In Circumcision & Passover – Pt 2 our discussion left off with the evidence provided from Scriptures to prove that the Israelites kept the Passover in the wilderness including all uncircumcised males.
We now need to go back and take another look at Exod. 12:48 in context where the command is given for all males to be circumcised in order to partake of the Passover.
And when a stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the passover to Yahweh, LET ALL HIS MALES BE CIRCUMCISED, and then let him come near and keep it; AND HE SHALL BE AS ONE THAT IS BORN IN THE LAND: FOR NO UNCIRCUMCISED PERSON SHALL EAT OF IT. (Exod. 12:48)
The reader then has to proceed on to Exod. 13:5 where it states:
And WHEN YAHWEH BRINGS YOU INTO THE LAND of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, YOU SHALL KEEP THIS SERVICE (the Passover) in this month. (Exod. 13:5)
It is important to now notice what happens as soon as the Israelites do cross over to the west side of the Jordan and enter the land after 40 years in the wilderness:
In Circumcision & Passover – Pt 1 we covered the testimony regarding fleshy circumcision as found in the New Testament. We will now continue on the Trail of Truth to reveal the confirmation of that testimony primarily from the Old Testament.
A close examination of the book of Genesis, for example, reveals that fleshly circumcision was not a legal requirement of the original contract made with Abram (Abraham) in the Abrahamic Covenants of Promise.
Abraham Blessed Before Fleshly Circumcision Before the token of fleshly circumcision was used by Abraham and his household (which did not come into effect until Genesis 17), we read in Genesis 12:
There is a belief among some proclaimed followers of Yahweh that in order for men to partake of the Passover, they must first be circumcised of the flesh.
Fleshy circumcision is also held by some as a proof that Passover is not an actual Festival or Feast Day for the reason that the lack of circumcision would prevent individuals from participating in a required sacred day of Yahweh.
What do Scriptures actually say concerning this issue?
If you are interested in finding out the truth of the matter then it would be advantageous for you to continue with our investigation.
Before we can directly address the issue of circumcision as it relates to Passover we must first determine if Scriptures demand fleshy circumcision in order for men to be saved.
Usually two reasons are given by the advocates of circumcision:
• Abraham was circumcised and he was commanded to circumcise all the males of his household.
• Fleshly circumcision is required in the written Torah of Moses (Old Covenant).
In Part 3 of the “Pork Chop Trilogy” we will attempt to bring all the facts together to arrive at the truth of the matter regarding the issue of the dietary regulations as put forth in Scriptures.
What is extremely important to understand is that the same conditions for salvation apply to both Jews and those of any other nation.
And the deity, which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the sacred ruach, even as he did unto us; AND PUT NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US AND THEM, purifying their hearts by trust. Now therefore why do you tempt the deity, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, WHICH NEITHER OUR FATHERS NOR WE WERE ABLE TO BEAR? But we trust that through the grace of the sovereign Yahushua messiah WE SHALL BE SAVED, EVEN AS THEY. (Acts 15: 8-11)
Let us now explore the assertion that we only have the one witness found in Scriptures that makes such a claim, this witness being Gen. 9:3.
The Second Witness Our second witness is Matthew 15:11. Some say that this verse does not refer to literal food but speaks only in a spiritual sense. We will now proceed to prove the fallacy of this assertion by taking a look at the verse in context:
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. (Matt. 15:11)
Can one actually lose their salvation by scarfing down a pork chop? For many, especially those who claim to be teachers of Yahweh’s word, the answer would be an emphatic “Yes!”
But then again, is this what Scriptures actually profess? Put another way, do Scriptures, in fact, reveal that in order to attain salvation and eternal life, one must adhere to the dietary regulations regarding clean and unclean meat/food as given in the Torah of Moses (the Law, Old Covenant)?
For many, especially among those who assert to be followers of Yahweh, it seems that there exists an unfortunate commonality that runs contrary to what is advanced by Scriptures. This commonality can be labeled “Confusion.” Of course, this should raise a red flag as the following would indicate:
For the deity is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all assemblies of the saints. (1Cor. 14:33)
What does the book of Exodus really say regarding the observance of the Festival of Passover? Also, what about the Festival of Unleavened Bread?
There are two main popular understandings:
• According to the Hasidic Jewish view (System B) the Passover lamb was killed during the afternoon of Abib 14 and the Passover supper took place after sundown on Abib 15.
Abib 14 is a preparation day and not a High Sabbath. Abib 15-21 is the 7-day Festival of Unleavened Bread. Abib 15 and 21 are High Sabbath days. There are 8 days of eating unleavened bread.
• Among the Sacred Name groups of today, most hold to the Modern Hybrid view (System G) whereby, at the Exodus, the Passover lamb was killed at the start of Abib 14 after sundown and the Passover supper eaten that night.
Like the Hasidic Jews holding toSystem B, they consider Abib 14 to be a preparation day and not a High Sabbath. Abib 15-21 is the 7-day Festival of Unleavened Bread. Abib 15 and 21 are High Sabbath days. There are 8 days of eating unleavened bread.
For the seeker of truth, we are only left with the following possibilities.
1. One system is right. 2. Both systems are wrong.
If you have a strange suspicion that the second answer is more correct, then it is suggested that you read on.
When it comes to the issue of determining New Moons by visibility or calculation, there are a number of questions one should consider when trying to ascertain Yahweh’s truth of the matter.
It seems that various religious leaders have convinced many people that not only must one actually see the visible crescent of the new moon but must also determine the greenness of the barley crop for the New Year.
These religious leaders purport to know and understand the true criteria for the determination of Yahweh’s calendar. They also claim their knowledge and understanding comes directly from Scriptures.
In addition, these religious leaders claim that their formula for determining New Moons emanates from Scriptures and is very simple. So simple that Yahweh has provided the means for virtually anyone to determine the beginning of months and years regardless of circumstance.
Well, almost anyone. You might not be so fortunate if you don’t have 20-20 vision or are not a farmer.
So, just how and when did the notion of a Sabbath year beginning with Tishri, the seventh month, get considered and implemented by the Jewish religious leaders? Needless to say, with Part 2 we’re going to find out.
The Transition to the Tishri Year The New Year date of Tishri 1 for the Sabbath year is an offshoot of late Talmudic interpretation. As has been previously noted inPart 1, Scriptures never claim that the seventh month began a regular Sabbath year.
The deduction that Tishri began a Jubilee year was itself a misreading ofLeviticus 25:8-13. The rabbis of the post-Bar Kochba period, in an effort to “build a fence around the Law,”21merely extended their misreading of Leviticus 25:8-13, which dealt only with the year of Jubilee, to the regular Sabbath year.
For those who are interested in observing the Sabbath years it would be very beneficial, at least from Yahweh’s perspective, to know what month actually begins the Sabbath year, Abib or Tishri.
There are many who actually believe that the Sabbath year begins with the seventh month of Tishri and not with the first month of Abib (Nisan).
It has also been extrapolated by many that not only should Sabbath years commence according to a Tishri reckoning but that every year should begin with the seventh month of Tishri.
If one believes that such a notion is found in Scriptures, then it is suggested that one take a closer look at the relevant facts of the matter.
In order to addess this issue we must contend with the concept that the Jews, from the time of their return to Judaea from Babylon in 538 B.C.E. until the end of the Bar Kochba revolt (135 C.E.), officially began their Sabbath years with Tishri 1 (Sep./Oct.) of the sixth year of the Sabbath cycle, as had become their custom sometime after the Bar Kochba war.
In our first installment titled10. Passover – Sadducees & Pharisees I, we discussed the religious philosophy of the Sadducees. With our second installment we will proceed to address the viewpoint of the Pharisees and their power struggle with the Sadducees.
It is within the framework of the evolving political and religious conflict between the Sadducees and Pharisees that we can understand just how and why the Pharisees ultimately became victorious in the officially recognized practice of Passover and Unleavened Bread which we have labeled “Hasidic System B.”
The Pharisees The “Hasidic System B” Passover and Unleavened Bread method originated among the early Hasidim but became dominant as a religious practice because of the political power of their spiritual descendants, the Pharisees.1
From Pharisaism derived what is now called Orthodox Judaism.2Their conflict with the Sadducees was in force from the time of the Hasmonaean revolt.
With the proper historical and cultural context in hand per our previous posts dealing with “The Dark Period,” we shall now turn our attention toward the two leading Jewish religious parties: the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
These two religious groups held opposing interpretations for בין הערבים (byn ha-arabim; between the evenings), for the day on which the Passover was eaten, and for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
The Sadducees reflected theAristocraticview while the Pharisees carried on theHasidic tradition.
One of the most important historical and cultural developments in Judaism during the Hellenic period was the formation of the movement, during the late third century B.C.E., that later became the Hasidim.
From them are derived the Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots, and others, including the later Rabbinists and Talmudists, who are their spiritual descendants.1
The name Hasidim means “pious, devout” ones.2These early Hasidim must not be confused with the German mystics of the 12th–13th centuries C.E. or with the modern Hasidic movement, founded in 18th century Poland by Israel ben Eliezer.3