Why Does the NT Emphasize the Death of Yeshua More Than His Resurrection?

I recently received a comment on this blog from a man who believes that it was Yeshua’s resurrection that atoned for man’s sins and not his death. Is this a new wind of doctrine that’s circulating out there?

When I suggested that he do a search of the New Testament to see if the death or the resurrection of Yeshua was emphasized more, and when I told him that his belief was heretical and false, he turned angry, vitriolic and attacked me. I had to delete his comments. Can’t have this kind of nonsense around here. I requested of him an honest and polite discussion on this subject, but instead he attacked me personally. That’s his problem, not mine.

Anyway I decided to do a study on the subject, and this one is hot off the press, so to speak. Please enjoy.


The Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament) has more than twice as many references to the death of Yeshua (more than 99 references) than to his resurrection (approximately 49 references). Why is this? Why did the apostolic writers emphasize the death of Yeshua the Messiah more than his resurrection? This fact has perplexed some of us for years. We now will briefly explore why this may be.

To be sure, the resurrection of Yeshua is a momentous event in the history of the world not to be minimized or understated in any way, and is not sub par to the importance of his incarnation, life or death. Furthermore, had Yeshua not resurrected from the dead, there would be no hope of the resurrection of the saints, for as Paul writes,

And if Messiah is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of Elohim, because we have testified of Elohim that He raised up Messiah, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Messiah is not risen. And if Messiah is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Messiah, we are of all men the most pitiable. (1 Cor 15:14–19)

Adding to the perplexing fact that the Testimony of Yeshua emphasizes the death of Yeshua over his resurrection is that notable fact that of the seven biblical feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23 and elsewhere in Scripture, there no feast that specifically points to the resurrection of Yeshua. The day of Passover addresses Yeshua’s death and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the next biblical feast completely skips past the resurrection. After that comes the Feast of Weeks, which corresponds to the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two, which also occurred after Yeshua’s resurrection. 

So why is there no biblical holiday, contrary to popular but ill-informed opinion, specifically portraying the resurrection of the Messiah? In answer to this question, some Bible students will point to the so called  “Feast” of First Fruits (Lev 23:9–13) as the biblical holiday that answers to the resurrection of Yeshua. While First Fruits Day (the correct biblical name for this occasion) does definitely point prophetically to Yeshua’s resurrection, this day was neither a biblical feast or miqra kodesh or a high holy day Sabbath. Rather, it was a moed or divine appointment (all biblical feasts are moedim [the plural of moed] but not all moedim are feasts) on which the Levitical priest performed the ritual of offering up a sheaf of the barley first fruits before Elohim. But for the rest of the Israelites, First Fruits Day was not a Sabbath-day of rest or holy or sacred assembly (Heb. miqra kodesh). Rather it was a common work day when the Israelites went into their in the fields to harvest the newly ripened barley. (I discuss this subject at length in my 23 page article on this subject available at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/firstfruits.pdf.) To call First Fruits Day a feast is a misreading, if not a twisting, of Scripture. Facts are stubborn things for some people to deal with, but facts are truth, and truth is still truth regardless of people’s opinions to the contrary.

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The Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Wavesheaf Offering & the Resurrection of Yeshua

Chag HaMatzot (The Feast of Unleavened Bread): An Overview

Chag HaMatzot or the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the second annual festival on YHVH’s biblical calendar, and occurs on the fifteenth day of the month of the Abib, which is the day immediately following Passover (or Pesach, Lev 23:5–8). Because both of these feasts (Exod 34:25; Lev 23:2, 6) occur back-to-back, the Jews often refer to Passover and Unleavened Bread simply as Passover Week or some similar term that places the main emphasis on the Passover. But it must be noted that, though related, these two festivals are separate in meaning and purpose. Passover pictures Israel coming out of Egypt. Upon separating from Egypt, YHVH (the LORD) then commanded the Israelites to put all leavened food products out of their houses and to eat unleavened bread (flat bread) for seven days, hence the origins of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Additionally, the first and seventh days of this week-long event are Sabbaths, and YHVH commanded his people to hold a set-apart convocation (or gathering) on these Sabbaths.

What, you may ask, is the purpose of putting leavening out of one’s home and eating unleavened bread products such as matzoh for one week? This seems like a curious request by YHVH of his people. Not surprisingly, the Creator of the universe has a reason for everything. The spiritual implications are enlightening and highly relevant to the disciples of Yeshua. In commanding his people to de-leaven their homes and lives, YHVH is teaching us an object lesson that applies to us as much today as to the Israelites of long ago.

Eating unleavened bread for seven days is a memorial, remembrance or reminder (Exod 13:6–9) of our coming out of our own spiritual Egypt. But how did unleavened bread enter into this picture? The Torah tells us that the Israelites left Egypt early in the morning as they were making their daily bread, and because they left in haste the bread was not able to rise (Exod 12:34). Therefore, they were forced, by circumstances, to leave their leavening — a biblical metaphor for sin — behind in Egypt. Similarly, believers in Yeshua are commanded to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (1 Cor 5:6–8), which helps to remind us that we should have left our old sinful ways behind us in the spiritual Egypt of this world when we surrendered our lives to Yeshua. We are pressing onward to the Promised Land of YHVH’s eternal kingdom.

Not only did YHVH command his set-apart people to leave Egypt (a biblical metaphor for this world and its godless ways), but he wanted his people to separate themselves from and leave behind in Egypt the rudiments of this world, or sin, which defiles them and separates them from a set-apart and sinless Elohim (God). Leaven is a picture of this, as we will see more clearly below.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was the next step in YHVH’s plan of redemption for his people. Israel had just left Egypt and we know that Egypt is biblically a spiritual metaphor for the world and Satan. It may have been easy for the Israelites to leave Egypt, but after their exodus, the arduous process of getting the sin or spiritual leaven of Egypt out them began! The same is true when we leave the spiritual Egypt of this world and endeavor to follow obey Yeshua through our spiritual journey in the wilderness we call life. The old sin habits die hard and often lie hidden in our lives waiting to be exposed and cast out from the recesses of our mind, will and emotions—or one’s spiritual houses. This is not an easy process, and is not unlike ridding our physical homes of leavening products, such as bread crumbs, which find their way into the nooks and crannies of our homes that the word of Elohim commands his people to do in order to properly keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exod 12:14–15). Throughout Scripture, leavening usually represents sin, pride, hypocrisy, malice, bitterness and false religious doctrine (Pss 71:4; 73:21; Hos 7:4; Matt 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:8–6; Gal 5:9).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts seven days. The number seven in YHVH’s spiritual economy represents completion or perfection. YHVH has given man 7000 years on this earth to get rid of sin completely and totally in preparation for admission into his eternal kingdom as revealed in Revelation 21 and 22. For 6000 years, YHVH has left men on this earth to their own sinful devices. The seventh thousand-year time period, called the Messianic Age or Millennium (Rev 20:2, 3, 4, 6), will be different than the previous 6000 years, for during this time Yeshua will be ruling over the earth with a rod of iron as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15; 17:14; 19:16), and Satan will be bound in the pit (Rev 20:2–3). All humans on earth will be taught the Torah-truth of YHVH Elohim without the evil influences of the devil and the world as we know it today. During the Messianic Age, the earth will be at peace and rest, and men will be taught to love YHVH with all their heart, mind and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves. This time of relative peace and rest is the seventh thousand-year time period of man’s tenure on this earth, which corresponds to the seventh day of the week—the Sabbath. It will be a Sabbath of rest and peace on this earth for 1000 years. The Days of Unleavened Bread picture this, for the first day is a Sabbath representing the first Sabbath when YHVH rested after creating a perfect, paradisiacal and sin-free world. The last day or seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also a Sabbath, which corresponds prophetically to the Messianic Age.

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