Sacred Assemblies of the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Day of Resurrection 2022
The Feasts Were Celebrated in 175 Countries, Giving Love and Hope to People
The Church of God has been carrying out various volunteer services for neighbors in the global village, based on the love of Christ. Christ’s love and salvation are contained in the seven feasts in three times, which start with the Passover every year.
The Sacred Assembly of the Passover 2022 was celebrated in the Churches of God throughout the world on the evening of April 15 (the 14th day of the first month according to the sacred calendar). With the COVID-19-related restrictions being gradually eased and amid rising expectations for restoration to normal life, the church members participated in the feast, hoping that all people would receive God’s blessings by keeping the feast, as they had passed through a long tunnel of the pandemic. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (April 16, the 15th day of the first month according to the sacred calendar) and the Day of Resurrection (April 17, the day after the Sabbath following the Feast of Unleavened Bread) were also celebrated both online and offline according to the COVID-19 prevention guidelines in each country.
Sacred Assembly of the Passover & Promise of Life and Salvation
The Passover is a feast that Jesus celebrated with His disciples as the Last Supper before His crucifixion 2,000 years ago. The origin of the Passover dates back to the time of the Exodus 3,500 years ago, when the Israelites came out of Egypt where they had enslaved for hundreds of years. They celebrated the Passover with the blood of the Passover lamb according to God’s command, and as a result, they escaped the disaster and experienced the joy of freedom. The blood of the Passover lamb was a distinguishing mark for God’s people who would be saved from the disaster being poured out upon Egypt (Ex 12:1–14).
Jesus was the reality of the Passover lamb. The bread and wine we eat and drink on the Passover represent the flesh and blood of Christ who died on the cross. The Passover of the new covenant is the blessed truth, whereby people can be freed from their sins and enter the kingdom of heaven as God has promised (1 Co 5:7; Lk 22:7–20; 1 Jn 5:9–12; Jer 31:31–34).
During the Passover celebrated at the New Jerusalem Pangyo Temple on the evening of April 15, Mother gave thanks to Father for giving the truth of life to His children living without the hope of salvation, through His boundless love. She prayed earnestly that all of Her children would live a life pleasing to God with faith great enough to put the love of the Passover into practice.
General Pastor Kim Joo-cheol said, “The Passover is the truth whereby God, who is eternal, recreates humans as perfect beings who have eternal life, through His flesh and blood. Jesus eagerly desired to celebrate the Passover with His disciples. It’s also because the Passover connects people to God and it is a covenant that enables them to enter the kingdom of heaven.” He emphasized the importance and value of the Passover through the testimonies of the prophets in the Bible, retracing the history of the apostles who kept the Passover of the new covenant holy according to Jesus’ teaching (Jn 5:17; 6:52–56; Mt 26:17–28; 7:21–23).
The members reminded themselves of the grace and love of God who gave them the blessing of eternal life, and participated in the Passover ceremony according to the example of Jesus Christ (Jn 13:4–15).
Sacred Assembly of the Feast of Unleavened Bread & Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice for the Sins of Humankind
On April 16, the day after the Passover, the Sacred Assembly of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was held. This feast is to commemorate the suffering that the Israelites experienced until they crossed the Red Sea after coming out of Egypt. Their suffering represents the passion of Christ who died on the cross at the Feast of Unleavened Bread in order to atone for the sins of all humanity. In the Old Testament times, the Israelites celebrated this feast by eating bread made without east and bitter herbs to remember their suffering at the time of the Exodus (Ex 12:15–20). In the New Testament times, God’s people participate in Christ’s suffering by fasting on this feast, just as Jesus said: “The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast” (Mk 2:20; Mt 9:14–15).
Mother gave thanks to Father in prayer for sacrificing Himself in excruciating pain on the cross for the grievous sins of humankind. She also prayed for Her children all over the world to lead many souls to repentance with a grateful heart toward God who loved them even unto death.
General Pastor Kim Joo-cheol said, “Jesus was betrayed by His disciples whom He loved, and was ridiculed and scorned by unbelievers. He experienced the pain of torture and crucifixion. We must always remember that Jesus suffered all these things because of our sins. Whenever hardship befalls us, let us think of the love of God who went through more severe suffering than ours. Then, we will be able to endure everything and live a more godly life” (Mt 26:14–15; 27:1–50; Isa 50:1; 53:1–6). He inspired faith in the members by saying, “Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps. Everyone suffers although the type and degree of suffering vary among them. Through the process of refinement, we can grow stronger in our faith and be reborn as perfect beings. Let us overcome all hardships with joy and walk with Christ just as the saints of the early Church did (1 Pe 2:21–24; 4:13–16; 5:10–11; Ro 8:16–18; Php 1:29; Col 1:23–24).
Sacred Assembly of the Day of Resurrection & Joyful News of Resurrection and Transfiguration
On April 17, the Church of God members all around the world celebrated the Sacred Assembly of the Day of Resurrection, which is the day when Jesus confirmed His words: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (Jn 11:25–26). Apostle Paul emphasized that “if Christ has not been raised, our faith is useless” (1 Co 15:14), showing the importance of resurrection.
The Day of Resurrection originated from the event that the Israelites passed through the Red Sea as on dry land in the Old Testament times. The prophetic event that the people entered the Red Sea and set out from the sea was fulfilled when Jesus was buried in a tomb and resurrected after three days. The resurrection of Jesus has given all people a living hope that they can be resurrected and transformed into spiritual bodies and receive the eternal inheritance of heaven, although they were once destined for eternal death and judgment as a result of their sins committed in heaven (1 Pe 1:3–4; 1 Co 15:40–58).
Mother gave thanks to Father for giving the hope of resurrection and transfiguration to believers and for allowing them to live their lives with joy. She also blessed Her children to be able to participate in the glory of heaven together with all their neighbors in the global village by planting the hope of resurrection in their hearts.
General Pastor Kim Joo-cheol explained that the disciples became strong and bold in their faith when they witnessed the resurrection of Jesus. He said, “Jesus’ resurrection was the wondrous and joyful news beyond death, that is, the good news. The disciples firmly believed in the promise of resurrection, and preached the gospel powerfully even to the regions in Europe without fear of hardship or persecution. Let us, too, preach the gospel to the whole world, having a greater hope and a stronger faith than that of the early Church” (Lk 24:1–48; Jn 20:19–29).
The members broke the bread for the Day of Resurrection, following the example of Jesus; Jesus opened the spiritual eyes of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, by breaking the bread after blessing it and giving it to them on the day of His resurrection (Lk 24:13–35).
After the worship service, Mother reminded the members of the blessings and joy contained in the feast, and encouraged them by saying, “Through this feast, you have received the promise of being transformed into spiritual bodies and flying freely in heaven. So let us live joyfully and powerfully with the hope of resurrection and transfiguration.”
There was a more relaxed atmosphere as social distancing restrictions were loosened. The faces of the members were filled with gratitude for the blessings of the feasts as well as with the joy of returning to precious normal life. They committed themselves to diligently planting God’s freely given grace and the hope of heaven in the hearts of people all around the world, who had been weary because of prolonged social isolation and anxiety about the future.