At the traditional Passover meal, many strange things happen. One is that we start singing a song, then interrupt it to eat dinner. Only afterward do we finish the song.
That song is called the Hallel, and it consists of Psalms 113-118. On other holidays, we recite all six chapters together. But on Passover, it is split in two.
This is because on Passover, we celebrate two redemptions. Passover commemorates the exodus from Egypt, but it also anticipates something yet to come.
The Prophet Jeremiah declared:
Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when 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. (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
Until now, the exodus from Egypt has been the benchmark of God’s displays of power. But the future redemption will so outshine the exodus from Egypt that it will become the new gold standard. This will happen when we see Yeshua “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
By comparing the exodus narrative with the words of the prophets, we can see the awesome scale of the messianic redemption. The eleven parallels below come from a liturgical poem called “Passover of the Future.”
1. The Salvation of Israel
After the Israelites left Egypt, Exodus states that “the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 14:30).
Regarding the future redemption, salvation will become permanent: “Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation” (Isaiah 45:17).
2. The Hand of God
At the seashore, “Israel saw the great power [literally, “hand”] that the LORD used against the Egyptians” (Exodus 14:31).
In the future, the hand of God will gather in the outcasts of Israel: “In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people” (Isaiah 11:11).
3. The Dry Sea
Moses stretched out his hand, and the sea split. Then, “the people of Israel walked on dry ground in the midst of the sea” (Exodus 15:19).
In the coming redemption, the water will be split even further: “The LORD…will wave his hand over the River with his scorching breath, and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals” (Isaiah 11:15).
4. Pillars of Fire
There was chaos for the Egyptians when “the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces” (Exodus 14:24).
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD, God says, “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke” (Joel 3:3[2:30]).
5. The Mass Exodus
As Pharaoh pursued his escaped captives, “the people of Israel were going out defiantly” (Exodus 14:8).
The future exodus will have a much different mood: “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace” (Isaiah 55:12).
6. The Deadly Plagues
When Pharaoh woke up, “there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead” (Exodus 12:30).
But the Prophet Zechariah describes in gory detail “the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem” (Zechariah 14:12).
7. The Passing Over
We all know how in Egypt, God promised that he would “pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you” (Exodus 12:23).
This imagery also belongs to the future: “Like birds hovering, so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect and deliver it; he will spare [pasoach, literally “pass over”] and rescue it” (Isaiah 31:5).
8. God Himself Wages War
At the crossing of the sea, God battled on behalf of the people. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians” (Exodus 14:25).
In the future, God will fight for his people again: “Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle” (Zechariah 14:3).
9. The Song of Redemption
At the drowning of Pharaoh’s horsemen, the Israelites sang to one another a song of joy: “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” (Exodus 15:21)
At Messiah’s coming, the song of redemption will reach a wider audience: “Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth” (Isaiah 12:5).
10. Bathed in Light
God paralyzed the Egyptians with the plague of darkness, “but all the people of Israel had light where they lived” (Exodus 10:23).
When our Master returns, we will see an even greater light than this: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).
Freeing Israel from Egypt was a mighty act of redemptive love: “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed” (Exodus 15:13).
In the future, God will display this love once again: “Our Redeemer—the LORD of hosts is his name—is the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 47:4).
The Future Redemption at Your Seder
The exodus from Egypt was a great and powerful miracle of God. But if not for the future coming of Messiah, it would not have been enough.
That is why the Hallel is split into two parts. The beginning of the Seder—everything before the meal is served—reflects on the redemption from Egypt. But from the meal onward, the Seder anticipates the future kingdom of God.
- This poem for the seventh night of Passover was most likely written in the twelfth century by Rabbi Yosef ibn Sahal.