During the reign of Pharaon Merneptah, the hebrew people were living in slavery. According to tradition, God sent two messengers, Moses and his brother Aaron, to the egyptian Pharaon to free them. He refused, and as punishment, God sent ten plagues down upon the Egyptians: water turned to blood, frogs, lice, wild beast, cattle disease, skin disease, hail, locusts and darkness. Though Egyptians suffered throughout these nine plagues, the Pharaon would not soften. The tenth plague was the death of the firstborn child in every Egyptian family. God commanded the Hebrews to put a mark of the newly-sacrificed lamb’s blood on the doorposts of their homes. Because of this sign, the Angel of Death “passed over” every Hebrew home, killing only the Egyptian children, includin the Pharaoh’s own son and heir. The Pharaoh became frightened and called for Moses and Aaron and ordered them to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt.
On the fifteenth day of Nisan, they left in great haste, taking their bread dough without waiting for it to rise. Later, during their flight, they baked the unleavened bread in the hot desert sun. The Hebrews were still afraid that the Pharaoh might change his mind, which in fact he did. They soon found themselves trapped between the advancing Egyptian soldiers and the Red Sea. It was then that God divided the waters, allowing Moses and his people to cross the sea on dry land, then closed the sea to drown the pursuing Egyptian army.
Spiritual similarities between Easter and Passover
At the time of Jesus of Nazareth, the jewish people were oppressed by the reign of King Herod. The crucifixion of Christ was an effort to rid Israel from the threat of the Roman rulers. As was the case with Moses, Jesus wished to lead the people of Israel to a condition of freedom.
Both of these spiritual leaders were taking a step in the evolution of human consciousness. After crossing the Red Sea, Moses wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the land of “milk and honey”. After his death on the cross, Jesus descended into hell before His resurrection. With the festivals of Passover and Easter come the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, of life over death.