As the time draws nigh for the celebrating of the Passover; it may not be out of place to consider a few points therewith connected. As to the proper time of observing the Lord's supper, there is much diversity of opinion. Some claim the first day of each week as the only correct time; others, that it should be observed every first Sunday of each month, while some only partake of the feast once in three months. If there is a correct time for the observance of the passover, it is evident that all the above views cannot be correct; and indeed it would seem, from the manner in which many speak of it, that God had left the matter entirely in our hands; that we might please ourselves, observing it just as our opinion of the matter might dictate. From examination of the Scriptures, we feel confident that all the positions cited are merely inferences drawn by man, and therefore if not obeyed would not prove fatal; for there is much difference between the doctrines of men, and the commandments of God. Without stopping to inquire into the various causes for such a variety of ideas as to the proper time for the Lord's Supper, we shall at once proceed to investigate the Bible—our only guide and instructor in all matters of religion, its ordinances, etc. Under the law dispensation, [which was a shadow of good things to come; Heb. 10:1,] there was a particular time for the killing and eating of the paschal lamb—"Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying: In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb;...and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month, and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening." Exodus 12:3-6.
The month referred to corresponds with the new moon of April or March; and counting forward from that point the allotted time, will bring us to the passover. That the lamb slain, pointed forward to Jesus, there can be no doubt; and when we examine minutely, the details connected with His death; the time will be seen to be clearly marked. "Then Jesus, six days before the passover, came to Bethany....On the next day [five days before the passover] much people that were come to the feast, when they heard Jesus was coming to Jerusalem...went forth to meet Him." John 12:1,12,13. As the lamb was taken up on the tenth; so Jesus went up to Jerusalem [where he was sacrificed] five days before the passover, which would be the tenth. "Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed...and they made ready the passover, and when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him: and he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer," Luke 22. The lamb pointed to Jesus, and we in eating the Lord's Supper; commemorate His death, and also the time. If this truth were recognized by christians; they would not attempt to commemorate the Lord's death on the first day of the week; for Jesus died not then, but rose from the dead; therefore, no one should celebrate His death on the day of His resurrection; unless that day should happen to be the fourteenth day of the first month, at which time the Lord's Supper should be observed. One cannot keep the fourth of May in commemoration of the "Declaration of Independence;" then, neither can any person celebrate the Lord's death on the day he arose.
It is true that Jesus said: "For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come;" [1 Cor. 11:26.] However, as he did not say how often, and all the truth on any Bible subject is not found in one place; we must determine, what time it would be proper, from the various connections, and the sense demanded by the type. Therefore, as the type foreshadows it, and the sense demands it; we conclude that the Lord's death should be commemorated at the time He died.
The night in which they ate the flesh of the lamb: typifies the whole gospel age: and through this night of 1800 years; we should, as each fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish year rolls around, celebrate the passover in commemoration of the death of our paschal lamb.
The lamb slain was to be, "without blemish." Exo. 12:5. This shows beautifully, the perfection and purity of our lamb: "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." 1 Cor. 5:7. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold;...but with the precious blood [life] of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;" [1 Pet. 1:18,19.] "And ye know that He [Jesus] was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin." 1 John 3:5.
There are several features to be observed in the application of this type. The slaying of the lamb [as already found] foreshadowed the death of Jesus; but now we wish to consider another point, viz., "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it." Exo. 12:8. In this picture is shown how we [the church] partake of the nature of Christ, by eating His flesh; [in the figurative sense] for he says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you; except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; for my flesh is meat indeed; and my blood is drink indeed." John 6:53,54. The reader will remember that the flesh of the lamb was to be eaten with unleavened bread; so says Paul: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, [corrupt nature] that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened....Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice, or wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." 1 Cor. 5:7,8.
The passover was not only to be eaten with unleavened bread, but with bitter herbs. This shows the suffering of the body of Jesus. If we eat, [partake of His nature] we will suffer. The truth obeyed, will lead us to give up the world; resist the devil, and overcome [crucify] the flesh; which is hard to do, and necessitates suffering. Truth declares: "If we [R212 : page 5] have been planted together in the likeness of His [Christ's] death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man [fleshly nature] is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed;...for he that is dead is freed from sin." Rom. 6:5-7.
Again says truth: "For thy [Christ's] sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter," [Rom. 8:36.] and, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Tim. 3:12. All of these things require an effort on our part: self-denial, and suffering; for we bear "about in the body the dying [suffering] of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body: for we which live are alway delivered unto death [of the flesh] for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh;" [2 Cor. 4:10,11] and: "Though our outward man [natural] perish, yet the inward man [spiritual] is renewed day by day;" (verse 16) for: "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Gal. 5:24. There is no doubt, that if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, [a life of obedience] we shall suffer. This is clearly intimated by our Lord when He says: "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?...And He saith unto them, ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with." Matt. 20:22,23. By referring to Matt. 26:39. We know the cup spoken of was in reference to His death, therefore we drink of the same cup; and are baptized with the same baptism, [death] for: "Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?" Rom. 6:3. By viewing this in the above light, it is very significant that Jesus partook of the passover; for as He ate it with "Bitter herbs," [suffering,] so also do we, and in this He was our example and forerunner. Let us therefore, walk in the narrow [difficult] path of life; the one Jesus trod: "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin," [1 Pet. 4:1] therefore; "Rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." verse 13.
The next point in connection with the passover to be considered is: "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, [loins girt about with truth; Eph. 6:14,] your shoes on your feet, [your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; verse 15] and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord's passover; [R212 : page 6] for I will pass through the land of Egypt this night,...and the blood shall be to you for a token...and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." Exo. 12:11-13. This type being a figure of the whole Gospel Age; and the living phase of the church, being always represented, we are brought down to the end of this dispensation, where the living saints are to be changed and caught away to meet Jesus, without the tasting of death; [1 Thess. 4:15-17] being: "Accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:36.
The Hebrew word "Pesach," and the Greek "Pascha," [its equivalent] signifies: "A passing over." This feature of the type is yet to be fulfilled, Jesus said: "I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God....I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come." Luke 22:16-18. Hence it will not be fulfilled until we [the living] are changed into the likeness of Christ; at which time we will be gathered unto Jesus, being those mentioned by the prophets: "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another:...and they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts; in that day when I make up my Jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." Mal. 3:16,17. As we are living in "That day." [A period of 40 years,] therefore ought we to be ready: having our loins girt about with truth; our staff in hand, all ready for a journey, [our change] for we know not how soon we shall see Jesus as He is: and so be passed over. It will be observed that only the "First-born," were threatened; [Exo. 12:12] so now only: "The church of the first-born." [Heb. 12:23,] is in danger: for, if we are not passed over: ["Accounted worthy to escape,"] we lose our high calling; and not only so but we lose it forever; therefore let us so live, that we may be ready. Paul says: "Through faith he [Moses] kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the first-born should touch them." Heb. 11:28. That being the type, and this the anti-type certainly it is as important that we do God's will, lest we be not spared as one of the Bride company.
One more feature of the passover is worthy of notice: "And ye shall let nothing of it [the lamb] remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning, ye shall burn with fire." Exo. 12:10. In this there is a very important truth to be observed; viz.: That those who were passed over, had eaten during the night. So, during this Gospel Night, we partake of our Lamb, [Christ] and apply the blood of sprinkling; but as there was none of the lamb to remain until the morning; so in like manner here; for, when we are ushered into the full dawn of day and the morning has fully come; no one can eat of the lamb, [that is, partake of the Divine nature—Immortality] as the Lord's Supper will be a thing of the past, for it is to be fulfilled when the kingdom has come, [that is, when the living saints are changed; and we are thus passed over,] and we need not longer keep it in remembrance of His death; hence it will be an ordinance forever past, as also will be baptism into Christ; for the Christ [anointed] head and body (Jesus and Bride) will be complete; therefore, these ordinances pass away with the ending (harvest) of the gospel age, and people (those in the light) will then look back on these things; [now glorious privileges] as we now look back to those ordinances obtaining under the law.
Finally brethren and sisters in Christ, seeing these things are true; ought we not to be earnest? and especially as we have reasons for believing the time very short; for if we have not Christ formed within—and under the blood of sprinkling when the door closes the prize now offered, [Immortality and heirship with Jesus] is to us forever lost.