Thoughts on PASSOVER – In Spirit and in Truth.
(Probably about a 10 minute read. May be too much of an investment)
This is my 19th year of celebrating Passover! And the 19th year of NOT commemorating Easter! And yet, I am more connected to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus/Yeshua, than ever! How could that be? (1 Cor 5:7 – Jesus our Passover Lamb) (Note that He is nowhere referred to as the Easter Bunny, the Holiday Hog, or the Passover PIglet).
Well, on second thought, I guess it’s not so surprising that I would now be more connected to His death, burial, and resurrection. After all, He was crucified on Passover and arose 3 days later on First Fruits! (Mt 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13, 1 Co 15:20)
I rarely post about my religious beliefs on Facebook because, for some people, it seems to be a hot button topic. It is not because I am ashamed of my convictions, nor do I harbor any doubts. I’m not going to lie. Back in 2002, it was not easy to hear that the traditions which I held so dear had their origins in paganism. What?!? And I certainly did not take this information lying down! I have always been a digger and, I can assure you, a thorough investigation was undertaken! As is often the case in any honest inquiry, there comes a time when a tipping point is reached. A point where the weight of the evidence has become so overwhelming that denying the facts would require making a conscious decision to live a lie! And, although that certainly would have been the easier route, it was one I simply could not take!
It breaks my heart when I hear something like, “Oh well, I’m covered by grace. If I’m wrong, He will forgive me.” You see, a sentiment such as this reveals that we have become spiritually entitled brats! Our focus is on ourselves and what we perceive that HE “owes” US and not on OUR love for HIM! It would be akin to if our children, God forbid, were to walk out their lives in a way that made a mockery of all the values we had tried to instill in them. Although this in itself would absolutely shatter our hearts, that they remained unmoved by our pain would pulverize our very souls! While we cry ourselves to sleep, the children that we so love continue in their wicked ways. To them, our pain is of little importance because they know we will love them nonetheless! Oh, how it must shred the heart of our Father when we disregard His pain and continue on in a path that leads away from His loving instructions.
And yet, changing the manner in which I follow The Most High was not the difficult part! No! That was (and is) SO exciting! The Scripture was opened up to me in a way that it had never been before! It was suddenly in color and 3D! Things that had previously made no sense suddenly burst into focus! I understood more about His love for me and His Ultimate Sacrifice than the previous 40+ years of regular church attendance and involvement had been able to impart.
No, I do not mourn Easter and Christmas. Passover far surpasses any traditions of man (Mark 7:8) and continues to teach me ever more about our Passover Lamb. The Blood on the Doorpost reveals buried treasure about my own redemption and what it means to be behind the blood. Imagining myself marching out of my Egypt by the light of a full moon with death in my rearview mirror has provided fresh insight into what it means to be freed – redeemed! The old hymn, I Am Bound For The Promised Land, has taken on new significance!
When Easter eggs morphed into “Resurrection Eggs” with Scriptures inside and were marketed to Christians, I eagerly purchased a set. I sincerely believed I was honoring God.
Oh, woe is me. I am undone. What must it have done to His heart when I repackaged what was (and is) holy, encasing it in a pagan fertility symbol? Is it unforgivable? Of course not! Do I weep for the children who sat under my teaching as I eagerly encouraged the mixing of the holy and the profane? Ahhhh, yes indeed I do! (Eze 44:23)
No, the difficult part has not been walking in His holy ways! After all, once you know that you know that you know something, you just cannot unknow it! Oh, I still have very fond memories of family and friends around the Christmas or Easter table, of lovely Easter choir programs, beautifully clad church-goers, Easter egg hunts with gleeful children, and Christmas trees adorned with lights. However, it is the times around a table for which I weep.
That we were gathered together as family and friends who loved each other must have made His heart leap with joy. But, oh how I wonder if He wept bitterly as we affixed HIS name to a pagan celebration! I am so very grateful that, despite my many mistakes, He has given me this opportunity to walk out the Truth. Truth, after all, is essential, for HE is TRUTH! (Jn 14:6).
Alas, I do not like disappointing the people I love. I do not want them to imagine that I forego the opportunity to join them on these holidays because perhaps spending time with them has somehow become unimportant to me! However, as difficult as it is, disappointing people that I love and admire could never compare to the thought of offending my Holy God.
No, the transition from traditional holidays to Biblical celebrations was not taken lightly. Christmas and Easter were the two days I had considered most holy! Nor did I blindly accept any man’s word for it either. I didn’t NEED to, because the Scriptures are replete with warnings about adopting pagan practices. Once I began an objective investigation, this was an unavoidable fact! Researching the origins of Christmas and Easter is a simple task, if you have the stomach for it. (The History Channel has a great documentary on the subject on you.tube – Origins of Christmas).
Oh, yes, my friend, I know. And I have heard it more than a time or two. “But that’s not what it means to me.” And, of course, when I celebrated these holidays in the past, I was not intentionally bowing down to a pagan god. Nonetheless, the Scriptures instruct us not to learn the ways of the nations and not to worship Him the way they worship their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:30-31). Did you know that the Chosen People were first drawn away by going to the pagan festivals of the nations around them? (Numbers 25:1-3)
When it is discovered that I do not celebrate Christmas or Easter, people frequently become visibly uncomfortable. Yet, they rarely attempt to engage in a conversation. Their reaction is akin to the one I encounter when it becomes known that I do not eat pork or shellfish due to my understanding of God’s instructions. I’m not certain what is going through their minds, but people often abruptly change the subject or even make an excuse to leave! To my face, they say very little. Behind my back…. well, I hear things. I’m rather perplexed as to why it offends them. I wonder if they assume that I will be judging them when they DO partake of the ham or the shrimp. Believe me, that is the farthest thing from my mind! I long ago learned that I have neither the power nor the responsibility to change anyone other than myself. And I still have a lot of changing to do. I. am. a. full-time. job! I have no time or inclination to police anyone else! Nor do I try to preach or convince anyone of the error of their ways. The Holy Spirit does NOT need Jacquetta’s help!
I am eternally grateful that this is NOT the reaction of everyone I encounter! In fact, I am blessed with precious family and friends in my life who go out of their WAY to honor my convictions at dinners and other gatherings. However, by and large, their’s is not the typical response.
So, I wonder. Is the truth important to you? If so, do you have a determination to honor the truth regardless of the risk to your personal comfort? If you WERE to discover that something you are doing is offensive to a Holy God, would you change it no matter what the reaction of others might be? Even if it was bound to disappoint your children as well as your extended family, would you move forward? Despite the fact that people you love might suggest that you are in a cult or have lost your salvation? (Let that sink in! When you start honoring God’s Holy Word, people often do, in fact, believe that you are hopelessly lost! I know that might sound like a joke, but it is sadly true! )
Would you remain galvanized to God’s truth if it meant you would no longer be welcome in places and with people with whom you were formerly close? How important is walking in the truth to you? Would you be so bold as to put the Christmas tree on the curb and throw out the easter eggs? Does even the thought of it make you so uncomfortable right now that you are about to click away from this post? OR…. Does simply the possibility of offending the Author of your faith make you feel queasy?
It is not uncommon for someone to offer that the pagan roots are known, but, again, “that’s not what it means to me” and that these traditions have now been “Christianized” and point us to Christ.
To test the theory that this is acceptable, let’s imagine you had an abusive husband in the past, a truly evil man. BUT he was handsome! AND he was charming! Thankfully, you finally got away from him, and, in time, you met and married a truly godly man. However, on his birthday, you prepare your FIRST husband’s favorite meal. You even change the celebration of your current righteous husband’s birth to the date your first husband was born. AND, you often call your current husband by, you guessed it, the first husband’s name. Do you think he MIGHT take a bit of offense? I mean, he loves you dearly, but MIGHT it cause him to question your love for him?
If this discussion, or anything else with which you have come into contact, has raised questions in your mind and heart, will you search it out? Even if it is merely to prove me wrong, will you do it? Shouldn’t you? And if you would like some help, I would be ever so happy to volunteer. At the least, I could supply a rather long list of Scriptures I have compiled during my own search. Will you be like the people of Berea in Acts 17:11 and check out what you have been taught (even if your teacher is someone you trust? Say, someone like – Paul?) That’s what the Bereans did! They compared what Paul said to the Holy Word of God. (Which, by the way, was ONLY the Old Testament at the time!) Will you do that? Is there anything or anyone we should put our trust in more than the Holy God-breathed Word of God Almighty??
Did you know, for instance, that the only time the word “Easter” appears in the King James translation occurs in Acts 12:4? And just a TINY bit of digging will reveal that the original Greek word translated here as Easter is actually Pascha – Passover???
Do you imagine that when you meet your Maker, and He requires you to give an account of what you have and have not done in the flesh, that you can lay the blame at the feet of a church or a pastor? (2 Cor 5:10)
1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Perhaps you are confident that the results of your research will prove consistent with your current beliefs, and I am, in fact, the one walking in error. In that case, PLEASE contact me with the Scriptures that will open my eyes. I will take it seriously! I certainly do not want to walk in error! And PRAY for me! I always cherish prayers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Paul! And I, in turn, will pray for you.
Joh 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.