Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Myths About the Passover!
Many questions have arisen about the Passover -- questions which deserve an answer. A number of perplexing Scriptures need to be answered, and the Passover controversy settled, once and for all!
by HOIM Staff
The Passover -- mystery of mysteries! Why do so many "Christians" who claim to observe the Passover, claim also that the Jews -- the only people who have been observing this festival for the past two thousand years -- keep it on the WRONG DAY?
Doesn't such an idea really boggle your mind? Sometimes I think people today have mush for brains, they have been so totally deceived and blinded by the subtleties of Satan the devil! As one man said, repeatedly, it is surely ten times more difficult to UNLEARN ERROR than to simply learn the truth in the first place!
A number of errors have crept into the thinking and reasoning of a number of Churches and individuals regarding the Passover. Let us examine them, one by one, and expose the error to the light of truth.
Myth #1-- Our eternal salvation depends on our taking the Passover.
At first glance, that statement might seem very true to the incautious person. Didn't the Messiah say unless we eat his flesh and drank his blood, we have no life in us (John 6:53)?
But wait a minute! Didn't the Messiah also say to the thief on the cross, "Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise [Kingdom of YEHOVAH God]" (Luke 23:43)? This man believed on the Messiah; at the "last minute," one might say, he repented. Yeshua discerned in his heart the depth of his repentance and pardoned his sins and said he would be with him in the Kingdom (Luke 23:40-42). Yet this man, technically, never partook of the Passover!
Let's not place too much emphasis on "rituals" as a means of salvation. We are not "saved" by keeping the Passover -- not at all! We are saved only by the blood of the Messiah, and believing on his name (Acts 4:12; 2:38; Romans 5:9-10). When the Philippian jailor asked Paul what he must do to be saved, he replied, "BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31).
Belief, of course, also includes obedience (James 2:20, 22, 26). We will be held accountable to the total extent of our knowledge of YEHOVAH's truth, but not for that which we haven't been given to understand or know. There will be some in YEHOVAH's Kingdom, such as George Mueller, the apostle of faith of the last century, who never correctly observed either the Passover, or even the weekly Sabbath! Their knowledge did not extend to such things. YEHOVAH God only holds us accountable for that which He has revealed to us! For that, however, we are dearly accountable. Many will be saved who never understood the truth about the Passover. YEHOVAH is their judge, not you or I. As Paul so earnestly reminds us, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth" (I Corinthians 8:1).
Myth #2 -- Passover was a time of solemnity and quiet; the Israelites cringed in their houses as the LORD smote the Egyptian firstborn.
Today, many who observe the Passover at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan seem to think they should be very quiet, solemn, and in a spirit of awe and austere fear and circumspection. But where did this idea come from? Only those Israelites who lacked faith that Passover evening would have been "cringing" in fear. The Word of YEHOVAH God simply says, "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand" (Exodus 12:11), "in haste" -- in expectant anticipation of LEAVING SLAVERY AND SERFDOM in Egypt! It was not a time of solemn quietness; it was a time of rejoicing and great JOY!
Myth #3 -- the firstborn of Egypt were slain by the "death angel" or "angel of death."
Some may consider this a minor point, but it is amazing how many people assume that some mysterious "angel of death" smote the Egyptian firstborn. Such is not the case at all! No angel of death is mentioned anywhere in the account of the slaying of the Egyptian firstborn. Rather, we read the simple straightforward account, "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle" (Exodus 12:29). YEHOVAH God Himself did it (Exodus 12:13, 27, 29). No mysterious "death angel" at all! YEHOVAH told the Israelites, "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast...I am the LORD" (Exodus 12:12).
Myth #4 -- The Passover was slain after sunset, as it grew dark, or "between the evenings."
The Hebrew expression ben ha erevim, "between the evenings," means in the late afternoon, as the sun descends in the western sky. It is not the time after sunset! This point is crucial to understanding the truth about when it should be observed. YEHOVAH God commanded ancient Israel to offer to Him "two lambs of the first year without spot, DAY BY DAY [literally, Hebrew, 'IN A DAY'], for a continual burnt offering" (Numbers 28:3). One was to be offered "in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer AT EVEN" -- or, in the Hebrew, "BETWEEN THE TWO EVENINGS." Yet, notice! These two sacrifices were "IN A DAY" -- that is, offered on the same day! If the second, evening sacrifice, was offered AFTER SUNSET, it would be on the NEXT DAY! Here, then, is clear proof that "between the two evenings" meant the time PRIOR TO SUNSET, not after the sun has set!
Some object, saying, YEHOVAH God sent quail to the Israelites "at even," or "between the two evenings" (Exodus 16:12), and they claim this proves the expression refers to the time of day the quail began to settle down to roost, after sunset, as it is growing dark. Is this true? The Bible says no such thing. It merely says the quail came "between the two evenings," and does not go on to state that this meant after sunset -- not at all! Such an extrapolation from this verse is merely searching for straws to support a dying, moribund theory! The quails came into the Israelite camp BEFORE SUNSET, not after, probably as the sun was beginning to strike the western horizon. The verse itself offers no definition of the term, but we already saw it defined in Numbers 28!
Further evidence this is so is found where YEHOVAH God commanded Israel to bury those hanged upon a tree "that day" -- not the next day, or after sunset (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Joshua knew this, and he made sure that the hanged kings of Canaan were taken down from their trees before sunset, "at the time of the going down of the sun" (Joshua 10:26-27).This expression was the very same one Moses used to define the proper time for the Passover sacrifice (Deuteronomy 16:6), which was "between the evenings" (Exodus 12:6, marginal reference).
Myth #5 -- The priests lit the lamps as it grew dark, after sunset, not at 3 o'clock in the afternoon (Exodus 30:8).
The Word of YEHOVAH God declares, "And when Aaron lighteth the lamps AT EVEN ["between the two evenings"], he shall burn incense upon it." what time was this done? Those who say you would not light lamps so early as 3:00 in the afternoon miss the whole point of this ceremony! Notice, this was not done just to provide "light" as some seem to assume! Beginning in verse 7, we read: "And Aaron shall BURN thereon SWEET INCENSE every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, HE SHALL BURN INCENSE upon it." When he dressed the lamps in the morning, he prepared the wicks, and put in fresh oil for the evening. The sweet incense would counteract the unpleasant smells which would arise from the slaughter of animals. Obviously, therefore, this ritual was performed "between the two evenings," at the same time as the "evening sacrifice," which we have already seen was upon the SAME DAY AS THE MORNING SACRIFICE!
Josephus, in Wars of the Jews, corroborates this fact. He writes: "So these high priests, upon the coming of their feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour to the eleventh..." (Bk. VI, 9, 3). The ninth hour was 3 in the afternoon; the eleventh hour was 5 P.M. This was the time of the slaying of the evening sacrifice, and the time the high priests "lighted the lamp" to burn the incense!
Myth #6 -- None of the Israelites left their house until morning, the night the Passover was kept.
Here is another gross assumption which evidence proves to be unfounded. YEHOVAH did not forbid the Israelites to leave their houses until morning. Rather, Moses instructed them not to go out of the door of their houses until morning (Exodus 12:22). This was Moses' advice, but not a commandment from YEHOVAH God. It was a safety precaution. Yet, when Pharaoh arose at midnight, and the Egyptians, and found all their firstborn dead, they cried out in great grief and anguish, and Pharaoh "called for Moses and Aaron BY NIGHT..." (Exodus 12:29-31). So they got up and went to see him, while it was still dark -- shortly after midnight! The plague was OVER! It was now safe for the Israelites to go outside their doors, and Moses and Aaron plainly did so first. As soon as they returned to their people, they conveyed the GOOD NEWS that Pharaoh had set them all FREE, and all began immediately to bustle about making preparations to get moving -- to leave the land of their servitude.
Myth #7 -- The Israelites were still in Goshen, an area of 300 square miles, and still had to be gathered together. This would have been a mammoth job, requiring much time to notify them, and get them ready to travel -- at least a whole day.
First of all, an area of 300 square miles is not very large -- merely ten miles by thirty miles, or seventeen by seventeen miles. A few messengers sent out on horseback could have roused the entire area very quickly. Also, our ancestors were not stupid. They could have used signal flares to warn the people, which would have taken mere minutes.
However, Josephus disposes of this entire argument, for be informs us that the children of Israel were already gathered at Ramses, one of the treasure cities of Pharaoh. The people had received plenty of notice of what was going to happen (Exodus 12:1-6) -- at least two weeks' warning, in which to prepare. Moses had been a great Egyptian general, well accustomed to logistics and quarter-mastering troops. Josephus says of him "Accordingly, he having got the Hebrews ready for their departure, and having sorted the people into tribes, he KEPT THEM TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE: but when the fourteenth day was come, and ALL WERE READY TO DEPART..." (Antiquities, Bk. II, 14, 6).
The fact that they were still living in "houses" (Exodus 12:7) does not prove they were still in Goshen. Their houses may have been temporary "rentals," or barracks, or houses which had been supplied for the workers in the treasury cities, or other excess housing in the area. It is certainly grabbing at straws to insist this proves they were still in the land of Goshen, and widely scattered.
Myth #8 -- The Israelites left Egypt during the full moon night of Nisan 15, after robbing the Egyptians all day of Nisan 14.
In Deuteronomy 16 we read, "...for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt BY NIGHT" (v.1). Does this suggest, as some seem to think, that Moses took three million men, women and children, and numerous cattle and goats, and actually marched out of Egypt AT NIGHT? Even if there were a full moon, that would not be sufficient light to lighten the way for such a group! If you have ever marched at night with a group of people, with the light of only the moon, down a dusty road -- you will know that it is no picnic! There would have been sheer chaos and shortly pandemonium, and perhaps even a cattle stampede, if Moses had attempted such a thing. And what if the sky were overcast, and clouds came between the moon and the earth? Nothing in Scripture assures us that the moon shone brightly that particular night! Again -- it is another groundless assumption.
What does it mean, that YEHOVAH God brought Israel out of Egypt "by night"? The Jews and most commentators have no difficulty with this verse. It simply refers to the initial act which liberated the Israelite slaves -- when YEHOVAH smote the Egyptian firstborn "AT MIDNIGHT" (Exodus 12:29). It is simply a reference to PASSOVER NIGHT, when so much transpired that altered history, and initiated a chain of circumstances that led to the liberation of Israel! YEHOVAH says of that very night, "It is a NIGHT TO BE MUCH OBSERVED unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: This is THAT NIGHT OF THE LORD [when YEHOVAH God intervened!] to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations" (Exodus 12:42).
Myth #9 -- when Joshua and the children of Israel entered Canaan, they kept the Passover on the 14th day of the second month.
In Joshua we read, "And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho" (Joshua 5:10). There is no mention here of it being the SECOND month! If it had been, then Joshua would certainly have said so; he was a very precise and exacting writer (notice his descriptions of the boundaries of the Promised Land). This was plainly the month of Nisan or Abib, when the Passover always fell; there is no indication whatsoever any other date was meant, contrary to the speculations of some. They ate of the old stored grain of the land the following day (Nisan 15), and the manna ceased to rain down (Joshua 5:12). The very next day, when they were to offer the wave sheaf before partaking of the new year's harvest (Leviticus 23:11-14), they were permitted to eat of the new grain (Joshua 5:12).
Interestingly, those who are all mixed up on Passover, also can't count properly to the next Holy day season -- Pentecost! They observe both holy days on the WRONG DAY!
Myth #10 -- Passover is actually an eight day festival -- beginning on Nisan 14 and lasting to Nisan 21.
Since the Passover was killed at the end of the 14th, and eaten that night (the beginning of the 15th), it was essentially one with the Days of Unleavened Bread, and was a seven day festival That's why the Jews generally called the whole period simply "the Passover." This is made very clear in Ezekiel. YEHOVAH says: "In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the PASSOVER, A FEAST OF SEVEN DAYS; unleavened bread shall be eaten" (Ezekiel 45:21). How clear! How plan! The Passover was never an "eight-day" festival, stretching from the beginning of the 14th of Nisan till the 21st!
This same truth is evident in the New Testament. Luke records, "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew nigh, WHICH IS CALLED THE PASSOVER" (Luke 22:1). This was a seven day festival (Exodus 12:15-19), not an eight-day festival! And it was also called the "Passover"! How plain!
Myth #11 -- the Jews used to keep the Passover on the beginning of Nisan 14, but changed it to the end of the day due to Egyptian influence from 301 B.C. till 198 B.C.
There is no proof to back up such an assertion. It is a bald-faced claim without any evidence to support it. Rather, as we have seen, all the Old Testament and New Testament evidence shows the Jews always observed the Passover at the close of the 14th, "at even." That's when they killed the Passover lamb. The fact is, Egypt did not rule Palestine from 301-198 B.C. Rather, Syria and Egypt fought over Palestine repeatedly during that hundred year span, each one vying for influence and power. During that time, however, the land of Israel was essentially independent, although affected by the pagan influences of her neighbors, both to the north and south. There is no evidence, however, that they ever changed the day they celebrated Passover.
Ptolemy Philadelphus, ruler of Egypt, and Antiochus II, ruler of Syria, fought a brutal war, culminating in B.C. 260, when Antiochus and Bernice, Philadelphus' daughter, married. However, he later repudiated her, and took back his former wife, Laodice. She didn't trust him and had him murdered, securing the throne for her son Seleucus II in B.C. 246.
Ptolemy Euergetes III, the brother of Bernice, then invaded Syria B.C. 245 to avenge the murder of his sister. Although he succeeded in his war with Seleucus II, and even seized Antioch, he died in B.C. 222. Seleucus II died in B.C. 226, and his sons ruled the kingdom for three years, when his brother, Antiochus III, called "The Great," ruled (B.C. 223-B.C. 187). In his wars with Egypt, Antiochus III conquered as far south as Gaza and Palestine. But Ptolemy IV (Philopater), roused to action, finally defeated him, once again annexing Palestine to Egypt. But Ptolemy IV made a rash peace, and lived to regret it. In B.C. 205 Ptolemy Philopater died, leaving his throne to an infant son. Antiochus once again forged a great army, and attacked, conquering Phoenicia, southern Syria and Palestine from the Egyptians. Antiochus the Great marched into Palestine and destroyed the interests of Egypt in the region at the battle of Mount Panium in 198 B.C.
During this eventful period of history, it seems hardly likely that the Jews would inadvertently or deliberately change the date that they celebrated the Passover! There was simply no cause, no reason, no pressure, for them to do so! Later, Antiochus Epiphanes would try to destroy the religion of Israel all together, and forbid observance of all the annual festivals and weekly Sabbath, on pain of death, but his persecution and control were overthrown in 165 B.C. by the Maccabees.
Myth #12 -- the Passover must all occur on the 14th of Nisan. No part of it may be done on the 15th.
The entire Passover ceremony includes both the slaying of the lambs at the ending of the 14th of Nisan, the roasting of the lambs, and the eating of the Passover meal (Exodus 12:6-11). It was slain "between the two evenings" (v. 6), which means before sunset, as we have already seen. It was eaten "in that night" (v. 7), which would have been on the 15th of Nisan. Therefore, the Passover occurred on parts of two separate days -- it began on the 14th, when the lambs were slain, but ended on the 15th, with the Passover dinner!
If some people insist that it had to be eaten on the 14th of Nisan, at night, then it would have to have been slain at the close of the 13th, "between the two evenings," and not on the 14th! Therefore, according to the Bible, no matter when Passover was celebrated, it had to include two days -- the ending of one day, and the beginning of the following day!
Myth #13 -- Yeshua and his disciples kept the "Passover" the last night before his crucifixion.
The present day observance of Passover by those who attempt to keep it during the "Lord's Supper," prior to the actual Passover, at the beginning of Nisan 14, is in error and makes no sense. It is ludicrous that some eat the unleavened Passover bread at what they call the "Passover," then go right back into eating leavened bread -- a type of SIN -- the following hours, and don't put it out of their homes until prior to sunset the following day, almost 24 hours later! Such a symbolism is screwy and foolish. Do we partake of the Messiah, then go back into SIN and "live it up" for 24 hours, and only then finally "repent" and put the leaven -- SIN -- out of our lives? Nonsense!
The Lord's Supper, as it has been called, which occurred at night shortly after the beginning of Nisan 14, was NOT the Passover. The Jews did not celebrate the Passover until after the lambs were slain, generally from 3-5 o'clock during the afternoon of Nisan 14, according to the Jewish historian Josephus of the first century. They slew the lambs on the 14th, as YEHOVAH God commanded, and then ate the Passover on the 15th of Nisan. This was the "night to be observed unto the LORD" (Exodus 12:42).
The last meal Yeshua had with his disciples was not the "Passover." It was merely a "last supper," often called "The Lord's Supper." The following morning of Nisan 14 was still called "the PREPARATION of the Passover" (John 19:14, 31). Nowhere in Scripture does YEHOVAH God command us or tell us to commemorate or observe this last supper which Yeshua had at the beginning of Nisan 14 as a distinct event or observance. It is not a holy day or feast or festival of YEHOVAH God. The fact that it was not the Passover itself is clear from the apostle John's record.
Notice! John explicitly wrote, '"Now BEFORE the feast of the PASSOVER, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of the world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. AND SUPPER BEING ENDED...HE RISETH FROM SUPPER" (John 13:1-4) and he began to wash the disciples' feet. Notice! This supper was clearly stated to have been "BEFORE the feast of the Passover" (verse 1). Therefore it could NOT have been the Passover!
Interestingly, when Yeshua held this final dinner with his disciples, the word John used to describe it was diepnon, which means "supper, the principal meal, dinner." It is used of the last supper Yeshua held with his disciples, and other main meals of the day (see Mark 6:21; Luke 14:12, 16, 17, 24; 22:20; John 12:2; 13:21, 4; I Corinthians 11:20-21; Revelation 19:9, 17). This word is NEVER used of an annual Festival, or of the Passover. However, it simply refers to the MAIN MEAL of the day, usually at evening.
Furthermore, at this final dinner or banquet, there is no mention of lamb being eaten -- which would have been necessary if this were the Passover. The gospel accounts would hardly have neglected to mention such an important feature.
But even more interesting is the fact that Jewish custom of that time, and always, has dictated that UNLEAVENED BREAD was not to be eaten during the days before the FEAST of Unleavened Bread, so that the Feast would be set apart as distinct and real. For unleavened bread to have been eaten BEFORE the Festival would have diminished its importance during the Feast itself! Therefore, if Yeshua and his disciples had eaten "unleavened bread" on the night of Nisan 14, they would have violated Jewish custom and practice. It is very interesting, therefore, to notice that when Yeshua sat down at dinner, at that final meal with his disciples, "as they were eating, Yeshua took bread, and blessed it (many Greek copies have, "gave thanks"), and brake it, and gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body" (Matthew 26:26). The word for "bread" here is artos, and means, "bread (as raised), a loaf." This same word is used in Matthew 4:3-4, "man does not live by bread alone," in Matthew 6:11, "our daily bread," and Matthew 16:12,"the leaven of bread," etc. This word is often used of LEAVENED BREAD!
Generally, whenever UNLEAVENED bread is meant, this word is preceded by the Greek word for "unleavened," which is azumos, meaning "unleavened, uncorrupted." But in the three synoptic gospel accounts of the last supper of Yeshua and his disciples, Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, the writers always use ONLY THE WORD ARTOS, meaning BREAD -- without the modifying word azumos to designate "unleavened." Therefore, the clear indication is that AT THE LAST SUPPER YESHUA USED NORMAL LEAVENED BREAD, when he blessed and broke it, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body"!
Here is further proof that this dinner was not -- and could not have been -- the PASSOVER!
Myth #14 -- We should observe the Passover at the end of the 14th, but also observe "the Lord's Supper" at the beginning of the 14th.
Although the Messiah gave new meaning to the leavened bread and wine, and instituted the new ceremony of the foot-washing service, he never intended to begin an entire new "supper" ceremony to be perpetuated for all time at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan. Nor did the Messiah intend for the Passover to become divided into two distinct celebrations -- one at the beginning of the 14th, only focusing on bread and wine and foot-washing, and the other at the end of the 14th, including a dinner.
The Passover has always been just ONE ceremony or service; and it always occurs at the close of the 14th and beginning of the 15th. It seems strange to me that even those who insist on observing what they "call" the "Passover" at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan, have completely changed the Passover, calling the Messiah's farewell meal the Passover when it was nothing of the sort! They do away with the Passover meal that the Jews have eaten for Millennia on the beginning of the 15th, and substitute only a thin piece of unleavened wafer, and a small droplet of wine!
Such a ceremony seems to me to be very close to the Roman Catholic idea of "mass," when the priest gives each parishioner a tiny wafer, supposedly the actual body of the Messiah, and a drop of grape juice or wine, which also is supposed to actually be his literal blood! When we depart from and pagan rituals, shouldn't we depart from them COMPLETELY? Should we allow any vestige or even a trace of paganism in our observances?
Paul wrote, "For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus THE SAME NIGHT IN WHICH HE WAS BETRAYED took [leavened] bread..." (I Corinthians 11:23).
Consider for a moment! The evening of the beginning of the 14th of Nisan is the evening of the traitorous conduct of Judas Iscariot; it is the evening of the greatest BETRAYAL in all human history. Should we, as Christians, commemorate such a night? Does that make any sense at all? It was a night which will go down in infamy -- the night of the most infamous deed and sordid betrayal in all earth history -- the night Satan the devil entered into Judas Iscariot, and Judas "sold out" for a measly thirty pieces of silver, and then betrayed the Messiah with the kiss of friendship! Should we honor, or celebrate, or commemorate, such an evening?
Not at all! But by observing the "Passover," at the wrong time -- and in the wrong manner -- that is precisely what we do! Yeshua certainly never intended such. But the Devil is a master of deception, stratagems, and guile. He is able to make black appear white, sweet to seem bitter, and poison to taste like pudding.
But it is poison, nevertheless.
Even a minute trace amount of poison is still poison. And such minute trace amounts of poison are cumulative over time, like DDT in our tissues, or other carcinogenic pesticides, such as Alar. In due time they wreak their spiritual damage and destruction, leading to eventual spiritual DEATH! Observing Passover at the wrong time, over years, is like that. It keeps one in darkness. It perverts the truth, which would make us free (John 8:32). It enslaves to sin.
Myth #15 -- The Passover service should be an austere, morose and melancholy service with children excluded.
YEHOVAH's true Passover involves eating a FESTIVE MEAL with family and friends, around the Passover dinner table, with the recitation of the history of Israel, and YEHOVAH's plan of redemption, the FALSE pagan Passover is a solemn, painful, sorrowful, quiet, stark ceremony much akin to a Catholic MASS, with the congregation huddled quietly, listening to the ministers solemnly intone their genuflections, and then quietly eating a piece of wafer, like the mass, and a thimble sized vial of wine.
In the Catholic mass, the believers are required to believe that the little piece of unleavened bread IS the literal body of the Messiah, and the wine literally becomes the BLOOD of the Messiah. Thus each time they take of the mass, they sacrifice Yeshua the Messiah all over again! When the priest supposedly changes the bread and wine into the Messiah's body and blood, he intones the phrase, "Hoc est corpus me us." Evidently, the common expression used of false magic, to connote deception and fraud, is derived from this phrase -- it is "HOCUS POCUS"!
Who, then, should partake of the Passover? In ancient Israel, the Passover was a FAMILY festival. Children were included, too. They were TAUGHT by their parents the tremendous meaning of the Passover, as they partook of it (see Exodus 12:23-27). The Passover is a family affair, for true believers. Having become a baptized, converted Christian, or being an adult, are not necessary requirements! Even Yeshua's own disciples were not yet spirit-begotten Christians when they partook of the Passover with the Messiah!
In other words, even children should participate, so they can be instructed in the full meaning of the Passover! All adult believers, whether or not they have been baptized as of yet, should also participate, so they can learn and experience the full significance of the Passover (see Daniel 10:12).
This means, of course, that even young children who are in the family should also partake of the Passover celebration -- including the wine and the unleavened bread. This is how they LEARN its meaning. The original Passover, observed in Egypt, was a whole FAMILY AFFAIR. The entire family of each family in Israel was to keep it (Exodus 12:3-4). Children were to be taught the meaning of the symbols and purpose of the Passover, each year, as they observed and participated in it (Exodus 12:25-27; 13:8-16).
The Passover was and is a "festival of the LORD." As such, it was commanded to be celebrated by ALL ISRAEL -- men, women and children -- as a FAMILY affair (Exodus 12:3-4). Many of the Israelites were not "converted" -- that is, they were a rebellious people -- yet they were indeed commanded to celebrate the Passover and festivals of YEHOVAH God.
However, on the other hand, it is obvious that no one should partake of the Passover if they are a carnal, unconverted, uncircumcised unbeliever, whose attitude would be one of hostility, disbelief, ridicule, scorn, and outright disobedience to YEHOVAH God. Such a person would make a mockery of the Passover, and should definitely not be invited -- even if he or she is a family member! YEHOVAH God says in His Word, "For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law -- indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7, NRSV).
One of the purposes of YEHOVAH God's festivals is to draw people to Him, and His way of life -- not to reject them or put them off. In other words, if a person is truly seeking YEHOVAH God, and His truth, and has shown by the evidence that he or she supports the Work of YEHOVAH God, and believes His Word -- even though they have not yet been physically "baptized" -- such a person is on the pathway to becoming circumcised in heart, and in the process of becoming converted. Such a person should not be categorically, summarily rejected from participating in the Passover! Yeshua himself set us an example in this matter. Yeshua kept Passover with his disciples who were mere learners of the truth and his students, at the time, and they did not yet fully understand his purpose and teachings, and had not yet received the holy spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-2).
Myth #16 -- In I Corinthians 11:17-34 Paul was talking about the Passover service.
Many have assumed in the past that Yeshua's last supper was the Passover. Therefore, they have concluded that I Corinthians 11 also must refer to the Passover. However, neither assumption is true. Since we now know that Yeshua's last supper with his disciples was actually ONE WHOLE DAY BEFORE the true Passover, it had to be a sacred meal of fellowship. This sheds new light on Paul's real meaning and subject of discussion in I Corinthians 11. Let us notice this chapter carefully, going through it with the Jamieson, Faussett and Brown Critical, Experimental and Practical Commentary.
Verse 20. "When ye come together in one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper." Says the commentary:
"It is not possible to eat a true Lord's supper where UNITY exists not (ch.X.17); where each is greedily intent on 'HIS OWN SUPPER,' and some are excluded altogether, not having been waited for (v.33); where some are 'drunken,' others 'hungry' (v.21). The LOVE-FEAST preceded the Lord's supper...They ate and drank together earthly, then heavenly food, in token of their unity for time and eternity. It was a CLUB-FEAST, where each brought his portion, and the rich extra portions for the poor. From it the bread and wine were taken for the Eucharist. It was at it that the excesses took place which made a true celebration of the Lord's supper, during or after it, with due discernment of its solemnity, out of the question..."
Paul here, then, is rebuking the Corinthians for their IMPROPER OBSERVANCE of the sacred fellowship meal, patterned after Yeshua's last supper with his disciples. This was a "love feast" of the brethren, where members of the church ate together in joy and godly fellowship.
"23. He shows the unworthiness of such conduct from the dignity of the holy supper. I -- emphatic in the Greek. It is not my own, but the Lord's institution. received of the Lord -- by immediate revelation from the risen Saviour (Gal. 1:12; cf. Acts 22:17, 18; II Cor. 12:1-4)....The renewal of the institution, by special revelation to St. Paul, enhances its solemnity....the time for the Lord's supper is not fixed. betrayed. With the traitor at the table, and though about to receive such injury from man, He gave this LAST GIFT, a pledge of his amazing love to man. 24. brake. The breaking of the bread involves its distribution....as oft as -- as many times soever; FOR IT IS AN ORDINANCE OFTEN TO BE PARTAKEN OF. in remembrance of me...The Lord's supper brings to our remembrance Christ's sacrifice once for all for the full and final remission of sins. Not 'do this for a memorial of me,' as if it were a memorial sacrifice, which would be mnemosunon (Acts 10:4) or hupomnesin, -- a reminding the Father of His Son's sacrifice. Nay, it is for OUR REMEMBRANCE OF IT, not to remind Him. 26. For -- in proof that the Lord's supper is 'in remembrance' of Him. show. Announce publicly; not dramatically represent, but publicly profess each of you, the Lord died FOR ME'..."
Notice! This sacred meal and service is NOT AN ANNUAL MEMORIAL AT ALL -- it is to be partaken of "AS MANY TIMES SOEVER," or "OFTEN." This could even mean as often as weekly, when possible. In Jewish synagogues, following the synagogue service the congregation often met together for a fellowship meal. Paul does not "set a time" for this wonderful fellowship meal, patterned after the Lord's final meal with his disciples -- this LOVE-FEAST. But he does say, "as OFT as ye do it." The implication is that this holy meal of fellowship, including the symbols of bread and wine representing the Messiah's body and blood given for us, should be enjoyed OFTEN!
This same expression in the Greek, "as oft as," is found in Revelation 11:6, speaking of the two witnesses who in the future will smite the earth with plagues "as often as they will." Thus Paul is not talking about the Passover here at all, but to a sacred fellowship meal held often, but not on an annual or "scheduled" basis such as an annual Festival! Let us continue:
"That the Lord's supper is in remembrance of Him, implies that He is bodily absent, though spiritually present; for we cannot 'commemorate' one absent. Our not only showing the Lord's death, but eating and drinking the pledges of it, could only be understood BY THE JEWS, ACCUSTOMED TO FEASTS after propitiatory sacrifices, as implying our personal appropriation of the benefits of that death. till he come -- when there shall be no longer need of symbols, the body itself being manifested. The Greek...expresses the certainty of His coming..." (p. 316-317, Critical-Experimental Commentary).
How cleverly Satan has deceived so many. Paul is not talking about the Passover at all in this passage. He discusses the Passover in I Corinthians 5:7-8, very plainly, showing that we should also observe that Feast. It is kept as a vigil and "Seder" on the night of Nisan 15, as it has been observed by the faithful ever since the time of Moses. But in I Corinthians 11, Paul is discussing another subject altogether -- the sacred fellowship meal patterned after the final supper Yeshua the Messiah held with his disciples! And this wonderful spiritual "banquet" is NOT an annual anniversary at all, but is to be held "OFTEN"!
May YEHOVAH God help us all to come OUT of paganism -- and Babylonish customs and traditions -- COMPLETELY, that we may be found righteous and holy and pure in His sight!
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