The Feast of Passover
"A Time to Die"
Should Christians celebrate the feast(day) of Passover?
The Apostle Paul clearly answers the question for us: "...Christ
our passover is sacrificed for us: Therfore LET US KEEP THE FEAST...(1Co
5:7,8). But how should it be celebrated and why would
this new testament writer encourage Christian believers to celebrate
this biblical memorial day? The truth is, what we commonly refer
to today as the sacrament of the "Lord's Supper" is
the New Testament rite of Passover. In all of the prophetic pictures
and demontrations of the Old Testament, none more clearly reflects
the redemptive work of the Messiah than does Passover, for He
was to be"...the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin
of the world" (Jn 1:29). It was therfore preordained that
the Messiah would die for the sins of the world on that precise
day and that it should be regarded as a "memorial"
day (Ex 12:14).
The wise man Soloman tells us: "To everything there is
a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to
be born, and time to DIE..."(Ecc 3:1, 2). The purpose of
Passover was to pinpoint the "death-day" of Him who
would be the true Messiah. Jesus was crucified on that very day.
In the book of Romans it is stated that "...in due time
(appointed time) Christ died for the ungodly" (Ro 5:6).
The Messiah was appointed to die on the Passover day and Jesus
met that appointment to perfection. The scriptures reveal that
He died on the cross "In the fourteenth day of the first
month (Nisan, or Abib) ...the LORD'S Passover (Lev 23:5).
Now let us note the relationship between the "Lord's
Passover" celebration and the "Lord's Supper."
The very first communion in the New Testament was conducted by
our Lord Himself early on the day of Passover, at the last supper
(Mt 26:19-26). In Biblical times the new day began at sundown
(6:00 p.m.) and not at midnight as we reckon it today. Jesus
and His disciples actually ate the supper shortly after 6:00
p.m. on what would be Tuesday evening to us, but the beginning
of Wednesday to them; therfore He ate the supper and was crucified
on the same Biblical day (see chronology).
In essence this was both the last and the first supper. It was
to be the last time that the Old Testament order of the Passover
meal using a slain lamb, bitter herbs, etc. was to be carried
out, and the first introduction of the New Testament order of
Passover using bread and wine only (1Co 11:23-27). What we refer
to today as "Lord's Supper" "Eucharist" or
"Communion" is actually the New Testament Passover.
Paul's use of these terms in speaking to the Corinthians was
not an attempt on his part to rename this feast but simply to
clarify its purpose and order. It is now the Lord's supper instead
of Moses' supper. Therfore, the sacrament of the "Lord's
Supper" should continue to be identified as the Feast of
Passover (!co 5:7, 8). In its beginning this feast day was declared
to be a feast celebrated "forever" (Ex 12:14). In fact,
Jesus tells us that it will continue to be celebrated after His
return when the international "Kindom of God" is established
upon the earth (Ex 12:14;Lk 22:16).
Annually for nearly 2,000 years a lamb had been slain on the
day of Passover, which prophetically demonstrated what would
take place concerning Jesus at Calvary, Jesus fulfilled this
prophecy on the very same day (Passover) as the "Lamb Slain"
when he was crucified. Accordingly, Christians should honor this
day as Jesus requested; "This do in remembrance of me."
Before this time it was done in remembrance of Moses and Israel's
deliverance from Egypt, but to the Christian it celebrates Jesus
and our deliverance from sin. One may contend that is is permissible
to observe Communion (Passover) any time we feel so inspired.
This is true. Under the New Covenant, we should feel at liberty
to do this by inspiration at any time of the year, but it should
not be done at the expense of ignoring the true anniversary,
Nisan 14. The specific annual date my be easily obtained from
most calendars. By honoring the correct day we are more fully
worshiping "in spirit and truth."
It is perfectly acceptable for the Jewish community to celebrate
the Sedar Meal (Jewish order) as they did in ancient times because
it was they who were delivered from Egypt and not Gentiles. Undoubtedly
it has also proven to be a learning experience for many Gentile
Christians as well. However, all believers in Messiah (both Jew
and Gentile) should observe the communion which Jesus introduced
on that memorial feast day.
MELCHIZEDEK - JESUS
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth BREAD and
WINE: and he was the priest of the Most High God: (Ge 14:18).
Inherent in this scripture is the prophetic reason for Jesus'
setting aside many of the trapings of the Old Testament Passover
celebration. The Apostle Paul confirms this in his letter to
"For he testifieth, Thou (Jesus) art a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 7:17).
The exclusive use of bread and wine as symbols for the body
and blood of our Lord at the last supper, was an indication that
Jesus was actually reinstituting the Melchizedek order of this
celebration. Today it is known to most Christians as the "Communion"
Obviously, celebrating the Passover Feast Day is not a matter
of redemption and/or salvation but rather a matter of worship,
praise and honor. This alone should be sufficient reason for
us to respect and acknowledge it. Memorial Day celebrations are
a vital part of God's eternal worship system. Why not make the
celebration of the Passover Day a part of your spiritual value
system? Jesus is worthy of this honor!
CELEBRATION OF DELIVERANCE
Passover is God's appointed Memorial day to celebrate his
ongoing work of DELIVERANCE. As Moses delivered the children
of Israel from Egyptian bondage, so also did Christ deliver humanity
from the bondage of all sin and its associated physical and spiritual
affects. Deliverance must be a continual work in the life
of every believer:
"Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth
deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us:"