When I was younger I loved hunting for the Easter basket. It was always filled with chocolate, sweet treats and pastel colored toys. My Baka (grandma) would always make Primorski Uskrsne Bebe (or Croatian Easter Bread Dolls), and I was delighted by dying Easter eggs, and going on egg hunts.
I was taught that we celebrate on Easter Sunday because that was the day Christ rose from the dead (I never thought about how odd it was that the day floated around various times of the months, and that it always landed on a “Sunday” even though, the Jewish culture had different ways of keeping time). And even though it wasn’t a Biblical tradition, it was a “Christian tradition”. I was also taught that Biblical feasts in the Bible, such as Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were traditions that were “done away with”, and should be avoided.
And yet, here I am, at 30 years old, learning to question everything I’ve been taught and subsequently, everything I want to teach my littles.
I have thought about writing this for a long time. What should I include? What’s my point? What do I hope to convey? And after prayer, and a realization of how long this blog could become, I decided my point is not to run Easter through the mud, but rather to lift up the often forgotten details of Passover.
I could go into great and terrifying detail about the history of Easter, but instead I plan to keep this very straight-forward, and hopefully positive. Let me emphasize, this is not a blog about how evil the origins of Easter are or the pagan depths and satanic influences that are weaved into these traditions. It is a blog about how I wish that the space in my youthful brain, which housed the false concept of bunnies hiding eggs, and copious amounts of chocolate being a way to honor the resurrection, alternatively understood the historical and spiritual significance of the Biblical Passover feast.
Before we dive into the beauty and magnanimity of Passover, let me be absolutely clear about something… Most already have a preconceived idea about what I am writing (ahhh feast-keeper…pharisee…etc etc), and I am willing to bet that many will not read or believe the words I am about to type…but they are CRUCIAL.
Jesus Christ paid it all.
His blood atones for my sins, and there isn’t a single “thing”, “action”, “law” or “feast” that I can do or accomplish to gain His love or my salvation. It is my faith in Christ, ALONE, that transforms me. His love and grace in my life atones, justifies, and sanctifies me. Period.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3; 21-26 (emphasis added by me)
My interest in understanding and teaching the Passover tradition is purely because I believe it allows me to know Christ more. For those who are still with me, let’s dive into this spectacular tradition.
This is what I plan to teach my children….the simple version. (They are 1 and 3 years old.)
When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, God took them out of Egypt and on a journey to the Promised Land. The entire experience was a magnificent tapestry of prophetic events to come. There were a series of plagues that preempted the eventual exodus of the children of God. The final and most devastating plague, was the death of the firstborn. God told Moses to have him and the Israelites sacrifice a lamb and put the blood of the lamb over their doorposts. They were instructed to eat the sacrificial lamb that night in their homes, as the angel of death fell upon the first born of every human and animal family, who had not trusted and acted upon the Lord’s command. God’s people were instructed to be packed, dressed and prepared to go at a moment’s notice. This marked the final plague, after which the people of God were released by Pharaoh and started their journey out of slavery, and toward the Promised Land. (Exodus 12)
Passover is referenced in a variety of places throughout Scripture, after this point, but namely it is kept again in the final days of Christ’s life. Jesus kept Passover, or the Lord’s Supper on the 14th day of the beginning month. That night, while he asked his disciples to stay awake and vigilant (which they did not), he battled the angel of death in the Garden of Gethsemane. The following day, Jesus was crucified on the cross, as the sacrificial lamb, without spot or blemish: The King of kings, the Savior of our world. (Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22 )
Why I am teaching my Children the Tradition of Passover Versus Easter…
- Reminds us of the Past:
- The Passover feast reminds us of the great Exodus. The history of God saving His people and taking them out of the land of Egypt. The Exodus message is pervasive in Scripture and I want my children to know they are constantly being called “out”. Out of this world. Out of sin. Out of selfishness. Out of fear and anxiety. Out of the status quo. Out of meaningless tradition. Out of man-made religion. He calls His people out, and He makes a MIRACULOUS way.
- Teaches us about Christ:
- The Passover feast teaches us about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. It tells us that a lamb must be sacrificed. A lamb without spot or blemish, and that the blood of the lamb must be put over our doorway (our lives) in order to avoid the angel of death that “passes over” everyone who is covered by the blood of the atonement.
- A Super Neat and Practical Tradition:
- The Passover feast is eaten standing and packed, ready to leave at any moment. Similarly, we should be consuming the Word and life of Christ, always ready to “leave”, always ready to go “home”. Furthermore, I sort of LOVE the idea of practicing packing a “bug-out-bag” once a year. Once a year, on Passover, I plan to make it a fun activity to pack a backpack or suitcase, as if we had to leave tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be enlightening and even practical to think through what sorts of “things” you might want to grab, if you needed to leave your home?
- The Passover feast marks a night of vigilance. It is not necessary that we stay awake, or remain in continuous prayer, but it is encouraged to stay watchful and ready to go when God commands. Jesus stayed away the entire night before the morning of his trial and execution.
- A Perfect Start to the New Year (or Springtime Life-Cleaning):
- The Passover feast is a GREAT way to start the new year. (The Hebrew new year begins in the spring, usually around April 1st, but since it is dependent on the lunar cycles, it fluctuates dates on the Gregorian calendar.) Passover begins on the 14th day of the 1st month of the Jewish calendar. It marks a new year, and a new beginning. What a beautiful way to start the new year, by reminding ourselves and our family that we are free from slavery and that we have the joy of Christ’s sacrifice to lead us and keep us safe.
- Passover is followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is a week of avoiding any leaven in our meals. I already explained that I do not believe the feasts are meant to be kept for some sort of reward or legally binding covenant, however, the idea of taking a week to search our lives for any “leaven” or sin, is a beautiful and worthy practice.
- Historical Accuracy:
- The Passover is a more accurate way of celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Passover was and is established the same way every year. (14 days into the month of Abib, or the first month of the year, you can find this calendar by studying the lunar cycles, or by googling the lunar/solar calendar, or by downloading the World’s Last Chance App). Easter changes based on the decision of the Pope or the Vatican (Vatican, by the way, means divine serpent).
- God’s Tradition:
- Passover is constantly described as a feast of the Lord. It is talked about as an everlasting celebration, and Jesus said He would celebrate again with us in heaven. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.” Leviticus 23:1-2 & “for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:16
- Passover continued to be a tradition that God’s people kept, even after the death of Christ. (Acts 12)
- Passover is found in the Bible. Easter is not.
- Simply stated: The Passover feast is Biblical, and it calls us to read Scripture and meditate on the Word of God for understanding. Simply looking up the word “Passover” and reading all the places in the Bible where it speaks of this feast is a significant study.
*As a side note: many may say why not teach both? And of course, because of our culture, both will ultimately be taught. And I’m sure my kids will participate in their fair share of egg hunts and pastel themed Sunday brunches. However, I plan to be transparent about what Easter is and where is comes from. I will present all the options, explain why I have made the decisions I have…and pray they make intentional and prayerful choices about the traditions they chooses to keep.
For now, Passover & The Feast of Unleavened Bread will be part of our family traditions.
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:7
‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.’ ”