DID YOU KNOW that there could be grave consequences for those who participate in a church-sponsored Passover seder?
Passover is one of the YHVH-given appointed times, a set-apart rehearsal, which should not be celebrated without full understanding and commitment. The requirements for participation, according to the Word of YHVH, are:
1.) All males must be circumcised: “And when a visitor shall stay with you, and will do the Passover to YHVH, let every male to him be circumcised, and then he may come near to prepare it. And he shall be like a native of the land. But any uncircumcised one may not eat of it.” [Exodus 12:48]
Circumcision: “And Elohim said to Abraham, ‘You shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.’ ” [Genesis 17:9-11] “. . .My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” [Genesis 17:13b-14]
2.) When you choose to celebrate the Passover unto YHVH, you are choosing to enter into the covenant of YHVH and become as a native of the land, an Israelite. [Exodus 12:48]
3.) When you join with the Israelite people, the covenant, the blessings and responsibilities also belong to you, for there is one Law -- one Torah -- for all (Exodus 12:49). YHVH does not have different laws for different people, for “. . .If you have partiality, you work sin, being reproved by the Law (the Torah) as transgressors.” [James 2:9]. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” [Acts 10:35]
4.) A Reminder: “No foreigner (outsider) shall eat it.’” [Exodus 12:43]
5.) Families are to celebrate the Passover in their dwellings, not in an assembly of people, for “. . . You shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘(This is done) because of what YHVH did for me when I came up from Egypt.’ It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of YHVH may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand YHVH has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.” [Exodus 13:8-10]
6.) “On the fourteenth day of this month (the first month, Nisan), at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time (when the barley is in the green). According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it.” [Numbers 9:3] Remember, a day is from evening to evening, so “at twilight” would be at the beginning of the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan.
YHVH gave exact instructions on how the appointed times must be kept, for they teach about the Messiah. Therefore, any deviations are disobedience to the Word of YHVH, and He accepts nothing from disobedient ones except repentance and a return to obedience. If we partake of the Passover of YHVH without serious commitment, then He will call us wicked and say to us,“. . . What (right) have you to proclaim My statutes, and to take up My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and toss My Words behind you?” [Psalm 50:16-17] And when we disobey YHVH, our disobedience brings curses upon us, for it is a fearful thing to fall into (the) hands of (the) living El.” [Hebrews 10:31]
“. . . I, YHVH, CHANGE NOT.” [Malachi 3:6a]
Since YHVH said that He does not change, the words spoken out of His mouth establish His will for all mankind. What does He require from each one of us? OBEDIENCE! The recurring theme -- from the Book of Genesis through the Book of Revelation -- is repent and return to YHVH. That’s why Paul, a Torah-observant rabbi, said, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the matzah, and let him drink of the cup; for he eating and drinking unworthily eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of Y’hoshua. For this reason many among you (are) weak and feeble, and many sleep (have died).” [1 Corinthians 11:28-30]
Again, in 1 Corinthians 5:8, he said, “So let us keep (the Passover) feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of malice and of evil, but with unleavened (matzah) of sincerity and truth.” What is the meaning of “sincerity and truth?” Sincerity is partaking of the Passover with a pure heart, one that is obedient to the Torah of YHVH. Is that just something we believe to be true, or is that what it really is saying? Yes, it really is saying exactly that. If you let Scripture interpret Scripture, you will find that the definition for truth can be found in Psalm 119:142, among others: “Your righteousness is forever, and Your Law (Your Torah) is truth.”
The Messiah Himself confirmed this definition in His prayer to the Father: “Sanctify them (set them apart) in Your Truth; Your Word is Truth.” [John 17:17]
Now we need to clarify what Paul meant by the statement, “. . .For he eating and drinking unworthily eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of Y’hoshua.”
The body of Messiah -- those who truly belong to Him -- are the ones who keep the commandments of YHVH and have the testimony of the Messiah Y’hoshua: His Bride. Therefore, the ones who are eating and drinking unworthily are those who are not part of His Bride, but are outsiders who should not be partaking of the Passover, for they have not made the commitments commanded by YHVH.
An example of someone unworthily partaking of a set-apart festival of YHVH is explained in Matthew 22:11-14, “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away , and cast (him) into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few (are) chosen (deemed worthy).’ ”
What are the characteristics of the Bride? “And the dragon (Satan, the Adversary) was enraged with the woman (Israel), and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of YHVH and have the testimony of Y’hoshua the Messiah.” [Revelation 12:17]
Another:“Here is the patience of the saints (set-apart ones); here (are) those who keep the commandments of YHVH and the faith (trust) of Y’hoshua.” [Revelation 14:12] Note that this verse says the “trust OF Y’hoshua.” His obedience to the Word -- His trust -- was total and complete, even unto death.
How does the Bride prepare herself? “Let us rejoice and let us exult, and we will give the glory to Him because the marriage of the Lamb came, and His wife prepared herself. And it was given to her that she be clothed (with) fine linen, clean and bright; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints (set-apart ones). And he says to me, ‘Write: Blessed (are) the (ones) having been called to the supper of the marriage of the Lamb.’ And he says to me, ‘These words of El are true.’ ” [Revelation 19:7-9]
What is righteousness? “And YHVH commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear YHVH Elohanu (our El), for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as (it is) this day. Then it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all these commandments before YHVH Elohanu, as He has commanded us.” [Deuteronomy 6:24-25]
When we study the TANAKH (the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings) -- and put into action that which we learn, we begin to understand the will of YHVH, and it is He (the Spirit) who teaches us about Y’hoshua. Listed below are four verses of Scripture that will help explain this paragraph more fully:
John 5:45-46, “Do not think that I (Y’hoshua) shall accuse you to the Father; there is (one) who accuses you -- Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Romans 7:14a, “For we know that the law (the Torah) is spiritual. . .” This is even confirmed in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: “God’s law is spiritual; it is a transcript of the divine nature, and extends its authority to the acts of the soul of man.” [Volume II, page 78]
John 6:44-45, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up in the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘They shall all be taught of YHVH.’ (Isaiah 54:13). Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. . .”
John 6:65, “. . .I have said to you that no one is able to come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
Since YHVH prepares everything in minute detail, the Passover is no exception. In the beginning of this article, we listed the precise requirements He set forth for celebrating this appointed time; and the prophecy He is giving to us in this memorial feast is equally precise.
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” [Luke 24:25]
We have all been so slow to see and believe the perfect plan which has been given for our restoration to YHVH. The key is obedience, just as it was on that very first Passover. Then, if the Hebrews had not put the blood on the doorposts and the lintels of their houses, and stayed inside until the next morning, the firstborn of their family would have died along with all the firstborn of the Egyptians. As always, there was free will involved. They had the choice between being obedient, which preserved life, or being disobedient, which brought death. This applied not only to the Hebrew people, but also to other peoples in the land of Egypt, for some of them did choose to join with the children of Israel.
Until this very day, everyone still has that same opportunity to choose life.
Continuing in the Book of Luke: “Then He said to them, ‘These (are) the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.’ ” [Luke 24:44-48]
Key questions: (1) For whom did the Messiah come? (2) To whom was repentance and remission of sins being proclaimed in His name (His Name: Y’hoshua = YAH is Deliverer)? It says, “to all the goyim (gentiles).” Does that mean the general populace?
Answer (1): “But answering, He said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of (the) house of Israel.” [Matthew 15:24] The house of Israel (the ten northern tribes) was vomited out of the land (the northern kingdom) in 722 B.C.E. YHVH said, ‘Because they defiled it by their own ways and deeds’ (Ezekiel 36:17), He scattered them to the four corners of the earth, where they were absorbed into the goyim (the gentiles) whose pagan practices the disobedient ones had already adopted. In effect, YHVH said, If you want to be like them, go! Live among them, and become part of them. But YHVH made a promise that a remnant would return to Him in the latter days, when He would bring them back to the land and reunite them with the house of Judah.
“ ‘In those days and in that time,’ says YHVH, ‘the children of Israel shall come. They and the children of Judah together; with continual weeping they shall come, and seek YHVH Elohahem (their El). They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, saying ‘Come and let us join ourselves to YHVH in a perpetual covenant (that) will not be forgotten.’ My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray. . .’ ” [Jeremiah 50:4-6a]
The story about the love YHVH has for His people, His sheep, is filled with compassion; and their spiritual harlotry causes Him deep sorrow. Listen to His cry: “How can I give you up, Ephraim? Can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? Can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My compassions are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim. For I (am) El, and not man, the Set-apart One in your midst. . .” [Hosea 11:8-9a]
Note: Admah and Zeboiim were two cities that were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah.
So the Messiah came, charging His apostles: “But rather go to the lost sheep of (the) house of Israel. And going on, proclaim, saying, ‘The kingdom of Heaven has drawn near.’ ” [Matthew 10:6-7]
To follow this deeply moving story of the house of Israel (Ephraim), we must return to the time when Jacob adopted his two grandsons, the sons of Joseph, the firstborn of Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel. “Then Jacob said to Joseph: El Shaddai appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’ And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.” [Genesis 48:3-5]
Even though their mother, Asenath the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On, was a pagan, Jacob adopted Ephraim and Manasseh as his full-fledged sons; and they became as his first and second born. Reuben, the firstborn of Leah, Jacob’s first wife, had lost his right to the honor and blessings that come with being the firstborn when he “. . .went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. And Israel heard.” [Genesis 35:22] That right then went not to the firstborn of the concubines but to Joseph, the firstborn of Jacob’s second wife, Rachel.
Later, after he had adopted Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, as his own, Jacob (Israel) blessed them: “And he blessed Joseph and said, ‘The Elohim (before) whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the Elohim who has fed me since I was born until today; the Angel that redeemed me from every evil, may He bless the youths; and may my name be called on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they like the fishes increase into a multitude in the midst of the earth. ’” [Genesis 48:15-16]
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER: A man who was born about 1675, and married twice, has multiplied into 53,665 descendants to date. Now, just think about the possibility of how many people in the world today may be descendants of the ten tribes of the house of Israel? After all, they have been multiplying since 722 B.C.E.
Continuing: “And Joseph saw that his father was putting his right hand on the head of Ephraim; and it was evil in his eyes. And he took hold of his father’s hand to turn it from Ephraim’s head to the head of Manasseh. And Joseph said to his father, ‘Not so, my father! For this one (is) the first-born; put your right hand on his head.’ And his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He also shall be a people, and he shall become great. But his younger brother shall become greater than he, and his seed shall become the fullness of the goyim (gentiles/nations).’ ” [Genesis 48:17-19]
Compare the above paragraph with Romans 11:25-26, “For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be wise within yourselves, that hardness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the goyim (gentiles/nations) comes in; and so all Israel will be saved, even as it has been written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob.’ ”
Speaking of the ten tribes (the house of Israel), who were scattered throughout all the nations, Paul said, “. . .Through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation (has come) to the gentiles (Romans 11:11).” That was Paul’s mission -- to teach the Scriptures that spoke of the Messiah, in order to reach his brethren with the good news that the One who had been prophesied had indeed come to restore the house of Israel! Any of the gentiles who also accept that message can join with the people of YHVH and become sons and daughters of El.
Ruth is an excellent example of a gentile becoming part of His people. She accepted the people (“Your people shall be my people, . . .”), then YHVH (and Elohekka (your El), Elohay (my El).” [Ruth 1:16b]. It is very important to understand the importance of accepting His people first, for if you do not accept His people, He will not accept you: “And I will bless those who bless you, and bitterly curse the one lightly esteeming you. . .” (Genesis 12:3).
When you read the Book of Ruth, you will discover a great deal about what it means to be obedient and that obedience brings great reward (Ref. Psalm 19:11). What greater honor could be bestowed upon any woman than to be a forebear of the Messiah? “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the King,” [Matthew 1:5-6]. And the Messiah Y’hoshua came through the line of King David.
So, because the house of Israel was scattered throughout the nations, the gentiles have had an opportunity to learn about the will of YHVH and His anointed, Y’hoshua. Unfortunately, very few have pursued the Torah of Truth, but instead have chosen to accept the traditions of men, which make the Word of Elohim of no effect. See Matthew 15:6b-9, “. . .Thus you have made the commandment of Elohim of no effect (invalidated) by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men .’” [Ref. Isaiah 29:13]
That is why Paul considered studying the Torah of Truth to be so important, and instructed Timothy to remind the people how important it is: “Be eager to present yourself approved to El, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth [2 Timothy 2:15]/" Daniel 10:21 also confirms the definition of Truth: “But I will tell you what is written in the Scripture of Truth. . .”
Whatever someone else may tell you is the truth, whether pastor, rabbi or friend, it is only hearsay. When you study and learn the Torah of Truth for yourself, it will be written upon your heart -- and no one can take it away from you! The Spirit will have taught you, so that it has become your own. It is the Living Word, and it will live in you.
This Torah of Truth, this Living Word, was given to Moses on the mountain in the wilderness of Sinai: “And YHVH said to Moses, ‘Behold, I come to you in a darkness of clouds, so that the people may hear My speaking with you, and in you they may believe forever. . .” [Exodus 19:9]
Now that Scripture has defined the Word of Truth, and that it is forever, let us look at John 1:1-2, “In (the) beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. This One was in beginning with Elohim.” And verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from (the) Father, full of grace and of truth.” Lastly, verse 17, “Because the Law (the Torah) was given through Moses, grace and truth has come into being through Y’hohsua the Messiah.”
He, the Messiah, is the Word of Truth made flesh. If you add to, take away from, or change a single word, you are changing the Messiah of YHVH into a Messiah of your own making, one that says and does what you think he should say and do. Is this not the same thing as carving an idol which is to your liking?
Again, what does the Messiah say? “. . .If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The (one) not loving Me does not keep My words. And the Word which you hear is not Mine but of the Father’s who sent Me.” [John 14:24]
Scripture says, “Do not be unequally yoked (with) unbelievers. For what partnership does righteousness (have) with lawlessness? And what fellowship does light (have) with darkness?”
We can all agree that the Messiah is righteous, but the portion of Scripture that so many have failed to accept is that you are described as lawless if you do not keep the commandments in the Torah of YHVH. Again, confirmation: “Whoever commits sin also transgresses the law; for sin is the transgression of the law (the Torah).” [1 John 3:4]
Consider this very important question: Could the Messiah, who is the Torah made flesh, take a lawless bride, one who does not keep the Torah? Would they not be unequally yoked? Example: A lawless wife would serve her husband a breakfast of bacon and eggs. A wife who is obedient to the Torah would never have swine’s flesh in her kitchen. “. . .And the swine, though it divides the hoof and is clovenfooted, yet it does not bring up the cud; it (is) unclean to you.” [Leviticus 11:7] “. . .Come out from among them and be separated, says YHVH, and do not touch (the) unclean thing
, and I will receive you, and I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says El Shaddai.” [2 Corinthians 6:17-18]
A word of warning from the Prophet Isaiah: “For, behold, YHVH will come with fire, and His chariots like the tempest, to return His wrath in fury, and His rebuke in flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword YHVH will execute judgment with all flesh; and the slain of YHVH shall be many. Those who sanctify themselves, and purify themselves to the gardens, (each) one in the midst, eaters of swine’s flesh, and the hateful thing, and the mouse, (these) are cut off together, says YHVH.” [Isaiah 66:15-17]
Let’s regress for just a moment, and return to the mountain in the Sinai (Exodus 19:3-6), “And Moses went up to Elohim. And YHVH called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘You shall say this to the house of Jacob, and tell (it) to the sons of Israel. You have seen what I did to Egypt; and I bore you on wings of eagles and brought you to Me. And now if you will listen to My voice, and will keep My covenant, you shall become a special treasure to Me above all the nations, for all the earth (is) Mine. And you shall become a kingdom of priests for Me, a holy (set apart) nation. These (are) the words which you shall speak to the sons of Israel.’ “
“And Moses came and called the elders of the people. And he put all these words before them which YHVH commanded him. And all the people answered together and said, ‘All which YHVH has spoken we will do. And Moses brought back the words of the people to YHVH’ ”
“And YHVH said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and sanctify them (set them apart) today and tomorrow. And let them wash their clothes, and be ready for the third day. For on the third day YHVH will go down before the eyes of all the people on the mountain of Sinai.” [Exodus 19:10-11]
“And Moses went from the mountain to the people. And he sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day. Do not approach a woman.’ And on the third day, it being morning, it happened: There were thunders and lightnings, and a heavy cloud on the mountain, and the sound of a ram’s horn, very strong! And all the people in the camp trembled. And Moses caused the people to go up from the camp to meet Elohim. And they took their stand at the lower part of the mountain.” [Exodus 19:14-17]
This was the corporate ceremony of betrothal that joined the nation of Israel to YHVH.
Of the several million people who participated in this ceremony, only two of the original group were allowed to enter the Promised Land -- Caleb, from the tribe of Judah, and Joshua, from the tribe of Ephraim: “And the anger of YHVH glowed in that day, and He swore, saying, ‘Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob because they have not wholly followed Me; except Caleb the son of Jephunneth, the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have fully followed YHVH.’ And the anger of YHVH glowed against Israel. And He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the eyes of YHVH was destroyed.” [Numbers 32:10-13].
As we discussed earlier, the nation of Israel was later broken into two separate kingdoms, the house of Judah and the house of Israel (Ephraim). Because of their harlotry,YHVH gave the house of Israel a bill of divorcement, “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce. . .” [Jeremiah 3:8] Through their evil deeds, they were cut off from their people and became known as the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But praise YHVH! His Word is true and He is faithful to perform it! The scattered sheep have begun longing for YHVH and His paths of righteousness! And now, just as YHVH promised, after all these many years, the lost sheep have begun to seek Him with all their hearts, saying, “. . .Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.” [Hosea 14:2b] And YHVH is replying, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him.” [Hosea 14:4]
This time, instead of a corporate betrothal, the house of Israel will be restored to the family of YHVH on an individual basis, one by one, as they repent of their transgressions and accept the new cup of betrothal from the Messiah Y’hoshua -- and He will bring His Bride back to His Father. Ephraim will be purified and become part of the family again through the Messiah.
The Passover memorial, as the betrothal ceremony, is very beautiful, but the bride-price Y’hoshua paid for His Bride is very ugly and painful to behold. His blood became the new disposition for sin (the definition of the word covenant is disposition). Whereas the blood of animals covered the sins of the people when they sought forgiveness, the Messiah’s blood removes them.
TO BE CONTINUED.
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