The Passover and the Lord’s Supper – A Concise Comparison4 min read
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, “If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD. The fourteenth day of the second month at evening they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it; according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it. But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbears to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin. And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.”
When a man was perfectly able to keep the Passover and yet did not do so, this situation was far worse than when a defiled man kept the Passover. If a man refrained from keeping the feast, he was cut off. At all costs were the people to remember the Lord. If one disobeyed it, he would be held accountable for his sin.
And when a stranger came into the camp of Israel, he was to remember the Passover also. He was to remember it by the same ordinances, at the same place, and at the same time. The Passover was God’s strict ordinance, and it is a picture of the Lord Jesus and our remembrance feast of Him.
There are three main principles we can see from this passage: 1). The feast of the Lord is most profound, especially for believers. 2). The feast of the Lord is part of a collective testimony. 3). The feast of the Lord is to be done in the same way every time as God revealed.
The feast of the Lord is most profound, especially for the believer. When a man who was fully able to keep the Passover refrained from doing so, he was cut off. In today’s age of grace, of course one will not be read out of the assembly for missing a Sunday. However, the principle still applies. Is the weekly Breaking of Bread a priority? Do we allow ‘wiggle room’ when it comes to keeping the feast, or is it set firmly in our minds that remembrance of the Lord is an absolute must? It is a sad thing when the people of God put one to two hours aside for a movie or book several times in the week yet neglect 1 to 2 hours out of 168 in the week for the Lord Himself. Are we willing to neglect a beautiful time in His presence merely because of work, fatigue, depression, etc.? Instead of using these as excuses to miss the meeting, why not prevent them in the first place so the Lord can have all the glory? We must get our priorities straight; after all He is the First-fruit of our salvation. (Keep in mind that this is a principle; we must never harshly confront someone because of one missed meeting. Some have been severely hurt because of unnecessary confrontation.)
Secondly, the feast of the Lord is part of a collective testimony. Verse thirteen said the man who was clean was to keep the feast if he was not on a journey. The Passover was a feast that was not to be carried out by one’s self. It was a collective testimony of and for Israel. In the same way, the Breaking of Bread is part of collective assembly testimony. The New Testament never records a few random believers meeting a single time for the breaking of bread, but rather it was carried out by a specific group of believers in a specific area. If a few believers are gone on a Sunday for a vacation or for a reunion (which shouldn’t happen – see above paragraph), they cannot break bread as if they are an assembly of believers, because it is not the same collective testimony.
Finally, the feast of the Lord is to be carried out consistently according to the Lord’s pattern. What we see in the New Testament is God’s pattern, and we must strive not to make any additions or subtractions to or from it. If one from another assembly is visiting for a Sunday, they must agree to the Scriptural pattern which we seek to preserve. If the visitor refuses to do things in the way which God has written as commands and patterns in His Word, they cannot take part because of a lack of discernment when it comes to what the Lord’s Supper is. Keep in mind too that there will be differences in principles; this should not be a reason to keep one from taking part in the meeting.