Oscar D. Ramirez: How far we have drifted away
This year, the first night of Passover begins at Sundown on Friday, April 22. According to each account in the Gospels (Matt. 27, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 13), that was the night in which Jesus took unleavened bread (Matzah), and replayed the drama of the Jews liberation from the slavery of Egypt, where God instructed His people through Moses that “this day shall be to you one of remembrance; you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD throughout the ages; you shall celebrate it as an institution for all time,” (Sh’mot Torah / Ex. 12:14). Continuing on in Torah to verse 16 we are told that this day is to be a sacred occasion (convocation Hebrew = miqra’ or rehearsal).
Oh, but wait! Didn’t Christians observe something similar last month, on March 25? It was the Christian observance of Good Friday, the evening on which Christ (Greek for “Anointed One” / “Messiah” in Hebrew) allegedly observed his Last Supper (Passover), broke Matzah and recounted the release of the Jews from the bondage of Egypt just as God had instructed Moses.
But how can there be as much as a month difference between the Christian Passover — which they now call “communion” — and the Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread? The answer is twofold.
First, non-Jewish calendars have varied throughout the ages. Our own western calendar was established by Pope Gregory XIII to establish the date of Easter. This was a refinement of the previous Julian calendar proclaimed by Julius Cesar, all based on the movements of the sun and incorporating pagan rituals and customs through religious syncretism.
The movements of the moon do not vary. That is why the Feast of the Lord known as Passover has never varied since its inception by God through Moses. Jews have been rehearsing it (convocation) on the correct date ever since. My, how far we have drifted away.
This year, there is a whole month difference between the original Passover and the Christian Easter, emphasizing the drift into the pagan customs of the goddess Eastre (or Eostre), the goddess of east where the sun rises. Her symbol was the hare, a symbol of fertility, thus the egg. Her festival was called Eastre by the Saxons and was held during the spring equinox now reinforced by the calendar established by Pope Gregory XIII.
Today, our nations’ leaders have drifted away from our formerly unwavering commitment to the nation of Israel. But anti-Semitism is not new; from the time Pharaoh instructed the midwives to kill all Jewish boys (Ex. 1:16), to the killing of the Innocents by the Romans (Matt. 2:16), to the Final Solution offered by Hitler. Today, throughout the Islamic world and beyond we continue to hear the shout for the destruction of the nation of Israel and the eradication of all Jews.
Friday evening, April 22 at sundown, Jews around the world will go through the 15 separate steps of a sacred occasion, a convocation or rehearsal of their seder — just as they have for thousands of years. They continue to rehearse, pausing in the middle of the rehearsal to send their children out to see if Elijah has come. They will drink the first cup of Sanctification. They will break the Afikomen, the center Matzah that is broken in two pieces. They will dip their finger into second cup of deliverance from Judgment but not drink it; refill and drink the third cup of Redemption. Many will leave the fourth cup (cup of Elijah) or the Hope of Restoration, on the table for the future (interpretations are as varied as the Haggadot they follow).
Will Jews continue to rehearse and break unleavened bread until their Messiah comes to restore the Davidic Kingdom on earth? Of course they will! It’s their custom and tradition. Will Christians continue to rehearse pagan customs on the wrong date in the name of their Messiah? Well, most likely, for as long as they hold their custom and tradition above Truth, then The Feasts of the Lord will come and go unnoticed by Christians. Will our leaders in Washington continue to falter in their commitment to Israel? Will Americans ever return to their original moral values? How far have we all have drifted away, as the jihadists threaten to kill both Jews and Christians alike in the name of their messiah?
“Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?” Jesus answered, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” And Pilot said unto him “what is truth?” (John 18:37-38).
Jews? Christians? America? Oh, my! How far we have drifted away!
Dr. Oscar Ramirez is the Director of Counseling at Capstone Recovery Center, 418 W. Innes St.
I usually say that I have one of the best jobs because I get the best of both worlds —... read more