The question of whether or not Christians should continue to celebrate the Passover, is often raised. Let us address this topic.

First, we need to establish that there is a difference between the ceremonial laws and the moral law, the Decalogue, better known as the Ten Commandments.


The ceremonial laws and the ceremonial system were established and introduced by God after man transgressed. Before the time of Moses, the Bible tells us that Abraham, Abel, Cain, and Job offered sacrifices. (Hebrews 11; Genesis 4, 22; and 8; Job 1.)

The ceremonial law was made known verbally to Israel by God, speaking to Moses. (Review the book of Leviticus.) Moses then wrote these laws in a book. (2 Chronicles 35:12.)

The Lord instructed Israel to sacrifice animals as a foreshadowing of the Messiah, who would come and sacrifice Himself for the sin of mankind. The shedding of blood (animal sacrifices) looked forward to Christ, who would spill His blood for sinners. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin. (Hebrews 9:22.)

The ceremonial law was also referred to as the "handwriting of ordinances." (Colossians 2:14.) These laws were placed in the side of the ark. (Deut 31.)

Because the ceremonial ordinances and laws were of a temporary nature, they, themselves, made nothing perfect; it was only as those who practiced them looked forward through faith to the true sacrifice, the coming Messiah, that their sins could be forgiven. (Hebrews 7:9.)

Upon Christ's death, the supreme sacrifice on the cross, the ceremonial laws came to an end; they were symbolically "nailed to the cross."  (Colossians 2:14-17.) Therefore, meat offerings, food offerings, drink offerings, ceremonial holy days, and ceremonial sabbaths, came to an end. Why? Paul answers this in Verse 17, when he states that these were a "shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ." That is, these ceremonial regulations came to an end at Christ's death, for the supreme sacrifice, Christ's body, the TRUE SACRIFICE, was offered, and the temporary sacrifices were no longer of value. (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14.) Luke records that when Christ died, the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. This miraculous act was a physical demonstration and confirmation that the ceremonial laws, the ceremonial system, and all the practices associated with that system, were abolished by the supreme sacrifice of the Messiah.

Therefore, when one under the ceremonial law sacrificed a lamb on the altar, he, the penitent sinner, showed his faith in the coming death of the Son of God, which was to take place in the future. Christ's death fulfilled this law completely, fully, and wholly. The complete sacrifice for the sins of man had been offered in the death of Christ.


Some raise the question of whether or not Christians should continue to observe the Jewish Passover.

In Galatians 3: 26-29, Paul addresses this question. He observes that the Jew and Greek are the same in the sight of God. Gentiles are just as precious as Jews to our Creator. Paul notes:

"*For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

*There is neither Jew or Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye all are one in Christ Jesus.

*And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

When we have been born again, we are adopted into, grafted into, the family of God and become children of God. Jews and non-Jews have equal status as heirs of and Children of God.

So, the question remains: Should Christians celebrate the Passover? Because Christ's sacrifice was complete, Christians should not go back to practicing any portion of the ceremonial system. We should not go back to circumcision, to sacrificing animals, to tithing, to celebrating the feast of Weeks, the feast of Passover, or any other Mosaic practices such as Rosh Hashanah, or Purim. All of these festivals pre-figured the coming Messiah.

The Passover was instituted as a "sign," of, a "foreshadowing" of, Christ's atoning sacrifice on the cross. Just as the Israelites were freed from Egyptian slavery, converted Christians are freed from the slavery of sin by the sacrifice of Christ. Therefore, the blood sprinkled on the doorpost in the Mosaic period, was a sign, foreshadowing, of the blood that Messiah would spill for the salvation of mankind. (Exodus 12:11.)

Some read Exodus 12:14 and wonder about the command to keep the Passover "for ever." We need to understand that the Bible sometimes uses such terms as "for ever" and "eternal" to mean UNTIL THEIR APPOINTED TIME HAS EXPIRED.

For example, Jude 7 speaks of the "eternal fire" of Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course we know this fire is not still burning; it was to burn until its appointed time had expired. A similar example is found in Leviticus 25, where the bondsman was to serve "for ever." Again, this would mean until his appointed time had expired.

So, how do Christians celebrate the freedom from the slavery of sin? Paul tells us that we need to "purge out ...the old leaven (of sin,) that ye may be a new lump , as ye are unleavened. For even CHRIST OUR PASSOVER is sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5:7,8.)

Who is to be our new bread? Christ! It is Christ that we eat; that is, spiritually and symbolically, we take His life and teachings into our lives and show our faith in His sacrifice for our sins. We adopt His ways and values; we practice His ways and values! Spiritually, His sinless body is our bread, and His spilled blood is our wine. Therefore, every time we take communion, we are remembering His death, our freedom from the slavery of sin, until He returns to take us to Heaven with Him.

Therefore, for Christians to continue to practice any aspect of the ceremonial system would indicate a lack of trust in the sacrifice of our Savior, who came, lived, and died that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10.)


 © 2005 Guthrie Memorial Chapel