When Passover is Fulfilled in God's Kingdom

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

"Easter" Or "Passover"?
We all know that the early church did not celebrate Easter with jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chickens. The children of the first century church never went on Easter egg hunts. The early Christians celebrated the resurrection of Christ and the New Covenant that was fulfilled by the Lord on Passover.

The word Easter actually comes from the Anglo Saxon Eastre, a "goddess of spring." As Christianity spread, to avoid conflict with local traditions, the early church incorporated a number of pagan holidays into church culture. Obviously, colored eggs, rabbits and chickens were not biblical symbols of resurrection but were actually part of the pagan fertility rites of spring.

Although most Christians, myself included, still refer to the season of Christ's resurrection as "Easter," in my heart I look past the cultural roots of some of these issues and gently call everyone's attention to the great miracle that we've come to celebrate: the resurrection of Christ.

The Church Celebrated Passover
While we can forgive and cover non-Christian traditions in love, we should not let these traditions obscure the profound truth of God's Word. The early church had great reasons they celebrated the Feast of Passover. This annual tradition was not only commemorative -- it was also prophetic in nature. And while we would expect that the Jewish disciples would celebrate Passover, 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. Therefore let us celebrate the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

The Gentile Christians in Corinth were urged by Paul to celebrate the Hebrew Feast of Passover. But the gentiles did not engage in Old Testament rituals as did the Jews. Rather, they approached the feast from its spiritual perspective, focusing on "Christ and the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (v. 8).

Indeed, the Christian Church kept the Passover not only in remembrance of Israel's deliverance from Egypt but in remembrance of what Christ, their Passover, fulfilled in delivering man from sin.

The Old Testament Passover, for all its powerful intrinsic and literal value, was actually a shadow of what Christ would fulfill on behalf of His followers. Remember, the feasts were shadows of something greater than themselves. Paul said their "substance belongs to Christ" (Col. 2:17). Thus it is absolutely remarkable that, of all days in the calendar year, Christ, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed during Passover. At roughly the same time the high priest was offering a lamb for the sins of the Jews, God was offering His Son for the sins of the world! On the cross was the Lamb of God who came to “take away the sin 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.

The Kingdom Fulfillment
Yet there was more to the New Covenant reality which the Lord related 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).

This will be 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 sequence of end-time judgments. 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 the time is coming when we shall celebrate the Passover with Christ in the kingdom of God.

4 comments:

  1. Paul is writing using "keep the feast" as a metaphor as how to live their daily lives; this is agreed by all the mainstream commentators I checked. He is NOT asking the Christians to keep the Jewish Passover.

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    1. Yes... unfortunately 'mainstream commentators' are (sometimes unwittingly) proponents of replacement theology.

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  2. When 1 Cor. was written there was only one acceptable way to celebrate Passover and that was to go to Jerusalem, sacrifice a lamb and cook and eat it. This was impossible for gentile Christians, therefore Paul was not commanding this. Paul in many scriptures says we are not to keep the Law of Moses so he would not be commanding it here.

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  3. However you read, Jesus left us the Gift, The Holy Spirit to guide us (you and me) into "all" Truth. Let's ask Holy Spirit how He would have us celebrate King Jesus. Let us turn our focus on what He did, not how others celebrate. Jesus is alive forevermore.

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