If you look at a calendar you buy in a store or look up "Passover" on the Internet, you may find that the Jews start Passover on the evening of Monday, April 10, and that they keep Passover Day on Tuesday, April 11 this year. Yet the Church of God observes Passover one day earlier than the Jews, starting the evening of Sunday, April 9 (last night) with Passover day being today, Monday, April 10, 2017. Then, tonight we observe the Night to Be Much Observed and tomorrow, Tuesday, we observe the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
We observe Passover on the 14th day of the first month as God commands (Exodus 12:5-13, Leviticus 23:5). We also observe the Night to Be Much Observed and the First Day of Unleavened Bread on the 15th day of the month (Exodus 12:41-42, Leviticus 23:6-7).
The Passover and the Night to Be Much Observed are kept on two separate nights and represent two different things.
But the Jews don't know that.
It is my understanding that the Jews in Jesus's day also observed what they called "Passover" on the 15th day of the month, as Jews today do.
For the Jews, Passover represents being set free from Egyptian bondage. But they observe no day that represents the sacrifice of Christ and forgiveness of sins.
I do not know the line of reasoning the Jews use to not observe Passover on the 14th day but to observe only the 15th day and call it "Passover".
But it is fitting that they do not observe Passover on the 14th, because observing Passover on the 14th represents the sacrifice of Christ, and they do not accept Christ as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for their sins.
In regard to Old Testament events, Passover represents God sparing - passing over - the houses of the Israelites so that their firstborn did not die as the firstborn of the Egyptians died that night around midnight. This happened during the night portion of the 14th day. The night to be observed represents Israel coming out of Egypt during the next night, the night portion of the 15th day.
There is no way that the eating of the lamb, the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians around midnight, and the leaving of Egypt by the Israelites in orderly ranks could have occurred in one night.
In terms of spiritual meaning for the Church of God, Passover represents the sacrifice of Christ and the forgiveness of sins made possible by that sacrifice. The Night to Be Observed and the Days of Unleavened Bread represent our coming out of spiritual Egypt - coming out of sin.
Last night we remembered the sacrifice of Christ and how that sacrifice enables us to be forgiven our sins because Christ suffered and died to pay the penalty for our sins.
Tonight we observe the Night to Be Much Observed, and that starts the seven day observance of the Days of Unleavened Bread.
God has not provided instructions on exactly how to observe this night. Mr. Armstrong made a judgment that we should keep it by having a special meal with other Church members, and so we do.
Some scattered members may have to observe this night alone, just as some may have to observe Passover alone at home. But even one person alone, if he is not able to keep it with others, can observe it by having a special meal to mark the occasion.
This is a time for appreciating God's calling, for reviewing how we were called into the truth, and for meditating on our need for repentance and putting sin out of our lives.
Passover represents what Christ did for us so we can be saved. It is a powerful lesson of love. We need to appreciate and accept Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, and we need to recognize that without that sacrifice we could not be saved. Our own efforts are not sufficient.
But we have our part to do, and that is represented by the seven days of unleavened bread. We are to repent of our sins and sinful nature and put sin out of our lives. To help teach this lesson, God has given us the symbol of leavening and leavened bread to represent sin and the symbol of unleavened bread to represent the righteousness of Christ, which we are to practice.
Jesus Christ set a perfect example for us to follow, as recorded in God's word, the Bible, and we are to follow His example. Christ also lives His life in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
During the Night to Be Much Observed, let us rejoice in our calling, and during all the days of unleavened bread let us recommit ourselves to being diligent to put sin our of our lives.
Here are links to other posts on this topic:
"Passover and the Example of Christ", dated April 20, 2016, link:
"Tonight Is the Night to Be Much Observed", dated April 22, 2016, link:
Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:
Passover -- the Sacrifice of Christ, Chapter 2
The Days of Unleavened Bread - Repentance, Chapter 2