When people hear the words "first commandment," they usually think of the first commandment of the Ten Commandments which says, "You shall have no other gods before me" (Ex 20:3). However, Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind.
Mt 22:35-38 『One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'' This is the first and greatest commandment."』
"Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" means "Love God 100 percent." The person who loves God 100 percent cannot serve other gods. The first commandment among the Ten Commandments and the first commandment mentioned by Jesus are not different, but the same.
The way to love God perfectly
There are many people who claim to love God sincerely. However, they have their own standards and methods for loving God. With their own thoughts and methods, it is not easy for them to keep the first commandment which Jesus spoke of. The Bible describes the way to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. That is the observance of the Passover.
2 Ki 23:21-23, 25 The king gave this order to all the people: "Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant." Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem. . . . Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
By celebrating the Passover, King Josiah was recognized as the person who loved God with all his heart, soul and strength. So, like Josiah, whoever keeps the Passover comes to observe the first commandment perfectly, which Jesus has given us.
The first commandment and the Passover
This fact becomes clearer when we examine more in detail the relationship between the first commandment and the Passover.
Dt 6:4-8 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
God told us to tie the words, "Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength"—the first commandment—as symbols on our hands and to bind them on our foreheads. And God told us the same thing when He mentioned the Passover.
Ex 13:8-9 "On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'' This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand."
The observance that the Israelites did when they came out of Egypt was the Passover (Ex 12:1-14). "It will be for you a sign like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead." God told us this same thing concerning the first commandment which Jesus spoke of and the Passover as well. This shows that the first commandment and the Passover are eventually the same. That is why King Josiah who kept the Passover was said to have observed the first commandment perfectly. The first and greatest commandment, "Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," can only be observed when we keep the Passover.
Other gods are destroyed when we celebrate the Passover
If we keep the Passover, we can automatically observe the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me."
Ex 12:11-12 ". . . it is the LORD''s Passover. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD."
On the Passover night, God brought judgment on all the gods of Egypt. All other gods are judged and destroyed when we celebrate the Passover, so we can serve God only.
Although King Josiah believed in God, he had served the idols and all the other detestable things and kept them in the holy temple of God for 18 years, without recognizing his idol worship. However, after he realized the Passover, his spiritual eyes were opened and he destroyed all the idols that he had served unknowingly until then.
2 Ki 23:23-24 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem. Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD.
We can see the same history in the time of King Hezekiah as well.
2 Ch 30:1 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel.
2 Ch 31:1 When all this[Passover] had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property.
If we are unable to distinguish God from other gods, we cannot help but serve the other gods unknowingly. However, if we keep the Passover, our spiritual eyes are opened and so that we can remove all other gods and idols that we have served unknowingly. This is the power of the Passover.
Preach the New Covenant Passover to the whole world
Throughout all ages, when people do not keep the Passover, they cannot help but serve idols even though they think they believe in God. Nowadays there are so many churches that worship on Sunday—the day to worship the sun god, celebrate Christmas, and erect the cross which is an idol. It is because they do not keep the Passover.
The Passover is the only way we can love and serve God without worshiping any other gods. Our Elohim personally taught the truth of the Passover to us who did not know how to love and serve God perfectly. Giving thanks to Elohim, we must preach the New Covenant Passover—the way to love God with all our heart, soul and mind—throughout the world.