Wednesday, November 7, 2012

History of Easter - part I

I am curious about the people who say Easter is pagan. I wonder how they came to their conclusions. What started them on this road? What study did they do? What information did they consider and what did they leave out? Did they genuinely try to understand the matter before they reached a conclusion?

Some people are so militantly against Easter that I wonder if they thoughtfully considered the matter at all. Goodness knows that fairly well describes me while I was a true Armstrong believer. I only wanted to find what I already believed. I was thoroughly biased. I wanted to hate Easter.

As it turns out, a lot of people observe Easter. So, I figure I’d better find out all I can about it if I’m going to condemn people as unsaved pagans for keeping it. But what happens when you find out something you have so much invested in is not true? Well, read on and find out.

This will be part one of a two-part study into Easter. In this part, we will investigate the details of Passover and Jesus’ death. Most of this will be about timing. We need to look at this first because in part two we will investigate how these things tie in to Easter.

What is Easter anyway?

Easter is the day on which most Christians celebrate the death and resurrection, but mostly the resurrection, of our Lord Jesus Christ. Easter day, also called Resurrection Sunday, is the New Covenant Passover. In the old Catholic traditions, the traditions that spread through Europe, Easter is more than just a day, it is a season (in old English the word for season is “tide”; eg. “Easter tide”) that continues 50 days until Pentecost.

Origins of Easter

To find the origins of Easter, we need to look first at the Jewish Passover. We can read in Exodus about Passover, where the Israelites were spared from the 10th Plague of God on Egypt by putting the blood of a lamb on their doorways.

This from a Judaism 101 article on “Pesach: Passover”:
“The name ‘Pesach’ (PAY-sahch, with a ‘ch’ as in the Scottish ‘loch’) comes from the Hebrew root Pei-Samekh-Cheit , meaning to pass through, to pass over, to exempt or to spare. It refers to the fact that G-d ‘passed over’ the houses of the Jews when he was slaying the firstborn of Egypt. In English, the holiday is known as Passover. ‘Pesach’ is also the name of the sacrificial offering (a lamb) that was made in the Temple on this holiday.”
It should be obvious to Christians that the lamb and its blood represented the body and blood of Jesus, who is our Passover Lamb (I COR. 5: 7).

Timing of Passover

Passover, as we can see in Leviticus 23: 5, is a seven-day long Festival which begins at the end of the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Keep in mind that in Hebrew tradition, days begin at sundown.

In Armstrongism, Passover has been separated into its own day, and the seven-day celebration which the Jews call “Passover” is called “Days of Unleavened Bread” by Armstrongists. Thus the whole thing would appear to be an eight-day celebration. But this is not as it should be. Let’s look in to that a bit because it becomes important to point out a few things.

(LEV. 23: 4-8) 4 These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.

Verse 5 says the Passover is on the 14th day of the first month - which is the month of Nissan/Abib. Armstrongism stops here and concludes the Passover is a day unto itself and the Seder is eaten on the 14th. But Passover here starts at twilight; the twilights on the 14th not the 13th. So that puts it late on the 14th. Passover also refers to the slaughter of the lambs. The lambs were slaughtered on the 14th, just as Jesus was. But if you ask a Jew when is Passover, they will say, correctly, the Passover Seder meal is early on the 15th day of the month of Nissan. Not the 14th. The Seder meal would have been eaten on the 15th.

Fun fact: Numbers 9: 9-13 has a second Passover, in case something happened to prevent people from observing it the first time around.

The Passover lamb was chosen late on the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan/Abib (EXO. 12: 3) during the daylight hours. The lamb is tested for blemishes for four days and declared spotless (EXO. 12: 6), just as Jesus was questioned by the leaders of the Jews and declared without fault by Pilot (LUK. 23 4). The lamb was then slaughtered late on the 14th day (EXO. 12: 6). Josephus tells is this happened between the ninth hour and the eleventh (3PM to 5 PM). The Seder meal is eaten early on the 15th day during the dark hours.

When you understand Passover Seder is not eaten on the 14th, or at the very earliest it starts at the end of the 14th, you understand there is only the seven-day feast. There is no single-day celebration called Passover in Leviticus 23. What Armstrongism calls "Days of Unleavened Bread" is what Jews would call "Passover." They are the same.

You recall that in Hebrew tradition the evening comes before the morning. So, the evening of the 15th starts at sundown (roughly 6-7 PM) not at midnight, and comes before the morning of the 15th. It could be your average Tuesday, but it might start the 14th and become the 15th at sundown. To most western minds, this would look to us like the lamb was slaughtered and eaten on the same day, but that is because we are thinking that the 14th ends at midnight. In the ancient Hebrew mind, it was eaten on the next day, because after sundown it becomes the 15th. That's the Hebrew way.

To be fair, some of the Jews are recorded as having changed the timing of Passover. 

The Jews in the Diaspora keep an eight-day Passover. But this is a change made out of necessity. This is not how things were originally. The Diaspora Jews keep it as eight days because they are no longer in Jerusalem and they want to account for the time difference, thus the eighth day is a sort of insurance so to speak to guarantee they’ve at least landed on the right day at some point.

I have heard so very many and complicated explanations in Armstrongism for why the Jews do not keep their own celebrations correctly. These same Armstrongists rely on the authority of the Jews to declare the correct timing of the weekly Sabbath, however. So the Jews are wrong (when they contradict Herbert Armstrong) and the Jews are right (when they agree with Herbert Armstrong). This should not be so!

So that's about as exact as a person can get. Keep in mind, however, that in the 30's AD, things were done in a much less scientific manner, often by sight, and there were several strings attached that we won't get into here. So even though we know precisely when sundown is today, that doesn't tell us exactly when the Jews determined sundown to be at that time.

Did Herbert Armstrong get the timing right?

The odd thing is that the COGs observe Passover one day too soon, at the beginning of the 14th - or in other words, on the night that the 13th of Nisan becomes the 14th. Look at any Holy Day calendar from any Armstrongist splinter group and compare that timing of Passover to any Jewish website. See the difference?

But if we do that, the lamb would have to be killed on the 13th. There is no command to kill a lamb on the 13th. If one has ever roasted a whole lamb (or any animal for that matter), one knows this cannot be done in minutes. To assume the lamb was killed, cooked, and eaten around sundown at the beginning of the 14th is nonsensical. There is no way the Armstrongist view can be possible, except if the Jews eat the Passover meal in the middle of the night, and that simply isn’t the case.

Ask yourself this question - if Passover is a separate thing from the Days of Unleavened Bread, and Passover is on the 14th and the first day of Unleavened Bread is on the 15th, as Armstrong taught, then why observe the Passover without leaven when it simply isn’t time yet?

Jesus' timeline of events:

Nisan 13
Nisan 14
Nisan 14
Nisan 15
Prepare upper room.
Eat Last Supper & arrest. Start de-leavening.
Trial, crucifixion & burial. Slaughter of lambs. Finish de-leavening.
Passover Seder.

Armstrongism's view of events:

Nisan 13 (Tue.)
Nisan 14 (Tue. – Wed.)
Nisan 14 (Wed.)
Nisan 15 (Wed. – Thu.)
Finish de-leavening. Slaughter of lambs & prepare Last Supper.
Passover Seder which is Last Supper.
Trial, crucifixion & burial.
Night to Be Much Observed. Start of Unleavened Bread.

Armstrongists argue this timing strenuously, as they do all calendar issues, but this “14th/15th controversy” is particularly potent and divisive among them. The 15th group is correct according to the Old Testament, although they are by far the minority and run contrary to Herbert Armsrtong’s teachings. Frankly, I would never have said that two years ago, and it would have been more for party loyalty than any understanding I had on the subject.

To add fuel to this dating fire, we know from Christian history that in the first centuries there were groups called “Quartodecimans.” Quartodeciman comes from the Latin word “Quattuordecim” which means “fourteen.” These people insisted that the Lord’s Supper could only be observed on the 14th day of Nisan, because that was the time Jesus ate it.

This is also the tradition of the Apostles. Eusebius records for us that (in about 150 AD) when Anicetus, Bishop of Rome, championed a different day because following the Hebrew calendar was prohibitive, Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and student of the Apostle John, went to visit him and claimed the 14th was the time taught to him by the Apostles (Eusebius, “Church History”, book V, chapter 24, verse 16).

Eusebius also relates to us that one Polycrates, leader of the Bishops in Asia, specifically mentioned that the Lord’s Supper was “observed the day when the people put away the leaven” (Eusebius, “Church History”, book V, chapter 24, verse 6).

This proves that the Last Supper was a day earlier than the Seder.

So, Armstrongists are torn between following the letter of the law and following Christ’s example. Some go off on multi-part sermons with vivid scenarios and deep studies into the “real” meaning of the Hebrew word “evenings” and et cetera. They are trying to marry one meal eaten on two different evenings. But this is impossible.

Armstrongism accuses Judaism of getting its own days wrong. Right now, someone out there is saying, "When Jesus ate the Last Supper on the 14th, He was restoring the correct timing of Passover, which had erred over the years." Based on what proof? Did Jesus say that is what He was doing? No.

Did we not just read in Exodus 12 how the lambs were selected on the 10th and killed on the 14th? They weren't killed immediately after the 14th started. They were killed during the daylight hours (v.6). Then when the sun went down and it became the 15th, the Seder was eaten (v.8). It's right there in Exodus. 

If Jesus were correcting the timing, then why was Pentecost on the exact same day? The Holy Spirit was given to the disciples on Pentecost, not a day earlier. Pentecost is tied to Passover, so it should have been a day earlier, too. But it wasn't.

If Jesus ate the Seder on the “correct” time and the Jews did not, then that would also mean that Jesus died a day after the “correct” slaughtering of the Passover lambs. The symbolism of Jesus being our Passover Lamb is wrecked! It is simple to excuse Jesus for eating the Seder a day early since He knew He was going to die (and why not, people eat it weeks later when they cannot eat it at the proper time), but to blow the whole symbolism of the lamb is harder to excuse.

If Jesus intended to show the “correct” timing of the Seder to be on the 14th, then the “correct” timing of the slaughter would be on the 13th. But this also means the Hebrew calendar is wrong by a day, the 13th is actually the 14th, Friday is the “correct” Sabbath, and both the Saturday and the Sunday proponents are wrong. Sabbath FAIL!

I bet you didn't want to take it that far. The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

The simple and unavoidable fact is Jesus ate the Lord’s Supper one day before the correct timing of the Seder. He did it because He had to, not because He was correcting the timing. And even though the Armstrongists observe what they do on the 14th, they say what they do is in keeping with the Old Testament, but it certainly is not.

So follow Jesus into the New Covenant, or follow the law into the Old Covenant. You decide.
This much is obvious -- for all of those times Armstrongists judge and condemn a billion+ Christians for getting the timing of Easter wrong (and I was right there with them), they act hypocritically in that they are wrong, too.

What about the Night to Be Much Observed?

To make things more confusing, Armstrongism cites Exodus 12: 42 and creates another special observance called the “Night to Be Much Observed” (aka. Night to be Much Remembered) at the beginning of the15th.

In other words, after the 14th ends at sundown and the 15th has begun, when the Jews are eating the Passover Seder, Armstrongists are eating another meal entirely. Yes, Armstrongism has two meals! One an evening after the other.

If we think about the timing, the ancient Israelites ate the Passover at night, and left Egypt the next day. There wasn't time for another meal the next evening.

The COGs know something big is supposed to happen on the 15th. They are ideologically committed to that not being the Passover Seder. So, in the absence of anything better to do, they make up a new day. The Night to be Much Observed is the kind of anymolie that happens when you have your math wrong. It's a glitch indicating an error in the system.

The error is that the Seder is not on the 14th. Correct that, and the glitch goes away.

Just because Exodus 12: 42 appears in the text after the story of the day Israel left Egypt, that doesn’t mean the night to be observed comes chronologically after the day Israel left Egypt. Verse 42 is just referring back to the Passover again, since the entire chapter is about the Passover and the next verses have clearly returned to the Passover. The Jews have no such corresponding festival as Armstrongists observe. Armsrtongism simply missed the boat on this one.

We cannot agree with Armstrong’s view of timing. There is no separate “Night to be Much Observed” on the 15th of Nisan; there is only Passover. Passover is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The first day of Passover is the Night to be Much Observed. The meal on the NTBMO is the Passover Seder.

Matthew 26 and Mark 14

Some people may take issue with my timing, citing Matthew 26: 17 and Mark 14: 12.

(MAT. 26: 17) Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus
(MAR. 14: 12) Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb…

It would seem like there is a contradiction in the Bible here. And it might seem that this contradicts what I said about the timing of the Last Supper. But there is a valuable clue if we go backwards a bit to Matthew 26: 2 and Mark 14: 1.

(MAT. 26: 2) You know that after two days is the Passover…
(MAR. 14: 1) After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

We've gone back in time one day but we see that these verses claim there were two days until Passover. Matthew 26: 17 and Mark 14: 12 are obviously one day later. They are still one day previous to Passover, and one day previous to Passover is the evening on which the Last Supper was held.

Now let's see another clue if we go forward in time again one day. We have returned again to one day previous to Passover.

(MAT. 27: 62) On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation
(MAR. 15: 42) Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath
(Also see Luke 23: 54, John 19: 14, 31, 42.)

So, what are Matthew and Mark talking about, then?

They are saying that the 14th was the preparation day (the day before the weekly Sabbath) and that it was the day that leavening was to be removed from the households and all of the other preparations had to be accomplished.
What they are saying is that this day was the day when de-leavening took place in preparation for Passover, which is exactly what Polycrates said. Eusebius tells us that he said Jesus ate the Last Supper on the day when de-leavening took place, not on the same day the Jews ate the Passover. The lambs were killed on this day. Must I actually point out that the lambs were killed before they were eaten? The blood was placed on the lentils before the meal was eaten.

The Apostles are not saying this day is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread or else the day would not be the Preparation Day, rather it would be a Holy Day.
Clear as can be, both Mark and John testify that this day was prior to the Passover. Regardless of how it may be worded in English, it cannot be the actual first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Preparation Day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the same time.

To introduce some possible additional evidence here, a close look at the Greek in Matthew 26: 17 leaves Luc and myself with the impression that the first day of Unleavened Bread was approaching, rather than already arrived. That would seem to fit the facts.

Want even more evidence?

(JON. 18: 28) Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.

The Jews had not eaten the Passover yet!

Here we are, one day previous to Passover. This day – which the Gospels tell us is one day prior to the Passover - is the day Armstrongism observes the Passover. Therefore Armstrongism divorces Passover from the Days of Unleavened Bread by one day. Since they do this they need another observance to explain the gap, and hence the Night to be Much Observed.

Was the Last Supper the Passover Seder meal?

There is an interesting puzzle hidden in here. When Jesus ate the Last Supper, was it the Seder meal?
If the Passover meal was eaten on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the 15th of Nisan, then the night Jesus was arrested was a High Holy Day. Jesus would never have been arrested, tried, and crucified on the High Holy Day (MAT. 26: 5). Rather, we know it was Preparation Day (MAT. 27: 62; MAR. 15: 42; LUK. 23: 54; JOH. 19: 14, 31, 42).
Preparation day is almost always in reference to Friday, the day before the weekly Sabbath. The first day of the seven-day Passover often is on the weekly Sabbath. Armstrong went out of his way to deny this was the case in this particular year, but given his track record on timing I’m ever less and less inclined to take his word on it.

Now, read John 19: 31 closely:

(JOH. 19: 31) Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Here we have Jesus already dead, and it is still the Preparation Day before the Sabbath. This verse appears to confirm that the weekly Sabbath and the Passover overlapped.

We can conclude from this that Jesus died at the time the Passover lambs were being slaughtered, which is only proper because He is our Passover Lamb. And that can only mean the Last Supper was a day earlier than the Passover Seder. Jesus can’t quite be killed as the Passover Lamb, and afterwards eat the Seder. Instead, Jesus ate the Lord’s Supper one evening earlier. This makes a great deal of sense when we see the Last Supper is never mentioned to have included lamb.

But does that mean Jesus intended the Last Supper to be the Passover Seder meal?

(LUK. 22: 8) And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”

So, according to Jesus, there is a good chance that the Last Supper could have been His Passover supper. For another perspective, Bryan Huie at has written a pretty good article entitled “Was the ‘Last Supper’ the Passover Meal?”

As an interesting possibility, there was a tradition called the Fast of the Firtstborn.
I mentioned this briefly earlier. According to this tradition, the eldest son was to fast on the day before Passover (the 14th) to commemorate the first-born males escaping the 10th Plague. As we understand it, a final meal for the first-born sons was typically started towards the end of the 13th, which carried on after sundown into the 14th. The 14th would be a day of fasting which was broken by the Seder meal. Jesus was the first-born son in His family. There is a chance the Last Supper was this last meal before Jesus’ fast would have begun.

So, was it the Seder, then? It depends on your point of view.

Jesus knew He was going to die, and opted to eat with His Apostles rather than miss a meal that obviously had so much meaning for Him (LUK. 22: 15). So, in that regard it was the Seder. But in another sense, Jesus was instituting something radically different and never before seen – the New Covenant. He did it with different symbols and at a different time. So in that sense it is not the old Seder at all.

My point in this is to show that there is a clear discrepancy between the Seder and the Lord’s Supper. Why point that out? Because the battle cry of Armstrongists is, “The law! The law!” Oh how very many times I have heard, “The law is eternal!” Yet they are not keeping the law, are they? Certainly not! Yet they insist, “Jesus didn’t change the law!”

Oh, but He did! (Anyone who thinks He didn't better get to killin' some lambs.)

For all the times I participated with other Armstrongists in blaming and condemning all other Christians for getting the timing of Passover wrong, Jesus ate Passover on a different day, too. So, if we are going to claim over and over that “we must do what Jesus did” then we also must not condemn others over the timing of days.

(COL. 2: 16-17) 16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Is our remembrance of the Last Supper exactly like Passover?

Easter is the New Covenant Passover – the Lord’s Supper. And it is a departure from the Old Covenant Passover – the Seder. Just look at this regulation regarding the Passover:

(EXO. 12: 43-49) 43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. 44 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. 45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it. 46 In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. 49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.

At that time, the Gentiles would most certainly not be allowed to participate in Passover. Not without being circumcised and becoming Proselytes. Now we know that Gentiles most certainly are allowed to take part. We also know circumcision and the law of Moses are not a requirements for participation
(ACT 15: 1-29).

Jesus instituted the bread and the wine, which are not the main part of the Passover Seder, as opposed to lamb. He said that the bread was His flesh, and the wine His blood. This certainly is not part of Passover. Then there was the concentration on service, illustrated by the foot washing. There is no precedent for that in Passover.

Finally, we have these words:

(LUK. 22: 19) …do this in remembrance of Me.

Not in remembrance of Moses nor of the Exodus nor the 10th plague, but in remembrance of Him (I COR. 11: 24-26). That makes the biggest difference of all.

For all the people who demand that what we are to do is to continue in the Old Covenant observance of Passover, this is simply not accurate. Jesus fulfilled the law (MAT. 3: 15; 5: 17; LUK. 22: 44). He has made the Old obsolete (HEB. 8: 13); behold all things are new (II COR. 5: 17)! All of these things point to Him (COL. 2: 17). This is the New Covenant. A New Covenant in His blood.

(MAT. 26: 28) For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
(MAR. 14: 24) And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.
(LUK. 22: 20) Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.


In part one, we have seen that the Jews do observe Passover correctly, on the 15th of Nisan, but Jesus made the decision to eat the Last Supper a day earlier, on the 14th. Herbert Armstrong’s view of the timing of these things is an awful mess.

The correct timing of Passover starts with the sundown which begins the 14th of Nisan. This is when the Jews began to remove the leaven from their homes. This is the night on which Jesus ate the Last Supper and was arrested. Night comes and goes. At about the time of the daily sacrifice, 9 AM, Jesus was scourged. Then He was declared blameless by Pilot – just like a Passover lamb - and sent to die. He was hung on the cross around noon. After noon was the slaughter of the Passover lambs. During that very procedure, our Lord died to fulfill the symbolism and He became our Passover Lamb. No doubt the priests were still slaughtering lambs when the earthquake hit and the veil was torn in two. The lambs were being roasted with bitter herbs while Jesus’ body was being prepared by Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus to go into the tomb. He was laid into the tomb before sundown. Sundown is roughly 6 PM, so at this point He was already dead for about three hours. As sundown came, the 15th of Nisan began, and now it was fully “Passover,” the first day of Unleavened Bread. The Seder meal was eaten.

Passover is not a separate day from the first day of Unleavened Bread.

On Sunday, the first day of the week, inclusively the third day from His death, our Lord was found risen from the tomb. The First of the Firstfruits.

(I COR. 11: 23-26) 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.
Acts 17:11


xHWA said...

I guess this got deleted. I had to find it in an archive and restore it.

Now I have to go fix some links.


Dillon said...

X, Tanks for putting it up. By the way does the greek god Apollo have anything to do with Apollyon of the Bible?

xHWA said...

You're welcome, Dillon.

The scholarly consensus is split.
Some do say that Apollo and Apollyon are the same, and others disagree.

I believe Apollo and Apollyon are only related in that the names come from the same root words, but at the end of the day they are false friends. Appolyon is just a Greek translation of the word Abaddon. And Abaddon is where the importance lies, in my opinion.

Early Christians understood it to be a reference to Satan.
Older Jewish tradition saw Abaddon as a place and not a being.

Perhaps this verse really is a vague reference to Satan and a place at the same time.
Since the immediate context is that this angel is the leader of the locusts that come up from the pit, so we have a being and a place, then perhaps the name Abaddon is dual. Perhaps it refers to the leader (Satan - who causes the destruction) and the pit (the place of destruction).

At the end of the day, I do not believe that Apollo is referred to here. But who am I?

I recognize that not everyone will agree. I will accommodate this by saying that Satan no doubt originally inspired men to invent the Apollo false god to worship. So, in that round-about way, maybe Apollo has always been Satan, and thus Rev. 9: 11 does mean Apollo.

xHWA said...

I figured I would pop back in and make a quick recommendation. I recommend reading Barnes Notes for Revelation 9. I really find it to be interesting and reasonable.

Dillon said...

X, some say that the mark of the beast is sun worship and because apollo is related to the sun the say that the antichrist is the sun god. Is there any merit to such a claim?

xHWA said...

I am no expert on the correct interpretation of prophecy. But, since you ask my opinion, I would say no. I do not see how sun worship fits.

Apollo is associated with the sun. However, I do not see Revelation 9 as referring to Apollo at all. I see it much more in line with how Barnes' sees it. I can't speak for him but I believe Luk here at ABD would agree as well. I believe it is a symbolic reference to destruction - specifically the kind that swarms of locusts leave. And these locusts are symbolic for armies of men. (Barnes will explain the rest. It's quite interesting.)

There are at least three different ways to look at Revelation. Either we are well past most of it, we are in the middle of most of it, or we haven't yet started with most of it.

If we are well past most of it, then I suppose sun worship could possibly be referred to, since we see the unified church overcoming the pagan Roman Empire led by its sun-worshiping emperors. Sun worship was pretty popular in the Roman Empire and previous. If this is your preference, look for what affected the church until the fall of Rome.

If we are in the middle of it, then sun worship would not be referred to since most people of this pursuasion believe either the Catholic Church or the Muslims are the beast. Neither of those groups are sun worshippers. (I would say the people who believe it is the Catholics seriously need to dump the petty squabbles of the post-Reformation era and reevaluate.) If this is your preference, look at what outside forces have affected the Christian Church over the centuries.

If we are prior to most of it, then there is no way to tell, but I do not personally see how sun worship can make a comeback. I honestly believe that the most likely candidate in this scenario is secular godlessness or Islam. Islam is not a sun worshiping group. One might make a weak case that they are moon worshipers if anything. If this is your preference, look at what outside forces are affecting the church now.

As time goes on, I see more and more how Revelation seems to be written in the same style as the Old Testament apocalyptic writing. Very Hebrew. Very stylistic. Very graphic and exaggerated. Look for the meanings of those old symbols and you'll have a better idea of what Revelation means.

I know this is a lot of nothing definite. My apologies. But it's my best.

jack635 said...

As far as I can tell, Passover starts when the sun goes down and the full moon rises.

xHWA said...

Ah, but according to whom?

In Jerusalem, the days started and ended at sundown. In Galilee, and Jesus was more or less based out of Galilee, the days started and ended at sunrise. There is a great deal of evidence that the province of Galilee had its own calendar one day off from the religious calendar used at the temple in Jerusalem.
When we include that Judea was a Roman province again when Jesus was alive there, we see that there were at least three calendars in use in Israel at that time.

Kinda messy, no?

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Anonymous said...

So, I very much appreciated this article. I'm curious though as to why you believe the crucifiction was on Friday rather than Wednesday. It seems the basis for this is the use of the term "preparation day" but I am confident that would be used before any Sabbath or Holy Day and not just the weekly Sabbath. I feel much better about the sign of Jonah being fulfilled with 3 days AND 3 nights being fulfilled and not 3 partial days. In fact by the Friday crucifiction rendering there is only the single "day" period-- the Sabbath. Even looking at 3 days and nights -- "days" is plural as is "nights", I don't believe that satisfies the sign of Jonah.

Does a Wednesday crucifiction interfere with your overall stance here that the Passover is the 15th and that Christ was crucified on the 14th? I'm not sure how it would.

xHWA said...

Hello Anonymous 1/3/19. Thanks for reading, and thanks for taking the time to comment.

I can most certainly appreciate your view on the three days and three nights. I was told from the time that I was a very little boy that the crucifixion was on Wednesday. We at AsBereasDid have looked into this, but we concluded for a Friday crucifixion based on several points. We have discussed these things in depth in other articles that I hope you will read.

Three Days and Three Nights
Wednesday Crucifixion? Not Likely.
Two Sabbaths of Matthew 28
Easter FAQ

I will give you a short list of our reasons here.
>>Since the Hebrews counted inclusively, a Wednesday crucifixion is not possible. "The third day" to a person who counts inclusively is the same as "the day after tomorrow." Sunday is not the day after tomorrow to Wednesday. Thursday is a remote possibility, but we discuss why we are not as satisfied with Thursday as Friday.
>>The Hebrews had a concept called the "onah" which counts part of a day as a whole day, so it is perfectly acceptable to have only a small portion of a day count. This goes right along with counting inclusively. The first day and the last day are always included in the count no matter how partial they are.
>>"Three days and three nights" is a known idiom, which we demonstrate from other parts of the Bible, and is not to be understood as 72 hours. Idiomatic expressions (e.g. "tickle the ivories") are not to be made into literal expressions.
>>Preparation Day for the Sabbath is another name for Friday.

We make many more points in the articles I've linked you to, and go into a lot more depth.

As for the Hebrew dating of 14th/15th, I don't see that the Wed/Thu/Fri day of the week would change that. The events had to be on a certain date regardless of what day of the week it would have fallen upon.

God bless!