The Lord’s Passover

The Lord’s Passover

Home Church Service 3/27/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

“’These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.'”                                    Leviticus 23:4-8 (NASB)

Most people are familiar with the original Passover, if for no other reason than the movie the Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, shown every year around Easter. Heston plays Moses and the movie begins with the birth of Moses and progresses through his life to the time God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. This is the story of the Hebrew people held captive in slavery to Egypt. The call of Moses to go to Pharoah and demand the release of God’s people is one of the movies climatic moments.

Within the scene depicting the release of God’s people is found the ten plagues God sends against Egypt. God uses the ten plagues as signs that the Hebrew God is the true and only God of the universe. Each of these plagues attacks a different god of the Egyptian people, but it is the final plague, the death of the firstborn, that we are the most interested in. This last plague is recorded in Exodus 11:1-12:32 and provides the details of the first Passover. The Lord God would pass through all of Egypt at midnight to strike down the first born of every living creature of Egypt – both human and animal – but the Hebrew people would be spared by doing one simple act – sacrificing the Passover lamb.

The Lord has appointed times of holy convocation to be observed when and how He appointed them. The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight when we eat only Unleavened Bread as a Feast to the Lord. The first and the seventh days are holy convocations and we do no laborious work.

God has established holy days to be observed on the days and in the ways He has established. The Lord’s Passover begins at sunset as the first of the holy days and includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread. During these holy days there are two Sabbath rests in which we do no strenuous work to honor God our Father.

There are two questions we seek to answer in this message. First, “What is the purpose of The Lord’s Passover?” and secondly, “Should we, as Christian, be observing The Lord’s Passover?”

The Lord’s Passover is a reminder that Jesus is our Passover Lamb providing forgiveness of sin and should be observed by all of God’s people, including Christians.

1). The Lord’s Passover is a reminder of our redemption and forgiveness of sin.

Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Each Hebrew family was to sacrifice an unblemished male lamb one year old. If the family was too small to consume the lamb they were to join with their nearest neighbor. Specific instructions were given on how to prepare and eat the lamb, leaving nothing over till morning. Most importantly they were to use the blood of the lamb as a sign for God. Each family was to put the blood of the lamb on the two doorposts and the lintel – using a branch of hyssop – and thus the Lord God would Passover only those homes with this sign – the blood of the lamb.

In addition to the Passover, God established the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in which the Hebrew families were not to eat any leaven for seven days. This feast is to be a memorial – a permanent ordinance – to be celebrated throughout the generations. The first day is a holy assembly – a Sabbath on which no work was to be done – and for seven days no leaven was to be found in any household. Those who chose to eat leaven were to be cut off from the congregation of Israel. Finally, the seventh day is to be another holy assembly – a Sabbath on which no work is to be done.

How does Passover relate to Christians today? Should Christians be celebrating Passover? Let’s answer the second question first – YES! Christians should be celebrating Passover. Everything about Passover points to Christ Jesus and His sacrificial death. Which leads us back to our first question – “How does Passover relate to Christians?” Last week we examined the birth of Jesus specifically to address this question. In John 1:29 and again in verses 34-35, John the Baptist is with his disciples as Jesus passes by. John immediately exclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

We also learned how both Paul and Peter equate Jesus to the Passover lamb, Paul calling Jesus our “Passover who has already been sacrificed” and Peter explaining redemption coming from the precious blood of an unblemished lamb – the blood of Jesus! And let’s not forget that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the very place where lambs for Temple sacrifice are raised – and not just the daily sacrifice but for the Passover Feast as well! So, Jesus is our Passover lamb, and it is by His shed blood – sprinkled on the hearts of Christians – that we are cleansed and have our redemption in Christ.

If Jesus is our example to follow, and of course He is, then it seems to make sense we should be following in everything He has done – including observing the Passover Feast. There are 26 occurrences in the New Testament Gospels that mention the Passover. There are both references to preparing for and observing the Passover Feast. And yes, I know the Gospels all mention the same Passover Feast’s, but the point is clear, Jesus and His disciples observed the Passover Feast and so must we, His followers.

As for the Feast of Unleavened Bread the application should be fairly clear. Leaven is a “type” or symbol for sin, so as followers of Jesus we must remove sin from our lives. Just as the woman caught in adultery, Jesus says to us, “Go. From now on sin no more.” It is by applying the shed blood of Christ – the blood of the unblemished lamb- that we find forgiveness of sin. Leaven causes bread to rise or become “puffed up” and the attitude of sin or seeking our will causes us to be “puffed up” to do our own thing.

If we observe the Passover Feast, we must also include the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for God requires that we make a covenant with Him to remove sin from our lives. This is found in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. For it is through His resurrection that we shall be saved, the blessed hope of Christians.

The Lord’s Passover is a reminder that Jesus is our Passover Lamb providing forgiveness of sin and should be observed by all of God’s people, including Christians.

2). The Lord’s Passover is to be celebrated by all of God’s people to keep us from worshiping other gods.

God has established His holy days as a reminder that idol worship is unacceptable and should not be part of Christian worship.

As we begin to look at our second point today, you might want to ask the question, “Don’t Christians celebrate Easter instead of Passover?” The obvious answer to that question is, “Yes, Christians do celebrate Easter instead of Passover.” However, the real question we should be asking is this, “Should Christians be celebrating Easter instead of Passover?” The short answer to that question is, “NO! Christians should not be celebrating Easter instead of Passover.” Now, let me give you the details as to why Christians should not be celebrating Easter.

In the Old Testament God warns us not to worship as the pagans do, to seek after other gods to worship them. Jesus rebukes Satan during His temptation as Satan seeks to get Jesus to worship him. In our day you can often hear Christians say there are no other god to worship, and yet, even today we still celebrate Easter – named after an ancient goddess of fertility known by the names Ishtar, Istra, Easter, Astarte, Aphrodite and Artemis. Further, the Old English word Easter refers to the Norse Goddess of Fertility ‘Istra’ who is symbolized as a rabbit.

The Easter egg is also a symbol of fertility. It finds its origins in ancient Babylon where it was believed an egg fell from the sky into the Euphrates River. From this egg the goddess Astarte, another name for Ishtar, was hatched. This is no obscure fertility goddess, she was worshiped as Astarte in Egypt, Ugarit and among the Hittites, as well as in Canaan. Her Akkadian counterpart was Ishtar. Later she became assimilated with the Egyptian deities Isis and Hathor, as well as the Greco-Roman world with Aphrodite, Artemis and Juno. These all refer to the same goddess!

One final connection with the rabbit. The rabbit’s gestation period is about a month, so the rabbits cycle became associated with the lunar calendar. Many in the ancient world thought the rabbit to be a hermaphrodite – an animal that could reproduce without losing its virginity. This led to an association between the virgin rabbit and the Virgin Mary. Thus, it was easy for former goddess worshipers to transfer their reverence to Mary, in contradiction with the Scriptures and true Christianity. Do you still think we don’t worship other gods today?

What we have done with Easter is repugnant to God. To make matters worse, most of Christianity is neglecting the actual feast that Jesus observed and taught His disciples to observe in memory of His sacrificial death. Many mistakenly believe it is only the Lord’s Table or Lord’s Supper – Communion as it is most commonly called – that we are to practice, but in actuality it is the entire Passover Feast that commemorates the sacrificial death of Jesus.

The Lord’s Passover is a reminder that Jesus is our Passover Lamb providing forgiveness of sin and should be observed by all of God’s people, including Christians.

For many Christians, to NOT celebrate Easter would be blasphemous, when in fact it is quite the opposite. We are warned against having other gods and idol worship in the Ten Commandments, God’s spiritual laws for everyone. And yet, for hundreds of years Christians have celebrated Easter and an ancient goddess of fertility. Is it any wonder so many churches are growing smaller and slowly dying? Many have turned their backs on God, the One they claim to worship.

This must be corrected and the shock for many, to learn they are committing sin before God, in a church tradition so entrenched in our churches, would be too much for many to handle. But this should not deter us!! We must remain obedient to God and His word as our greatest and final authority. So, how do we go about honoring the holy days and The Lord’s Passover in particular?

As Christians we can participate by sharing a modified Passover meal. Your meal could include chicken or beef, leafy greens, unleavened bread and roasted vegetables. You should also share the lighting of a candle and the reading of Scripture during your meal. There are a number of helpful guides for Christians to celebrate the Passover that include recipes and Scripture suggestions.

You might also include the foot washing portion of the Passover meal, recorded in John 13. If foot washing seems too daunting a task, try washing hands instead. This is a good substitute, especially for older members of the family. Finally, end your meal with a family communion – sharing the bread – unleavened only – and the cup, in remembrance of Jesus’ body broken and given for us and His shed blood on the cross.

The day after Passover begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Remove all leaven and leavened bread from your home – remember leaven is a “type” or symbol for sin. For the next seven days eat only unleavened bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was the time when God delivered Israel from Egypt, also a “type” or symbol of sin. So, the feast pictures the Christian coming out of spiritual Egypt or sin! For these seven days – the number of perfection – focus on completely getting rid of sin.

Reminder yourself through this observance that these are God-commanded actions. You have a responsibility to overcome yourself, the world and Satan. God requires that we make a covenant with Him to put sin out of our lives, to stop breaking His spiritual laws. God has upheld His end of the covenant by providing the means for our redemption and forgiveness – Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God. And the manner we might be overcomers – the power of His Holy Spirit living within us!

I pray that you will begin to consider God’s holy days – found in Leviticus 23, and remove the false gods you have been worshiping simply because it is church tradition. May God grant you strength, courage and boldness – through His indwelling Holy Spirit – to stand firm as you seek to remove sin in your life and to be found obedient in Christ Jesus.

Amen and Amen.

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