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Monday, March 4, 2019

Passover Is Not Easter


Jews celebrate Passover also called Pesach from Hebrew it is a major, biblically derived Jewish holiday. The eight-day festival is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Passover is a commemoration of their liberation by God and freedom as a nation from Egyptian bondage under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of liberation from that bondage as described in the Hebrew Bible, especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. It is important to note that at that time they were commanded to sacrifice a lamb and mark the doorposts of their dwellings with the blood of that sacrificial lamb so that they would be passed over by the angel of death which was about to slay the firstborn of every Egyptian. Passover was symbolic of something much greater yet to come when Almighty God would provide His own sacrificial lamb without blemish or spot as expiation for the sins of all of mankind.

Early Christians continued to celebrate Passover until it was decided that the resurrection of Christ historically fell on the Sunday after the beginning of Passover and that day would be more appropriate. The event eventually became known as Easter, which like so many of the Christian celebratory dates has been adulterated by the introduction of paganism into the Church. To set the record straight naming the celebration “Easter” goes back to the name of a pre-Christian pagan goddess in England, Eostre, who was celebrated at the beginning of spring. Reference to this comes from the writings of the "Venerable Bede," a British monk who lived in the late seventh and early eighth century. Bede wrote that the month in which Christians were celebrating the resurrection of Jesus had been called Eosturmonath in Old English, referring to a pagan goddess named Eostre. And even though Christians had been affirming the Christian meaning of the celebration, they continued to use the name of the goddess to designate the season. Bede was so influential that the name stuck, and hence Easter remains the name by which most of the nations in the Western world refer to the event. The coming of Christ the Messiah and his death and resurrection have been supplanted with Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny to denigrate and debase the greatest pivotal point in all of human history perpetrated through the secular humanistic machinations of the Deceiver, the Prince of Darkness.

When Man disobeyed and fell exposed and wanting in the Garden if Eden, Almighty God set His precedent requiring a blood sacrifice as He slew an animal that would constitute the first sacrifice for man to provide an immediate covering for the man and his wife. Their son Able later followed with the offering of a lamb from his flock and received approval from God.

In the following account of Abraham and Isaac God expands on meaning and scope of a blood sacrifice as the perfect representation of how His own son would carry the wooden cross up Calvary hill to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Abraham's act was accorded to him as an act of righteousness.

After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori′ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the ass; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. (Genesis 22: 1-13)

Throughout the generations that would follow the Passover in Egypt Moses determined that the sacrifice of a lamb would be the only means of pleasing God. As the smoke of the offering rose up God would reckon it as righteousness and roll back the sins of Israel as He looked ahead in time and saw His own Son die on a cross. God's own final sacrifice offered once and for all time for the sins of mankind.

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah was given understanding of what would happen in generations to come and prophesied a direct reference to the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. (Isaiah 53)

Who has believed what we have heard and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin,he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

And again we are taken up on Calvary to the scene of the crucifixion, an account most likely written by King David. (Psalm 22: 1-18) 

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer; and by night, but find no rest. Yet thou art holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In thee our fathers trusted; they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. To thee they cried, and were saved; in thee they trusted, and were not disappointed. But I am a worm, and no man; scorned by men, and despised by the people. All who see me mock at me, they make mouths at me, they wag their heads; “He committed his cause to the Lord; let him deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Yet thou art he who took me from the womb; thou didst keep me safe upon my mother’s breasts. Upon thee was I cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me thou hast been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is none to help. Many bulls encompass me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; thou dost lay me in the dust of death. Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet, I can count all my bones, they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots.

Jesus said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:1-2) 

Jesus knew what was to befall him, predestined beforehand to be God's own sacrificial lamb, it was He alone who would meet the terms of the covenant with mankind. God said, "Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4)

 Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.’” And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus was silent.  And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face, and struck him; and some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” (Matthew 26:57-68)

And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, la′ma sabach-tha′ni?” that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Eli′jah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Eli′jah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27: 35-54)

Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:19-21) 

Jesus Christ "Yeshua" is the Messiah and Passover Lamb who is asking you to open your heart to Him who will mark the doorposts of your heart, liberating you from the bondage of sin and death with the promise of eternal life in God's Promised Land.

So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5: 20-21)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The World Divided, A Vast Chasm Between Good And Evil


The nations of the world are in great turmoil as I write this. Leaders in various places are caving in to the will of godless mobs intent on the destruction of all that is good and right in various countries. Armies of filthy, murderous, demon worshipping invaders are forcing their way through the borders of peaceful countries, with nothing to offer but disease, rape, murder, misery and suffering for the citizens of those countries. The nations are marked by a great divide within leadership mostly attributable to envy as the root cause. The Left in opposition to the Right, those who have little hating those who have much.

Before going any farther, let us reiterate what we have been discussing in previous commentaries and let this be comforting. We don't know what the future holds for any one of us, but we know who holds the future, and though we have little or no control of our lives or of anything, we know God controls all things. The apostle Paul wrote the following good news to believers in God and in His Son Jesus Christ: "And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not because of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:1-9)

And what moved God to do this?  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." (John 3: 16-17)

And who is Jesus Christ? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (1 John 1-5 &14)

Jesus is speaking about his followers when he said: "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:29-30)

The world we live in has not changed significantly from the ancient world at all, the "New Morality" is just the old immorality. The message throughout the bible is just as timely today as it was eons ago. The following speaks of how a number of angels stepped out of their assigned roles and are destined for eternal punishment as a result. Today we have men trying to become women and women who want to be men, people lusting for same sex relationships and sexual relationships with small children, just as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Here Saint Jude speaks to the same conditions we are experiencing today:
"Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that He who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomor′rah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Yet in like manner these men in their dreams defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones. But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain. They boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever. These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage. (Jude 1:5-8, 10-13 &16)

[I intentionally left out part of verse 11 referring to Balaam and Korah, two old testament bad actors which would necessitate several chapters to discuss.] 

"But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit." (Jude 1: 17-19)

Finally the apostle Paul pronounces a reviling judgment against the ungodliness of our time:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them. (Romans 1: 18-32)

The God hating evildoers of our time are murdering Christian believers by the hundreds of thousands as well as Jews throughout the world even as I write this, but be of good heart and stand strong in your faith in God and His Son Jesus "Yeshua" the Messiah.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
“For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)