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. on
what would be Tuesday evening to us, but the beginning of Wednesday
to them; therefore He ate the supper and was crucified on the
same Biblical day (see chronology). 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
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
"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
"Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver:
in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us:" (2Co 1:10).
Truth Shall Set You Free!