This Sabbath I thought I might bring attention to the coming Passover and our requirements to keep it and to be outside of our gates for the Passover and obedient to the Lord our God. On Sabbath 29/12/25/120 we dealt with this issue and it is important to revisit it again and to deal with our responsibilities for the Passover and to prepare ourselves for the festival in the right attitude of mind (see the paper Preparing for the Passover (No. 190)).
Deuteronomy 16:1-17 deals with the feasts of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 16 “Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the LORD your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the LORD will choose, to make his name dwell there. 3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. 4 No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning. 5 You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, 6 but at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt. 7 And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the LORD your God will choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents. 8 For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God. You shall do no work on it.
The Feast of Weeks
9 “You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you. 11 And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. 12 You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.
The Feast of Booths
13 “You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. 15 For seven days you shall keep the feast to the LORD your God at the place that the LORD will choose, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. 16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you (ESV)”
This text starts with an assumption regarding the Month of Abib. It is translated “Month of Abib” when it is really an instruction to keep the Chodesh (SHD 2320) of Abib or the New Moon of Abib. The New Moon of Abib is the commencement of the Sanctification of the Temple of God. The Church who are the chosen of God are now the Temple of God. This text in Deuteronomy deals with the three feasts of the Lord. The First Feast commences in preparation from the Sanctification on 1 Abib and goes through the fourteen days of preparation and the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The text in verse 2 tells us we can select of the flock and the herd an animal for the keeping of the Passover. In Exodus 12 for the first Passover we are told it is a lamb, but this text shows us that it may be any clean animal for the subsequent Passovers.
We are also told that it is to be sacrificed in the place which the Lord your God shall choose. Now, wherever the nations and the Church have moved following the pillar of fire and smoke and wherever the Church has placed its name in all its movements in the wilderness over these last forty jubilees, then that place is set aside for the purpose of the Feasts of the Lord. That power is vested in the leaders of God’s Church following the direction of God. It is the responsibility of the brethren to identify the body of Christ and be with that body for the Passover. Whosoever determines to keep the Passover with a body is saying before God that they truly believe that Church is the true body of Christ.
You have no choice but to keep the Passover. If you are ill or on a journey, or unable to keep the Passover by legitimate means, then you have to keep the Passover in the Second Month. If you do not do that, then you are cut off from the body of Christ for that year until you repent and return to the Lord. The person who has not just reason for keeping the second Passover and does not keep the Passover in the First Month will bear his or her sin. There is no excuse (Num. 9:9-13). Moreover, the strangers also are to keep it under the one law (Num. 9:14).
There is thus a distinction between what Jesus Christ and the Disciples did on the night of 14 Abib and what the nation did on 15 Abib. There are two distinct days and two distinct activities. The Night to be Much Observed or the Night of Watching on 15 Abib is the meal of the Passover. The Lord’s Supper on 14 Abib is the Lord’s Supper set aside on the Preparation day of 14 Abib and reserved only for the Disciples of Christ, which is the body of the Church. This aspect is explained in the papers The Passover (No. 98); The Significance of the Footwashing (No. 99); and The Lord’s Supper (No.103) and also in Preparation for the Passover Meal on the Night of Watching (No. 093).
The text says that you shall eat no leavened bread with it and for seven days you shall eat no leavened bread with the sacrifices. Nor shall we let any of the meat of the sacrifice made on the evening of the first day, that is on the afternoon of 14 Abib, for the meal of the evening of 15 Abib, remain until the morning, that is the morning of the 15th day.
We are not allowed to eat the Passover in any of our towns that the Lord our God is giving us as our inheritance, but we are to go to the place that the Lord our God will choose (Deut. 16:5-7). In other words, we are not allowed to stay home over the period of the Passover that leads up to the morning of the 15th day of Abib. We must be out of our gates. If we are in tents or booths for the 14th and 15th of Abib to take the Passover we may return to our Feast accommodation on the morning of the 15th and keep the remainder of the feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread in our towns as directed or determined. However there was temporary accommodation booked for the Feast and the return is to the place selected for the feast (cf. Soncino notes).
In the morning of the 15th we may turn and go back into our Feast area and then continue for the Feast of Unleavened bread. Thus the way in which the Lord and the disciples kept the Passover, keeping both the night of the 14th and the night of the 15th is the correct procedure. The Samaritans keep this procedure to this very day. They go out of their homes at the end of the 13th day of Abib and go to Mt Gerizzim where they have the meal of the 14th on the preparation day and on the 14th they take the lamb that was set aside on 10 Abib and kill it in the afternoon of the 14th and roast and eat it on the evening of the 15th Abib. They then remain in watching for the Messiah until the morning of 15 Abib and then return to their homes. Nothing has changed in this regard for 2500 years among the Samaritans, and the devout Jews of Judea and Galilee in the Temple period did likewise.
On the Seventh day of the feast, on 21 Abib, there is to be another Holy Day which is a Sabbath to the Lord as a solemn assembly or holy convocation.
Thus the Church is required to keep both nights to the Lord in preparation for and commemoration of the Passover lamb, which is Jesus Christ. The Samaritans look forward to the coming and we look back to his incarnation and redemptive sacrifice. However, both keep the New Moon of Abib according to the conjunction.
As we are scattered we move into temporary quarters and keep the feast with each other for seven days. The overriding obligation and command is to keep the feast seven days.
In Hezekiah’s restoration there were many who had not cleansed themselves according to the rites of the Temple, and the priests were unclean with only some Levites, and so they had to keep the Passover in the Second month. The Passover in the Second Month was kept according to the ritual of the Temple for the First Month (2Chron. 30:15). The Sanctification of those that were not clean was accomplished by the activities of the Levites who had sanctified themselves.
That is the concept behind the Sanctification of the Simple and the Erroneous for those in error on the Seventh Day of the First Month (Ezek. 45:20). The Sanctification is accomplished by the prayers of the righteous for those who err, as we see in the actions of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah asked the Lord to pardon everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, The Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah and healed the people (2Chron. 3018-20).
This text tells us what our job is. Each year we are to prepare ourselves for the Passover. We are to sanctify ourselves so that we are worthy to take the body and blood of the Messiah. This sanctification, even if only undertaken by a few, will sanctify the remainder. God will hear them. This Sanctification enables the remainder to be washed clean and rebaptised each year in the Foot-washing and the Bread and Wine of the Lord’s Supper and those with us are able to take the Passover of the 15th in the Night To Be Much Observed or Night of Watching. This activity of the Church in no way impinges on the activities of Christ. We are all required each year to wash each other’s feet, whereas it was Christ who initially did that and then broke and blessed the bread and wine as symbols of our salvation. His initial saving acts did not excuse us from the subsequent ritual. Indeed, if we do not undertake them faithfully we are told that we are removed from the faith.
The Passover is linked to the Exodus because in that month, at that time, God chose to bring us into a relationship with Him and establish a people dedicated to Him and begin His relationship with mankind as He had promised Abraham and the Patriarchs. God showed that His plan of salvation began with the first New Moon of the sacred year in Abib and went on through the year. The Law is designed to reveal to mankind the way in which God will progressively work with mankind. Our fathers were baptised in the Red Sea and we are baptised into Christ from our calling.
Hezekiah’s restoration shows that the faithful not only kept the entire seven days as they were obliged to do, but they also kept another seven in gladness, making peace offerings and confession to the Lord (2Chron. 30:22-26). This lapse was the same lapse that occurred in the Churches of God from 1965 onwards, when the Passover was kept for the entire period from 14 to 21 Abib by one of the Churches of God. Then the Churches of God decided it was too much trouble and they did away with the Full feast and, in so doing, failed to understand the Passover and the true sequence of the Wave Sheaf and the Feast of Weeks, which follows it as the interlinked Second harvest of the Wheat harvest, which represented the elect. Had they been faithful they would have understood and made less errors.
Do not underestimate your obligations on this feast. It is the beginning of the salvation of the elect and without keeping this right there is no point in waiting to keep the second and third feast seasons as well. Tabernacles is useless without a sanctified Passover. Without Passover and Unleavened Bread and the Wave Sheaf, the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, is not kept correctly as the Jews have shown us so sadly for nineteen hundred years since their dispersion and the destruction of the physical Temple that they polluted.
It is our responsibility to determine the body of Christ, and then sanctify ourselves to keep the Passover from the New Moon of Abib as we are commanded. We are required to keep the Passover with that body. If it is not us then we had better find out who it is and get with them immediately. If it is us and we are obedient to The Living God, then we had better get ready, and those of the elect had better be keeping the feast with us in due diligence, having sanctified themselves correctly. Christ does not want a social club of actors keeping convenient holidays. He wants dedicated soldiers in an army of holy people. They obey God or move on.
Remember: Love the Lord your God with all your mind and all your heart and all your strength and love your neighbour as yourselves. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. If you are not prepared to sanctify and pray for your brothers and travel to be with them at Passover to worship the One True God, you are not worthy to enter the kingdom of God. God so loved the world that He gave his only born son so that whosoever believed in him should not perish but have eternal life. Christ was ready to die for us. Are we?
Love one another as God and Christ love us.