Artist’s portrayal of Peter and John
going to prepare for the Passover

Tonight, after sunset, is the 14th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. Christian groups, such as the Continuing Church of God, will observe tonight as the Christian Passover. In addition to information on how to keep it in English (read Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread and/or watch the step-by-step instructions in the video CCOG Passover Service) we now also have an article on how to keep it translated into the Spanish language: Guardando la Pascua y los Días de los Panes sin Levadura. Plus, here is a link to another article in the Spanish language: Examínese antes de la Pascua.

As most everyone knows, Jesus kept the Passover, from the time of His youth. Luke records:

41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast (Luke 2:41-42).

Jesus continued to keep the Passover throughout His entire life. He kept it once per year. Passover was an annual event for Him and others (Exodus 13:10) and was observed on the fourteenth day of the first month (called Abib in Deuteronomy 16:1 or Nisan in Esther 3:7):

5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover (Leviticus 23:5).

And Jesus had his disciples also keep it and told them to keep it as a remembrance to Him:

7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” 9 So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” 10 And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.” 13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. 14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:7-20)

On Jesus’ last Passover as a human being, He changed many of the practices associated with the Jewish version of it. But He in no way suggested that it was not an annual Passover, nor did He change the time of day until the morning.

Even the Emperor Constantine understood that Passover was to be a one-time, annual event when, according to the fifth century historian Theodoret, he declared:

“For we could never tolerate celebrating the Passover twice in one year. But even if all these facts did not exist, your own sagacity would prompt you to watch with diligence and with prayer, lest your pure minds should appear to share in the customs of a people so utterly depraved. It must also be borne in mind, that upon so important a point as the celebration of a feast of such sanctity, discord is wrong. One day has our Saviour set apart for a commemoration of our deliverance, namely, of His most holy Passion” (Theodoret of Cyrus. Ecclesiastical History (Book I), Chapter IX. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

It may be of interest to note that, even in the 21st Century, the Roman Catholics still teach that this Passover (which they call the Last Supper) was kept by Jesus on a Tuesday night and that He was betrayed on a Wednesday (Zanchettin L, ed. Meditations, Tuesday, April 11, Wednesday April 12. the WORD among us–The #1 Monthly Devotional for Catholics. 2006; Volume 25, Number 4, pp. 63-64).

The Apostle Paul realized that Jesus was a substitute for the Passover lamb that the Jewish people used. He also taught that Christians should still continue to observe Passover:

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

The medieval historian and Catholic Priest Bede (also known as “the Venerable Bede”) recorded from a Catholic Abbot named Wilfrid that the Apostle John kept Passover on the 14th:

Far be it from me to charge John with foolishness: he literally observed the decrees of the Mosaic law when the Church was still Jewish in many respects, at a time when the apostles were unable to bring a sudden end to that law which God ordained…So John, in accordance with the custom of the law, began the celebration of Easter Day in the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, regardless of whether it fell on the sabbath or any other day (Bede (Monk). Edited by Judith McClure and Roger Collins. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Oxford University Press, NY, 1999).

Thus, the last of the original apostles kept Passover on the 14th of Nisan.

Apparently, some in the second century wanted to observe the 15th (like most Jews now do), but Apollinaris (a church leader of Hierapolis in Phrygia of Asia Minor) wrote the following around 180 A.D.:

The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb (Apollinaris. From the Book Concerning Passover. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors; American Edition copyright © 1885. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby).

There are some today, who still erroneously cling to the 15th, but they seem to misunderstand scripture and early church history; see TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th?.

The fourth century historian Epiphanius even admits that “the church” used to observe the 14th when he wrote:

Audians…they choose to celebrate the Passover with the Jews–that is they contentiously celebrate the Passover at the same time as the Jews are holding their Festival of Unleavened Bread. And indeed that this used to be the church’s custom (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verses 8,11; 9,2. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 410-411).

The fifth century historian Socrates Scholasticus noted:

In Asia Minor most people kept the fourteenth day of the moon…Moreover the Quartodecimans affirm that the observance of the fourteenth day was delivered to them by the apostle John (Socrates Scholasticus. Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter XXII. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 2. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

In the introduction to his English translation of The Key of Truth, F.C. Conybeare provides this information on the practices of the Paulicians in the Middle Ages and later:

John of Otzun’s language perhaps implies that the old believers in Armenia during the seventh century were Quartodecumans, as we should expect them to be (Conybeare F.C. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, p. clii).

We know from a notice preserved by Ananias of Shirak {Shirak is a province of Armenia} that the Pauliani, who were the same people at an earlier date, called Quartodecumans, and kept Easter {Passover} in the primitive manner on the Jewish date…

But the Paulini also keep the feast of the Pascha on the same day (as the Jews), whatever be the day of the full moon, they call it Kuriaki, as the Jews call it Sabbath, even though it be not a Sabbath (Conybeare F.C. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, p. clii).

Here is a report about a church in Rhode Island in the 17th and 18th centuries:

The church in Rhode Island was founded the year 1671, and Ephreta, Pennsylvania, May, 1725, with numerous other congregations throughout the eastern states as previously mentioned in this work. During these early colonial days congregations were at first isolated because of distance and a lack of means of travel with no roads between them. Thus being isolated from fellowship with one another, we find companies in one place called the Church of Christ, and the Church of God, while in other communities they were simply called “Sabbatarian Congregations,” but the belief was practically the same. They stood for the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, observing the true Sabbath, keeping the Lord’s Supper yearly on the 14th of the first month, with other tenets of faith in harmony with the true faith today. Owing to the isolation of these scattered companies they were known by different names which evidently gives rise to the Scriptural statement relative to the Sardis period, “I know thy works, that thou hast a NAME,” Revelation 3:1 (Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day). 1990 reprint, pp. 252-253).

The Church of God, Seventh Day kept the Passover on the fourteenth of Nisan in the 19th and 20th centuries (and still does so today–I verified that last year with the Denver branch, though they tend to call it the ‘Lord’s Supper’).

The pre-1986 Worldwide Church of God did so in the 20th century.

The Continuing Church of God, and certain other groups, have always kept the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, and continue to do so in the 21st century.

Thus, from the time of Christ and throughout history, small groups of people trying to be faithful Christians observed Passover on the 14th of Nisan, which in 2019 is tonight. Tomorrow night is the night to be much observed (a related, but separate event). Here is a link to an article Passover and the Early Church, here is a link to a YouTube titled History of the Christian Passover, here is a link to a YouTube titled Preparing for Passover, here is a link to how one should be Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, here is a link to a Passover Service. Real Christians have always kept Passover on the 14th of Nisan.

Now, some have allowed themselves to be confused about Passover vs. Easter Sunday.


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Did Peter, Paul, & John keep Easter Sunday or Passover?

The fifth century historian Socrates Scholasticus wrote that those of Asia Minor said they kept Passover on the 14th of Nisan following the practices of the Apostle John, whereas those of the Romans and the West observed what is now called Easter Sunday following the practices of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Socrates claimed that neither side had written evidence to back up their claims. But what does the Bible reveal? Do the earliest records outside the Bible point to the apostles keeping the 14 of Nisan or Easter Sunday. What does the Catholic Encyclopedia reveal? What about the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox writings? Was Passover supposed to be a nocturnal observance or a Sunday morning one? Can you know? Does this make any difference for Christians today? Dr. Thiel addresses these points from the Bible, historical records, and later church writings.

Here is a link: Did Peter, Paul, & John keep Easter Sunday or Passover?

Jesus kept the final Passover just after sunset on the 14th of Nisan, which will be this evening. He told His followers to continue to do so, if you are one, will you?

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to make available its suggested Passover service: CCOG Passover Service available online at its ContinuingCOG channel.

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CCOG Passover Service

This is a step-by-step Passover service for baptized Christians to follow if they are unable to attend a live Passover service. Passover is normally to be on the 14th of the month of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar. This service is by the overseeing pastor of the Continuing Church of God (CCOG). Leaders of the local Passover service (even if there is only one person) should have some unleavened bread, wine, a towel, and one or more water basins available.

Here is a link: CCOG Passover Service.

Update 1044: We now have the service in the Spanish language:

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Servicion de Pascua CCOG

Este es un servicio de Pascua paso a paso para que los cristianos bautizados lo sigan si no pueden asistir a un servicio de Pascua en vivo. La Pascua suele ser el día 14 del mes de Nisan en el calendario hebreo. Este servicio es por el pastor supervisor de la Iglesia de Dios Continua (CCOG). Los líderes del servicio local de Pascua (incluso si solo hay una persona) deben tener pan sin levadura, vino, una toalla y una o más cuencas de agua disponibles.Here is the link to the service in the Spanish language: Servicion de Pascua CCOG.

After conducting His last Passover service, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and await His arrest (Mark 14).

For those who have limited internet speed access and/or prefer a written outline to follow for Passover, the article Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread contains step-by-step instructions for Christians to keep it. There is also a link to a related article in the Spanish language: Guardando la Pascua y los Días de los Panes sin Levadura.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread How should Christians keep Passover, especially if they are by themselves. Why does the Church of God not require lambs for Passover? How does one keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? For a step-by-step video for Christians to keep it, check out a CCOG Passover Service; in Spanish got to Servicion de Pascua CCOG. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: Guardando la Pascua y los Días de los Panes sin Levadura.
Examine Yourself before Passover This article goes into some of why real Christians are to do this. Two related sermons are Really examine yourself before Passover and Passover Examination. Here is a link to this article in the Spanish language: Examínese antes de la Pascua.
Preparing for Passover The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should examine themselves prior to taking Passover. This YouTube video sermon gives suggestions on how to prepare.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th? While the real COG observes Passover on the 14th, some observe it on the 15th. Why is the 14th correct? A related sermon is titled Is Passover on the 14th or 15th for Christians?
Unleavened Bread recipes A Serbian COG member, now CCOG elder, sent these recipes for those who would like more ways to prepare unleavened bread. Here is a link to recipes in Spanish: Recetas de Recuerdo.
The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date? A related animation is available and is titled: Night to Be Observed.
How often should we partake of THE LORD’S SUPPER? Herbert Armstrong answers that question.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Hebrew Calendar This writing helps explain why we in the Continuing Church of God use the calendar that we do and answers such questions as “Did Jesus Observe the Postponements?”
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here is a link to this article in the French language: Les Chrétiens devraient-ils observer les Jours des Pains sans levain?Here are three YouTube videos intended to be viewed for the first day of unleavened bread: Unleavened Bread: No Tolerance for SinLeaven and Sin, and Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
The Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread What happened? Does this day have any type of fulfillment in the Book of Revelation? A related sermon video is also available: 7th Day of Unleavened Bread: Prophecy and Lessons.
Perfection? Does God have faith in humans? A message for the seventh-day of unleavened bread. A related sermon is titled: Does God have faith in humans?
UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper What does the Bible say about eating unleavened bread for seven days? What has UCG officially said about it?
Why Holy Day Offerings? This is a slightly updated version of an article originally by WCG evangelist Leroy Neff that was published in the old Good News magazine in September 1983. Here is a link to a related video message: Why Holy Day Offerings?
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.