The Feast of Passover
Celebrate the Feast of Passover
Pesach - Deliverance
by: Robert (Bob) Somerville
Should Christians celebrate the day of Passover? The Apostle Paul clearly answers the question for us: "...Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore 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 demonstrations 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, to take away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29). It was therefore 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 Solomon tells us: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a 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 introduced by our Lord Himself early on the day of Passover, at the last Passover 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; therefore, He ate the supper and was crucified on the same Biblical day. 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. Therefore, the sacrament of the "Lord's Supper" should continue to be identified as the Feast of Passover (1 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 "Kingdom 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, [When He was crucified, Jesus fulfilled this prophecy as the Lamb slain the very same day (Passover). 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 it 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 may 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 Seder Meal (Jewish order) as they did in ancient times because it was they who were delivered from Egypt and not Gentiles. Still, 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 trappings of the Old Testament Passover celebration. The Apostle Paul confirms this in his letter to the Hebrews:
"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 re-instituting the Melchizedek order into this celebration (1Co 10:16).
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
The Passover Day is God's appointed time 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." (2Co 1:10)
The Truth Shall Set You Free!
The Door to Christian Unity
The Door to Christian Unity
by: Robert (Bob) Somerville and Paul Jablonowski
The Christian community gathering for the Feast of Passover could be the DOOR to celebrating Christian unity. Why? Because we have a common bond with each other through Messiah's blood which is upon each of our hearts. Hebrews 2:11-12 says, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
If we have invited Jesus into our hearts to come and dine with us, how can we in good faith shut each other out? Yet this is exactly what we do when we fail to walk through the door of opportunity for close fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Passover was intended to be a family affair! The Christ our Passover event celebrates our common heritage through the blood of Jesus. This feast day is not man conceived, it is God ordained and biblically defined to give focus to the all-important blood of Jesus as our basis for unity and forgiveness. John 1:7 says, “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20) Jesus really longs to have fellowship with each of us personally and with His body corporately. The problem is one of trust in “opening the door.” We are often fearful that if we really get close to Jesus, He may not like us or be looking for an opportunity to correct or judge us. This is not the case. What Jesus really wants to do is to be a friend in whom we can confide because He too was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3).
Regrettably this same lack of trust holds true among us - His followers. Too many Christians fear rejection from other Christians because of our differences or because of an attitude of spiritual superiority. We must remember that salvation is through the shed blood of Messiah Jesus, and keeping this focus is the best way we can have unity without compromise. We do not have to compromise our doctrinal positions in order to acknowledge brotherhood in Jesus. He shed His blood for our unity as he prayed, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me.” (John 17:23)
In Israel at the first Passover God told Moses, “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper DOOR post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it." (Exodus 12:3,7)
Why the blood on the door posts? Why not the window? The door, as a symbol, is profound. The blood placed upon the passage way is even more so. It was the shed blood of a lamb that was placed on the doorposts of every house that saved them individually as well as corporately. Israel as a nation had a common bond through the blood, regardless of their tribal identity. Today, the body of Christ has the same common bond through the blood of Jesus on the doorposts of our heart, regardless of our denominational identity.
To the faithful church in Philadelphia God said in Revelation 3:8, “I have set before you an OPEN DOOR, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” It seems the annual Christ Our Passover banquet has proven to be an open door for unity in the body of Christ. The spirit of unity without compromise increases each year. God's people want to see the denominational walls come down and brothers and sisters demonstrating love and acceptance of each other through corporate worship and a fellowship meal.
2 Chronicles 30:12 says, “In Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them UNITY OF MIND to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the LORD.” This unity of mind only comes when we have mutual love one to another. Our sincere prayer is that the Christ Our Passover unity banquet will serve as the door to help contain the love that is being developed here in His church at Huntsville.