Prior to the observance of Passover during our present time, there frequently emerges a serious quest by some newer followers of Yahweh to experience a proper and valid water baptism.
The reason being that the majority of Sacred Name groups of today assert that in order for a person to partake of the Passover meal or emblems they must have undergone a mandatory water baptism in the proper name of the messiah.
It is also maintained by most of these groups that before the death of Yahushua the messiah, in order to partake of the Passover meal, all men had to be fleshly circumcised.
Different Passover Systems
We must first admit to a basic difference in the opinion about Passover. To begin with, many are often unaware that there were several different Passover systems practiced by the ancient Jews.
Those who presently follow the Rabbinic system of an 8-day observance of Passover and Unleavened Bread claim authority from the late Jewish rabbinic leaders. This claim of authority is most commonly based upon their understanding of a passage from the book of Matthew.
Then Yahushua spoke to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, THE SCRIBES AND THE PHARISEES SIT IN THE SEAT OF MOSES. THEREFORE, ALL WHATSOEVER THEY COMMAND YOU (i.e., from the Scriptures) TO OBSERVE, THAT OBSERVE AND DO. Yet you do not (observe) according to their ἔργα (erga; business, enterprise, works), for they say but do not do it. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them upon men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matt. 23:1-7)
Those who follow an 8-day observance (Passover followed by the 7 days of Unleavened Bread) see this statement as authority for following the rabbinic system of Passover.
The true position, on the other hand, views it as a warning. “In the seat of Moses” refers to the scribes and Pharisees holding that position of Moses in the sense that they are teaching from Scriptures.
Everything the Scriptures commands us to do, we are to do. Yet we are not to follow the ἔργα (erga; plural of ἔργον [ergon; business, enterprise, works]) of the rabbis, who even deny that the messiah had come in the flesh.
The ancient Hebrew Shem Tob text of Matt. 23:3, explains it even clearer when it reports:
Now all which (they) say to you, keep and do; but (according to) their ORDINANCES AND DEEDS do not do because they say (to do) and do not do.
Notice that the Greek word ἔργα (erga; business, enterprise, works) covers two Hebrew terms used in the Shem Tob text: “ובתקנותיהם ומעשיהם (their ordinances and their actions/deeds)”1
Our research of Scriptures has revealed the fact that the Israelites were originally commanded to keep a 7-day Festival of Unleavened Bread which limited the eating of unleavened bread to precisely 7 days and not 8 days.
At the time of the Exodus, the first day of these 7 days of Unleavened Bread was renamed the Passover due to the command to sacrifice the Passover lamb for the first time on that very first day (Abib 14).
The 8-day arrangement of eating unleavened bread, created as a much later Hasidic invention, was opposed to the earlier 7-day festival concept. The original system also held that the 14th of Abib and the 20th of Abib were high Sabbaths.2
Therefore, we know from Moses that we are to keep the Passover meal as part of the 7 days of Unleavened Bread, but we do not follow the mistaken ordinances of the scribes and Pharisees, who falsely keep Passover on the wrong day, i.e., Abib 15.
For instance, the messiah and the apostles kept the Passover the night before the rabbinic Jews kept their Passover.3 In the book of John, it speaks of the 14th of Abib as the preparation of the Passover, instead of the Passover,4 and John refers to this Passover as the “Passover of the Jews”5 and “a festival of the Jews”6 and not the festival of Yahweh.
Abraham and Torah of Trust
Besides, even if we use this late 8-day interpretation invented and followed by the Pharisees, the idea that one was always required to be circumcised or water baptized, is still proven to be in error for the following reasons.
Abraham Kept Commandments, Laws, and Statutes
Abraham kept the commandments, laws, and statutes of Yahweh.7 These statutes were defined in the Old Covenant marriage made at Mount Sinai, the bondwomen marriage.8 Due to the Israelites’ transgressions, judgments were included as part of the agreement for breaking these statutes and commandments.9
Importantly, these statutes also included the festival days.10 In this regard, the extra-biblical book of Jubilees, argued that Abraham observed the Festival of Booths;11 the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which Jubilees calls the Festival of Yahweh;12 and the Festival of Firstfruits (Pentecost).13
Other Jewish writers also admit that this was the practice for Abraham to keep the commandments, statutes, and laws. The Israelites had already been observing the commandments and statutes, such as the Sabbath day, prior to the agreement made at Mount Sinai.14 The requirement to keep the Sabbath day subsequently was included as part of Old Covenant marriage agreement made when they arrived at Mount Sinai.15 These statutes and commandments were not new but, as we shall see below, go back to Adam and Eve.
Nevertheless, Abraham was counted as righteous/justified long before he was fleshly circumcised at the age of 86, fleshly circumcision being a “token” of the covenant of the true circumcision of the heart (innermost self).16 The true circumcision one must have in order to keep the Passover is defined by Saul (Paul) who wrote:
But he is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the ruach, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of the deity. (Rom., 2:29)
Abraham was able to correctly keep the 7-day Festival of Unleavened Bread because he was circumcised of heart (innermost self) not of the flesh. Neither is there any record that Abraham was ever water baptized.
Abraham Kept the Torah of Trust
Abraham kept the Torah that was already in place at the time that Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden. It is important to recognize that there is no sin imputed without a Torah,17 for sin is the transgression of the Torah.18 Yet both Adam and Eve sinned,19 and sin is reckoned as occurring from the time of Adam down to Moses and the Torah at Mount Sinai.20 Indeed, the Israelites were under the same Torah Covenant as Adam:
For I (Yahweh) desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of eloahim more than burnt offerings. And they (the Israelites), as Adam, have transgressed the covenant: they have they dealt treacherously against me. (Hos. 6:6-7)
This most ancient Torah was defined as the “Torah of Trust,”21 the “Torah of the Messiah,”22 and the Torah of the deity.”23 This greater Torah, which is an Eternal Covenant, applies to all mankind,24 whereas the Torah of the Old Covenant that was given as a marriage covenant of the bondwoman at Mount Sinai was temporary.
The Torah of Moses was meant to give knowledge of sin as found in the Eternal Covenant, the knowledge of sin increasing its penalty,25 until heaven and earth pass away and father Yahweh comes to the earth.26 But no one is justified under the Torah of Moses (Old Covenant).27
Therefore, the messiah having paid the price for our sins and qualifying for the eternal inheritance by being sinless unto death, freed us from the works of the Torah adverse to us,28 but not from obeying the commandments, torath (laws), and statutes of the Torah of Trust. We are even commanded to keep the works of the Torah that are good for us (do not eat things offered to idols, etc.).29
We now are subject to the conditions of the Eternal Covenant (Torah of Trust) that was given to Adam and kept by Abraham and by means of grace our lives can be saved by the messiah.
In addition, although the Torah of Trust was in existence from the time of Adam, no statement was ever made that Adam, or anyone else for that matter, until Abraham, and then late in his life, was asked to be fleshly circumcised.
Even then it was only “a token” of the greater covenant of the true circumcision of the heart (innermost self). Due to transgressions and after the sin which occurred with the incident of the golden calf, fleshly circumcision was required in the Torah of Moses in order to teach the Israelites its meaning, i.e., their adherence to the greater and true covenant of circumcision of the heart (innermost self).
As the apostle Saul (Paul) writes:
Fleshly circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of the deity (father Yahweh) is something (1 Cor. 7:19).
The evidence from Scriptures reveals that the first day of Unleavened Bread was renamed Passover because it was on that day of Unleavened Bread, Abib 14, just after sunset, that the Passover lamb was sacrificed and eaten.
This Passover celebration was constituted in the year of the Exodus (1439 B.C.E.). The later Hasidic Jews, by means of their own interpretations, perverted the true system by sacrificing the Passover lamb during the afternoon of the 14th of Abib and eating the Passover lamb just after sunset on the 15th of Abib. We shall have more to say about this as we proceed.
Fleshly Circumcision and Passover
The next rationale stems from the fact that, in the Old Testament, Yahweh required that all males be fleshly circumcised before partaking of the Passover meal in Egypt. Under the logic that fleshly circumcision was always required, we find that it was only the men who were in jeopardy, for only men can be fleshly circumcised.
Women, on the other hand, either (1) can never keep the Passover because they cannot be circumcised (yet they did keep it) or (2) they can always keep the Passover because there is no way for them to be circumcised. To say the least, it is very confusing if fleshly circumcision is required for everyone.
• First, the earliest reference made regarding circumcision in association with the Passover sacrifice and meal comes while the Israelites were ready to leave Egypt.
And when a resident alien shall sojourn with you, and will keep the Passover to Yahweh, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. (Exod. 12:48)
Yet, if one were to look closely at the context of this passage, they would immediately understand that this was a one-time event. We reckonize this detail by the fact that when the Old Covenant (Torah of Moses) was made at Mount Sinai, the Passover (i.e., the sacrifice of the Passover lamb and its consumption) is not even mentioned. Instead, we simply read of the requirement to keep “the Festival of Unleavened Bread.”30
The Passover sacrifice and meal were not reinstituted again until after the Israelites sinned with the incident of the golden calf at Mount Sinai.31 Because of this, the covenant had to be reinstituted along with the added mention of the Passover sacrifice.32
• Second, there were no commanded sacrifices after the Israelites kept the Passover sacrifice and meal at the Exodus.33 Since the Passover is a commanded sacrifice, this means that there were no required Passover sacrifices until the Israelites’ sinning with the incident of the golden calf.
• Third, we must also keep in mind that fleshly circumcision was not even required for the Israelites under the Torah of Moses (the Law, Old Covenant) until after the Israelites had rebelled at Mount Sinai, and then it was only required once they entered the Promised Land. We read in Leviticus:
And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. (Lev.12:3)
To demonstrate, the requirement for fleshly circumcision in order to partake of the Passover meal was not in effect during the 40-year wilderness sojourn. During this period, none of the Israelite males were circumcised.34
Indeed, they were not circumcised until they crossed the Jordan and entered their portion of the Promised Land, i.e., after the 40-year wilderness sojourn and just before the Passover of the 41st year.35 Yet during the wilderness sojourn, uncircumcised Israelites did indeed keep the Passover!
And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the Passover. And THEY (ISRAEL) KEPT THE PASSOVER on the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight IN THE WILDERNESS OF SINAI: ACCORDING TO ALL THAT YAHWEH HAD COMMANDED MOSES, so did the children of Israel. (Num. 9:4-5)
As Scriptures clearly reveal, uncircumcised men kept the Passover in the wilderness even though fleshly circumcision was required at the first Passover that was observed in Egypt.
Now all the people that came out (of Egypt) were circumcised: but ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WERE BORN IN THE WILDERNESS on the road as they came forth out of Egypt, THEM THEY HAD NOT CIRCUMCISED. FOR THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WALKED FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, until all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the Yahweh: unto whom Yahweh swore that he would not show them the land, which Yahweh swore unto their fathers that he would give to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: FOR THEY WERE UNCIRCUMCISED, BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT CIRCUMCISED THEM ON THE ROAD. (Josh. 5:5-7)
One may ask, How can this be? It seems that Scriptures clearly state that all males must be circumcised before partaking of the Passover as stated in Exodus 12:48.
To answer this question we must go to the passage from Exodus:
And WHEN YAHWEH BRINGS YOU INTO THE LAND of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, YOU SHALL KEEP THIS SERVICE (the Passover) in this month. (Exod. 13:5)
In obedience to Yahweh’s command as given by Moses in Exod. 13:5, it is important to notice that all the Israelite men were circumcised as soon as they crossed over to the west side of the Jordan and entered into the land after living 40 years in the wilderness.
Then, after all the men were fleshly circumcised, the nation of Israel proceeded to observe the Passover.
AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL ENCAMPED IN GILGAL, AND KEPT THE PASSOVER on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight in the plains of Jericho. (Josh. 5:10)
Scriptures are absolutely clear about the matter. The command for fleshy circumcision to observe Passover was only applicable after the Israelites entered their portion of the Promised Land! What is also important to understand is that this instruction was given as part of the Torah of Moses (the Law, Old Covenant) and not the Torah of Trust, which Abraham had been under.
Therefore, Passover along with its sacrificial lamb was only required as a one time event at the beginning of the Exodus in Egypt.
Then later, the Israelites having sinned against the Torah of Trust (a covenant which originally only asked them to keep the 7 days of Unleavened Bread), they were again charged with keeping the Passover with its animal sacrifice, but even then it would apply only after they entered into the Promised Land.
This concludes Part 1 of our investigation regarding the issue of whether or not a person has to undergo water baptism in order to partake of the Passover meal or emblems.
Be sure to proceed onward to “Passover & Water Baptism-Pt. 2.” In our second installment we will direct our effort toward the notion held by many that water baptism has replaced fleshly circumcision during our present time.
In “Passover & Water Baptism-Pt.2,” we shall also present the evidence from Scriptures whereby one will also be able to conclusively determine Yahweh’s truth regarding whether or not a person needs to presently undergo water baptism prior to partaking of the Passover meal.
1 See translation in George Howard, Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, 1995, p. 113; SEC, Heb. #4639, “an action (good or bad).”
2 For a complete discussion of the evidence, see The Festivals and Sacred Days of Yahweh, Vol. I.
3 Compare Matt. 26:17-21; Mark 14:12-18; Luke 22:1, 7-15, especially where it has “eat this Passover BEFORE I suffer”
4 John 18:28, 39, 19:14.
5 John 2:13, 11:55.
6 John 6:4.
7 Gen. 26:1-5.
8 Gal. 4:21-31; Jer. 31:31-32.
9 Exod. 21:1; but also see Deut. 4:12-14; Malachi 4:4; and see Gal. 3:15-19, esp. 19, “for the sake of transgressions.”
10 Exod. 23:14-17.
11 Jub. 16:20-31.
12 Jub. 18:1-19.
13 Jub. 22:1-9.
14 Exod. 16:4-30.
15 Exod. 20:10-11.
16 Gen. 15:3-6; Rom. 4:9-12; cf. Gen. 17:9-14. For the concept of circumcision of the heart, see Deut. 30:6, 10:14-16; Jer. 4:4; Rom. 2:25-29, 3:1-2, 4:1-25; 1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 3:4-14, 5:6; Rom. 3:30; Acts 11:1-3, 15:1-19; Philip. 3:2-3; Col. 2:11-13, 3:11; James 2:23; Gal. 3:4-14).
17 Rom. 5:13.
18 1 John 3:4.
19 For example, Rom. 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:13-14.
20 For example, Gen. 4:7, 18:20, 20:9, 31:36, 39:9, 42:22, 50:17; Exod. 9:27, 34, 10:16-17, 20:20; Rom. 5:13.
21 Rom. 3:27.
22 Gal. 6:2.
23 Rom. 7:25.
24 Gen. 9:16; Isa. 24:5.
25 For example, Rom. 3:20, 5:20, 7:7-22.
26 Matt. 5:18; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 21:1-5.
27 Gal. 2:16, 3:11, 5:4.
28 For example, Rom. 3:27, 9:32; Gal. 2:16, 3:2-10.
29 For example, Matt. 19:17; 1 John 2:3-4, 3:22-24, 5:2-3; 2 John 1:6; Rev. 12:17, 14:12, 22:14; Acts 15:1-29, 16:4, 21:25; Col. 2:2-23, esp. v. 14, only the dogmasin (decrees)“adverse to us.”
30 Exod. 23:14-15.
31 Exod. 32:1-35.
32 Exod. 34:1-27, esp. v. 25.
33 Jer. 7:22.
34 Josh. 5:6-7.
35 Josh. 5:1-10.