Should Christians Celebrate the Passover Today?

Those Christians who urge (or demand) that we celebrate the Passover still today will often quote Exodus 12:14, which says that this feast is to be kept “throughout your generations.” That Hebrew expression, “throughout your generations,” is used to describe not only the Passover, but also the command to circumcise male infants on the 8th day (Gen. 17:12); keep the feast of Unleavened Bread (Exod. 12:17); sacrifice a lamb every morning and evening at the sanctuary (Exod. 29:39); offer incense in the sanctuary (Exod. 30:8); keep the Sabbath (Exod. 31:13); eat neither fat nor blood (Lev. 3:17); and other rules and regulations for Israel. The phrase “throughout your generations” certainly entailed during these things (or refraining from them, if it was a prohibition) as long as Israel was obligated by the covenant they were under to keep them.

With the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, he inaugurated the new covenant (Luke 22:20; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:13), thus bringing the old one, with its “do’s” and “don’t” to an end. For instance, circumcision was required “throughout your generations” under the old covenant but now, in Christ, “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything (Gal. 5:6; cf. 1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 6:15). Under the old covenant, the Sabbath was to be observed, as were kosher laws, but under the new covenant, Paul says “let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:16-17).

Therefore, just as we do not celebrate a “wedding rehearsal” every year, but the wedding and marriage, so we do not continue to the old covenant “rehearsals” of the coming of the Messiah - we celebrate their fulfillment.

Written by Chad Bird, 1517 Scholar-in-Residence