Chapter 16 The Bread and Wine of the Passover
Speaking of the Lord’s last Supper of the Passover, it is impossible to explain all the mysteries of the Passover that were kept from the time of Moses. Broadly speaking, the power of the Passover was revealed whenever God’s great work was done.
Now, let’s retrace the history of the Passover kept by the Israelites. At first, they kept the Passover in Egypt and came out of Egypt(Exo. 12:42), and in the first month of the second year, they kept it after the tabernacle was set up in the desert(ref. Exo. 40:1-25, Num. 9:1-14). And after 40 years in the desert, they kept the Passover on the plains of Jericho, just before they entered Canaan(Josh. 5:10-15). And in the days of King Josiah and King Hezekiah, the Israelites who had not obeyed God’s commands and worshiped idols since they entered Canaan, realized the Passover and kept it again and destroyed all the idols according to the kings’ order(ref. 2 Kings 23:1-25, 2 Chr. 30:1-27, 31:1). And after returning from the Babylonian Captivity and building the temple, they kept the Passover holy(Ezra 6:14-22). And Jesus kept the Passover of the new covenant with His disciples(ref. Luke 22:7-20, 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Thus, whenever God’ s great works were fulfilled, His will was revealed through the Passover.
The Passover of the Old Testament is a shadow, and its reality is revealed in the age of the gospel. If we have a full understanding of a shadow, we will find out what the Lord’s administration of redemption is. To speak briefly, the history of 40 years in the desert after the Exodus shows what will be fulfilled for 2,000 years of the gospel’s age. Among the history of forty years in the desert, if we mention only the Passover, it is as follows: The Passover that the Israelites kept just before the Exodus is a shadow, and its reality is the last Supper of the Passover Jesus celebrated with His disciples. And the Passover that they kept in the Desert of Sinai in the second year(Num. 9:1-14) is a shadow of the Passover the Apostles celebrated as the new covenant after the Ascension. And the Passover they kept on the plains of Jericho before they entered Canaan after forty years in the desert is a shadow, and its reality is the Passover that the remnant are to celebrate before they enter Canaan of heaven, in the last days of the gospel’s age.
Therefore, the history that Moses led the natural Israelites from Egypt to the Desert of Sinai by keeping the Passover in Egypt, is a shadow of the thing that Jesus led the spiritual Israelites from the sinful world to the desert of faith after He celebrated the Last Supper of the Passover with His disciples.
The infinite mystery of the Passover cannot all be explained in words. In any case, we only follow what the Lord has done and the new covenant for whatever reason. Then the Lord will remind us of the mysterious secret of the Passover.
Someone says that the day when Jesus celebrated the ceremony of the Last Supper is not the Passover, but the day before the Passover, the thirteenth day of the first month at twilight. But in the three gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus told His disciples to prepare the Passover, and He also said, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you” (ref. Matt. 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:7-8, 13-14). Who can deny these words spoken by Jesus Himself?
And some say that the day when Jesus was crucified is the Passover, and that He must be crucified on the very day of the Passover lamb’s being slaughtered, because Jesus is the Passover lamb. Such an interpretation shows that they know correctly neither the feasts related to the Lord’s redemption nor the fulfillment of the prophecy through the works of Jesus who is reality of all the sacrifices. Judging from the fulfillment of prophecy, the sin offering for atonement has more important meaning than the Passover lamb.
The atonement offering was to be slaughtered on the tenth day of the seventh month by sacred year(ref. Heb. 13:11-12, Lev. 16:27-34). And Jesus became also the atonement offering. Then, wouldn’t Jesus have been crucified even on the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month?
Actually, Jesus has become all the sacrifices of the feasts; He became the regular burnt offering everyday (Exo. 29:38-39), the lamb of the Sabbath day offering(Num. 28:9-10), the Passover lamb(2 Cor. 5:7-8), and the sin offering for atonement. But the day when Jesus was sacrificed was to be the fifteenth day of the first month by sacred year for the accurate fulfillment of prophecy. The Jews wouldn’t crucify criminals on the Passover Day, because it is a very special and great day to them.
In the Apostolic Age, when Peter was kept in prison, the Passover came, and they waited for its passing. And it was on the Passover night that an angel of the Lord rescued Peter from prison(ref. Acts 12:1-10). But the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the fifteenth day of the first month by sacred year, was the day on which the Israelites left Egypt(Num. 33:3) and the Egyptians buried all their firstborn whom the Lord had struck down(Num. 33:4). So it became a custom for the Jews to crucify criminals on this day. Jesus redeemed us form a curse by being crucified on the cross, where sinners were hang. As it is written;
【Gal 3:13】 「Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree”」(ref. Deut. 21:22-23). Searching the various verses of the Scripture, we will know that the day when Jesus was crucified was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the day after the Passover.
Therefore, the day when Jesus ate the last Supper of the Passover was the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight, on which the Passover lamb used to be slaughtered. As it is written;
【Mark 14:12】 「On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”」
The example the Lord has done and His teachings are the gospel of the new covenant. Many examples the Lord has done are the law of Christ, which is an important matter for our salvation. What the Lord has taught us and the Apostles have done is the truth that we have to keep nowaday. The Scripture said that those who add anything to the above gospel or take words away from it would be cursed (compare Rev. 22:18-19; Gal. 1: 6-9).