A Note from John Conrad
Bearing False Witness
Among the ten commandments, "you shall not bear false witness" is often quoted. In the Bible no conflict could be decided on the testimony of one witness, it required at least two. Also, if it were determined that two of you got together to lie about someone else the penalty you sought for them was brought down on your head.
It is important to realize that a witness has to have seen the event. It can't be hearsay, it can't be something someone told you. When John sees the prophetic bride of the Messiah, the New Jerusalem, it is built in a perfect cube resembling the Most Holy Place and has 12 foundations and 12 gates. The 12 gates are each made of a single pearl and have the names of the 12 tribes of Israel inscribed on them. The 12 foundation stones are 12 different types of stones and have the names of the 12 apostles written on them. Each stone is unique but each furnishes essential strength to the foundation of the city.
Remember even the apostle Paul was not part of this foundation. No discredit to him but to be part of the foundation, one had to be chosen and have the qualification of being a witness of Yeshua's (Jesus) ministry from his baptism to his resurrection. Just hearing about it wasn't enough to make you a witness. John stresses this in 1 John 1:1 "...what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life--"
We do tremendous disservice to our King and to each other when we pass on information based upon hearsay and gossip. Just this past week I read a quote from a Brazilian politician asserting the ancient blood libel against Jews. How can someone believe something that has been shown to be false thousands of times? By living in echo chambers and believing whatever appeals to our biases without taking the time to really ascertain its truth. This absolutely insane accusation is responsible for hundreds of thousands of Jews losing their lives over the past centuries.
Bearing false witness against people and institutions you don't like is just as sinful as bearing false witness against your friends and the groups you do like. If you don't know the truth of an accusation best to just let it die with you. I find myself wanting to comment on hundreds of FB memes and quotes but I don't realizing I would just generate more heat than light. Some of the most wicked and evil plots have been successful because people were primed by repeated slander and falsehood until they acted out of "righteous" wrath and committed unbelievable infamy because they couldn't be bothered to "love the truth."
Think about the foundation of the New Jerusalem and see if we can't make that our pattern.
I post this in the hope of passing on information. What you do with it is up to you. Because I consider myself Messianic or Hebrew Roots, I see a lot of memes and information floating around FB concerning the time of year.
We observed the Passover Seder last evening as laid out in Exodus 12 on the evening of the 14th day of the 1st month of Nisan (Aviv). This is the time of the crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus) as detailed in the synoptic gospels with some slightly confusing corroboration in the gospel of John which some interpret as being the day before. Jews continue to celebrate the Passover Seder on the 14th day as they determine it on their calendar and have done so continuously for thousands of years. It is followed by one week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzah) where no leaven is eaten and the home is kept completely free of it. We do our best to follow this practice as detailed in Exodus.
On the day after the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread, a ritual called the Waving of the Sheaf and/or Firstfruits celebrates the new barley crop and no new grain is eaten until this offering is made. This was the day Yeshua (Jesus) was resurrected and, in fact, 1 Corinthians 15 does identify him as the Firstfruits of the Resurrection.
Yeshua's early followers continued to celebrate Passover with their Jewish families and friends. Over time believers (later called Christians) for various reasons separated their observances from their Jewish peers. (This is a huge subject and too big to tackle here.) The emphasis shifted from the Passover Seder and Unleavened Bread to the crucifixion and resurrection of Yeshua.
At first these observances appear to have been held on the 14th of Nisan but because the resurrection occurred on Sunday a division grew within the Christian ranks over whether the resurrection should be celebrated on the 14th of Nisan or on the Sunday following. Those who held to the 14th of Nisan were called Quartodecimans. The martyr Polycarp held to the Quartodeciman position and claimed that the apostle John was the authority who passed this truth on to him. The group pushing for Sunday observance claimed that their apostolic justification came from Peter and Paul. Even while leaders of the factions could not settle their difference, they set an example by taking communion together publicly so that their congregations would not become enemies. (Polycarp and Anicetus did this in the late 2nd century.) The celebration of the resurrection in the church emphasized the communion, stations of the cross and both the crucifixion and the resurrection. The original dictates laid out in Exodus were forgotten.
Later after the emperor Constantine converted to Christianity he grew tired of all the bickering between the different bishops and he convened the Council of Nicea to try to bring some unity to the burgeoning faith. The doctrine of the Trinity began to take form and a new formula for dating the resurrection celebration was put forth. This change was not implemented until after Constantine died. The new dating involved the Spring equinox and did not depend upon the Biblical system of months. Growing anti-Semitism convinced the early Christians they did not want the dating of their most important day to depend upon Rabbinical councils and calendars.
I have given this long history with huge amounts of detail left out just to show how the Christian Church and Judaism diverged so greatly in their celebration. What didn't diverge is the terminology. In our Greek New Testament Passover is always referred to as "Pascha" a term of Aramaic derivation. To this day Pascha is the term that refers to the celebration of Yeshua's resurrection in Latin, Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, i.e. all the ancient Biblical languages. In the Catholic and Orthodox liturgies the term to describe this event is Pascha which is the Aramaic equivalent of Pesach in Hebrew referring to the sacrificial Lamb offered at Passover.
In English a new term shows up about 600 years after the Messiah, "Easter." This term of uncertain derivation, possibly from the Germanic goddess Eostre or possibly simply the direction East where the sun comes up, became the term to describe the resurrection in English, German and Dutch. The term has no relationship to any Middle Eastern Language and has no Semitic origin. It became so entrenched in English that the fast associated with Passover celebrated by English Jews in the 13th century was called "oesterfesten." When Tyndale did his landmark translation of the Bible into English he reserved the term Easter to describe the resurrection but refused to use that term to translate the Hebrew Pesach. So he invented the word "Passover" to be the English equivalent of Pesach. Contrary to the many "scholars" on FB, Easter is an older word than Passover and neither word has ever been used in the historic church. Neither of these terms is in the Hebrew Tanach or the Greek New Testament.
The objectionable things many find in Easter, bunnies, colored Easter egg hunts, etc. have nothing to do with the name and became a part of the celebration hundreds of years after the term became part of the English language.
All of this to say make sure you know what you are fighting and also make sure you have accurately defined the enemy. As so many trends currently seen in our society we have ended up becoming each other's enemies instead of opposing evil and those things actually destroying our society. This is just my plea--take the time to understand those who see things differently from you and actually find out what are the essential differences. And make sure that you fire your artillery at things you want destroyed.
We celebrated our Passover Seder last night, March 27, 2021, these are pictures from the Shiloah Valley branch celebration. Still being cautious with Covid-19, we didn't advertise and kept it smaller. Looking forward to our weekend celebration coming up.
Feast Cycle 2021
Entering The Inheritance
Pesach – Seder March 27, Weekend Celebration April 2-4
Shavuot – May 23, Weekend Celebration May 21-23
Yom Kippur - September 16
Sukkot - September 20-27, Weekend Celebration September 24-26
Shemini Atzeret - September 28
Joshua 5:8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.
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