Why is Passover so Christian-ly Popular?

I’m not sure when the practice started, the practice of churches inviting in Jewish-Christian speakers to talk about Passover and the Last Supper of Jesus. I’m guessing that it sort of started with Jews for Jesus in the 70’s. I have no doubt that there are earlier examples of Passover sermons in churches in modern times, but the wave of popularity of “Christ in the Passover” and “Jesus in the Passover” messages likely dates to the Jews for Jesus movement.

To put things in clearer historical perspective, consider a simple summary of the history of modern Hebrew Christianity and Messianic Judaism:

(1) Late 1800’s: missionary societies pick up on the Pauline theme of “to the Jew first” and on the centrality of the Jewish people in biblical eschatology. They form “Jewish mission societies.”

(2) Late 1800’s and into the 1900’s: Hebrew Christian societies form and Christians of Jewish descent have conferences and discuss what it means to be a Christian who is Jewish. Continue reading

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Posted in Bible, Christian, Holidays, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism, Passover, The Cross | 2 Comments

The Lead Codices Aren’t … They Just Aren’t

They are not long lost texts that will redefine the meaning of Jesus’ death. They are not a find to rival the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is a chance they may turn out to be something quite significant — but we don’t know what.

I am on an email list in which I get to read the chatter of some excellent scholars, one of whom has been asked to look at some images from the lead codices. They could be from almost any period (even possibly from relatively modern times). They could even be forgeries. Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Bible, History | 6 Comments

Future Hope vs. Present Distress

Mark tells the story of Yeshua focused on future hope. Luke tells the story of Yeshua focused on present distress.

What I mean is this: in Mark’s gospel, we see the theme of the identity of the veiled Son of Man. He is much more than he appears to be. Those who remain close to him see this gradually more and more. The coming Son of Man (Yeshua in his Second Coming) will bring all of that future hope to reality. So Mark is apocalyptic (interested in showing how the Eternal breaks through into the Present).

In Luke’s gospel, the reality of a disciple-community spread throughout the empire dealing with the problems of an absent Lord and an unbelieving Roman populace, is more obviously in the background. So Luke emphasizes the present need for faith and the Spirit. While we wait, we are in distress and our gospel seems impossible to believe.

This difference (not contradiction) in emphasis was clarified for me this morning as I considered how Luke follows up the Sower parable with a series of illuminating stories. Continue reading

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Not the God of Death, Part 2

As I said in Part 1: there are two things God won’t have near his sanctuary. One of them is sin. The other is death.

The meaning of “purification” in Leviticus is an interesting study. The classic scholar on the subject is Jacob Milgrom (of blessed memory, he died June 5, 2010). If you can afford it, if you are willing to learn to read some difficult material, his three volume commentary in the Anchor series on Leviticus is the set to have. Don’t be seduced by the one-volume commentary by Milgrom in the Continental series (Augsburg/Fortress). It is shortened so much, parts of it are, in my opinion, incomprehensible.

How do we know about this priestly Leviticus theology concerning death, impurity, and purification? What implications does it have for matters of death, faith, and even our understanding of redemption and Messiah? In this brief look at purification in the Torah, I will give a non-technical explanation. Continue reading

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Jewish Names in Yeshua’s Time

I wrote up a summary at the Yeshua in Context blog that many Messianic Jewish Musings readers will find interesting. What were the most popular names in Galilee and Judea in Yeshua’s time? Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses is a wealth of information about things related to the issue of eyewitness testimony in the gospels.

Before you jump over, take a guess whether the name Yeshua (Jesus) is on the top ten list of names for men or not and if so, which number on the list. Read and see if you are correct! Click here to read it at Yeshua in Context.

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Passover: A “Captivity and Freedom” Seder

As I have said in previous posts, it is good to: (1) cut the haggadah short in some way at your Passover Seders and (2) have multiple Seders during Passover week (or even some Seder-anticipation meals before, but without Passover matzah).

I will be having three Seders this year: one with my family on the first night, a congregational Seder the second night, and a “Meal of Messiah” Seder the seventh night (click here for the Meal of Messiah haggadah by Vine of David).

I promised to give some outlines for themed Seders. Here is the “Captivity and Freedom” Seder outline. I include a PDF file to use specifically with the Vine of David (Messianic) Haggadah (click here) and another PDF file to use with the Elie Wiesel Haggadah (click here). I outline what to include and some short scripts to explain the portions during the evening. This will shorten your Seder and liven it up with inspiration. Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism, Passover | 2 Comments

Not the God of Death, Part 1

There are two things God won’t have near his sanctuary. One of them is sin. The other is death.

Ironically, the priestly and sanctuary laws of Leviticus have been slandered in church history as burdens given to an obstinate people to fill their lives with misery. The Epistle of Barnabas (not by Barnabas, of course), written somewhere around 100 CE, quotes every verse that can be taken to mean that the sacrificial system of Israel was not God’s true will and intention. “Barnabas” says, “He wants us to seek how we may approach him, rather than going astray like they did.” In 16:2 he criticizes the Temple service itself as being too similar to pagan worship in temples, saying, “For they, almost like the heathen, consecrated him by means of the Temple.” Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Death, Sacrifices and Purity | 1 Comment