“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For Christ [Messiah], our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (2 Corinthians 5:7-8).
Paul wrote these words to the primarily non-Jewish believers at Corinth about 25 years after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The early Gentile believers realized that Christianity was a Jewish movement with a Jewish Lord that had spread to the non-Jewish world. As a result, they celebrated the biblical Feasts, including Passover. They didn’t see this practice as somehow “being under the Law.” No, they saw themselves celebrating the redemptive work of Jesus as the “Lamb of God” who had taken away their sins. To them, Passover was not just a Jewish Feast; it was a Jesus Feast. Of course there was no such thing as “Easter” as that was a pagan festival where the participants worshiped Ishtar with unholy activities I won’t even mention is this writing.
Christians understand that Jesus is our Passover Lamb. Yet, few have seen how Jesus perfectly fulfilled every detail of the Passover lamb of Exodus. When God revealed this to me personally in 1974, it changed my life forever. The complete record of the Exodus event is in Exodus 12. Let’s summarize what God said.
The Passover Exodus
In the Hebrew month of Nisan (March-April), on the tenth day of the month, every household was to select a lamb as their Passover sacrifice. They were to observe this lamb for five days to make sure it was without spot or blemish. Then on the 14th day, at three o’clock (between the evenings), they killed the lamb and sprinkled the blood on the doorpost of their dwelling. God told them to consume the entire lamb. Nothing was to be left over for the next day. Furthermore, not one bone of the lamb was to be broken. This required that they roast the lamb on a spit shaped like a crossbar.
The Hebrews dug a rut or hole in the threshold where they poured the blood. They then stepped over the blood-stained threshold and asked God to stand in the doorway protecting them from the angel of death. This is why Passover was originally called the “Threshold Covenant” or the “Crossing Over Covenant.” When the angel of death passed through the land, the presence of God standing in the blood covered doorpost saved the people from death and destruction. The angel of death could not cross that blood-stained threshold.
The Passover and Jesus
Now let’s fast forward to the time of Jesus. The Hebrew Bible is a picture book. It is a picture of a person. That person is Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth who acted out the reality of the pictures. Let’s see how He did this at Passover.
Jesus was introduced as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:36). He entered Jerusalem on the tenth day of the month of Nisan (John 12:1, 12-13). He was set aside to be tested for five days. They found no fault in Him (John 19:4), but He was born to die as the Passover Lamb. At nine o’clock in the morning of the 14th, as the lambs were being prepared for sacrifice, Jesus was crucified. At three o’clock when the lambs were being slaughtered, Jesus died on a crossbar (Mark 15:25, 33-37). The Roman soldier went to break Jesus’ legs to hasten His death but found He was already dead to fulfill the details that not one of His bones would be broken (John 19:36). Furthermore, the religious leaders hurriedly had Jesus’ body taken down so He would not be left on the cross the next day which was a high Sabbath (John 19:31).
Jesus was crucified at Passover on Wednesday, April 3, 30 AD. He took the leaven of our sins into His spirit, the leaven of our sorrows into His soul and the leaven of our sicknesses into His flesh. He was buried (placed in the tomb) at sunset which began the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He took our human liabilities with Him in the tomb. After fulfilling the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:40), He was resurrected from the tomb at sunset at the close of the Sabbath at the Feast of Firstfruits. Jesus is our Passover, our Unleavened Bread and our Firstfruits.
The Passover and Christians
As Jesus came forth in newness of life, so can all of those who look to Him for redemption. When we apply His blood to the doorpost of our heart, He saves us from death and gives us the promise of forgiveness, redemption and eternal life. Satan and the angel of death cannot cross the blood-stained threshold of your life. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4) So this year, let us “Keep the Feasts.” Instead of searching for “Easter eggs” let us follow the instruction of the Apostle Paul and search for the hidden leaven of sin in our heart and purge it out so that we can keep the feast with a pure and sanctified heart.
Hag Pesach Sameach