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Passover and the Revelation of Gravitational Pull - Part 2

Remember our mathematician, Pierre-Simon Laplace? His work showed how otherwise indiscernible objects and forces can be revealed by examining the forces that move them and nearby objects. Historicalyl we might say that Passover is like one of those "invisible" things in which massive size is revealed by the forces that react around it.

Remember Pierre-Simon Laplace's response to Napoleon on the question of the absence of the Creator in his calculations? He said, "I did not need to make such an assumption"?

It seems that when men decide to ignore the Almighty, they can easily come up with false substitutes. For Laplace it was mathematics. In history, there is a thing that masquerades as a holy convocation, when it is not. In history, there is something that has "taken the place" of Passover, but in the eternal plan of the Almighty it has not. In the history of the church, a wicked scheme succeeded in obscuring the biblical reality for many believers for centuries.

Beloved, Easter is not Passover.

But like Pierre-Simon Laplace's celestial mechanics, you can know about a massive object that has been masked or obscured, by seeing the "gravitational pull." Even in the polemics and wicked decrees of men regarding the forsaking of Passover in favor of the rites of Easter is evidence of the biblical Passover. In men's efforts to stamp out Passover, they revealed that true believers long resisted many of the pagan influences of the early Christian church.

There were many chasidim [pious ones] who held fast to their faith in Yeshua, and obediently remembered Him in the Passover. It took ridicule, persecution, the threat of excommunication, and even the threat of death to stamp it out. It took hundreds of years. And only now is it once again being recognized for what it truly is.

In the early Second Century, men like Justin Martyr did their best to try and persuade believers to abandon the "Jewish Feast" days. Justin Martyr in his "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew" wrote, "For we too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the Sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know for what reason they were enjoined you, namely, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of your hearts." Although it is clear that if one reads the Scriptures that the Sabbath and the Feasts are "Feasts of HaShem" Martyr assigns them to Jews as some sort of anti-Semitic curse. In recounting what was occurring in Ephesus and elsewhere in Asia Minor, Martyr's polemic reveals a "gravitational force" - there were a significant number of believers who still held fast to remembering Yeshua in celebrating Passover.

By the middle of the Second Century, the "gravitational pull" of Passover becomes more evident in the desire of wicked men to stamp it out. It is now known as the "Quartodeciman Controversy." In large part, the assemblies in Asia Minor remained steadfast to remembering Messiah's redemptive work by celebrating Passover, and rejected the attempts to "de-Judaize" the followers of the Master. In Rome however, and in regions particularly under its influence, church leaders were insisting that believers abandon all evidence of "Jewishness" in their worship. They insisting that Easter should replace Passover, whereas the faithful (known as Quartodecimans for "14th" as in the 14th of Nisan, the day of Passover) rejected the notion that a feast to Semiramis (the Babylonian fertility goddess) and the so-called resurrection of her son Tammuz (referenced in Ezekiel 8:14, is also known as Attis in the Roman pantheon) should replace the biblical Passover. Even the present dating for the modern "Easter" comes from this ancient pagan rite. The Roman celebration to Attis is timed in association with the vernal equinox, a solar event - whereas the dating of Passover is lunar. This is why Easter and Passover rarely line up. One uses a biblical dating, and one uses a pagan one. Beloved, Easter is not Passover.

At the end of the Second Century, Victor, the bishop of Rome began to threaten other church leaders in an attempt to get them to abandon Passover in favor of the Roman Easter celebration as a means to celebrate the Resurrection of Messiah. Polycrates, the bishop of Ephesus, wrote to Victor his response to these threats.

“We for our part keep the day [14th of Nisan,  Passover] scrupulously, without addition or subtraction. For in Asia great luminaries sleep who shall rise again on the day of the L-rd's advent, when He is coming with glory from heaven and shall search out all His saints – such as Philip...  there is John, who lent back on the L-rd's breast… there is Polycarp, bishop and martyr… All these kept the fourteenth day of the month as the beginning of the Paschal Festival [Passover], in accordance with the Gospel, not deviating in the least but following the rule of the Faith. Last of all, I too, Polycrates, the least of you all… and my family has always kept the day when the people put away the leaven [Feast of Unleavened Bread]. So I, my friends, after spending sixty-five years in the L-rd's service and conversing with Christians from all parts of the world, and going carefully through all Holy Scripture, and not scared of threats. Better people than I have said: 'We must obey G-d rather than men'." [ ]

It may appear by reading the official church records that by the end of the Second Century the Roman influence to do away with Passover was successful. And yet, the "gravitational pull" of the "invisible Passover" is still evident in later church decrees. Apparently, it was more difficult to stamp out the celebration of our Redemption (aka Passover) than church history has led us to believe. It took a Roman Emperor to settle the matter (or at least so he thought). Roman Emperor Constantine (who claimed he had converted to Christianity from sun worship) ordered the Council of Nicea and thereby the church leaders to solve the controversy over certain issues. Passover was one of them. In the decree that came from the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, we read:

"Constantine, August, to the churches… When the question arose concerning the most holy day of Easter, it was decreed by common consent to be expedient, that this festival should be celebrated on the same day by all, in every place.  …it seemed to every one a most unworthy thing that we should follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this most holy solemnity, who, polluted wretches having stained their hands with a nefarious crime, are justly blinded in their minds. It is fit, therefore, that, rejecting the practice of this people, we should perpetuate to all future ages the celebration of this rite, in a more legitimate order, which we have kept from the first day of our L-rd's passion even to the present times. Let us then have nothing in common with the most hostile rabble of the Jews." [2]

But even that did not do the trick. The "gravitational pull" of Passover was still being felt forty years later in the Council of Laodicea (a fitting council name). In 364 CE, the Council of Laodicea decreed that all who celebrated Passover were to be declared heretics.

One would think that with all this pressure, it would be enough to get people to simply move their Passover celebrations to Easter. Beloved, it was not only the dates - it was what it all meant. Passover is the celebration of Redemption. Easter is not. The "gravitational pull" of Passover is duly recorded by those who sought to stamp Passover out.

Into the Fifth Century the practice of celebrating Passover was still evident. Eventually, the persecution and the syncretism of the church succeeded in driving Passover from the church. Man-made customs, and pagan practices replaced not only the commands of the Almighty - they obscured the very message of our Master Yeshua's act of redemption.

All this "gravitational pull" reveals the presence of a massive body. Passover was so big that it took four hundred years for wicked men to stamp it out from the practice of those who claimed to follow Messiah.

O HaShem, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, "Surely our fathers have inherited lies, worthlessness and unprofitable things." Will a man make G-ds for himself, which are not G-ds? "Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; and they shall know that My name is HaShem."
Jeremiah 16:19-21

We have inherited lies. What should we do? Now is the time not only to regret the sins against the Jewish people, but to turn to the ways of the Almighty. His ways are pleasantness, and His Word is as true for us today as it was for any of His people; from righteous Abel, to the beloved disciple John. Passover is about redemption. It is about the outstretched arm of HaShem. By His hand we will know His Name. Within the Passover story we are encouraged to turn and see His hand. The Passover Seder is about the power of redemption. It is the revelation of power. It is so that the Name of our G-d might be declared in all the earth.

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you [Moshe] up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.
Exodus 9:16

It is time for the people of G-d to embrace the truth of Passover, and thereby reject the lie.

That does not mean we need to beat our friends, family, and neighbors over the head with the truth - to point to the pagan origins of Easter, and its miserable history. No, instead it is a time to lovingly teach one another, by example. Fulfill the positive commands of our Master Yeshua, and be assured that the pagan vestiges and the inherited lies will loose their luster in the brilliance of the Feasts of HaShem.

May it be soon, and in our days, that all the disciples of Yeshua remember Him in their annual observance of the Feasts of HaShem. May it be soon, and in our days, that we renew our dedication to our Master Yeshua in the celebration of the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread, and the celebration of our Master's Resurrection on the Feast of First Fruits. May we all find unity in the Counting of the Omer, as our Master instructed His disciples.

May it be soon, and in our days, that our Master Yeshua returns - that He establishes His Kingdom with His Torah going forth over all the earth - and that all the earth bows the knee to Him. We long for Him! We want Mashiach now!

In the meantime, we remember.

Master, we remember You this Passover!

[1] Eusebius, The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine, p.231
[2] A Historical View of The Council of Nice; with by Rev. Isaac Boyle, D.D.;T Mason and G Lane, New York, 1839; pp. 51-54


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