|Home | Beacon Magazine | Beacon Magazine Articles|
The First Feast Season
Feast of Unleavened Bread
Last year, 2008, was an interesting year in terms of the difference between Yahweh’s Calendar of His Appointed Times and the disparate calendar of Christendom. The Christian calendar held fast to the pagan tradition of the equinox determination of the celebration of the goddess, Easter, for which their celebration is named. Ironically, here in Fulton, Missouri, (as well as elsewhere in this nation) it snowed that Sunday, obliterating any notion that “spring has arrived.” Several friends commented to me about it. A Christian friend, with whom I have shared the true and startling facts about Scripture, e-mailed me and asked, “Do you know anything about this?” She was referring to an article that stated, “This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives!” The article also stated, “This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.” … I don’t think so. Number one, Easter is pre determined by the Roman Catholic Church, based on the FULL moon, not the NEW moon, and it doesn’t “move around;” at least not in the way that Yahweh determines His Feasts. They celebrated Easter in March. On Yahweh’s Scriptural Calendar, the New Year, that is “the Beginning of Months,” began on April 7, and Passover was celebrated on April 20, a month after the Christian rites of spring. I wrote a long e-mail back to the individual who had asked me, “Do you know anything about this?” You can read my response in our April 2008 YAIY News Newsletter. Basically, I rolled out the Scripture for her as it pertains to Yahweh’s Feasts.
Also, I was startled at a luncheon in March, when a Catholic friend, to whom I’ve shared much of my beliefs, asked me out of the blue, “John, I have a question; and, I know that you’ll have the correct answer.” I couldn’t imagine what she was going to ask me. She said, “Did Easter come too early this year?” If her first statement wasn’t startling enough, this one caused me to drop my fork. You know, we don’t often have opportunities like this to enlighten our friends, and it wasn’t until the next day that it dawned on me what the perfect answer might have been. I should have answered her question about Easter coming early with another question, “What does Scripture say?” As much as that may have been the “right” answer, perhaps it was Yahweh’s Spirit that prevented me from saying that, as it may have been taken as condemnation, especially in front of her friends, since there is clearly nothing in Scripture about the celebration of Easter. What I said to her was, “Well, of course it’s correct! After all, the Catholic Church created it.” I’m not sure anyone there understood the sarcasm in my answer. After all, by the definition of “Holy”, who among us of the flesh has the right to make up their own “Holy Days”?
Is Easter Scriptural?
When Jeremiah was confronting the people on their wicked ways, we read in Jeremiah 44:16-29,
As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of Yahweh, we will not listen to you! But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.The women also said, “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands’ permission?” (In other words, the women were saying, “Why are you talking to us? Talk to our husbands; they know what we’re doing! Who do you think is teaching us these things!”) Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people – the men, the women, and all the people who had given him that answer – saying: “The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land – did not Yahweh remember them, and did it not come into His mind? So Yahweh could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed. [That’s why] your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day. Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against Yahweh, and have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.” Moreover Jeremiah (or YirmehYah, whose name means, “Yah Will Rise”) said to all the people and to all the women, “Hear the word of Yahweh, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt! Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the Elohi of Israel, saying: ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, “We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!’” Therefore hear the word of Yahweh, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: “Behold, I have sworn by My great name,” says Yahweh, “that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, ‘The Sovereign Yahweh lives. Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them. Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs. And this shall be a sign to you,’ says Yahweh, ‘that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for adversity.’”
Queen of Heaven
Now, THAT is a righteous and harsh judgment! And why were they judged so harshly? Why was Yahweh so angry? The reason was they went “to the land of Egypt to dwell there.” They took up the worship of false deities, and the men were fully aware that their wives were worshipping “the Queen of Heaven.” And, exactly who is this Queen of Heaven? None other than Easter, the goddess of springtime, heralded in at the time of the spring equinox. In keeping with the pagan tradition of changing the names of deities, while keeping the holiday of Easter, the Catholic Church has found a new Queen of Heaven. Who is she? She is none other than “Mary.” I was, in fact, startled to discover on the internet, the “Queen of Heaven Parish” in Erlanger, Kentucky. Hello! How many sermons do you think you’ll hear in that church that quote the 44th chapter of Jeremiah – with any respect at all to Yahweh? I would not want to be in that building when Yahshua returns.
Son of the Queen of Heaven
In Ezekiel 8:12-14, we read,
Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘Yahweh does not see us, Yahweh has forsaken the land.’ And He said to me, ‘Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing’.” So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the House of Yahweh; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.
Tammuz is a Babylonian deity, the son of the sun god, Nimrod, husband to Semiramis, who deified herself as the Queen of Heaven. The story of this “holy” family is too long to explain in detail here. Let it be simply said that this story lives on, but with other names like Ashterah (Easter, the fertile one), Zeus (the mighty king), Mithra (the son) and so on. It is a story that attempts to replace the true plan of salvation with fraudulence in order to lead many astray from the true Elohim, Yahweh Almighty, and His Son, Yahshua the Messiah.
Venerable Day of the Sun
Continuing with Ezekiel 8:15-16,
Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.” So He brought me into the inner court of Yahweh’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh and their faces toward theeast, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.
“Sol Invictus,” the “Unconquered Sun,” was the Roman sun god created by the emperor Aurelian in 274. It overshadowed other Eastern cults in importance, until the abolition of paganism under Theodosius I. The Romans held a festival on December 25 of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, “the birthday of the unconquered sun,” the date after the winter solstice with the first detectable lengthening of daylight hours.
The Israelites, the Greeks and the Romans submitted to the false teachings originating from Babylon. It seems that, without the presence of the Holy Spirit of Yahweh working in the hearts and minds of men, there is little strength to endure the call of the flesh.
After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury,” Revelation 18:1-3.
It should be noted here that, in the phrase “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird,” the word “fallen” does not mean destroyed, at least in this present time. How can it? Babylon IS a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird. The word, fallen, is the Greek word, pipto, and means “alighting, to light upon, to fly or to fall”. In other words, the eagle, a symbol of Babylon, has landed! Babylon is here, right in front of our eyes.
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and Yahweh has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow (in other words, “I have many rich and powerful lovers, none of whom do I respect or commit my life to”), and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day – death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Sovereign Yahweh who judges her, Revelation 18:4-8.
The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy one is understanding, Proverbs 9:10.
Similarities and Differences of True and False Holy Days
Years ago, as I remember looking through the newsletter where I work, I saw the annual announcements for the “holy season schedule.” I was not surprised to see Easter, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday on the schedule; but I was somewhat surprised to see “Holy (or Maundy) Thursday” and “Pentecost” on the schedule. My attention to the article grew stronger when I compared their calendar with Yahweh’s Calendar posted on the wall of my office, upon which was noted: the first day of the Scriptural new year, Passover, the 1st and last days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost). What struck me was that their schedule had designated “holy days” which corresponded directly to the timing of some of the Scriptural set-apart days. What I mean is they matched the same days, but not the same purpose or meaning. They would be celebrating “Holy Thursday” and “Good Friday” when we will be celebrating Passover and the 1st Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The only day that had a mutual time AND name was Pentecost. There was no comparable day on their calendar for the Scriptural first day of the new year or the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. Interestingly, on the Christian calendar the First and Last Day of Unleavened Bread is equivalent to Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday; both are 8 days long. When we consider this, though, we realize that any apparent similarity that might be seen between churchianity’s “holy days” and the Scriptural Set-Apart days is, purely, coincidental. In fact, if we compare these two 8-day festivals, they were 6 days apart from one another that year, in spite of the apparent alignment of Passover, First Day of Unleavened Bread and the Sheaf Wave Offering. Ironically, the only direct correlation between our faith and Christianity is Pentecost, called Shavuot or Feast of Weeks. And, even with that, from year-to-year the days do not always line up, due to their unscriptural doctrine of determining the dates (the equinox, Sunday and full-moon instead of the Scriptural sighting of the new moon and the ripeness of the barley harvest in Jerusalem).
Most people know that the disciples received the set-apart Spirit on the day of Pentecost; however, most people don’t know that it was the “anniversary” of the day that Moses went up to receive, for the Israelites, the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, after walking 7 weeks in the wilderness of Sinai
The Sheaf Wave Offering
In Leviticus 23, beginning at verse 10, we read about another Holy day. Yahweh is speaking to Moses:
Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest,” Leviticus 23:10.
Yahshua was THE FIRST of the firstfruits.
He shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it, Leviticus 23:11.
The sheaf wave (symbolically, Yahshua), is offered on the 1st day of the week, which today is called ‘Sunday.’ It’s important to know, though, that this CANNOT be symbolic of the resurrection. Yahshua arose prior to sunset, on the weekly Sabbath, “as the first day of the week was ‘dawning’ – not dawn, but at sunset,” when the new day began in Biblical times! The clearest translation that I have found was written in 1890 by J. N. Darby.
Now late on Sabbath, as it was the dusk of the next day after Sabbath, came Mary of Magdala and the other Mary to look at the sepulcher, Matthew 28:1 John N. Darby, Translation 1890.
Just a note: John Darby was born in 1800 and died in 1882. His biography includes this statement: “As occasion arose he would throw off religious conventionality. Darby, constrained by the Scriptural view of the Church as independent of the State, relinquished his parochial position in 1827, and in the next year completed his separation from the Establishment by ‘breaking bread’ in Dublin with” … like minded “associates.” I think we might have gotten along well with John Darby, simply because he seems to be searching Scripture, not tradition, when seeking truth.
The Greek word for “dusk” (which is most commonly translated in English as “dawn” in this verse), is epiphosko, which is used to mean either physical or intellectual illumination; and as Darby translates it, he is undoubtedly making a reference to a Hebrew idiom which is translated, “between the evenings,” meaning the time in-between the setting of the sun and when darkness has fully come. It resembles, if not duplicates, our English term, “twilight,” which is probably a derivative of the possible phrase, “betwixt the light of the day and the light of the night.” Now, the words “light” here do not necessarily refer to the aspect of “lightness,” but to the two lights described in Genesis 1:16 – “And Elohim made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night ….” This makes even more sense to us who search for the new moon each month. We know, by experience, that after the light of the day (the sun gone down), there is a brief period of time in which neither the moon or the sun are visible. Then we see the moon! It’s still exciting for me. The conclusion to Matthew 28:1 is this: The two women came to the sepulcher at sundown, late on Sabbath – NOT at sunrise the next day! Yahshua therefore rose from the grave on the day before Sunday.
The English word late is the Greek word opse, meaning, “late in the day,” and by extension, “after the close of the day.” It is used in the King James Version as “at even” and “in the end.”
I’d love to expand on this theme, but it would require more space than we have here; however, the first question leading into such a discussion would be, “What is the ONE sign that the Messiah gave that He was indeed the Messiah?” The answer is, of course, the sign of Jonah, that Yahshua would be in the belly of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights, making a Friday afternoon burial to Sunday morning resurrection impossible.
Yahshua rose from the grave on Shabbat, the 7th day Sabbath of Yahweh. On the first day of the week He ascended into heaven as the Sheaf Wave Offering. He then returned from heaven to earth to meet with His Disciples for the next 40 days, at which time, He again ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, Yahweh. Ten days after His ascension, His disciples received the Set-Apart Spirit of Yahweh and performed mighty miracles.
In 2008 the sheaf wave offering on the day after the weekly Sabbath in the midst of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is an Appointed Time of Yahweh, but is not one of the annual High Sabbaths of Yahweh. It symbolizes the ascent of Yahshua into heaven as the Sheaf Wave Offering. It is not a day for convocation. And, it IS a day that Yahweh says “is to be a perpetual statute throughout our generations in all our dwelling places,” the same designation that is given to each of the High or Annual Sabbaths given by Yahweh.
Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to Yahweh. Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to Yahweh for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your Elohim, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places, Leviticus 23:12 –14.
The day of the sheaf wave offering is used to count towards Pentecost, which means “fiftieth day” in Greek.
You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to Yahweh. You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to Yahweh, Leviticus 23:15-17.
This is very interesting. Two loaves, leavened, which may (and, I suspect does) symbolize two groups of peoples, the House of Judah and the House of Israel. Leavening is, symbolically, sin; that’s why the Feast of Unleavened Bread is about “coming out of Egypt” (where Egypt is, metaphorically, “sinfulness”). If you look in Malachi, you will discover that the 12 unleavened cakes (symbolizing the entire 12 Tribes of Israel), the Showbread, which means the “Bread of the Presence” of Yahweh, points to a future time, a time in which the righteous will stand before the Creator.
Malachi 1:11 says,
For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name WILL BE great among the nations, says Yahweh of hosts.
Until that time, perhaps our leavened selves, as either a member of the House of Judah or the House of Israel, remain as a grain offering to Yahweh.
In spite of the fact that the Sheaf Wave Offering is not designated as an Annual High Day, it remains an Appointed Time, and is to be a perpetual statute in all our dwelling places throughout our generations. I feel compelled to at least remember this day as a day of praise to Yahweh. It is an eternal statute that Yahweh has put into place, and though animal sacrifice has been replaced by Yahshua’s sacrifice, we are still compelled to offer up our praises to Yahweh.
May we come to know Yahweh and His Son, Yahshua the Messiah, in Spirit and in Truth. HalleluYah!
-Elder John Fisher
© 2009 Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua
View us online at: www.YAIY.org
Call Toll Free: (877)