Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Easter Not Pagan, But A Celebration of Firstfruits!

By Helena Lehman of the
Pillar of Enoch Ministry

Originally Published on the POEM Blog on April 7th, 2009
Revised and Updated on February 19th, 2013

Mary Magdalene Meets the Risen Christ in the Garden Where He Was Laid
(See the Gospel of John, Chapter 20
The Christian Celebration of Easter, which usually falls during Passover Week, is a particularly good time to revisit the story of Christ’s arrest, trial, scourging, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. After much research, I’ve concluded that the Master of the Universe and Author of our Salvation probably died to pay for our sins on a Wednesday in April of 31 AD, and rose from the dead before dawn on the following Sunday after being dead three full days. Serendipitously, on the day that Christ rose, the Firstfruits wave sheaf offering was made in the Temple in Jerusalem. The ritual of waving a sheaf of new barley before the curtain in the Temple’s Most Holy Place marked the first day of counting the Omer, or the days leading up to Shavuot or Pentecost.

This year, as in the past, the Celebration of Easter or Firstfruits will fall on the Sunday after the regular Sabbath following Passover during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As the symbolic day of the Firstfruits offering of the first or early barley harvest, Easter or Resurrection Sunday signifies the Firstfruits of the First Resurrection, which included Christ and the fortunate saints who rose on the same day that He did. As such, they were the first harvest of souls entering Everlasting Life in the Kingdom of Heaven with pristine new bodies.

Yes, you heard me right! Since the saints who rose with Christ were resurrected after His death on the Cross, they did not die again after that. They rose to Everlasting Life instead, and it is my firm belief that Yahshua appointed some of them to remain on the Earth after He ascended to Heaven in order to help advance God’s will in every age leading up to His Second Coming. This intriguing idea will be the subject of an upcoming 2013 POEM Blog article.

In honor of what Yahshua did for us on the Cross as our Passover Lamb, I am presenting this section about Passover that was taken from my 665-page book The Language of God in Humanity.” As you read this section of the book, I hope you will be blessed by it, and will find much joy in your Passover and Easter celebrations this year. 


Excerpt from the book; “The Language of God in Humanity”, Chapter Nine: Our Blood Covenant with Yahweh, Section 9 Entitled Easter Not Pagan, But A Celebration of Firstfruits!” on pages 373-380:

The Pagan spring feast days that once fell on the same day that Christians celebrate Easter have ritual elements that are said to have originated among the ancient Pagans in Europe and elsewhere. Like other festivals that fall in the spring including Passover, the date for Easter is determined using the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. In addition, Easter usually falls on the day that the Firstfruits offering of the barley harvest would have been offered in the Temple during the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Christ’s era.

Since Passover is a Full Moon celebration, and Easter follows the Sabbath day after that Full Moon, Passover and Easter were most likely associated with major holidays for the righteous descendents of Seth prior to the Flood as well since they understood God’s Will through Sacred Astronomy and the Gospel in the Stars. Indeed, long before Passover, the righteous followers of Yahweh probably saw this time of rebirth and renewal on the Earth as sacred unto Yahweh. In addition, they saw the Sun as a symbol for Yahweh and therefore likely chose to celebrate various divine blessings on the equinoxes and solstices - but in a markedly different way than the Pagans who worshipped themselves or demons would have chosen to.

Due to their great knowledge of Sacred Astronomy and the Precession of the Equinoxes, the Sethites and Semites knew that the Spring Equinox would move from Taurus at the time of Adam, to Aries later on. Furthermore, because of the Gospel in the Stars, they knew that both signs represented a holy altar to Yahweh covered with acceptable blood sacrifices - sacrifices that symbolized the coming Messiah. As shown in Book One, Aries is a symbol for Christ’s mercy and love for the righteous, and Taurus is a symbol of His New Covenant with mankind, His power over sin and death, His universal kingship, and the meting out of His wrath upon the wicked when He comes again in Glory.

Due to their understanding of Sacred Astronomy and the Gospel in the Stars, righteous Sethites and Semites also knew that the Sun is an allegorical symbol for Yahweh God. As a result, though they did not worship the Sun, they honored its place as the divider of the year, and determiner of the seasons. They knew that the Sun symbolizes the fact that Yah determines the times and seasons for all things in each human life, and this is true whether or not people acknowledge His place in their lives.

Sadly, however, the Pagans invented false stories around the Zodiac signs and misinterpreted most astronomical events surrounding the Sun, Moon, and planets. Worst of all, they began to worship the stars and planets as deities, and made idols to represent them in human form. They thereby perverted the teachings of Sacred Astronomy, and obscured the truths about the one true God that the stars and our Solar System were intended to teach. Stars, planets, the Sun, and the Moon became idolatrous objects of worship instead of sanctified teaching mechanisms meant to educate mankind about the nature of God and mankind’s place in God’s Plan of Salvation.

Symbols in nature that may have once represented the idea of everlasting life also came to be associated with Pagan gods and goddesses, thereby masking their true significance. These include once godly symbols such as flowers, eggs, and evergreen plants. Using the principles behind the Language of God, however, it should be easy to see that eggs, flowers, and evergreens could be symbols of something far greater than human fertility, the fecundity of the soil, and the Pagan view of everlasting life through reincarnation. Rather, they could symbolize spiritual rebirth in the symbolic womb of the Spirit of God, and the promise of everlasting life through the Resurrection.

The first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox was probably always meant to symbolize the triumph of life over death through the Resurrection. But because spring is the time of year when animals of all kinds mate and give birth, it became associated with sex and fertility as well. This association, though not unwarranted, led to the abominable practice of viewing promiscuous sex as a kind of virtue when performed to honor some god or goddess. As a result, the Full Moon nearest the Vernal Equinox, and the day of the Vernal Equinox itself, were both eventually viewed as a ready excuse for the rampant fornication openly encouraged at that time of year in many Pagan societies. In addition, the pure symbols associated with these celestial events were eventually connected to erroneous beliefs such as reincarnation, and to acts of ritual murder and infant sacrifice.

In contrast to the evil Pagan practices that became falsely associated with the Christian celebration of Easter, the traditional Jewish Passover “Haggadah” or religious service is biblically ordained and embellished with beautiful symbolism. The Jews have performed Passover and the accompanying Feast of Unleavened Bread in a manner that has not changed significantly for thousands of years. It follows, then, that if we truly want to honor Yahshua, we should celebrate Yahshua’s death and resurrection at the same time that some Jews celebrate Passover Week, which is in the seven days beginning with the Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox.

Since the Christian date for Easter is the technically correct date that the Firstfruits Offering would have been made in the Temple during Passover week, it would be fairly easy for Christians to connect their Easter celebrations with the rituals surrounding Passover, which are rich with symbolism directly pertaining to Christ and His redemptive work on the Cross. Because of this, Easter and Passover should be the most important religious holidays in the Messianic and Christian year. Though Messianics and Christians should choose to keep the biblical feasts to honor Yahshua and our heavenly Father, they do not have to keep the Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the same way that Orthodox Jews do. Instead, they are free to celebrate biblical feasts in any way that honors Yahshua and His teachings.

Though Spirit-filled Christians do not have to keep the Passover or Easter, there are many reasons why Passover Week is important for both Jews and Christians to remember and study. The major reason is that, as mentioned before, Yahshua instated the ritual of Communion on the Passover before He died. In the following excerpt from Mark’s Gospel, Yahshua offers the third cup or Cup of Redemption at the Passover service He shared with His apostles. At this time, He tells them that this cup signifies His blood - the symbolic blood of the true Passover Lamb. Before this, He offers them the unleavened bread of the Passover, called “matzo” by contemporary Jews, to signify His flesh:
“While they were eating, Jesus (Yahshua) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the Covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them. ‘I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.’ ” - Mark 14:12-25 (NIV)
In the preceding Scripture, Yahshua vows that He will not drink from the Passover cup again until He drinks it in the kingdom of God.” Yahshua was, of course, referring to the Millennial Kingdom - where He and His saints will rule the world for a thousand years. The clear inference here is that Yahshua intends to keep the Passover during His entire reign, and it follows that His subjects will be asked to do the same. Though those who are already resurrected at that time will not need to keep the Passover to be spiritually instructed by it, they will nonetheless keep it joyfully because they will fully know and appreciate what it represents. This knowledge will give them every cause to rejoice even as they set a perfect example for those in Yahshua’s Millennial Kingdom who are still mortal.

To understand why Yahshua wants the world to keep the Passover during His reign, we need to use our imaginations to go back in time and become familiar with the events of the very first Passover. On that day, at twilight, Yahweh ordered each Israelite family to slaughter a year-old male kid or lamb in front of the doorway leading into their home. The blood from the sacrifice was pooled in a small drainage ditch dug below the doorway. After dipping a branch in the blood, they used it to smear the blood onto the lintel (i.e. top beam) of the doorway and then the two side-posts in succession. They thereby literally drew the sign of the Cross in blood over their doorways. This blood-marked doorway was prophetically significant, but initially only promised to temporarily protect the Israelites from physical death:
“The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” - Exodus 12:12,13 (NIV)
On that first Passover, the blood of a lamb marked on the doorways of Israelite homes signified the blood of a Covenant that Yahweh cut with Israel alone. It was a conditional and temporary Covenant that only promised Israel protection from the Angel of Death that swept over Egypt for one night. On that night, those who ate the Covenant sacrifice (the lamb), and stayed inside houses marked with its blood survived to leave Egypt - a place that had become a terrible prison of oppression and slavery for Israel.

In the blood-dipped branches and blood-marked doorways that were a part of the first Passover, we see an analogy for the Tree of Life, since the doorframes were most likely constructed of wood. The blood-painted doorways, in fact, represented three things. First, as deadwood obtained from once living trees, the doorposts on that first Passover represented the Tree of Life destroyed. Secondly, they symbolized Christ’s blood-soaked Cross of execution. Third, the doorposts represented life to the inhabitants of each house. Therefore, these blood-marked doorways represented the bloodstained gate or doorway we all must symbolically pass through to find redemption and everlasting life.

When Yahshua said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me,” He was declaring that He is the Gate to Heaven - and that everlasting life can only be found through belief in Him. Yahshua is therefore the symbolic gate, door, or portal we must pass through in order to get into Heaven. That is why Yahshua used analogies to doors or gates when He referred to the purpose of His ministry to mankind:
“Therefore Jesus (Yahshua) said again, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…’ ” - John 10:7-9 (NIV)
All the Jews throughout Goshen were to go through the blood-marked doorways of their humble homes and lock themselves in. They were to remain inside all night while the Angel of Death passed over Egypt, killing all of the firstborn children and animals of the sinful Egyptians who had enslaved them. While this happened, the Israelites did as they had been commanded, roasting the slaughtered lamb whole. Then they divided the lamb into portions without breaking any of its bones, and provided one piece for each member of the family to eat so that they would be spared from the Angel of Death. They also ate bitter herbs and unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8). See the Book of Exodus, Chapters 11 and 12 to read the complete account of the first Passover.

In a similar manner, Yahweh God pronounced the death sentence on all mankind, and allows the Angel of Death to eventually claim everyone. Nevertheless, for anyone who symbolically paints the blood of Yahshua on the door of their hearts and symbolically eats His flesh in Communion, Yahweh will deliver them from eternal death and separation from God. Those who choose to drink the wine that symbolizes Christ’s blood marked Cross and eat the bread made without yeast that symbolizes Christ as our Passover Lamb will live forever. The Bible declares that Yahshua is the Passover Lamb and the Bread of Life for all believers:
“Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” - 1 Corinthians 5:7,8 (NIV)
“Then Jesus (Yahshua) declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’ ” - John 6:35 (NIV)
Like the Manna that rained down from heaven for the Israelites in the desert, Yahshua feeds those who seek Him. He is the unleavened bread of humility and repentance, not the leavened bread puffed up with the yeast of pride and arrogance. He accepts only those who eat the unleavened bread of His truth. Unlike all the other innocent animal blood sacrifices the Israelites made to Yahweh, which were to be without obvious physical defects, Yahshua was both physically perfect and pure and sinless in character and spirit. The Jews unwittingly sacrificed the only truly perfect sacrificial lamb when they conspired with the Herodians and Romans to crucify Yahshua on Calvary.

In all the rituals surrounding the blood sacrifices offered by the Aaronic priests, fine flour mixed with salt and oil were to be offered on the altar - along with the fat and skin of the slaughtered animal. When flour, salt, and oil are mixed together, the dough formed can be used to make unleavened bread, which signifies sinlessness. Therefore, the flour, salt, and oil offered on the altar symbolized the unleavened bread that alludes to Yahshua as the yeast-free (i.e. sinless) Bread of Life. Consequently, offering oil, flour, and salt with blood sacrifices was not a senseless ritual. Instead, it was clearly ordained by Yahweh as a symbol for Yahshua – the Messiah and Redeemer who became the unleavened Bread of Life through the sacrifice of His body and blood for our sins:
“On the first of every month, present to the LORD (Yahweh) a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect. With each bull there is to be a grain offering of… fine flour mixed with oil; with the ram, a grain offering of… fine flour mixed with oil…” - Numbers 28:11-12 (NIV)
Through the symbolic Language of God hidden in the ritual acts surrounding each blood sacrifice, the Israelites were being shown the true Path to Salvation. Yet, even with these clear allusions to Christ symbolized in the many thousands of sacrifices performed by the Levites on behalf of their people every year, the Jews were still blind to the purpose of their Messiah Yahshua when He came. The Jews, however, had no excuse for not recognizing their Messiah except the ignorance that comes from practicing rituals automatically - without analyzing the reasons why the rituals were instituted in the first place.

In analyzing the symbolism behind Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it is evident that these two feasts are riddled with symbols that are unmistakably a part of God’s allegorical Language. Sadly, however, many Jews practiced the ritual religious acts associated with these feasts without regularly analyzing their purpose. They therefore forgot the spiritual instruction symbolically built into each ritual through the Language of God. One goal of this book is to right their wrong. By analyzing the rituals and symbols connected to these two important Jewish feasts, great spiritual wisdom can be gleaned from them.

Though the rich symbolism of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread have only been briefly touched upon here, enough has been explained to show that Christians should remember and observe them in some special way. For more information about the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread, and suggestions on how Christians can keep these feasts, visit my web site at http://pillar-of-enoch.com and look for the article entitled: A Christian View of Passover in the “Free Articles and Downloads” section.


End of Excerpt from the book: 
“The Language of God in Humanity” By Helena Lehman

This excerpt was taken from the second book in my four-book Language of God Book Series, and it explores the meanings of many rituals and symbols in the Bible that pointed ahead to Christ. It also explores the Bible heroes that prefigured Christ, and prepared the way for His First Advent, as well as the meaning of many of Yahshua’s Parables. Finally,  it explores the Signs in the Heavens and the Gospel in the Stars that surrounded His First Advent, and that are tied to the Christ’s Ministry for us. To purchase an autographed copy of my book, please go to the Pillar of Enoch Ministry Bookstore.

Since 2007, when this excerpt was originally shared, I also created a short introduction for another long excerpt from the same book that can be found in the “Free Articles and Downloads” section of the Pillar of Enoch Ministry Web Site at http://pillar-of-enoch.com/essays/. This excerpt surrounds the Christian Celebration of Easter or Resurrection Sunday. Click this title: The Timing and Heavenly Signs at Christ’s Death and Resurrection” to go directly to the links connecting to the article at my ministry web site. I hope that you will take the time to read it, as it shares some amazing insights into the Star Gospel that is connected to the most likely time for Christ’s death and resurrection

For further study on the holiness of the Christian Celebration of Easter or Resurrection Sunday and its connection to Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Please refer to the following articles that are published at my Ministry Web Site:

A Christian View of the Meaning of Passover -
Includes A Passover Haggadah/Meal Service Plan 
Description: This Christian version of the Order of Service for a Passover Meal was made in 1991, long before I became involved in the Messianic Movement. It was created in an effort to educate the people in my Evangelical Congregation of the importance of Easter, Passover, and Firstfruits as the central rituals identifying and defining the Christian faith. Since this essay is meant to serve as a “Haggadah” or “storyline” for a Christian Passover Seder or “order of service,” it is not identical to a Jewish Haggadah. Instead, with the exception of the use of “Yahshua” for Christ’s name, it is a Christian reinterpretation of a traditional Passover Seder. Recipes are included in this Haggadah to aid those who wish to prepare a special dinner, and follow this guide for their own Passover Seder. Please feel free to download, print and use this Christian Passover Haggadah at your own Christian Passover celebrations, and to add your own favorite recipes and religious songs, if desired: http://pillar-of-enoch.com/essays/#Lamb

Easter and Its Connection to Passover and Firstfruits 
Hallelu-Yah for Passover, which shows the purpose of Yahshua’s death on the Cross, and Hallelu-Yah for Easter/Firstfruits, which correctly celebrates Yahshua’s resurrection from the dead as the firstfruits offering. The firstfruits offering was always made in the Temple to Yahweh on the SUNDAY of Passover week, and on Resurrection Sunday, Yahshua was presented in the heavenly Temple to Yahweh as the Firstfruits of the Resurrection into everlasting life! Read all about the truth about Easter in relation to Passover Week in Helena’s 30-page article derived from her book “The Language of God in Humanity.” http://pillar-of-enoch.com/essays/#Firstfruits  

Note: With the exception of the Bible verses, the written material in this article is copyrighted by Helena Lehman of the Pillar of Enoch Ministry through the Copyright Office of the United States of America. Therefore this article may not be used in whole or in part in any paid commercial, digital, electronic, or printed publication without permission from the author.
 All the Scriptures used in this excerpt were taken from the PC Study Bible: New King James Version copyrighted by Thomas Nelson Publishers in the USA

Yahshua is coming SOON! Maranatha!

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