From time to time, I would encounter situations which challenge me to re-read my Bible.
Few weeks ago, a man approached me outside the MRT station and asked me to do a “survey” on Christianity. Recognizing it as a common tactic of a certain Korean goddess-worshiping cult, I declined. But he was quite persistent and tried to strike up a conversation.
To cut a long story short, he told me that the Passover is not the Holy Communion, as “misunderstood” by Christians over the centuries, and we must to celebrate it like how it was celebrated in the Old Testament– only once a year on a specific date, not once a week or a month like how most churches are doing it now.
While no doubt he is wrong, I decided to read up on the subject again.
The origin of the Passover is mentioned in Exodus 12 when God was about to strike down every firstborn in Egypt with a plague.
To spare the children of Israel from it, God commanded them to put the blood of an unblemished male lamb on their doorposts and lintels so that God’s destroyer would pass over them. They were also to roast the lamb and eat it with unleavened bread in their house at night (Exodus 12:1-13).
This meal of the roasted lamb, along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is later formally instituted as a feast in the Law as commanded by God back in Exodus 12.
So this day (Passover) shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.
These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
(Leviticus 23: 4-5)
As we can see, the Passover
… serves as a memorial of God’s work in Egypt.
… is to be observed permanently.
… is celebrated on a specific day.
But of course, the ordinances in the Old Testament are just shadows of Christ (Hebrews 10:1/ Colossians 2:16-17), and He is the true Passover Lamb of the New Testament.
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.
(1 Corinthians 5:7)
… knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
(1 Peter 1:18-19)
So how do we partake of this Passover Lamb? While Jesus says His flesh is “food indeed” and His blood is “drink indeed” (John 6:55-56), we can’t really eat Him in the literal sense.
Let us hear it from the Lord Himself…
At the Last Supper (which was a Passover meal), Jesus taught His disciples what it means to eat His flesh and drink His blood.
And He 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.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
So instead of feasting on the flesh of a roasted lamb and smearing it’s blood on our doorposts, we now eat bread and wine that symbolize the flesh and blood of the true Passover Lamb.
And as we can see from the above verses, the Holy Communion…
– serves as a memorial of Jesus’ work on the cross.
– is to be observed permanently, as the New Covenant is an everlasting covenant (Jeremiah 32:38/ Ezekiel 36:26).
Thus, we can conclude that the Holy Communion and the Passover is one and the same, except that the former is celebrated with the substance (Jesus Christ) rather then the shadow (roasted lamb).
(to be continued…)