Should the followers of Yeshua (Jesus) keep Passover?

Passover meal

It is difficult to use the standard definitions of Passover because they refer to it being a “Jewish” festival.  That would be like Moses saying, “Let my ‘Jewish’ people go,” when he said, “Let My people go”. The Passover is the LORD’s Passover (Exodus 12:11) for Israel, for all 12 tribes (Exodus 12:47) and the strangers who sojourn or walk with Israel and thereby become one with Israel (Exodus 12:48). Please note: The Bible says “one with Israel,” the Bible does NOT say “one with Judah.”  Once you accept Messiah and His instructions you are Israel. No Gentiles (strangers) are to eat of the Passover (Exodus12:45).  In the Bible there are only two distinctions:  Israel or Gentile (everyone else).

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When was the Passover to be slaughtered and eaten?

According to Jewish tradition, Passover is kept on two nights.  The first night is from sunset of Nisan 13 (the beginning of Nisan 14) and the second night is from Nissan 14 at sunset starting Nisan 15.  For now we will address the first Passover as given in the Exodus account and address the second Passover and the eight days of unleavened bread in another article.

Exodus 12:6 says “And ye shall keep it (the Passover lamb) up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the evenings.”

Please note:  In the Bible, the going down of the sun indicates the start of the day, i.e. the day begins or “dawns” in the evening.  Therefore, on the 13th evening is the start of the next day, the 14th. This would indicate that the lamb would be slaughtered about 3 hours before sunset on Nisan 13.

Who was to Kill the lamb for the original Passover?

Exodus 12:21 “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, ‘Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.’”

Exodus 12:27  “That ye shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.’ And the people bowed the head and worshipped.”

It was the elders or heads of the family who were to kill the passover and place the blood on the door frame.  There were no Levite priests or temple to do that service.

Exodus 12:7-8  “And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 8)  And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”

Exodus 12:13  “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”

Where was the passover to be eaten?

Exodus 12:46  “In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.”

We clearly see that the passover was to be killed by the head of the house and eaten in that same house.

Are we to Keep Passover as a memorial forever?

Exodus 12:14  “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.”

Frist of all this is not a “Jewish” thing; it is a God thing:  It is for Israel, all 12 tribes, and for the stranger who sojourns with Israel. If you are truly grafted into the olive tree that Paul refers to in Romans 11, you are Israel and of the seed of Abraham. In short, by being grafted in (adopted) you are now Israel.  This feast is for YOU.

Numbers 9:1-5  “And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2) ‘Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season. 3)  In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.’ 4)  And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover. 5)  And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.”

Did Yeshua (Jesus) keep passover?

Matthew 26:17-18 “Now the first of the unleavened bread (emphasis added), the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, ‘Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?’ 18) And he said, ‘Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.’”

Luk 22:15 “And he said unto them, ‘With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.”

What we call the “Last Supper” was in fact a Passover.

Are those who follow Yeshua to keep Passover as instructed by God?

I would think it would be quite obviously, yes.  And indeed, there are some Christian denominations that do keep passover as prescribed; however most do not.  Some others would argue that Easter is the same as Passover; but by definition it is not. There is nowhere in the Bible that states, “Do not keep my Passover.”  Quite the opposite.  From the Apostle Paul, 1Corinthians 5:7-8  “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  8:  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Passover is an awesome gift from God and a blessing for those families who honor it.  The imagery of passover is all about Yeshua and his family, the house of Israel.

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Shalom Shalom