Why Celebrate the Passover?

Isn’t your life already busy enough? Who has time for a six-hour Passover Seder commemorating something that happened thousands of years ago? What could this possibly have to do with my life here and now, you may ask? How can a 3500-year-old Biblical ritual in any way relate to those living in the age of the laser, satellites, the worldwide web and computers? Well, let’s see!

The Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 3:15, “That which is has been already and that which will be has already been.…” Life is full of paradoxes. Do advancements in technology, science, economics, medicine, religion, and world government really promise to give men the rest for their weary souls for which they long?

How about a different approach to the questions and problems facing modern man? Is it possible to go forward by going backwards? This is a thesis that the ancient prophet Yermeyahu (Jeremiah) proffered to those who had ears to hear. He said, “Thus says YHVH, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk in it’” (Jer 6:16). What were those ancient paths to which this white-haired Jewish prophet referred? This question is answered three verses later: “Because they have not listened to My words, and as for My Torah, they have rejected it also” (verse 19). YHVH through his prophets has been showing men the way of rest for their souls for thousands of years, yet men consistently refuse to listen. They always have a better way, so it seems!

The festival of Passover is one of the most ancient paths to be found in all of the Scriptures. In it are contained clues that will help the partakers of it to understand the past, present and the future.

A God-hater, Karl Marx, the father of modern communism, said that religion is the opiate of the masses. Yes, this can be said of dead, truthless and spiritless religion. But how about that religion which gives definition, purpose, meaning, hope and destiny to a man’s life? How could anything that comes directly from the Loving Father who created you and me in his own image be detrimental to us?

It has been said that the religion of the Bible tells a man where he has come from, where he is at and where he is going. Could it not be said that a man who knows the answers to these questions possesses true wisdom and wealth, and has indeed found rest for his troubled soul?

One of the most important scriptures in the Jewish faith is the famous shema passage of Deuteronomy 6:4–9. This passage, which is like a “pledge of allegiance” for the Jews, starts out by saying, “Hear [shema], O Israel …” The word shema literally means “to hear and to do.” Later, in verse five, the shema continues, “And you shall love YHVH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might.” Loving our Heavenly Creator is not just a mind-thing, but also an action and a doing thing. It is Continue reading

 

Preparing Ourselves for Passover

Repent of Sin and Get Under the Lamb’s Blood. As the children of Israel applied the lamb’s blood to the door posts and lintels of their house, so we must apply the sin-cleansing and Satan-defeating blood of Yeshua afresh to our lives (i.e. to our thoughts as represented by the door lintel and and to our hands or actions as represented by the door posts). This occurs as we repent of our sins, and pray for and receive YHVH’s forgiveness. He will then cover our sins over or wash away our sins by Yeshua’s blood (1 John 1:9; Rev 1:5).

In Egypt at Passover time, YHVH judged all those who had failed to put the lamb’s blood on the door posts of their houses. In other words, they weren’t under the blood of the lamb, but were still under the penalty of sin, which is death (Ezek 18:4; Rom 6:23). Any unrepented of sin in our lives brings the curse of death on us. To the degree that one has sin in their life is the degree to which the spirit of death has a legal claim on us. Now is the time to repent of sin by confessing it and seeking Elohim’s forgiveness under the blood of Yeshua and then forsaking that sin through YHVH’s grace (1 John 1:9).

Here are some things of which to repent.

Pride. Do you always think that you’re right? Your opinion is what matters the most? Do you have a hard time with those who don’t see it your way, when you don’t get your way? Do you have a fit when people disagree with you? Do you criticize others and put others down (especially those who are closest to you)? Do you belittle, mock, scorn and ridicule Continue reading

 

My final word (I think) on circumcision as it relates to Passover

I got this email question from a truth seeker today. It’s one I’ve been asked many times. It’s a hot potato subject, to be sure. Some will read my answer and disagree. That’s fine. Frankly, I don’t really care. I’ve moved on to bigger issues!

After years of deliberation and after taking everything into consideration from Genesis to Revelation on the subject, this is where I’ve landed on the issue of circumcision being a requirement in order to keep Passover properly (i.e. according to the letter of the law of Torah).

First the question, then my answer.

Shalom Pastor Natan,

I’ve been learning to walk in the Torah for a little over a year now. One of the most confusing aspects of it for me has been Galatians. I’ve been listening to your teaching on it as well as Corner Fringe Ministries’ ongoing study, and it’s helped me quite a bit. But you mentioned in Part 1 of your series that you won’t get into the matter of circumcision for Passover. With Passover coming up, I’d really like to know your thoughts on that. I know that circumcision is not necessary for salvation, but it is for keeping Passover (Exodus 12:43-49). Since we are instructed to keep the Passover (1 Corinthians 5:8), should uncircumcised followers of Yeshua abstain from it until they are ready to do that?

Hello S—,

I think you answered your own question. Physical circumcision is not a salvation issue. Yeshua commanded us to keep Passover at his last supper. (“Do this in remembrance of me.”) End of discussion.
Yes, I know what Exod 12:43–48 says about circumcision being a requirement for the Israelite males to properly keep Passover per the Torah, and whoever wasn’t circumcised couldn’t keep Passover and thus would be cut off from Israel. Some well meaning people will disagree with me here. But being cut off from a physical nation for not being circumcised hardly equates with losing one’s salvation because they aren’t physically circumcised when they do Passover. It’s apples and oranges here. To be part of the physical nation of Israel, you had to have the birth certificate, if you will, or the national passport or ID card. That happened to be physical circumcision—at least for the guys. So what was the criteria for women? Good question. How about “your Elohim will be my Elohim and your people will be my people…?” Seemed to have worked for Ruth the Moabitess. After all, she became an ancestor of the Jewish Messiah! (And don’t forget Rahab the harlot of Jericho who also accepted YHVH Elohim, was grafted into the nation of Israel and who is also in the lineage of Yeshua!) She wasn’t physically circumcised, obviously, but she was heart circumcised, to be sure. So heart circumcision is the highest common denominator to be reached for here, not physical circumcision.
So let me get this straight. Physical circumcision for men was  the requirement for Israelite men to be part of Israel, while heart circumcision for Gentile women was their requirement for being part of Israel. What gives here? Obviously, the physical circumcision was the national ID card for a man to be part of the physical nation of Israel. But Moses in three places talked about how YHVH really desired heart circumcision; that was really his highest ideal and criteria for membership in Isreal. This seemed to work for Ruth (and Rahab), and it was obviously acceptable to Elohim. So why not now?
Look, I’m all for physical circumcision. Thankfully, it’s not something I have to worry about. My Hebraic parents took care of that for me when I was eight days old 58 years ago.
There is a blessing for being circumcised physically. If I weren’t already, I’d get it done. It’s pleasing to Elohim and it shows that one is zealous and passionate to obey all of YHVH’s commandments. Besides, your local urologist will do it for just a few hundred dollars and you’ll drive yourself home afterwards and after a week or two you’ll be healed and fine.
Paul was both for and against circumcision. As a requirement for salvation, he was totally against it. As an act of loving obedience, passion and devotion to Elohim, he was for it. It showed that one had a zeal for being part of Israel. What’s wrong with that? We’re now the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16). There’s still nothing wrong with being physically circumcised. It must be a good thing, especially now since so many God and Bible hating secular humanistic libtards are against it!
Bottom line: In ancient Israel, and as a requirement for keeping Passover, it was necessary to separate out those who were serious about being a part of the physical nation of Israel. That one act separated the imposters and wolves in sheep’s clothing wannabes from those who were really zealous for Elohim and Torah. After all what imposter would really want to go through the ordeal of circumcision in the days of flint knives and no anesthetic? Let’s get real! For the Israel of the one new man (Eph 2:11–19), the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16) we now have confession of sin, repentance, public confession and acceptance of Yeshua and baptism followed by receipt of the Spirit. Cultural and spiritual conditions and contexts have changed from the Passover in Egypt till now.
Does any of this make sense? I hope so.
 

The Passover Seder Is a Drama-Based Gospel Tract

Exodus 10:2, Tell or recount, relate. YHVH commanded Moses to record the story of Egypt’s judgment and fall for the Israelite’s future posterity. The Israelites were to pass this story down orally and in written form to succeeding generations. The Passover seder is the fulfillment of this Torah command in that it re-enacts the exodus story. In other words, YHVH is commanding parents to pass the gospel message of redemption downward to each new generation. The Passover seder is literally a gospel tract involving a dramatic presentation where the participants act out the message of the gospel.

 

Did Yeshua Eat Leavened Bread During the Passover/Last Supper Communion Service?

 

 

 

 

 

There has been a perennial question among many Christians as to whether Yeshua ate leavened or unleavened bread during his last supper Passover communion service. This is because of the Greek words for bread that appear in the Greek NT manuscripts. The excerpt below answering this question is from a larger article I wrote years ago entitled “Passover…When Do We Celebrate It? At the Beginning OR the End of Aviv 14?” available at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/psvr_dy.pdf .

I take the position that Yeshua didn’t eat leavened bread during communion, since it would have violated biblical (Tanakh or OT) types and shadows pointing to Yeshua’s sinlessness. I cannot and will not eat leavened bread in communion because I don’t want in any way to imply or even remotely suggest that Yeshua was a sinner. In this excerpt from my article, I explain the reasons for my position.

Unleavened Bread Versus Leavened Bread

At this point, many questions arise for the honest Bible student. Whatever Yeshua was doing with his disciples Passover-wise, it was before he was to suffer, as Luke 22:15 states. Was he eating an actual Passover lamb? Or just eating bread that was now to become an emblem of his body, a picture of the sacrificial lamb itself? If he was eating bread, and not lamb itself, then why is the term for the bread that he ate with his disciples that night a reference to generic bread (see Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:9; 24:30; 24:35; John 13:18), and not unleavened bread, which is a totally different word in the Greek language? To be sure, unleavened bread, not leavened bread, was eaten during the Passover meal in accordance with the Hebrew Scriptures (Num. 9:10-11; Josh. 5:11).

Could this reference to generic (leavened) bread, to which the Gospel writers make unanimous reference in all of their accounts, have been referring to Yeshua as “the bread of life?” Yeshua refers to himself as the “bread of life” (the same Greek word [artos, Strong’s G740] for generic, leavened bread is used in Yeshua’s “Last Supper” accounts as well as in his references to his being the bread of life) in several places in the Gospel of John (6:31, 33, 34,  35, 41, 48, 50, 51, 58). If Yeshua was keeping an early Passover meal with his disciples, that is, early on the fourteenth of Abib instead of late on the fourteenth, which is when the Jews kept it and when the Passover lamb was sacrificed in the temple, which corresponded to when Yeshua was hanging on the cross, then it would have been permissible to eat leavened bread. Torah commands that only unleavened bread be eaten during the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread between the fifteenth and the twenty-first days of the first month (Exod. 12:15; 13:6-7; 23:15; 34:18; Lev. 23:5-6; Num. 28:17; Deut. 16:3, 8). Leavened bread is not prohibited from being eaten on the fourteenth (although the Hebrew Scriptures or Tanakh does forbid its being eaten during the actual Passover ceremony itself [Num. 9:10-11; Josh. 5:11], which would have started at the end of the fourteenth and overlapped into the fifteenth, which was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread), though it is safe to say, that most Israelite homes had already been de-leavened by then. The Jews kept Passover (and still do to this day) at the end of the fourteenth and ate their Passover meal actually at the beginning of the fifteenth, which is the beginning of the time when Torah forbids the eating of leavened bread for seven days.

So Yeshua could have eaten leavened bread at the beginning of the Passover day as an object lesson to his disciples (and to us) that he was the bread of life, to which the Passover lamb pointed, and he would not have violated Torah.

That Yeshua ate leavened bread is one line of reasoning that some students of Scripture use to attempt to disprove that his last supper was a Passover Seder. However, to counter this point, some will refer to the Scripture passage in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, which is a reference to the last meal that Yeshua had with his disciples. There is no mention specifically here of a Passover Seder, but only a meal and the term for bread here is artos­, the Greek word for generic, leavened bread. Does this, passage therefore prove that what Yeshua did with his disciples was not a Seder, even though Yeshua himself referred to it as such? If so, why the usage of the word artos and not the Greek word azumos (Strong’s G106) for unleavened bread? Furthermore, some find it unimaginable that Yeshua would be partaking of leavened bread and likening it to his body, when leavened bread contains yeast or sour dough, a type of sin, and we know that Yeshua had no sin in him. Others say that it was appropriate for him to eat leavened bread, since he took our sins upon himself and that he went to the cross with leaven (a picture of our sins) in him. It might also be added that using the generic term for bread (in reference to the last supper) does not prove conclusively that it was indeed leavened bread. It could have been unleavened. Unleavened bread is still bread. It’s simply a flat bread. But why doesn’t Scripture say so then? If we believe that every detail of Scripture is divinely inspired, we have reason to be confused when certain things do not seem to add up.

We take the position that Yeshua did not eat leavened bread during his Paschal meal, and for a very good reason. In the levitical sacrificial system, YHVH forbad the offering of leavened bread with the sacrifices on all occasions except on the Feast of Pentecost when two leavened loaves were lifted up representing Israel. Even the twelve loaves of bread on the Table of Showbread in the Tabernacle (representing Israel in a purified or sin-free state) were unleavened. Leaving is clearly a picture of sin. Yeshua, the perfect sacrificial Lamb of Elohim fulfilled the sacrificial system types perfectly. It seems unthinkable that the Lamb of Elohim, slain from the foundation of the world, who was sin-free, could have eaten leavened bread and had leavening, a picture of sin, in him when he went to the cross. For this reason, we believe Yeshua ate unleavened bread.

 

Communion or the Lord’s Supper Explained in Its Hebraic Context


 
The Importance of Memorials and Symbols

Obedient and truth-seeking disciples of Yeshua will want to love him by keeping his commandments (John 14:12), and by teaching and doing everything he commanded (Matt 28:20). They will be following Paul’s example to imitate Yeshua (1 Cor 11:1) as well heeding John’s admonition “to walk just as [Yeshua] walked” (1 John 2:6).

With regard to obeying YHVH’s commands, symbols and memorializations figure prominently in YHVH Elohim’s spiritual economy. Why is this? They are teaching aids. Physical humans need physical things to help them to comprehend spiritual truths and ideals. Using symbols, commemorations and memorializations is a method of teaching and relates to pedagogy, which is “the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.” A effective teacher endeavors to build bridges of understanding between what the student knows and what the teacher wants to teach the student— between the known and the unknown, between what the student understands now and what the teacher wants his students to learn. A successful teacher learns the skill of building bridges of understanding with his students to bring them to a higher level of understanding. The same is true of YHVH Elohim as we works with humans to teach them about spiritual things.

On a spiritual level, YHVH Elohim, our Heavenly Teacher, employes similar pedagogic or teaching techniques as he endeavors to bring men to a higher level of understanding heaven’s spiritual truths and realities. The use of symbols and memorials as teaching tools is essential to this process of teaching and learning.

The Bible is full of symbols and memorials that represent or point to something else and act as teaching aids to assist humans in learning about Elohim and what he requires of us. For example, the very name of the Creator, YHVH (Yehovah), is a memorial, symbol or remembrance (Heb. zeker from zakar) of who Elohim really is (Exod 3:15). His name is a Continue reading