Month 1:16, Week 3:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year:Day 5936:016 AM|
Yom haBikkurim (Firstfruits): Annual Moed #3
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 7 April 2012
Yom haBikkurim 2012
Stealing Easter from Jesus?
Continued from Part 2
Chag Sameach Yom haBikkurim kol beit Yisra'el on this second day of Chag haMatzah, the 17th day of Aviv, and the third day on which Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) rose from the dead demonstrating conclusively that He is the Eternal Son of Elohim (God), the Firstfruits of the Resurrection!
"And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the cohen (priest). He shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to Yahweh. Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to Yahweh, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your Elohim (God); it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings" (Lev 23:9-14, NKJV).
"Now on the first day of the week (Yom Rishon), very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Master Yah'shua (Lord Jesus). And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!'" (Luke 24:1-6, NKJV).
I received a very impassioned and confused letter yesterday from a Charles E. Carlson of We Hold These Truths & Straight Gate Ministries which he has sent out to Protestant churches, begging them to stop a growing 'Good Friday' practice of observing the Passover like Messianic Jews. Calling this letter, The Messianic Movement Smuggles Zionism into the Mainline Church under the section 'Pharisee Watch', he believes this is a Zionist plot to undermine the Gospel, to persuade more Evangelicals to support the State of Israel and to encourage 'sheep stealing' by Messianics groups. Amongst the absurd statements he makes is that this has the effect of "turn[ing] Good Friday into a celebration of an old Hebrew tradition that had nothing to do with Jesus' mission on earth". He goes on to say:
There are so many errors here one hardly knows where to begin. To Jews and some Mesianics the Passover Seder is indeed exclusivist and therefore 'racist' but this is not true of other Messianics who observe. Our doctrine - and the doctrine of the New Testament - is that all who come to Messiah are eligible to partake, so that hardly makes us racist. It is open to every nation, kindred and tongue. And, yes, the Passover Seder is exclusivist on one level for it is only for believers....just as Communion, the Eucahrist and the Lord's Supper is usually restricted to believers, members of a local church, or members of a local church in good standing. So the accusation that the Seder is racist is only a half-truth - depending who you are talking about.
"Passover is not relevant to Easter, and is a diversion from Jesus' New Covenant...[the Passover] Seder is a racial, strictly Jewish, celebration commemorating God's passing over the Israelite children when, according to the book of Genesis, and slaughtered the Egyptian children to impress the Pharaoh of His power. While the Seder seems to stress the God's gift of freedom to the ancient Israelites, it also celebrates the slaughter of all the firstborn of Egypt.┤
"What does this event have to do with Jesus suffering for us on the cross? The Zionists suggest Jesus was a sacrificial lamb and Jews devour an entire lamb at the Seder and that constitutes a connection. This is indeed questionable symbolism, since those who celebrate Seder rejected Jesus, who came as the Prince of Peace, bringing a new covenant. How unlike the old, bloody one the Jews and Messianic Christians celenbrate on Purim and Passover".
But what concerns me most of all is the barely hidden contempt Mr.Carlson seems to hold for Yahweh. Does anyone get the impression that Mr.Carlson has fallen for the old Gnostic lie that the God of the Old Testament was some bloody, horrible deity or 'Demiurge' where as Jesus was the true, enlightened God of the New? This comes across very strongly to me indeed - Carlson sees Yahweh as the bloody killer of Egyptian children whereas his Jesus would never do such a horrible thing. This false dichotomy - of setting the New Testament against the Old, and Jesus against Yahweh - is a very, very dangerous lie indeed because Yah'shua (Jesus) consistently upheld the Tanakh (Old Testament) and consistently testified of His total allegiance to His Heavenly Father, Yahweh. Any doctrine that sets up this false diochotomy is, by definition, apostate and heretical.
He is correct about a number of things, of course, or his article would have no credibility or attracting features at all. Zionism is nothing believers of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) should have anything to do with but when he claims that the Passover Lamb has no connection to Yah'shua (Jesus) at all, he has no clue what he is talking about: the New Testament makes many close connections between Pesach and the Passover Lamb. Why else would the Messiah be called the "Lamb of Elohim (God) (Jn.1:36, NKJV) - "the Lamb of Elohim (God) who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn.1:29, NKJV)? The allusion is undeniably to the Passover Lamb.
It is perfectly true that the Jewish Passover Seder has incorporated elements that go beyond the plain teaching of Scripture but to claim that Yah'shua (Jesus) and His talmidim (disciples) did not observe it is pure bunkum:
Quite clearly if Yah'shua (Jesus) has thought this was some barbaric Jewish feast celebrating the killing of children He would not have commanded His talmidim (disciples) to prepare and eat it. Now it is quite true that Purim may fulfil the concerns that Mr.Carlson has but that is, as they say, an entirely different subject, since this is a man-made (or more correctly, a woman-made) festival and one much beloved by Zionists with its implied endorsement of the spirit of revenge.
"Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.' So they said to Him, 'Where do You want us to prepare?' And He said to them, 'Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, 'Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My talmidim (disciples)?'' Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.' So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover" (Luke 22:7-13, NKJV).
If you are not sure what the connection is between Passover and Yah'shua's (Jesus') sacrificial death, then please read our many materials on the subject on our Pesach website. Indeed, in many languages, the words of 'Easter' and 'Passover' are homonymous, meaning that they are etymologically related. That is because what it today called 'Easter' in Orthodox Christianity is clearly understood to have emerged from the symbolism of Passover. To imply there is no connection between the two is therefore, again, shere bunkum.
Now it is perfectly true that Yah'shua (Jesus) instituted the Eucharist at the end of the Passover meal but this was never intended as a replacement of Passover (as Protestants claim) nor was it the same as the Passover (as many Messianics claim). It wasn't even a full meal but an addition to the full meal which was, and is, still the Passover Meal.
The Old Covenant Meal might be called 'Yahweh's Supper' and the additional part commemorating Yah'shua's (Jesus') death, resurrection and promise of new Life might be called 'Yah'shua's Supper'. They are, together, one meal, as it were, only Yahweh's observance is an annual one and Yah'shua's (Jesus') (as we learn from the New Testament) is observed more regularly. Together these two 'courses' represent the Complete Passover Meal, the fulfilling or filling-up of the Torah
We come next to 'Good Friday' and 'Easter' neither of which are mentioned in Scripture and are inventions of the Roman Catholic Church which borrowed the latter directly from paganism. The word 'Easter' is itself a devlopment of the old Anglo-Saxon ╩astre and ╩ostre, which was the name of the Germanic month corresponding to April, and was itself named after the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess ╩ostre. The use of Easter eggs and Easter bunnies are customs directly borrowed from Germanic paganism.
The word 'Easter' appears nowhere in the Bible and only in the King James translation at Acts 12:4. Unfortunately for those who believe the KJV is a word-perfect translation, the Greek word rendered 'Easter' is, in fact, pascha, itself the Hellenic form of the Hebrew Pesach which can only mean Passover. For three centuries, before modern translations started challenging the accuracy of the KJV, this was the proof-text of Easter worshippers. No other version now uses 'Easter' because it is plain wrong, relecting the KJV bias of the translators and of the Anglican monarch who steered them. The NKJV correctly renders this passage:
Instead of endorsing 'Easter', this passage simply proved that the Messianic Community was still observing Passover. This mistranslation is a not-so-subtle attempt to insert a pagan festival into the Christian calendar. Indeed, if you trace Easter even further back in time you arrive at the pagan goddess Ishtar (in Babylon), also known as Isis (in Egypt), Venus (in Rome) and Astarte (in Phoenicia and Greece), the goddess of spring and of fertility, an idol deity roundly condemned in the Tanakh (Old Testament) as an affront to Yahweh! According to the well-known historian, Will Durrant, speaking of the Easter cult in Babylon, writes:
"So when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover" (Acts 12:4, NKJV).
Is it any wonder, then, that the Bible speaks of the religious system that has descended from that ancient city as:
"Every native woman is obliged, once in her life, to sit in the temple of Venus (Easter), and have intercourse with some stranger" (Story of Civilization, pp.235,244-245).
Might this, perhaps, be the explanation for Mr.Carlson's barely disguised hatred of Yahweh, the Tanakh (Old Testament) and Pesach (Passover)? For you see, Babylon had its own dying and rising gods too, of which perhaps Nimrod, the first antichrist, is the most famous.
"MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev.17:5, NKJV).
Today, brethren and sisters, is Yom haBikkurim or the Feast of Firstfruits, the third and last of the spring festivals (though there are still several days of Unleavened Bread left to go). Today is the day the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea (Yam Suf) supernaturally, it is the day that the Congregation of Israel was baptised into Moses (1 Cor.10:2), and it is the day that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) arose from the dead! It is not Mr.Carlson's pagan 'Easter' which has been blasphemously mixed with the Resurrection of Messiah. Today, two thousand years ago, the purpose of Yom haBikkurim was fulfilled, for it was pointing to the resurrection of our Master. He died at Passover and on the third day was resurrected at Yom haBikkurum. On this same day Noah's ark rested on Mt.Ararat after the earth's own baptism (Gen.8:4), on this day Israel crossed the Red Sea (Ex.3:18; 5:3,14), on this day Israel ate the first fruits of the Promised Land under Joshua (Josh.5:10-12), on this day Haman was defeated in the Book of Esther, and on this day Yah'shua (Jesus) became the firstfruits of the resurrection, the first human being ever to be raised from the dead, the firstfruits of the barley harvest.
This is the Day of the Firstborn! He was the firstborn of Mary (Mt.1:23-25), He was the firstborn of Yahweh the Father (Heb.1:6), He was the firstborn of every creature (Col.1:15), He was the first-begotten of the dead (Rev.1:5), He was the firstborn of many brethren (Rom.8:29), He was the firstfruits of the resurrected ones (1 Cor.15:20,23), He was the beginning of the creation of Elohim (God) (Rev.3:14) and He is the Pre-eminent One (Col.1:18)!
So are we, as Messianics, stealing Jesus from Easter, as Mr.Carlson accuses? Far from it! We are exalting the Son of the Most High, our Redeemer and Saviour, our only hope of immortality and life everlasting in the presence of Elohim (God). Yah'shua (Jesus) never belonged to that filthy demoness 'Easter' (and all her other pagan names) in the first place but to Yom haBikkurim which pointed to Him from the beginning. Today we celebrate the resurrection on this Yom haBikkurim Resurrection Day! We proclaim one of the most important elements of the Besorah (Gospel), without which we have no hope at all. Therefore we proclaim with Paul, to the glory to Yahweh, the Elohim (God) of the Tanakh (Old Testament):
If you have never broken with pagan Easter celebration, which takes place tomorrow, I urge you to do so now and give proper honour to Yahweh-Elohim. Today we proclaim Messiah resurrected in proper tavnith (pattern) on the correct day on the correct Festival of Yahweh using the biblical creation calendar, that is, in all emet (truth), He who proclaimed that He is Emet (Truth).
"But now Messiah is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits (bikkurim) of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits (bikkurim), afterward those who are Messiah's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to Elohim (God) the Father (Yahweh), when He puts an end to all rule and all authority (toqef) and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For 'He has put all things under His feet.' But when He says 'all things are put under Him,' it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that Elohim (God) (Yahweh) may be all in all" (1 Cor.15:20-28, NKJV).
Have a blessed day of celebration!
Continued in Part 4
Comments from Readers
"Those who Array themselves against the Law given to Moses, Array the Messiah against the Messiah (Himself)...if they believe not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they believe even if one were raised from the dead" (AK, Australia, 7 April 2012)