Who Should Take the Passover?

Since the Spring Holy Day season will soon be here, there are a couple of questions that have been raised that need to be addressed; namely, 1). Who is eligible to take the emblems of Yahshua's Body, and to eat the Passover? And, 2). Must one be circumcised in order to participate?
Since these questions are related to one another, I believe the same answer will suffice for both questions. The Scriptures have the answers, so let us go there to begin.
We find the ordinance of circumcision was instituted in Genesis 17:10-14: This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. {11} And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. {12} And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. {13} He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. {14} And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
In verses 23-27, we read that Abraham carried out this rite. He and all the males he was responsible for, were circumcised. Then, many years later, when Yahweh called Moses to lead Israel out of Egyptian slavery, He instructed Moses about the Passover, when the death angel would pass over Egypt and slay all the first-born, Exodus 12:1-42. Then in verses 43-49, He instructs Moses who shall and shall not eat of it: No stranger shall eat of it. "Stranger" is identified as a non-circumcised person, a foreigner. But, v. 48, after being cir-cumcised, he is then eligible to partake, and is considered an Israelite, subject to the same law as the homeborn, verse 49.
So we see two things here, so far. First, it was necessary for the Israelites to be physically circumcised under the Old Covenant, to be eligible for its promises, AND to partake of the Passover. Second, it was possible, even back then, for non-Israelites by birth or race, to be-come "naturalized Israelites" by accepting terms of the Covenant, and being circumcised. We note, too, that there was a circumcision "of the heart" which Yahweh desired of the people.

Deut. 10:12-17:) And now, Israel, what doth YAHWEH thy El require of thee, but to fear Yahweh thy El, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Yahweh thy El with all thy heart and with all thy soul, {13} To keep the commandments of Yahweh, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? {14} Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is Yahweh thy El's, the earth also, with all that therein is. {15} Only Yahweh had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. {16} Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. {17} For Yahweh your Elohim is Elohim of Els and Lord of lords, a great Mighty One, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
But there are some differences between the Old and the New Covenants. And one of these differences involves circumcision. In Colossians 2:11-13, Paul tells us, speaking of Yahshua:

(Col. 2:11-13) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: {12} Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. {13} And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircum-cision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
We see here that baptism has superseded the Old Covenant rite of circumcision, as a sym-bol of our acceptance. It pictures our dying with Messiah, being buried in a watery grave, then being resurrected unto a newness of life.
(Rom 6:3-8) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua Messiah were baptized into his death? {4} Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. {5} For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: {6} Knowing this, that our old man is cru-cified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. {7} For he that is dead is freed from sin. {8} Now if we be dead with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Paul was also inspired to write, in Romans 2, this: (Rom 2:25-29) Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncir-cumcision. {26} So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? {27} Then those who are physically uncir-cumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. {28} For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. {29} Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart--it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person re-ceives praise not from others but from Yahweh.
Paul, who was personally and privately taught by Yahshua Himself (Galatians 1:11-12 ) made it clear that he did not teach circumcision as a requirement for salvation, or as a neces-sity for new converts.
Galatians 5:6: For in Yahshua Messiah neither circumcision availeth anything, nor un-circumcision; but faith which works by love 5:11: And I, brethren, if I yet preach circum-cision, why do I yet suffer persecution?
See also Acts 15, where there was a great dissension concerning circumcision. In verse 1, certain men from Judea (Jews) taught the brethren that, "except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved." Paul and Barnabas disputed with them (v. 2), and it was decided that Paul, Barnabas and certain others would go to Jerusalem to get the opinion of the Apostles residing there.
But when they presented their case, some of the Pharisees who believed (on Messiah) said that the Gentiles should be circumcised, and to keep all the Mosaic law (v. 5).
After further discussion, it was decided that the apostles at Jerusalem would write letters to the assemblies saying, among other things, "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, 'Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such command'" (v.24).
The "law" referred to would have to be the law of works (sacrifices, etc.), and not the Ten Commandments certainly. But it is plain that there is no present requirement for physical cir-cumcision.
For our last scripture, let's read 1 Cor. 7:19-20, in the New Revised Standard Version:
(1 Cor 7:19-20) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of Yah is everything. {20} Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called. (Continued on next page):
To recap: At the Memorial Supper or Passover, only those who have been baptized (New Testament equivalent of circumcision), should partake of the bread and wine, symbols of Yahshua's body and blood which was shed for us. Since partaking of these signifies our ac-ceptance of His sacrifice to atone for our sins, for an unbaptized individual to claim this would be presumptuous and wrong. It would be looked upon as an effort to circumvent Yahshua's ordinance, and "sneak in the back door."
But, while it might be a good idea to be circumcised for health reasons, it is not necessary for salvation, or to take the Passover.
This does not mean that unbaptized family members (unconverted mates or children) can-not attend and eat the meal. In fact, they should be encouraged to do so. Also, the children should have a part in the program, as well.
Exodus 12:24-27, NRSV: You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children. {25} When you come to the land that Yahweh will give you, as he has prom-ised, you shall keep this observance. {26} And when your children ask you, 'What do you mean by this observance?' {27} you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to Yahweh, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.'" And the people bowed down and worshipped.
They should be encouraged, even prompted, to ask questions about the service, about the symbolism, what different aspects of the program mean, and how it all relates to Yahshua and our salvation.
Brethren, it is not too early to start examining ourselves, as the Apostle Paul admonished, so that we do not take this service lightly, wrongly, or "unworthily," not discerning "the Lord's body" (1 Cor. 11:23-30).
Some refuse to take part in this service because they say they do not "feel worthy." But
there are at least two things wrong with this attitude. First, it does not say, "unworthy," but rather "unworthily." It is true we will never be "worthy" of ourselves, but the word, "un-worthily" means "in an unworthy manner, or "irreverently." "Flippant" also comes to mind.
Second, this shows an arrogance of attitude; a refusal to obey a plain command; a lack of faith, and a general misunderstanding of the Word.
So, in conclusion, if you have or have not been circumcised in the flesh matters not. The important thing is if you have repented of your sins and have been baptized (immersed) in Yahshua's Name and had hands laid on you for the receiving of the Holy Spirit, as com-manded by Peter in Acts 2:38, then you not only can take the Passover, but you are com-manded to do so (1Cor. 5:7-8).
Begin to make plans now to observe this important event which will be here sooner than we expect. As many old grandfathers' clocks say, "tempus fugit" (time flies).

~Frank Brown

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