BY: LLOYD ELLEFSON
The first of the the three major feasts which were celebrated in Israel, was the Passover, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It had to be celebrated before any of the other feasts and continued for seven days. “These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.” (Lev. 23:4-8)
The feast took place at the beginning of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. Pharaoh and Egypt represent the natural mind and its ideas. They are a type of the bondage that the world system produces. To strengthen His people for the arduous journey to freedom, God provided a lamb as food for them. To my way of thinking, the Passover symbolizes the marriage supper of the Lamb. As we partake of Him as the Lamb, it brings us into a union with Him and the purposes of God. The journey to another geographical location pictured the development and unfolding of the freedom we receive in Christ in the kingdom of God.
Usually the Passover is thought of in terms of Christ’s sacrifice, because of the lamb which was slain and eaten at that time. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we can be born again; therefore it has been related to the new birth, or to being born again. But when we look at the typology, we do not see the children of Israel going through a birth process to make them children of Israel at the time they ate the lamb in Egypt. They had become that hundreds of years ago by being descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In Egypt they became a nation. They were God’s people; they had received the promise that they would be delivered out of Egypt. Eating the Passover lamb did not change their status as God’s people. It simply began a process of deliverance.
In typology it symbolizes a deliverance from our bondage to the flesh or our carnal nature. This deliverance begins when we are made a new creation, and continues as this new life grows and is sustained by feeding on the Christ. So the feasts symbolize our participation in the eating of the bread of life. This brings forth growth and progression in our relationship to the Lord. This progression is symbolized by the feasts.
1 Cor.11: 25-26 speaks about the new covenant that we have. It says, “In the same way He took the cup also, 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 this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” He is talking about His body, the cup of the New Testament, the blood. We proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Our question then is: Has He come or are we still waiting for His coming? If He has come, then we no longer necessarily show forth the Lord’s death with a cup and a cracker. It is not a reminder of His death, but a testimony of His life within in us.
There has to be a transition from death to life. The forms by themselves have no life. So if we keep clinging to forms, such as baptism or communion, we will not have life. We can take communion as a sinner, and go away a sinner. But if we understand the spiritual reality of it, we are changed. Is there then any need for the bread and wine? If we have grown spiritually, are we required to continue in the old, or does it take on another form? Paul said, “I die daily; death works in me.” The memory of the death of Christ was not only working in Paul when he took the cup. This is something to think about.
The rites of water baptism and the wine and the bread have taken over the reality of their symbolism; people now look to them instead of to the reality, and that is delusion! When we look to the forms, we have a problem, because we have not understood them. But when the spiritual reality has come to us, we don’t look to baptism or the wine anymore, because we have participated in the cup, and it is now working IN us.
Israel needed to have a relationship with God. The Passover began a reconciliation of Israel with God which would eventually lead to a better relationship. So the first feast depicted a union with the lamb nature. As a result of this union, they are led out of the fleshly idea of God, and taken to Mount Sinai where the law was given. The giving of the law (Pentecost) was another step in the development of this relationship. It brought them to a new level, which in turn, would bring them to the Feast of Tabernacles, which is a type of God dwelling or tabernacling with His people. This progression is symbolized by the seasons we experience in the natural.
The Israelites selected a lamb and kept it until the fourteenth day, when, in the evening, it was slain and eaten. This was called the LORD’s Passover. It is a picture of God providing the food for the feast, so later people began to call it the LORD’s supper. In the New Testament, John the Baptist cried, “Behold the Lamb of God.” The Israelites had been killing thousands of lambs over the years, and suddenly someone refers to a person and says, “Behold God’s Lamb.” Jesus Christ is God’s provision for us!
In 1 Cor. 5:6-7 Paul says, “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” Paul is using unleavened bread (bread without yeast) as a picture of the church. We are to be a new lump which is unleavened. (v. 7) We are actually the ones that are the unleavened bread. To other people we are the bread of life as Christ was.
In Luke 12:1 Jesus tells us that the leaven of the Pharisees is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a pretence; it is to pretend to be what one is not; it is a pretence of virtue. People who call themselves Christians, go to church, act very nicely, but are not Christians, are hypocrites. Of course, the nicer and sweeter you are, the greater the hypocrisy, because of the greater measure of deception. We should be unleavened, without hypocrisy and pretence. This means we do not advertise who we are, saying, “I am saved, born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and a son of God.” That is part of the hypocrisy. It is good to have a confession, but that does not mean we advertise the “I am” business. Christ never did that – He left that out of His life. He was manifesting the Father all the time. In Himself He really was nothing. So we can have hypocrisy by advertising the fact that we speak in tongues, healed people, have special powers, etc. There is no end to the different forms it can take on.
It is not just people that go to church that are what we call “unsaved”. 1 Cor. 5:7b, “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed for us.” In Exodus we see that the Passover lamb, the firstborn male, is a picture of Christ in the first feast. The communion table is not our Passover. Bread and wine are not our Passover. Christ is our Passover. Christ is our passing over from death to life. Egypt is a type of the carnal mind, and the carnal mind is death. Passing from death to life means that we are no longer bound by the ideas, images and restrictions of the carnal mind, so the mind can be open to receiving something spiritual.
Since Christ, the truth, is our Passover, receiving spiritual truth is part of our Passover. It is passing from the death of the carnal mind and all its ideas, into life. We can have this illumination outwardly, yet not be different from anybody else. Just as Jesus did not look that much different from others, neither did Paul. People were not intimidated by the appearance of Jesus, nor by the healings He performed. They really beat Him up. The external appearance is unimportant, but the internal nature is critical!
The old leaven of hypocrisy must be cleaned out! Christ has been sacrificed for us, and He becomes our Passover. Therefore let us keep the feast. For us, this does not consist of eating bread or crackers, because we are the ones that are unleavened! That cannot be transferred to crackers, etc. “Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:8) So keeping the feast really has to do with the unleavening of hypocrisy in us. We no longer try to justify ourselves, or think we have any righteousness of our own, for Christ is our Passover. Through Him we are brought from death to life – and that is what the Passover is. John says we have passed from death to life. If the Passover is from death to life, then we were dead, and now we are alive! And that is resurrection.
“And He said to them, `I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16) This was still the Passover Israel was participating in before the crucifixion and the coming of the Holy Spirit. In other words, they selected a lamb, killed it, and ate it with their matsa bread and bitter herbs. They are still doing it, and a lot of churches are trying to reproduce those natural things, and trying to symbolize them. I think that is idolatry again, because we are using mediation again that is not the man Christ Jesus!
Jesus knew that this was the last Passover of the old order! In a sense, He was heralding in a new beginning. It was the last time that Christ as the Word, or as the truth, was underneath the types and shadows. From then on, the Passover feast would be raised out of letter and death and natural things, into a spiritual realm in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said that He would never again eat it until it was fulfilled in the kingdom of God. That means it was not fulfilled here. So if we take this typology into our communion services, we are trying to fulfill it here. This is not the fulfillment in the kingdom.
The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It does not come with observation, i.e. it cannot be seen. It is within us; it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That which is in the Holy Spirit cannot be seen; it is totally out of this realm of visibility. Since it was going to be fulfilled in the kingdom, the cup, bread, lamb, meat, or bitter herbs are not needed. Instead, it takes on a realization in the spiritual realm of what the meanings are here in type. This was not fulfilled.
“And having taken a cup, when He had given thanks, He said, `Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes’.” (Luke 22:17-18) In John 15:1a Jesus said, “I am the true vine.” This makes every other vine, including the grapevine, a false vine, or lacking spiritual truth. We do not get it from the grape vine anymore – whether wine or grape juice.
“And having taken some bread, when He had given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, `This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, `This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’.” (Luke 22:19-20) I believe He was fully justified in calling it His body at the time, because He was identifying with the natural – the typology that was in the letter, the lamb, the sacrifice, the fire – the body of truth that was in that realm at that time, until the coming of a new dispensation. Then it was fulfilled in the kingdom. So I do not see any problem by His saying, “This is My body.” Our problem comes in relating all this to an individual human Jesus.
When Jesus said it was fulfilled in the kingdom, I believe He was talking about being released from His human body. The veil which is His flesh, is broken, and He was released in the Spirit to us. Now we do not know Him in the flesh anymore. Most people cannot get rid of that idea, and starting with Christmas, they have Jesus as a baby in the manger, as a person hanging on the cross, or someone sitting in heaven on a throne. We have to be released from that. This takes place when we begin to see spiritually. This is how we identify with Christ. The coming of the Spirit brought a release from the natural, because we have passed from death to life.
After they had eaten, Jesus took the cup and said that it was poured out for them; it was the new covenant in His blood. This is a testimony in the blood. A testament testifies to the fact that someone has left. When Jesus left this realm, He left the testimony of what He is, and the Spirit came to confirm that to us. So the cup is the New Testament in His blood.
Again we have a problem because of translation. The life is not in the blood; it is in the Spirit. The soul is in the blood and it gives us an awareness of Christ. When we drink of His spiritual life, the consciousness of Christ comes to us. This is the testimony of the blood that His soul has been poured out for us. With the awareness of Christ, we do not experience guilt, but we come into the understanding that He is a spirit being – the Son of God. We can believe this and live by it, instead of returning to the natural all the time.
“But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man through whom He is betrayed.” (Luke 22:21-22) Jesus again and again testified that He was the Son of Man. The Son of Man came down from heaven as a man. If we can only relate to Jesus as He was in His physical human form, we will have all kinds of problems. We will wonder how Jesus came down as a man, and then became a man again. As we realize that man is an image of God, it becomes clearer. It brings us into a realization of truth on a spiritual level; this level brings us into a new dimension of the image of God. He is the express image of God, and He came to do away with the natural or false image we were laboring under. Jesus crucified the wrong image of God, and raised us into a new man.
The Son of Man came down from heaven. Jesus said, “What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?” (John 6:62) Man! He did not become a man by being born of Mary, but by taking on the human image – the image of man. That is why He is called a man. Time and again He called Himself the Son of Man. So He is the spiritual man who was within the natural man, and He is talking about His release – the Son of Man being released from His human form.
Furthermore, He said that the Son of Man would be given over into the hands of men, and He would die, and be raised on the third day. He would come again as the Son of Man. He is coming again as the spiritual man – not as a physical man. Unless we are released from our natural ideas, we cannot understand how He comes to us today, because we have not seen Him visibly. So we will be waiting for Him even though He is here. Since Christ is our Passover, nothing else can be our Passover. He is our bread and our drink.
In John 6:32 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.” In Exodus 16:15 Moses said, “It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.” It was the LORD who rained bread from heaven for them. He not only gave them manna for forty years, but He also sent quails. The bread from heaven was new to them, so when they saw it they asked “What is it?” So they called it manna, which means “What is it?”. I think this is what a lot of people think about what we are saying, “What is it?”
The manna in the wilderness was a type of God’s provision. They could gather as much as they could eat each day for five days, but they could not store any for the next day. Any surplus would be filled with worms by the next morning. On the sixth day, however, they could gather for two days, and it would not rot or breed worms on the seventh day. So that is a picture of Jesus Christ coming; and there is food enough in Him to sustain us on the Sabbath. This is the rest of God, God’s Sabbath; this is true provision, and it will not disappoint us.
We are to worship God in spirit and in truth. We know there is the true worship and the false; the true bread out of heaven and the false bread. We had experienced a level of truth in all these things, but the truth came in Jesus Christ. “My Father gives you the true bread out of heaven.” (v.33) “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” He truly is our communion bread, isn’t He? (John 6:35) “Jesus said to them, `I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst’.” Jesus said that He was the Passover, and now He says that He is the bread of life. Therefore, there is no other bread of life. He is it! In v. 48 Jesus again said, “I am the bread of life.” Unless we eat this bread we don’t have life.
The manna which the fathers ate in the wilderness, did not keep them from dying. So that was not the bread of life! “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if any one eats this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:50-51) The traditional idea that the death of Jesus on the cross constituted the giving of His flesh for the world, is destroyed, as we read on. “Jesus therefore said to them, `Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves’.” (v. 53) That is why people want the bread and wine changed into the body and blood of Christ; this is called transubstantiation. They think this gives them life. If this were true, then those who had never taken communion like that could never have life. But we know that is not true, so we can toss this whole teaching out as gross error. Many people have come to life without eating that. It has been proved false. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.” (vv. 54-55) It is true drink, but not natural drink – it is speaking spiritually.
There are only a few words in the New Testament that mean “eternity” or “everlasting” or “eternal”. The King James translation has these words all over the place, but most of them would be correctly translated as “aeons” or “ages”, or “ages of the ages”. Now an age has a beginning and an end. Jesus said “ages”. If there is more than one age, it could not be “everlasting”. The Greek words “aeon”, “aeonial”, or “aeon of the aeons” simply mean “an age”, or “age of the ages”. People talk about the age of promise, etc., yet this is exactly the same word from which we get our word “eternity”. The actual word “eternity” is used very little in the New Testament. The life we are talking about is a life that makes the ages. Christ makes the ages. It says that in Hebrews 1:3 and 11:3. It is the truth, the living Word, the Anointed Word, the Christ. He produces the ages by the way He is working in the earth. So when we talk about aeonial life (translated everlasting life), it is the life of the ages.
People can live in different ages simultaneously. There are people who live entirely without the law and in gross unawareness of God, while others live IN the law, trying to keep it, like Israel. Then there are people who live in the Spirit outside the law. They are living in different ages or seasons – the fruit of that age has not yet been reaped in them. When the law had accomplished its purpose and came to fruition it bore fruit; when God reaped it in man, He accepted the repentance typified by John the Baptist. This prepared the way for the coming of Christ on that level. I do not believe He is done yet, for there is a progression in this.
“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” (John 6:56-57) Now that the Passover is fulfilled in the kingdom of God, we eat and drink the Christ in an entirely different manner. It no longer consists of eating bread and drinking wine. That was only a type. Jesus said that He lived by the Father. In other words, Christ came out of the Father, and His life was dependent on the source from which He came. That holds true for us who are His brothers.
Let us refer back to where it says that Christ is the Word. When God spoke the Word, everything that was in the Word, and that the Word accomplished, I believe, is Christ. God’s Word to us is Christ, natural and spiritual. Jesus said that He lived by the Father, and whoever ate of Jesus, should live by Jesus. In Revelation 3:20 it says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Since that is the case, we will be eating the same thing He ate. And that is what He is talking about here. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” So Jesus Christ’s exists as the Word of God. That is where the power and the life is. It is all of God, all by Christ or through Him.
“This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever….Many therefore of the disciples, when they heard this said, `This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?’ But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, `Does this cause you to stumble?'” (John 6:58, 60-61) When we get into teaching about our relationship with God, people still find it hard to understand. They think it is too deep; or else they think we are off on a tangent. We do not say it like they do, and the way they say it, is the way they got it from whoever taught them.
Jesus knew within Himself that His disciples murmured at it. They could not handle this. He even said later on, “I have many things to say, but you cannot handle them now.” Jesus lives in a light that no man can approach. When Paul got a good glimpse of Christ, he was blinded. We cannot get into that except by stages. Christ asked if this offended them. “What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?” The Son of Man ascended. He came as a spiritual man to Mary and took on flesh. He identified with Adam by coming as a spiritual man and taking on the human form. This was the form of the man who was formed out of the earth. He took this form on Him and displaying both these men, He crucified the one, and raised the other one out of that death.
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63) You can read this, do your communions, preach on this, tell your stories about the prodigal son and heaven some day, but as long as it is in the carnal mind, you have not passed over; you have not begun to see things spiritually. You are still in types and shadows which are in the realm of death. It is the Spirit who makes alive! He said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
Comment from the audience: Christ is saying to them, that if they could see the Son of Man ascending to where He was formerly – which was in the Spirit. So this is another place where it says that the Son of Man was in the Spirit. If we can see Him there, we will not have any trouble with that saying. Then He goes on to say, “The Spirit is that which is vivifying. He who does not eat My flesh and drink My blood has no life.” That means that he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has life. Now He says, “The Spirit is that which is vivifying, and the flesh is not benefiting anything.” This tells us right here that it has to be raised out of the natural and into the spiritual. God bless you!
PASSOVER [Lloyd Ellefson] 1