Earlier this week, I received a request from Pastor Silas Muriuki, head of a Sabbath Mission in Kenya on how I think they should celebrate the coming Feast of Passover, and Unleavened Bread. I have in the past written on both feasts, on several occasions here on this blog (and you can find the links in the RELATED section below), and elsewhere, so the nitty gritty has been taken care of there. What I’ll attempt to do here is make a story about what will happen during the feasts while relating all of that to the history and biblical account, without necessarily quoting relevant scripture as I’ve always done. Along the line, I will mention the dates on which the various events will take place this year, also in response to the demands of my Kenyan Pastor friend.
Let me start by again addressing the issue of Abib and it’s place in the Jewish calendar. The month of Abib which broke on the 29th of March of this year is considered as the BEGINNING OF MONTHS. This month of Abib isn’t considered to mean the same as the beginning of the year, which in the Jewish calendar is the seventh month. Hence, though we are currently in the first month, the year itself began (last year in the Gregorian calendar) during the FEAST OF TRUMPETS, last October as year 5777. I bring myself to understand the dichotomy thus: the day one is born (the beginning of the year for instance, now relegated to the seventh month, for the feast of Trumpets) cannot be as important as the day something eventful happened in the life of the individual (like in the month of Abib, when the children of Israel came to be delivered from the house of bondage in Egypt). Indeed many a people would make a landmark of that event, and count their years afterwards from it, over and above the day of their birth. Such is the case with Aviv (Abib) being the beginning of months, but not the beginning of the year, with the former superseding the latter because of the momentous event that took place within it.
Before the coming of Yahshua, the celebrations in the month of Abib consisted of the Feast of Passover, and Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Passover was and remains a feast for a night. Falling next Monday night, the 10th of April (the 14th of Abib at evening, which is the beginning of the Jewish day). At inception, it was celebrated by families, who had to sprinkle the blood of the passover lamb/goat on the lintel of the door, so death could PASS OVER the children of Israel in Goshen in Egypt, sparing the lives of their firstborn sons. Subsequently, in the wilderness all of Israel celebrated it at a mobile location consecrated holy by the priests, without the blood on lintel part (not like they even had permanent structures for a house at the time). The other traditions beside the blood on the lintel, remained largely unchanged even after Solomon built and dedicated the temple in Jerusalem much later.
The tradition involves eating of the Passover Meal consisting of ROAST LAMB, with UNLEAVENED (baked without yeast) BREAD (reminiscent of the haste with which the Israelites had to leave Egypt, so much so that bread had to be baked without yeast to save time, while they ate the meal, staff in hand ready for the journey ahead, as REDEMPTION beckoned) and BITTER HERBS on the Passover night. While at it, children especially are told the story of the PASSOVER, of how YAHWEH with a strong arm delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, catered for them for forty years in the wilderness, on their way to Canaan, the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. The bitter herbs representing the bitterness of their days in bondage, as with our lives here on earth today; the significance being that one day we shall be in a better place, not one fashioned by the hands of a man, but one whose founder and builder is YAHWEH. Let me quickly add here that the meal for the Feast of Passover is commemorative only, and not necessarily meant to fill a hungry stomach, hence we are meant to have our fill already of whatever food we desire before eating the Passover Meal. The same situation will suffice for the commemoration of Yahshua’s Last Supper.
Then the controversy about the role of Yahshua in the feast, and whether there’s still justification for the slaughter of a lamb for the feast of Passover, considering that it is on biblical record that He was the Passover Lamb for the year in which he was impaled, though the scene leading to that was reminiscent of what priests would do before selecting a lamb for sacrifice during the FEAST OF ATONEMENT. Interestingly, Yahshua instituted a ceremony which he instructed his followers to commemorate, a night before the Passover in which he was to serve as a Paschal Lamb, because he knew he wasn’t meant to abolish the Passover Feast, in fact while dining with his disciples during the Last Supper, he expressed regret at what will be his inability to partake in the Passover the following day. He instructed his disciples to as often as they do annually, beyond remembering Him, to internalize the significance of His coming, his words and his sacrifice. I believe that Yahshua serving as the passover lamb for that year doesn’t preclude the passover meal, especially the roast lamb/goat part. Though today’s realities doesn’t entail the slaughter of a lamb, when parts of it can be bought to mark the feast, ensuring though that there’s no “breaking of bones” while at it, in keeping with the commandment associated with partaking of the paschal meal, without excluding the fact that none of it should be eaten outside of the location where the feast is being held, as well as the burning of whatever is left of the roast meat before dawn.
In instituting His commemoration, the night before the night of Passover, in which he was to serve as the Paschal Lamb, Yahshua showed us an example, not only in what we must do when we gather for such, but when we should do it; the evening (Jewish beginning of day) of 13th Abib, which falls on the evening of Sunday the 9th of April, 2017. The program for that evening should involve the washing of feet, just like Yahshua taught us, the lesson more important than the act, then the blessing and breaking of bread, and the blessing and drinking of wine, signifying the body and blood of Yahshua, of the NEW COVENANT. This should be done the night before the night of Passover, just like Yahshua did with his disciples. It doesn’t take the place of the feast of Passover and the ritual therewith, which YAHWEH instructs that we observe in all our dwellings, throughout our generations, for ALL time.
So, commemorating Yahshua’s LAST SUPPER should hold late Sunday (9th April, 2017) night, into the wee hours of Monday (10th April, 2017). The feast of Passover follows the following night, starting from the evening of Monday 10th of April 2017. Preparations then go into celebrating the FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, starting on the evening of Tuesday 11th April to Wednesday 12th April at evening. That day (from evening to evening) will be the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a HOLY CONVOCATION. The attributes of which includes:
1. Considering the day as a Sabbath in which NO WORK is to be done.
2. Congregating in the House Of YAHWEH to worship him all day.
Though the Feast of Unleavened Bread will hold for seven days, only the first and last days, i.e. Wednesday 12th and Tuesday the 18th of April are to be days of Holy Convocation, while we can go about our businesses on the other days in between, taking care NOT to eat LEAVENED BREAD (one baked with yeast) for the days from the Feast of Passover, through the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I should add to this in due course of time, while hoping that this has been of tremendous help to you. The omission of Bible passages to support what I’ve written is intentional, and I will provide same for you should you have any misgivings concerning any part of this blog post. May YAHWEH bless you all as you endeavour to fulfill his will during these Feasts. CHAG PESACH SAMEACH!