Guest blog: Passover, Easter, and the Seal of God

Today I’m honored to have my older brother Jesse guest-blog something the Lord has put on his heart during this Passover season. Thanks, bro!


It's that time of year again, a time when YHVH (God) always puts some things on my heart! It’s a great time to look at Scripture and see what it has to say about the holidays that are going on. Studying the Scriptures to find truth is a mark of a disciple: In John 8:32 Yeshua (Jesus) says "If you obey what I say, then you are really my talmidim (disciples), you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." Here we see that Yeshua says the truth will set you free. Free from what? What are we slave to that we must be set free from? ..... SIN! We’re all slaves to sin and if we know and follow the truth we will be free of sin. David, a shadow of the Messiah, says in Psalm 119 that truth is Torah.

At the time of the Exodus, Passover was about freedom from bondage of Egyptian slavery. The blood of the lamb redeems the firstborn (Exodus 12:12-13) out of bondage, on a journey into the Land of promise. Note the blood covering the firstborn for later reference. Paul talks about Passover in 1st Corinthians 5:7-8 "Get rid of the old leaven so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For the Messiah, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the Seder not with old leaven, the leaven of wickedness and evil, but with matzah of purity and truth." We see here some of the symbols of the Passover: Leaven = sin, Lamb = Messiah, Blood of the Lamb = Messiah's death (Isaiah 53). As believers in Messiah, Passover takes on a deeper meaning for us; it becomes more than remembering the slavery in Egypt.


Yet for many Christians, Passover is a foreign thing. Its modern replacement in Christianity does away with these symbols of Passover, replacing them with things not from God. Easter has its origins in ancient eastern fertility rites: in the ancient Babylonian religion, Easter, or Ishtar, is the wife of Nimrod, a king of Babylon. King Nimrod ruled a mighty empire and was viewed as deity. When Nimrod died, Easter became “miraculously” pregnant. The son born to her was named Tammuz, a supposed reincarnation of his deceased father, Nimrod. A religion was built around her, with Easter as the moon and Tammuz as the sun. She was worshiped as the goddess of fertility who brought in the spring. During the winter when the sun was at its weakest, they would say Tammuz is dead and they would weep for 40 days for him to resurrect himself. The day before the spring equinox they would worship in the dark all night long, then face east at dawn to see the sun rise, the resurrection of Tammuz.

While the Ishtar festival was initially limited to pagan religions, it eventually spread to Christianity in the 4th century. In 325 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine, an anti-Jewish sun-worshipper, officially replaced Passover with Easter, saying in anti-Semitic tirade,

“When the question relative to the sacred festival of Easter arose, it was thought particularly unworthy to follow the customs of the Jews who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded. In rejecting their custom we may transmit to our descendants the legitimate mode of celebrating Easter.

We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jew. And consequently in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jew. For it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep this feast. How can they be in the right, they who, after the death of the Saviour, have no longer been led by reason but by wild violence, as their delusion may urge them They do not possess the truth in this Easter question, for in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year.

But even if this were not so it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communication with such wicked people, the Jews. You should consider not only that the number of churches in these provinces make a majority, but also that it is right to demand what our reason approves, and that we should have nothing in common with the Jew.”

-Edict at Nicea

With this anti-Jewish ruling, it was no difficult matter to cause the existing pagan peoples in the Roman Empire adopt Catholic (universal) Christianity, using existing festivals and repainting them with Christian elements. Thus, Easter found its way into Christianity, with the Roman Catholic Church officially requiring of all Christians the celebration of Easter. Centuries later, Easter was passed down to the Church’s Protestant offspring; celebrating Easter remains a staple of worldwide Christianity to this day, despite no such commandment in Scripture.

This Easter/Tammuz religion is mentioned in Scripture, however, in the book of Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 8:

1 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.

2 Then I beheld, I saw a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the color of amber.

3 And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looks toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy.

4 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.
[Bible scholars suggest that this is the statue of Ishtar being referred to here.]

5 Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up your eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up my eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry.

6 And he said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the house of Israel is doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable." [This is what Israel is practicing; they later are sent into exile because of their love of sin & paganism.]

7 And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, I saw a hole in the wall.

8 Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had dug in the wall, behold a door.

9And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.

10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about.

11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up.

12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, have you seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? They say, the LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the earth.
[They are weeping for Tammuz before Easter.]

13 He said also to me, Turn again, and you shall see greater abominations yet.

14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

15 Then said he unto me, have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, and you shall see greater abominations than these.

16 And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east.
[They were waiting for the resurrection of Tammuz, the sunrise on Sunday.]

17 Then he said unto me, have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations here? They have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: they put the branch to their nose.
[Tammuz was considered a branch, the false branch, a kind of anti-messiah. We know Yeshua the Messiah is the true branch.]

Wow! Heavy stuff.

Paul talks about how we no longer wrestle in the flesh but in the spirit in Romans 8. We see the mark YHVH puts on our heads by keeping the feasts (Passover in particular) Exodus 13:9 " It will serve you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder between your eyes (forehead), so that YHVH's Torah may be on your lips; because with a strong hand YHVH brought you out of Egypt."

Now let’s look at what YHVH shows Ezekiel about the punishment of those who worshipped the Easter & Tammuz gods:

Ezekiel 9:4 YHVH said to him, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it."
[We, those disgusted by the Easter & Tammuz worship are marked.]

5 As I listened, he said to the others, "Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple.

[We see that even children aren't spared in the punishment. Good reason not to partake in Easter at the sake of "children feeling left out of our culture".]

7 Then he said to them, "Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!" So they went out and began killing throughout the city. 8 While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell face down, crying out, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?"

9 He answered me, "The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, 'The LORD has forsaken the land; the LORD does not see.' 10 So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done."

11 Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, "I have done as you commanded."

18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

So a quick recap, Passover = mark on forehead. Those who are disgusted at the weeping for Tammuz = mark on forehead. Weeping for Tammuz up to Easter sunrise = YHVH's judgment.

Why is this so important? Let’s see what John says in Revelations 7:1-8:

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea:

3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God."

4Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

Also, in Revelations 9:4-6, we read:

4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

5 They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man.

6 During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

And again in Revelations 14:1-12:

1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.

2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.

3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb.

5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

This is the final fulfillment of Passover! The woman in verse 4 is the whore of Babylon, Ishtar. Continuing into verse 6:

6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.

7 He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

8 A second angel followed and said, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."

9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand,

Notice that this is the exact opposite of Exodus 13:9-10.

10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.

11And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

The ones persecuted are those who follow God’s commandments and remain faithful to Yeshua!

As believers in Messiah, we ought to keep His feasts, rather than the traditions of men that have both anti-Jewish and false-religion backgrounds. When Messiah said, “Do this in remembrance of Me”, he was not talking about an oyster cracker and a thimble of grape juice. He was commanding us to celebrate the Passover in remembrance of Him. Paul tells the Corinthians to keep the Passover, and rightly so, as it is Messiah who delivered us from the bondage to sin. And we know from our study of the Scriptures that keeping His feasts marks us with God’s seal.

I hope this helps you understand what the mark of the Firstborn/Forehead is.

Paul encourages us to be holy by separating ourselves from the profane, "Therefore YHVH says go out from their midst; separate yourselves; don't even touch what is unclean. Then I myself will receive you. In fact, I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters." 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

May those who have eyes to see, SEE! And ears to hear, HEAR! The one who is testifying to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon!" Amen! Come, Master Yeshua! May the grace of the Master Yeshua be with you all!


Thanks, Jesse!

I hope you fine blog readers learn from this and our encouraged to keep the Passover this year, a feast of the Lord that our Messiah, his disciples, and even Paul found good to keep and celebrate and remember the things God has done through Israel and through Israel’s Messiah. This year, Passover will fall the evening of April 10th (April 9th on the Jewish calendar). Messianic congregations as well as some churches will be celebrating the Passover this year. I encourage you all to find a place and keep this feast.



  1. Trying to figure out my views on this subject. I've struggled for many years, ever since I started celebrating Passover, in determining my stance on whether or not to take part in easter. Its hard to step away from family memories and traditions. Do you celebrate Jesus' resurrection 3 days after the seder? Do you have a special celebration? What do you think it will take to get Christian churches to step away from celebrating communion and easter and instead celebrate Passover and His resurrection?

  2. Brandi,

    Start with Passover. Perhaps as the Lord leads, he'll lead you away from Easter.

    Messiah rose on or near the Feast of Firstfruits, which follows Passover. We could do more to mark that day as a celebration of his rising, being the First Fruits from the dead.

  3. The apostle John mentions the Lord's Day and Paul also mentions the first day of the week as being a time when believers met. The resurrection of the messiah on the first day of the week had a dramatic impact on the first believers. That they began to celebrate a "Christian sabbath" on the first day of the week, and distinctions began to be drawn between the Jews and "the Way" such as: the sufficiency of one sacrifice for all time for the propitiation of sins, the "temple" referring to the body of the Messiah, and the "Israel of God" referring to not only those who were Jewish by birth - but those who were spiritual descendants of Abraham by faith - these changes in understanding brought about something new. Christianity wasn't meant to be "Jewish" or "Gentilish" by flavor - but one NEW body united in Spirit, following the Messiah Yeshua.

    Easter is the name of a day - no more immoral than Thursday is Thor's Day for that matter. It's completely a false assumption that Christians today are worshipping a false God by celebrating the resurrection on a day called "Easter" in common parlance - any more than if I say I'll be at the prayer meeting on Saturday. Wait - the day of the mythological god, Saturn - wait- I drive a GM Saturn for goodness sake. Does that make me a neopagan? I'm being absurd - but that is the same leap that I think that this post is making, in all due respect.

    It really isn't my case that Passover=Jew Easter=Christian. Rather: Passover=fulfillment in resurrection=whole truth. Easter as a "holiday" can perish as a practice for all I care - but the precedent of celebrating the Lord's death and resurrection on the Lord's day is evident from the writings of the Apostles. Does that make a man-made tradition? Only if you think that the apostles spoke as mere men.

  4. Hey Brian.

    I can't speak for Jesse (he wrote wrote this post), but I can speak for myself:

    I agree that Christians are not worshipping a false goddess by celebrating a holiday named after her. It's not the same. (You're right in pointing out that our week days and months are also of pagan origin - I wrote about this here.)

    Question for ya:

    You mention the apostles using the term "the Lord's day". Best I can gather, this first appears in Revelation. There, "the Lord's Day" may actually refer to the famous "Day of the Lord" prophesied by Old Testament prophets like Daniel and others, not a new ritual observance instituted by Christianity.

    Am I forgetting other references to "the Lord's Day"? Paul refers to "the Lord's Supper", but of course, that was a rememberance of the Passover Jesus celebrated with his disciples.

    I have some other questions, but maybe I'll save them for anothe response.

  5. Brian,

    A quick clarification:

    Sha'ul had asked the believers to meet on the first day of the week to gather together the offering that was to be taken to the poor in Jerusalem. He knew that it was improper to do that kind of business on Shabbat, so he asked them to do it on the next day. That's all.

    Also, scripture does not say that Yeshua rose on the morning of the first day of the week. Rather, the disciples came to the tomb early on the first day of the week to find that He was already gone. Much discussion can be made about this but space here does not provide for that amount of writing. Perhaps another time.

    A Sun Day Christian sabbath did not come to be part of a believer's life until almost 300 years later.

    Spiritualizing everything does not negate the truth of scripture nor the plan of YHVH. Fulfillment of any portion of scripture does not change our responsibility to be obedient. Instead, Yeshua's fulfillment clears the way for us to keep His commandments. After salvation comes relationship.

    Christianity does not equal the "new man" Sha'ul was speaking of and the "new man" was and is not a Christian. Scripture is very clear on these matters. Sha'ul did not call himself a Christian and he did not address his letters to Christians. Yeshua did not start the "Christian Church". He enacted the covenant that He had promised Israel.

    It is not the pagan names and origins that are the problem. They can be avoided. It is when someone mixes those names and origins with what should be a pure relationship with YHVH through His Son. Israel was told not to mix with the pagan practices of the other nations. That wise advice is for "all" Israel.

    The circular reasoning employed by Christians regarding "the Lord's Day" does not carry any weight. You will not a find one scripture that says that the first day of the week is "the Lord's Day". But if one is going to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church and believe that Sun Day is the "new" sabbath, then of course "the Lord's Day" would have to be that day. Because it validates the church's position.

    I've often wondered why Christians spend so much time and energy trying to argue about what they don't have to do so that they can continue to do what they want to do. Perhaps it is the cultural traditions which carry so many along. Breaking away from them is not an easy thing to do, but it can be done.

    Brian you don't strike me as a Catholic, but you hold their teachings and follow their religion. Why is that?



  6. Actually Brian, in regard to "HaDerekh" (The Way) - they were known as the sect of the Netzarim (Nazarenes). They were a sect among Judaism who were comprised of Pharisaic and Essene roots - Rav Shaul (Paul) himself being a Pharisee (Acts 23:6) and in the same chapter, Rav Shaul argues using the Talmud for his defense.

    Only later, in the year of our great Pharisaic-Nazarene Rabbi Shaul's death did a man named "Bishop" Ignatius of Antioch declare a new and separate religion from Judaism, which he called Christinaity, and began touting much blasphemous anti-Jewish, anti-Torah doctrines that you still hear all the time in the churches.

    Not exactly the good old "New Testament church" you hear about in church.

    Its interesting Christianity claims this new, separate religion, yet they hold to beliefs such as the resurrection of the dead and many others, which exist nowhere plainly in the Tanakh, and are only explained in detail in the Oral Torah of the Jews (whether it be the Pharisaic Talmud or the Essene Dead Sea Scrolls).

  7. I always had the impression that because so many of the early believers were in the synagogue on Saturday, they held church meetings on Sunday.

    I still remember a Christian tract someone gave me that talked about a lot of the supposedly Christian holidays and their roots. I do believe there is reason to celebrate the anniversary of the resurrection, but all the fertility icons (rabbit, eggs, new dresses, pregnancy cravings/candy) really serve to distract people and keep them from truly celebrating Christ.

    Hundreds of years later, these motivations were not there any more. Perhaps they blamed Jews for some of the Roman persecutions. I don't know. It has always seemed odd to me how anyone could claim to be a follower of Christ and not feel a solidarity with his brethren according to the flesh.


  8. Hey Judah and others

    It's hard for us gentiles still trying to escape the clutches of church tradition to fully celebrate Passover. I read a "Messianic Seder" service and it did my head in.

    Does anyone have any good links to resources for a simple seder meal to celebrate with the family that's not too hard to set up?

    Sorry if it sounds like I'm cheapening the whole thing, but my plan was to do Passover seder this year until some stupid little practical family issue got in the way and I need to find something simple I can expand upon in 2010.

    Shalom and have a great Pesach all!

  9. One more thing: Brian, Easter is not just the "name of a day". It is an entire structure based on a pagan festival, implemented by the early church, ratified by the anti-semite Constantine to deliberately estrange "Christianity" from the Jews.

    If we are aware of this and do nothing to at least explore a change, then our relationship with Yeshua must be lacking.

  10. P.H.

    Hey, do what you can do to keep God's Feasts. I don't look down on small, simple celebrations. Step in the right direction.

    Sorry man, I don't know of an resources for a small, simple Passover celebration. We always have elaborate ones. :-p I know Derek Leman has a lot of knowledge in this area, he might be able to point you in the right direction. Sorry I can't do better.

    By the way, you stated it nicely when you said if we're aware of the anti-semitism in the church's break with Passover in its switch to Easter, we should explore a change. I think few wish to because change is a hard thing.

  11. Hey lnxwalt,

    Nice to see you on the blog. I always see your tweets, nice to see some thoughts longer than 140 chars. :-)


    This isn't where I get my theology, & this may only make some of you upset, but I am honestly amazed at the sweeping judgments some of you (Atherton & Efrayim) are making about Christians. Your "gospel" message seems to be: "We are Jews. We are not like the pagan Christians" more than "Believe on the Lord Yeshua Messiah and be saved". Is it odd that this doesn't sound different from the anti-Christian argument from Jews who believe in no messiah at all?

  13. "Sha'ul had asked the believers to meet on the first day of the week to gather together the offering that was to be taken to the poor in Jerusalem. He knew that it was improper to do that kind of business on Shabbat, so he asked them to do it on the next day. That's all."

    Acts of charity forbidden on the Sabbath? Wow. That's pure pharisee. I disagree.

  14. Brian,

    So many things to respond to here. I am tempted to respond to that ugly article you linked to. For breveity, perhaps another time.

    Let me address something you said:

    Your [Efrayim's and P.H. Atherton's] "gospel" message seems to be: "We are Jews. We are not like the pagan Christians" more than "Believe on the Lord Yeshua Messiah and be saved".

    I didn't read it that way at all. Here's how I read it:

    Efrayim's post: "Relationship is what's important, Yeshua showed us how to do this by living the commandments. Easter, with its pagan and anti-Jewish origins, interferes with a pure relationship with God."

    P.H.'s post: "Now that we're aware of the ugly anti-Jewish existence for Easter, we as Christians ought to explore a change, lest our relationshhip with Yeshua take a back seat to religious tradition."

    That's how I read their posts.

    Efrayim and P.H., you guys care to comment?

    If I could highlight 1 major difference between Messianics and Christians, it is this:

    -Christians are concerned primarily with bringing converts into Mother Church ("Have you asked Jesus into your heart?").

    -Messianics are concerned primarily with discipleship.

    This is why we are doing as the Master did and keeping His Passover this season. You might think that's an insignificant thing, you're more concerned about getting people saved, but we believe it's an important part of being a disciple of Yeshua.

    Take care my friend!

  15. There seems to be a presumption that all things Christian came from the time of Constantine, or at the least, from a much later period than the first Century. Constantine was without doubt a dubious character - even an outright pagan - but we must be reading different Bibles, here. My copy says that they were first called "Christians" at Antioch in the day of Paul. Aside from making room for Jewish believers to maintain some of the ceremonies that - although fulfilled and they were not bound to observe- the New Testament paints a picture of Jews and gentiles becoming believers together - not gentiles becoming Jews - or even following the whole Torah - so why would you preach Judaism over Messiah? This is really how this looks to me, as an outsider. It really just looks like a diversion from Scripture to say that the New Covenant isn't here, yet and that the ceremonial laws require our obedience today in spite of Messiah's sacrifice once and for all.

  16. Brian, I've responed to each of your posts in a gracious manner. I hope you will do the same.

  17. Brian,

    Although I am not surprised that you misunderstood my comments, I will for the sake other readers respond to what you think I and scripture are saying.

    1. "Your "gospel" message seems to be: "We are Jews. We are not like the pagan Christians" more than "Believe on the Lord Yeshua Messiah and be saved". Is it odd that this doesn't sound different from the anti-Christian argument from Jews who believe in no messiah at all?"

    In the first place, I was not trying to preach the message of salvation through faith in Messiah. I was simply responding to your previous comments. Honestly, I would rather preach the salvation message than point out to well meaning folks that they have a spot on their tie, but I am required to do both.

    In the future please do not confuse the two.

    2. "Acts of charity forbidden on the Sabbath? Wow. That's pure pharisee. I disagree."

    You obviously do not understand the Shabbat of YHVH. If you did you would not have made that statement. You also seem to know very little about the P'rushim other than the typical anecdotal tidbits that tend to make the rounds in most churches. I really don't think that you understand what you think you are disagreeing with. Perhaps you may want to try again to make your point. If you do I will respond with scripture so that hopefully the confusion will be minimized.

    3. "My copy says that they were first called "Christians" at Antioch in the day of Paul."

    Really...hmmm. Who are "they" that earned the name "Christian"? And who took it upon themselves to use that word to describe "they"?
    Is it based on a Greek word? Which one? What did the word it was based mean to the average Greek on the street? Did the Greek culture have at its core a belief in one all powerful Creator who would send His Son to redeem them from the curse of death? Was that concept contained within their language? Or did they need to use a word with a familiar concept to Greeks to help them understand what it was they were believing in? I am not being flip or sarcastic, I would really like know what you think was happening there beside just the words on the page.

    Btw, my copy of the scriptures say the same things yours does. No matter how many translations I look at it is pretty much the same words on the page. Yet I see the use of the word "Christian" as a temporary vehicle to allow the cross-cultural communication of the message of salvation and not as a summation of the purpose of Messiah nor of the quality and character of those or any other believers.

    4. "It really just looks like a diversion from Scripture to say that the New Covenant isn't here, yet and that the ceremonial laws require our obedience today in spite of Messiah's sacrifice once and for all."

    Quite a twist you put on that one. I certainly do not remember saying that the new covenant has not arrived. In fact I do remember saying that it was the plan of YHVH and the purpose of Yeshua to enact that very covenant.

    Your understanding of Torah also seems limited to the standard church doctrine of fulfillment = no longer valid.

    And how do you put the Feasts of YHVH together with what you are calling the "ceremonial laws" as if they were the same thing?

    If you really think that they are the same please show the portion of Torah that says that there is no difference.

    Do you also lump together "ceremonial law" with "sacrificial law"? And do you also think that they are separate from what you no doubt call the "moral law"? YHVH is one and His Torah is one. You can no more separate Torah into distinct parts than you separate YHVH into distinct parts. Read James again.

    Whether or not you keep the Feasts as commanded is between you and the one you call Lord. It is not my place to say that you must.

    But it is my place to say that I really think you should. And for more reasons than what I've briefly mentioned here.

    But if you believe that the sacrifice of Messiah releases you from any obligation in that direction you may want to consider this:

    Yeshua is also our peace. Does that mean that we are no longer required to be peaceful? Are we released from any obligation to pursue peace? If something is true it is true all the time and does not change.

    Looking forward to your response.

    Hey Judah, nice to read your thoughts. Have a wonderful Pesach, Firstfruits and Unleavened Bread.

    Messiah Yeshua will soon reign on the earth!



  18. The written record of Yeshua's time on earth speaks of a continual opposition and unbelief coming from the religious leadership of the Jewish people towards the Messiah. These were the scrupulous law-keepers. Yeshua was the "Sabbath-breaker". Yeshua was the "blasphemer". Yeshua was the "friend of sinners", etc. Yet, he is shown to be the only one who was without sin.

    Clearly He was not what many expected. When He told His disciples that the wine and the bread were His body and His blood, he was revealing something new that the Passover was a type and shadow of His own sacrifice.

    The early believers were often put out of the Synagogue altogether. Is it surprising that they would have found a common identity - not as Jews, only - but as a new "Way"? But if Yeshua did not come to start a "church" or a new "Way" then an earthly reformation of the temple and its sacrifices would have been the goal of the first Century believers. Clearly the Sadducees and the Pharisees did not have Messiah's interests in mind - but I find no reference made by Yeshua to reform on this scale. His Kingdom was not of this world & the true worshippers would neither worship in Samaria or Jerusalem. So, again - He made it clear that He was doing something NEW. New wineskins. John's baptism - where was that ever commanded in the law of Moses? Nowhere - yet Yeshua obeyed the call to do it.

    The English Bible that I read uses the word "church" and "Christians" to describe the followers of Messiah. Much of the New Testament letter seem to be about the subject of reconciling the Jewish and the Gentile believers. So - no insignificant subject in their day or ours. But here is where I am not on the same page as many of you: I don't see the early believers doing things the same way as the Jews. I reject the notion that to be a Christian is to set aside the moral law of the Lord in light of His grace and mercy. But I recognize that the types and the shadows of the Old Testament point toward the greatest event in all of human history. Rather than Messiah only pointing back to Moses and calling us to more strict adherence to the ceremonies as well as the moral law. To miss the new things that He did is to miss entirely why He came. To dismiss His church as not being His blood bought people is to miss the great commission we have that He gave to His disciples to make disciples of ALL nations.

    Paul warns us not to be divisive and I clearly have no right to insist that you abandon Passover in light of the Lord's table, but if you claim to believe in Messiah and trust that His sacrifice paid for your sins and paid the penalty of the law that we all deserve - then we share in the most vital thing that should unite us, poor and undeserving of the unmerited grace that we can only find through Him. Forgive me for being blunt and abrasive at times. I am really just amazed at how stark our differences are portrayed as "Jew" and "Christian" if we all claim the same Christ - Messiah.

  19. Brian,

    You said,

    [the gospels show] a continual opposition and unbelief coming from the religious leadership of the Jewish people towards the Messiah. These were the scrupulous law-keepers.

    The problem wasn't that they were Law-keepers; Jesus was a law-keeper himself. The problem was that they only kept the Law outwardly.

    You asked,

    "baptism - where was that ever commanded in the law of Moses?"

    All over the place. :-) Seriously, immersions in running water are ritual requirements for all kinds of things in the Torah.

    You said,

    [he did all this new stuff]...rather than Messiah only pointing back to Moses and calling us to more strict adherence to the ceremonies as well as the moral law.

    Nope, and here's how to prove it to yourself.

    Remember when Jesus was calling some Pharisees "hypocrites"? There's a whole chapter in the NT devoted to it. :-) Take a look at this snippet:

    Hypocrites! You should tithe the mint and cumin without neglecting the weightier matters of the Law!

    Tithing was the commandment, but Messiah said they should be do it without neglecting weightier matters of the Law.

    That's pointing to a stricter observance of God's Law: do both the outward thing (tithing) and the inward thing (justice and mercy).

    Prove it to yourself:

    You've heard it said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you, whoever looks at a woman in lust commits adultery in his heart."

    That's Messiah pointing to stricter observance of God's Law. Applying it to the heart, not just outwardly.

    And again,

    You've heard it said, 'Do not commit muder.' But I say, whoever is angry with his brother will be brought to trial."

    In fact, almost all of Jesus' commentary on the Law was applying it to the heart, not abolishing it as many have done.

    Isn't this exactly what was prophesied of the New Covenant? That God would write the Law on our hearts? Jesus was doing exactly that, completing Jeremiah's prophecy:

    "This is the new covenant I will make with Israel and Judah:

    I will put my Law in their minds

    And write it on their hearts.

    I will be their God,

    They will be my people."

    Jesus was a Law-strengthener. Not a Law-breaker or a Law-abolisher. Applying the Law inwardly does not mean we can skip the outward stuff. Nowhere does Jesus ever tell anyone, Jew or gentile, to break the Law, neither outward ceremonial or inward moral.

  20. Brian,

    If I were to say that because the folks from the United Pentecostal Church denomination had a tendency to argue with the folks from the Baptist denomination, do you think that it would then be reasonable for anyone to assume, based on that very limited information, that all the people who comprised the United Pentecostal denomination were argumentative, legalistic and disobedient to the command to love each other?

    I would certainly hope not.

    Yeshua was all about the truth of His Father. And He confronted anyone who stood against that truth. Regardless of their religious affiliation or standing in the community. And it was not only the religious that argued with Him. But they did seem to be the ones most interested in what He was all about.

    I also have English bibles that do not have the word "church" in them because that word did not exist at the time those letters were written. But if people want to continue to use that word because it has a certain meaning for them, so be it. YHVH is quite capable of correcting those who will listen.

    Everything in creation points to Messiah and His sacrifice. I agree.

    Everything before points forward to it and everything after points back to it.

    What you call the "Lord's table" is Passover. He did not change that. What He did was to bring the full meaning of the feast to completion to enact the promised covenant with the House of Judah and the House of Israel.

    Our Passover celebrates the reality of the fulfillment of the promise of removing ungodliness from Jacob.

    What was "new" in the new covenant was the fact that sins could now be removed from a person's life, to give them the hope of salvation.

    Our redemption is not yet complete. Therefore, our continuing to observe the Feasts of YHVH is not finished either. For while the spring Feasts have been fulfilled, the fall Feasts have not. And they all go together.

    And I'm sure you remember that Yeshua said that He would not drink of the cup of redemption again until He would drink it together with His people in the Kingdom of His Father.

    Sounds to me like there will be another Passover meal yet to come. One that we are looking forward to with great anticipation.

    Yes, our differences may be stark at times, but not insurmountable. There is a place where fellowship can be enjoyed together. It is my hope and I'm sure yours as well that those days would come soon.



  21. "Christ has reconciled both Jews and Gentiles in one body through the cross" (Ephesians 2:16)

    "our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come we are no longer under a tutor" (Galatians 3:24, 25)

    "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28)

    These verses are really at the core of this topic. How can they be interpreted to support a view of Paul as a continuing Pharisee toward the Law?

  22. Brian, surely if you're right, somebody besides Paul would back you up?

    Paul's words are good, but many misinterpret them to mean something that fits Christian theology, putting him at odds with Messiah (Matthew 5:17-21) and the rest of Scripture.

  23. Brian,

    "Christ has reconciled both Jews and Gentiles in one body through the cross" (Ephesians 2:16)"

    Very true. No conflict, no argument. Both houses will be reconciled together with all who put their trust in Messiah Yeshua.

    "our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come we are no longer under a tutor" (Galatians 3:24, 25)"

    Correct. Now that we have learned to drive the car it's time to hit the road! But, as I'm sure you know, all the rules of the road still apply.

    "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28)"

    This verse does not lend itself to a short answer. You may want to balance this verse with Sha'ul's admonition to slaves to remain that way unless freedom became an opportunity. So being a slave did not disappear. Only abstaining from fellowship with a slave was unacceptable.

    Male and female certainly has not been abolished and remains a reality of life.

    So what was Sha'ul saying?

    Simply this, that in the Kingdom of YHVH there is an equality on a level that does not exist at this present time.

    While our earthly stations do not dissolve into nothingness, our fellowship in Messiah can still be accomplished through His Spirit.

    And our agreement should be based on His words, not our practices. But if it shown that our practices do or do not conform to His word, then we have a need to come together and search out the matter.

    Thank you for staying in with us and hearing our side. May you be blessed in your search for His truth.



  24. Thanks Jesse for a very well written commentary on Easter. I will use this from time to time with people who are starting to question it on their own. I will not use it as a club on those who are blissfully ignorant about the holidays.