Book: The Christian Passover

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The sacrifice of Jesus Christ opened the way for the fulfilling of God’s plan of salvation for all mankind. Through His death, Jesus ratified the New Covenant, which enables every sinner who repents to receive forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life through the begettal of the Holy Spirit from God the Father. The New Covenant was sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ, “...the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). His shed blood is symbolized by the wine that every true Christian partakes of during the Christian Passover ceremony. When Jesus instituted this ceremony, He “took the cup; and after giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘All of you drink of it; for this is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins’ ” (Matt. 26:27-28).

By offering His own blood, He purchased remission of sin for all time: “...Without the shedding of blood there is no the consummation of the ages, He has been manifested for the purpose of removing sin through His sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:22, 26). The blood of Jesus Christ was poured out to remove the sins of all mankind. But Jesus Christ is a personal Savior, which means that His blood must be individually imputed to each one who repents of sin and believes in Him: “...This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).

Each Christian who partakes of the small cup of wine during the Christian Passover service is symbolizing his or her acceptance of the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and deliverance from the penalty of death. By partaking of the wine and the unleavened bread, each one is acknowledging his or her personal faith in the shed blood and the broken body of Jesus Christ, which alone can bring eternal life. Jesus Himself clearly said, “...Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves” (John 6:53).

The blood of Jesus Christ works in many powerful ways to bring eternal life to those who accept His sacrifice. This work began with the establishment of the New Covenant and will continue until the return of Jesus Christ.

The Multi-Faceted Meaning of the Blood of Jesus Christ

Let us examine the many ways in which the blood of Jesus Christ is fulfilling the promise of salvation and eternal life:

1) Jesus Christ ratified the New Covenant with His blood. At the institution of the Christian Passover, Jesus said, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).

No covenant can be established without a blood sacrifice. When God established His covenant with Abraham, He ratified it by passing between the halves of the sacrificial animals (Gen. 15:17-18). This covenant was the foundation for both the Old Covenant with the physical seed of Abraham and the New Covenant with the spiritual seed.

When the Old Covenant was established, the people of Israel agreed to obey all the laws and statutes of God, which were written in the book of the covenant, known as “the book of the law.” The covenant was then ratified with the blood of animals: “And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the ears of the people. And they said, ‘All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.’ And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words” (Ex. 24:6-8). The blood of the sacrificial animals represented the death that would be required of every person who broke the covenant.

The Old Covenant was broken countless times during the history of the people of Israel and Judah. By breaking the covenant, the people forfeited their right to the blessings of God and brought themselves under the curses of the covenant, which included the sentence of death. To redeem them from the curse of death, Jesus Christ, the Lord God of the Old Testament, sacrificed His life. Because the Old Covenant required the death of all the children of Israel, the Lord God chose to end that covenant. As the God Who had established the covenant, He had the power to end it with His death. In His great mercy and love, God Himself became flesh and died! Through His death, He terminated the Old Covenant and established the New Covenant, which offers eternal life through faith.

Like the words of the Old Covenant, the words of the New Covenant are recorded in God’s Word. The books of the New Testament reveal the way to enter the New Covenant and receive the promise of eternal life. This promise was sealed WITH THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST. God Himself, Who cannot lie, guaranteed the promise of salvation with His own blood. There can be no surer guarantee!

Jesus Christ, Who ratified the New Covenant with His blood, is now actively fulfilling the promise of salvation by serving as Mediator of the covenant. Every sinner can be reconciled to God the Father by coming to “...Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant; and to sprinkling of the blood of ratification, proclaiming superior things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:24).

2) Jesus Christ redeems sinners and removes sins through His blood. The word “redeem” means to buy back what has been sold. All human beings have been “sold under sin” by transgressing the commandments and laws of God (Rom. 3:23; 7:14, I John 3:4). In becoming the servants of sin, all have earned the penalty of death (Rom. 6:16, 23). The only escape from this death is through Jesus Christ, Who paid the price for the redemption of every human being with His crucifixion and death: “...The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).

Jesus Christ sacrificed His own life as the Passover Lamb of God (I Cor. 5:7). His one perfect sacrifice purchased redemption for sinners throughout all ages: “But Christ Himself has become High Priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by human hands (that is, not of this present physical creation [the temple in Jerusalem before its destruction]). Not by the blood of goats and calves, but by the means of His own blood, He entered once for all into the holiest [into the presence of God the Father, as the perfect and complete sin offering], having by Himself secured everlasting redemption” (Heb. 9:11- 12).

Each one who is redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins: “...Wherein He [God the Father] has made us the objects of His grace in the Beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:6-7). When a person truly repents of his or her sins and accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God the Father counts every sin the person has committed as paid in full by the blood of His own Son. Each one who is redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ is freed from the ownership of sin and the penalty of death (Rom. 5:21; 6:1-4). He or she is no longer the property and slave of sin and Satan the devil, but has become the property and servant of Jesus Christ and God the Father (Rom. 6:18, 22).

As the servants of God, each one must forsake the way of sin: “Knowing that you were not redeemed by corruptible things, by silver or gold, from your futile way of living, inherited by tradition from your forefathers; but by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:18-19).

Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price to redeem sinners from the power of sin and the penalty of death. Because the price of redemption was so great, those who are purchased by His blood and become the property of God the Father are obligated to serve Him with wholehearted devotion. Paul writes: “WHAT! Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which you have within you from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19-20).

Every believer who repents of sin and is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ receives the Holy Spirit as a begettal from God the Father (Acts 2:38). Each Christian then begins a new life of service to God (Rom. 6:4, 10). The Gospel of John shows that this new life is a continuing process of growth: “But the one who practices the truth [striving to live by every word of God] comes to the light [learning from Jesus Christ, Who is the light and set the example], so that his works may be manifested, that they have been accomplished by the power of God” (John 3:21).

Christians who are walking in the light of God’s Word by following the example of Jesus Christ will continue to receive forgiveness through His blood when they stumble and sin: “However, if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His own Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our own sins, He is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:7-9). Daily forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ is granted only to those who are walking in the light of God’s Word.

3) Jesus Christ justifies and sanctifies sinners through His blood. The gift of justification before God the Father comes through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ: “...having been justified by faith....God commends His own love to us because when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom. 5:1, 8-9). Justification means that a person has been placed in right standing with God and is counted as blameless before God the Father. This right standing with God the Father is made possible because the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed, or attributed, to the individual.

Justification through the blood of Jesus Christ is granted only to those who repent of their sins and transgressions of God’s laws: “Because the hearers of the law are not just [justified] before God, but the doers of the law [the ones who are keeping the commandments of God] shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13).

Every believer who repents of sin and is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ receives complete justification before God: “...But you were washed [by baptism], you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:11). At baptism, the believer not only receives justification, but is also sanctified before God the Father. The blood of Jesus Christ makes this sanctification possible: “For this reason, Jesus, in order that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, also suffered outside the gate” (Heb. 13:12). The only way to be made holy, or sanctified, in God the Father’s sight is through the blood of Jesus Christ, and the truth of God’s Word.

To be “sanctified” means to be set aside for a holy use and purpose. The prayer of Jesus on His last Passover night shows that every true believer is also being sanctified by the Word of God: “Sanctify them in Your truth; YOUR WORD IS THE TRUTH” (John 17:17). Each one who truly believes in Jesus Christ and is sanctified through His blood is set aside by God’s Word and by the Holy Spirit to live his or her life God’s way. That is the purpose of sanctification.

4) Jesus Christ purifies the conscience and brings peace with God through His blood. Peace with God the Father is possible only through the blood of Jesus Christ: “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross...” (Col. 1:19-20). The blood of Jesus Christ brings peace with God by removing the enmity that is caused by sin: “For He is our peace,...having annulled in His flesh the enmity...” (Eph. 2:14-15).

Jesus removes this enmity by purifying the mind of each one who has repented of sin: “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are defiled, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh [not the purifying of the mind], to a far greater degree, the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, shall purify [purge or cleanse] your conscience from dead works [works that lead to death] to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:13-14).

Those whose consciences have been purified from the works of the flesh are no longer the enemies of God because they are no longer “ wicked works” (Col. 1:21). They have forsaken the way of sin to begin a new life of righteousness, learning to do the good works that God has commanded: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). By keeping the commandments of God with a pure conscience, true Christians are manifesting the love that God desires: “Now the purpose of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and genuine faith” (I Tim. 1:5). Those who profess to serve God but are not keeping His commandments have not had their consciences purified from dead works.

5) Jesus Christ gives direct access to God the Father through His blood. The apostle Paul declares, “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once afar off [cut off from God] are made near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).

In his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul reveals that those whose consciences have been purified by the blood of Jesus Christ have direct access to God the Father: “Therefore, brethren, having confidence to enter into the true holiest [into the presence of God the Father in heaven above] by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He consecrated for us through the veil (that is, His flesh), and having a great High Priest over the house of God, let us approach God with a true heart, with full conviction of faith, our hearts having been purified [by the blood of Jesus] from a wicked conscience, and our bodies having been washed with pure water [by baptism]. Let us hold fast without wavering to the hope that we profess, for He Who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:19-23).

During His ministry, Jesus Himself revealed that His followers would receive direct access to God the Father, He said: “In that day [after the resurrection of Jesus] you shall ask in My name; and I do not tell you that I will beseech the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God” (John 16:26-27). From the time of Jesus’ ascension to heaven, every Christian has been given authority to approach the Father in His name. The only intermediary between Christians and God the Father is Jesus Christ, Who intercedes as High Priest to remove sins with His own blood that He shed on the Passover day of His crucifixion.

True Christians have no need of a priesthood of men, nor of a temple in which to worship God. Not only do they have direct access to the throne of God the Father in heaven, but He is dwelling within them through the Holy Spirit: “...For you are a temple of the living God, exactly as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people....and I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (II Cor. 6:16, 18). Every Christian who has been begotten by the Holy Spirit of God the Father becomes a member of the family of God (Eph. 3:14-15). Each one is a child of God the Father and may call Him, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15). This new relationship with the Father shows the love of God through Jesus Christ, Whose blood makes it possible for human beings to become the children of God, as John writes: “Behold! What glorious love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God!” (I John 3:1.)

6) Jesus Christ is building the Church through His blood. The New Testament reveals that each spiritually begotten child of God is placed into His Church. The Church of God is a spiritual body, and is called the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). Every true believer is a member of the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:27). Each one is joined to the body of Jesus Christ at baptism. When a believer is baptized, he or she is baptized into the covenant death of Jesus Christ, being conjoined with the body of Jesus Christ into the same death. In this symbolic covenant death, the believer is united with the body of Jesus Christ, being buried with Him in the baptismal grave and then rising with Him to a new life (Rom. 6:3-4). Upon receiving the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, each believer becomes a member of the body of Jesus Christ. This body is composed of all spiritually begotten Christians and constitutes the true Church.

The Church belongs to God the Father, Who has made Jesus Christ the Head of the Church. The apostle Paul reveals that the Church of God was purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul told the elders of Ephesus, “Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed [with the Word] the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

Every member of the true Church of God has been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. They all belong to God the Father because Jesus has redeemed them from sin with His own blood. They are no longer the property of sin and Satan—nor are they the property of any man or any organization of men. They are the property and the children of God the Father, and Jesus Christ is their Head.

7) Jesus Christ delivers Christians from Satan the devil through His blood. Each Christian who has been redeemed from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ has also been freed from the power of Satan: “Giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us qualified for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light; Who has personally rescued us from the power of darkness and has transferred us unto the kingdom of the Son of His love; in Whom we have redemption through His own blood, even the remission of sins” (Col. 1:12-14).

Satan is the great evil force, the prince of the power of the air, who captivates the minds and hearts of people and draws them into sin (Eph. 2:1-2). Many people do not believe that Satan exists. Those who do usually see his influence only in the gross, obvious evils in the world around them. They fail to realize that Satan does not present himself as an evil being, but as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14). He is, in fact, the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4).

Satan is aided by a host of seducing spirits in his efforts to deceive the people of this world: “And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. And this is the spirit of antichrist [from Satan the devil], which you heard was to come, and even now it is already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because greater is He Who is in you [the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God the Father] than the one who is in the world [Satan the devil, who is the god of this world]” (I John 4:3-4).

Every Christian who has been begotten by the Holy Spirit of God has been delivered from the power of Satan, who is leading the world deeper and deeper into sin. But Satan does not give up on those who turn from the way of sin and disobedience. He uses all the wily devices of his wicked mind to lure Christians back into sin. Each Christian must continually be on guard against Satan’s deceptions and must use the full power of God and all the spiritual weapons that He provides to resist the devil (Eph. 6:10-18, I Pet. 5:8- 9). Christians must draw close to God daily, lest they be drawn into temptation and sin. If they do sin, they must repent and ask God the Father to cleanse them from their sin through the blood of Jesus Christ (I John 1:7-9).

Cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ is a lifelong process. It is this continued application of the blood of Jesus Christ that gives each Christian the victory over Satan and His devices: “And the great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, who is deceiving the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels [evil spirits, or demons] were cast down with him. And I heard a great voice in heaven say, ‘Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ because the accuser of our brethren has been cast down, who accuses them day and night before our God.’

“But they overcame him [Satan the devil] through the blood of the Lamb, and through the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death” (Rev. 12:9-11).

8) Jesus Christ is perfecting Christians through His blood. As human beings, with the law of sin and death within our flesh, not one of us is perfect. But in order to enter the kingdom of God, we must all become spiritually perfect, as God is. Jesus said: “Therefore, you shall be perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

Nothing we do, of and by ourselves, can make us perfect before God the Father. The patriarch Job learned this lesson by experience (Job 9:20; 40:9-14; 42:1-6). No amount of human willpower and work can bring spiritual perfection. The only way to attain spiritual perfection is through the blood of Jesus Christ, which enables us to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit from God the Father. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives us the power to become like Jesus Christ, Who Himself attained spiritual perfection by overcoming the temptations of the flesh (Heb. 5:8-9).

The very purpose for the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh was to bring human beings to perfection by reconciling them to God the Father. That is the first step toward spiritual perfection: “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross...He has reconciled you in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unimpeachable before Him [God the Father]; if indeed you continue in the faith grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard...even the mystery that has been hidden from ages and from generations, but has now been revealed to His saints; to whom God did will to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; Whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:20-23, 26-28).

The spiritual perfection of individual Christians is now being accomplished through the blood of Jesus Christ: “And may the God of peace, Who raised our Lord Jesus from among the dead—that great Shepherd of the sheep—through the blood of the everlasting covenant, perfect you in every good work in order that you may do His will; accomplishing in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory into the ages of eternity. Amen” (Heb. 13:20-21).

In a vision that the apostle John recorded in the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ appears as the Lamb of God, Who was slain for the sins of the world, and a new song accompanies the prayers of the saints: “Worthy are You to take the book, and to open its seals because You were slain, and did redeem [purchase] us to God [the Father] BY YOUR OWN BLOOD, out of every tribe and language and people and nation...” (Rev. 5:9).

This is the glorious salvation that Jesus envisioned when He said, “For this is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). How profound these words are when we understand the multi-faceted work of the blood of Jesus Christ!

In the next chapter, we will learn how the Old Testament prophecies of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ were all fulfilled on the Passover day—the 14th of Nisan.