Christmas in May

Jeremiah 10:2–5, 

A Christmas Tree?

Is this passage a denunciation of the Christmas tree? Some say yes, and others so no. Let’s briefly discuss this issue.

The use of trees or wooden poles as an object of worship in the ancient world was universal as a fertility/phallic symbol. The Bible strongly condemns involvement with this pagan custom. Obviously the tree of Jer 10 is not a Christmas tree, since Christmas as we know it didn’t enter into Christianity until about the late fifth century AD. However, the pagan implications of the Christmas tree are clear as evidenced by history, which is why it was outlawed by the Puritans and many other religious groups in America. It was not until the 1850s with many Germans migrating to America with their Christmas tree tradition that Christmas became popularized again in this country.

The scriptures advise us to abstain from all appearances of evil. At the very least, because of its pagan connotation, a Christmas tree is an appearance of evil. Furthermore, where in the Bible do we find any examples of YHVH’s people reclaiming a pagan tradition, sanitizing it, and them practicing it? This occurred only when Israel was in a state of apostasy or was attempting to syncretize the religion of the Bible with the pagan practices of the surrounding nations.

True, many things in our daily lives have been tainted by paganism. If we were to toss out everything that fits that category, we probably wouldn’t be able to say anything, wear anything, eat anything, or do anything! What we are to throw out are those things that the Bible forbids, anything that is indigenously pagan, or anything that leads us away from YHVH and his Word.

Often our view of the Scriptures is filtered through our emotions. We all struggle with this spiritual disease. When we’re extremely partial to a belief or an idea, we have a hard time conforming our lives to those Scriptures that disagree with us. Thus, we have a spiritual blind spot. For many, Christmas has become a spiritual blind spot because it is so ingrained in our families and the culture. It is perhaps the hardest thing for people to let go of because of family and emotional ties. Each of us has to make the choice: do we love the praises of family or the praises of Elohim more (John 12:43)?

Some might accuse those who see Jeremiah 10 as a denunciation of the Christmas tree of prooftexting. By definition, a prooftext is a biblical passage used to support a theological argument or position. It can’t be denied that Jeremiah 10 is the perfect description of what has come to be known as a Christmas tree. This is not prooftexting, this is fact. The Word of Elohim says don’t do it. This is fact. I didn’t make it up, I just read it and believe it. Furthermore, to view Jeremiah 10 as a stand alone scripture or prooftext is incorrect. When Jeremiah 10 is placed against the larger context of the heathen practices of the Gentile cultures around ancient Israel, and against the Bible’s repeated prohibitions against (a) Israel’s adopting pagan religious practices of any kind, and (b) more specifically, not bringing into Israel the worship of the pagan fertility symbols of which the tree was a central object, YHVH’s prohibition against the Jeremiah 10 tree was much wider and broader implications. Basically, YHVH says “don’t do it,” and for me that settles it. YHVH wants a people for his own who will unquestioningly obey his word; who are of a contrite heart and tremble before (i.e., obey) his word (Isa 66:2). 

Elohim has given us seven biblical feasts that we can do that will bring glory and honor to him. Let’s practice and rejoice in what he has given us.

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Who will rise up against the evils in the church system?

Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? (Psalm 94:16)

Jeremiah 7:4, The temple of YHVH. Trusting in man-made religion is pointless. Religious icons, systems and rituals will not save a person or nation from YHVH’s judgment against sin and apostasy. The Jews found out the hard ways that just because YHVH’s temple was located in their land, this was not a guaranteed get-of-jail-free card or a fire insurance policy that would magically save them from the results of their sinful disobedience and rebellion to YHVH and his commandments. Similarly, simply going to church, attending mass or synagogue, praying the rosary or shema, or adorning one’s house with Christmas lights and a Christmas tree or any other religious exercise will not save a person if they fail to repent of their sinful ways and turn back to serving YHVH with their whole heart!

Jeremiah 7:16, Do not pray. (Also see Jer 11:14 and 14:11.) There comes a time when YHVH’s people have become so apostate and reprobate that in their condition of lostness it is pointless to pray for them, and so YHVH will not hear any intercessory prayers offered up on their behalf. At this point, the only things that will capture the attention of such a people is severe divine judgment.

Jeremiah 7:22, For I did not speak. YHVH added the sacrificial system because of Israel refused to hear and obey YHVH (verse 23). It was YHVH’s original intent that Israel simply obey YHVH from a willing heart without a rigorous sacrificial system. It was a temporary system to teach Israel that sin doesn’t pay, to train his people to obey him, and to point the way to Yeshua, who would be that our great sin sacrifice once and for all. 

Jeremiah 7:31–32, Burn their sons…in the fire. Child sacrifice as part of their cultic rituals was how the ancients disposed of unwanted children even as abortion serves the same wicked and grisly purpose in our day. These children were offered on the altars of Tophet while priests beat drums to drown out the shrieks of the children being burned alive (The ArtScroll Chumash, p. 1167). Jeremiah prophesied that those Jews who practiced this holocaust would become victims themselves with their very own carcasses becoming food for the scavenger birds. (This sad prophecy has been fulfilled numerous times in the long history of the Jewish people including most recently during the holocaust of WW II.) 

It has been said that the abortion rate is the same in the American Christian church as that of non-Christians. How concerned are you about the slaughter of the innocent in America, and what are you doing about it?

 

Jeremiah” Most Religious Practices Are an Abomination to YHVH

Jeremiah 7–9

Jeremiah 7:21–8:3, 9:22 (23)–23 (24), “The Sacrifice of the Wicked Is an Abomination” to YHVH (Prov 15:8).

This message of Jeremiah reveals that the purpose of sacrifice and of all outward acts of worship should be to deepen the inward sense of religion and to stimulate one to a holy or set-apart life. Jeremiah, speaking for YHVH, decries the uselessness of religious activity when accompanied with unholiness and unrighteousness. Furthermore, he denounces the mere mechanical performance of acts of worship; of the superstition that the temple ritual could be a guarantee of security from the judgments of Elohim, while the Israelites were divorced from obedience to YHVH’s Torah. Only whole-hearted repentance could avert a national disaster brought on by YHVH’s judgments (Soncino Pentateuch, p. 439).

What is the true meaning of religion and what was the true purpose of the temple in Israel? Its purpose was to transform people into living temples that would be set-apart or holy unto YHVH Elohim. If they acted one way while in the temple and another way while outside the temple, then the temple activities had only become a mockery of YHVH, a farce and a repugnance to the very one they had supposedly come to worship. Humans may kid themselves by their religiosity, but they cannot deceive the Holy One of Israel who sees all and who reads their hearts and minds. He is not moved by mere outward show of religious piety. What are your true heart motives for pursuing the religion of the Bible? If it is for any reason other than out of a deep, abiding love for Yeshua, for a desire to draw close to the Father in a personal one-on-one way, to walk in righteousness as an act of faith and worship toward him, then your motives need to be reevaluated and readjusted.

Let us define some important words that sadly all too often relate to religious folk. These words are:

  • Pretense, which is “a claim made or implied, but not supported by fact; ostentation.”
  • Ostentation, which is “anexcessive display; pretentiousness.”
  • Hypocrisy, which is “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.”

What does the Word of Elohim have to say about hypocrisy? Please review the following biblical passages:

  • Job 13:16; 15:31,33,34; 20:4,5; 27:8–10
  • Psalm 78:34–37
  • Proverbs 15:7; 21:27
  • Isaiah 1:13,15; 29:13–16; 48:1–2; 66:3–5
  • Jeremiah 3:10; 7:4, 8–10
  • Hosea 10:1,4
  • Matthew 6:1,2,5,16,24; 7:5,15,21–23; 15:7–9, chapter 23
  • Luke 11:39,42,44,52
  • Romans 16:18
  • Galatians 6:3
  • Titus 1:16
  • James 1:8,22–24,26; 2:14–26; 3:17
  • 2 Peter 2:1–3,17,19
  • 1 John 2:4,9,19; 4:20
  • Revelation 3:15–18

Now let’s review some statistics relevant to the state of the American Christian church from George Barna’s book, The Index of Leading Spiritual Indicators—A Statistical Report on the State of Religion in America. This book was first published in 1996, yet how much has the American church changed for the better since then? Here are some startling statistics:

  • 85% of Americans claim to be Christian
  • 10% of Americans are “Bible Christians”: that is, they fully accept biblical authority, total trust in Christ for salvation, are evangelistic and are active in a church, and believe in moral absolutes.
  • 25% of Americans are “Conventional Christians”: they claim total trust in Christ for salvation, are involved in a church, they exercise a privatized faith, believe in moral relativism and appreciate the Bible.
  • 28% of Americans are “Cultural Christians”: they have a universalistic world-view, their religion is works based (i.e., they believe that good people will go to heaven), they are moral relativistic, nominal church involvement and are Christian in name only.
  • Of those who claim to be Christian, only 40 percent believe in a literal Satan; 63 percent believe in the accuracy of the Bible; only 30 percent read their Bible in a week; only 57 percent agree that good people will go to heaven; only 31 percent believe in a fiery place of torment after death; 37 percent believe hell is only symbolic; only 9 percent knew what the “Great Commission” was; 63 percent had no idea what “John 3:16” referred to; and only 35 percent could accurately define the meaning of the word gospel.

YHVH sent the prophet Jeremiah to warn the nation of Israel of impending doom if it failed to repent of its disobedience to him. He then cites many examples of various sins that had become odious in YHVH’s nostrils. In their smugness, the Jews felt secure because they possessed the temple in Jerusalem. Surely YHVH would not allow the Jews to be destroyed for the sake of his spiritual house. Yet Jeremiah warned that this security was a false one and to prove his point he calls to their attention the example of the Northern Kingdom or house of Israel, which had already been taken captive a couple of generations earlier. What parallels do we see in the Christian church that are similar to those of the Southern Kingdom or house of Judah of Jeremiah’s day? How many Americans take comfort (and pride) in the notion that America is a “Christian nation” and that certainly YHVH would allow nothing disastrous to happen here? Some take comfort in America’s military and economic might. Others feel that a pre-tribulation rapture will carry them “out of here” when the going gets tough. Is it possible that some might be in for a rude awakening one of these days when things don’t go as planned? We know from history that the temple in Jerusalem—as if it were some lucky talisman—did not protect the Jews who. The stark reality of this came to rest on the Jewish people as they watched their beloved temple go up in flames, even as their conquerors were dragging them off in chains to be slaves in a foreign nation. Could the unexpected happen to America, or any other country? Is YHVH any more duty-bound to protect us than he was the Jews of that day?

 

YHVH to Redeem the Israelite Captives From Spiritual Blindness (Torahlessness)

Isaiah 42:5–43:10 

What is the Haftorah (Haftorot, plural)? It is that portion of the writings of the biblical prophets that in Jewish synagogues is traditionally read after the reading of the weekly Torah portion (Parashah). The subject of the Haftorah portion usually directly relates to the subject of the corresponding Torah portion, “and usually contains an explicit reference to some event described in the section previously read from the Torah” (Jewish Encyclopedia, article entitled Haftorah, p. 135). No one knows when the custom of reading a portion of the writings of the Prophets on the Sabbath along with the weekly Torah portion originated, but it seems to be of pre-Christian era derivation (Ibid.p. 136). Jewish tradition traces the origination of coupling the Torah with the Prophets back to the intertestamental period of Antiochus IV Ephiphanes (168–165 B.C.) who forbade the Jewish people from reading the Torah thus forcing them to read a corresponding section from the prophets instead that would remind them of that particular Torah portion (Ibid.). Whatever the case, the studying of the Haftorah portions teaches Bible students the divinely inspired co-relationship between the YHVH’s Torah and the rest of his Word, and encourages us to study the whole counsel of that Word for our spiritual edification.


Let’s determine the context of the Isaiah passage under consideration. Although this Haftorah portion commences in verse five, we cannot fully understand it without considering the fuller context of the preceding passages in Isaiah. For example, to whom is Isaiah 42:1–4 referring? (See Matt 12:17–21.) Please note that Matthew says that Yeshua is quoting Isaiah (verse 17), yet verse 21 (“And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”) is not found in the Masoretic text of Isaiah 42:1–4 from which our English Bibles are translated, although the Greek Septuagint (LXX) contains this phrase in its Isaiah 42 passage. Can we explain why the LXX contains this phrase, yet the Masoretic text does not? Perhaps the Masoretic Text, which was accepted by Rabbinic Judaism in the first millennia of the common era as the official Hebrew text from which translations of the Hebrew Scriptures would be made, purposely omitted it in order to diminish the Christian notion that Yeshua was the Suffering Servant on whose name the people of the nations would place faith in order to be redeemed. (In our studies, we have discovered other instances where the rabbis have tampered with the original Hebrew to slant meanings in their favor and away from any concept of Yeshua being the Messiah.) After all, elsewhere in Isaiah we find similar statements (Read Isa 50:10; 51:5 cp. Zeph 3:12). Therefore, Matthew is indeed correct when he states that Yeshua was quoting from Isaiah. Another possibility is that the LXX translation is inaccurate having been glossed (biased) by Christian translators. A third possibility comes into view when one realizes that the Masoretic Text was but one of several text families of Hebrew “Old Testaments” in circulation at the time of Yeshua. There existed the Targumim (the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) along with the Hebrew text from which the Dead Sea scrolls “Old Testament” derives, along with competing Hebrew “Old Testaments” from other scribal families besides the Masoretes. The Hebrew in many of these will vary slightly. Whatever the case, the Word of YHVH is not broken in Matthew 12:21, for indeed there are other passages in Isaiah which clearly point to Yeshua (e.g. Isa 50:10) being a light to the nations and redeeming them if they will but put their trust in his name.

Having established that our Haftorah passage is definitely a reference to Yeshua the Messiah, let us ask the next question. Who is the target group to which Isaiah is prophetically referring as being the recipient of Messiah’s spiritual “light” (verses 6–7)? Who is Isaiah addressing in his prophecy? In verses 16–20 YHVH refers, to his blind and deaf servants who have turned to idolatry and turned their backs on YHVH, but who will turn back to YHVH (verse 17). He says of this people-group that there are many things that they have not “observed” (the Hebrew word for observe is shamar, Strong’s H8104, meaning“kept, guarded or heeded”), and then in the next verse he begins to talk about his Torah. Would this passage in Isaiah make sense if it were referring to Gentiles who had never in their past known the Elohim of Israel or his Torah-laws? (Read verse 24.) Now who is the target group identified in 43:1? Is he talking to the Gentiles or to the descendants of Jacob who have lost their way spiritually and become mixed with the Gentiles (Hos 7:8; 8:8)? What does YHVH promise to do with his wayward children who have become lost and scattered among the Gentiles? (Read Isa 43:5–10.) How would he redeem them? This is a major issue with which Isaiah deals. (Read Isa 49:1–7; 50:1; 52:13–15; 53:1–12.) In all of these passages, who is the people-group to whom the prophet is continually urging them to return to YHVH offering them a message of redemption and hope? (See Isa 44:1, 2, 5, 21; 45:4, 19; 46:3, 13; 48:1, 12; 49:3, 5, 6, 7, 26; 51:1, 4, 17; 52:2; 54:5; 56:8.)

Now that we know what the subject of this Haftorah portion is and who the target group is, what can we learn from this passage?

Isaiah 42:5, Who created. What are the similarities between this passage and the Genesis chapter one creation account (especially verses 1–6). Both accounts speak of light. In Genesis chapter one, we understand that the light alluded to here is both physical and spiritual in nature. Isaiah speaks of this light in a prophetic and spiritual context. If 42:1–6 are referring to Yeshua, then how is he “light to the Gentiles” and what is that light? (See John 1:1–14; 8:12 and 9:5.)

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Surprise, surprise! Both Rabbinic Judaism and mainstream Christianity are secular humanistic religions

Isaiah 28:7, The priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink … wine … they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.Here the prophet is addressing Judah. In Scripture, when wine causes spiritual degradation what is the cause of this? (Read Revelation 14:8; 17:2; 18:3.) Wine is the stuff of spiritual harlotry. What does YHVH plead with his people to do in this regard? (Read Rev 18:4.)

Through the lips of his prophets, YHVH not only bring words of rebuke and judgment to his people, but also words of encouragement. Isaiah speaks of a time when not only will YHVH discipline his people for their idolatrous ways, but he will bring them back from exile and restore them as a people to worship him (instead of pagan deities) in their own land. In this regard, study the following passages: Isaiah 27:12–13; 28:5–6; 29:22–23. Have these prophecies yet been fulfilled with regard to both houses of Israel (Ephraim and Judah)?

What are some examples of humanist or pagan influences that persist in the modern Christian church (Ephraim) and in Rabbinic Judaism (Judah), which could lead to YHVH’s judgment? Here are a few examples to ponder:

Rabbinic Judaism and Secular Humanism

Rabbinic Judaism went humanist at Yavneh after the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 when rabbinical authority replaced the Levitical authority. It was there, under the influences of such rabbis as Akiba, that Judaism rejected divine authority and established the rabbinical system. Some say this was necessary to insure the survival of Judaism in the wake of the destruction of the Temple and removal of Jews from Jerusalem and environs by the Romans after A.D. 135. But this reason does not explain why or how so many Jewish traditions supplanted the truth of the Bible before this time. Yeshua makes reference to this in Matthew 15:1–9. Rabbinic authority often supplanted the Word of Elohim. “The Jewish Encyclopedia” defines ‘Rabbinical Authority’ as ‘The power or right of deciding the Law, in dubious cases, or of interpreting, modifying, or amplifying, and occasionally of abrogating it, as vested in the Rabbis as its teachers and expounders’” (Rabbi Akiba’s Messiah, Daniel Gruber, p. 82, emphasis added). Some examples of this are as follow:

  • The concept of the “Oral Torah/Law” came into being sometime in the second-century A.D. as being on a par with or greater than the Written Torah (Gruber, pp. 60, 76–77). This led to the traditions of the elders, which were eventually codified in the Mishnah and Talmud.
  • YHVH is subject to rabbinic halachic (legal) rulings (ibid., pp. 76–77).
  • There are many rabbinic decrees and rulings that supplant biblical law. This was especially the case after the destruction of the Temple when the Jewish religious leaders practically reinvented their religion (ibid., p. 78). Examples of this are:
  • Alternative means of atonement (the shedding of blood is no longer necessary; atonement is achieved through prayer [tefilim], charitable deeds [mitzvot] and charitable giving [tzedakah]) along with other activities such as study of the Torah, being circumcised and giving to the Jewish “rabbis” (ibid.).
  • In Matthew 23 (along with Matt 15:3–9 and Mark 7:7–13), Yeshua rebukes the Jewish leaders of his day for replacing YHVH’s Torah with man-made traditions.
  • The Jewish leaders or sages are allowed to make pronouncements from Moses’ Seat or by beit din (rabbinic) ruling (called takanot and ma’asim) that totally annulled the Torah (Gruber, pp. 80–81; The Hebrew Yeshua Versus the Greek Jesus, Nehemiah Gordon, pp. 47–53). Later these rulings were codified into the Talmud (Gordon, p. 52).
  • The sages have the right to change and control the calendar. The modern rabbinic or traditional Hebrew calendar dates to A.D. 360. For example, many times, according to the rabbinic calendar Rosh Chodesh (the new moon) does not fall on the actual day the new moon is sighted, and Yom Teruah (the Day of the Shofar Blowing ), which Torah states must fall on the first day of the seventh month (i.e. the rosh chodesh of that month), does not actually occur on rosh chodesh.
  • One month on the Jewish calendar is named after a pagan deity (Tammuz) when the Torah specifically states that Israelites are not to take the name of pagan deities on their lips.
  • Rabbinic law allows a divorced and remarried woman to remarry her first husband, something Torah forbids (Gruber, p. 81).
  • The Jewish sages instituted the laws of postponement, which says that YHVH’s feasts cannot fall on certain days, and therefore have to be postponed.
  • The sages teach that baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), a leavening agent, is permissible to eat during the Days of Unleavened Bread when Torah demands that we abstain from all bread containing leavening agents.
  • The wearing of all white tzitzits (fringes) have replaced the Torah law that says they must have a blue thread.
  • Torah says that Israelite lineage is determined by one’s father. Modern rabbinic law says that it is determined by one’s mother.
  • The ineffable name doctrine, which states that using the Hebrew names of Elohim (e.g. YHVH) are prohibited, even though Scripture commands that we use them and not forget them.
  • Singing and playing of musical instruments is prohibited under rabbinic law at religious services (Sabbath and appointed times), yet the Torah commands that the shofar be blown on these days, and the Psalms speak of it occurring, and the biblical record states that music and singing were a big part of the Levitical priesthood system in the Temple (Jewish Book of Why, Alfred J. Kolatch, p. 143).
  • The shofar is never blown on the Sabbath, even when the Day of Shofar Blowing falls on a Sabbath, even though Torah commands us to do it (Kolatch, p. 228).
  • The anti-missionary movement within Judaism is the outgrowth of humanist philosophy, for it attempts to destroy the deity of Yeshua and rejects the authority and divine inspiration of the Renewed Covenant Scriptures.

Christianity and Secular Humanism

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When Did Easter Replace Passover?

Matthew 28:1, When did the early Christians first celebrate a day commemorating the resurrection of Yeshua?

Although the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah is a biblical and historical fact, it’s celebration (known as Easter), is neither commanded in the Scriptures, nor was it celebrated by the original disciples of Yeshua. It is purely an invention of the church, which eventually replaced Passover! Here are the facts:

In A History of Christianity (vol. 1), Kenneth Scott Latourette states that notice of Easter as a festival occurs in the middle of the second century, but that festivals commemorating the resurrection of Messiah were presumably observed by at least some Christians from much earlier times (p. 137). Church historian, Philip Schaff, also attributes the beginning of the Easter festival to the middle of the second century (History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, p. 207). He states that the Christian Passover naturally grew out of the Jewish Passover, as the Lord’s Day (Sunday) grew out of the Sabbath. “It is based on the view that Christ crucified and risen is the centre of faith. The Jewish Christians would very naturally from the beginning continue to celebrate the legal Passover, but in the light of its fulfillment by the sacrifice of Christ, and would dwell chiefly on the aspect of the crucifixion. The Gentile Christians, for whom the Jewish Passover had no meaning except through reflection on the cross, would chiefly celebrate the Lord’s resurrection as they did on every Sunday of the week.” He notes that the early Christians commemorated the entire period between the death and resurrection of Yeshua with vigils, fasting, special devotions, meetings culminating in a resurrection feast celebrating the whole work of redemption. The feast of the resurrection gradually became the most prominent aspect of the Christian Passover (Easter celebration), but the crucifixion continued to be celebrated on Good Friday” (ibid., pp. 207–208).

Christians universally kept the Passover on the biblical date of Abib (also known as Nisan) 14/15, irrespective of the day of the week until A.D. 135 according to leading Sabbath scholar Prof. Samuele Bacchiocchi quoting the fourth century Christian historian Ephiphanius (From Sabbath to Sunday, p. 81). “This conclusion,” continues Bacchiocchi, “is supported indirectly by the two earliest documents mentioning the Passover celebration, since both emphasize the commemoration of the death rather than the resurrection of Christ. The Ethiopic version of the apocryphal Epistle of the Apostles [or Didache] says, ‘and you therefore celebrate the remembrance of my death, i.e., the Passover’ (ch. 15). In the Coptic version the passage is basically the same, ‘And you remember my death. If now the Passover takes place …’ (chap. 15)’ (ibid., p. 82). 

The second document that attests to the early church’s emphasis on the death rather than the resurrection of Yeshua is the Sermon on the Passover, by Melito, Bishop of Sardis (died ca. A.D. 190). According to Bacchiocchi, Melito provides a most extensive theological interpretations of the meaning of the Passover for early Christians. “Though Melito makes a few passing references to the resurrection, it is clear from the context that these function as the epilogue of the passion drama of the Passover. The emphasis is indeed on the suffering and death of Jesus which constitute the recurring theme of the sermon and of the celebration” (ibid., p. 83).

“The resurrection,” Bacchiocchi admits, “however, did emerge in time as the dominant reason for the celebration not only of the annual Easter-Sunday, but also of the weekly Sunday. The two festivities, in fact,… came to be regarded as one basic feast commemorating at different times the same event of the resurrection.” Bacchiocchi concludes,

It would seem therefore that though the resurrection is frequently mentioned both in the New Testament and in the early patristic literature, no suggestion is given that primitive Christians commemorated the event by a weekly or yearly Sunday service. The very fact that Passover, which later become the annual commemoration of the resurrection held on Easter-Sunday, initially celebrated primarily Christ’s passion [death] and was observed on the fixed date of Nisan [Abib] 15 rather than on Sunday, makes it untenable to claim that Christ’s resurrection determined the origin of Sunday worship during the lifetime of the Apostles. (ibid. p. 84)

 

The De-Judaizing of the Early Church Fathers Paves the Way for Anti-Semitism

After the death of the last apostle, and as time went one, the early church fathers took on a more strident tone against the Jews and their beliefs including the law of Moses. Here are several examples of this:

Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (98-117A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians

“For if we still live according to the Jewish law, and the circumcision of the flesh, we deny that we have received grace” (chap 8).

“Let us therefore no longer keep[ the Sabbath after the Jewish manner…But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner…After the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days [of the week]” (chap 9).

“It is absurd to speak of Jesus Christ with the tongue, and to cherish in the mind a Judaism which has now come to an end. For where there is Christianity there cannot be Judaism” (chap 10).

Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, chap 4 (A.D. 130)

“But as to their scrupulosity concerning meats, and their superstition as respects the Sabbath, and their boasting about circumcision,and their fancies about fasting and the new moons, which are utterly ridiculous and unworthy of notice” (chap 4)

Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98–117A.D.) — Epistle to the Philadelphians 

“But if any one preach the Jewish law unto you, listen not to him” (chap 6).

Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98–117A.D.) — Epistle to the Philippians 

“If anyone celebrates the Passover along with the Jews, or receives the emblems of their feast, he is a partaker of those that killed the Lord and his apostles” (chap 14).

Justin Martyr — Dialogue with Trypho (Between 138A.D. and 161 A.D.)

Justin claims that the Scriptures no longer belong to the Jews, but to the Christians, thus asserting anti-Semitic replacement theology (chap 29).

Historical Notes on Marcion of Sinope

Since the writings of Marcion of Sinope (c. 85 – c. 160; e.g. Antitheses or Contradictions) have been lost, Tertullian’s five books refuting Marcionism as recorded in Antitheses is our best source of information on Marcion’s teachings.

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