Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Is Passover Observance for Christians?

by:Larry R. Lasiter

Edited and enhanced by Mike Farris... one plants, another waters.

Mention that you observe the Passover, but with New Testament symbols, to most Christians and you will often be asked, “Are you a Christian Jew?” It’s the common conception today that Christianity celebrates Easter and only Jews observe the Passover. But why?

Did you know that Jesus himself, and all the apostles long after His resurrection, taught the converts to Christianity to observe the New Testament Passover? Yep, it’s right there in your Bible, hidden in plain sight. But, first a little background.

The apostle Paul is called the apostle to the gentiles. Most people have been taught that the word “gentile” means anyone who is not a “Jew”. Wrong! The word gentile can also mean nations. Paul was the apostle to the NATIONS of Israel. Jesus said that He came to seek the “lost sheep of the House of Israel”. These are the people who were scattered to the “north and west” (what is now called the UK and other white Christian nations of Europe, and their final earthy possession... North America) and were known as gentiles (Israel nations outside of Judea) by the time Paul was sent to them. The only Israelites left in Judea was a tiny remnant of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi… and all of them were of the House of Judah, not Israel. All of the apostles, except Judas Iscariot, were from tribe of Benjamin. The ten northern tribes had “lost” their Israel identity, so Jesus true to His word chose Paul to go tell them the Messiah had come.

Notice how this understanding makes clear Paul’s statement to the Israelites in Galatia: “Seeing that I have been entrusted with the gospel(Good News of The Kingdom) to the uncircumcised(the Israelites who had forgotten this ordinance) just as Peter with the gospel to the circumcised"(the Israelites who still practiced this custom).Galatians 2:7 Under the New Covenant we know that it is the circumcision of the heart, not the flesh that really matters.

Paul was not one of the original twelve apostles, but was chosen by Jesus after the resurrection. In fact, Paul led a persecution against the early Christian converts, having many arrested. But on the road to Damascus the glorified Jesus struck Paul blind(a wonderful paradox…you have to be blinded to falsehood to see the truth) and revealed to him that He was the Messiah, and commissioned Paul as an apostle(which means, one sent) to preach to the lost House of Israel. All but one of Paul’s letters was to the Churches scattered throughout the nations. And, so were the other letters from Peter, John, and Jude addressed to these same "lost sheep". Israel(the overcomers)is God's firstborn, other children will be "birthed" in their order.

In his first letter to the Israelites in the city of Corinth, Paul wrote: “For Christ OUR PASSOVER also has been sacrificed. LET US therefore CELEBRATE THE FEAST, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the UNLEAVENED BREAD of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 Paul was not only teaching these Israel Christians to observe the Passover, but to “celebrate the feast” of unleavened bread which follows it. How can we know that Jesus instructed Paul to teach the Passover observance to new converts? We will soon find the answer in the eleventh chapter of first Corinthians.

First Corinthians is a “letter”, not a “book”. What does this mean? It means that it was composed in a single time frame, and what is mentioned later is connected to something previously stated. And the letter was read to the Churches in Corinth from beginning to end in one sitting. The reference to Passover and Unleavened Bread in chapter 5 would likely mean that the letter arrived in early Spring about the time of their commanded observance.

There must have been a problem with HOW (not if) these new converts were observing the Passover, because Paul corrects them. It appears that some were bringing large meals to eat before the actual Passover, and were eating freely in the presence of brethren who had not brought any food. In chapter 11, verse 20, Paul reminds them that they are not coming together to eat the “Lord’s supper” - meaning that unlike the old testament Passover where a family ate a whole lamb, that their “Lamb” is Jesus and His “meat” is unleavened bread symbolizing “sincerity and truth”. Also, it was the custom under the old law to throw out all leaven from their houses during the seven days of Unleavened Bread. We know now that our body is the “house” (actually Temple) of the Holy Spirit and we are to throw out the ”malice and wickedness ” from THAT house. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: “For I (Paul) RECEIVED FROM THE LORD that which I ALSO DELIVERED TO YOU, that the Lord Jesus IN THE NIGHT HE WAS BETRAYED took BREAD; and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “THIS IS (the symbol) of MY BODY which is broken for you, DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE of ME.” In the same way He took the CUP also, AFTER SUPPER, saying, - “THIS is the NEW COVENANT in MY BLOOD; DO THIS, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you PROCLAIM the LORD’S DEATH until He comes.”

Let’s review what Paul just said concerning the New Testament Passover observance. Paul said that he “DELIVERED” to the new converts that which he had “RECEIVED” from the LORD. Paul did not say, “Do this anytime you want to” or “often”. He said, “as often(or when) you do this”, you proclaim the Lord’s death(not His birthday). Passover is an annual MEMORIAL of the Lord’s death. The memorial is on the 14th day of the first month of Spring, the same day the Passover lamb was slain in Egypt which foreshadowed the blessed Lamb to come. Remember Paul instructing us to “celebrate the Feast” of Unleavened Bread earlier in his letter? This shows WHEN we are to partake of the Bread and the Cup… it is the TIME of the Passover at its appointed time.

“The Lord’s appointed times (feasts) which you shall proclaim as HOLY CONVOCATIONS(a holy assembly, but more like a “dress rehearsal”), MY (God’s, not man’s traditions) appointed times are these… In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s PASSOVER.” Leviticus 23:1,5 On that first Passover in Egypt, a lamb was slain, its blood smeared on the front of the Israelites homes to protect them from DEATH which would pass over them that evening, More than a thousand years later, a Lamb called Jesus gave His life on this very same day. The Passover is a memorial FOREVER, the blood of the Lamb over the doorposts of our hearts is the ONLY protection we have from the second death.

The Old Testament Passover was a type and shadow of the New Testament Passover. Commonly referred to as “the Lord’s Supper’” or “holy communion”, man-made denominations offer a variety of dates and customs. Some take communion annually, but not at the time set by Yahweh God. Others eat the Lord’s supper for breakfast every Sunday morning; still others take it daily, weekly, or quarterly… ignoring the instructions of the God they claim to worship.

Yahweh explained to Moses how important the very first Passover was… it literally was the difference between life and death! Yahweh made Passover an ordinance forever. Contrary to popular custom, Easter is not an acceptable “Christian” substitute for a “Jewish” passover. Christians are not commanded to keep Christ’s birthday or resurrection day. They are commanded to keep the true Passover of the Lord, and teach it to their children patterned after the example of Jesus as recorded in the Holy Scriptures.


How Is The Correct Date For Passover Calculated?

The idea that the Jews have preserved a true biblical calendar is totally erroneous. And the Gregorian calendar with the “new year” starting in the dead of winter effectively hides the truth of Scripture. The most reliable calendar in the universe is the sun because it never varies from its appointed course, and cannot be manipulated by man. The Spring equinox is the beginning of months, the true Biblical New Year, just as the Autumn equinox is the first day of the seventh Biblical month. With these two immutable witnesses, we can be certain that we are following the correct time for the Lord’s appointed Feasts. The moon has absolutely nothing to do with keeping time, and is one of the erroneous assumptions that many people make because they believe the traditions of the Jews.
 
The Biblical month of Abib corresponds to March/April and runs from March 20 to April 19. Passover is ALWAYS observed on the evening of Abib 14 which is April 2. Passover never moves from that date like the lunar calendar does. It is an annual memorial to “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 All the annual Feasts, or Holy Days, recorded in Leviticus 23 are SET from the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. The only Feast that “moves” is Pentecost (called the Feast of Weeks) which means “count fifty” days (or 7 weeks) from the day after the Sabbath within the Days of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost is always observed on Sunday.

Once a Christian has been exposed to Truth, they must search the scriptures to see if these things are so. They cannot and must not follow the traditions of organized religion in the place of God’s instructions. If you are unable to meet with other Christians at Passover time, start a Biblical tradition at home.

Passover Service At Home

After serving a full supper meal on the evening (after sunset) of Abib 14 (April 2), clear the dishes from the table, and place some unleavened bread and fruit of the vine (this can be plain grape juice or red wine… both are “fruit of the vine”. Gather the family around the table, including the children… Passover is for the whole family. Read the following scriptures aloud.

The Reason For Passover  
Exodus 12:1-14

What Does This Service Mean? 
Exodus 12:24-27

A Statute Forever
Leviticus 23:1-14

The New Testament Passover - Just Do What Jesus Did

The Breaking of the Bread 
Matthew 26:17-26
Mark 14:22
Luke 22:19

The Cup
Matthew 26:27-29
Mark 14:23-25
Luke 22:20

Sing A Hymn
Matthew 26:30
Mark 14:26

Read Psalm 118:19-24
Sing verse 24 or another hymn from the Psalms

This concludes the Passover service. Spend the rest of the evening discussing Passover and praising Yahweh for so great a salvation. Because HE has not forgotten us, we should not forget Him.

Passover is such an important event that it’s the only Feast that God allows a “make up”… on the 14th day of the second month of Ziv… May 3rd. Numbers 9:1-14

Christ is our Passover Lamb, not our Easter Bunny. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8