Tag Archives: One new man

I Struggle With Easter!

My oldest memories of Easter include new clothes for my sister and me, maybe going to church, eating a feast at my grandma’s house with our relatives, and having a great time.

So, why do I struggle with Easter?

My birthday is February 9, but let’s say that everyone has decided to celebrate it on February 16 instead, even though everyone knows it’s really the 9th. Wouldn’t that be ridiculous?

But celebrating a birthday on the wrong date is no less ridiculous than our celebration of Easter!

First of all, Jesus did not die on a Friday. This would not have fulfilled His prophecy to Himself:

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)

Jesus was most likely crucified on the Wednesday just before Passover which fell on the following day of Thursday and then a Sabbath on that Friday. In other words, two Sabbaths in that week. This would fulfill Jesus’ prophecy of three days and three nights in the grave. (Remember: The Jewish calendar records a day as beginning at nightfall, not at midnight like the Gregorian calendar.)

Okay, but why was Jesus crucified at this time?

Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13)

For fifteen hundred years, Jewish families had selected a year-old lamb without blemish each year to celebrate the feast of Passover, which the Lord had commanded them to do. This feast was a sign and shadow of what Jesus would eventually become — the perfect Passover Lamb for all of us.

Now, we all know that Jesus is the Passover Lamb and not the Easter Lamb, right? So, why do we celebrate Easter rather than Passover?

Is it because we don’t want to break our man-made traditions? Is it because we believe Passover is too Jewish for us Christians?

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two [Jew and Gentile], thus making peace (Ephesians 2:14-15)

If Christians ever hope to become the “one new man” in Christ, we’re going to have to get rid of some of our traditions, one of them will probably be Easter.

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Filed under America, Christianity, Easter, Feasts, Israel, Jews, Passover, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

The Search for One New Man (Part 2)

As a Gentile, my eyes have been opened over the last six months by Hebraic Roots teachings. For instance:

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” (John 3:1-10)

If you’re a Gentile like me who has been around Evangelicals for a while – in my case thirty years – then you probably skimmed over the above verses without really paying much attention to the words. After all, you already know the punch line: “You must be born again.” Right?

This is one level of understanding scripture, which is from our Gentile or Greek mindset.

Now, the Hebrew mindset looks at Nicodemus and realizes that he is a ruler of the Jews, which means he was a big-time rabbi, Torah teacher, and a member of the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus would have memorized all of Leviticus, much of the Torah (first five books of Old Testament), and understood most of the oral traditions (Talmud) given by the top rabbis for the Old Testament (Tanakh).

But even though we Christians have only understood the expression “born-again Christians” since the 1970’s, Jesus expected Nicodemus to understand the expression two thousand years ago. How was that possible?

The term “born-again” was not first coined by Jesus in His nighttime meeting with Nicodemus. It was already in use and referred to a Gentile’s conversion to Judaism. The Gentile man would have been circumcised and then immersed in a mikvah or water bath. The mikvah was regarded as both a grave and a womb, from which the Gentile was reborn or born again.

So in light of this revelation, we can better understand the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. The Torah teacher was not baffled by the term “born-again,” but instead was really saying, “Hey, Jesus, I’m already a Jew. How can I convert again to Judaism?”

Jesus answered Nicodemus by saying in so many words, “Nicodemus, being Jewish is not enough. You can’t rely on your ethnicity. You must have a change of heart and believe in Me as the Messiah.”

This is a second level of understanding scripture, which is from a Hebrew mindset.

Yet, the one new man that I’m searching for takes the place of both mindsets.

(Continued in Part 3……if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Hebraic roots, Kingdom of God, One new man, Prophecy, spiritual warfare