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!