Introduction to Bible study:
This Bible study is being produced for educational purposes of those wanting to learn more about the ultimate plan of Salvation. God, from the beginning, had intended to fulfill His master plan of reproducing Himself through mankind! (Gen.1:26&27) Adam and Eve, and all their descendants, God fully intended to bring to the point of receiving eternal life! Adam was offered eternal life (Symbolized by the tree of life) but he stood by and allowed his wife to be deceived into eating the forbidden fruit, and then he ate it also, thereby allowing Satan to gain control, and he disqualified himself. (Gen.3:6) God always moves forward with His plan, but since man had sinned, God would now use an alternate plan, which, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior as the 2nd Adam, (Rom.5:14 & 1Cor.15:45) would still bring man into His eternal Family. Rev 13:8, the last part, tells us this;---“the Lamb (Of God) slain from the foundation of the world.” A foundation is what something is built upon. So the foundation of this world, now in captivity to Satan, began when Adam and Eve sinned, not when they were first created. (The Bible does not reveal the length of time they were in the garden before this incident took place, though HWA felt it was a relatively short period of time-perhaps just days.)
ALL SCRIPTURAL CONTENT IN THIS STUDY WILL BE TAKEN FROM THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION—Thomas Nelson Publishers, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
The Passover lamb that was sacrificed in ancient Egypt by the Israelites was a type of the New Testament Passover Lamb of God, which is Jesus Christ. (John 1:29) The purpose of this study is to help us become more familiar with the Scriptures that deal with this first step in God’s master plan to redeem all mankind. Given below, in the editor’s prelude, are some Scriptural details to help the reader understand some of the background leading up to the first recorded Passover. Please look up and verify in your own Bible all the Scriptures given herein, which will help you to become more familiar with the Bible, as well as to help you see what is given here is in line with the Word of God. In the prayer of Jesus Christ, He said: "Sanctify them through Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17 –KJV & NKJ, combined.)
Editor’s Prelude to Passover Bible study:
When God called to Moses, out of the burning bush (Exo.3:4) and told him to go to Egypt, He had determined to bring Israel out of their captivity to Egypt (V.10) and into a land flowing with milk and honey. (V.8 &17) This land was considered to be “the promised land”, because of the promises that God had previously made to Abraham because of his obedience. (Gen.26:3-5) Abraham had obeyed God in everything, as is stated in Genesis 26, where God spoke to Isaac and said—"because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."—therefore, through Abraham’s descendants, now known as “Israel” and living in captivity as slaves to Egypt, God was going to reveal Himself to them and Egypt as the supreme power, by a series of miracles or “plagues” that would cause Egypt to finally let them go! God would bring them into the land promised to Abraham’s children, through Isaac. God had chosen Moses to be their human leader and Aaron as Moses’ spokesman, and would reveal to the Pharaoh and his empire of Egypt—with all of its power, glorying in its pagan rituals and many false gods—that Israel was the Almighty God’s own special people, and that the God of Israel was the all-powerful God and Creator of all that exists! Moses was instrumental to God’s purpose, in writing the first five books of the Bible—which are known in one sense as the “books of the Law”—and in these books are many details of what God’s overall plan for mankind is all about. In the New Testament, we find written by the Apostle Paul, that some of these things were being played out as a type, or a shadow of future events. Col 2:16-17 “So let no one judge you (True Church) in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, (Notice this is plural—meaning more than the one weekly Sabbath.) 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
There are seven annual Festivals of God and Scriptures reveal that these are called “statutes”. Contained within them are also seven annual Sabbaths, the Passover as a one day Festival and a SOLEMN OCCASION, but not an annual Sabbath—see the article PARALLELS-Calendar for further information and a calendar for the Holy Days yearly and monthly dates. The knowledge of The Ten Commandments along with these Festivals, as well as the weekly Sabbath, was given to Moses, which he in turn was to reinstate to the newly forming nation of Israel. Israel had lost the knowledge of God and His Sabbath and these festivals during their many years of captivity to Egypt. God had a great master plan for mankind, mentioned in the introduction, which was all planned out before Adam and Eve were ever created. When Eve was deceived by the serpent, Satan the devil, mankind then went in the wrong direction that eventually led to their destruction by a flood. (Gen.6-8) However, God had already determined that He would work out His master plan, and now it would continue through a choice few that He predestined to be called out (Eph.1:4-5) and would work through, regardless of the choices of mankind in general. The book of Isaiah gives us some information that helps to see this. Isa 46:9-10 “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,'
After the flood and the earth again began to be repopulated through Noah’s three sons, God through the course of time, called out a man named Abram, who was from the linage of Shem. God called Abram and later changed his name to Abraham. Abraham had been given knowledge of these “statutes” or festivals it seems (known as Holy Days in the Church of God today) as we see in Genesis 26:5 quoted above (See also the first question below) and he passed this on to Isaac and then Isaac to Jacob, and it was Jacob whom God had changed his name to Israel. Jacob had twelve sons, each becoming a family that were later considered the family or nation of Israel. It would be through this nation of Israel, now in captivity and descended from Abraham, that God would begin to reveal His master plan of deliverance, which would later apply to all mankind through Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God! This pass over lamb in Egypt was a type of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. He came as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind and was crucified on a Wednesday, April 25 in 31 AD, according to the Julian calendar that was in use at the time by the Roman Empire. These festivals would also reveal to God’s servants down through time this great master plan of God, to redeem mankind from its captivity to Satan the devil, through the shed blood of Christ. (2 Tim 2:26-----“and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”)
This is the first step in the SPIRITUAL fulfillment of that master plan; Christ first coming to die for all mankind, shedding His precious blood for the forgiveness of their sins, thereby redeeming them from the death penalty. John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
To set the stage for the ultimate fulfillment of His plan, God brought Israel out of Egyptian captivity, using these events and the first two festivals to begin revealing the steps of His Spiritual plan of salvation. The lamb that was slain at twilight on the 14th of the first month pointed to and typified Christ, our Passover! That is where we begin this Bible study; the first step of the master plan of God is the PASSOVER!
How can we know that the “statutes” Abraham kept has any application to the Passover, or other festivals?
The answer to this question can be obtained by using a concordance or Vines dictionary to get the biblical definition to the word “statute” in verse 5 of Gen. 26, and then check the Scriptures given for verification. One from Vines is given below.
STATUTE, ORDINANCE : chuqqah ^2708^,"statute; regulation; prescription; term." This noun occurs about 104 times. The most significant usage of chuqqah is God's "law." It is more specific in meaning than choq. Whereas choq is a general word for "law," chuqqah denotes the "law" of a particular festival or ritual. There is the "law" of the Passover <Exod. 12:14>, Unleavened Bread <Exod. 12:17>, Feast of Tabernacles <Lev. 23:41>, the Day of Atonement <Lev. 16:29ff.>,----- (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words—Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
There are other Scriptures that verify that all of the Holy Days or festivals were to be considered “everlasting ordinances” or “statutes”, to be kept FOREVER and therefore are still binding on Christians today. We will see, as we go through this study, that Jesus Christ Himself kept these festivals. It is also helpful to note that the definition given above also shows that the words Statute and ordinance in the English translation are derived from the same Hebrew word “chuqqah”. Checking this in Strong’s Exhaustive concordance will also confirm this to be true.
Where did the term “Passover” come from?
As was mentioned in the prelude to this study, there were 10 plagues that God brought on Egypt before the Pharaoh finally released the Israelites from captivity. It was after the 10th plague, the death of all the Egyptian firstborn, that Israel was released. Moses was given these instructions from God sometime between the 9th and 10th plagues.
Exod 12:23 "For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.” The term ‘Passover” came from this incident in Egypt where Israel was spared from the death angel or destroyer, and were actually and literally PASSED OVER because they had obeyed God, killed a lamb and spread blood over the doorposts of their houses!
Where else do we see the use of “Passover”?
Exod 12:27 --- “It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.”
God had given Moses some very special instructions to give to His people Israel so that they could be PASSED OVER.
What were some of these special instructions?
Exod 12:3 "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.”
Were there more instructions given?
V.5 'Your lamb shall be without blemish, (Typifying Christ) a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
6 'Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
7 'And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.
8 'Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”
What else were they supposed to do on that night?
Exod 12:22 "And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.”
Why was this so important?
Exod 12:13 'Now 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 the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
If the Israelites had not obeyed God and a firstborn or anyone else (V.22) had gone outside of the house where the blood was on the doorpost, they would have been unprotected and died! Or if they had failed to put the blood on the doorposts as they were told, their firstborn would have been unprotected, and died. They would have no longer been under the protective blood of the lamb, which was to be on the doorposts. God said He would pass over the door (Exo.12:23) of the house and not allow the destroyer to enter the house where the lamb’s blood was over the door. It was a sign to God that the Israelites were willingly following His instructions and placing themselves under the blood of the lamb for protection from death. Christians today who are willingly repentant and accept the truths of God and the shed blood of Jesus Christ, obeying all His Commandments, will also be protected from the death penalty, and have everlasting life if remaining faithful! It is very important that we do exactly as God has said!
(See the study on Spoiling the Egyptians for the proper timeline of those events)
This should also help all of us, as Christians today, see the need to be as obedient as possible to God in these festival commands! God does not take lightly the disobedience, rebellion, or being negligent, liberal or “lukewarm”. God looks on the heart! 1 Sam 16:7 --- “for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
Where does it say that we are to obey these Old Testament festival commands in the New Testament?
John 15:10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.” (Christ said; Matt 19:17, last part—But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." Christ and the Father are of the same mind and purposes. The commands of the festivals came through the God of the OT who became Christ. John 1:1-2, 14)
Lev 23:1-4 “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. 3 'Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. 4 “These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.” Christ Himself said to Peter and John: "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat." (Luke 22:8)
The Apostle Paul also was inspired to write to the Corinthians about keeping the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread.
1 Cor 5:7-8 “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
The passages above as well as many others in the Bible, make it very clear that these seven annual festivals, as well as the weekly Sabbath day, are not set or determined by men, but by the Word God who became Christ! They are His Days and He alone is the one with the authority to “appoint” the times for them to be observed. Christ kept these days. We have already seen that they were established as “everlasting”, or to be kept forever! We have just read evidence that the Old Testament Passover was kept by Jesus Christ Himself and taught to His disciples, and the term “Passed over” is also used in the New Testament, as we will see.
How do we know when to observe these days, or their “appointed” times today?
Exod 12:1-2 “Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Lev.23 records the time for all of the Holy Days, which is based on the Hebrew calendar.
The Calendar that the True Church of God uses today is based on the Hebrew Calendar that God revealed to Moses and was later handed down to the Jews. (A link for an article with calendar is in the prelude) God held the Jews responsible to have maintained it down to our time. God inspired Herbert W. Armstrong—the one HE used to “restore” these lost truths to the Church—to come to this understanding. It was while he was researching this issue in 1940, that he came to the understanding of which calendar the Church should use, and the true Church of God still uses that calendar today. Some however, since Mr. H. Armstrong’s death in 1986, have discarded what was given to him through the Holy Spirit, for the Church, and have begun to devise their own calendars. By doing so, they are no longer keeping these days according to the Word of God and the faith that was once delivered. They also are rejecting Christ and God the Father when they reject the truth of Scripture! (See John 13:20, Luke 10:16 & Jude 3)
Where, in the New Testament, do we find that the Passover was still being kept?
As we saw above, Christ sent some of His disciples to prepare the Passover, but notice this statement from Christ. Luke 22:15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;”--- Christ had kept at least three other Passovers with His disciples, setting them the example to continue to keep the Passover. John 2:13, 23 “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” 23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, (Unleavened Bread) many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.”
John, chapters 6:4 & 12:1 also show Christ keeping the Passover and teaching during that time frame. The Apostle Paul (Acts 20:6) kept the days of Unleavened Bread in Philippi, and one can only assume that he must have kept Passover there as well, considering it was just the day before Unleavened Bread.
Doesn’t Scripture reveal Christ, as the Lamb of God, fulfilling the Passover, thereby doing away with it?
It is true that Christ was the Lamb of God, as John the Baptist stated and He did come to be “OUR” Passover as already seen. John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Christ’s sacrifice did take away any further need for any lambs to continue to be sacrificed, as the Old Testament killing of the lambs for Passover pointed to Christ as the ultimate Sacrifice! Peter, in Acts 2:38 & 3:19, tells us what one must do to have his sin taken away or forgiven. But the religious leaders of that day, being Jews, did not readily accept Christ as the Messiah, (and many still do not today) therefore the Jews continued right on in this practice of killing the lambs and other animal sacrifices up until 70 A.D; when the temple was destroyed.
Christ taught that the keeping of Passover was to continue being observed, but with different aspects of it now symbolized! The Original Passover lamb, even though a real live physical lamb, was also only a symbol of the coming Spiritual Lamb of God. (John1:29 quoted above) Given below are three passages to consider, which reveal these new symbols. Please read in your own Bible the entire contexts of the Passover accounts in all four gospels, to gain a greater understanding.
John 13:13-14 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.”
Mark 14:22-24 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.”
Matt 26:26-28 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
What does “Foot washing” have to do with Passover?
New Testament Christians have to be willing to humble themselves in service to others, following the perfect example of Christ. (Read Phil.2:5-8) Doing the foot washing ceremony at Passover is a yearly reminder of Christ coming as a servant and is an expression of humility. It symbolizes the humility of Christ, the Lamb of God. This is why it is practiced by the Church of God at every yearly Passover service. Christ made it very clear to Peter that this was to be an essential part of the Passover ceremony from that time forward!
John 13:7-8 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." 8 Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."
Christ humbled Himself, doing this servants task for all of the disciples, teaching them this as an example. All of the parts of the Passover service emphasized by Him on that night, the foot washing, unleavened bread and wine, was to be kept by the Church from that time forward. He expected all true Christians to closely follow His example in this, as all of these things reflect back to Christ as OUR Passover; those who follow His instructions. John 13:14-15 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
The Apostle Paul also continued to teach in the Church, the partaking of the Passover and NOT the Lord’s Supper (As some want to call it. See 1Cor.11:20) to the Gentiles, just as he had received instruction from Christ. (1 Cor.11:23-25) He also recorded that we have been “Passed Over” for our sins by the sacrifice of Christ, taken on the night of the14th, just as ancient Israelites were passed over by the death Angel on the night of the 14th. (Num.28:16) Rom 3:24-26 ---“being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
What part does the “Bread” play in the New Testament Passover?
The original Passover lamb, as we have seen, had to be a male yearling without blemish, and the bread eaten with it had to be unleavened. Leavening represents sin. This was to signify Christ’s willingness to give His sinless life and body in its prime, as a perfect and sin free sacrifice! His body was badly beaten and broken open during the scourging, at which time He also lost much blood. (Be sure to read the “comment,” given below for more detailed explanation on the bread.) It was prophesied in Isaiah that the Christ/Messiah would be beaten, wounded and bruised beyond recognition because of our sins! Isa 52:14 “As many were astonished at him-- his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men”--(RSV) Isa 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
Christ showed that the bread was to be broken, which represented the broken flesh of His body, which was “given” for us so that we can receive healing from physical sicknesses and ailments and even terminal diseases and cancers, as well as forgiveness of our spiritual sins! (Of course, we will receive the ultimate healing and forgiveness when we are made spirit at the resurrection, never to sin again!)
Luke 22:19 “And He (Christ) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
The Apostle Peter acknowledges the same thing that is recorded in Isaiah. When writing his epistles for the Church, there were many by that time that had already been healed of various sicknesses, diseases and even deformity. The Revised Standard Version’s wording may reflect that fact. 1 Pet 2:24 “He (Christ) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (RSV) This, of course, would also apply to all true believers who would come to accept Christ’s broken body for their healing, both physical and spiritual, in the future.
COMMENT: Let us reflect back to the physical lamb that was sacrificed in Egypt.
We see that they were to eat that meal of lamb and bitter herbs with “UNLEAVENED BREAD” (Exo.12:8) even though the Days of Unleavened Bread had not yet begun. (The Days of Unleavened Bread is a separate feast, even though it begins the very next day. There are some today, claiming to be the COG, who believe and teach the falsehood (Heresy) that the Passover was eaten on the night of the 15th. Scripture proves this is not the case, as already revealed here in this study.)
Unleavened Bread has always been a part of the Passover and was not something “added” by Christ in the New Testament. This was also referred to as the bread of “affliction” in Deut. 16:3, which can relate symbolically and directly to what Christ had to endure—great mental and physical stress and anguish, (Luke 22:44) or “affliction” to His body at the hands of men. This Unleavened Bread has been commonly called “flat bread” because it had no yeast or any kind of leavening that would puff it up. Eating this bread was less desirable and so the term “bread of affliction” was two-fold. (The Israelites were commanded to remove all leaven, and to eat this bread every day for seven days, during the festival of Unleavened Bread, which comes once a year, right after Passover.)
Even though it was perfectly alright for the Israelites to eat something leavened during the 14th day of the first month while removing the leaven from their property, they were commanded to eat the Passover Lamb with Unleavened Bread on the night of the 14th, because of the future connection to Christ and His sinless life. Leavening was used as a symbol of sin because the sin of arrogance and pride is what PUFFS UP human nature, as leavening PUFFS UP bread. Christ was perfect and sin-free as the unleavened bread pictures. He used the unleavened bread as a symbol or type of His beaten and broken body! As the God of the Old Testament, (John 1:1-3, and verse 14) He commanded that unleavened bread be eaten with the Passover lamb, which was to typify His future sacrifice as our “SINLESS” Savior. Unleavened bread must be used or the Passover ceremony is not valid.
Not all sins are spiritual in nature. Some are physical and against our own body, such as eating unclean things like pork, shrimp, catfish and other things unclean. (Lev.11) Other things can be damaging and harmful also, such as smoking, drinking too much, drugs, or ingesting large amounts of sugars, starches or rich foods. There is a cause for every effect. Disobeying God and doing these wrong things break our bodies down and we get physically sick. (Without the knowledge of God’s Laws of clean and unclean foods, these things are not largely known today! The reason that these truths are not known, is because they are not being taught by most religions of the day. The majority of “Christianity” today teaches that these Laws, as well as the “Statutes” or Holy Days and the Ten Commandments of God are done away—which is all false teaching.)
Even the book of James makes it clear that the name of Christ can be called on for physical healing.
James 5:14-16 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Christ willingly gave His body to be beaten for this very purpose, as well as His blood being poured out in the process, for both physical healing and spiritual forgiveness of sins. For true Christians to ignore this purpose of Christ’s sacrifice and what He was willing to go through for us and then to rely on medicines, drugs and doctors exclusively, is not only a lack of faith, but could be considered a snubbing of Christ’s sacrifice and rebellion to the first commandment—that of not going to God for healing and putting God first in our lives! The broken Unleavened Bread is an essential part of the Passover ceremony and needs to be taken seriously. The unleavened bread, as a part of the Passover is not new, and has been a part of it from the time Israel came out of Egypt! Christ chose this part of the original Old T. Passover to continue on as a representative or symbol of His badly beaten and broken body, in the NT Passover ceremony.
In what way does the Wine play a part?
The most obvious, of course is that the red wine He used has a strong resemblance to Blood!
Ps 75:8 “For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red;” – (Compare with Luke 22:17) But this is not the only reason Christ chose the red wine as a symbol of his shed blood, as we will see.
The wine in question was not just deep red or purple grape juice, as so many today want to believe. The juice from grapes could not be stored as juice, for any length of time back then. It was made into wine or a thick syrup in order to keep it for longer periods. It is shown to be drunk as wine and called the “pure Blood of the grape”. (Deut.32:14—last part—KJV) No one would be drinking syrup, and there are many references in Scripture to wine that show it as having an intoxicating affect, so this was fermented wine and not juice.
Also, when the process of making the wine is considered, it adds to the understanding of why Christ would choose the red grape wine as a representation of His shed blood. During that time frame and locality, (Palestine) wine presses were right in the vineyards and some were made of hollowed out stone, which the grapes were thrown into and trampled on to crush the juice out of them. There are many Scriptural references to this. For example, Isa. 63:2 says “Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?”
So here is yet another fact concerning the wine, that also relates to the beatings and the scourging that tore at His body, the crown of thorns that was jammed down onto His head, then the nails driven into His body and finally the spear that pierced into His side during the crucifixion right before He died, that drained the life’s blood out of Christ. His physical life was in the blood, just as the life of the grape was its juice, and was considered the blood of the grape. Lev 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
Even according to more modern techniques, we still see some of these parallels, as the grapes are first machine crushed to get the juice, then as the wine is in the vat fermenting, the torn and broken skins of the grapes are put back into the fermentation process and left for a period of time to give the red wines their deep red color, according to the World Book Encyclopedia-© 1980.
Another thing to consider is that the wine also was not new or added by Christ in just this last Passover meal with His disciples, but was also a part of the traditional Jewish Passover meal. This wine was sometimes called “THE CUP” and most commonly “the cup of blessing”, and we see the Apostle Paul using this term.
1 Cor 10:16 “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”
Christ also referenced “the” cup—not “A” cup—In Luke 22:17, when He blessed it and then told the disciples to divide the wine in it among themselves. Back in the Old Testament, (Gen.14:18-20) we see the one who later became Jesus Christ, then as Melchizedek, (See also Heb.7:1-10) using the bread and wine to “Bless” Abram. Many in Old Testament times carried bread and wine with them in traveling long distances (Judges 19:19-21) and wine was a common thing, found to be an essential part of a meal. (See also 1 Sam.16:20)
Hopefully this will be enough to help the reader understand that Jesus Christ did not add these as new things to the last Passover meal He ate, in order to continue the Passover with these symbols! They were already a custom and part of many previous Passovers.
Why do some believe that Christ changed everything about the Passover, including the time to observe it?
The Jews, at least many of them, had gotten way off track on how they kept the Passover, and were still off, even in Christ’s time. (They never corrected their error and still have not to this day, hence our comment made earlier about those teaching this heresy even today.) This is obvious, by the differences found in the four gospels, dealing with the time Christ kept Passover. It was one day before the Jews. Christ went by the Scriptures and kept these two as separate festivals, Passover and then the days of Unleavened Bread. Num 28:16-17 "On the fourteenth day of the first month is the LORD's passover. 17 And on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast; seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.”
John 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. (On the 14th) But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.” (RSV) Christ had already kept the original OT. Passover with the twelve, while instituting the New covenant Passover during that meal, then went out and prayed for three hours that night and at about the same time as the death angel passed over in ancient Egypt, He was betrayed to the soldiers by Judas. He was then unjustly tried, sentenced the next morning and was unlawfully crucified, dying at about the time that the Jews wrongly began the killing of their lambs. As the Jews sat down on the 15th, to eat their Passover meal, Christ was already in the tomb.
It is the responsibility of the ministry in the true Church of God to TEACH these solid truths and not heresy or watered down doctrines. First, the true Gospel of the KINGDOM of GOD must be proclaimed to all the world as a witness (Matt.24:14) and then the end will come. The true Church of God is formed and built up of those led by the Holy Spirit, who first hear and believe that true Gospel message, and then repent and accept the sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. (Acts 2:38) Believing the truth of the Gospel message of the KINGDOM of GOD is how we are called to Christ. (2 Thess.2:13-14.) True Christians are commanded in Scripture to take the NT Passover in the beginning of the 14th (As Christ set in motion) and then to eat some unleavened bread every day for seven days, (Commanded in the OT) beginning with the night of the 15th.
Let it be known that to take the Passover without proper regard to the symbols of foot washing, unleavened bread and the wine and in the time frame given by Scripture, is to fail to be a true Christian! Failing to acknowledge the Passover and the need to continue on through the annual cycle and keep all other festival and Holy days Commanded in the Bible would eliminate any chance of salvation in the 1st resurrection. God has given explicit commands for how to keep all of the Holy Days and festivals. If we fail to see the importance of obeying these commands—AS THEY ARE GIVEN—and start to use human reason to relax or “water down” any of these commands, then we will be in danger of being “spewed or vomited” from the body! (Rev.3:16) We must repent and be ZEALOUS for God, if we hope to gain eternal life! (Rev 3:19-21)
We must show God that we are willing to accept the truth found in the Bible, Christ as our Passover and Savior and His soon return to set up His Kingdom Family on earth. The sacrifices that God the Father and His Son have both made for us, in the death of Christ, are only the first step toward Salvation! We then must be willing to put forth the effort to come completely out of sin in this life by obeying, not only all these commanded annual Holy Days of God and their particulars, but also keeping the Ten Commandment Law of God! There is another Bible Study that portrays a major part of the next step, pictured by the Days of Unleavened Bread as a type of “coming out of sin” or “putting sin out” of our lives by putting righteousness in. The study titled “EATING OF UNLEAVENED BREAD” for the seven days focuses on a willingness to be diligent in obeying those Commands of God whole heartedly.
(Produced by the editor for TCOGMSO.)