The holiday of Passover has a very intimate and significant place in the history of the Jewish people. It was the beginning and defining moment that has shaped their identity as a nation.
The signs and wonders that God performed for them in that time have ultimately brought them to this point in history. In light of this significance, it is customary and even a mitzvah to mention and discuss the exodus as often as possible. However, will there be a time when we will no longer tell the great tales of the exodus? This seems to be implied in Jeremiah 16:14-15:
It shall no longer be said, “As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,” but “As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.” For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.
As Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles, we daily await the return of Yeshua the Messiah and the beginning of the Messianic Era. Looking forward to that day but keeping in mind the magnitude of the exodus, how should we interpret these words from Jeremiah? The context of this passage is the new covenant and the final redemption when God will establish his kingdom on earth. We might ask, then, whether the exodus from Egypt and its commemoration will still bear much importance in the Messianic Era or if we will strive to mention it when the kingdom is established.
In tractate Brachot 12b of the Babylonian Talmud, Ben Zoma refers to the passage cited above and asks the sages whether or not the exodus will be mentioned in the kingdom. The sages reply that the exodus from Egypt will still be seen as important. They support this by citing Deuteronomy 16:3 where is says, “All the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.” All the days of your life doesn’t just mean in this world or until the kingdom. If this mitzvah ended with the entrance of the kingdom, it would not be “all the days or your life.” The sages also draw a comparison to the renaming story of Jacob where similar wording of “shall no longer be called,” etc. is used. The name “Jacob” is not eliminated, however, it becomes secondary to his name “Israel.” In the same vein of thought, Rashi’s commentary on the same phrase from Jeremiah, “and it shall no longer be said,” explains that, “Our Rabbis expounded: Not that the departure from Egypt shall be uprooted from its place, but the final redemption will be the most important and the departure from Egypt secondary to it.”
From the Jewish perspective, Passover will still be seen as significant and will not be ignored or forgotten with the inauguration of the kingdom. Rather, it will be seen as a significantly less dramatic redemption than the one to come. The return of the Messiah will result in the ingathering of the people of Israel back to the land, the establishment of the kingdom, and the Messianic Era. As it says in Deuteronomy 30:4-5,
If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it.
Next Year in Jerusalem!