Monday, March 31, 2014

Ezekiel 38 and the coming battle for Israel‏‎

“Surely the Sovereign Yehovah does nothing without
revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.”
(Amos 3:7)

End-time experts are talking a lot about the Gog-
Magog war of Ezekiel 38–39, a prophecy that predicts
a powerful confederacy, apparently led by Russia,
that is destined to someday invade Israel.  Some
think that its fulfillment is even knocking at our door.

But a lesser known prophecy is gaining momentum
and importance for our day: Psalm 83, in which a
different confederacy attempts to wipe out Israel.

This psalm seems to be addressing current issues
in the Middle East—nations conspiring to destroy

Asaph’s Vision of a Future War

“O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear,
Do not stand aloof, O God.  See how your enemies
growl, how your foes rear their heads.” (Ps:83:1–2)

Psalm 83 is more than a prayer or a plea to God for
vengeance on Israel’s enemies; it reveals that a 10
member confederacy wants to destroy the Chosen
People and possess the Promised Land.

This psalm, however, was not written during a time
of war. It was written some 3,000 years ago by King
David’s worship leader, Asaph, during a time of great
prosperity, liberty, and peace.

King David had decisively triumphed over Israel’s
enemies, and Israel could expand freely since the
superpowers of Egypt and Assyria were both
declining. (Aish)

David’s kingdom, therefore, extended from the Red
Sea to the Euphrates.

But Asaph was not just a worshiper; according to
2 Chronicles 29:30, he was also a chozeh (seer or

As a prophet, Asaph saw beyond this period of
peace, to a time when this confederacy would
seek the utter destruction of Israel. That time
now seems to be nearing.

“Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”
(Psalm 83:4)

Even though Asaph’s vision was received in a time
of peace, it must have been cause for some concern
since many named in the confederacy had previously
demonstrated their hatred.

Of course, even today, conspiring against the Jewish
People is considered nothing new. From the Philistines
to the Nazis, the Jewish People have been plotted against.

“See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their
heads. With cunning they conspire against your people;
they plot against those you cherish.”  (Psalm 83:2–3)

The Coalition’s Motive: Break the Abrahamic Covenant

“With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance
against you.”  (Psalm 83:5)

The ten-member coalition of Psalm 83 forms a covenant
with each other against not only the nation of Israel, but
the God of Israel.

The coalition is not satisfied to only destroy Israel
as a nation; they want to wipe out the memory of
the name of Israel; in effect, breaking the Abrahamic

In the Abrahamic covenant, God pledges that a Chosen
People will come through Abraham (Genesis 22:17–18),
through Isaac (Genesis 26:2–4), and through Jacob
(Genesis 28:14) and that God would give them the
Promised Land (Genesis 15:18; Joshua 1:4).

“The Lord appeared to Isaac and said,...  ‘For to you
and your descendants I will give all these lands and
will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.
I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars
in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through
your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.’”
(Genesis 26:2–4)

Of course, if through a human coalition the adversary
could wipe out the name of Israel, that would effectively
make the God of Israel look powerless and a liar in the
face of the entire world.

It would also nullify other promises, including the following:

Davidic Covenant / Eternal Throne (2 Samuel 7:12–13;
Isaiah 9:6–7; Luke 1:31–33)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name
will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal
Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase
of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and
over His kingdom.”  (Isaiah 9:6–7)

New Covenant / Eternal Relationship (Jeremiah 31:33;
John 14:16–17)

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of
Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put
my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will
be their God, and they will be my people.”(Jeremiah 31:33)

The Word of God, however, is accurate and reliable
and no adversary can thwart God's plans.

His covenant with Abraham is unconditional and everlasting.
Even after Israel’s disobedience, which He foresaw, He
would bring His people home to their own land after a
period of exile.

“It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going
to do these things, but for the sake of My holy name, which
you have profaned among the nations where you have
gone.... For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather
you from all the countries and bring you back into your
own land.”(Ezekiel 36:22, 24)

And God has been fulfilling this prophecy and others like
it, much to the dismay of those seeking to wipe out the
very memory of Israel.

The Ten-Member Coalition

While Israel’s many enemies have wanted to destroy the
nation of Israel and the Jewish People, Asaph specifically
identifies ten nations / groups that unite to form a coalition
for this very purpose:

“With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance
against you; the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of
Moab and the Hagrites, Byblos [Gebal], Ammon and
Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria
has joined them to reinforce Lot’s descendants.”
(Psalm 83:5–8)

While these groups are no longer identifiable by their
ancient names, Bill Salus, author of Israelist and
Psalm 83: The Missing Prophecy Revealed ascertains
the modern-day equivalents / descendants of these
coalition members as the following:

Tents of Edom:  Palestinians and Southern Jordanians
Ishmaelites:  Saudis (Ishmael is the father of the Arabs)
Moab:  Palestinians and Central Jordanians
Hagrites:  Egyptians (Hagar is an Egyptian matriarch)
Gebal (Byblos):  Hezbollah and Northern Lebanese
Ammon:  Palestinians and Northern Jordanians
Amalek:  Arabs of the Sinai area
Philistia:  Hamas of the Gaza Strip
Tyre:  Hezbollah and Southern Lebanese
Assyria:  Syrians and Northern Iraqi’s

Salus has worked to identify some of these ancient groups
based upon their ancient locations and others by where
they migrated.

Author Joel Richardson has also identified each member
group, as well, basing his conclusions only on their
ancient location in 10th century BC; therefore, his locations
and conclusions differ slightly from those of Salus.

The Coalition's Goal:  Destroy Israel

While this 10-member coalition might not yet be overtly
united in an action against Israel, these nations do exists
today and are already united under the values of Islam.

Moreover, Islam is influenced by a sibling rivalry that
dates back to Ishmael and Isaac, and Esau and Jacob.

This ancient resentment against the son of promise is perhaps
fueling attacks and conspiracies against the existence of a
Jewish homeland.

Of course, these Psalm 83 countries are actively conspiring
today to either take over the land of Israel and make it their
own or to prevent Israel from being a Jewish state.  In other
words, they want to make Israel a country that cannot
protect and shelter the Jewish People from those who
hate them.

Palestinians—Tents of Edom (Esau); Moab and Ammon
(sons of Lot)

Although Israel is currently in peace negotiations with
the Palestinian Authority (PA) for a two-state solution,
on January 11, 2014, the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas,
made his intentions about Israel’s existence clear:

“We won’t recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel.
We have many excuses and reasons that prevent us from
doing so,” Abbas said.

“We will march to Jerusalem in the millions, as free people
and heroes,” he asserted.  (JPost)

Jordanians—Tents of Edom; Moab and Ammon

Although Jordan and Israel have enjoyed a peace treaty
since 1994, on February 2, 2014, Jordan’s Foreign Minister
Nasser Judeh told his parliament that Israel should not be
recognized as a Jewish State nor should Jordan take in the
Palestinian refugees (Tents of Edom).  (ArutzSheva)
In response, on February 8, 2014, Jordan’s parliament voted
to not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.  (i24news)

Hezbollah and Lebanon—Gebal (Byblos) and Tyre

While Hezbollah, the terrorist group based in Lebanon,
has been helping Syrian President Assad wage war against
the rebels, on August 2, 2013, Hezbollah leader, Hassan
Nasrallah, came out of hiding to remind the people of
Lebanon that “Israel poses a danger on all people of this
region ... including Lebanon, and removing it is a
Lebanese national interest."  (JPost)

In February 2014, Nasrallah reinforced this idea,
deceptively telling the Lebanese people that “Israel
is still an enemy and a threat to Lebanon's people,
water, oil, security, and sovereignty.”


Although Gaza is officially a part of the Palestinian
Authority ruled by President Abbas, the terrorist group
Hamas (meaning “violence” in Hebrew) rules Gaza and
is ready to form a coalition with any Muslim group
willing to resist Israel.

Its charter states: “[Hamas] will only be of help to all
associations and organizations which act against the
Zionist enemy and those who revolve in its orbit.”

In January 2014, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad
said that the goal of Hamas is total destruction of Israel.

“We are coming after the Zionists with all our leaders and
soldiers,” Hamad said.  “You have only eight years on the
land of Palestine before your demise.”  (JPost)

Egyptians (or possibly Northern Jordanians)—Hagrites
or Hagarenes

A year after the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt
was overthrown in a coup, this country has been working
to undermine the power of Gaza’s Hamas. 

“We cannot get liberated from the terrorism of the
Brotherhood in Egypt without ending it in Gaza, which lies
on our borders,” an unnamed Egyptian senior security
official said.  (Reuters)

To accomplish this, Egypt has stationed thousands of
troops and equipment in the northern Sinai, well beyond
the number allowed in the 1979 peace treaty between
Egypt and Israel.  With another coup or change of heart,
Egypt is now well-positioned for a southern attack on Israel.

But at least one commentator believes that Egyptians are
not the Hagarenes.  Based on 1 Chronicles 5:10, which
Specifies a region east of Gilead, Joel Richardson believes
the Hagarenes are northern Jordanians.

If he is correct, then the peace and cooperation that Israel
is currently enjoying with Egypt might continue through
the coming war.  (wnd)

Gilead was a mountainous region east of the
Jordan River divided among the tribes of Gad
and Manasseh.  It is situated in what is today
called Jordan.

Saudis (or all Arabs)—Ishmaelites

Salus believes Saudi Arabia represents the Ishmaelite people
in Psalm 83.  Like most Arabs throughout the Middle East
and Africa, the Saudis claim to be the true chosen people
(as descendants of Ishmael).

Considering that Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US and a foe
of Iran, it may seem that it is not involved in a coalition
against Israel.

Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia voted “no” to the 1947 UN
resolution to create a Jewish state and supported the Arab
invasions of 1948, 1967 and 1973 with troops, as well as
with finances.  They do not have diplomatic relations with

Arabs of the Sinai (or of the Negev area)—Amalek (grandson
of Esau)

Bill Salus places the Amalekites in Sinai.  He believes they
were a part of Esau’s family (the Edomites) who migrated
into the Sinai area, which is part of Egypt.

Others, however, think that the Amalekites originated near
Mecca and by the 10th century BC, migrated to the Negev
area of modern Israel (wnd).  It is possible, therefore, that
some Arab-Israelis currently enjoying citizenship within
Israel are of this group.

Indeed, some Arabs inside of Israel look for its destructionas
a Jewish state, and even have Arab representation in
the Knesset (parliament):

"Israel should be defined as a state of its own nationalities.
There are two nationalities in Israel.  One is [the] Jewish
majority, one is [the] Arab-Palestinian minority,” said the
deputy speaker of the Knesset Ahmad Tibi in January 2014.
 “Saying that Israel is the Jewish state is neglecting our
existence, our very existence and our narrative, and I will
not accept that," he added.  (CBC)

Syrians and Northern Iraqis (and possibly Turkey)—Assyria

Since the creation of both Israel and Syria in the mid-20th
century, diplomatic ties have never been established
between these two countries, which share a border.

Syria has attacked Israel in three major wars in 1948,
1967, and 1973.

The situation in Syria is incredibly volatile.  While Syria’s
President Bashar Assad shares the common hatred for
Israel with his neighbors, the U.S. is worried that if he
is defeated in his civil war, the many thousands of jihadist
rebels, including Hezbollah, will take control and eagerly
rally support for a war against Israel. (fox news)

Although the U.S. supports Israel’s defense against these
national threats, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has
unwittingly supported the ambitions of the coalition when
he said on March 13 that Israel should not require the
PA to recognize Israel as a Jewish State.

The Prophet Appeals for Victory

In Psalm 83, the prophet Asaph appeals to God, asking
Him to make the coalition members perish in disgrace
(Psalm 83:9–18).

In fact, Obadiah, Ezekiel 25–27, 37:10, and Jeremiah
49:1–6 prophesy that these coalition members will
indeed perish and be cursed as Genesis 12:3 predicts:
“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses
you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed
through you.”

These connecting prophetic verses seem to refer to
Israel’s victory in Psalm 83.

A resulting sense of regional security may make Israel ripe
for the battle of Ezekiel 38—the invasion of a nine-member
coalition whose leaders say,

“I will go up against the land of unwalled villages.  I will fall
upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them
dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates, to
seize spoil and carry off plunder...”  (Ezekiel 38:11–12)

While Israel today is indeed prospering and is a safe
country to visit, she will have incredible riches and live
in unparalleled safety after the victory of Psalm 83 is

Psalm 83: A Pending Prophecy

Some theologians have argued that the battle highlighted
in Psalm 83:5–8 was fulfilled in Israel’s 1948 War for
Independence; however, the tents (refugees or military
encampments) of Edom (Southern Jordan) only came
into existence in 1949, after the war ended.

And since Psalm 83 lists them first, Salus believes the tents
of Edom will play a key role in this coming war.

Other theologians have made the argument that the 1967
Six-Day War fulfilled this prophecy; still, only a portion
of the ten members listed were involved in that war, so
the Six Day War does not seem to be the fulfillment
of this end-time prophecy.

Since neither of these wars precisely fulfill the prophecy,
we can understand that some future war involving a
10-member coalition will fulfill it.

Today that coalition, which is united under the common
values and motives of Islam, fits the prophecy’s
requirements like no other time in history.

Therefore, many believe the war in Psalm 83 will
happen soon, before the invasion of Ezekiel 38.

In fact, none of the ten coalition members of Psalm 83
are mentioned in Ezekiel 38, though the book of Ezekiel
mentions them elsewhere.

Pitfalls in Interpreting Prophecy

"I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they
will never be silent day or night.  You who call on Yehovah,
give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He
establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the
earth."  (Isaiah 62:6–7)

There is a saying that hindsight is 20/20.  Likewise, Bible
prophecy is more easily understood in hindsight, after its

Psalm 83 reminds us that we must keep a watchful
eye on the Middle East and pray for the peace of Jerusalem,
as well as diligently study God’s Word.

As we watch, pray and study, God will give us wisdom
as events unfold and the pieces of the prophetic puzzle
come into place.

And when they do, that picture will be illuminated on the
same wall where God has displayed His plan for Israel
And mankind and where the Messianic prophecies are
permanently hung.

“Israel will be saved by Yehovah with an everlasting
salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced,
to ages everlasting.”  (Isaiah 45:17)

"For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant
future,but right now!  I am ready to save Jerusalem
and show My glory to Israel."  (Isaiah 46:13)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Keep Easter, Why?

Exactly how did Easter; a holiday not found in the Bible, and never celebrated in the early Church; come to replace the 1st day of the week [Sunday] that followed the Jewish Passover; come to be observed as the day of Jesus resurrection after 325 A.D.?

How did Easter become the popular holiday it is today? Have you ever looked into it?

Isn't it important to know the truth of the matter? Jesus the anointed one himself said that the truth would make us free (John:8:32). He was speaking of being free of wrong ideas that mislead, entrap and enslave us.

If we look back in history, one key date regarding Easter is the year A.D. 325. At that time, the Roman emperor Constantine held an assembly with some 250 bishops at Nicaea, a town in what is now north-western Turkey, close to present-day Istanbul. This meeting is known in history as the Council of Nicaea.

What does this Council have to do with Easter? It actually set the stage for the removal of the 1st day of the week [Sunday] following the Jewish Passover as the day to celebrate Jesus resurrection, and replaced it with a day not at all connected with the Jewish Passover.

Constantine and the Nicene Council reject the 1st day of the week [Sunday] following the Jewish Passover as the day to celebrate Jesus resurrection. 

At the Council of Nicaea, under the dominating eye of Constantine, the majority of the bishops backed replacing the Christian observance of the 1st day of the week [Sunday] following the Jewish Passover as the day to celebrate Jesus resurrection with the day the Roman Catholic Church decided, the day they observe to-day called Easter.

Actually, it should be understood that while they called the new celebration of Jesus' resurrection Pascha or Passover, it was certainly not the 1st day of the week [Sunday] following the Jewish Passover, but a religious celebration derived from pagan origins. Later it would become known as "Easter," the Germanic name for this festival and what it is commonly called today. (Other languages still call it the Passover of the Resurrection, which can cause some confusion. Some English sources refer to the true Christian Passover, a memorial of Christ's death, as Easter, but this is clearly a misnomer, as we'll see.).

The dispute over this matter in the early Christian centuries is known in history as the Paschal Controversy. Regrettably, we virtually have only one side of the story. James Carroll, writing about the Nicene Council in his book Constantine's Sword, explains the Roman emperor's motives: "Immediately upon coming to power as the sole ruler of the empire [A.D. 324], but only then, Constantine asserted the right to exercise absolute authority over the entire Church. He did this despite the fact that he was not baptized, and, as was not unusual, would not be until shortly before he died" (2001, p. 188, emphasis added throughout).

After this Council, Constantine wrote a blatantly anti-Semitic letter to the churches in the Roman Empire letting them know his thoughts about the Easter-Passover controversy.

Here is part of what he wrote as to the rationale for Christians to abandon the biblical feast of Passover, which the Jewish people had long observed in fulfillment of God's commands:

"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 practice of this people, we should perpetuate to all future ages the celebration of this rite in a more legitimate order ... 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 ... Let us withdraw ourselves, my much honored brethren, from that most odious fellowship" (quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History , "Council of Nice," 1974, p. 52).

At first glance, it appears Constantine was attacking only Jews of the Jewish faith, but notice what Mal and Donna Broadhurst insightfully point out: "The fact that Christianity never had religious fellowship with non-Christian Jews means the Jews referred to were the Christian Jews . The reference to Jews instructing Christians how to observe the Christian Passover feast could only be applicable to Christian Jews, as non-Christian Jews did not tell Christians how to observe the Passover. The fellowship from which Constantine wanted the Church to withdraw was fellowship with Christian Jews" ( Passover Before Messiah and After ,1987, p. 147).

In fact, the leaders of Jewish Christianity, the successors of the group who had held the prevailing beliefs for the first century after the Church was founded, were either not invited to this Council or knew better and did not appear.

As the Broadhursts point out: "Constantine apparently began his plan to unify the church by simply not inviting any [Christian] Jewish representatives to the Council. (It is possible Jewish church leaders were invited and refused to come, but other facts about the Council lead to the former conclusion.) The lists of those present at the Council shows them all to have had Greek names. None of those present had characteristic Jewish names. The Palestinian delegates were from the coastal cities where mainly Gentiles lived. It is known that there were Jewish bishops in Palestine at the time" (p. 146).

The sword drawn against "Fourteeners"

As emperor, Constantine tolerated no dissent. So he soon drew his sword against those not following his wishes in not conforming to the teachings of the Catholic, or universal, church. The historian Robin Lane Fox notes: "At Nicaea, the Emperor himself imposed criminal sentences of exile on the bishops who refused to sign . He also investigated other reports of heresy" ( Pagans and Christians, 1986, p. 656).

Eventually, those bishops who did not agree with the decisions made in Nicaea were exiled and their works banned. A vicious persecution against Christian Jews and others branded as heretics began. So the Catholic Church, which previously had been persecuted, became the chief persecutor of those who chose to remain true to what had been practiced by the early church, rather than follow the dictates of a deeply compromised church.

"The Paschal Controversy was 'settled' at the Council of Nicaea; not theologically, but politically," the Broadhursts further explain. "It was settled by eliminating one of the viewpoints. Church law had been laid down. No longer could any Christians celebrate [the] Christian Passover the way [the apostle] John, Philip and other [Christian] Jews had celebrated it. All were required to celebrate on the Sunday following the 14th [of the Hebrew first month of Nisan]. As a result once respected 'Quartodecimans' ["Fourteeners"] who persisted in the belief handed down to them from the Apostles, would henceforth be called heretics" (p. 148).

What was the result of this Council? Historian Jesse Hurlbut candidly describes the consequences: "But while the triumph of Christianity resulted in much that was good, inevitably the alliance of the church and state also brought in its train many evils. The ceasing of persecution was a blessing, but the establishment of Christianity as the state religion became a curse.

"Everyone sought membership in the church, and nearly everybody was accepted ... The forms and ceremonies of paganism gradually crept into the worship. Some of the old heathen feasts became church festival s with change of name and of worship ... As a result of the church sitting in power, we do not see Christianity transforming the world to its ideal, but the world dominating the church" ( A History of the Christian Church, 1918, pp. 78-79).

A.D. 325 as the beginning of the Dark Ages

So the year 325 is crucial in the outcome of what traditional Christianity has become. "As far as [the] Christian Passover is concerned , "the Broadhursts conclude, "the beginning of the Dark Ages can be set at 325 A.D. with the Council of Nicaea. Along with turning their backs on [Christian] Jews, the Gentiles turned their backs on the Jewish Scriptures [the Old Testament].
"They disallowed Jewish input to their faith, lifestyle, and worship ... It took a major reformation centuries later [in the 1500s] to begin to undo the horror and destruction the church brought on the world when the Gentiles at Nicaea formally adopted the policy of 'having nothing in common with the Jews'" (p. 149).

A few years later, in 332, Constantine again sternly rebuked those who opposed Catholic teachings with this warning and threat: "Forasmuch, then, as it is no longer possible to bear with your pernicious errors, we give warning by this present statute that none of you henceforth presume to assemble yourselves together.

"We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies: and [ we ] forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever.

"Let those of you, therefore, who are desirous of embracing the true and pure religion, take the far better course of entering the catholic Church, and uniting with it in holy fellowship, whereby you will be enabled to arrive at the knowledge of the truth" (quoted by Eusebius, Life of Constantine, sect. 3, chap. 65).

A bloodbath eventually occurred. Those who did not conform to the Church of Rome, now united with the powerful Roman Empire, suffered implacable persecution.

Regarding the aftermath of the Council of Nicaea, famed historian Will Durant stated, "Probably more Christians were slaughtered by Christians in these two years (342-3) than by all the persecutions of Christians by pagans in the history of Rome" ( The Story of Civilization, Vol. 4: The Age of Faith, 1950, p. 8).

The Roman calendar adopted by the Roman Church

Due to the decisions of the Nicene Council, the pagan Roman calendar was adopted instead of the Jewish calendar to determine the dates of what were now deemed to be Christian festivals. Those who continued keeping the true “Christian Passover” as handed down from the apostles had to go into hiding, for they were targeted along with other "heretics" by the church under Constantine and his successors.

Church historian Henry Chadwick points out about the Easter controversy: "Victor of Rome's intervention [referring to the earlier Roman bishop Victor's ruling to observe Easter instead of the Christian Passover or be excommunicated] turned out to be successful in the sense that his view was eventually to prevail. But it was a long time before those who kept Easter [i.e., the true Passover, it being misnamed here] on the fourteenth day (nicknamed Quartodecimans) died out.

"The group still existed in the ninth century despite the vigour with which church councils deplored them. It was impossible in so weighty a practical question for diversity to be allowed, but there can be little doubt that the Quartodecimans were right in thinking that they had preserved the most ancient and apostolic custom. They had become heretics simply by being behind the times" ( The Early Church, 1967, p. 85).

So from approximately 325 to 1585, a period of 1,260 years, Christians who continued to follow the Bible's instruction about Passover had to flee and hide from the vicious church and state persecutions during those ensuing centuries.

The curtain finally rises on the period of religious persecution

It was only during the time of Elizabethan England that a measure of religious tolerance was granted and the inheritors of the legacy of those early Jewish and gentile Christians, who followed the original practices of Jesus and the apostles, could finally emerge.

In 1585, England and Spain went to war, mainly over the attempt of Spain to militarily impose the Catholic faith on England. Spain lost the war, and also its famed Spanish Armada, so England was free to continue its religious tolerance; which eventually spread to its colonies abroad, including what be came the United States and Canada. In large part thanks to what happened then, we enjoy those same freedoms of worship in many nations of the world today.

The returning Christ will lead the world to keep God's festivals

Let's move forward to the 21st century. From what we have read, dare we ask if there is something better and more biblical to observe than Easter?

To answer this, just imagine in your mind the following scene: Jesus Christ has finally returned to rule on the earth, just as He had promised (Matthew:24:30).

And note what will happen, as foretold in Zechariah:14:3-19: "Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east ... And the Lord shall be King over all the earth ...

"And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles [one of God's annual festivals, listed in Leviticus 23]. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain.

"If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."

What Easter replaced: the Christian Passover, the 1st day of the week according to the Jewish Calendar that followed Passover [Sunday]

Shortly before His death, Jesus prophesied to His disciples what feast He would keep when He returned. Again, it was not the man made counterfeit Easter. Rather, He said, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke:22:15-16). Clearly, one of the festivals Christ will again celebrate when He establishes His Kingdom is the Christian Passover!

Paul reminded Church members in Corinth: "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed the anointed One, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians:5:7-8).

We can look forward to the day when Jesus Christ returns and restores all the genuine Christian feasts that were changed by deceived and deluded men in the distant past.

The good news is that we can now celebrate the resurrection of the lord Jesus on the 1st day of the week [Sunday] that follows the Jewish Passover and rejoice at that time [the time when under the old covenant the weave sheaf offering was presented before Yahovah, as a type of Jesus the first-fruit of all who will be resurrected at his return ].  So on the 1st day of the week [Sunday] all those in the lord Jesus can come together in wonderful fellowship and, as Jesus foretold in John:4:23-24, worship God in spirit and truth.

I think that what would be a great idea would be for the called-out Assembly of God to keep the lord’s supper at the same time that the Jews celebrate Passover and then celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on the 1st day of the week, according to the Jewish calendar that follows the Jewish Passover, which would be what we call Sunday.

Of coarse we can keep the lord’s supper at any time during the year, but to keep it on the same evening as the Jews eat their Passover meal would be a good thing to do.