Passover and Easter share a lot in common. They are often associated with one another, especially in Messianic-Jewish or Hebraic Christian communities. They both focus on victory and deliverance, they both involve eggs and big meals, and the death and resurrection of Jesus coincided with both (although only in retrospect with Easter, of course).

Passover is the Jewish festival meant to celebrate the Exodus, and it is most commonly celebrated with a ritual feast called “seder” and a week of certain diets, most prominently the exclusion of leavened bread.

Of course, Easter derives its modern name and many of its traditions from a variety of sources, but that is a topic for another day. At its core, the modern Christian church celebrates Easter in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the defeat of death.

The days leading to Jesus’ crucifixion coincided with important days of Passover. While there is debate about whether or not the last supper was actually a seder meal, all of the Gospels draw the parallel between Jesus’ death as the “Lamb of God” and the sacrificial lamb of Passover. His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His trial, and His persecution all played out in the context of the Passover festival, and that was no coincidence.

This year, the last day of Passover and Easter Sunday fall on the same day, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, these days are often weeks apart, and sometimes up to a month apart.

If these days were originally aligned, why are they now mismatched? In short, the modern Christian calendar and the Jewish festival calendar do not follow the same rules. While both holidays are based around spring full moons, the Hebrew calendar intentionally aligns its months to the lunar cycle (and therefore the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan will always be a full moon). On the contrary, the Christian celebration of Easter must always fall on a Sunday, which can of course vary from year to year to different dates of the month.

This has been the case since the First Council of Nicaea in a.d. 325, which decided (along with many other fundamental principles the church still follows today) to set its own date for Easter. In most of the western world, Easter is celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon after March 21. Most years, then, Easter is not actually celebrated on the actual anniversary of Christ’s death or resurrection.

Nevertheless, we at ISOW contend that calendar discrepancies and cultural decisions made centuries ago do not affect the legitimacy of celebrating Jesus’ victory over death and the sacrifice made for our sins. Although God’s prophetic calendar follows a specific and inerrant schedule, our Sunday services in the western church are not an affront to the remembrance of Christ Jesus.

Want to learn more about the Hebraic calendar or how the festivals align with prophetic dates? Check out ISOW’s Hebraic Roots Division and our Festivals of Israel course!

To view courses in Spanish, click here.