This is the first year we will be observing the new covenant Passover. What is different about this observance and what have we done in the past?
Previously we have observed the supper Messiah had with his disciples with unleavened bread, and called it Passover. However, this was not the Passover of the Jews. It was the new covenant Passover that Yahshua introduced that night before he died as the Passover Lamb of Yahweh. The Jews’ Passover began in Exodus 12 with the killing of the lambs on the afternoon of the 14th, and the Passover meal the evening of the 15th. They celebrated with unleavened bread. Messiah died as part of the Jews’ Passover.
After much study and prayer, this has been revealed to be incorrect. Jude has admonished us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)
Our membership has come from many different assemblies and churches. We have been taught that the Passover lambs were killed before the supper that Messiah had the night he was betrayed. Others have said the Passover lambs killed by the Jews in preparation for Passover occurred on the date of the 14th, the same day Messiah died on the tree.
The one fact that most sources support is that Messiah died on the 14th of Nisan at 3 PM. However, there are those who insist that he died on the 15th, which is the first high day of unleavened bread. This cannot be correct because it would not have been permitted by the Jews. It was totally against the Jewish tradition to execute criminals or have criminal proceedings on a high day. This is why the Pharisees hurried to remove the Messiah from the tree and place Him in the tomb before the first high day began at sunset, which would be the 15th of Nisan.
Messiah’s supper with his disciples occurred on our Tuesday evening, which was their evening of the fourteenth. This was the night before the Messiah would die, which coincided with the time the Levitical priests killed the Passover lambs in preparation for the Passover meal on the evening of the fifteenth. Messiah would not have used unleavened bread. The Greek scriptures consistently say, artos, which is the Greek word for bread, not unleavened bread. The Messiah ate a traditional pre-Passover meal with his disciples, which included leavened bread. (artos) No unleavened bread was used that evening. The Jews did not begin to remove leavening from their homes until the day portion of the fourteenth. According to tradition, this removal began after 11 AM. It was after this removal that Messiah died, and not beforehand. The bread Messiah gave to his disciples was legal and scriptural. It was eaten outside of the Days of Unleavened Bread and before the leaven was required to be removed from their households.
This may be shocking to you. The Christian churches today celebrate an unscriptural communion with unleavened bread. However, this has not always been so. The Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches for the first 900 years following the Messiah’s death used leavened bread. It was not until 1054 CE that the Catholic Church demanded the use of unleavened bread and coerced the Orthodox churches to submit to their new teaching.
We are able to trace the correct observance of Messiah’s supper as well as the Jewish Passover back to a group that was called the Quartodecimans, by the Latin or Catholic Church. This name was given to them because they celebrated the Passover on the 14th to commemorate that day as the death of Messiah.
They began their count of seven days from the date of the 14th until the 20th.
The Jews kept Passover to commemorate the Exodus for seven days from the 15th to the 21st day.
It is of note that the historian, Philip Shaff, in his history of the Christian church included a reference to a visit between Polycarp, leader of the eastern or Asiatic assemblies, and Anicetus, a leader of the Catholic or western churches in Rome.
Rome was teaching the celebration of Easter which was calculated differently than the scriptural Passover. Polycarp disagreed with this significant deviation of what was “once delivered unto the saints.” They were able to agree to disagree without bloodshed. The pressure from Rome would continue for several hundred years, but at least Polycarp kept the Asian assemblies free from this false doctrine for a period of time.
Who was this Polycarp? He was a disciple of the apostle John, who had observed Passover under John’s guidance. This apostle was there the night of Messiah’s dinner before he was betrayed and witnessed the execution of the Messiah. John was the disciple loved by Messiah and whom he chose to be responsible for his mother. At the time of his death at the approximate age of 100, he resided in Ephesus. He had been the source of scriptural teaching in the east.
It is interesting that Polycarp was involved in the controversy between Passover and Easter. However, no discussion was recorded regarding what type of bread was used by Messiah on the night of the fourteenth. The early assemblies and churches used leavened bread for several hundred years. They were able to successfully do this because the meal they celebrated was not the Jew’s Passover, nor was it within the Days of Unleavened Bread.
It was within the Days of Unleavened Bread that the wave sheaf offering was presented. This occurred on the morrow after the weekday Sabbath within the days of unleavened bread. It was on this day that the count towards Shavuoth began. The 50th day or Pentecost was also known as the feast of the firstfruits. This is the day that the Spirit of Yahweh fell on the disciples and thousands of others on the day of Pentecost.
It is interesting that the offering of two loaves during Shavuoth, or Pentecost, was of leavened bread. In Leviticus 23:20, these two loaves of leavened bread were called “the bread of the first fruits.” This is the same kind of bread Messiah used when he introduced the emblems for the new covenant Passover on the night he was betrayed.
Messiah gave the same leavened bread to his disciples who would be the firstfruits of the new covenant. Messiah himself was the firstfruit, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15: 20, 23. By using leavened bread instead of unleavened, Messiah was revealing the significant difference between that meal and the Passover of the Jews. He was foretelling the creation of the firstfruits with the celebration of Pentecost after his resurrection. He was alerting us to a new event, which was coming at Pentecost: the beginning of a new creation, the firstfruits.
James tells us we are a kind of firstfruits. (James 1:18) The firstfruits are the same people as those called saints. In Revelation 14, we are introduced to 144,000 firstfruits that stand with Messiah on Mount Zion.
The new covenant Passover is when leavened bread is first introduced as a symbol for His body. Messiah told us in John 6:56 that we must eat his flesh (the bread) for him to dwell in us. The correct type of bread is consistent with the two leavened loaves offered at the feast of firstfruits. We must continue to remember him with the correct emblems or symbols. The correct symbols are leavened bread and the fruit of the vine, and not wine.
To correctly keep the new covenant Passover, you must be circumcised. Circumcision was also a requirement for the first Passover; however, the new covenant circumcision is of the heart, not of the flesh. This circumcision is without hands. (Colossians 2: 11) You must be baptized to partake of this event worthily. (1 Corinthians 11:27)
We, of the Light of YahwehShua, baptize only in the inherited name of Messiah, YahwehShua, which is the name of life. That name provides us with the down payment of Yahweh’s spirit. This spirit brings with it the seed of the Spirit of Messiah. This seed of Messiah spreads through us over time, just as leavening spreads through dough. Leavening is not sin of itself. Leavening is an influence that brings about change, positive or negative. In Matthew 13:33, we see the positive influence of leaven. Similarly, the Spirit of Messiah infuses the body of the firstfruits and prepares them for the better resurrection.
Now is the time to prepare for the new covenant Passover. Passover is at the end of April this spring. The first step you must take is baptism. For assistance, please contact our elders. Baptism is the first step, the narrow way, the path to the light. Join us and become the light of YahwehShua.