“Passover”

20181001_145252 It is the night of the Passover. Jesus came on a mission to teach, sow seed, die, and bring the Kingdom of God to the earth. There is no birthing of the Kingdom of God without some death to the flesh. Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone, unfruitful, no harvest!

What does the people of God’s Kingdom in earth look like? Study the Beatitudes. Study and understand, take to heart the Sermon on the Mount, and you will know.

Tonight there will be red on the door post of my home as our small Fellowship comes together for a special Lord’s Supper. I hope you have plans to thank the Lord in a special way for his great sacrifice of love.

Jesus walked the red path of his own blood, so we could walk the white path of his own righteousness… and be the people of God, the Kingdom of God in the earth.

Salt & Light.

Greater Light

What does greater light have to fear from lesser light? Nothing. We always seek the greater light. And I did not know how much confusion there has been concerning the “timing” of the Lord’s Passover meal just before his being taken to die. But per my previous article, I had a great conversation with a close friend the other day, and he quoted some scripture which caused me to look deeper into that particular area.

My concern has always been the changes to the way the meal is now performed in what I call a short-form Lord’s Supper, that is not even really a supper, and is a reflection of what church has become. This is still my main point, but after 3 hours of intense study, I now see that Jesus actually did resurrect on Sunday! Wow! That is very interesting, because I could not see how he could have the Passover Meal Friday evening, like all the Priest of Jerusalem, if he was in the grave? I found this very perplexing. (My friend wasn’t sure about this either. Not the details thereof.) And if he did not have the Passover Meal, then what is the Lord’s Supper? Therefore it seemed logical the 3 day clock must have started ticking after Friday. Hhhhmmmm. But Jesus did an interesting thing.

Even though all the Priest of Jerusalem would be having the Passover meal Friday evening, which would cross over into Saturday, the 15th day of Nissan, however; according to the Jewish time system, it actually became Passover day the evening of Thursday! Their time clock runs from sunset to sunset! So Jesus jumped ahead of  them and had his Supper at the very beginning of the Passover day. So technically speaking, he fulfilled the prophecy and also stayed on a time schedule in which he was dying for our sins at the same time the High Priest was slaying the Passover lamb! So he had his Passover meal and fulfilled the Passover Lamb all in the same day! Maybe this was the reason he did it this way, or…

I guess, for some reason, this was the way Galileans did the Passover anyway, according to the MacArthur study Bible, and so he was being true to the area he came from. But this very important point, which has caused confusion at times, does put our Lord on schedule for a Sunday resurrection! 60 years of going to church and I’ve never been taught this? A point in which some atheist use to try and discredit the Bible? I could not have defended the Bible on this point before the 3 hours I just spent digging it out.

So…with the new light I have received, my Matrix is affected. I must rethink certain things. And if the new light calls for change, then I must change or be dishonest. I have also tried to make corrections in any previous articles. So now I have some other questions and possible interesting points.

1.) This seems to indicate that when the High Priest went to the Holy of Holies to put the blood of the lamb on the Mercy Seat, he should have come face to face with a veil torn in two from top to bottom! This would have been the same High Priest who judged Jesus in the early wee hours of that same day! Surely this had to be quite a shock! And how did he continue on in the face of such knowledge? How could he not fall to his face in realization of what was going on? I would have been shaking in my boots and peeing my robes! But the Jewish faith went on in its’ same practice in spite of all these things? Wow. Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

2.) In John 18:28 we read, His (Jesus) accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. (So we can plainly see these Priest had not had the Passover meal yet, but Jesus and his disciples already had. Interesting.) So it is easy to see how this could be a very confusing point. There are other scriptures also, that without understanding this one point, would seem to say Jesus had to be crucified on Saturday. But not if you understand the difference of timing in what he did, and what the priest of Jerusalem did.

3.) So what do we do with the quote from Justin Martyr? Who stated Jesus was crucified on Saturday and rose on Sunday? He seems to be half right. Was it a simple writing error? Was he confused by the timing of the Lord’s Supper also? I must admit I am still puzzled by how such a good man wrote such a confusing statement. Was this a common belief at that time? I may never know, but it is more proof of the confusion that has existed.

4.) One more area of interest to me. How does this better understanding affect if we have any “sun worship” going on in our church today? Because, since Jesus really did rise on Sunday, then of course it is not sun worship on our part to celebrate, except the emphasis is still to be on his death more than resurrection. I know this is a sticking point with me, but the sun worship was all about resurrection, and our early church fathers did believe you had to endure to the end before you actually possessed your resurrection from Christ. In other words, they did not believe we were once saved always saved. So if we are careless in this emphasis, and we make Easter/ Ishtar more about resurrection than death, do we slip into a form of sun worship? Good question. I still think both the Easter Bunny and Santa should be kept at home, not church, and only with very proper teachings from parents as to what is true.

Also, the Jewish Passover goes into 7 days of unleavened bread after the Passover meal. This symbolizes getting the sin out of our life. So if we do our short-form Lord’s Supper on Sunday, and also celebrate his resurrection, then there is no 7 days of symbolism to make us think about our sin. Does the average church have an Easter message about sin, or resurrection? You may say “both”. But the Unleavened Bread was about sin, not both, and what I’ve seen is everyone is so busy celebrating the resurrection, (and who can blame us), but do we embrace that cross and our need of a greater sanctification? Is this nothing to worry about? Is our emphasis off? Does not the short-form Passover Meal itself, on the wrong day, seem to give us our answer, as we cram everything into one day?

Another point of possible confusion is the fact that the Sabbath actually was on Saturday. (A point our Seven Day Adventist churches like to point out as very important.) So that being the case, Jesus body was resting in the grave on the day of rest. This seems to be accurate to what we would expect. Things are fitting now. And so Jesus rises on Sunday, but this in itself sets up an “easy to mix with sun worship situation”. I guess that’s just the circumstances we are stuck with. This does not give the Constantine church permission to take part in Winter Solstice, (Christmas), and all sun worshiping activities, and yet we did. Ezekiel 8 reveals what judgement this brought on God’s people in the days of Ezekiel. And we watch the Constantine church slowly slide into such horrible darkness. And what of us today?

Okay…I’m so glad a good friend caused me to look deeper into a point I was questioning. Even though the Passover Meal generally was performed on Friday evening in Jerusalem, THAT’S NOT WHAT JESUS DID! (Not that day at least.) And we are famous at this site for asking what “DID” Jesus do? Not so much what WOULD Jesus do? We now have greater light in this area, and I’m so glad. We now have greater accuracy to the questions we are asking, and we will continue seeking greater light any time God gives such opportunity. That’s just what we do here.

Don’t be afraid to be wrong. We do our best not to be, but unless we do nothing, we always have a chance to be wrong when were stepping out there. Such questions need to be asked. I can now defend the Bible better because I now understand what Jesus actually DID. We need to step out there. There are still many questions needing answered. We still have a very money oriented modern church that needs considerable money to function. This causes compromises in many ways. Sun worship was a prosperity worship. Jesus sent his 70 out with practically nothing! And he gave us “Table” more than “Temple”.

I was greatly surprised at a very small verse of scripture in Exodus, just a very few words, like 12, that takes having a table with God back to Moses, Mount Sinai, and his 70 Elders!

Exodus 24:9 > “Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders of Israel climbed up the mountain.” Verse 10a > “There they saw the God of Israel. …” Verse 11> “And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence!”  (NLT version) 

(Amplified version) > “…but they saw (the manifestation of the presence of) God, and ate and drank.”

Wow…it amazes me that Jesus knocks at the door desiring to sup with us. So again we ask, what is the proper table setting for God? This should be of interest to every true child of God. Adam failed to keep the garden. Are we doing any better? Do we have a proper table? Iron sharpens iron.

P.S.> After setting for a while pondering my new mental picture, I drew up a couple of “time lines” showing the difference between what Jesus and the early church seemed to do, and what we do today. As I stared at these two different Easter experiences, I found it to be very interesting. This I plan to share next article, and very soon.

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MAZE IV – Continued.

“A Lord’s Supper Story” – Continued.

“Lock the door! Darkness has fallen! No one else can enter in!” the Elder shouted, and the door was locked.

After this announcement, Bishop Daniel stood before his people and motioned for everyone to settle in, draw close, and pay attention. “Welcome everyone. We’re so glad you are all here, and everyone made it in, because tonight is very special, and perhaps this night is God’s key to it all, as we enter into the Lord’s Supper, and His Table.

“For some of you this is your first “Lord’s Supper” on the Passover date.” The Bishop’s eyes fell for a moment on Daniel and his family, and another family present, before continuing. “Your children will have questions, and you will have the chance to explain very important spiritual truths. But this brings up my first topic of discussion, for a change is coming, and I do not think we are going to be able to stop it.”

If it were not silent before, it was now, as the Bishop had the full attention of every person. Was there news concerning the latest Christian persecution? Whatever it was, from the sound in Bishop Daniel’s voice, it must be of utmost importance. The people waited.

“As you know, this House Church has always followed the teachings of Bishop Polycarp, who was discipled by the Apostle John, and taught to observe the Passover in just the way we have always done it; but changes are coming, and they are not small. The Bishops of Rome have been pressing to go this way for quite some time, but we have steadfastly refused. Now they have their eyes on big buildings, large congregations, a short-form Lord’s Supper, and an Easter celebration that ends on Sunday. With changing tides in the air of Rome, these Bishops see their chance coming. They are pressing for the Bishop of Rome to be the one Pope, a title we have not approved of ourself, but he would become the “Holy See” over all, and all other Bishops would be expected to follow his rule, to maintain unity, or be excommunicated.”

“As you can imagine, this will have many effects, including the eventual loss of the Home Church which is so conducive to the Lord’s Welcoming Table, and a closeness we have always enjoyed. So be aware of these things, and as I now will pray and we begin our meal together, this meal symbolically representing the slaying of a spotless lamb, be sure to share with your brothers and sisters, and we can begin to discuss such things as are coming, and prepare ourselves to know what is right, and do what is pleasing in our Lord’s sight.” With that final statement, Bishop Daniel paused, taking one last look around at the flock, and then bowed his head to pray. This was the prayer of thanksgiving and blessing upon the meal about to be partook.

As usual, the fellowship during this time was rich. It was also a time of checking on the family. Usually, if a family was hurting, it could be detected. It was not just about laughing, hugging, and putting up a good front. It was real. If you were hurting, the family wanted to know. Food was passed around with special note being taken of any who seemed to not have much. But also, added to this night was talk of the changes Bishop Daniel had spoken of, along with reminders of why they were here this night for this purpose. Through the blood of Christ, each person here was safe from the Death Angel. After the meal, they would all partake of the Bread representing the Lord’s body, and the Cup representing his blood.

It was a very solemn occasion. Bishop Daniel took the time to explain how the Lord’s Supper, the Passover meal, was a yearly reminder of Jesus great sacrifice to set us free from our captivity to sin. How it was in the death of the sacrificial lamb that each family was saved from the Death Angel. The Passover meal was all about the Lord’s death on that cross, a people set free, and an evil Pharaoh defeated. Tonight was not about the Lord’s resurrection, but about His great love to embrace our Cross, and now we look at His passion for the world, and we enter that same passion, and that same cross.

If anyone was worried about passing so many hours from sundown to midnight, they should not have been so. So much sharing was accomplished in those hours. Each also reminding each other to try and imagine a real Death Angel flew over those houses that night. This was real! In the middle of the night wailing began being heard from the Egyptians, as they awoke to find loved ones dead! But the houses with blood on the doorposts, forming the sign of the cross even as it was applied, were safe.

Elder Joe also walked around encouraging everyone not to take God’s blessings for granted. God has saved us from an eternal judgement. We start our new year by reminding ourself of the curses of Pharaoh, the death of God’s first born Son, and how serious our life in Christ is. Jesus laid down His life for His Bride, even as God’s Word says a man is to love his wife, and give himself for her, even as Christ gave himself for the Church.

There were times of singing and worship, and times of questions and discussion. The night was passing far too quickly. But finally, Bishop Daniel stood to speak again. “Do not forget,” he began, “that Moses instructed the people to keep their clothes and shoes on, and have their staff nearby, ready to go. God had said they would be thrust out by the Egyptians with haste! And it happened just that way, while it was still dark, they were told to leave now! Before we decide to kill you! And they left with such haste there was no time to even add leaven to their bread! After this Passover meal, the Jews entered seven days of unleavened bread, and it was to always be a part of this Passover feast.

In God’s Word, leaven always represents sin. As we have begun this new year, we have the chance to embrace God’s passion and His glory even more than the year before. Let us get the sin out of our life, and live holy unto our God. As you practice the next seven days of unleavened bread, pray and ponder about these things. I want to thank everyone for coming tonight. As usual, a basket is by the door for free-will offerings. We do have needs in the body, and some were made known here tonight. If God has blessed you with extra, obey God in what you should give. With that said, I will ask Elder Joe to dismiss us, and do not feel you have to rush out of here like the Israelites had to. A better sacrifice has been made for us than the blood of any animal, and we rejoice in our High Priest Jesus tonight, and we do remember his death, until He returns. Amen.

Then the Bishop gave the Elder a nod, and a final prayer was prayed. Everyone gave hugs and slowly made their way out into the night. Some families walking together until paths parted with final hugs and handshakes.

Eli felt such a peace inside as he stared up into the night sky, with his little family. Another whole year laid ahead of them now, but he felt very good about the way they had started it. In the years to come, his children would grow up, and House Church would be just a memory for them. They would speak of the closeness they once had. They would question the direction of the current Church, but for the sake of unity they would continue on…until they did not…until such a darkness was upon them that no other choice was possible…and many would be the splinters of the church…and many the cold stone buildings…short-form Lord’s Suppers…and lack of knowing your brother and sister…even to the point of many falling through cracks no one spoke of.

The End

I hope this short story helped. So much more could have been written as far as the many ways those hours from sunset to midnight could have been passed, in which the time would fly. Also, the many things which could be taught from both the Passover in Moses day and the comparisons to what Passover includes for us today. This story was only meant to give a glimpse of the possibilities. To cover it all would require a book.

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Church History & The MAZE IV

20171202_173614 I’ve decided before giving you more quotes from experts and also early church fathers, that perhaps the best way for us to get a real feel about the importance of this, is to simply attempt writing what an early day Christian would have experienced in their Passover/Easter meal, and hopefully, how it might have affected them. An effect, I might add, we’re not getting today. So…here we go!

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“A Lord’s Supper Story”

As Eli walked home from his carpenter’s job, he couldn’t help but be a little excited. This was a special day, the beginning of Passover! This was the first year he and his little family would be celebrating it in the Christian way! He had even left work a little early, on this Friday, so he could get ready. The service would start promptly at sundown, and once inside the door of their House Church, no one was to leave until midnight! Because according to the teachings of Moses, they were to always remember this night, and when their children would ask questions about what they were doing, they were to explain everything to them, about the slavery of Egypt, and the night the Death Angel flew over!

This was the 13th day of Nisan, and a Jewish day always started at sundown, not midnight, or sunrise. For with God, as revealed in the creation story of Genesis, God’s days always go from the time of least light to greater and greater growing light. The path of the just shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day, Eli quoted to himself as he walked.

So at sundown today it would become the 14th day of Nisan, and Nisan being the first month of the Jewish calendar, because God established it so in that time with Moses. God had actually made the month of Nisan their first month of the year, evidently to impress how important all this was.

Eli began running through his mind what had been happening with his forefathers in the days proceeding the 14th. He did not know exactly how many days the battle with Pharaoh and all the ten plagues had taken, but surely at least those first fourteen days had been filled with curse upon curse, and challenges of magicians, some curses even affecting the Jewish camps, before God began to show a difference. With this in mind, he understood that every new year, for the Jew, was a reminder of God’s battle with Pharaoh, and the great deliverance from slavery. This was how each new year started for them.

What must that have been like? All you have known is slavery to Egypt your whole life, and now this Moses shows up and begins a fight with Pharaoh. He says it is God. Yes, it would be nice to be free, but what if we all just end up dead? And so far, things have only gotten worse for us! “Hhmmm,” Eli ponders, “what must they have been feeling?” But finally Moses seems to think an end is drawing near, and everyone is to sacrifice a lamb for their family, put the blood on their doorpost, and seal themselves in the house, even while they are dressed and ready to leave on a moments notice! “Wow,” he thinks again, “What must that have been like?”

Eli knows when he gets home his wife will already have their food mostly ready to go. Their House Church did the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis, and it was known as the “Welcoming Table”. But this particular Welcoming Table only came once a year, the actual day of Passover, and the House Bishop, Daniel, would be sure to make it extra special. Tonight, they would not be leaving church until midnight. And then would begin the seven days of unleavened bread.

As Daniel entered the door of his small home, his two children ran to his arms all excited. “Daddy daddy! Mommy says we have church tonight? Will we get to see Bishop Daniel?” his daughter of ten asked. He had two children, one daughter, Emily, ten years old; and a son, Mark, eight years old.

“Yes children, we will all get to see Bishop Daniel tonight, and your other friends will be there too. This is a very special night. You will hear a great and exciting story! But run along and play now, because daddy needs to get ready.

“Okay, daddy!” and away they went. Mommy stepped closer and they shared a hug. “Everything is almost done. We have enough to share with a few. I’m especially thinking about the Abbot family. Lets be sure to check on them first, okay?”

“Sounds good. I should be ready in just a few.”

Daniel was true to his words and before they knew it they were approaching the door of the House Church, and much to their surprise, someone had painted red on the doorposts! “Daddy look at that!” Emily shouted and pointed. She was always the first to react, while Mark was more contemplative before reacting. “What is that? It’s just smeared on there, daddy! It don’t even look right. Did someone hurt Bishop Daniel’s house?”

Eli and his wife, Sarah, paused at the door and gave each other a look. “You want to answer this one, dear?” Sarah said.

Eli handed the basket of food to his wife, then knelt down on one knee and gathered his children close. “This is part of the story you are going to hear tonight,” he began explaining. “So make sure you pay very close attention, okay? And after Bishop Daniel tells the story, we will talk more of this.”

The children became even more excited once they knew this was part of “The Story” they would hear tonight.

“Why don’t you and the kids head on in,” Eli suggested, “I want to take a moment to breathe the air. Its been a busy day.”

Sarah understood, gathered the children and headed in as Eli opened the door, but then closing it behind them, he stepped back out into what was left of the sunlight. The sun was just beginning to set. It was likely that other families were still trying to get here before the sun went down. He looked back at the red on the door, representing the blood of the lamb that had been slain, because Moses had said…that God said…when I see the blood, I will Passover you.

It was hard to take his eyes off that blood. I bet if any Egyptians saw the Jewish homes with blood smeared on the doors, they probably thought what in the world? Such a gross people! What kind of gods do they serve? Although some had begun to respect this God of Moses, because of the curses. Eli knew that many Romans did not understand their God today, any more than the Egyptians did then. God’s people have always been misunderstood by the world. Even to the point of being persecuted, and those doing the persecuting believing they were doing the work of God!

He was still outside the door. If he stayed out there his family would not have been safe that night, nor any of his livestock. His first born son, and also of livestock, would die as the Death Angel passed over. He needed to walk through that door if he and his family would be saved. And it had to be one of these doors. A door with the blood on it. The Egyptians who did not believe, would have doors with no blood, and their house would be no safer than if they were outside in the elements. But because this door was marked with the blood of a spotless lamb, as long as they were in this house, and did not come out until summoned, they would be safe.

Eli turned and looked at the sinking sun again. Darkness was on the way. The Death Angel waiting his appointed time. There would be great wailing of the lost tonight. His children would learn this story and what it all means, but first there would be intimate fellowship, around a meal, just like the Lord had with his family that night. And those who had more would share with those who had less. And by the food they bring, it would be known who had more, and who had need. A special offering would be taken at end of service, and those having plenty would have a chance to give; and to be given to those with less.

Eli saw two families on there way to the door. With a big smile he greeted them, and as they entered, so did he. Once entering this door, he was not to come back out until the summoning.

Bishop Daniel was carefully greeting everyone, and also explaining that Elder Joe was stationed at a window watching the sun, and as soon as it dropped, the official service would begin, which meant the Lord’s Supper begins!

The food was not placed on one big table, like a pitch in, but each family kept their own, and it was up to them to share. The children especially loved taking things around and sharing with others. It was not merely to those who lacked, but it was also a sharing of special things. If someone had a special recipe, or an excellent wine, the family could share with whomever they desired. This also meant a family could be selfish, but with as much teaching as Bishop Daniel did concerning the “love of God”, and the Lord’s cross, this was rarely an issue. God’s people loved the chance to share, even if they ended up a little shorted compared to someone else. But the Fellowship worked hard at making sure everyone had plenty.

“It’s getting close!” Elder Joe shouted from the window. “Is everyone here?”

“I believe so!” Shepherd Daniel shouted back. “Everyone is in the safety of God’s House!”

“Darkness is coming!” Elder Joe shouted.

“Let it come!” Bishop Daniel answered back. “We are the people of God. We are the people of His light! We are safe in his family, in his light, and in his blood! And everyone says?”

“Amen!” People shouted. And children looked to their parents with questions on their little faces.

Little Mark tugged at his daddy’s sleeve and asked, “Are we to be afraid of the dark, daddy?”

“No my son. Jesus has saved us from the monsters of the darkness. See how we are safe in this House? And because of ‘The Story’ you will hear tonight, you will never need to be afraid of the darkness, no matter where you go, if you have Jesus in your heart.”

Little Mark thought for a moment, and then said, “I like that, daddy. I will keep Jesus very close in my heart, so I never need to be afraid of monsters.”

“Amen, my son. Amen!” And with that, Eli scooped up both his children and gave them a hug.

“Lock the door!” Elder Joe shouted. “No one else can come in! The sun has set, and the darkness is upon us!”

“To be continued.”