Friday, April 8, 2011

More On Easter

I wanted to take a moment and try to bring some clarity to my last post, and to an issue that usually develops when the discussion of Easter and Passover come up with believers. One of the arguments (or, reasons) given for the defense of Christians celebrating Easter is that they are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, and so, while acknowledging the Passover (representing His death) is viewed as a good thing, the recognition and celebration of His resurrection is what really matters. That is the glorious celebration of His triumph over the grave, and that is why many Christians celebrate Easter. In addition, I acknowledge that many Christians eschew the typical Easter trappings of Bunnies,Easter egg hunts, etc. They prefer to focus upon and celebrate the resurrection of Yeshua, a laudable thing indeed.

At this point I would like to clarify two things. First, When responding to the argument that we should reject celebrating Easter to instead celebrate the Passover, it is proposed that the Passover focuses on Yeshua's death while Easter celebrates His resurrection - as if Easter is a more lofty celebration than Passover. Maybe that is not the intended implication, yet, never the less, it is the implication. What I find interesting about this is the simple fact that Yeshua, at the Passover Seder, said that the unleavened bread of the Passover and the traditional cup of wine (or for some, grape juice) drank during the Seder were the elements that we were to remember Him by, both being symbols of His death. Second, Paul himself said that as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup, we show the Lord's death until He comes (see 1 Cor. 11:26). So we are directly instructed to remember Yeshua's death, and by participating in the yearly Passover Seder we are "showing" His death until He returns. Now, this next point I want to make very clear. I believe and hope in the resurrection of Yeshua from the grave, and the fact that it lets me know that I too will take part in the resurrection one day. But nowhere in scripture are we told to engage in any sort of act or observance in remembrance of it.We are directly told to remember His death every year in the Passover Seder elements of the bread and wine. But we are not given anything by way of observance to remember His resurrection - at least - directly, by Yeshua or Paul in the NT. However, there IS a celebration (or recognition) of the resurrection, but it is embedded within the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread celebration! I have shared this in recent posts, but I'll share it again briefly. Yeshua died at Passover, and rose again on the third day, and three days after Passover is the little known Feast of Firstfruits. Now, while not directly telling us to celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits in commemoration of Yeshua's resurrection, Paul does link it to the resurrection in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, which some call "the resurrection chapter."

Here's a simple question for everyone: If Yeshua died on or at Passover, and rose again three days later (and this is what we know for sure), then why do we celebrate His resurrection every year on the first Sunday after the vernal (Spring) equinox, and not three days after Passover?!? Why is the Christian Church's celebration in concert with a time that the Pagan and Wiccan religions celebrate their festivals? And why is the celebration of Yeshua's resurrection called "Easter?" Does anyone ever consider these things???

This year, Christians will be celebrating Yeshua's resurrection on the 24th of April - 5 days after the Passover. In 2008, Passover was April 19th, and Easter was on March 23rd! How could He rise before His death?! Does that sound reasonable? Doesn't that mar the picture of "three days and three nights?"

If I recall, Yeshua said numerous times that He would rise from the grave three days after His death. He gave the "sign" of Jonah, which was the fact that Jonah was in the belly of the "fish" for three days and three nights. Wouldn't you agree that the fact that Yeshua was to rise from the grave three days after His death was and is emphasized in the Bible? Perhaps there is a very good reason for that.

So, if we know when Yeshua rose from the grave, why is it that we celebrate His resurrection at a time that many times falls quite a time after Passover (and in some years, before Passover!)?

Most Christians proclaim "sola scriptura" -  the "scriptures alone"! Yet I find that at least in this case, the scriptures are NOT what are dictating one of (if not THE) most highly regarded and celebrated events in human history - the resurrection of Jesus. No, instead, we have yoked ourselves to a date that is listed on the Pagan calendars, and has absolutely nothing to do with the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah from the grave. Doesn't that seem odd to anyone?

If you have never considered WHY you do what you do, perhaps this year could be your time. Why do you celebrate the things that you do? And if the "why" is solidly answered in your mind, how about the "when" and "how"? Shouldn't these things be considered? What's more, are you willing?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pagan Calendar

So we are now in that season in which Christians, Jews, and those of the various Wiccan and Pagan religions hold very dear unto themselves - and for good reason, as several highly regarded and important festive times are occuring this Month for all three. However, since I am a believer in Yeshua the Messiah, I am mostly concerned with the Christian/Jewish holidays. And most specifically for this particular post, I am interested in pointing out some things that will hopefully jar people (specifically Christians) awake, and share some eye opening information.

For many years (centuries/millenium really) there has been debate within the Christian Church over various issues, one of which being Easter. There have always been those that have declared that it was and is a Pagan festival that Christians should not have any part in. And equally, there have been those that defend the observance of Easter as being completely permisible  for Christians to celebrate. In fact, many Christians regard it as the highest holiday on the Christian calendar (and for good reason, as they are seeking to celebrate the resurrection of Yeshua from the grave - the cornerstone doctrine of our faith). And of course both sides have their "biblical" support. I will be open at this point and state right up front that I believe that Christians who seek to follow Yeshua (Jesus) should not celebrate Easter, and of course, I have my biblical reasons. But I will take it one step further. I not only believe that Christians should not celebrate Easter, but also that they should celebrate Passover. I won't go into all of that here (much of the reasoning can be found in previous blog posts), as there is just one, simple point that I want to make in this post.

I would like to present a couple of examples of modern Pagan calendars, showing various holidays and festivals. The first is found at a website called Pagan Calendar. If you click on the link, you will get a glimpse of the shcedule for the Month of April, 2011. What I find of interest first is the fact that there are quite a few Pagan festivals! Man alive, that is quite the calendar of events! What I noticed second was the fact that right in the midst of all of these Pagan celebrations we find...Easter! Now, why on earth would a (supposedly) "Christian" holiday be listed on a Pagan calendar??? I mean, the name of the calendar (and website) is "Pagan Calendar." So why is a "Christian celebration on a Pagan calendar? Hmmmm. Furthermore, what I find notoriously absent on the calendar is the BIBLICAL feast of Passover. Passover...that celebration that, according to the NT and according to Christian doctrine is a feast that speaks of and points to Jesus (Yeshua)!

To give yet another example I'd like to offer the website Gypsy Magic. Once again, if you scroll down to the Month of April for this year, we see a boatload of Pagan/Wiccan holidays listed...and right in their midst we have...Easter. Now again, why would a Pagan/Wiccan calendar list Easter among thier celebrations? (BTW - did you happen to notice that "Good Friday" was listed as well on both sites?). Yet interstingly enough, Passover is not listed.

I've covered the issue of Passover in previous posts, so I don't want to be-labor the point here again. But anyone can easily look up Easter, it's origins, practices, etc. and find a plethora of information on it. The bottom line on it though is that it is NOT biblical. It is NOT fitting for a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) to partake in, no matter how much the Church tries to "baptize" it and pronounce it Holy! Yeshua did not rise from the dead on "Easter." He rose three days after the Passover, which hapens to be the biblical Feast of Firstfruits.

Perhaps in the future we can take a deeper, longer look into the celebration of Easter within the Christian Church. But for now I will contend that believers in Yeshua the Messiah should not be partakers in that celebration, even if we say that we are merely celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the grave (when we in fact are not, since we KNOW when He rose, and it was not on the first Sunday on or after the Vernal (Spring) Equinox)!

My desire is to prompt anyone and everyone reading this blog to:

1) Read the bible daily, and follow it in faith and action, and...
2) Call everyone to "Test all things; hold fast what is good" - 1 Thess. 5:21

Revelation 18:4

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."

Please take the time to really look into this issue, and seek the scriptures concerning it. Don't let my words, nor the words of anyone else make the decision for you. I only seek to provoke everyone to search the scriptures themselves.