There was an interesting discussion on Facebook recently. Excellent actually. Two people were passionately making their respective points on the question: Why is “Easter” celebrated when it is not mentioned in the New Testament?
One, a Christian, attempted to justify the abandonment of Passover for Easter on grounds that “the resurrection is more important.” He went on to say that in the New Testament, Passover "appears to be so much less in importance to the Church than the resurrection" – which, in my opinion, was an absolute slap in the face of YHWH’s original “pass-over” that served to redeem His people from 400 years of slavery in Egypt! And I couldn’t help but recall that at the time of the Messiah’s crucifixion and resurrection - there was no “Church”!
The Messianic believer, on the other hand, defending Passover, revealed a more solid grasp of the whole Bible, countering that “God himself instituted Passover, not Easter, as one of his appointed times” and “that it is to be perpetually remembered." And only the Messianic believer understood that it was the blood redemption that was the more important part of the Messiah’s crucifixion. Unfortunately, this person seemed to have misinterpreted 1 John 1:7, quoting "the blood of the Lamb of God washes all our sin." (Well, that’s not quite true, as I’ll explain, below.)
Anyway, the Christian acknowledged 1 Corinthians 5:7 that the Messiah is the Passover lamb, but continued to provide only scriptures supporting “reurrection” while at the same time, admitting that “Easter” is nowhere mentioned in scripture….
So, while reading both sides of this particular Facebook “thread” I felt like posing the question: Okay, what is the truth here? Are Christians even partially right that Easter replaces Passover because the resurrection is the important part?
Well, there’s a reason you don’t find “Easter” in scripture…
Celebrating only the resurrection misses the entire point of Yehsua’s death at Passover. The point is this: His blood to redeem the souls of those who accept it, in the same manner that the blood of the lamb at the original Passover redeemed the firstborn of those who accepted it. Yeshua's death did not negate Passover; rather, it enhanced the importance to remember and celebrate Passover as the time of our redemption as YHWH commanded (Exodus 12:14 & 12:27).
How did Yeshua’s death “enhance” Passover? Before Yeshua's death, any remembrance meant nothing to us because no one today was present at the pass-over – Jew and Gentile alike. It (the pass-over, death of the first-born) did not happen to us; we can only remember it as “history”. But since Yeshua's death, Passover applies to all of us, because it was for all of us! But contrary to popular opinion in the Church, Yeshua's death did not cover "all" our sins!
It covered all your sins to the point you accepted His redemption of you. To retain your right to the gift of everlasting life, you must not intentionally sin again! The first part of 1 John 1:7 says IF we "walk in the light, as he is in the light...the blood of his Son Yeshua purifies us from all sin." That "IF" means we must – (in fact, we are obligated to) - live in obedience, and not intentionally sin thereafter. Indeed, Hebrews 10:26 says "For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,". Yeshua does not keep returning to die again and again to atone for our new sins.
Intentional, willful sins after our acceptance of Yeshua’s gift puts us at peril!
So the resurrection is only a part of this important gift. Yeshua was resurrected to everlasting life, yes - He was first of the promise. But it is through His redemption for our lives that believers expect and have faith that they, too, will one day be resurrected as He was – to receive the promise. So if you are going to “pick apart” the whole Passover meaning and Yeshua’s connection to it, the “more important part” (if this is necessary) is the redemption by HIs blood. The resurrection only proves that as He, himself went from death to life, which is promised as well to us.
But wait, someone argues! Romans 10:9 says: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Doesn’t that clearly say the resurrection is more important?” Well, not so fast. If you are going to design a faith around a single verse, why not use Romans 10:13 instead? It reads “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’”! That seems to indicate the name of the Lord is more important to be saved. Okay, the truth here is that you actually need to go to the beginning of the letter to the Romans and discover to whom Paul was writing. Here it is: Verse 1:7 “To all who are in Rome, beloved of Elohim, called, set-apart ones…”, (or, in many English versions “called to be saints”). These are the “obedient faithful”, followers of Torah. In Paul’s day, “set apart” only meant Torah obedient, holy ones. Hence “set apart.” (See for example, Deuteronomy 7:6, CJB). And if you will just keep reading in Romans, you’ll find that the letter is all about the conduct of your life in your new-found faith in the Messiah's death for your sins! Read all of Romans, and you can’t fail to see this.
Therefore, all things considered, do we abandon all YHWH's commanded feasts to celebrate only the resurrection? Did we need a "new" holy day called "Easter" that focuses only on the resurrection? No, we did not. The Feast of Passover is immediately followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, including the First Fruits offering and Yeshua’s resurrection happened during that commanded feast week! (In fact, the whole week of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are so connected, that the entire week in our time is simply referred to as “Passover”.) What is more appropriate than that!? Passover celebrates the ENTIRE purpose of Yeshua’s death! People preparing themselves by ridding sin from their lives (leaven), Yeshua’s redeeming blood shed for their souls, and His resurrection to be presented as the Firstfruits, demonstrating everlasting life. Without the blood redemption we have no hope for eternal life.
Yeshua is the whole Passover story! Seems to me, the whole purpose of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread fit like a glove with what Yeshua did for us. Yet the "Church" throws it all away to fly banners emphasizing “He is Risen” and watch the sunrise on Sunday morning, then go hunt eggs.
In the end, it was obvious that the Messianic believer in the Facebook discussion was closer to the truth than the Christian. YHWH commanded HIS Feast times be celebrated and commemorated. He never said that humanity should make up its own “holy days”, even if for His sake! The Christian involved in the discussion had clearly been blinded by years of Christian mantras and failed to see that the gift of the Messiah was far more than just the resurrection.
How very sad that the Church keeps missing the mark.