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Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 25
Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 25
The Beginning of God's Master Plan

Paul said Christ is “our passover” sacrifice. What did he mean? Most people assume that Christ's death FINISHED the plan of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let's understand why.

AS Jesus Christ was expiring His last breath on the cross, He exclaimed: “It is finished” (John 19:30). Traditional Christianity therefore has assumed that the death of Christ finished God's plan of salvation.

But what was finished?

It was the work the Father commissioned Jesus to do (John 17:4). That work included the sacrifice of His life as “our passover” (I Cor. 5:7) to pay the penalty of our sins.

But the death of Jesus did not finish the plan of salvation! Not at all. It was only the beginning – the first step in God's Master Plan.

Passover Pictured Christ's Sacrifice

The first Passover was observed by the ancient Israelites just before their exodus from Egypt. They had been slaves in Egypt for nearly a century before God freed them through a series of plagues He caused to punish their Egyptian captors for refusing to let them go. The 10th and last plague was death for every firstborn in Egypt.

But none of the Israelites were harmed.

God, through Moses, had instructed every Israelite family in Egypt to sacrifice a lamb and smear some of its blood on the doorposts of their houses. On the night this was done, the death angel passed over every house marked with lamb's blood.

God protected the ancient Israelites from physical death through a symbol – the blood of these lambs. This was symbolic of the blood of Christ, the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29), which would be shed much later to make possible the spiritual salvation of mankind.

With the institution of the Passover, God began to reveal to His newly forming nation and congregation (“church” – Acts 7:38) seven annual festivals, and commanded that they be observed forever.

Why These Festivals?

God's annual festivals and Holy Days have tremendous spiritual meaning. They not only bring His people together in holy convocations (commanded religious assemblies), but more importantly, they reveal His great Master Plan by which He is fulfilling His awesome purpose for humanity!

The annual observances God instituted reveal a step-by-step outline of how He is accomplishing His supreme purpose. Each portrays a great event in God's plan for the salvation of all mankind.

But the vast majority are deceived by Satan, the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9). They don't understand the true way to salvation. That's because they do not know what sin is, nor what its penalty is. Consequently they don't really know why man needs a Savior! The meaning of repentance is not understood, or what God's way of life is all about. They don't understand what God's Spirit is, why we need it, or how to receive it.

The religions of this world do not understand the processes of spiritual begettal, growth and birth into God's divine Family. They do not know that God is now calling only a few into His Church, or that those few are now being trained to rule in Christ's soon-coming world-ruling government. Nor do they realize that the vast “unsaved” majority will be given their opportunity for salvation in a later, more favorable age, when Christ and His Spirit-born assistants are ruling the earth.

All this truth is pictured by God's annual festivals and Holy Days! Those who faithfully observe these commanded days are reminded of these spiritual truths every year.

Just as the weekly Sabbath, if kept the way God intended, keeps man in a right relationship with his Creator and in the understanding of His great purpose for mankind, so the annual festivals and Sabbaths keep the Church in a right knowledge of His plan. Any group that refuses to keep holy the days God made holy is not in a right relationship with God, and simply does not understand the true way to salvation!

God's days are for God's people – His Church. It will be through His Church, during Christ's coming reign on earth, that the rest of the world will learn of these days and their vitally important meaning for mankind.

New Testament Memorial of Christ's Death

God commanded the ancient Israelites to observe the Passover as a yearly reminder of His delivering their firstborn from death in Egypt. Christians today are also commanded by God to observe the Passover, with its New Testament symbols of unleavened bread and wine, as a yearly reminder of His delivering them from the penalty of eternal death through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, “our passover” (I Cor. 5:7), who became the New Testament Passover “Lamb” (John 1:29).

The Bible clearly shows that the death of Christ is the first event, the first step, in God's great plan for eventually bringing thousands of millions into His divine Family. The Passover, the first of God's annual festivals, pictures that event. Jesus commanded that it be observed every year, with new symbols, so we would always remember His great sacrifice for us.

The Church Jesus built and promised to preserve understands that the New Testament Passover is the annual memorial of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ – that it pictures our being reconciled to God through a Savior who rescued us from the penalty of our past sins.

But this deceived world does not understand the real meaning of Christ's sacrifice. Instead of keeping the Passover, traditional Christianity observes Easter, supposedly in honor of Christ's resurrection. Yet the Bible nowhere commands us to celebrate His resurrection. And the world even has the resurrection on the wrong day! (The origin of Easter, and what the Bible says about this and other religious holidays, will be covered in a future lesson.)

God's Church has the precious knowledge of His truth, and His Spirit-begotten children faithfully observe all of His annual festivals!

You are about to begin a fascinating series of lessons that will thoroughly explain the meaning of God's seven annual festivals and Holy Days. Let's begin studying the details of the first step in God's marvelous Master Plan – the Passover.