KEY DATES and NOTES to REMEMBER: Passover begins Friday evening, April 22. This is the day when you will remove the yeast from your homes, and it is also the evening we will be observing the prayer vigil.In years past, this is the time we would observe the Passover meal with our families, but for those locally, we will be coming together as a Church body to observe the Passover meal on Saturday evening, April 23, so you will not need to have it earlier.
Here in the Remnant Fellowship, we are beyond blessed each year at this time to observe, celebrate, and honor the Passover and Passion of Christ. Gwen is faithful and Spirit-led as she shares with us the HEART behind what we are doing and WHY we are doing it. And 2016 is no exception! In following the Lord’s Calendar for this Festival, our Passover begins at twilight this coming Friday, April 22nd, and as you will see below, Gwen has taken the time to lay forth incredible wisdom, guidance, and practical suggestions for making this special time memorable for all families and individuals who desire to devote their hearts to Him. With this said, here are Gwen’s words, taking us through the Passover Night of 2016 and through the entire week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread…
Passover commemorates the story of the Exodus in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins at twilight on the 14th of the first month of the Hebrew calendar, which we will be observing this year on April 22nd. Then the next day begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is celebrated for seven days. Now the Israelites were instructed to slaughter the lamb and then eat the roasted lamb, the unleavened bread, the wine and the bitter herbs, and with this meal they were to be ready for immediate departure, and on this night of the tenth plague, there was the death of the firstborn. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of an unblemished lamb, and upon seeing this, the death angel of the Lord passed over these homes. Hence the term, “Passover.” Another element of the Passover is the prayer vigil. God’s people have always kept vigil in the night to remember that our God never slumbers nor sleeps and is wearing Himself out in a symbolic way to rescue His beloved community from the hands of Satan to make sure that all the divisions are getting out of Egypt.
If you would like to join us in this remembrance wherever you live, we will be having the prayer vigil the evening of April 22nd and then what we will be doing is observing unleavened bread from that Friday until the following Friday evening, April 29th. If you would like to join us at our Church Assemblies and Events during the Passover weekend, please register so we ‘ll know that you and/or your family are coming.
TYPICALLY, in most years when the Passover Night doesn’t fall on a Friday or Sabbath – On the Passover night, you gather the families in and eat your Passover meal in haste (quickly)…like the Hebrews did, and you go over what it all means, and of course it means you have the lamb, which represents Jesus. The bread is unleavened bread, so it represents Jesus ‘ sinless life and also that the Israelites left Egypt in haste and the bread did not have time to rise. The wine represents the blood outpouring from Jesus’ body because of obedience to God and for the sake of men, so it is a sacrificial life. You are drinking it and making this a part of your life. Then the bitter herbs (for example: romaine lettuce and horseradish) are symbolic of the bitterness of slavery. This is the time for you to sit around the table and tell of your bitter story of how it was before you finally and totally understood how we are to put off the old and put on the new, that when you come to Christ you are a totally new creation, and how bitter the life of slavery to alcohol, to drugs, to sexual lusts, to anything in the world is and how you do not want it. Like if you were going to have to sit there and eat those bitter herbs all day long, that is how bad our old life was, and I am never going to eat those bitter herbs again. I am never going to live that life again. I am going forward. These stories are crucial to pass down to the next generation…so that they can avoid the curses for disobedience that we as adults have experienced in our lives because of our own sins. BUT please NOTE – Since we WILL be TOGETHER as a Church Body on Friday evening, April 22nd, you won’t need to have a separate time that evening to gather with your family for the Passover Meal. We actually will PROVIDE the elements of the Passover Meal on the SABBATH evening, April 23rd. The “lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs” will be provided “Communion style” (in small pieces) on a table in the FELLOWSHIP HALL so that everyone will have the opportunity to partake in this symbolic “meal” during the evening.
NOW – For MORE INFORMATION about these DATES and WHAT to DO, PLEASE KEEP READING for more WISDOM and PERSPECTIVE from GWEN!
We are approaching the most exciting time of every year, which is our Passover and then the Passion of Christ and His resurrection. This is the first of the three pilgrimages or festivals that God commanded to be a lasting ordinance, and this is a celebration of the liberation of man, and it is a celebration of our freedom to worship just God alone. It is a long history, and it spans over 3,300 years, and it is a liberation that started with the Exodus of God ‘s people and parallels the liberation brought forth from the crucifixion and the resurrection.
Exodus 23 says, “Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me. Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.”
Leviticus 23 says, “These are the LORD ‘s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD ‘s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD ‘s Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present an offering made to the LORD by fire. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.”
Now Exodus 12 talks about the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It says,
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD-a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses… Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses… Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
Paul said that this yeast is sin, and that we should get rid of the sin in our lives. So this process should be going on in this Church, where you are looking for sin. In I Corinthians 5, he says,
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.”
So there is your bread! There is your yeast that you are looking for, so anything left in your life, anything that is left that should not be there. This is a process for everybody… this searching for all the yeast, and then eating the unleavened bread. This is not a fast from eating food altogether. This is a type of a fast where you do not eat regular breads. It is a fast from eating bread made with leaven. We are all, obviously, doing this as an exercise because it reminds us, “Have I gotten the yeast out of my own life?” That is the point of it. We do not make getting yeast out of the house or even eating only unleavened bread a legalistic law. We just teach that living it out with your children is a great way to learn and teach. (So, go through your house with your children to find and get rid of the hidden yeast, but don’t spend more time analyzing the food more than the sin in your heart. The main point will always be to get the sin out of your heart.) Still, this is an opportunity to really let this lesson sink in. Let’s teach this to the children and let them help you as a reminder to seek out the hidden sin in the heart. (Note: It is not necessary to dispose of the leavened bread that you find. You can place it, for example, in your garage during the Passover week. Many families find it helpful to supplement their regular menu during this time of unleavened bread with pasta dishes, potato dishes, and Mexican foods such as tacos or quesadillas, red beans and rice, and Asian dishes.)
During this Passover time we will bring branches to our assemblies to praise God with. We will bring our first fruits or our tithe for the Lord. A lot of times we will wear blue and/or green, because at this time of year the sky is such a deep blue and the light baby green is sprouting from the trees. We are preparing for this time by getting our outfits together to celebrate for God. We are cleaning the leaven out of our hearts and houses. We are preparing to make the unleavened bread. We are buying the wine and the bitter herbs for our meal, and relating our bitter stories to our children of our lives before becoming a new creation.
What is the main thing you need to do to get ready? What is the point of it all? We should have a pure heart ready for this remembrance celebration, and we have been getting ready every day of the year with strong words from God, with confessions, with repentance, with encouraging obedience. So we must be a group that has nothing but the love for God and for Christ and for the brothers. No, nothing but love so that we can be totally ready, totally prepared to observe this holy, holy week, and of course every day of the year. We consider every day holy, and we do not let anyone judge us with regard to what you eat or to the new moon celebration or with regard to religious festivals. (Colossians 2:16-17) But we know that an observance, it says in Colossians, that it will have no value if you are just doing this as a man-made rule or you go in there and you go through this process of removing the physical yeast but not remove anything from your heart.
All these things are beautiful memories, and each generation, if they are willing to learn this, can pass this down and help the next generation understand that they need to have a sacrificial life and they need to live and die for God, just like Jesus Christ, raising the young, caring for the elderly. What a life we have, that we get to gather together and get our hearts right so that we can please God and be passed over in 2016. That is a beautiful thing, is it not? Praise God for this opportunity!
All my love,
For more information about the Passover and Passion of Christ on our website:
Below are examples of recipes that some of our members have used in the past:
*Unleavened Communion Bread Recipe
*Cinnamon Sugar Pie Crust
*Sweet Unleavened Bread
*Salty Unleavened Bread
*Salty Ranch-flavored Unleavened Bread
*Savory Unleavened Bread
*Unleavened Sugar Cookie Type Bread