Archive for the ‘Passover’ Category

The Rehearsal Dinner

During this Pesach seder, my son said he was enlightened to several concepts. This is powerful because he has been celebrating Passover since his birth so whatever jumps out at him is something that should be discussed.

“When the time came, Yeshua and the emissaries reclined at the table, and he said to them, “I have really wanted so much to celebrate this Seder with you before I die!  For I tell you, it is certain that I will not celebrate it again until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:14-16).

After reading the above verse, he commented that he had never seen that Yeshua would not celebrate the Seder again until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God. The Amplified Version says “I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Both versions are clear that Yeshua will be celebrating the Passover Seder again. This fascinated my son especially because he realized that the fullness of the feast will only be realized in the Kingdom.

I am sharing this because after our Seder, I was doing a little studying in Matthew 22 about the wedding feast and the phrase, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” With the context around this verse, it cannot be the correct translation. The verse should read, “Many are called, but few choose.” The Complete Jewish Bible even uses the word, ‘invited’ to convey the idea that many are ‘invited’ to the wedding feast, but ‘few choose to come.’

This Passover was unique because it was held in the midst of a ‘plague.’ At the first Passover, the Israelites took refuge from the tenth plague in their homes under the ‘blood of the lamb’ while the LORD ‘passed over’ them and took the lives of the firstborn of Egypt. Yeshua used the memorial of Passover to explain his impending death as the firstborn of Elohim, but with the words from Luke, he was also giving his disciples prophetic vision. He would celebrate the Passover again in the Kingdom to come, the coming Kingdom, His Kingdom.

This year for me had a unique twist as well. After reading the weekly portion in Jeremiah, my spiritual eyes suddenly began to see the separating of the sheep and the goats – those who follow the Shepherd of Isra’el and those who continue onward with the doctrines of men rooted in other gods and goddesses and false religions.

Those who follow the Shepherd of Isra’el, do what he did. They keep the feast of Passover as Sha’ul instructed the believers in Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:6-9). These sheep understand that Passover not only has the earthly vision of being removed from Egypt and delivered from death to life, but that there is more to come. There is a Kingdom with a King and a Wedding Feast, the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

The goats do something else. The goats are something else.

Passover in our day is just a mikrah or rehearsal dinner. Many are called, but few choose to rehearse. When the wedding feast comes, they may be the guest who is wearing the wrong clothes and be “bound hand and foot, and thrown outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth ….”

Yeshua didn’t fulfill Passover to end it, he fulfilled it so he could bring it to its fullness in the coming Kingdom. Until that days comes, Passover is to be remembered and celebrated even by those who have the ‘blood of the Lamb’ on their hearts. It is the evidence that it is there and they follow the Shepherd.

The Israelites left Egypt after their Husband redeemed them. Then they fell away from honoring and obeying Him and they lost their marriage covenant. They began worshipping other gods until Jeremiah had to be told by Elohim Himself to stop praying for them because He wouldn’t listen to the prayers. Many today – many – leave their Bridegroom after he redeems them and lose their marriage covenant. They do not prepare for his return. They do their own version of holy days instead of that which is instructed even in the new testament.

My son’s observation was timely. Only a few months ago he was talking to me about the Kingdom and that he had never heard much about that before. He must have been daydreaming during our daily Bible studies while he was growing up, but ‘for such a time as this,’ his eyes saw the vision of the Kingdom in Yeshua’s words at this Passover seder.

There is a coming Kingdom. The Bridegroom is returning for his prepared Bride. There is a Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Some will be there; some will be thrown out. Still, there is a rehearsal dinner every Passover for those wanting to be part of the Bride as a reminder to ‘make herself ready’ for her Bridegroom is returning soon. There is time, but this year it seems closer than ever.

© 2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Passover and Yeshua

“When the time came, Yeshua and the emissaries reclined at the table, and he said to them, “I have really wanted so much to celebrate this Seder with you before I die!” (Luke 22:14-15).

In the recent years, I have begun to hear believers in Yeshua say that he didn’t actually celebrate the Passover with his disciples. After all, how could he be the sacrifice and celebrate the ‘appointed time’ with a sacrifice? There are big-name ministries suggesting that he celebrated at another time and even creating whole feasts because of this idea which ultimately makes null and void Yeshua becoming the ‘sacrificial lamb’ at Passover. The confusion lies in the many traditions that have developed over the centuries regarding Passover coupled with a lot of ignorance and even some arrogance from the nations who have joined Isra’el by separating themselves from the Jewish people, the natural branches.

Did Yeshua really celebrate Passover with his disciples? I tend to take the Scriptures more literally and when Yeshua says that he really wanted to celebrate this particular Passover with his disciples, it was what he meant and did. He was not wishful thinking (another argument I have heard). As indicated by Sha’ul, Yeshua actually celebrated the Passover, was betrayed and then died.

“For what I received from the Lord is just what I passed on to you — that the Lord Yeshua, on the night he was betrayed, took bread; and after he had made the b’rakhah [blessing] he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this as a memorial to me”;  likewise also the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant effected by my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, as a memorial to me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).

In the beginning, God created days from evening to evening. This means that a ‘day’ actually began at sunset. This year, 2020, Passover is April 8 and sunset begins at 7:03 p.m. in Jerusalem (for those who need specifics). That’s when the ‘day’ begins and at the next sunset 7:04 p.m. that ‘day’ will end.

In the days of the Temple during that 24-hour time period, there were two sacrifices – the morning sacrifice and the evening. The evening sacrifice was actually done at 3 p.m. before the next day began. So, with this little bit of knowledge, let’s look at the Passover, the original one in Exodus.

Egypt

When Moshe told the Israelites to take a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts, it would have had to be before sunset on the 14th day of the month. Why? Because by sunset beginning the 14th day of the month, the families should have been their homes with the blood on the doorposts, eating the lamb, the unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. They would have remained in their homes until morning after God delivered the last plague upon Egypt – the death of the firstborn.

Sometime during the daytime of the 14th, Pharaoh told Moshe to leave, to take the Hebrews/mixed multitude and get them out of his country. They loaded up their belongings, took plunder from the Egyptians and left the land of their slavery. By the evening, they were heading toward freedom and the Land of Promise. The memorial to this specific event is the 15th day of the month (Exodus 12). Hence days of Matzah when their bread didn’t rise.

Jerusalem

Fast forward to the Passover of Yeshua. In Luke 22:8, he told his disciples to go prepare for the Passover. Everyone who celebrates the Biblical holy days knows the daytime before the sunset arrives is known as a ‘preparation day.’ So on or around 3 p.m. on the 13th day of the month, there was a sacrifice of a lamb for the seder meal, the sacrifice of preparation.

After sunset, beginning the 14th day of the month, Yeshua reclined at the table with his disciples. He shared one cup of wine with them and they shared it with each other. He explained the sacrifice required to institute the promised new covenant with a second cup of wine and unleavened bread. During the evening meal, Judas leaves. Yeshua and his disciples spend the evening on the Mount of Olives. They sleep. He prays. Judas returns with soldiers who take him to the Sanhedrin to be tried as a criminal, blasphemer.

During the early morning hours, the leaders of Isra’el take Yeshua to Pilate who washes his hands of the ordeal and sends them to Herod. Herod sends him back to Pilate who offers Barabbas to be killed, but the people cry out for Yeshua’s death. By noon, he is taken to Golgotha and hung on the cross. He dies, as the Passover lamb of God, at the evening sacrifice on the 14th day of the month, 3 p.m. Voilá. He can celebrate the Passover and be the sacrificial Lamb.

Because it is ‘preparation day’ for the sabbath of Unleavened Bread, he is removed from the cross and buried quickly. As a memorial to the days of Matzah, our sinless Savior is set free from this life to become in three days’ time the Firstfruits of those who are raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20). The mention of Sabbath in Luke 22 regarding Unleavened Bread cannot be the weekly Sabbath. If it had been, Yeshua would not have been in the tomb three days and three nights and would have effectively nullified his own prophecy using Jonah in the belly of the whale. The sabbath mentioned is the ‘sabbath’ of the beginning of Unleavened Bread as the Feasts of the LORD were called ‘sabbaths’.

In order for Yeshua to fulfill the ‘appointed times’ of his Father, he had to celebrate/become them as they are written in the Scriptures. Though there are many variations today, like Matzah and Passover being one unified celebration, how it happened in the time of Moshe must concur with the memorials described in the Scriptures for Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection.

“Go into the city, to so-and-so,” he replied, “and tell him that the Rabbi says, ‘My time is near, my talmidim and I are celebrating Pesach at your house” (Matthew 26:18).

The word ‘time’ in this verse is the Greek kairos and means ‘opportunity,’ ‘fitting time,’ or ‘season.’ The NIV translates the the word as ‘appointed time,’ following the idea of ‘season’ or moed pointing to the Feasts of the LORD. The Amplified Bible states clearly that Yeshua is to keep the ‘appointed time’ of Passover with his disciples.

“He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time [to suffer and atone for sin] is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples” (Matthew 26:18 AMP).

In These Days

With so many non-Jews entering the Commonwealth of Isra’el, it is important to know and understand the Scriptural foundation for the Feasts of the LORD and Yeshua’s centrality to them all. It is also important to know and understand the Jewish traditions that have developed over the centuries and discard them if they nullify a commandment (Mark 17, Isaiah 29:13). However, it is also important that when non-Jews begin to discern the difference between helpful traditions or nullifying traditions that we do not create new traditions or doctrines that effectively nullify the very commandments we are trying to obey.

For example, without a Temple there can be no sacrificial lamb. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat lamb at Passover, but it does mean you should not sacrifice a lamb for Passover. There is only one place for sacrifice and that is the Temple in Jerusalem. Until there is a Temple in Jerusalem, no sacrificing lambs or goats or anything else. Another example, when the Hebrews ate their Passover meal, they were told to have their staffs in hand and sandals on their feet in order to leave quickly. By the time of Yeshua, the children of Isra’el reclined at their tables because they were no longer enslaved. To wear sandals and hold a staff is a wonderful teaching tool, but if we have been set free from sin and death through the blood of the Lamb, we should relax and enjoy the seder, even reclining if you are so inclined.

Finally, may we never forget that Isra’el was called to be a light to the nations and from them came the Light of the World. It is possible to embrace the traditions of the Jewish people (without breaking any commandments) and learn more about the God of Isra’el and His Son, Yeshua of Nazareth by celebrating the Passover with a seder. As non-Jews, we are called to make them envious of the Light of the World, and we cannot do that if we are implementing all manner of nonsense into the ‘appointed times’ as they were given by Elohim.

“Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed.  So let us celebrate the Seder not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts

Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts is a personal or group in-depth study that reveals the shadows and realities of the Messiah in the prophetic visions in the Feasts of the LORD. It will fill in the holes of your Bible when reading the words ‘Jewish feast’ or ‘the feast of the Jews.’  This study will illuminate often-overlooked phrases and idioms that allude to the ‘appointed times’ of God.

Both the prophet Micah and King Solomon state that without prophetic vision and knowledge, God’s people perish. Studying the Biblical holy days will revive the searching soul and bring insight and understanding into the complete salvation found in Yeshua – his past, present and future work.

This study includes Scriptures from the Torah, Prophets, Psalmes, Gospels and Letters. It includes activities for families and children that will enhance celebrating the Biblical ‘appointed times’ as well as sgugestions for digging deeper into traditional and Biblical Jewish customs surrounding Yeshua In His Father’s Feasts.

May be purchased on amazon.com

Reviews:

“This is the best Bible study I have ever done. I can’t seem to put it down and I am learning more and more about my faith everyday. I have been a believer for 60 years and I am learning truths I was never taught in church. I even asked my pastor if he knew all of this and admitted, he did not.” (M. Graves)

“I have been growing in my faith from reading and studying the Feasts in this guide. Thank you for your faithfulness to Yeshua!” (S. Corben)

“Few Christians understand that the context for the Jewish Messiah of the New Testament of their Bibles is the culture and language and history of the nation of Israel. This book helps explain why that culture, language and history is necessary knowledge for understanding the identity of the Messiah and how knowing the Jewish Messiah enlarges the understanding of the Biblical feasts. Good, basic foundational information from which to launch further study. Very enjoyable and eye-opening.” (W. Lopez)

“Loved it. Will keep going back for future Wisdom that truly matters.” (J. Banta)

Passover or Communion?

During one of our family Shabbat studies, my daughter asked, “Why do some churches drink wine first and then give you bread while others offer the bread first and then drink the wine?” What a powerful question from an eight-year-old child.  We wanted to answer her question honestly so we read Luke 22 and the account of Yeshua and ‘communion.’  

“Then, taking a cup of wine, he [Yeshua] made the blessing and said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on, I will not drink the ‘fruit of the vine’ until the Kingdom of God comes.’ Also, taking a piece of matzah [unleavened bread], he made the blessing, broke it, gave it to them and said, ‘This is my body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of me.’  He did the same with the cup after the meal, saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by my blood, which is being poured out for you’ (Luke 22:17-20 CJB).

After reading Luke’s account of Yeshua’s last supper, we saw there were two cups of wine, one before eating the bread and one after. Backing up to read the verses from Luke in context,

“Then came the day of matzah [unleavened bread], on which the Passover lamb had to be killed. Yeshua sent Peter and John, instructing them, “Go and prepare our Seder, so we can eat.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” He told them, “As you’re going into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters, and say to its owner, ‘The Rabbi says to you, “Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Pesach [Passover] meal with my disciples?” ‘He will show you a large room upstairs already furnished; make the preparations there.”  They went and found things just as Yeshua had told them they would be, and they prepared for the Seder.  When the time came, Yeshua and the emissaries reclined at the table, and he said to them, “I have really wanted so much to celebrate this Seder with you before I die! For I tell you, it is certain that I will not celebrate it again until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:7-16). 

By putting the two cups of wine and bread in context, we noticed more details. Yeshua was celebrating a Passover with all of its traditional preparations.  It was a unique Passover and Yeshua desired to celebrate it with his disciples because he would not celebrate the feast again until wt was fulfilled in the Kingdom.  Understood in its context, Yeshua wasn’t instituting ‘communion;’ he was officiating a traditional Jewish seder. 

The Hebrew word seder means ‘order.’   In a Passover seder there is an order to telling the account of the Exodus from Egypt.  It includes remembering the plagues, the blood of the lamb, and the death of the firstborn.  While celebrating this memorial to God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt’s darkness into His Light, Yeshua instituted the new covenant.   Since our family had already been celebrating the Passover for several years, we understood the significance of the two cups of wine and the unleavened bread.  

The first cup of wine was shared among the disciples which unified them and set them apart as Yeshua’s beloved Bride.  This is known as sanctification and the first cup of wine in a Passover seder is called the Cup of Sanctification. 

Along with some unleavened bread or matzah, a second cup of wine is consumed after the meal.  This is known as the Cup of Justification.  It is through the broken body (the unleavened bread of affliction) and the blood of Yeshua that we are justified and redeemed back to God.  This is the ‘cup and bread’ used in communion.

From my daughter’s initial question came other questions: Why doesn’t communion include two cups of wine when it’s recorded that Yeshua used two cups of wine? Where did the idea of communion come from when Yeshua was specifically celebrating a Passover seder and we are told to do the same by Sha’ul:

“Get rid of the old hametz [soured dough], so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the [Passover] Seder not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

Origins of Communion or the Lord’s Supper

“Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is … a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1418). 

The Blessed Sacrament is a devotional term used in the Roman catholic church that refers to communion.  It is further delineated as eucharist  which specifically means the bread and wine transubstantiates into the body and blood of Christ.  The key term here is ‘transubstantiates’ which means that the bread and wine actually turn into the substance of the body and blood of Christ and only the appearance of bread and wine remain. 

According to the catholic church, the eucharist or communion is not a memorial to the work of Christ on the cross, but a repeat of his sacrifice each time the eucharist is taken. First Corinthians 10:16 is often used as the proof verse:

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Messiah? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Messiah?” (1 Corinthians 10:16).

However, this verse only describes what the wine and bread represent symbolically – a connection or relationship with fellow believers and with Messiah.  It is not meant to be given some specific title like blessed sacrament or communion. A more accurate rendering of the verse would be:

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not the fellowship of the blood of Messiah? The bread that we break, is it not the fellowship of the body of Messiah?”

‘communion’ is koinonia which means “fellowship.”   There is no Scriptural basis for the terms ‘The Lord’s Supper’ or ‘Communion’ when describing Yeshua’s last evening with his disciples.  When believers eat unleavened bread and drink wine remembering Yeshua’s sacrificial atonement, the correct Scriptural description is called Passover.  After all, it was the blood of the lamb that allowed the firstborn of Israel to live! The Scriptures also make it clear that Yeshua’s sacrifice was once and for all time;  it is not a repetitive act. 

“For Messiah also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God” (Romans 6:10).

The Proclamation

“For what I received from the Lord is just what I passed on to you — that the Lord Yeshua, on the night he was betrayed, took bread; and after he had made the blessing he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this as a memorial to me”; likewise also the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant effected by my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, as a memorial to me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes.Therefore, whoever eats the Lord’s bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of desecrating the body and blood of the Lord!” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Sha’ul states in 1 Corinthians 11 that every time we celebrate by drinking wine and eating unleavened bread, we are not only proclaiming Yeshua’s death until he returns, but we are participating in a Passover memorial.   Never once in my years of growing up in the Lutheran church did I understand or know that part of my communion experience.  Not once.  This is because ALL communion sacraments have catholic roots and are always about sacrifice and death, not hope in the resurrection or proclaiming Messiah until he returns.  

The Memorial Goes Deeper

Sha’ul also says that all who drink the cup in an unworthy manner desecrate the body and blood of the Lord.  Could it be the eucharist is really “trampling underfoot the blood of Messiah and insulting the grace of God” and holds  great punishment? (Hebrews 10:29).

So let a person examine himself first, and then he may eat of the bread and drink from the cup; for a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body [of Messiah] eats and drinks judgment upon himself. This is why many among you are weak and sick, and some have died! If we would examine ourselves, we would not come under judgment” (1 Corinthians 11:27-31).

As a Jew, Sha’ul understood the significance of the Cup of Sanctification.   If we do not examine ourselves and recognize the body of Messiah – both as Yeshua as well as his body of believers – we bring judgment upon ourselves.  How we treat our brothers and sisters in the Kingdom, the Body of Messiah,  has a direct result on how weak and sick we become; how we may even die an early death!  This is a judgment because we don’t examine our motives or our actions within the community of believers.   

As those who have experienced the institutional communion, there is only one cup ever consumed and that is the Cup of Justification, not the Cup of Sanctification.  The concept of becoming sanctified, holy, and set apart for God through introspection and alignment with the commandments of God has become lost in a tradition of the catholic church and is embraced by every Christian denomination.  They drink the cup and eat the bread to be justified,  but they do not drink to be sanctified.

Choose This Day

Yeshua and his disciples

Yeshua never meant for the two cups of wine and unleavened bread of Passover to be relegated into a few minutes of eating a wafer and a sip of wine on a daily,  weekly or bi-weekly basis in a church setting.  In fact, Sha’ul’s admonition to the Corinthians seems as if they had already begun to dismantle Passover into a communion food fest at their weekly gatherings.  This was not the intended purpose of the events in Luke 22. They were to ‘keep the Passover’ as Yeshua did with two cups of wine. They were to ‘keep the Passover’ with the unleavened bread of truth while proclaiming the Lord’s death until he returned.  They were to ‘keep the Passover’ with the matzah of purity in the unity of faith and honoring one another as co-heirs of the Kingdom in Messiah.

Communion, one of the church’s deeply-held dogmas is not found in the Scriptures.  Neither Yeshua, his disciples, Sha’ul or even the early Messianic congregations celebrated a communion service.  Communion is rooted in the catholic eucharist created by Rome centuries ago and embraced for centuries by the institution of the church.

To answer my daughter’s question: Because the church celebrates a communion service, the bread and wine have no ‘seder’ or order. It has nothing to do with the Passover that Yeshua celebrated with his disciples on the night he instituted the new covenant setting apart his disciples as his Bride with the Cup of Sanctification and paying the ultimate Bride price with his body and blood, the Cup of Justification.

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  

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