So which is it, Lent or Passover? I have some questions. How is it Lent conflicts with Passover because you’re not to eat meat, and yet Passover is a meal and involves a lamb? Did you know the Apostles all continued a Christian form of Passover even after Christ ascended? So did the early church fathers. And a disciple of the Apostle John, known as Polycarp, actually stood against the Bishop of Rome when they tried to change things! Polycarp said he was instructed by the Apostle John to continue the Lord’s Supper, and so did the other Apostles, and he would not cease to do what he had been taught by the Apostles to continue! What does all this mean?
I have more questions: My understanding of Lent is that it has to do with the 40 days of Christ temptation in the wilderness at the very beginning of his ministry. Okay, if that be so, then how did it get connected to something that does not happen until the very end of his ministry, his Last Supper? What do those 40 days at the beginning have to do with his crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem?
Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness, so I understand the fasting part of Lent, but that also causes it to conflict with the eating part of the Passover, which is an event that is actually part of this Easter weekend, and the Apostles taught to continue! I’m confused.
Why and when did we discontinue what the Apostles said to continue? In First Corinthians chapter eleven, the Apostle Paul actually corrects the Corinthian church on how they were treating the Lord’s Supper! He did not say to discontinue it, but to do it right! It’s right in our New Testament that the early church was doing it, a meal! Not just a cracker and thimble juice! What happened? And do we continue to ignore this part of our Bible even to this day? Why?
Polycarp and the Asian churches resisted the Bishop of Rome concerning this change from Passover to Lent. Polycarp rejected the change his whole life! The Asian churches continued even after Polycarp passed. Rome kept pressing for it. Then Constantine came to power around 300 AD. (a little past). And the church went down the Catholic fork of the road, Passover got lost somewhere, we went back into big church buildings, everything changed, eventually we entered the Dark Ages, and then finally came a Reformation where we revolted against the religion of that time! But we kept certain baggage and never went completely back, even though it’s plainly spoken of in our Bible.
I’m so confused. Is it a small matter? Is it not important? Does new traditions of man override old instructions of God? It’s right in our Bibles, folks. Along with some other things we scoff at today.
Now of course I have my opinion about all this, and my little group always does a Christian form of Passover each year. It was one of the reasons I left modern church to get back closer to our roots. But the questions I have posed here are valid. How did Easter become a one day event to wear fancy clothes, eat a tiny cracker and thimble of juice, maybe hunt some eggs a rabbit hid, and then go out to eat?
And doesn’t it seem odd that Lent, focusing on Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness, had nothing to do with the Lord’s Supper or his cross and resurrection, and yet we connect it to all that, and it just happens to conflict with having a Passover meal on Passover, 3 days before his resurrection? And the Apostles instructed the church to continue a Passover meal, verified by First Corinthians eleven, and several early church writings! Is this not very odd? Am I missing some details here? Can anyone explain?
One of the early church fathers even asked the Bishop of Rome, was he to obey man or God? I saw this writing with my own eyes! And he clarified he would continue obeying God! (Good for him!) But what about us today? Do you have answers for any of this? Or do you blindly trust your Bible College educated leaders?
This year our Passover meal will be conducted by individuals in their own home, just as it was in the original Passover as slaves in Egypt. And they were not to come out of their home as the death angel would pass over that night! This Corona Virus thing has us staying in our homes as much as possible, which just happens to be perfect for a Passover meal and Communion. So perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for people to research the questions I have posed. God will honor our true diligence in a matter, but he does not honor intentional ignorance and lack of caring.
Is God trying to tell us, his church, something? Did we fail to change with the first wake-up call of 9-11, and so now we are in a stronger wake-up call? Will we repent this time? Will we change this time? Will we get back to what Jesus actually DID this time? Or are we beyond changing, beyond the point of no return? If so, what comes next? Revelation?
Do we forget how fragile is this house of clay, as so many die in a single day? But our spirit… is not fragile at all.
Thus Jesus taught the lesson of a house built upon the rock, compared to lives of sinking sand. God is calling all prodigals back to the Father’s House. There is power in the House!
The prodigal wanted his stuff NOW. I am amazed how many Christians want their stuff NOW. They want God to give them a mansion NOW. Gold in the bank NOW. Impervious to sickness NOW. The best parking space NOW. Food in my house NOW, never mind anyone else. My best life NOW. Me, mine, my. Is this what Jesus taught and lived?
What is your definition of “best life”? Does it bare any resemblance to what Jesus taught, or lives of the early church fathers, or the early church? Or does it resemble the prodigal, a life desiring material things and pleasure, delivered by our Father, NOW? As I have sat under the willow tree watching, I see a lot of the latter. Does the modern Christian scoff at the ways of the early church? Do we even know much about them? No? I wonder why?
But here we are. One virus has invaded the world and we ALL suffer. We have become one big Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, but it’s not a good day. We’re not even through our present challenge yet, but we must consider, what does this future global community look like? What is the financial effect of all this? What will be the new poverty level? By how much will its’ ranks swell as so many of us live paycheck to paycheck, and our world shuts down?
Do you have a house you desperately need to sell, and now it’s like a cement block tied round your feet pulling you down? Has your cruise or vacation gone up in flames, or your retirement been delayed? Right now we feel the pain of those dying alone, but what comes next? Have we considered? I’m sure we have. Will the economy come roaring back as the words of our President has suggested? What will the survivors face as Mother Nature seems to have declared war on the elderly, the weak, the vulnerable? Will everything go back to business as usual? Perhaps even shift into hyper-drive?
This is my fear as I sit under the willow. People will rush back to their stuff and ignore the lessons that this earthly life is short and fragile, build on spirit! The definition of a prodigal is someone who leaves home, usually for bad reasons, and less than good terms. It says the prodigal wasted his money in wild living. In the Avengers movie; “End Game”, I believe Tony Stark gives a quote, “Money never bought a second of time.” We all know this, but what will we do when the gates open?
A lot of people are dying ALONE with this thing. It is an evil of itself. But I wonder how many lay there, making the journey back to the Father’s House before it’s too late? And if they could tell their family, what would they say? Such a sad way to return, but perhaps the wisest act of their whole life coming right at the end. Yes, today’s willow tree is indeed a weeping willow, and they say the worse still lies ahead. Are we bracing for it?
How shall we rise up out of this global mess like a Phoenix? That is the question. President Trump wants America to be a leader of it, and he just might find a way, he does have his moments. And if so, many will see it as GOOD! But will it be godly? And how many even have the wisdom to know the difference anymore, as we scoff at our early church fathers.
The prodigals will love it! It will be hard to resist! And they will enjoy their years of loving money and loving stuff, until the pig pen comes! And it comes quickly, not so much in material terms, but a pig pen of the soul!
I believe I have seen a thing, COVID 19 setting its’ stage. Doors fling open and those filled with lust of every kind rushing through those gates, eager to have and consume! A flood issuing forth, a flood of prosperity, but rather than dare call it evil, the modern church will embrace! She will not raise a righteous standard against the flood. Self-seeking will be her way even as she preaches giving and sacrifice. Even as she asks the question of “what would Jesus do?” But she does not do what he DID. The love of money is evil, thus saith the Lord, but many will not resist, nor admit to their love. A time of great seduction. The prodigals will ask for their money, their wealth, their material goods and earthly pleasures as they leave the Father’s House, rejoicing all the way, not believing the pig pen that is their destiny, until they are there. Perhaps even Revelation. But in the quiet of this time, as we sit in our homes, as Passover and Easter “just happens” to be before us? It is time to turn off the video games and come back to our Father’s House, and do not leave! When the seduction begins and the gates open wide.
I see the strangest things sometimes, sitting under this tree. Who knows if true? But beware, do not be deceived, our Father’s House is simple, as in simplicity, as in child-like. Many are running the rat race of prosperity while they neglect their soul and the flesh grows fat, even unto a spiritual heart attack. Repetitive man-made programs that are lifeless, are offset by services full of hype and shish-boom-bah. Not the still voice of our Father. Lots of bells and whistles and stage shows; but very little depth. Very little stopping to think and consider, but always the rush! Do not think about what Jesus DID, while asking what he would do!
What did Jesus do? What did he really do? Was he impressed with large buildings, earthly goods, and man-made programs? Or did he set before us the simple ways of a child and tell us no one enters the Kingdom of God without becoming the child? God is a paradox to us. We enter that paradox of God by faith.
Spiritual warfare is before us. The best spiritual warfare is from within the powerful walls of our Father’s House. I teach spiritual warfare by way of living in the Father’s House and loving the House Rules. They are wisdom. They cut through the cares of this life in a different way than a cheap sword from China. The Word of God is powerful, and sharper than any man-made sword. And God is always calling the prodigals back, but sometimes His whisper is stronger than others. Perhaps this is such a time.
“Our Father’s House is alive!”
Outside my house things are coming alive, spring has come, rebirth; but my house is a dead thing in which I live.
Mother Nature is very big and strong. She does not realize when she steps on us, like perhaps now. Outside my house are dangers of every kind, but also tremendous life, so much so we must be careful lest we fail to survive.
Man is a living being who builds his shelter from the dead, and lives within, but also must go out to drink in that great life of outside.
The Indian teepee made from fallen trees and dead skins. The Eskimo igloo, ice so cold to the touch. Shelters and houses of every kind, and yet they are dead in themselves. We are the life within. And there is life without, trees not yet fallen and animals not yet dead. Life so strong and bold we dare not be foolish in our adventures.
My house is such a comfort zone of death; made from dead lumber, drywall, nails, cement, glass, plastic, wires, and paints. This dead thing in which I live, so I can go out, and come in again.
But I must go out. Should this house cease to be a house and become a prison? Even at this moment a live bird, outside, manages to penetrate these dead walls with his song announcing the rising sun, and I hear it…outside…life…sun…wind…song. This bird confirming my every word.
But some are in prison at home. Do they even know? Their lack of adventure, lack of love of nature, fear of discomfort zones and hardships, bugs and dirt, sweat and strain. They stay inside… a lot!!! They run from box to box. Boxes of every kind. Dead boxes of every kind, even unto the coffin. Big boxes and small. Boxes on wheels and boxes in malls. Doctor boxes and money boxes but so little time in the simplicity of “no box”, just open sky.
But not I. Like the wolf, the bird, the tree, the flower… I need some wind, some sun, some green grass and blue sky, some wet leaves and rain, a mountain stream and quiet lake. I need some sweat and strain, a bug or two, a sudden view to surprise my soul, perhaps even a little cold to make me whole. Only then can I go back inside and be the life of the dead thing I live within.
But God is different. He does not live in the dead. My Father has a living house. I am that House. Easter cometh. Selah.
The above article and others like it can be found at “Sitting Under the Willow Tree”. We invite you to the wisdom of the willow tree. willowtreewisdom.home.blog
Just a word to invite everyone to my most active site, where I’m just beginning a series called: “A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree”. Hope you will “click” and join us there. willowtreewisdom.home.blog
So is it just a strange coincidence that every major move of the Old Covenant has darkness connected to it? Please read previous article if you have not, where we began laying a foundation for this teaching, and now we continue, by looking at the individual examples, starting with the fall of Adam and Eve, and where God first mentions one who will come and crush the devil’s head.
Our goal is to point out how darkness was connected to each of the major moves. So with the fall of Adam and Eve, lets set the stage. We’re talking Genesis chapter 3. Eve listens to the snake in the tree, partakes of forbidden fruit, gives to Adam, and he listens to Eve thereby disobeying God and opening mankind up for sin and death! So what is important for our first point begins in verse 8, where it says : “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden.” (And this is when they try to hide.)
This is also where I first was struck with the idea of Covenant of Darkness, because it seemed logical to me that if it’s already “evening”, cool evening breezes, then by the time God calls Adam out, and each of them try to explain what has happened, and then God begins giving out the judgement for the offense, in which he also speaks of a seed that will be born of the woman to do what? Crush the head of the devil. This is prophetic. It is referring to salvation in Christ, which pertains to both the Old and New Covenants. This is given in verse 15, setting this as the first major announcement of the Covenant. And you can bet Satan knew what this meant and began watching for this child from that very day forward! Perhaps he thought Abel was the one!
But logically speaking, after all this is accomplished, then God made clothes for them from animal skins, and considered what would happen if they ate of the Tree of Life in their fallen condition. After all this, Adam and Eve are finally expelled from the garden. Logic seems to dictate it would be dark by this time. Also, it would be more “fitting” for it to be dark as they are expelled, because they have fallen from the light and entered into darkness. As the gate of Eden opens and they prepare to leave, nothing but darkness is before them. This is what got me to thinking.
Because scripture does not actually say it was dark, it never really occurred to me before. But when it did suddenly dawn on me, my curiosity began to run with this thought. The fact that the Old Covenant only proves man guilty and worthy of hell and darkness, caused me to wonder if God connected darkness to all of it? And it seems he did!
Abraham would be the next major move, and this example is very plain and bold! Almost right in your face! Because there seems to be no good reason to wait for darkness to fall, and yet God does! Genesis chapter 15. This is a major major move! This is where God cuts the Covenant with Abraham. He has him sacrifice several animals and lay the bodies out on the ground, where the two covenant partners will walk through those dead bodies and enter covenant.
According to verse 10, Abraham prepares the sacrifices and all is ready. Now he is waiting. In verse 11, some vultures begin swooping down looking for a free meal, and Abraham has to start fighting them away! Where is God? What is he waiting for?
In verse 12 it plainly says, “As the sun was going down Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him.” (Then God begins speaking to him prophetic words concerning his future family.)
Verse 17 then very plainly says, “After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses.”
“After the sun went down and darkness fell…” God was waiting on the darkness? And Adam and Eve went forth in the promise of a seed of the woman, but they went forth into the darkness? And notice, Abraham himself never passed through the carcasses. I believe the smoking firepot and flaming torch represented God the Father and God the Son as they made covenant between themselves as to the fulfillment of the first covenant and the salvation of man through the second covenant in Christ! God knew man could only fall short. We would never be able to fulfill the standard of that first covenant ourself. That Covenant is only darkness to us, and the promise/hope of a Savior!
But as Abram was fighting off the vultures that day, I wonder what he was thinking? As he grew more and more weary, what was he thinking? What would you be thinking? Everything was ready, and yet where was God? What could possibly be the hold up? And as he fell into unconsciousness, was he worried he might be failing God? The sacrifices might be in danger? And yet it seems God had purpose in it all, and had Abram been privy to what we know today, he may well have known God would not be showing up until the darkness.
So… we have two more major moves yet to come. We will share those in Part 3. And we will also take a very quick look at how every major move of the New Covenant in Christ appears to always be full of LIGHT! I guess it only makes sense, doesn’t it? But to think our God actually goes to such trouble, to set up many symbolic clues for us to see and understand. How many ways does he paint the picture for us, and yet we fail to see the fullness of his greatness. What an awesome God we serve. And to think we were created by Him. We can be born-again into Him. We can be His children. That’s far greater than any lottery a man could ever hit. And we do not have to depend on chance! It is by choice! Our own free choice, God has given! Amen!
Now days I spend most of my time working on my site “Setting Under the Willow Tree”. There has been much written at this site pertaining to deeper things, and there is much for a person to read. But if you would enjoy some things on the lighter side of our Christianity, and with an emphasis on keeping it simple, you are invited to join us under the willow tree by simply clicking on willowtreewisdom.home.blog
I have known for a long time, the Old Covenant, the Old Testament in our Bible, is darkness to man, not salvation. And because it is full of a lot of good laws by which to conduct society, and the ungodly, we do not realize its death to us.
From the very beginning, the first covenant was meant for man to fail, and God to fulfill!
How many times have you asked someone if they are a Christian, and they answer by saying they try to live by the 10 Commandments? This only reveals their lack of understanding of God, God’s Word, and God’s way of salvation; for the Covenant of the Laws only prove us guilty! Worthy of judgement! No man has ever successfully kept the Old Covenant save Jesus Christ Himself, God Himself! Which He did in order to save us from the judgement our failure deemed us worthy of! And that judgement is based upon the First Covenant, with all the “thou shalt nots”, and “thou shalts”!
Please consider this scripture as a first step in understanding this very important biblical concept: “So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron? And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it.” (Hebrews 7: 11-12 NLT)
Jesus is the beginning of a different priesthood, which the Bible describes as a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, a very mysterious person who shows up for Abraham way back in Genesis 14! Jesus begins a different priesthood because he established a very different Covenant, which we enter into through Him! And whereas the first Covenant was based on 10 Commandments, our Lord’s Covenant is based on only 2! And we will look at the very different nature of the 10 and the 2, for there is great purpose and meaning in that difference!
As a first step in understanding this difference, please note our scripture speaks of a “perfection” God intended in that first covenant. As every human well knows, we do not do well with that word, “perfect”. In our world there is no such thing as perfect, especially in the behavior of man!
Jesus spoke of this perfection in his famous Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5: 48, when he said, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
But how are we to achieve such perfection? It certainly cannot be done by way of the First Covenant. That was why Jesus was here. To fulfill that Covenant and that perfection for us, and establish a new order of priesthood and a New Covenant, powerful enough in “His” perfection and “His” blood to save a true Believer! Wow! Is that awesome or what! But this also means the First Covenant is only failure for us! It is defeat, judgement, darkness, no hope, no light, no heaven! Only hell!
It did bring the One who is Light to us. Praise God! And that was God’s plan from the beginning. It does save us in a round-about way, if we realize that First Covenant is pointing towards Christ the whole time! It is meant to be as a school master teaching us the way to salvation, but it is not the salvation we need in itself. It announces the salvation to come, and gives us many lessons and warnings as to why we should not neglect the great salvation to come, for we do not want to die in the Covenant of Law! The Covenant of Moses! But we rejoice in the coming of God’s Covenant of Grace in Christ Jesus!
“There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Man always seems to think he can do it himself. That is our own logic and our natural way, unless we understand how defiled we are, and how far short of perfection we fall. The Bible teaches if you break even one of the Commandments, you are guilty of breaking all! And Jesus added to the difficulty of the challenge when again, in His Sermon on the Mount, he said if you even look at a woman with lust, you are guilty of adultery! If you are angry with someone, you commit murder! The mark of perfection is so high, man was without hope!
Now that we have established the basic understanding of how the Old Covenant is not life to us, but death; I can now begin explaining how I came to call the First Covenant, the “Covenant of Darkness”. I never called it this, nor did I even think of it in this way, until one day I realized by the time Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden, it had to be dark! Once I realized this, I became curious if all the major moves of the Old Covenant had darkness involved, and it did! I was amazed! And I realized that once again God was showing us more truth! It was more than my own curiosity, but the Holy Spirit was leading me.
So… you can begin looking at it yourself if you like, but next episode (P-2) we will look at Adam and Eve’s expulsion, and every major move of the Old Covenant thereafter, clear up to Jesus completing the Old Covenant Himself, on the cross. You might recall God brought three hours of darkness in the middle of the day in that event! And three hours is no simple eclipse!
And why is this so important? Because Jesus brought us the Covenant of Light. You will also see that every major move of the New Covenant, such as Christ’s resurrection, is performed in light! These cannot be mere happenstance! And so… if we try to pull anything from the Covenant of Darkness and force it into the Covenant of Light? Are we not guilty of forcing darkness into God’s light? But who does that, you might ask.
Well… our modern church does not even realize the love of money they are guilty of, which is the root of all evil! The New Covenant in Christ is based on two very different commands than the original 10. We are to LOVE God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And we are to LOVE our neighbor as ourself. The early church established by Christ functioned on LOVE OFFERINGS. Even the Pastors lived off LOVE OFFERINGS. When did tithing come back into things? Is it possible it was drug from the old and forced into the new because of the greed of man? We do not even realize how many ways we may be bringing law into God’s love and liberty.
I have pondered if this is even a slap in the face of Jesus as he hung on that cross paying the price for us to live in liberty and Spirit. I fear to answer that with a yes, but I see the possibility. We have a warped version of Jesus and as a result, we create warped disciples. Jesus said an easy yoke and light burden, and yet we make church a heavy thing, full of lifeless programs, boring repetitious routines, and very little true liberty and relationship.
Once upon a time I was excited when God revealed all this to me. But today I had to force myself to obey God and begin the work of putting this out there, because I have already shown this to others, only to find they are so programmed they can no longer look at scriptures for themselves and actually see what they say. Either that, or they just don’t care that much. I usually encounter one of the two.
So… I’m making this effort because I believe this is way more important than the reaction I usually get, and someone has to keep shouting that the “King Theology” has no clothes! Laodicea has no clothes! We should be looking to Smyrna! It is a very dangerous time to be Laodicean! But can the programmed ever see?
There is much more to show in the proving of this message. I know I have only begun to give you solid evidence of what I have said. I hope you realize the importance of this enough, that if you still have doubts, you will come back to examine all the evidence. But for now this is enough of the elephant for any person to eat in one setting. Chew on the fact Jesus changed the priesthood and the laws, because the First Covenant was never intended for us to succeed, but only fail. It is not based on LOVE, but LAW and PERFECT FULFILLMENT. This meal is to be continued…soon. Comments welcome.