Thursday, April 11, 2024

A Morning Bible Study - Passover - The Beginning of God's Master Plan!

Leonard V. Johnson   About

This present evil age doesn’t understand that the LORD God (Elohim, the family of God, which at this time consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ) created mankind for a MARVELOUS and AWE-INSPIRING purpose! This very purpose was revealed to our first parents – Adam and Eve – in the garden of Eden.

“Then God [Elohim] said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” – Genesis 1:26.

And though God’s living word doesn’t directly say – a question can certainly be asked, “What was the inspiration behind creating a lion to look like a lion?” Have you ever wondered about the inspiration behind creating a lion that looks exactly like a lion? It's fascinating to think about how such a magnificent creature came to be, and what motivated its Creator to bring it to life. Let's ponder over this intriguing question together!

I find it interesting that we have this Scripture – “As for the likeness of their faces, each [of the four cherubim that surrounded the LORD God’s thrones] had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle.” – Ezekiel 1:10. Many claim that it is only symbolism. But, is it really? Is the LORD God, by creating a lion to look like a lion, giving homage to Their great and powerful archangels that are with Them in the upper heavenly realms?

The LORD God’s eternal word reveals that They are reproducing Themselves in man. The LORD God created man for the very purpose of growing in godly character - the meaning of “image” – and to ultimately be BORN AGAIN as a member of the family of God!

A passage that is often overlooked by this world’s Christianity – “And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’” – Isaiah 51:16.

The LORD God has mapped this MASTER PLAN by which They will fulfill the AWESOME purpose for all mankind. It is outlined in the form of SEVEN ANNUAL FESTIVALS that the begotten children of God are to observe every year to help keep themselves in the glorious grace and knowledge of JESUS CHRIST.

After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt the LORD God revealed the annual festivals. And through Prophet Moses (the etymology of his name likely derived from combining the words “water,” “seed,” and “pond” thus yielding the sense of “child of the Nile” (mw- š) 1 the eternal Creator formally introduced these festivals to Their nation – ISRAEL. “The congregation in the wilderness” – Acts 7:38.

Within the New Covenant, we can understand from the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles that He intends the spring festivals to illustrate to His Church every year that all those God the Father has called out of this world - before, during, and after His Son’s torture, murder, and glorious resurrection unto life – are only the “firstfruits” –

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” – James 1:17-18.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” – 1 Peter 1:3-4.

The Apostle Paul mentions a few of them that are a part of the “firstfruits” – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah – “These all died IN FAITH, not having received [yet] the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them.” – Hebrews 11:13.

Even from the very beginning, relatively few people have been called out of this world for the spiritual “firstfruits” of Their spring harvest into the glorious family of God! Later, as pictured by Their autumn harvest, the LORD God will call nearly everyone who has ever lived or will ever live. The multiple billions of fellow human beings that have ever lived are called unto salvation and sonship into the glorious family of God AFTER our Lord Jesus Christ’s return and after His Millennial Reign.

A synopsis of these annual festivals is found in Leviticus 23. Let’s begin this God-revealed seven-part study of the LORD God’s annual festivals and learn exactly what God says and teaches!

What the Feast of Tabernacles Pictures.
1) Just Who instituted these annual festivals?
“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2) ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, THESE ARE MY FEASTS. … 4) These are THE FEASTS OF THE LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim in their appointed times.’” – Leviticus 23:1-2, 4.

I want you to notice that the LORD says these are HIS FEASTS! Not the “feasts of the Jews,” or the “feasts of Moses” as a great many people falsely assume and teach. They are the LORD’s own feasts – which the LORD God brought about and gave to the children of Israel to keep and celebrate from year to year.

What is the first festival to be observed every year?

“’ On the fourteenth day of the FIRST MONTH at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.’” – Leviticus 23:5.

When was the very first Passover?

Minister Michael C. Garrett –
“Well we think of Exodus 11, 12, as being the first Passover, but you know there are some events that are very Passover-like – that was way before the time of Moses. If you would, turn to Genesis 14. … And verse 18, this personality, we read about every so often, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; …” – does that remind you of something!? We might find out someday that this event actually happened on what was eventually to become, what we now call the Passover, the Lord’s Supper. Melchizedek. Well, let us quickly turn to Hebrews 7 to get a description of who this Being was. Hebrews 7:1 – “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2) to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also king of Salem, …” – the city of Salem – JeruSALEM. “… meaning ‘king of peace,’” – and who is He!? Verse 3 – “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, …” – this is the One we now call Jesus Christ! Who, at times took up residence on the earth, and Abraham knew exactly who He was! And, Melchizedek brought out the bread and the wine. Verse 19 – “And He blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20) And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he gave Him a tithe of all.” – almost a pre-Moses Passover ceremony.”

(Garrett, M.C., Passover Message – 2013, posted 4.19.19).
Exodus chapter 12 - gives us the account of the very first official Passover and the first official Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Exodus 12:1-14, 21-27).

The LORD’S Passover, or The Passover, Lord’s Supper, or Communion – whatever you wish to call it – is to be observed after sunset on the fourteenth day of the first month – the month of Nisan. It coincides with March-April on the civil calendar.

The first official Passover was to be a yearly memorial to remind the children of Israel of the LORD God’s intervention in delivering them from slavery in Egypt – within the New Covenant it pictures the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, “our Passover, was sacrificed for us” – 1 Corinthians 5:7. He was wrongfully convicted, tortured, and murdered for the sins of all mankind!

After our Lord and great High Priest – the living Jesus Christ’s – death and resurrection, the New Covenant Passover, celebrated each year with new symbols of foot washing, unleavened bread, and fermented wine, is a yearly memorial of our Master and Elder Brother’s – our Savior’s – ultimate sacrifice for all mankind. Our Lord Jesus became the reality that the Passover lamb sacrificed foreshadowed.
2) Did the LORD command, even before Mount Sinai, that the Passover be kept as a feast FOREVER!?
“’ So this day shall be to you A MEMORIAL; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS. You shall keep it as a feast by an EVERLASTING ORDINANCE. … 24) And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your [children] FOREVER.’” – Exodus 12:14, 24.

The LORD’S Passover. Indeed, the children of Israel were specifically told to observe the Old Covenant Passover in the Book of Exodus. Families were to take a lamb (or a goat), a male of the first year without blemish (Exodus 12:5), for a blood sacrifice (Exodus 12:3-4). The lamb (or goat) was to be sacrificed on the fourteenth at twilight (Exodus 12:6) and some of its blood was to be placed upon the doorpost of the family’s dwelling (Exodus 12:7). So, those who took these steps instructed by God were ‘passed over’ from the death angel, whereas the Egyptians who did not do this were not (Exodus 12:28-30).

Did our Lord Jesus Christ keep and celebrate the Passover?

“Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 23) Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, …” – John 2:13, 23, NET.

Our Lord Jesus Christ kept the LORD’S Passover annually (Exodus 13:10) – from the time of His youth (Luke 2:41-42), and throughout His entire physical life (Luke 22:15). The LORD’s Passover was (and is) observed on the fourteenth day of the month of the FIRST MONTH (Leviticus 23:5 – called Abib in Deuteronomy 16:1 or called Nisan in Esther 3:7). It occurs in the spring season of the year.
3) Did our Lord Jesus Christ keep and celebrate the Passover with His disciples the night before He was to be falsely arrested, tortured, and crucified?
“Now on the first of the unleaveneds, * the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, ‘Where do You desire that we prepare for You to eat the Passover?’ 18) And He said, ‘Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, ‘My time is near; I will keep the Passover with My disciples at your house.’ 19) Then the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and prepared the Passover. 20) And AFTER EVENING had come, He sat down with the twelve.” – Matthew 26:17-20, NET.

Minister Fred R. Coulter comments on this –
“This phrase has caused some confusion. It is certain that this phrase does not refer to the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins after, not before, the Passover. … ‘In the first century, it was commonly known that ‘the day of the unleaveneds’ in Luke 22:7 was the 14th Passover day.” G. Amadon, in an article entitled, ‘The Crucifixion Calendar,’ pointed out the error of those translators who translated this verse to read ‘the first day of the festival.” 2
And in keeping and celebrating the Passover, He established new rules, new guidelines, and new symbols. And so HE CHANGED the old and made it something new.

John 13:1 – “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” – especially His disciples and His followers. Verse 2 – “And supper being ended, …” – so, keep in mind, they had an Old Testament-type meal. And it probably had roasted lamb, and it probably had some bitter herbs, and it had some unleavened bread. They kept that.

“…the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3) Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4) rose from supper …” – so, they are just sitting around. But, they didn’t eat at tables – you know that very famous painting The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, I think they’re all sitting at a table, aren’t they!? Well, back in that day they didn’t use tables like we use tables and chairs, but they often used a lot of pillows and rugs and they sort-of half sat, and ate their food from these low-lying tables. So, He “…rose from supper and laid aside His garments, …” – probably his outer garment, His more formal robe, “…took a towel and girded Himself.” Verse 5 – “After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”

Foot washing in the time of our Lord Jesus was a menial task that only servants would perform when visitors would enter a house – especially a house of wealthy establishments. In the first century, Jerusalem was governed by Rome, and several sandals were fashionable. Such as the soleae, crepidae, and the carbatina. They would cause your feet to become very dusty.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was showing His disciples that He had come to Earth to be a servant to mankind. Foot washing depicts the attitude of humility and service to others that our Lord Jesus Christ wants all true Christians to have.

Our Lord Jesus Christ changed the practices associated with it (Luke 22:19-22; John 13:1-17), and He also told His disciples to observe it (Luke 22:7-13). It is crystal clear in God’s living word that because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, the killing of animals and placing their blood on an altar or doorpost is not required anymore (cf. Hebrews 7:12-13, 26-27; 9:11-28). The Apostle Paul – under the divine inspiration of God’s Spirit – teaches that true Christians are to keep the LORD’S Passover per Jesus Christ’s New Covenant instructions (1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 11:23-26).

Our Lord Jesus commands us to wash each other’s feet on the evening of the 14th of Nisan. “’ Therefore, if I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also are duty-bound to wash one another’s feet; 15) For I have given you an example, to show that you also should do exactly as I have done to you.’” – John 13:14-15, NET.
4) Are true Christians to teach those that God the Father has called out of this world to do likewise?
’ Go therefore and make disciples [teach] of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20) TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS that I have commanded you; …’ – Matthew 28:19, 20, NKJV Red Letter Edition.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says to us ’ If you know these things, blessed are you IF YOU DO THEM.’ – John 13:17; see also John 14:23.

Now, contrary to popular belief – our Lord Jesus Christ did not “abolish” the keeping and celebrating of the Passover. He merely changed the symbols that were used. Instead of shedding the blood of a male unblemished lamb and then eating its roasted meat, we now are commanded to ‘eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood.’

“And as they were eating [the Passover meal], Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat: this is My body.’ 27) Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. 28) For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ – Matthew 26:26-28.

Our Lord Jesus  –

’ Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day [the first resurrection day]. 55) For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56) He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.’ – John 6:54-56.

The LORD’s Passover, the Passover, The Last Supper, or Communion – whatever name you call it – is to be kept as an annual memorial of our Lord Jesus Christ’s death. We are now to use unleavened bread and fermented wine – preferably Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

The eating of the unleavened bread symbolizes the imbibing of CHRIST IN US! – Colossians 1:27. John 14:23 – “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our [abode] with him.’ – again, CHRIST IN US! The true meaning of the eating of the unleavened bread (as well as a true meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread) is that we are symbolically showing that we are eating the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, the unleavened bread which represents Jesus Christ as the sacrificed Lamb. And we are acknowledging – we need that Bread to come into our being. And, when you eat something, like a piece of bread, that bread gets broken down in your intestinal tract and the elements that are in that bread go throughout your whole body – from your toes up to your forehead to your fingertips, and everywhere in between. And so that bread literally becomes a part of you. And that’s the symbolism – that Jesus Christ is to enter into you through His Spirit and become a part of you! As you eat the bread it becomes a part of you, and as you ask for God’s Spirit it enters into you and becomes a part of you! That’s how you get CHANGED!
5) Did the Apostle Paul – through the inspiration of God’s Spirit – teach us to keep and celebrate the New Covenant Passover by partaking in the new symbols of foot washing, unleavened bread, and fermented wine?
“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8) Therefore LET US KEEP THE FEAST, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.

True Christians have eaten UNLEAVENED BREAD for Passover, and they have kept the Days of Unleavened Bread. So, in every age, the true Church of God is not called to be leaven. Brethren, we are to strive to be spiritually unleavened, and our Lord Jesus is the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth!

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Church has kept (and continues to keep) the annual Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread – not Easter.

“For I [the Apostle Paul] received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24) and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25) In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it [which is annual], in remembrance of Me.’ 26) For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death TILL HE COMES.” – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

We are to remember this occasion until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. I’m not sure why there are people who won’t even read that very statement saying – to PROCLAIM THE LORD’S DEATH UNTIL HE COMES. And He absolutely shows us in His living word that He is soon coming again. Jesus Christ also said on that very occasion – “’ This do in remembrance of Me.’” A command directly from our Lord Jesus Christ. Because He wanted us to never forget what He did for all mankind. And so we are reminded every year through this very ceremony – through this annual holy day, a holy convocation. To remember what Jesus did for all of us.
6) Will the LORD’s Passover be kept by our Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrected saints after His return to Earth?
’ But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day [the Great Wedding Supper] when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’ – Matthew 26:29.

“Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16) for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ – Luke 22:15-16.

So, our Lord Jesus Christ indeed kept and fulfilled the Old Covenant Passover on the evening of the 14th of Nisan. Now, many of those who profess Christ do keep some version of the Passover – though they have changed the name, the date, the time, the meaning, the symbols – calling it EASTER – after an East Semitic, Akkadian, Assyrian, and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. Hence, Easter eggs and bunny rabbits.

Our Lord Jesus Christ commands us to keep and celebrate the LORD’s Passover in remembrance of Him until He returns and keeps again the Passover with us. The apostles did keep and celebrate it, and today, our Lord Jesus’ faithful in His living Church continue keeping and celebrating annually the LORD’s Passover! □

1).  Ulmer, Rivka. 2009. Egyptian Cultural Icons in Midrash. de Gruyter. p. 269.
2) Coulter R. F., The Holy Bible In Its Original Order A New English Translation, York Publishing Co., © 2009, pg. 990.

Scriptural Index:

Old Testament - Genesis 1:26; Exodus 11; 12:1-14, 21-27, 28-30; 13:10; Leviticus 23:1-2, 4, 5; Esther 3:7; Isaiah 51:16; Ezekiel 1:10.
New Testament - Matthew 26:17-20, 26, 28, 29; 28:16, 19, 20; Luke 2:41-42; 22:7-13, 15, 19-22; John 2:13, 23; 6:54-56; 13:1-17; 14:23; Acts 7:38; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 11:23-26; Colossians 1:27; Hebrews 7:1-2, 3, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27; 9:11-28; 11:13; James 1:17-18; 1 Peter 1:3-4.

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