When Passover is Fulfilled in God’s Kingdom

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

"Easter" Or "Passover"?
We all know that the early church did not celebrate Easter with jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chickens. Their children never went on Easter egg hunts. Of course, the death and resurrection of Jesus stood above all the cultural trappings, but it was Passover not Easter, that the early Christians honored.

The word Easter actually comes from the Anglo Saxon Eastre, the goddess of spring. As Christianity spread, it became church policy not to undo pagan holidays, but instead inject Christian meaning into the celebrations. Although I enjoy eating chocolate bunnies, I recognize that the colored eggs, rabbits and chickens were originally symbols through which the locals paid homage to the "gods" that governed sexual fertility.

Although most Christians, myself included, still refer to the season of Christ's resurrection as "Easter," in my heart I look past secular traditions and into the reality of spiritual truth. Indeed, even when I am with one who celebrates Easter with eggs, etc., I overlook these cultural traditions and call everyone's attention to the great miracle: the resurrection of Christ.

Church Celebrated Passover
While we can forgive and cover unbiblical traditions in love, it remains important that we steadfastly pursue the truth of God's Word. Thus, we should recognize that the early church did not celebrate Easter as we do in modern times. They celebrated the Feast of Passover. This annual tradition was not only commemorative; it was also prophetic in nature. Additionally, we would expect that the Jewish disciples would celebrate Passover, but so also did the Gentile believers. We see this clearly in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He wrote, "...Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

These Gentile Corinthians were urged by Paul to celebrate the Hebrew Feast of Passover. True, they did not celebrate the Old Testament ritual as did the Jews with unleavened bread, etc. Rather, they approached the feast from its spiritual perspective, focusing on "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (v. 8). Indeed, the Christian Church kept the Passover, not in remembrance of Israel's deliverance from Egypt, but in remembrance of what Christ---their Passover---fulfilled in delivering mankind from the penalty of sin and judgment.

Listen again to the Lord's statement to His disciples. He said, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:15-16).

Jesus desired to eat the Passover, not looking back, but looking forward in prophetic anticipation of Passover being fulfilled on a whole new level in the Kingdom of God. Through Christ's sacrifice, a new Passover would be established far greater than that of Israel's deliverance from Pharaoh. This Passover would affect the entire world. While it would still be a type of Passover, it would be kept "in remembrance of [Jesus]" (v. 19).

Hebrew Passover Versus Christian Passover
The Old Testament Passover, for all its powerful intrinsic and literal value, was actually a shadow of what Christ would fulfill on behalf of the world. Therefore, let's look at this first Passover.

The Hebrew Passover occurred in ancient Egypt when the Israelites were slaves. We are familiar with the story: God had sent Moses to bring deliverance to His people. Each time Pharaoh refused, divine judgments fell upon Egypt; the last and most decisive judgment occurred the night before the Israelites left Egypt. The Lord commanded the Hebrews to kill a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and lintels of each house. That night, as the angel of death went forth and killed every first-born male in Egypt, he "passed over" every home whose exterior door was covered by the blood of the lamb. From this "passing over" comes the term "Passover."

Yet, the Israelites were required to do more than put lamb's blood upon their doorposts. They also had to roast the lamb they'd slain and then eat it entirely; any remains were to be burnt. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, and eaten in haste with their loins girded and a walking staff ready. They also had to remove all leaven from their dwellings and bake unleavened bread for their journey into the wilderness. The next morning the entire nation of Israel along with their sheep and cattle were victoriously delivered from their time of bondage. Every year from then on the Israelites were required to commemorate God's great deliverance. This commemoration was also known as the "Feast of Unleavened Bread." It lasted for eight days and was considered a mandatory feast for all of Israel.

When Christ came, one of His singular purposes was to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17). This mission to bring fulfillment included Israel's feasts; in a profound way, the Passover would become central. Remember also, the feasts were shadows of something greater than themselves. Paul said their "substance belongs to Christ" (Col. 2:17). It is absolutely remarkable that, of all days in the calendar year, Christ, the Lamb of God, died on Passover. As the high priest was offering a lamb for the sins of the Jews, on that day God was offering His Son for the sins of the world! It is Christ's blood that protects us today in the same way the blood on the doorposts symbolized God's protection for Israel in Egypt.

But let's take the Passover further into its great, end-time fulfillment. During this last Passover celebrated by Jesus, I believe He not only had the forgiveness of the world on His mind, but also the great, end-time fulfillment of Passover - an event which is yet to come. Thus, as He ate that last Passover with His disciples, He said, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22: 15-16).

Jesus said that the Passover will have yet another great fulfillment when He eats it with us "in the kingdom of God." After that last supper Jesus did not again celebrate Passover. His statement refers to something yet to come, something that will unfold at the end of the age. When Jesus speaks about the Passover being fulfilled in the kingdom, He is saying that there will be yet another fulfillment to the Feast of Passover, a time when those who are truly Christ's, who have "eaten" the Lamb's flesh and partaken of His blood covenant, are divinely protected during the time of the end. So regardless of whether you believe in a pre-, mid- or post-tribulation rapture, God has not destined us for wrath. The Kingdom Passover, fulfilled by the Lamb of God, positions us in the eternal protection of the Almighty.

In whatever manner Jesus' words shall be fulfilled, let us require of ourselves to partake of the whole Lamb and not merely nibble at the comforting verses. Let us diligently apply the Lamb's blood over the doorways to our hearts, as well as over our families and loved ones. And even as the world around us continues its rush toward sin and judgment, let us instead press into God's kingdom. For during these very days of shaking, we shall receive a "kingdom which cannot be shaken" (Heb. 12:28).

Beloved, let us live in holy expectation of that day when Christ shall return and we shall eat the Passover with Him in the Kingdom of God.

Those Who Make A Covenant With God

By Francis Frangipane
(En Español)

The Covenant-Keeping God
Throughout the history of God's dealings with man, He has revealed Himself as a covenant-making God. The Almighty made major covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David; He renewed His Abrahamic covenant in His call to Isaac and Jacob. Each covenant initiated a new wave of redemptive power into the world and forever impacted the human condition.

The word covenant means "to fetter" or chain together. It was the highest form of commitment that two individuals could share. Any of several rituals were employed to express the covenant partners' unity: A sword might be passed, signifying that the two would be united against the enemy as one. They might pass a sandal between themselves, which symbolized they would travel any distance to be at one another's side. Or, they might cut an animal in two and pass between its halves. As the two halves, though separated, were still one animal, so the two covenant partners would become as one individual.

When the Lord initiated His covenant with a man, He did so as an extension of His eternal purpose; the man was a component in a series of divine initiatives. Contained within the Lord's covenant was His divine intervention, His supernatural wisdom and strategies, His love and forgiveness, and His provisions.

Thus, if we look at the Lord's call to Noah, we see that it was not the ark but the covenant of God that preserved Noah and his family during worldwide judgment (Gen. 6:18). Noah was a component, a factor in a series of divine initiatives, which accomplished the Lord's predetermined plans. God established the covenant, designed the ark and brought the animals. The Lord even shut the door after Noah entered the ark (Gen. 7:16).

When the Lord established His covenant with Abraham, twice a flaming torch passed through the halves of the animals Abraham offered in sacrifice. The two passes signified that God would keep His part of the covenant and, remarkably, He would also be the strength in Abraham to fulfill his part of the covenant as well! Today, a restored Israel testifies to God's faithfulness in His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And it is God's covenant with Abraham, not merely the Israeli military, that preserves Israel in our times.

The agreement the Lord cut with His covenant partner was not only for His servant, but it extended to His servant's descendants as well. The promise God made could be passed on generationally.

Payment And Pattern
Similarly, we are saved and sustained through life by Christ's covenant with the Father. Our salvation has been secured not only because Jesus died for our sins, but because His death was part of a covenant He had with the Father. The fact that Jesus suffered on my behalf is staggering, but His crucifixion was a component of an even more powerful reality: His covenant with the Father.

The terms of Christ's covenant were such that, if He would live His life blamelessly and offer that holy life upon the cross for sins, everyone who believed in the Son of God would be granted forgiveness by God. The Father would look to Christ's sacrifice and see justice; sinners would look to Jesus and find mercy. We are saved by this New Covenant.

Yet, as maturing disciples, we find in Christ's covenantel mission not only our peace, but also a pattern Christ calls us to follow. He told His disciples, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21). Having laid down His life in covenant surrender, He now bids us to follow Him (Matt. 16:24). Of course, our cross does not replace His cross, nor do the local covenants we make with God supersede Christ's eternal covenant. The truth is, our cross extends the power of Christ's cross into our world and times. Indeed, our covenant with God finds its backing because of Christ's covenant with the Father.

Thus, the Lord invites us to follow Him; even as He covenanted with God for the sins of the world, so we covenant to God for our homes, cities and nations. The covenant positions us in the same attitude expressed by Christ, revealed again through us for our families, cities and nations.

The Harvest and Covenant Power
To many, the idea of making a special covenant with God is unfamiliar. Yet, besides the major covenants we mentioned earlier, the Bible tells of many other times when men made a localized covenant with God. (See 2 Kings 11:17; 2 Kings 23:3; 2 Chr. 29:10; Ezra 10:3; etc.) I believe that many have already felt the Holy Spirit speaking, urging them to deepen their commitment to Christ on behalf of their families, cities and nations.

Even so, covenants, and our obedience to them, must not be made casually. They must come from our hearts in response to the Lord's initiative. You will know the depth of your covenant by the vision, faith and depth of burden God has given you.

A new authority is coming to those who desire full conformity to Christ. For a great harvest is indeed prophesied for the end of this age (Isa. 60:1-3; Acts 2), and those leading the way will be individuals who understand Christ's covenant and, in surrender to Christ’s initiative, have themselves covenanted with God for those they love.

Lord Jesus, You are my inspiration and pattern. I desire to be like you in all things, even as Paul said, to be "conformed to [Your] death" (Phil. 3:10). Master, open my eyes to the realities granted me through Your covenant with the Father. And lead me into the power of covenant prayer for my loved ones, church and city. In Jesus' name.



Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Power of Covenant Prayer" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.