Passover or Easter
By Dr. James H Robertson
As Passover comes up this year, let’s consider what it is, and what the pagan tradition of celebrating Easter is. The early Messianic assembly found itself between pagan Rome and being discarded by Judaism. Rome also hated Judaism. So, the Gentile assembly chose to appeal to Rome rather than keep connections to Judaism. By doing this they supposed that it would alleviate persecution toward their religion, because it would be less confused with Judaism.
The reason for this is that Rome would not associate the Messianic with the hated Jews and Rome would give them, the Gentile's, relief from persecution. This caused a complete break with Judaism and began a compromise with Rome. The church could find some temporal safety and relief from its tribulations. So, in this the truth suffered greatly. Passover gave way to Easter and the Sabbath gave way to Sunday.
The commandments were subordinated to pagan convenience. So, the Gentile assembly became the "church" and the church became Rome and Rome became the church. Judaism and most Messianic’s never found a place of safety in the world because it wouldn’t give up Passover or the Sabbath.
The church has become the attempted destroyer of the land that bore it! The church supposed that since the Jews were so proud of observing the Sabbath and Set-apart feasts, they would be in league with Judaism if they followed the same. Since so many in Judaism denied the truth of Yahshua as the Messiah, the Roman church thought keeping the Sabbath and Passover would be equated as associating with the hated Jew. So, the Natsarenes, (Acts 24:5, “For having found this man a plague, who stirs up dissension among all the Yehuḏim throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Natsarenes,”), became "CHRISTIAN."
This false doctrine overcame the assembly and the assembly became the church. Most Christians think of Sunday and Easter as biblical mandated Set-apart days and are totally ignorant of this being a false doctrine.
There are many Jewish people who think of Yahshua as the leader of the pagan religion forgetting His Jewish ness and His defense of the Law as a Rabbi. The few Messianic's, or Born From Above, who faithfully keep the Sabbath and enjoy the Jewish Set-apart feasts are consigned by the mainstream church as a cult! They are not respected as “Real Believers”. The Jewish people who accept Yahshua as the Messiah are viewed as traitors and apostate Jews to the mainstream Jewish community. They are considered as being NON-PERSONS!
Constantine, the First Pope:
Constantine was born, Flavius Valerius Constantinus in what is now called Serbia in 280 CE, to Helena, his mother, and Constantinus who was Caesar of Gaul (France) and Britain in 293 CE by Emperor Diocletian.
In 310 CE Constantine defeated Maxentius in the now famous battle of Milvian Bridge. Constantine became the supreme emperor of Rome. Constantine claimed that he saw a vision at the Milvian Bridge, a symbol in the sky and a banner which read, “Under This Sign Conquer”.
Understand that the sign was not the Christian cross as the Christians think of today. The symbol of which Constantine commissioned to be made was what looked like the letter P with a letter X overlaid. Christian apologist CONTENDS this sign was a Greek letter “CHI” over the Greek letter “RHO” and was a reference to the first two letters of the Greek “CHRISTOS”. This was argued that Constantine had a form of religious conversion to Christianity at this point. Remember, Constantine was a sun worshiper and worshiped the Roman sun god, SOL, and also called the Greek god Apollo and the Greek deity IESOUS. Constantine’s LABARUM had a picture of himself hanging from it and no mention of Scriptural authority.
From that time on after his victory and became emperor, Constantine became friendly toward his new found - Christianity, but it was an affection that carried many strings, much to the willing blindness to the church. Constantine issued the Edit of Milan in 313 CE. This edit granted Christians the right to openly practice their religion, to a degree. For this edict was followed by further edicts which would constrain and restrict certain practices and doctrines in opposition to Jewish practices whether or not they were practiced by Christian or Jew.
Constantine became the ruler of the church by his own authority. He called church councils, installed and deposed bishops, by imprisoning the disobedient. He supplied payments to diocese which were taken by extortion from pagan temples and imposed religious edicts under penalty of Roman Law. The church wouldn't as a whole, fear punishment for being Christian, however, the seeds were sown for the individual to fear to be the "KIND of Christian" which the pope dictated.
Constantine never stopped using the title Pontifex Maximus, or in English Great Father and in the last few hundred years changed to "Holy father." Constantine was the bridge from the Roman Empire to the Roman church, you could even say that Constantine was the first pope in that Constantine carried the same claim of authority as does the pope today.
After Constantine’s victory and assuming his place as emperor he had an image made up of himself holding the LABARUM. The Inscription read, “By virtue of this salutary sign, which is the true symbol of valor, I have preserved and liberated your city from the yoke of tyranny.” Nowhere in the inscription does it give glory to G-d for his accomplishments. Once Constantine took over Rome he got rid of any competitors like his father-in-law and the rest of his wife’s family. The reason according to Constantine was that their treasonable intentions were, “Miraculously revealed by god through visions to his servant Constantine.”
Hummm, sounds like Mohammed 200 years later and the nation of Islam.
Constantine had coins minted with his likeness with eyes upraised laid over a blazing sun. He also had coins minted with the likeness of Apollo, the sun god, and on the back the letters “I.H.S.” which is the monogram for “In Hoc Signo”, Latin for “In This Sign.” Constantine never stopped giving personal and public homage to Apollo the sun god, INVITUS SOL, “the invincible sun.”
Constantine confused Yahshua, as such the “INVITUS SOL” having been told by some bishops that Yahshua is the “SUN of RIGHTEOUSNESS” according to Malachi chapter four. Constantine considered Yahshua just another name for Apollo or Mithra, or the popular IESOUS or (Jesus). To Constantine Yahshua was just a higher consciousness with in his pagan belief structure; to him Yahshua, which became IESOUS and later Jesus about the year 1500, was just a fuller manifestation of Apollo the sun god. Reason, because there is no "Y" in Greek.
Constantine was a cruel emperor instead of a righteous servant of G-d. Constantine even had his own son Crispus executed in a fit of jealous rage. He also had any who came to Crispus side including his own sister Constantia and her eleven year old son executed.
Constantine was ruthless, cruel, willful, voluptuous, self-conceited, voracious, gluttonous, ambitious, murderous, and pagan in mind. His credulity and superstition, which arose from ignorance of even the first principles of science, were the only checks upon his evil propensities.
Constantine said that “sovereigns were instruments to slay their subjects at pleasure, as the laws of nature do, and wield the sword and fire and every kind of vengeance against their foes and what every god allowed to be successful bore his (mighty one's) approval, in as much as it would not have been permitted unless it were right. Might MAKE Right.
Constantine spoke of messiah in general terms as sovereign. Constantine never mentions the name of Yahshua.
One cannot take for granted that Constantine spoke of the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He could have been addressing the “sun god.” Constantine figured out how to appease the entire populace concerning his piety. All he had to do was give official homage to “GREAT master” so that everyone, whether they be Jewish, Christian or pagan could identify. Just fill in the blanks. Constantine was judged to be a Christian by the bishops on different grounds than that of Scripture.
Diocletian, the emperor who preceded Constantine almost destroyed the assemblies with confiscation of properties, executions of priests and bishops and the burning of many Hebrew manuscripts. When Constantine took power the persecution of the "Christians" ceased instantly. Constantine began to reimburse the church's for losses; he sent large payments to bishops making many wealthy over night. He rebuilt fallen church buildings including the famous Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
Constantine’s generosities were based largely on his sense of gratitude toward the SUPREME DIVINITY of the church whom he acknowledged as the agency of his conquering victory associated with the pagan UNCONQUERING SUN, INVINCIBLE SUN, INVITUS SOL. The bishops who met with him often didn’t enlighten him on his religious confusion. After all, they were getting everything they wanted like money, fame, fortune and power.
Constantine became the assembly’s new guardian and benefactor he received unquestioning favor and loyalty from “The Church.”
Six months after Constantine took control he was petitioned by African bishops concerning a division which had developed. In the past many assembly leaders were martyred for not turning over documents to be destroyed. Now that the persecutions had stopped, a controversy arose over accusations against those not willing to be martyred. This became known as the *Donatist Controversy (In the Diocletian persecution many Messianic’s, including many Kohanim, lapsed. Heads of the new “CHURCH” sacrificed, clergy turned over the Hebrew books to be burned. Others held out, enduring imprisonment and torture, risking death).
After the persecution ended the lapsed sought to return to the church. The catholic party believed that the bishops of the church (in their office of speaking for the whole church) could impose an appropriate penance and readmit the lapsed. The purists, with zeal for the martyrs, held that only those who risked martyrdom by resisting the authorities and confessing their faith had the moral capital to dispense forgiveness. Moreover clergy, in their view, could never be reinstated, and could be readmitted to the church only as followers). Even though Constantine gave this over to a bishop of his court, he himself decided to call together the bishop of Rome and eighteen other Roman bishops in October 313. Constantine decided that all ecclesiastical issues would henceforth be decided by councils of bishops. Constantine himself acted as Supreme Bishop or as now called POPE.
In the year 313 on 1 August thirty three bishops met and confirmed the Council of Rome verdict which stated, “and since there are many who seem to fight against the law of the church and think they ought to be admitted, let them not be admitted at all, unless, as we stated above, they prove their case by the public records.”
These edicts made "church" business and discipline a recorded part of general society and civil law. So, where does this “law of the church” come from? If this is law, how can this law of the church be settled in public court? This is the inventing of an earthy kingdom in the form of a theocracy!! Sha'ul the emissary said that assembly discipline was to be performed separate from the civil authorities.
1 Corinthians 6:1-13, (1) Should any of you, holding a matter against another, go to be judged before the unrighteous, and not before the set-apart ones? (2) Do you not know that the set-apart ones shall judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (3) Do you not know that we shall judge messengers? How much more, matters of this life? (4) If then you truly have judgments of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are least esteemed by the assembly? (5) I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise one among you, not even one, who shall be able to judge between his brothers? (6) But brother against brother goes to be judged and that before unbelievers! (7) Already, then, there is a failure with you, that you have lawsuits among you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? (8) But you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and that to your brothers! (9) Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the reign of Elohim? Do not be deceived. Neither those who whore, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, (10) nor thieves, nor greedy of gain, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers shall inherit the reign of Elohim. (11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were set apart, but you were declared right in the Name of the Master YAHSHUA AND by the Spirit of our Elohim. (12) All is permitted me, but not all do profit. All is permitted me, but I shall not be under authority of any. (13) Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods – but Elohim shall destroy both it and them. And the body is not for whoring but for the Master, and the Master for the body.
By calling imperial councils of clergy and enforcing them as legal decrees upon the church, Constantine was forming a new kingdom, a replacement of the hated Israel, a celestial Rome, an earthly government with divine power that only Yahshua HaMoshiach was to have the right to do!
Daniel 7:25, and it speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times and law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time.
Constantine established the authority of the Bishop of Rome (pope) to use his example to create other church regions, laying the foundation for bishopric system. The bishop of Alexandria would have authority over the bishops of Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis and other bishops would have similar authority in other regions. Constantine authored and authorized the system of archbishops over bishops.
It was Constantine who defined the place and power of the Bishop of Rome creating the office of pope. It was Constantine who made church business state business. It was Constantine who authorized the Church of Rome to become a state by imposing rigid organization of the church fully subjugating and institutionalizing it. It was Constantine who by the authority which he usurped from G-d and from Scripture changed the Law of G-d. It began at the council of Rome and was finalized at the Council of Nicea.
After Constantine liberated the "church", what a joke, and persecution had subsided, unity was no longer required and the war for power and influence began. The entire church was disrupted by the varying opinions concerning the matter of the deity of Iēsous Christos. Arius was the central figure opposing the other bishops in that he held that Iēsous had a beginning in ages past and therefore Iēsous was a created being created from nothing by the Father, so, therefore the Father was not always the Father. When the bishops own positions were secure and the church was at peace, they appealed to Constantine for his interference in the matter.
They sought to have the Arian doctrine to be eradicated under force of intimidation, because in their opinion they couldn’t stop it by any other means. So, Constantine called the Council of Nicea. 318 bishops were assembled in Nicea about May of the year 325.
This became a forum for determining church doctrine on a number of issues including PASSOVER. The Council of Nicea came to absolute conclusions concerning the keeping of PASSOVER and the celebration of Easter.
Matthew 7:16-20 The Scriptures '98, "By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (17) "So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicked fruit. (18) "A good tree is unable to yield wicked fruit, and a rotten tree to yield good fruit. (19) "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (20) "So then, by their fruits you shall know them –"
"A.M.H. Jones says of the Council of Nicea, “The main topic on the Council of Nicea agenda, the date of Easter, was probably placed there by the emperor, who attached great importance to the externals of religious observance, and must have been shocked to find different churches celebrating the feast on different days. After the council Constantine sent an edict to all the churches directing mandatory celebration of Easter on its proscribed day, instead of PASSOVER."
“Constantine Augustus, to all the churches:
Having experienced, in the flourishing state of public affairs, the greatness of divine goodness, I thought it especially incumbent upon me to endeavor that the happy multitudes of the Catholic Church should preserve one faith. When the question arose concerning the most holy day of Easter, it was decreed by common consent to be expedient, that this festival should be celebrated on the same day by all, in every place.
For what can be more beautiful, what more venerable and becoming, than that this festival be observed by all in one and the same order and by a certain rule. And truly, in the first place, it seemed to everyone a most unworthy thing that we should follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this most holy solemnity, who, polluted wretches! Having stained their hands with a nefarious crime, are justly blinded in their minds. It is fit therefore, that rejecting the practices of this people; we should perpetuate to all future ages the celebration of this rite, in a more lawful order which we have kept from the first day of our Lord’s passion even to the present time. Let us then have nothing in common with the most hostile rabble of the Jews. We have received another method from the Saviour. A more lawful and proper course is open to our most holy religion. In pursuing this course with unanimous consent, let us withdraw ourselves, my much honored brethren, from that most odious fellowship. It is indeed the highest degree preposterous, that they should superciliously vaunt themselves, that truly without their instruction, we cannot properly observe this rite. For what can they rightly understand being carried away by an unrestrained impulse when ever their inborn madness may impel them? Why then should we follow those who are acknowledged to labor under a grievous error? But if what I have said should not be thought sufficient use every means, that the purity of your mind may not be AFFECTED be CONFORMITY in anything with the customs of the vilest of mankind. Besides, it should be considered that any dissension in a business of such importance, and a religious institution of so great solemnity, would be highly criminal. Wherefore, that a suitable reformation should take place in this respect to keeping Easter instead of Passover, and that one rule should be followed, is the will of the divine providence, as all, I think, must perceive. As it is necessary that this fault should be so amended that we have nothing in common with the usage of these parricides and murders of our Lord; and as that order is observed by all the churches of the west, as well as those of the southern and northern parts of the world, and also by some in the east, it was judged therefore to be the most equitable and proper, and I pledge myself that the custom which prevails with one consent in the city of Rome would be gladly embraced by your prudence, considering that not only the greatest number of churches observe Easter, but also that it is the most religious and equitable that we all should wish that the strictest reason seems require, and to have no fellowship with the perjury of the Jews, that the most holy day of Easter be celebrated on one and the same day. Wherefore, it is your duty to receive and establish the arguments already stated, and the observance of the most Set-apart day, and that I may rejoice with you; seeing that the cruelty of the devil is taken away by divine power, through my instrumentality. May god preserve you, my beloved brethren.”@
Constantine had the churches accept the celebration of Easter-Sunday as a divinely appointed day which was to be observed as law. There was no argument brought forward that the church could not observe Passover because it was the Law of Moses and the church was not responsible to that Law. The only issue brought from this was for the church should prove themselves different than the Jews in religious practice. This alone was reason enough to transfer the celebration of Passover to the celebration of Easter.
The Passover was viewed as an elective Jewish custom instead of a Scriptural mandate.
Though the church determined that Easter was a celebration of the Messiah’s resurrection, the fact is that Easter was not the biblically set time for that observance. To help us understand the biblical connection of Passover and what is called Easter (Resurrection Day), let’s retrace the events of the Yahshua's death and resurrection.
Yahshua the Messiah died on Pesach as the Passover Lamb. Jewish days begin and end at sundown, which Genesis chapter one demonstrates (“the evening and the morning were the first day”)
Genesis 1:5 The Scriptures '98, "And Elohim called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the first day."
So the Passover meal was held after sundown, on 14th of Nisan. During the Passover meal, Yahshua introduced Himself as the Passover Lamb of the New Covenant. After the Passover Seder He and the twelve went out and spent part of the night at Gethsemane. Late that night He was arrested and His trial continued until early morning on Wednesday. It was still Passover, the 14th of Nisan. Yahshua was impaled at about 9:00 AM; He died about 3:00 PM. The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was coming that night. 15th of Nisan is a Set-apart Sabbath, for that reason Yahshua was taken down from the stake and laid in the tomb before the evening, sundown, when the Sabbath would come. It is important to recognize, that Wednesday evening was a biblically mandated Sabbath day but not the seventh day Shabbat. Yahshua could not have died on Friday because there is no possibility he could have been three days and nights in the grave. The Scriptures must be accurately fulfilled.
Yahshua was in the grave Wednesday sundown to Thursday sundown, 1st day, then Thursday sundown until Friday sundown, 2nd day, Friday sundown until Saturday sundown, 3rd day, which was the weekly Shabbat.
Yahshua was held in the grave over the course of three full days. The first and third were appointed Sabbath rests. He arose from the dead on the 18th of Nisan, on the first day of the week, which starts at sundown Saturday. He is the “First Fruits” from the dead as Rabbi Sha’ul states.
1 Corinthians 15:20, "But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep."
1 Corinthians 15:23, "And each in his own order: Messiah the first-fruits, then those who are of Messiah at His coming,"
The women who found the tomb empty came early in the morning (18th of Nisan “Sunday”), but this does not indicate the time of Yahshua's resurrection. There is no biblical reason to assume that Yahshua remained in the grave any time after dusk on Saturday. His resurrection at dusk would have performed the accurate fulfillment of three full days. Thus, it is only reasonable to suppose that Yahshua rose from the dead on Saturday at dusk, exactly 72 hours from the time He was put in the grave.
The Scriptures dictate that G-d's people are to celebrate Passover and the day of the First Fruits forever! Sha'ul commanded the Corinthians to keep the feast of Passover.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8, "Therefore cleanse out the old leaven, so that you are a new lump, as you are unleavened. For also Messiah our Passover was offered for us. (8) So then let us observe the festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
The proper dates for Passover and the First Fruits have been accurately noted by Jewish rabbinical authorities from the beginning of the commandment.
Yahshua said He was looking forward to eating the Passover with us in the coming Kingdom:
Luke 22:15-16, "And He said to them, "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering, (16) for I say to you, I shall certainly not eat of it again until it is filled in the reign of Elohim."
Not only that, but the New Covenant command is:
1 Corinthians 11:26, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Master until He comes."
THIS refers to the matzah bread and Kiddush (sanctification) cup which is celebrated at every Passover. Yahshua was making Passover a celebration of His death. He was fulfilling it by giving it its full prophetic meaning. Yahshua was not taking Passover away, rather He affirmed it as belonging to HIM!
So, Why was Constantine and the church putting away Passover? What was Easter and how did they establish that as a set-apart day? The church has been kept from understanding the importance of Passover and the First Fruits because of those observances which developed a hatred for the Jews and their celebrations as mandated by G-d and the convenient compromise with paganism. Easter came to be celebrated instead of Passover for two fundamental reasons: in an attempt to escape Judaism and to conform to paganism.
A.E. Goodenough wrote, “It is clear that all Christianity was profoundly affected by non Christian, or pagan practices and conceptions. In the time of Constantine it was already difficult for a non-Christian to get employment and less than a century later it was a crime not to be a Christian. The concession made by the church was no less: she adopted one by one the essential ideas and rites of paganism as her own.”
Pagans could easily say they were Christians in order to gain employment without giving up their pagan practices. This with the general rush to become non-Jewish allowed the devotional transference from the practice of observing biblical Set-apart days like the Sabbath and Passover to follow pagan rites.
Now, every Christian knows that the name of Easter is the name of a pagan goddess like Eostre, Astarte, Isis, Diana, Aphrodite, Venus and Ishtar. She was known as mother earth, goddess of fertility and queen of heaven. Her day was celebrated throughout the Roman Empire on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the vernal equinox of March 21st. Easter can come as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th. Easter is directly a homage to the sun’s movement.
This formula for Easter celebration was formerly accepted by the Council of Nicea and enforced by the office of the Emperor. The church has pretended that this to be a celebration of the Messiah’s resurrection because, they said, He arose on the first day of the week. However, the Hebrew celebration, First Fruits, was the actual day of His resurrection, which G-d foreknew and established as a celebration in Israel. The church ignored the biblical Set-apart day in favor of celebrating Easter and allows the resurrection to become a pagan celebration easier than bringing the pagans to the accuracy of the Word of G-d. The result was that the church picked up all of the customs of Easter: egg coloring and bunny rabbits for fertility celebration, Sunday sunrise service for homage to the sun coming up in the east; dressing in lavish costumes and honoring of Sunday instead of the Sabbath day. The name and honor of Easter never came under attack by the church. Therefore, the demonic forces that control that goddess concept have continued to be glorified and fortified by the institutional denominational church each year on Easter as Christians in ignorance re-enact ancient pagan rites. The only way that G-d can be honored is in keeping His will, which is plainly revealed in His Word!
Luke 11:27-28, "And it came to be, as He was saying this, a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which You sucked!" (28) But He said, "Blessed rather are those hearing the Word of Elohim and watching over it!"
Yahshua does not want any honor which the Father does not mandate and especially that which was invented by evil spirits! Rejoicing in the resurrection in combination with Easter and its symbols of fertility is blasphemy. G-d is not honored, but angered with such a mixture, after all Yahshua is Set-apart. He must remain separate from all pagan atrocities. By mixing the resurrection of Yahshua with pagan atrocities, we are testifying that Yahshua is one with a pagan god! The resurrection of Yahshua has only to do with the First Fruits, because it is G-d's promise of bringing forth all of His people from the dead in a great harvest. G-d commanded the First Fruits and the church committed a great inaccuracy in associating the resurrection of Yahshua with Easter.
Christians don’t think of pagan ideas when they keep Easter, they have to consider this: pagans still exist and practice in large numbers to this day, Easter is still a practiced holiday, Easter is still a day which G-d did not ordain as a celebration of anything having to do with Him. The tradition of Easter as resurrection day is a blasphemous practice born out of anti-Semitic hatred. To honor Easter tells our Jewish brethren that we prefer compromise with the pagans over guarding the mandates of the Scriptures. This transgresses the Law of Moses and the admonition of the Apostle Yahanan who said:
1 Yahanan 2:15, "Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
Jeremiah 4:4, "Circumcise yourselves unto G-d and take away the foreskins of your hearts, you men of Yehudah and inhabitants of Yerushalayim, lest My wrath come forth like fire and burn, with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds."
After the death of the Apostles, the process toward the compromise in the Messianic assembly began. Up until 70 CE when the temple was destroyed, Jewish believers filled the land of Israel. The Jerusalem assembly was a sect of Judaism and claimed many Temple priests and Pharisees as members. Its membership numbered in the multiple thousands and was the most authoritative of the assemblies in the world. With the attack of Titus on Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple, Rome began an all out punishment of the Jews. At about 135 CE there was a Jewish revolt and Emperor Hadrian crushed it and took complete control of Israel, forcing all the Jews to leave Jerusalem and most to leave Israel. People from other nations were brought to inhabit Jerusalem and another assembly was founded under a non-Jewish bishop.
The complexion of the assembly began to change and it became dangerous to be Jewish. The main change in the structure of the assembly was that the assembly of Jerusalem completely lost its place of spiritual influence. While under the supervision of Ya’akov, James the just, the assembly maintained the faithfulness to the Law of Moses, especially keeping of the Sabbath and the Set-apart feasts. Slowly the assembly began to invent excuses for not following the Sabbath and Passover.
Romans 3:27-31, "Where, then, is the boasting? It is shut out. By what Torah? Of works? No, but by the Torah of belief. (28) For we reckon that a man is declared right by belief without works of Torah. (29) Or is He the Elohim of the Yehuḏim only, and not also of the gentiles? Yea, of the gentiles also, (30) since it is one Elohim who shall declare right the circumcised by belief and the uncircumcised through belief. (31) Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah."
Sha'ul in his teachings was exalting Yahshua the Messiah as the example of following the Torah, rather than the traditions of the Jewish elders, whose teachings sometimes negated the intention of the Law. Sha'ul instructed the Gentile believers in the process of spiritual growth, were not to be overwhelmed by legal demands before they could grow into maturity and understanding. Sha'ul wanted the assembly to have a personal living relationship with G-d, as opposed to a static legal one. Sha'ul believed the Spirit of G-d would lead the believer into all righteousness and that righteousness would be in keeping with the Law as it was learned. So, Sha'ul saw himself as establishing the Law not destroying it.
Romans 3:1-2, “What then is the advantage of the Yehuḏite, or what is the value of the circumcision? (2) Much in every way! Because firstly indeed, that they were entrusted with the Words of Elohim.”
Ephesians 2:12-13, “that at that time you were without Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Yisra’ĕl and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no expectation and without Elohim in the world. (13) But now in Messiah יהושע you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.”
Romans 11:26, “And so all Yisra’ĕl shall be saved, as it has been written, “The Deliverer shall come out of Tsiyon, and He shall turn away wickedness from Yaʽaqoḇ,”
Sha'ul, as an emissary of Yahshua, made every effort to come to Jerusalem for the Set-apart feasts:
Acts 20:16, “For Sha’ul had decided to sail past Ephesos, so that he might lose no time in Asia, for he was hurrying to be at Yerushalayim, if possible, on the Day of the Festival of Weeks.”1 Footnote: 1See Lev. 23:10-21.
He was always in the synagogues on the Sabbath day:
Acts 17:2, “And according to his practice, Sha’ul went in unto them, and for three Sabbaths was reasoning with them from the Scriptures,”
He had his Gentile compatriot circumcised:
Acts 16:3, “Sha’ul wished to have this one go with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Yehuḏim who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was Greek.”
Sha'ul kept a nazirite vow according to the Law:
Acts 18:18, "And Sha’ul, having stayed several days more, having taken leave of the brothers, was sailing for Syria, and Priscilla and Aqulas were with him, having shaved his hair at Kenh'rea, for he had taken a vow."
Sha'ul sanctified and purified himself in the Temple:
Acts 21:26 Then Sha’ul took the men on the next day, and having been cleansed with them, went into the Set-apart Place to announce the completion of the days of separation – until the offering should be presented for each one of them.
Sha'ul boldly declared himself to be a Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin:
Philippians 3:5, "circumcised the eighth day, of the race of Yisra’el, of the tribe of Binyamin, a Heḇrew of Heḇrews , according to Torah a Pharisee,"
It was not on theological grounds that the church began to disobey the Scriptures. The Christian Church came to the conclusion that it had resident power to change religious practice as the agency of G-d. Whatever the bishops of the church came to conclude was to be practiced in the church was automatically G-d's will. Their proof of this was simply the fact that it was done and that the masses follow their decrees. For more than three hundred years there was not a systematic theology of church laws and practice. A theology of defending Sunday and Easter came much later in response to those who oppose these church laws on Scriptural grounds. The effort to apologize for the church’s apostasy was not necessary since the masses were basically held in ignorance of the Scriptures.
The people enjoyed the festival of Easter. For the church, which rejected Old Testament traditions on anti-Jewish grounds, it was necessary to invent another tradition for stability sake. Adapting pagan traditions was both convenient and popular and whatever increased the influence of the church became the rationalization for its adoption. Thus, the church embraced Easter instead of Passover and Sunday as Sabbath, false doctrines and traditions which seem unbreakable even to this day.
Eusebius: “While the Jews faithful to Moses, sacrificed the Passover Lamb once a year, we men of the New Covenant celebrate every Sunday our Passover.”
Pope Innocent I: “We celebrate Sunday because of the venerable resurrection of “our Lord Jesus Christ”, not only at Easter but in actuality by the single weekly cycle of Sunday.”
Very Early the church began to evacuate the Sabbath for Sunday on the very same grounds as they left Passover for Easter. Sunday was the official day off of the civil government of the Roman Empire, but it was not called Sunday until 321 CE when Constantine decreed it was to be observed as Dies Solis, the Day of the Sun, or Sun’sday.
Constantine had acclaimed Apollo, the sun god as his patron, and never recorded a recantation of that confession. By issuing this imperial command he effectively pronounced the first day of the week to be in his honor of his pagan god. Constantine said: “this day should be regarded as a special occasion for prayer.” He commanded all his subjects of the Roman Empire to observe Sunday as a day of rest.
Constantine called the first day both, “the Lord’s Day”, and the “Day of the Sun”, thus mixing together the concepts of sun worship and the resurrection. The church was already calling the first day of the week “the Lord’s Day” as recognition for the day of the week when the Messiah was resurrected. Up until this decree a great number in the church continued to keep the Sabbath and the “Lord’s Day”. It was by Constantine’s authority that the legal institution of Sunday was established and, in fact, he demanded that no one heretofore was to keep any other day except Sunday as the Lord’s Day.
Oh and by the way, his army was commissioned to enforce this decree with fatal results and unmerciful diligence!
It is written that many Jews and Messianic's died by his hand for keeping the Sabbath instead of Sunday. Sunday worship was not instituted by the Apostles as many suppose.
Early believers, having met to worship on the Sabbath, would probably pray together until the sun went down, then closing out Sabbath, they would commence with the business of the body. Today a ceremony held in synagogues called HAVDALAH closes out Sabbath at sundown and announces that work may commence.
What they did on the first day of the week had nothing to do with the sun coming up on Sunday morning. Constantine decreed and enforced a view of the first day of the week in connection with the sun god, thereby Suns’day.
Yahshua did not necessarily rise Sunday morning. The women came early, “the first day of the week”, before sunrise to prepare Yahshua body with spices:
Yahanan 20:1, "And on the first day of the week1 Miryam from Magdala came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb." Footnote: 1First day of the week – (The Greek translation is actually day one of the week).
At that time Yahshua had already arose. The stone was moved from the tomb during the night when the solders became startled and the tomb was empty at that time. This could have been Saturday evening since this is the first day of the week biblically. Therefore, to give honor to the resurrection of Yahshua does not require Sunday observance.
What G-d said of the Sabbath:
Exodus 31:13, “And you, speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘My Sabbaths you are to guard, by all means, for it is a sign1 between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I, יהוה, am setting you apart.” Footnote: 1The only sign of יהוה setting us apart, the only sign of the everlasting covenant, is His Sabbaths, one of them being the seventh day Sabbath. This is repeated in Ezek. 20:12 & 20.
The argument is still put forward today that the New Testament commands Sunday observance instead of Sabbath. This of course, is preposterous as any casual reading of the New Testament will demonstrate. Neither Yahshua nor Sha'ul nor Kĕpha nor any writer of the New Testament so much as even implied such. It is ironic that most times the individual who tries to find a legal reason in Scripture for changing the Sabbath to Sunday is the same one who says we do not need to keep the Sabbath, because we are no longer under the Law, why then do we keep trying to write another one? If we do not need to keep the Sabbath then where is the authority in Scripture to keep Sunday?????
Oh and by the way, there is none!!!!
Yahanan said in: Revelation 1:10, “I came to be in the Spirit on the Day of יהוה, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,”
Some say that he was making reference to Sunday. Yahanan was a Yehudite and well familiar with the Law and the Prophets and no doubt knew this passage from:
Isaiah 58:13-14, “If you do turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My set-apart day, and shall call the Sabbath ‘a delight,’ the set-apart day of יהוה ‘esteemed,’ and shall esteem it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, (14) then you shall delight yourself in יהוה. And I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth, and feed you with the inheritance of Yaʽaqoḇ your father. For the mouth of יהוה has spoken!”
So, Yahanan was speaking from this biblical perspective as a faithful observant Jew. The true Day of G-d, Set-apart Day is, and always has been, the seventh day Sabbath. This is why Yahshua said:
Mark 2:27-28, “And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. (28) “So the Son of Adam is also Master of the Sabbath.”
Luke 6:5, “And He said to them, “The Son of Adam is Master of the Sabbath.”
Can we still worship on Sunday? The answer is: worship and prayer are to be encouraged DAILY, including Sunday! The issue is not on which day we should worship, but on which day should we obey G-d to rest on His day and honor Him for His creation!
Believers must make a statement to the world concerning their obedience to Scripture. Sunday veneration as a replacement of the Sabbath is blasphemy. There is no command in Scripture to honor the resurrection by honoring Sunday. To do so is to tell G-d that you will not honor Him on Sabbath and if that be the case you cannot honor Yahshua and if you cannot honor Yahshua then you don’t have Him in your heart and if you don’t have Him in your heart then….you are not a Born From Above Believer!
Every day may be a day of prayer and worship, but keeping the special day of Sabbath Set-apart, by ceasing from our weekly chores and listening to Him on the day He prescribed will be sufficient to obey His Word!
In no way should Sunday have preeminence over the seventh day Sabbath, which begins at sundown Friday and ends sundown Saturday!!!!!
Since Moses commanded the people of Israel to believe and accept the Messiah when he comes, how can anyone turn away from any of Moses’ commands? Which ones are valid and which ones are not? If the Sabbath is not to be kept, then why should the command to believe and receive Yahshua be kept? Why should the church expect the Jewish people to keep the command of Moses to trust their Messiah, if the church does not keep the Sabbath? Is any commandment of G-d without importance? Is any of His instruction only temporary? How can this be when Yahshua said:
Matthew 5:18, “For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.”
So, all the Scriptures have not yet been fulfilled. We say we love Yahshua, but forget He was and is a Jew. We cannot forget the Torah because it is an eternal G-d ordained biblical instruction. We have forgotten the things ordained by G-d in that:
The Sabbath was a day honored from creation.
Abraham tithed and was circumcised.
Noah kept kosher, eating only clean animals.
Passover is a picture of redemption from slavery and suffering.
Moses only repeated those things which he saw in heaven.
We have even forgotten the letter that Sha'ul wrote to Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.”
Explanatory note:@: First Day of the week: The underlying Greek text is "mia ton sabbaton", which when literally translated means "one of the sabbaths", but is traditionally rendered as "first day of the week."
@ From "The Constantine Conspiracy" by Rabbi David Hargis