by Pastor Don Elmore
April 13, 2014
Scripture Reading: II Chronicles 34:1-7
Josiah was King of Judah in the latter days of the kingdom, before it was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. His grandfather, King Manasseh, was one of the worse, if not the worse King in the history of Judah and maybe in all of Israel. Manasseh began his reign when he was twelve years old and he reigned for 55 years. He did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
He built the high places which his father, King Hezekiah, had broken down. He reared up altars for Baalim, and made idols, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. Also he built altars in the house of the LORD. He caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom; also he observed times, and used enchantment, and practiced sorcery, and dealt with a medium, and with wizards. He made and set an idol in the House of God. So, Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the nations, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
Think about that last sentence for a moment. How bad were the Israelites? It says that they were worse than the Canaanites.
The nations of the Canaanites had been so bad that God ordered His covenant people to completely annihilate them; and here His people were acting worse than they did.
The United States worships wizards (Harry Potter multi-book series and movies); have altars to Baalim (abortion clinics); practiced sorcery (drug addiction); made idols (Catholic Church, Mormons, Episcopal, etc.); reads the influence of the stars (horoscopes); deals with mediums (talks with dead people); keeps pagan holidays (instead of God’s holydays); it seems like America is a lot like unfaithful Judah.
God was so mad at Manasseh that he had him taken captive by the Assyrians. They took him and bound him in chains and fetters, and carried him to Babylon. He was actually a prisoner of Assyria. And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD, his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.
And then he prayed unto Him; and he was entreated by him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew the LORD, and that He was his God. Manasseh repented.
King Manasseh then made repairs to the House of God and tore down many of the idols and altars that he had built in the mount of the House of the LORD in Jerusalem. He attempted to redo all of the evil that he had done. He started, but he couldn’t come close to finishing. He didn’t have enough time. And in a couple of years he died.
His son Amon reigned for only two years. He was also an evil king and his servants conspired against him and slew him in his own house. The people then made his son king in his stead—young Josiah.
As we said before, Josiah began his reign when he was just eight years old. During his young days, they found in the House of God while they were repairing it, a book. It was part of the Scriptures that they had lost. That they had lost? How long had they been without these Scriptures? They had lost the Scriptures and hadn’t look for them? Had they completely forgotten who they were? It certainly implies that they didn’t keep the Feast Days that God had commanded them to keep. And for how long?
The king told them to inquire of the LORD for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the Word of the LORD, to do all that is written in this book.
When Josiah was 26 years old he had his people, including himself, keep the PASSOVER. They hadn’t kept Passover and Unleavened Bread for a long time. There was no Passover like this one since the days of Samuel the prophet. It was the greatest Passover that was kept in almost 450 years! That is almost twice as long as the United States has been a nation!
The House of Israel had been an apostate nation for its whole existence: over two hundred years. They wound up as a nation that promoted Baalism. They made their own laws and did not keep God’s laws at all. They refused their people the right to go to Jerusalem to the Temple; they kicked out all of the priests of God; they changed the dates of the Feast days to another month; and they choose priests from another tribe (non-Levitical) who were the lowest of the people.
So we can conclude that the House of Israel kept Passover very little or they never kept it according to God’s law in all of their history of being a nation. They certainly did not keep it when they were in a state of divorcement (over 700 years); for many of them completely forgot who they were.
The House of Judah did a little bit better. But from what we learn in the life story of Josiah; they were not keeping the Feast days either. Until they found the lost Scriptures in the Temple, they were completely unaware of the Feast Day of Passover. How long was this going on in the House of Judah? They certainly never kept Passover for a longer period of time than they didn’t celebrate it.
Jesus went to Judea for the Feast days, because in Jerusalem was the appropriate place where the Feast Days could be held; but He knew that the Edomite/Canaanite/Jews were seeking to kill Him. He went there at the time of the Passover so He could fulfill the Scriptures that told of the time of His death. He voluntarily lay down His life for the sheep, for He was the Passover Lamb! The death of Jesus had to coincide with the death of all the Passover lambs that were being sacrifice by each Israelite household. He was to die on Passover; not one day before or after. Jesus Christ could not die on any other day or time. It had to be during the same time the Passover lambs were being slaughtered. He was the first of the lambs to die, as He died at the beginning of the time for them to be killed—3 PM. His death was preeminent.
Imagine the scene, if you can. Immediately after Jesus Christ had poured out His holy blood for our sins, by hanging on the tree, paying the penalty for our sins, as our Passover Lamb of God, multiple thousands of Judahites (true Israelites) and Jews (false Israelites) throughout Judea were also slaying their Passover lambs! What a perfect fulfillment! What a perfect anti-type! What a marvelous picture! Jesus fulfilled the anti-type of the Passover PERFECTLY! Josephus tells us that during that time about 256,000 Passover lambs were being slain, one for every ten people. Thus the population in Judea was about 2,500,000 during the time of Jesus. All those Passover lambs pointed to HIM -- the true Passover Lamb of God!
Why are there controversies? There are beliefs on just about every issue! Today, the vast majority of churches don’t even pretend to recognize Passover, they celebrate Easter. They say that Jesus was crucified on Friday afternoon (Good Friday) and rose Sunday morning (Easter Sunday). The “Last Supper” was held on Thursday evening. That is totally unbiblical! There is no way that you can get 72 hours from burial to resurrection. It is a struggle to get 36 hours! And that isn’t all. They have Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Lent, no meat-eating Fridays (only fish), and Palm Sunday, etc.
A few churches even eat a Jewish Passover Seder meal. Why would they eat such a meal, when the death of our Savior has already occurred?
But wait, we are using a Roman Catholic calendar, not the calendar that our ancient fathers used. The Roman calendar is a false religious one which is based on Christmas, Lent and Easter and we are not using, in fact we, the modern day Israelites, don’t even know the calendar that was used by our ancestors.
- “And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
- This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.”
This month was named “Abib” in Exodus 13:4; “Nisan” elsewhere in the Bible. The Roman calendar begins each New Year a week and a half after the winter solstice. God said about 4000 years ago for His people to begin each New Year in the spring. Near March 20th would begin the New Year in God’s calendar that He gave to His covenant people.
The Roman calendar begins each day at a moment past 12 o’clock midnight. Have you ever thought: “Why midnight?” A lot of the movies with evil themes have midnight as a prominent time in their pictures. But weren’t the firstborn sons of all the Egyptians killed at that time? So the Roman calendar is a death calendar. Each day begins in the middle of the night; each New Year begins near the beginning of winter. God’s calendar is the opposite. Each New Year begins in the rebirth of nature; the springtime. Each new day begins at sunset.
In God’s calendar there is a two-day Sabbath each year; 48 hours. It is the 49th and 50th day after the resurrection. It is also the time of the Feast of Pentecost. So, in the Roman calendar it doesn’t make any difference what day you keep for the weekly Sabbath; Saturday or Sunday. They are both wrong the majority of time on Israel’s calendar. For the day would change each year. And they are both correct for a short while! It is like a stopped broken watch; it gives the correct time twice a day. Israel’s calendar doesn’t have the days of the week that the Roman calendar has; it just has numbers. The months are different names too.
God then told the Israelites that on the tenth day of the first month (He didn’t say Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday, or a Saturday) they were to take an unblemished lamb or a goat, a male of the first year and they were to keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then they kept it and killed it in the evening of the fourteen day.
Let’s think for a moment. This calendar was for Israel only. They lived in the Northern Hemisphere. The month of March in the Southern Hemisphere is the reverse season of March in the Northern Hemisphere. March in the Southern Hemisphere is the beginning of the fall season. December in the Southern Hemisphere is the beginning of summer! What, Christmas is in the summer?
And if you go close to either of the poles, a day could last as long as six months. If you get close to the either the North or South poles it is always very cold. What would that do to the Sabbath restrictions?
The Roman calendar in the Southern Hemisphere begins each New Year in the summer and not the winter. The Roman 24 hour day, begins at midnight to sunrise; from sunrise to sunset; and from sunset to midnight. Very confusing. And when we read in the Scriptures that something happened about “the sixth hour” it means about twelve o’clock noon. The Israelite night began at sunset; its day began at sunrise. The Israelite 24 hour day began at sunset and ended at sunset.
The “LORD’s Supper” occurred on the evening, the beginning portion of Abib or Nisan 13. Jesus was arrested that very night and taken into captivity. The next morning, still Nisan 13, he appeared before Pilate, then Herod, and finally again before Pilate, when he was judged and condemned.
After being condemned, Jesus was flogged, scourged, and beaten, and thrown into the dungeon where He was left until the following morning, Nisan 14. Also on the latter part of Nisan 14th, He was led up to the spot of the crucifixion, on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Temple, where the Red Heifer sacrifices were made. There He was nailed to the stake at “the third hour” of the day -- nine AM in the morning (Mark 15:25). This means the final supper Jesus had with His disciples occurred TWO nights before the regular Passover meal, which would be observed throughout Jerusalem on the night of Nisan 15, after all the lambs had been sacrificed and roasted.
Therefore, this final meal -- similar to the traditional Passover in certain respects -- was a special, unique, final “going away” meal -- which many have referred to as “the Lord’s Supper.” It was like a normal Passover in some respects, but it was different in other respects -- it was actually two nights BEFORE the actual Passover, there was no “lamb” eaten with it, as the Passover lambs would not be killed at the Temple till the afternoon of Nisan 14, as the Law prescribed (Exodus12:6). The bread eaten at it was regular leavened bread as the days of unleavened bread hadn’t started as yet.
However, since Jesus knew He would be dead at the time of the traditional Passover meal, this particular year, He chose to hold a special, unique “going away” dinner with His disciples the last available night He had with them before the regular Passover that year. At this meal, or supper, He introduced the new symbols of bread representing His body and wine representing His blood. What was this all about, and how did it relate to the Passover?
Paul says this ceremony was to be done “as often as” -- in other words, OFTEN, throughout the year! This was not instituted as an ANNUAL observance, which would be added to the Passover, but as a SPECIAL OBSERVANCE to be celebrated OFTEN throughout the year!
Why, then, do some want to observe the night before (Maundy Thursday) the Passover? It is almost as if there is a “lust” to do this -- and yet Jesus never once commanded it, or recommended it, or “approved” it! But, as Solomon wrote: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs14:12). Even though entire churches do this, they do so out of sheer ignorance of the truth!
Easter is supposed to represent the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They say that it happened on Sunday morning. Then the churches have their annual Easter Service; followed by the Easter meal. Let’s see: The main course is not lamb, but Easter ham; an abomination to our God. And this all occurs near the unlawful, income tax deadline.
Let us summarize:
Nisan 10 The unblemished lamb chosen from the herd. Israel is cleaning out of their homes all the yeasts.
Nisan 11 The lamb is kept near the home. Israel is cleaning out of their homes all the yeasts.
Nisan 12 The lamb is kept near the home. Israel is cleaning out of their homes all the yeasts.
Nisan 13 The lamb is kept near the home. Israel is cleaning out of their homes all the yeasts. Jesus meets with his apostles and has a final meal with them before Passover. The meal would have leaven in the bread and the drink would be wine. This was held after the supper.
Jesus only gave the bread and wine to his apostles. None of the women were there. There were only men who took the elements that represented Jesus’ blood and sinful body.
Today, both true and false churches, have a multitude of differences on what they refer to as the “Lord’s Supper.” Some keep it only once a year; others once a month; others every week and the Catholic Church every day.
Some use just one cup, while others use many cups. The Roman Catholics believe that the elements turn into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ, while Protestants and others believe that it only represents both the body and the blood. Some churches offer it to anyone who comes; while others have a closed communion—which means that they only give it to members of their own church. Some use wine only. Others use grape juice only. And others use a mixture of both: wine and grape juice.
And there is no doubt other differences that I don’t know about. Which way is correct?
Nisan 14 Passover Day. The lamb is killed between the hours of 3-5 PM. It was kind of bitter/sweet for the Israelites for the lamb was kept close to the home for four days. On the original Passover, the Israelites struck the blood of the lamb over their doorposts; on the top and the two sides. It formed a cross.
Nisan 15 The fifteenth is the first day of Unleavened Bread. The Israelites ate the Passover meal at the beginning (night) of this day at their homes; one lamb per 10 people. If a family only had two children, for example, they could join with another family (six or fewer members) for their supper of roasted lamb.
At midnight (Nisan 15) the LORD smote the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt; boys, men and animals. There was not an Egyptian house where there was not at least one dead. All the Egyptians were urgent upon Moses and Aaron to depart immediately. As an enticement for them to leave, they gave them all their jewels and silver and gold and beautiful things. The Passover by the death angel over the Israelites’ homes happened on the 15th of Nisan.
All the firstborn sons of the children of Israel are “passed over” by the death angel when he sees the blood of the lamb on the doors. The firstborn sons of Israel were spared. The firstborn sons were the recipients of the covenant blessings. The sons of Joseph were the birthright recipients, while the sons of Levi were the priests and the firstborn sons of Judah were the royalty. It is not as in the movie, “Noah,” where it says at the end of the production that all men are recipients of the birthright covenant, even before Abraham was born. This was the movie that had Tubalcain sneak onto the Ark!
The account goes on and tells how the children of Israel journeyed to Succoth and baked UNLEAVENED cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt. It was not leavened, because they could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victuals (Exodus 12:37-39).
They left the very next morning, early, after the horrendous Passover Night when the Egyptians were destroyed! They had eaten the Passover meal fully clothed, and with their staffs in their hands, ready to depart (Exodus 12:11). The next morning they did not wait around, or tarry; they were on their way out of Egypt.
And they departed from Ramses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, on the morrow after the Passover, the children of Israel went out in the sight of all the Egyptians (Number 33:3).
The Israelites were in such a hurry that their dough did not even have time to become leavened, from sitting out in the air. The yeast did not even have time to work. If they had sat around on their hands and knees for a whole day, there would have been plenty of leaven in their dough by the following evening. It only requires bread dough with leaven from one to two hours to rise, and double in bulk.
Many assume that Jesus referred to the final meal He had with His disciples as the “Passover.” Actually, that is a matter of dispute. How could it have been the “Passover,” since the following day would still be the “preparation” of the Passover? So in what sense was this final meal a “Passover” since the traditional Passover would not be until some days later? He plainly said to the disciples, “With desire I have desired to eat THIS PASSOVER with you BEFORE I SUFFER: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16). So, what did He really mean?
Why did Jesus that night, at supper with the disciples, speak of “THIS Passover”? Was He referring to that evening meal? Or was He not referring to the upcoming Passover which He would be unable to eat with them since He would be dead at that time?
Nisan 16 Second day of Unleavened Bread.
Nisan 17 Third day of Unleavened Bread. Priests also waved the barley sheaves. Resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred as the priests were waving the barley sheaves. Jesus arose 72 hours after he was placed in the grave just before sunset on Wednesday afternoon. He arose just before sunset on Saturday. Remember that Nisan 18 began after sunset.
Isn’t the resurrection the most important day in the Christian year? If the resurrection would not have happened, then no one would live in the future kingdom. Maybe that is why our LORD told his disciples that the church should keep the Communion. They should use unleavened bread because at His Resurrection all of the sins that Jesus had on his body was put away and paid for.
Nisan 18 Fourth day of Unleavened Bread. This would be Saturday till midnight, then Sunday on the Roman calendar; this was the days of this particular Passover. It would change each year.
Nisan 19 Fifth day of Unleavened Bread
Nisan 20 Sixth day of Unleavened Bread
Nisan 21 Seventh day of Unleavened Bread
II Chronicles 35
1) “MOREOVER, Josiah kept a Passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem; and they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
13) And they roasted the Passover with fire according to the ordinance; but the other holy offerings boiled they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people.
14) And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests. Because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night, therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests, the sons of Aaron.
15) And the singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun, the king’s seer. And the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.
16) So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the Passover, and to offer burnt offering upon the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of King Josiah.
17) And the children of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread, seven days.
18) And there was no Passover like that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel, the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a Passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
19) In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this Passover kept.
Are we to keep Passover and Unleavened Bread today? And what about the waving of the barley sheaves? These three days were all combined into an eight day feast. And then do you go and pick out an unblemished lamb on the tenth day; making it a twelve day event? Do you kill the lamb yourself and then roast it on the fire or do you go to Kroger’s and pick out a package of lamb?
And if you celebrate Passover, do you also killed two lambs each day at the Temple? Wait there is no Temple in Jerusalem to sacrifice them. And what about all the other animal sacrifices? There was the scapegoat sacrifice and the turtle doves sacrifice and others?
The Israelites were taken in captivity and scattered all over the world. They weren’t in every country but you could find them all over the world. For many Israelites in Australia and South Africa, for example, Passover would not be in the spring, but in the fall.
Passover was to be kept in Jerusalem; once Israel had settled in the land and occupied Jerusalem and had built the House of God. But the whole nation only worshipped at the Temple a couple of decades and then they split into two separate kingdoms! The Northern kingdom even forbade its people from worshipping at Jerusalem for fear that they would eventually side with the Judahites.
The Passover meal was to be eaten in the homes of the Israelite families. It was not to be served in the synagogue or church. Could you expect all the Israelites in Australia to go to Jerusalem at one time to celebrate Passover and Unleavened Bread? They would be there with all the Israelites from all over the world? Israelites from the United States, Great Britain, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, France, Germany, Russia, etc. could not all fit in Jerusalem even if they had a Temple.
But isn’t all of this fulfilled! Passover first happened in Egypt, but it was fulfilled in Jerusalem at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Christ” is our Passover. Why would we keep this Feast and kill all of the lambs. The animal sacrifices ceased with the killing of the “lamb of God.” What need would there be for killing as a sacrifice for any of the animals. Our Savior did not have to die again, only one time. His resurrection proved that His sacrifice was accepted by His father. No more sacrifice is needed.
Do we throw all of the leaven out of our houses each spring? Or is it better not to have the leaven of malice and wickedness but to have the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:8)? Have you noticed the need for our people to “spring clean?”
We should remember our history; the Passover, the waving of the barley sheaves and the days of Unleavened Bread are an important part of this. But we do not keep it the way that our fathers did in the Old Testament. We are New Testament Christian/Israelites. Christ is our Passover, who took away our sins with His one offering; not an unblemished, one-year old lamb which could only put away our sins for a year.
It seems that Jesus was showing His disciples what the church should do in the future. We can’t celebrate Passover and Unleavened Bread the way that Josiah did, even if we wanted to. We are now living all over the world. Israelites are living in the Southern Hemisphere as well as the Northern Hemisphere. And there is no one Temple in Jerusalem or anywhere else in the world.
We use unleavened bread and wine in our Communion service. At the original “Lord’s Supper” was leavened bread and wine. It was leavened bread because Jesus was in two days going to represent His people with all of their sins on His body. The only people who participated in the original Lord’s Supper was His disciples—all men. The Scriptures doesn’t even mention if any women were present, let alone any children.
The church at Corinth was criticized by Paul for the way that they practiced their love feasts. The rich brought an elegant amount of food and ate by themselves; while the poor brought a limited amount of food and also ate by themselves. There was no common table. They ate at the church.
Their whole altitude was wrong. Their actions at the love feast caused much divisions and hardships. And then after the meal they were going to celebrate Communion?
And do you know what famous Israelite was born in this time of the last reform of Judah’s worse time in history? Who grew up in this terrible environment that was at last replaced by good king Josiah?
Jeremiah 1:1, 2
- “THE words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin,
- To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.”
It was Jeremiah! The book begins five years before the greatest Passover celebration in almost 500 years! Jeremiah, no doubt, was a participant. Remember Josiah when he was sixteen sought after the God of his father, David, and when he was twenty years old he began cleaning up Judah from all of the false practice they had been doing.
When Josiah was twenty-one years old, Jeremiah was called to preach. So, Jeremiah must have participated in the greatest Passover since Israel rejected God as being their King.
To be continued.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel.