Christian churches nominally accept the death of Jesus Christ, but most seem unaware of the true meaning of His resurrected life. God expects His people to understand both.
Most professing Christians look for redemption in the Easter celebration. The Easter sunrise service is seen by its adherents as pointing to a resurrected Jesus Christ, but when it comes to the meaning of His death and resurrection, the sun sets quickly.
The differences between Christ's Passover and the holiday of Easter are staggering. The Bible doesn't speak of Easter (except as a KJV mistranslation in Acts:12:4) for these reasons: It doesn't represent Jesus Christ; it predates Christianity by millennia; and it was adapted to Christianity from the heathen ( The Encyclopedia Britannica , 1910, Vol. 8, pages 828-829). The Bible does, however, speak of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also referred to as the Passover season. Both of these God-given feasts were kept by Jesus Christ and His apostles.
The Passover season, which can include both the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, provides for us the death and the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without the results of these two major events, "we are of all men the most pitiable" (1 Corinthians:15:19).
The Passover and Jesus' Death
God begins the systematic, redemptive process of saving mankind with the Passover feast. This is the very first feast of His seven annual festivals. Each festival depicts a significant step forward to mankind's ultimate salvation as well as its glorious conclusion.
Passover is not a Holy Day, but it is a feast; its primacy and meaning makes it the greatest of all feasts. For if there were no Passover, if Jesus as Passover never died for mankind, then we could forget about all the rest. They simply could not be fulfilled. Every feast that follows the Passover is utterly dependent upon it.
Our Passover is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians:5:7). For over three decades Jesus lived a sinless life, though He was tested in all areas as we are (Hebrews:4:15). The hours before His crucifixion, He suffered great physical and mental pain for our healing (1 Peter:2:24). Jesus was nailed to a stake and remained faithful to God (and by extension, to us) to His death. He died when a Roman soldier pierced His side and His life's blood (and water) poured to the ground (John:19:34).
Jesus' sinless blood was shed for all mankind in order to save all (John:3:16-17), for our justification and reconciliation (Romans:5:9-11). What does this mean to us? Jesus' shed blood satisfies the holy requirements of God the Father (and God the Son). God demands holiness. God cannot allow within Himself even the tiniest amount of sin or unrighteousness. Mankind is unholy and sins against God and His laws, and these sins keep man separated from God. The Passover brings God and human beings together.
After we were called and repented of our sins, Jesus' blood covered our sins. This justifies us before the Father (Romans:5:9). That is to say that our sins are blotted out, covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, and we are seen as clean before God our Father. Simultaneous to our being justified (washed clean from our sins), we are also reconciled (restored) to the Father, having been made at-one with the Father through Christ Jesus (Romans:5:10-11; John:17:21-23).
Jesus' sinless blood began the process of salvation for us and all mankind. No part of the overall process of our salvation (i.e., living our lives out in a saved state) could proceed any further without this vitally important event and glorious gift. God confirms the primacy of the Passover in the fact that Jesus, as our Passover, begins our journey and passage into life eternal. Secondarily our annual observance of the Passover memorial begins God's annual festivals and Holy Days.
Although this primary gift of justification and reconciliation (restoration) begins the salvation of human beings, there is another great gift that concludes or finishes it-the vibrant life of a resurrected Christ Jesus who now sits at the Father's right hand. Both of these great events are important; one cannot happen without the other. They are interdependent. A resurrected Christ Jesus fulfilled the symbolism of the wave sheaf offering.
The Wave Sheaf and Christ's Life
God instructed Israel to begin the spring harvest season by waving an omer of barley grain ( Unger's Bible Dictionary , 1966, page 355). This event symbolically typified the beginning of God's harvest of human lives (John:4:35; James:5:7). The first to be harvested was Jesus, our Savior (John:3:16-17). Second, the Church is to be harvested, symbolized by the Feast of Firstfruits or Pentecost (1 Corinthians:15:23, 35-38).
The last harvesting is the ingathering (end-gathering) harvest, the remainder of mankind. This greater harvest of human beings begins at Christ's second coming, continuing through succeeding generations for 1,000 years and including multiple billions resurrected for the White Throne Judgment (Ezekiel 37; Revelation:20:11-13). The Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day symbolize the final and greater ingathering harvest (Leviticus:23:34-39).
Jesus Christ is the wave sheaf offering (Leviticus:23:10-14; John:20:17). The important point to remember here is that Jesus' resurrection from the dead and His ascension to God the Father's throne shows our Savior no longer dead, but vibrantly alive and all-powerful. Without this concluding part of Jesus Christ's holy sacrifice, we would not have any hope of eternal life. "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more , having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life " (Romans:5:9-10; see also 1 Corinthians:15:12-19).
The apostle Paul instructs us that Christ is (now) our life (Colossians:3:4). Christ is our life in that God the Father sees us as alive in Christ (Ephesians:2:5-6), views each of us through Christ's holiness (Galatians:2:20) and ascribes or reckons Christ's righteousness to us through faith (James:2:23). Christ is also our life through the holy truth and the Holy Spirit (John:14:6).
The celebration of Easter is a "feel-good" attempt to treat the death of Jesus in ways acceptable to modern Christianity. Although Easter outwardly speaks of the death of our Savior and His resurrection, its source and customs are an abomination to God. It is easy for Christians to nominally accept Christ's life for them (Colossians:3:4; Ephesians:2:5-6; Galatians:2:20), but when it comes to the part Christ requires of Christians-to obey God and show faith through works-many well-meaning Christians seem unaware of the many relevant scriptures.
Let me put it another way: Most Christians do not recognize or honor the role that God requires of a true Christian disciple. This part requires sacrifice-repentance from dead works and faith toward God. If Christ-in truth-is to live for you and me, then there are things we must do (Ephesians:2:10; James:2:18) in order for Him to live for us and in us. These two distinct acts (Christ accepted as our life and our application of faith proved by works) appear to be seamlessly integrated as one in a true Christian's life.
Again, never forget this important key to our salvation: God is holy and He requires us to become holy, to live lives that befit holiness (1 Peter:1:16). This brings us to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, another significant part of the overall Passover season.
Unleavened Bread and a Holy Life
The Feast of Unleavened Bread signifies a time of sincerity and truth. For seven full days no leavened products remain in the home and unleavened bread is eaten. We know that this symbolizes removing sin from our lives and dining on Christ's unpolluted truth. God's Church has been doing this for nearly 2,000 years.
It's important as well to consider that this also represents the unleavened life and unleavened love of Christ Jesus. Since Christ's resurrection and ascension, He has been immortal and divine (as He was before He was made flesh). He is holy and because He is, we are holy in Him (Hebrews:3:1; Romans:8:30, Living Bible).
We should also note that there are two Holy Days during the Feast of Unleavened Bread: the first Holy Day opens this feast and the last Holy Day concludes it. At the beginning and at the end of our spiritual lives, God expects holiness. We are made holy through Christ who is our life and who is the divine unleavened bread. As well, we must do our part in becoming holy as He is holy (1 Peter:1:16), by putting sin out of our lives and taking into our minds and hearts the unleavened truth and love of Jesus Christ.
The Passover season (Passover and Unleavened Bread) includes both the death and life of Jesus Christ. Those who "keep" Easter will one day understand Paul's words about the death and resurrection of their Savior: "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians:15:20). We are justified and reconciled by Jesus' death and we are saved (Romans:5:10) and delivered by His all-powerful life (Revelation:5:1-14)! Have a meaningful Passover and joyous Feast of Unleavened Bread, brethren. UN