Thru the Book of Romans

For those of you in Stay at Home land, what better time to study thru the Book of Romans:

Lesson 1
(Chapters 1-4)




Lesson 2
(Chapters 5-8)




Lesson 3
(Chapters 9-11)




Lesson 4
 (Chapters 12-13)




Lesson 5
(Chapters 14-16)







Emergency Alert! In these trying times, we need your support now more than ever. First of the month bill are due!

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

Have you Heard about the Passover SOLAR Eclipse?

Abstract photo of a solar eclipse

Have you Heard about the Passover SOLAR Eclipse?
By
James Scott Trimm



There has been a lot of talk lately about lunar eclipses at Passover.  However Passover always occurs on or near a full moons, and is therefore a time predisposed to the likelihood of a lunar eclipse.  A lunar eclipse at Passover, therefore, is hardly a “sign”. 

However I want to talk to you about something that was a very real sign, an apparent SOLAR eclipse which history records once took place at Passover!

Anti-Missionaries often claim that there is no historical evidence to support the Gospel accounts of Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection.  In fact one anti-missionary said:

There were no records of earthquakes or darkness on the day
purported as the day of his crucifixion.
There was no tearing of the temple veil recorded
anywhere in history.

This is simply not true.  In fact around 52 CE a secular writer named Thallus tried to explain away the darkness at Yeshua’s crucifixion saying “this darkness was an eclipse of the sun”. This is of course an impossible explanation, because astronomically a Solar eclipse can never take place at or around Passover.

OK lets do some Astronomy 101. A solar eclipse occurs when the Earth, Sun and Moon line up with the Moon directly between the Sun and Earth.

OK lets now do Hebrew Calendar 101.  The Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar, with the first day of every month being the new moon.  This means that the full moon will always occur about 14-15 days into each month.  Now the Passover is on the evening of the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nissan, and the days of Unleavened Bread (often called “Passover”) begin on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan.  In other words Passover typically begins at around the time of a full moon. 

OK back to Astronomy 101.  A new moon always occurs when the Earth, Sun and Moon line up with the Moon directly between the Sun and Earth.  This is because the Moon is tidally locked with the earth, so the same side of the moon constantly faces the earth as the Moon orbits the earth (that is to say that the moon rotates at the same speed is orbits the earth, the effect of which is like a mesh gear).  The result is that from the earth, we never see the “dark side of the moon.”  And the term “dark side of the moon” is actually a misnomer, as the dark side of the moon gets just as much light as the “near side of the moon”, and a more correct term is “far side of the moon”.  A new moon then always occurs when the moon is between the sun and the earth.

Thanks to Thallus, who wrote only twenty years after the events themselves, we know that as a matter of secular history, just twenty years after the crucifixion, the “darkness” that occurred at Yeshua’s crucifixion was a historical fact that secular writers felt a need to try to explain away in some way. Ironically, Thallus was, at the time, attempting to explain away the darkness as as some kind of natural phenomena.

Ancient skeptics had to admit that an apparent solar eclipse had occurred on Passover, at or near the full moon, something which we today know is astronomically impossible, and could only have been a supernatural sign.

A solar eclipse at Passover is a real sign.

Emergency Alert! In these trying times, we need your support now more than ever. First of the month bill are due!

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

The Tearing of the Temple Veil

The Tearing of the Temple Veil
By
James Scott Trimm

We read in the Goodnews according to Matthew that at the death of Yeshua:

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
(Matthew 27:51)

The fourth century “Church Father” Jerome writes concerning The Gospel According to the Hebrews (a Gospel use by the ancient sect of the Nazarenes along side our familar four):

“But in the Gospel which is written in Hebrew characters we read not [only] that the veil of the Temple was rent, but that the lintel of the Temple of wondrous size was broken and even forced asunder.”
(Jerome; Letter 120 to Hedibia; Jerome on Mat. 27:51)

Also in the Historia passionis Domini we read likewise:

“Also in the Gospel of the Nazarenes we read that at the time of Messiah’s death the lintel of the Temple, of immense size, had split (Josephus says the same and adds that overhead awful voices were heard which said: ‘Let us depart from this abode’.”
(Historia passionis Domini; MS: Theolog. Sammelhandschrift 14th-15th Century, foll. 65r)

The lintel was a crossbeam over the doorway to the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The lintel stood atop pillars eight stories high which formed this doorway. The lintel was some thirty feet across and made of solid stone. It would have weighed about 30 tons! At the death of Yeshua there was an earthquake. This earthquake caused the lintel to split, breaking in the middle. It would have been no small event when the two pieces of this thirty ton lintel came crashing down eight stories! The veil hung from the lintel and the hekel doors were attached to the pillars. When the lintel broke it caused the veil to be rent in two from top to bottom.  (In the Jewish culture it is common for a father to morn the death of his son by renting his garment in just such a fashion.)  This collapse of the lintel seems to have damaged the hekel doors as well. The Talmud states:

[For] forty years before the Temple was destroyed…
the gates of the Hekel opened by themselves.
until Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai rebuked them
saying “Hekel, Hekel, why alarm you us? We know
that you are destined to be destroyed. For of you
has prophesied Zechariah Ben Iddo (Zech. 11:1):
“Open your doors, O Lebanon and the fire shall
eat your cedars.”
(b.Yoma 39b)



Emergency Alert! In these trying times, we need your support now more than ever. First of the month bill are due!

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

Why Shavuot (and Firstfruits) is Always on a Sunday

Why Shavuot (and Firstfruits) is Always on a Sunday
By
James Scott Trimm


We read in the Torah:


10 Speak unto the children of Yisra’el, and say unto them, When you are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the cohen.
11 And he shall wave the sheaf before YHWH, to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the Sabbath, the cohen shall wave it.
12 And in the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a he lamb without blemish of the first year, for a burnt-offering unto YHWH.
13 And the meal-offering thereof, shall be two tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour mingled with oil: an offering made by fire unto YHWH for a sweet savour, and the drinkoffering thereof shall be of wine; the fourth part of a hin.
14 And you shall eat neither bread nor parched grain, nor fresh ears, until this selfsame day, until you have brought the offering of your Elohim: it is a statute forever, throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
15 And you shall count unto you, from the morrow after the day of rest, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the waving; seven sabbaths shall they be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the sabbath shall you number fifty days, and you shall present a new meal-offering unto YHWH.
17 You shall bring out of your dwellings, two wave loaves of two tenth parts of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven, for first fruits unto YHWH.
18 And you shall present with the bread, seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams. They shall be a burnt-offering unto YHWH, with their meal-offering, and their drink-offerings, even an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto YHWH.
19 And you shall offer one he goat for a sin-offering, and two he lambs of the first year, for a sacrifice of peace-offerings.
20 And the cohen shall wave them, with the bread of the first fruits for a wave-offering before YHWH, with the two lambs; they shall be Set-Apart to YHWH for the cohen.
21 And you shall make proclamation on the selfsame day; there shall be a Set-Apart convocation unto you. You shall do no manner of servile work: it is a statute forever, in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
(Lev. 23:10-21)

And again we read:

8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to YHWH your Elohim; you shall do no work therein.
9 Seven weeks shall you number unto you–from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain–shall you begin to number seven weeks.
10 And you shall keep the feast of weeks, unto YHWH your Elohim after the measure of the freewill-offering of your hand, which you shall give according as YHWH your Elohim blesses you.
(Deut. 16:8-10)

From these passages we have the commandment for the counting of the omer… the countdown to Shavuot (Pentecost – The Feast of Weeks).

This is a count that began “the morrow after the Sabbath” when the Firstfruits offering is made during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and counts forward seven weeks to the “Feast of Weeks”.

Three systems existed in the first century for counting the omer.

The majority Pharisees maintained the starting point for this count was the morrow after the annual Sabbath, that is the morrow after the 15th of Nisan. Thus they placed the Firstfruits offering always on the 16th of Nisan, and Shavuot generally on the 6th of Sivan.

The minority Pharisees and Sadducees maintained the starting point for this count was the morrow after the weekly Sabbath which falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Thus pacing the Firstfruits offering and Shavuot both always on a Sunday.

The Qumran Essenes maintained the starting point for this count was the morrow after the first weekly Sabbath which falls after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Thus placing the Firstfruits offering and Shavuot both always on a Sunday (and Shavuot always on the 15th of Sivan on their Solar Calendar) (4Q320-4Q321).

Now Josephus tells us that the actual Temple practice in the first century was to observe Firstfruits on the 16th of Nisan:

But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them.
(Josephus; Ant. 3:10:5-6)

However Joesphus also tells us that although Sadducees controlled the Temple, they followed the Pharisaic halacha in keeping the Temple rituals, out of fear of the Pharisees much larger numbers”

…they [Pharisees] are able greatly to persuade
the body of the people; and whatsoever they do
about divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices,
they perform them according to their direction…
(Ant. 18:1:3)

Likewise Talmud records that a certain Sadducee priest had his turn to offer incense come up. He was determined to offer the incense according to Sadducean custom rather than according to Pharisaic custom. His father admonished him saying:

My son, although we are Sadducees, we are
afraid of the Pharisees.
(b.Yoma 19b)

So while the Temple practice of the First century was to observe the count from the 16th of Nisan to the 6th of Sivan, this is really just another way of saying that this was the Majority Pharisee practice.

Central to this debate is the ambiguity of the word SHABBAT in Hebrew.

At least by the time of the translation of the Septuagint (if not before) the word SHABBAT could mean “Sabbath” or “week”.

As a result, where we read in the Torah”

15 And you shall count unto you, from the morrow after the day of rest, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the waving; seven sabbaths shall they be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the sabbath shall you number fifty days, and you shall present a new meal-offering unto YHWH.
(Lev. 23:15-16)

The Septuagint translates:

15 And ye shall number to yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which ye shall offer the sheaf of the heave-offering, seven full weeks:
16 until the morrow after the last week ye shall number fifty days, and shall bring a new meat-offering to the Lord.
(Lev. 23:15-16 LXX)

This ambiguity also appears in the DuTillet Hebrew version of Matthew where the Hebrew has SHABBAT for “week” in the phrase “first [day] of the week”. And in the Greek texts of all four Gospels (Mt. 28:1; Mk. 16:1; Lk. 24:1 and Jn. 20:1) the Greek word SABBATON which generally means “Sabbaths” is used for “week”.

(There is an argument made that the word SABBATON actually means “Sabbaths” in these verses, however context would seem to preclude that understanding. We will cover this in more detail later.)

There is also another important ambiguity about the word Sabbath as it was used at least as early as the first century.

The word “Sabbath” can be used either to refer to the weekly Sabbath (i.e. The Sabbath of Creation) or to an annual Sabbath (a Festival Sabbath). This usage appears in the Gospels in which we are told that the day after Yeshua’s crucifixion was a “sabbath” that was a “high day”:

31 And the Judeans, because it was the day of preparation, were saying, These bodies should not remain overnight on their gallows, because the Sabbath is drawing on: for the day of that Sabbath, was a high day. And they entreated Pilate that they might break the legs of those crucified, and take them down.
(Jn. 19:31 HRV)

This “Sabbath” which was the day after Yeshua’s crucifixion was not a weekly Sabbath. Yeshua was three days and three nights in the belly of the earth (Mt. 12:39), and he was resurrected “the third day after these things (his crucifixion)” (Luke 24:21). This means he was not crucified on a Friday and Resurrected on a Sunday morning, as that is barely more than one day. This means that the Sabbath the day after Yeshua’s crucifixion was not the same day as the Sabbath the day before his resurrection, at least one of these Sabbaths had to be a festival Sabbath.

There is question, however, as to when the term “Sabbath” came to be used to refer to the festival Sabbaths (other than Yom Kippur in Lev. 16:29) as well as the weekly Sabbaths. The word is not used in the Torah to refer to festival days on which work is forbidden (except Yom Kippur in Lev. 16:29), unless it is doing so in this particular passage (Lev. 23:15-16). In the same way the Feast of Unleavened Bread is never called “Passover” in the Torah, but in the Gospels it is, because by the first century that was the usage.

There is question as to whether these ambiguities existed when the Torah was written, but they clearly existed by the First century, and by the First century these ambiguities had created confusion as to how the passages of Torah in question (Lev. 23:10-21 & Deut. 16:8-10) are to be understood.

Thus some understood the Lev. 23:15-16 to mean:

15 And you shall count unto you, from the morrow after the day of rest, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the waving; seven weeks shall they be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh week shall you number fifty days, and you shall present a new meal-offering unto YHWH.
(Lev. 23:15-16)

While others understood the same verses to mean:

15 And you shall count unto you, from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the waving; seven sabbaths shall they be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the sabbath shall you number fifty days, and you shall present a new meal-offering unto YHWH.
(Lev. 23:15-16)

This does not appear to be an issue of “Oral Law from Sinai” but a “Judgment of the Elders.” Although our forefathers certainly knew how to count the omer from the time of Sinai, the issue at hand had become one of interpretation of the written text. Not only were the Pharisees at odds with the Sadducees on the issue, they were also at odds with the Essenes, and even with each other (there was a minority group of Pharisees who held to the same position which was held by Sadducees, and certainly not because they rejected Oral Law).

The Majority Pharisee Position

The Talmud preserves for us the debate that existed between the Majority Pharisees and the Minority Pharisees and Sadducees on how to understand these verses (Lev. 23:15-16).

The section of the Talmud which covers this debate ((b.Men. 65a-66a) supplies us with two Baraitas (A “Baraita” designates a pre-talmudic tradition in the Jewish oral law which was not incorporated in the Mishnah.).

The first Baraita records a debate between certain Pharisees and the Boethusians (a sub-set of Sadducees) (b.Men. 65a-65b). The second Baraita records a debate between the Majority Pharisees and a minority group of Pharisees who are simply referred to as “Our Rabbis” (b.Men. 65b-66a). This is followed by Rabbah bar Nachmani’s (c. 270-c. 330) analysis and verdict (b.Men. 66a).

The First Baraita

The first Baraita gives five arguments given by certain Pharisees in debating with certain Sadducees. I will present all five of these arguments, however Rabba in the judgment dismisses the first three as easily refuted.


The First Argument
Rabbi Johanan (Yochanan) ben Zakkai

The first argument against the “Sabbath of Creation” and for the Festival Sabbath is given by Rabbi Johanan (Yochanan) ben Zakkai:

But R. Johanan b. Zakkai entered into discussion with them saying, ‘Fools that you are! whence do you derive it’?

Not one of them was able to answer him, save one old man who commenced to babble and said, ‘Moses our teacher was a great lover of Israel, and knowing full well that the Feast of Weeks lasted only one day he therefore fixed it on the day after the Sabbath so that Israel might enjoy themselves for two successive days’.

[R. Johanan b. Zakkai] then quoted to him the following verse, ‘It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb unto Kadesh-Barnea by the way of mount Seir.

If Moses was a great lover of Israel, why then did he detain them in the wilderness for forty years’?

‘Master’, said the other, ‘is it thus that you would dismiss me’?

‘Fool’, he answered, ‘should not our perfect Torah be as convincing as your idle talk! Now one verse says. Ye shall number fifty days. while the other verse says, Seven weeks shall there be complete. How are they to be reconciled? The latter verse refers to the time when the [first day of the] Festival [of Passover] falls on the Sabbath, while the former to the time when the [first day of the] Festival falls on a weekday.
(b.Men. 65a-65b)

The first part of this is a rather shallow response to a particularly shallow argument attributed to the Sadducees. But the second part gives an argument which Rabba admits is easily dismissed, saying:

If it were to be derived from R. Johanan b. Zakkai’s interpretation it can be refuted thus: Perhaps [the explanation of the conflicting verses is] as given by Abaye; for Abaye said, It is the precept to count the days and also the weeks.
(b.Men. 66a)

The Talmud elaborates on this as follows:

The above text [stated]: Abaye said, It is the precept to count the days and also to count the weeks. The Rabbis of the school of R. Ashi used to count the days as well as the weeks. Amemar used to count the days but not the weeks, saying, It is only in commemoration of Temple times.20
(b.Men. 66a)


The Second and Third Arguments
The Arguments of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua

The next two arguments presented in the Talmud are as follows

R. Eliezer says, This is not necessary, for Scripture says, Thou shalt number unto thee, that is, the numbering depends upon the [decision of the] Beth din; accordingly the Sabbath of the creation cannot be intended, as the numbering would then be in the hands of all men.

R. Joshua says. The Torah says. Count days and sanctify the new moon, count days and sanctify the Feast of Weeks. Just as in regard to the new moon there is something distinctive at the commencement [of the counting], so with the Feast of Weeks there is something distinctive at the commencement [of the counting].
(b.Men. 65b)

Again Rabba admits that the argument is easily refuted:

If from R. Eliezer’s and R. Joshua’s interpretations it can be refuted thus: How do they know that it refers to the first day of the Festival? It may refer to the last day of the Festival!
(b. Men. 66a)


The Fourth Argument
(The Argument of Rabbi Ishmael)

The next argument is given by Rabbi Ishmael:

R. Ishmael says. The Torah says. Bring the ‘Omer-offering on the Passover, and the Two Loaves on the Feast of Weeks. Just as the latter are offered on the Festival, and indeed at the beginning of the Festival, so the former, too. Is offered on the Festival, and indeed at the beginning of the Festival.
(b.Men. 65b)

Here Ishmael seems to actually paraphrasing Torah, I cannot actually find this as a quote. His point seems to be that since the two loaves are waved on a festival day, the Omer must also be offered on a festival day.

Following the “Sabbath of Creation” system, he argues that the Omer might sometimes be offered on the day after Passover (when the weekly Sabbath during Passover occurs on the 21st of Nisan.

For reasons we will discuss later, this is a false argument. It is not the Sabbath which must fall during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but the “morrow after the Sabbath” (Sunday) which must fall during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So if the 14th of Nisan falls on a Saturday, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread would be the day of the First Fruits Offering. (We will disuses how we know this when we cover Joshua 5:11 later in this teaching).


The Fifth Argument
(The Argument of Rabbi Judah (Y’hudah) ben Batyra)

R. Judah b. Bathyra says:

There is written ‘Sabbath’ below:

[“Even unto the morrow after the sabbath shall you number fifty days, and you shall present a new meal-offering unto YHWH.
(Lev. 23:16)]

and also ‘Sabbath’ above:

[And he shall wave the sheaf before YHWH, to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the Sabbath, the cohen shall wave it.
(Lev. 23:11)]

Just as in the former case (23:11) the Festival, and indeed the beginning of the Festival, is near [to the Sabbath], so in the latter case (23:16), too, the Festival, and indeed the beginning of the Festival, is near [to the ‘Omer].
(b.Men. 65b)

R. Judah b. Bathyra’s argument actually does more to support the count from the “Sabbath of Creation. I would point out that the identical phrase “morrow after the Sabbath” in both of these verses would seem to point to a parallel meaning describing the beginning and ending of the count… a count that begins the morrow after the weekly Sabbath for the Firstfruits offering… and ends the morrow after the weekly sabbath for a Sunday Shavuot.

The Majority Pharisee understanding interprets the same phrase as meaning different things in the two parallel passages, especially conspicuous as they describe the beginning and end of the same count. They understand the “morrow after the sabbath” the begins the count to refer to the morrow after the festival sabbath on the 15th of Nisan, and the “morrow after the sabbath” at the end of the count to mean “the morrow after the week” to refer to the end of counting of seven weeks.

The Second Baraita

In the Second Baraita it is a minority group of Pharisees, and not Sadducees who are presented as arguing for counting the omer from the morrow after the “Sabbath of Creation”:

Our Rabbis taught: And ye shall count unto you. that is, the counting is a duty upon every one. On the morrow after the Sabbath. Is that on the morrow after the Festival? Perhaps it is not so but rather on the morrow after the Sabbath of Creation.
(b.Men. 65b)


The First Argument
(Rabbi Jose ben Judah’s First Argument)

R. Jose b. Judah says, Scripture says, Ye shall number fifty days, that is, every time that you number it shall not be more than fifty days. But should you say that the verse refers to the morrow after the Sabbath of Creation, then it might sometimes come to fifty-one and sometimes to fifty-two and fifty-three and fifty-four and fifty-five and fifty-six.
(b.Men. 65b)

Rabba again admits that this argument is easily refuted:

If from R. Jose son of R. Judah’s interpretation it can be refuted thus: Perhaps the fifty days excludes those six days!
(b.Men. 66a)

It might be added that the argument is simply not valid. If one begins with a Sabbath and the morrow after that Sabbath is the Firstfruits offering and counts seven Sabbaths or seven weeks, and places Shavuot on the morrow after that Sabbath, then Shavuot will always fall on the 50th day after the Sabbath which immediately precedes the day of the Firstfruits offering (the day from which all of the counting begins).


The Second Argument
(Rabbi Judah ben Batyra’a Argument)

R. Judah b. Bathyra says. This is not necessary.

for Scripture says, Thou shalt number unto thee, that is, the numbering depends upon [the decision of] the Beth-din; accordingly the Sabbath of the Creation cannot be intended as the numbering would then be in the hands of all men.
(b.Men. 65b-66a)

Again Rabba admits that this argument is easily refuted:

R. Judah b. Bathyra’s interpretation it can be refuted thus: How does he know that it means’ the first day of the Festival? Perhaps it means the last day of the Festival! R. Jose also realized this same difficulty, and he therefore added the second interpretation ‘Moreover.
(b.Men. 66a)


The Third Argument
(Rabbi Jose ben Judah’s Second Argument)

R. Jose says. On the morrow after the Sabbath means on the morrow after the Festival. You say that it means on the morrow after the Festival, but perhaps it is not so, but rather on the morrow after the Sabbath of Creation! I will prove it to you.

Does Scripture say, ‘On the morrow after the Sabbath that is in the Passover week’? It merely says, ‘On the morrow after the Sabbath’; and as the year is full of Sabbaths, then go and find out which Sabbath is meant. Moreover, ‘Sabbath’ is written below, and ‘Sabbath’ is written above; just as in the former case it refers to the Festival, and indeed to the beginning of the Festival, so in the latter case, too, it refers to the Festival, and indeed to the beginning of the Festival.
(b. Men. 66a)

Rabbi Jose probably brings this up because he knows that the Qumran sect interprets the text to mean the Sabbath AFTER Passover.

And again we could apply the following:

If from R. Eliezer’s and R. Joshua’s interpretations it can be refuted thus: How do they know that it refers to the first day of the Festival? It may refer to the last day of the Festival!
(b. Men. 66a)

The fact is that this argument is equally relevenat to the Rabbinic position. How do they know which festival Sabbath is intended? There are two festival Sabbaths during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Nisan and the 21st of Nisan.

However the fact is that this problem does not actually exist for the Sabbath of Creation system. As we said earlier, for reasons we will discuss later (when we discuss Joshua 5:11) we know that it is the morrow after the Sabbath (Sunday) in which we have the Firstfruits offering, not the Sabbath itself. Therefore the Firstfruits offering will always occur during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


The Fourth Argument
(Rabbi Shimeon ben Eleazar’s Argument)

R. Simeon b. Eleazar says, One verse says. Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, whereas another verse says, Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread. How are they to be reconciled?’ [In this way:] you may not eat unleavened bread of the new produce the seven days. but you may eat unleavened bread of the new produce six days. From the day that ye brought [the ‘Omer of the waving]…shall ye number: now I might think that the ‘Omer must be reaped and offered [on the day stated], but the counting may begin whenever one wishes, the text therefore also states, From the time the sickle is first put to the standing corn thou shalt begin to number. But from [this verse], ‘From the time the sickle is first put to the standing corn thou shalt begin to number’, I might think that the ‘Omer must be reaped and then one begins to count, but it is to be offered whenever one wishes, the text therefore states, From the day that ye brought [the ‘Omer…shall ye number]. But from [this verse], ‘From the day that ye brought’, I might think that it must be reaped and offered and the counting begun all by day, the text therefore states ‘Seven weeks shall there be complete; and when do you find seven weeks complete? Only when you begin to count from the [previous] evening. I might think, then, that it must be reaped and offered and the counting begun all by night, the text therefore, states, ‘From the day that ye brought’. How is it to be then? The reaping and the counting must be on the [previous] night, but the bringing on the [following] day.
(b.Men. 66a)

However elswehere the Talmud (and actually Rabba himself) gives a very different understanding of Deut. 16:8:

It was taught in accordance with Raba: Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord thy God: just as [on] the seventh day [the eating of unleavened bread] is voluntary, so [on] the six days it is voluntary. What is the reason? Because it is something which was included in the general law and then excluded from the general law, in order to illumine [other cases], which mean that it was excluded not in order to throw light upon itself, but in order to throw light upon the entire general law. You might think that on the first night too it is [merely] voluntary; therefore it is stated, ‘they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.’ I know this only when the Temple is in existence; whence do we know it when the Temple is not in existence? From the verse, ‘at even ye shall eat unleavened bread’: thus the Writ made it a permanent obligation.
(m.Pes. 120a)

Moreover Rashi says of Deut. 16:8:

For six days you shall eat matzoth: But elsewhere it says, “For seven days you shall eat matzah!” (Exod. 12:15). [The solution is:] For seven days you shall eat matzoth from the old [produce] and six days [i.e., the last six days, after the omer has been offered] you may eat matzoth prepared from the new [crop]. Another explanation: It teaches that the eating of matzoh on the seventh day of Passover is not obligatory, and from here you learn [that the same law applies] to the other six days of the feast, For the seventh day was included in a general statement [in the verse “For seven days you shall eat matzoth ,” but in the verse: “Six days you shall eat matzoth ”] it has been taken out of this general [statement], to teach us that eating matzoh [on the seventh day] is not obligatory, but optional. [Now we have already learned that if something is singled out of a general statement, we apply the relevant principle not only to itself but to every thing included in the general category. Thus the seventh day] is excluded here not to teach regarding itself, rather to teach regarding the entire generalization [i.e., the entire seven days of the Festival]. Just as on the seventh day the eating of matzah is optional, so too, on all the other days, the eating of matzah is optional. The only exception is the first night [of Passover], which Scripture has explicitly established as obligatory, as it is said, “in the evening, you shall eat matzoth” (Exod. 12:18). – [Mechilta on Exod 12:18; Pes. 120a]

So it seems that this argument is based on the idea that Deut. 16:8 MUST mean something, that it may not even mean… in fact Rabba himself understood it to mean something TOTALLY different. Rabba delivers a sentence in Men. 66a based his own claim that Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar’s argument cannot be refuted, when elsewhere (Pes. 120a) Rabba himself refutes Simeon ben Eleazar’s interpretation.

So this argument is easily dismissed as well.


The Basic Rabbinic Argument

Some years ago at a Vendyl Jones event, I had the opportunity to hear an Orthodox Rabbi address this issue. He began by saying that growing up he always thought that the Sadducees were right about this, but that in studying the Talmud he came to know better. used this argument:

R. Judah b. Bathyra says. This is not necessary for Scripture says, Thou shalt number unto thee, that is, the numbering depends upon [the decision of] the Beth-din; accordingly the Sabbath of the Creation cannot be intended as the numbering would then be in the hands of all men.
(b.Men. 65b-66a)

He argued that the MODEIM were a meeting place between man and HaShem, a cooperative venture in which man and HaShem agreed together on these dates… as such Shavuot must depend upon the decision of the Beit Din in regards to which day is the New Moon (thus be numbered from the 16th day after the New Moon).

However the Rabbi failed to say that Rabba admits that this argument is easily refuted:

R. Judah b. Bathyra’s interpretation it can be refuted thus: How does he know that it means’ the first day of the Festival? Perhaps it means the last day of the Festival! R. Jose also realized this same difficulty, and he therefore added the second interpretation ‘Moreover.
(b.Men. 66a)

In other words, by this argument one could just as easily argue that we count from the day after the 21st of Nisan as the day after the 15th of Nisan.

This argument is based on the parallel between Deut. 16:9 and Deut. 16:18

“Seven weeks shall you number unto you…”
(Deut. 16:9)

“Judges and officers shall you make you in all your gates…”
(Deut. 16:18)

The Rabbi Judah ben Batyra is arguing that “you” in Deut. 16:9 refers to the Beit Din, the “Judges and officers” mentioned in Deut. 16:18.

However the Minority group (called “Our Rabbis”) argue that the counting is in the hands of all men. By this argument, the “you” who count in verse 9 are the “you” who make to themselves judges and officers in verse 18, not the Beit Din, but the people.

The Key is Joshua 5:11

The answer to all of our questions is found in a single passage:

And they did eat of the produce of the land,
on the morrow after the Pesach:
unleavened cakes and parched grain, in the selfsame day
(Joshua 5:11 HRV)

This passage might seem at first glance to be incidental, but on close examination it answers all of our questions on this issue.

To begin with the phrase “morrow after the Pesach” refers to the 15th of Nisan. As we read in the Torah:

And they journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the morrow after the Pesach, the children of Yisra’el went out with a high hand, in the sight of all the Egyptians,
(Numbers 33:3)

Now it is forbidden to eat from the produce of the land before the Firstfruits offering, as we read in the Torah “And you shall eat neither bread nor parched grain, nor fresh ears, until this selfsame day,” (Lev. 23:14).

This means that this year the Firstfruits offering must have occurred on the 15th of Nisan and not on the 16th of Nisan. That year the 14th of Nisan would have had to occur on a Sabbath, so that the “morrow after the Sabbath” was on the 15th of Nisan, a Sunday.

This also tells us that it is the “morrow after the Sabbath” (Sunday) which must fall during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not the Sabbath itself, so the Firstfruits offering will always occur during the feast and never the day after it. Moreover we learn from this passage that the Qumran practice of counting from the morrow after the Sabbath which follows the Feast of Unleavened Bread was also not correct.


Yeshua as the Firstfruits Offering

20 But now the Messiah has risen from the dead and, has become the firstfruits of those asleep.
21 And as through a son of man came death, so also through a son of man came the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all sons of men died, so also in the Messiah all live;
23 Each man in his order. The Messiah was the firstfruits; after that, those who are of the Messiah at His coming.
(1Cor. 15:20-23)

After the Sabbath on the first day of the week some women visit Yeshua’s tomb and find it empty (Matt. 28:1-7; Mk. 16:1-8; Lk. 24:1-12; Jn. 20:1-2)

A short statement is needed here. Some have argued that this day was the weekly Sabbath, based on translating “first [day] of the week” as “First Sabbath” (referring to the first Sabbath in the counting of the omer.

For several reasons we know this was not the Sabbath. To begin with Mark tells us “the Sabbath was past” (Mark 16:1). Matthew tells us that the Elders of Jerusalem were handling money on this day (Matt. 28:11-15). In Luke 24:13-35 we read that “the same day” (Lk. 24:13) two of Yeshua’s Talmidim traveled sixty furlongs (about 7 1/2 miles) to Emmaus. Exodus 16:29 tells us not to go out of our “place” on Shabbat and in Acts 1:12 we read that the distance from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem (2,000 Cubits or .57 miles) is “a Sabbath Day’s Journey”. So it is clear that this day could not have been a Sabbath, so the verses in question (Matt. 28:1-7; Mk. 16:1-8; Lk. 24:1-12; Jn. 20:1-2) are properly understood to refer to “the first day of the week” and not “the first of the Sabbaths.”

Now that morning Kefa and another talmid run to the tomb (Jn. 20:3-10) Outside the tomb Miriam Magdala and the other women encounter Yeshua outside the tomb… they take hold of his feet (Mt. 28:8-10; Jn. 20:11-18) Upon being touched by them Yeshua says:

“Do not touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and tell them, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My Eloah and your Eloah.”
(John 20:17).


But later that day (Luke 24:39) he instructs his talmidim to “handle me”.

This is because the Firstfruits offering could not be touched until after it had been waved. As Josephus writes:

But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them.
(Josephus; Ant. 3:10:5-6)

Sometime between Jn. 20:17 and Luke 24:39 Messiah ascended and was waved as the Firstfruits offering in the heavenly Holy of Holies on this morrow after the Sabbath of creation, thus supporting the Nazarene understanding that the Firstfruits offering is always given on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath and that Shavuot always occur the morrow after the seventh Sabbath afterwards, thus the fiftieth day after that weekly Sabbath. Traditions Should Not Supersede the Word In Matthew 15:2-9 we read that we should not follow a tradition if it conflicts with the plain meaning of the Word of YHWH.

The thing I find concerning is that the ultimate reason for embracing the “morrow after the festival sabbath” position seems to be that it was the majority Pharisee position.  To the point that normal rules of hermeneutics are ignored in favor of rubber stamping the Rabbinic position.

To begin with we have the phrase “morrow after the Sabbath” in Lev. 23:11 and 23:15-16; and “seven Sabbaths shall be counted.” In 23:16.

Now in keeping with the Rule of Common Meaning we should understand each of these terms in their most commonly accepted meaning if it is possible to do so.  This is alos in keeping with Ishmael’s principle, which states when Elohim speaks to man through the Scriptures, He speaks as a man would to another man.  In accordance with this principle, it is completely possible to understand the word SHABBAT to refer to the weekly Sabbath in all of these places.

Also in keeping with the Rule of Common Usage we should understand the word SHABBAT in each of these passages, if possible according to their most common usage in the Scriptures.  The word SHABBAT is most commonly used in Scripture to refer to the weekly Sabbath, and it is possible to apply that meaning to each of these passages with the result of a coherent reading.

Also in accordance with the Rule of Context we should understand the recurrence of the same word and the same phrase in the same passage with the same meaning if at all possible.  This means we should understand “morrow after the Sabbath” in Lev. 23:11 and 23:15, 16 to have the same meaning, especially in light of the fact that their context is so closely connected that they are the beginning and ending of the same count.  Moreover the Rule of Context would also lead us to believe that the word “Sabbath” should be understood as having the same meaning throughout the same passage unless that is not possible.

Finally if we apply the Rule of Collateral Reference then we may look to passages of parallel subject matter to help us understand the passage at hand.  And in keeping with this rule we look to Joshua 5:11 where Passover and the eating of “parched grain” are mentioned in close connection.  By all ordinary objective rules of interpretation, we should see this as a verse of Collateral Reference, and in keeping with that rule, we should be able to use information from Joshua 5:11 to help us understand Lev. 23:15-16.

So on the one hand, we have all of the rules of objective interpretation pointing to understanding this as the Morrow after the Sabbath of Creation.  On the other hand the Rabbinical interpretation is based on the assumption that the Feast of Shavuot must, like the other Festivals be established based upon a date set by the Beit Din (through the New Moon sighting).  

Rent is past due!

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

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The Plain Truth About EASTER

The Plain Truth About EASTER
(Abridged)
By Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986)

The presentation of this classic article by
the late Herbert W. Armstrong should not
be taken as an endorsement of his views
on any other subjects.

The Resurrection was not on Easter Sunday! Easter is not a Christian name, but the title of the idolatrous “queen of heaven.” Here’s an explanation of the true origin and meaning of Lent, Easter eggs, and sunrise services!

WHY DO you believe the things you believe, do the things you do? The chances are you never stopped to ask yourself that question. You have been taught since childhood to accept Easter as the chief of the Christian holidays. You have supposed it is part of the true Christian religion to observe Lent, “Holy Week,” “Good Friday,” to buy hot cross buns at the bakery, to have colored Easter eggs, to dress up and go to church Easter Sunday — perhaps to attend an Easter sunrise service! Because of the “sheep” instinct in humans, most of us believe a lot of things that are not true. Most of us do a lot of things that are wrong, supposing these things to be right, or even sacred!

Ishtar the Pagan Goddess

What is the meaning of the name “Easter”? You have been led to suppose the word means “resurrection of Christ.” For 1600 years the Western world has been taught that Christ rose from the dead on Sunday morning. But that is merely one of the fables the Apostle Paul warned readers of the New Testament to expect… The name “Easter,” which is marry the slightly changed English spelling of the name of the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian goddess Ishtar, comes to us from old Teutonic mythology where it is known as Ostern. The Phoenician name of this goddess was Astarte, consort of Baal, the sun god, whose worship is denounced by the Almighty in the Bible as the most abominable of all pagan idolatry. Look up the word “Easter” in Webster’s dictionary. You will find it clearly reveals the pagan origin of the name. In the large five-volume Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, only six brief lines are given to the name “Easter,” because it occurs only once in the Bible — and that only in the Authorized King James translation. Says Hastings: “Easter, used in Authorized Version as the translation of ‘Pascha’ in Acts 12:4, ‘Intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.’ Revised Standard Version has substituted correctly ‘the Passover.’”

Apostles Observed Passover

The World Almanac, 1968 edition, page 187, says: “In the second century A.D., Easter Day was, among Christians in Asia Minor [that is, in the Churches at Ephesus, Galatia, etc. — the so-called “Gentile” churches raised up by the Apostle Paul] the 14th of Nisan, the seventh month of the Jewish [civil] calendar.” In other words, the 14th day of the first month of the sacred calendar, and it was not then called by the name of the pagan deity “Easter,” but by the Bible name “Passover.” Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and the holy days God had ordained forever were all observed by Jesus, and the early apostles, and the converted Gentile Christians (Acts 2:1; 12:3; 18:21; 20:6, 16; I Cor. 5:7-8; 16:8). Passover is a memorial of the crucifixion of Christ (Luke 22:19). Passover, observed by the early true Church, occurred not on Sunday or any fixed day of the week, but on a calendar day of the year. The day of the week varies from year to year. Easter is one of the pagan days Paul warned Gentile converts they must not return to observing (Gal. 4:9-10). How, then, did this pagan festival enter into and fasten itself upon a professing Christianity? That is a surprising story — but first, notice the true origin and nature of Easter.

Its Chaldean Origin

Easter, as Alexander Hislop says (The Two Babylons, p. 103), “bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven ….” The ancient gods of the pagans had many different names. While this goddess was called Astarte by the Phoenicians, it appears on Assyrian monuments found by Layard in excavations at Nineveh as Ishtar (Austen H. Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, Vol. II, p. 629). Both were pronounced “Easter.” Likewise, Bel (referred to in the Old Testament), also was called Molech. It was for sacrificing to Molech (I Kings 11:1-11, especially verse 7, where Molech is called an abomination) and other pagan gods that the Eternal condemned Solomon, and rended away the Kingdom of Israel from his son. In the ancient Chaldean idolatrous sun-worship, as practiced by the Phoenicians, Baal was the sun god; Astarte, his consort or wife. And Astarte is the same as Ishtar, or the English “Easter.” Says Hislop: “The festival, of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third or fourth centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the Romish [and Protestant] Church, and at that time was not known by any such name as Easter. It was called Pascha, or the Passover, and … was very early observed by many professing Christians …. That festival agreed originally with the time of the Jewish Passover, when Christ was crucified …. That festival was not idolatrous, and it was preceded by no Lent” (The Two Babylons, p. 104).

Where Did We Get Lent?

“Howbeit you should know,” wrote Johannes Cassianus (John Cassian) in the fifth century, “that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist” (First Conference Abbot Theonas, chapter 30). Jesus observed no Lent. The apostles and the early true Church of God observed no Lenten season. Then how did this observance originate? “The forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshipers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, in the spring of the year, is still observed by the Yezidis or pagan Devil-worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians. Such a Lent of forty days was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans …. Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt …” (The Two Babylons, pp. 104, 105). In fact this Egyptian Lent of forty days was observed expressly in honor of Osiris, also known as Adonis in Syria and Tammuz in Babylonia (Sabean Researches, by John Landseer, pp. 111, 112). Do you realize what has happened? God Almighty commanded His people to observe the Passover forever! (Ex. 12:24.) This command was given while the Israelites were still in Egypt, prior to the Old Covenant, or the Law of Moses! It pictured, before the crucifixion, Christ’s death for the remission of our sins, as a type looking forward to it. At His last Passover, Jesus changed the emblems used from the blood of a lamb and eating its roasted body to the bread and wine. Jesus did not abolish Passover — He merely changed the emblems, or symbols used. All the apostles of Christ and true Christians of the first century true Church observed it on the 14th day of the first month of the sacred calendar. It is now a memorial of Christ’s death, reaffirming, year by year on its anniversary, the true Christian’s faith in the blood of Christ for the remission of his sins, and the broken body of Christ for his physical healing. But what has happened? Do you realize it? All Western nations have been deceived into dropping the festival God ordained forever to commemorate the death of the true Saviour for our sins, and substituting in its place the pagan festival in commemoration of the counterfeit “savior” and mediator Baal, the sun god, named after the mythical Ishtar, his wife — actually none other than the ancient Semiramis, who palmed herself off as the wife of the sun god, the idolatrous “queen of heaven.” This is not Christian! It is pagan to the core! Yet scores of millions are deceived into observing this form of heathen idolatry, under the delusion they are honoring Jesus Christ the Son of the Creator God! Easter does not honor Christ! And yet, have you not been like a blind sheep, following the other millions in observing this custom? “The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Dyed Eggs

But did you know that dyed Easter eggs also figured in the ancient Babylonian mystery rites, just as they do in Easter observance today? Yes, these are pagan, too. It is recorded in Edward Davies’ “The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids,” page 210, that the ancient Druids bore an egg as the sacred emblem of their idolatrous order. Eggs were sacred to many ancient civilizations and formed an integral part of the religious ceremonies in Egypt and in the Orient. According to James Bonwick: “Eggs were hung up in the Egyptian temples. Bunsen calls attention to the mundane egg, the emblem of generative life, proceeding from the mouth of the great god of Egypt. The mystic egg of Babylon, hatching the Venus Ishtar, fell from heaven to the Euphrates. Dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt, as they are still in China and Europe. Easter, or spring, was the season of birth, terrestrial and celestial” (Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, pp. 211-212). Why do people who believe themselves to be Christians dye eggs at Easter? Do they suppose the Bible ordained, or commands, this heathen custom? There is not a word of it in the New Testament. Certainly Christ did not start it, and the apostles and early Christians did none of it! Then why should you do it today? Why follow heathenism and try to convince yourself you are a Christian? God calls such things abomination!

Easter Sunrise Services

You think Easter sunrise services are beautiful? Listen! God was showing the Prophet Ezekiel the sins of His people in a vision — a prophecy for today! “Turn thee yet again,” said God, “and thou shalt see greater abominations than these [Ezekiel had just been shown, in vision, idol worship among professing people of God]. And he brought me

[in vision]

into the inner court of the Eternal’s house, and behold … between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with … their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing … that they commit the abominations which they commit here? … Therefore will I deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them”! (Ezek. 8:15-18.) Do you grasp what this most abominable thing is? It is the identical thing millions are doing every Easter Sunday morning — the sunrise service — standing with their faces toward the east, as the sun is rising, in a service of worship which honors the sun god and his mythical idolatrous consort, goddess Easter. Yes, deceived into believing this is Christian, millions practice every Easter the identical form of the ancient sun worship of the sun god Baal! Throughout the Bible this is revealed as the most abominable of all idolatry in the sight of the Eternal Creator!

How Easter Crept Into the Church

Such is the origin and early history of Easter. How, then, was this pagan festival injected into professing Christian religion, as a substitute for an ordinance of God?

Before revealing briefly the astonishing account of this great deception, two facts must be firmly fixed in mind. First, Jesus and the apostles foretold, not a universal, widespread popular growth of the true New Testament Church, but a falling away from the truth on the part of the great majority. Prophesying a popular, universal falling away from the faith once delivered, to the Thessalonians Paul stated, “The mystery of iniquity doth already work,” only some 20 years after the Church began! He referred to the very “Chaldean Mysteries,” of which Easter and Christmas were the two chief festivals! Second, although Jesus said the gates of hell would never prevail against His church, yet it is prophesied in the New Testament to be the “little flock” never as a great, large, popular universal church (Luke 12:32). This is the very fact the world does not realize today!

TWO Churches — One False, One True

In New Testament prophecy two churches are described. One, the great and powerful and universal church, a part of the world, actually ruling in its politics over many nations, and united with the “Holy Roman Empire,” is brought to a concrete focus in Revelation 17. This church is pictured with great pomp, ritual and display, decked in purple, scarlet and gold — proud, worldly, boastful. She is pictured as a universal deceiver — all the Western nations spiritually drunk with her false doctrines, their spiritual perception so blurred by her paganized teachings and practices they are unable to clearly distinguish truth! She boasts she is the true Church, yet she is drunken with the blood of the saints she has caused to be martyred! But how could she have deceived the whole world, as foretold in God’s Word? Surely, the Protestant world isn’t deceived! Oh, but it is! Notice, verse 5, she is a mother church! Her daughters are also churches who have come out of her, in protest, calling themselves Protestant — but they are fundamentally of her family in pagan doctrines and practices! They, too, make themselves a part of this world, taking active part in its politics — the very act which made a “harlot” out of their mother! The entire apostate family — mother, and more than 400 daughter denominations, all divided against each other and in confusion of doctrines, yet all united in the chief pagan doctrines and festivals — has a family name! They call themselves “Christian,” but God calls them something else — “Mystery, Babylon the Great”! “Babylon” means confusion! God always names people and things by calling them what they are! And here are the identical ancient Babylonian Mysteries now wrapped in the false cloak labeled “Christianity” — but in fact it is the same old “Babylonian Mystery System.” But where, then, was the true Church?

TRUE Church Small — Scattered

Did the true Church of God, of which Jesus Christ is the living, directing Head, become perverted — did it merely apostatize into the system described above? No! The gates of hell have never prevailed against the true Church of God, and never will! The true Church has never fallen! It has never ceased! But the true Church of God is pictured in prophecy as the “little flock”! The New Testament describes this Church as continually persecuted, despised by the large popular churches because it is not OF this world or its politics, but has kept itself unspotted from the world! It has always kept the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Rev. 12:17). It has kept God’s Festivals, not the pagan holidays. It has been empowered with the Spirit of God! That Church never became the great popular church at Rome, as the Protestant world supposes! That Church has always existed, and it exists today! Then where did it go? Where was it during the Middle Ages? Where is it today? (Write for our free booklet “Where Is God’s True Church Today?”)

First, remember this Church was never large, never politically powerful, or a world-known organization of men. It is a spiritual organism, not a political organization. It is composed of all whose hearts and lives have been changed by the Spirit of God, whether visibly together, or individually scattered. Under the lash of continual persecution and opposition from the organized forces of this world, it is difficult for such a people to remain united and organized together. Daniel prophesied the true people of God would be scattered (Dan. 12:7). Ezekiel foretold it (Ezek. 34:5-12). Jeremiah, too (Jer. 23:1-2). Jesus foretold it (Matt. 26:31). The apostolic Church was soon scattered by persecution (Acts 8:1).

Ignored by Most Histories

You don’t read much of this true Body of Christ in the secular histories of this world! No, the world little notes, nor long remembers, the activities of this “little flock,” hated and despised by the world, driven to the wilderness by persecution, always opposed, usually scattered! But there are enough references to it in authentic histories to show that it has continued through every century to now! The prophecies bring this Church into concrete focus in the 12th chapter of Revelation. There she is shown spiritually, in the glory and splendor of the Spirit of God, but visibly in the world as a persecuted Commandment keeping Church driven into the wilderness, for 1260 years, through the Middle Ages! Even in Paul’s day, many among those attending at Antioch, at Jerusalem, at Ephesus, at Corinth, and other places, began to apostatize and turn away from the truth. Divisions sprang up. Those individuals, unconverted or turned from God’s truth and way of life, were no part of God’s true Church, though visibly assembling with those who were. The “mystery of iniquity” was already working inside these visible churches. This apostasy increased! By the year A.D. 125 the majority in most churches, especially those Gentile-born, were continuing in many of their old pagan beliefs and practices, though professing to be Christian! Gradually, a smaller and smaller portion of the visible churches going by the name “Christian” remained truly yielded to God and His truth, and led of His Spirit. After Constantine took virtual control of the visible, professing Church in the early fourth century, this visible organization became almost wholly pagan, and began excommunicating and persecuting all who held to the true Word of God! Finally, it became necessary for real Christians, who, even as a scattered people, alone composed the true Christian Church, to flee from the jurisdiction of Rome in order truly to worship God! Thus, the visible, organized Church which rose to power was the FALSE Church — the “Great Whore” of Revelation 17.

Injected Into the Church

Nothing illustrates this very fact more vividly than the actual history of the injecting of Easter into the Western Church. Here is the quick, brief history of it, from the Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition, Vol. VIII, pp. 828-829): “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers …. The first Christians [the original true Church] continued to observe the Jewish [that is, God’s] festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it, of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed. “Although the observance of Easter was at a very early period in the practice of the Christian Church, a serious difference as to the day for its observance soon arose between the Christians of Jewish and those of Gentile descent, which led to a long and bitter controversy. With the Jewish Christians … the fast ended … on the 14th day of the moon at evening … without regard to the day of the week. The Gentile Christians on the other hand [that is, the beginning of the Roman Church, now substituting pagan for true Christian doctrines] … identified the first day of the week with the resurrection, and kept the preceding Friday as the commemoration of the crucifixion, irrespective of the day of the month. “Generally speaking, the Western Churches [Catholic] kept Easter on the 1st day of the week, while the Eastern Churches [containing most of those who remained as part of the true Christian Church] followed the Jewish rule. [That is, observing Passover on the 14th of the first sacred month instead of the pagan Easter.] “Polycarp, the disciple of John the Evangelist, and bishop of Smyrna, visited Rome in 159 [sic] to confer with Anicetus, the bishop of that see, on the subject, and urged the tradition which he had received from the apostles of observing the 14th day. Anicetus, however, declined. About forty years later (197), the question was discussed in a very different spirit between Victor, bishop of Rome, and Polycrates, metropolitan of proconsular Asia [the territory of the Churches at Ephesus, Galatia, Antioch, Philadelphia, and all those mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3 — the Churches established through the Apostle Paul]. That province was the only portion of Christendom which still adhered to the Jewish usage. Victor demanded that all should adopt the usage prevailing at Rome. This Polycrates firmly refused to agree to, and urged many weighty reasons to the contrary, whereupon Victor proceeded to excommunicate Polycrates and the Christians who continued the Eastern usage [that is, who continued in God’s way, as Jesus, Peter, Paul, and all the early true Church had done]. He was, however, restrained [by other bishops] from actually proceeding to enforce the decree of excommunication … and the Asiatic churches retained their usage unmolested. We find the Jewish [true Christian Passover] usage from time to time reasserting itself after this, but it never prevailed to any large extent. “A final settlement of the dispute was one among the other reasons which led Constantine to summon the council at Nicaea in 325. At that time the Syrians and Antiochenes were the solitary champions of the observance of the 14th day. The decision of the council was unanimous that Easter was to be kept on Sunday, and on the same Sunday throughout the world, and that ‘none hereafter should follow the blindness of the Jews.’ [That is, in plain language, the Roman Church now decreed that none should be allowed to follow the ways of Christ — of the true Christian Church!] “… The few who afterwards separated themselves from the unity of the church [Roman Church], and continued to keep the 14th day, were named ‘Quarto-decimani,’ and the dispute itself is known as the ‘Quartodeciman controversy.’” Thus you see how the politically organized church at Rome grew to great size and power by adopting popular pagan practices and how she gradually stamped out the true teachings, doctrines, and practices of Christ and the true Church, so far as any collective practice is concerned.

True Christians Kept Passover

The New Testament reveals that Jesus, the apostles, and the New Testament Church, both Jewish- and Gentile-born, observed God’s Sabbaths, and God’s Festivals weekly and annually! Take your Bible and carefully read Acts 2:1; 12:3-4 (remember the word “Easter” here is a mistranslation in the King James Version — originally inspired “Passover,” and so corrected in the Revised Standard Version); Acts 18:21; 20:6, 16; I Corinthians 16:8. Eusebius, historian of the early centuries of the Church, speaks of the true Christians observing Passover on the 14th of Nisan, first month of the Sacred Calendar. “A question of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour’s passover … the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him: “‘We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles … and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord … and Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia … the bishop and martyr Sagaris … the blessed Papirius, or Melito ….All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith’ ” (Ecclesiastical History, book V, chapters XXIII and XXIV). But as the false, paganized church grew in size and political power, decrees were passed in the fourth century A.D. imposing the death sentence upon Christians found keeping God’s Sabbath, or God’s Festivals. Finally, in order to keep the true way of God, many Christians (composing the true Church) fled for their lives. But another large portion of the true Church of God, failing to flee, yet remaining true to God’s truth, paid with their lives in martyrdom (Rev. 2:13; 6:9; 13:15; 17:6; 18:24). They loved obedience to God more than their lives! Do you? But through all generations, through every century, though persecuted, scattered, unrecognized by the world, many true Christians have kept alive the true Church of God — the Church composed of those who have the Holy Spirit of God.

What God Did Command

The “communion,” often called the “Lord’s Supper,” is actually the Passover — as the ordinance should more properly be called. On observing the Passover, as on every practice, Jude exhorts “that ye should contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” Now that we know the pagan origin of the Easter celebration, let’s clear away the web of error that covers the truth about keeping the Passover, the memorial of Christ’s death. Let’s examine the way Jesus observed this ordinance, because we can’t be wrong if we follow His example. In Luke 22:14-20, we read, “And when the hour was come, he [Jesus] sat down ….And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Notice, it was “when the hour was come,” that Jesus introduced the unleavened bread and the wine. There was a definite time — a definite hour — when He held this ordinance as an example for us. Notice, too, He commanded them to observe it — “This do”! And why? “In remembrance of me,” said Jesus. He instituted this New Testament way of keeping the Passover, on that tragic night, the very eve of His death. In Matthew’s account, the Bible shows that this ordinance was at the very time of the Passover, “as they were eating” (Matt. 26:2, 26). Jesus knew that His time had come. He was our passover, sacrificed for us (I Cor. 5:7). The Passover had always been held on the eve of the 14th of God’s first month, according to the Sacred or Jewish Calendar. It was the night of the final and last Passover supper that Jesus introduced these New Testament emblems — the unleavened bread and the wine — in place of the lamb that was always slain annually. For a full explanation of the original Passover as God instituted it, write immediately for our free booklet “Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days — Which?” Remember Jesus commanded: “This do in remembrance of me.” Why? Because the Passover was commanded “forever.” The Passover was to be observed annually, along with the Days of Unleavened Bread. “Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season year to year” (Ex. 13:10). Jesus set us an example (I Peter 2:21), observing this ordinance at the same time once a year (Luke 2:42). Suppose the Israelites in Egypt had observed this ordinance at some other time than that set by God? They would not have been saved when the death angel passed by that night! God does things on time. He has given us an exact time for this ordinance. Jesus instituted the New Testament symbols “when the hour was come.”

The Ordinance of Humility

In giving us their accounts, Matthew, Mark and Luke describe the taking of unleavened bread and wine. But John relates another part of this ordinance. In the 13th chapter of John we notice that after the Passover supper was ended (verse 2), Jesus took a towel (verse 4) and began to wash His disciples’ feet (verse 5). “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:12-15). If any of you are wondering if this ordinance of humility is a command to you, then turn to Matthew 28:19, 20. Here Jesus said to these same disciples: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them … teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded YOU.” So they were to teach us to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commanded them!

Kept Once a Year in the Apostolic Church

In I Corinthians 5:7, 8, Paul tells the Corinthians: “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven … but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” And in the 11th chapter he gives the directions regarding this ordinance. Some misunderstand verse 26 which says: “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup,” by interpreting it “take it as often as you wish.” But it does not say that! It says “as often” as you observe it, “ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” Even Jesus commanded, “This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (verse 25). We do it in remembrance of the Lord’s death — a memorial of His death. As you know, memorials are celebrated annually, once a year, on the anniversary of the events commemorated. So we observe the memorial of Christ’s death annually. And just as often as each year comes around, we are to “show the Lord’s death till he come,” by keeping this memorial. Christ instituted this ordinance on the eve of His death. It was the 14th of Abib, by God’s Sacred Calendar, in the very beginning of the day. God starts days at sunset, not midnight. So, later that same day, after Jesus had gone out to Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot led the crowd to seize Jesus. Then He was crucified later that same day, in the daylight part of this same 14th of the month Abib. By following the example of Jesus in observing this sacred ordinance at the same time He did — the very same time the Passover was forever commanded to be observed — we continue to remember His death, annually, on the eve of the crucifixion. Some always question the meaning of Paul in verses 27-29, in I Corinthians 11. The apostle is not speaking about a Christian being worthy or unworthy to take it. It is speaking of the manner in which it is done. We take it unworthily if we take it wrongly, in the wrong manner. Once we learn the truth about its observance, and yet take it at any other time than when God says, then we take it unworthily. We take it unworthily if we do not accept the body and blood of Christ. So let’s not take this most sacred ordinance to our condemnation, but take it worthily instead!

“Easter” a Mistranslation

Following the example of Jesus and the apostles, the early Church observed the Passover, and the Days of Unleavened Bread which immediately followed. Notice Acts 12:3. The Holy Spirit of God inspired these words: “Then were the days of unleavened bread.” But in the next verse we read of “Easter.” We have already seen that “Easter” was injected into the Church years after the time of Christ. Again, this word “Easter” is a mistranslation. The original Greek word is pascha, meaning Passover. In every other place, exactly the same word is used in the original and always rendered Passover. Many other translations faithfully render this verse in Acts as “intending after the Passover to bring him forth to the people.” So this verse, instead of mentioning Easter, really proves that the Church, ten years after the death of Christ, was still observing Passover.

What Does “Break Bread” Mean?

There are some denominations that read Acts 20:7 as a proof that the “Lord’s Supper” should be taken each Sunday morning! First notice that this was after the Days of Unleavened Bread (verse 6). Paul was preaching a farewell meeting, not on Sunday morning, but on Saturday night. It was after midnight (verse 7), that they broke bread because they were hungry. When they “had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day,” Paul departed. So this was just an ordinary meal! The same expression “break bread” is found in Acts 27:34, 35. “Wherefore I pray you to take some meat … he took bread … and when he had broken it, he began to eat.” Also Acts 2:46: “And breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness.” This could not possibly have been the “Lord’s Supper” or, more properly, Passover, because Paul says that if we take it to satisfy our hunger we take it to our condemnation (I Cor. 11:34). In that day, everyone “broke bread” at ordinary meals, because they did not have the kind of bread that we slice. Jesus broke bread because it was at the Passover supper, while eating a meal. We need to return to the faith once delivered. Let us humbly and obediently observe this sacred ordinance as we are commanded, at the scriptural time, after sunset, the 14th of Abib according to the Sacred Calendar.

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The Mystery of the Broken Matzah Revealed

The Mystery of the Broken Matzah Revealed
By
James Scott Trimm


Very important to the Passover seder are the ceremonies related to the three matzah. The seder begins with three Matzahs which are kept in compartments in a special linen bag called a MATZAH TESH also referred to as a “unity” by the Rabbis. During the seder the middle matzah is broken. The broken portion is wrapped in linen and hidden away until the end of the seder, when it is brought out and eaten at the end of the meal as the AFIKIOMEN.

The three Matzahs recall the three measures of fine meal from which Sarah made three cakes for the “three men” who came to Avraham by the Oaks of Mamre.

1 And YHWH appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.
2 And he lifted up his eyes and looked. And behold, three men stood over against him. And when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth,
3 And said, YHWH. If now I have found favor in your sight, pass not away I pray you, from your servant.
4 Let now a little water be fetched and wash your feet, and recline yourselves under the tree.
5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and stay you your heart. After that, you shall pass on, forasmuch as you are come to your servant. And They said: So do, as you have said.
6 And Avraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly, three measures of fine meal; knead it, and make cakes.
(Gen. 18:1-6 HRV)

The Hebrew word for “cakes” here is EGOT (plural for EGAH). The Greek translators used a very interesting word to translate this word with EGKRUFIAS. The typical word for such a “cake” is EGKRIS. The word EGKRUFIAS seems to merge this word with the Greek word KRUFIAS meaning “hidden, secret, concealed”. It may be that EGKRIS is fried, while EGKRUFIAS is baked by covering it with a cover which is covered in hot coals. At any rate the ancient Jewish writer Philo, who lived about the same time as Yeshua, quickly noticed the unusual Greek word here. Philo writes concerning Gen. 18:6:

Now it is very good that these three measures should, as it were, be kneaded together in the soul, and mixed up together, in order that so the soul, being persuaded that the supreme being is God, who has raised his head above all his powers, and who is beheld independently of them, and who makes himself visible in them, may receive the characters of his power and beneficence, and becoming initiated into the perfect mysteries, may not be too ready to divulge the divine secrets to any one, but may treasure them up in herself, and keeping a check over her speech, may conceal them in silence; for the words of the scripture are, “To make secret cakes (EGKRUFIAS)” (Gen. 18:6) because the sacred and mystic statements about the one uncreated Being, and about his powers, ought to be kept secret; since it does not belong to every one to keep the deposit of divine mysteries properly.
(On Birth of Able XV 59-60)

Philo goes on to tie these three measures for three cakes in with the “cakes” of unleavened bread eaten at Passover. He writes:

For the stream of the intemperate soul, flowing outwards through the mouth and tongue, is pumped up and poured into all ears. Some of which having wide channels, keeps that which is poured into them with all cheerfulness; but others, through the narrowness of the passages, are unable to be bedewed by it. But that which overflows being poured forth in an unrestrained manner, is scattered in every direction: so that what has been concealed escapes and floats on the top of it, and, like a random torrent of mud, bears along with it in its flood, things worthy of being tended with all care. In reference to which, those persons appear to me to have come to a right decision who have been initiated in the lesser mysteries before learning anything of these greater ones. “For they baked their flour which they brought out of Egypt , baking secret cakes (EGKRUFIAS) of unleavened Bread.” (Exodus 12:39). That is to say, they dealt with the untameable and savage passions, softening them with reason as they would knead bread; fore they did not divulge the manner of their kneading and improving it, as it was derived from some divine system of preparation; but they treasured it up in their secret stores, not being elated at the knowledge of the mystery, but yielding and being lowly as to their boasting.
(On Birth of Able XVI. 61-62)

Who were these “three men” in Genesis 18 which correspond to the three measures of flour for the three “secret cakes”? The Zohar comments on this passage saying:

Who were the “three men”? They are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…”
(Zohar 1:98b)

This does not mean that Abraham Isaac and Jacob appeared before Abraham. In the Kabbalah Abraham, Isaac and Jacob represent the Three Pillars of the Godhead, as we read in the Bahir:

Through the merit of Abraham who was worthy of the attribute of Kindness (CHESED), Isaac was worthy of the attribute of Terror (PACHAD), Jacob was worthy of the attribute of Truth, which is the attribute of Peace.
(Bahir 137)

Abraham… was worthy and took Kindness (CHESED) as his attribute, as it is written “Kindness to Abraham” (Mic. 7:20). Isaac… was worthy and took the attribute of Strength (GEVURAH), which is called Terror (PACHAD). It is thus written “And Jacob swore by the terror of Isaac his father.” (Gen. 31:53)… Abraham is above and Isaac is below him, you will be in the center and take all three. What is the center? It is peace , as it is written “You give truth to Jacob” (Mic. 7:20). Truth is identical with peace, as it is written “Words of peace and truth” (Est. 9:30) It is also written “For peace and truth will be in my days” (2Kn. 20:19)
(Bahir 190)

(Kindness, Truth/Peace and Strength/Terror are terms commonly used to refer to the Three Pillars.)

Throughout this chapter the scribes altered several occurrences of YHWH to “Adonai” (verses 3, 22, 27, 30, 31 and 32). These are six of the 134 places where the scribes altered Adonai to YHWH, all in this one chapter.

Philo says of these “three men”:

…the one in the middle is the Father of the universe, who in the sacred scriptures is called by his proper name, I am that I am; and the beings on each side are those most ancient powers which are always close to the living God, one of which is called his creative power, and the other his royal power. And the creative power is God, for it is by this that he made and arranged the universe; and the royal power is the Lord, for it is fitting that the Creator should lord it over and govern the creature. (122) Therefore, the middle person of the three, being attended by each of his powers as by body-guards, presents to the mind, which is endowed with the faculty of sight, a vision at one time of one being, and at another time of three;
(On Abraham XXIV 121b-122a)

After some bit more he writes that one of these three was the “Word”

For this reason, it seems to me to have been, that Sarah, (Genesis 18:15.) the namesake of virtue, who had previously laughed, denied her laughter to the person who questioned her as to the cause of it, fearing lest she might be deprived of her rejoicing, as belonging to no created being, but to God alone; on which account the holy Word (Logos) encouraged her, and said, “Be not afraid,” thou hast laughed a genuine laugh, and thou hast a share in real joy…
(On Abraham XXXVI 206)

Thus the Three Matzahs represent for us the Three Pillars of the Godhead, as we read in the Zohar:

Then Elohim said, “Let thee be light; and there was
light. And Elohim saw that the light was good…
Why, it may be asked, was it necessary to repeat the word “light” in this verse? The answer is that the first “light” refers to the primordial light which is of the Right Hand, and it is destined for the “end of days”; while the second “light” refers to the Left Hand, which issues from the Right.

The next words, “And God saw the light that it was good” (Gen. 1:4), refer to the pillar which, standing midway between them, unites both sides, and therefore when the unity of the three, right, left, and middle, was complete, “it was good”, since there could be no completion until the third had appeared to remove the strife between Right and Left, as it is written, “And God separated between the light and between the darkness.”…

This is the Middle Pillar: Ki Tov (that it was good) threw light above and below and on all other sides, in virtue of YHWH, the name which embraces all sides.
(Zohar 1:16b)

The Three Matzah are placed together to show their unity, as we read in the Zohar of the Three Pillars of the Godhead:

The [profession of] unity that every day is [a profession of] unity is to be understood and to be perceived. We have said in many places that this prayer is a profession of Unity that is proclaimed:

“Hear O Yisrael, YHWH“ first, [then] “Eloheynu” [and] “YHWH” they are all One and thus He is called “One”.

Behold, these are three names, how can they be one? Is it because we call them one? (literally: And also concerning the proclamation that we call them one?). How these are one can only through the vision of the Holy Sprit be known? And these are through the vision of the closed eye (or the hidden eye) To make known that these three are one (i.e. a Tri-Unity).

And this is the mystery of the voice that is heard. The voice is one. And is three GAUNIN: fire and air and water. And all these are one in the mystery of the voice.

And also here “YHWH, Eloheynu, YHWH” these are One. Three GAUNIN that are One. And this is the voice of the act of a son of man in proclaiming the Unity. And to which he sees by the Unity of the “All” from Eyn Sof (the Infinite One) to the end of the “All”. Because of the voice in which it is done, in these are three that are one (i.e. a Tri-Unity).

And this is the [profession] of the daily profession of Unity that is revealed in the mystery of the Holy Spirit.
And there are many GAUNIN that are a Unity, and all of them are true, what the one does, that the other does, and what that one does, the other does.
(Zohar 2:43)

Genesis 18 ends with:

And YHWH went His way as soon as He had left off speaking to Avraham, and
Avraham returned unto his place.
(Gen. 18:33 HRV)

And the next chapter begins:

And the two angels came to S’dom at even, and Lot sat in the gate of S’dom. And Lot
saw them, and rose up to meet them, and he fell down on his face to the earth.
(Gen. 19:2 HRV)

Why “two angels”? Because one of the “three men” being called “YHWH” in the previous chapter “went His way”, while the other two “came to S’dom”. As the Zohar comments on this passage:

Rabbi Jose pointed that the preceding verse, “And the Lord went His way as soon as he had left off peaking with Abraham”, indicates that only when the Shekinah departed from Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place, did the two angels come to Sodom at eve. It says two because one of the angels departed in the Shekinah, leaving only two.
(Zohar 1:106a-106b)

In verse 18 Lot addresses these two “angels” as YHWH. Once again the scribes have altered this passage to read Adonia, but the original read YHWH (This is one of 134 places where the MT reads “Adonai” but which the Masorah indicates that the text originally read “YHWH” and had been altered by the scribes in an attempt on their part to clarify the text.)

Then we get to verse 24 where we read:

Then YHWH caused to rain upon S’dom and upon Amora,
brimstone and fire from YHWH, out of heaven.
(Gen. 19:24 HRV)

The Zohar says of this passage:

And YHWH caused to rain upon Sodom. The term V’YHWH (and YHWH)
signifies the grade of the lower Court which requires authorization from on high.
(Zohar 1:107b)

The Targum Onkelos paraphrases the passage:

And the Word of YHWH caused to rain upon S’dom and upon Amora,
brimstone and fire from YHWH, out of heaven.
(Gen. 19:24 Targum Onkelos)

Thus identifying the YHWH which causes the rain to come down from YHWH out of Heaven to be the “Word of YHWH”.

It is worth noting that according to the Talmud (San. 38b) a certain Min used this very passage in debating the deity of Messiah with Rabbi Ishmael ben Jose.

It is important to define this Talmudic term MIN (singular) / MINIM (plural).

The fourth century “Church Father” Jerome writes of the Nazarenes and Ebionites:
What shall I say of the Ebionites who pretend to be Christians?
Today there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues
of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans,
and which is still condemned by the Pharisees; [its followers]
are ordinarily called ‘Nazarenes’; they believe that Christ,
the son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary, and they hold him
to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate and ascended
to heaven, and in whom we also believe.”
(Jerome; Letter 75 Jerome to Augustine)

Now Ebionites and Nazarenes were two distinct groups with varying beliefs (the Ebionites split off from the Nazarenes round 70 C.E.) but both of these groups were known by Rabbinic Jews as ” Minim” or as Jerome calls them in Latin “Mineans”.

According to the Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Babli, Yerushalami and Midrashic Literature, Marcus Jastrow defines MIN “…sectarian, infidel… a Jewish infidel, mostly applied to Jew Christians”. Jastrow uses the term “Jew-Christians” to refer to Ebionites and Nazarenes although these groups did not call themselves “Christians”.

Many scholars believe that the term MIN began as an acronym for a Hebrew phrase meaning “Believers in Yeshua the Nazarene”.

The so-called “church fathers” also saw a special significance to this passage. Ireanaeus, who wrote around 185 C.E. writes:

And again, referring to the destruction of the Sodomites, the Scripture says:
“Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah
fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven.” (Gen. 19:24)
For it here points out that the Son, who had also been talking with Abraham, had received power to judge the Sodomites for their wickedness.
(Ireanaeus; Against Heresies 3:6:1)

When we examine the Zohar, the Targum, the Talmud, Philo and Ireaneus on this portion of Torah, it becomes clear that the three men that visit Avraham represent the three pillars of the Godhead. One of them returns to Heaven at the end of chapter 18, leaving “two angels” in chapter 19 which are also called “YHWH” and which cause fire and brimstone to rain out from YHWH which had returned to Heaven.

The Greek translator of the LXX and Philo knew that the unleavened “cakes” of Ex. 12:39 and the “cakes” of Gen. 18:6 contained a mystery. It was this mystery of the Three Pillars of the Godhead and the three Matzah of the Passover Seder that Yeshua referenced when, on the night of his betrayal he took the bread, and blessed and broke, and gave to His talmidim, saying: “Take you, and eat this, which is My body (Mt. 26:26; Lk. 22:19; Mk. 14:22) which is broken for your sakes; thus do for My memorial. (1Cor. 11:23-24).

This he broke into pieces and passed around to be eaten as the AFIKOMEN.

In the days before the destruction of the Temple, when the Passover lamb was still offered, a piece of the Passover lamb had to be the last thing eaten in the meal (m.Pessahim 10:8) so that one was left with the taste of the Passover lamb in the mouth. (b.Pes. 119b). Since the destruction of the Temple the broken middle matzah represents the Passover Lamb and becomes the AFIKOMEN. The word AFIKOMEN in Greek means “last thing eaten” but in Aramaic it means “My Presence has been raised up”.

This is the mystery of the three “secret cakes” of unleavened bread, and the broken middle matzah, the Middle Pillar of the Godhead, the Son of Yah.

Rent is due yesterday!

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

The Mystery of the Passover Wine Revealed: The Yayin HaMeshumar

The Mystery of the Passover Wine Revealed:
The Yayin HaMeshumar
By
James Scott Trimm


The Prophet Isaiah writes:

And whereof from of old men have not heard,
nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen
an Elohim beside You, who works for him that
waits for Him.
(Is. 64:3(4))

There is a Baraita on this verse that appears twice in the Talmud once in the Midrash Rabbah and four times in the Zohar.

The following is the Baraita as it appears in the Talmud:

What is the meaning of “Eye has not seen” (Is. 64:3)
Rabbi Joshua ben Levi said:
This is the wine that has been kept
in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.
(b.Berakot 34b; b.Sanhedrin 99a)

The phrase “wine that has been kept” in the Hebrew is Yayin HaMeshumar “wine of keeping”. The tradition of the Yayin HaMeshumar runs deep in traditional Judaism. It is the wine that will be served at the Messianic Feast when the Messiah re-establishes the Kingdom of Israel on earth.

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul also quotes, or perhaps we should better say paraphrases Is. 64:3(4) as follows:

But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:9 HRV)

Note that Paul’s citation is influenced by the Baraita as the actual text of Isaiah says that “eye has not seen… an Elohim beside you” but Paul says “Eye has not seen… that which Eloah has prepared for those who love Him.” And the Baraita has “Eye has not seen… the wine which has been kept…”.

Now lets look at Paul’s quote in context:

But we speak the wisdom of Eloah
in a mystery that was hidden
And [that] Eloah had before separated
from before the ages for our glory.
That not one of the authorities of this world knew,
for if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Adon of glory.
But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:7-9 HRV)

When we look at Paul’s context we see an even greater influence from the Baraita of the Yayin HaMeshumar “…a mystery that was hidden and that Eloah had before separated from before the ages… eye has not seen… that which Eloah has prepared for those who love Him.”

It is clear that Paul here must be referring to the Yayin HaMeshumar as his audience is, no doubt, familiar with this Baraita to Is. 64:3.

It is the Yayin HaMeshumar that Yeshua refers to when we read:

And afterwards he took the cup, and blessed,
and gave to them, saying,
“Drink you all of it,
for this is my blood of the New Covenant,
which is shed for many to atone for sinners,
And I tell you, hereafter I will not drink of the fruit of the vine,
until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom
of my Father which is in heaven.”
(Mt. 26:27-29)

The Yayin HaMeshumar is the blood of the New Covenant. At the Passover Sader the wine represents the blood of the lamb. Note that we read in Revelation that Messiah is the lamb slain “before the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8) his blood is the wine kept in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.

In the Apocryphal Gospel of Thomas Yeshua is quoted as saying:

Yeshua said, “I shall give you what no eye has seen
and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched
and what has never occurred to the mind of man.
(Gospel of Thomas 17)

Note that in 1Cor. 1:18-20 the same “wisdom” of which we are later told is “…in the mystery that was hidden … before separates from before the ages… which Eloah had prepared for those who love him.” (1Cor. 2:7-9) is also the “wisdom” which “takes away the wisdom of the wise” in 1Cor. 1:19 quoting Isaiah 29:14. In Isaiah 29:15 this wisdom is the contents of the sealed book (Is. 29:11-12, 14, 18). In Revelation this book is opened by the “lamb as if it was slain” (Rev. 5:6) a lamb slain “before the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8).

This is the wine that will be served at the “marriage supper of the lamb” (Rev. 19:7) the great Messianic Banquet and Passover Sader.

In 1Corinthians, Paul has brought up the Yayin HaMeshumar at the beginning of his letter because he will be addressing this wine throughout his letter. In 1Cor. 5 he will discuss the recent Passover Sader at Corinth. In 1Cor. 11:23-34 he addresses the significance of the Passover and especially being worthy to drink the wine which is the Yayin Hameshumar.

In 1Cor. 15:54 he cites Isaiah 25:8 a passage of Isaiah which immediately follows the description of the Messianic Banquet in Isaiah 25:6-7:

6 And in this mountain shall YHWH of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
8: He will swallow up death in victory; and the Adonai YHWH will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for YHWH has spoken it.

Notice that the Yayin HaMeshumar is something which “from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen” (Is. 64:3) elsewhere Isaiah writes:

So shall he sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths
because of him, for that which had not been told them shall they see
and that which they have not heard shall they perceive.
(Is. 52:15)

Thus the “suffering servant” song of Isaiah 53 is the message that “eye has not seen”, it is the Yayin HaMeshumar.

The Midrash Rabbah to Num. 13:2 (500) says:

Because hr bared his soul unto death (Is. 53:12)
and bruised themselveswith the Torah which is sweeter than honey,
the Holy One, blessed be He, will hereafter give them to drink
of the wine kept in its grapes since the six days in the beginning….
(Midrash Rabbah to Numbers 13:2 (500))

Thus Paul writes:

But we speak the wisdom of Eloah
in a mystery that was hidden
And [that] Eloah had before separated
from before the ages for our glory.
That not one of the authorities of this world knew,
for if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Adon of glory.
But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:7-9 HRV)

Not only is the Yayin HaMeshumar the blood of the Messiah, but it is more. It is the “mystery” of which the blood of Messiah is only part:

The Zohar says:

The Tzadik (The Righteous) is the Yesod (foundation) in Yah,
the mystery (SOD) which is the wine which has been kept
in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.
(Zohar; Roeh M’haimna on Pinchas)

There is a clear connection here because SOD (“mystery”) has a gematria (numerical value) of 70 which is also the gematria of YAYIN (“wine”). Just as the Zohar identifies the “mystery” with the Yayin HaMeshumar, so does Paul in 1Corinthians.

For Paul goes on to further identify the Yayin HaMeshumar as follows:

10 But Eloah has revealed [it] to us by his spirit, for the spirit searches into everything, even the deep things of Eloah.
11 For who is the son of man who knows what is in a son of man except the spirit of the son of man that [is] in him? So also, that which is in Eloah, no man knows except the Spirit of Eloah.
12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from Eloah, so that we might know the gifts that were given to us from Eloah;
13 Which also we speak, not in the teaching of words of the wisdom of sons of men, but in the teaching of the spirit, and to spiritual men we compare spiritual things.
14 For the son of man who is in the nefesh does not receive spiritual things, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know that which is judged spiritually.
15 Now the spiritual man judges all things, and is not judged from man.
16 For who knows the mind of YHWH that he might instruct him? (Is. 40:13) But we have the mind of the Messiah.
(1Cor. 2:10-16)

Paul identifies the Yayin HaMeshumar with the “words of wisdom” (2:13) as well as the “mind of YHWH” or the “mind of Messiah” (1Cor. 2:16) and with the spiritual “gifts” (1Cor. 2:10-16) which he will elaborate upon later in the letter (1Cor. 12-14).

So next time you partake of the cup of redemption in the Passover sader, realize that this cup is symbolic of the Yayin HeMeshumar, the wine that has been kept from the six days in the beginning, the blood of the lamb slain from the foundation which has been hidden and separated and prepared for those who love him. It is not just the blood of the New Covenant, it is the Mind of YHWH and the spiritual gifts that he has prepared for us.

Rent is due soon!

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network

EASTER 2000 B.C.E. to Date

“Prove all things” (I Thes. 5:21)

Is the name “Easter” of divine origin simply because it is found in Bibles, in the King James translation of Acts 12:4—”…intending after easter to bring him forth?” The R.V. renders it “after the passover,” as it is given in the original. In reading lines every honest mind will be able to discern whether or not the celebration of Easter and also Christmas has divine sanction.

The setting of different dates for Easter from year to year is explained thus, in Schaff-Herzog Ency. Of Religious Knowledge, Vol. 2, p. 682:

The present variable time was appointed by early Romanism in amalgamation with the very ancient pagan spring festival to the goddess of the spring. It was fixed on the Sunday immediately following the 14th day of the paschal moon which happened on or first after the vernal equinox.

The Babylonian “queen of heaven,” Semeramis, the wife of Nimrod, was the original imperonation of the heathen goddesses, Astarte and Venus of the Greeks, Juno of the Latins, Ashtoreth, of the Zidonians, Ishtar, of the Babylonians, and Eostre, the goddess of spring, of the early Anglo-Saxons. The Druids held religious festivals in her honor and the sun-god in April, calling it Easter Monath. Hence the careless insertion of the word “easter” instead of “passover” in Acts 12:4 by the King James Translators.

This Ishtar, or Eostre, was worshiped as the goddess of love and fertility, and as the life of nature. In Babylonian mythology this “queen of heaven” was worshiped as the goddess of the sexual impulse. In Hasting’s Ency. On Religious Ethics, p. 117, we read of these ancient “easters”:

A spring feast was celebrated. These occasions were marked with great sexual license.

This is the vile phallic worship referred to in Isa. 57:5-8 and Ezek. 16:17. The “groves” connected with “high places” that Israel so frequently “went whoring with” (Ps. 106:28-39) were the images and places where these filthy “queen of heaven” festivals were carried on. The word “groves,” found forty times in the KJV English, comes from the Hebrew word asherah and is always associated with the worship of Ashtoreth, alias Ishtar, Eostre, the goddess of spring, Easter.

The so-called “Lent season” is of purely Babylonian origin. The word “Lent” came from the Saxon word “Lenct”, meaning “spring.” Pagan Mexicans also celebrated forty days in April. Forty days in the vernal equinox in April was celebrated by the devil worshippers of Koordistan in honor of the sun-god. This was brought from Babylon where 2000 B.C. It originated in the weeping for Tammuz, the supposed reincarnation of Ishtar’s (o.e. Semeramis’) husband (Nimrod). In the spring, his death and reappearance was celebrated. A time of mourning was followed by one day of joy. God condemned Israel’s partaking in this celebration as given in Ezek. 8:13-14:

He said to me, “turn you yet again and you shall see greater abominations that they do.” Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the House of YHWH which was toward the north, and behold there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
Modern Easter Customs

One may well ask, What connection have buns, eggs, rabbits and new clothes with the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah? The origin of modern “hot cross buns” is sufficiently explained in Jer. 7:18; 44:17-19:

The children gather wood and the fathers kindle the fire and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke me to anger,

Surely God’s anger is still being provoked when believers take up these pagan customs in connection with the resurrection of His beloved Son.

The custom of giving eggs in April can be traced the philosophy and theology of the Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans, among whom the egg was an emblem of the universe—the work of the Supreme Being. The dyeing of eggs can be traced to the Chinese. Eggs were the sacrificial emblem of the Druids. Rome made the egg to become the consecrated emblem of Messiah’s resurrection. Pope Paul V taught people to pray at Easter:

Bless O Lord, we beseech thee this thy creature of eggs that it may become a wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ancient Babylonians believed an egg fell from heaven into the Euphrates river and the fishes rolled it to the shore where the doves hatched out “the Queen of Heaven”, or Ishtar. Hence the egg became a symbol of Ishtar, the licentiously worshiped goddess of the ancients, and is used today by deluded unthinking Christendom in its celebration of Easter. What ungodly travesty!

The rabbit fad at Easter time can be traced back to pagan Germany. Children were told that if they were good, a white hare would steal into the house while they were asleep and secrete any number of beautifully colored eggs in odd corners of the house. Here originated the modern “Easter egg hunt” provided for innocent children.

The hare, from ancient times was a symbol of the moon (the consort of the Sun Venus or Ishtar), it being a nocturnal animal. The hare is the only rabbit born with its eyes open. The Egyptian word for hare is “un”, meaning “to open”. Thus the hare was associated with the opening of a new season, spring, in April, at the vernal equinox. The hare and eggs were mutually symbolical in Egypt of the opening of their new year, at which eggs were ceremoniously broken.

But from where did the custom of wearing new clothes at Easter come from? Answer: In early England it was considered unlucky not to wear some new article of clothing at Easter time.

Lastly, what about Easter sun-rise services? Do they too come under divine condemnation? We need only look to the criticism of the Tenach itself. When Israel took to the idea of “sunrise services”, God expressed His disaproval in Ezek. 8:15-18:

Turn you yet again and you shall see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the House of YHWH and behold, at the door of the Temple of YHWH between the porch and the alter, were about five and twenty men with their backs to the Temple of YHWH and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east… and though they cry in my ear with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

Reading this in the Tanak and knowing the sun-god, Ba’al, or Tammuz, the “husband-son” of Semeramis (Ishtar) has been given idolatrous homage from the very beginning of all idol worship, the sincere follower of YHWH will have no part with a Messiah rejecting world in seemingly innocent and sentimentally “beautiful” Easter sunrise services or in any and all Messiah-deflecting customs which are of proved, HaSatan inspired, pagan origin.

“Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
(Eph. 5:11).

The Torah reminds us:

“You shall not follow a multitude to do evil”
(Ex. 23:2)

And as Yeshua himself said:

“That which is highly esteemed among men is abominable in the sight of Elohim”
(Luke 16:15)

And as Paul writes:

“Be you not conformed to this world but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may know what is that good and acceptable and wholehearted will of G-d.”
(Rom. 12:2)

Rent is due soon and we only have $10.93 in our account!

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


Donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

And don’t forget to join the conversations at the NazareneSpace Social Network