Passover, a lasting ordinance
Nowadays, there are many churches in the world which say they keep the feasts of God. However, if they do not keep the New Covenant Passover, then they are not keeping God’s laws but the rules of men. In order to go to heaven, we must keep the feasts of God. The Passover is the first feast of the seven annual feasts God established for the salvation of His people.
Leviticus 23:4-5 “These are the LORD’S appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD’S Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.”
Firstly, what is the biblical New Covenant Passover, the commandment that God gave to His people to follow in order to receive God’s blessings?
Origin of the Passover
To understand this, we must first find the origin of the Passover.
As slaves in Egypt the Israelites prayed to God for hundreds of years to be freed from their shackles. God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. When Moses asked Pharaoh to release the Israelites, Pharaoh said no. Then God sent upon Egypt 10 plagues, the last being the death of the first-born.
Exodus 12:10-14 “ …Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every first-born of both people and animals, and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.”
In order for God’s people to avoid the final plague, God established the Passover. It was so that the disaster would pass over them. As well, so they would be freed from Egypt to return to the promised land (Canaan). The night before, the people had to put the Passover lamb’s blood on the tops and sides of their door frames. The blood became a sign for the destroying angel not to harm that house.
From that night on God commanded His people to celebrate the Passover as a lasting ordinance.
Exodus 12:14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.”
Old Covenant Passover and New Covenant Passover
In the old testament, God protected His people from the last plague. This was so He would free the Israelites from slavery and they could enter Canaan. This was a prophecy of what is to happen to the spiritual Israelites in the last days.
When Jesus Christ came to the earth he celebrated the Passover.
Matthew 26:17-19 “On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ”So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.”
From lamb to bread and wine
However, He did not celebrate the Passover like the Israelites. He did not slaughter a lamb and put its blood on the door frame of his house.
Matthew 26:26-28 “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thank, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Instead, Jesus ate bread and said it was his flesh and drank wine saying it was his blood.
This was because He was the fulfilment of the Passover lamb that the Israelites had slaughtered for hundreds of years.
1 Corinthians 5:7 “Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
And he called this Passover the New Covenant. This in turn made the Passover in the old testament, the old covenant.
Luke 22:19-20 “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Passover gives us eternal life
Then why did Jesus Christ want us to eat His flesh and drink His blood?
John 6:53-56 “Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.”
Jesus eagerly wanted to celebrate the New Covenant Passover with us and give us his flesh and blood. That’s because without it we have no life. However, when we celebrate the Passover, we can receive eternal life.
Then what is this eternal life for? Are we to live eternally on this earth or somewhere else?
Revelation 21:1-4 “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth…‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
In Heaven there is no more death. Therefore, we need eternal life to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is for mankind to receive the forgiveness of sins and ultimately eternal life for Heaven.
The disciples kept Passover following Christ’s example
Following Jesus Christ’s example, the disciples and the saints of the early church also celebrated the New Covenant Passover.
1 Corinthians 11:23-25 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
The Passover is the core of the Bible and essential for all mankind. The saints of the early church celebrated the New Covenant Passover and preached the Passover to share in its blessings.
Day of Passover
Some churches state that they celebrate the Passover. However, their Passover is different than the New Covenant Passover that Jesus celebrated with his disciples.
When is the biblical Passover?
Leviticus 23:5 “The LORD’S Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.”
The Passover is to celebrated on the 1st month (Nisan), 14th day. The same day Jesus Christ and his disciples celebrated the Passover.
Mark 14:12 “On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” ”
Jesus celebrated the Passover when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb.
2 Chronicles 35:1 “Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month.”
In the Old Testament the Israelites slaughtered the Passover lamb on the 1st month, 14th day.
Jesus celebrated the New Covenant Passover on the 1st month, 14th day. As Christians, we should follow Jesus’s example and celebrate the Passover on the 1st month, 14th day. This is the same day that Jesus Christ celebrated the Passover and only once a year at that.
What happened to the Passover?
However, why does every church celebrate a variant of the Passover (a somewhat similar version of the New Covenant Passover) and not what God commanded us to do?
It is because in 325AD Emperor Constantine (The pagan High Priest) headed the council of Nicaea. The date of the Passover changed to the first Sunday, following the first full moon of the vernal equinox. From this time on many churches became confused with the date of the Passover. They added to the word of God and started to celebrate it more often on dates of their own choosing.
(https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/nicaea-i-325-10323) “A second practical problem, that had teased the eastern churches for generations, was now finally solved, viz., how the date of the Easter feast should be calculated. “All our good brothers of the East who until now have been used to keep Easter at the Jewish Passover, will henceforward keep it at the same time as the Romans and you,” so the bishops of Egypt announced in a letter to their people…
Jesus Christ warned us through the example of the Pharisees 2000 years ago. Though we worship God with all our heart, if we follow the rules of man, our worship is in vain.
Matthew 15:7-9 “… Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”
The World Mission Society Church of God celebrates the biblical Passover once a year. Following Jesus Christ’s teachings, on the first month, fourteenth day at twilight.