Friday, April 20, 2018

Challenging the comments, “Jesus changed Passover's meaning” and “Pesach is the Celebration of Freedom”

Here are a couple of comments by counter-missionaries who are doing their level-best to take Christians and Messianic/Hebrew Roots people away from Messiah Y’shua:


COMMENT 1: “Jesus changed Passover's meaning...so will you follow someone who changed HaShem's Laws or follow HaShem? You cannot do both.”

OUR RESPONSE: FALSE!

This comment is probably from 1 Corinthians 5:7 which reads: “Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed.” (CJB).

Fact is, this is Paul writing, not Jesus speaking - and Paul is clearly relating the shed redeeming blood of the Messiah to that of the redeeming blood of the lamb at Pesach. But neither Paul, nor Jesus “changed” the meaning of Pesach! Pesach in Paul’s time (and in Jesus’ time) was celebrated in the same manner and for the same purpose as all of Judaism! Jesus changed nothing about Pesach!

The claim might also have come from Luke 22:19-20 which reads: “Also, taking a piece of matzah, he made the b'rakhah, broke it, gave it to them and said, ‘This is my body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of me.’ He did the same with the cup after the meal, saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by my blood, which is being poured out for you.’” (CJB).

Perhaps this person “sees” in this verse that somehow Jesus “changed” the meaning of Pesach, but that is simply not the case. Jesus only expressed the remembrance of what He was about to do for the apostles and all mankind; that the life and redemption of the original pass-over for the Hebrews would forever be given to them by His redemptive blood. This in no way “changed” Pesach!

I know it’s hard for counter-missionaries to get past their bias and contempt to see what was really presented in the New Testament and to come to understand that Jesus actually changed nothing in the Torah. Not one thing. But for those of you reading this, consider the parallels:

1. At the original and only “pass-over” the blood of an unblemished lamb redeemed the firstborn of the Hebrews. Jesus is recognized as our “unblemished lamb” whose blood redeemed us. (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). (Note: This does not “change” the meaning of Pesach.)

2. Jesus was killed the same afternoon as the lambs. (Note: This does not “change” the meaning of Pesach.)

3. The sacrificed lamb “spared” the Hebrews (Exodus 12:27). Jesus’ (volunteer) substitution of Himself delivered mankind from bondage to sin and death (Romans 8:2). (Note: This does not “change” the meaning of Pesach.)

4. The bones of the lamb were not broken. (Exodus 12:46). None of Jesus’ bones were broken. (John 19:33). (This does not “change” the meaning of Pesach.)

5. The lamb spared the firstborn from death, the consequence had they sinned and not obeyed. (Exodus 12:12). Jesus spares from eternal death those who accept His redemption. (Revelation 1:5). (Note: This does not “change” the meaning of Pesach.)

6. Even the disciples of Jesus recognized that Jesus changed nothing about Pesach but only provided for their redemption. They continued to celebrate Pesach but with the renewed “life” in the remembrance that now, they too, were saved as were the Hebrews in the one-and-only pass-over. “So then let us observe the festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:8). (Note: This does not “change” the meaning of Pesach.)

The Messiah-denier above also asked: “So will you follow someone who changed HaShem's Laws or follow HaShem? You cannot do both.”

We follow HaShem, of course. We’ve shown, in regard to Pesach, Jesus did not change HaShem’s laws, so the point is moot. What you can say is that Jesus helped to explain the Torah and to clarify and provide depth to the laws (akin to the Talmud if it were not for the many discrepancies in the Talmud). Of course the Torah commands us to have only HaShem as our God (see Exodus 20:2 and Deuteronomy 5:6).

The Messiah-deniers point to the Christian tradition that “Jesus is God” thus claiming that Christians believe in “another god” or an idol. But nothing is further from the truth. Jesus said “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30). He never said “I am God.” It would be silly for Him to say He was God, for God cannot be born, nor die. (Please see our article on that very subject!)

Unfortunately, people have concluded Jesus was God (which is, admittedly, quite wrong). Adonai said in Exodus 23:21 that the messenger He would send “has His Name in Him”; and many other Tanakh scriptures point to the savior.

Exodus 23: “See, I am sending a Messenger before you to guard you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 “Be on guard before Him and obey His voice. Do not rebel against Him, for He is not going to pardon your transgression, for My Name is in Him. 22 “But if you diligently obey His voice and shall do all that I speak, then I shall be an enemy to your enemies and a distresser to those who distress you. (ISR)

Question for the counter-missionaries: Which “Messenger” has the power to “pardon transgressions? ONLY Y’shua! What “Messenger” has YHWH’s name within his own name? ONLY Y’shua! The names of the rest of the “Messengers” contain only the TITLE of ELOHIM (El) – Micha’el, Rapha’el, Gavri’el….

COMMENT 2: “Pesach is the Celebration of Freedom, the Israelites Slaughtered, Roasted, and Feasted on Goats and Lambs against Egyptian Law to MOCK AND INSULT the Egyptians and their Pagan Sheep deity. All about Freedom!”

OUR RESPONSE: This comment is simply ludicrous! The meaning of Passover is still, today, what it always was. It is here:

Exodus 12: “3 Speak to all the assembly of Isra'el and say, 'On the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb or kid for his family, one per household — 4 except that if the household is too small for a whole lamb or kid, then he and his next-door neighbor should share one, dividing it in proportion to the number of people eating it. 5 Your animal must be without defect, a male in its first year, and you may choose it from either the sheep or the goats.

6 " 'You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and then the entire assembly of the community of Isra'el will slaughter it at dusk. 7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame at the entrance of the house in which they eat it. … 11 …. It is Adonai's Pesach [Passover]. 12 For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals; and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt; I am Adonai.

13 The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over [Hebrew: pasach] you — when I strike the land of Egypt, the death blow will not strike you. 14 " 'This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation.” (CJB)

So we learn from Scripture that ADONAI’s Pesach is His salvation for the Hebrews by the blood substitution of an unblemished lamb. The firstborn of anyone who put the lamb’s blood on their door-frame were saved and did not die. Note that nowhere in this scripture defining Pesach contains anything about “celebration of freedom” or to mock and insult the Egyptians.

Yes, in Exodus 8:25-27 (21-23 in some versions), Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aharon and said, "Go, and sacrifice to your God here in the land." But Moshe replied: “It would be inappropriate for us to do that, because the animal we sacrifice to Adonai our God is an abomination to the Egyptians. Won't the Egyptians stone us to death if before their very eyes we sacrifice what they consider an abomination?”

From this Maimonides concluded (in “Guide for the Perplexed”, Part 3, Chapter 46):

“Scripture tells us, according to the Version of Onkelos, that the Egyptians worshipped Aries, and therefore abstained from killing sheep, and held shepherds in contempt. Comp. ‘Behold we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians,’ etc. (Exod. 8: 26); ‘For every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians’ (Gen. 46:34).”

Maimonides goes on to say:

“This is also the reason why we were commanded to kill a lamb on Passover, and to sprinkle the blood thereof outside on the gates. We had to free ourselves of evil doctrines and to proclaim the opposite, viz., that the very act which was then considered as being the cause of death would be the cause of deliverance from death. Comp. ‘And the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come unto your houses to suite you’ (Exod. 8: 23). Thus they were rewarded for performing openly a service every part of which was objected to by the idolaters.”

Is Maimonides saying this was the purpose of Pesach? Is he saying that the purpose was to “mock and insult the Egyptians and their pagan sheep deity”? OF COURSE NOT! Maimonides states it clearly that the command to kill the lamb was to cause the deliverance from death, that is, redemption!

Moshe knew quite well that the slaughter of a lamb would be an abomination to the Egyptians as we read in Exodus 8. So Moshe would never have relayed the message to the Hebrews to go and “slaughter the lamb in front of the Egyptians so we can mock and insult them!” No. Indeed, Moshe relayed the entire message of Adonai to the Hebrews, that the blood of the lamb would substitute for the firstborn and they would be redeemed. Reread Exodus 12 if this is not clear.

Similarly, does Maimonides, or scripture for that matter, say that Pesach is the “celebration of freedom”? Absolutely not! Adonai tells Moshe what to tell the Hebrews about what Pesach meant!

“When you come to the land which Adonai will give you, as he has promised, you are to observe this ceremony. When your children ask you, 'What do you mean by this ceremony?' say, 'It is the sacrifice of Adonai's Pesach [Passover], because [Adonai] passed over the houses of the people of Isra'el in Egypt, when he killed the Egyptians but spared our houses.' " The people of Isra'el bowed their heads and worshipped.” (Exodus CJB).

Pesach is about redemption, (Exodus 13:15), not a “celebration of freedom!”

Freedom of the Hebrews is important, of course, and is celebrated in the immediate aftermath of the exodus. Simply read on in Exodus 13 to see this. “When, at some future time, your son asks you, 'What is this?' then say to him, 'With a strong hand Adonai brought us out of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.” (Exodus 13:14, CJB).

FOLKS, IT’S RATHER SAD that so many messiah-deniers must resort to such a narrow-minded view of Jesus and the New Testament. In reality, the NT is a brilliant adjunct to the Tanakh, which provides a richness to Adonai’s offer of salvation to all. That salvation happened, yet so many “intellects” think otherwise.

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