If we needed evidence of the estrangement of Christianity from its roots we need look no further than the seminal intervention and memorial of both Judaism and the Way; the Passover. There is no need to probe the Law vs Grace red herring, the moral abyss invented by deluded perfectionists, or the hypocrisy of commandment-keepers. We are not expecting a resurgence of Judaism, nor do we feel obliged to give up Messianic revelation because there are roots reaching back to Israelite history. Every so often the Passover falls on the day Christians have christened as Good Friday and this year the setting of Good Friday a month away from Passover is a stark exposure of Christian negligence and avoidance of the public truth, namely that Christ died as the primary act in salvation history and the Gospel. The season is still being called Easter and passed off as commemorative of Yeshua’s resurrection. Despite the fact that there is no biblical call for celebrating the Lord’s resurrection, we omit the reason for the season, the sacrifice of the Lamb, and the vast majority of Christians stumbles on in the dark about Christ our Paschal Lamb.
The prevalence of “Easter” as a name for the seminal event in Christ’s saving mission is the result of a poor translation of a single word in the 17th century King James version, and the negligence of succeeding generations. Instead of translating pascha as Passover, because the Greek term comes from the Hebrew pesach, they gave us “Easter” in hopes of connecting the Sacred festival with the secular festival that comes around at the same time of year. Easter is really a pagan practice that is connected with early Babylonian rituals which appear also in the Old Testament in Canaanite practices.
Another pervasive example of the King James translators going astray is their destruction of personal names. J and Z replace Y and TS. Yeshua becomes Jesus, Tsiyyon becomes Zion. This is a symptom of cultural insensitivity and scholarly negligence.
What has happened since Paul said “Christ our Passover [Paschal Lamb] is sacrificed for us” and today when we see Passover, the 14th of Nissan, and Good Friday are separated by a month? We have mistaken the immutable with irrelevance. Since Christ died Passover is no longer a Jewish feast. The Lamb of God is a universal provision. Passover, the day on which our Lord died cannot possibly be on any day beside14th Nisan.
Our estrangement from the recognized foundations of Messianic Revelation has its roots in xenophobia, political allegiances, and religious animosity. Since Abraham is our avowed common ancestor we have some explaining to do about our drifting apart into our clans (religions and denominations). We seem to have ourselves resisted the developments that have defined both Jewish and Christian history. The transitions from bondage to liberty, from pilgrimage to inheritance, the merging of priesthood and monarchy are all accompanied by covenants and pronounced shifts in divine revelation that require our repentance. Resistance to change can become a millstone around one’s neck.
In this regard it is helpful to note that a change of mind was what the Lord proclaimed as necessary if people wanted access to the kingdom of God. The record shows that Moses, Solomon, or Jeremiah would be shocked to see how their contributions have spiraled out of shape. Peter, Timothy, or 4th century church father would be likewise shocked to see how the glorious Way has been abandoned.
The Passover should remain grounded in the understanding that some things do not change. Passover is essentially a sacrificial monument in which blood is spilled as a means of liberation and identity. When God ordered the death of the firstborn in Egypt He made provision so that Israelites would not suffer loss. The slaughtered lamb provided the cover a satisfactory substitute for the firstborn in every Israelite home. It is to accomplish this very thing that Christ is Paschal Lamb.
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (7) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (8). 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Try as we might, we cannot undo the fact that there is no resurrection song or litany that has the effect of significance as do the songs of the Cross. There is no resurrection celebration in the Lord’s table. Easter Sunday does not compare to Passover. Christ is Saviour by means of death, not by rising from the dead, so let’s put first things first. This year, let’s face the holiday with a new sobriety, laying aside the shallow and commercial intoxication of a feel-good Sunday and put our thoughts and trust in Christ our Paschal Lamb.