The Church of God quotes 1 Co 5:7 as the evidence that the Passover was kept even after the resurrection of Jesus. However, the Apostle Paul did not record this verse to tell us to keep the Passover. If we take a look at the context from verse 1, the word “heortazo” was used instead of the Greek word, “heorte.” The reason the word “heortazo” is used is that at that time the Apostle Paul wanted to teach the saints in Corinth against adultery, by figuratively describing Jesus Christ as the reality of the unleavened bread of the Passover. The word “heortazo” does not mean keeping the law. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 5:7 cannot be the evidence that the apostles kept the Passover.
1. The meanings of “heorte” and “heortazo”
It is abominable and laughable to say “no” for the sake of negation itself, without the clear knowledge of the context and the Greek language. The word “heorte” is a noun which means “feasts,” and “heortazo” a verb which means “to keep the feasts.” In other words, both of the words have the same origin, and they are spelled differently because one is a noun and the other is a verb, not because there is a difference in meaning. It is nonsensical and preposterous to say that the variation in spelling, which was caused by the difference in the usage of the same word with the same meaning, results in a difference in meaning: one means “literally keeping the feast” and the other “figuratively keeping the feast.”
There is another example to make it easier to understand. In Greek, the word “baptism” is spelled “baptizma” as a noun, and “baptize” is spelled “baptizo” as a verb. If we explain this word according to their logic, we have to say that “baptizma” means to literally give baptism with water, and that “baptizo” must be used only in the figurative sense. Who on earth interprets a word that way? Therefore, their argument that “heorte” means keeping the feast literally and “heortazo” keeping it figuratively is wrong, and it shows their complete lack of knowledge.
2. The Greek Dictionary
Look at the Greek dictionary to find out if they are explained that way. The Greek dictionary shows that the only difference is in their usage: one as a noun and the other a verb.
3. The bread of 1 Co 5:3 is the Passover bread
Read 1 Co 5:8 carefully. It says, “Therefore let us keep the Festival . . . with bread without yeast.” Although some part of the text contains a figurative meaning, nobody can deny the fact that the original purpose of this bread is “to keep the Festival.” Also, nobody can deny that the Festival refers to the Passover mentioned in the previous verses. In conclusion, the text mentions none other than “the Passover bread.”
If the Church of God in Corinth did not keep the Passover, why did the Apostle Paul teach them to remain pure by giving the example of the Passover bread? It does not make sense at all that even though there was no Passover bread within the church, he taught the saints by mentioning the bread.
For example, when we teach with a saying, “Don’t you even know the letter L with an L ruler in front of you?” If the listener does not know what an L ruler is, how can they understand the meaning of the saying? This saying can be used only in the condition that the listener at least knows the shape of an L ruler. It is the same with 1 Co 5:7-8. Because the saints who received the letter already knew the Passover of the new covenant, which was celebrated with “bread without yeast,” Paul taught them to live a holy life through the spiritual meaning contained in the Passover bread.
4. The lesson contained in 1 Corinthians 5
The Passover bread symbolizes the holy body of Christ, and by partaking in the bread the saints become one body with Christ (1 Co 10:16). Also the Passover bread does not contain yeast. This means that the saints who have become one body with Christ must live a holy life like Christ, without committing any transgressions.
What will happen if the saints who have become one body with Christ do not lead a holy life, but commit the sin of sexual immorality (1 Co 5:1) which is considered a sin even among the Gentiles who do not have any knowledge of God? Can we say of those that they’ve realized the sacrifice of Christ and kept the Passover with sincerity and truth? No. If there are such people in the church, it can be considered as the yeast of malice and wickedness that ruins the holy bread.
That’s why Apostle Paul said, “Let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” It means that we must not keep the Passover simply as a day of eating bread and wine, but keep the festival with a sincere and true mind because we’ve realized the love and sufferings of Christ who sacrificed Himself as the Passover lamb, being determined “not to commit the same sin over again.” The text means that we must live a holy life as the true saints who have kept the Passover and become one body with Christ.
Like this, Apostle Paul taught the saints who kept the Passover to live a holy life in accordance with the meaning contained in the New Covenant Passover. Therefore, it is wrong to claim that 1 Co 5:7 cannot be the evidence that the saints kept the Passover.