by Luke Wayne
The World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) teaches that the keeping of the ceremonial Passover feast is absolutely necessary for salvation. They claim:
“The Passover is the core of the Bible and it has tremendous value for those who want to follow God. Through the Passover, God grants many blessings, including protection from disasters, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life,”1
“God commands His people to celebrate the New Covenant Passover to grant them spiritual blessings the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and the promise to return to the kingdom of heaven,”2
“The importance of the Passover goes beyond the forgiveness of sins. It is the only way to receive eternal life in order to enter heaven,”3
They claim the gospel itself is null and void without the Passover feast. Indeed, the Passover feast is the gospel:
“the gospel of the kingdom, which Jesus preached to set us free from sins, is the Passover of the new covenant. So, the church that preaches the gospel must have the truth of the Passover,”4
They teach that this necessary, salvific truth was lost for all of church history and restored only by them. Only by join in their feast days can you be saved:
“For over 2,000 years, the truth of the New Covenant Passover has been hidden. Through the power of God, we are now able to realize that the Passover, which gives eternal life to those who keep it, has been restored,”5
A Biblical Response
The Passover is not and was never a redemptive ceremony or sacramental rite. It is not a means to God’s grace it made no promise of forgiveness of sins in this life or the next. The Passover is plainly said to be a memorial (Exodus 12:14) which served to pass the faith on to their children (Exodus 12:26-27). Deuteronomy 16:3 reiterates that the purpose is “that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.” It was mandatory, and in fact incurred the death penalty if an Israelite refused to participate, but it was not a redemptive act. It was vital means of calling each new generation to remember the great things God had done and to remind them why they are to be faithful to God alone. It was extremely important, but that does not make it a part of salvation.
In fact, the Passover was not kept from the time of the judges through the reigns of all the kings of Israel up until the time of Josiah. When Josiah rediscovered the Book of the Law in the temple, he was shocked to find out that they had completely forgotten the Passover for generations!
“Then the king commanded all the people saying, Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in this book of the covenant. Surely such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem,” (2 Kings 23:21-23).
Thus, King David himself never kept the Passover. Neither did Elijah, though he was caught up into heaven alive and appeared by Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. If the Passover was a requirement for salvation, these men and all the others of their age would be condemned and barred from eternal life. Obviously, that is not the case.
In the new testament, Paul points to the Passover as an analogy for the Christian life:
“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
This is an everyday principle, not a once a year rite or ritual. There is no hint here or anywhere in Paul’s writing that Christians were literally to keep the ceremonial feast of the Passover. To the contrary, Paul writes:
“Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ,” (Colossians 2:16-17).
and to the Galatians he even warns:
“But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain,” (Galatians 4:9-11).
The Passover was not a requirement for New Covenant believers. It pointed to Christ and was fulfilled in Him. In fact, Paul was fearful for the souls of those who practiced such rituals in Galatia. If they were adding them as necessary works in addition to the finished work of Christ (as the WMSCOG does), it actually represented a denial of the gospel itself! To do this is to remain enslaved to sin, to deny the only hope of salvation.
The WMSCOG’s Passover teaching is a false gospel that cannot save.
1. https://www.wmschurchofgod.org/beliefs/passover/ (Accessed 9/9/16)
4. http://english.watv.org/truth/qna/content.asp?idx=2873&page=1 (Accessed 9/9/16)
5. https://www.wmschurchofgod.org/beliefs/passover/ (Accessed 9/9/16)