Part II in Understanding the Festivals of God series
Copyright (c) 2017 by Hannah Jordan, WithSinging.org
It is the writer’s intention to summarize the main points about Passover from Homer Kizer’s teaching. This is for the convenience of readers, to gather information now scattered over hundreds of articles into one place. Any error or omission is inadvertent. If anything is found to be inconsistent with what Homer Kizer taught, his writing shall prevail.
This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.
Passover is a most important observance in which disciples take Christ’s Last Supper, and are thereby covered for any unintentional sins until the next Passover.
Passover observance has changed, and will change in the future. This article considers this changing symbolism chronologically. About Passover much more could be said; however, this article limits itself to the main points, examining the parallelism between Passovers at each major turning point in scripture, focusing on significant similarities, changes, and differences, along with their apparent meanings.
Most fundamentally, Passover points to Christ Jesus and where we stand in the plan of God.
1. The First Passover
2. Israel in the Promised Land
3. Calvary — A Singular Event
4. The Christian Era — Post Calvary
5. Second Passover Liberation from Sin and Death
6. The Millenial Kingdom
7. Keeping the Lord’s Passover at Home
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1. The First Passover
God established the first Passover covenant with the natural nation of Israel — the physical descendants of Abraham — as the means to rescue Israel from physical bondage in the land of Egypt. The Passover observance established who was or was not of Israel, and therefore who would or would not perish by the Lord’s hand. Since captivity in Egypt symbolizes enslavement to sin, this physical rescue foreshadows God’s future redemption of spiritual Israel. But first, let us examine history as recorded in the Old Testament:
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month [Aviv]… shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their father’s houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it [penned] until the fourteenth day of this month [Aviv], when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.”
God told Moses,
Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, ‘Let my son go that he may serve me.’ If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.”
God defines firstborn to Moses in Exodus 13:1-2:
“Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”
Firstborn means a female’s first, eldest offspring. Thus, God asserts His priority claim on all firstborns; if not ransomed (a price paid to free them), He can take their lives without cause. As the Creator of all living things, it is God’s right to claim whatever, or whomever, He desires — a fact largely unrecognized within Christendom.
In that first Passover, the sacrifice offered for sin consisted of a year-old male lamb from the lambs or goats, one per household (Exodus 12:2-6), with neighbors congregating as necessary to make the count of people match the lamb’s size.
The sacrifice was to be chosen and penned on the 10th of Aviv, and slaughtered at twilight on 14th of Aviv, i.e. during the initial, dark portion of that day (recalling that a Biblical day begins at sundown). Note these particular dates, which will come into play later.
Israel was to mark the doorways of houses where they lodged with the lamb’s blood. The lamb was roasted whole and completely consumed, with any remainder to be burned next morning. That night, Israel stayed indoors, eating lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread (its significance to be explained later), dressed as if ready to flee.
So Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle.“
God executed this judgment while passing over (sparing) the dwellings marked with sacrificial blood. The Passover is a memorial day, i.e. a twenty-four hour period. Deuteronomy 16:7 indicates that the departure in haste took place the next evening, as the 15th began:
This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast
You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year
The duration of the covenant that established Passover is, therefore, forever (although the terms of the covenant would later undergo modifications made lawfully by God, e.g. in Deuteronomy 16:1 and Hebrews 8:6).
2. Israel in the Promised Land
Forty years after the people of Israel left Egypt, God changed the observance of Passover when He replaced the first passover covenant with the Moab covenant:
“Observe the month of Aviv and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Aviv the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night.”
“You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, 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. And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the LORD your God will choose.”
Notably, the date changed from the 14th Aviv to the 15th. (Recall that at the first Passover, right before the Exodus, Israel had to stay indoors from the onset of 14th Aviv at sundown all night, and departed from Egypt the next evening as the 15th was commencing.) To physical Israel, the revised Passover date – 15th Aviv – commemorates their escape from captivity, because the escape happened on the 15th. But to spiritual Israel, the 15th signifies the need to relinquish sin; Egypt symbolizes sin, so leaving Egypt behind symbolizes leaving sin behind. The previous date – 14th Aviv – had commemorated the sacrifice of firstborns to atone for sin, and carries this same meaning to both physical and spiritual Israel.
And the place of observance changed from Israelites’ dwellings to “the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it.” That place turns out to be the Promised Land across the Jordan River. Recall that the prior article Introduction to the Holy Days explained how the Promised Land is a type of the Sabbath and of heaven, these being symbolized by the 7th day of creation when God rested.
Who enters the Promised Land? The nation who was party to this revised covenant comprised Israel’s physical offspring, as most Israelites who had been alive during the exodus died after forty years in the wilderness, unable to enter the Promised Land. The replacement of the original natural Israel with a new generation who do enter the Promised Land foreshadows the replacement of natural Israel by spiritual Israel, meaning those successors who — by faith instead of by geneaology — inherit God’s promises to Israel by keeping His commandments.
If the first Passover in Egypt and the first Passover in the Promised Land were exactly parallel, one might expect to see a slaughter of firstborns as a sacrifice to atone for Israel’s sin. But this time it doesn’t happen. This apparent lack of parallelism requires further consideration to determine who the firstborns are in this (Moab) version of the Passover narrative. Israel itself is God’s firstborn son, so perhaps firstborn refers to those who survived the Exodus only to perish in the wilderness because they did not obey the Lord’s voice … their deaths during the forty years possibly counting as a sacrifice. Or perhaps firstborn refers to physically-circumcised Israel (all males getting circumcised before entering the Promised Land), whom God could have sacrificed but didn’t, for reasons to be explained shortly.
A short review of physical circumcision is necessary here, in order to make a point about physical versus spiritual circumcision.
Joshua 5:2-7 details the mass circumcision of males before entering the Promised Land:
At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people [males] who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD; the LORD swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised.”
This undoubtedly made a powerful impression on the people of Israel!
The above verse says the reason why men of Israel perished was because they did not obey the voice of the Lord. Disciples who love the Lord and do not want to perish — those who hope to gain God’s promised eternal spiritual life — ought to find out what is pleasing to the Lord, ought to learn His commandments, and strive to obey His voice, lest they too perish in the wilderness of sin in which humanity is currently mired.
As Homer Kizer wrote in The Basics of Christian Typology,
After Jesus breathed on the ten disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” [Pneuma ’Agion or Breath Holy] (John 20:22), Israel will come to include that nation which wasn’t before a nation (1 Peter 2:9-10), but now a nation that has received mercy/grace. This “uncircumcised” nation is represented at Moab by the uncircumcised children born in the wilderness — these children were circumcised after Israel crossed the Jordan and entered into God’s rest (Joshua 5:2-7), but before Israel celebrated the Passover.
The “children whom God raised up in their place” is a typological reference to spiritual Israel, successors who would inherit the promise. Yet physical circumcision is merely the shadow of what God desires of His chosen people. He desires our spiritual circumcision — called “circumcision of the heart”:
“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.”
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Here circumcision shifts from a memorable physical symbol to a spiritual condition. It means that all disciples, physically male and female but all spiritually sons of God, should voluntarily confine their thoughts and deeds to goodness and righteousness, thereby removing impediments to their love of God, until disciples’ actions become fully consonant with an unshakeable faith arising from their love of Him. All Passover observances should remind us of this central point.
The Moab covenant likewise dictates that an unblemished male lamb should be offered as the Passover sacrifice for sin, with its blood again marking those whom God will spare. As mentioned previously, firstborns do belong to God, so He can use them as He will, even as a sacrifice (consider the illustrative story of Abraham and his son Isaac in Genesis 22:2). The children of Israel crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land on 10th Aviv (Joshua 4:19) – the very date specified for choosing and penning the Passover lamb – a witness point aligning the Moab Passover with previous and future Passovers. Thus, the children of Israel were themselves the selected lambs of God, yet were not a fitting sacrifice because they were spiritually tarnished. Although physically circumcised, the Lord admonished Israel to become circumcised-of-heart. Their spiritually-blemished condition implies that, in that era, there was no possibility of an adequate sacrifice for sins other than each individual’s belief in God, insofar as belief produced obedience to God. It was not until the advent of Christ Jesus that an Israelite would fulfill the role of a pure unblemished Lamb of God, a sacrifice large enough for the entire household of God, to atone for Israel’s sins. (See endnotes i, ii.)
For any who are unable to celebrate the annual Passover on the regular date due to a reasonable excuse such as ritual uncleanness or travel, a make-up date one month later is available, as detailed in Numbers 9:9-12:
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the LORD. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it … According to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it.”
As you read on, bear in mind this make-up Passover, which will be shown to have great significance for a certain future date.
In the Promised land, the observance was essentially the same as that first Passover in Egypt, albeit one day later and at a site dictated by God rather than at home:
“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. 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.”
The lamb was slaughtered at twilight on the 15th Aviv. As modified by the Moab covenant, Passover now fell on the first high Sabbath within the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Leavening symbolizes sin; the Feast of Unleavened Bread represents striving to live without sin.
At that point in history, Israel had no covering for sins other than its own avoidance of sinning by obedience to the Law.
Spiritual Israel should continue to observe the Passover annually, forever, albeit with further changes to be described in section 3 when Christ Jesus enters the picture. As long as the Moab covenant remains in effect, each Passover observance serves to cover unintentional sins until the next yearly Passover.
- Whenever Passover’s spiritual purpose is to cover sins, it is observed on 14th Aviv, like the first Passover in Egypt.
- Whenever Passover’s spiritual purpose is to to remind us to relinquish sin, it is observed on the 15th, commemorating Israel’s departure from Egypt.
This will become more evident as this study continues by examining how Passover observance changes again at Christ’s Last Supper, and is to change once more at the “Second Passover Liberation from Sin and Death”.
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Sections 1-2 covered the historical period from the first Passover when God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, through Israel’s entry into the promised land, a time when God modified the observance of Passover via the Moab covenant. Thereafter, Passover observance remained unchanged (although at times, was completely ignored by Israel) for centuries.
King Josiah reinstituted the Passover after the lost Book of the Covenant was found:
And the king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.
II Kings 23:21-23
Section 3 takes up the narrative chronologically around 31 A.D., near the end of Jesus’s life.
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3. Calvary – A Singular Event
Fast-forward many centuries to a singular event intimately intertwined with Passover, namely Christ Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his crucifixion, death, and resurrection, these events collectively called “Calvary”, a pivotal moment for Christian faith and a singularly important change to Passover observance.
Some aspects of the relationship between the Hebrew Passover and Christ’s sacrifice as the Lamb of God are understood by today’s Christianity; other aspects are less well known and will be emphasized here.
Again we begin by defining terms within the historical context, from the perspective of the Key of David, whereby the physical precedes and reveals the spiritual.
First, who is Israel? Christ’s Passover applies to to spiritual Israel — those whose belief in God is such that they act upon their belief by keeping His commandments, those successors of natural Israel who seek to inherit God’s promise of eternal spiritual life.
And considering how God took the lives of firstborns in Egypt, thereby paying His lawful ransom price to free captive Israel, who now are firstborn sons of God? Firstborns originally referred to those who “open the womb”, including the eldest offspring of Pharaoh, of the lowly handmaiden, and of livestock. Forty years later when Israel was near to entering the Promised Land, firstborn referred to physically-circumcised Israelites, whose disobedience to God was a spiritual stain that barred them from serving as a proper sacrifice to pay for Israel’s sin. Without this sacrifice, Israel had no recourse but to attempt to fully obey God’s law and refrain from sinning, which no human descendant of Adam is able to do.
Who is captive in Egypt (representing sin) and needing redemption now? Everyone is: “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” (Romans 11:32)
Now Christ Jesus had entered the world! He put aside the divinity that he had with God the Father from the foundation of the world, took on mortality, and entered the world as the man Jesus of Nazareth. Upon his baptism, he received indwelling spiritual life via the breath of God, and was acknowledged by the Father as His beloved only-begotten Son. (An only son is a firstborn, by definition.)
Despite inhabiting a man’s body, Jesus lived entirely free of sin, righteously observing God’s law. Thus He alone was qualified to fill the prophecied role as the unblemished Lamb of God, to be sacrificed to atone for Israel’s sins, once and for all time. Christ, the Son of God, is a sacrifice of an appropriate size for the entire household of God.
Recall that the Passover lamb is to be chosen and penned on the 10th Aviv, awaiting its slaughter on the 14th or 15th (the particular date depending on which of the two primary functions of Passover is operative in that era).
Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th Aviv, riding on a donkey colt amidst celebrating crowds who cried “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” and waved palm fronds while acclaiming him king of Israel. John 12:12-13.
Christ and his disciples celebrated this singular Passover during the dark (initial) part of 14th Aviv in the upper room of a believer’s house:
And on the first day of Unleavened Bread when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
That evening, Christ changed the Passover observance and symbolism:
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
In so doing, Christ connected himself to the historical Passover in a way that reveals, in hindsight, how all previous Passovers were a prophecy, or foreshadowing, of Him. “My blood of the covenant” substitutes Jesus’ soon-to-be-shed blood for that of the Paschal lamb. Jesus thus changed the Passover sacrament from a physical bleating lamb to spiritual symbols of bread and wine representing his body and blood. Homer Kizer writes that as a result of this change, the date of Passover reverts to 14th Aviv — namely, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the very same date as the first Passover in Egypt — in recognition that at this moment, the role of Passover reverted (from being a symbol of avoidance of sins) to being a sacrifice to cover sins, as it was at the exodus.
Christ’s sacrifice as the Lamb of God needed to occur one time only, to atone for the sins of many. Annual Passover observance (as it pertains to spiritual Israel) thereby changed from the physical sacrifice of an unblemished animal and consumption of its flesh cooked by fire, representing the destruction of sins, to an annual remembrance in which disciples reverently take the Lord’s Supper and pray that their unintentional sins be covered for one more year.
4. The Christian Era — Post-Calvary
In the Christian era after Christ’s sacrifice, death and resurrection, when considering how Israel ought to observe the Passover, the term Israel still refers to spiritual Israel, as previously defined.
Firstborn sons of God now refers to those disciples who follow Christ and in whom His spirit dwells. Such disciples thereby also become firstborn sons of God. (Endnote iii)
No longer is an animal offered as the sacrifice for sin. Instead, disciples offer blessed broken unleavened bread and wine, symbolizing Christ’s body and blood sacrificed at Calvary as the Lamb of God. In this way Christ’s righteousness covers His younger siblings’ nakedness (i.e. sinfulness). The dates for choosing, penning and slaughtering the sacrificial lamb no longer apply, as unleavened bread and wine are symbols that don’t need to be penned or slaughtered. These symbolic elements are simply prepared with reverence, and blessed before they are taken.
In the Christian era, Passover is celebrated on 14th Aviv, either at home, or with brethren in a fellowship’s place of worship. The 14th (rather than the 15th) again applies as it did the night before captive Israel left Egypt, because in this era Passover’s purpose is again as a sacrifice to cover sins.
How should it be observed? Passover is celebrated as a solemn observance after sunset on 14th Aviv. Beginning with a prayer stating that two or more (as appropriate) are gathered in Christ Jesus’ name and inviting the Lord to be with them, disciples wash one another’s feet, sing hymns or read psalms, offer prayers, and read from scripture — especially the story of Jesus’ institution of the Last Supper and his crucifixion, pointing out He was the spotless (sinless) Lamb of God, sacrificed for forgiveness of the sins of many. A worship leader blesses the wine and the unleavened bread, and those present reverently consume the bread and wine. Any blessed bread remaining uneaten should be burned; any blessed wine remaining should be poured on the ground outside. If there is a sermon, talk or reading, it could appropriately address how Passover serves to remind us of where we are in the plan of God. Section 7 contains further resources for observing Passover at home.
As a result of the Passover observance, the inadvertent sins of each disciple who has taken Christ’s sacraments (on the prescribed date for Passover only) are covered by the garment of Christ’s righteousness — covered, as in “to drape a cloak over the sins to conceal them”. Thus a person’s sins are covered for one year until the next Passover.
Should a disciple be unable to take Passover on 14th Aviv due to ritual uncleanness, travel, or a similar valid excuse, that disciple should take it on the date for the make-up Passover, the 14th of the second month (bearing in mind that in God’s calendar, month always means a lunar month which begins with the sighting of the new moon).
In this era, Passover should be taken once a year, annually, on the 14th of Aviv (or on the make-up date) only.
Disciples should never take what Greater Christendom calls “Communion”, “The Lord’s Supper” or the “Holy Eucharist” on any other date, or take it multiple times per year. Taking Christ’s passover sacrifice at any other time than spring mocks Christ, and is akin to trying to enter into God’s presence on the day after the Sabbath.
5. Second Passover Liberation from Sin and Death
Scripture foretells a future event so exceptional, so dramatic, that it will cause Israel to completely forget its exodus from Egypt, despite having commemorated it annually through three millenia:
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.”
Jeremiah 16:14-15 (and a similar passage in Jeremiah 23:7-8)
People of Israel means spiritual Israel, as previously defined. North country and other countries are references to sin and death. Their own land that I gave to their fathers means the Promised Land, as the physical shadow of heaven, God’s rest, and eternal spiritual life. This passage is not a reference to natural Israel or to a specific geographic location; rather, the entire landscape of the Bible represents the mental topography of God’s people.
This overwhelming event is the Second Passover Covenant, found in scripture at Jeremiah 31:31-34:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
And read all of Hebrews chapter 8 for a further description of this new covenant (it quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34 in full) and its mediator, Christ Jesus, our minister in the holy places who is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old [at the time when Hebrews 8 was written] is ready to vanish away.
This new covenant – still awaiting implementation – will be wholly unmistakable when it finally replaces the obsolete Moab covenant that was first observed by the children of Israel in the Promised Land (recall section 2).
On that day, roughly one third of humanity — all biological or legal firstborns not covered by the blood of Christ — will perish. The Second Passover Liberation will reduce the number of living persons by about one third. This event signals the start of the seven-year period described below.
While this shocking prophecy might provoke the reader’s horror, disgust, or rejection upon first encounter, bear in mind that all firstborns belong to God and He can use them in any way He chooses. Disciples should not second-guess God: if He desires that they serve as a sacrifice legally necessary to ransom and bring to salvation a portion of humanity, so be it. Physical death still leaves open the opportunity for judgment and, potentially, salvation at the appropriate time.
At this time, firstborn sons of God still refers to those disciples in whom Christ’s spirit dwells; they survived the Second Passover because their sins were covered by the blood of Christ, having taken the annual Passover and diligently attempted to follow Christ. By the end of these seven years, only a tiny remnant of these firstborn sons of God will remain physically alive.
The seven years consists of two 1260-day periods. Philadelphia calls the first 1260 days the Affliction or Tribulation, and the second 1260 days the Endurance in Jesus. (See endnote iv.) By the end of the Endurance, the majority of those who had self-identified as Christians will have been devoured by sin, in other words did not believe God sufficiently to obey God’s commandments to (1) love God and to (2) love neighbors as oneself — these two dictates being the essence of all the Ten Commandments. Many will also have violated the Sabbath commandment, worshipping God on the first day of the week instead of the seventh day of the week.
In the seven-year period, the Passover Lamb that is sacrificed for sin is the second nation of Israel itself (spiritual Israel), some of whom die as martyrs, as foretold by Christ.
The date of Passover observance in this period changes from the 14th to the dark part of 15th Aviv. This date commemorates the Exodus, the day Israel left Egypt, to signify Israel’s departure from sin and death, because now under the new covenant there is no covering for sins other than each disciple’s own obedience to God. The 15th falls within the Feast of Unleavened Bread – leavening symbolizing sin, and unleavened bread representing living without sin. With God’s laws written upon every heart and each person knowing God, no longer consigned to disobedience, every person now has the possibility of keeping God’s commandments and refraining from sin.
During this seven-year period, Passover observance is as redefined by Christ Jesus in the Last Supper, except that the date is on 15th Aviv.
No sacrifice to cover sins is available anymore. Disciples are now responsible for themselves and are covered only by their belief in God, leading to personal obedience to God. Thus, second Israel must refrain from sin, keeping all the commandments including the Sabbath commandment.
Passover should be observed annually in this manner throughout the 7-year period of the Tribulation and the Endurance, until the advent of the Millenial Kingdom again changes the observance of Passover.
The enormity of this event deserves repetition for emphasis. It may be hard to grasp that God would really cause one-third of humanity to perish in one day, to serve as a sacrifice to redeem spiritual Israel. But read God’s words to the prophet Isaiah:
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
And recall once more God’s word about circumcision of the heart, first raised in section 2. Writing in Romans 2:25-29, the Apostle Paul explains circumcision of the heart:
For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
Thus, after the Second Passover Liberation, all persons are able to be circumcised of heart and to obey the commandments of God. Whether they will endure to the end in faith and obedience to God, or not, will remain a challenge for all disciples to overcome.
6. Millenial Kingdom
Section 6 will only sketch out a period that, to this writer, is not fully understood: the thousand-year reign of Christ the King spoken of in Revelation 20:4-6, which succeeds the Tribulation and the Endurance.
Homer Kizer has suggested that spiritual Israel will then consist of one-third of the people who are still living when the Millenium begins.v He cites Zechariah 13:7-9 concerning a nearly man-for-man replacement of the nation of Israel, analogous to how the children of Israel replaced their parents who had lived through the Exodus, but died before entering the Promised Land:
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”
The analogy retains meaning over the millenia: in refining precious metals, ore is heated until the desired metal melts and separates from the less-valuable matrix in which it is embedded. This passage suggests that the Lord’s people will be continue to be refined and tested until a pure remnant remains, leaving behind the dross material which is not pure, not the sought-after end-product, to be discarded.
Mr. Kizer’s writings suggest that the sacrifice offered for sin during the Millenium will again be a physical bleating lamb – a return to the physical sacrifices in the manner prescribed in Exodus 12:2-6 – and that the observance will take place at the Third Temple, which will be constructed. (Endnote vi).
In this period Passover will serve as a second sacrificial covering, this one to cover disciples’ living inner selves and keep them from sin. Its purpose will be to remind Second Israel of (1) what death is [via the death of a physical animal] and (2) why sin should be spurned.
Sacrifices at the Third Temple will continue throughout the Millenium, until the old earth passes away and is no more, and New Jerusalem descends from heaven like a bride adorned for her husband, and God establishes a new heavens and a new earth (Revelation 3:12 and 21:1-2).
7. Keeping the Lord’s Passover at Home
Today disciples who want their unintentional sins covered can keep the Passover at home, if no local fellowship is available. This is done in anticipation of the Second Passover Liberation from sin and death, which could happen any year now, because humanity could hardly be further from God than it has been recently.
For instructions and a suggested service, see:
and the references below.
Take the Passover sacraments once a year only, after sunset on 14th Aviv (in this era), that is, the 14th day on or after the first sighted new moon, after the spring equinox at your location. Or if a make-up date is necessary, take it on the 14th of the second lunar month. The Introduction explained how to reckon the spring equinox.
The online hymnal of the Philadelphia Church offers some appropriate hymns for the Passover service.
Passover observance is of such great importance that each Philadelphia fellowship invites all interested persons to join us and keep Passover with us.
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Some Useful References
Homer Kizer, The Basics of Christian Typology
H. Kizer, Proclaiming the Passover
H. Kizer, Weekly Reading for April 19, 2008. Analyzes dates for the crucifixion and resurrection, vis-a-vis the Old Testament calendar and prophecy, in much detail.
As Homer Kizer wrote copiously about Passover, this writer finds it impossible to draw up a restricted list of only the most important papers, because all are very informative and useful. All mentions of Passover on The Philadelphia Church website can be located using this Google search term or the search box on any of his websites.
H. Kizer, On the Feast of Unleavened Bread
i, H. Kizer, More on Matthew, Ch. 2, part 1
ii, H. Kizer, Commentary from the Margins, An Infallible Text, Part 10
iii, H. Kizer, Weekly Sabbath Reading for March 3, 2012
iv, H. Kizer, The Tribulation and The Endurance, and Personal Correspondence, 1/17/16, “…day 1260 being a doubled day, the first twenty-four period of this doubled day being the last day of the Affliction, the last day the Adversary has dominion over the single kingdom of this world, and the second twenty-four period of this doubled day 1260 being the first day of the Endurance in Christ…”
v, See the math at H. Kizer, Second High Day of Unleavened Bread. Also see Unborn Sons of God – The Second Passover.
vi, H. Kizer, A Philadelphia Apologetic, Chapter Nine, Section 3
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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All bolding within scripture quotations is emphasis added by the author.
Copyright © 2017 by Hannah Jordan. Last updated April 19, 2017.