Are Christians required to observe the Passover?


While most people who participate in various branches of Christianity do not keep the Passover, the Bible very clearly mandates its continued observance!

The Passover is viewed as a “Jewish holiday” and relegated to Old Testament practices by many religious leaders and by the public at large. Certainly, by contrast, Judaism has maintained, to a degree, the observance of all biblical Holy Days, including the Sabbath Day.

However, the Church of God, which follows both the Old Testament and the earliest New Testament teachings, also continues to keep the Passover as commanded by God and in following the example of Jesus Christ, Who brought the true meaning of Passover to light.

Today, the Passover is mistakenly referred to as “the Last Supper,” and false practices such as “the sacrament of the Eucharist” are broadly embraced by both Catholics, Protestants, and others. For example, from, in its article about “Eucharist,” Roman Catholicism’s view is presented:

“Roman Catholics believe in the real presence [the concept that Jesus Christ is present in the flesh; that His body and His blood are really present and are consumed], an issue that has dominated Catholic-Protestant controversies about the Eucharist. According to the eucharistic doctrine of Roman Catholicism, the elements of the consecrated bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ: their substance is converted into the substance of the body and blood, although the outward appearances of the elements, their ‘accidents,’ remain. This teaching of the real presence is intended to emphasize the intimate relationship between Jesus and the communicant. Although Catholic theologians developed new ways to interpret the mystery of the sacrament of the Eucharist in the period after Vatican II, the doctrine of transubstantiation remains the fundamental understanding of all Catholics” (Emphasis added).

Also, from the same article: “The High Church Anglicans (especially since the Anglo-Catholic Oxford movement of the 19th century) and the Lutherans (who affirm the real presence of the body and blood of Christ “in, with, and under” the bread and wine) adhere most closely to the traditions of Catholic eucharistic doctrine and practice” (Emphasis added).

These beliefs are not found in the Word of God!  They have totally blurred the real meaning of Passover and supplanted the truth of the Bible with human reasoning and traditions! Such is also the case found in an article, titled, “Why Don’t Christians Celebrate Passover if Jesus Did?” ( This author writes:

“Why Did We Stop Celebrating Passover?

“As time went on, the church grew from majority Jewish to majority Gentile. These Gentiles were largely unaware of Jewish culture, so those things not specifically tied-up with Christian doctrine were often lost.

As Christians, the church was no longer bound by Old Testament law (Romans 7:4). With these laws, many of the associated customs fell away as well. Eventually, the celebration of Easter grew more prevalent than the celebration of Passover.

“In AD 325 at the Council of Nicaea, Easter was cemented as the day to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and its date was also determined. This was when Easter perhaps most officially replaced Passover.

“In the Middle Ages, growing anti-Semitism in Europe led to even further distancing of Roman Catholics from all things Jewish. Later on, Reformation theology’s heavy emphasis on salvation by grace alone and not through works also did not foster an environment conducive to the celebration of Old Testament ritual” (Emphasis added).

As noted earlier, Judaism does observe the Passover. However, their practices now embrace many traditions which go beyond biblical teachings and the fundamental instructions first given to the entire nation of Israel as found in Exodus, chapter 12. From the website the following information about the Seder (the Passover meal) is presented:

“The Seder is the traditional Passover meal that includes reading, drinking 4 cups of wine, telling stories, eating special foods, singing, and other Passover traditions.

“As per Biblical command, it is held after nightfall on the first night of Passover (and the second night if you live outside of Israel), the anniversary of our nation’s miraculous exodus from Egyptian slavery more than 3,000 years ago…” (

Jewish tradition regarding when to observe the Passover is in error. Observance of the Passover by most of Judaism takes place on the evening of the first Day of Unleavened Bread (note that a biblical day begins with evening and ends with evening—not sunrise to sunrise (compare Genesis, chapters 1 and 2). Leviticus 23:5 states, “‘“On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.”’”

While Passover is on the fourteenth day, the first Day of Unleavened Bread is on the fifteenth day (Leviticus 23:6). Many Jews keep the Passover one day too late, as they already did in Jesus’ time.

In Exodus 12, God says of the Passover that it is an “‘“everlasting ordinance”’” (verse 14); “‘And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever’” (verse 24).

Throughout the biblical history of Israel in the Old Testament, the Holy Days of God—including the Festival of Passover—have a very significant role. Likewise, the Holy Days of God are central in the life of Jesus Christ, and later for the newly established Church of God.

Note what is said of Jesus:

“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read” (Luke 4:16).

And of Paul:

“Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures…” (Acts 17:2).

Jesus Christ observed the Passover—it was His custom to do so! In John 13, we find that Jesus first ate the Passover meal as commanded in Exodus 12 with His disciples. However, Jesus then instituted a new observance of the Passover. In chapter 13 of John, Jesus specifically introduces foot washing among His disciples, saying:

“‘If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you’” (John 13:13-14).

In addition, following Jesus’s washing of His disciples’ feet, more is recorded regarding how His disciples were to now observe the Passover:

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’ And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:26-30).

Christ meant that the bread represented His body, and the wine represented His blood. He did not teach that the bread and the wine would literally change into His flesh or His body and into His blood when consumed during Passover. For instance, we are prohibited from consuming blood (Acts 15:28-29).

The date to observe Passover did not change, but the symbolism of how the Passover was to be observed did change. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth and addressed some needed corrections in keeping the Passover. He specifically reminded them of the grave responsibility they bore regarding their conduct when participating in this observance (1 Corinthians 11:27-34).

In Paul’s instructions, we find that Passover observance was to continue to include the return of Jesus Christ:

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, 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 till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Jesus said of Himself:

“‘Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled’” (Matthew 5:17-18).

We see from the New Testament how Jesus did fulfill the meaning of what the Passover observance meant. Yet, the Passover, along with other godly Festivals, seven annual Holy Days and the weekly Sabbath will continue to be observed following the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the thousand-year reign of God’s Kingdom over the earth—as Ezekiel 45:21 shows:

“‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall observe the Passover, [then] a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.’”

Keeping ALL of the Holy Days of God is what Jesus did, and His example has been followed by His disciples throughout the centuries. Today, the Church of the Eternal God and its affiliates also seek to keep what God commands as Jesus Christ continues to lead the Church.

If you would like further detailed information about Passover, the Holy Days and the path of true Christianity, please refer to our website

Lead Writer: Dave Harris

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