The Passover Memorial
Could God's holy days, which portray His plan of salvation, exclude Jesus' sacrifice? How could Jesus' ultimate sacrifice be less than holy? Didn't God have the Israelites smear lamb's blood on their doors to avert death? Didn't that clearly represent Christ's offering for mankind? Yes!
The Passover lamb was to be kept from Nisan 10 until the 14th (Ex. 12:1-6). It was then to be killed on the 14th. It was to be killed in the evening. How do we know for sure which evening is being discussed? Because God the Father set us a PERFECT EXAMPLE!
When did God decree that Jesus could declare "it is finished" and die on the stake? Why the same time that THE JEWS were sacrificing their Passover lambs at the Temple! The Jews had always killed the Passover lambs during the final hours of the 14th! It was towards the end of the 14th, not at the beginning of the 14th, that the Passover lambs were killed!
After the lambs were killed they were prepared (which took some time) to be eaten, naturally, that evening - which began the 15th and the FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD. Nothing of the Passover lamb was to be left over until the morning (Ex. 12:8-10).
God decreed that only unleavened bread should be eaten with the Passover lamb, and that only unleavened bread should be found throughout our property for seven days: "neither shall there anything of the flesh, that you sacrificed the FIRST DAY AT EVEN, remain all night until the morning...you shall sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun..."(Deut. 16:1-7; Matt. 27:45-46).
Here God clearly shows that He considered the Passover sacrifice, done at "the going down of the sun." as the FIRST DAY of the SEVEN DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD! (Mk. 14:12). If we're to blindly follow popular Church tradition that kills the Passover lamb at the beginning of the 14th, rather than at the end of the 14th, then we end up with EIGHT days of unleavened bread! Does it make sense that the lamb MUST be eaten with unleavened bread and then somehow afterwards for a whole day you can eat leaven again?! How preposterous! At least a child could figure this out! And that's what we all need to become again, like humble little children, hungry for God's truth, eager to please our Father and let His WILL be done, and commandments kept, rather than attempting to defend vain traditions! (Mk. 7:7).
God's Word shows that from the end of the 14th (the beginning of the 15th) until the 21st day of the first sacred month is SEVEN DAYS (Ex. 12:18).
The Passover lamb is killed at the end or afternoon (between the two evenings in Hebrew) of the 14th and eaten at the beginning of the 15th with unleavened bread: "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast...with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth"(I Cor. 7-8). Christ is our PASSOVER - not our "Lord's Supper!" Jesus' last supper with His disciples offered Him the perfect opportunity to replace the traditional lamb with a bread and wine ceremony symbolic of His offered body and blood. (Even the rabbis decreed after the Temple's destruction that it was permissible to not eat a Passover lamb).
As we partake of these holy emblems, what are we remembering? Are we commemorating the night of Jesus' betrayal or are we commemorating Jesus' DEATH? We're to eat the BREAD in remembrance of Jesus' body that was sacrificed at the end of the 14th and we're to drink the WINE in remembrance of Jesus' shed blood on our behalf at the end of the 14th (I Cor. 11:23-26). [And Jesus clearly associated His hour of trial and crucifixion with wine, not grape juice! See Jn. 2:3-4].
We're to remember Jesus' sacrifice as our very personal Passover Lamb - the Lamb of God! Passover - with the bread and the wine substituted for the lamb - is the annual holy day, observed at meal time on the evening of the 15th, that commemorates Jesus' sacrifice.
The Passover is both a memorial and a feast (Ex. 12:14). The PASSOVER MEMORIAL is the FIRST of the seven days of unleavened bread (not eight!), and the FIRST of God's seven holy days!
It's important to note and get this straight with the first of God's festivals and new year: How would God's Church know when to celebrate God's holy days or even what they are if it weren't for the JEWS? God has made the Jews His custodian and has committed His truths into their care, specifically the Pharisees (Matt. 23:2; Rom. 3:2-3; 9:4).
God's holy days are faithfully proclaimed from Moses' Seat each year "in their seasons" (Lev. 23:4) by His Jewish stewards who keep God's SACRED CALENDAR! How would we know which "season" is which, or which month is the "beginning of months," if God hadn't ordained the JEWS to preserve that knowledge for us? (Gen. 1:14; Ex. 12:2; Rom.3:2-3).
Thankfully, God's quite capable of ensuring that the Jews - despite themselves - will continue to fulfill this special calling (Num. 23:19; Rom.11:29). So everyone can put away their "calculators" (that only add up to confusion, everybody determining for themselves what's right and what's wrong). God's "business" has a full-time JEWISH ACCOUNTANT who's solely RESPONSIBLE for the calendar.
Let's not attempt to interfere with God's business as He's chosen to run it! God - through His Jewish agent - has preserved the knowledge of His holy days and the correct dates to observe them for all who truly want to know and share in celebrating God's truth!
About the Author
David Ben-Ariel, an American author who has travelled widely and who has lived throughout Israel, shares a special focus on the Middle East and great interest in Jerusalem, reflected in hard-hitting articles that help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out www.benariel.com