How often have we heard the phrase "Christ's broken body"? Many have heard it throughout their lives and have used it countless times. It rolls off the tongue easily and with hardly a second thought. But is it accurate? ...
David Grabbe, reminding us that many biblical themes are multifaceted (such as the four distinct roles of Christ as depicted by the four Gospels), shows that blood—particularly Christ's blood—has several distinct aspects. First, blood symbolizes life, and can symbolize a record of life. Consequently, God forbids us to eat the blood of animals, which is the life. Symbolically, the blood of Abel called out after Cain murdered him. Second, God seals covenants with blood. Significantly, there were no sin offerings in the sealing of the Old Covenant. The instructions for sin offerings came after the covenant was made. Third, the only blood God permits humans to consume is the blood of Christ, indicating that an internal change must take place displacing carnality with spirituality. Finally, Christ's blood does exceedingly more than remit sin—it gives eternal life and a familial relationship with our Heavenly Father. The wine at Passover represents Christ's blood of the covenant, by which we will be made complete.
Despite the Council of Laodicea's condemnation of the Sabbath, a group of believers termed Paulicians kept God's laws and resisted the heresy from Rome.
Was Jesus Christ's body actually broken? If so, it would have symbolized disqualification and a broken covenant. Only the bread of Passover was broken.
David Grabbe, marveling that John, in the Book of Revelation, refers to Christ as the Lamb of God more than any other designation, examines the characteristics of the lamb. The significance of the Lamb goes back to the Passover instructions where God lays claim to all the firstborn. All firstborn of unclean animals, as well as human beings, must be redeemed by a lamb. God gave this instruction before He gave the holiness code and the instructions about the Sabbath. The redemption of the firstborn was no small matter to God. God required the firstborn of Egypt as a redemption for Israel's release. The original Passover was the redemption of Israel as God's firstborn. At this time, the price for the firstborn of Israel was a sacrificial lamb, not to atone for her sins, but to redeem her from slavery. God claims the firstborn males as His own. Jesus Christ's blood covers our sins and redeems us from the death penalty. Christ must redeem us from this body of flesh to completely reflect the nature of our Creator. We are in the process of being redeemed, but redemption will not fully occur until our resurrection. It is when we are completely redeemed that we will bear the image of the heavenly. The Lamb, described in Revelation 5:6-13 as having seven horns and seven eyes, is symbolic of our Redeemer, opening the title deed of His property—those whom He has called, saved, justified, and sanctified. All things are within His legal claim (including Israel and the Israel of God) as He exercises His fearful mighty power.
Richard Ritenbaugh relates a bedtime story about a noble princess who did not know her identity because she had been adopted by a rustic family for her protection while insurrection had threatened her real family. When the rebellion had been quelled, the farmer who had adopted her revealed her identity. Similarly, God's called-out ones have their identities concealed as sons and daughters of the True God. God strictly commands us to eat unleavened bread for seven days, observing Holy Days on the first and the seventh days, as prescribed by Leviticus 23:4-8. The lamb slain on the twilight of Nisan 14 symbolizes the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, with His blood covering our sins, allowing us to be accepted by God as holy and without sin. We are prepared to leave the world of sin and follow Him as He leads. For seven days, no leavened bread shall be in our premises, but we shall exclusively eat unleavened bread from the beginning of the 15th day to the end of the 21st day. A tiny bit of yeast will leaven the entire lump of dough, as a tiny bit of sin will lead to greater ,sin. At Passover, Christ's sacrifice, applied to our sins (an event which occurred in the past) has made us unleavened in the present. If we subsequently realize that we are continuing to harbor sin, we are to purge it out immediately. If we purge out the sin, we will be a new lump. Jesus Christ's actions came first. God does most of the heavy lifting. Once we accept Christ's sacrifice, we are empowered to enter Our Heavenly Father's throne room with boldness because Christ's blood covers us. God has imputed righteousness and holiness to us as His Children. Our state before God is unleavened provided we maintain this relationship. Though we are truly unleavened in God's eyes, we must still purge out sin, putting to death our carnality. We reject being slaves to sin, but accept being slaves of righteousness, servants of the Great God. As long as we maintain our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, we remain under grace, walking the
Martin Collins, maintaining that there never has been , and never will be, another death like Jesus Christ's, reminds us that Our Omniscient God, who cannot sin, knew that we would sin and, therefore, pre-ordained a sacrifice that would satisfy all legal requirements, but would also motivate us to repent of sin and pursue righteousness, building character, living by faith, and exercising moral responsibility. The result? We grow into sharing the exact character of our Savior. The sacrifice of Jesus constitutes the death of an innocent, sinless, worthy victim for the entire human race. When Adam and Eve sinned, their overwhelming guilt and shame forced them to hide, dreading the consequences of their sin. God dealt with the transgression directly, covering their nakedness with the skins of animals—the first-time death literally appeared in Eden. These clothes of animal skins reminded them of the reality of death and symbolized how their redemption would ultimately come, namely through the sacrifice of an innocent victim at Golgotha, satisfying the wrath of God toward sin through propitiation and reconciliation, repairing the broken relationship between all of mankind and the Creator. While Passover is personal in nature, the sacrifice symbolized by the Day of Atonement is universal, pointing to God's reconciliation of the entire world, as Satan is punished by separation. Redemption refers to buying back something that was lost. The necessity for Christ's death stems from God's holiness and absolute intolerance of sin and His obligation to judge righteously. A substitutionary sacrifice is required to propitiate for God's wrath against the sins of mankind. His death brought to a climax a plethora of Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. Christ took on our poverty and lowliness so that we might become His co-heirs as God's children. Like Paul and Peter, we have been called for a pre-ordained purpose, and are obligated to follow His example, looking forward to His coming both as a Savior and a Judge.
Ted Bowling focuses on the foot-washing aspect of the Passover service, which is an annual renewal and re-dedication of our baptismal cleansing. Foot-washing was a common practice in antiquity, where the lowest servant was assigned to wash the soiled feet of a weary traveler. A disciple was similarly expected to be willing to perform the same tasks for his rabbi as a servant was for his master—except for untying his sandals, which was considered to be the very lowest of degradations. Jesus Christ, reversing the cultural expectation, took the role of a Gentile slave, and to the shock of his disciples stooped below what a disciple could be expected to do and washed their feet. He modeled the practice of foot-washing to dramatize the need to be submissive to one another, to serve one another—including those who betray—and to be one's brother's keeper, safeguarding our relationships with our brethren.
The Day of Atonement is not about Satan, but about the complete cleansing from sins through Christ. The Passover is not a sin offering, but a peace offering.
God equates belittling His signs with rejecting Him. The signs of the weekly and annual Sabbaths are emphasized by God, but commonly cast aside by men.
David Grabbe, reminding us that the trek through the Red Sea occurred on the seventh day of Unleavened Bread, points out that other historical events also occurred on that day, including the toppling of the walls of Jericho and the healing of the lame man near the Pool of Bethsaida, after his having endured his infirmity 38 years. The ancient Israelites moved in the desert but had made no progress in getting Egypt out of their hearts. When God restored Israel through Joshua, He gave them credit for the time that had walked, indicating that in all cases, He was doing virtually all the heavy lifting, but was demanding that the Israelites exercise faith, doing something concrete to indicate their willingness to participate in the covenant. The walls of Jericho were, in effect, already history when Joshua's men began their march around the city. When we make our covenant with God, we must move forward exercising faith, doing our part in the overcoming/ sanctification process, realizing God is in charge of the entire process.
The words in Ezekiel's Millennial vision seem to say that the Passover should be observed for seven days. However, this contradicts other clear scriptures.
Jesus and His disciples are shown observing the Passover in a home at the beginning of Abib/Nisan 14. However, a few verses seem to indicate the next day.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke each seem to put Passover on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but a closer look reveals the consistency of Scripture.
The timing of Christ's crucifixion does not coincide with the Passover, but instead lines up with the covenant God made with Abraham, marking a major fulfillment.
The gospels show Jesus observing the Passover at the beginning of the 14th. Should we use the time when He observed it or the time He died as our guide?
Jesus was crucified late on Abib 14, yet the Passover lambs were to be killed at the beginning of the 14th. The time of Christ's death is highly significant.
Out of the entire world, we have been chosen now to develop friendship, not with the world, but with those placed in the love and friendship of the Body of Christ.
We are to seriously consider this season, examining ourselves carefully and soberly, measuring ourselves against the sinless life of Jesus Christ.
Among God's many names and titles is one that proclaims His supremacy over all others: "Most High God" or "God Most High." This name is first used when Melchizedek meets Abram after his victory over the kings who had taken Lot and his family captive. David Grabbe traces the usage of this divine name through the Bible, illustrating how it should give us confidence in God's governance over our lives.
John Ritenbaugh, cuing in on Ecclesiastes 3:1, reiterates that God is in control of time all the time; He is intricately involved. We must learn that events are not occurring randomly; everything develops from inexorable law, and God appoints the timing for each thing to be done. God has made everything beautiful for His time, not necessarily for us. The word "selfsame" refers to a very specific commemorative calendar date. When a historical event is applied to a calendar date, such as the wave-sheaf offering or Pentecost, we realize that we are to recognize the significance (the giving of the Law and the Holy Spirit). Such an event occurred with the blessing of Abraham by Melchizedek. The Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread have been precisely marked by this selfsame day, a signal that God is faithfully in control of time over multiple centuries.
Of all of God's appointed times, the Passover is one that we should not rush into without thought and preparation, lest we miss the awesome depth of its meaning.
If we are merely seeking a crown of glory, hoping to skirt by Christ's suffering, we must ask ourselves whether we really accept the Passover cup.
David Grabbe, focusing on the behavior censured by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 11, admonishes that we must properly discern the Lord's Body, not taking the Passover in an unworthy manner. The Body, in this context, refers not only to the literal body of Christ, which was tortured and beaten for sins we have committed, but also to the body of believers of which we are a part, consisting of our Heavenly Father, our Elder Brother, and our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. The bread and wine symbolically binds us together in one fellowship; what we partake of is what we become: the Body of Christ. We are to remember that Jesus Christ saw value in us, in our brethren, and even in the people that we do not yet like, to pay the price for all of our sins.
Many of us have been members of the church of God for decades, and because of our long association with God's festivals, we forget that new members have little or no idea how to keep them and can be intimidated about what God requires of them during these appointed times. Richard Ritenbaugh points out the foundational principles new members need to keep in mind in observing the Feasts of God throughout the year.
The Catholic Church did not forbid keeping the Passover until AD 325. The controversy over Passover or Easter boils down to following Scripture or Roman tradition.
Martin Collins insists that if we do not keep God's holy days, we will deprive ourselves of the knowledge of God's plan or purpose. Ancient Israel was termed the Church in the Wilderness, a type of the church of God. Leviticus 23 enumerates the feasts of the Lord, beginning with the weekly Sabbath, the covenant sign between God and His people. Keeping any other day than the Sabbath is an affront to God. God gives details as to how to keep each of these convocations. The seven annual holy days are not considered Jewish or Old Testament, but God's holy days, including the Passover, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles. Anti-Semitism has been, and continues to be, the catalyst for hatred of these annual holy days of God. Emperor Constantine condemned Judaizers as anathema to Roman Catholicism. The real founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, kept the all annual convocations, never abolishing them or their significance, anticipating their continuance in God's Kingdom. John's gospel indicates that Christ continued to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, as well as the Passover, faithfully keeping the festivals outlined in Leviticus 23 and Exodus 12, providing an example for us. Jesus commanded His disciples also to keep these festivals and to teach others to do so as well. The apostle Paul also faithfully taught and admonished the Gentiles to keep these days. The seven annual feasts are still in force today, and will be kept in the Millennium, when everyone will be following in Christ's footsteps.
We assess costs and values all the time in our daily lives: Is it better to buy used or new? Should we prefer traditional or contemporary? Paper or plastic? John Ritenbaugh employs the same process to God's love for us in giving His Son as the sacrifice for sin. What costs have been paid for our redemption?
It is our responsibility to glorify God. As obedient children, we bring Him honor; as disobedient children, we bring shame on Him and blaspheme His name.
We keep Unleavened Bread because of what God did to bring us out of sin (typified by Egypt). While God compels us to make choices, He is with us all the way.
Richard Ritenbaugh observes that over two billion people faithfully observe an annual "holy week," consisting of Palm Sunday, Good Friday (the supposed time of the crucifixion), and Easter Sunday. Human tradition and Bible truth do not square. The overwhelming historical chronological evidence clashes with the traditions of billions of people. The sovereign God has been in control of history from the beginning of mankind. God makes things happen when He wants them to happen and in the way they happen. Whether the event happened in 30 AD or 31 AD, the crucifixion occurred on a Wednesday rather than a Friday. Extensive scholarship into the lunar eclipses occurring near the death of Herod, the ascendancy of his son Archaleus, and the reign of Tiberias Caesar corroborates this conclusion. Scripture gives us internal evidence with the accusation that Jesus could tear down a temple constructed by Herod 46 years earlier. Other internal evidence comes from the careful marking of the Holy Days occurring during Christ's three and one half year ministry (prophesied by Daniel's seventy weeks prophecy) in both the synoptic gospels and John's Gospel. The crucifixion took place in the middle of a literal week, with Christ remaining in the grave a full three days and three nights, and resurrected at the end of a Sabbath at sunset. Nowhere in any of the gospels does it say Christ rose on Sunday morning, but that He had already risen. The triumphal entry (labeled by the world as Palm Sunday) actually occurred on Thursday, Nisan 8. Jesus was selected as Passover Lamb on Nisan 10 (John 12:28).
I Corinthians gives ready instruction in the order and decorum that is fitting for church organization, as well as the Passover and weekly service.
In Deuteronomy 16:1, the word 'Passover' is out of context. It applies to the whole season, including the Night to be Much Observed and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
The Bible frequently uses the hyssop plant as a symbol of cleansing and purification. In relation to Christ's sacrifice, this herb has a connection to the Passover.
Richard Ritenbaugh urges us to look upon the Passover as a beacon of hope in an otherwise hopeless milieu. The book of Job, initially a seeming extended treatise of hopelessness, turns into Job"s speculation about a possible resurrection, realizing from his prior experience that God enjoys the company of men and wants men to be like Him. Hope can be defined as "confident, enduring expectation," and the heart of hope is faith in God. The strength of our hope depends upon how deeply we know God. Abraham, after 50 years of experience trusting God, knew He would provide despite the visible circumstances. Jesus provided hope to His disciples at His last Passover, exuding confidence and hope, despite His knowledge of what was immediately ahead. In Hebrews, we are counseled to emulate Jesus, who endured due to the joy before Him. We can have rock-solid hope that God will provide despite the intensity of our trials.
Here are the basic points of the Christian Passover, showing from Scripture what God commands and why.
Christians prepare for Passover by engaging in a thorough, spiritual self-examination. An analysis of II Corinthians 13:5 shows us what we need to look for.
When God calls us and redeems us through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, we suddenly come under obligation—a debt we cannot pay. John Ritenbaugh pursues what this means to us as we continue on our Christian walk toward God's Kingdom.
Passover takes place at twilight as the 14th of Abib begins. Unleavened Bread begins 24 hours later on the 15th of Abib. The Passover is a preparation day.
To some, Barabbas is nothing more than an interesting detail in Christ's trial. However, his presence during that event contains significant implications for us.
The peace (or thank) offering was the most commonly given in ancient Israel. It pictures God, the priest, and the offerer in satisfying fellowship.
It is an unusual fact that the subjects of God's spring holy days and firstborns appear in the same contexts. Here is what this means to us.
We in the church have often considered footwashing merely as a ritual to remind us of the need to serve one another. Bill Keesee, however, explains how footwashing teaches another godly attribute: forgiveness.
John 6 has always been a difficult chapter to explain. However, within his series on the physical/spiritual parallels in the Bible on eating, John Ritenbaugh shows how clear Jesus' teaching is and what it means to us.
John Ritenbaugh links inextricably the time frame for the covenant with Abraham (the Selfsame Day), the events of the Passover, the Exodus, the Night to be Much Observed, and the events of Christ's Passover meal with his disciples leading to his crucifixion. Clear connections relating to the bread and wine symbols, the ratification of the covenant, and the sacrifices are convincingly drawn. The mistaken inference made by some about a wavesheaf offering in Joshua 5 ignores the prohibition against a foreigner's grain (Leviticus 22:25), a blemished offering (Leviticus 23:12) and against animal sacrifices until peace could be established (Deuteronomy 12:11). The wavesheaf offering (Leviticus 23:15) is reckoned from the weekly sabbath within the Days of Unleavened Bread and not immediately before when an annual sabbath follows immediately.
The focus of our self-examination should not be self-centered or comparing ourselves with others, but on the awesome significance of His sacrifice.
Since the church no longer keeps the Passover with the slaughter of a lamb, we miss important and poignant details that could enhance our observance.
Purity before God is far more than just being clean. John Ritenbaugh explains that to Jesus being pure in heart touches on the very holiness of God!
When we partake of the cup of wine at Passover, we usually think of Christ's blood shed for sins. However, the cup and its contents have another meaning for us.
John Ritenbaugh affirms that the New Covenant seals the agreement with the body and blood of Christ, which is consumed inwardly. Partaking of this cup indicates that we are in unity with those in the body—fellow heirs of the world, as Abraham's seed, participating in the death and resurrection of our Savior. We must thoroughly examine ourselves, exercising and strengthening our faith, actively giving love back to God, to avoid taking this solemn event in a careless, irreverent, or nonchalant manner, jeopardizing our relationship with God, our relationship with our brethren, and our Christian liberty.
Crucifixion is man's most cruel form of punishment. Why did Jesus need to die this way? What does it teach us? And was Jesus stabbed before or after He died?
Though not a holy day, per se, Passover may be the most important festival ordained by God. Not only does it memorialize Christ's death, it also symbolizes our redemption and forgiveness, allowing us to have eternal life!
Many people believe that our sins are the focus of Passover—but they are wrong! John Ritenbaugh shows that Christ, the Passover Lamb, should be our focus. How well do you know Him?
Leviticus 23 not only reveals God's holy days—it also provides, in symbol form, a detailed schematic of God's plan!
Galatians 4:9-10 is a favorite crutch of those who claim Christians no longer need to observe God's holy days. However, Paul's meaning is quite different.
John Ritenbaugh answers the question "Is there a scripture that states such and such no longer needs to be done?" The Bible is an unfolding revelation, moving from the physical to the spiritual ramifications—revealing an ever-sharper focus on God's purpose. The Law (including the judgments, ordinances, and statutes), far from being done away, has the purpose of showing us our faults and outlining the way of mercy and love. The animal sacrifices and ceremonies were intended to foreshadow a more permanent spiritual reality—subsumed, but not done away. The Old Testament was written with the New Testament Church in mind, written in the context of an earlier culture. We need to see behind the law a presence of a Holy God with whom we seek to share a relationship.
A scriptural explanation of the time of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, showing that He died on a Wednesday and rose from the dead on the Sabbath.
Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament types, slain as the Passover Lamb, resurrected with the cutting of the wavesheaf, and ascended to His Father at the time of the waving of the sheaf.
Footwashing is the initial part of the Passover ceremony. Why did Christ institute it? What is its purpose?
The Night Much to be Observed is a memorial of the covenant with Abraham, and God's watchfulness in delivering ancient Israel as well as spiritual Israel.
Is the Passover the 14th or the 15th? Does it matter when we keep it as long as we keep it? Mike Ford shows how the logistics of Israel leaving Egypt prove that Passover should be kept on the 14th.
Prior to the Days of Unleavened Bread, we are told to examine ourselves. How can we do that? Here are a few pointers on doing a thorough, honest once over.
John Ritenbaugh discusses how Christ's redemption of us obligates us to obey and serve Him. We show our gratitude for this priceless gift by doing good in acts of love and service to others.
Christian freedom has nothing to do with location or circumstance but how we think. By imbibing on God's Word, we will incrementally displace our carnality.
We need to be sobered at the awesomeness of the cost to set us free from sin—what the Creator endured. We have been purchased, and are obliged to our Purchaser.
In this sermon on the admonitions of I Corinthians 10, John Ritenbaugh warns that, like our forebears, we can lose our salvation if we live a life of divided loyalty even though we have mechanically and physically gone through the ordinances. Like the Old Testament examples, the Corinthians also developed a careless presumption (having its roots in pride), allowing themselves to be drawn to lust, fornicate, tempt God, and murmur. We need to soberly reflect on these examples, finding parallels in our own lives.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that the word "Passover" was edited into Deuteronomy 16:1 following the Babylonian Captivity, when both feasts were by tradition called the Passover. Hezekiah and Josiah instituted Temple Passovers as emergency procedures to prevent people from drifting into Baal-centered paganism. At the time of Christ, as corroborated by Josephus, both the biblical commandments and human traditions co-existed. The Temple did not have the capacity to slaughter lambs for the entire population at the prescribed time. Jesus teaches that keeping man's tradition in a relationship with God transgresses His commandments (Matthew 15:3, 8). Thus, Jesus and His disciples kept a ben ha arbayim (between the evenings), early 14th Passover.
The context of Deuteronomy 16:1-3 indicates the focus of these verses is on the Night to be Observed and the Days of Unleavened Bread rather than the Passover.
The temple Passover commanded by Hezekiah was a very unusual circumstance in which the king centralized worship to keep Baalism from defiling the Passover.
John Ritenbaugh suggests that people who opt for a fifteenth Passover do not do so from a pure motive for seeking the truth, but instead reflects an irresponsible grab for power. Unfortunately, major reinterpretations and alterations have significantly distorted the meaning of Passover and Unleavened Bread, blurring the distinction between the two events. Even major Protestant theologians realize the drastic changes which placed humanly devised practices on the same status as the commands of God. Beside rendering themselves blind to the true significance of Christ's sacrifice, proponents of the fifteenth Passover (old and new) unwittingly follow Jeroboam's precedent of leading his people into rank paganism.
John Ritenbaugh distinguishes worldly or carnal scholarship (based upon snobbish, oneupmanship esoteric elitism) from godly scholarship, characterized by an unassuming, childlike unconcern for status, seeking to impress God instead of other people. Using worldly scholarship to establish a late Passover doctrine on the basis of one isolated scripture (II Chronicles 35:10-11) both removes the incident from context and violates the simplicity of Christ, blurring the clear distinction between the original (domestic) Passover from the traditional (Temple) Passover. Unfortunately, reinterpretation and alterations have significantly distorted the meaning of Passover and Unleavened Bread.
Using subterfuge, some proponents of the 15th Passover muddle up otherwise clear, day and night issues by surreptitiously inserting modern English language usage.
The proponents of a 15th Passover discount clear scriptural details and instead speculate. One cannot build doctrines on implication, distortion, and traditions.
Nine steps had to be included with the Passover observance, all within the house until morning. It takes place between sun's setting and complete darkness.
The Passover is to be kept on the twilight of the 14th, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th. The Word of God supersedes tradition and heritage.
The annual reaffirmation of the covenant through the Passover is at the core of an on-going relationship with the Father and Son, beginning the perfecting process.
The biblical proof that God's people should keep the Passover (the Lord's Supper), explaining that it occurs annually on the evening of Nisan 14.