“For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival (Passover).” (1 Cor 5:7-8) Does Paul really teach against observing the Appointed Times?
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Messiah, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Pe 1:18-19)
The Biblical Feasts reveal the Father’s detailed plan of salvation for mankind through the Messiah, from his death on Golgotha as the Lamb of God to his enthronement in Jerusalem as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Feasts are of utmost importance for all who love Him and will one day sit with him on his throne as his glorious Bride.
Passover is the first of the Feasts of the LORD and the foundation upon which all the rest are built. From the beginning the Apostolic community of believers faithfully celebrated the death, burial and resurrection of Messiah every year at Passover on the 14th in the first month on the Biblical calendar just like Yeshua did with his disciples and like the Jewish people still do today.
In the second century the Bishop in Rome began to change this custom. Later on when he tried to force the assemblies in Asia Minor to do the same, the bishops there, however, stubbornly refused. The famous church father Irenaeus wrote to Bishop Victor in Rome and reminded him of an earlier failed attempt by Bishop Anicetus to stop the celebration of Passover in Asia Minor, “For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe it, because he had always observed it with John the disciple of our Lord, and the rest of the apostles, with whom he associated.” Polycrates of Asia Minor added, “All these observed the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. …my relatives bishops …always observed the day when the people (i.e. the Jews) threw away the leaven.” excerpt from Lars Enarson of The Watchmen Organization.
So what does this mean among the Body of our Messiah Yeshua/The Church of Jesus Christ and what does it have to do with today!? Are we as Gentile Believers that are grafted into the roots of Abraham able to celebrate Passover without ill thoughts or retribution by others towards us that do?
It has been 1,948 years (if my math is right) since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and most to nearly all of Gentile Believers have not taken part in any of the ascribed by scriptures “Appointed Times to the Believing Jews and Gentile “God Fearers” in Elohim and followed after Him with sincere hearts,” let alone teach about them. [Passover/Pesach, Shavuot/First Fruits and Sukkot/ Time of Booths or Tabernacles.] Three forever appointed Times that the men were to go to Jerusalem to celebrate and observe.
So what has changed since there is no temple in Jerusalem (as yet) and Israel is so far away from the rest of the world?
Are we not the “Temples of God” made holy within us by the sacrificed blood of The Lamb Jesus? Are these appointed times so cumbersome to the Gentiles that they are part of what the Council in Jerusalem discussed and decided, making it so that the three [times] should not be observed? Are they a cumbersome burden to the gentile? Is it silliness to do so? Is it useless to do so? Is it unscriptural to do so for the gentiles of today? All three feasts are prophetically fulfilled by our Lord and King Jesus and why not at least know them as a commemoration, or have the freedom to observe them as Gentile Believers??
Paul certainly took part still in the seven appointed times as both a Messianic Believer and of Jewish origin. Well…. he was a Roman Jew most would say, but still there is both controversy and even outrage for Jewish Christians to hold the Appointed Times dear and observe them not out of necessity but out of respect and love for how God gave them and know how they ( the appointed times ) speak of the Messiah in so many ways. I believe it is yet another sign of the time as mysteries unfold to The Body of Believers in Jesus the Messiah in these the Last Days.
Even this year’s news sources were inclusive of both the celebration of the Messiah’s Resurrection and the Passover as it seems like never before.
Concerning the instructions for Moses to give to Israel, is there now a need for animal sacrifices such as a lamb for passover for an example of the Moses times way past ? No! As to New Testament or ‘The Second Covenant of God’ scripture, it is definite and definitive that there is no longer any need for animal sacrifices for the believer at all!! Yeshua did it all in a matter of three days to sacrifice for all for an eternity. He was the “first fruit for others” of His Salvation and eternal life as Then incarnate Jewish Son of Man, Son of God. He was and is the “Passover Lamb” without spot or blemish sanctified from those with blemishes.
Jesus is the One in which we as Believers come and spend time with in our booths or tabernacles of flesh, heart and mind. Were these appointed times done away with by Yeshua Himself? Certainly not, because He made them permanent throughout all generations. Christians may be reminded of this because of so much utter distaste or hatred towards anything that smacks of the word ‘law’ which literally means the ‘instructions for knowing sin’ all compiled into for us both Jew and Gentile in the Ten Commandments on Stone Tablets now written on the fleshly tablets of our hearts, but with still the same condition as of old that we are sincere as not just Hearers of the Word but Doers of the Word as well.
Were the Jews better in the Eyes of the Lord than the Gentile world?….of course they were! Simply not because of them as a nation of men and women, but because they were given the covenants of God to be a people separated, sanctified from the rest of the world as an example of Who they served as long as they were faithful and repented when not! They carried the line of the coming Messiah. They carried the scriptures given to the Jewish prophets that told of Him, then were again carried by the Jewish tribes, taking the “Light to the Nations” both in their knowledge of God and in their bloodline that ultimate ‘Light’ condensed into One “The Savior, the Son of David, Jesus!”
Does God love the Jews more than the rest of the world…certainly not, for his love is all encompassing and spread throughout the earth!
Are we as Believers following after Yeshua the Messiah better [spiritually] than the rest of the unbelieving world? Yes, but not of ourselves but for the righteousness of Jesus instilled within us by His birth, crucifixion and resurrection. Period with emphasis!
Are we more loved than the masses? No, because He loved us before we disbelieved and loved Him and there is a world of unbelievers that do not believe or even hate the Name of The Great I Am.
God’s Love is without reservation, yet hating the stain of sin upon the souls of the lost and dying. That is our commission …not to make “America Greater”, but to save the lost within America making the recognition that [The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is Greater Than All], and eternally remains so!
In considering all of this as to having the knowledge or the observance of the prescribed by God ‘Appointed Times’ comes down to what an individual desires as to be and live as a Believer in Him. Following what he knows that has been revealed to us and knowing that none of this is involved with the security of our salvation, but with how we choose to have our devotion aimed directly to Him and for Him.
Just as there are the revealed facts made known over a matter of years that the title Easter is of a cultic background attached to Christianity not to please God, but to make it I suppose, more palpable to those of the Roman world at that time.
That [Christmas] is full of idolatry and proven to be the wrong time of the year. Christmas not mentioned or even known of by the first church or those following until such a time years later. Yet, they are still celebrated and revered by the Christian world that recognizes them as being commemorating the birth and resurrection of the Messiah Jesus.
Thus showing there is a balance in all things that are left up solely to The Believer and what the intent of their heart is, doing as to being led. We have the knowledge of not being puffed up, putting aside our differences and being united as one in Him and in Him alone. For we are not to judge [unfairly], but yet out of love know Godly correction of one another when it is due. Is it due in all of this?
A matter of prayer, Godly wisdom, love and discernment is what I would recommend.
Bob is over 80 years old and a many of great spiritual wisdom. He is an artist and allows me to use his art at yhebrew.com. This bunny has nothing to do with First Fruits or Passover as it is the wrong theme and full of leaven. I’m sorry to not use one of his art pictures as this is his article….but just as Easter does not match up with the week of Unleavened Bread, this picture shows the flaunting of our disobedience to our Creator.
On April 1, 2018 (April Fool’s Day…and sliding ice in MO as church dismissed) – Easter and First Fruits were the same day.
In 2019 Easter and Passover fall at the same time again. This year could be likened to a dress rehearsal for Christians to learn more about how to deal with the most precious celebration of our earth…the birthing of The Messiach. God in the flesh to save the world from it’s sins…. It is in this Resurrection (Nissan 17) that we look to our salvation.
It is during The 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread during Pesach that we are reminded of the sin that separates us from a holy Creator. We are commanded by God to eat unleavened bread for seven days. It is so special that there is no work on the first and last day…they are High Sabbaths.
Matzah is a flat bread with no ingredient added to it that would make it rise. When any flesh dies it puffs up or rises…as we see in road kill. God likens sin in our lives to a leavening agent; it causes something to die so then it can lift up…such as these bunny pancakes. It represents ‘sin’ in our life. For one week we are to remember this and actually Spring Houseclean our homes and remove any leaven from our pantries….all in a gesture to remember we are a sinful being…those removing it from their homes are simply giving the gesture to God that they are thankful to Him for saving them from their sin.
Adam violated a food law and it got him removed from the beautiful Gan of Eden. God did not continue his fellowship with Adom until Adam showed acts of a repentant heart….which he did. Upon leaving the Gan of Eden 42 days later…he offered a burnt offering…looking toward the one that would crust the head of evil by actually being that burnt offering.
Christians take a food law that was passed down through the ages of time…to be forever into the future and throw it out..as not for today. Last Sunday, on First Fruits Christians made their first offering be a pig…an abominable pig was set on the table for the King of Kings to partake. Jesus as a Jew would not have eaten it not the apostle Paul.
The Good Scavenger….
God in the form of Yeshua Jesus came to the earth to scavenge the world seeking the lost. He reinforced the Torah given by Moses. God determined some food to be set apart as NOT to eat….to see who would go along with it…basically….it is designed to see who will follow the guideline and join His set-apart club.
If Jesus came to your Easter Sunday dinner….did he find HAM as it’s centerpiece of food authority in your home? Did He find the god Tammuz represented at your table? Two gods? We have a jealous God that does not share. Would your table offer our Messiach kosher food (not offered to other gods)?
Ham (bacon) has begone a big deal to people… Why? Because God still allows that one food item…on a list of many…to speak for itself. Is it a scavenger animal or not? YES! You are what you eat…physically and spiritually. Scavengers are detestable unless you like eating a mickey on a sticky. (mouse). We do not live in hard time that we have to eat mice for food.
Study God’s Words to show yourself an approved workman of the Lord, God says. Why? Because next Pesach in 2019 when your family ask why you do the things that you do….just as at the Seder Service the children ask the questions of why they now sit instead of stand, you will tell them the ‘truth’ of why you no longer sit HAM on your table as the centerpiece….that notes the rejection of God’s instruction.
He would have felt welcomed at our First Fruits Fellowship table, last Sunday and He will be even more welcomed next year. I’m glad we’re practicing so we know how our Creator desires worship. (His ways are not our ways!….we don’t have to know ‘why’ and worry about not being legalistic….He sees the heart!)
Thanks Bob for a great article that brought more to the surface to think about…
by the ‘little author’ hadassah trying to bring the “Big Author’ back to the earth.
P.S. How many things can you find wrong with the cute bunny pancake used at Pesach Week?