Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Should We Observe "Yeshua's Memorial"?
Several have wondered if we should observe the "Lord's supper" or some such celebration the night before the true Passover. Is this what Yeshua intended by the meal he ate the night of Nisan 14? What is the truth? Here, in a series of questions and answers, we discuss this question and its wide-ranging implications.
by HOIM Staff
QUESTION: Should Christians observe the "Lord's supper" the night of Nisan 14, before Passover?
Paul's usage of the term "Lord's supper" is only found in I Cor. 11:20. Here he plainly says when the people come together, "this is not to eat the Lord's supper." It is a negative statement, not a positive one. The implication is that when the church gathered, it was not to "eat" or to "observe" something called "the Lord's supper." The rest of this chapter plainly shows that instead, what the people gathered for was to observe a simply ceremony with the bread and wine, "as often as" they found it practical -- not an annual event called the "Lord's supper." This we call the "Kiddush" and we generally celebrate it once a month (first Sabbath of each month), and on holy days (except during Unleavened Bread). This whole chapter is speaking of the Kiddush.
Yeshua never commanded us to observe a separate "introductory" type seder the night of Nisan 14, to "kick off" the Passover. Nor is there any record of the church in history observing a "Lord's supper" annually on Nisan 14. Rather, church history speaks only of the Passover, and it was kept at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th.
QUESTION: The Passover seder tells the story of the Exodus, but Yeshua's seder on the 14th tells the story of his death. Shouldn't both be observed?
The meal Yeshua ate with his disciples was not really a "seder" meal as such -- rather, it was a simple dinner, followed by a "Kiddush." Secondly, the Passover seder itself is SUPPOSED TO TELL THE STORY OF THE MESSIAH -- the Lamb of YEHOVAH God. Messianic Jews know this, and tell the story of the Messiah at Passover. Orthodox Jews are still hung up and hung out to dry insofar as Messiah-Yeshua is concerned. They deny him in general, and they deny him in the Passover. But this ought not to be done. The Passover itself is ALL ABOUT THE MESSIAH. That is why we observe it, with the bread and the wine, symbolizing the suffering and death of the Messiah for our sins. This important central focus should not be neglected in the Passover seder itself!
When we understand this, it becomes irrelevant and meaningless to observe a "seder" the night before. What? Did the Messiah die for our sins TWICE? Of course not. Since the Passover is a "whole feast," lasting eight days including the day of preparation, it is only fitting to partake of the symbols of the Messiah's shed blood and broken body once during the Festival.
The Jewish New Testament says Yeshua desired to keep "this Seder" with his disciples but could not (Luke 22:15). The original Greek word is not "Seder" but simply "passover." The King James is more correct here; the JNT is an incorrect interpretation of the original Greek. Yeshua's reference is to the upcoming Passover which he won't be able to keep with them due to his imminent death. He is not even talking about the "last supper" which was neither a "Seder" nor the "Passover."
QUESTION: Didn't Yeshua give the symbols of bread and wine at the last supper as an example for us to observe annually?
No, he did not. If he had intended this to be done every year as a new celebration on the beginning of Nisan 14, don't you think he would have made it perfectly clear, and commanded that such be done? But he did not do this. The major purpose of the symbols given at the last supper -- the bread and wine -- was to give new profound meaning to the Kiddush which we are to celebrate often (I Cor. 11). Our article, Are We Neglecting the Sacred Fellowship Meal? goes into this at length. No doubt the reason Yeshua also did this the night before the Passover, in this case, was because he knew he would be dead and buried at Passover time, and therefore that particular year would not be celebrating Passover with them. So this took the place of "Passover" with them that year!
QUESTION: Didn't Yeshua take the whole evening of Nisan 14 to teach his disciples "how to remember" him?
No, he did not. Yeshua did not take the entire evening of the 14th to teach his disciples "how to remember" the New Covenant. The bread and wine in this case was presented after supper, and was a very small part of the evening, time-wise. Most of the evening dealt with fellowship around the meal table, the incident of Judas, his leaving, and Yeshua's comments concerning his betrayal, and discussion among the disciples as to who would be the greatest (they were probably joking around, as men are wont to do). Most of that evening pertained to Yeshua's final instructions to his disciples, as his crucifixion was coming up very shortly, and would not pertain to us today.
QUESTION: Wasn't the New Covenant instituted the night of Nisan 14? Isn't that more reason to observe that night in addition to Passover?
The New Covenant was not instituted the night of Nisan 14. It could not have been instituted before Yeshua died, shedding his blood for our sins. And the Holy Spirit, in a sense "ratifying the covenant," was not sent until Pentecost. Therefore, I would say the actual "institution" of the New Covenant occurred on Pentecost, 31 A.D.
QUESTION: Doesn't the foot-washing ceremony fit best during the evening of Nisan 14, as a "humbling" ceremony prior to and part of getting ready for Passover?
As to the foot-washing, Yeshua the Messiah never told us WHEN to do the foot-washing, and he did not institute it as an observance for Nisan 14. He never gave us a command as to when to observe it. However, I disagree with the reasoning that it belongs that night, which is even BEFORE putting out of leavening (sins). We cannot be truly "humble" when there is still SIN in our lives, unrepented of, symbolically. Humility and humbling are a process. Basically, we CANNOT become a true "servant" in attitude while still "carnal" and "unconverted." That would be a "false humility." True humility is a fruit of YEHOVAH's Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Therefore, it seems most logical that the foot-washing should be AFTER we have "repented" (shown by putting out ALL leaven), as we "humble" ourselves to partake of the Passover which pictures the sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah. Also, becoming as a "servant" to one another is fitting AFTER we have begun the Christian pathway, by putting SIN out of our lives. To do the foot-washing, and becoming as a servant, humbling ourselves, while "still in a state of SIN" nullifies the whole symbolism.
QUESTION: Isn't having a bread and wine ceremony and foot-washing the night of Nisan 14 an important part of "preparation" for the Passover?
As the 14th of Nisan is indeed the "Preparation" day, we ought to do what YEHOVAH GOD says to do to prepare for the Passover: His instructions are clear (Exo. 12). We put out leaven; get the Passover seder ready. The foot-washing was not commanded as something to do the night before. Having a dinner that night was never part of commanded Passover "preparation." Having a Kiddush with artos that night was also never part of Passover preparation. Yeshua NEVER SAID to do those things that night as Passover "preparation."
Therefore, we must be careful to OBEY YEHOVAH God's Word -- and not to ADD to His command, or subtract FROM His command (Deut. 4:2; 12:32). YEHOVAH says we should not ADD to or DIMINISH from His commandments. To ADD a celebration the night before, which was NEVER commanded, only confuses the issue of the Real Passover, and subtracts from its awesome significance and true symbolism.
The "Lord's Supper" is not a commanded Feast of YEHOVAH God, not a Holy Day, and nowhere commanded to be observed as an annual event on Nisan 14. SO WHY "ADD" IT? Isn't that "adding to" YEHOVAH's Word and making an ordinance when YEHOVAH God has not made one? Isn't that like taking matters into our own hands, and creating our OWN WAY to worship YEHOVAH God, according to our OWN ideas? Doesn't YEHOVAH say, "There is a way which SEEMETH RIGHT UNTO A MAN, but the end thereof are the ways of death"? (Prov. 14:12).
QUESTION: Could the two evenings (beginnings of the 14th and 15th) be two halves of a whole, both called "Passover"? Doesn't Yeshua's 14th Passover seder tell his story, and the 15th Passover seder tells the Exodus story?
That's the problem. People put their own ideas into the Word of YEHOVAH God, and worship Him as they think best. YEHOVAH never intended people to SEPARATE the Messiah and his Sacrifice FROM the Passover! That is not what YEHOVAH GOD intended. That is why PASSOVER IS A HOLY DAY. It represents our partaking of the sacrifice of the Messiah -- the blood and the unleavened (beaten, bruised and flattened) bread that was his body -- and tells the WHOLE STORY of his deliverance and salvation through him.
Observing an uncommanded "Yeshua's Memorial" the night before Passover cheapens and lessens the impact of Passover itself! It emphasizes a night YEHOVAH God never made Holy! It cheapens the real meaning of the Passover, and exalts a night of infamy and betrayal. Doing it that way means that during the Passover "eight days," which includes the "preparation day," we actually partake of the Messiah's body and blood TWICE -- in effect, as if he DIED TWICE. But he only died ONCE for our sins -- not twice. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL. . . . But this man, after he had offered ONE SACRIFICE for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God . . . For by ONE offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:10-14).
The Passover Feast is a "unity." It is ONE Feast. Adding another uncommanded "Lord's supper" or "Yeshua's Memorial" the night before only serves to confuse the issue and sow seeds of confusion and discord. YEHOVAH forbid that we should ever put the cart ahead of the horse, and start worshipping YEHOVAH God according to our own "human reason." It is too easy to get careless and do things that may "seem good" but which YEHOVAH God never intended (Pro. 14:12). It was NEVER YEHOVAH's intent to divide the Exodus Passover from the so-called "Christian Passover." There is ONLY ONE "PASSOVER."
How easy it is to get mixed up. Yeshua NEVER said to celebrate an annual "Lord's supper." So that is exactly what people want to do! But by doing so they are adding an observance to the Word of YEHOVAH God which He never commanded! Although this may SEEM good to men, YEHOVAH God says DON'T ADD ONE WORD to His commands (Deut. 4:2) -- not a single observance lest we "diminish" His commands (Deut. 12:32). Do we really want to do that?
Do we see the danger? The peril? Satan the devil seeks to divide us, conquer us, and bring us into observing uncommanded celebrations, and distorting the focus of the Passover, causing confusion. We must be careful, "Lest Satan should get an advantage over us: for we are not ignorant of his devices" (II Cor. 2:11). How tricky he is! How mischievous! How clever! He makes a counterfeit that humanly may appear even better than the "original"! YEHOVAH God says stay away from such. He will not accept such worship. They that worship Him must do so "in spirit and in truth [His Word]" (John 4:24). We must be extra careful that we don't "add" something to YEHOVAH's commandments that He doesn't add Himself. In a sense, that is what Adam and Eve did. They "added" the fruit of the forbidden tree of the "knowledge of good AND evil." When I hear people say, "Let's observe the Passover AND Lord's Supper," it makes me shudder -- and think of the "tree of the knowledge of good AND evil"! Since YEHOVAH God never said to observe the "Lord's supper" on Nisan 14 every year, I don't intend to do so -- nor to recommend that others do so! I simply want to OBEY YEHOVAH God -- nothing more, nothing less. Nothing added -- nothing subtracted. Pure and simple.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15).
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
Hope of Israel Ministries
|Scan with your