Hebrew Roots/Neglected Commandments/Idolatry/Easter Observance
Easter and Passover Week
The present festivals and “holy days” came from Rome and the “protestant” churches did not investigate these traditions when they came out from the Catholic Church after the Reformation.
Easter Sunday is one of the many “holy days” of obligation instituted by the Roman Church. They had already been sufficiently traditionalized and Rome’s teachings were already considered valid and did not come under question. Tradition plays a tremendous part in Christian theology and has influenced our thinking and our practices. Passover was celebrated by the Jews and would have been a more suitable time to celebrate the resurrection, but Rome wanted to break all ties with anything “Jewish”, or its Jewish “roots”. So, they made their festivals in alignment with the pagan Romans, instead of with the days established by God.
The question we all ought to ask ourselves is whether tradition or truth is the most important issue in our faith. And, what should our faith be based upon? Seeing we shall be judged by the Word of God, that is the only valid basis for our lifestyle.
The Change From Passover
From the second century, Rome had become absorbed with the sun cults and the Friday crucifixion / Sunday resurrection error had commenced to be taught. This accorded with the eastern mystery cults and the cult of Dumuzi which long preceded Christianity. Dumuzi or Tammuz (the son of Semiramis) was a spring deity who died and was resurrected. This was a Friday death / Sunday resurrection. Thus it entered Christianity in the Quarto-deciman controversy. The pagan festival was called Easter and the Judeo-Christian festival was the Passover. This festival was rotational, based on the lunar calendar. The pagan Easter festival was solar/lunar based around the day of the sun but calculated from the beginning of the lunar month. The methods of calculating Easter, because of this fact, often varied from the Passover, even in the month.
The method of the calculation seems to deliberately fall incorrectly. With the introduction of this error of Easter, Christianity then had to find a year in which the Passover was on a Friday. That event occurred in 33 CE, which was much too late to accord with the Gospel accounts. 30 CE was the absolute earliest that it could have been as there are three Passovers mentioned by John. The sequence allows for no more and no less. The fourth Passover error, to push the calculation to 31 CE, has 14 Nisan on Sunday 25 March.
A Passover in 33 CE suited Judaism at that time. Firstly, it could then accommodate Christian requirements for a Wave Sheaf Offering on a Sunday from a Friday crucifixion. This had two effects. It seemed to agree with Rome – thus preventing persecution and yet still destroyed absolutely the genuine Christian arguments that Messiah was the Messiah. It made it easy for rabbinical authority to demonstrate that Messiah was not the Messiah and thus prevent, for two thousand years, the conversion of Judaism. Judaism was able to show, to its own people, categorically that Messiah could not have been three days and three nights in the tomb from a Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection. It is also a simple and well understood fact that unless he was three days and nights in the tomb he was not legally dead by Judaic law. Moreover, by mistranslating the text, given the poor literacy of the general community in ancient Hebrew, they were able to continue the ruse more or less continually. From the failure of the Quarto-decimans they were more or less safe from both persecution and proselytism. Thus the 6 Sivan Pentecost suits both Judaism and modern Christianity for different reasons. It is completely incorrect and impugns the Sign of Jonah. No Christian can accept the 6 Sivan Pentecost and not deny the Messiah. It is thus a very clever ruse. Thus, Judaism has been defying God for two thousand years. Messiah had to be the Wave Sheaf Offering. The Wave Sheaf Offering had to have occurred on Sunday in 30 CE or Israel has no acceptance and no redemption.
It was for this reason that Mary Magdalene could not attempt to hold Messiah at the tomb (Jn. 20:15-17). He was in the process, as he said, of ascending to God as the firstfruits. When that was accomplished, he could then return and allow humans, such as Thomas, to touch him. The ascension prior to Pentecost was the second and final ascent. It was not a harvest. Messiah fulfilled that as the Wave Sheaf as he also fulfilled all sacrifice as the Passover Lamb. In this false system, Pentecost was then counted from the first holy day of Unleavened Bread instead of from the day after the Sabbath within the passover week.
Calculating the Death and Resurrection of Messiah
The fact is that the symbolism of the Wave-sheaf is not understood by mainstream Christianity. They have introduced the Easter or Ishtar symbolism of the Sunday resurrection of the spring fertility cult. Easter, the Anglo-Saxon form of Ishtar, is a pagan system of worship that penetrated Christianity in the second century. The symbolism stems from the death of Tammuz or Dumuzi on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday. This mirrors the grain and new shoot symbolism of the corn. The Easter bun is derived from the baking of cakes to the Queen of Heaven at the Ishtar festival because of her revival of Tammuz (Dumuzi is the Assyro-Babylonian equivalent). It is condemned by the Bible (Jer. 7:18; 44:19; SHD 3561 kavvan sacrificial wafers or cakes). The wafers are preserved in the symbolism of the Eucharist and the Monstrance. The weeping for Tammuz (Ezek. 8:14) refers to the mourning process of the death/resurrection symbolism of Easter.
The tradition that Jesus (Yeshua) died on a Friday and rose on a Sunday is not consistent with scripture. Within the gospels is the story of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Messiah. The Catholic church interprets the Gospels, especially the narratives of the women visiting Jesus/Yeshua’s tomb after His resurrection to mean that He rose on a Sunday. Mark 15:42 it is taken to mean that Yeshua died on a Friday: "And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, " In Mark 15:43 - 46 Joseph of Arimathaea requests the body of Jesus/Yeshua and places Him in his own tomb.
A. Three Days and Three Nights
Yeshua’s (Jesus) own words were that He would be in the tomb for three days and three nights and so there is a discrepancy in the teaching that He was buried on a Friday and rose on a Sunday. (Matthew 11:1-15; 38-40)
Yeshua’s sign to them was not only His resurrection, but that He would be in the grave for three days and three nights. His words must, of necessity of prophecy, ring totally true, or He would be seen as a false prophet. Some try the argument that these were not literal 24 hour days, but overlook the fact that Yeshua said “three days and three nights” and He acknowledged that a day had twelve hours in it. See Yeshua's own reckoning - John 11:9 According to the Jews, a complete day (day and night) lasted from sunset to sunset no matter the hour and minutes, whereas we now fix our Gregorian calendar based on a day as being from midnight to midnight, which, by the way, is Roman reckoning. During the time of Messiah, the Jews divided the night portions into four “watches”, of three hours each. So, it would be something like this: First Watch 6 to 9 PM; Second Watch9 to 12AM; Third Watch 12 to 3 AM; Fourth Watch 3 to 6AM
The daylight portions were divided like this:
- Third Hour 8 to 9 AM;
- Sixth Hour 11AM to 12PM;
- Ninth Hour 2 to 3 PM
- Twelfth Hour 5 to 6PM
Matthew 27:45-50 tells us that Yeshua died at the ninth hour, or between 2 and 3 PM and we learn from Luke and John that He was placed in the tomb just before to sunset that same day. (Luke 23:54; John 19:42). So, if He died and was buried on a Friday afternoon, He could not have risen on a Sunday, according to His own words of “three days and three nights”.
B. The Resurrection
Some would argue that the scriptures themselves tell us that Yeshua rose on the first day of the week, what we know as Sunday. Let’s examine what those verses say: Matthew 28:1 "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mark 16:1 "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him." Mark 16:2 "And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
In every account except Matthew’s, we find that the stone was already rolled away when the women came to the grave. Matthew 28:2-4 is not used in this example because some would have it that it is one and the same account, and having all the events as having happened at once, as in Mark, Luke and John. However, Matthew seems to give a sketchy account of the events, possibly being parenthetical, and if we can adopt this view, we get a better understanding of the scenes that took place. Mark, Luke and John give a more thorough account. Anyhow, even Matthew says that these events took place “in the end of the sabbath (sundown on our Saturday) as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.” Yeshua had already risen, prior to the first day of the week, which means He must have risen at the end of the Sabbath, perhaps right at the end of it, which would be Saturday night.
Luke and John’s version says that the women came to the tomb “very early in the morning” and “when it was yet dark”. They do not mention a specific time. Mark though, says that the women “came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun”. This would seem to contradict Matthew’s account in 28:1. But, if Matthew was saying that they came after the end of the sabbath, then we have no contradiction. We will agree that the women came to the tomb at sunrise on the first day of the week, for the sake of argument.
Even if the women came to the tomb at sunrise on our Sunday, we still see that Yeshua had already risen. The scriptures do not state that he arose on the first day of the week. They only say that the women came to the tomb, and that was either the close of the sabbath or sunrise on the first day of the week.
Mark 16:9 causes a problem for some, but comma placement clears this up. Remember, there is no punctuation in the Greek and the English use of it has caused many seemingly contradictions. In any case, let’s read it without any punctuation, or move it to the word “early” or after “risen”: Now when Yeshua was risen early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene out of whom he had cast seven devils. Or, Now when Yeshua was risen(,) early(,) the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Mark 16:9
Were our translators influenced by tradition, assuming that Yeshua rose on a Sunday. Possibly. In the 1611 edition, the comma was placed after the word, “early” as well as “week”, but newer translations didn’t. Word placement suggests that the commas be placed after “week”, but this is not sufficient proof that it is correct. The original Greek has no punctuation.
Verses 9 through 20 are not found in the earlier, more reliable manuscripts. Even the Roman Catholic St. Joseph’s Edition of The New American Bible has this footnote about Mark 16: 9-20: “Early citations of it by the Fathers indicate that it was composed in the first century, although vocabulary and style argue strongly that it was written by someone other than Mark.
This quote suggests that a Sunday resurrection tradition was prevalent in the first or second century. Such a tradition could not have come out of the women’s testimony of seeing Yeshua “early on the first day of the week”. The scriptures do no give conclusive evidence that Yeshua rose on Sunday, but seems to indicate otherwise. The fact that Yeshua was seen on the first day of the week should show that the only logical day He could haven risen before sundown was the Sabbath. Counting backwards three days and three nights from just before sundown on sabbath takes us to Wednesday.
C. The Burial
What about the fact that scripture tells us that He was buried because the sabbath was about to begin in a few hours? How could He have been buried before the sabbath, rise at the end of the sabbath, and still been three days and three nights in the grave?
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Now read especially verse 14: And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: John 19:14
The day of preparation was Passover, the day prior to the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, actually, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread itself (Mat 26:17). Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Yeshua, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?). It was the day the Passover meal was eaten and was then, the day of preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
John called the approaching “sabbath” a “high day”. The first and seventh days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are “high sabbaths”, two of seven yearly high sabbaths. Ask any Jew. High Sabbaths are special days or rest honoring certain Jewish feasts, and can fall on any “day” of the week, as they are given a month and a date to be held on.
There is another seemingly contradiction. John states that Yeshua died while the Passover lamb was being slain and the Synoptic gospels have Him eating the Passover meal with the disciples. This can be cleared up also. Some English versions of Matthew 26:7 say that Yeshua ate the Passover on the “first day of the feast of unleavened bread.”, while John says that the Last Supper was eaten “just before the Passover Feast.” There are two reasons for this mis-reading of the text.
First, the term ”first day of unleavened bread,” indicating the time the disciples asked Yeshua where they should prepare the Passover meal, contrasts with the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a high sabbath and the day after Passover Day.
Secondly, we have to remember, or understand, that the Jewish day started at sundown, while ours starts at midnight or sunrise. So we need to examine the scriptures where “the first day of the feast of unleavened bread” is mentioned. They only really say, “the first of unleavened bread,” or “the first day of unleavened bread,” or “the day of unleavened bread.” (See Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7 and John 13:1, 2.
Was the last supper eaten before the feast of the Passover as John says, or was it held on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread as some believe? For one, the Greek does not say “the first day of the feast of unleavened bread”. And the 14th of Nissan is Passover Day while the 15th of Nissan is the first day of unleavened bread. All the gospels tell us that Yeshua died on the 14th, which was Passover Day. Therefore, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the Sabbath that John speaks of in 19:31, and Mark speaks of two sabbaths in the same week that Yeshua died and rose, the Passover sabbath and the regular weekly sabbath, because it mentions that “very early in the morning the first day of the week they came...” Mark had to be referring to two different sabbaths because he separated “when the sabbath was past” from “very early in the morning the first day of the week”. This is the only thing that makes sense.
Yeshua ate the Passover after sundown ending the 13th of Nissan and the beginning of the 14th. In the middle of the night on the 14th, He went with the disciples to Gethsemane where they captured Him. He was delivered in the early daylight on the 14th and given over to be crucified later that same day. He died and was buried before sundown on the day of preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, or our Wednesday. Everyone rested on the “high” sabbath, which was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread , or our Thursday. The women brought spices and oil the day after the high sabbath, on our Friday.
Everyone rested on the weekly sabbath, or Saturday. Exactly three days and three nights after His burial, Yeshua rose before sundown on the weekly Sabbath, or Saturday evening. The women then went to His tomb sometime between sundown on sabbath and sunrise on Sunday, the first day of the week. Now, there is no way Yeshua could have died on “Good Friday” and risen on “Easter Sunday”.
Greek texts as well as the Aramaic Peshitta and Old Syriac texts do not say that He was raised on the first day of the week, literally they all say it was on one of the Sabbaths.
There are many reasons why believers cling to the pagan traditions that have found their way into the Body of Messiah. Convenience is one of them. Our traditions are in conflict with the Word of God, and His laws, it is because of traditions and convenience that we refuse to obey Him. They are the reasons that the Western church is as weak and ineffective as it is.
Leaders perpetuate traditions rather than obedience to God’s laws. "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:9)
Religious tradition can play an important part in our faith, as long as it does not contradict God’s Word.