Last night I attended a teaching/lecture about the Passover led by a Messianic Rabbi from the Atlanta area. It was very enjoyable to say the least, and I agreed with much of what He had to say, although I didn't partake in the "seder" because I will keep Passover next moon in the Gregorian month of April.
There was a few things mentioned by the Rabbi concerning the Jewish traditions that take place during the Passover seder/meal. These traditions are not participated in by me and my family because we feel they are additions to the Passover and not commandments from Yahweh. Exodus 12 is great place to go to learn about how to keep Passover, but Jewish tradition has added some baggage to its observance and such tradition is not necessary if one desires to celebrate the Passover.
That being said, I was talking to one of my friends during a break about asking the Rabbi about Easter - and I eventually got to ask him myself just before his departure from the church grounds. I asked him, "Sir, did the earliest followers of Yeshua in the 1st century celebrate Easter?" He looked at me like I was crazy! "Of course not! You've got to be kidding me!" were basically his words/statement. I then told him that I had figured he felt this way, but just wanted to hear it from him.
Easter is a man-made festival/day that has nothing to do with true worship. The name stems from a fertility goddess if anyone desires to do the research to find, and the practices such as sunrise services, easter egg hunts, bunnies laying eggs, etc. all have everything to do with false worship rather than with true worship. It is certainly true that Yeshua resurrected from the tomb on the third day, but none of his disciples or anyone in the Bible ever celebrated what the professing church world calls Easter today.
Simple question: If the early assembly did not celebrate Easter in the 1st century, why do people make it such an importance today? Why didn't the early believers think it to be important? The answer is because it was not important. They did not see it proper to mix pagan/heathen customs with great truths like the resurrection.
Have you ever heard someone say that they are protecting God's flock? I've heard it several times, mostly from preachers who will not allow someone with different doctrine to come to their church and engage in public debate/discussion. I recently had a fellow tell me this very thing when I asked him if he would be willing to have a public debate with me at his church. He said that he wouldn't allow me to come into his church and talk about what I believed on a certain topic (doctrine) in debate format because he was "protecting his flock." My question is this: is this how a minister is called to protect his flock?
Is keeping people from hearing alternate doctrine protecting the flock? I think it is more akin to being worried that they made be persuaded to look further or deeper into a subject that they may know little to nothing about. The problem with most Pastors is that they do not teach their members to study the Bible for them selves. It is certainly okay to have teachers, but people shouldn't rely on teachers for their salvation. They should listen to what the teacher is teaching, and then go back and study the verses of Scripture that are given in a diligent fashion. This way, even if the teacher/Pastor has presented the truth to them, the person will have studied it out them self and the truth (that particular truth) will become "part of them." They will believe it whole heartedly and will not be able to waver from it.
If a person just blindly accepts what the teacher has to say they will be more likely to abandon what they've been taught in difficult times of hardship, persecution, or the like. This is because they do not believe it for them selves, but only because there Pastor told it to them.
The way you protect the flock is to (1) teach the flock true doctrine, and (2) teach them to study the true doctrines in their personal Bible study life. This way when someone else comes to them with falsity they will be able to give a defense of the faith concerning the hope that lies within them.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.