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April 16, 1998

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Passover

Q/A Topics:


Closing business for Good Friday?

Q.
I own a small grocery store and I would like your opinion on closing from 12-3 on Good Friday ?I Donut believe it is mentioned in scripture but I do feel some guilt in staying open if I do also how about the LORDS day sunday. Is this legalism or obedience.

A.
The Passover was to be kept as an "everlasting" ordinance.(Ex12:14) Next to the Day of Atonement, Passover was probably "the most" important feast to Israel. In Lev23:8 further commands are given "you shall do no customary work on it." When Jesus died on the cross, it says they were concerned about getting Him buried quickly, as the day was drawing to a close, bodies were not to be left hanging on crosses during the Sabbath (Jn19:31) and that one was a "high day" ...In other words..."Passover"

Now...on the other hand, Paul writes TO GENTILES that the matter of special days is something that each person should be "fully convinced in his own mind."(Rom14:5) And when the "Jewish" Church elders convened a council regarding "what things" the new Gentile converts should observe, you will notice that "Sabbath" is not one of them.(Act15:29)

Having said that, let me share what I have concluded for myself. I own a sign shop. The last couple of years I have always thought (after the fact) that I should have closed up for "Crucifixion Day." (Which, by the way, is Thursday) This year, for the first time, I am actually doing that. I will be closed Thursday and Friday...and my answering machine tells people it's for "Passover-Resurrection" week-end.

Personally, I believe that Christ's crucifixion and resurrection is the "singular event" of all of human history. The O.T. leads up to it. And the N.T. follows it. It is the basis of our salvation and redemption. If we "pay respect" for other far-less-important events by closing up; much more so for this event. That's my personal application.

There are even some countries where "Good Friday" is a national holiday, and all businesses close down.

So...to answer your question; no, Scripture does not say. It says to "remember." I think your idea is a very good one. 12-3 (on Thursday) would be "most appropriate," when the sun was eclipsed as God's Son was separated from the Father as He bore our sin.

I, personally, am not open on Sundays, either, since it is the Lord's Day...the day He was raised from the dead. For me it's not "legalism." I expect I could have "freedom" to be open...or to work at a job. But, again, personally...it's just something that my relationship with my Lord dictates for "my" life. I wouldn't think you would be specifically cursed or blessed one way or the other...as long as you do whatever the Lord is telling you in your heart...either way. As Paul ends that one discussion, "do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin."(Rom14:22-23)

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Fish on Good Friday?

Q.
Hello thanks again for the answer to the question the other day. Could you please tell me if you know why Catholics only eat fish and have no meat on Good Friday? I have asked my Mother who was a catholic and she does not know Please Help.

A.
Many non-catholics have been asking that question for ??? years. They supposedly eat "fish" because they don't want to eat "meat" on Friday, because that's when Jesus, Who became "flesh and blood"(Heb2:14) died, they think, on Friday. (They don't seem to understand that the crucifixion was actually on Thursday). So...somehow "fish" isn't "meat" ...in their minds. Again, in thinking that way, they neglect Pauls comments, "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. (1Cor15:39) That verse states plainly that "fish" is "flesh" (or "meat"). And, if they were to see objectively, they should also understand that human flesh is not the same as animal flesh. Thus, if they are "honoring Jesus' death" in that manner, eating other meat shouldn't matter, because Jesus' body was "human" ...not "animal."

In some parts of the country, like where I grew up in North Dakota, the Catholics eat fish "every" Friday. ...or at least, they "used to" when I was younger.

This is just another of RCC's man-made rules and tradition, with no basis in Scripture.

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My God, why have You forsaken Me?

Q.
When Jesus was on the cross and said " My God My God, why have you abandon me? " what exactly happened at that moment? Did God leave the body of Jesus so he could die? Or was Jesus afraid that God was ignoring him during his suffering so he cries out to Him?

Why did he say this? Was he supposed to say this in order to bring God and man together? Is this why many Jews don't believe that Jesus is the Messiah because God didn't come for him?

Thank you,

A.
Two things we must remember. 1) At that moment, Jesus was bearing "our sins in His own body on the tree."(1Pt2:24) And we know that God cannot countenance sin..."your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear."(Is59:2)

And 2) that Jesus, while being fully God's Son..."Deity" ...was also, fully "human." Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (Heb2:14) As "flesh and blood" He also, then, carried with Him all human emotion, etc. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb4:15)

We also know that His suffering was "human" suffering. He felt the pain of that whip, of those nails, of His beard being "plucked" out.(Is50:6) As He was about to be "captured" He went into quite a state of "despair" ...And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44) As it is recorded in Heb5:7, "who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with VEHEMENT CRIES AND TEARS to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear." ("vehement" meaning == "strong or violent.")

I believe that cry was the "physical" Jesus, the "human being" hanging on the cross...crying out in utter despair, as He was all "alone" on that cross. In His "Spirit" He knew why He was on the cross, and that it must be. But the "man" was beset by the same frailties that any man would have in a similar situation.

"And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief...surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted..."(~Is53:2-4)

There are some who teach that a "Christian should always be rejoicing." That to show any sign of sorrow or depression is to be "disobedient" to God. That to have any wavering of faith, ever, is "sin." But I think we see from Jesus that our "flesh" is beset by weakness. Jesus, God's very own Son, was in despair. But then, having "been there" for us, "For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted." (Heb 2:18)

(Stay tuned for June's article, "Behold the Man!" ..a look at Ps22.)

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Sign of Jonah?

Q.
what is the sign of Jonah?

A.
The Jews were seeking a "sign" from Jesus...even though He was performing miracles right and left. They were unbelievers. Were not accepting the fact that Jesus was, in fact, their Messiah.

In Lk11:29 Jesus says, "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet."

To understand this further, we need to remember, "But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mat12:39-40) He was speaking of what He had come to do...die on the cross...and would be buried for "three days and three nights."

He speaks of this in terms of the "temple" too.(Jn2:19-22) And at His trial before He is crucified, someone brings it up...(Mk14:58) ..as they misquoted Him. Again, referring to His crucifixion and 3-day burial.

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Christians and the Seder?

Q.
"...the women's group I attend celebrated a traditional Jewish Seder with all the food, prayer, bitter herbs, symbolic washing of hands, etc.

It just seemed kind of funny to me to that any born-again person would want to take part in something so extraordinarily ritualistic. I did find it informative in that I became doubly thankful that we are no longer under law. By the way, they mixed some Christian prayers in, too. I found myself to be a little uneasy about the whole thing. Is this a common occurence? Also, in your opinion, is it Biblical? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

A.
This is interesting that you would ask this. I had some thoughts of my own about the matter this year. I knew a lady years ago, who had become acquainted with the "seder" and everything was "seder this" and "seder that."

This year at Passover season I learned of a local "enactment" of the seder by some "Messianic Christian" group, and thought seriously of signing up and attending...just for the "experience." And then, the Lord laid on my heart the "Passover Week" special...and that took all my time and energies, so did not go.

Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry has a little video, depicting the celebration of the seder...with all the explanations. And, last year here, we spoke of the "Lord's Supper" in connection with the Passover and the "traditional" seder. It currently resides at the website under "Tidbits."

While the "seder" certainly contains many symbols of Passover, the word, specifically, is not found in Scripture. The term in Scripture is "Passover" (Heb. "Pecach") Personally, I have to wonder about a few things they do.. e.g. the lamb "bone" (which has been cut "broken" to be on the plate (vs. Ex12:46,Jn19:36), and the "egg." This latter, particularly, would certainly seem to come out of the similar pagan traditions that brought about "easter" and its "eggs." And that is totally pagan. I do not celebrate "eoster" (anglo/saxon) ..."Ishtar" the ancient Assyrian/Babylonian goddess of fertility.

It would seem that they (the Jews) continue to do what Jesus spoke of them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men; the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." (Mk7:6-8)

In that they "remember" Passover, they do well, because that's what God commanded. (Ex12:14)

Should Christians celebrate the seder? Well, it was "Passover" (unleavened bread) Jesus and the disciples commemorated Wednesday evening. And Jesus instituted a "New Covenant."(Mt26:28) And, while Paul mentions some of the other aspects of Jewish "tradition" the part he "teaches" are the "bread and cup." (1Cor11:23-26) When He cried out "it is finished!" (Jn19:30) Christ had just fulfilled Passover. "once for all" (Heb9:12,10:10) The debt has been paid. And so, the bread and cup are a "remembrance" and "proclamation" of His death.

While I'm sure many celebrate with the seder out of pure hearts...It is my observation that for most Gentiles, it is just another "fad" that is "cool" and "fashionable" to engage in.

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What's wrong with Easter?

Q.
WHY SHOULD WE FORGIVE THE TERM EASTER ??? Its a pretty important day in the life of Christians... maybe thats not what you meant..?

(ed. the term "easter" appears in a Tidbit written by another person, and I had apologized for it when mailing it to the mailing list.)

A.
"forgive" the fact that it was used in the piece, and sent unchanged, since it was authored by another person. Other than that, the piece was "good"

"Easter" is pagan. Anglo saxon = "eostre" a goddess of fertility...with roots further back in ancient Assyrian-Babylonian goddess "Ishtar" ..again, related to fertility, love, etc.

Christians remember Christ's "Crucifixion and Resurrection," which is a fulfillment of "Passover." Idolatrous "easter" has NOTHING to do with these things; and a true Believer should have nothing to do with it!

"You shall have no other gods before Me."(Ex20:3) And "Ishtar" (Ashtoreth of the Sidonians -1Sam12:10,1Kg11:5, etc.) was one of the goddesses that God judged Israel for going "a whoring after." (Ex34:15-16-kjv) As Christians, we are to learn from Israel's errors, to NOT do as they did.(1Cor10:6-7) As John ends his book with "Little children, keep yourselves from idols."(1Jn5:21)

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