Passover is the season of our redemption, and it is ripe with Messianic imagery. The most well-known Passover custom is the seder that we observe on the first night.
But the Passover holiday is seven days long (eight days in Diaspora), and the entire festival speaks of redemption past and future.
The seventh day of Passover commemorates the Red Sea crossing. Outside the land of Israel, the seventh day continues into an eighth day, which alludes to the Messiah’s resplendent arrival and the onset of the Messianic Era.
On the eighth day of Passover, Chasidim observe a final meal that anticipates the future exodus. Here is an extract from the Vine of David Meal of Messiah explaining the history of this custom:
In the seventeenth century, the founder of the Chasidic movement, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer (the Baal Shem Tov) instituted the Meal of Messiah custom. He conducted it as an additional meal on the afternoon of the last day of Passover, paralleling the traditional third meal of Shabbat... They gather together to conclude the festival with matzah, four cups of wine, and a special focus on the coming of the Messiah and the final redemption…
What is the connection between the last day of Passover and the coming of Messiah? The Tzemach Tzedek writes:
The last day of Pesach is the conclusion of that which began on the first night of Pesach. The first night of Pesach is our festival commemorating our redemption from Egypt by the Holy One, Blessed be He. It was the first redemption, carried out through Moshe Rabbeinu, who was the first redeemer; it was the beginning. The last day of Pesach is our festival commemorating the final redemption, when the Holy One, Blessed be He, will redeem us from the last exile through our righteous Moshiach, who is the final redeemer. The first day of Pesach is Moshe Rabbeinu’s festival; the last day of Pesach is Moshiach’s festival.
One is incomplete without the other: The first redemption is connected to the final redemption. The sages say, “In Nisan they were redeemed, and in Nisan they will be redeemed in the time to come.” In fact, the prophet Jeremiah tells us that the second exodus will be so great that it will overshadow the first.
The haftarah portion (Isaiah 10:32-12:6) for the last day of Passover gives the day a strong messianic association. The reading is replete with prophecies that reveal the Messiah and the Messianic Age… These prophecies fuel the Messianic expectation of the final day of Passover. The Lubavitcher Rebbe stated, “The last day of Passover is the disclosure of Messiah.” Chasidim believe that God grants revelations about Messiah on the last day.
Many disciples of Yeshua have latched onto this fascinating custom as well, as we anticipate with longing the return of Yeshua to complete the redemption that he began. See the Vine of David Meal of Messiah resource to learn more about this messianic banquet and to celebrate in your home or community.