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?


Child of God said...

Thank you for making your post clear. :) I am sorry I didn't reply to your last one but I didn't realize you were Kaboom's father.

These are interesting points you bring up and definitely worth considering.

I do believe this is a matter of understanding and how the Holy Spirit guides each and every one of us. I don't like to argue God's Word or how someone understands God. As long it goes along with His word and is not contradictory to it then I don't see a problem with how someone deals with 'Easter' or 'Christmas' (which we celebrate on the 25th of December and Christ was never proven to die on that date').

Romans 14:1-9
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Hebrews 4:12-13
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

I don't think God really cares when we celebrate as long as we do celebrate His birth and His death and resurrection. He needs to be the focus of our lives and we need to revolve around Him. One person in another culture will praise Jesus one way and could be very different from how we praise Jesus. But Jesus is being praised I believe this is all that matters; His Name be glorified over and above all else.

Thanks for this informative post!

Blessings in Christ Jesus,

Child of God said...

YIKES! I see I made a mistake. :s
In the brackets of the 3rd paragraph it should read...Christ was never proven to be born on that date...not die...born.

Sorry I typed too fast.


JRM said...

Thank you for your comments, Child of God. I appreciate your remarks, and the spirit in which you made them. I think that the bible actually has a lot to say regarding this matter, and that God is very much interested in when, why, and how we worship Him, and celebrate the works of God in our lives. Yeshua said that the Father was seeking those that would worship Him in spirit, and in truth. As you said, the Holy Spirit guides each and every one of us - wherein we worship Him in spirit. His word is to inform our actions - wherein we worship Him in truth.

I appreciate you taking the time to give feedback. I desire this blog to be a place to learn and grow, so I very much invite discussion. I love the word of God, and desire to provoke (inspire) a deeper desire in others to "search the scriptures", and to "test all things; hold fast that which is good." (Acts 17:11; 1 Thess. 5:21, respectively)

I would like to use this as a springboard to write a post about why I believe that God is very much concerned with how and when we celebrate/worship Him and His works. I have come to believe that there is every bit of design and purpose in His Feasts and festivals, and that His redemptive AND prophetic plan/work is found within His Feasts. When His people gather together at His appointed times, they form a picture for the world of His redemptive/salvation plan for mankind. When those that have the understanding that Yeshua is the fulfillment of His Feasts, they are more aptly able to declare the "picture" that the Feasts are meant to project to us.

Again, thank you for your comments, I very much appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

Blessings to you and your family,