Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

5 Nisan/Aviv Second Day Yom Shaynee

"Guard your heart so that you receive wisdom, instruction and understanding with thanksgiving to glorify your God in Heaven", says Adonai

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of Elohim are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O Elohim, you will not despise.

When we offer ourselves broken and contrite, it is acceptable to Elohim and helps us draw near. To sin is to walk away from Him and His presence. Adam and Eve hid from ADONAI when they sinned. Sin stops us from dwelling near him. The offerings help right our wrong and are the fruit of our repentance.

True love is sacrifice. The opposite of sacrifice is selfishness. Elohim has loved us since the beginning and even gave His Son for us that we would not be destroyed. Yeshua also loved us and gave His own life for us. What have we done in return? What great thing have we given to him?

Torah (Instruction from God) teaches us how to love Elohim. Yeshua says if you love Him keep His Commandments. But what can we really give Elohim? He created it all.

The only thing we can give Him is our choices. It's the only thing we own. We can sacrifice our self serving ways and stop sinning, study His Torah to find out how to love Him, and thank Him for everything. Is it really that big of a list?

Is keeping His Sabbaths such a burden when He gave His life for us? Nobody wants to be in a one sided relationship. This is what was so despicable about the golden calf in Exodus chapter 32. After all ADONAI did for Israel they gave the glory to a piece of gold they made.

Let's look at ways we can show our love for Elohim and our Mashiach that will help us draw closer to them.

1John 5:3 For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.

In Haftarah Vayikra Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 43:22 , we see ADONAI saying that the children of Yisra'el are weary of Him, they have not honored Him with offerings and incense. Yet He says it is not His joy to receive all their sin sacrifices, they have burdened Him with their sins and wearied Him with their lawlessness. Many people today think the Torah and Elohim's law is a bother and a burden they can happily do without. But it is only a burden if they break it. It was put there for them to help them and yet they have made it grevious, this shows they do not love Elohim.

When we sin it creates separation between Man and Elohim. Messiah came to be our intercessor. When we sin like the golden calf we walk away from Elohim and push Him outside the camp. Moshe, a peacemaker, brought the Israelites back together under the sacrifices of the Priesthood,under the Mosaic Covenant just as our Messiah cleans us up and helps to bring us near through (Korban or offerings).

The very fact Elohim made a system for us to be restored shows His great love and mercy and His desire to dwell with us even though we have walked away from Him. Elohim is faithful to us, it is us who are unfaithful in this relationship. When we walk away from Elohim by sinning He doesn't chase after us, but He does create a path by which we can return to Him. In this weeks parasha we see the offerings were a way He helped man atone for sin and draw close to Him. And thru His son, Yeshua Who was the better sacrificial offering, our sin was put upon Him.

The oldest name known for this third book of the Torah is “The Law of the Priests.” But since the service in the Mishkan was given to the tribe of Levi, it was named in the Greek Septuagint translation, “Leviticus.” In the Jewish tradition of naming a book by its first word, this book is also known as “Vayikra,” “He Called.”

Vayikra deals with two fundamental concepts, the offerings to ADONAI symbolized by an animal sacrifice, and holiness, the purity of life, action and thought – “You shall be holy for I, your God, am Holy.”

These offerings, or sacrifices, are divided into two categories, individual offerings and congregational offerings. These sacrifices were given as mere shadows and spoke of the redemptive work of the prophesied Messiah for every human being individually and for the unique nation of Israel as one entity. Yeshua Messiah indeed came to offer Himself as a better sacrifice which replaced all others sacrifices under the Mosaic Covenant.

A sacrifice, in this Mosaic context, can be a “burnt-offering” expressing the surrendering of oneself to God’s will; a “peace-offering” expressing one’s gratitude for God’s bounty and mercy; or a “sin-offering” expressing sorrow of sinning against God and the firm resolve to be reconciled with Him.

The Parashah begins with these words, Vayikra 1:1-2: “ADONAI called to Moshe, and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Yisrael, and say to them, “When a man among you brings an offering to ADONAI, you shall bring it from animals, from the cattle or from the flock shall you bring your offering.”

From these opening words the sages left for us insightful teachings. “An offering” is the Hebrew word Korban. The meaning of the root of this Hebrew word is "coming near," because an offering is the means to bring ourselves closer to God and to elevate ourselves.

Ancient idolaters believed that animal-offerings were needed to appease the anger of a judgmental, bloodthirsty god. This is totally foreign to Jewish belief. The Torah teaches that offerings are a means to draw closer to ADONAI — the Merciful God. Thus, the verse begins by speaking of “an offering to ADONAI,” but it concludes with “your offering,” omitting mention of Hashem. Homiletically, the verse teaches: if your offering to God comes from yourself — representing your sincere effort to draw closer to Him — then your offering has the exalted status of an offering to ADONAI. But if you merely go through the motion of performing the physical acts of the service just as a religious act, then, unfortunately, it remains merely "your" offering.

Even though the animal offerings do not apply to us today the principle of bringing an offering to God — our prayers, our worship, our time, our finances — remains as a teaching in our walk with Adonai and in our quest for holiness. The Brit Chadashah(New Testament) gives us further insight into these sacrifices for we read in Hebrews 10:1-10: “For the Torah, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the actual things, can never by the same yearly sacrifices, which they offer continually, make perfect those drawing near. Otherwise, would these not have stopped being offered, because the worshipers, having experienced purification even once, would no longer have had consciousness of sin? But by those sacrifices there is a remembrance and a reminder of sins year after year. For it is impossible for the bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He (Yeshua Messiah) comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire but a body You prepared for Me; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not desired. Then I said, `Look, here I am, I have come—it is written about Me in the scroll.` I desire to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first system in order to establish the second. And it is by this that we will have been set apart through the korban (offering) of Yeshua HaMashiach, once and for all."

Yeshua's sacrifice fulfilled and replaced all other ones under the Mosaic covenant. Not only His sacrifice is all sufficient to forgive sin, but it is the only sacrifice that can remove the guilt of sin once and for all. With the advent of Mashiach the Mosaic system of sacrifice was over, Yeshua's shed blood substituted that of bulls and goats. Therefore, God’s requirement for forgiveness of sin remains and His commandments stand. A sacrifice must be made for the forgiveness of sin, except that He provided the sacrifice. The only thing that remains for us to do is to come to Him with a sincere confession of sins and a repentant heart.

But as we approach Passover we must ask ourselves, are our hearts ready for Passover? From Yeshua's sacrifice on that Roman execution cross we learn that if we believe in Him our lives are eternally secure in His hands, but our hearts may have been contaminated from the world around us. The Brit Chadashah teaches that even as believers we sin, but we must strive for holiness and, therefore, confess that sin, because nothing contaminated could come in the present of a Holy God. Passover is a beautiful reminder of not only what Yeshua did for us but also the need for searching and confessing that sin.

“And when the hour had come He (Yeshua) reclined at the table and His emissaries were with Him. And He said to them, “With great longing I have desired to eat this Pesach with you before I suffer. For I say to you that I may by no means eat it until it is fulfilled in the Malchut Hashem.” And having taken the Cup of Redemption, having made the bracha, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves, for I say to you that from now on by no means shall I drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” And having taken the Afikoman and having made the b'rakhah He broke the matzah and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body being given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.” And He took the cup similarly after they ate, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, being shed for you” - Luke 22:14-20.

One thing Yeshua asks us to do, that is, to observe the Passover. Yeshua said, 'Do this in remembrance of Me' and that “this” means partake of the elements of Passover. He said, 'Until I come observe the Passover in remembrance of Me,' because after He comes He will have fulfilled Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, then we will observe those in remembrance of Him. But until He comes again what we will do in remembrance of Him is observe Passover, or the Lord's last Seder. Because that is what He had fulfilled for us, as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Therefore, Yeshua asks us to proclaim His death through the Passover observance.

But, in order to prepare for the observance of Passover we have to search for “chometz,” for leaven in our hearts and to get it out of our lives. Leaven in Scripture is always symbolic of sin; sin that needs to be searched for and eliminated from our hearts. We have our hearts clean but maybe we overlook the little crumbs in dark corners. Why is sin associated with leaven? Because just as a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough, so too a little sin can spread and ruin our lives, our fellowship with Him and with each other.

That was the case in Corinth, so Rav Shaul (apostle Paul) says in the first letter to the Corinthians chapter 5, verse 7: “Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened [in God's eyes]. For Messiah our Passover [Lamb] also has been sacrificed.“ What he is saying to us is: search for chometz, clean out the old leaven, then he continues in verse 8: ”Let us therefore celebrate the feast not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread [the matzah] of sincerity and truth.“

Let's search for chometz in our lives, let's clean our hearts and be holy for He is Holy, and may this Passover feast be celebrated with a true Messianic spirit and joy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Havdalah Ceremony...the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the week.

Shabbat or the Sabbath Day is a gift to us. It is a day of rest from the things that we labor at. For me, it does not mean I will not feed my family..no I enjoy feeding them...but it does mean that we should not do unnecessary things that can be done at another time. If we have cleaning to do...do it on friday or wait till sunday....not on the Sabbath. If I know company's coming and I need to pick up...yes I feel this is ok.

But we must realize...we must get it into our hearts...that He set the Seventh day apart form the other six days. Sunday is not the Sabbath....the Catholic church took sunday for its worship day...and in the Catholic church teachings you can read that they know the Sabbath is the seventh day but because they believe themselves to be THE only church they have the power to change the day of worship from saturday to sunday.

We have authority in Yeshua over a lot of things but NOT to change what God has commanded. No man, be he the Pope or not, has this right. God set forth His Sabbath to be a lasting commandment between His creation and Himself. We are in disobedience when we do not observe and celebrate this.

So, Shabbat is set apart. It is said that it is as though all the days are standing. Then the six ordinary days bow before the Holy. The Sabbath day is crowned as though Queen of the week. The Sabbath should be greeted with joy and a desire to please God for giving us such a great gift....a holiday at the end of each week.

But at the end of Shabbat...what happens?

There is a ceremony called the Havdalah Ceremony. Havadalah means separation. We have the ceremony in order to 'separate' the departing sacred day from the beginning of the ordinary weekday.

"You are to distinguish between the holy and the common and between the unclean and the clean." Leviticus 10:10

We say blessings over our wine/grape juice and over spices and we light a candle. We understand that this is separating Sabbath from the rest of the days...just as God separated the light from the dark and good from evil.

The following website..Hebrews4Christians...explains the ceremony and you will see how beautiful it is.....


Friday, March 27, 2009

Parashat Vayikra (and He called)

2 Nissan/Aviv Sixth Day Yom Ha'shee'shee

At this time...in this new month...our Elohim's first month of months we start our Torah study in Leviticus. It is so wonderful to me that it is about the rules and regulations of the Priests and about the sacrifices.

Yes, Leviticus is a hard book to read and understand but if we look at it with the eyes of enlightenment and the knowledge of Yeshua...we can see more clearly the Way of Yeshua.

And, knowing this is the month of Passover....this is the month of redemption..the month of Judah.....we see Yeshua! Do you see Him?

Here is a teaching from Hope4Israel...enjoy and See the LORD!

Parashat Vayikra (and He called…) Lev.1:1-5:26
Haftarah: Isaiah 43:21-44:23

This week we begin a new book in the Torah, the third one called Vayikra or Leviticus. This parasha focuses on the various offerings and the instructions surrounding each of them. Each week as I read the Torah portion I pray that G-d will reveal something new to me and place a verse or a passage upon my heart. This week as I was reading I noticed a detail that I had not really thought much about before. Moses was told by G-d to instruct the priests that when one of them slaughters a sheep or goat that he should do so on the northern side of the Altar.

“He shall slaughter it (the sheep or goat) at the northern side of the Altar before HaShem; and the sons of Aaron, the Priests, shall throw upon the Altar, all over.” Lev. 1:11

What is one to learn from this commandment? First of all I was reminded that historically the Israelites lived on the southern side of Jerusalem during the days that the Temple stood. Hence, there was sort of separation between the people and the priest, who was G-d’s servant that stood on the northern side of the Altar when he slaughtered the offering. It was this separation between G-d and the people that brought about the need for an offering in the first place.

We have just entered the Jewish month of Nissan (or Aviv). The festival of Passover occurs in this month. We know that Messiah Yeshua is our Passover offering Who laid down His life on the 14th day of Nissan, the exact day that the Passover sacrifice was offered. Although no one knows for certainty where Messiah was buried, it is most interesting there is a cliff just outside the Old City of Jerusalem that looks like a skull. One cannot be sure whether this is Golgotha or not, but in the general area of this place is where the kings of Israel were buried. By the way, all of these things are on the northern side of the Old City. Scripture informs the reader that the tomb in which Yeshua was buried was close to the place where He was crucified (see John 19:41) and the tomb was located in a garden. The place where the cliff that looks like a skull is located contains a first century garden and also a tomb from the first century.

History tells us that the Romans would crucify people in a public place; often times their executions stakes were along roads. The place where the cliff is located is where a major first century road (and intersection) was located.

It seems that Yeshua’s death may very well have occurred on the northern side of the city. What is the significance of this? Yeshua, Who never sinned, is far removed from you and me who are sinful. Perhaps this is reflected in HaShem’s instructions for the priests to stand on the northern side of the Altar (the opposite of where the people dwelt). The priests had to purify themselves to serve in this capacity. The purpose of the offering was to reconcile the one who brought the sacrifice back to G-d. And this is the exact purpose that Messiah laid down His life; in order that man could be eternally reconciled to G-d through the Passover offer; which was the offering for redemption. The fact that the priests were commanded to sprinkle the blood all around, may signify G-d’s desire that all people receive the redemption that Yeshua’s blood brings to all who believe in Him.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Sunday Became the Popular Day of Worship

How Sunday Became the Popular Day of Worship
by Kenneth A. Strand

Contrary to what many Christians believe, Sunday was not observed by New Testament Christians as a day of worship. They kept Saturday, the seventh day of the week.

The question of how Sunday, the first day of the week, replaced Saturday, the seventh day of the week, as the main day of Christian worship has received increasing attention in recent years. One widely acclaimed study, for example, suggests that the weekly Christian Sunday arose from Sunday-evening communion services in the immediate postresurrection period, with Sunday itself being a workday until after the time of Constantine the Great in the early fourth century.[1] Eventually, however, Sunday ceased to be a workday and became a Christian Sabbath." Some simpler and more popular views are that either (1) Sunday was substituted immediately after Christ's resurrection for the seventh-day Sabbath, or (2) Sundaykeeping was introduced directly from paganism during the second century or later. But is either of these views correct? What do the actual source materials tell us?

Both Days Observed.

One thing is clear: The weekly Christian Sunday--whenever it did arise--did not at first generally become a substitute for the Bible seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday; for both Saturday and Sunday were widely kept side by side for several centuries in early Christian history. Socrates Scholasticus, a church historian of the fifth century A.D., wrote, "For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries [the Lord's Supper] on the sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this."[2] And Sozomen, a contemporary of Socrates, wrote, "The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria."[3] Thus, "almost everywhere" throughout Christendom, except in Rome and Alexandria, there were Christian worship services on both Saturday and Sunday as late as the fifth century. A number of other sources from the third to the fifth centuries also depict Christian observance of both Saturday and Sunday. For example, the Apostolic Constitutions, compiled in the fourth century, furnished instruction to "keep the Sabbath [Saturday], and the Lord's day [Sunday] festival; because the former is the memorial of the creation, and the latter of the resurrection." "Let the slaves work five days; but on the Sabbath-day [Saturday] and the Lord's day [Sunday] let them have leisure to go to church for instruction in piety."[4] Gregory of Nyssa in the late fourth century referred to the Sabbath and Sunday as "sisters."[5] And about A.D. 400 Asterius of Amasea declared that it was beautiful for Christians that the "team of these two days comes together"--"the Sabbath and the Lord's day,"[6] which each week gathers together the people with priests as their instructors. And in the fifth century, John Cassian refers to attendance in church on both Saturday and Sunday, stating that he had even seen a certain monk who sometimes fasted five days a week but would go to church on Saturday or on Sunday and bring home guests for a meal on those two days.[7] It is clear that none of these early writers confused Sunday with the Bible Sabbath. Sunday, the first day of the week, always followed the Sabbath, the seventh day. Furthermore, the historical records are clear in showing that the weekly cycle has remained unchanged from Christ's time till now, so that the Saturday and Sunday of those early centuries are still the Saturday and Sunday of today. Later in this article we will return to data from early church history of the second and subsequent centuries to trace the manner in which Sunday eventually eclipsed the Sabbath, but first it is important here to take a look at the New Testament evidence, inasmuch as the New Testament is normative for Christian practice.

How did Christ and the apostles regard the Sabbath and Sunday?

Sabbath in the New Testament. According to Luke 4:16, it was Christ's "custom" to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Moreover, at the time of Christ's death and burial, the women who had followed Him from Galilee "rested the sabbath day according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56), indicating that there had been no instruction from Him to the contrary. They were still observing the seventh day of the week! We may, in addition, take note of the fact that the implication of this text is that when Luke wrote the account several decades after Christ's crucifixion he took for granted that no change in Sabbath observance had occurred. He reports this Sabbath observance "according to the commandment" in a totally matter-of-fact way, with no hint that there had been any new day of worship added in the interim. On the other hand we must also recognize, of course, that Christ was accused of Sabbathbreaking by the scribes and Pharisees. We may take, for example, the incident where Christ's disciples plucked grain as they walked through a grain field, rubbed it in their hands, and ate it (Matthew 12:1-8). And we could also notice several instances of Christ's healing work that ran counter to the Sabbathkeeping views of the Jewish leaders--perhaps most strikingly the incident regarding the man with a withered hand (verses 10-13). What do these experiences mean? In order to understand the situation, one must recognize that Jewish Sabbath observance in Christ's day did not mean simply following Scripture laws but also adherence to strict regulations in Jewish oral tradition. The Mishnah, wherein multitudinous regulations of this so-called oral law were written down about A.D. 200, gives an idea of what Sabbath observance was like among the scribes and Pharisees.

There were both major laws and minor laws.

Additional Sabbath regulations. The thirty-nine major laws listed in the tractate (or section) of the Mishnah entitled "Shabbath" are given as follows: "The main classes of work are forty save one: sowing, ploughing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, cleansing crops, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking, shearing wool, washing or beating or dyeing it, spinning, weaving, making two loops, weaving two threads, separating two threads, tying [a knot], loosening [a knot], sewing two stitches, tearing in order to sew two stitches, hunting a gazelle, slaughtering or flaying or salting it or curing its skin, scraping it or cutting it up, writing two letters, erasing in order to write two letters, building, pulling down, putting out a fire, lighting a fire, striking with a hammer, and taking out aught from one domain into another. These are the main classes of work: forty save one."[8] These thirty-nine laws had many variations and ramifications. It would make a difference, for instance, whether two letters of the alphabet were written in such a way that they could both be seen at the same time. If water were to be drawn from a well in a gourd, a stone used as a weight in the gourd would be considered as part of the vessel if it did not fall out. However, if it should happen to fall out, it would be considered as an object being lifted, and therefore the individual with such an experience would be guilty of Sabbath-breaking.[9] Objects could be tossed on the Sabbath, but there were regulations pertaining to allowable distance and as to whether the object went from a private domain to a public domain, for example.[10] The foregoing are but a very few of the specifics mentioned in the tractate "Shabbath." And in addition to the laws mentioned in that tractate, the Mishnah contains other Sabbath regulations, the largest number of which deal with the Sabbath day's journey. (These are treated in the tractate "Erubin.")

In the context of this sort of casuistry regarding Sabbathkeeping, it is obvious why Christ's disciples were being accused of Sabbathbreaking by their picking and rubbing kernels of grain. One of the thirty-nine major Sabbath laws was "reaping"; another was "threshing." Thus Christ's disciples were both reaping and threshing--breaking two of the major laws of the Sabbath. If they blew the chaff away, they could also possibly have been considered as engaged in "sifting"--in which case they would have broken three different major Sabbath laws. Such "Sabbathbreaking," it must be emphasized, was not against God's commandments as given in Scripture but was purely and solely against the Jewish restrictions. In considering the various miracles that Christ performed on the Sabbath for the purpose of alleviating suffering, it is interesting that Christ Himself never accepted the Pharisees' criticism that He was breaking the Sabbath. Indeed, in connection with the case of the man with the withered hand, He raised a question, "What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days" (Matthew 12:11, 12). After this, He proceeded to heal the man. Thus He emphasized the lawfulness of this kind of deed on the Sabbath.

How about the apostles?

But now, what can we say about apostolic practice after Christ's resurrection? The book of Acts reveals that the only day on which the apostles repeatedly were engaged in worship services on a weekly basis was Saturday, the seventh day of the week. The apostle Paul and his company, when visiting Antioch in Pisidia, "went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down" (Acts 13:14). After the Scripture reading, they were called upon to speak. They stayed in Antioch a further week, and that "next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God" (verse 44). In Philippi Paul and his company went out of the city by a riverside on the Sabbath day, to the place where prayer was customarily made (Acts 16:13). In Thessalonica, "as his manner was," Paul went to the synagogue and "three sabbath days reasoned with them [the Jews] out of the scriptures" (Acts 17:2). And in Corinth, where Paul resided for a year and a half, "he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks" (Acts 18:4; compare verse 11). Thus the evidence in the book of Acts is multiplied regarding apostolic attendance at worship services on Saturday.

The Lord's day.

Some believe that "the Lord's day" mentioned in Revelation 1:10 refers to Sunday. However, when we read the passage, we find no hint of it being either a Sunday or a worship day. John here simply states that he "was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." Although it is true that eventually the term "Lord's day" came to be used for Sunday, no evidence indicates this was the case until about a century after the book of Revelation was written![11]
Most pointedly of all, there is neither prior nor contemporary evidence that Sunday had achieved in New Testament times a status that would have caused it to be called "Lord's day." Another day--the seventh-day Sabbath--had, of course, been the Lord's holy day from antiquity (see Isaiah 58:13) and was the day on which Christ Himself and His followers, including the apostle Paul, had attended religious services, as we have seen.
In fact, there is not one piece of concrete evidence anywhere in the New Testament that Sunday was considered as a weekly day of worship for Christians. Rather, Christ Himself, His followers at the time of His death, and apostles after His resurrection regularly attended worship services on Saturday, the seventh day of the week.
Moreover, when widespread Christian Sunday observance finally did become evident during the third to fifth centuries, this was side by side with the seventh-day Sabbath, as we have seen. The question now arises as to when and how Christian Sunday observance arose.

The first clear evidence for weekly Sunday observance by Christians comes in the second century from two places--Alexandria and Rome. About A.D. 130 Barnabas of Alexandria, in a highly allegorical discourse, refers to the seventh-day Sabbath as representing the seventh millennium of earth's history. He goes on to say that the present sabbaths were unacceptable to God, who would make "a beginning of the eighth day [Sunday], that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead."[12] About A.D. 150, Justin Martyr in Rome provides a more clear and direct reference to Sunday observance, actually describing briefly in his Apology the worship service held on Sunday: "And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things." Next follow prayer, communion, and an offering for the poor.[13] The same writer in his Dialogue With Trypho the Jew manifests an anti-Sabbath bent in a number of statements, including the following: "Do you see that the elements are not idle, and keep no Sabbaths? Remain as you were born."[14]

Rome and Alexandria. Thus both Barnabas of Alexandria and Justin Martyr in Rome not only refer to the practice of Sunday observance, but they both also manifest a negative attitude toward the Sabbath. Interestingly, it is precisely these same two cities--Alexandria and Rome--that are mentioned by two fifth-century historians, Socrates Scholasticus and Sozomen, as being exceptions to the general rule that worship services were still held on Saturday throughout the Christian world as late as the fifth century. What particular circumstances could have led Rome and Alexandria to their early adoption of Sunday observance? Moreover, why was Sunday observance soon (at least by the third century) so readily accepted throughout the rest of Christendom, even when the Sabbath was not abandoned? Obviously, the evidence thus far presented shatters the theory that Sunday was substituted for the seventh-day Sabbath immediately after Christ's resurrection. But likewise incorrect is the opposing view that the Christian Sunday was borrowed directly from paganism early in post-New Testament times. Not only does this theory lack proof, but the sheer improbability that virtually all Christendom suddenly shifted to a purely pagan practice should alert us to the need for a more plausible explanation. Especially is this so when we remember that numerous early Christians accepted martyrdom rather than compromise their faith. Justin himself was such a Christian, suffering martyrdom in Rome about A.D. 165.

Not a substitute for the Sabbath.

At such a time as this, would a purely pagan worship day have suddenly captured the entire Christian world, apparently without any serious protest? Furthermore, if this were the case, how would we account for the fact that the Christian Sunday, when it did arise, was regularly looked upon by the Christians as a day honoring Christ's resurrection, not as a Sabbath? This latter point deserves special attention. In the New Testament, Christ's resurrection is symbolically related to the first fruits of the harvest just as His death is related to the slaying of the Paschal lamb (see 1 Corinthians 15:20 and 5:7). The offering of the wave sheaf (grain sample) of the first fruits of the barley harvest was an annual event among the Jews. But in New Testament times there were two different methods of reckoning the day for this celebration. According to Leviticus 23:11, the wave sheaf was to be offered in the season of unleavened bread on "the morrow after the sabbath." The Pharisees interpreted this as the day after the Passover sabbath. They killed the Paschal lamb on Nisan 14, celebrated the Passover sabbath on Nisan 15, and offered the first-fruits wave sheaf on Nisan 16, regardless of the days of the week on which these dates might fall. Their celebration thus would parallel our method for reckoning Christmas, which falls on different days of the week in different years.

The Resurrection Festival

On the other hand, the Essenes and Sadducean Boethusians interpreted "the morrow after the sabbath" as the day after a weekly Sabbath--always a Sunday. Their day of Pentecost also always fell on a Sunday--"the morrow after the seventh sabbath" from the day of the offering of the first fruits (see Leviticus 23:15, 16).[15] It would be natural for Christians to continue the first-fruits celebration. They would keep it, not as a Jewish festival, but in honor of Christ's resurrection. After all, was not Christ the true first fruits (see 1 Corinthians 15:20), and was not His resurrection of the utmost importance (see verses 14, 17-19)?But when would Christians keep such a resurrection festival? Would they do it every week? No. Rather, they would do it annually, as had been their custom in the Jewish celebration of the first fruits. But which of the two types of reckoning would they choose--the Pharisaic or the Essene-Boethusian? Probably both. And this is precisely the situation we find in the Easter controversy that broke out toward the end of the second century.[16] At that time Asian Christians (in the Roman province of Asia Minor) celebrated the Easter events on the Nisan 14-15-16 basis, irrespective of the days of the week. But Christians throughout most of the rest of the world--including Gaul, Corinth, Pontus (in northern Asia Minor), Alexandria, Mesopotamia, and Palestine (even Jerusalem itself)--held to a Sunday-Easter. Early sources indicate that both practices stemmed from apostolic tradition.[17] This is a view more plausible than that the Sunday-Easter was a late Roman innovation. After all, at a time when Christian influences were still moving from east to west, how could a Roman innovation so suddenly and so thoroughly have uprooted an entrenched apostolic practice throughout virtually the whole Christian world, East as well as West?[18] A reconstruction of church history that sees the earliest Christian Sunday as an annual Easter one rather than as a weekly observance makes historical sense. The habit of keeping the annual Jewish first-fruits festival day could be easily transferred into an annual resurrection celebration in honor of Christ, the First Fruits. But there was no such habit or psychological background for keeping a weekly resurrection celebration. It is probable that the weekly Christian Sunday developed later as an extension of the annual one.

Various factors could have had a part in such a development. In the first place, not only did almost all early Christians observe both Easter and Pentecost on Sunday, but the whole seven-week season between the two holidays had special significance.[19] As J. van Goudoever has suggested, perhaps the Sundays between the two annual festivals had special importance too.[20] If so, elements already present could have aided in extending Sunday observance to a weekly basis, spreading first to the Sundays during the Easter-to-Pentecost season itself and then eventually throughout the entire year.[21] Thus the annual Sunday celebration could have furnished a source from which the early Christians in Alexandria and Rome inaugurated a weekly Sunday as a substitute for the Sabbath. But there is no reason why this kind of weekly resurrection festival had to supplant the Sabbath. And indeed, elsewhere throughout Christianity we find it simply emerging as a special day observed side by side with the Sabbath.

Sunday replaces Sabbath in Rome.

But what factor or factors prompted the displacement of the Sabbath by a weekly Sunday in Rome and Alexandria? Undoubtedly the most significant was a growing anti-Jewish sentiment in the early second century. Several Jewish revolts, culminating in that of Bar Cocheba in A.D. 132-135, aroused Roman antagonism against the Jews to a high level--so high, in fact, that Emperor Hadrian expelled the Jews from Palestine. His predecessor, Trajan, had been vexed too with Jewish outbreaks; and Hadrian himself, prior to the Bar Cocheba revolt, had outlawed such Jewish practices as circumcision and Sabbathkeeping.[22]
Especially in Alexandria, where there was a strong contingent of Jews, and in the Roman capital itself would Christians be prone to feel in danger of identification with the Jews. Thus, especially in these two places would they be likely to seek a substitute for the weekly Sabbath to avoid being associated with the Sabbathkeeping Jews. Moreover, with respect to Rome (and some other places in the West), the practice of fasting on the Sabbath every week also tended to enhance the development of Sunday observance by making the Sabbath a gloomy day. This obviously had negative effects on the Sabbath and could have served as an inducement in Rome and in some neighboring areas to replace such a sad and hungry Sabbath with a joyous weekly resurrection festival on Sunday. As the weekly Sunday arose side by side with the Sabbath throughout Christendom, elsewhere than at Rome and Alexandria, perhaps it was inevitable that eventually the two days would clash quite generally, as they had done as early as the second century in Rome and Alexandria. This did in fact happen, and later in this article we will survey the process by which Sunday finally displaced the Sabbath as the main day for Christian worship throughout Christendom.

A brief summary of the facts ascertained thus far will now be in order:
1. The New Testament silence about the weekly observance of Sunday, in contrast to the recurring statements about the Sabbath, provides convincing evidence that there was no such Sunday observance in New Testament Christianity. (Moreover, the second-century silence regarding the Sabbath and Sunday, except for Rome and Alexandria, is in large part a result of the fact that basically no controversy had developed over the two weekly days except in those two places.)
2. The mushrooming literary evidence from the third through fifth centuries reveals that at last a weekly Sunday had become quite generally observed. Furthermore, throughout most of Christendom it was observed side by side with the Sabbath.
3. The background from Judaism for an annual "first-fruits" celebration on Sunday provided the basis for an annual resurrection celebration among Christians. This was undoubtedly the first step toward a weekly Sunday resurrection festival.

Increased reference to both Sabbath and Sunday.

It is a curious fact that the references dealing with both Sabbath and Sunday increased sharply in the fourth century A.D. and that many of these had overtones of controversy. In some instances, there was an emphasis to keep both days (as, for example, in the Apostolic Constitutions).
On the other side, however, stood the anti-Sabbath church leaders. For example, John Chrysostom, a contemporary of Gregory and Asterius, went so far as to declare, "There are many among us now, who fast on the same day as the Jews, and keep the sabbaths in the same manner; and we endure it nobly or rather ignobly and basely"![23] Earlier we noted that the Sabbath fast--which made the Sabbath a sad and hungry day--helped bring about the rise of Sunday observance in Rome and in some other places in the West. Indeed, as early as the first quarter of the third century Tertullian of Carthage in North Africa argued against the practice.[24] About the same time Hippolytus in Rome took issue with those who observed the Sabbath fast.[25] However, in the fourth and fifth centuries evidence of controversy on this matter heightened. Augustine (died A.D. 430) dealt with the issue in several of his letters, including one in which he gave rebuttal to a zealous Roman advocate of Sabbath fasting--an individual who caustically denounced those who refused to fast on the Sabbath.[26] As another evidence of the controversy, Canon 64 of the Apostolic Constitutions specifies that "if any one of the clergy be found to fast on the Lord's day, or on the Sabbath-day, excepting one only, let him be deprived; but if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended."[27] The interpolater of Ignatius, who probably wrote at about the same time, even declared that "if any one fasts on the Lord's Day or on the Sabbath, except on the paschal Sabbath only, he is a murderer of Christ."[28] (On the Paschal Sabbath, the anniversary of the Sabbath during which Christ was in the tomb, Christians considered it appropriate to fast.) The last two sources noted may indicate that the controversy had extended beyond Western Christianity; but as far as the actual official practice was concerned, only Rome and certain other Western churches adopted it. John Cassian (died about A.D. 440) speaks of "some people in some countries of the West, and especially in the city [Rome]" who fasted on the Sabbath.[29] And Augustine refers to "the Roman Church and some other churches . . . near to it or remote from it" where the Sabbath fast was observed. But Milan, an important church in northern Italy, was among the Western churches that did not observe the Sabbath fast, as Augustine also makes clear.[30] Nor did the Eastern churches ever adopt it. The question remained a point of disagreement between East and West as late as the eleventh century.[31]

The increase in references about the Sabbath--both for and against--indicate that some sort of struggle was beginning to manifest itself on a rather widespread basis. No longer did the controversy center in only Rome and Alexandria. What could have triggered this struggle on such a wide scale in the fourth and fifth centuries?
Undoubtedly, one of the most important factors is to be found in the activities of Emperor Constantine the Great in the early fourth century, followed by later "Christian emperors." Not only did Constantine give Christianity a new status within the Roman Empire (from being persecuted to being honored), but he also gave Sunday a "new look." By his civil legislation, he made Sunday a rest day. His famous Sunday law of March 7, 321, reads: "On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost."[32] This was the first in a series of steps taken by Constantine and by later "Christian emperors" in regulating Sunday observance. It is obvious that this first Sunday law was not particularly Christian in orientation (note the pagan designation "venerable Day of the Sun"); but very likely Constantine, on political and social grounds, endeavored to merge together heathen and Christian elements of his constituency by focusing on a common practice. In A.D. 386, Theodosius I and Gratian Valentinian extended Sunday restrictions so that litigation should entirely cease on that day and there would be no public or private payment of debt.[33] Laws forbidding circus, theater, and horse racing also followed and were reiterated as felt necessary.

Reaction to early Sunday laws.

How did the Christian church react to Constantine's Sunday edict of March, 321, and to subsequent civil legislation that made Sunday a rest day? As desirable as such legislation may have seemed to Christians from one standpoint, it also placed them in a dilemma. Heretofore, Sunday had been a workday, except for special worship services. What would happen, for example, to nuns such as those described by Jerome in Bethlehem, who, after following their mother superior to church and then back to their communions, the rest of their time on Sunday devoted "themselves to their allotted tasks, and made garments either for themselves or else for others"?[34] There is no evidence that Constantine's Sunday laws were ever specifically made the basis for Christian regulations of the day, but it is obvious that Christian leaders had to do something to keep the day from becoming one of idleness and vain amusement. Added emphasis on worship and reference to the Sabbath commandment in the Old Testament seem to have been the twin routes now taken. Perhaps a first inkling of the new trend comes as early as the time of Constantine himself--through the church historian Eusebius, who was also Constantine's biographer and keen admirer. In his commentary on Psalm 92, "the Sabbath psalm," Eusebius writes that Christians would fulfill on the Lord's day all that in this psalm was prescribed for the Sabbath--including worship of God early in the morning. He then adds that through the new covenant the Sabbath celebration was transferred to "the first day of light [Sunday]."[35] Later in the fourth century Ephraem Syrus suggested that honor was due "to the Lord's day, the firstborn of all days," which had "taken away the right of the firstborn from the Sabbath." Then he goes on to point out that the law prescribes that rest should be given to servants and animals.[36] The reflection of the Old Testament Sabbath commandment is obvious.

With this sort of Sabbath emphasis now being placed on Sunday, it was inevitable that the Sabbath day itself (Saturday) would take on lesser and lesser importance. And the controversy that is evident in literature of the fourth and fifth centuries between those who would honor it reflects the struggle. Moreover, it was a struggle that did not terminate quickly, for as we have seen, the fifth-century church historians Socrates Scholasticus and Sozomen provide a picture of Sabbath worship services alongside Sunday worship services as being the pattern throughout Christendom in their day, except in Rome and Alexandria. It appears that the "Christian Sabbath" as a replacement for the earlier biblical Sabbath was a development of the sixth century and later. The earliest church council to deal with the matter was a regional eastern one meeting in Laodicea about A.D. 364. Although this council still manifested respect for the Sabbath as well as Sunday in the special lections (Scripture readings) designated for those two days, it nonetheless stipulated the following in its Canon 29: "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ."[37] The regulation with regard to working on Sunday was rather moderate in that Christians should not work on that day if possible! However, more significant was the fact that this council reversed the original command of God and the practice of the earliest Christians with regard to the seventh-day Sabbath. God had said, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work" (Exodus 20:8-10, RSV). This council said, instead, "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day."

Work forbidden on Sunday.

The Third Synod of Orleans in 538, though deploring Jewish Sabbatarianism, forbade "field labours" so that "people may be able to come to church and worship."[38] Half a century later, the Second Synod of Macon in 585 and the Council of Narbonne in 589 stipulated strict Sunday observance.[39] The ordinances of the former "were published by King Guntram in a decree of November 10, 585, in which he enforced careful observance of the Sunday."[40] Finally, during the Carolingian Age a great emphasis was placed on Lord's day observance according to the Sabbath commandment. Walter W. Hyde, in his Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire, has well summed up several centuries of the history of Sabbath and Sunday up to Charlemagne: "The emperors after Constantine made Sunday observance more stringent but in no case was their legislation based on the Old Testament. . . . At the Third Synod of Aureliani (Orleans) in 538 rural work was forbidden but the restriction against preparing meals and similar work on Sunday was regarded as a superstition.
"After Justinian's death in 565 various epistolae decretales were passed by the popes about Sunday. One of Gregory I (590-604) forbade men 'to yoke oxen or to perform any other work, except for approved reasons,' while another of Gregory II (715-731) said: 'We decree that all Sundays be observed from vespers to vespers and that all unlawful work be abstained from.' . . . "Charlemagne at Aquisgranum (Aachen) in 788 decreed that all ordinary labor on the Lord's Day be forbidden, since it was against the Fourth Commandment, especially labor in the field or vineyard which Constantine had exempted."[41] God's Sabbath never forgotten. And thus Sunday came to be the Christian rest day substitute for the Sabbath. But the seventh-day Sabbath was never entirely forgotten, of course. This was true in Europe itself. But particularly in Ethiopia, for example, groups kept both Saturday and Sunday as "Sabbaths," not only in the early Christian centuries but down into modern times.
Nevertheless, for a good share of Christendom, the history of the Sabbath and Sunday had by the sixth through eighth centuries taken a complete circle. For most Christians, God's rest day of both Old Testament and New Testament times had through a gradual process become a workday and had been supplanted by a substitute rest day. God's command that on the seventh day "you shall not do any work" had been replaced by the command of man: Work on the seventh day; rest on the first. However, all Christians who consider the New Testament as the normative guide for their lives, rather than the decisions of men hundreds of years later, will ask whether the worship day of Christ and the apostles--Saturday, the seventh day of the week--should not still be observed today. We believe it should.

Kenneth Strand was professor of church history, Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, and editor of Andrews University Seminary Studies, when this article was written. He has edited, compiled, or authored many books, including Interpreting the Book of Revelation, A Panorama of the
Old Testament World, and A Brief Introduction to the Ancient Near East. He aided in school planning for
several overseas colleges. Copyright 1978 by Kenneth A. Strand.

1. Willy Rordorf, Sunday: The History of the Day of Rest and Worship in the Earliest Centuries of the Christian Church, trans. by A.A.K. Graham from the German ed. of 1962 (Philadelphia, 1968).
2. Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chap. 22, in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (NPNF) Second Series, Vol. II, p. 132.
3. Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, book 7, chap. 19, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. II, p. 390.
4. Apostolic Constitutions, book 7, sec. 2, chap. 23, and book 8, sec. 4, chap. 33 in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF), Vol. VII, pp. 469, 495.
5. Gregory of Nyssa, De Castigatione ("On Reproof"), in J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 46, col. 309 (Greek) and col. 310 (Latin).
6. Asterius, Homily 5, on Matthew 19:3, in Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 40, col. 225 (Greek) and col. 226 (Latin).
7. Cassian, Institutes of the Coenobia, book 5, chap. 26, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. XI, p. 243. CF. Institutes, book 3, chap. 2, and Conferences, part 1, conf. 3, chap. 1, in NPNF, Second Series. Vol. XI, pp. 213, 319.
8. "Shabbath," 7.2, in Herbert Danby, trans., The Mishnah (London, 1933), p. 106.
9. Ibid., 17.6, in Danby, op. cit., p. 115.
10. Ibid., 11.1-6, in Danby, op. cit., pp. 110, 111.
11. The earliest clear patristic source is Clement of Alexandria. See, e.g., his Miscellanies, book 5, chap. 14, in ANF, Vol. II, p. 469.
12. The Epistle of Barnabus, chap. 15, in ANF, Vol. I, pp. 146, 147.
13. Apology I, chap. 67, in ANF, Vol. I, p. 186.
14. Dialogue, chap. 23, in ANF, Vol. I, p. 206. Several other statements in the Dialogue reveal a similar feeling.
15. J. van Goudoever, Biblical Calendars, 2d rev. ed. (Leiden, 1961), pp. 19, 20, 23, 25, 26, 29. The Boethusians and Essenes actually chose Sundays a week apart because of a difference in their understanding of whether the Sabbath of Leviticus 23:11 was the Sabbath during or the Sabbath after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Moreover, they used a solar calendar in contrast to the lunar calendar of the Pharisees.
16. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chaps. 23-25 (NPNF, Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 241-244), provides the details.
17. Ibid., chaps. 23.1 and 24.2, 3, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 241, 242; Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, book 7, chap. 19, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. II, p. 390.
18. The fact that Victor of Rome could not successfully excommunicate the Asian Christians (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chap. 24, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 242-244) provides further substantiation of this view. If Rome could earlier have influenced almost the entire Christian world, both East and West, to give up an apostolic practice in favor of a Roman innovation, why was she now incapable of stamping out the last remaining vestige of this practice? The only reasonable explanation of all the data seems to be that the Sunday-Easter was not a late Roman innovation, but that both it and Quartodecimanism (observance of Nisan 14) stemmed from apostolic times. For further details, see my "John as Quartodecimanism: A Reappraisal," Journal of Biblical Literature, 84 (1965), pp. 251-258.
19. See Tertullian, The Chaplet, chap. 3; On Baptism, chap. 19, in ANF, Vol. III, p. 678; and On Fasting, chap. 14, in ANF, Vol. IV, p. 112.
20. Van Goudoever, op. cit., p. 167.
21. Philip Carrington, The Primitive Christian Calendar (Cambridge, England, 1952), p. 38, has made this suggestion: Since crops could hardly have been ripe everywhere on the two Sundays especially set aside (day of barley first fruits and Pentecost day), may it not have been implied that any Sunday within the fifty days was a proper day for the offering of the first fruits? For an excellent discussion of the whole question of Easter in relation to the weekly Sunday, see Lawrence T. Geraty, "The Pascha and the Origin of Sunday Observance," Andrews University Seminary Studies (hereafter cited as AUSS) III (1965), pp. 85-96.
22. See Dio Cassius, Roman History, book 68, chap. 32, and book 69, chaps. 12-14, in Loeb Classical Library, Vol. VIII, pp. 394-397, 420-423, 446-451; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book 4, chap. 2, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 174, 175.
23. Comment on Galatians 1:7 in Commentary on Galatians, in NPNF, First Series, Vol. XIII, p. 8.
24. In On Fasting, chap. 14 (ANF, Vol. IV, p. 112), Tertullian indicates that the Sabbath is "a day never to be kept as a fast except at the passover season, according to a reason elsewhere given." He also indicates his opposition to the Sabbath fast in Against Marcion, book 4, chap. 12 (ibid., Vol. III, p. 363).
25. Hippolytus mentions some who "give heed to doctrines of devils" and "often appoint a fast on the Sabbath and on the Lord's day, which Christ has, however, not appointed" (from his Commentary on Daniel, iv. 20; the Greek text and French translation are given by Maurice Lefevre [Paris, 1947], pp. 300-303).
26. See Augustine's Epistles 36 (to Casulanus), 54 (to Januarius), and 82 (to Jerome), in NPNF, First Series, Vol. I, pp. 265-270, 300, 301, 353, 354. They are dated between A.D. 396 and 405. It is Epistle 36 that gives rebuttal to the Roman advocate of the Sabbath fast.
27. English trans. in ANF, Vol. VII, p. 504. This canon is numbered 66 in the Hefele edition (see note 37, below).
28. Pseudo-Ignatius, To the Philippians, chap. 13, in ANF, Vol. I, p. 119.
29. Institutes, book 3, chap. 10, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. XI, p. 218.
30. The first statement appears in Epistle 36, par. 27 (NPNF, First Series, Vol. I, p. 268), and a similar remark is made in Epistle 82, par. 14 (ibid., p. 353). References to Milan are found in Epistle 36, par. 32, and in Epistle 54, par. 3 (ibid., pp. 270, 300, 301).
31. See R. L. Odom, "The Sabbath in the Great Schism of A.D. 1054," AUSS I (1963), pp. 77, 78.
32. Codex Justinianus, 1. iii., Tit. 12, 3, trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 5th ed. (New York, 1902), Vol. III, p. 380, note 1.
33. Theodosian Code, 11. 7. 13, trans. by Clyde Pharr (Princeton, N.J., 1952), p. 300.
34. See Jerome, Epistle 108, par. 20, in NPNF, Second Series, Vol. VI, p. 206.
35. Migne, op. cit., vol. 23, col. 1169.
36. S. Ephraem Syri humni et sermones, ed. by T. J. Lamy (1882), vol. 1, pp. 542-544.
37. Charles J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, trans. by Henry N. Oxenham (Edinburgh, 1896), Vol. II, p. 316. Canon 16 (ibid., p. 310) refers to lections; and the fact that Saturday as well as Sunday had special consideration during Lent, as indicated in Canons 49 and 51 (ibid., p. 320), also reveals that regard for the Sabbath was not entirely lacking.
38. Ibid., Vol. IV, pp. 208, 209.
39. Ibid., pp. 407-409, 422.
40. Ibid., p. 409.
41. W. W. Hyde, Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire (Philadelphia, 1946), p. 261.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why do bad things happen?

If you think God does not require blood for blood or does not punish anymore...think again.

Blood is Now Required

Posted: 25 Mar 2009 11:38 AM PDT

Joseph Herrin (03-25-09

Genesis 4:9-10
Then Yahweh said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said,"I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground."

From the beginning of man God has avenged the death of the innocent. Many Christians today have been taught that God no longer acts as an avenger of innocent blood. They have been told that God is now all love and kindness and mercy with no justice or wrath. The apostles of the early church held no such conception about God having changed in this way. Consider the words of the apostle Paul.

Romans 12:19
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.

Hebrews 10:28-31
Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

These words, and many more, reveal that God is yet a God of justice. Vengeance has been, and continues to be, a righteous attribute of the almighty God. Rather than diminishing this aspect of Yahweh’s holy nature, Paul says, "How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the blood of the covenant..., and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" Paul says "We KNOW Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay."

Paul does not say, "We formerly knew such a One?" He does not say that God has now done away with retribution. He says that there is even greater cause for judgment in this day for man has received a greater grace and a greater light. I say this as prelude to an examination of a story that has been much in the news during the past few days. A plane crashed in Montana killing fourteen people, including seven children. Many of these passengers were related. The people were aboard a private plane en route to Yellowstone National Park for a family skiing vacation. The patriarch of the family, Irving Moore "Bud" Feldcamp III had driven with his wife and one daughter to meet the rest of his family who were flying in. On the plane were two of Feldcamp’s daughters and five of his grandchildren.

A sister in Christ pointed out to me a fact that the news has not been reporting. Bud Feldcamp III is a California businessman who has a holding company called Allcare Medical Management. The name Allcare is a hideous deception, for this holding company operates several "for-profit" abortion clinics in California. Allcare Medical Management operates Family Planning Associates which is the largest "for-profit" abortion provider in the nation. Following is an image of a new facility they have opened in Miramar, a suburb of San Diego.

The California Catholic Daily on February 28, 2008 reported the following:

It seems Miramar’s glass pyramid at the San Diego Design Center may join the ancient Aztec pyramids as a landmark of human sacrifice. In the complex of buildings behind the pyramid, Allcare Medical Management, the holding company that operates the abortion clinic, Family Planning Associates, has leased a 5,685 sq foot space at 7340 Miramar Road, Suite C-205.

According to sources, Bud Feldcamp III and his father Bud Feldcamp IV purchased Allcare Medical Management about two years ago as a business investment, and have been seeking to maximize their profits which are derived from the murder of the innocent. The Spirit of God has been testifying that the cup of iniquity for this nation has reached its fulness and judgment will now fall with great severity. Those who have pursued profit at the expense of spilling the blood of the innocent, will find that the cost of their abominable actions is exceedingly high.

The ancients understood that Yahweh is the avenger of the blood of the innocent.

Genesis 42:22
And Reuben answered them, saying,"Did I not speak to you, saying, 'Do not sin against the boy'; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us."

I Kings 14:10
Therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone.

I Kings 16:2-4
Inasmuch as I exalted you from the dust and made you leader over My people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made My people Israel sin, provoking Me to anger with their sins, behold, I will consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

II Kings 9:6-9
Then he arose and went into the house. And he poured the oil on his head, and said to him,"Thus says Yahweh God of Israel: 'I have anointed you king over the people of Yahweh, over Israel. You shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Yahweh, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free.

These three wicked kings spilled much innocent blood and committed great evil in the sight of God. Yahweh required of them blood for blood. The passage above that speaks of the judgment that fell upon the house of Ahab follows his evil plot to acquire the vineyard of Naboth by conspiring to have him killed. Killing an innocent man did not trouble the conscience of Ahab and Jezebel. To them it was merely a business transaction, a means to acquire the worldly possessions they coveted.

So too did the Feldcamp family act with a seared conscience in their pursuit of worldly comfort and convenience. Without a doubt, the money earned from murdering babies in their mother’s womb was paying for a portion of their luxury ski trip to Yellowstone National Park.

The plane carrying seven members of Feldcamp’s family, including five grandchildren, crashed into a cemetery in Butte, Montana. Yahweh will bring to the grave the families of those who have acted with a seared conscience, and have casually committed abominations in His sight.

Is it merely coincidence that in an hour when the Spirit of Christ is testifying that His judgment is about to fall, that the owners of the nation’s largest "for-profit" abortion clinic would experience this tragedy? The steps of a man are ordered of the Lord. He is the God who has declared, "Vengeance is Mine. I will repay."

Job 21:30
For the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity; they will be led forth at the day of fury.

Undoubtedly mockers will arise. They will scoff at any thought that a righteous God is executing vengeance upon sinners. Yet in recent weeks the Spirit has been revealing signs that judgment will fall upon all wickedness, beginning at His house. Many scoffers will be found among God’s own people, for they have become inured to the thought of a righteous God who judges wickedness.

II Peter 3:3-4
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming?" God bore long with the evil of the people in the day of Noah. Wickedness increased until sin and violence were commonplace. Although Noah was a preacher of righteousness, none heeded his voice. The flood came and took all the wicked away.

We live in another day that is compared to the days of Noah. People are once more occupied with the same worldly pursuits. They have no fear of God before their eyes, and they say, "Where is the promise of His coming?" Yet He will come, and will not delay.

Luke 17:26-31
"And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating , they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed."

Do not these words describe the hour we live in? Where are those in or out of the church who truly expect God to judge the wickedness of the earth? All are alike pursuing pleasure and consumption. Yet suddenly judgment will fall.

Some might object to the fact that seven children were killed in this event. Many have been taught to believe that God will not include children in his judgment of a wicked people. Did not many children perish in the day of Noah as well as in the day of Lot when fire rained down and consumed the cities in the plain of Sodom? Consider the following Scripture:

Ezekiel 9:4-6
And Yahweh said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst." But to the others He said in my hearing, "Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity, and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary."

The horsemen of the apocalypse are coming. A land that has shed much innocent blood will have much blood spilled in it. "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness..." (2 Peter 3:11).

There is a spiritual parable found in the occurrence of abortion in the land. The church has been appointed by Christ to bring forth mature sons in His image. Yet the church has wanted to pursue her lovers and continue her profligate lifestyle. Raising mature sons requires sacrifice and suffering. Therefore, the church has cast out of her midst all those who were beginning to show signs of maturing. God will judge the church for this transgression even as He will judge the act of abortion.

How much severer will be the punishment of those who have insulted the Spirit of grace? Those to whom much is given, much will be required. It is truly an hour to pursue humility and righteousness that perhaps we might be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.

Note: After writing this post I received the following article:

MEDIA ADVISORY, Mar. 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- Some of you may have seen the major news story of the private plane that crashed into a Montana cemetery, killing 7 children and 7 adults.

But what the news sources fail to mention is that the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery owned by Resurrection Cemetery Association in Butte - contains a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary, at the 'Tomb of the Unborn'. This memorial, located a short distance west of the church, was erected as a dedication to all babies who have died because of abortion.

What else is the mainstream news not telling you? The family who died in the crash near the location of the abortion victim's memorial, is the family of Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp, owner of the largest for-profit abortion chain in the nation.

Family Planning Associates was purchased four years ago by Irving Moore "Bud" Feldkamp III, owner of Allcare and Hospitality Dental Associates and CEO of Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino. The 17 California Family Planning clinics perform more abortions in the state than any other abortion provider - Planned Parenthood included - and they perform abortions through the first five months of pregnancy.

Although Feldkamp is not an abortionist, he reaps profits of blood money from the tens of thousands of babies that are killed through abortions performed every year at the clinics he owns. His business in the abortion industry was what enabled him to afford the private plane that was carrying his family to their week-long vacation at The Yellowstone Club, a millionaires-only ski resort.

The plane went down on Sunday, killing two of Feldkamp's daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren along with the pilot and four family friends. The plane, a single-engine turboprop flown by Bud Summerfield of Highland, crashed into the Catholic cemetery and burst into flames, only 500 ft. from its landing destination. All aboard were killed. ..

In my time working for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, I helped organize and conduct a weekly campaign where youth activists stood outside of Feldkamp's mini-mansion in Redlands holding fetal development signs and raising community awareness regarding Feldkamp's dealings in child murder for profit. Every Thursday afternoon we called upon Bud and his wife Pam to repent, seek God's blessing and separate themselves from the practice of child killing.

We warned him, for his children's sake, to wash his hands of the innocent blood he assisted in spilling because, as Scripture warns, if "you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you". (Ezekiel 35:6)

A news source states that Bud Feldkamp visited the site of the crash with his wife and their two surviving children on Monday. As they stood near the twisted and charred debris talking with investigators, light snow fell on the tarps that covered the remains of their children.

I don't want to turn this tragic event into some creepy spiritual 'I told you so' moment, but I think of the time spent outside of Feldkamp's - Pam Feldkamp laughing at the fetal development signs, Bud Feldkamp trying not to make eye contact as he got into his car with a small child in tow - and I think of the haunting words, 'Think of your children.' I wonder if those words were haunting Feldkamp as well as he stood in the snow among the remains of loved ones, just feet from the 'Tomb of the Unborn'?

I only hope and pray that in the face of this tragedy, Feldkamp recognizes his need for repentance and reformation. I pray that God will use this unfortunate catastrophe to soften the hearts of Bud and Pam and that they will draw close to the Lord and wash their hands of the blood of thousands of innocent children, each as precious and irreplaceable as their own.

"I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then." (Deut. 30:19)

Gingi Edmonds is a freelance pro-life activist, writer and photographer based out of Hanford, California. Gingi writes a bi-monthly ProLife Opinion Column and is available for pro-life presentations and speaking engagements. Visit www.gingiedmonds.com for more information.

Here is the website from which this article came: http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/646579835.html

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws/

Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com/

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 5546
Macon, GA 31208


ADAR 29,5769

At sunset we begin a new Jewish month...Nissan or as I think I'd rather call it...Aviv. This is, according to Exodus 12:2...the first of months. The following is a teaching about Aviv..or as it is in the article..Nisan.

What I want you to see is the meaning....of the closeness of our Savior in this month. My friends, it is all about Him!
Look and you will see....ask and it will be given to you.....

Nisan is the first month of the Jewish calendar.
The first commandment given to the newly born nation of Israel before the Exodus from Egypt was: "This month [the month of Nisan] shall be for you the first of the months" (Exodus 12:2).

The month of Nisan begins, in particular, the period (tekufah) of the spring. The three months of this period--Nisan, Iyar, Sivan--correspond to the three tribes of the camp of Judah--Judah, Issachar, Zebulun--who were situated to the east of the Tabernacle. In the Torah, Nisan is referred to as "the month of the spring" (חודש האביב).

In addition, Nisan is the first of the six summer months, which correspond to six levels of direct light (in Divine service--"arousal from above"). This is alluded to in its synonym "the month of spring" (אביב), whose first two letters, alef (א) and beit (ב),are in the direct or straight order of the Hebrew alphabet.

Nisan is also referred to as "the month of the redemption." According to the accepted opinion of our sages: "In Nisan our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt and in Nisan we will be redeemed" (Rosh Hashanah 11a).

Nisan is a month of miracles, as its name stems from the Hebrew word for "miracles" (ניסים). The fact that the name Nisan (ניסן) possesses two nuns (נ and ן) implies according to the sages to "miracles of miracles" (ניסי ניסים). Of the future redemption, it is said: "As the days of your exodus from Egypt, I shall reveal to him wonders." In Chassidut this verse is explained to mean that the wonders of the redemption of the future will be wondrous and miraculous even relative to the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt--hence "miracles of miracles."

Letter: Hei (ה)
The letter hei is the phonetic source for all 22 letters of the alef-beit.

The sages teach us that "with the letter hei God created this world." As it says in the beginning of the second account of Creation (which corresponds to the Jewish calender, beginning from Nisan): "When they were created" (בהבראם) and this word is written in a manner that it means "with [the letter] hei, they were created." Thus, the month of Nisan signifies the annual renewal of the creation of this world.

Mazal: Aries (Lamb)
The lamb symbolizes the Pesach sacrifice, the first sacrifice of the Jewish people to God just before their redemption. The Jewish people itself is symbolized by a lamb (surrounded by seventy wolves). Of all of God's creations, the lamb possesses the innate ability to arouse mercy by its voice (the origin of the sense of speech of the month of Nisan).

Tribe: Judah
Judah is the king (the "first") of the tribes of Israel. His name means to give thanks, in speech (the sense of Nisan).
The king rules his people by the power of his speech, an idea found in the verse, "For the king's word is his sovereign power." The month of Nisan is "the new year for kings"

Sense: Speech
The sense of speech implies ones ability to express one's deepest feelings and insights. Therefore, conceptually, all forms of expression are referred to generically as "speech."
"This world" (created by the letter hei of Nisan) is one that is founded upon (verbal) communication. Personifying the sefirah of kingdom, our present reality is often referred to as "the world of speech" (or "the revealed world").

The very root of the Hebrew word for "speech" (דבור) means "to lead" (לדבר), as in the verse, "He will cause us to lead many nations" (Psalms 47:4). Thus the sense of speech is in essence the sense of leadership.

The central mitzvah of the month of Nisan, which occurs on the Seder night (the eve of the 15th of Nisan), is the telling of the story of the Exodus--"the more one tells of the Exodus from Egypt, the more one is praiseworthy." This is the foremost mitzvah requiring speech of the entire year. Of the 15 stages of the seder (15 = 5, the sum of all numbers from 1 to 5, where 5 is the value of the letter hei, ה, the letter of the month of Nisan), magid--the telling of the story of the Exodus--is the 5th stage (again, 5 is the value of the letter hei, which, as noted is the phonetic source of all speech). Indeed, even the telling of the story of the Exodus, the magid, begins with the word "hei" (hei lachma anya, "this is the poor-mans bread").

Thus, the redemption from Egypt (the existential state of "confinement," the inability to truly express oneself--"all exiles are referred to as Egypt") symbolizes freedom of speech.

Controller: Right Foot
Just as "speaking" means "to lead," so does one's gait (with one's right foot, the foot of trust and confidence) direct and control one's sense of speech, as is said: "walkers on the way, speak" (Judges 5:10). Speaking words of Torah while walking on the way inspires new insights into the secrets of the Torah. For this reason, we find that many of the secrets of the holy Zohar were revealed in the context of "walking on the way."

Monday, March 23, 2009


ADAR 27,5769 Second Day Yom Shaynee

The Torah portion for this week is VAYIKRA in Leviticus BUT I want us to stay in Exodus just for this day because the Temple Institute in Israel has such a wonderful teaching about the Priestly Garmets. Read Exodus 28...take time reading it...ingest what the LORD asked of Moshe and the people and see how splended and wonderful His priests were....

"Make holy garments of splendor and of beauty."

(Exodus 28:2)

Tremendous attention is paid to detail in G-d's instructions for the garments of the High Priest, Aharon. Tremendous skill and knowledge is required to produce and weave the fibers for the raiments, and no less so for the cutting, polishing, inscribing and setting of the twelve stones of the breastplate, and the two epaulets that rest upon The High Priest's shoulders. Only the most accomplished and gifted of gold smiths would take upon himself the task of fashioning the tzitz - the dazzling golden head-plate that would rest upon the High Priest's brow. But why all the pomp? What is the purpose of the "splendor and the beauty?"

Torah states that a priest who is not wearing his priestly vestments cannot officiate in the Holy Temple. In effect, he does not become kohen - priest - until he dons his uniform. The clothes, literally, make the priest. The identity of the individual priest is insignificant, and so it should be, especially so concerning the High Priest - Kohen Gadol.

For while the garments of "splendor and beauty" are fashioned in such detail so as to reflect the very splendor and beauty of man - the jewel in the crown of G-d's creation, the only way in which the High Priest can successfully wear such splendor, the splendor of mankind itself, while performing his sacred priestly duties, is by totally and completely annihilating his own sense of self, his own ego, before he enters the courtyards and chambers of the Holy Temple. For when the Kohen Gadol enters the Holy Temple to perform the Divine Service he does so as a representative of every man. Standing within his many garments of gold and azure and purple, the royal colors that G-d has bequeathed to man, the High Priest is you and me. His very vestments vest within him the sublime responsibility to stand before G-d on behalf of the children of Israel and all the nations.

At no time is this more true than on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when the Kohen Gadol enters into the Holy of Holies itself, to set before the Ark of the Covenant the golden shovel of burning incense. Conversely, at no time is the Kohen Gadol more in need of the introspective and selfless prayer of the congregation of Israel that awaits beyond the confines of the Holy Temple.

Aharon, the first High Priest was "the brother of." Specifically, he was, of course, the brother of Moshe rabbenu - Moses our master. But the appellation seems most appropriate of the responsibility of High Priest. He is neither our superior nor our subordinate. He is our brother. And as our brother he stands before G-d in the "garments of splendor and beauty" that we, the people, have fashioned for him.

Now, please go here, to the Temple Institute site and enjoy a pictorial journey of learning about the way of our Elohim's Priests


Sunday, March 22, 2009


Here is historical data about Easter, the Early church and the church of Constantine...the Catholic church

Evils Of Easter

What do rabbits, eggs, and the resurrection of the Savior really have in common? The Easter story that most of the world knows is one of hope, joy, and an empty tomb. The Easter story of history is quite different.

Like many other popular holidays, Easter is actually a mix of ancient occultic practices and Biblical ideas. From the name of the holiday to the use of baskets and bunnies, many evil customs of idolatry have been fossilized in Easter. Thousands of years before 33AD the fertility goddess "Ishtar" was worshipped as people died eggs and arose early for sunrise services.

The Encyclopedia Britannica (1934) states: "Easter, Ostara, or Ishtar was the goddess of Spring in the religion of the ancient Angles and Saxons. Every April a festival was celebrated in her honor. With the beginnings of Christianity, the old gods were put aside. From then on the festival was celebrated in honor of the resurrection of Christ, but was still known as Easter after the old goddess."

The true origin of Easter is more about fertility and mother earth than the Bible. "The egg was a sacred symbol among the Babylonians. They believed an old fable about an egg of wondrous size which was supposed to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates River. From this marvelous egg - according to the ancient story - the Goddess Ishtar (Semiramis), was hatched. And so the egg came to symbolize the Goddess Easter," The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, p. 309. Three month old infants were sacrificed to Ishtar and their blood was used to dye eggs in honor of the false god. To imbue fertility upon their growing season, Pagans would roll these eggs on their fields. The eggs were then hidden from evil spirits to later be collected in baskets.

The word "Easter" appears only once in the King James Version of the Bible (and not at all in most other translations). From this one appearance a true concern arises. Here, the King James translators mistranslated the Greek word for Passover as "Easter." Acts 12:4: "And when he [King Herod Agrippa I] had apprehended him [the apostle Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people." The Greek word for "Easter" in this verse is "pascha." This term is properly translated over 28 times in the Bible as "Passover." Passover is a yearly festival that recalls Israelite's exodus from Egypt. This holy day was given to mankind (and not just the Jewish people) as an everlasting commandment. Passover was part of the original faith of the Apostles and the Savior. Sadly, the mistranslation in the book of Acts is just one example of how the true festival of Passover has been replaced with the idolatry of Easter.

Neither the apostles nor the Messiah commemorated Easter. "Constantine the Great, Roman emperor, convoked the Council of Nicaea in 325. The council unanimously ruled that the Easter festival should be celebrated throughout the Christian world on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox," says the History Channel. For the first 300 years after the Savior's crucifixion, the early church kept the festival of Passover as commanded in Leviticus 23.

The holiday of Ishtar/Easter is problematic for a person who seeks undefiled worship. The mixture of bunnies, baskets, and the Bible believer certainly is perplexing. "The Almighty is spirit and those that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth," John 4:24.

By Daniel Rendelman


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Magic of Passover is not the Magic of Easter

24 ADAR,5769 Sixth Day Yom Ha'shee'shee

The magic of Passover is not the magic of Easter? How can this be? I am sure by now, anyone who is reading this blog or knows me, knows that Easter is a pagan celebration. While Christians celebrate Easter Sunday as The LORD's Resurrection, it is also steeped in pagan lore.

The Easter bunny who brings eggs? Is this the magic? It would seem so because even with the day asigned to be a memorial to Yeshua's resurrection, churches everywhere celebrate the bunny too. Having Easter egg hunts and giving out Easter baskets to the children who come that day is the norm.

I remember one Easter, my husband said no baskets and candy for our kids. Now, let me make this clear, he was not doing so for religious reasons, he was being mean. I think he was needing a car part or something stupid so decided to take it out on the kids and me. Oh I fretted and was extremely grateful when the kids and I went to church and they were given baskets.

But, now knowing the truth, we do not have Easter baskets here....but there is tradition of giving children candy and treats on Sabbath to celebrate Passover. It was a custom to grab a handful of fresh grass and give the candy and treats in it. In some way, this was combined with the pagan and Christian day of Easter.

There is also the eating of boiled eggs during the Passover seder...but it has nothing to do with the pagan.

There is 'magic' in Passover....if you want to call it magic and it is far greater than Easter......

Yeshua is our Passover! In 1 Corinthians 5:7&8, Paul rebuked the church at Cornith...."Therefore cleanse out the old leaven, so that you are a new lump , as you are unleavened. For also Messiah our Passover was offered for us. So then let us observe the festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

It is clear that Yeshua is so identified with the Passover Feast of Israel that He is called the Messiah of Passover.

The eating of Matzah during Unleavened Bread is to rid ones self of all leaven. In the beginning, God told the children of Israel to take their bread as it was, not risen, when they fled from Egypt....but through the ages, it became the yearly ritual of cleaning ones house, thouroughly and getting rid of every bit of leaven. We know this to be a Spiritual command....get rid of the sin in your life.

And, let us not forget the placing of the three Matzah into a bag during the Passover Seder. There has been no adequate explanation for this, but we, who know the LORD, can 'see' and 'understand' its meaning.

A bag with three compartments is used. One piece of matzah is placed in each of the compartments. These three matzahs have come to be referred to as .."the unity" by rabbis. The father or the one who is conducting the seder, reaches in to the bag but skips over the top, going instead to the middle section and removes it. He breaks this in two and wraps half in a linen cloth and places it in another bag labeled, 'afikomen'. The wrapped broken matzah is hidden.

Later, the matzah is found, and this coincides with the pouring of the third cup of Passover wine, the cup of redemption.

We, who are Believers, see the three matzah as representing the unity of the Godhead...Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The broken matzah represents Yeshua, the Messiah. This ceremony presents a picture of the birth, death and resurrection of the One who came to bring redemption to Israel and salvation to the nations.

Let us look at this closer....the very nature of the matzah points to the nature of Messiah. Since matzah is unleavened and leavening is symbolic of sin in the Scriptures, the matzah protrays the holy nature of Messiah Yeshua, Who was born without sin and lived a sinless life.

As the middle matzah is removed from the three-in-one unity bag, so Messiah became flesh in order to be upon this earth. as the matzah is broken, so too was His flesh broken by the whipping, the nailing to the cross and the piercing of the sword in His flesh. As the broken piese is wrapped in white cloth, so was His body prepared for burial in a tomb. as the piece is called afikomen (the one who comes again), so Yeshua rose from the dead to complete His mission of redemtion, and, of course, He will come again to establish His kingdom. As the Passover cup of redemption is deeply drank along with the eating of a piece of the broken matzah, so too are we invited to drink deeply of Messiah's gift to us.....eternal life.
(Some of this infromation is from Chosen Peoples Publications)

As you read the following, understand it is written from the Jewish point of view. They have seen Passover as their redemption from Egypt and looked to it as the coming of the Messsiah. They cry out to Him. We must pray that this Passover, they come to understand that Yeshua is their Passover lamb and through Him they can receive eternal life..being 'passed over' once and for all.

by Yael Zoldan

When springtime comes I begin scowling at the insides of closets and the undersides of beds. “Pesach is coming,” I mutter to myself and sigh.

“Pesach is coming,” I repeat, “and I have more work than one human being could possibly do.” Then I sigh again, theatrically.

I don’t even notice my son, listening, until I hear him say, “Well, at least we’re not in Mitzrayim anymore, right, Mommy?”

I stare at him for a moment, ashamed of what he has heard. Pesach is coming and I have entirely missed the point.

Back when I was his age, before I knew about cleaning and cooking and shopping, Pesach was a wondrous time. The house was scrubbed spotless and the once-a-year dishes came out. The silver was polished so brightly that I could see my reflection upside down in the spoons. In the kitchen waited lady fingers and nut cakes and chocolates and meringues. At the table, my handmade Haggada could finally come out of its plastic bag and my mother’s finger pointed to the place. I shivered with excitement.

The Seder was magical. Staying up late, eating with the grown ups, all eyes on my face as I sang the Ma Nishtana. For once, no one was annoyed by my constant questions. No one shushed me, or whispered, “Later!” For once, every question was important, every answer well thought out. I drank from a silver becher, like my Abba, like my Zaidy. I dipped my pinky into grape juice ten times and no one stopped me! Even when I spilled, leaning against my pillowcase, no one really minded.

My father was regal in his kittel. “Ha Lachma Anya,” he intoned and I felt a chill run down my spine. How many fathers for how many years had said these same words? How many children had sat just like me, wide-eyed with wonder and listened. And the story! There were heroes and villains, kings and slaves. My mind whirled with the magic of it all.

The maror on my matzah was sharp and bitter. I knew it would be because I had stood beside my father as he grated it by hand into a bowl. He wore goggles and still the tears streamed down his face. But at the Seder he always gave me twice as much charoses as maror, and winked as he passed it down.

Then we ate hot chicken soup and flanken and kugels. And I could hardly swallow waiting for the Afikomen. What joy! What awesome power in the hands of an eight year old girl! To ask for anything you wanted, anything! Sometimes, I got so excited I couldn’t think a single thing to ask for. And besides, what more could I want than this moment and this night?

But the best part was Shfoch Chamoscha. I’d take a deep breath and pull open the door. Outside, the night was black as pitch and silent. But I thought I felt a breeze as Eliyahu Hanavi entered. “Baruch Haba!” we called out and watched the wine shimmer in his cup.

By then, my eyes were closing and I leaned heavily on my mother’s shoulder. “L’Shana Haba Biyerushalayim” we sang and Shoin! Shoin! Shoin! We banged our fists on the table with such authority that I knew Moshiach would listen and he would come. Tonight!

How lucky I felt to be a Jew on Seder nights! To know that the story had happened for me. The frogs, and the lice and the darkness and the fury of Hashem raining down on their heads just so I could sit here tonight, in my maroon velvet robe, and ask the questions and hear the answers. Just so I could hear how the bad guys got punished and the good guys got saved and we lived to tell the story and wait for Moshiach to redeem us again.

But morning came and he did not. And years have passed and still he has not come. And I got busy with the drudgery of moving the fridge and lining the drawers and scrubbing the stove. When did I stop waiting? When did I stop wanting? Somewhere along the way, I forgot the point. I lost the magic.

Now I look down at my son’s soft eyes and it all comes back. He is right and I have been so wrong. It isn’t about the stove, it’s about the story. It’s about the miracle and the magic. So, this year I resolve, I will stop sighing. I will come to the table wide eyed again and listen to the tale that is made new every year by our children and their questions and our faith in the answers.

This year, I’m taking the magic back.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

22 ADAR Fourth Day Yom Revee' ee

Today is my birthday! My Jewish birthday. It is also my grand daughter Aletha's Jewish birthday. Why is this so special? Because it is according to our Father's calendar. When He created the worlds and the universe...and He set a small planet apart from all the others and He created man, He also set apart day and night, darkness and light and He set forth days and months. Our Father's months go by the moon. Every new month is according to the new moon.

We can focus our lives around all the manmade days and months we want but He never changes...His times are for evermore.

I have celebrated my Jewish birthday for several years now but this year...well..it is different...it has taken on greater meaning to me. Maybe because I have almost completely assimilated myself in God's time frame...all my calendars in my house go by His months and days and when I need to know what day it is...I KNOW acccording to God's way but I have to check about the worlds time frame.

But, no, it is more than that. God is doing something now..and its not just to me. He is working on those who desire to be closer to Him....to be a part of His world....Those who have set themselves apart for His purpose.

Today, more than ever, I feel that this IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE. That today, this day, I must choose to be who I am to be in Him with no rebellion, no struggling with Him over the way I am to go. No more disobedience and STRADDLING THE FENCE OF RIGHT AND WRONG. From this day, either I am for God or I am against Him. There is only hot and cold...no lukewarm!

For a long time I have known and studied the Zadok Priesthood. it was even pointed out to me by my former pastor, Rev. Bob Johnson, that I was of the Zadok Priesthood. I, again, was amazed when I saw that Bro. David Wilkerson had written a message about it. God is so good..His love and mercy endures forever!

by David Wilkerson

Please carefully read Ezekiel 44:15–16. The Hebrew name Zadok means “right or righteous.” Ezekiel here is referring to a man named Zadok who served as a priest during David’s reign. This righteous man never wavered in his faithfulness to David or to the Lord. He stood by the king and by God’s Word, through thick and thin. Zakok always remained loyal to David, because he knew the king was the Lord’s anointed.

Because Zakok remained faithful through everything, he came to represent a ministry distinguished by its faithfulness to the Lord. Indeed, Zadok was a prime example of a true minister of God—separated from this world, shut in with the Lord, consistently hearing from heaven. Such a minister recognizes his main work as prayer: seeking God daily, constantly communing with the Holy Spirit and ministering to Jesus.

The new temple priests are faithful to stand before the Lord before they ever stand before the congregation. They spend precious hours in the Lord’s presence, until they’re saturated with a message that’s been burned into their souls. And when they emerge from God’s presence, they are able to speak straight to the people’s hearts. Their message gets down to where the sheep live, because it has come directly from God’s throne.

The Lord says of the Zadok priesthood, “These ministers will enter my sanctuary and stand before me. They shall come near to my table and minister to me. And they shall keep my charge. I’ll be faithful to lead and direct them and I’ll give them my word for my people.”

In the new, last-days sanctuary, the Zakok priesthood knows their central work is to minister to the Lord. This ministry includes every lover of Jesus who desires to walk in righteousness. Indeed, we see the “priesthood of believers” echoed throughout the books of the New Testament. John tells us, “[He] hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Revelation 1:6). Peter writes, “Ye also, as lively stones, are…an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

You may not have ministerial credentials from any church body. You may never have been to seminary. You may never have preached a sermon. But you are just as called and ordained to serve in the Zadok priesthood as even the most well-known preacher or evangelist. Both Testaments make it abundantly clear: Each of us is to hold the office of priest and perform a priest’s duties.

So, you’re wondering, how are you to do this? You do it by ministering primarily unto the Lord. You offer up sacrifices to him—sacrifices of praise, of service, of turning over to him all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He’s called you to be part of his royal priesthood. Therefore, you are to minister to others only after you’ve ministered to him. This means you are not to show up at God’s house each week empty and dry, hoping some message from the preacher will fire you up. No, you’re to come prepared to minister to the Lord with a heart of praise.

This is exactly as the LORD has shown me. When I go to the House of the LORD, I go with His praises In me, coming from me. You shut yourself into a ..well..like a bubble or a box...and you commune with the LORD. You do not, you cannot think about those around you, you are ministering to the LORD. This is how it is in my house.....many is the time family has come in while I am worshipping and I do not even realize they are there because I am in worship of Him and He is all that is on my mind.

But with this is the righteousness and the knowing the right from wrong. We are to be on guard of the holiness. I have found that I cannot wear shoes in the presence of the LORD...take off those shoes when you are standing on holy ground. And I have felt the conviction to cover my head when in prayer, worship and praise.

Do not do this as a show of things, only do so in reverance to Him...because He is worthy. He is worthy of all our praise, all of our reverance, all of our worship, all of our being.

We are vessels to be used by Him. We are to be at His beck and call. We must use all the resources He has given to us so that we will be effective in dealing with the perils that are awaiting us at every bend. We must be always in the Holy Spirit so that we can effectively minister to those who are in need. We are not our own, we are His, bought and paid for by the blood of our redeemer, Yeshua our Messiah.

I live in a glass house...we all live in glass houses..but I have no curtains so as to hide from God anything that goes on here and I will not allow it to be hid from anyone else. When I mess up, I am ashamed but will I try to hide it?...NO ...because my Father has already seen it and if I did it then I should be able to say.."I messed up...I was not acting in the way a Believer should act."

So on this day...ADAR 22, 5769....I will do my best to live by the commands..the instruction of the LORD....and be a willing open vessel for all that He wants to bestow upon me.