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Christ, Our Passover

The time is coming for the holiday in which we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Did you know that this event had been foreshadowed by God within the Bible for centuries, and even millennia before His birth?

God often teaches us about spiritual things in the Kingdom of God by using the physical things we experience in our lives within this physical world as metaphors, especially events that have taken place throughout history. This is an illustration of the multiple levels on which the Word of God teaches simultaneously.

Have you ever wondered why most Christians celebrate the eggs, and chocolate, and baby animals, and spring flowers, and a giant rabbit on a day we are supposed to be celebrating the greatest act of Jesus Christ, which allows for our salvation and eternal life? Do those actually have anything to do with Christianity? What about the day on which people traditionally celebrate those things, Easter, is this celebration really biblical? You may be surprised at the  answer to those questions.

Let’s start at the beginning, long before Jesus was on earth. To set the scene, Moses, a descendant of Levi, son of Jacob, is about to lead the Israelites, all descendants of Jacob as well, out of their enslavement within Egypt. God commands Moses to establish the observance of an ordinance among His people before they leave:

(Exo 12:1) And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,

(Exo 12:2) This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

This first month month on the Hebrew calendar, Aviv or Nisan, is based on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, which occurs in March, generally on the twentieth or twenty-first day of the month. Through biblical study, we find that the first day of Aviv is supposed to begin on the first day after the equinox event, contrary to how man has come up with his own traditons of the Hebrew New Year. This is the month in which the barley crop becomes ready for harvest, and the Hebrew name, Aviv, indicates this fact.

(Exo 12:3) 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: (4) And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. (5) Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

These are very specific procedures God spelled out that were to be followed to prepare for the next stage of this ordinance. Now remember that all these things that happened before Christ were given to us as examples of how to be proper Christians, especially into the final generation.

(1Co 10:11) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Something to keep in mind is that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. This may help you to begin to see where this is going.

(Joh 1:32-36) And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. (33) And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  (34) And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (35) Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; (36) And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

(Exo 12:6) And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (7) 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. (8) And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. (9) Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. (10) And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. (11) And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover.

This lamb was to be readied in order to  be eaten during the celebration that was to take place on the fourteenth day of the month, which would be known as Passover.  Let’s find out why it’s called the Passover.

(Exo 12:12) For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (13) 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. (14) And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

Forever. These instructions are supposed to be followed until the end of time by God’s people. God is sparing those households that are obedient to Him from certain death, and that death would pass over all those who were faithful to God in this. Those who have not received these instructions or who choose not to follow them will suffer.

This is the message throughout the Bible: that, if we trust God and have faith in Him over anything or anyone else, He will always take care of us. Sometimes we may not understand why He would have us do certain things, or why we would even have to go through trials in our lives, but it is always for our benefit in the end.

(Exo 12:15) Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

In the Old Testament times, the focus was on the physical aspect of religion. God expected everyone to follow tangible rules to show their obedience. There was to be no leavened bread in your home at the time of this celebration if you were a faithful Israelite.

Today, as we read above, we are to continue observing what we see here, but instead, we are now to follow it in a spiritual manner.

(Exo 12:16) And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. (17) And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. (18) In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. (19) Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. (20) Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.

You can begin to see just how seriously He takes this leavened and unleavened bread. With as much emphasis He puts on this subject, I wouldn’t recommend dismissing it.

Now, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, we are now to observe ordinances on a spiritual level, rather than physically, though we are ordered to observe Passover forever. So how does this work?

Let’s start by looking at the leavened bread:

(Mat 16:5-12) And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?  Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

So, what is the leaven we are to beware of today? It is the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees and Sadducees are known to have added a lot of fluff and junk into the Israelite religion, and Jesus is warning the apostles, and us today, to stay away from those things that have nothing to do with God, and to stick with His Word. It is even worse if that leaven is related to pagan religions. So during this Passover week, it would certainly be a bad thing for us to have in our homes items related to celebrations in pagan religions. Even more importantly, as the term house represents our heart and where our focus is, we are not to be partaking in rituals and pastimes that are against God during this time.

Research the origins of the rituals related to the celebration of the goddess Ishtar (Ashteroth), which have been carried over to the modern celebration of Easter. They are not at all innocent; in fact they are very evil.

But since we are now to observe ordinances of God on a spiritual level, how do we apply the rest of God’s commands?

(1Co 5:7) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (8) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

So now we begin to see the whole picture. Paul tells us here that Christ is our Passover, and that we are to continue to keep the feast of unleavened bread, and to purge the leaven out of our lives, and to celebrate with unleavened–the truth of God, with nothing added in to fluff it up. But, if Christ is the Passover, does that still mean we are to slay a lamb for the feast? Well, what did we read a little earlier?

(Joh 1:35) Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples. (36) And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Jesus is that unblemished Lamb and He has already been sacrificed for us, once and for all times! And He rose from the grave, death having passed Him over to show us what would await the faithful after our bodies were done. But what about the feast? Jesus instructed us about this shortly before His crucifixion.

(Mar 14:22) And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. (23) And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. (24) And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

(1Co 10:16) The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? (17) For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

When we take communion, as Christians, we are partaking of that feast of the unleavened bread that God mandated in Exodus 12, but we now observe it under the new covenant.

I might also suggest that, in place of Lamb’s blood, you can anoint your home, and your family and self with olive oil, which is elaya in Greek (in Hebrew, El and Ya are two names of God). And, with your families, you should read about our Passover in the Bible, just as we are told to do in Exodus, but then make the connection with the Lord, Jesus Christ.

(Joh 6:47) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (48) I am that bread of life. (49) Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. (50) This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

So, we are to believe in Jesus Christ and know that He is our Lord and Savior, Who died for our sins. We are to participate in the feast of communion to demonstrate our faith in obedience to the ordinance God demanded us to observe. As a result, we will have everlasting life and we will not perish with those who are not living according to God. When we do this, we become spiritual Israelites, whether we were of the family of Jacob (Israel) or not. If you are a spiritual Israelite, you are one of God’s people, and the ordinance of Passover applies to you. And after all, if you are one of God’s people, you want to make God happy, don’t you?

Of course you want to please God. And the way to do that is to study His Word, which will bring you closer with Jesus, and learn how to live by His ways. This is what He has wanted us to do all along. It doesn’t matter how badly you think you’ve messed up, it’s not to late to turn around and repent and come back to God!

God Bless!

 

 

 

 

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To Easter or Not to Easter?: Christ is Our Passover

Have you ever looked at the traditions people celebrate this time of year, calling it Easter, and wonder what they have to do with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus? Do you believe that is how God wants us to celebrate our Lord and Savior? Let’s take a look at what God has to say about the matter through His own Words.

(Exodus 12:1-51)  And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, (2) This month (Abib) shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (3)  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: (4)  And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. (5)  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: (6)  And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day  (usually the evening of April 3rd—the fourteenth day after Spring Equinox) of the same month (Abib): and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (7)  And they shall take of the blood (we use olive oil instead of lamb’s blood today because it is the oil of our people), and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (8)  And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. (9)  Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. (10)  And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. (11)  And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover. (12)  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (13)  And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood (Christ’s blood), I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (14)  And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance FOR EVER. (15)  Sevendays shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day YE SHALL PUT AWAY LEAVEN OUT OF YOUR HOUSES: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cutoff from Israel. (16)  And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them (today, Jesus is our Sabbath, so every day we are in the Word, we are in Sabbath), save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. (17)  And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. (18)  In the first month (Abib), on the fourteenth day of the month (usually the evening of April 3rd) at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month (usually April 10th) at even. (19)  SEVEN DAYS SHALL THERE BE NO LEAVEN (traditions of Pharisees and Sadducees, things added into Christianity) FOUND IN YOUR HOUSES: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. (20)  Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread. (21)  Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. (22)  And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood (Christ’s blood) that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. (23)  For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door,and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (24)  And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons FOR EVER. (25)  And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. (26)  And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? (27)  That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. (28)  And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. (29)  And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. (30)  And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. (31)  And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. (32)  Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. (33)  And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. (34)  And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. (35)  And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed ofthe Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: (36)  And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. (37)  And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. (38)  And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. (39)  And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt,for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual. (40)  Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. (41)  And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. (42)  It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.  (43)  And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof: (44)  But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. (45)  A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. (46)  In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. (47)  All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. (48)  And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised (now circumcision of the heart, as the ordinance of circumcision was fulfilled with Christ’s blood, although it still could be used for health reasons), and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. (49)  One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. (50)  Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. (51)  And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.

Passover is a day that God ordained, which He expected us and told us to celebrate until the end of time, and God never changes; everything in the Old Testament histories was given to us as an example for us today. When God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, He did so to teach us about our salvation through Jesus Christ.

Many people believe that once Jesus came and died for us, the Old Testament was done away with, but we can see here, for example, that God told us then, and it is just as pertinent now, that this ordinance, as well as the rest of the Old Testament is still in effect. However, as ordinances go, the way we observe them often changes from a physical, flesh practice (the shedding of blood for example) to a spiritual practice. In the case of Passover, the way Christians are to observe is to follow the ordinances on a spiritual level by accepting the blood of Christ to cover you from the angel of death.

(1 Corinthians 5:7)  PURGE OUT THEREFORE THE OLD LEAVEN, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even CHRIST OUR PASSOVER is sacrificed for us:

Christ became our Passover Lamb, sacrificed once and for all time. He replaced the sacrificial lamb in the ordinance of Passover, which we are told by God to observe until the end of time.

As we can see here, we are not only told that Jesus is our Passover, but we are to purge out all leaven from our homes during this time, just as God instructed us thousands of years ago. So what is this leaven?

(Matthew 16:5-11)  And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. (6)  Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND OF THE SADDUCEES. (7)  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. (8)  Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? (9) DO YE NOT UNDERSTAND, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? (10) Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? (11)  How is it that ye do not understand that I SPAKE IT NOT TO YOU CONCERNING BREAD,that ye should BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES?

He said this twice for emphasis.

(Matthew 16:12)  Then understood they how that he bade them NOT BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF BREAD, BUT OFTHE DOCTRINE OF THE PHARISEES AND OF THE SADDUCEES.

The leaven is anything that is added into true biblical Christianity, which does not belong there. We are told, by Jesus to beware of this leaven, especially that of the Pharisees ad Sadducees. What is an example of leaven? For one, anything that has been borrowed from pagan religions, such as worship and traditions of Ashteroth, otherwise know as Ishtar. We are clearly told by God to purge our home of all these pagan things and traditions of men, and focus solely on what is biblical.

These pagan deities have been worshiped for millennia, and the traditions associated with Easter can easily be traced to their celebration. Ishtar is a goddess of fertility, hence the eggs (a symbol of fertility), chocolate (regarded as an aphrodisiac), bunnies (known to reproduce very quickly), and other baby animals, which are symbols of fertility in and of themselves. The traditions associated and practiced, in a time otherwise meant to be dedicated to the sacrifice Jesus made for us, are also directly linked to what ancient pagans did to please their Ishtar.

In fact, there is only one instance where the word Easter appears in the English Bible, and it is a mistranslation from the Greek ‘pascha’, which is a term that means Passover. That verse in Acts should never have even said “Easter,” but rather “Passover,” as it was translated the other 28 times it was used.

So we know that God told us, those who are loyal to Him, to celebrate Passover forever, and we know that Jesus became our Passover, so how do we observe it today?

(Matthew 26:26-28)  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. (27)  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; (28)  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

This is the way Jesus taught us, via His apostles, to remember Him. We take this Communion to commemorate Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sins. We also recognize that as true Christians, He lives in us as we do in Him.

In addition to Communion, another thing which can be a good idea is to anoint our doorways with olive oil, which represents the Holy Spirit of God. This takes the place of spreading Lamb’s blood around our doors. Anointing our homes can serve as a sign that the places we live are dedicated to God, through Jesus Christ, and is a good way to commemorate the first Passover.

We are also instructed by God to teach our kids why we do these things on this day, and they will most likely ask because this is not what most families practice these days. The way children question so many things in the world around us gives us a good opportunity to teach them, especially when it comes to the ways of God.

So ask yourself: Do you really think God wants us to take the focus away form Jesus and put it on the Ishtar Bunny?

 

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