And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:13 (AV)
In this post we are going to briefly explore the biblical Sabbath Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread in the context of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At this time of the year the majority of the mainstream Christian world celebrate religious traditions such as Easter and Lent, but we at OFG believe the feasts of יְהוָֹה namely, Passover and Unleavened Bread, are the true biblically commanded and Christ centered festivals.
Passover & Unleavened Bread vs. Religious Traditions
We have now arrived to our celebratory season and feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread, which are stipulated to begin according to Scripture on the 14th day of the first original Hebrew month called ‘Abib’, and lasting for a duration of seven days following. At this time, rather than celebrating Passover, the majority of Christian denominations celebrate the Easter Holy Week and holiday season, coinciding in early April according to the Gregorian Calendar and the month Nisan according to the modern Hebrew calendar.
Easter is seen to be the Christian festival and season celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but in reality, it is revealed to be an ancient syncretism of pagan fertility festivals and traditions with primitive gentile Christianity, particularly the overlapping systems of early Roman Catholic and early Eastern Orthodoxy.
To summarize the background, in the ancient world, in various cultures, there were several long established pagan fertility ritual traditions and so-called holy seasons/days in existence prior to the formation of what is called Easter. These traditions all fell around the same time as the Jewish Passover.
It is a known fact that the primitive Roman Catholic/Orthodox religions made a practice of synchretizing Christian teaching and practice with existing pagan traditions. The greatest example of this practice is demonstrated in the significant annual holiday of Christmas. This syncretization was employed as a strategy with the end goal of gaining religious and political dominance over the people of the ancient world.
In other words, Easter as you know it is actually the result of a mixture of European paganism with Early Roman Catholicism/Orthodoxy.
We at OFG strictly adhere to the Word of God rather than religious traditions, so in light of that, we would like to share with you the true biblical significance of this season.
The Feast of Passover
The Passover or ‘Pesach’ פֶּסַח ‘pesah’ in Hebrew, is the first in a series of biblical High Sabbaths, or Sabbath feasts, performed initially in the Book of Exodus (Exodus 12:1-14), and instituted as a national and cultural memorial feast to be observed from that time forward.
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to יְהוָֹה throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Exodus 12:14 (AV)
As the biblical account tells us, God purposed to destroy all the firstborn of Egypt, both man and beast, as climactic judgment in a series of 10 plagues, which were consequences for the oppression of the Hebrew people at the hand of Pharaoh Ramses II, ruler of Egypt at the time of the Exodus. Before the judgment was to be executed, God preemptively spoke to Moses and instructed him to command the Israelites to kill a lamb ‘without blemish’–to be known from thereon, as the ‘Passover Lamb’–and apply its blood to the lintels and door posts of their dwellings.
The blood located on the doors and lintels would then indicate to the destroying angel acting on behalf of יְהוָֹה, to bypass that dwelling place, that the firstborn children of the Israelites would be ‘passed over’ and exempt from the judgment. The destroying angel then went forth and destroyed the firstborn of Egypt and simultaneously spared the firstborn of Israel.
Israel was then released from bondage to Egypt following the magnitude of this judgment, but not without further opposition from Pharaoh. However, after an amazing display God’s supernatural power, Pharaoh and His armies were overthrown in the Red Sea and the Israelites were fully liberated to make their journey to Palestine, the promised land.
Passover as a memorial, was commanded to be perpetually observed throughout the generations of God’s people (Exodus 12:14) and is now revealed through the New Testament to be a symbolic type of our Lord Jesus Christ known as the ‘Lamb of God’.
This Lamb of God was prophesied in the Bible to have His blood shed for the salvation of many generations of God’s people from every nation and culture (Isaiah 52:14-53:12; Revelation 5:6, 13:8). Just as the Passover Lamb’s blood was shed in Exodus for salvation and liberation of Ancient Israel in averting the judgment of God, the blood of Jesus Christ was shed for the salvation of all who will believe the Gospel and receive Jesus Christ as Saviour in averting the final judgment of God – that is, the divine judgment of eternal damnation in hell fire.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. Isaiah 53:7-8 (AV)
The Lamb of God our Lord Jesus Christ, was slain on the cross, and His blood was shed that it may be provided as an atonement for our transgressions. Or to put it another way, the blood of Jesus was shed for our sins, that once applied to us, we would escape the wrath of God consequential for sin – that the wrath of God would ‘pass over’ us as it did in Egypt for the firstborn of the Israelites.
Jesus is therefore, our Passover Lamb and as true Bible believing Christians we teach, celebrate and promote the observance of the true revelation of Passover through the grace and leading of the Holy Spirit, in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
Jesus is also known as the Bread of God (John 6:33) and Bread of Life (John 6:35) . The Feast of Unleavened Bread (in Hebrew, מַצָּה – masa) would follow Passover for seven days in which all bread made with yeast would be prohibited, and only bread made without yeast would be permitted to be eaten for the duration of the festival (Exodus 12:15-20).
Unleavened bread is also a symbol and type of Christ, emphasizing His sinless purity and life giving power through the resurrection. Jesus is the Unleavened Bread of Life in that He is the sinless and pure Saviour who could not remain held under the power of death, but rose again in victory and power. The resurrection is also seen symbolically in the Sheaf or Wave offering of the First Fruits offering, which is to take place the day after the Passover Sabbath, the second day of the feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:9-15).
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto יְהוָֹה: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. Leviticus 23:5-6 (AV)
The pure and spotless unleavened Word of Christ (pure teaching of the Word of God) is also emphasized in contrast to the leaven (false teaching and traditions) of the Pharisees and Sadducees – the religious fanatics who led the people of Israel astray under their self imposed teachings and practices (Matthew 16:6-12).
We now understand that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and only through His ultimate sacrifice, holy blood and pure Word, there is the hope of salvation. We celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread through the Holy Spirit in remembrance of Christ Who is the pure and spotless Unleavened Bread of Life.
Modern Jewish Observance
At present, the reestablished nation of Israel and the Jewish people, hold a restructured form of both the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is a nationally recognized annual holiday season consisting of a literal eight day festival where the Jewish observers reflect on the deliverance of their forefathers through reciting special prayers and blessings, and sharing symbolic meals such as the ‘Seder’ and several forms of unleavened bread. It is strictly observed by the Ultra Orthodox Jews – the devout religious sect of modern day Judaism – and others in the secular and religious portions of the community, each with varying interpretations and physical practices.
The original Passover was commanded to be performed according to detailed religious regulations found in the Law of Moses (Exodus 12:14-20; Leviticus 23:4-8; Numbers 9:1-5; Deuteronomy 16:1-8). According to these regulations certain daily sacrifices had to be performed in the place of religious gathering, firstly the Tabernacle and then the later established Jewish Temple.
In modern times, due to the absence of the Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Roman Emperor Titus in 70 AD., the regulated festival where the official Passover sacrifices would be offered according to the Law of Moses, can not be observed. For this reason, the Jewish people have restructured their observance of the feasts to adapt to the modern day cultural/political context and furthermore to their particular demographical contexts. The destruction of the Jewish Temple was prophesied by our Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry:
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Matthew 24:1-2 (AV)
New Testament, Old Testament, or Jesus?
For the New Testament Bible believing Christian, the whole of Scripture revelation should direct our observance of any tradition or holy day. For the majority of mainstream Christians, rather than drawing their conclusions from a pure biblical teaching on such a matter as Passover or Easter, they tend to follow the directions of churches, denominations and cultural interpretations of any holy day, season or observance. This is the answer to why many mainstream Christians observe Easter rather than Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The tension lies in the antagonistic relationship between historic Christianity and Judaism. These systems have remained polemical for the strongest reasons, the primary reason being the historical person of Jesus Christ. For Christians, Jesus Christ is the father of their faith and through Scripture teaching, revelation of His person, and accompanying spiritual experience, He is considered God Himself incarnate.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 1 Timothy 3:16 (AV)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8 (AV)
For the Jew, Jesus Christ is not recognized as any of the above, but rather, He is reviled as one of the greatest enemies of the historic Jewish people. This history and particular streams of historic denominational teaching in the church, has caused modern Christians to essentially set aside the Old Testament and Sabbath observances found therein – this should not be so. The Old Testament Sabbaths, including Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread have been set aside in the church because historical, polemical and corrupted interpretations of Christian teaching have directed God’s people to do so.
A thorough, honest and untainted treatment of Scripture reveals that the ancient account and establishment of Passover points us directly to the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches clearly, that all we find in the Law of Moses and the historical accounts of the Old Testament, are in fact sign posts directing us to the Messiah of Israel, Jesus Christ.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Colossians 2:16 (AV)
The above verse teaches us, that the person and work of Jesus Christ is the substance of all Sabbath observances and holy days, including the finer legal regulations of the Law of Moses, even the dietary laws. The example of the Old Testament Law of Moses reveals to us the staggering purity required by God of His people – a standard which ultimately could not be reached and was designed as a temporary system of government until a more excellent way was to arrive. That more excellent way spoken of here, is the teaching, example, Spirit and person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Passover in Christ
Through the above revelations, we are led to keep the Passover in a spiritualised form, understanding that Jesus Christ the Messiah is the substance of such observance. The Spirit of God in us and the Scripture of Truth do not confirm the keeping of Easter or other religious traditions, but rather, confirms the observance of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and also other High Sabbaths such as Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost) and Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles).
The revelation of the Holy Spirit leads to observe the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread in Spirit and truth, directing our focus to both complimentary literal observance and spiritual observance, with spiritual observance being primary focus. We welcome such celebrations as feasts, gatherings, communion and worship, corporate and private, all of which can be done as the Spirit leads, and all of which is good practice and encourages building up of the brethren. But in the spirit of Passover, we primarily bring attention to the remembrance and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ, and what He has done for us and the whole world, in providing the way of salvation and reconciliation to our Creator, the Holy One of Israel.
Jesus is our Pesach. Jesus is our Passover.
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 1 Peter 1:18-21 (AV)
We at OFG Ministries wish you a Blessed Sabbath season of Passover and Unleavened Bread. We encourage you to further study and pray the Holy Spirit would give you strong wisdom and knowledge regarding spiritual observance and deep revelation of Christ through the Passover and other annual Sabbath feasts/seasons found in Scripture. We hope that through this, you may gain revelation of true biblical and spiritual worship of God, that you may worship our Lord God and Saviour more powerfully and fully in the Holy Spirit and in truth.
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