Did Yeshua Observe the Correct Passover in the Year of His Crucifixion?
Within the pages of the Messianic Scriptures of the Yeshua Party the apostle Peter warns of early Messianic Jewish believers denying the Lord Yeshua “who bought them.” The denial of the Messiah was not just against Yeshua, but was against Mashiach in the matter of redemption (II Peter 2.1-2).
When were we bought, purchased, redeemed?
When Mashiach died!
And when did He die?
At Passover, about 3 pm around the year 30 CE.
Peter is telling us that the day was fast approaching when false teachers would introduce what he called “damnable heresies” relating to the death of the Jewish Mashiach. AndPeter added that the vast majority would follow their pernicious ways.
Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest translates this section of Peter’s writings this way: “But there arose also false prophets among the people, even as also among you there shall be false teachers, who will be of such a character as to bring in alongside [of true doctrine] destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who purchased them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentious conduct.”
Note briefly that Wuest translates from the Greek that these men brought certain teachings into the faith “alongside” of true doctrine. On this same line of thought, as it is in the Greek, Vincent (another Greek scholar) says that the idea being conveyed is that these men were actually “spies” or “traitors” (Marvin Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament,
Vol.1., 689). Strachan seems to be in general accord adding “the idea [conveyed by Peter] seems to be of the introduction of false teaching alongside the true, whereby the way of truth [about redemption] is brought into disrepute” (R.H.
Strachan, Expositor’s Greek Testament). But how were these people “denying” the Lord?
Well, for one thing, if we turn to Matthew’s Gospel we read of the religious leaders of Yeshua’s day demanding from Him a sign that He was indeed the Messiah they, and the entire nation (along with numerous underground Zealot networks) were awaiting. Yeshua gave only ONE sign to these people, in His entire ministry, that would establish or prove He was the Messiah!
“Some of the Torah-teachers said, ‘Rabbi, we desire to see a miraculous sign from you.’ He replied, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation seeks for a sign? No! None will be given it but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the depths of the earth'” (Matthew 12.39-40).
This is the ONLY sign Yeshua ever personally gave the carnal self-righteous religious leaders of His day to prove His Messiahship. If He did not fulfil that sign then He was to be labelled a rank imposter to Messiahship. But today we have inherited a tradition that has Yeshua crucified on a Friday and resurrected from the dead on a Sunday morning.
- Try to fit 3 days and 3 nights into late Friday afternoon and Sunday morning at dawn! (See, Maret H. Dinsmore, What Really Happened When Christ Died? A Fresh Look at History’s Most Life-Shaking Week, 1979).
Historians and others recognise that the ancient pagan Saviours ranging in location from Japan to Mexico also were celebrated as having died on a Friday and were subject to resurrection (or resuscitation) on the following Sunday morning. This is a tradition that extends into a misty antiquity but which centres in the worship of the Babylonian sun-god known to us as Nimrod (and who went by a variety of other appellations).
These same sun-gods found their nativity on December 25th in the dead of winter when the sun began to be reborn. As to this tradition being applied to Our Lord, surely anyone with half a brain could smell a rat. Yet in the power of angelic glory an extra-terrestrial testified: “He is risen, AS HE SAID!” (Matthew 28.6).
Yeshua DID fulfil that sign.
SABBATHS AND SABBATHS
But don’t we read in the Gospels that Yeshua haMashiach was crucified on a Preparation Day before the Sabbath? Don’t we read that he was taken down from the cross, stake or tree and interned in a tomb immediately prior to the oncoming shabbat so the Jewish law (which the students and friends of Yeshua observed) would not be broken? Yes, we do.
But because Gentile Christians threw the Jewish baby out with the Jewish bath water in the fourth century and early rejected Jewish thoughtforms they eventually lost all knowledge of the Jewish seasonal festivals including the inclusion of annual Sabbaths in the agricultural calendar of Israel.
That particular Preparation Day before the Sabbath was the Preparation Day prior to the annual Sabbath that fell during the Days of Unleavened Bread. We shall discuss this fact at length in a moment. Look again at Leviticus 23 and consider the first few verses. Notice the first day and the seventh day of this festival were to be kept as Sabbaths. The Days of Unleavened Bread began with a Sabbath (called a “high” day) and they ended with a Sabbath (called a “high” day). No work was to be done on those Sabbaths (“high” days). These Sabbaths are not to be confused with the regular seventh day Sabbath which begins at sunset Friday night and concludes at sunset Saturday evening. The seventh day Sabbath completes the weekly cycle. But these other “high” days are annual Sabbaths!
Let’s look again at the Synoptic Gospel of Luke. The record shows that Yeshua was buried shortly prior to sunset on the same day of crucifixion (Luke 23.54). He was nailed to the cross, or a tree, at 9 am that morning (the Preparation Day) and died about 3 pm that same afternoon. Now if Yeshua was to be raised from the dead 3 days and 3 nights later His resurrection would occur, would it not, at precisely the completion of the third day after His burial (or at the very least in the close proximity of that period) — or near sunset. In fact, when the women came to the tomb three days later they found He had already risen (Mark 16.6).
If we look closely at the Greek, the writer Mark does not actually mention Sunday morning at all (Mark 16.1-2). Neither does Matthew Levi (Matthew 28.1). The Greek text simply has mia ton sabbaton = “on the Sabbath” or “one of the Sabbaths.” Marshall in his Greek text acknowledges that this is so.
The women came to the tomb late on the Sabbath and Yeshua had already risen from the dead. If Yeshua had in fact been crucified on a Wednesday that year during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the Passover period) He would not have risen until very late on Saturday afternoon (perhaps “between the two evenings” or around 3 pm) as the Sabbath began to come to a close. Professor R.A. Torrey taught this till the day he died. A respected scholar, highly regarded in Protestant circles, Torrey was not at all hoodwinked concerning the Good Friday-Easter Sunday tradition. He rejected it outright. Other Christians, notably the virtuous Seventh Day Baptists in the mid-nineteenth century, and possibly earlier, also held to the tradition of a Sabbath resurrection of the Lord (Abram Herbert Lewis, Spiritual Sabbathism, The American Sabbath Tract Society, Plainfield N.J., 1910, 120,213,214).
Ignoring the plain statements of their Roman Catholic spiritual forebears on the Catholic introduction of Sunday into the religious life of the early church, some Protestant “scholars” have scurried through the pages of the sacred Scriptures vainly attempting to locate evidence of primitive Sunday-keeping in the first Christian Community. All attempts to date which have tried to justify their Romanist-inherited practice of observing “the Lord’s day” from the internal information contained within the Bible have failed miserably. One needs only to scan the pathetic arguments gathered in buttressed form in Nigel Lee’s The Covenantal Sabbath (1966) published by the Lord’s Day Observance Society of London to appreciate the position we have taken.
Certainly, we will agree wholeheartedly with Roman Catholic scholars when they say that any further attempts to prove such a fallacious nonsense are also unequivocally doomed to utter failure! “New Testament” texts to substantiate Sunday worship? There aren’t any! It also may come as a complete surprise to our readers but every reference to “the first day of the week” in the Messianic Scriptures of the Yeshua Party are distorted corruptions of mia ton sabbaton — a phrase we have mentioned above. It is this expression which appears on eight occasions in each of the three most ancient manu-scripts.
We have also satisfactorily revealed that even Christian scholars, ensnared by treasured church tradition, and the threat of being ostracised by their professional colleagues, have — like the Constantinian bishops before them — purposely wrested, twisted and garbled the very words breathed by the holy Spirit into an earthly tongue. They have, with utter disregard, altered “one” to read first, inserted “day” where it does not even appear, then changed “sabbaths” (plural) to week (singular).
Dr Alfred Marshall, in his literal English translation of the Nestle Greek Text — and whom we have already mentioned — was honest enough, in at least one of the eight “NT” references, to give the proper intended meaning of the original language. But even then he actually qualified what he had plainly translated! In his rendering of Matthew 28.1, we read: “But late of [the] sabbaths, at the drawing on toward one of [the] sabbaths, came Mary the Magdalene and the other
Mary to view…” Then, directly beneath his translation of mia ton sabbaton as “one of the sabbaths” he adds his clarifying notation: “= the first day of the week”!
To most Christian scholars, the text does not make sense any other way than “the first day of the week.” This is because they fail to appreciate the Jewish thoughtforms which brought us the so-called “New Testament.” How can these sincere men and women think otherwise? After all, as we continually repeat in our literature, the Western Churchthrew the Jewish baby out with the Jewish bathwater in the fourth century! Today, even the Jewish Yeshua has become “Gentile Jesus, weak and mild.”
The inspired Jewish Messianic Scriptures plainly state that there were two Sabbaths and therefore two preparation
days in the week Mashiach died! These sabbaths were annual high days as well as the weekly seventh day. Had they understood the Jewish thoughtforms they would have comprehended what the apostle John had to say and they would never have gone astray in this matter of erroneous textual translation.
John wrote plainly enough that Yeshua died on the preparation day BEFORE THE ANNUAL SABBATH (called a “high day”) of the festival of Unleavened Bread (John19.31). This was decidedly not the normal customary preparation day (Friday) before the weekly Jewish Sabbath (Saturday).
Certainly, while there are admittedly calendrical difficulties in ascertaining on what Day the Passover actually fell (and in actually reckoning what year the Mashiach died) is there at the same time “NT” evidence that the Passover day on which
Mashiach was crucified fell immediately prior to an ANNUAL rather than a WEEKLY Sabbath? Take a look at what the apostle John records for us.
John tells us that the Sabbath which followed right on the heels of the Passover was a “high” day (John 19.31). This “high” day, or annual Sabbath, was the 15th of Nisan (Aviv), the first Day of Unleavened Bread. Mark tells us the women, after the Sabbath (which was Nisan 15, the first Day of Unleavened Bread, and a “high” day) purchased spices in order to anoint the deceased body of Yeshua (Mark 16.1). They couldn’t buy the spices on the Sabbath, so this was Friday. Then
Luke tells us that having made their purchases they prepared the ointments and “rested on the Sabbath day” (Luke
23.56). This was the weekly Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week. As Saturday night came the angel told the women “He is risen as He said.”
That there were two Sabbaths in very close proximity to each other during the time Yeshua died is substantiated in Matthew 28.1 where the Greek text reads “At the end of the Sabbaths” — plural, not singular.
Interestingly, primitive British Gentile Christians, during the first expansive age of the Church, were scrupulous in their recognition and observance of the seventh day Sabbath, rather than Sunday, as it was “[t]he day which the Scriptures point out as the one on which the Saviour rose from the grave” (John Price, The Ancient British Church, quoted in Gamble & Green Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America, 1910, Vol.1., 26). The Celtic Church, and even
Patrick of Irish sainthood fame, was steadfast in the traditional faithful observance of the Sabbath (Leslie Hardinge, The Celtic Church in Britain, Published for the Church Historical Society, London S.P.C.K., 1972, 12,75-90,100,121,203).
That the Scots would not reverence “the Lord’s day” as the day of Yeshua’s resurrection is admitted by none other than the ruthless Hungarian Queen Margaret, in her writings, in her attempt to harmonise the resurrection arguments of the
Celtic Scottish Church with the practice of the churches of the Roman European Faith. One of her objections was the refusal of the Scots to take the “Holy Sacrament…on Easter Day” (T. Ratcliffe Barnett, Margaret of Scotland, Queen and Saint, 1926, 89). She went on to mention that the vast majority of the Scots observed the Sabbath. Indeed, as late as 1093 C.E. the festival of the Sabbath was honoured by the Scots and some of the Irish, and in Wales the Sabbath rest continued in vogue until 1115 C.E. “when the first Roman bishop was seated at St David’s” (Gamble & Green, op.cit., 29).
- Protestant arguments that Gentiles ought not “honour” or “observe” or “recognise” the seventh day Sabbath, but should “keep the Lord’s day,” collapse under the weight of recorded Gentile Christian historical precedence and practice.
The worldly Constantinian Church attempted to change the year of Mashiach’s birth. It attempted to change the year He began his ministry. It attempted to change the length of Mashiach’s ministry. It attempted to change the day of His death. It attempted to change the day of His resurrection. It attempted to change the appearance of the Jewish Yeshua into that of a philosophical Gentile with long hair and petulant features. It attempted to correlate and thus change the life of the Messiah with that of the pagan Saviour sun-god of the heathen masses, Nimrod or Tammuz. It attempted to change
traditional Christian attitudes toward warfare and political “citizenship.” And Peter prophesied it all correctly! Christians were denying the Lord “who bought them.”
Out of unconditional love, the Messiah substituted as the Passover Lamb for a lost humankind, and out of an adulterous
spirit the Church substituted Nimrod for Mashiach.
BUT THERE ARE MAJOR DIFFICULTIES
In the Journal of Biblical Literature (June 1958) James A. Walther in his article “The Chronology of Passion Week” states that Catholic authorities over centuries maintained that Yeshua ate the Passover on a Tuesday night and that early on the following Wednesday morning was crucified. He declares, “References in the Didascalia, in Epiphanius, in Victorinus of Pettau…support the Tuesday [night] Passover dating and the subsequent arrest of Jesus in the morning hours [after midnight] on Wednesday.”
The Gospel of Peter (an early second century work) supports “night and day” fasting “until the Sabbath” when the resurrection took place. Clearly if Mashiach died late Friday afternoon the apostles could not have fasted night and day until the arrival of the Sabbath!
But there are a number of problems associated with Messiah’s last Passover which are not easily solved. Especially is this the case for those believers who would wish to keep the present Jewish Passover in what they believe is the biblical manner and custom. Really, to properly observe the Jewish Passover today is impossible for Christians for a number of reasons. Consider these major hurdles.
To begin with Messiah is called “our Passover” or “Passover Lamb” (I Corinthians 5.7). Mashiach was to symbolise perfectly the Passover Lamb! We are told by Paul that Yeshua most certainly accomplished this end. It is significant that the Messiah died on the tree at the Miphkad Altar at the exact moment of the slaughtering of the lambs in three divisions, or groupings, within the Temple Court.
The day prior to His crucifixion Yeshua commanded His disciples to prepare the Passover. And all the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) agree that the disciples did this as Yeshua had firmly requested. And they also agree that Yeshua ate the Passover with them. Now, consider. The day for the preparation of the Passover meal is called by Luke
“the Day of Unleavened Bread” (Luke 22.7). Mark calls it “the first Day of Unleavened Bread” (Mark 14.12). But the actual “first Day of Unleavened Bread” did not commence until the beginning of the 15th Nisan, at sunset (See also Luke 23.6). The problem is formidable.
Again, the impression given by Luke is that the Passover lamb was indeed slain and eaten at the Lord’s Supper (Luke
22.7). The day the disciples prepared the Lord’s last Passover was supposed to be the day on which the Passover lambs were killed. Now Yeshua expresses the wish to “eat” the Passover with His disciples. In fact He expresses this desire twice (Luke 22.8,15). However, the time the law said to kill the lamb was not the first Day of Unleavened Bread. But both
Luke and Mark identify the day of the killing of the lambs as the first Day of Unleavened Bread. There is a major problem in comparing the Synoptists with the explicit teaching of the Torah as found in the Jewish Scriptures! See both Mark
14.12 and Luke 22.7.
When we come to the apostle John, he tells us Mashiach observed the Lord’s Supper one day prior to the Jewish Passover ritual. In retracing His steps we find that the Lord has His last supper, or dinner, with His disciples (John 13.1-2). Then Yeshua goes to the garden of Gethsemane in the valley of Kedron around midnight (John 18.1) and is apprehended by the Romans and the collaborating Temple police and taken under arms to Kayafa. The next major event in this sequence is the crowing of the rooster whenPeter denies Yeshua (John 18.27). This would be some few hours or so before daybreak. After His encounter with Kayafa Yeshua is led to the Hall of Judgment. And it is at this point we begin to have difficulties. For,
- the Jews did not want to enter the Hall of Judgment because they would have been disqualified from taking the Passover. But Mashiach had already partaken of his Passover the previous evening.
- Yet here He is in the Hall of Judgment several hours before the Passover ritual commenced. Messiah apparently had His Passover an entire day before the “OT” requirement.
Having said all this we now must encounter yet another difficulty. The day on which Yeshua died was called the Preparation Day. The day after the crucifixion is termed a “high” day — the annual Sabbath of Nisan 15 — the “first Day of Unleavened Bread” (John 19.31). Messiah died on what the Jews call Nisan 14. Yet Pilate acknowledges the Passover was yet to occur (John 18.39). This certainly accords with the general Sanhedrin apprehension that His arrest should not be on the feast day of the Jews as recorded by Matthew. The “feast day” was Nisan 15, the first Day of Unleavened Bread (Matthew 26.5). This was the day on which the Jews customarily ate the Passover lamb which had been killed the previous afternoon of Nisan 14. Obviously if the lamb was to be killed “between the two evenings” [between 12 noon and
6 pm — Philo Judaeus, The Ten Festivals, XI] the lamb would die at around 3 pm.
The Mishnah (the earliest portion of the Talmud) states that the Passover lamb was slaughtered in 3 groupings within the
Temple Court beginning around 3 pm and continuing till sundown. Yet if Yeshua told the disciples to slay the lamb at the start of Nisan 14 (or, the very late afternoon of Nisan 13) there would have been nobody in theTemple to sanctify the sacrifice.
Still, we are further told in a specific way that Yeshua ATE the supper as soon as the evening had come (Matthew 26.20). Interestingly, the Synoptists relate that the disciples prepared the meal before the evening had arrived which means it would have been the late afternoon of Nisan 13 (Matthew 26.17; Mark 14.12; Luke 22.7-9).
Further problems emerge when we realise that this day — the 13th no less — is referred to as “a Day of Unleavened Bread.” We are informed that this Preparation Day for the Last Supper was “the FIRST Day of Unleavened Bread when the Passover must be killed” (Luke 22.7). But the lamb was legally killed only on the afternoon of the 14th Nisan! And the FIRST Day of Unleavened Bread — as far as the stipulation in Torah is concerned — is the 15th, not the 14th Nisan (Aviv).
PASSOVER & THE LORD’S SUPPER — CONFLICT IN TONE
Please note that the wine the disciples drank during Mashiach’s Last Supper symbolised blood “shed for… the remission of sins” (Matthew 26.28). The emphasis at Passover celebrations is rather on redemption from Egypt. Certainly the Passover lamb was not a sin offering. It was not sacrificed for sins. Suffice to say the Jews celebrated the Passover with gleeful expressions of joy, freedom, redemption, liberty, happiness. There was a stark difference with the celebration of the Last Supper. The solemn mood of Messiah’s Last Supper could hardly be expressed during a festive Passover dinner. The gravity and depth of sobriety at the very thought of what Messiah underwent in his last few days including His betrayal, formal rejection, scourging and crucifixion (with stoning) carried with it the essential keynotes of acute serious-ness with which the Lord’s Supper should be taken (I Corinthians 11.26). And,
- those in Corinth and its environs who celebrated the Lord’s Supper with frivolity died!
Not only was this most certainly the case in Greece in the first century but the Passover lamb could only ever be eaten in the environs of Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16.1-2). However, the Lord’s Supper was conducted in heathen Corinth in
Greece (I Corinthians 11.20-34). Only males circumcised could partake of the Passover (Exodus 12.43-48). In contrast, again, the Lord’s Supper was observed by uncircumcised Gentiles (I Corinthians 11). Israelites only could partake of the Passover. But the Lord’s Supper was even taken by the unconverted (Luke 22.32).
Clearly, some sincere believers might wish to make the Lord’s Supper an ordinary Passover of the Jews but it wasn’t and it couldn’t be. But for those who wish to somehow merge the two (an utter impossibility considering the above problems and difficulties) there is also the consideration of the cup or goblet of wine.
The wine drunk at the Passover is shared on four occasions symbolising the four promises which God made to Israel
while still in Egypt. The promises were (1) “I shall bring you out” (2) “I shall save you” (3) “I shall redeem you” (4) “I shall take you.” There is a fifth cup of wine placed on the Seder table, from which no one is allowed to drink and a place is set at the table. This is in honour of the coming of the prophet Elijah who must appear immediately prior to the Messiah and who must restore all things in the Mosaic economy. Thus this goblet of wine symbolises the fifth promise of God — “I will bring you into the Land.”
At Mashiach’s Last Supper, during the meal the goblet (containing real wine) was passed around along with matzos
(unleavened bread) (Matthew 26.26-27; Luke 22.17-19). And then after the meal was completed the goblet (the one goblet) was again passed around from which all drank (Luke 22.20; I Corinthians 11.23-26). Yeshua then washed the feet of His students, and said that He had set them an example which they needed to follow (John 13.4-5,14-15).
All of these issues become compacted as John’s Gospel collides in apparent conflict with the Gospels of the Synoptists. We have seen some of the disturbing comparisons. But there are a whole lot more passages, than those we have so far dealt with, which do not seem to offer any real solutions. As a prime example of the confusion which exists, Yeshua is shown in the Synoptics to attack the Temple right at the conclusion of His earthly ministry (Matthew 21.12-13; Mark 11.
15,19; Luke 19.45-48), whereas in the Gospel of John Yeshua cleanses the Temple at the very beginning of His ministry (John 2.13-17).
The narratives of the Synoptics have Yeshua ministering only for a year, but John shows Yeshua building His Party over a three year tenure. The Synoptics record only one visit to Jerusalem at the conclusion of His life. John has numerous visits of Yeshua to Jerusalem and again in contrast to Matthew, Mark and Luke the apostle John has Yeshua involved with at least three Passover celebrations during His ministry.
Two things remain certain concerning the most solemn act of Christian worship in partaking of the emblems of Mashiach’s suffering.
- The Lord is always and particularly present during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (Communion, Eucharist, Mass).
- And each faithful celebration of the Lord’s Supper (no matter by what appellation it is known) is linked indivisibly with every other celebration of that same Lord’s Supper wherever it might be held in time and space by the mystical Body of Mashiach.
Yeshua the Messiah cosmically and in Spirit by virtue of His eternality and unity in substance with each true believer, and in that same unity with God the Father, thus declares intimately (to each believer — by the power of His holy Spirit — in the act of celebrating his sufferings) the awesome Reality of His Real Presence.
While it is true that Mashiach suffered once to atone for sins, by virtue of His Nature Mashiach suffers eternally. His scars
will be eternally displayed for all to see and for all in which to glory. We should seek at each celebration of the Lord’s Supper or Communion Service to associate ourselves with Mashiach’s Sacrifice at Golgoleth.
THE REAL PRESENCE
While the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Faith in the Mass and Eucharist perceives Messiah as being present sacramentally under the form of bread and wine (called the doctrine of transubstantiation), and the wayward, bickering and confused Protestant Faith (by and large) has reduced the emblems of Messiah to a piece of starch-reduced protein-enriched white bread — it’s not even wholemeal — and non-fermented grape juice, to be taken in Mashiach’s absence (it is held that He is not actually present in the emblems) BOTH divisions are guilty of misrepresenting the actual truth of Mashiach’s Real Presence.
Certainly the Roman and Eastern traditions of the eternality of Messiah’s suffering Presence in the celebration of the Mass and Eucharist is closer to the truth than the watered-down apology of many of the traditional, historic and Pente-costal denominations which have lost what it means to praise and worship a holy God, at any time, let alone during Communion.
But we make no apology for believing in the Real Presence of the suffering Cosmic Christ in the Sacrifice of our praise and worship as we offer ourselves up to God in our partaking of the emblems Mashiach instituted.
What better time for us to reflect on what Yeshua both did for us, and enjoins on us?
After all, whether we “like” the very idea of a cross or not, the cross is the symbol of the Christian life which holds the brotherhood together in unity with the sacrificed Passover Lamb. The blood is the issue. We are to take up our cross and follow the Messiah. We are crucified with the Messiah. We are to know only Mashiach and Him crucified. We are to be like (Passover) “lambs led to the slaughter daily,” to quote an unpopular Scripture (Romans 8.36). The whole of humanity was sacrificed on the cross of Mashiach.
The Passover Lamb was not a sin-offering but a gift of redemption, of salvation even from the current “Christian” notion of salvation. Our body is to be conformed to His spiritual Body.
We are to be Messiah’s eyes and ears and hands and feet in this world. As the Passover Lamb was God’s gift to us, so we are to be God’s gift to the rest of the world for whom Mashiach (and we) died. Whatever happened to this teaching of the Body of Mashiach, the Corpus Christi?
When Yeshua died, we died. Until we can look up at the bloodied, bruised, slashed, swollen and disfigured face of Our Lord and see our own reflection looking back we have never really been converted! His cross is our cross. His sacrifice is our sacrifice. His death is our death. His injuries are our injuries. His sufferings are our sufferings. His gladness in His pain is our gladness.
His Real Presence in the Sacrifice of Communion or the Lord’s Supper should be desired above and beyond all else. And so the emissary Rav Shaul, writing to his converts in the city of Colosse near the end of his life, could speak as if he and his Messiah had at long last become one unity, flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone, spirit of His spirit. He that is united to the Lord, he wrote, IS one Spirit. “It makes me happy to suffer for you,” Paul says, “as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Mashiach for the sake of his body, the Messianic Community” (Colossians 1.24).
Martin Luther (who must be credited, at least, with the launch of the Reformation) went to great lengths to explain how he came to realise that the Roman Mass was “idolatrous” and to be forbidden to be celebrated among his new congregants. Ignatius (d. 110 CE) referred to Gnostics in his own day who “do not admit Eucharists and Offerings [the Mass, or Lord’s Supper, or Communion in the spirit of Sacrifice ] because THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THE EUCHARIST TO BE THE FLESH OF OUR SAVIOUR Jesus Christ who suffered for our sins” (Epistle to the Smyrnians, vii).
To our horror we find it was not the Lord Yeshua Messiah who forbad Luther’s followers to attend the Mass. Luther tells us explicitly that it was the Dark Lord — the Devil himself. He had appeared to him one evening at midnight and convinced Luther of the idolatrous nature of the Mass. This is Luther’s own open and frank admission! (De Unct. et Miss. Priv. vii, 228).
Yeshua proclaimed on the night that He was betrayed, concerning the unleavened bread (matzos): “Take, eat! This IS my body” and of the wine “This cup is the covenant new in its nature, a covenant which is in the sphere of my blood.” (See Kenneth Wuest The New Testament, An Expanded Translation, 1961, 404). True to Jewish thoughtforms Our Lord Yeshu taught that all creation resided in God who brought it all originally out of Himself. God eternally creates and recreates the Universe (and perhaps Multiverses), and that through the means of eternal Self-sacrifice. All comes forth from His own Substance. This is why Yeshua could say so emphatically, of the bread, that it was His body.
Sacramentally, every Lord’s Supper is linked in a mystical way to the Last Supper and to the Sacrifice at Golgoleth. Each and every time a believer celebrates the mystical Sacrifice of the Lord in the symbols of flesh and blood he invokes the Real Presence of Yeshua Messiah, who died vicariously for him and for the whole world. This is decidedly NOT the pagan doctrine of transubstantiation.
But this is a knowledge, while privately admitted by scholarly theologians and some few preachers alike, is not being presently expounded in churches today and while there has been revolutionary understanding in Christian seminaries and colleges of all theological persuasions across our western world the knowledge is not filtering down to the ordinary believer who faithfully and religiously warms the pew, in the Temple of Non-Think of his choice, week in and week out.
The essential problem is one of academic hierarchical control over the masses by maintaining the status quo of ignorance at the local church level. Its worked for 1600 years, so why change it now? At least this is an effective argument. But there is a monumental change coming and when it does eventuate — in the very near future just ahead of us now — the Christian world will be astonished. In fact the literature you are presently reading is part of that prophesied change. The entire world will soon be given the opportunity to properly appraise Yeshua Messiah as the Jewish King, Yeshu ha-Mashiach. For, the Lord God of Israel will soon release the holy Spirit in a powerful and dramatic way upon the Jewish nation. It will not come as a part of some Pentecostal Movement or a work of “grace” that has startled some staid ungodly churches and denominations in Toronto in Canada or Brownsville, in Pensacola, Florida!
No, not by any means!
When “the Spirit of Grace and Supplications” pours forth from the Temple of God the Jewish nation (and as a direct consequence, the whole world) will not know what hit them (Zechariah 12.10-13.6).
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SOVEREIGN!
There will be no mistaking His presence. And just as Messiah said He would be the cause of division in homes and families, so the nation of Israel will be rent apart in a horrifying and bloody civil war over the Person of Yeshua the Messiah. Surrounding Arab states will be singularly amazed. An immediate result will be the jettisoning by Israelis of idolatrous images and paintings scattered throughout the Land in churches of all divisions. Eretz Israel will be cleansed of idols and idol worshipers (Zechariah 13.1-2). That time will usher in an astonishing favour of Israel in the eyes of the Arab nations and the entire global community. The predicted peace between Arab and Jew and the expansion of the borders of Israel (which is destined to occur just prior to the coming of Our Lord Yeshua to bring His Government to this planet) will set the stage for the entrance of the endtime Antichrist.
But in the meantime the Spirit of God will usher in “times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem in circa 30 CE was only a forerunner of a dramatic endtime prophetic fulfilment. Bloodied Golgoleth in the plan of God launched God’s intention to save the world and to reconcile the entire universe back to himself through the shed blood of His precious Son.
“Calvary” (if we are sometimes compelled to use Latin) must precede Pentecost. Unless we have experienced our own personal Calvary we can never fully grasp our own private Pentecost. And Pentecost as one of the festivals or “high” days given by God to Israel (and the day that is paramount in theological importance to millions of professed believers, with their undue “tongue” emphasis, in our modern world) is not understood by the historic Christian community — for the very reason they have rejected the plan, purpose and intent of God for the entire world as explicated by the agricultural feast days.
Its high time to rethink the issues with which Messiah confronts us, and to give glory to God the Saviour of all humankind.