The Feast of Tabernacles

Sukkot (Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). It is one of the three biblical mandated festivals Shalosh Regalim on which Hebrews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. It follows the solemn holiday of Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement.

The holiday lasts seven days (eight in the diaspora). The first day (and second in the diaspora) is a sabbath-like yom tov when work is forbidden, followed by the intermediate Chol Hamoed and Shemini Atzeret. The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, “booth or tabernacle“, which is a walled structure covered with skhakh (plant material such as leafy tree overgrowth or palm leaves).

The sukkah is intended as a reminiscence of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the sukkah and some people sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the Lulav and Etrog (Four Species).

According to the prophet Zechariah, in the messianic era Sukkot will become a universal festival and all nations will make pilgrimages annually to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast there.

  • Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one. The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security. And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. And on that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. Even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever beasts may be in those camps. Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the LORD.” And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar. And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.
    (Zechariah 14:1-21 ESV)
  • And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the LORD. On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. For seven days you shall present food offerings to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the LORD. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work. “These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, besides the LORD’s Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. You shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed feasts of the LORD.
    (Leviticus 23:33-44 ESV)
  • “You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. For seven days you shall keep the feast to the LORD your God at the place that the LORD will choose, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.
    (Deuteronomy 16:13-15 ESV)

Shalom Aleikhem and Happy Sukkot!

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The Power of Forgiveness

What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt’. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.

Most world religions include teachings on the nature of forgiveness, and many of these teachings provide an underlying basis for many varying modern day traditions and practices of forgiveness. Some religious doctrines or philosophies place greater emphasis on the need for humans to find some sort of divine forgiveness for their own shortcomings, others place greater emphasis on the need for humans to practice forgiveness of one another, yet others make little or no distinction between human and divine forgiveness.

Therefore, forgiveness is literally the setting aside of a debt by the one to which the debt is owed. When we view forgiveness in this manner, are we to understand that it is possible for us to pay God for our forgiveness? Absolutely not, but it should cause us to realize just how incredible and awesome God’s forgiveness toward us actually is.

In the New Testament, Yeshua speaks of the importance of Christians forgiving or showing mercy towards others. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is perhaps the best known instance of such teaching and practice of forgiveness.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1 John 1:5-10 ESV)

A message from the Lord Jesus, the Word of life, the eternal Word, we should all gladly receive. The great God should be represented to this dark world, as pure and perfect light. As this is the nature of God, his doctrines and precepts must be such. And as his perfect happiness cannot be separated from his perfect holiness, so our happiness will be in proportion to our being made holy. To walk in darkness, is to live and act against religion. God holds no heavenly fellowship or intercourse with unholy souls. There is no truth in their profession; their practice shows its folly and falsehood. The eternal Life, the eternal Son, put on flesh and blood, and died to wash us from our sins in his own blood, and procures for us the sacred influences by which sin is to be subdued more and more, till it is quite done away. While the necessity of a holy walk is insisted upon, as the effect and evidence of the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus, the opposite error of self-righteous pride is guarded against with equal care. All who walk near to God, in holiness and righteousness, are sensible that their best days and duties are mixed with sin. God has given testimony to the sinfulness of the world, by providing a sufficient, effectual Sacrifice for sin, needed in all ages; and the sinfulness of believers themselves is shown, by requiring them continually to confess their sins, and to apply by faith to the blood of that Sacrifice. Let us plead guilty before God, be humble, and willing to know the worst of our case. Let us honestly confess all our sins in their full extent, relying wholly on his mercy and truth through the righteousness of Christ, for a free and full forgiveness, and our deliverance from the power and practice of sin.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Why would God forgive us? God desires to forgive is a result of His agape love for mankind. In the New Testament, agape love refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one’s fellow man. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. Although the word does not have specific religious connotation, the word has been used by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including Biblical authors and Christian authors.

God pursues a continuing relationship with us that is real and personal.  Love is God’s very essence. Love, properly defined, needs an object upon which to express itself. You can be an object of God’s love or an object of His wrath.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
(1 John 4:7-13 ESV)

God’s desire is fellowship with us. While God desires fellowship with us, that prospect is spiritually impossible. What makes it impossible is His utter holiness and righteousness in opposition to our utter sinfulness and depravity.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
(John 17:20-23 ESV)

Our Lord especially prayed, that all believers might be as one body under one head, animated by one soul, by their union with Christ and the Father in him, through the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. The more they dispute about lesser things, the more they throw doubts upon Christianity. Let us endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, praying that all believers may be more and more united in one mind and one judgment. Thus shall we convince the world of the truth and excellence of our religion, and find more sweet communion with God and his saints.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

The Spirit of God is the Spirit of love. He that does not love the image of God in his people, has no saving knowledge of God. For it is God’s nature to be kind, and to give happiness. The law of God is love; and all would have been perfectly happy, had all obeyed it. The provision of the gospel, for the forgiveness of sin, and the salvation of sinners, consistently with God’s glory and justice, shows that God is love. Mystery and darkness rest upon many things yet. God has so shown himself to be love, that we cannot come short of eternal happiness, unless through unbelief and impenitence, although strict justice would condemn us to hopeless misery, because we break our Creator’s laws. None of our words or thoughts can do justice to the free, astonishing love of a holy God towards sinners, who could not profit or harm him, whom he might justly crush in a moment, and whose deserving of his vengeance was shown in the method by which they were saved, though he could by his almighty Word have created other worlds, with more perfect beings, if he had seen fit. Search we the whole universe for love in its most glorious displays? It is to be found in the person and the cross of Christ. Does love exist between God and sinners? Here was the origin, not that we loved God, but that he freely loved us. His love could not be designed to be fruitless upon us, and when its proper end and issue are gained and produced, it may be said to be perfected. So faith is perfected by its works. Thus it will appear that God dwells in us by his new-creating Spirit. A loving Christian is a perfect Christian; set him to any good duty, and he is perfect to it, he is expert at it. Love oils the wheels of his affections, and sets him on that which is helpful to his brethren. A man that goes about a business with ill will, always does it badly. That God dwells in us and we in him, were words too high for mortals to use, had not God put them before us. But how may it be known whether the testimony to this does proceed from the Holy Ghost? Those who are truly persuaded that they are the sons of God, cannot but call him Abba, Father. From love to him, they hate sin, and whatever disagrees with his will, and they have a sound and hearty desire to do his will. Such testimony is the testimony of the Holy Ghost.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Yeshua’s last words at His crucifixion were, “It is finished.” What was finished? The way was paved for God to have the fellowship with the apex of His creation. We can have fellowship with God now because of Yeshua’s sacrifice at Golgotha. What is God’s forgiveness? It is most clearly seen in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son on the cross. Yeshua suffered a terrible and cruel execution at His crucifixion. He took God’s wrath for all the sin in the world which was placed upon Him. Yet Yeshua had no sin, He had never broken any laws and died in the company of two criminals. They deserved their sentences, He did not. We deserve death, but Yeshua paid the price for our sins so that we don’t have to suffer eternal death.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
(Ephesians 1:3-10 ESV)

Spiritual and heavenly blessings are the best blessings; with which we cannot be miserable, and without which we cannot but be so. This was from the choice of them in Christ, before the foundation of the world, that they should be made holy by separation from sin, being set apart to God, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, in consequence of their election in Christ. All who are chosen to happiness as the end, are chosen to holiness as the means. In love they were predestinated, or fore-ordained, to be adopted as children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and to be openly admitted to the privileges of that high relation to himself. The reconciled and adopted believer, the pardoned sinner, gives all the praise of his salvation to his gracious Father. His love appointed this method of redemption, spared not his own Son, and brought believers to hear and embrace this salvation. It was rich grace to provide such a surety as his own Son, and freely to deliver him up. This method of grace gives no encouragement to evil, but shows sin in all its hatefulness, and how it deserves vengeance. The believer’s actions, as well as his words, declare the praises of Divine mercy.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Who needs God’s forgiveness? Anyone who is under the curse of the original sin. Moses wrote, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 ESV). Isaiah probably summed up the quality of mankind’s righteousness with one verse. He wrote, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6 ESV). Polluted garment or filthy rags (as used in the King James Version) is a reference to menstrual cloths (H5708).

Who needs God’s forgiveness? Anyone who meets the Biblical qualifications of being a sinner. The Bible says that “all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Therefore, we all need God’s forgiveness.

God’s forgiveness is His unmerited favor towards mankind. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV). King David wrote, “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:10-12 ESV). That is the amount of forgiveness that God gives to us when we repent and serve Him. None of us deserve this from our Creator. Isaiah wrote, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25 KJV). With forgiveness, God forgets completely forgets our sins. Many critics argue that an omniscient God could never forget something, but they fail to recognize that an omnipotent God can do anything.

What is God’s forgiveness? God’s forgiveness is experiencing His unmerited favor towards mankind. It is a gift, all you have to do is accept His sacrifice of Yeshua. There is nothing you can do to earn God’s forgiveness. No amount of good works or deed will earn salvation for anyone. The Apostle John wrote, “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:5-6 KJV). There is only one God (YHVH), and the only way to have a relationship with Him is through His only begotten Son, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

Anyone can experience God’s forgiveness by taking advantage of His plan of salvation.

  1. First, you need to realize your need for forgiveness. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:19-26 KJV). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23 KJV). It is necessary to forgive anyone who you perceived has wronged you in any way. Yeshua said, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV).
  2. Second, you need to respond to God’s provision and plan of salvation. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11 KJV).
  3. Third, you need to repent of your sin. What is repentance? Many understand the term repentance to mean “turning from sin.” This is not the Biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. It is impossible to truly and fully change your mind without that causing a change in action. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. Yeshua said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3 ESV).
  4. Fourth, you must accept and receive Yeshua as your Messiah and Savior. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13 KJV). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:16-21 KJV).
  5. Fifth, you need to rejoice and faithfully confess your salvation to others. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33 KJV).
  6. Sixth, you need to obey God’s commandments and instructions. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38 KJV). Baptism is not a work that earns salvation, it shows obedience to God publicly. Yeshua said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 ESV). “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12 KJV).

Paschal Lamb or Easter Ham?

The Paschal Lamb is the sacrifice that the Torah mandates to be brought on the eve of Passover, and eaten on the first night of the holiday with bitter herbs and matzoh. According to the Torah, it was first offered on the night of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
(Exodus 12:1-20 ESV)

HaShem said, “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.” So how did the Passover get replaced with Easter? And how was lamb replaced with ham as a traditional part of the presumably Biblical holiday of Easter? Where did the Easter bunny, Easter eggs and marshmallow chickens come from? The answers may surprise you.

Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. Yeshua rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday (also called Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday).

Easter marks the end of Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of the Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Yeshua. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.

Easter is mentioned by name once in the Bible.  In the Acts of the Apostles it says, “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people (Acts 12:1-4 KJV).”

King Herod Agrippa I persecuted the Jerusalem church, having James killed and imprisoning Peter. King Herod Agrippa I had been born and raised to revere his Jewishness. He resented the movement that had began during his absence from Judea, which was explained to him by the religious leaders of Israel as a sacrilegious mission trying to equate who they considered to be a mere man, Jesus of Nazareth (Yeshua the Messiah), with the God of Judaism. This certainly doesn’t sound like someone who would be observing the “Christian” holiday of Easter, does it?

Almost every other English translation of the Bible says Passover rather than Easter. Passover is a mistranslation. Only the King James Version has translated this passage correctly. This is very easy to conclude when you read the passage. Passover occurs before the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Apostle Peter was arrested and imprisoned by King Herod after Passover and during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Easter in this passage is referring to a pagan festival.

Most reference books say that the name Easter derived from the Eastre, the Teutonic (Germanic) goddess of Spring. Although this relationship exists, in reality, the origin of the name and the goddess are far more ancient – going all the way back to the Tower of Babel. The origin begins not long after the Biblical Flood of Noah’s time. After the Flood, Noah had a talented, but evil, great-grandson named Nimrod who rebelled greatly against God. The Bible says that he was “a mighty one.” Rabbinical commentaries state that Nimrod was a tyrant “who made all of the people rebellious against God.” It is evident from history that Nimrod was not only a political leader, but also the high priest of a form of occult worship.

Nimrod deified himself as the god of the sun and father of creation. In various cultures he later became known by many names, including Baal, Baalim, Bel, and Molech. Semiramis deified herself as Ishtar, the goddess of the moon and fertility. In various cultures she became known as Eostre, Astarte, Ostera, Eastre, Ashtaroth, Ashtoreth, and the Queen of Heaven. After Nimrod died, this adulterous and idolatrous woman gave birth to an illegitimate son, she claimed that this son, Tammuz, was the product of a virgin birth and her subjects viewed her child as the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy in Genesis 3:15 (seed of the woman). She also claimed that Tammuz was Nimrod reincarnated. Coincidentally, Tammuz’s birth date was December 25th (a birth date also shared by Ra the Egyptian sun god, Zeus the Greek sun god and Mithras the Roman sun god).

Under Nimrod and Semiramis, a terrible false religion developed with its sun and moon worship, priests, astrology, demonic worship, worship of stars associated with their gods, idolatry, mysterious rites, human sacrifice, and more. It was at Nimrod’s city of Babel that a towering structure was first built in defiance of God as part of their Satanic religion. The purpose of this structure was to declare war on God for destroying their ancestors in the Biblical Flood.  Archaeological evidence indicates that this was a spectacular pyramid-shaped structure (ziggurat). The Bible tells us that at this time there was only one language in the world and that most of the world’s population centered in this area and participated in this religion. It was evident to God that all mankind would soon degenerate into a level of evil that would parallel that of the antediluvian world. For humanity’s sake, something had to be done to slow and frustrate this organization of an evil one world, tyrannical government.

God confused their language, so that they could not understand each other (Genesis 11:7). This is the ultimate source of the world’s many languages. As a result, many people moved away from the area in groups according to their particular new language. Most, if not all, of these people carried their evil Satanic religion with them. They continued to worship the stars and practice all the other ungodly rituals of their religion. Some also continued to build pyramids reminiscent of the Tower of Babel as part of this religion. Today, we can still find remnants of these throughout the world (Iraq, South America, Central America, Egypt, Burma).

Babylonia was the origin of an idolatrous system that swept the world. The Bible often speaks of the Satanic religions which came from Babylonia. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus “witnessed the religion and its rites in numerous countries and mentions how Babylon was the primeval source from which all systems of idolatry flowed.” Austen Layard said, “that we have the united testimony of sacred and profane history that idolatry originated in the area of Babylonia, the most ancient of religious systems.” The Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad” (Jeremiah 51:7 KJV).

In some legends, Tammuz was killed by a wild boar in a hunting accident when he was forty years old. In ancient Babylon, the followers of Ishtar joined her in mourning and proclaimed a forty day period of sorrow (one day for each year of his life) each year prior to the anniversary of the death of Tammuz. During this time, no meat was to be eaten. Thus the practice of mourning for the loss of the “son of god” was adopted by many for centuries afterwards. This act was later “Christianised” and given the name of Lent. Today, Easter falls right after the observance of the forty days of Lent.

According to pagan sun god religions, Semiramis, the wife of Nimrod, the sun god, and mother of Tammuz, the reborn sun god, upon her death was sent back by the sun god Nimrod as the large-breasted fertility goddess Easter. She was sent back the first Sunday after the Vernal Equinox (Easter Sunday) in a large egg that landed in the Euphrates River. The egg then opened and Easter emerged. In order to show her divinity she changed a bird into an egg-laying rabbit (The Easter Bunny).

Easter’s priests, in honor of her fertility, would impregnate young virgins upon her altar in a Tammuz Cave. The following year, these priests would sacrifice these three-month-old infants upon the same altar at sunrise on Sunday morning (Easter Sunrise Service). They would then take eggs (fertility) and dip them in the red blood of these sacrificed infants (Easter eggs). These pagans would then kill and roast the boar (in remembrance of the death of Tammuz) and eat Ham on Easter Sunday.

In every legend, Tammuz dies young and his birth is honored on his birthday which coincided with the Winter Solstice. Part of the religious ritual involved cutting down a young evergreen tree as a way of commemorating the premature death of Tammuz. Along with this the Babylonians would also burn a Yule log, called “the log of the son.” It was burned in the fire to symbolize the death of Tammuz. The next day the evergreen tree would be decorated with silver and gold. The log that was burned was now alive again as the Tammuz Tree (Christmas Tree). The prophet Jeremiah described how the birth of Tammuz was celebrated in ancient Babylon.

Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
(Jeremiah 10:1-5 KJV)

Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
(Jeremiah 44:15-19 KJV)

The worship of these pagan gods continued to be a problem throughout Israel’s history. Not only does the Prophet Jeremiah write about Ishtar and Tammuz, the Prophet Ezekiel did as well.

He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
(Ezekiel 8:13-16 KJV)

The cross is one of the most ancient human symbols, and is used by many religions, such as Christianity. It is frequently a representation of the division of the world into four elements or cardinal points, or alternately as the union of the concepts of divinity, the vertical line, and the world, the horizontal line. Examples include the Egyptian Ankh, Coptic Ankh, Celtic Cross, Hands of God, Swastika , Tau Cross, Furka Cross, and the Sun Cross. Roman crucifixion was carried out on a cross which originated from a sun cross design. Yeshua the Messiah was executed on one of these devices. Later, Romans hung Jewish patriots (zealots) on a Mithras cross after the Jews rose up against Rome in 70 A.D.

When God asked Abraham and to offer his only son Isaac on Mount Moriah, this was symbolic of the atonement that Yeshua would make for our sins. Mount Moriah is where the Holy Temple was built in Jerusalem. Yeshua was crucified a short distance from this location.

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-Jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
(Genesis 22:1-18 KJV)

The Passover Feast was also a shadow of things to come. It was symbolic of Yeshua’s atonement for the sins of mankind. When John the Baptist performed Yeshua’s Mikvah (Baptism), it is written that he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 KJV).

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
(John 19:5-37 KJV)

Yeshua the Messiah was our sin atonement. He was the Lamb of God and our Paschal sacrifice.

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
(1 Corinthians 5:6-8 KJV)

Is this how we should serve our Messiah and Savior? Many of us have made a mockery of Passover, the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Many of us have abandoned the Passover Feast and Communion that was to be a shadow of things to come and remembrance of Yeshua’s conquering of death upon a pagan cross, Comsuming ham (an unclean animal), dyed eggs, chocolate rabbits, marshmallow rabbits zns having Ester eggs hunts, all symbolism from Babylon,  has to be an insult to Yeshua and to HaShem. If you have desecrated the Passover and Resurrection Day of Messiah Yeshua to serve pagan gods and traditions, there is still time to make things right. We need to serve God, not insult Him.  God wants us to serve Him in spirit and in truth, not lies and deceit.

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. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
(John 4:23-24 KJV)

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV)

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
(1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 KJV)

Should a Christian (a disciple of Yeshua the Messiah) celebrate Ash Wednesday, Lent or Easter? That depends entirely on which God you choose to serve. My family celebrates the Biblical Feast of Passover. We never wish others a Happy Easter, instead we wish them a Happy Passover and Resurrection Day.

Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
(Deuteronomy 12:28-32 KJV)

Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.
(Joshua 24:14-28 KJV)