Earlier this week, my family and I drove down to Georgia to celebrate Passover with our brothas and sistas in the faith. I haven’t celebrated Passover since 2014 so this was a beautiful experience, for both me and my family. For me and my wife, it was a blessing to see some brothers and sisters in the walk that I haven’t seen in a few years; as well as meet some new brothas and sistas in the walk. For my children, it was a blessing to experience the celebration of Passover for the first time and to meet other children who are in the walk as well; which allowed them to see that they weren’t the only children that are also taught to keep the commandments instead of a religion. So the experience of this year’s Passover was a blessing for both me and my family.
The best part about observing Passover for me was hearing teachings that went forth from the elders there. I enjoyed the fellowship with the brothas and the amazing food from the chefs, but I enjoyed hearing the word the most. All of the elders there did an excellent job of breaking down the word and showcasing the importance of keeping the Passover as a memorial, from both a physical and spiritual perspective. As a student of the word, I already knew that keeping the Passover and the other feast days was a “forever commandment” from The Most High, but over the years I struggled with the idea of attempting to keep Passover while living in the land of our captivity.
During the Passover of 2015 and 2016, I felt that the scriptures implied that we couldn’t keep Passover outside of Israel, therefore I didn’t celebrated it those years (at least not among others). But towards the end of 2016, the father started to reveal to me that we could keep the Passover as a memorial. So I made plans to observe the Passover this year, and I am so thankful that we did. Hearing the elders break down the Passover in the word, gave me a higher understanding of the importance of keeping the Passover as a memorial — especially while we are in the land of our captivity — which further increased my conviction to observe it from here on out.
With that being said, I know many of my readers are on the fence about observing Passover as well as the other feast days for the same reasons I used to have. I also know that some of you may still be members of an organized religion, such as Christianity and have been falsely taught that we no longer have to keep the Passover regardless of where we are. So I wanted to offer everyone a fresh perspective on what Passover really is and provide some insight as to why YAH commanded us to keep it forever, even in captivity.
What Is The Passover?
The English word Passover stems from the Hebrew word Pasak, which is the name given to the day and the memorial of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. It is also the name of the lamb that is slaughtered on this day; which is symbolic of Yahusha (Jesus), as we shall see later on.
The Passover is the first of YAH’s annual feast days that He commanded the Israelites to keep throughout their history (Exodus 12:14). It is a family celebration that takes place on the evening of the 14th day of the Hebrew new year, which starts in the month of Abib; between the end of march and beginning of April. During this specific evening, the Israelites are commanded to gather together in love and have a feast, consisting of a very specific meal that included lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread; and wine was the standard drink of choice for all feast days. After the day of Passover memorial ended, the Feast of Unleavened Bread would take place, in which the Israelites are commanded to eat unleavened bread for the entire 7 days.
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dusk is YAHUAH’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto YAHUAH seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. – Leviticus 25:5-8
The first Passover celebration took place in ancient Egypt, while the Israelites were still in slavery. Because of the oppressive treatment they were receiving by the Egyptians; the Israelites cried out to The Most High to free them from slavery, so YAH rose up Moses to help free them from the Egyptians. But the Pharaoh of that day refused to let the Israelites go, so YAH sent multiple plagues to the land of Egypt to force him to let His people go. Although the plagues were devastating to the Kingdom of Egypt, the Pharaoh still refused to let YAH’s people go. So Yah sent His death angel to kill the first born of the land of Egypt, except for those who put blood of a lamb on their doorposts.
Since the Israelites (as well as the Egyptians who believed in the Elohim of Israel) had the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, the death angel passed over their houses and killed the first born of those who didn’t. After all of the first born of Egypt were dead, Pharaoh finally yielded and let the Israelites go so that YAH would not destroy the rest of his kingdom. This event then became a celebration for the Israelites and their decedents to keep forever so that they would never forget how YAH delivered them from slavery in Egypt. So in essence, the Passover is a celebration of freedom; but it is done in honor of The Most High.
It is a night to be much observed unto YAHUAH for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of YAHUAH to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. – Exodus 12:42
Why Should We Keep Passover Today?
Due to the false teachings of Christianity, many believers today feel that keeping the Passover was an old testament thing and we no longer have to keep Passover because Yahusha (Jesus) did away with it when he died for our sins. Well, contrary to what the religion of Christianity traditionally teaches, the biblical messiah did NOT abolish the Passover. In fact, Yahusha himself kept the Passover all of his life all the way up until his death (Mark 14;12), and commanded his disciples to do the same. But don’t take my word for it, let’s go to the gospels and hear it from his own mouth…
Then he [Yahusha] said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I tell you that I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. After taking the cup [of wine] He gave thanks and said, “Take this [wine] and divide it among yourselves: For I tell you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” Then, He took the [unleavened] bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the renewed covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you. – Luke 22:15-20
In this passage above, Yahusha is having a meal with his fellow disciples on the eve of Passover, which took place at sunset (the evening) on their calendar. During their meal together, He tells them that he although he desires to, he will no longer be able to celebrate the Passover with them again until the future kingdom to come. He says this because he knows that he is about to be put to death on the very next day as a sacrifice for the sins of Israel (John 1:29). So He commands them that from here on out, when they drink the wine and eat the bread for Passover, to do so in remembrance of him.Why? Because he was about to become the Passover; at least symbolically..
Remember, under the sacrificial law of the Leviticus priesthood, only a lamb without spot or blemish — meaning innocent and without any impurities — could be killed and have its blood be used as a sacrifice for the Israelite’s sins (Exodus 12:5). And the lamb had to be killed on the day of Passover (Exodus 12:6). However, this sacrificial sin offering was only temporary, until the Messiah came (Galatians 3:19). When Yahusha hit the scene, he came to remove that portion of the covenant by replacing the blood sacrifice of lambs with his own blood. So when Yahusha was put to death on the day of Passover after that last meal he had with his disciple, he became symbolic of the lamb because they were both innocent (without sin) and were killed on Passover.
This is why Yahusha, at the last supper, taught his disciples that when they ate of the unleavened bread, it should remind them of him — his broken body, beaten and bruised for us — and that when they drink of the cup of wine, it symbolizes his shed blood being poured out to redeem us to YAHUAH. He was showing them that His death on Passover was the sign of the new (restored) covenant; and that they needed to remember Him every time they celebrated Passover. Therefore, if we want to take part of this covenant, then we need to keep the Passover as well.
God presented Him as an atoning sacrifice through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand. – Romans 3:25
The New Covenant Is Tied To The Passover
After Yahusha’s death and resurrection, the celebration of Passover then became a memorial for two events: 1) how YAH delivered the Israelites from slavery and made a covenant with them through Moses. 2) How YAH delivered the Israelites from the punishment of their sins and restored their covenant with Him through Yahusha. Both Passover events were very important parts of their history and both Passover events were tied to their covenant with The Most High which made them His people. So the Passover is connected to our salvation.
Unlike us today, when Yahusha told his disciples to continue keeping the Passover, but to do it in remembrance of him; they knew exactly what he meant. They knew that he was the promised Messiah, from the linage of David, to atone for their sins and renew the covenant that had been broken between them and YAH. Therefore, they knew that their salvation was tied to their faith in Yahusha, and their obedience to keeping the Passover (as well as the other feast days and the rest of Yah’s commandments). So for the rest of the disciples’ lives, along with those that followed them, they kept the feast of Passover in remembrance of the Messiah. You can read about that in Acts 18:21, Acts 20:16, Acts 27:9, as well as other NT writings such as the one below:
For as often as you [celebrate Passover] eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Messiah’s death until He comes again. Therefore, whoever eats the [unleavened] bread or drinks the cup [wine] of the Messiah in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Messiah. Each one must examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. – 1 Corinthians 11:26-29
The original disciples and the ones that came up after them, all continued to keep the Passover as memorial; just as their ancestor did. Although many of them were living in land of their captivity in places like Corinth; they still observed the Passover. And their observance of the Passover and the following Feast of Unleavened Bread kept them set apart from the world and in covenant with YAH. Therefore, since we, the so-called African-Americans (and the rest of the African Diaspora that were shipped to our current land by ships) are the descendants of the biblical Israelites, we should be keeping the Passover as well.
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to YAHUAH throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. -Exodus 12:14
What The Passover Prepares You For
One of the most important elements about keeping the Passover is that it’s a rehearsal for what we will be doing in the future kingdom to come. From a Hebrew perspective, The Passover, along with the rest of YAH’s feast days, are more accurately translated as an “appointed time”. The phrase “appointed time” comes from the Hebrew rod Moed, which is: a set time on YAH’s annual calendar. A phrase that is often used in the same sequence as Moed, throughout the bible is a “holy convocation”. This phrase comes from the Hebrew word, Miqra, which means: a rehearsal for the called out assembly. Together, these words form the idea that we as a people are to come together on YAH’s appointed times to practice what we will be doing in the future kingdom. So as it relates to the Passover, every year we need to get together with our brothers and sisters on this day to remember the events that took place which brought us into covenant with YAH.
Now, I know for a fact, that it can be quite hard trying to keep the Passover in the land of our captivity. It’s very hard trying to find brothers and sisters that are in this walk, to link up with for fellowship because there are usually not many of us who observe the torah, that live close to one another. For that reason, you may have to travel a good distance to observe the Passover and other feast days with others. However, if money is tight and you can’t afford too, then I would suggest just observing the Passover in your home with your family. There is nothing wrong with that at all because we are in the land of our captivity; and YAH understands our situation.
After all, the most important lesson that we are supposed to get out of keeping the Passover is to REMEMBER. By remember, I mean mediating on how good YAH has been to us throughout our history. How He delivered us from Egypt and made us a people…How He remained faithful to the covenant that He made with us; even though our ancestors broke it…How He forgave us for our sins and restored the covenant of our ancestors through the blood of His son Yahusha…How He preserved our bloodline throughout our many different slaveries… How He allowed remnants of our history and culture to be spared so that we would re-discover who we are… How He keeps raising up teachers and ministers in each generation to teach us the truth of the scriptures so that we are not deceived by false prophets…and the list goes on and on.
YAH has been truly good to us and the Passover is a chance for us to get together with our family and REMEMBERING how good He has been to us, despite our disobedience towards Him. By remembering how good YAH has been to us, it will prompt us to return the love back to Him by being obedient to His commandments. Having this mindset to do the father’s will, will prepare us for the next day, which is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And this is the feast that allows us to put into practice, returning back to YAH.
During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we are to clean our homes and remove all products with leaven (yeast) in it (Exodus 12:15). The leaven is symbolic of sin and our homes are symbolic of our hearts, and by removing the leaven from our homes, it reminds us to remove the sin from our hearts. During this feast, we are also to eat unleavened bread for 7 days straight, which is symbolic of replacing sin with righteousness. It is also symbolic of Yahusha because he arose from the dead during the feast of Unleavened Bread, which forms the idea of passing from death to life. Therefore, keeping this feast of Unleavened Bread is suppose to cause us to remove the leaven (sin) from our hearts or lifestyle so that Yahusha’s blood can be applied to our sins, so that we can be pure and acceptable in the eyes of YAH. And all of this is just a rehearsal for what we will be doing in the kingdom to come (Colossians 2:17).
Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Yahusha our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. – 1 Corinthians 5:6-8