March 28, 2017 superadmin

Pesach: Celebrate Passover

“For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival.” (1 Cor 5:7-8)

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Messiah, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Pe 1:18-19)

The Biblical Feasts reveal the Father’s detailed plan of salvation for mankind through the Messiah, from his death on Golgotha as the Lamb of God to his enthronement in Jerusalem as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Feasts are of utmost importance for all who love him and will one day sit with him on his throne as his glorious Bride.

Passover is the first of the Feasts of the LORD and the foundation upon which all the rest are built. From the beginning the Apostolic community of believers faithfully celebrated the death, burial and resurrection of Messiah every year at Passover on the 14th in the first month on the Biblical calendar just like Yeshua did with his disciples and like the Jewish people still do today. 

In the second century the Bishop in Rome began to change this custom. Later on when he tried to force the assemblies in Asia Minor to do the same, the bishops there, however, stubbornly refused. The famous church father Irenaeus wrote to Bishop Victor in Rome and reminded him of an earlier failed attempt by Bishop Anicetus to stop the celebration of Passover in Asia Minor, “For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe it, because he had always observed it with John the disciple of our Lord, and the rest of the apostles, with whom he associated.” Polycrates of Asia Minor added, “All these observed the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. …my relatives bishops …always observed the day when the people (i.e. the Jews) threw away the leaven.”

It was not until Constantine in the 4th century forced the Christian bishops to sever all connections with the Jewish people that the biblical celebration of Passover was outlawed and eventually was replaced by the Christian Easter. The process took, however, quite a long time. Many continued for centuries to keep the original Passover celebration on the Biblical date.

It is vitally important that we carefully follow the Father’s own testimony that He has given about His Son in the Feasts of the LORD so that we do not preach a different Yeshua or a different gospel than what the Apostles did. The Jewish Passover meal, called Seder, is basically the same today as it was in the time of Yeshua and the Apostles and is based on God’s command in Exodus 12:8, “That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.” In this celebration the story about God’s great plan of salvation for mankind, past present and future, with focus on the Lamb of God is portrayed with great clarity.

There is a very interesting passage about the Feast of Passover in Exodus 13:8-9, “On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead.” Observing Passover is to the Eternal as a sign or mark on our hand and our forehead. If we have his mark on us by celebrating the Passover in these last days, we will have the best protection against taking the mark of the Beast!

“And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb.” (Rev 15:2-3)

Paul and Passover

“Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast — as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor 5:7-8)

First Corinthians is the only epistle that gives us specific teaching about communion. It is also the only epistle that mentions the celebration of Passover. This is no coincidence since they belong together. It is very possible that Paul wrote First Corinthians partly to prepare the believers in Corinth and the surrounding areas to correctly celebrate the upcoming Feast of Passover. He alludes to the typical preparations before the Passover to search for leaven and tells them, “Get rid of your leaven and then let’s celebrate the Feast!” Yeshua himself encouraged us to celebrate the Passover when he said during his last Passover meal, “Do this in remembrance of me!” Friends let us keep this Feast!

Some people argue that a Passover Seder celebration is only for Jewish people. But Paul wrote in Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”

What at first glance looks like a statement that the Feasts of the LORD are not for us today or are at least not important, is actually instead a strong encouragement by Paul that we need to celebrate them. Verse 17 literally says in the Greek text, “which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Christ.” Notice, that it does not say “a shadow of the things that were to come” like it says in the NIV translation, but “a shadow of things to come” or “a shadow of the coming.” The fulfillment is partly yet in the future.

The entire passage could actually be translated. “Therefore do not let anyone but the body of Christ, judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day, which are a shadow of things to come.”

Instead of saying that Gentile believers are not supposed to celebrate the Sabbath and the other Feasts of the LORD, this text is instead a strong encouragement to do so since the Feasts are a shadow revealing things to come and therefore very important. The only way to remove a shadow is to remove the object. We need the revelation that is found in the Feasts.

Secondly, Paul tells all the Gentiles to not let anyone but the body of Messiah judge them concerning the celebration of the Feasts. The reason for this is that the Torah for example expressively forbids an uncircumcised person to celebrate the Passover and Paul did not want this to be a hindrance. That is why he also stressed earlier in verse 11, “In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Messiah.”

The whole passage in Colossians 2 is an admonition by Paul for Gentile believers to celebrate the Feasts of the LORD. He is trying to say that the Feasts of the LORD are not only for the Jewish people. The Feasts belong to all of those who belong to the Eternal and are circumcised by him and we should not let anyone judge us for celebrating them even if we are not Jewish. We are all one in him and part of the commonwealth of Israel. The Feasts of the Lord are part of the spiritual inheritance also of Gentile believers. “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” (Eph 2:19)

The Scriptures or Pagan Religions?

When Christians say that they want to observe the traditional Christian feasts rather than the Feasts of the LORD, it is important to understand that they thereby also are leaving the foundation of Scripture to follow the traditions of men. It is also very illogical to say that we should not celebrate the Biblical Feasts of the LORD, but should instead observe feasts that have been established by men, after the Bible was written. That is a tragic mistake that is robbing the Bride of Messiah of much crucial revelation and understanding both of our salvation and “of things to come”, making her spiritually crippled and unprepared for the coming of the Lord. It is time to return to the Scriptures. The Feasts of the LORD are a lot more important than most Christians and especially theologians realize.

Many, if not most, of the Pagan religions in the ancient Mediterranean region already had a major religious celebration in the spring around the time of Easter. In one religion, Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a consort who was believed to have been born of a virgin. He was Attis, who was said to have died and was resurrected each year in the Spring. The Cybele religion came to Rome around 200 BCE and was centered on Vatican hill.

In most of the goddess religions, like Ostara and Cybele, it was taught that these goddesses became pregnant by the sun each year on March 25, the nominal date of the spring equinox on the old Julian calendar, and gave birth 9 months later on December 25. March 25 is celebrated today as The Feast of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here we can truly apply Galatians 4:8-11,

“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God — or rather are known by God — how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.”

Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic lunar goddess Ostara, also corresponding to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. Eostre gave her name to the Christian Easter. Her feast day with images of rabbits and eggs, was held on the full moon following the vernal equinox, usually the time of the Jewish Passover. It is not difficult to see how the pagan religions of Eostre and Cybele have influenced the Christian Easter celebration. How important it is to not copy the gospel after pagan rituals and go back to traditions connected to idol worship, but go by the Scriptural pattern!

Make sure to celebrate the Biblical Passover meal in honor of the sacrifice of Messiah for our salvation! You can easily do it in your home with your family and friends with the help of our family Haggadah. Link! You can also use our intercessory Haggadah and arrange a larger communal Passover Seder as an evening of intercession for the salvation of Israel. This you can do any night during the seven days of Passover.

It should, however, be remembered that Passover was originally supposed to be celebrated in the home as a family event. It says in Exodus 12:3-4, “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.” The instruction was to take a lamb for each family. The Passover meal in the Upper Room was not a huge congregational celebration.

Several years ago when we had finished writing our first Passover Haggadah, the Lord surprised us by saying, “Thank you for helping me restore my true identity!” It is the Jewish Passover and not the Mass, which gives us the true revelation of who our Savior is. It was during a Jewish Passover meal that Yeshua held the traditional cup after the meal and said, “do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Cor 11:25) It was not a holy wafer, but a piece of unleavened matza bread Yeshua held in his hand when he said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Lk 22:19)

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