As most of the Christian world will celebrate Easter next weekend, it is extremely exciting for me to see more and more Christians celebrating the Passover Feasts. That wasn't the case when my heart was first awakened to the seven appointed feasts of the Lord over seven years ago. It was then that Mark and I decided to begin a deep study on how Scripture said they applied to us, as Christians. And now, seven years later, the Lord is pointing us to the Passover as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
The 2020 Festival of Passover begins on the evening of Wednesday, April 8th and will conclude at evening on Thursday, April 16. Within these Holy days, God ordained the Feast of Pesach, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Fruitfruits -- all in commemoration of what He did in delivering the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt AND as a foreshadowing of the work He would do through His Son, Jesus Christ, in delivering us out of a life of bondage to sin. Within these eight days of Passover, Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected, and each Feast speaks of Him and His redemptive work on our behalf.
And yes, God ordained these Feast Days, and they are His Holy Days, not just Jewish holidays, as the Church has mistakenly believed. In Leviticus 23, God proclaimed them as My Feasts and that they would be a perpetual statute among all your generations in all your dwelling places. And because we are the spiritual descendants of Abraham, these Feasts not only have meaning to us, but I believe that we are to celebrate them, too. After all, Abraham is the "father" of our faith, and as Galatians 3:29 says, If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
As the body of Believers has grown in understanding the significance of Passover, it has been interesting to see the conflict within the Church. Should Christians celebrate Easter or Passover? Is it wrong for Christians to celebrate Passover? Is Easter really Biblical? These are all questions you must answer for yourselves. In doing so, I would recommend that you study what the Word has to say and also do some historical research. I think you will find that our religious celebrations have taken on new meaning down through the centuries.
The eight days that make up the Festival of Passover are actually recorded in Exodus, Chapter 12. Here we find three separate Feasts, all under the umbrella of "the Feast of Passover". The first day of the Festival, and the first of the Feasts, is called Pesach, which means "spare" or "exempt" in Hebrew, and which our English Bibles translate as "pass over". Therefore, it has become known as the Feast of Passover in our time.It is the foundation of all three Feasts, and commemorates the Lord's direction to the Israelites to sacrifice an unblemished and spotless lamb, applying it's blood to the side doorposts and top lentil of each home. [It is important to note, that this application made the motion of the Cross]. The Lord promised that the Angel of Death would pass over homes where the blood of the lamb had been applied. The lambs were the substitutes for the people, sparing them [and saving them] from death and judgment by the Lord. Each house marked by the blood of the lamb would be a haven of salvation, a place safe from the judgment that was about to come upon Egypt. Those Egyptian homes, where there was no application of the blood, would suffer the judgment of the Angel of Death at Midnight. NOTE: The Lord has recently shown me that those homes marked by the blood were more than just safe havens of salvation, but were under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of God. The Egyptians' homes, which remained unmarked by the blood of a sacrificial lamb, belonged to the kingdom of the world in which Satan was god.
We know the rest of this story... the Israelites were spared, while the first born in every Egyptian home died that night, causing Pharaoh to issue a decree that the Israelites be released and allowed to leave. For the Jewish people, the focus of the Passover observance is remembering YHWH's deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. "Remember" -- that is the key word for this celebration.For us Christians, who are Abraham's seed of the New Covenant, the Feast of Passover is a call to remember the Redemption we have received through Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. He is our Passover who takes away the sin of the world. We are redeemed with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. Just as the first Passover proved to be the Power of God to release the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt, Jesus is the Power of God to release us from our bondage to the pleasures of the flesh in this world, and the penalty of our sins. We can now step into His Repentance, His love, Life, Freedom, Liberty, AND into the Kingdom of God as Kingdom citizens. Jesus IS the manifestation of the Passover Lamb, and He was crucified on the Feast of Passover.
The second feast of the Passover Festival is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts seven days. Historically, it is a call to remember the quick exodus from Egypt, when the Israelites were instructed to make bread without leaven (yeast) because they didn't have time to wait for it to rise. In addition, yeast, or leaven, in the Bible always referred to any corrupting influence in the nation of Israel. In this instance, God was telling them to leave behind the unholy influences of Egypt -- the worship of false Egyptian gods, and the rituals and traditions that had corrupted Israel's relationship with their God during their 430 years of captivity. They were to spend that week in worship and reflection for what God had done for them, and for their relationship with Him that they were privileged to experience. They were to remove any leaven [or sin] that was corrupting their present relationship; it was to be a time of absolute separation from leaven in any form.I can't help but see the correlation to our present situation. In the midst of this global virus, we can spend the week in intentional worship and reflection for what God has done for us, and what He wants to accomplish in the midst of this crisis. And it isn't hard to see that we are being forced into "absolute separation" during this time -- it's a perfect time to reflect on how things need to change in our world and how we can advance the Kingdom.
For today's Christian, this time is a Call to Purity, to an "Unleavened" life. Jesus knew no sin, nor was any deceit found in Him. He was unblemished and spotless. He was made sin for us so that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him. For us, it is a time to call to mind what God has done in each of our lives. We should each have a personal testimony of God's salvation and our relationship to Him. As we reflect on how He has delivered us from sin, we can ask His help in removing any leaven from our life that is separating us from Him. Ask Him to show us how He wants us to change the way we've been living [when we come out of this isolation]. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a time of renewal and revival in our daily lives, and I think we can all recognize just how much our lives have changed from pre-virus to now -- and how they needed to change. It is taking a global event to get us to take our eyes off the world and turn to our Father in Heaven.
And I will tell you that, for me, it is becoming a time for opportunities to see God's Kingdom come into its full influence on the earth. He has delivered me from wrong religious thinking and into a new mindset of my purpose as an ambassador of my King and His Kingdom. It is not a denial of Jesus's work on the Cross, but a greater realization of His whole purpose -- reconnecting us back to our original relationship with God! And now the pace of life has screeched to a halt so others have no excuse not to hear the Good News of the Kingdom! Let me be the one to introduce them to it!
The third feast of this Holy Festival is the Feast of Firstfruits. This feast occurs during the week of Unleavened Bread on the Sabbath after Passover. In the Old Covenant, it acknowledged the Lord as the giver of the harvest, and commemorated Adam's son, Abel, bringing the first of his flock as an offering to the Lord. This Feast speaks volumes of Christ as the first of God's Harvest of souls and is a shadow of what Christ has done and the promises He has yet to do.
The Feast of Firstfruits points to Christ and His redemptive work. First of all, Jesus's resurrection occurred on the very day of the celebration of the Feast of Firstfruits. And it should not be lost on us Christians that this year, in 2020, this Feast day coincides with the Western Church's celebration of Easter. [NOTE: for more on what the Lord has shown me about Easter, read this post.] But for the sake of this article, it is important to know that Jesus is the offering presented to the Heavenly Father as the first fruit of the harvest. But just as important, He is the guarantee that more resurrections will follow. In His first fruits offering, we see the blessing and the setting apart [or sanctifying] of the entire harvest to the Father, and a preview of what the resurrection will be like for every Believer. Because He overcame death and lives today, every born-again follower of Christ is connected to Him and His power.
Furthermore, that connection is real! God sent His Son to establish a Kingdom [and a family of sons] to rule His Kingdom for Him! Jesus didn't die and return to Heaven so that we would wait to join Him there. He came to restore to us our leadership authority that God gave us in Genesis 1 [dominion over the earth]. There is a fullness and expectancy of the Kingdom of God coming to earth that accompanies the celebration of the Festival of Passover. It is Biblical and it is holy. It is a remembrance of things God has already accomplished for us and a hope of what we can accomplish for the Kingdom.
Ultimately, this season of Passover is a celebration and a remembrance; an acknowledgment of God's desire to restore us to our original design and the earth to His original purpose. Yes, Jesus came as a sacrificial lamb, but He is our King, who came to establish His Father's rulership and authority over the earth He created. In the Passover celebration God shows us His plan for the redemption of mankind. But we can't stop there. We weren't redeemed to continue to let the kingdom of Satan influence the earth. Fifty days after the feasts of Passover, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to help us walk out our authority as ambassadors of the Kingdom. Jesus's assignment is now our assignment!
So this Passover season, be thankful for your victory in Yeshua -- for the cancellation of your sins, and for your hope of resurrection. Then seek the Kingdom and a renewal of your mind as to your position as an Ambassador for the King of the Universe! Reconnect to that original relationship and authority and power you were made for. Yes, we have a rich heritage in the Feasts of the Lord, but our portion of the Lord goes back further than the Exodus story. It goes all the way back to Genesis 1 when God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over all the earth. Will we take advantage of this holy season to emerge from the Coronavirus epidemic with a new Kingdom mindset of how we want our families, our communities, our nation, and the world to look? Or will go back to "business as usual" and return to our old ways. I pray that each of you will renew your mind and heart to receive God's desire for your life and His will for the earth. And in the spirit of praise and worship of my King and His Kingdom, I say "Pesach Same'ach (Happy Passover)!
Exodus 12:13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.