Miqedem – songs from Scripture

We wanted to share this brand new album of Israeli music with you — featuring songs taken directly from the words of Scripture. You can listen free, below.

The group is called “Miqedem” (מִקֶדֶם) which means “from the east” or “from ancient times” and this is their debut album (released May 25, 2016).

The lyrics to all the songs  — in Hebrew, transliterated Hebrew-English phonetics and in English, are directly below.

 

LYRICS FOR ALL SONGS

( Hebrew, Hebrew-English transliteration and English)

Be’elohim – In God

Psalm 44:9 (Psalm 44:8 in English)

בֵּאלֹהִים הִלַּלְנוּ כָל-הַיּוֹם

וְשִׁמְךָ, לְעוֹלָם נוֹדֶה

סֶלָה

Be’elohim hilalnu kol hayom

Veshimcha le’olam node, sela

In God have we gloried all the day

And we will give thanks unto Your name for ever.

Selah


Sos Asis – I Will Rejoice

Isaiah 61:10

שׂוֹשׂ אָשִׂישׂ בַּיהוָה

תָּגֵל נַפְשִׁי בֵּאלֹהַי

— כִּי הִלְבִּישַׁנִי בִּגְדֵי-יֶשַׁע

מְעִיל צְדָקָה יְעָטָנִי

Sos asis ba’Adonai

Tagel nafshi be’elohai

Ki hilbishani bigdei yesha

Me’il tzdaka ye’atani

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,

My soul shall be joyful in my God;

For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,

He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.


Halleluhu – Praise Him

Psalm 150

הַלְלוּ-אֵל בְּקָדְשׁוֹ

הַלְלוּהוּ, בִּרְקִיעַ עֻזּוֹ

הַלְלוּהוּ בִגְבוּרֹתָיו

הַלְלוּהוּ, כְּרֹב גֻּדְלוֹ

הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּתֵקַע שׁוֹפָר

הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּנֵבֶל וְכִנּוֹר

הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּתֹף וּמָחוֹל

הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּמִנִּים וְעֻגָב

הַלְלוּהוּ בְצִלְצְלֵי-שָׁמַע

הַלְלוּהוּ, בְּצִלְצְלֵי תְרוּעָה

כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה, תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ

הַלְלוּ-יָהּ

הַלְלוּ-יָהּ

Hallelu el bekodsho

Halleluhu birki’a uzo

Halleluhu vigvurotav

Halleluhu kerov gudlo

Halleluhu beteka shofar

Halleluhu benevel vechinor

Halleluhu betof umachol

Halleluhu beminim veugav

Halleluhu betziltzelei shama

Halleluhu betzilzelei tru’a

Kol han’shama tehalel ya

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Praise God in His sanctuary;

Praise Him in the firmament of His power.

Praise Him for His mighty acts;

Praise Him according to His abundant greatness.

Praise Him with the blast of the shofar;

Praise Him with the psaltery and harp.

Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;

Praise Him with stringed instruments and the pipe.

Praise Him with the loud-sounding cymbals

Praise Him with the clanging cymbals.

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.


Dodi Li – My Beloved is Mine

Song of Songs 2:16, 3:2

דּוֹדִי לִי וַאֲנִי לוֹ

דּוֹדִי לִי וַאֲנִי לוֹ

דּוֹדִי לִי וַאֲנִי לוֹ

הָרֹעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים

אָקוּמָה נָּא וַאֲסוֹבְבָה בָעִיר, בַּשְּׁוָקִים

וּבָרְחֹבוֹת–אֲבַקְשָׁה, אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי

Dodi li va’ani lo

Dodi li va’ani lo

Dodi li va’ani lo

Haro’eh bashoshanim

Akuma na va’asoveva ba’ir bashvakim

Uvarchovot avaksha et she’ahava nafshi

My beloved is mine, and I am his,

He feeds His flock among the lilies.

I will rise now, and go about the city,

in the streets and in the broad ways,

I will seek him whom my soul loves.


Ta’amu – Taste (and See)

Psalm 34:9, 2, 3

טַעֲמוּ וּרְאוּ, כִּי-טוֹב

טַעֲמוּ וּרְאוּ, כִּי-טוֹב יְהוָה

אֲבָרְכָה אֶת-יְהוָה בְּכָל-עֵת

תָּמִיד, תְּהִלָּתוֹ בְּפִי

גַּדְּלוּ לַיי אִתִּי, וּנְרוֹמְמָה שְׁמוֹ יַחְדָּו

Ta’amu ur’u ki tov, ta’amu ur’u ki tov

Ta’amu ur’u ki tov Adonai

Avarcha et Adonai bechol et

Tamid tehilato befi

Gadlu l’Adonai iti uneromema sh’mo yachdav

Taste and see that the LORD is good; happy is the man that taketh refuge in Him

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall glory in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad.

Exalt the LORD with me, let us extol God’s name together.


Hine Eloheinu – Here is Our God

Isaiah 25:8, 9

בִּלַּע הַמָּוֶת לָנֶצַח

, וּמָחָה אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה דִּמְעָה

מֵעַל כָּל-פָּנִים; וְחֶרְפַּת עַמּוֹ, יָסִיר

מֵעַל כָּל-הָאָרֶץ–כִּי יְהוָה, דִּבֵּר

וְאָמַר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא  הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֵינוּ

זֶה קִוִּינוּ לוֹ

וְיוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ; זֶה יְהוָה קִוִּינוּ לוֹ

נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ

Bila hamavet lanetzach

Umacha Adonai Elohim dim’a

Me’al kol panim vecherpat amo yasir

Me’al kol ha’aretz ki Adonai diber

Veamar bayom hahu – hine Eloheinu

Ze Kivinu Lo

Veyoshi’enu ze Adonai kivinu lo

Nagila venismecha biy’shuato

He will swallow up death for ever;

And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces;

The reproach of His people will He take away from off all the earth;

for the LORD has spoken it.

And it shall be said in that day:

‘Lo, this is our God, for whom we waited,

that He might save us;

this is the LORD, for whom we waited,

we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’


Barchi Nafshi – Bless (the Lord) O My Soul

Psalm 103: 1-4

בָּרְכִי נַפְשִׁי, אֶת-יְהוָה

וְכָל-קְרָבַי, אֶת-שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ

בָּרְכִי נַפְשִׁי, אֶת-יְהוָה

וְאַל-תִּשְׁכְּחִי, כָּל-גְּמוּלָיו

הַסֹּלֵח , הָרֹפֵא

הַגּוֹאֵל

הַמְעַטְּרֵכִי

חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים

Barchi nafshi et Adonai

Vechol keravai et shem kodsho

Barchi nafshi et Adonai

Ve’al tishkechi kol gemulav

Hasole’ach, harofe

Hago’el, hame’atrechi chesed verachamim

Bless the LORD, O my soul;

and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all His benefits;

Who forgives all of your iniquity;

who heals all of your diseases;

Who redeems your life from the pit;

who crowns you with  lovingkindness

and tender mercies.


Lechu neranena – Let Us Sing

Psalm 95:1-6

לְכוּ, נְרַנְּנָה לַיהוָה

נָרִיעָה, לְצוּר יִשְׁעֵנוּ

נְקַדְּמָה פָנָיו בְּתוֹדָה

בִּזְמִרוֹת, נָרִיעַ לוֹ

כִּי אֵל גָּדוֹל יְהוָה

וּמֶלֶךְ גָּדוֹל, עַל-כָּל-אֱלֹהִים

בְּיָדוֹ, מֶחְקְרֵי-אָרֶץ

וְתוֹעֲפֹת הָרִים לוֹ

לוֹ הַיָּם, וְהוּא עָשָׂהוּ

וְיַבֶּשֶׁת, יָדָיו יָצָרוּ

נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְנִכְרָעָה

נִבְרְכָה, לִפְנֵי-יְהוָה עֹשֵׂנוּ

Lechu neranena la’Adonai

Nari’a letzur yish’enu

Nekadma panav betoda

Bizmirot nari’a lo

Ki el gadol Adonai

Beyado mechkerei aretz

Veto’afot harim lo

Lo hayam vehu asahu

Veyabeshet yadav yatzaru

Nishtachave venichra’a

Nivrecha lefanav osenu

O come, let us sing unto the LORD;

Let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,

Let us shout for joy unto Him with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God,

and a great King above all gods;

In whose hand are the depths of the earth;

the heights of the mountains are His also.

The sea is His, and He made it;

and His hands formed the dry land.

O come, let us bow down and bend the knee;

Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.


Odecha Ki Anitani – I Will Praise You For You Answered Me

Psalm 118: 5, 21, 17, 22, 28

מִן-הַמֵּצַר, קָרָאתִי יָּהּ

עָנָנִי בַמֶּרְחָב יָהּ

אוֹדְךָ, כִּי עֲנִיתָנִי

וַתְּהִי-לִי, לִישׁוּעָה

וַתְּהִי-לִי, לִישׁוּעָה

לֹא-אָמוּת כִּי-אֶחְיֶה

וַאֲסַפֵּר, מַעֲשֵׂי יָהּ

אֶבֶן, מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים

הָיְתָה, לְרֹאשׁ פִּנָּה

אֵלִי אַתָּה וְאוֹדֶךָּ

אֱלֹהַי, אֲרוֹמְמֶךָּ

Min hameitzar karati Yah

Anani vamerchav Yah

Odecha ki anitani

Vatehi li liy’shu’a

Vatehi li liy’shu’a

Lo amut ki echye

Va’asaper ma’asei Yah

Even ma’asu habonim

Hayta lerosh pina

Eli ata ve’odecha

Elohai aromemecha

I called to the Lord in distress;
the Lord answered me and put me in a spacious place.

O I will give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation.

I will not die, but I will live;
and proclaim what the Lord has done.

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief corner-stone.

You are my God, and I will give You thanks.
You are my God; I will exalt You.


Shir Chadash – A New Song

Psalm 149:1-5

שִׁירוּ לַיהוָה, שִׁיר חָדָשׁ

תְּהִלָּתוֹ, בִּקְהַל חֲסִידִים

יִשְׂמַח יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֹשָׂיו

בְּנֵי-צִיּוֹן, יָגִילוּ בְמַלְכָּם

יְהַלְלוּ שְׁמוֹ בְמָחוֹל

בְּתֹף וְכִנּוֹר, יְזַמְּרוּ-לוֹ

כִּי-רוֹצֶה יְהוָה בְּעַמּוֹ

יְפָאֵר עֲנָוִים, בִּישׁוּעָה

יַעְלְזוּ חֲסִידִים בְּכָבוֹד

יְרַנְּנוּ, עַל-מִשְׁכְּבוֹתָם

Shiru l’Adonai shir chadash

Tehilato bik’hal chasidim

Yismach Yisrael be’osav

B’nei Tziyon yagilu bemalkam

Yehalelu sh’mo bemachol, betof vechinor

Yezamru lo, yezamru lo

Ki rotze Adonai be’amo

Yefa’er anavim biy’shu’a

Ya’elzu chasidim bechavod

Yeranenu al mishkevotam

Sing to the LORD a new song,

and His praise in the assembly of the godly.

Let Israel rejoice in his Maker;

Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

Let them praise His name in the dance;

Let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp.

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;

He adorns the humble with salvation.

Let the godly celebrate in triumphal glory;

Let them shout for joy upon their beds.


Hine Yamim Ba’im – Behold Days Are Coming

Jeremiah 31:30, 32  (Hebrew) / Jeremiah 31:31, 33 (English)

הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים, נְאֻם-יְהוָה

וְכָרַתִּי, אֶת-בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל

וְאֶת-בֵּית יְהוּדָה

בְּרִית חֲדָשָׁה

נָתַתִּי אֶת-תּוֹרָתִי בְּקִרְבָּם

אֶכְתְּבֶנָּה וְעַל-לִבָּם

וְהָיִיתִי לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים

וְהֵמָּה יִהְיוּ-לִי לְעָם

Hine Yamim ba’im ne’um HaShem

Vekarati et Beit Yisrael

Ve’et Beit Yehuda

Brit chadasha

Natati et torati bekirbam

Ve’echtavena al libam

Vehayiti Lahem Le’elohim

Vehema yihiyu, hema yihiyu li le’am

Behold, the days come, says the LORD,

that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;

Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”, says the LORD;

“I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God, and they will be My people.

SONG: He Who Believes – Mi Shemaamin

This is a song written by Israeli Eyal Golan which you will probably catch yourself humming later.  It is very catchy!  The lyrics are beautiful, and appear below.

There is another link below with this song and the transliterated lyrics over top, if you want to sing along.


He Who Believes

In every place, all the time
Everyone, old and young alike
Has good days and bad days
And in between them
is the answer to all questions

There is one great G-d In this world,
He gives us everything
From darkness to light
The path that we just have to choose

And it is know that life is a gift
Everything is foreseen and given
He who believes is never afraid of losing hope
And we have the King of the Universe
And He protects us from everything

This nation is a family
Time and time again that is the secret to success
The nation of Israel will not give up
We will always remain on the map

And it is known that life is a gift
Everything is foreseen and given
He who believes is never afraid…
It is a great deed to be happy
To always be happy
He who believes is never afraid…


Mi Shemaamin

Bechol makom kol hazmna
Yesh lechulanu migadol ve’ad katan
Yamim yafim vegam pachot
Uvenehem tshuva lechol hashe’elot

Yesh Elohim echad gadol
Hu ba’olam haze noten lanu hakol
Ben afela lekeren or
Et hanativ anachnu rak tzrichim livchor

Veze yadu’a hachayim hem matana
Hakol tzafuy veharashut netuna

Mi shema’amin lo mefached
Et ha’emuna le’abed
Velanu yesh et melech ha’olam
Vehu shomer otanu mikulam

Ha’am haze hu mishpacha
Echad ve’od echad ze sod ha’atzlacha
Am Israel lo yevater
Tamid al hamapa anachnu nisha’er

Veze yadu’a hachayim hem matana
Hakol tzafuy veharashut netuna

Mi shema’amin lo mefached
Et ha’emuna le’abed
Velanu yesh et melech ha’olam
Vehu shomer otanu mikulam


מי שמאמין

והעיקר והעיקר, לא לפחד לא לפחד כלל
והעיקר והעיקר, לא לפחד לא לפחד כלל
בכל מקום, כל הזמן
יש לכולנו, מגדול ועד קטן
ימים יפים וגם פחות
ובניהם תשובה לכל השאלות
יש אלוהים אחד גדול
הוא בעולם הזה נותן לנו הכל
בין אפלה לקרן אור
את הנתיב אנחנו רק צריכים לבחור
וזה ידוע החיים הם מתנה
הכל צפוי והרשות נתונה
מי שמאמין לא מפחד
את האמונה לאבד
ולנו יש את מלך העולם
והוא שומר אותנו מכולם
אשריינו!
העם הזה הוא משפחה
אחד ועוד אחד זה סוד ההצלחה
עם ישראל לא יוותר
תמיד על המפה אנחנו נישאר
וזה ידוע החיים הם מתנה
הכל צפוי והרשות נתונה
מי שמאמין לא מפחד
את האמונה לאבד
ולנו יש את מלך העולם
והוא שומר אותנו מכולם
מצווה גדולה להיות בשמחה להיות בשמחה תמיד
מי שמאמין לא מפחד
את האמונה לאבד
ולנו יש את מלך העולם
והוא שומר אותנו מכולם


What did Paul mean by “may it never be!” ?

When Paul said in Scripture ‘may it never be” (me genoito / μένα genoito is the Greek equivalent) he was using a very common Hebrew expression as many other Jews of his day would have — not surprising considering Paul was Jew.

This common expression in Hebrew is “הל’לה” also spelled “הללה” (pronounced “chalilah” —  guttural ‘ch’) is found 21 times in the Tenakh (Old Testament).  The Strong’s word is H2490 and literally means “to be profane, and thus forbidden“.  It is used (interjectionally) in the KJV as “God forbid”, “far be it” (4x), “Lord forbid” (3x) and in other translations as “by no means”, “absolutely not”, “let it not be”, “certainly not”, “far be the thought”.

The first occurrence of this phrase is in Genesis 18 where Abraham is pleading with God in the form of a man on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah (incidentally yes, the tetragrammaton YHVH (יהוה) is used twice to describe the Man) :

“You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

Genesis 18:25

The last occurrence of the 21 passages in the Tenakh where this word is used is in Job 34, where Job says:

“Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding. It is impossible for God to do wrong, and for the Almighty to act unjustly.”

Job 34:10

The Greek phrase me genoito / μένα genoito  occurs 15 times in the New Testament and is translated at “may it never be” and means the same as הל’לה (also spelled הללה) — “God forbid that such a thought should be allowed in any one’s mind”, “let the thought be abhorred”)

When Paul speaks of God never rejecting the Jewish people, he uses this SAME phrase; “may it never be“.

For example;

“Did God forsake His people? May it never be! “

Romans 11:1

“I ask, then, have they stumbled in order to fall? Absolutely not!”

Romans 11:11

When Paul speaks in Romans 9 – 11 of God never forsaking the Jewish people, he meant the phrase just as strongly as Abraham and Job; God could never possibly do that! It is impossible for God to do wrong or act unjustly. Won’t the Judge of all the earth do what is just?

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.”

Romans 9:14

 

Biblical Pentecost and the Church’s Pentecost

Someone told us last night that today is Pentecost Sunday; “a time to remember when the Holy Spirit was given to us“.

My first reaction was “no, its only day 21, there’s another 29 days to Pentecost“!

We looked at each other blankly.

You see, the date the Church celebrates as Pentecost is not the anniversary of the date that it occurred in Scripture. The Church’s Pentecost is on a different date than Biblical Pentecost.

Based on God’s command to us in Leviticus 23, Jews actually count 50 days from Passover to arrive at the timing of Pentecost. The commencement of this 50-day period was marked in Temple times by the bringing of the Omer offering and ended on the 50th day with the festival of Shavuot, as described in the Book of Leviticus:

“And you shall count from the morrow of the Sabbath from the day you bring the Omer [sheaf] of waving; seven complete Sabbaths shall you count… until the morrow of the seventh Sabbath shall you count fifty days… and you shall proclaim on this very day, it shall be a holy convocation for you.”

Leviticus 23:15-16,21

During the Second Temple period there was a well-known debate between the three different Jewish factions (Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes) about the meaning of the Hebrew phrase “morrow of the Sabbath” . All three groups agreed that the “morrow of the Sabbath” was associated with the Passover / Feast of Unleavened Bread, but the different interpretations resulted in it being observed on different days by each of the sects.  The highly contested issue was “which Sabbath” do we start counting from? 

The Sadducees who made up the Temple Priesthood, believed the 50-day count to Pentecost began on the weekly Sabbath that falls during the seven-days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. According to their reckoning, the counting could begin anywhere from the 15th to the 21st day of the first month of Nisan — depending on what day of the week the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.Taking a plain reading of the text as the Sadducees used to [and as the Karaite Jews still do today], count from the day after the Sabbath of Passover [a Sunday], which was the day that the wave offering was brought in Temple times (also called the Feast of Firstfruits), until the day after the seventh Sabbath.  Based on this way of determining the date, Pentecost (Shavuot) always fell on a Sunday.

The Pharisees (who wrote the Mishnah and the Talmud and from whom today’s Orthodox rabbis descended) argued that Pentecost is to be counted from the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is designated as a “Sabbath” (where no work is done). There is a problem with the Pharisees way of counting, however. The 1st day day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread could theoretically be called “Sabbath,” (which is what the Pharisees do) but the 49th day of the Pharisee’s way of counting is does not usually fall on the weekly (7th day) Sabbath. As a result, the Pharisee’s Shavuot was rarely the “morrow of the seventh Sabbath” as required by Leviticus 23:16. Only about once every seven years, did the Pharisee’s Shavuot fall on a Sunday, i.e. the “morrow of the seventh Sabbath”.

We know from Josephus that the Pharisees interpretation was the one that prevailed as he writes that “all prayers and sacred rites of divine worship are performed according to their [the Pharisees’] exposition” (Antiquities 18:15), and that the Sadducees “submit to the formulas of the Pharisees, since otherwise the masses would not tolerate them” (Antiquities 18:17).

[Note: as Messianic believers, we have reason to be able to say that the Saduccees had it right — because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday! More on that below]

Pentecost got its name because there are 7 “weeks of weeks” (7 x 7 = 49 days) from after the wave offering — so when one day is added to the 7 “weeks of weeks” it totals 50 days (49 + 1 = 50 days). Pentecost (50 = Pente). The name of this feast day in Hebrew is Shavuot, meaning “weeks”.

As you may recall from an earlier article,  the date that Passover fell each year wasn’t known until the “new moon” appears that month. Once the “new moon” was sighted, the date of Passover was set for 14 days later.

Biblically, and based on the sighting of the New Moon which occurred this year in Israel on April 9th, Passover fell 14 days later], and today is Day 22 of that “counting”.

Coincidentally, based on the fixed Jewish Calendar adopted by Rabbinic Jews in the 4th century — long after the destruction of the Second Temple and the scattering of Jews throughout the known world, today is also Day 22 of that “counting”.

Crucifixion of Jesus – the ‘same day’ as “the Last Supper”

We have often been asked how it is if Jesus was crucified on a Friday, how He rose from the dead “on the third day”, given that was a Sunday.  In the explanation of how Pentecost was determined the year Jesus died, the “3 days” will become clear.

The night of Jesus’ “Last Supper” (more accurately, Last Seder) with His disciples, the Feast of Passover fell on the evening of the fifth day of the week.

[Note: Sunday is the first day of the week (see Mark 16:9, Matthew 28:1), the Sabbath is the 7th day of the week]

Therefore, the evening of the fifth day was what non-Jews would have called Thursday night.

[Note: By the Jewish reckoning of days, Thursday night is the beginning of Friday, as days begins at sunset, the night before – based on Genesis “evening and morning were the first day”].

Biblically, by the Jewish reckoning of days, Jesus was crucified later the same day as He shared the Passover meal with His disciples. That is, after sundown on the fifth day (Thursday night), the sixth day (Friday) began.  By a Jewish reckoning of days, Jesus was crucified later on the 6th day, a “Friday” to Gentiles. This is what the Church has come to call “Good Friday“.

Now here is where it gets very interesting…

Jews started counting the days to Pentecost (Shavuot) from the day after the “Sabbath of Passover” — so the year Jesus went to the cross, the “Sabbath of Passover” was the Saturday between Jesus’ crucifixion and Resurrection. 

It was the day after that Sabbath — the “Sabbath of Passover” from which the Sadducees would have begun “counting of the Omer“.  Of course, the “morrow after the Sabbath [a Saturday] of Passover“, is a Sunday (as it is required to be according to Leviticus 23:16)

On the year that Jesus was crucified, it was that Sunday, that the “counting of the Omer” began. Jesus rose from the dead on the Sunday (“Resurrection Sunday”) – which was the “morrow after the Sabbath” of Passover — the day of the wave offering, which is called the “Feast of Firstfruits” and the Scriptures say that Messiah (Jesus) is the “first fruits from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:23).

Counting the 50 days of the Omer from the day that Jesus rose from the dead [a Sunday, following the Sabbath of Passover] brings us to another Sunday… Pentecost Sunday! 

The Holy Spirit fell on Shavuot (Pentecost), 7 weeks after the Sunday that Jesus rose from the dead!

The Church’s Pentecost

“Christian Pentecost” does not fall on the same date as “Biblical Pentecost”, which is why to the Church, Pentecost is tomorrow and by Biblical reckoning, it is 29 days from now.

As we developed at length in an earlier blog on Passover, and its celebration by the Early Church on the 14 day of Nisan (including Church Father, Polycarp), this was changed by the Church leaders of the First Ecumenical Council (4th century CE). At that time, they adopted the secular Roman solar calendar (Julian Calendar) and “fixed” the date of “Pascha” (forerunner to Easter) to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon on, or after the vernal equinox (set as March 21st).  Therefore, Christian Pentecost falls 50 days after Pascha (or Easter).

Biblical Pentecost is tied to Passover based on a lunar calendar, and which falls 14 days after the sighting of the New Moon in the first month (called Aviv before the Babylonian captivity and Nisan, afterwards).

In the 4th century, the Church abandoned the date of Passover established by God in Scripture [which was based on the sighting of the New Moon on a lunar calendar (354 days)] – in favour of a fixed solar calendar of 365 days. Their reasons for doing so were much the same as the reasons for the Jew’s adoption of the ‘fixed’ Jewish Calendar— so that the dates of all the holidays were known in advance.  With a fixed solar calendar, Christians throughout the known world could celebrate the holidays, especially Pascha (Easter) on the same date.

Which Pentecost, then?

As Messianic believers, we continue to celebrate the Passover, and commemorate Messiah’s Last Seder with His disciples and going to the cross on the 14th of Nisan, as the early Church did and as the Church father Polycarp, did (as the Apostle John taught him, see earlier blog).

Since the timing of Pentecost is tied to Passover, Pentecost (Shavuot) for us, falls on the same date as it did in Scripture; 50 days after the “morrow of the Sabbath of Passover” — which is always a Sunday and which is the actual anniversary of the giving of the Holy Spirit.

That being said, we don’t for a moment think that the Church changing the dates of Passover and Pentecost has any importance to Gentile believers. The matter of Gentiles not being required to keep  the Law of Moses was resolved in Acts 15:5. Halacha (“the way to walk”) for Gentiles is simple;

“(1) abstain from things polluted by idols, (2) from sexual immorality, (3) from eating anything that has been strangled and (4) from blood”

Acts 15:20

We don’t believe that it is somehow ‘wrong’ for the Church to celebrate “Easter” on a date other than on the date of Passover, or for the Church’s Pentecost to be on a different date than the Biblical Pentecost.

We trust you will understand, that for us as Jews, we continue to do as we always have, and see no reason to adopt a different date.

Final Thoughts

We think that the important thing is what Paul said in Romans 14 — if the Church commemorates Pentecost tomorrow, then observe the day — for the honour of the Lord;

“One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind. Whoever observes the day, observes it for the honor of the Lord. Whoever eats, eats for the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; and whoever does not eat, it is for the Lord that he does not eat it, yet he thanks God. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

Romans 14:5-8

So, Happy Pentecost to our Christian brothers and sisters!

Meanwhile we’ll keep counting. . .until June 12th.

Sunday May 15, 2016:
Today is the 1st day of the 4th week of seven weeks. Today is the 22nd day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.
שבוע 415 מאי 2016:
הַיּוֹם יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן‏ לַשָּׁבוּעַ רְבִיעִי מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת. הַיּוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁנַיִם יוֹם מִסְפִירַת חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם מֵהֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת.

 

A Jewish Perspective on Counting Days (Lent) and Easter Egg Hunts

As we’ve been working on the 3 upcoming posts (Part 2, 3 and 4) that follow Part 1: The Significance of Passover to the Church, we thought we’d take a bit of a divergence and look at two Gentile Christian customs related to the Church’s celebration of “Easter” that we thought our readers might find it interesting to look at through Jewish eyes.

Easter Egg Hunts

As discussed in previous blogs, the commemoration of the Lord’s death on what the Church has come to call “Good Friday“, originated with, and is very closely tied to the Feast of Israel known as Passover.  The “Last Supper” — the meal that Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated on the night He was betrayed should more accurately be called “The Last Seder“, as that is what it was.

The Passover meal, known as the Seder, commemorates God’s deliverance of the Jewish people out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt, and the sparing of the first born sons by applying the blood of a slain Passover lamb on the doorposts and lintel of the doors of our houses. This is the same meal in which Jesus took the cup (which symbolized the blood of the lamb) and said “This is the New Covenant established in my blood”.  You can read more about this in our previous article.

At the celebration of the Passover Seder, there is a custom in which the middle piece of unleavened bread (called matzoh) is taken from a special cloth bag which holds 3 separate matzot (plural of matzah) and is broken, wrapped in a piece of white linen, buried somewhere below table height by the eldest man at the Seder and later searched for by all the children present, until it is found.  The finder then brings it to the leader of the Seder (the eldest man) and it is ‘redeemed‘ for a price — literally “bought back”.  The parallels of this custom to Yeshua (Jesus) being separated from God, broken for us, wrapped in white linen, buried and resurrected, is most interesting.

While the Church at Rome abandoned the commemoration of the Lord’s death in association with the Passover around the Council of Nicaea (see a previous blog about Church father. Polycarp), the custom of children searching for “Easter eggs“, somehow found its way in.

As you can probably understand, for us as Messianic Jews, the children searching for the broken, white linen-wrapped middle matzah has significance; whereas searching for chocolate “Easter eggs” has none.

Counting of days tied to the first Sunday of Passover

The counting of the 40 days ofLent” before “Easter” (which was originally commemorated by the Early Church as Passover); is done from “Ash Wednesday” until “Easter Sunday” / Pachal Sunday, originated in 339 CE, with Saint Athanasius.

God did command the Jewish people concerning the “counting of days” in relationship to the commemoration of Passover — but not beginning prior to Passover, but following it.

God commanded the Jews to count 50 days from the “day after the Sabbath of Passover” to arrive at the date of Pentecost (Shavuot, in Hebrew — from “weeks”). When that counting begins and why will be developed in an upcoming article.

The counting the days between Passover and Pentecost (Shavuot), called the “counting of the Omer” as God has called us to has significance, because it originated with His command. The timing of this “counting of days” has very important significance to the Church, and will be outlined in an upcoming article.

We find it puzzling — sad even, that customs such as the counting days before “Easter” and children searching for chocolate eggs have found their way into Christian expression, while throughout history the Church has deliberately distanced itself from anything Jewish.

Some thoughts…

As we have said many times in previous blogs, we do not believe that Gentile Christians are in any way required to keep the commands of God given to the Jewish people in the Law, including feasts such as Passover and Pentecost — but we wonder two things;

(1) Why would the Church chose to commemorate the day Jesus gathered with His disciples for His last meal on a day other than the one God chose for?

(2) Why would the Church have “Christian Pentecost” fall on a day other than the one God chose?

…then it occurred to us, that perhaps many Gentile Christians don’t even realize that in the 4th Century, the Church at Rome changed the dates of both Passover (“Easter”) and Pentecost?

More on the timing of these two significant days in upcoming blogs.