The World Mission Society Church of God claims that eternal life will only be obtained by those who celebrate the Passover. Regarding the Passover the WMSCOG says on its official website, “If anyone does not believe the message of salvation [the Passover], he cannot obtain eternal life”.
In a discussion I had with a WMSCOG member regarding salvation by observing the law versus salvation by grace, I asked if there was any evidence to suggest that the Passover was observed by the apostles after Jesus’s Resurrection. The WMSCOG member said “absolutely” and pointed to 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 as proof.
7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Is the apostle Paul here advising the church in Corinth to keep the Passover in this verse, or could it mean something else?
If we read from the beginning of 1 Corinthians 5, we see that Paul is discussing sexual immorality and incest among the people in the church (v1). In verse 7, Paul tells the Corinthians to “get rid of the old yeast, so you may be a new unleavened batch”. Yeast is symbolic of sin in the Bible (Matthew 16:11, Mark 8:15, Luke 12:1). In Old Testament times, the family was to rid their homes of yeast during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:19). Taking into consideration that Paul was a teacher of the law prior to his conversion, and that his audience was certainly comprised of former Jews, we see how fitting it is for Paul to draw out this analogy, commanding the Corinthians to rid the church (house) of all yeast (sin) so that they “may be a new unleavened batch…For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”, as Jesus was the fulfillment of the Passover because he was “lamb without spot or blemish” (1 Peter 1:19, Leviticus 9:3) and therefore “unleavened bread” (John 6:51).
This also helps explain why Paul clearly uses “heortazo” instead of “heorte”. The entire series of verses is a metaphor, including verses 7-8. Since Paul uses the abstract “heaortazo”, verse 8 is part of the metaphor, and does not indicate some sort of literal observance of the Law.
In conclusion, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 is not of any evidentiary value concerning the Passover, and does not support the WMSCOG member’s claims that Christians of the early church observed or were required to ceremonially observe the Passover. This is just further proof of the WMSCOG’s consistent misinterpretation of Bible.