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Passover

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Key Verse: John 1:29
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Question: What does the key verse mean to you?

LESSON:

God's annual festivals and Holy Days have tremendous spiritual meaning. They not only bring His people together in holy convocations (commanded religious assemblies), but more importantly, they reveal His great Master Plan by which He is fulfilling His awesome purpose for humanity! The annual observances God instituted reveal a step-by-step outline of how He is accomplishing His supreme purpose. Each portrays a great event in God's plan for the salvation of all mankind.

The first Passover was observed by the ancient Israelites just before their exodus from Egypt. They had been slaves in Egypt for nearly a century before God freed them through a series of plagues He caused to punish their Egyptian captors for refusing to let them go. The 10th and last plague was death for every firstborn in Egypt. But none of the Israelites were harmed.

God, through Moses, had instructed every Israelite family in Egypt to sacrifice a lamb and smear some of its blood on the doorposts of their houses. On the night this was done, the death angel passed over every house marked with lamb's blood.

God protected the ancient Israelites from physical death through a symbol--the blood of these lambs. This was symbolic of the blood of Christ, the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29), which would be shed much later to make possible the spiritual salvation of mankind.

God commanded the ancient Israelites to observe the Passover as a yearly reminder of His delivering their firstborn from death in Egypt. The Old Testament Passover was a commemoration of the first Passover God instituted for deliverance of the Israelitesí firstborn from the plague of death.

Christians today are also commanded by God to observe the Passover, with its New Testament symbols of unleavened bread and wine, as a yearly reminder of His delivering them from the penalty of eternal death through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, "our Passover" (I Corinthians 5:7), who became the New Testament Passover "Lamb" (John 1:29).

God's annual festivals and Holy Days have tremendous spiritual meaning. They not only bring His people together in holy convocations (commanded religious assemblies), but more importantly, they reveal His great Master Plan by which He is fulfilling His awesome purpose for humanity!

The annual observances God instituted reveal a step-by-step outline of how He is accomplishing His supreme purpose. Each portrays a great event in God's plan for the salvation of all mankind.

But the vast majority are deceived by Satan, the "god of this world" (II Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). They don't understand the true way to salvation. That's because they do not know what sin is, nor what its penalty is. Consequently they don't really know why man needs a Savior! The meaning of repentance is not understood, or what God's way of life is all about. They don't understand what God's Spirit is, why we need it, or how to receive it.

The religions of this world do not understand the process of spiritual begettal, growth and birth into God's Divine Family. They do not know that God is now calling only a few into His Church, and that those few are now being trained to rule in Christ's soon-coming world-ruling government. Nor do they realize that the vast "unsaved" majority will be given their opportunity for salvation in a later, more favorable age, when Christ and His Spirit-born assistants are ruling the earth.

All this truth is pictured by God's annual festivals and Holy Days! Those who faithfully observe these commanded days are reminded of these spiritual truths every year.

The Bible clearly shows that the death of Christ is the first event, the first step, in God's great plan for eventually bringing thousands of millions into His Divine Family. The Passover, the first of God's annual festivals, pictures that event. Jesus commanded that it be observed every year, with new symbols, so we would always remember His great sacrifice for us.

The Church Jesus built and promised to preserve understands that the New Testament Passover is the annual memorial of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ--that it pictures our being reconciled to God through a Savior who rescued us from the penalty of our past sins.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What completely new way of observing the Passover did Jesus institute shortly before His crucifixion?
    (Luke 22:19-20; Matthew 26:26-29)

  2. Was unleavened bread to symbolically represent Christ's body, which was to be brutally beaten and cut open for mankind?
    (Luke 22:19; Matthew 26:26)

  3. Was wine to symbolically represent His blood, which was to be shed for the forgiveness of past sins?
    (Luke 22:20; Matthew 26:27-29; Romans 3:25)

  4. Did Jesus wash His disciples' feet as part of the new way of observing the Passover?
    (John 13:1-5)

  5. Why did Jesus institute this new observance of foot washing in connection with the New Testament Passover?
    (John 13:12-16)

  6. What special blessing is promised to those who obey Christ's words by participating in this meaningful ceremony at the Passover service?
    (John 13:17; 14:23)

  7. Does Jesus' command to follow His example in taking unleavened bread and wine at the Passover (Luke 22:19-20) also apply to Christians throughout all ages?
    (Matthew 28:19-20; I Corinthians 11:23-26)

  8. COMMENT: Jesus instituted this ordinance on the eve of His crucifixion. He showed His disciples how to keep the New Testament Passover and commands us to follow that example today.

    Jesus did not abolish the Passover--He merely changed the symbols used. Instead of shedding the blood of a lamb and eating its roasted body, we are now to use unleavened bread and wine.


FOR FURTHER STUDY:
For a more in depth study of this annual Holy Day see Lesson 1 of the Holy Day Series.


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