WHAT HAPPENED TO “PASSOVER”?, 31.03.17
Matt.26:17 Ex.12:5-8,12,17,24,49 John 1:29-31
Luke 22:1,7,15,17-20 John 13:1 1 Cor. 5:7
Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society. (This applies to the Scriptures quoted by myself; I am not able to alter those used by my reference sources.)
“Christ in the Passover,” https://youtu.be/gBGz3k37kDE
Jewish Roots Understanding Your Jewish Faith, Daniel Juster, Destiny Image, 2013.
How Passover became Easter Part I,and Part 2 by Rabbi Mike Short,
Pastor Bruce Dowell, https://youtu.be/nfRmuMiPrBU
Israel Today, “What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover,” David Lazarus, Wed., April 1, 2015.
Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Himself, celebrated the Passover (“Now on the first day of matzah the disciples came to Yeshua, saying, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?””Matt.26:17), and then He became the Passover (see also, video, “Christ in the Passover,” https://youtu.be/gBGz3k37kDE).
“The Passover in which Israel escaped the angel of death who destroyed Egypt’s firstborn also teaches a great lesson, since it was the blood on the doorposts from a sacrificial lamb which caused the angel of death to pass over Israelite homes. .. . . Nothing speaks quite like the Passover in regard to sacrificial blood being the means of avoiding the penalty of death for sin” (Juster, 2013, p.28). “Your lamb is to be without blemish, a year old male. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You must watch over it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to slaughter it at twilight. They are to take the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the crossbeam of the houses where they will eat it. They are to eat the meat that night, roasted over a fire. With matzot and bitter herbs they are to eat it”(Ex.12:5-8). God’s instructions were very specific, and He commanded, saying: “This day is to be a memorial for you.You are to keep it as a feast to Adonai. Throughout your generations you are to keep it as an eternal ordinance. . . . Also you are to observe this event as an eternal ordinance, for you and your children”(Ex.12:12, and again in 24).
“The Exodus foreshadows the greatest act of God’s grace in all of history – Yeshua’s death and resurrection” (Juster, 2013, p.29).
“The early Christians too would have celebrated this meal to commemorate Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection. The first Christians, Jewish and Gentile, were certainly aware of the Hebrew calendar. Jewish Christians, the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, timed the observance in relation to Passover” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter). The early “Christians,” both Jew and Gentile would have kept Passover together as a commemoration of what Christ did on the Cross, having fulfilled the prophecy and become “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One about whom I told you, ‘He who comes after me is above me, because He was before me.’ I didn’t know Him, but I came immersing with water so that He might be revealed to Israel”(John 1:29-31). Notice that they followed God’s commandment – i.e., they kept the ordinance. It didn’t end because Christ fulfilled it. The commemoration of that original freedom from slavery to Egypt, fulfilled through Messiah, was all the more to be celebrated, as Yahweh dictated: “You are to observe this day throughout your generations as an eternal ordinance” (Ex.12:17), and “The same Torah applies to the native as well as the outsider (Gentile) who dwells among you” (Ex.12:49). The Passover continued to be an eternal ordinance which, now fulfilled by Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, would warrant that commemoration forever. So how did it evolve into a thing called “Easter”?
Various events historically contributed to the division between Jewish and Gentile believers: “it started when Gentile Believers wanted to replace the Feasts of the Lord with Pagan holidays. In 196 C.E. there was a council in Caesareria, the first council without Messianic Jewish Believers in attendance. The Council ruled that “resurrection day” would thereafter be observed on the pagan holiday of “Easter”. . . . . … . Then the Catholic Church father Saint Appathanies wrote that those of Jewish origins, who defile the Church by the observance of the Jewish feasts and festivals, were “heretics” and should not be allowed inside the Church. This and other statements forced the “Jewish question” that being, should anything “Jewish” be observed by those of Jewish origin who had become “Christians”? The answer to this question and others came via the Council of Nicea in the year 325 C.E. and later via the Council at Antioch wherein those of Jewish ancestry were told to cease all things “Jewish” to include circumcision, Jewish religious training, all feasts and festivals. Close on the heels of this order came the uniform change to Sunday as the day of worship, throughout the Roman Empire as Constantine and the Bishop of Rome, later known as the “Pope” reached agreement” (Rabbi Mike Short, Pt.I). “Direct evidence for a more fully formed Christian festival of Pascha (Easter) begins to appear in the mid-2nd century. Perhaps the earliest extant primary source referring to Easter is a mid-2nd-century Paschal homily attributed to Melito of Sardis, which characterizes the celebration as a well-established one. . . . . . . . .the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which endorsed changing to an independent computation by the Christian community in order to celebrate in common. This effectively required the abandonment of the old custom of consulting the Jewish community in those places where it was still used” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter).
“There is no trace of Easter celebration in the New Testament. The Jewish Christians in the early church continued to celebrate the Passover, regarding Christ as the true paschal lamb” (Rabbi Mike Short, Part I). Not unlike the current trend of Globalism, (as we move speedily towards the fulfillment of the One World Government/One World Religion), whereby the New Age brand of post-modernistic liberal Christianity tends toward embracing/joining with the ways of the world, forsaking commandments of holiness and righteousness, than of being set apart unto God, followers of Yeshua who had participated in all feasts with their Jewish counterparts, following all God’s commandments, gradually abandoned many of the original practices and began following a different path. Passover, for “Christians,” was sadly replaced with “Easter.”
“Now it was just before the feast of Passover. Yeshua knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them until the end” (John 13:1). “Then came the day of matzah when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed” (Lk.22:7). The Son of God had come to sacrifice His life for those who would believe in Him; and His sacrifice was always intended to correspond with the sacrificed lamb of Ex. 12. It was no coincidence that as Passover approached Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, began to speak of His approaching death and resurrection to His disciples. After all, He’d come to fulfill the prophecies, to be that Passover Lamb, the perfect sacrifice for all. He knew in no uncertainty the reason for His coming to this earth.
Yeshua celebrated Passover with His disciples: “And when He had taken a cup and offered the bracha, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you that I will never drink of the fruit of the vine from now on, until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken matzah and offered the bracha, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you. Do this in memory of Me.” In the same way, He took the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you” (Lk.22:17-20).
“And he said unto them, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Lk.22:15). “As you can see these are strong words! Messiah knew that the next day would be His last but He wanted to spend the Last Passover showing His Talmidim (Disciples) how it pointed to Him” (Rabbi Mike Short, How Passover Became Easter, Pt.1). The statement, “Get rid of the old hametz/leaven, so you may be a new batch, just as you are unleavened—for Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed” (I Cor.5:7*see f.n. below), makes it very clear that the New Testament saints understood the connection between the Old Testament Passover and the fulfillment of that by Christ’s death on the Cross. They were fully cognizant of what this meant: Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha-Mashiach was the Passover Lamb. What does this mean? That “Passover” was intended to be a permanent ordinance, forever commemorating the sacrifice for our freedom/salvation. So there would be no reason for altering the practice, the traditions that accompanied it, or the date/timing of the the event. Neither did the fulfillment of that negate the original freedom from the bondage in Egypt; it’s like phase two; the two events complete the process; now it becomes a complete whole. That is why Yeshua, while on the Cross, said “It is finished.” His work of salvation and redemption was complete.
“During this time of year we have the Jewish Feast of Passover and the Christian Easter, which is really a festival of fertility named after the Babylonian Goddess Isthar or some spell it Ashera or Eastre . . . . . . the celebration and worship of the goddess of fertility with the symbolic use of the egg as a focal point and is known as Easter and has nothing to do with the resurrection of the Messiah” (How Passover became Easter Pt.1, Rabbi Mike Short).
Rabbi Evan Moffic (What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover, by Reform Rabbi Evan Moffic) has seen his teachings of Passover (to Christians) become life-changing. He has witnessed incredible deepening in faith as they become more connected with the true meaning of Passover. As Gentile believers begin to realize the holiness with which Yeshua celebrated Passover, that the story of Exodus was fulfilled in Messiah, and that the ongoing honouring of Torah is intrinsic to the experience of Passover, eyes are opened to the heretical replacement of Passover with Easter, a defilement of the holiness of Passover, with its inclusion of pagan practices such as Easter eggs, chocolates, and bunnies.
“Moffic hopes to help Christians understand the intimate connection between Judaism and Christianity in the Passover, the principal festival for both Jews and Christians. Exploring the Passover helps us learn more about the context of Jesus’ own religious and spiritual life, and it sheds light on Easter, the resurrection of Jesus and the meaning of redemption,” he explains””(Israel Today, “What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover,” David Lazarus, Wed., April 1, 2015).
“Gentile’s (Stranger) who have been grafted-into Israel by the work of Messiah, should be doing Jewish Festival Days as did the first Jewish Believers. These Festivals all point to Messiah, Easter does not. For your consideration, may I suggest that a Lamb, not a bunny, should be the image imprinted on our childrens minds during this Passover/Resurrection season. They can celebrate something (Someone!) far more significant than rapidly multiplying Easter bunnies and fertile colored eggs” (Rabbi Mike Short, How Passover Became Easter, Part 2).
One of the best history lessons I’ve seen online, easy-to-watch/listen to is “Pastor Bruce Dowell of Shiloh Messianic Congregation explains why we are to observe Passover as opposed to Easter. He illustrates the origins of both and clearly reveals where one is biblical, and the other, well not biblical at all. Watch the video to learn what it really is! To learn more please visit us at ShilohMessianic.com or VoiceOfYeshua.com. And have a wonderful Passover season in our Savior, Yeshua!, https://youtu.be/nfRmuMiPrBU” and I encourage my readers to watch, listen, and STUDY it. “God never commanded Easter, but God commanded Passover” (Pastor Bruce Dowell).
Do you celebrate Easter? Jewish Voice Ministries Canada Proclaiming Jesus the Messiah to the World: “Messianic Jews celebrate the resurrection of Yeshua from the dead on the third day following His execution as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” One Sunday during the Passover season is called “Resurrection Sunday” during which great Messianic thanksgiving is offered for Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection. It is not accompanied by the finding of eggs and baskets filled with candy” (http://www.jewishvoice.org/who-is-yeshua/theological-questions/faqs/celebrate-easter.html?referrer=https://www.google.ca/). Messianics, over-all, celebrate Pesach/Passover, not “Easter.”
“Some of the other Easter Traditions are just as seeped in Paganism as the rabbit and egg, how about Easter Lilies. This is also from the website “The so-called ‘Easter lily’ has long been revered by pagans of various lands as a holy symbol associated with the reproductive organs. It was considered a phallic symbol!” A. J. Dager, “Facts and Fallacies of the Resurrection,” Page 5. Cited in: R.K. Tardo, “Rabbits, Eggs and Other Easter Errors”. . . . .and other traditions used in Easter services which I will skip here, as what has already been should be sufficient to show that Easter is Pagan“ (Rabbi Mike Short, Pt.1). Let us be clear: Easter is pagan; Passover is Scriptural.
This is not meant to be a condemnation of the Christian practice of Easter, since few “Christians” are aware of their Jewish roots, and the accompanying history that created “Easter;” but rather it is intended to stimulate an awakening of the history, roots, and intention, to expose the error of many centuries and thereby ignite a desire to return to the original meaning and intended ordinance celebrated, in keeping with the command of our Lord, God, and Father, Yahweh, that this would be “an eternal ordinance” (Ex.12:12). Keep in mind, too, that “God does not change” (Mal.3:6); and “God will not be mocked” (Gal.6:7). “Easter” is based on paganism, contrary to Biblical roots, history, intention, and practices. “Passover” is the original feast commanded by Yahweh Himself to honour what He did for His people. If you are a grafted in, Gentile believer it would be honouring the Lord to keep His “eternal ordinance.”
1 Cor.5:6-8: “Don’t you know that a little hametz leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old hametz, so you may be a new batch, just as you are unleavened—for Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast not with old hametz, the hametz of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened bread—the matzah of sincerity and truth” – a “little” sin pollutes everything- it spreads – get rid of the sin (old hametz). Since Yeshua came to free His people from sin, we should get rid of the old ways (the flesh), celebrate the new “hametz” – He is our leaven, He is what fills us by His Holy Spirit so the “old leaven” can be replaced with the “new.” “Unleavened” = free from sin. Yeshua came to free us from the bondage to sin.
© 2017 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.