“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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Easter or Passover?

Little did I know that I would be doing something different for Easter this year, such as defending Bishop Polycarp, the early church father of Smyrna.

Even defending the early churches of Asia Minor, against the ways of our modern church. Little did I know.

As a matter of fact, I discover “little have I known” for all these years now. It’s rather disturbing when I think about it. Sixty years of going to church, and Easter Sundays in which we put on our Sunday best and celebrated the resurrection of Christ, along with taking the Communion.

Over these years I have witnessed the slow evolution of Easter Sundays changing from a “dress-up day”, to a more casual day which included an Easter bunny and egg hunt at the end. Such progress we have made, and yet if Polycarp were here, or the Apostle John, they would likely say we have made no progress at all since we digressed, (un-progressed), way back around 300 A.D.!

So this year, much to my surprise, I find myself preparing to do a “Christian Version Passover Meal and Communion” with a handful of people. Have I ever done this before? NO. Do I know what I’m doing? I’ve learned enough to be able to do better than most churches will be doing this Easter. Does that sound conceited? Well… if you studied the historical records as I have the last couple months, you might realize I’m simply doing the best I can, in my own humble effort, to resurrect something the church let die many years ago. Something Polycarp, devoted disciple of Apostle John thought was extremely important. I’m resurrecting the “Welcoming Table” of our Lord. (In my own simple way.)

But I have written a considerable amount about all this in our blog-journey leading to this point, so today’s goal is to simply type in some pieces of early writings, historical records, as evidence I’m not losing my mind or making this stuff up.

And since I’m not the best typer: I only do this because of my great concern. I would not be attempting this unless I felt it so important. I want this blog site to be a source of important information for what God might be doing in the earth today. I don’t expect anyone to take my word for anything. Simply consider the evidence, and search for yourself.

If you want to research these for yourself, it might be possible to google. I bought books. 5000 pages worth of books! (LOL) So I have not tried the google thing. But I’m about to type excerpts of early church father “Irenaeus”, born around 130 A.D., and said he had actually sat under teachings by Polycarp. Another source is “Eusebius”, who put to record much early church history and lived during the time of Constantine.

I hope this will be helpful for your own consideration, but it will only be so if you are serious about what Christ first started as the church. If you think there is no danger in the changes we have made, or it’s too difficult to do anything now, then this won’t be much help to you. So for those who take such things very seriously, I make this effort.

Irenaeus: Fragment 3 (some excerpts) > “And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points, they were at once well inclined towards each other (with regard to the matter at hand), not willing that any quarrel should arise between them upon this head. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance (Passover) (in his own way), in as much as these things had been always so observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant…”

(However, as I wrote in earlier articles, this Passover/Easter controversy would grow more heated as the years went by, and around 300 A.D., after Polycarp is long gone, Rome forces its way on the matter.)

Now here is some excerpts from Eusebius.

Eusebius: History Book 5 – Chapter 23 > A question of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the 14th day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour’s  passover.” 

“But it was not the custom of the churches of the rest of the world to end it at this time…”

Synods and assemblies were held on this count…” (The synods voted in disagreement with the Asia churches.)

Chapter 24 > “But the Bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them…”

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen to sleep…” “Among these are Phillip, one of the twelve apostles…” “And moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord,…” “And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr…” (a few others are also mentioned.)

“All these observed the 14th day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith.”

“And I also, Polycrates,…” “For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven.”

“I, therefore, brethern, who have lived 65 years in the Lord, and have met with the brethern throughout the world, and have gone through every holy scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘We ought to obey God rather than man.’

Chapter 25 > “Those in Palestine whom we have recently mentioned, Narcissus and Theophilus, and with them Cassius, bishop of the church of Tyre, and Clarus of the church of Ptolemais, and those who met with them, having stated many things respecting the tradition concerning the passover which had come to them in succession from the apostles,…”

Okay, wow…I hope that’s enough to show evidence of the importance of this observance that was changed by Rome in the day. It’s not only about the day it is observed on, but how it is observed too. If you read in your own Bible, in I Corinthians 11: 17-33, you will note this was a meal! Like Jesus had a meal with his disciples that night. It was a meal, and it was like family. The emphasis was on his death, not his resurrection. We have lost the proper emphasis along with the proper method and the proper “a lot of things” when it comes to all this. Yes… the machinery of our modern church scares me. When we came out of Catholicism, it seems we did not come all the way out, but carried baggage with us.

So at the age of 62, this year, there is going to be red on the doorpost of my house, and we’re going to talk about many things as we share a meal, and unleavened bread. It will start at sundown and end at midnight; and it will not be hard to fill the time. We have a great many things that need to be said…perhaps even resurrected.

One last thing: As I was reading I Corinthians 11, something occurred to me I had not realized before. Paul says in verse 23 that he is passing on what he received of the Lord! Now realize that Jesus was already gone by the time Paul was called to be an Apostle! So… as detailed in II Cor. 12, and Galatians 1: 11-24, Paul “somehow” had personal time with Jesus! And in this time, “evidently”, Jesus thought it important enough to also instruct Paul concerning the Lord’s Supper! And Paul is herein sharing some of those details!

If it is that important, that Jesus made it part of his personal instructions to Apostle Paul, then maybe we should pay this a little more attention, and ask our full-time, paid-staff experts, what’s going on here? Why are we ignorant concerning these things? Are we being sold a blue light special relationship to Christ?

It seems like a photocopy machine. I hate to say it. The church should be better than this. By the power of God we’re not subject to fading. But the more copies that have been made from copy to copy, the more our current copy seems to be a far cry from the original. But we still have God’s Word in which to ferret out the truth if we care enough.

I know this is a lot to think about, but for your own sake, and the sake of the Lord’s church, please do.

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“Fellowship of the White Path” / Grandpa White Feather.

“Making Passover Bread?”

I’ve never been much of a cook. I mostly just don’t like taking the time for it. Especially when you add “clean-up” in. My specialty has always been breakfast foods. My second specialty is taking cheap can soup and adding celery, mushrooms, onions, cucumber, and rice to make it not so cheap soup. But in this journey of Early Church discovery, I have learned of the “Christian Passover Meal”, also known as the “Welcoming Table”, and my wife and I plan to conduct our first Christian Passover Meal this 30th of March.

None of the Churches I have spent my life going to, holds such a meal. So I guess I got to do it myself. Why our churches are not concerned that Bishop Polycarp, disciple of the Apostle John, defended this practice as a matter of importance, I do not know. Why we are taught so little about the practices of the early church fathers, I do not know and I find it highly suspect! I have learned so much in these studies! Why I am having to do this myself, I do not know.

Therefore, I have chosen to join Bishop Polycarp, and the Church of Smyrna in this practice. Even though I’m sure my knowledge is limited, I believe God is pleased that I’m making such an effort with the knowledge I have been able to glean. And just like God planted the “Tree of Life” and the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” close together in the Garden of Eden; I am doing my best to keep the “Tree of Life” very close too, as I learn this new knowledge.

It turned out to be quite an adventure. Yes, this is a picture of my wife with flour on her nose. I don’t know how she got it there, but it was a good laugh. I thought this was going to be easy to make. It’s basically just flour and water with some olive oil and salt added at the end. But not being much of a cook myself, I did not realize you only have so many minutes to mix and knead the dough, and get it spread out! It ended up being like a race on one of those cooking shows! And I lost! I did not make the time! But I must have been close enough because it still cooked up, thank the Lord!

Part of the Christian Passover Meal is all about family; both personal family, and church. So we decided we would try our first effort at my mom and dad’s, in order to add some variety to their day. They got a kick out my wife and I racing around the kitchen trying to make the time limit, but miserably failing. We had my mom working the timer clock. But all is well that ends well they say, and the Matzah bread came out excellent! Especially the ones we kept the olive oil just a light coating, (like the instructions said). But I like olive oil and tried a heavier coating on a few. The bread lost some of its crispiness and was not as good.

So we continue on our Early Church Journey and with our seven days of unleavened bread we will not starve in the wilderness, although I must admit it’s not real filling. I think my cheap soup will be excellent with it! Yes! Country boy will survive!

However, it still bugs me that I see so little concern from our modern Pastors as to how far we have drifted from the church Jesus started. Have we progressed, found a more excellent way than those directly taught by the Master himself? (I seriously doubt it.) Not when I look around at how much our modern church has in common with the ways of our modern world. I’m not even a Pastor, and it greatly concerns me, so much so I decided to explore on my own if need be. I hope you’re with me on this journey. I hope you’re learning things too. We are ships at sea, powered by the Wind, seeking Treasure Islands, and when we find them, we dig up the treasure and enjoy. May God’s Wind always be in your sails. Amen.

samuel-zeller-34761-unsplash“Fellowship of the White Path” / Grandpa White Feather.

“Death of the Old Man”

20170430_132246 It has been my hope that I’m not taking this journey alone. It has been my hope that when others would see strong evidence, provided by the early church fathers, and confirmed in our Bible, that there would be those stirred from our modern comforts of mediocrity to join in this journey. Jesus walked the Red Path so we could walk the White! Do we feel that? Do we identify and embrace it for ourself? Do we show our love for Him in the same way He showed it for us, by our cross? Are we Americans “blue light special christians”? (small “c” intentional.) Is that good enough for us? Is that what we want to be as we embrace the pleasures of this world?

Why is it so important that Polycarp stood up against the change Rome wanted to bring to the “Christian Passover Supper”? Why is all of this so important? Do we not care that we’ve been sold a weak and sickly cow, instead of a strong and healthy bull? We’ve been told, “Buy into this! This will make you strong in the Lord!” But like Jesus said to the church of Laodicea: “…and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”

I did not know I would discover a “Master Key”. God in his wisdom provided a Master Key, and he made it the Lord’s Supper! (How incredibly like God!) Once I saw the change of emphasis that for some reason Polycarp seemed to be so intense and distraught about, everything else began to unfold. I had explored some false rabbit trails that wasted my time, twisted my mind, left me near ready to give up; but when I began trying to understand what Polycarp was so upset about, the MAZE started opening!

The Cross! “By faith Moses when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt…” (!)

And God chose “THIS MAN” (Moses!), to be the one through which the Passover Meal would come about! The choice Moses made, before he was then chosen, is symbolic of everything we are talking about. This is the choice we made at the altar that day we got saved! A choice to leave this world for the greater values of the Kingdom of God! But are we indeed doing this, or have we like so many others… slid with the slight-of-hand?

Let me show you this same shift in another way. It is amazing how many ways this “slight of the devil’s hand” has permeated everything. As in our short-form Lord’s Supper, which as we celebrate the Lord’s Meal, the Passover, has become a Resurrection service on Sunday, we call Easter. In most churches even Peter Rabbit comes to church on that particular Sunday, but that is not the item I’m talking about. Keep your eyes on “the shift”, the slight of hand. (Peter rabbit is just  by-product of the magician’s show.)

Did you REALLY understand the supernatural event your Baptism symbolized and testified to the world on that day? Assuming you were even told how important it was for you to get Baptized, and assuming you knew that meant complete immersion in water. I’m sure many of today’s Pastors would argue with me on this, because of the way we have been raised to think, the slight-of-hand; but the emphasis of that Baptism is the DEATH OF THE OLD MAN! Once again, the emphasis is meant to be DEATH! And why is that so important?

You may have been sold the sickly cow of “once saved, always saved”, but that simply is not true. If we thought we were being baptized into an easy ride to heaven, that simply is not true! If we don’t make the same choice Moses made, that resurrection is not yet ours! And this is all vividly shown in the Christian Passover Meal. What we have right now is that cross! The resurrection is future! He that endures to the end shall have it. And yes, nothing will separate us from God’s love. He will always love us even if we prove to be the sinner he has to judge on judgement day. He loves every person alive on this earth, and proved it on that cross when he died for the sins of “the world”! But we show our love for him through a death also, a death to our old man, and a life of sin, a life spent on SELF.

The DEATH is the important thing, because if the DEATH happens, the walking in the NEWNESS of LIFE will be automatic! (By that I don’t mean “easy”, just that it is sure to happen. A good tree will bear good fruit. Agape love.God’s love.) But God knows who we are, and our continual need to embrace a cross, and this only happens through the power of the Holy Spirit. Satan knows he’s got to divert our eyes from the cross, if he is going to pull off his evil magic show. The master of illusion, sucking us in.

ROMANS 6:3 > “Know ye not, that so many of us that were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”

I was baptized at age of twelve, and even at that age, I wish I had been required to sit down with the Pastor and been taught “in detail” what that Baptism was supposed to mean to me, other than an escape hatch from hell. The scriptures go on to say we were baptized into his DEATH, “so that” we could be raised into a “walk” (present tense), that the world would say…Wow! Look at the change! Can you believe Moses has actually left us? He left all the pleasures we Egyptians gave him? He’d rather suffer with those stupid Israelites, who claim to be the people of God? Look at them! How stupid! Obviously our Gods are much more powerful than whoever their God is. Who would want to live like that? He deserves whatever he gets! After we were so good to him!

However…as they say…it is not he who starts a race well…but he who finishes well. I got to say…Egyptians are not known for finishing well in the Bible. And I guess they convieniently would not consider how evil they were being to God’s people, as they were being good to Moses. I’m so glad Moses had a heart to see the truth, and not serve self, even when his personal cost was so high! He lost everything but his life, and barely kept that.

I need to add one more thing before we close. As the Israelites were rushed out of Egypt that Passover night, God was not finished painting US his picture. That painting even goes into the Promised Land and unto David. But the first thing we see is the Israelites trapped against the Red Sea, and Pharaoh in hot pursuit! As I hope you know, the Red Sea became a picture of Baptism immediately following salvation. (As immediate as possible.) But it is a Baptism of DEATH!

Pharaoh and his armies die there, but also the Israelites are not delivered into the Promised Land on the other side, but into the WILDERNESS, where they will receive the LAW! And remember this, because they failed to “die to self” and trust God, the “OLDER GENERATION”, or “THE OLD MAN”, all died in the wilderness! (Except for the 2 who successfully died to self.) The wilderness is a picture of the old man dying! And then there is another “CROSS”-ing, (a 2nd CROSS), a picture of complete surrender, maturity, fullness of Holy Spirit, into the Promised Land. Wow! What a painting! But what has Satan done in his slight-of-hand?

Today…many people think you can skip the wilderness, not die to self, and jump right into the Promised Land, which they picture as a place where they live in milk and honey. (Have you ever studied their life in the Promised Land??? Maybe we need to study in detail, God’s version of milk and honey?)

In Satan’s painting, a perverted image of the real, the wilderness is belittled and lost in all the talk of the Promised Land. Because Satan knows, if he can keep our eyes looking back to Egypt, we will be judged in that wilderness, and never make that second “CROSS”ing. Can it be any more plain?

I really wish more people would comment on how they feel about our modern version of Church. I’m looking more and more at Home Church, Micro-Church. This is a movement that doesn’t seem to be going away, and is growing stronger day by day. I will likely write about what I learn eventually, but my journey still has a lot of “checking” to do. I recently read a whole book on the “Church of Christ”. It did cause me to get a little stronger in defending my faith. But in the end, I still did not see what I’m looking for. (Not that they don’t have something to offer, as today’s churches go, but it still don’t fit what I believe is out there…somewhere!)

I know I’m not the only one having these thoughts about our modern church. But how many of us are actually making an effort to “change”? Learn, seek, and find. I do not know. If the amount of comments I receive on this site is any indication, then I would guess not many. Most are content in our modern mediocrity, or see no real problem. The sickly cow must be blind also. How convienient for the devil. If this article seems hard to you, compare it to our Lord’s words to Laodicea. You’ll find I’m a kitty-cat compared to HIM. Selah.

My journey continues. I think I got a long ways to go, but I’m not giving up, and I’m very excited about the progress I’ve made so far! I’ve seen so much I never saw before. We are doing a Christian Passover Meal at our house this 30th of March, starting at sundown and running to midnight. So far I’m having trouble finding anyone to do it with us. Some of my friends no longer trust me because I left “their” church, and since I have not found another yet. And then other people I know, don’t like the idea of being up so late with their children, and for something they don’t see the importance of anyway. I’m not discouraged because this is my first year doing this, a year for learning, and once I do find a church, it will be with a people who do see the value of such a thing, or I won’t be going there. Next year will likely be different.

I have done much research, study, and writing of all these things in previous articles. So if you have questions about how I got to the place I currently am, I have detailed pretty much every step of the journey. It’s all here if you have a desire to know. Our Lord willing…more to come soon…including our experience in the Lord’s Passover Supper. The Jews believe that night is the most powerful night of all year to be set free from something. Well…I know the name of Jesus is always FULLY powerful…but if something in that night increases my own faith, humility, and obedience? Well, who’s to say?

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“Fellowship of the White Path” / Grandpa White Feather.

Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness before his baptism in the River Jordan, the same 2nd River Israel had to cross. The Jews spent 40 years! Hhmmmm? (And then a dove decended, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Wow! What a picture!)

 

Church History & The MAZE V

20171117_161659 So what do we have now? How does Early Church / Pre-Catholic, (Say 33 – 270 A.D.), compare to what we have today? And then ask yourself, “How do I feel about this?” Also ask, “Is there anything I should do?” Here we go…

1.) In earlier articles we showed how Jesus made a shift from the Jewish synagogues and took his Gospel message into “Homes”, the Homes of common people, where instead of preaching from a stone altar, he sat at a simple Table in your house. Instead of a focus on bigger stone temples, he focused on “Heart Temples”, God in our heart. He got in trouble every time he spoke in the Temples, but he flourished in the Homes.

2.) We see the House Church Bishops, starting with Polycarp of Smyrna, standing up to the Bishops of Rome at least until 250 A.D.. There was no “Holy See” in Rome! But as a pagan Emperor named Constantine rose to power, so did the Bishops of Rome. There was great pagan influence in the Church business during this time. And as the Rome Bishop gained more power, the Christian way of Passover Feast was changed into a short-form full of ceremony and pomp. It was no longer the “Welcoming Table“, but a stone altar. And the Holy See gladly accepted the large buildings Rome now offered. The shift Jesus had intentionally established was UNDONE. In effect, it was a shift back to synagogue. And for the most part, this is where we still are today.

3.) Here is one effect of the large fancy buildings: DEBT/MONEY/BIG BUDGETS/PRESSURE/SLAVERIES/BILLS/TAXES/LOSS OF FREEDOM/LOSS OF INDEPENDANCE. Most of our modern churches have a threat constantly hanging over their heads. Got to have a certain amount of money, or we lose everything! We got to PLEASE PEOPLE, or we lose everything. Free-will offerings, a basket by the door is no longer the way, and since we no longer bring everything into a common stock, then we must pull Old Testament “LAW” of tithing and force it into the NEW TESTAMENT covenant. If you’re not giving at least 10%, you’re robbing God! You cannot teach the tithe from the New Testament, a church which started by bringing all things common and a tithe message would have been ridiculous anyway. Ever thought about it?

4.) For a long time, ministers were servants, not superstars. They lived off free-will offerings, and they served their people. They shepherded their flocks and led them into green pastures, and I’m not talking about money. The Cross was very real in their life, not only because they might end up nailed to one, but also the Lord’s Supper still had an emphasis on the CROSS more than the resurrection! For as often as ye partake of this cup you do show the Lord’s ‘death’ until he returns. (But here again, a shift was made by the Bishops of Rome. Bishop Polycarp and the Asia Minor churches fought that change faithfully, declaring they were taught of the APOSTLES how to have a proper Lord’s Supper. But the Bishops of Rome even over-ruled the APOSTLES.) That’s ignorance gone to seed, if you ask me.

5.) In our large churches we have Pastors who do not really know us, and people following Pastors they do not really know either. We have superstar talent and expensive stage lights. We have large congregations, but we are not “family” with each other. And like the Post Constantine church, we have people attending church just because of the “benefits” it affords, not to take up their own personal cross of real sacrifice. Agape Love looks strangely like a cross. Have you ever noticed?  Christianity has camouflaged materialism into simply the right to be successful. I’ll never forget when my last Pastor opened a service teaching about how Jesus did not have a place to lay his head, and immediately followed it by promoting the Harley Davis motorcycle ride they were having the following weekend! (In the meantime, more people starve and suffer lack every day.) They saw no oxymoron in all this.

6.) The Apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 11:17-33, writes to a church having inner struggles, but he describes a way of doing things I’m not familiar with in our modern churches. He gives a few of the details of a proper Lord’s Supper. He admonishes them for not really focusing on the Lord’s Supper, and having divisions among themselves, eating their own food and not sharing with the needs of others. He says they disgrace God’s church and shame the poor. He describes a meal! He describes sharing and checking on those in need. He goes on to speak of the communion of the Bread and the Juice, and speaks of how it announces the Lord’s DEATH until he comes again. What church today celebrates the Lord’s Supper the same way Paul speaks of here, and the same way Polycarp fought the Bishops of Rome concerning in his day? Evidently, this was a very important subject in the early church!

7.) These are a few of the things we have found, and wrote of so far. Now…what does it all mean?

Are congregations to large to be able to do a Lord’s Supper in the way it was done then? Is it impossible to maintain a family environment past a certain number of people? Did the early church intentionally seek smaller groups that would multiply outward, rather than larger and larger numbers coming inwardly to a large building, but a smaller area of coverage? Was money less of an issue when there is no large overhead, and the church is debt free? Should we shift back to a “Table”? The Lord’s Table? Should we shift back to an emphasis on the cross more than the empty tomb, of which we do not actually possess without embracing that cross? Have we become the Laodicean church who is rich and has need of nothing? Which just happens to be the last church in those list of churches. Is the hand-writing on the wall? But if we are to shift to smaller groups, where do you find so many trustworthy Bishops? This then requires another shift we got away from…

8.) DISCIPLESHIP! As Pastors and flock are much more personable, we promote from within! God will raise up leaders we already know and trust, proven leaders ready to bishop, oversee a flock faithfully. It seems to be the Early Church way. What can I say? I don’t know if this is even possible anymore? I know Home Churches are a rising thing here in America, and pretty much a necessity in hostile lands. Is this God’s hand moving us back to our good beginning? My wife and I have concluded this much, for those who miss that first church empty tomb, known as the rapture; I’m pretty sure the foolish virgins will discover the 666 forces us back into the early mode of church. What do you think?

Today has been sort of a regroup and think opportunity. We have covered much territory in our journey for a true vision. Steady progress has been made. I need to give some more early church father quotes and tie up a few more loose ends before we decide where this journey leads next. My wife and I are planning to do an early church Lord’s Supper here at our house this coming 14th of Nisan, which is only 20 days away now. We have never done this before, and I’m still working out my details.

The story I wrote in the previous two articles is somewhat of a pattern and goal. One early church father warned that we must not do the Passover in the same way as the Jews. We have a different agenda and message. We must make sure that what we do declares Jesus as the Messiah they still look for! There is a definite difference in a Christian Passover compared to a Jewish Passover, and that must be made plain. I’m looking very forward to this challenge and blessing.

When I first left the modern church to seek the early fathers, I had no idea a major portion of the evidence and answer would revolve around the Lord’s Supper and Passover. I had no idea I would discover such a thing, and also find myself approaching the very time on the calendar that would allow opportunity to have such a service if I was willing to accept the mission. God timed this. I have to ask myself if that adds any meaning to the search I have made, or has it been pure coincidence? If it is pure coincidence, it’s a mighty big one! 

Therefore I have felt I must accept this challenge. It’s not about how perfect I accomplish some set of rules. Its about the sincerity in my heart. One of the differences in our Covenant, it allows for our honest human short comings. Yes, I want to make it as special, humble, and family as possible. But when God sees the blood OF CHRIST, he passes over my imperfections. If I do what I do because I love Him, and love people, then I’m standing on pretty safe ground. Thank you Jesus.

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“Fellowship of the White Path” / Grandpa White Feather.

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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