Grandfather Explains Why Passover and Not Easter Is the True Christian Holiday.

A Grandfather starts a new family tradition.

“Granddaddy, why do you and grandmother celebrate the Passover instead of Easter at your house?”

“I am so glad you asked, come sit and let me tell you the story. This is a true story. It happened many moons ago when people looked to the moon to determine the days of the month.”

great Pyramids

“This is a story about our people Israel who are the people everywhere who are people of faith. Red, yellow, black or white, rich or poor, if a people have faith in the one God and in His Messiah, then they are our people.

This is the story of Passover. Passover is one of the seven Israelite feasts. It is the first of the four spring feasts.

This is no ordinary story. It is God’s way of telling a story. It is full of foreshadowing, mystery, irony, paradox, suspense and drama.

It is two stories in one and part of a series unlocking God’s mysteries being told through the seven Israelite feasts. God chose to tell His story through the Israelite people, but they are a foreshadowing of His much bigger story. A story orchestrated by God to prove to us how much he loves us and wants to be in a relationship with us.

This story of the Israelites in Egypt took place about 1400 years before Yehshua was born. Some say and I agree, that this is the beginning of the greatest story ever told.”

The first story is about God and a man named Moses. Moses delivered our people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, and the second story is the story of Yehshua.”

“But granddaddy, you tell us this story every year.”

“Yes I know, and it is good for you to hear it again. There is a reason I tell it every year. I don’t ever want you to forget the story and what it means to our people.”

“Granddaddy?”

“What son?”

“Why do you call Jesus, Yehshua?”

“Well that is the name his friends called Him. That was his Hebrew name. People did not start calling him Jesus until about 400 to 500 years ago. So, I like to call him by the name his friends called him and you know why?”

“Why?”

“Because I consider Yehshua a friend.”

Jesus pic

“Yehshua sort of sounds like my friend Joshua’s name.”

“That is right. Joshua is how we would say the name Yehshua in English. Tell Joshua his name has a special meaning in Hebrew. The name means Yahweh is salvation, but I am getting ahead of the story.”

“The children of Israel lived in Egypt and a new Pharaoh came into power. He was afraid of the Israelites, so he decided to make them into slaves. He forced them to make bricks to build great pyramids as a monument to himself.”

“Pharaoh also made an evil decree in the land of Egypt. He decreed that all Hebrew boys under the age of two be thrown into the Nile River and drowned. Moses had a wise and crafty mother and she hid her young son by placing him in a papyrus basket and putting the basket in the reeds at the River bank.”

“Pharaoh’s daughter found baby Moses in the river and instantly fell in love with him. She brought Moses into Pharaoh’s house to raise him as her son. Pharaoh’s daughter raises Moses with the help of Moses’ crafty mother who secretly gets the job as Moses’ nanny. In Pharaoh’s royal house Moses has the best of everything and gets the best education money can buy.”

“Though Moses grows up in the palace, he learns his true identity as an Israelite. As Moses matures, he detests the way his Israelite brothers are treated by the Egyptian taskmasters. One day Moses allows his anger to boil over and he murders an Egyptian taskmaster. Afraid of being found out and fearing punishment, Moses flees Egypt and goes to the land of Midian, where he can hide as a lowly Sheppard.”

“Moses lives the life of a Sheppard for 40 years, till God appears to Moses in a burning bush. Moses asks God what His name is and for the first time God reveals his name is Yahweh. Yahweh tells Moses that He wants Moses to go and speak for Him to Pharaoh. He tells Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelite’s go so they can worship Him.”

“Moses goes to Egypt, but the Pharaoh is a hardhearted man. In fact, he thinks he is a god, or at least he wants the Egyptians to believe he is the greatest god of all the Egyptians gods.”

“Moses tries to reason with Pharaoh and asks him courteously to let the Israelite people go, so they can worship Yahweh. Pharaoh refuses.

The Egyptians worshiped many gods and Pharaoh himself was considered the son of the Sun God Ra. Among others, the Egyptians also worshiped the sun, moon and stars, frogs, flies, cattle, bulls, fire, wind and the sea. When Moses speaks to Pharaoh of Yahweh, Pharaoh claims to have never heard of Yahweh the God of the Israelites.

Moses begins to reveal to Pharaoh some of the powers of the God named Yahweh. First Moses throws his rod on the ground and it becomes a snake. Pharaoh is not impressed with what he considers a trick. Then at Yahweh’s instruction Moses turns the Nile, the life source of Egypt, into blood. Still, Pharaoh is not impressed or moved to let the people go and worship.”

“To prove both the stubborn heart of Pharaoh, and the greatness of Yahweh, Moses brings ten plagues through many Egyptian gods. “Yahweh shows his preeminence over the God’s of Egypt as He brings frogs, lice, pestilence, boils, hail with fire in it, grasshoppers, and darkness. Yahweh also proves his power over time and space as he specifies the times of the plagues and spares the Israelite land from the plagues.”

“Still Pharaoh is unmoved. His heart is hard. He is unwilling to humble himself.”

“The final plague is saved for Pharaoh himself and all those who worship Him as their god. It was Pharaoh’s claim as a god that he had power over life and death. He chose who lived and died. It was the Pharaoh who had ordered the drowning of all the Israelite babies under two years old. It was Pharaoh who told Moses that if he saw his face again that Moses would die. And it was Pharaoh who believed that because he was a god that he would be entitled to eternal life.”

“However, it was Yahweh who would prove to have the ultimate power. Just as he had proven that he had the power over the amphibians, animals, insects, bacteria, wind, sun, moon, stars, sea, time and space. Now He would prove that it was He who had the power over life and death to give and take as He wills.”

“In the final plague, Yahweh gives Moses special instructions about how to save the Israelite people from the Destroyer or Satan. In a very detailed ceremony Yahweh instructs the people how to dress, how to prepare for travel, how to prepare their final meal in Egypt, and how to protect themselves by taking the blood from an unblemished lamb and applying that blood to the doorposts of their homes as a sign to God to passover them and shield them from death.”

“On that very night The Destroyer brings death to all the first born of Egypt who refuse to apply the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the lintel and the doorposts of the house.”

“Ok, now listen closely because this part is very important.”

“I know this part. This is where Yahweh shows Pharaoh who is boss.”

“That’s right son, and it was the blood of this special little innocent lamb that saved all of Israel from this terrible plague. The next day Yahweh led the children of Israel out of slavery and out of Egypt.”

“But granddaddy. Tell me again why a little innocent lamb had to die.”

This was a mystery for many many years. The lamb was not just any lamb, but a lamb without spot or blemish. This spotless lamb paid the price of redemption so that the family could be saved from death. We will talk more about this a little later.

“After this great and terrible night in Egypt, Yahweh told the Israelites that we are to remember this event in a special way every year. God said that on the first new moon in the springtime, when you can barely see a little sliver of moon the Israelites were to look at the barley to see if it was ripe.

If it is not, then they would wait till the next new moon to start counting the days. If the barley is ripe, they would begin counting the days after the new moon.

barley

The Barley in Israel as of March 12, 2013, the night of the new moon. The month of Passover is here.

When they got to the 10th day they would buy an unblemished lamb raised for sacrifice in Bethlehem. The little lamb would live with them as a pet till the Passover began on the 14th day. On the 14th they got everything ready. We too will go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients to bake unleavened bread, we will buy some bitter herbs, we will choose our wine, and we will buy a lamb to roast for our Passover meal.”

We will also go throughout the whole house and make sure that we remove all the leaven from the house and clean the whole house in preparation for the dinner. Do you remember me telling you that we now know the mystery of the innocent and spotless lamb?”

“It was Yehshua, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, you do remember don’t you. God commanded all children of Israel to keep this feast forever, but most Israelites didn’t understand God’s bigger purpose for commanding them to celebrate this feast.”

“What God did for the Israelites in Egypt was a foreshadowing of God’s bigger plan. His bigger plan was to introduce the Lamb of God to the world.” Yehshua was the perfect and spotless Lamb of God.”

“God’s plan was for the lamb of God to pay the price of redemption for all who by faith put their trust in the sacrifice of God’s perfect lamb. We must humbly apply His blood by faith to our hearts, which is the doorway to who we are, so that we will not have to experience eternal and spiritual death. The fate of the Egyptians was a foreshadowing and a warning of the second death that comes to all those who reject the lamb of God.”

“The moment we do this by faith, we too are delivered from the bondage and slavery of sin. Yehshua’s blood has saved us and set us free.

Some things are still a bit of a mystery, but we also believe that when we come to this realization of faith in Yehshua’s blood, our old self dies and we become a new person and Yahweh puts His spirit in us. That is what Baptism represents to us and why we do it. It represents our dying to the old person and being born into a new life of faith.” In the same way when God delivered the Israelites from slavery they too were transformed from being Egyptian slaves to being children of God free to follow Him.”

“I was telling you about the leaven. Do you remember the part where we go throughout the house clearing out the leaven? The second feast we celebrate is called The Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast lasts for a whole week beginning the day after Passover. It starts with cleaning the house of leaven before Passover. That is what Yehshua was doing on the preparation night when he sent Judas out of their house that night.” He was clearing out the leaven.”

“What is leaven grandfather?”

“Well, leaven is an agent that causes a chemical reaction in bread. When a very small amount of a leavening agent gets in bread it causes it to expand. Yahweh uses this chemical reaction to teach us something. Leaven represents sin and what it can do in our lives. We too must take an active role in cleaning up our lives. We must do all we know to do, but then we must allow Yehshua to wash us just like he did the night he washed the disciples feet. Only he is able to wash us clean from the sins we cannot see.

The next morning after we have bought our groceries and cleaned the house of leaven, we are to remember this is the day the little innocent lambs were killed in Egypt and their blood was applied to the door facing so that Yahweh would Passover their house and spare the first born of the household.”

“Even more important is the second story. We are to remember Yehshua became the perfect lamb of God and was a sacrifice for us. He was nailed to the cross at about 9:00 in the morning and he stayed up there and suffered till about 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon when he died. Amazingly, he died at the very exact time the high priest was killing the unblemished lamb in the courtyard of the Temple only a very short distance from where Yehshua hung.”

“At Sundown we have our dinner. This is where we have roasted lamb. Grandmother has made unleavened bread for us and bitter herbs like chicory, dandelion and coriander. When we eat the bitter herb we will remember two things. We will remember how bitter slavery was to our Israelite ancestors and we will remember our slavery to sin and how Yehshua has taken the bitter punishment for sin on himself for us.”

“We are to eat our meal with our shoes on ready to go. God told the Israelites to be ready to leave Egypt when He said go. We too must be ready go when we hear the instructions of God.

“It was on this very night at midnight, many years ago, The Destroyer went through Egypt and killed the first born of every house that would defy His warning. It was also the very night about 1400 years later that Yehshua was laid in a borrowed tomb. The irony in it is that this time it was not an Egyptian first born, but Yehshua the first born of God, an Israelite, that was killed by man.”

sacrificial-lamb-of-god

“The next morning we rise and meet with other believers who keep this feast and have a solemn assembly and give thanks to God, as the minister reminds of the meaning of this day. This is a very special day. This is a double anniversary. An anniversary for us as children of Israel through faith being brought out of slavery in Egypt. It is also an anniversary for us as children of God being brought out of slavery to sin and death.”

“Out of respect, we will not do any work on this day until sundown. That does not mean that we sit around all day doing nothing, but we will rest from working on this day. We will spend time with family and might go outside and play a game of catch. We will have a good time, even though we will remember why we are resting from work and why this day is so important to us.”

“So, why do some people celebrate Easter instead of the Passover?”

“Well, sometimes over a long period, stories are mixed together and they can eventually lose part or all of their original meaning. Once these new stories are told long enough, then people begin to believe them and they become entrenched in these new traditions.”

“One thing that you will discover in life is that traditions are very difficult to break and when you try to break them, people will resist, because people love traditions. When people celebrate Easter all their life, they feel it is what they should do.”

“Tell me again why we celebrate Passover instead of Easter. My teacher told me Easter is a Christian holiday.”

“Well, this is part of the confusion. Let me try to explain.”

“Originally, Easter or Ishtar was the name of an old pagan goddess of the Babylonians and Assyrians. Easter or Ishtar was worshiped for many generations by many people.

Easter goddess

The Anglo Saxon people who would eventually become the English also worshiped Easter. They even named the month we call April after Easter. It was a time of feasting and asking the goddess Easter to bless their crops. Later, as many Anglo Saxons became Christians, they combined their tradition of Easter with the celebration of the resurrection of Yehshua the Christ.

“So where did the bunny rabbits and the painted eggs come from?”

“Easter was the goddess of fertility, and since rabbits are very fertile and eggs are a sign of fertility, those two symbols are a part of the ancient Easter celebration. They have nothing to do with Passover or the resurrection of Yehshua.

“What is wrong with that granddaddy?”

“Well, I think it confuses the story that God is trying to tell. We should be telling the simple and true story of what God has done and will do for people, yet people searching for God may be confused, wondering what rabbits and colored eggs have to do with Christ’s resurrection. I feel that we should try very hard to avoid this confusion caused by combining the two stories.”

“You see, many people are skeptical about Yehshua. They have doubts about him being the Messiah, sent from God. I think this is partly because they have only heard the second part of the story. I think when they learn how God orchestrated the first story to fit so perfect with the second story, they have more confidence to believe that Yehshua was God’s plan all along.”

“So why do we hide little Bibles instead of Easter eggs.”

“Well, the best way to fight an old tradition is to start a new and better tradition in its place. Little children love to look for hidden things. And parents and grandparents love to see their children happy and excited.”

“Is that why we hide little Bibles every year?”

“Why yes, we decided to hide 50 little colorful copies of the Word of God. “

“Oh granddaddy, you know we only hide 49. Yes, we always tell you kids that we have hidden 50 bibles and we count each one when you find it and bring it in. When we get to 49, the adults say, where is the 50th bible?”

“And we say The Word is hidden in our hearts with Yehshua.”

“Yep, the Bible tells us that Yehshua is the Word of God that became flesh. We are to hide Him “The Word” in our heart, and one way that we can do this is by reading and studying His words. So when we hide the Bibles for our little ones to find, they learn the importance of what they are doing.”

“So you don’t want me to hunt Easter eggs when I am with other kids.”

“More important than what I want, is for you to learn to think for yourself based on the things you learn. Even though you are a young boy, the sooner you learn this is your life that God has given you, the better off you will be. Your life is your life and you are responsible for your thoughts and actions and decisions. I am trying to give you a good foundations, but in the end, it is up to you to decide.”

“What I want you to do is to keep listening to this story year after year. And I want you to tell it to your children one day and to tell the story to anyone who will listen. Because this is the story that can save people and set them free to live a beautiful life of faith as Yahweh and Yehshua intended them to live. He wants everyone to live by faith in Him and be saved from death.”

“There is still a little bit more to our story today. On the Sabbath after the Passover, the next day, Sunday, is the third spring feast known as first fruits. It was the day that the priest came out of the Temple and cut the very first sheaf of barley in Israel, took it back to the Temple and waved it before the people before placing it on the alter as an offering to Yahweh in thanksgiving for His provision of grain.”

Wave offering

“The feast is meant for us to remember that Yahweh is our provider and is responsible for giving us our daily bread. At the same time the priest was waving the Barley at the people, Yehshua and many other saints too had risen from the grave and appeared to people in Jerusalem. He was the first fruits of the resurrected from the dead. He is as He said, the bread of heaven. He is our provision and we are to eat of him and have true life…Eternal life.”

“For though he was the first of those raised from the dead, he will not be the last. For we believe that because he rose, He will raise us too who believe. So this Sunday is the most special Sunday for it is both the Sunday of First Fruits and Resurrection Sunday.”

Those are the first three feasts of Spring. The fourth feast comes in 50 days. It too is has an amazing history and has been a part of Yahweh’s master plan. I will save that one for another day.

“You said there were 7 feasts.”

“You are right and the last three are the most exciting of all. For they come after a long summer and foreshadow Yehshua’s second coming. So keep watching for the story is still unfolding.

Story written by: Clay J. Mize, October 2011

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