Saturday, April 4, 2015

Could there be some Jewish/Christian Spiritual Significance?

Jesus Last Supper Seder
John R. Houk
© April 4, 2015
I sense there is some spiritual significance that Good Friday and the first day of Passover occur on the same day this year in 2015. In full disclosure these thoughts on this event have been inspired by a Jewish friend Ari Bussel’s Easter message which I have cross posted below my thoughts.
The Passover season and the Easter season coincide occasionally. This is interesting because Passover commemorates the time God and Moses delivered the 12 Hebrew Tribes from the slavery suffered for 400 years under Egypt and its sovereign called Pharaoh. The English translation for the event is called Passover because the blood of a lamb was painted on the door posts of Hebrew slaves so that the last plague of a death Angel would pass over the Hebrews’ first born males. This last plague pushed Pharaoh to finally free the Hebrew slaves. Passover is an eight day celebration memorializing the preparation for freed from slavery Hebrews to leave quickly. The couple of days of Passover is called the Seder.
Easter commemorates the timeframe Jesus Christ Crucified, buried and arose bodily from the grave providing all humanity who believe in that Resurrection eternal life in the Presence of God, forgiven of the debt of Adam’s sin and transferred out of Satan’s realm (a slave system of eternal death/separation from God) into the realm of God via Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians the Jesus represents that lamb slain that we pass from certain death in Hell to certain life with the first born from dead – Jesus Christ – in the Kingdom of God – the new Promised Land. Jesus celebrated the Seder the night before his Crucifixion in which Christians call the Last Supper. The unleavened bread (matzah) blessing Jesus tears/breaks in half telling the Apostles the bread is His body broken for Believers. The second (of four) cups of wine is blessed and Jesus tells the Apostles to drink for the blessed cup of wine is His Blood to be spilled to Redeem Believers (at the Resurrection).
The Good Friday of 2015 and the beginning of Passover begin on roughly the same day. The eight day Passover and the three day Easter season do not always occur on the same day because the Jewish calendar is lunar and the Catholic/Protestant calendar is solar based on the present day on the solar calculations of Aloysius Lilius and instituted by Pope Gregory XIII circa 1582. Eastern Rite Christian Churches still determine Christian Holy Days according to the Julian Calendar instituted by none other than Julius Caesar on 45 BC.
I am a Christian Zionist which means I am a huge supporter for the existence of Israel. Many might consider me a Christian Zionist to the extreme as I believe Israel’s nation should be measured by Biblical standards which means its land mass should be much greater than currently exists and that Arabs that call themselves Palestinians must not have a sovereign nation carved out of the Israel that is Biblically entitled to Jews. And although I am a great believer in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ the Son of God to all people, I understand that religious Jews view Christian motives of evangelism are repugnant to them.
Regardless of Jewish mistrust of Christianity and probably some mistrust of Christian Zionist motivation, it is my Sola Scriptura belief that Jews must populate the Land of Israel for the Second Coming of Christ which brings complete Redemption not just of the human spirit, but also the mind (soul) and body. It is my belief that Jesus will reveal He is the Messiah of Jews as much as has ever been to the Gentile Believers who have embraced the Old Testament prophecy pointing to Jesus as both the Son of God and the son of man through the Davidic line. (Although I have graduated from a Bible school, I do not have the appropriate academic letters behind my name to claim to be a scholarly theologian. So take my Sola Scriptura with a grain of salt.)
The history of the Christian Church in relation to Jews is a horrible picture of Christians persecuting Jews. This horror can be found in all branches of Christianity – Eastern Rite (Orthodox and others), Roman Catholic and Protestants. The Patristic Fathers of the Early Church from third and fourth centuries A.D. often were blatantly Antisemitic. The Roman Catholics and Eastern Rite Church both in their traditions honor the Patristic Fathers. Protestants are not quite so tradition minded and more Biblical minded but nevertheless theologians study the Patristic Fathers for further understanding of the development of the Christian faith.
Undoubtedly a book could be written about Roman Catholic inspired Antisemitism. Aside from a book look at the infamous historical Antisemitism of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition.
In May, 1096, in a period of four weeks frenzied bands of Crusaders struck the Jewish communities of Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and Cologne. The Jews were offered the option of conversion to Christianity or death; the vast majority chose the path of Kiddush HaShem, sanctification of G‑d's name. Rather than submit to forced conversion, in many cases Jews killed their wives and children, and then themselves.  … Estimates of the toll taken on the Jewish communities range from 3,000 to 10,000 deaths.
Undaunted, unstoppable, the Crusaders conquered Eretz Israel, reaching Jerusalem in 1099. Once there, they gathered all the Jews of Jerusalem into the central synagogue and set it afire. Other Jews, who had climbed to the roof of Al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount, were caught and beheaded. The Crusader leader, Godfrey of Bouillon, wrote to the Pope, “If you want to know what has been done with the enemy found in Jerusalem...our people had their vile blood up to the knees of their horses.” … READ ENTIRETY (The Bloody Crusades; By Yosef Eisen;; from Miraculous Journey © 2004)
Spanish Inquisition:
In 1481 the Inquisition started in Spain and ultimately surpassed the medieval Inquisition, in both scope and intensity. Conversos (Secret Jews) and New Christians were targeted because of their close relations to the Jewish community, many of whom were Jews in all but their name. Fear of Jewish influence led Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to write a petition to the Pope asking permission to start an Inquisition in Spain. In 1483 Tomas de Torquemada became the inquisitor-general for most of Spain, he set tribunals in many cities. Also heading the Inquisition in Spain were two Dominican monks, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin.
First, they arrested Conversos and notable figures in Seville; in Seville more than 700 Conversos were burned at the stake and 5,000 repented. Tribunals were also opened in Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia. An Inquisition Tribunal was set up in Ciudad Real, where 100 Conversos were condemned, and it was moved to Toledo in 1485. Between 1486-1492, 25 auto de fes were held in Toledo, 467 people were burned at the stake and others were imprisoned. The Inquisition finally made its way to Barcelona, where it was resisted at first because of the important place of Spanish Conversos in the economy and society.
More than 13,000 Conversos were put on trial during the first 12 years of the Spanish Inquisition. Hoping to eliminate ties between the Jewish community and Conversos, the Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492... (Christian-Jewish Relations: The Inquisition; Jewish Virtual Library)
The Ninth of Av of the year 1492 was the date designated for all Jews of Spain to leave the country. This mass expulsion was a disaster of a magnitude that we can barely imagine. The horrors that those Jews experienced are not diminished by the centuries that have passed.
Dr. David Raphael has collected accounts from those who personally lived through these events. He has translated them into English from the original Hebrew, Spanish and Portuguese, and collected them into a unique volume entitled, "The Expulsion 1492 Chronicles." We include here a few excerpts to help you better understand this tragic time in Jewish history.
The Expulsion 1492 Chronicles [continued]
·         The Account of Elijah Capsali
·         The Account of Don Isaac Abravanel
·         The Account of Solomon Ibn Verga
·         The Vale of Tears, Joseph Hacohen
·         When My Children Were Sent to the Lizards, Samuel Usque

by David Raphael pp. 13-17 Section I - The Minor Order of Elijah (Seder Eliyahu Zuta), quoted from Elijah Capsali (c. 1483-1555)
When the Jews heard this, a great and anguished cry arose among them. And wherever the king's pronouncement was heard, the Jews went into mourning. For many Jews, this pronouncement arrived just before the festival of Passover, and they spent the first day of the festival dressed in sackcloth and ashes, and ate and drank nothing the entire day. Even those who did eat, did so with the bitterness of the bitter herbs in their mouths, for G-d had sent forth His angels against all the houses of Israel. …
In those terrible days, if a Jew owed a non-Jew money, he would be beaten mercilessly until he paid, while if a non-Jew owed a Jew money and the Jew went to court to collect it, the judge would ignore the case …
In those awful days, thousands and even tens of thousands of Jews converted, and this even included some who were leaving or who had left the country, as they saw what a terrible fate awaited them in their travels. …
In the end, all suffered: some by the sword and some by captivity and some by disease, until but a few remained of the many. In the words of our fathers (Num. 17:28), "Behold we perish, we die, we all perish," may the name of the L-rd be blessed. …
…  The King used to send common criminals there, and those who had been sentenced to death. There he sent the poor Jews, together with the criminals, and no one came to their aid. The mothers rose their voices with weeping when these barbarians tore the children from their laps, and the men tore out their beards because of their souls' grief in this time of terror. …
Thereafter, one of the King's servants went to the aged and said to them, "Your youngsters and sons have already accepted a new religion: do as they have done so that ye may live." However, as they refused to listen to him, the King commanded that they be given neither bread nor water, and when, after three days of fasting, they still refused to listen to him, they were dragged to the church, mercilessly beaten - not even the faces of the very aged were spared - and then, forcibly baptized. Many refused even then and preferred to be killed.
One man wrapped his son in a prayer-shawl and exhorted them to sanctify the Name of the Holy One of Israel, whereupon one died after the other, and he himself after them. Another man killed his dear wife, and then plunged the sword into his body so that he died. Those who wished to bury the dead, were murdered by the Christians with pikes. Many plunged themselves into graves just to remain faithful, and many jumped through fences and out of windows, and their corpses were thrown into the sea by the Christians in the presence of all the other Israelites. This was done to intimidate their hearts so that they would no longer persist in their obstinacy. … (The Expulsion 1492 Chronicles [continued]; Ibid.)
I might have did a little overkill with your time and space on how the Roman Catholic Christians treated the Jews, but I wanted readers to understand the extreme mistrust that Jews have for Christians. There are many examples of Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Russians horribly persecuting Jews.  
Even so the Protestant Reformers are also on the hook for their share of Antisemitism. The greatest example of this is Martin Luther the Reformer that first gained support of Christian rulers.
“Set fire to their synagogues or schools,” Martin Luther recommended in On the Jews and Their Lies. Jewish houses should “be razed and destroyed,” and Jewish “prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, [should] be taken from them.” In addition, “their rabbis [should] be forbidden to teach on pain of loss of life and limb.” Still, this wasn’t enough.
Luther also urged that “safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews,” and that “all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them.” What Jews could do was to have “a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade” put into their hands so “young, strong Jews and Jewesses” could “earn their bread in the sweat of their brow.” READ THE REST (Was Luther Anti-Semitic? By ERIC W. GRITSCH;; 7/01/1993 12:00AM)
And yet it is a fact that Jesus Christ is a Jew first and a Redeemer to all humanity inclusive of Gentiles second. Christians must throw off the bad rap of Christ-killers aimed at Jews. Christians must come to grips the Gentile Romans actually ordered the Crucifixion. And yet without the Crucifixion of the Redemptive plan of God would not be available to Jew, Gentile or anyone. Also the Jews responsible for egging on Pilate to Crucify Jesus did so were greedy and jealous Jewish religious leaders’ intent on maintaining their privileged position under Roman suzerainty even though such a situation was repugnant to the majority of Jews. Rather the Jewish leaders believed Jesus was the Son of God or not was more an excuse to get rid of the man that could rock the boat of their position.
So my thoughts come to an end. Below is Ari Bussel’s Easter/Passover message.
JRH 4/4/15
An Easter Message from the Bussel Family: 
By Ari Bussel
Sent: 4/2/2015 11:13 PM
Dear Friends,
Good Friday.
Leil HaSeder (Eve of the Seder Special Gathering and Meal and the beginning of Passover).
This year, they coincide, reminding us of the importance of standing together.
Standing as one - the People of the Bible.
As we are about to celebrate the ancient-yet-eternal, allow me to remind us that contrary to prevailing belief, Israel is not infallible.  Nor is she invincible. 
Lamentations 4:12:
12 The kings of the earth believed not, neither all the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem. {S}
Today, when the P5+1 have covered their eyes and ears for an "agreement," one that the other side neither recognizes nor respects, we must remember the past. 
Not so long ago (September 30th, 1938), then British Prime Minister has pronounced to the world "Peace for Our Time!"  Then it was the Munich Agreement.  Now it is a so-called agreement with Iran.  (WWII started on September 1st, 1939, not even a year later; How long will it take WWIII to start?)
Obadiah 1:15:
15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations; as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee; thy dealing shall return upon thine own head.
As we are about to celebrate the ever-lasting, what is beyond human comprehension, we turn to the Bible.  For everything was foretold, all is already written.
Lamentations 5:19, 21:
19 Thou, O LORD, art enthroned for ever, Thy throne is from generation to generation.
21 Turn Thou us unto Thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.
We, the Jewish People, will be reminding ourselves the stories of the past, looking at the present.  We will be celebrating, yet my heart is heavy.  Life as we know it is changing, in front of our very eyes; yet we do not see, we do not wish to see.
As we are about to be engulfed in current events that may be beyond our comprehension, let us always remember the light at the end of the tunnel, a distant future, a better future for all of humanity.
Micah 4:1-3:
1 But in the end of days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow unto it.
2 And many nations shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths'; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3 And He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide concerning mighty nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
As we journey together, toward this better future, allow me to end the same way I did a year ago today:
How blessed we are to call each other friends, to stand strong side-by-side, for this friendship runs deep, as it is said in Psalms 1:3:
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, {N}
that bringeth forth its fruit in its season, and whose leaf doth not wither; and in whatsoever he doeth he shall prosper.
Ari Bussel
Could there be some Jewish/Christian Spiritual Significance?
John R. Houk
© April 4, 2015
An Easter Message from the Bussel Family
© Ari Bussel
Edited by John R. Houk
Ari’s original email had the Scriptures in Hebrew side by side to English.

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