to When did Ancient Israel Keep the Passover?
Previously, we looked into the word
translated “evening” (at even, etc., Strong’s # 6153).
At the onset of our investigation into this word, for the purpose of this summary,
we did not object to its meaning possibly including the period of time immediately after
sunset, which we typically call “dusk”, or “twilight”.
Considering the conclusion of our previous investigation, we hope that it is now
apparent to everyone that the parameters of the time period, covered by the Hebrew word
(#6153) and translated into the English as “evening”, (or any of it related
expressions) may include any time from noon through sunset.
It is often a direct reference to sunset specifically, but it can also be shown to
be referring to other times of the afternoon, depending upon the context of the verse.
We also hope that we have demonstrated to you that the word, “evening”, never
includes any time after sunset. A simple
study of the 137 uses of this word in the “Old Testament” will demonstrate this.
Not one reference can be proven to
include so much as a single second of time after sunset. We may have always assumed that
it had in the past, but upon closer examination, we must concede that is does not
include time “after” sundown. Please consider all 137 appearances of “ereb”. Must
any of them to be at night, or after sundown? Could not all of them just as easily be
between noon and sundown? Thus, we can see that anytime that there is “evening”, there
must also be daylight and the sun cannot have set below the horizon.
What this means, upon honest evaluation, is that “evening”, in the Bible, is
actually the latter part of the 24 hour day that ends when the last ray from the setting
sun has been extinguished below the horizon. A
new 24 hour “day” is then begun at the completion of the setting sun.
(Further scriptural evidence of precisely when the Biblical day is begun is
contained later in this article). Therefore,
if the sun has just finished setting, and is no longer visible, then it can no longer be
“evening” (#6153) because the ‘Biblical evening’ ended when the sunset was
Those of us who speak English have a
difficult time relating to another language as we tend to operate where we are most
comfortable, which in most our cases is strictly with our mother tongue, English.
We also then tend to presume that even a word correctly translated into English
must, or will, carry with it all, or at least most of, any other of the possible
“definitions” of English, whether or not they exist in the Hebrew or Greek. This
proclivity has contributed to misunderstandings that the minds of even the sharpest
teachers, who were in Pasadena, and elsewhere, right up to the present time, have been
prone to overlook entirely. In English, we
consider “evening” to be any time beginning in the “late” afternoon and extending
through a few hours after sunset into the nighttime.
Even within the United States, “evening” is somewhat ambiguous. However, when
we are using a much less familiar language, whether in speaking or writing, it can readily
lead to misunderstandings such as have occurred with “evening”, in which there is no
direct English equivalent. Thus, even though
the English word “evening” includes the period of time AFTER sunset, the Hebrew word
(#6153) NEVER does.
The general sequence of events of the
passover in ancient Israel, as was covered in the previous article, explained that the
sacrifice of the passover lamb took place in the late afternoon toward the end of the 14th
day of the month “at even” (#6153). The
blood was splashed onto the houses at that time and the roasting of the lambs, if it had
even begun before sunset, would more than likely have stretched into the early night of
the 15th. At this point in time,
AFTER the sunset that started the 15th, the Israelites began their meal, which
consisted of the roasted lamb with bitter herbs and unleavened bread.
They then remained in their homes all
night (#3915) until at least the sunrise of the 15th, and during the middle of
that night (#3915) the “Destroyer” passed through the land of Egypt.
After the sun was up on the 15th, the Israelites began their journey out
of Egypt. In Deut. 16:1 we explained that the
verb “brought forth”, (because of the verb stem for that usage in that particular
verse), actually refers to the time of the “event”, the passing over of the
“Destroyer”, which made it possible for Israel to finally be released by Pharaoh.
“Brought forth” does not refer, as we have thought in the
past, to the time in which the Israelites physically walked out of Egypt. In literal fact,
the WCG “explanation” is in reality “prohibited” in the Hebrew!
The Israelites actually began their exodus from Egypt after
the sunrise of the 15th, again, because the “Destroyer” had passed through during
the night of the 15th.
The Overlooked “Hiphil” Verb
Stem, the 15th, the “Destroyer”, and the “Exodus”: There Can Be No
Doubt About the Timing Now.
One further comparison of three
scriptures will clarify this. The comparison is between Ex. 12, Num. 33, and Deut. 16.
Beginning in Ex. 12 we read of the instructions Moses gave to Israel as he received them
from the Eternal. Notice in particular verses 12 –20.
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
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
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 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.
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.
This particular portion of scripture creates numerous difficulties for anyone
trying to support the old WCG doctrinal position that most of us are familiar with. The
subject contained in these verses, and essentially all of chapter 12, is that of the
“Destroyer” and the Days of Unleavened Bread, again with special emphasis and
instruction for the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Why
is that such a problem? This chapter makes the day (verse 14) that the Destroyer passed
through Egypt a part of the ordinance that Israel was to keep and observe (keep, guard,
observe, give heed) forever. This chapter
also establishes the Feast of Unleavened Bread, including the first and seventh days as
Holy Days. Furthermore, it includes the establishment of Unleavened Bread as a
“feast”, or “chag” in the Hebrew. There
are several reasons why this is a problem! First
of all, in verse 17, we find that the verb, “brought”
is #3318, and just as in Deut. 16:1, it is in the “hiphil” verb form, or “verb
stem”. This indicates that the meaning of verse 17 can ONLY be referring to the time of
the “cause”, again, that is the “Destroyer” that made it possible for Israel to
depart from Egypt. According to Hebrew grammar it cannot be referring to the actual
time of their departure!
Another problem is found in verse 14. The “night” that the Destroyer
passed through was to be a “memorial” and Israel was to keep it as a “chag”
(feast) forever. Well, if the Destroyer passed through during the night of the 14th,
then anyone supporting the Jewish calendar has a serious dilemma. How can they justify
“keeping” a different time than the Jews? Actually, all
of Israel, not just the Jews, was commanded to “guard” (vs. 17, observe is shamar – guard, keep, observe, take heed) this time and night forever.
If Passover should be observed on the night of the 14th, then the Jews do not
comply! Have the Jews failed to “preserve the oracles of God”? Yet, these same
individuals will testify that the Jews have “preserved” the Sabbath and Holy Days,
sort of anyway, and we are to look to them for Divine understanding. Both approaches
cannot be right, however both could
Furthermore, this night, along with the entire 24-hour day that this night is
a part of, is a “chag”. This presents two additional problems for the old teaching.
Please notice the following scriptures relevant to “chags”. Leviticus lists two of the
“chags” which Moses was to “proclaim” to all of Israel, namely, Unleavened Bread
and the Feast of Tabernacles. Deut. 16:10 introduces Pentecost as a “chag” feast as
well. A further comparison of Lev. 23:6,34,39, Num. 28:17, and 29:12, Deut. 16:10,13,14,16
reveals that there are only three distinct “chags” mentioned in the entire Bible. They
are, 1) the Feast of Unleavened Bread, 2) the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and 3) the Feast
of Tabernacles. Interestingly enough, the Day
of Trumpets is not a “chag”, it is a “Holy Day” (“mow’ed” #4150), but it is
not a “chag” (#2282) feast day, nor is Atonement or the Last Great Day, although both
are holy “mow’ed” days. These scriptures state that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is
specifically to be commemorated for seven days and all seven days are a part of the
“chag”. The Feast of Weeks is only a single day, but the Feast of Tabernacles is also
a “seven”-day “chag” feast. The “eighth” day is holy and a “mow’ed” (a
“mow’ed” is only holy when made so by God), but not a part of the “chag”. Should
anyone desire a more detailed explanation, please feel free to contact us concerning this
matter, however, we believe that we have referenced a sufficient number of scriptures to
initiate a beneficial personal study. Asking
the right questions is half of the battle.
The first problem is that this “chag” (Ex. 12:14) that includes
the “Night of Watchings”, when the Destroyer passed through Egypt, is a part of the
seven day long “chag” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Nowhere is the 14th
of the month specified to be included in any “chag”. Please compare Lev. 23:6, Num.
28:17, Deut. 16:3, and Ex. 12:15.
Lev. 23:6 And on the fifteenth
day of the same month is the feast <2282> of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven
days ye must eat unleavened bread.
Num. 28:17 And in the fifteenth
day of this month is the feast <2282>: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
Deut. 16:3 Thou shalt eat no
leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the
bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou
mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of
Exodus 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.
The first day of eating unleavened bread is the 15th,
not the 14th. Yet HWA/ WCG had taught that the Destroyer came on the 14th
and yet the Days of Unleavened Bread do not begin until the 15th. This leads to
the question of whether we were to eat unleavened bread for
“seven” or “eight” days. Many wondered just what Ex. 12:18-20 really meant
(vs. 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.). Were they to be “unleavened” on the 14th, as
well? The church acknowledged that Atonement was to be kept on the 10th day of
the seventh month (Num. 29.7 and Lev. 23:27). So when Lev. 23:32 states, It
shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day
of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath;
they had no difficulty determining that “the ninth day” “at even, from even to
even”, actually means the 10th day of the month and nothing more! However,
probably because they were committed to a doctrine, they determined to find another way
around Ex. 12:18. They persuaded us to believe that the 14th “at even” was
the beginning of the 14th rather than the end, as “at even” is observed for
Atonement. This very inconsistent doctrine also led to confusion over the church’s
treatment of the 14th. Was it a
“feast” day or not? Yet, oddly enough, there was no real question that the 14th
was not a Holy Day. This led to much more confusion in the church, at least for those who
studied into the subject. Many, even today, are perfectly content with the old doctrine,
but is this because they have studied into the “teaching” of the church and not the
“teaching” of the Bible? It also led to much discomfort as many wondered whether it
was acceptable to eat pancakes for breakfast, or a hamburger for lunch on the day
“after” receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, but still before the beginning of the
15th. Many have felt a little “guilty” and uneasy about that “in between” time.
Still another problem arose due the WCG teaching, which tried to harmonize
the “passover” with the New Covenant ceremony. Since the “old” Passover was a
“chag” (festival) and everyone was to participate, including men, women, children, and
the strangers within your gates, in other words, those willing to be led by the God of
Israel, then why did WCG only allow “baptized” members to partake of the New Covenant
ceremony which they thought was to commemorate the
very night that the “Destroyer” passed over? It
was not possible to keep it both ways. The “chag” required the presence of all Israel,
while the “new” ceremony excluded all “others”. Of course this problem vanishes
when the two nights (the night the Destroyer passed over and the night Christ instituted
the ceremony of the bread and wine) are two different
nights and commemorate two separate
events. Also, in Ex. 12:17 we read that this memorial, from verse 14, is carried over to
be both, the beginning of the Days of Unleavened Bread, and the “selfsame” day that
the “destroyer” passed over (again the “hiphil” of “brought” refers to the
cause of their armies being able to come out of Egypt). By comparing Ex. 12:8-20 and 37-42
(in verse 42 “bringing” is #3318 and is “hiphil” verb stem), with Deut. 16:1, and
then Num. 33:3 we will see two things that must be acknowledged. First, that Israel left
Egypt on the same day that the Destroyer passed through. Remember that Ex. 12:37 and Num.
33:3 agree as to the departure from Rameses and Num. 33:3 gives the “day” that they
left, the 15th. Ex. 12:17 and Deut. 16:1 (“brought [you] forth” is also a “hiphil”
verb stem and therefore references the “cause” of Israel’s release, hence the
Destroyer, and cannot refer to the time they left Egypt) reveals that this day is also the
same calendar “day” that the “Destroyer” passed over.
None of this occurred on the 14th; it was all on the 15th.
The only event that occurred on the 14th was the slaying,
or “sacrifice” of the “passover” lamb, and that was at the end of the 14th.
In addition, Israel left in haste and they were indeed “thrust” out, just
as it states in Ex. 12:39. A comparison of Ex. 12:11, 33, 39; Deut. 16:3 and Isaiah 52:12,
For ye shall not go out with haste <02649>,
nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your
rereward (rear guard). A close examination of Deut. 16:3 reveals that the word
“haste” refers to the actual “walking” out of Egypt. In Isaiah 52:12, God is
telling Israel that at the time of the return of Christ, when Zion is re-gathered, they
will not be “thrust out” of captivity as they were aforetime in Egypt. God is making a
point in Isaiah that this exodus will be different in several respects from the one made
from Egypt so long ago, and that one of those differences is that this time they will not
leave in “haste”. Ex. 12:39 states that Israel was indeed “thrust out” and that
they “could not tarry”. They could not have lingered throughout the 14th to
get goods from the Egyptians because the Bible says that they were “thrust out”,
lingering was not necessary anyway. The verb “mood” in Hebrew (our English
“tense”) in Ex. 12:36 for the verb “gave” is “perfect” and represents a
“completed” action. In English this would place it into what we would generally
consider the “past”. It would be better rendered as “had given”.
Therefore, if the Destroyer had passed over on the 14th, then Israel
would have been thrust out on the 14th as well. Yet we have just listed several
scriptures that confine the God-ordained “thrust out” to the 15th. This
reveals two things; one relates to the WCG teaching and the other relates to “just when
does the day start”. These scriptures
confirm that the WCG’s traditional timetable for these events is not possible. The
scriptures also pose a bit of a problem for those who believe that the day begins at dawn
and that “night follows day”. How? Because these scriptures positively identify, and
confine the events of the “night” of the “Destroyer”, and the actual physical
departure of Israel from Egypt, and the First Day of Unleavened Bread to all being within
the “selfsame day”.
No one objects to the fact that the Destroyer passed over at “night”, but both
of these groups (old WCG and “night follows day advocates”) claim that these events
took place over the course of two separate days, specifically the 14th and 15th.
These scriptures preclude any alternative to the explanation that these
“events” all took place on the very same calendar day. Since Israel could not leave
before the Destroyer made their departure possible, Israel had to leave after the night of
the “Destroyer”, or the “Night of Watchings” was passed. To be specific, Israel
walked out of Egypt (Rameses/Goshen) on the 15th, after
dawn, the First Day of Unleavened Bread that was both a “chag” and a holy
Notice Ex. 12:41 & 42 and Ex. 12:17.
12:41 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 <3318> (Qal verb stem. This means that “went out” can only refer to
the physical exiting of Egypt by Israel) from
the land of Egypt.
12:42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing
<3318> 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. (“Bringing”, in this
instance, uses the hiphil verb stem. This means that “bringing” refers to the
“cause” that enabled the exodus to become possible and NOT
the physical exiting of Israel.)
12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame
day have I brought <3318> your armies out
of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an
ordinance for ever. (The hiphil verb stem used here means that “brought” can only
refer to the “cause” of their being able to leave and not to “when” they left.)
33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth
day of the first month; on the morrow <4283>
after the passover the children of Israel went out
<3318> with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. (The “qal”
verb stem of “went out” requires that the verb must be understood to refer only to the
physical exiting of Israel. In addition, please review other “morrow”
scriptures and you will find that it simply means: the next day, or the morning after an
event. This does not
necessarily have to mean the next calendar day and in this particular verse it simply
cannot, due to the verb stem of #3318 which places the physical exodus on the 15th.)
The specificity of these four verses limits the timing of BOTH
the “Destroyer” and the physical exiting, or walking out of Egypt to having
occurred on the “selfsame” day (the Destroyer at night and the “exodus” the following
morning). This day marked the very same day of the year that Abram entered the Promised
Land, 430 years earlier. This is just as God had promised Abraham, and that ‘same day’
is the 15th. In particular, Ex. 12:17 establishes the timing of the “First Day of
Unleavened Bread”, which is the 15th day of the month, as being the same
“day” that included the “Destroyer” passing through during its night.
Was the “Last Supper”
eaten on the Same Night the “Destroyer” Passed Over in the “Old Covenant
Now let’s set a few things in order as they relate to the New Covenant
ceremony that Christ instituted.
In the prior article that led to this sequel, we noted that the only reason given for eating unleavened bread with the lamb was that it was eaten during the Days of Unleavened Bread (i.e. Deut. 16:3). Remember that the lamb was to be eaten in “haste” because the “Destroyer” would be passing through the land during that very night (Ex. 12:11-12). The unleavened bread was eaten in “haste” to represent the actual “exodus” of Israel from Egypt. The bread is not “dependent” upon the lamb; it is “dependent” upon the seven days of eating only bread without leavening in it. Thus, even Ex. 34:25 fails to establish a New Testament Passover connection between the lamb and the unleavened bread, as we have always assumed.
Exodus 34:25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.
also Ex. 23:18.
Ex 23:18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.
Neither of these verses offers any
proof that the reason for eating unleavened bread with the Old Covenant Passover (lamb)
had anything to do with the lamb itself. Rather,
the connection established is the fact that the lamb was to be consumed during
the Days of Unleavened Bread!
Furthermore, it should be noted that
God referenced NOT eating “leavened bread” (same word in both verses, but translated
as “leaven” in Ex. 34) to when they were to “eat” the lamb.
The literal English words expressed here do not convey a realistic understanding of
the meaning intended. Just what does it mean
to “not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread”?
From the Hebrew, and by applying simple rules of grammar, we can discern that to
“offer the blood” would be better stated as “slay and pour out the blood”.
Then we must ask, “What does killing the lamb have to do with eating bread?” The answer is - nothing. When
we consider the numerous other Old Covenant Passover scriptures, we are left to conclude
that this expression is not referring to “when” the lamb
is killed so much as it is referring to “when the lamb is
eaten, which is “during”
the Days of Unleavened Bread. Isn’t God
simply pointing out the necessity of worshipping Him in “spirit” AND “in truth”?
In other words, what good would it do for an Israelite to eat the lamb on the right
day, but then not keep the holy “Feast” day properly by consuming “leavened” bread
during it? Wouldn’t that be an affront to the true and living God of Israel? How
could God accept that kind of behavior? How
could one even call himself an Israelite and not obey the God of Israel? Hopefully you can see the reasoning here.
Let’s notice one more “Old
Testament” scripture before we deliberate on the “New Testament” and see just what
is expected of us when commemorating the New Covenant Passover.
Leviticus 16:7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
11 And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:
12 And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail:
13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not:
14 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.
15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:
16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.
18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.
19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.
On the surface, this “Atonement”
scripture has no apparent direct connection with the Old Covenant Passover, but could it
shed any understanding for us that might pertain to how we, as Christians, ought to keep
the New Testament Passover? Perhaps it does.
We have always understood that the goat that was sent into the wilderness
represented Satan, right? Next, have we not
also understood that the other goat, the one upon whom the “lot” fell, was for the
Lord (verses 8 & 9) and that that goat symbolically represented the sacrifice that was
to be made by Jesus Christ? Now there were
two goats used. Which one represented the sin offering?
Verse 9 tells us that the one used for the sin offering was the one that was the
Lord’s goat. When Jesus Christ was
crucified, nearly 2,000 years ago, wasn’t His sacrifice a sin offering?
Didn’t Jesus Christ “offer” Himself up as a sacrifice in payment of OUR sins?
Wasn’t Jesus Christ Himself the ultimate “sin offering”?
Some in the Churches of God argue that the “passover” lamb had to be a
“lamb” and could not have been a goat because of the somewhat aggressive “nature”
of the goat (another old WCG thought). These same individuals then have no problem with a
goat representing Christ in this example on Atonement. Yet, is not Christ represented by a
goat here and a lamb for “passover”? There does not appear to have been a restriction
or conflict Biblically with using a lamb or goat for “passover” in ancient Israel, as
Ex. 12:5 speaks of being able to take it from either the sheep or the goats, and lamb,
<07716> means one of a flock, sheep or goat. Now, to add to that, isn’t Jesus
Christ our “Passover”?
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:
There is a connection between the Old
Covenant Passover and the New Covenant Passover, but it may not be connected in the way we
thought it was.
Many of God’s people today have been
taught and believe that the New Covenant Passover is a “changed”, or somewhat
“updated” version of the Old Covenant Passover. Because of this preconceived
connection to the past, they are left with a dilemma. How could Christ “keep” or participate in the last “Passover”
of His life on the “same night in which He was betrayed”, and still be our “Passover
Offering” by dying when the “Passover” lambs were being sacrificed in Israel (or
Jerusalem, if you will)? This is a conundrum, which poses a question impossible to answer.
There is no conceivable scenario, which could occur allowing both events to fulfill the
presumed requirements. Christ could only fulfill one or the other of the fulfillments, but
not both. Yet, according to the church’s teaching, Christ did, sort of, fulfill both
simultaneously. This would technically require that Christ both be the “offering” and
“change the symbols” at the same time, on the night He was betrayed. This is because
the WCG taught that this “last supper” was the correct night (the beginning of the 14th)
for the slaying of the “passover” lamb in Israel and that the “Jews” were somehow
a day later than the “correct” day (night). So the church explained that Christ
“changed” the symbols at the very time that Israel “should” have been killing the
lambs. In other words, the church taught that the “Jew’s” were slaying the lambs
“on” the 15th, after sundown, while the church also explained that Israel
“should” slay the lamb at the beginning of the 14th after sundown. Neither
of these explanations was correct!
Much speculation has been presented by
the church and supporters of the old WCG teaching about “Passover” pertaining to the
differences between the many different “sects” and groups at the time of Christ. A
particularly onerous supposition maintains that some of these “splinter” groups
“kept” the “Passover” and other Holy Days at different times, according to each
groups’ respective teaching or belief. While this may or may not have been as prevalent
as some would have you believe, there does appear to be a complete absence from scripture
on any of these “supposed” conflicts and disparities. In particular, there is not even
one scripture that can be cited which would support anyone keeping any other day for
“Passover” than the one recognized and observed throughout the land at the time of
Christ and the Apostles. We would all agree that Christ would not “keep” the wrong day
for any of His Father’s “Feasts” or “Holy Days”, wouldn’t we? Wouldn’t this
have been a major point for Christ to address when He decried the “scribes and
Pharisees”? He “Woe’d” them on practically everything else, including much lesser
“doctrines”. They were concerned about the smallest of points, remember the “tithe
of mint …”, Matthew 23:23
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise
and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:
these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Those people were not
about to overlook anything of detail. They
knew the “jots” and “tittle’s” of the law. Their problem was attitude, not
specifics. If they had been “off” a day on the “Passover” or any other of the
“Holy Days” then how can we justify Christ “overlooking” such a major error. Why
not address such an important and divisive issue, unless there was no division in the
first place. Imagine the heyday that His enemies would have had if He had been supporting
alternative Holy Days! This is not to say that problems and conflicts did not arise later, but
that the “calendar” problems and conflicts did not arise until after the destruction
of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The emperor of Rome disbanded the “Sanhedrin” and no body of
leaders of any kind was allowed until about 135 AD. At that time the emperor did allow a
“group” of Jews to form an organization, in name only, and without any judicial
authority. It was comprised of “rabbi’s” (formerly known as “Pharisees”), which
took for their name, “Sanhedrin”. Thus,
this later “Sanhedrin” had no relationship at all with the Sanhedrin extant at the
time of Christ. Absent from this later group were the aristocratic and educated Sadducees.
This “new” Sanhedrin did to the Jewish religion what the “Tkachians” did to the
So, back to the question about whether
Christ would keep the right “Passover”. Did He know which day to keep and was He
taught the correct day and time and place? Let’s consider Luke 2.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace
of God was upon him. 41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the
passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom
of the feast.
Luke recorded that Christ was
“filled with wisdom” and kept the same holy days as His parents. From scripture it
would appear that Joseph and Mary had no trouble knowing which days to keep and that they
were keeping the same days as everyone else.
Much attention has been
focused on the use of identifying the Passover as, “the Jew’s Passover”. In the
gospel of John he constantly and consistently made reference after reference to the
“Jew’s” this or that.
Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.
Does this infer that we are not to keep
the Feast of Tabernacles when the Jew’s did in the time of Christ? Do we have any
scripture to show us that John did not keep the Feast at the same time as his contemporary
“Jew’s”? Any “feasts”? (Note: This would mean that John and the other disciples
kept the wrong day or days all of their respective lives until Christ “straightened”
them out about the correct timing.)
Consider these scriptures.
John 2:13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem
John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many
believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
John 7:11 Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
John 12:1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus
was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
John 13:1 Now before <4253> the feast <1859> of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
Why did Jesus go up to Jerusalem to
keep passover on the “wrong”
day? (John 2:13) He
Jesus was in Jerusalem “at the
passover, in the feast day”, but are we to believe that it was the “wrong”
feast day? (John 2:23) It
The Jew’s were looking for Him at the
“feast” because He went to Jerusalem for the Feast. Were they looking there at the
wrong time? Didn’t He attend there? (John 7:11) It was the right
time and He attended there, as was His custom!
Why would John say that it was
“six” days before the “passover” if it was really five or seven, or some other
number of days? Why bother with an erroneous specific time reference decades after the
event? Why not clarify which Passover he meant,
unless no other specification was needed, beyond “six” days? (John 12:1)
In John 13:1, (quoted above) John
stated that this night of the "last" meal with the disciples was
"before" the "feast" of the passover. Remember that the simplest
meaning of “passover”, as derived from the Hebrew, is merely a reference to the
“animal sacrifice for the night of the “Destroyer”. This point was elaborated on in
the earlier article. So, the night of the meal, spoken of by John in this chapter, could
not have been "the" passover meal which was commanded to be kept by God at the
exodus. If it were then why didn’t John say, "It was the Passover"? After all,
the meal was ready at the timeframe John gave, and that timeframe was “the same night in which He was betrayed”,
as Paul recorded. This also would have to be the case if the WCG concept were true that
the "Passover" is a "day", because it cannot be both “before”
the day and
the day, can it? They cannot have it both ways. Is it justifiable to call it a day some of
the time and an event on a day at other times,
when they need to, in order to "preserve" their doctrine?
The “feast” (of the passover)
referred to in John 13:1 above, is “heorte” in the Greek and it applies to the First
Day of Unleavened Bread. In this verse, “heorte” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew
“chag”. We have previously explained “chags” and the Greek word applies, as the
Hebrew “chag” would, in the use of “heorte”. As previously demonstrated, this day
would be the 15th day of the first month. Thus, John stated that the “First
Day of Unleavened Bread” falls after this night. Notice that the
scripture says that Christ knew that His “hour was come”. John recorded that Christ
knew the “day” of His death had come, which was the 14th, and that this
night, the night of the meal in question, was “before” the 15th, or before
the night, which would begin the 15th. Since it was already the “night” of
the meal in question, it could not possibly have been the night of the 15th. It
had to be the night that “began” the 14th.
That was the night that began the day on which He would die as a sin sacrifice for
us, the 14th.
John 13:1 reveals much information
concerning the understanding of the 14th and 15th. According to
John, Christ kept a meal with His disciples that was one full day before the beginning of
the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This meal was not the “Passover” meal of the “Old
Covenant” because it was eaten on the 14th and not the 15th. The
“passover lamb” would be sacrificed later on the 14th, toward the end of
the day, just before the beginning of the 15th.
The former WCG explanation was that the lambs were to be slain during the beginning
of the 14th at the same time of this particular meal. They taught that Christ
was “keeping” the Passover meal of the Old Covenant on that very night, and that
“after” He had eaten the lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs, He changed the Old
Covenant symbols into the “new” symbols of the “bread and wine”. This is exactly
where that doctrine got off track. Not taken into account was consideration that it might not
be the way that they thought it was because of prior misunderstandings concerning the
timing of the Old Covenant Passover, as previously explained. They were certain that they
had it right and that Christ was “keeping” the “old” passover when He instituted
the new symbols. We can now see that this was all in error; it was sincerely wrong, but
erroneous nonetheless. Since Christ was not keeping the “old” passover, because it was
not eaten until the next night, it would have been impossible for Him to have
“changed” the symbols of the “passover” when He was not keeping the “old”
symbols anyway. It wasn’t even possible to keep the “old” symbols if it was
on the wrong day, was it? Even if one were to eat the lamb with unleavened bread
and bitter herbs, if it was not on the “covenanted” night, how could it have had any
meaning at all? It would have simply been a nice meal with unleavened bread and herbs.
Would God “accept” our “keeping” of the Sabbath on a Friday or a Sunday, or on any
day other than the seventh day? Isn’t this the logic we have used against the keepers of
“Christmas”, who even when knowing that Christ was not born in the winter, insist on
keeping December 25th anyway? We have always concluded that even if we were to
celebrate the birth of Christ, what good does it do to celebrate it on a day of our
own choosing, which is in turn the “wrong”
day as well? Whenever one knowingly “observes” a wrong day, he is worshipping God in
vain, is he not?
One other point can be made with
respect to this scripture in John 13:1. This scripture also prevents any possibility that
the “night He was betrayed” was any sooner than the 14th. If one were to
put forward the erroneous premise that the beginning of the 14th was the
“correct” “old” Passover time, then a “timing” problem still remains. That is
because the “meal”, during that night, was still before any “Passover”, regardless
of when the Passover might have been. The “before the passover” statement evidences
this, again. If the night of the 14th had been the Passover, then that night in
John had to be the night of the 13th, since it was already night, and the meal
was ready. The simple explanation is that John knew exactly what he was describing, and
stated it plainly for us. It is only when we have a preconceived idea, which must be
forced into this verse, that we have confusion.
Still another point can also be made
from this. For those who might try to explain that this verse means the “Feast of
Passover”, and that the “Feast of Passover” was “on” or at the “beginning”
of the 14th, during the night, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread” was on
the 15th, we still have a problem. The problem is the same problem mentioned in
the preceding paragraph. Whatever meal was involved was still one
day “before” whatever “feast” one might wish to claim John was speaking about.
Some feel that the “Feast of the Passover”, which is a “chag” feast, is an
entirely separate “feast” from the “chag” Feast of Unleavened Bread. This comes
from an interpretation of Ex. 34:25 to “prove” that there had been two different
Exodus 34:25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast <2282> of the passover be left unto the morning.
If one believes that the ancient
Israelites killed the lamb at the beginning of the 14th, then that
“understanding” would certainly require that there had been two different days
involved and that the “feast of passover” had been on the 14th, and that
the “feast of unleavened bread” had started on the 15th. However, besides
the numerous scriptures to the contrary, which have already been presented, what is one to
do with Eze. 45:21?
Ezekiel 45:21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast <2282> of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
Ezekiel stated that the “passover”
<6453>, which is the same as the “feast (chag) of the passover <6453>”,
begins a “feast of seven days”, in which unleavened bread shall be eaten. The simple
reason for this misunderstanding is that the “passover sacrifice” which was killed at
the end of the 14th was eaten during the beginning of the 15th, when
unleavened bread is to be eaten; problem solved. The “First Day of Unleavened Bread”
which is a “chag” is also the “chag” of
the Passover because the “chag” of the Passover was eaten on the “chag” of the
“First Day of Unleavened Bread”. Wouldn’t this be the reason that in the writings of
the “New Testament”, Luke would state in chapter 22, and verse one, “Now the feast
of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover”?
To briefly summarize John’s
statement, notice that the “Jew’s” knew that Jesus would be at these Feasts. There
is no indication that they thought that He might have been keeping some other set of days,
or that He might be a day “off” from them. Even as John wrote this gospel account
several decades after the events of that time, John completely ignored the opportunity to
set the record straight concerning the Jew’s Holy Days and the Church’s. There are
differences between the Jew’s reckoning and true Christians today, but that was brought
on by the “changes” in Jewry and the “latter” Sanhedrin, which occurred after the
first century, and in particular the “changes” incorporated and enforced in the fourth
Should we consider the “other” scriptures? It is
interesting how we humans tend to use a particular scripture that might “support” our
premise, while often “ignoring” or dismissing another that might not be so convenient
for us. The WCG teaching seems silent on a number of scriptures that mention the Passover.
Matthew 26:17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
Mark 14:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?
Luke 22:7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
The above scriptures appear to be
contradictory. They can neither be used to support nor disprove anything.
How can you have the Days of Unleavened Bread start before the “passover”? You
can’t! Therefore, all parties must conclude that something got lost in the translation,
which is exactly the case. A closer look into the Greek will reveal this, and the fact is
that these scriptures do not place “passover” after Unleavened Bread. However, after
assessing the “correct” translations, one can find no support for any “disproof”
of the Jew’s Passover being at the wrong time, or on the wrong day. Thus, any other
scriptures one might care to mention cannot “disprove” the “Jew’s” timing of
their observance of Passover and Unleavened Bread. One final point on this to remember is
that regardless of any “supposed” interpretation that would attempt to “prove”
that the local people were busy “killing” lambs at this time, but the “official”
lambs would not be killed until later, cannot hold up against the scriptures from John
mentioned earlier. Since the Bible cannot contradict itself, meaning, for example, that
Mark14:12 cannot contradict John 13:1, we must look for a simpler way to reconcile the
apparent scriptural discrepancies.
About the only difficult scripture
remaining that one might attempt to use in an attempt to disprove a late 14th
sacrifice is found in Luke.
Luke 22:8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
This can be resolved in a couple of
ways. The implication here is that this verse “plainly” states that Christ intended to
“keep” the “passover” (of ancient Israel) on that very night, at the beginning of
the 14th. The first question one must ask is one we were taught to ask years
ago by Herbert Armstrong. If faced with a scripture, which seems to contradict several
other “plain” scriptures, as we have attempted to make “plain” for you in these
two articles, then there must be another explanation for that “difficult” scripture.
Although some would surely argue that since this appears to be a very “plain”
scripture, that maybe we should reinterpret the “other” scriptures by this one. The
difficulty that this presents is interesting from a logical point of view. First of all,
there are dozens and dozens of scriptures which have thus far been presented, analyzed,
and demonstrated to support the “late” 14th slaying of the lamb, etc. with
not one single Old Covenant scripture to the contrary. By the way, if you think that you
can prove the prior scriptures in these two articles in error, please be sure to let us
know. It is your duty as a brother, is it not? Secondly, if one were to maintain that this
verse “plainly” states that Christ was going to “keep” the passover that night, it
raises the question of just how “plain” is this scripture really, since it appears to
contradict so many other scriptures. The “plainness” of this scripture is called into
question, so let’s consider what the options are. With the word for “passover” being
the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, and assuming that the rest of the verse is
reasonably well translated, then we have, at first glance, two opposite alternatives.
Either the scripture means that Christ would “keep” the “passover” that night, or
He would not. If He did, then what do we do
with all the other scriptures to the contrary? So, if we are unable to completely dismiss
those dozens and dozens of “other” scriptures, then the only possible solution is that
He did not mean that. He must have meant something else. Others who have come to see the
correct sequence of events have advanced many alternative explanations, and there are two
that stand out as the most likely solutions. One premise is that Christ was referring to
the “new” Passover He was about to institute. The other possibility is that we just do
not really know what Christ meant in this verse, but that He in no way could have truly
meant that He would “keep” the Old Covenant Passover that night, again due to the
mountain of scriptural evidence to the contrary. Regardless of what was really meant by
Christ in this verse, He simply cannot contradict other scripture or even Himself. This is
certainly not the only verse in the Bible that is not perfectly clear, especially in light
of so many other scriptures. One cannot understand everything, meaning, any one individual
or the church as a whole.
Moving on, here is another point to consider; just how did
Christ know “when” to keep the Passover and Holy Days? All He had to “identify”
the time for the Passover was the “Old Covenant” scriptures, right? There was not one
word of the “New Testament” written, so there was no way for Him to have considered
these yet unwritten books. Only the “old” scriptures were available for doctrine, etc.
Therefore, just as Christ must have done then, so we in this day ought to be able to
determine the correct timing of the Passover in ancient Israel and at the time of Christ,
from only the Old Covenant scriptures. There is no justifiable reason we can, or should
“rely on”, or “use” any “New Testament” scriptures in “proving” the timing
of events in the Old Covenant. A problem with this issue did manage to find its way into
the WCG doctrine as they used “New Testament” writings with their “supposed”
timing to interpret the Old Covenant writings. Since, as they thought, Christ was
“keeping” the Old Covenant Passover, they therefore had to “interpret” all the Old
Covenant scriptures from that erroneous perspective. Hence, the controversy was born. That
is right, this was never a controversy until the 20th century. There is a 14th
vs. 15th controversy that goes back nearly 2,000 years, but it is based on an
entirely different premise than the WCG teaching that had never
existed until HWA.
Finally, one last point as to whether
Christ was keeping the Old Covenant Passover
during the meal of His last “night”. It is interesting that when we assume, or have a
perception, that something is a certain way, we will inevitably interpret everything that
is associated with “it” in accordance
with that “perception”. We will read whatever is required “into” the
“associated” thing, or event, in order for it to “fit” into our understanding.
Many have done this with the “mixing” of the Passovers. On one hand, a supporter of
the WCG doctrine would quote some of the scriptures that “seem” to say that Christ was
keeping the Old Covenant Passover, while ignoring the undeniable implications of that very
premise. For example, if the night in question
were the actual, true, ancient Israelite Passover night, the one when the “Destroyer”
passed over, then where was His mother? Remember her, Mary and Joseph? Was not the ancient
Israel’s Passover night a “family” affair? Well, they might say, Mary didn’t have
to be there, she could have been with some of her other children. Great, good answer…oh,
but Jesus was the eldest, right? Wasn’t she there when He was on the stake? Wasn’t it
His responsibility to “assign” her to John’s household thereafter? The point is not
that this proves anything; only that it requires an “explanation” that must “fit”
one’s understanding. However, this line of questioning opens up a mountain of problems
for the “old” teaching. So, what if Mary had not been a concern that night and she was
otherwise accounted for, what about all the others? Where were the wives of the married
disciples? Where were their children? Where were their brothers and sisters, or even
parents? Where were all of the others? The Old Covenant Passover was a “chag” feast.
People had to be there, but there was not a single “other” person present! Do we
remember Exodus 12:26? That would have been contrary to God’s Law and Christ did not
sin, did He? The Old Covenant Passover was NOT
an exclusive meeting! The New Covenant Passover meeting is: “that you may eat and drink
at My table in My kingdom…” How do we explain that away? There are a number of
additional “inconsistencies”, which show that this was not the ancient Israelite
Passover, but you can look into them for yourself. See how many you can find and let me
know what your results are. I would appreciate it.
Therefore, once we have determined the
correct timing of the Old Covenant Passover, we will have to come to realize that we were
wrong about the timing as we learned it from WCG. This new understanding now puts the New
Covenant Passover in a different light and several questions need to be addressed,
rethought, and resolved.
Just what was Christ instituting the night of His betrayal?
Was it a “new” covenant?
What was its purpose?
What do the symbols represent? Why?
What are the similarities and differences between the two ceremonies?
The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ,
Just What Does It Mean for Us?
Exactly what does the “Body” and
the “Blood” of Jesus Christ represent? Although much could be written about this,
let’s put the answer into the simplest of terms, while understanding that there are
numerous related implications, which are derived from these two basic answers.
First let’s carefully examine the
meaning of the “Body of Christ”. What is the Lord’s “body”?
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
John explained to us that the very
“body” of our Savior was physical and therefore, flesh. The profound dimension that
John added to our understanding was that a physical, fleshly “body” could offer an
abode, or dwelling place, or a “temple” for the Spirit of God. People at the time of
Christ were quite used to “spirits” inhabiting humans. We call them “demons” and
we refer to individuals who “house” such demons as “possessed”. The process of “possession” eventually results in the human giving way to
the will of the demon, or demons, dwelling in him. These demons “take over” a human by
wresting, or acquiring, control of the mind of the human whose body they occupy. In
practice, the human will either knowingly, or unknowingly, surrender his mind to the total
control of the demon. If it were unknowingly, there would likely be a pattern of behavior
in the human that would produce the conditions necessary for this “take over”. What we
learn from John is that it is also possible for a human to allow the Spirit of God to
inhabit his own fleshly body, again due to a pattern of behavior. In fact, in the case of
Jesus Christ, this Spirit of God conceived Him. This had never happened in all of human
existence until then, nor has it happened since. No other egg in a female human has ever
been “fertilized” by the Spirit of God. So Christ’s claim that He was a “Son of
God” would naturally have been received as a rather outrageous claim, if not even
blasphemy. It is no wonder that the
detractors of Jesus Christ called Him the “son” of a “demon”. They believed that
Christ “housed” a spirit, but that it was from Satan rather than God. All other humans
in that day, who “housed” a spirit, housed an evil spirit (or spirits). In John 2 we
see that the Spirit of God “dwelt” in Christ and that the body of Christ was
therefore, and as a result of this indwelling, a “temple”. It does not say that
“Christ” was a temple, reading it carefully; it says that His “body”
was a “temple”.
Furthermore, the word for “temple”,
in the Greek, refers specifically to the part of the temple that is the “Holy place and
the Holy of Holies” (For additional information on this subject, please see the article,
The End-Time Temple, in the
“Prophecy” section of the Israel of God website). Christ’s human mind had
“melded” with the “mind of God” (or vice versa if you will) and the physical body
provided a place for them to dwell together and continuing to develop and grow as one.
Next let’s consider another aspect of the “Body” of Christ. Beginning in John 6:28 we read:
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him
whom he hath sent.
They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and
believe thee? what dost thou work?
Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from
heaven to eat.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that
bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto
Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall
never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in
no wise cast out.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given
me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and
believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came
down from heaven.
And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we
know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will
raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man
therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath
I am that bread of life.
Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and
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.
Christ made it plain that He,
“Christ”, the person speaking to the group, was the “Bread of Life”. But, He
further clarified Himself by adding, in verse 51, that He was the “living bread” and
that the bread “is
my flesh”. So, now we can understand another aspect of the “Body of
Christ”. His body (flesh) is also the “Bread of Life”.
In light of this, let’s consider yet
another well-known scripture that might add a little more substance to this subject.
Let’s look at Matthew 6:11.
11 Give us this day our daily bread
Does this add a new dimension toward
how we are to approach the “Body of Christ”? This is the “first” personal request
for the “self” that Christ listed in this “template” for prayer. This references a
request to God for physical sustenance. However, could this also be a reference to our
daily need for “spiritual” bread? (This in NO way implies that we should partake of
the physical symbols of the “Passover” daily, but aren’t we to partake of them
“spiritually” on a daily basis?)
Let’s add one final scripture for
consideration: I Corinthians 10:15-17.
15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
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.
This scripture is interesting because
it adds the dimension of the “present” day. Paul pointed out that we are all to be
partakers of that “one
bread” at Passover, which can be none other than the “Body of Christ”, but
he preceded that comment with the stunningly sobering statement that “we”, the true
members of the Church of God, are that same Bread! How is that possible? It is possible
only through spirit because the same spirit that literally dwelt in Christ dwells in those
who have surrendered their lives to Christ and are submitting to God and His Laws and
Commandments. Thus, even Christ, a spiritual entity, dwells in those who believe on Him
and believe what He said.
Perhaps we should consider the
following scriptures from a somewhat different perspective than previously. Do not all of
these scriptures state that it is our “body” which is a temple?
1 Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him
shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye (Greek-
each of you, or, all of you) are.
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? Know ye not that your body
is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your
2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God
with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in
them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed
together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In fact, our “body” has become a temple, housing both Christ and the
Father, has it not? The “temple” of God is our “body”, and as such, because it
“houses” God, it is holy. Additionally, we have Christ actually “dwelling” in us,
in a very real way, though somewhat beyond our full comprehension. In this light consider
this sampling of scriptures. There are many others beyond these, but these will hopefully
provide sufficient food for thought.
2 Corinthians 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound
in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in
Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
2 Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to
be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of
the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in
the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in
the flesh hath ceased from sin;
Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead
to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to
him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in
you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and
every one members one of another.
1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many
members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the
work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
So, just what does this mean to us with regard to the “Passover”? Of all of the “Passover” accounts, Paul would appear to explain it best in I Corinthians 11. In verse 27 it states
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Paul told the Corinthians that anyone
who fails to properly “discern” the Lord’s “body” takes the “Passover” in
vain, condemning himself in so doing. What do these statements mean? None of us would
deliberately do so, would we? The word “discern” in verse 29 means: “to
separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to
prefer”. How are we “to separate”, or to “make a distinction”, or
“discriminate”, or “to prefer” the “Body and Blood of Christ” at the New
Covenant Passover? Did you notice, in Corinthians, that Paul associated both the
“eating” of the “flesh” and the “drinking” of the “blood” with bringing on
“damnation” if taken in an unworthy manner? So the “blood” is an inseparable part
of the ceremony of “discerning the Lord’s body”, as Paul referred to it here. This
is a package! One cannot eat the bread unworthily and drink the wine worthily, or the
other way around, it is either all or nothing. You either “discern” both of them
right, or both wrong, there is no middle ground.
This subject is often confused with
being “worthy” to take the “Passover”. Who is “worthy” to take of the
“Body” and “Blood” of Jesus Christ? I heard a “Church of God” minister state
in a sermon that, “… of course, no
one is really “worthy”, but …”. This is not an uncommon thought in the
Churches of God, but is it true? Not only is it not true, it is Satanic! That
is right out of the Catholic “universal” Church. What makes someone “worthy” to
receive the body and blood of our Savior and Lord? It is not simply the fact that we have
Christ dwelling in us- that we have “Holy Spirit” dwelling in our “body” and
melding with our “mind”? Anyone who has God dwelling in them is not only “worthy”
to take the “Passover”, but had better take the “Passover”!
So then, with that let’s look at what
the Corinthians were doing that caused them to be taking the “Passover” in an unworthy
manner. I Corinthians 11.
17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
Notwithstanding all of the varying
“explanations” that you might have encountered over the years, please consider, one
more still. It would appear that the Corinthians were trying to duplicate exactly what
took place on the “night He was betrayed”. Christ did indeed “eat” a last supper,
and during that meal, which we hope we have shown was not the Old Covenant Passover meal,
Christ instituted a number of “new” things. Each new part has a specific purpose and
all were to be kept as a memorial in “remembrance” of the “death”
of Christ (verse 26).
In simple terms, the “bread” aspect
of the Passover of Christ represents the ultimate “sacrifice”, that of Him voluntarily
laying down (or “giving” as in, “which is given for you”) His life as
“payment” for every sin that we have “repented” of, both physical and spiritual.
“With His stripes we
or because Christ’s body was “broken” or beaten, the Father has accepted His
“broken”, or beaten body as payment in full for the penalty of physical
sin, which is sickness and premature physical death. By the sacrificial death
of His fleshly body, the payment for the spiritual penalty of “eternal death”, for breaking the spiritual
law, is now covered for those who rightfully claim it from God. This has everything to
do with Justification as we, I would imagine, are all familiar with. But consider
“eternal life”; Christ said that if you eat His flesh, His “bread”, you will live
forever. Remember John 6:51, I am the living
bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live
forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for
the life of the world. How is eating the “body” or flesh of Jesus Christ
going to enable us to “live for ever”? How does this relate to Romans 5:10? For
if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,
being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. The Passover bread is in
remembrance of Christ’s “death”, not his life, as Paul stated. So, how do we
First, let’s take a brief look into the “blood” of Christ, and then we will be in a position to put the pieces together.
Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The Passover “wine” represents
Christ’s blood. What does the “blood” represent, or better phrased, what
“function” did the shedding of His blood perform? It was “shed” for the
forgiveness of sins, but just what is it about the “shedding” of His blood that
provides forgiveness of our sins? The answer is found in verse 28 above. The blood that
was shed performed the function of “sealing” or “ratifying” the “New
Covenant”, which allows for the full and complete forgiveness of any sin, truly repented
of, without exception.
Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
the “blood” of the very “Son of God” is priceless enough
“blood” to pay the price “once” and for “all”. Read the entire book of
Hebrews. Then go back through it and notice the “blood” references. Below are those
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Hebrews 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Hebrews 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Hebrews 9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Hebrews 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Hebrews 13:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
The New Covenant has been ratified. The
door to eternal life has been opened. The process has begun in earnest to create “Sons
of God”. These passages reveal the inseparability of the Passover “bread and wine”
representing the “Body and Blood”.
It wouldn’t be possible to claim the
“payment” while rejecting the forgiveness, or vice versa. The “sacrifice” was
complete and both aspects were an integral part of it. The body cannot live without the
blood, and of what value is blood without a body?
While the “living bread” of the
flesh of Jesus Christ certainly includes the aspect of His awesome sacrifice in death, it
far more refers to the living sacrifice He performed daily in the form of a “servant”
during His human life, and even now as He lives in and through us as we serve. This is the
“living bread” that we are to partake of daily, not (only) the sacrificed flesh of our
Savior. This is the “living bread” which lived by every Word of God, just as He has
now instructed us to live. This bread is the “living” Word of God. However, it is the
“flesh” and “blood” of our sacrificed Christ that made the living bread available.
This is why we need to be in “daily” contact with our Father and our Savior, asking
God for “our” daily bread of the living Christ. It is then our responsibility to
conduct ourselves with the greatest of care and concern for God, Jesus Christ, and all
that they teach us and give us. Take nothing for granted, but give thanks for everything,
all the while taking on more of the very nature of God in us. Every word that we speak and
every act that we do, ought to be measured against the awesome, incredible, and total
sacrifice of both God the Father, and Jesus Christ. If we do any less, then we have
behaved as the Corinthians did, who incurred Paul’s (thus God’s) rebuke.
The Corinthians did not “discern”
the Lord’s body (which includes the body and the blood); they had not carefully
considered the astounding significance of the “sacrifice” of Christ. They were not in
deep awe and appreciation for the grace that was extended to them, providing the
opportunity to receive eternal life. They allowed themselves to be distracted from the
real purpose of their meeting by becoming more involved with the meal than the symbols
that came out of the meal. They failed to appreciate that the symbols, that they were consuming, represented
the “One” whose life and death created the opportunity for them to have an eternal
future. Therefore, Paul corrected them; and also clarified what is required of us
today. The “meal” is just not a required part of the Passover ceremony. On the
surface, there is no reason to separate the meal from the gathering. However, in practice,
it appears to be the only way to insure that we humans, as weak and pitiful creatures,
could avoid condemnation. Disposing of those parts of the “last supper” for which
there are no redeemable features or necessities resolved the problem for the Corinthians,
and prevents a problem for us today. Christ simply used that last meal as a basis from
which to “establish” the “memorial” ceremony of the “New Covenant”. The focus
for us is the New Covenant, not the meal.
Christ would have desired to have a last meal with His
disciples for a number of reasons: one being that that was His final opportunity to give
them His parting instructions before His death. Yes, He could have given final
instructions to the disciples after He was resurrected, but would that have made the
impact that was necessary to influence them for the rest of their lives and in their final
minutes, during their martyred deaths? In all likelihood the effect would not have been as
instrumental. Yet, the most important reason for the meal was the fact that He needed it
in order to institute the memorial ceremony itself.
Although there is no genuine need to consume a full meal when we keep the New
Covenant Passover today, we might contemplate what and why we consume the “symbols”
that we do. Today, we are served wine in tiny “thimbles” along with “Lilliputian”
sized morsels of hard unleavened bread, snapped off like pretzels. Quite a number of
brethren have expressed to me the same thought or maybe even “complaint”, being that
if the symbols are so wonderful and important, then why is it that the quantity of wine
“offered” to us is barely enough to swallow? Also,
concerning the “bread”, why does the minister make such a ritual out of “snapping”
each piece of bread? Since not one bone of Christ’s body was to be broken, why then does
it seem that the “ministry” appears to almost relish the opportunity to snap and crack
the bread, even moving the microphone closer so that it will pick up the snapping sounds?
If it was the “beating” that Christ took that is being commemorated, “by His stripes
are you healed”, then why should the tearing and shredding of human flesh by
“stripes”, from a shard laden whip, sound like the “snapping” or the breaking of
bones? Furthermore, if this “bread” (body) is so important, then why can’t we take
several pieces of the “broken” (snapped) bread? The same comment applies for the wine,
why drink so little? There is little to no difference between this “aspect” of our
Passover ceremony and the Lutheran church’s “communion” I grew up with. Virtually
all of Christendom utilizes a form of this practice in a manner very much resembling the
Catholic Mass. The “hardware”: (trays, “thimbles” and white cloths) is identical
I realize that this is “merely”
symbolic, so you may ask what difference could it possibly make. Conversely, because it is
the most important “symbolism” possible, what might our “symbolism” reveal to God
and Jesus Christ by our being so “chintzy”? Christ said that if we eat His flesh,
which is the “living bread”, we would live forever.
Presumably it does not take much “bread” to sustain us through the rest of the year in
order to live forever. By the way, what was it that the book of Hebrews recorded
concerning the “blood”? Does it occur to you that this may be an area in which we have
been way “too” Protestant like? We are now in a position to change “the traditions
of men” if we want to. Maybe we should, what do you think? Send us your sincere
thoughts, along with any ideas that you may have about this.
What is the Connection Between
the Old Covenant Passover Symbols and the New Covenant Passover Symbols?
The WCG taught that the “bread and
wine” that were served, “replaced” the previous symbols or that Christ “changed”
the symbols from the “passover” lamb and unleavened bread of ancient Israel. Let there
be no misunderstanding concerning the fact that the WCG taught this. The proof of this
took place the same night, every year, after the Passover service. Any remaining unused
wine was poured down the drain that very night before sunrise. Any remaining “morsels”
of unleavened bread were taken home by someone with facilities to “burn” it before
[As an aside, they were not to eat it,
but had to only burn it up completely. How does that “tradition” square with Ex.
12:10, which specifies that nothing of it remain until morning? This verse more than
implies that it “should” all be eaten by the Israelites, but that if there was “too
much” lamb for everybody to eat, only then would they go ahead and be sure to burn
anything “uneaten”. If it was the “same” Passover, but with different symbols,
then what would be wrong with eating the “extra” unleavened bread after our service
was over, so that it would not have to be “burned”?]
Where do you suppose that this
“tradition”, or practice, of burning the bread and pouring the wine down the drain,
Exodus 12:8 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.
Yes, it came from the Old Covenant
Passover. Now, that brings up a question. Since we now know for certain that the ceremony
that Christ “instituted” occurred a day before, or more specifically, the night before
the night that the Destroyer “passed over” ancient Israel and the Old Covenant
Passover was eaten, is there any reason at all to burn and dispose of the New Covenant
Passover symbols before sunrise today? The only possible reason would be if we were still
“keeping” the Old Covenant Passover, right? Are we? No, we are not “celebrating”
the Old Covenant Passover today. The Old Covenant “Passover” was the “slain” lamb!
Christ fulfilled that once and for all. We do not “slay” any lambs, nor splash any
blood anywhere, today. There is no need to. So, what is the “connection”? Let’s see.
In the Old Covenant Passover there were
three general symbols; the “blood” that was
put on the doorway; the “body” of the slain
lamb, which was roasted and eaten; and the “unleavened bread” that was eaten the same night as the lamb. There are some
who believe that there was no “unleavened bread” eaten with the lamb because they
believe that the instruction was to prepare and roast an “unleavened” lamb. I will
allow you to prove whether this is so, or not, on your own, should you be so inclined.
But, if you are interested, then you might start by looking up the word for
“unleavened” and see if it refers to a form of bread or not. The number is
<4682> in Strong’s and is “matstsah”. It appears in the Bible 53 times and is
translated into, “unleavened bread” 33 times, “unleavened” 14 times, “cakes” 5
times, and “without leaven” once.
Now, what happened to these Old Covenant symbols that were supposedly
“changed” or “replaced”? “Changing”, or “replacing”, requires some sort of
a one to one “exchange”, does it not? For example, if the “lamb”, which was
supposedly a “type” of the “body” of Christ, became the “unleavened bread” of
today’s service, then what happened to the “unleavened bread” of the Old Covenant
service? Do you see the problem? This may be the very reasoning that led a number of
God’s people to believe that there was no “unleavened bread” eaten with the lamb.
Unfortunately, they may have just “exchanged” one erroneous understanding for another.
So continuing, if the lamb has now become today’s unleavened bread, then what DID happen
to the unleavened bread of the Old Covenant? Well, under this kind of thinking, since we
used to think that we thought we might have actually understood what we thought we meant,
I have NO idea! What possible sense does it make to go from eating “unleavened bread”
WITH the “lamb”, to eating “unleavened bread” instead of the lamb? All we seem to
have accomplished, in retrospect, was to “reduce” the number of symbols. Then we
reasoned that symbolism of the “unleavened bread” “changed” as well! What did
the “unleavened bread” represent in the Old Covenant Passover? Do you recall?
Exodus 12:39 And they baked unleavened <04682> 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.
The “unleavened bread” was
unleavened because the Israelites had insufficient time to allow the normally used
leavened bread to rise, so, would it be fair to say that it represented their being
“thrust out” of Egypt in “haste”? Yes, per Ex. 12:33.
The problem then becomes “how”, or
better yet “why” did this “unleavened bread” go from representing “haste”, to
representing the “body” of Christ today? I hope that the point has been made, if not
please let me know and I will elaborate further. The simple answer is that it did NOT go
from representing “haste” to representing the “body”!
In the Old Covenant Passover the
“unleavened bread” represented “haste” and it still does. In the New Covenant
Passover the “bread” represents the broken and beaten Body of Christ and it still
does. We are dealing with two distinctly different “covenants”, instituted at two
different times, for two different but similar purposes. Therefore, we cannot directly equate symbols from the Old Covenant Passover to the New
While we are on the subject of the
Passover “bread”, here is another point that I would really appreciate hearing (or
reading) your thoughts on. We know that Christ instituted the New Covenant ceremony at the
beginning of the 14th day of the month, which is a day before the “First”
Day of Unleavened Bread. So why should we use “unleavened”
bread for the New Covenant ceremony? Is there
any Biblical evidence that on the “same night in which He was betrayed” Christ used
“unleavened” bread with His last meal? If it is “only” necessary to have and eat
“unleavened” bread during the 15th through the 21st, then why
would, or should “unleavened” bread have been consumed before the 15th?
Biblically, why would God need to issue instructions to do the “normal”, such as to
tell us when to eat regular “leavened” bread? Doesn’t God typically issue orders, or
instructions, to us for “actions” or “behaviors”, which are outside of whatever is
“normal”, such as “when” to eat “unleavened” bread? The rest of the time we
need no special instruction to perform our “normal” behavior. We are told to
“rest” on the 7th day, not on the 6th or 8th day. We
are told to “fast” on the 10th day, not the day before or the day
afterward. We are told to eat “unleavened bread” from the 15th (through the
21st), not from the 13th or 14th, and so on. We normally
eat “leavened” bread from the 22nd day of the first month through the 14th
day of the first month of the next year, right? Along this line, I am somewhat familiar
with the several thoughts on what was served on the 14th in Judah at the time
of Christ. Some theorize that it was a “fast” day of sorts. Some say that Christ was
keeping a “love” feast (Chagigah), which may also be what led the Corinthians into
their trouble with Paul (and God), and that Christ, in Luke 22:15, was saying “I have
earnestly desired to eat this [as] a Passover with you before I suffer.” The Companion
Bible agrees with the latter scenario. Others say that the “de-leavening” was
performed beginning at 10 A.M. on the 14th. Even if that were the case, since
the night of the 14th is a full 12 hours or more before the “10 A.M. time
conjectured by some for the Jews to de-leaven, there is still no reason to abstain from
using “leavened” bread during the “meal”. With No Biblical Old Covenant, or New
Covenant instruction to the contrary, what other conclusion can we legitimately claim? By
the way, it only took about an hour (or less) to de-leaven in those days. Regardless of
the somewhat conflicting scenarios, we are left with one single unswerving fact; the
symbols were instituted sometime during the beginning of the 14th, a day with
no “special” instructions to abstain from the “norm”.
WHY do we use “unleavened” bread on the Passover? The only rational comes from the
“mixing” of the “covenants” as had been taught by the WCG (and the Catholic and
Protestant world). Exclude the Old Covenant instructions concerning the lamb, bread,
bitter herbs, and blood, and there is not a single scripture in the Bible to support
taking “unleavened bread” during the New Covenant Passover. Go ahead; look for
yourself, please. I have asked others to look, some with well over three decades of
service to God and His people, and they have told me that they cannot find so much as one
scripture to justify its use. We can’t find one. Can you?
Let’s be sure to ask the right
question on this, too. The question is, “what kind of bread did Christ use on the 14th?”
The question is not, “what kind of bread do we want to use?” One point on this
concerns the New Covenant Passover in Gentile lands. Would they have had any reason at all
to “de-leaven” before the 15th? They would not have had any of the Jewish
Pharisaical “traditions” or ceremonies to unlearn. There is a complete absence in the
New Testament scriptures concerning any possible ramifications for them, as opposed to the
Jews. There is no supplemental, “by the way, you Gentiles…” in Paul’s writings for
the Gentile convert.
What about ourselves? I remember my
wife preparing “homemade” unleavened bread on the 12th or 13th
day of the month for use during our Passover service. This was two or more days before the
“First” Day of Unleavened Bread. She had to be extremely careful to have all of the
leaven removed from sight or access during the preparation and baking of the
“unleavened” bread for our Passover service. Our home was not usually completely
de-leavened until the daytime portion of the 14th, the day after the service. It did not seem all that illogical to us at the time;
we didn’t really question it until just a couple of years ago. It was never a question
until I came to see the glaring truth about the 14th and 15th that
you have been reading about in these two articles. What sense does it make to “make”
unleavened bread before the house is unleavened? The answer is little to none!
So I ask you, as a brother, especially
if you think I have gone off the deep end, to please explain to me from the Bible, why we
should have unleavened bread for the New Covenant Passover.
If the only thing you can find to
counter this is “symbolism”, then please do a Bible study into the use of the word
“bread” in the New Testament. Also, review those “bread” scriptures from earlier
in this article that refer to the “body” of Christ. They were not spoken during the
Days of Unleavened Bread. Actually, the “living” bread reference was around the
“Last Great Day”, wasn’t it? What makes physical bread alive? Isn’t it the yeast?
Also, “leaven” is only “bad” when it represents some sort of “sin”, right?
What about the “leavened” loaves for Pentecost? Does this mean that God somehow
accepts sin on Pentecost, but hates it the rest of the time? Perhaps the “leaven” in
the Pentecost loaves does not represent sin; perhaps it represents those who have been
eating the “living” bread of the body and flesh of Jesus Christ? Can we agree that
whatever it represents, that this particular bread cannot represent sin and that it cannot
be bad? So leaven does not have to represent sin all the time, does it!
Can we use I Corinthians 11 to support
using unleavened bread for Passover?
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.
Please read the context here. Paul was
telling the church at Corinth to get their “behavior” and attitude right and he was
using an analogy to the Days of Unleavened Bread to illustrate the point. This was a point
raised within the Days of Unleavened Bread, a time when there should not have been any
leavening around anyway.
Let’s not overlook one more point, of
paramount importance, concerning the leavened versus unleavened bread issue. “Christ our
Passover is sacrificed for us” (1Cor.5:7) Christ IS
the Passover! The undeniable common factor between the two Passovers is the significance
of a “sacrifice”. Just as the Passover (remember that the term “passover” is
synonymous with the lamb) was slain toward the end of the 14th, so in like
manner Christ died. But, in what state did He die? Was He pure and white and perfectly
“sinless” as some portray Him today, or, did He take on so many of humanities sins
that the Father had to turn His back to Him? Wasn’t Christ a “sin” sacrifice,
offered to atone for our sins? As He hung there dying, He had never committed a single sin
Himself, but He died because of our sins. Our sins literally killed Him. He willingly paid
for the penalty of our sins by His death, so that we could, as He said, “have eternal life”. So, even if
one were to insist that leaven always represents sin, one must also conclude that there is
no “symbolism” in the entire Bible prohibiting the use of “leavened” bread in the
New Covenant Passover service!
This concludes the “sequel”. Is
there more to this than what has been covered thus far? Of course there is. Perhaps there
will be addenda in the future, perhaps due to your letter to me. Please write or e-mail
your thoughts. You are my brother, as I am yours. Let’s help each other get ready for
that great day when we will “drink of the fruit of the vine…with you in My Fathers
Kingdom.” We are to serve in this life. Serving others is how we serve Christ, and that
is how Christ continues to be the servant that He said He would be - through us.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
If we are to be successful servants,
even sons, then we would anticipate hearing those special words: “acceptable unto
God”, that we hope to hear from our Father. We will then know that we “served” our
way into the Kingdom, as will Christ and our Father. If we do serve, then don’t be
surprised if you hear your Father say more to you than you might have anticipated. Christ
and the Father will have anticipated that day for quite some time. They will be at least
as joyful about the occasion as any of us. So, don’t be surprised if you should hear our
Father say, “Well done, you good and faithful
servant, I’ve been expecting you!”
April 12, 2002