by Christine Egbert
I’m so thankful that Yeshua’s mercies are new every morning, for renewing our mind, through washing it with the water of His WORD, doesn’t happen over night. It’s a process. Our awesome God is long-suffering, and His goodness is what leads us to repentance. One of the many thing I had to repent of was not keeping His Appointed Times. You see, I used to celebrate our Messiah’s death and resurrection on Easter, instead of Passover and First Fruits.
Like most believers, I celebrated biblical events, not thorough God’s proscribed Feast Days, which God said we are to observe forever, but through through two-thousand year old man-made Catholic Church doctrines, which instituted Christmas and Easter. I had no idea that these two holidays were pagan in origin. I was ignorant of Isaiah 65:12, which warns against choosing things in which God finds no pleasure, and I certainly had no idea that God declares “ignorance of the law” to be “no excuse.”
Leviticus 5:17: “If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of YHVH’s commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible.”
Most believers today still don’t know that the word Easter (and its traditions) come from a pre-Christian era. Most have never been taught Roman Catholic Church history.
But the good news is this: When believers become truth-seekers, willing to go wherever TRUTH leads, they’ll learn the TRUTH, and God’s biblical TRUTH will set them free from bondage to man-made doctrines. They’ll learn when (in the 4th Century) and why (because of antisemitism) so many grafted-in branches separated themselves from the Hebraic roots of their faith and mixed biblical TRUTH with the Roman Catholic Church’s man-made doctrine, which sought to separate believers from everything they saw as “Jewish” and to make their “new religion” palatable to Rome’s pagans.
Christian scholar De Ratione Temporum, the Venerable Bede (672-735 AD), was the first to assert that Easter was named after Eostre/ Eastre / Ishtar. She was the great mother goddess of the Saxons in Northern Europe, known in ancient Israel as Ashtoreth. Worship of this goddess–Ashtoreth (Easter)–infuriated God so much, according to 1 Kings 11:29-35, God ripped Israel in two, creating the House of Israel and the House of Judah.
1Ki 11:33 states: “…because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments…”
HOW SERIOUS IS IT?
God’s word makes it very clear that He does not permit those in covenant with Him to worship Him the way those Nations not in covenant (pagan nations) worship their gods.
Deu 12:30 “Take heed to yourself that you not be snared to follow them after they have been destroyed before you; and that you not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? And I shall do likewise…”
God is so adamant, He ordered their complete destruction.
Deuteronomy 7:16 Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.
God even commands his people to never mention the names of pagan gods.
Exo 23:13 “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.
SO WHAT DID THE ROMAN CHURCH DO?
In 325 AD, at the Council of Nicaea Constantine changed the date on which Christians were to commemorate the resurrection and outlawed keeping Passover. He also outlawed First Fruits, a shadow picture of Yeshua’s resurrection. In place of the God-ordained appointed Feasts, which YHVH said were to be observed FOREVER, they decided to do what was right in their own eyes. They decreed that believers in Israel’s Messiah were now to celebrate Yeshua’s resurrection, not as Scripture ordains, on First Fruits, but on the first Sunday following the full moon, after the vernal equinox. Then, to add insult to injury, they named this day after the pagan goddess, Ishtar (Easter in English), whose Hebrew name is Ashtoreth. 1Ki 11:33 states: “…because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth…”
Deuteronomy 12:8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—” But they did, and still do! But enough about the doctrines and traditions of men! Let’s see what God’s word says about First Fruits, for every one of the Lord YHVH’s appointed times, His Feast Days, are shadow pictures of the Messiah! They tell the good news of the gospel!
WHAT WAS THE ORDER OF EVENTS?
Yeshua was executed on a stake on Passover, Wednesday, the 14th of Nisan.
At 3 p. m. in the afternoon, at the temple, the High Priest sacrificed the last Passover lamb, then in keeping with protocol, he cried out, “It is finished!” On the cross, at the very moment, Yeshua cried out the very same words. Then He bowed his head and released His Spirit. Then His body was removed from the stake.
His body was placed into the tomb before sunset, for the High Sabbath of Nisan 15th–the Feast of Unleavened bread–would begin at sunset. Yeshua arose 3 days and 3 nights later, just as He said He would. (Matthew 12:40)
Placed in the tomb just before the close of Passover, on (Wednesday) the 14th, Yeshua remained in the tomb all of the 15th, all of the 16th, and until just before sunset on the 17th, a full 72 hours, later, just as He had promised. The Lord of the Sabbath, Yeshua, arose near the close of the weekly Sabbath (Saturday). When Mary arrived ‘early’ on the first day of the week (Sunday) while it was still dark, Yeshua wasn’t there, for He had already risen.
Good Friday / A Catholic MYTH!
It is impossible to count three days and three nights (a 72 hour period) from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. Do the math!
Something peculiar happen after Yeshua appeared to Mary on that particular First Fruits, the Sunday following the weekly Sabbath. While it was still dark that morning, John 20:1 tells us that Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb and found the stone rolled away. After she ran to tell the disciples that the Lord’s body had been moved, something rather curious happened. The disciples followed Mary and found the linens and grave clothes Yeshua had been wrapped in folded neatly. That was startling enough, but after they left, Mary saw two angels dressed in white. They asked her why she was weeping, and she told them it was because the Lord’s body had been moved, and she didn’t know where it had been taken. Then a most curious thing happened. The scene went something like this: (John 20:2-17)
“Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?”
Thinking that it was the gardener, Mary said, “Sir, if you carried Him away, tell me where you put Him, and I will take Him.”
Then Yeshua said, “Mary!”
At that point, Mary must’ve reached to embrace Yeshua, for He told her, “Do not touch Me!”
For years, I have wondered about this strange encounter. For a few passages later, Yeshua tells Thomas to touch him, touch his hands and his side! Why? Why was it okay for Thomas to touch Yeshua but not for Mary?
Yeshua had not yet ascended to present His blood to His Father in the Heavenly tabernacle. As our High Priest Yeshua had to remain “ceremonially un-defiled” (untouched) so He could perform His High Priest duty of applying His blood on the Mercy Seat. Yeshua had to fulfill His duties according to the pattern proscribed by the TORAH (God’s instructions).
The earthly tabernacle was an exact copy of the Heavenly tabernacle. Protocols in the earthly tabernacle were based on Heavenly protocols.
WHAT IS THE FIRST FRUIT OFFERING?
According to information at Jewishvirtuallibrary.org, “the Hebrew term bikkurim, and related terms for the “first fruits”, derive from the same root as bekhor, “firstborn.” The firstborn of man and beast belong to God. The first fruits are to be devoted to Him.
The first grains to ripen each season are to be brought as an offering to YHVH. Every Israelite was under this obligation (Ex. 23:19; 34:26, Num. 15:17–21; 18:12–13; Deut. 26:1–11). A frequent synonym for bikkurim is “the first [fruits].”
Leviticus 23:9-14 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When you come into the land, which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the (weekly) Sabbath, the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD…It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
According to Leviticus, First Fruits is offered on ‘the day after the weekly Sabbath’ and the priest shall wave it. The bikkurim of the barley was marked by tying it together with a sheaf while it was still in the field. Then, when it was ready to be harvested, it was offered as the first fruits by the High Priest in the Temple, along with a blood offering.
First Fruits begins the counting of seven weeks (called counting of the Omer) to Shavuot, that appointed time when YHVH gave the Ten Commandments. Shavuot (Pentecost) is also the time when God poured out his Holy Spirit on believers as recounted in the Book of Acts. One might say that we, those of us who’ve been sealed by the Holy Spirit, are like the bikkurim of the barley that was marked ahead of time in the field. The Holy Spirit marks us for God’s harvest when Yeshua returns.
Have you ever wondered what happened to all of the dead that were broken out of their graves at the time of the crucifixion? Only Matthew speaks of it.
Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
Upon Yeshua’s death an earthquake occurred. Graves opened. Saints were raised. They remained in their tombs until Yeshua’s resurrection, at which time they appeared to many. What happened to these afterwards is a mystery. Scripture is silent, but according to Michael Rood’s Chronological Gospels, these saints were marked like the barely in the field when their graves were opened. And when Yeshua presented presented Himself in the heavenly tabernacle, He also presented those who came out of their graves. It was His duty as Our High Priest. This hypotheses might explain (I will leave that up to you) the presence of the 24 elders John saw in the book of Revelation.
OUR PERFECT LAMB AND HIGH PRIEST
At the very moment the Temple High Priest waved the sheaf of the First Fruits before the Lord, our High Priest Yeshua presented His sheaf of first fruits, His blood, as the perfect sacrifice. Yeshua fulfilled First Fruits perfectly. 1Co 15:20 “But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep. 21 For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man. 22 For as all die in Adam, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah. 23 And each in his own order: Messiah, the first-fruits, then those who are in Messiah at His coming (Romans 8:23). Not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”