"He will speak words against the Most High and try to exhaust the holy ones of the Most High. He will attempt to alter the seasons and the law;" Daniel 7:25
As mentioned elsewhere, the events in Jesus' life and ministry are not generally celebrated on the days they actually happened.
It is difficult to see how this could be done if you consider the different calendars involved and the way the days of the week shift every year.
(See Calendars )
Sadly, many features of celebration on the Church calendar have their roots in pre-Christian, pagan celebrations. ( Syncretism is the mixing of two religions - mixing paganism into Christianity) Christianity abandoned the Biblical Feasts or Appointed Times (Moedim).
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
Beware of confusing church dates with pagan dates. - See Halloween for details of the Highcross Quarters.
See Gap to chart the Church's progress over the centuries.
Some readers have taken the comments on Jewish and Christian Holidays to indicate that wildolive advocates that the Christian return to a state of being "under Law" and under compulsion to celebrate Jewish holidays. This is not the the case, for three reasons.
1. Torah does not mean "Law" but "teaching". Celebrating the feasts in Torah is a joy, not a legal obligation.
2. The feasts are "the Feasts of the Lord", not "the Jewish Feasts".
3. Wildolive does not condemn Christians who celebrate the Christian holidays.
As someone said, "A ship at sea collects barnacles. You do not scrap the ship - you scrape off the barnacles."
When a Christian celebrates the birth, death and resurrection of our saviour it is a wonderful thing. But if our understanding of spiritual truths is formed by a traditional celebration, and that tradition is in error, it should be challenged and something better sought.
Easter should be associated with Passover, but Passover is fixed at 14th Nisan in the Hebrew calendar while Easter was fixed by the increasingly anti-Semitic church to fall on the Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox. (see "Jesus in the Feasts of Israel" by Richard Booker)
See Holy Week for a detailed calendar of events.
The day of Jesus resurrection is recorded as being the first day of the week, following the Passover. ( a Sunday)
This day was the Feast of Firstfruits, which is extremely appropriate since he became "the first fruits of them that sleep", proving that we too may have life beyond the grave.
The name, "Easter" is derived from a pagan spring / fertility deity who appears variously as Eostre, the Saxon goddess of dawn with a hare's head (the origin of Easter bunnies), Ishtar from Ninevah, introduced into Britain with the Druids, Astarte the queen of heaven from Babylon whose worship involved sexual depravity! (The egg figures prominently in the worship of Easter - Astarte was said to have sprung from an Egg which fell from Heaven into the Euphrates) Even the fast of Lent which was introduce in the sixth century was borrowed from Babylon. A similar fast was observed by the Egyptians in commemoration of Osiris. A similar fast is still observed by the Yezidi in Kurdistan, who worship Malak Tawus (the "Peacock Angel" - Lucifer). (click for details)
In Exodus 23 v13 one of the commandments (mitzvot) of YHVH says, "Pay attention to everything I have said to you; do not invoke the names of other gods or even let them be heard crossing your lips."
The day of Jesus' death was not Friday. He could hardly be said to have spent three days in the tomb if he died just before the end of the Friday. In the first century, the spirit of one who died was believed to stay near the body for three days (72 hours), and possibly re-enter the body (the equivalent of modern day occurrences of people pronounced dead waking up in the mortuary). This appears to be the reason for Jesus delaying going to Lazarus until he had been dead for three days. When Jesus said that the only sign that would be given to the people was the sign of Jonah, he meant the full seventy two hours; complete and authentic death and burial.
John's account of the death of Jesus records (chapter 19 v31) that "it was the day of preparation and the next day was to be a special Sabbath". This does not mean that this event took place on Friday since the Passover day (which started at sunset) was a "special Sabbath", not a Saturday. (see Num 28 v16-25) Study the timing of these events shows that Jesus died on the Wednesday, at the same time as the Passover lambs were being slaughtered. This is very profound but a little difficult, as it meant that Jesus must have celebrated the Passover meal a day early. Historical records show that there were two rival calendars in use at that time and the one used by the Essenes was a day ahead of the other, more widely accepted, one. The Essenes were a devout order of men, which meant that they had to collect their own water which was normally women's work. Therefore the man Jesus told his disciples to look for (Luke 22 v10) was an Essene, confirming that Jesus and his disciples celebrated a day earlier than most people.
Since Jesus died on the same day as the Passover lambs, the time of day becomes significant. Jesus was crucified at the third hour (nine in the morning) and he died at the ninth hour (three in the afternoon). On that same day, in the Temple, half a mile away, the slaughter of the Passover lambs started at the third hour and ceased at the ninth hour when the High Priest entered and with his arms outstretched said, "It is finished" At the same time Jesus, with his arms outstretched on his cross, cried out "It is finished!" and died. Thus the slaughter of Passover lambs was finished with the sacrifice of The Lamb of God! (from the ministry of Neil Cohen of Christ Church Jerusalem.)
This was not necessarily a Sunday on the year of Jesus' entry to Jerusalem, but the event occurred on 10th of Nisan. Jesus entered Jerusalem to be tested by the religious authorities on the day that the Passover lambs were taken into the homes to be inspected to ensure they were free from blemish and suitable to be sacrificed.
The traditional greeting to pilgrims coming up to Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) for Passover was "Baruch haba bashem Adonai" (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" (Psalm 118 v 26). This took on a special significance when Jesus entered Jerusalem. (His name Yeshua means "The Lord is Salvation")
See also Christian Myths concerning Palm Sunday.
The Feast of Weeks, or ShaVu'Ot falls fifty days after Passover; not necessarily on a Sunday. Obviously if Easter does not fall at Passover, Pentecost will not fall on Sha vu Ot. Pentecost / Whitsun appears to have attracted less corrupting influence from the world, and has almost been forgotten in Britain since the Spring Bank Holiday has taken its place as a public holiday. This seems to leave the Church more free to celebrate the GOD's gift of His Holy Spirit to his people. However, a look at The Feast of Sha vu Ot shows that there is more depth of meaning to this holy day in its Hebrew roots. It is worth noting that Pentecost was not the birthday of "the Church" - see The Olive Tree for an explanation.
Christmas was not celebrated until the fourth century. The date of 25th December was fixed by the Council of Nicea to take over the pagan midwinter solstice festival of sol invictus (unconquered sun). It also conveniently took over the Roman winter festival of Saturnalia; December 17-21st. There were pragmatic reasons for this but it taints the celebration of our Saviour's birth with pagan symbols and customs. Just consider the importance of winter, snow, fires, candles, fir trees, holly, mistletoe and feasting in the images on your Christmas cards.
Our Bible gives no record of the date of Jesus' birth, which suggests that of all the things our GOD wants to keep in mind, this date is not one.
However, there are good grounds to believe that Jesus was actually born at the time of the Feast Tabernacles. This would fit in with the prophetic significance of so much of his life and ministry, as it was this time that he left his home in Heaven and came to live in the frail shelter of human flesh. ( See Sukot )
Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist was of the priestly division of Abijah/ Aviyah. (See Luke 1 v5 and also 1 Chronicles chapter 24; esp. v10) Each division was responsible for serving in the Temple for two weeks in the year. As a member of the eighth division he would have served around June. When Mary visited Elizabeth, who was in her sixth month (Luke 1 v34-39), this would have been December. This means that Yeshua (Jesus) was probably born at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles in September or October. (Thanks to Rufus Barnes writing in the newsletter of the Messianic (Christian) Education Trust 1998)
Also, Sukkot was the time of year for taking census in Judea. This could be another tie-in with Sukkot and the census mentioned in the gospel account of the birth of Yeshua.
If you look for the likely date of Sukkot in 7BCE, using a computer simulation (www.cybersky.com) you will get a picture like this. It shows the necessary full moon and the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which would have been very bright (being full moon). We know this conjunction would have been deemed significant by the magi. You will also notice that it is slightly east of south (at this time of night), seen from Jerusalem. Remember the magi went to Jerusalem and enquired for the newborn king of the Jews and followed the star from there to Bethlehem (to the South). Just thought you might find this interesting.
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.'" (Matthew 2:1-2)
Dr David Reagan offers this Supernatural possibility.
The longevity of the star rules out a comet or a meteor. The star had to appear each night for several months in order to lead the magi all the way from Persia in the Far East. The possibility of a super-nova or a planetary alignment is ruled out by the fact that the star constantly moved , leading the magi first to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem where the star hovered over the house where Mary and Joseph had moved to with the Christ Child (Matthew 2:9-11).
The renowned Messianic Jewish scholar, Alfred Edersheim, has proposed another solution to the mystery. He points out that the Greek word translated "star" really means "radiance." The "star" could therefore have been what the Jews called the "Shekinah" — that is, a physical manifestation of the glory of God in the form of a supernatural radiance.
The Jews experienced such a phenomenon in the wilderness of Sinai when for 40 years they were led about by a pillar of cloud in the day that became a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). When the radiant cloud moved, they moved. When the cloud hovered, they pitched their tents and settled down (Numbers 9:15-23).
This Shekinah later resided in the Holy of Holies after the Temple of Solomon was built (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). Ezekiel describes how the Shekinah departed from the Temple in stages before God allowed the Temple to be destroyed by the Babylonians.
The Shekinah is mentioned in the New Testament as being present at the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:9), at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), and at His ascension (Acts 1:9).
Considering the radiant and maneuverable qualities of the Shekinah that are demonstrated in these scriptures, it is very likely that the "star" which led the magi was really the Shekinah Glory of God.
Harvest festival in the Autumn/Fall is an excellent response to the LORD's abundant goodness to us and a chance for us to reflect that the source of our food is the land and God's maintenance of seedtime and harvest. As long as pagan symbols are not allowed to creep in (corn dollies?) there appears to be no problem - but why not celebrate it next year as Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering , and see all the added richness in the pictures of Jesus' first and second comings?
All Hallows was a misguided attempt by the church, around 800 AD, to overwrite the Pagan, Druid feast of Samhain which marked the end of Summer with fires and animal and human sacrifice. (The corresponding feast for the beginning of Summer is Beltane, which falls on May 1st and involves may poles, dancing, flowers and fertility rites) The celebration of departed saints is all but forgotten but the symbols of death, fear, evil, witchcraft and Satan are still with us in Trick or Treat, hideous costumes and Jack O'Lantern pumpkins, which children are often encouraged to take part in. These dates are the most important on the calendar of the various sects of practitioners of witchcraft .
Shabbat, The Saturday Sabbath was observed by the early church and was kept in Britain until around the twelfth century. The celebration of a Sunday Sabbath (even as "resurrection day" ) was never commanded in scripture. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment was another victim of the state controlled church's desire to cut away from Jewish roots. Shabbat was the sign of the LORD's chosen and faithful people, the one which marked out the Jews for persecution down through the ages. (The people we are grafted in to)
See also "Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence" by Nehemia Gordon; chapter 5; "Spiritual mixing of Seed." He throws light on important issues of what can go wrong if we are casual with words and to whom we express our worship. The Old Testament examples can be extended to the present time.
Just before Israel entered the Promised Land, Moses gave them commandments ( mitzvot ) from the LORD including the following from Deuteronomy 12 v1-3, These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live in the land. Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. Subsequent scriptures contain examples of the consequences of neglecting this command. Why did the church expect to escape the consequences of accommodating pagan customs? (See particularly 2 Kings chapter 17 v 29-41. This is also the root of the enmity between the Jews (Judeans) and the Samaritans.)
It is sad to note that, on 5th August 2002, Dr Rowan Williams Archbishop of Wales and next Archbishop of Canterbury (Head of the whole Anglican Church) was inducted as an honorary white druid (Druids are reconstructing the pre-Christian pagan religion of Britain, but are also involved in celebrations of celtic art) Dr Williams was inducted at a ceremony in St David's Pembrokeshire, in the middle of a standing stone circle, clad in white druid robes and standing before ivy clad microphones. Dr Williams dismissed suggestions he was dabbling with paganism, but Christians must make up their own minds. Anglicans in Africa who are battling pagan religion may find his stance difficult to accept.
If we are not willing to accept that some of our Church dates are inaccurate we miss some amazing truths that are involved in the significant dates and times. It may not be terribly wrong to celebrate an event on the wrong day, but perhaps it is unwise to assert that it is the "Right" day. We claim to preach "The Truth" to a world which is short on truth, but if we are found to be clinging to wrong doctrines it seriously undermines what we say. This will be especially true if we attempt to share our beliefs with Jews, who will see if our story does not fit with scripture. Much of the nonsense that was talked about the Millennium might have been avoided if we acknowledged that Jesus was not born at zero on the Gregorian calendar.
In the Torah our GOD instituted the feasts HE wanted His people to observe - Leviticus (Vayikra) 23 begins, "YHVH said to Moshe (Moses), "Tell the people of Isra'el: The designated times of YHVH which you are to proclaim as holy convocations are my designated times."
In Deuteronomy ( D'varim) 12 v32 YHVH said, "Everything I am commanding you, you are to take care to do. Do not add to it or subtract from it." Our GOD gave his people seven feasts and the seventh day Shabbat (Leviticus 23). If we are redeemed and grafted into Israel (Romans 11) surely these feasts are there for us to celebrate. Where did our saviour or his apostles say that these holy days had done away with or needed replacing? If you look at them you will find that they point to our saviour, Yeshua the Messiah and provide a most excellent way to celebrate what he has done for us. (see Feasts of the Lord )
To summarize, there are seven feasts grouped into three pilgrimages
|Feast||known as||Prophetic of|
Passover, Seder Night
|Redemption||Seder Night - The Last Supper
and Crucufixion of Yeshua, Lamb of God
Unleavened Bread - The burial of Yeshua
Firstfruits - The ressurection of Yeshua (The firstfruits of them that sleep)
(Pentecost or Weeks )
Mantan Torah - The giving of the Law
|Revelation||The sending of the Holy Spirit|
Yom Teurah Trumpets
Yom Kippur Day of Atonement
Sukkot Tabernacles - and Ingathering - fruit harvest
A call to self examination and repentance - The last Trumpet
Day of Atonement Restoring oneness with God - Judgement Day
Tabernacles, Rejoicing for Godís keeping - Ingathering
(Heaven at the end of the age)
The Feasts are called in Hebrew, Mo'edim, which actually means "times" or "appointed times." They are God's appointed times to celebrate; not just Jewish feasts.
Can we get our heads around the possibility that our God, the God of Israel, is calling us to celebrate HIS feasts and let go of our traditional church feasts, or maybe just cling less tightly to them?
I believe our God wants us to be aware of the truth of history and that he plans to restore to us blessings from our roots in Israel. We may be wise to loosen our grasp on some of our traditions in case we find ourselves at fault like the religious people of Jesus' day, to whom he quoted Isaiah 29 v13. He said, "You have let go of the commands of GOD and are holding on to the traditions of men." (Mark 7 v8)
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