Uniting The One New Man
The rejection of the Jewish roots has caused confusion about the date of Christ’s resurrection and made it unclear how Yeshua was the fulfillment of the Passover feast. It has also contributed to the separation of the Gentile and the Jew, preventing the Gentile Christian from witnessing the truth of the Messiah to the Jewish believers. By continuing the separation of the Jew and the Gentile Christian from the fulfillment of the “one-new man” which Paul preached in Galations 2, referring to the coming together of the Jew and the Gentile “in one body through the cross.”
The present ignorance of the Church regarding the feasts of God, as outlined in Leviticus 23, has perpetuated the breach between the Jew and the Gentile believer. The Jew is knowledgeable about the pagan origins of the present customs of the Christian Church. They can see no correlation between the God of the Old Testament and the Messiah we profess because the Church, through its roots of anti-Semitism, has maintained this wall of separation. The Church has promoted the very practices that God commanded the Israelites to shun. The Church has fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 24:5:
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitations, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
When God instructed His people in Leviticus 23:2 regarding His feasts, He said they were to be holy convocations or rehearsals. He also said that they were to be “…a statute forever…” (Leviticus 23:14). The significance of Yeshua as the sacrificial lamb and the fulfillment of the Passover have been lost in the present practices of the church. Examination of the scriptures about the feast and the period of Yeshua’s crucifixion reveal how God instructed Moses for each man to take a lamb for his family on Nisan 10 (Exodus 12:3). Also, on Nisan 10, the people came out to meet Yeshua as he entered Jerusalem and professed him as “The King of Israel!” (John 12:12-15). In essence the people chose their Passover lamb.
In Exodus 12:6, God also told them regarding their lamb “Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” The chosen lamb had to be without blemish. Yeshua was questioned and challenged by Pilate, Herod, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians who were unable to prove fault. This could be seen as an examination of the lamb. On the Preparation Day of the Passover the whole assembly of the Jews determined Yeshua’ crucifixion. He was crucified and laid in the tomb on Nisan 14 (John 19:14-42). This can be viewed in comparison to the instructions given in Exodus 12 in which the lamb had to be completely eaten or the remains had to be burned by the close of the day of Nisan 14, which would be at sunset according to the Jewish calendar.
Church tradition has taught that Yeshua was hung on the cross on Friday afternoon and that He rose from the dead on Sunday morning The day after Passover begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is observed for seven days. The first day of this feast, Nisan 15, was to be observed in the same way as a normal Sabbath day (Leviticus 23:7). John 19:31 states, “Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the body should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day)”. According to Judaic custom this day being a high Sabbath means that it was the first day of the feast and not necessarily Saturday. The first day of the feast was always treated as a Sabbath, a high holy day.
In Matthew 12 the Pharisees ask Yeshua for a sign from Him. Yeshua said in verse 39 that no sign would be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah. “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40). If Yeshua was crucified and buried on the day before a traditional Saturday Sabbath there is no way he would have been in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights and resurrected Sunday morning. Yeshua is very clear that it was three complete days and three complete nights. The Jewish day begins and ends at sunset. According to tradition, Jesus would have had to have risen on Monday evening instead of Sunday if the Passover was indeed on a regular Sabbath.
In John 20:1 it tells us that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on the first day of the week while it was still dark. According to the Jewish calendar this would have been at the close of the Sabbath which is at sunset on Saturday night. Matthew 28:1 refers to the time when Mary came to the tomb “…as the first day of the week began to dawn…” The Greek for dawn is epiphosko meaning the dawning of the twenty-four hour day at sunset not at sunrise (Robertson, 240). It would seem apparent that she would have been anxious to anoint His body as quickly as the Law would allow particularly since there had not been time to prepare His body and it would be beginning to decompose. When she arrived at the tomb it was empty. If Yeshua was to be in the ground for three days and nights, the day he hung on the cross, the first day of the feast, could not have been Friday evening as Church tradition has taught. Yeshua did arise from the grave at the close of the Sabbath, Nisan 18. But the high holy day, Prepartion Day, had to have been on Wednesday and not ‘Good Friday’.
By removing the traditional teachings that have assimilated with pagan Easter customs it becomes much more apparent what Yeshua was speaking of when he said “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5), since He overcame death and the grave at the close of Sabbath. Just as the Sabbath is a day of rest, so we as believers in His attonement have entered into his rest for our salvation. No longer do we have to rely on the blood of sacrificed animals for attonement for our sin, nor by any form of works. By embracing the Fourth Commandment and honoring the Sabbath we can celebrate Yeshua, the Lord of the Sabbath.
The Jewish customs that they have preserved through the observance of the Passover feast have been rehearsals of the fulfillment of the Messiah.
By honoring God’s word and observing the Passover as outlined in Scripture we can come into greater understanding the redemption that has been brought to us through Yeshua our Passover Lamb. The Jewish customs that they have preserved through the observance of the Passover feast have been rehearsals of the fulfillment of the Messiah.
The seperation of the early church from their Jewish roots, set forth by Constantine, has brought about a wall of seperation between the old and new covenants, hiding the significance of the old covenant from the church. Many today disregard the old covenant and have adopted the replacement theology that teaches that the church is now Isreal. This is not true. Through the old covenant we can understand the richness of the heritage that we, as Gentiles, have been adopted into. Paul teaches us in Romans 11 that the Gentiles, the wild olive tree, have been grafted in among the Jews and have “became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree” (v.17). We have become heirs of the promises along with the Jews. Paul cautions us not to become boastful against the the branches and to “remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.” (v.18). We, as Gentiles should be greatful that God has allowed this period of ‘blindness’ to come upon the Jews that we might be allowed this covenent of grace through the blood of Jesus (v. 25).
If the Christian church would embrace the celebration of the feasts in light of the completion and fulfillment of Yeshua, we would be a witness to the Jews rather than alienating them through our polluted customs of the heathen. Many of the Jews today are aware of the origin of our Easter customs and they know the difference between the worship of Yahwah and Ashtoreth.
Some believe that Christians are not under the law any longer. Matthew 5: 17-19 records that Yeshua said “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not dome to destroy but to fulfill.” He continues and states that whoever breaks one of the Commandments and teaches others to do so will be least in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever keeps them and teaches others to keep them will called great in the kingdom of heaven.
In Exodus 31 God spoke to Moses about the importance of keeping His Sabbath. He said it was to be a sign between God and the children of Israel forever, a perpetual covenant. Paul teaches the Church in Romans 11 that the Gentile believers have been grafted in among the Jew. He also cautioned the Church not to boast against them but to remember that the Church is supported by this root. He encourages the Church to be grateful that they have been grafted in and that God has purposely blinded them so that the “fullness of the Gentiles” can come. He also exhorts the Church to recognize that their fall and our opportunity for salvation is to “provoke them to jealousy.” Then he exclaims in verse 12, “Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullnes!”