Tag: Jesus

Eve: Retweeting the First Fake News

Eve: Retweeting the First Fake News

This past week, my attention was caught by a podcast on “fake news.” I frequently listen to the podcast “Intelligence Squared” which also has a debate podcast that brings up interesting topics that are debated by experts in the field being discussed.  The title of the podcast was “Fake News: The Facts.” It was interesting to hear the panel’s discussion and their views on what “fake news” was and whether it was “bad” and who was to blame.  Much of the discussion revolved around Donald Trump’s tweets, climate change, Russian meddling, Facebook censoring/flagging, free speech, and defining what “fake news” really was.

Two things struck me regarding the discussion: 1. We are becoming terrible at debate. Instead of debate, we insult the other side and do not try to think from another’s position.  A good position should be able to withstand debate and attempts to discredit. 2. “Fake News” sounds a whole lot like “half-truth” which is not truth at all but a lie or deception. Many of the panel felt that the “fake news” had become a dangerous and pressing issue today.  One of the commentators disagreed, however, stating that “fake news” was nothing new under the sun.  My mind then went to pondering where “fake news” originated and the book of Genesis came to mind.

In Genesis 2:15, God tells Adam, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” Adam had only one command: Don’t eat of one tree. Was this fake news? Was God to be trusted? Was it TRUE that he would surely die? Now, Eve comes on the scene and everything is perfect in the garden until the serpent enters with his deception.

“Now the serpent was more shrewd than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’” (Gen. 3:1-3)

Is it really TRUE that God said you will die…? Is this not a twist on the actual truth? The woman saw that the tree produced fruit good to eat and she took some and ate it and then gave some to the man.  (Gen. 3:6) Does the “fake news” look good and juicy? And do we not consume it readily and share it with our brothers and sisters? Absolutely, we do.  It seems to me we have an insatiable desire for the “fake news.” Have we gone so far with Immanuel Kant that we believe truth does not exist? Absurdity sells papers.  A lie can position one for political gain.  Ultimately, truth will stand the test of fire.  A laying bare of the facts will show truth for what it is.  Truth is reality.  Truth is the way things really are.

In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word emeth (אמת) is our word for truth. It means “stability, certainty, truth, trustworthiness, assuredly, establishment, faithful, right, sure, true, and verity.” The Greek word for Truth, aletheia (ἀλήθεια), has similar meanings of portraying reality or being judicially upright. You see whatever reality is, God is truth. In the Psalms, David frequently refers to God as the God of Truth and he refers to God’s truth sustaining him.  God is the originator of Truth.  If there is anything stable and firm, God is it.  The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology puts it this way, “The word truth denotes something that conforms to actuality, is faithful to a standard, or involves sincerity or integrity. The ground for truth is reality itself.”

Jesus is that reality.  We can think of it in a different way in John 14:6. Jesus says, “I am the way, the reality, and the life.” Was it not the “fake news” that lead us astray? All God wanted was our trust in His word. In the beginning, everywhere was life and God was speaking about death. After the fall, everywhere is death and God is speaking about life.

I would argue that the historical evidence for the resurrection is sure and withstands the test of further investigation.  For more information, read “Who moved the Stone?” by Frank Morrison or “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.  With regards to “fake news” as it pertains to “climate change”, Russian investigations, or whatever the topic may be, perhaps we would be better off to investigate and lay bare the facts rather than to just retweet the “news.” It seems silly to me that one side or the other will only insult the other for their “ridiculous” ideas rather than having an open debate.  Even Einstein had 100 scientists tell him that his Theory of Relativity was wrong and line up against him.  His reply, “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.” Perhaps, we need less of the hundreds of thousands of tweets and retweets of “fake news” and we need more of the Good News.  The One who is Truth.  May we always turn to God for all Truth. For He IS Truth! Feel free to retweet and share this Good News!

Passover and Jesus

What does the Passover have to do with Jesus?

What does the Passover have to do with Jesus? The Eucharist or Holy Communion is a celebration of the Passover.  About 10 years ago, I attended a celebration of Passover with Messianic Christians while in Arizona during medical school.  The celebration of Passover with the group Tikvah Ba Midbar (Hope in the Desert) changed my life.  For the first time, I saw the connection of our Jewish roots as Christians.  I always wondered how eggs and bunnies made it into the celebration of Easter.  What do eggs and bunnies have to do with Jesus raising from the dead?  Really, not much.  It turns out that our word “Easter” comes from the pagan goddess Ishtar.  Ishtar is a fertility goddess.  She was a goddess of love, war, and sexuality and known as the “courtesan of the gods.”  The celebration of Easter as the resurrection of Jesus Christ should not be discounted however.  Since nearly the second or third century, Christians have been celebrating Easter as the resurrection of Christ.  However, is it surprising that the Enemy would weave in eggs and bunnies to pollute the meaning of this time?

There is still much debate about Easter and when it should be celebrated. Western and Eastern Christianity set the date using different calendars.  Western Christianity (Roman Catholicism and most Protestantism) set the date using the Gregorian calendar and Eastern Christianity (Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox) set the date using the Julian calendars.  Easter is a moveable holiday and occurs in the spring between March 22nd and May 8th.  It is dependent on the equinox of the sun and which calendar one is using.  Passover, however, is always celebrated on 14 Nisan (in the Jewish calendar). It begins at sunset on 14 Nisan and goes until sunset on 15 Nisan.  Passover is technically only a one-day celebration.  However, it is usually observed together with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which goes until the 21st of Nisan.  Within the Feast of Unleavened Bread is another feast, the Feast of First Fruits on 16 Nisan.  Why so much time discussing dates? Because, these feasts are prophetic of Christ’s resurrection.  They were implemented more than 3000 years before Christ came on the scene of history.  They were and are celebrated by God’s chosen people, Israel.

Let us get back to the Passover story now.  I had heard the story of the Exodus before but until going to the Passover Seder (say-der) in Arizona, I had not realized that the entire story of redemption by Christ was packed into the Passover.  Each year, Jews all over the world celebrate the Passover in their homes.  The Passover is the really the story of the exodus of the Israelites.  However, after the Israelites escaped from captivity and were delivered into freedom, God proclaimed the remembrance of that deliverance by celebrating the Passover feast.

The Story of the Passover:

The Israelites were in bondage in Egypt.  They were enslaved and treated cruelly by Pharaoh.  They were forced to make bricks from clay and straw in hard labor.  God promises the Israelites with four “I will’s.” He says, “I am the Lord, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with might acts of judgment. I will take you as my people and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 6:6-7)

God had already chosen his people and told them that he would deliver them and make them free and take them as their God.  Moses then went by God’s command to speak to Pharaoh to ask for the Israelites freedom.  God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and made him resistant to Moses’ request.  So, God sent ten plagues on the people.  God first made the water of the Nile into blood, then sent frogs, gnats, flies, cattle disease, boils, hail, locusts, and covered the land with darkness.  Finally, God sent the death of the firstborn.  However, before God sent the tenth plague, God instituted the Passover. On the tenth day of the month, the Israelites were to bring a 1-year-old unblemished lamb into the household.  They were to care for it for 4 days and then on the 14th day, cut its throat, take the blood and put it over the doorpost.  They were to roast it over fire and eat it in haste with their sandals on their feet and staff in hand. They were to be careful not to break a bone in its body and any uneaten portions were to be burned in the fire.  (Exodus 12:1-15) God also commanded that they put away yeast from their households and to eat bread that was baked without yeast (unleavened bread, i.e. matzo) for 7 days.

The blood of the lamb was placed over the door and the death angel literally “passed over” the house and the firstborn of the house was spared.  This is where the term “Passover” comes from.  Finally Pharaoh released the people.  God delivered them through the Red Sea through the wilderness and eventually after 40 years to the Promised Land.

Passover and the Lord’s Supper

As we have previously discussed, the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist or Holy Communion IS the Passover celebration revealed.  In Matthew 26, we find Jesus celebrating the Passover with his disciples.  In the Passover meal, we find 4 cups that are taken during feast. The first two are taken before the meal.  These are the Cup of Sanctification/Freedom and the Cup of Deliverance.  There is then a meal and a breaking of bread together.  After the meal, there are two more cups taken together. These are the Cup of Redemption and the Cup of Thanksgiving.  Before the third cup, half of a matzo called the “Afikomen” which was previously hidden by the father of the house is found.  The Afikomen is the portion of matzo that Christ took after/during the meal and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.”   After the bread, He took the third cup, the Cup of Redemption stating to His disciples, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt 26:27-29).

What is interesting is how perfectly Christ fits the prophesy of the Passover. We refer to Christ as the Passover Lamb. (1 Cor 5:7, 1 Pe 1:19) If one looks at matzo, we find that it has holes (piercings) that are in lines (stripes).  Isaiah 53:5 states that “He was wounded (pierced) for transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (NKJV).

Now let us clarify the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah.  The Jews look back at their deliverance in the past that God promised. But they also look towards a future deliverer, a Messiah.  Jesus, who is God incarnate, steps in as the perfect sacrifice to cleanse the people of their sins.  Hebrews (4:14-16) clarifies Jesus’ status as a high priest.  Each day required that the priests offered animals for their sins and the sins of themselves.  But even the priests were imperfect and the animals were a stand-in for a coming perfect sacrifice.  Jesus, living a completely obedient life, offers Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the people.  He celebrates the prophesy with His disciples that HE is the redeemer.  The Cup of Redemption is a celebration of His blood spilled to cover the sins of all.  The bread, which was broken, is a representation of Him who was pierced for our transgressions.  The Jews were required to take the blood of the lamb and offer it at the temple each year during the Passover.  However, after the temple was destroyed, Orthodox Judaism finds that the bread stands in AS the lamb because there is no place to offer the sacrifice for Passover.  Again, let me emphasize, Jesus takes the “Afikomen” (αφικομην) which is a Greek word meaning, “Coming one” or “I am come” and he says, “Take, eat, this is my body.”  This is the lamb that made the Israelites strong and ready to be delivered.  It is the lamb that healed them.  It is the blood that kept them from death.

Let us get back to the dates and connect what Passover should mean to the Christian.  Passover has been celebrated for nearly 5000 years.  It is always on the 14th of Nisan.  It is based on the lunar calendar and it is unchanged.  It is not based on a solar calendar or in an Eastern or Western church.  Passover was implemented before Christ came.  For the Christian, Passover is a prophetic sign of Christ’s coming and resurrection.  For the Christian, Passover is also a historical remembrance of Christ’s coming and resurrection.  Christ is our Passover Lamb. The Eucharist, the “Thanksgiving,” the “Communion” is what Passover entails. We truly are celebrating the death angel’s “passing over” us when we place Christ’s blood on the doorpost of our hearts. We commemorate His intercession for us as we participate in the Eucharist, which is truly the Passover.