The Passover and Lord’s Supper
‘As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. 1 Cor. 11:26
A misunderstanding of this text leads many sincere, loving people to believe they can partake of these sacred emblems just any time; weekly, monthly or yearly, and show forth His death. But all events are celebrated yearly and on the same day they occur, when correctly commemorated.
According to authentic history, the Lord’ Supper was celebrated yearly from the days of the apostles down to 321 A.D. and on the day of the month our Saviour died. This is in keeping with the declaration of Moses that the Passover date, the 14th of the first month (Exodus 12:2 and 13:4) was observed as “An Ordinance Forever” (Ex. 12:14). The Saviour introduced it as an ordinance. It was to be continued, for he was to take it anew with the apostles in the kingdom. (Luke 22:16)
The Passover lamb was to be taken up on the 10th day of this month and be kept until the 14th and killed in the even. (Ex. 12:6, Lev. 23:5, Num. 9:2-5). They killed the lamb on the 14th at the going down of the sun (Deut. 16:6). The ‘even’ of a day is the beginning of the day according to the scriptures. Notice Genesis the first chapter, ‘the evening and the morning were the first day’; ‘The evening and the morning were the second day’ etc. The Passover on the 14th at even is the beginning of the day the same as the Sabbath. It begins at even, note this scripture, ‘it shall be given unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls (a fast): in the ninth day of the month at EVEN, from even to even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath’ (Lev.23:32). This was, of course the yearly Sabbath, but it clearly reveals to us what is meant by the expression of killing the Passover in the even, and on the 14th day of the first month. Even to even embraces this 9th day and it is the same for all days, including this 14th day for the Passover Supper.
The Jews Were Divided
Several bible dictionaries record the fact that the Jewish world was divided at that time. Part of the Jews killed the lamb at the going down of the sun, the beginning of the 14th, while the great majority killed it in the afternoon about 3 o’clock. There is at present time, here in old Samaria, the same group of Israelites coming down from their ancestries, who still kill the lamb at the going down of the sun, the beginning of the 14th. They possess the oldest scroll in the world, so it is said, and they claim this order has been kept up every year since the days of Joshua. They are located in the north of the Holy Land, not far from Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, which district produced most of the apostles. The childhood of Christ was also spent there. This accounts for the apostles going right ahead and preparing for the Passover according to the order of Christ, at the beginning of this 14th day, also they killed the Passover according to their custom, and He ate the supper with them. (Luke 22:7-15) Had these apostles been raised from childhood to kill the lamb in the afternoon of the 14th just as these Samaritan Jew. You notice that He gave the Supper just after they ate the regular Passover, which He told them was to show forth His death until He came. We are now to keep the ordinance as Christ introduced it at the beginning of the 14th day. This is the way Paul introduced it to the church. 1 Cor. 11 23 reads: ‘ For I have received of the Lord that which is also delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus THE SAME NIGHT IN WHICH HE WAS BETRAYED took bread.’ This was the same night which He was betrayed, and we all know He was betrayed at the beginning of the 14th, after dark. Read Luke 22 and Matthew 26. The night comes first, and then the light which makes the day, and He was crucified during the light part of this same day, and died at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the 9th hour. (Matt. 27 45-46. See the bible Concordance under the word ‘DAY’ for the 9th hour.
The church being prosecuted and scattered as the saviour knew they would be, He said ‘ as oft as you eat this bread’ etc. For he knew it would not be possible for all of them or likely for any of them to keep it each year, but as oft as they could it was to show forth His death. The Millyard church in London, England, has observed this supper each year now for over three hundred years at the beginning of the 14th day, which is right.
Notice also, 1 Cor. 5:7-8, where it says “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast”. The ordinance of humiliation (washing the feet) is also kept in connection with the Lord’s Supper. It is to humble and bring people down to the same level. (John 13: 12-17)
In the scriptural account given of this last Supper by John, Chapter 13, we find that the Saviour gave the ordinance of humiliation (the washing of the feet) in connection with it. This was to bring down the haughty and self exalted when there are such, to the same level as servants. He being the greatest, still He washed the apostles’ feet. We find in this chapter verses 12 to 17, a command to follow Him in this practice and says, ‘if ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. If i then, your Lord and master have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
Professed followers and believers in him as their Messiah Saviour refuse to obey Him in this example and commandment. We here at Jerusalem, practice it once every year at the time of the Passover, the 14th day of the first month according to the Jewish calendar.
In regard to the last supper and the time of the washing of feet, we must remember that this was where the two suppers met. The apostles knew nothing about any other supper, on the one they had been used to from childhood days. They prepared the lamb and the regular Jewish supper according to their common practice. The Master separated the two when it says ‘He arose from supper (John 13:4), but in verse 12 it says “and was set down again;” and this was after He had washed the apostles’ feet now notice verse 23-25, where it is repeated that one was lying on the Master’s breast. This was after the washing of the feet, which prepared each one for the supper. If any have variance in their heart toward another, they wash one another’s feet, and thus hearts are prepared so they will not partake of the emblems unworthy, and thus bring sickness and death upon them as we are told in 1 Cor. 11:29-30
The first month, Abib or Nisan is the first moon nearest the spring equinox. The first day of this month is the first day of the new moon. The moon change is calculated at Jerusalem because there is some difference of time in other parts of the world when changes take place. If 18 hours of that day has passed when the moon passes the sun to become new, that day is not to be counted as the first day of this first month of the year. Hence it is best to follow the Jewish calendar each year, with the moon change at Jerusalem.