LifeResource Ministries Resource
Salvation 101 - A Passover Presentation
What is God's Salvation Plan? To save your immortal soul? If not, go to Hell and burn forever? Really? There is a much better plan than that in the pages of your Bible. Learn more in
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Many Christians believe their salvation is a sure thing. All you have to do is believe on Jesus and His sacrifice and you’re a shoe-in. It doesn’t matter what you do. Modern Christians’ idea of God’s plan runs like this: You’re born with an immortal soul. We already have immortality in us. Now, if that’s true, why is death called our enemy in the Bible? If our conscience, containing an immortal soul can’t die, why would death be an enemy? Know Christ in this life and go to heaven; don’t know Christ in this life and suffer hell forever. That’s the plan.
Two questions to ask are: Is this fair? What if the missionary has a blowout on his Land Rover, and never make it to the African village, and they never learn about Jesus. Do they all die forever and go to hell? Well, yes, according to modern Christianity. Is that fair?
I heard a man once say, “We know God is fair. We just don’t know how.” But we can all know. It’s right there – right there in the Book. All we have to do is read it. Do we really have an immortal soul? The whole modern Christian plan revolves around the idea of humans having an immortal soul. And yet, that’s a Greek concept not found in the Bible.
I heard a Presbyterian minister explain it on the radio one night. He said, “Search the Bible from cover and cover and you will not find a single scripture supporting the concept.” So, why cling to the notion of it?
It seems when this come up – when I mention all this – the usual answer is, “Well, what’s the difference. It’s not important.” You know, that’s just a weak excuse not to change and not to go against the flow. The difference is, it’s not biblical. The Bible shows people how to be Christians, and it’s not in there.
Let’s look at a scripture about one element about being a good Christian – Acts 17:11.
Acts 17:11 – Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica. They received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily, to see if these things were so. It didn’t matter to the Bereans that Christianity had turned their world upside down. They were going to follow the truth wherever it went, because they knew it was the truth of Christ.
The second question to ask: Is there really an ever-burning hell? Well, that idea is not biblical either. An ancient guy, named Dante, wrote a play – I should say, “…ancient – but he wrote a play, today called Dante’s Inferno. And that became part of Catholic, and then later Protestant, belief. There is a lake of fire mentioned, but that’s not anything like anything that any of us has ever seen. It’s like the big bang in reverse. Elements will melt with fervent heat, we’re told, followed by an entirely new creation. Let’s read about that in 2 Peter 3:10.
2 Peter 3:10 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. When is that? Well, when it’s least expected. …in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are their end shall be burned up.
Think with me for a minute. If you had an immortal soul and were thrown into a lake of fire, what would happen to you? Well, your body would burn up. All that would be left would be your immortal soul, which, if it existed at all, would not be physical, and so, would not be tormented by fire at all. We see in the Bible word pictures of beings who are immortal walking in fire, like it’s nothing at all to them. So, with all due respect to Dante, what a fantasy! If you don’t believe me, just look it up for yourself. You can find New Testament scriptures showing that when we die, it’s like being asleep – not in heaven. You want to see one? John 11:11 through 14.
John 11:11-14 – After saying these things, He said to them – that’s Jesus – “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” And the disciples said to Him, “Lord, if he’s fallen asleep, he’ll recover.” And now Jesus had spoken of his death – so when Jesus talked about death, He said it was like being asleep – not awake in heaven, but asleep – but they thought He meant He was talking about rest and sleep. And then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died.”
You can find New Testament scriptures about a resurrection from the dead for Christians, and then later for everyone else. Let’s look at that in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 – For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first – now there’s a resurrection for the dead in Christ and then there’s another resurrection later on.
If you want to know more about what’s going on really, there is a salvation plan laid out in the biblical festivals that are in the Bible. You know, if those modern-day teachings are not a picture of God’s plan, what is? Well, there it is. How can we know what God has in store for us and how is He going to bring it about. Well, there are seven annual festivals, and each one of them is one of the seven steps in God’s salvation plan. Each step is portrayed by the days that God has laid out for us.
We’re going to look at that first step today, since we are speaking on one of those days, and then reserve the others for later times.
The first of the seven is called Passover. This festival can be seen in two elements. Let’s look at what Paul said about Jesus, which would be the first step, in 1 Corinthians 2:1.
1 Corinthians 2:1 – And I, when I came to you brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom, for I decided to know nothing among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
So that’s what Paul came to talk about. And this is what Peter said, after he healed a crippled man – Acts 4:10:
Acts 4:10 – Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the chief cornerstone, and there is salvation in no one else. For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
So when we observe the Passover, we take bread and wine – the way Christ instructed us to – and we know that He was the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world – that’s a quote out of the New Testament. You know, I believe most Christians today have been taught about the sacrifice of Christ. There are songs about it, movies about it, a lot of lip service given to it – and that’s all good – but there is another part of the Passover that’s passed over, because Christians don’t observe it. And that’s the second part of what we might call Salvation 101. If we don’t get this, we miss it all.
In ancient Israel, they observed the Passover. We think it’s a Jewish holiday, but it’s not really. Let’s read a little bit about that. In Exodus 12:26, it says:
Exodus 12:26 – When your children say to you, “What do you mean by this service?” you shall say, “It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for He passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.” And the people bowed their heads and worshipped.
So God is here introducing the concept of teaching through a festival. And what were they to learn? Well, God delivered them out of slavery in Egypt. But they had to do quite a bit of preparation if they wanted to be saved.
There’s a very curious scripture in John 1:29. It says:
John 1:29 – The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Paul tells us that everything that happened to ancient Israel was a model for salvation. Do you understand that point? Everything that happened to ancient Israel was a model for salvation. He even says that when the Israelites went through the Red Sea, that was a model of baptism. They stood there, looking at the high walls of the water on both sides, and they still went forward. We come to a point of commitment where we go forward toward God’s salvation. And we have to go through water to get there.
So Egypt was a type, or a metaphor, for sin that they needed saving from. They were helpless before the Egyptians. They could not escape on their own. And they were saved by the blood of the Lamb that was on their doorposts. Do you see the analogy?
So why would we not want to observe a day like that? It’s all about our salvation. Somebody’s prejudiced against these things, and yet, it’s clearly a New Testament holy day. Let’s look at some preparation they had to do in the New Testament. There was physical preparation. Just like in the days of Israel, where they had to kill a lamb and eat it, put the blood on the doorposts, the church had to make physical preparations in Jesus day. They observed this festival and the lamb had to be killed by 3 pm the day of 14th. So there’s a physical preparation. Jesus told the disciples on the 13th to go rent a room in the city and prepare for the Passover there. That night, after sundown, at the beginning of the 14th, Jesus gave them new symbols to observe for Passover – same festival, new symbols – no longer a lamb to be killed, but bread that symbolized His own body, because He was the Lamb – and wine that symbolized His own blood, because He shed that for us. So, He’s been the Lamb all along. He told them to observe this day from then on this way – not with a sacrifice of a lamb, but with bread and wine. And that’s how Passover is still His day today.
Now there’s also instruction in New Testament about spiritual preparation for the Passover. We have an eye-witness account. Let’s look at the testimony of one who knew Christ in those days. This was written in the 50s AD, some twenty years after Christ died. And the church is still observing the way Jesus taught. Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 11:23:
1 Corinthians 11:23 – For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread. And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, also, He took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. We proclaim that on Passover. Whoever, therefore, eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the Lord’s body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
So, besides finding a room – physical preparation – there’s also this kind of preparation – an introspective examination – a more spiritual type. We have to remain committed year after year. We have to examine ourselves to make sure we’re still committed to Jesus Christ. His death was excruciating and monumental for all of us. We’d better be sure we’re sacrificing for Him as He sacrificed for us. That’s what we’re being told here in the Bible.
So what does the preparation for Passover point to for Christians? Well, let’s see what John saw in his vision of God’s end-time plan. In Revelation 19:9, he said:
Revelation 19:9 – And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”
So the Bible teaches us that salvation is like being invited to a wedding – to marry the Lamb, who is Christ. And here’s the parable Jesus taught about that wedding. In Matthew 25:1, it says:
Matthew 25:1-13 - Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise answered, saying, “Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.” And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he answered, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.” What’s the lesson? Well, here’s what Jesus says: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
So the oil that they ran out of, that’s the Holy Spirit, given to us upon commitment at baptism. So, we’re not to let the supply run dry. We’re supposed to be prepared. We’re supposed to replenish daily by prayer and the good works of the Spirit – by doing God’s work.
So, let’s think about our relationship to the sacrifice, which is to prepare. We’re supposed to understand that Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. Most Christians seem not to understand that there is an appropriate response to that sacrifice. Let’s look in the Bible at what we’re told – Romans 12:1 and 2 – Paul said:
Romans 12:1-2 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice – just like Christ sacrificed Himself for us, we sacrifice for Him by living His way – holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
That word, in the phrase, spiritual service – let’s look that up. Translated reasonable in the King James Bible – your reasonable service – the margin, in the Bible I’m looking at, says, your rational service – Strong’s says, your logical service. In other words, our sacrifice is a logical response to Christ’s. It causes us to fall in love with Him and seek a relationship. It causes us to want to be like Him – to serve Him as He serves us, to sacrifice ourselves as He sacrificed for us. His sacrifice is the motivation for our spiritual preparation.
Some people think their sacrifice is to talk in a churchy-effected way, or to sing a lot of hymns and wave our arms around while we sing. But introspective examination, living as Christ lived, surrendering our lives to Christ, well, that’s all a lot harder. And all this is taught to us by the observance of the Passover, as we prepare for it. It pulls us into the right way of acting and thinking. It’s not that we just learn certain information about God’s plan by observing these days. It pulls us into right action and right thinking.
Remember the Bereans, who searched the scriptures daily to prove what was true? They knew they could not take anyone else’s word for it. They had to prove it for themselves. They were willing to go where the Bible led, rather than to follow the organization or congregation. And here’s the challenge, then. Read the book! Get a Bible, put it on your night stand. Every evening or every morning, read a couple chapters every day. You’re going to find it doesn’t say what you think it says. It’s going to lead you to the Passover and the other biblical festivals. And those will lead you to the truth about what God is doing in your life and the lives of the rest of humankind.
So that’s it for Salvation 101 – the very first part of God’s salvation plan, taught to us by God Himself every Passover. If you want to know more, you can go to our Website, liferesource.org, to learn about the other six steps in God’s salvation plan. Just hit the search button and type in holy days. There’s a lot more there.
So, until next time, this is Bill Jacobs for LifeResource Ministries, serving children, families and the Church of God.