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Thursday, 18 February 2010

The True Meaning of Easter and The Passover

The True Meaning of Easter and The Passover

In this message I'm going to cover one of the most popular holidays in which pews are noticeably filled up to capacity. Many programs are conducted through the religious and church communities in celebration of Easter. Even many businesses like banks will close for three hours on Good Friday in honor of this holiday. The ACLU with it's anti-Christian and pro-pagan lawsuits has never really put up a major challenge to this federal holiday, only bits and pieces as a result of it's popularity. Also in this message, I'm going to go over the true meaning of the Passover which was practice by Old Testament Jewish believers in the Lord.

Gallop estimates with it's various surveys across the nation that 100 million adults which comes out to be about one out of every two people in the United States attends an Easter service. The biggest surge coming from attendees who are 30 years or younger and are Roman Catholics.

Where did very popular holiday called; "Easter" originally come from and did the New Testament believers set a series of days in order to celebrate the Passover? Prior to 325 AD there is no record of what the modern era is now celebrating. In 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea, Emperor Constantine claimed being converted to Christianity but was still very much involved with paganism. His objective as the very first Pope was to unite both pagans, and Christians under his leadership. It's the same concept we see today concerning unity under the current Pope of Rome. In order to try an accomplish this objective, Constantine sought out to add festivals ( see Christmas, click here) which appealed to pagans and adopt it into to church worship which would appeal to the church community who were making professions of faith in the Lord. So Constantine by making a degree at the Council of Nicaea, Easter became a holiday celebrated which was to be on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.

Today if the Pope of Rome would declare a holiday in which Christians should observe let's say for example, the celebration of the miracles of Jesus. How many non-Catholic churches would join in on the celebration? Would you say it would be as popular as Easter or Christmas among Protestants which includes Baptists? At first glance, the new official so-called holiday presented by the current Pope if he were to do such a thing, would be adopted by many outside of Catholicism. But also rejected by many others as well in the very beginning. Eventually those who had previously rejected the new so-called holiday will come around and adopt it into their own practices. The only ones left in the Christian community are the few who name Christ as their Lord and Saviour. They would continue against the onslaught of the many not celebrate any new holiday degreed by the Pope of Rome. This is exactly what happened throughout history concerning the two other holidays of Christmas and Easter.

Mark 7:7-9 Howbeit in vain they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

The Tradition of Lent

The traditions of Easter has bits and pieces of truth, but it also has many errors contained in them which are not biblical. The Lent tradition and practice is a typical example. There is no record of the Apostles nor Jesus celebrating 40 days of abstinence which means reframing from their normal worldly activities (sinful behavior) for a period of time. Basically it's a form of works to attempt to please God for all the other sins committed during the past year. True believers are commanded by God to practice holiness on a daily basis not just for 40 days out of the year, not because we need to obtain forgiveness, but because we are already forgiven. Just like Christians pray to God to forgive them of all their sins which doesn't mean Christians need to perform this act to be forgiven. So where did this man-made tradition come from?

Lent which means "spring time" was originally a pagan practice that was first invented by the Babylonians in honor of their "Queen of Heaven and Her son Tammuz". "He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. 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" Ezekiel 8:13,14.The reason why the women were weeping for "Tammuz" was because of his death. The belief also states, "Tammuz" comes back to life from the dead. Sound familiar? It should because it's a distorted belief of of what really Christ did on the Cross (Gen. 3:15) and His victory over Satan when He was risen from the dead. In reality, Tammuz never was really risen from the dead but used as an object of worship for many pagan cultures throughout history.

Eventually Lent was adopted by the Egyptians in honor of one their of gods which happens to be another version of Tammuz named; Adonis. Since there were variants of Lent in the way it was practiced by the ancient pagans, Catholic leaders at the time were in disagreement on how to celebrate the new tradition. It wasn't till the sixth century when the Pope made the official by calling the Lent celebration a 'sacred fast', and ordered the people to abstain from meat and a few other foods for a period of time.The Scriptures plainly condemn such a practice..." Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth" 1 Tim 4:2-3.Lent started out as 36 days, but later in 800 AD it was expanded to 40 days and it has been that way ever since.

Eating Fish on Fridays

Speaking of abstaining from meats, part of the Lent tradition was to obtain from meats on every Friday during the Lent season and fish was endorsed to be eaten. In honor of the ancient pagan god Freya who was the goddess of peace, joy, and fertility, the pagans would eat fish on Fridays. Now fish was known to the ancient pagans as having a high reproduction rate and was a holy symbol to their goddess. By the way, Freya is where we get the word; "Friday". Some Protestants have modified the tradition for Good Friday only but as we seen in 1 Tim 4:2-3 it is not a biblical practice when it comes to worshiping God.

The Easter Bunny

Many Protestants including Baptists who celebrate this holiday reject the Easter bunny although in some cases it's not a total rejection but rather contains some modifications. The bunny symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons. Eastre or Astarte known in the spring festival as the goddess of fertility. Rabbits had high reproduction rates which the ancient pagans considered as perfect objects to sacrifice to their goddess.

The Easter Egg

The egg was a symbol of rebirth in most ancient pagan cultures. A peasant, would color brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. The ancient Druids believed the egg was a sacred emblem of their idolatrous religion. In Hinduism, they honor the egg as with a golden color. In Japan it was brazen. In China, dyed or painted eggs are used on "sacred" heathen festivals. In America the Easter egg contains numerous colors as the society is mixed blend of different cultures.

Acts 12:3

And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

The True Meaning of Passover: Christ

It may be a surprise for some Christians, but Easter and the Passover have nothing in common. Even though the Bible uses the term, it still doesn't mean there is common ground which leads to acceptance of this holiday. The true Passover, is a memorial of the crucifixion of Christ which is the true Passover for New Testament believers. In the Old Testament, it was a shadow of things to come namely Christ for true believers. The passover was never conducted on Sunday or any fixed day of the week, but a calendar day of the year. The day of the week varies from year to year as we shall see from Scripture.

Tracing The Real Frame of Christ's Death and Resurrection

This is the fun part while discussing the true meaning of Passover. One of the very things the Easter holiday has done is, it has distorted the real time frame of Christ's Death and Resurrection. How many How many people really believe Christ was crucified on a Friday afternoon only to raise again less than three days later on a Sunday morning? How many churches really know the truth about the real time line but are still going along with the holiday by conducting an "Easter" or "Good Friday" service just like other so-called churches who celebrate the skewed time frame? The question we must ask ourselves, What do the Scriptures say concerning this matter?

Matthew 12:40

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Christ made a sign which signified Him as the Saviour. If this Scripture did not come out the exact way Christ said it would happen, then He wouldn't be Lord and Saviour over His people. Jesus said, he would be in the ground for "three days and three nights" which conflicts with the Easter holiday. There is little dispute here on how long Christ was buried even most scholars agree it was a 72 hour time frame.

Christ's Day Actual Day of Crucifixion

"And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!" John 19:14.

When it comes to Christ's crucifixion the Scriptures reveal this important aspect. All four Gospels refer to the day of Christ's dying on the Cross as the day which they were preparing for the "high day" Sabbath. In John 19:31, it says; "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." What is a "high day" sabbath? Leviticus 23 tells us the Jews were to keep seven of these days, year by year. In verse two it says; "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts."

Those days were called; "holy convocations and my feasts" and they do not fall on the same day as Numbers 28:16-17 tells us: "And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the Lord. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast." This feast was the first Day of Unleavened Bread. Matthew 26:2 says, "You know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." We know for certain Christ was crucified on the Passover which is described in Exodus 12. The original Passover was when the Jews were taught to slay a lamb and put the blood on the doorposts which caused the angel of death to pass them by sparing their firstborn. It was a shadow of things to come namely the true Messiah which is Jesus. So Christ was crucified on the exact day the lamb was being slain every year. This day then would automatically be a preparation day for the feast day, or annual "high day" Sabbath which was to begin almost immediately after His burial.

Following The True Account Of The Passover

So what day did the Passover occur? Well according to the Jewish calendar, the Passover occurred on a Wednesday...This means that the annual Sabbath had to be one day later which would be Thursday! As this sabbath was approaching, required a quick burial of Christ's body prior to its arrival. The weekly Sabbath which occurs on Saturday, was to occur two days after that. So Christ was crucified on Wednesday afternoon. Now if one is to correctly understand Mathew 12:40 about how many days Jesus spent in the grave, this would put His resurrection on a Saturday afternoon. This also is the very reason why Mary Magdalene, and the others with her saw angels Sunday morning rather than Christ (Luke 24:6).

Christ's prophecy of the events that were to happen, did in fact happen in every aspect with no errors in His plan. Since we know from the Scriptures the true time frame, I ask again, why do many so-called churches continue with the Easter tradition? Even some Christian churches have been confused on this issue while claiming to know better (some Baptists assembles) but yet either have a "Good Friday service with a message or an Easter service with a message" but reject the "Lent" tradition. Their symbolic representation of the Lord's death and resurrection is faulty. Thus, it denies what the Scriptures reveal about it which all true Christians rejoice in and celebrate in remembrance of Him at the Lord's table. Revelation 17:2 points out... "With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. Verse 5, And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."

The Scriptures Commands

In 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.

The Bible makes it clear we are not to 'Christianize' a pagan tradition even though it has some bits of truths in it. We are also "not to be partakers of her sins" and show appearance of evil by going along with this holiday known as Easter which symbolizes rejection of what Christ predicted about his death and resurrection from the grave. When we look at Old Testament believers, we didn't see any change in it's celebration like additional customs outside of Scripture. Nor did they change the Sabbath days either. For many hundreds of years before Christ came and died then rose again from the grave it was conducted the same way as God had instructed. Things did change in the New Testament as prophecy was fulfilled.

While Christians serve the Lord humbly by remembering Him not only at the Lord's supper, but in our daily lives, the changes we see today go beyond the bounds of Scriptures in this Easter holiday which gives honor to a pagan god who's traditions are imbedded in it. Not something the early church practiced concerning the true Passover. This also something true believers should not be practicing along side with the world. We as true Christians should rejoice in the Lord's great accomplishments, His great sacrifice, His risen from the dead, His unmerited mercy upon us, and ever being so thankful about it in our daily lives, while gleaning on the things pertaining to the Lord in order to conform more to His Will.