A Páscoa é o primeiro dos sete festivais anuais de Deus enumerados em Levítico 23, seguido imediatamente pela Festa dos Pães Asmos por sete dias. (Veja o capítulo intitulado “Os Festivais de Deus”, começando na página 39). Como o Novo Testamento nos instrui, devemos observar a Páscoa, em comemoração do sacrifício de Jesus Cristo.
A observância da Páscoa tal como revelada aos israelitas quando da libertação deles do Egito, como registrado em Êxodo 12-13, envolvia cada família sacrificar um cordeiro sem defeito no dia 14 do primeiro mês do calendário Hebraico (Abibe ou Nisan) e comê-lo com pães Asmos e ervas amargas. Além da carne, ervas e pão asmo, tradicionalmente, a Páscoa também veio a incluir vinho.
O sangue do cordeiro, colocado nessa noite à volta das portas dos israelitas, foi um sinal ao Senhor para “passar por cima”2 das casas deles (protegendo-os) quando Deus em julgamento justo matou os primogênitos do Egito. A vida dos primogênitos israelitas foram, assim, redimidas (compradas de volta ou resgatadas) pelo sangue do cordeiro.
Daí em diante, quando os israelitas observavam a Páscoa na mesma data, eles deviam recordar esta redenção no Egito (enquanto que a Festa dos Pães Asmos, que se segue, comemora a libertação da escravidão Egita durante o Êxodo).
No entanto, além de recordar a redenção dos israelitas no passado, a Páscoa do Antigo Testamento prefigurava uma redenção ainda muito maior—por um sacrifício muito maior. “Porque Cristo, nossa Páscoa, foi sacrificado por nós” (1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
American King James Version×). Jesus Cristo é referido como “o Cordeiro de Deus, que tira o pecado do mundo” (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
American King James Version×). Nós somos “resgatados…com o precioso sangue de Cristo, como de um cordeiro imaculado [sem defeito] e incontaminado [sem mancha]” (1 Peter 1:18-19 1 Peter 1:18-19 18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
American King James Version×). (Veja o capítulo intitulado “O Sacrifício de Jesus Cristo”, começando na página 22.)
A morte de Jesus ocorreu na tarde do dia 14 de Abibe, a data da Páscoa bíblica. Sabemos isto porque era o dia da preparação para o sábado anual que se seguiu no dia 15, o primeiro dia da festa de sete dias dos pães Asmos (Matthew 27:62 Matthew 27:62Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together to Pilate,
American King James Version×, Mark 15:42 Mark 15:42And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
American King James Version×, Luke 23:54 Luke 23:54And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
American King James Version×, João 19: 14, 31, 42). (Veja o capítulo intitulado “Três Dias e Três Noites”, começando na página 25.)
Além disso, na noite antes da Sua morte , Jesus observou uma cerimônia memorial com os Seus discípulos que Ele especificamente identificou como a Páscoa (Matthew 26:17-30 Matthew 26:17-30 17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the passover?
18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, The Master said, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
21 And as they did eat, he said, Truly I say to you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say to him, Lord, is it I?
23 And he answered and said, He that dips his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said to him, You have said.
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29 But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
American King James Version×, Mark 14:12-26 Mark 14:12-26 12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said to him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the passover? 13 And he sends forth two of his disciples, and said to them, Go you into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14 And wherever he shall go in, say you to the manager of the house, The Master said, Where is the guest room, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said to them: and they made ready the passover. 17 And in the evening he comes with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Truly I say to you, One of you which eats with me shall betray me. 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? 20 And he answered and said to them, It is one of the twelve, that dips with me in the dish. 21 The Son of man indeed goes, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born. 22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25 Truly I say to you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. 26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
American King James Version×e Luke 22:7-20 Luke 22:7-20 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 us the passover, that we may eat. 9 And they said to him, Where will you that we prepare? 10 And he said to them, Behold, when you are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he enters in. 11 And you shall say to the manager of the house, The Master said to you, Where is the guest room, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went, and found as he had said to them: and they made ready the passover. 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And 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 shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
American King James Version×). Este foi o início do dia 14 de Abibe, porque os dias bíblicos são contados de pôr-do-sol a pôr-do-sol. (Para mais informações sobre a maneira bíblica de contar dias, veja o capítulo intitulado “O Dia de Sábado”, começando na página 33.)
Jesus ordenou que a partir daí o dia da Páscoa, devia ser observado por Seus seguidores em memória dEle , e declarou que os símbolos do pão sem fermento e vinho deviam ser considerados representativos do Seu corpo e Seu sangue dado em sacrifício. Jesus disse sobre o vinho: “Este é o Meu sangue, o sangue da Nova Aliança” (Matthew 26:28 Matthew 26:28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
American King James Version×, Mark 14:24 Mark 14:24And he said to them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
American King James Version×, ARA), instituindo a Nova Aliança para os Cristãos de hoje—coerente com Seu papel como “o Mediador da Nova Aliança” (Hebrews 12:24 Hebrews 12:24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things that that of Abel.
American King James Version×).
Jesus também disse que o Seu sangue foi “derramado em favor de muitos, para remissão de pecados” (Matthew 26:28 Matthew 26:28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
American King James Version×, ARA), revelando que a Sua morte sacrificial pagaria a pena da morte por conseqüência do pecado (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×; ver Hebrews 9:15 Hebrews 9:15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
American King James Version×).
Mas a Páscoa bíblica do Novo Testamento não é apenas a respeito da morte de Jesus como o Cordeiro de Deus. É também a respeito do Seu sofrimento (Luke 22:15 Luke 22:15And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
American King James Version×). Devemos relembrar o sacrifício total que Ele fez—tanto o Seu sofrimento como a Sua morte. Seu sofrimento, morte e sepultamento ocorreram no dia 14 de Abibe. Os símbolos do pão asmo e do vinho representam o Seu sacrifício total—isto é, representam ambos o Seu sofrimento e Sua morte.
A morte de Jesus ocorreu, como mencionado, à tarde do dia 14 de Abibe, mas o Seu período de sofrimento intenso começou na noite anterior à Sua morte, enquanto ele ainda estava com seus discípulos: “E, levando consigo Pedro e os dois filhos de Zebedeu, começou a entristecer-se e a angustiar-se muito. Então, lhes disse: A minha alma está cheia de tristeza até à morte” (Matthew 26:37-38 Matthew 26:37-38 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then said he to them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even to death: tarry you here, and watch with me.
American King James Version×).
Em Seu sacrifício, Jesus tomou sobre Si mesmo as penalidades de todos os pecados da humanidade (1 Peter 3:18 1 Peter 3:18For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
American King James Version×). Quando nós compartilhamos do mesmo pão e vinho, reconhecemos que Ele ofereceu Seu corpo e sangue para cobrir os nossos pecados. Através da fé no sacrifício de Jesus Cristo somos reconciliados com Deus Pai.
Reconciliação nos dá acesso ao Pai, fazendo possível que cheguemos corajosamente perante Seu trono de graça para socorro em tempo de necessidade (Hebrews 4:16 Hebrews 4:16Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
American King James Version×). É por causa do sacrifício de Cristo que podemos ser curados espiritualmente, fisicamente, mentalmente e emocionalmente (Isaiah 53:4-5 Isaiah 53:4-5 4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.
American King James Version×; James 5:14 James 5:14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
American King James Version×). (Novamente, veja o capítulo intitulado “O Sacrifício de Jesus Cristo”, começando na página 22.)
Quando comemos o pão asmo durante a cerimônia memorial na noite de Páscoa bíblica, simbolizamos a nossa participação no benefício do sacrifício de Cristo, assim como simbolizamos Cristo vivendo em nós (John 6:53-54 John 6:53-54 53 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
54 Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×). Nós também mostramos a nossa união com Cristo e com cada membro do Corpo de Cristo, a Igreja (1 Corinthians 10:16 1 Corinthians 10:16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
American King James Version×), assim como a nossa disposição em viver pela Palavra de Deus.
Paulo explica, em 1 Corinthians 11:20-26 1 Corinthians 11:20-26 20 When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
21 For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22 What? have you not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise you the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.
American King James Version×que através desta cerimônia “anunciamos a morte do Senhor, até que Ele venha”—demonstrando o único caminho pelo qual o ser humano poderá ser reconciliado com Deus. De fato, a Páscoa bíblica, acaba por apontar para o futuro. Apesar do sacrifício de Cristo ser o cumprimento do assassinato do cordeiro, Ele disse que o significado completo da Páscoa seria “cumprido no reino de Deus” (Luke 22:15-16 Luke 22:15-16 15 And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×). Isto é quando o processo de redenção será completado.
Além disso, a apresentação por Cristo do vinho como símbolo do Seu sangue da Nova Aliança era, na simbologia maior, um tipo de proposta de casamento ao seu povo—prefigurando as “bodas do Cordeiro”, que seguirá o Seu retorno (Revelation 19:7 Revelation 19:7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready.
American King James Version×, 9). (Veja o capítulo intitulado “A Igreja,” começando na página 56.)
Quanto à observação da Páscoa bíblica nos dias de hoje, Paulo disse na mesma passagem em 1 Coríntios 11, que a Igreja se deve “reunir” (versículo 20) para “comerdes este pão e beberdes deste cálice” (versículos 26-27). E ele confirmou aqui que devemos observar este “memorial” (versículo 24), quando Jesus o observou com seus discípulos, “ na noite em que foi traído” (versículo 23)—ao início do dia 14 de Abibe.
O culto anual da Páscoa bíblica também deve incluir a ordenança do lava-pés, tal como estabelecido por Jesus nessa mesma celebração da Páscoa. Depois de dar um exemplo de ser um servo, lavando os pés dos Seus discípulos, Ele declarou: “vós deveis também lavar os pés uns aos outros. Porque eu vos dei o exemplo, para que, como eu vos fiz, façais vós também…Se sabeis essas coisas , bem-aventurados sois se as fizerdes” (John 13:14-17 John 13:14-17 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
16 Truly, truly, I say to you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.
American King James Version×).
Todos os três elementos—o lava-pés, o pão asmo e o vinho—são parte da celebração anual da Páscoa bíblica. Deve ser observada apenas uma vez por ano, após o pôr-do-sol no início do dia 14 do primeiro mês do calendário Hebraico, conforme estabelecido pela Palavra de Deus.
Esta celebração é tão importante aos olhos de Deus que Ele deu uma disposição em Numbers 9:1-14 Numbers 9:1-14 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2 Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.
3 In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, you shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall you keep it.
4 And Moses spoke to the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.
5 And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.
6 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:
7 And those men said to him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: why are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel?
8 And Moses said to them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.
9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
10 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover to the LORD.
11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
12 They shall leave none of it to the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.
13 But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and declines to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.
14 And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover to the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.
American King James Version×que se uma pessoa for impedida por circunstâncias inevitáveis de observar a Páscoa bíblica no dia 14 do primeiro mês, essa pessoa pode observar a Páscoa um mês mais tarde, o dia 14 do segundo mês. A Igreja de Deus Unida continua essa prática hoje.
Finalmente, deve-se afirmar que a Páscoa bíblica representa um passo importante no plano de salvação de Deus. Enquanto que a morte sacrificial de Cristo, como comemorada na Páscoa bíblica, nos reconcilia com Deus, realmente nós somos salvos pela vida de Cristo (Romans 5:9-10 Romans 5:9-10 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
American King James Version×). Conforme descrito no capítulo seguinte, esta libertação é retratada na Festa dos Pães Asmos e os outros festivais de Deus que se seguem.