Saturday, September 9, 2017

How is it that His patience and love endures forever?

How can a Holy and Righteous God know what I did and thought and said on yesterday, and not kill me in my sleep last night?

How is it that His patience and love endures forever?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday service "The 7 Last Words of Christ" - "I Thirst"

Presented at The House of Praise, in Groesbeck, OH ---  4/14/18 6pm.      
by †Ken Neuhaus

John 19:28  
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished,
 that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, "I thirst. " 
John 19:29  
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar,
and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 

Now, this is one of those odd passages that people love to debate.  On the surface, it seems like a straight forward passage, Jesus was thirsty - so a Roman soldier offered him some vinegar.  But really, in parallel scriptures where this is mentioned, it is sometimes referenced as wine.  

Here's what really happened...  Before the crucifixion, while carrying the Cross, it was customary to offer wine to the condemned to help ease their pain of the crucifixion.  According to Scripture, Jesus refused the wine.  But now, after all His travailing, the agonies of being beaten, whipped beyond recognition, and carrying the Cross, and nailed upon the Cross, and hoisted up.... now He is thirsty - and indeed they give him "Posca"

Posca was a common drink for the Roman soldiers, even part of their military camp gear.  It was made from mixing sour wine or vinegar with water and spices.   The sharpness of the vinegar  and acidity kills off certain bacteria. But, it was also a very refreshing drink for the soldiers.  So when Jesus speaks of His thirst, the soldiers have compassion on Him.   And, not to forget about the hyssop.  In those days, hyssop was considered holy.  The Romans used this herb to fight against the plague, as a disinfectant and treatment for minor infections.  Christianity has also held hyssop in high regard = a symbol of baptism and reconciliation.

So, remember the last time you have a fever.  Remember how thirsty you were.  On a much larger scale, this is the last agony of supernatural darkness of what Jesus endured for you.  This is His Body poured out for you.  This is the fulfillment of Psalm 22 where Jesus was poured out like water, His strength dried up, and in His thirst they gave him vinegar.   But this is also a glimmer of compassion that we see in the Roman soldiers who offered up their favorite refreshing drink on a symbol of reconciliation.

So I leave with this question, in our sins, in the reality that we crucified Jesus with our sins, would we have the compassion upon our Savior to offer refreshing drink and reconciliation?

Matthew 10:42  And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. 

Place marker for last of 8 week series


Sunday, March 19, 2017

E.G.O. ---- Edging God Out --- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD? -- Week 7 -- Yom Kippur / Day of Atonment

E.G.O.  ----  Edging God Out    

--- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD?

Facilitated by †Ken Neuhaus at Fort Mitchell Baptist Church (KY) 

(8 week series 2/5/17 – 3/26/17) on 3/19/17

We are continuing in the discussion from Leviticus 23, regarding the Feasts of the LORD.  This week, we discuss Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement. --- Leviticus 23:27-32

So, almost a month and a half ago, we entered into the Hebrew month of Elul.   A month of repentance and preparing for the Feast of Trumpets.  Then, at the first of the month of Tishri, the Trumpets are blown to announce the Feast, and to awaken people to think about their atonement.  Then, on the tenth day of Tishri, the Israelites observe Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement.   

 Let's start off by discussing redemption.   Psalm 49:7   The root word of Kippur is kafar which is derived from kofer, meaning "Ransom."  This is parallel to the word "redeem" which means "to atone by offering a substitute."  Many of the sacrifices of the Old Testament concerned making an atonement  where the blood of a sacrificial animal was required in exchange for the live blood of the worshiper.  This is seen in the actions of placing hands on the head of the sacrifice, confessing his sins over the animal, then killing the animal or sending it out as a scapegoat.   We've seen many places where the sacrifice of animal is an offering to the LORD.  We also see where an animal is sent out as a scapegoat.  

And so it is with Yom Kippur.  This is the only time of the year that the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place of the Temple to atone for the sins of all the Israelites.  It is important to note that as we read Leviticus 16, the realm of the holy must be separate from the realm of the unclean.  

Unclean  (<--- intentional and unintentional)   Clean   (---> sanctification)   Holy

Matthew 15:11 & Matthew 15:18

First, the High Priest must be both physically and ceremonially clean.  
Then as the High Priest is now clean, he labors to ensure the altar is holy.
And, as the altar is now holy, God provides atonement for His people.

So on this day, two goats were brought before the High Priest.  He would lay hands on them and symbolically transfer the sins of the people into them.  The first one was the sacrifice—the one that provided atonement for the people’s sins. The second, however, was the scapegoat. This one was released into the wilderness to wander and eventually die, removing sin from the camp. The blood of the first goat brought forgiveness. The second goat that was sent away from the camp brought sanctification.   This goat represents Satan, the one who departed from God and who is responsible for all the evil in this world.  John 8:34-44   Jesus has redeemed us.  But to understand our Redemption in the Cross, we must understand how Jesus as High Priest was also the Spotless Passover Lamb, how His Blood ensures that the alter is holy, so that God has atonement for any who accept it.  Also, important to understand that the shedding of blood has always been required for the forgiveness of sin.  That is why Jesus had to die and shed His blood for us.  And that is good news.  Our Redeemer exchanged His blood for ours.  Under the New Covenant, since the veil of the Holy of Holies was rent in two, all we need to do is accept His sacrifice.

It is important to understand here, the sacrifices under the Old Testament only covered sin, where as the atonement of Jesus removes sin.  

The Jewish nation celebrates Yom Kippur as the highest holy day of the year.  They have spent the previous 40 days to prepare and examine themselves to ceremonially find Atonement.  However, as we mentioned with the first four Feasts in this study, those have been fulfilled in Christ.  Yom Kippur will reach its fulfillment when Jesus is recognized as King of the Jews and the King of Israel.   

Matthew Henry Commentary
Christ shows that the defilement they ought to fear, was not from what entered their mouths as food, but from what came out of their mouths, which showed the wickedness of their hearts. Nothing will last in the soul but the regenerating graces of the Holy Spirit; and nothing should be admitted into the church but what is from above; therefore, whoever is offended by a plain, seasonable declaration of the truth, we should not be troubled at it. The disciples ask to be better taught as to this matter. Where a weak head doubts concerning any word of Christ, an upright heart and a willing mind seek for instruction. It is the heart that is desperately wicked, Jer 17:9, for there is no sin in word or deed, which was not first in the heart. They all come out of the man, and are fruits of that wickedness which is in the heart, and is wrought there. When Christ teaches, he will show men the deceitfulness and wickedness of their own hearts; he will teach them to humble themselves, and to seek to be cleansed in the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

E.G.O. ---- Edging God Out --- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD? -- Week 6 - Feast of Trumpets

E.G.O.  ----  Edging God Out    

--- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD?

Facilitated by †Ken Neuhaus at Fort Mitchell Baptist Church (KY) 

(8 week series 2/5/17 – 3/26/17) on 3/12/17

We are continuing in the discussion from Leviticus 23, regarding the Feasts of the LORD.  This week, we discuss the Feast of Trumpets.

Let's review first.   
Leviticus 23.....
  • We learned more about the Sabbath, about how God declared it a day to call people to take a rest together.
  • We learned about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, how it began in the story of Exodus from Egypt, observed throughout the Bible, observed by Jesus Christ, observed by His Disciples.  Even from the beginning, Passover points to Jesus - our true Passover Lamb.  Christ's death fulfilled the ritual of the slaughtered lamb.  This is commemorated along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the seven day festival right after Passover.  We learned how the Passover Seder meal is done to remind of the Exodus from slavery.  But also the unleavened bread (matza) is broken into small pieces and cups of wine are shared among the participants in the meal.  Jesus said His Body is broken for us, and Blood is the new Wine poured out for us.  Over time, the Passover and the Unleavened Bread have become blended together as one Feast to the LORD.  The Crucifixion occurred during this Feast.  Today we observe communion in remembrance Jesus sacrifice, and the deeper understanding of how Christ's death brings fullness to the Passover lamb and the transformation of letting Christ live in us.  Only by taking on Jesus' character can we truly overcome sin.  This is the first of three mandatory Feasts to be kept as sacrifice before the LORD.  Christians should pay special attention to the Crucifixion.
  • We learned about the Feast of First Fruits, which took place at the beginning of the Spring Harvest and signified dependence upon God.  After the Exodus, the Israelites brought the first fruits of their harvest before the priest, to acknowledge that God had delivered them from Egypt and had given them the Promised Land.  We also saw that this occurred on Resurrection Sunday.  Christ was the first to rise from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20).  
  • We learned of the Feast of Weeks / Pentecost.  This Feast of Weeks was eagerly celebrated because it signified the completion of the early harvest, the very first harvest from the fields.  Pentecost signaled a good year ahead for an Israelite.  And in celebration, people would bring the first of their harvest to the priest, to be waved before the LORD.   In the New Testament, we see a deeper and more profound meaning to this.  We see Jesus fulfilling His promise to send the Holy Spirit and to never leave His followers as orphans.  At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples.  This is the second of three mandatory Feasts to be kept as a sacrifice before the LORD.  Christians should pay special attention to Pentecost.
---------- These first three Feasts (the Spring Feasts) are directly fulfilled by the first coming of the Messiah.  The Fall Feasts represent events yet to be fulfilled and are directly connected to Christ's return and to Israel's promised national salvation. ----------

Today, we learn about The Feast of Trumpets. - Leviticus 23:23-25
This is performed on the first day of the first day of the seventh month.  Today it is called Rosh Hashanah.  Even though this term is not mentioned in scriptures, the name has transformed to signify a new year.  The name means, Head of the Year.  So much like we have the concept of new years in different contexts... such as a new fiscal year, or a new school year, or a new farming year, where the newness doesn't line up with the calendar year;  so do the Jewish people have several different "new years."  Nisan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and calendar months, Elul 1 (August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (February) is the new year for trees to determine when first fruits can be eaten, etc, and Tishri 1 (Sept/October) is Rosh Hashanah for the new year of years, when the Jewish calendar increases the year number.  Over the course of the history of Israel, the rabbis transformed this Feast into the start of the New Year based on their belief that this was the exact day when God created the World.

On Rosh Hashanah, the trumpet blasts to signal to Israel that they are entering a sacred season, right at the end of their agricultural and festival year.  This begins the ten days of penitence culminating in Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).   The Torah is silent about why the trumpet (or shofar, a ram's horn) is blown on this particular day.  But when we read the New Testament, we see how this day corresponds prophetically with Christ's return.  1 Thessalonians 4:16–17  The Shofar will sound in heaven, the dead in Christ will rise from their graves, and those still alive will meet Jesus in the air.  

The month before Tishri is called Elul.  Elul is a time of repentance among the Jewish people in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  The name of the month of Elul --- spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed --- is said to be an acronym of "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li," "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine," a quote from Song of Songs 6:3.  This acronym is appropriate as the Beloved is God and I is the Jewish people.  However, in Aramaic, Elul means "search," which is also appropriate as this is the time of year to search our hearts before the Day of Atonement.  Also in tradition, it is believed that Moses spent the month of Elul on Mount Sinai preparing the second set of tablets after the incident of the golden calf.  He came back down from the mountain at the end of Yom Kippur when repentance was complete.  

During the month of Elul, the shofar is blown after morning services every weekday, but not blown on Sabbath.  The shofar is blown as a wake up call for sleepers, designed to rouse us from our complacency.  The shofar is a call to repentance.  The shofar is blown to make major announcements, including the Return of Christ.  (Revelation 8 and 11)

I personally believe we are living in a time of Elul.  God is calling us to search our hearts, to repent and to draw close to Him.  I believe this is a good time for us to ask, are we his Beloved?  See, it isn't enough that we know Him, but does He know us?  Matthew 7:21-23.

Also, we must ask, is the LORD our beloved?  Isaiah 54:5-10

The Feast of Trumpets is a challenge for us to maintain a spiritual vigilance for the return of Jesus Christ.   Mark 13:35-37  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

E.G.O. ---- Edging God Out --- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD? --- Week 5 - Pentecost

E.G.O.  ----  Edging God Out    

--- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD?

Facilitated by Rev. †Ken Neuhaus at Fort Mitchell Baptist Church (KY) 

(8 week series 2/5/17 – 3/26/17) on 3/5/17

We are continuing in the discussion from Leviticus 23, regarding the Feasts of the LORD.
This week, we discuss what we know as Pentecost.   I
n the Christian liturgical year it has become a feast commemorating the "Birthday of the Church."   But if that was just a historical event, then what does Pentecost mean for us today?  Lets start in Leviticus 23:15-21.

So, there are three mandated festivals that Jewish people are to commemorate every year.  It is important enough that God commanded in scripture for them to observe year after year.  The three feasts are The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Pesach/Passover), The Feast of Weeks (Shavout/Pentecost), and The Feast of Booths/Tabernacles (Sukkot).

Let's look at The Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament - 
In Exodus 18:13-23, we see that the Israelites have been released from Egypt, and have been traveling through the desert heading toward the promised land.  But like all people, some become wayward and need someone else to decide right and wrong for them.  So we see that Moses has been doing this since they left Egypt.  But now, Moses appoints judges to help with the problems and disputes of the people.  I mention this little point because so much like all humans, even you and I need guidance to figure out how to live.  Next, in Exodus 19:1-3, we see where they arrive at Mt. Sinai.  They arrived here 7 weeks and one day after they left Egypt, and this becomes the Feast of Weeks.  Numbers 28:26, it is also a Holy Day and a Day of Rest.  This is a day to be called Holy, where they are honoring that they have arrived a place of Holiness, the place where the Torah is given to them by God.  But even more so, because according to Exodus 19:3-6,  this is where God called them to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  

Let's look at the Feast of Weeks in the New Testament-
This was eagerly celebrated in Israel because it signified the completion of the early harvest, the first harvest from the fields.  The priest would take the sheaf of grain, and in a special ceremony, would wave it before God as an offering.  And, Israelites could be assured of having food when God's blessing was upon them.  Pentecost signaled a good year ahead for an Israelite.  It was a great festival of both hope and joy.  But there is a more profound parallel to all this.  When Jesus ascended to heaven following the Resurrection, His followers were very perplexed because their risen Lord was taken away from them.  But He had promised He would not leave them as orphans.  John 14:18  So imagine the confusion of seeing the Savior of the World leaving them, being taken up into the sky.  Acts 1:9.  But then imagine the surprise as they continue by observing the Feasts, and upon the Feast of Weeks, they are gathered together and receive the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:1-41.  Here, in a mighty way, God empowered the body of Believers in Jesus, they were given power in the Holy Spirit.  Church, have you been empowered?

Let's look at the parallel of OT and NT-
In the Old Testament, the Feast of Weeks celebrates God giving the Torah.  The Torah is the means by which God's people can know how to relate with God and how to relate with people.  In the New Testament, the Feast of Weeks celebrates God giving His Spirit.  The Holy Spirit empowers God's people to have deep relationship with God and to have relationship with people.  

So what does this mean for us today?
1 Corinthians 12:13 reveals to us a glorious representation of who we are as one big body of believers.  Just as the LORD is ONE, so too are we to be ONE.   The Holy Spirit stirs us and allows us to be ONE.  Last week, we discussed the Greatest Commandment, from Matthew 22:36-40.  This is a teaching from Jesus that brings to light two Commandments from the Torah.  The first from the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18.  So, as the Old Testament gave the Torah at the Feast of Weeks in order to teach people how to relate --- so does the New Testament give the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to empower the Church.

In closing, a review of the first four (spring time) feasts reveals that Jesus was crucified on Passover, buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, raised on the Feast of First Fruits, and sent the Holy Spirit on Shavuot/Pentecost.  Because we have not yet seen the fulfillment of the 5th feast, Trumpets, we remain under the guidance of Pentecost.  We should live our lives full of the Holy Spirit!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

E.G.O. ---- Edging God Out --- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD? --- week 4 - First Fruits

E.G.O.  ----  Edging God Out    

--- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD?

Facilitated by Rev. †Ken Neuhaus at Fort Mitchell Baptist Church (KY) 
(8 week series 2/5/17 – 3/26/17) on 2/26/17

We are continuing in the discussion from Leviticus 23, regarding the Feasts of the LORD.  This week, we discuss First fruits --- and I want to challenge us to consider if we, as Christians, should be observing the Sabbath and these Feasts.  

Feast of First Fruits
The feast we are reading about is found in Leviticus 23:9-14.  
Now, I don’t want to shock you too badly, but if you have been observing Resurrection Sunday --- you really have been co-celebrating the Feast of First Fruits.   

Let’s break it down….
Let's review the last 3 weeks.  Jesus, the spotless Lamb, entered into town on “Palm Sunday” and was tested throughout that week, and was proven to be the Spotless Lamb.  All the questioning by the religious could not trip him up, and He provided many parables and learning opportunities to share the Good News with everyone who would listen.  This corresponds with Passover, where the Lamb was brought into the home of the Israelites and inspected in order to be found Spotless.  Then we see Jesus conducting the Passover Seder, observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread, where Jesus is speaking about his body being broken and his blood poured out, and He being the New Covenant.  The Passover Seder is eaten while reclining at the table, ready to depart at a moment's notice, to symbolize the departure from Egyptian slavery and the coming deliverance into the Promised Land.  (Exodus 12:11)  Then we see the Crucifixion, where the Passover Lamb is slain and the sins of all mankind are placed upon Jesus.  Here is a good quote identifying what really happened.... (When an Israelite worshiper laid his hand on the animal victim, he identified himself with the animal as his substitute . . . this accomplished a symbolic transfer of his sin and a legal transfer of his guilt to the animal victim. God then accepted the slaughter of the animal . . . as a ransom payment for the particular sin which occasioned it.   (F. Duane Lindsey, "Leviticus," 166.))  

Jesus is the ransom for all our sins!!!

Now, we come to Jesus being in the tomb for 3 nights and 3 days.   We see in Luke 23:54 that Jesus was buried, but there was the day of preparation, and Sabbath was coming.   So before the Sabbath, they saw how Jesus was laid in the tomb. But after the Sabbath, something was very out of place.  The day after the Sabbath, it was discovered the tomb was empty.  Leviticus 23:11 says that the day after the Sabbath the first sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest be presented to the LORD.   This is the Messiah, on Resurrection Sunday, the first fruits raised to the LORD.

Paul identified this in 1 Corinthians 15:24, that Jesus is the first fruits.  The whole observance of the Feast of First Fruits began as a celebration of the people as they entered out of bondage and into the land the LORD is providing.  This is a statute to be observed forever throughout our generations in all our dwellings. (Leviticus 23:14).   How fitting it is, that on the night he was betrayed, as Jesus took bread and cup, and provided a New Covenant as the Passover Lamb, that just 3 days later, He would become the fulfillment of the First Fruits.   

What are we missing here?
What happened to you when you got saved?  What happened to you when you accepted the Death and Resurrection of the LORD Jesus Christ, and you accepted that your very existence depends upon Jesus' sacrifice for your salvation, and that you now have the Hope of a Resurrection.   Didn’t you enter into a new dimension, a new relationship, a new circumstance?  That was the goal of Jesus becoming the Passover Lamb.  That by the shedding of his Blood, by the ransom for your sins, by these things you could enter into the Kingdom of God.   This is you, entering in, and reaping its harvest.  Leviticus 23:10  And this is you, demonstrating your honor to God by giving the first of your harvest back to the LORD.  We are missing the temple today, but you can remember this commandment in other ways.  Another commandment instructs us to care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger and the priests.  Deuteronomy 26:12   You might consider donating money off the TOP of your budget (your first fruits) before spending money on anything else.  You might prepare double a meal and give the FIRST batch to someone who needs it, or by some one else's groceries BEFORE you purchase your own.    We are called to honor the LORD with our wealth, and with the first part of our harvest.  Proverbs 3:9. Let's not miss the point that the FIRST of our harvest must go to the LORD, not our scraps.

So, what else are we missing here?
Resurrection Sunday is the Feast of First Fruits!!!!  God led you out of your slavery to sin, God covered you with the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus led you into the Kingdom of God, and Jesus is the First Fruits on Resurrection Sunday.  So also, under the New Covenant, God brought forth the word of truth, so that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures (James 1:18).   This is a huge Feast, this involves us showing God our honor, and God providing Hope in our own resurrection.  We miss the significance of this when we don’t follow His command to observe First Fruits.  Now, let’s shift gears.

Why do we observe Easter?
Let’s clarify… All the fun things about Easter are pagan. Exchange of eggs is an ancient custom, celebrated by many cultures. Each spring, people saw other first fruits, like a budding tree, and figured it would be a good time to ask their goddess for new babies – both for themselves and for their livestock to reproduce.  They worshiped the things in nature which represented fertility, such as the rabbit and the egg.  Since the rabbit is a prolific breeder, isn't it wonderful that the Easter Bunny hide eggs in places easily discovered to give hope of fertility.  An egg hunt represents the attempt to conceive a baby.  I have friends who like to say "they go at it like rabbits" when talking about sex.  Today, we continue this observance with the Easter Bunny and painted eggs and new outfits for Easter church services and parades.   It isn’t very popular to speak the truth, but the Easter Egg business is a nearly $2 Billion industry.   God hates this idolatry, Exodus 20:2-5, and for our disobedience, there is generational perversity.  The reality though, is that we diminish the Gospel, the Good News of the Messiah, when we get side tracked on all this other non-sense.  The end result is that the church at large doesn't understand who Jesus is as the First Fruits - because we've kept them busy with other distractions.

Why do we observe Resurrection Sunday?
For a Risen Christ, our Messiah resurrected from the grave!  For many Christians, this is the extent of their comprehension of what happened on this particular Sunday.  

Should we observe the Feast of First Fruits?
Not if you want to miss out the deeper meaning of the New Covenant.  Most of Christianity isn’t interested in that deeper relationship with God; rather they just want the blessings.   Throughout history, including at the Cross, believers scurry away when they are confronted with the Truth.  Modern Christianity is the worst, where we come to church to sing some songs, raise a hand, feel emotionally charged from the rousing music and a 3 point sermon.  But that’s it.  Most Christians just want to show up and get blessed.  Sadly, most Christians are a breed of lazy souls, going along for a ride, not really wanting to do more than lip service.  So, when society offers options, God’s way will get pushed out.  This is seen today with watered down and seeker friendly sermons, the abandonment of “servant” in servant leadership, homosexuality in the pulpit, and with lack of accountability upon church leadership.  But the largest means by which God’s way is pushed out is when the congregation has removed the ability for God to bless them.  God cannot bless them when they are despising Israel.  (Genesis 12:3)  Moreover, the problem is that our ego doesn’t allow us to submit to God’s way.  The solution is simple.  The solution is that we must submit to God and walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

Jesus observed these Feasts, why don’t we?
Jesus is the faithful witness. He is first among all who will be raised from death. He is the ruler of the kings of the earth. Jesus is the one who loves us and has made us free from our sins with his blood sacrifice.  He made us his kingdom and priests who serve God his Father. To Jesus be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Look, Jesus is coming with the clouds! Everyone will see him, even those who pierced him. All peoples of the earth will cry loudly because of him. Yes, this will happen! Amen.   (Revelation 1:5-7)  

Won't you follow Jesus in a deeper way?

“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” 
― William Booth

Sunday, February 19, 2017

E.G.O. ---- Edging God Out --- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD? - Week 3 - Passover and Unleavened Bread, pt. 2

E.G.O.  ----  Edging God Out    

--- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD?

Facilitated by †Ken Neuhaus at Fort Mitchell Baptist Church (KY) 

(8 week series 2/5/17 – 3/26/17)   on 2/19/17

Part 2 – The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
Leviticus 23:4-8

It is my prayer that you never look at Communion the same way
 after knowing more of the Passover.

This study material comes from

The video can be found at
The removal of leaven
Before the beginning of the Passover, all leaven, which is a symbol of sin (1 Cor. 5:6-8), must be removed from the Jewish home. The house is cleaned from top to bottom and anything containing leaven is removed.
Washing the hands
Once the leaven is removed, the family sits around the table and ceremonially washes their hands with a special laver and towel. Jesus also took part in this tradition, but rather than wash his hands, he got up from the table and washed the feet of his disciples, giving us an unparalleled lesson in humility (John 13:2-17).
Lighting the candles
Once the house and the participants are ceremonially clean, the Passover seder can begin. The woman of the house says a blessing and lights the Passover candles. It is appropriate that the woman brings light into the home, because it was through the woman that the light of the world, Messiah Jesus, came into the world (Gen. 3:15)  The woman waves her hands over the flame 3 times to prepare her body, mind, and soul for the Passover.  Her prayer is this…. Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Festival Day.
The first cup of wine
The seder begins with a blessing recited over the first of four cups of wine: "Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine." Jesus himself blessed the first cup in Luke 22:17-18.
The second cup of wine
The second cup is to remind us of the Ten Plagues and the suffering of the Egyptians when they hardened their heart to the Lord. In order not to rejoice over the suffering of our enemies (Prov. 24:17), we spill a drop of wine (which is a symbol of joy) as we recite each of the Ten Plagues, thus remembering that our joy is diminished at the suffering of others.
A very curious tradition now takes place. At the table is a bag with three compartments and three pieces of motza. The middle piece of motza is taken out, broken, and half is put back into the bag. The other half is wrapped in a linen napkin and hidden, to be taken out later, after the meal.  After the meal is finished, the leader of the seder lets the children loose to hunt for the Afikomen, which was wrapped in a napkin and hidden before the meal. The house is in a ruckus as everyone rushes around to be the first to find the Afikomen and claim the prize as grandpa redeems it from the lucky locator. The going rate is $5.00! Once the leader has retrieved the Afikomen, he breaks it up into pieces and distributes a small piece to everyone seated around the table. Jewish people don't really understand this tradition, but traditions don't need to be understood - just followed! However, it is widely believed that these pieces of Afikomen bring a good, long life to those who eat them.
The tradition perhaps dates back to the time of Jesus. If this is the case, then Luke 22:19 takes on a greater meaning: "And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'" For Jesus the Messiah would have taken the middle one of the three pieces of motza, the piece that stood for the priest or mediator between God and the people, broken it as His body would be broken, wrapped half in a linen napkin as he would be wrapped in linen for burial, hidden it as he would be buried, brought it back as he would be resurrected, and distributed it to everyone seated with him, as He would distribute His life to all who believe. As He did this, he was conscious that this middle piece of motza represented His own, spotless body given for the redemption of His people. As the motza is striped and pierced, His own body would be striped and pierced, and it is by those wounds that we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). This middle piece of motza, or the Afikomen, is our communion bread.
Shankbone of the Lamb
In every Jewish home, on every seder plate, is a bare shankbone of a lamb. In the book of Exodus, Jewish firstborns were spared from the Angel of Death by applying the blood of a spotless, innocent lamb applied to the doorpost of their homes as God brought the people from slavery into freedom. Today, we believe Jesus is that perfect Passover Lamb, and when we apply His blood to the doorposts of our heart, we too go from death into life, from the slavery of sin into the freedom of being a redeemed child of God. As John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus coming towards him, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
Charoset is a sweet mixture of chopped apples, chopped nuts, honey, cinnamon, and a little Manischewitz grape wine (kosher for Passover) just for color! This sweet, pasty, brown mixture is symbolic of the mortar that our ancestors used to build bricks in the land of Egypt. Why do we remember an experience so bitter with something so sweet? The rabbis have a good insight: even the bitterest of labor can be sweet when our redemption draws nigh. This is especially true for believers in the Messiah. We can find sweetness even in the bitterest of experiences because we know our Lord's coming is near.
Beitzah - egg
A roasted egg is on the seder plate to bring to mind the roasted daily temple sacrifice that no longer can be offered because the temple no longer stands. In the very midst of the Passover Seder, the Jewish people are reminded that they have no sacrifice to make them righteous before God.
Maror - bitter herb
This is usually ground horseradish, and enough is eaten (with Motza) to bring a tear to the eyes. We cannot appreciate the sweetness of redemption unless we first experience for ourselves the bitterness of slavery.
Karpas - greens
The first item taken is the karpas, or greens (usually parsley), which is a symbol of life. The parsley is dipped in salt water, a symbol of tears, and eaten, to remind us that life for our ancestors was immersed in tears. (Matt. 26:23). 

Third Cup
The third cup of wine is taken after the meal. It is the cup of redemption, which reminds us of the shed blood of the innocent Lamb which brought our redemption from Egypt. We see that Jesus took the third cup in Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25, "In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'" This was not just any cup, it was the cup of redemption from slavery into freedom. This is our communion cup.
Fourth Cup
The fourth cup is the Cup of Hallel. Hallel in Hebrew means "praise," and we see in the beautiful High Priestly Prayer of John 17, that Jesus took time to praise and thank the Lord at the end of the Passover Seder, his last supper. The spotless Passover Lamb had praise on his lips as he went to his death.
Elijah's Cup
A place setting remains empty for Elijah the prophet, the honored guest at every Passover table. The Jewish people expect Elijah to come at Passover and announce the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). So a place is set, a cup is filled with wine, and hearts are expectant for Elijah to come and announce the Good News. At the end of the seder meal, a child is sent to the door to open it and see if Elijah is there. Every year, the child returns, disappointed, and the wine is poured out without being touched. My people wait and hope for Messiah - they do not realize that Messiah has already come. But those of us who believe in Jesus  know that He is the one the prophets spoke of. He is the spotless, unblemished Passover Lamb, whose body was broken for us, whose blood was shed, and who now lives to distribute His life to all of us who apply His blood to the doorpost of our hearts and have passed from death into His eternal life.

How is the timing of Passover calculated? Why does Passover sometimes fall after Easter?

The two holidays are based on two different calendars. Easter is based on the solar calendar, the calendar commonly used today. In Western churches, Easter is dated as the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. It therefore occurs somewhere between March 22 and April 25. Eastern Orthodox churches have a different approach based on the lunar calendar.

Passover, on the other hand, is based on the Jewish calendar, a lunar calendar that has twelve 28-day months. Every two or three years, there is a thirteenth month called Adar II included in the calendar. Over the course of a 19-year cycle, this "extra" month occurs in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th years. The year 2008 was one of those years with an extra month. Passover occurs from the 15th to the 21st of the month of Nisan - which is the month right after the "extra" month of Adar II. The inclusion of the "extra" month in the lunar calendar thus caused Passover to fall nearly 30 days after Easter in 2008.  In 2017, Passover is April 10 - April 18.

How is Passover related to the Last Supper?

The Last Supper was itself part of a celebration of Passover. Knowing that He would be put to death in a few hours, Jesus told his disciples that He "eagerly desired to celebrate this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15). At this celebration, He took elements of the Passover (the unleavened bread and the cup) and identified them as his body and blood, symbolizing his death.   Other elements of the Passover are important symbols as well. The "lamb" points to the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Indeed, Jesus is the Passover Lamb. Paul tells us that as often as we eat this bread and drink of this cup (elements of the Passover and the heart of the Last Supper, or Communion), we proclaim the Lord's death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Sunday, February 12, 2017

E.G.O. ---- Edging God Out --- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD? - Week 2 - Passover and Unleavened Bread

E.G.O.  ----  Edging God Out   
--- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of
the LORD?
Facilitated by †Ken Neuhaus at Fort Mitchell Baptist Church (KY) on 2/12/17   (8 week series 2/5/17 – 3/26/17)
Today we are going to discuss two Feasts - in one.  Their timing is in the same month, even in the same week.  But their significance is often missed by Christians.  Let's take a look at the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  --- We may take two weeks to cover these two feasts.   ----  (opening prayer led by Chris H.)
Let’s look at the very first Passover, the Institution of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
1.    We are studying Leviticus, so let's read Leviticus 23:5-14
2.    Now, let’s review Exodus 11:1 – Exodus 12:36
·       1ST Month of the year (Nisan)
·       10th day chose a lamb for the household, must be without defects
·       Evening of 14th, the whole community of Israel will sacrifice the lambs and place the blood above the doors
·       The lamb is to be completely consumed
·       Do this quickly, be ready to travel, walking stick in hand
·       When God sees the blood, He will pass over and not harm you
·       Celebrate this day for all time to come
·       When your children ask why, tell them the sacrifice of Passover is to honor the LORD, because he passed over us.  He killed the Egyptians, but sheltered us.
·       From evening of 14th day to the evening of 21st day, have no leaven in your house.

3.    Let's read  1st Corinthians 5:6-8
As a side comment regarding leaven in the church, let’s read 1st Corinthians 5:9-13

Seder meals, for nearly 1600 years before Jesus was crucified, the seder meal was practiced, even by Jesus. 
Luke 2:41       and    Mark 14:12      and    Luke 22:15

Is Jesus the Passover Lamb?
John 1:29  and    Luke 22:19-20

Is the Feast of Unleavened bread for Christians?
We can see the spiritual meaning of this feast.  The deeper significance wasn’t ultimately found in what had occurred in the Old Testament.  Rather, we see it in Jesus, the sinless one, who purged our sins and gave us a chance to be spiritually “unleavened” before God.   Read
Jude 1:24.  Jesus is very much at the center of this second feast of the LORD.  Jesus makes it possible for us to be spiritually “unleavened”.

Let’s take a look at Holy Week, and the parallel between OT and NT and preparing for Passover.
Nisan 10
Gather the Lamb
Palm Sunday
Nisan 11
Inspect the Lamb
Parable of King preparing for wedding feast.
Nisan 12
Inspect the Lamb
Questioned about taxes
Questioned about resurrection
Nisan 13
Inspect the Lamb
Questions about resurrection
Questions about the great commandments
Nisan 14
Slaughter the Lamb / Eat
Last Supper then arrested
Nisan 15
Released from Egypt / captivity
Jesus bruised and crushed, crucified and buried

Jesus was scrutinized on whether His teachings were according to the Torah - and was found to be spotless.
Next week, let’s look specifically at Seder and compare the symbols of who Jesus is in celebrating the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.   I am hoping to have a video compilation for next week.  Seder Meal – refer to
(Closing prayer by Keith L.)
By the way, the next Passover begins at sundown on Mon, 10 April 2017.  Maybe we can do a seder meal around then?