Jewish

rabbis, believed that Rav and Shmuel were not arguing

about its compilation, but its interpretation; and

hence it was completed by then. According to this explanation,

the Haggadah was written during the lifetime

of Rav Yehudah haNasi, the compiler of the Mishna.

The Malbim theorizes that the Haggadah was written

by Rav Yehudah haNasi himself. —We will stay out of

that controversy!


Nevertheless all commentators agree that it was

completed by the time of Rav Nachman (mentioned in

Pesachim 116a). But there is a dispute as to which Rav

Nachman the Talmud was referring to. According to

some commentators, this was Rav Nachman bar Yaakov

(around A.D. 280), while others maintain this was Rav

Nachman bar Yitzchak (A.D. 360).


Now you know the story behind the seder; so you

will be prepared when the leaders at your local church

want to have a seder in the spring of the year. —vf