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Why should Christians celebrate the Passover?

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The first of God's seven annual festivals is the Passover (Leviticus 23:5 Leviticus 23:5In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover.
American King James Version×
). Passover falls in early spring in the Holy Land and is a reminder of how God spared His people from death in Egypt. To rescue His people from slavery, God took the lives of all the firstborn Egyptian males (Exodus 12:7 Exodus 12:7And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
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, 26-29) but passed over the Israelites' homes that had the blood of a sacrificed lamb on their door frames.

The blood of the Passover lamb foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which passes over the sins of people who repent in order to spare them from eternal death. The New Testament makes clear that Christ is the true Passover Lamb (compare Exodus 12:21 Exodus 12:21Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
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with 1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
American King James Version×
). In observing His last Passover with His disciples, Jesus explained that the symbols of bread and wine represent His body and blood, offered by Him for the forgiveness (or passing over) of our sins and the death penalty our sins have earned for us (Matthew 26:26-28 Matthew 26:26-28 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
American King James Version×
; Mark 14:22-24 Mark 14:22-24 22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
American King James Version×
).

The death of Christ actually took place during the daylight hours that followed the Passover evening—which was still the same date according to Hebrew sunset-to-sunset reckoning. Christ was sacrificed on Passover.

The New Testament Passover is a memorial of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. This is also when baptized members of the United Church of God renew our agreement to come under the blood of Jesus Christ, the perfect Passover Lamb, for the forgiveness of our sins. We approach this period of the year with deep spiritual introspection. We commemorate the Passover on the 14th day of the first month of the sacred year with a service based on the instructions of 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he broke 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 you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Why whoever 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.
American King James Version×
and the Gospel accounts of the New Testament Passover that Christ instituted.

This solemn service begins with a brief explanation of its purpose, followed by foot-washing (based on Christ's example and instructions in John 13). Then the minister gives an explanation of the symbols of the Passover, unleavened bread and wine, which represent the body and blood of our Savior. Each baptized member of the Church eats a small piece of the unleavened bread and drinks a small glass of the wine (Mark 14:22-24 Mark 14:22-24 22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
American King James Version×
).

Christians who observe this annual memorial marking Jesus' death (1 Corinthians 11:26 1 Corinthians 11:26For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.
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) are reminded that eternal life is possible only through Him (John 6:47-54 John 6:47-54 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×
; Acts 4:10-12 Acts 4:10-12 10 Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him does this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nothing of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
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). Jesus' sacrifice is the starting point for salvation and the foundation of the annual feast days that follow. The next one is the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

For more information, please read our booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind .

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    Comments

  • neighbor

    Why is it that “Christians” say that the Passover is for Jews only but yet Jesus who came from the tribe of Juda, therefore a Jew, is for them?

    Why do they accept the Ten Commandments yet do not keep the 2nd or 4th?

    Is it possible that Satan has deceived the world?

  • Sabrina Peabody

    Hi neighbor,

    I think Passover is not just for the Jews but for all those who follow Christ. Christ told His disciples to “do this in rememberance of me” (Luke 22:19). There are a few more articles on the UCG website that should show this such as: http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/why-should-christians-keep-passover/

    I also think that all ten of the Ten Commandments should be kept, including having no idols and making sure to keep God’s Sabbath day holy. I am sure if you search Ten Commandments in the UCG search bar it will give some more articles on the importance of all ten. They truly show us how to love God and our neighbor with true godly love.

    Revelation 12:9 says that the devil does decieve the whole world, so I think the answer is yes! I also found this article: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/there-really-devil/enemy-mankind/whole-world-deceived/

  • Ivan Veller

    Hi Neighbor, you may be interested in the following resources:

    1. The Second Commandment: What Is God Like? http://www.ucg.org/booklet/ten-commandments/second-commandment-what-god/

    2. What Is Modern Idolatry? –“Isn’t it interesting that, while these two [the 2nd and 4th] are the longest among the Ten Commandments, they are perhaps the most ignored and violated?” http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/what-modern-idolatry/

    3. The Fourth Commandment: Key to a Relationship With Our Creator: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/ten-commandments/fourth-commandment-key-relationship-our-creator/

    4. Jesus Christ and the Sabbath: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/sunset-sunset-gods-sabbath-rest/jesus-christ-and-sabbath/

  • kskee002
    A lot of Christians do not know about the importance of Passover- after it was abolished in 325 AD/Council of Nicaea. Passover is essential to take for the forgiveness of our sins.
  • rwp_47
    Passover also has an intimate connection to Pentecost not generally understood and it provides insight as to why there are two general resurrections. Notice that at the first Passover only firstborns died if the lamb’s blood was missing. Most really don’t consider the obvious symbolism in this (for some inexplicable reason its overlooked). If there had been no firstborns in Egypt at that first Passover then Passover would be meaningless as no one would have died (and no one would have been saved by lamb and blood). Because it only had meaning for firstborns. And it is this symbolism, when applied to the new testament Passover that carries such significant and surprising meaning. Because all those called during this Pentecost dispensation are counted as firstborn whether they are physically firstborns or not - because they are counted as firstfruits - and that’s the symbolism. So the partaking of the body and blood is only important for them - and not for those who will not be firstfruits - those of the second resurrection (as they are not firstfruits). This is the obvious inference of the symbolism of the first Passover (seemingly missed by everyone!). Though there is not space here to provide the reasoning for all this … those that come later will not be saved by the Lamb’s body and blood as are the firstfruits because such only applies to the firstfruits (those who form Christ’s actual body in the 1 Corinthians 12:12 1 Corinthians 12:12For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
    American King James Version×
    plural noun sense). Those that come later will not be saved by the Passover symbols of lamb and blood as are the firstfruits - but will instead be saved by marriage to the “plural noun” Christ of 1 Corinthians 12:12 1 Corinthians 12:12For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
    American King James Version×
    … who is being constructed during this present Pentecost dispensation of time - as symbolized by the firstborn at that first Passover - and which is practiced at the New Testament Passover by all members partaking of the body and blood of Christ as firstfruits as we all grow into the fullness of Christ. The new Testament Passover and the Feast of Firstfruits picture the building of the future government of God - - which Revelation 21:22 Revelation 21:22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
    American King James Version×
    makes plain is God - because it is Christ. The firstfruits form the Lamb of Revelation 21:22 Revelation 21:22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
    American King James Version×
    with Jesus (who is both the head of, and member of, the Church … the plural noun Christ is the firstfruits. 1 Corinthians 15:23 1 Corinthians 15:23But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
    American King James Version×
    & 1 Corinthians 12:12 1 Corinthians 12:12For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
    American King James Version×
    ). Is that a good enough reason to celebrate Passover?

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