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 Acts 12:4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
American King James Version×) 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 1 Corinthians 15:19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
American King James Version×).
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 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×). For over three decades Jesus lived a sinless life, though He was tested in all areas as we are (Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
American King James Version×). The hours before His crucifixion, He suffered great physical and mental pain for our healing (1 Peter 2:24 1 Peter 2:24Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
American King James Version×). 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 John 19:34But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and immediately came there out blood and water.
American King James Version×).
Jesus' sinless blood was shed for all mankind in order to save all (John 3:16-17 John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
American King James Version×), for our justification and reconciliation (Romans 5:9-11 Romans 5:9-11 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 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. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
American King James Version×). 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 Romans 5:9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
American King James Version×). 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 Romans 5:10-11 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. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
American King James Version×; John 17:21-23 John 17:21-23 21 That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.
American King James Version×).
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 John 4:35Say not you, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
American King James Version×; James 5:7 James 5:7Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
American King James Version×). The first to be harvested was Jesus, our Savior (John 3:16-17 John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
American King James Version×). Second, the Church is to be harvested, symbolized by the Feast of Firstfruits or Pentecost (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×, 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 Revelation 20:11-13 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
American King James Version×). The Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day symbolize the final and greater ingathering harvest (Leviticus 23:34-39 Leviticus 23:34-39 34 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. 36 Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein. 37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day: 38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. 39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
American King James Version×).
Jesus Christ is the wave sheaf offering (Leviticus 23:10-14 Leviticus 23:10-14 10 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest:
11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
12 And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the LORD.
13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD for a sweet smell: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.
14 And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering to your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
American King James Version×; John 20:17 John 20:17Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brothers, and say to them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
American King James Version×). 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 Romans 5:9-10 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 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.
American King James Version×; see also 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
American King James Version×).
The apostle Paul instructs us that Christ is (now) our life (Colossians 3:4 Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.
American King James Version×). Christ is our life in that God the Father sees us as alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5-6 Ephesians 2:5-6 5 Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) 6 And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×), views each of us through Christ's holiness (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×) and ascribes or reckons Christ's righteousness to us through faith (James 2:23 James 2:23And the scripture was fulfilled which said, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
American King James Version×). Christ is also our life through the holy truth and the Holy Spirit (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
American King James Version×).
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 Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.
American King James Version×; Ephesians 2:5-6 Ephesians 2:5-6 5 Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) 6 And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×; Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×), 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 Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
American King James Version×; James 2:18 James 2:18Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
American King James Version×) 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 1 Peter 1:16Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.
American King James Version×). 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 Hebrews 3:1Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
American King James Version×; Romans 8:30 Romans 8:30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
American King James Version×, 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 1 Peter 1:16Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.
American King James Version×), 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 1 Corinthians 15:20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
American King James Version×). We are justified and reconciled by Jesus' death and we are saved (Romans 5:10 Romans 5:10For 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.
American King James Version×) and delivered by His all-powerful life (Revelation 5:1-14 Revelation 5:1-14 1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders said to me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 6 And I beheld, and, see, in the middle of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the middle of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be to him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that lives for ever and ever.
American King James Version×)! Have a meaningful Passover and joyous Feast of Unleavened Bread, brethren. UN