The Easter holiday today is not based on the Bible at all. Jesus commanded us to commemorate His death, but not His resurrection. What is the difference between the feast of the Passover and the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate on Sunday?
The Passover feast was one of the important holidays of the people of Israel that commemorated and celebrated the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyptian slavery. It was celebrated on the 14th of Nisan (March / April). The first mention of the word Passover, but also the meaning of this event is found in the book of Exodus 12. On the night the Lord delivered the people of Israel from Egyptian slavery, the children of Israel were to sacrifice the Passover lamb, and with its blood they were to anoint both the pillars of the door and the upper threshold of the house. The lamb would serve as a substitute for every member of the families of the people of Israel. In the evening of the same day God would pass through all Egypt and strike all those who, through lack of faith, did not put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts. This blood would serve as a sign. (Exodus 12:13)
“Now you shall eat it in this way: with your garment belted around your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in a hurry—it is the Lord’s Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and fatally strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the human firstborn to animals; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will come upon you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. ‘Now this day shall be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slaughter the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; but when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to strike you. And you shall keep this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever. When you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall keep this rite. And when your children say to you, ‘[What does this rite mean to you?’ then you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord because He passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped. (Exodus 12:11-14, 21-27 NASB)
The Old Testament word “pesach” means “to pass by.” Thus God spared the life of every firstborn of the people of Israel and delivered the people from the land of slavery. For the people, Passover was an everlasting holiday that had to be celebrated every year until the Lamb of God was to be sacrificed for the deliverance of everyone who comes out of the bondage of sin.
“The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NASB)
The author of the book of Hebrews wrote:
“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the form of those things itself, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually every year, make those who approach perfect. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “You have not desired sacrifice and offering, but You have prepared a body for Me; You have not taken pleasure in whole burnt offerings and offerings for sin. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (It is written of Me in the scroll of the book) To do Your will, O God.’” By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time. (Hebrews 10:1-7,10 NASB)
The Lamb of God was sacrificed on the day of preparation for the Passover, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed.
“Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Look, your King!” So they shouted, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king except Caesar.” So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, carrying His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which in Hebrew is called, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, (John 19:14-18a NASB)
The day before the feast of the Passover and the crucifixion of Jesus, the Savior attended the Last Supper with His disciples (John 13:1), broke bread, and drank from the cup.
“While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is being poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine again, until that day when I drink it, new, in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:22-25 NASB)
The bread and the cup were directly connected with the death of the Lord on the cross in a sacramental form. Jesus’ disciples were instructed to celebrate this custom in commemoration of His death on the cross.
“And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance 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 it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-26 NASB)
Christians are urged to celebrate with the unleavened bread of purity and truth and not with the old dough of evil, immorality, fornication, and sin.
“Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.Therefore let’s celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8 NASB)
The resurrection of Jesus is the center of Christianity. His resurrection is proof that Jesus made atonement for our sins. After the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the first Christians worshiped “on the first day of the week” (Sunday) to celebrate and commemorate the resurrection of Christ. So the feast of Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus are crucial for Christians and they cannot be separated. Easter refers to the death of the Lord Jesus and the atonement of mankind’s sins, and the resurrection is a confirmation of God’s great work of salvation.
Translated by Liza Bîrlădeanu