Exodus To Corinthians: A Passover Message For The New Testament Church

In 1 Corinthians, Paul makes several references to leavening and to Passover. For many readers today, these references mean very little because so many Christian churches have strayed from the roots of their faith, which Paul was referencing here. In order to really understand key passages of 1 Corinthians, we need to understand Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

I know some (perhaps quite a few) of you are Christians who don’t keep Passover, but I hope you’ll keep reading today’s post. I think you’ll find it interesting and maybe it’ll give you something new to think about and study.

Passover Background

The Passover story begins in Exodus 12. We’re nearing the end of the plagues of Egypt, and the Lord is telling Moses what the Israelite must do to avoid the final plague — the death of the first born. In the first month of the year, on the evening that begins the 14th day (Hebrew days begin at sunset), Israel was to kill a young male lamb, paint the door posts of their houses with its blood, then roast the lamb whole and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Ex. 12:1-13).

This day shall be to you for a memorial, and you shall keep it a feast to Yahweh: throughout your generations you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. (Ex. 12:14, WEB)

The Lord goes on to describe a festival of unleavened bread (matzah) that follows the Passover. For seven days, no leavening (hametz) is permitted in anyone’s house and whoever eats leavened food will be cut off from God’s people (Ex. 12:15-20). Later instructions in Leviticus clarify the timing of all this, stating that Passover is on the 14th and Unleavened Bread begins with a holy convocation on the 15th, then ends with another holy convocation on the seventh day (Lev. 23:4-8). The two holy days are Sabbaths of rest where you are not to work, much like the weekly Sabbath.

The New Covenant Passover

Moving into the New Testament, the gospels make careful note of Passovers that Jesus kept during his ministry. The first is recorded in John 2:13-23. The second is skimmed over, though Luke 6:1 probably references the last day of Unleavened Bread. John 6:4 mentions the third Passover, and Christ’s final Passover is recorded in detail by all four gospels because that was the day He died.

He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I tell you, I will no longer by any means eat of it until it is fulfilled in God’s Kingdom.” (Luke 22:15-16, WEB)

He then proceeded to institute new Passover symbols for New Covenant believers. Jesus will not partake of the Passover again until the kingdom of God comes in the future, but He tells us to do so in memory of Him (Luke 22:17-20).

For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread. When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.” In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.” (1 Cor. 11:23-25, WEB)

Exodus To Corinthians: A Passover Message For The New Testament Church | LikeAnAnchor.com
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Honoring Jesus By Keeping The Passover

The passage we just read from 1 Corinthians is one of two obvious Passover references in this letter. Paul goes on to share instructions on how we’re supposed to prepare for Passover, as well as warnings about the dangers of not keeping Passover the correct way. Read more

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Beware Leavened Doctrine

“Every word of God is pure,” but the same can’t be said of all the words human beings say about God’s words (Prov. 30:5, KJV). This is one of the problems Jesus called attention to in His earthly ministry. The religious leaders of His day bound heavy burdens on their followers, got distracted by seeking recognition, shut the kingdom against God’s people, greedily profited off the offerings made to God, misrepresented the truth, and focused on minutia while ignoring weighty matters of the law. In short, they were hypocrites (Matt. 23).

In Matthew 16, Jesus told His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matt. 16:6, KJV). The disciples were confused at first, but after some discussion they realized He wasn’t telling them to “beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matt. 16:12, KJV).

How Leavening Works

The New Testament speaks of leavening representing hypocrisy, malice, and wickedness (Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:8). And when we consider the physical affect of a leavening agent like yeast, we see leaven as something souring, spreading, fermenting, and puffed-up.

Matthew Henry suggests that the warning “take heed and beware” in Matthew 16 is given because disciples are especially vulnerable to this type of deception. We can easily fall victim to those like the “Pharisees, who are great pretenders to devotion, and Sadducees, who pretend to a free and impartial search after the truth” (MHC on Matt. 16:5-12).

We’re not talking about a corrupting influence from outside the church. These people operate within, corrupting the doctrine that came direct from God. Read more

Top 5 Reasons for Christians to Keep God’s Holy Days

Today we celebrate Yom Teruah, also called Feast of Trumpets and Rosh Hashanah. But why? After all, I’m Christian and most people think of this as a Jewish holiday. Same goes for Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, which we’ll observe 10 days from now, and Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles that starts in two weeks.

I believe these festival observances, along with others already completed this year, are for Christians today. When Jesus came to this world, it wasn’t to set up a new religion. He was the next step in God’s plan for the world and these days are part of the covenant He makes with His family. He’s still inviting us to gather for “reunions” at certain times of the year.Top 5 Reasons for Christians to Keep God's Holy Days | marissabaker.wordpress.com

1. They Belong To God

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.” (Lev. 23:1-2)

The holy days aren’t Jewish or exclusively Old Testament. They belong to God Himself. We talk about Leviticus 23 as the chapter where God gives Israel the Feasts, but that’s not quite accurate. God doesn’t say, “Here are your holy days, Israel.” He says, “These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times” (Lev. 23:4). Read more

Rhythms of Worship

The people of God are set apart, with different priorities, habits, and festivals than the rest of the world. We may celebrate national holidays of our homelands, such as July 4th for Americans, but those are not the observances that shape our identities as God’s people. The kingdom we belong to under Christ’s authority has a different calendar.

A couple months ago, I read Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith. In Chapter 5: Practicing (for) the Kingdom, he discusses “rhythms and cadences of hope” that Christians observe in weekly and annual practices. For him, this means Sunday, Easter, Lent, Advent, Christmas and others. He connects the observances to a rich history of “a people gathered to worship the Messiah, who does not float in some esoteric, ahistorical heaven, but who made a dent in the calendar — and will again” (p. 157). Rhythms of Worship | marissabaker.wordpress.com

But when you read the Bible, you won’t find those days he talks about on God’s calendar. Even the one mention of Easter in the KJV is a mistransltion of pascha, or Passover (Acts 12:4, Strong’s G3957). Rather, we find the church from the Torah to Revelation on a calendar even more unique than the one Smith claims for Christians. I know it puzzles many Christians that I would keep the “Jewish holidays,” but I find it equally puzzling that they would continue a tradition of co-opting pagan holidays and attaching them to Biblical events God gave no instructions to observe. When we search the scriptures looking for God’s version of liturgical rhythms, we find a worship pattern far more richly layered and deeply rooted in God’s plan than what man has invented. Read more

All-In

Today is the first day of Unleavened Bread on God’s Holy Day calendar (Lev. 23:6-8). We just observed Passover, and now we’re starting a season of purging the leaven of sin our of our lives. Even if you’re not one of the Christians observing the Passover season, putting sin our of our lives is a necessary part of our walk with God so I hope you’ll keep reading.

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:7-8)

In my personal pre-Passover studies, I spent time in Romans 12 and 13. This section of scripture covers what my study Bible calls “practical living.” It lists instruction, reminders, and exhortations that are crucial to our walk as Christians. I found it helpful as a guide for self-examination, and there was one thing in particular that I want to share today.

Time To Wake Up

The last few verses of Romans 13 are a summation of the previous exhortation to practical, godly living, as well as a call to active de-leavening.

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (Rom. 13:11)

Let’s just pause for a moment and consider this verse. If we have to awake, then that means we’ve fallen asleep much like the ten virgins of Matthew 25:1-13. This subject of spiritual sleepiness also comes up in connection with the Passover.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11:28-31)

Where it talks about judging ourselves, the Greek word is diakrino (G1252). It means to discern, to make a determination, to separate something and come to a judgement. I think of it as sorting through our thoughts, motives and actions to judge them in the light of God’s word. It’s when we stop doing that that we fall asleep. So it follows that when we wake up, we have to go back to the light in order to stay awake.

Putting on Light

We’ll get back to Romans 13 in a moment, but first let’s look at another passage that talks about what to do once we wake up.

You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. (1 Thes. 5:5-8)

All-In | marissabaker.wordpress.comSleepiness on a spiritual level is connected here with darkness and drunkenness. When we fall asleep, we’re stumbling around in a dark place, and we need light to wake us up. This light must come from God, but we also have a responsibility to take what He referees. We have to be the virgins who were ready to fill their lamps when they woke up, not the ones who had to run back to the shops.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. (Rom. 13:12-13)

Once we commit our lives to God, that’s not the end of our responsibilities. He will help us, but we also have a role to play. We can’t put on light by ourselves, or put leaven our by ourselves, but it also doesn’t just happen without any action on our part. God wants us involved in working out our own salvation and resisting sin (Phil. 2:12-13; Rom. 6:12-13).

The Role of Christ

In John 1:9, Jesus is described as “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” it should come as no surprise, then, that both passages we’ve quoted about waking up and walking in the light conclude by talking about Jesus.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. (1 Thes. 5:9-10)

God has not set us up for punishment, even those of us who have fallen asleep. His own Son died to offer us salvation – -surely He wants us to embrace that opportunity! We have the chance to be like the wise virgins who woke up from their sleep and were still ready to meet the bridegroom.

 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Rom. 13:14)

If we’re truly committed to putting on the character of Jesus Christ, we can’t try to keep one foot in the world at the same time. Paul tells us here that we shouldn’t make any provisions for fulfilling the lusts of the flesh — there shouldn’t be any part of us that’s holding back from God hoping to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin. Easier said than done, I know, but that should be our goal. Let’s use this Passover season and the days of Unleavened Bread to continue de-leavening our lives, and filling the spaces that are left when we get rid of leaven with the light of Jesus Christ’s mind and character.

Berry Swirl Cheesecake (Updated Recipe)

Berry Swirl Cheesecake recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comI tried out an almond raspberry cheesecake a few weeks ago, which tasted great but I wasn’t quite happy with how it cooked up. Fortunately, this time I ran out of raspberry jam and substituted black raspberry jelly. Oh. My. Goodness. Black raspberries and cheesecake belong together.

The basic recipe is much the same as the last one, but I used dough hooks to make the crust instead of hand-kneading it and that worked well. I also didn’t swirl extra jelly into the top, hoping the cake would crack less. It was less, but still not perfect.

Berry Swirl Cheesecake

Berry Swirl Cheesecake recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comprint this recipe

Crust

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup ground almonds

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a 9-inch spring-form pan with aluminum foil. Using the dough hooks on an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add ground almonds and 1/2 cup of flour, and mix well. Flour hands and press dough into the spring-form pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Filling

3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring

3 eggs

1/4 cup berry preserves

Berry Swirl Cheesecake recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.comBeat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing at low speed after each addition.

Mix 3/4 cup of batter with 1/4 cup raspberry preserves. Spoon 1/3 of the raspberry mixture over the crust. Pour the remainder of the cheesecake batter into the pan. Drop the remaining raspberry/cream cheese mixture by spoon fulls over the top of the cheesecake and smooth into the batter. Use a knife or spatula to swirl the berry mixture.

Bake cheesecake for 1 hour at 325° F or until center is almost set. Run a knife along the inside edge of the pan ring when it comes out of the oven. Cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Berry Swirl Cheesecake recipe by marissabaker.wordpress.com