Thanksgiving on Good Friday

Thanksgivings on Special Occasions - Sixth in a series

How wonderful to think of Jesus riding on the colt of a donkey into Jerusalem on his way to celebrate Passover, knowing that HE would be the Paschal (Easter) (Acts 12:4 KJV) Lamb. Hosannah in the highest to the King of Kings!

This had been prophesied by Zechariah, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zec 9:9)

The Lord told Moses to command the men to travel to Jerusalem three times annually, first to celebrate Passover (Pesach) that marked the nation's exodus from Egypt and slavery; second, to commemorate the Weeks (Shavuíoth) that are counted from the second day of Passover to the date when God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai, also known as Pentecost in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers; and third, for the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) on the 15th day of the seventh month, to mark the end of harvest time. Perhaps the Christian's counterpart to this Feast is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven (Rev 19:7), where in contrast we shall have a permanent home rather than temporary shelters.

As a Jew, Jesus obediently went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, which God commanded in Exodus (Ex 12:1-27). He and his disciples ate the meal in the upper room that was specially prepared by a man whose identity is not made known in Scripture. (Mark 14:13)

For the Jew, the day began in the evening, to wit, And the evening and the morning were the first day… And the evening and the morning were the second day… (Gen 1:5, 8 et al). But we start the day in the morning, so Christians who desire to commemorate the Last Supper must do so on the day before Good Friday. However, from an historic standpoint, the sacrament of communion that was initiated then was enjoyed on the same day as Christ was crucified. He was commanding a new rite that would take the place of Passover, Do this in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:19)

And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mark 14:22-25)

The first day of Passover was for preparing the lamb, and on the second day, the meal was eaten. Then there were six days more of the Passover celebration. Thus, Christ was crucified on the second day of Passover, for it is not a matter of us killing the Lamb of God (as was done on the first day of the feast) but of eating him in the manner which we are taught in the below passage. (Please leave a comment and reference if you differ with this view. There are other views and I am a layperson.)

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world… Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him… (John 6:51-56)

This is metaphorical for it is hard to envision and hard to accept— this horrifying yet enlivening knowledge that by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isa 53:6)

The substitutionary atonement was offered on Day One, Day Two was the Sabbath (Luke 23:55-56), and Christ rose from the dead on Day Three (Luke 18:33).

Thus on the fourth day of Passover which we count as Sunday– the Christian Sabbath for most Christians– the empty tomb was observed well into the day even though very early in the morning, for the women who went to the tomb would have slept at night (and the Jewish day began in the evening.)

The Resurrection injured the Passover festival forever. The eight-day feast was torn in half as surely as the veil in the Temple was. (Mat 27:51)

It is possible for Christians to observe the day of Christ’s crucifixion very nearly to its original time by celebrating Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox which was approximated to be March 21 by the Council of Nicea (see previous post). The Jewish year begins in the Spring and Jewish months are begun at the appearance of the new moon. Passover week can overlay Easter week.

But after all these facts and viewpoints, the thing is, let’s observe Maundy Thursday and/or Good Friday as very special occasions for Thanksgiving. If you must work, remind yourself that you work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Col 3:24-25)

The Messenger of the Covenant

MALACHI -Twelfth in a series

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
We read of two messengers, the first who prepares the way of the second. The first is a reference to John the Baptist, as delineated in the New Testament. (Mat 11:14; Mark 9:13; Luke 1:17) The second is "the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in."

To reflect on this, we might ask, which covenant? Three covenants were referred to in Malachi 2: First, the one pledged to Phineas, a Levite whose devotion refrained God's hand of judgment (Mal 2:8); second, the covenant of God with the nation of Israel (Mal 2:10); and third, the marriage covenant of man and wife (Mal 2:14).

Certainly, the covenant characterized by a messenger and a forerunner would refer to the one that God made with Israel, initiated with Abraham (Gen 17:4), continued with Isaac (Gen 17:9), then with Jacob (Ex 2:24); that was testified in circumcision (Gen 17:10) and then through law keeping (Ex 19:5; Ex 34:27-28), with many promised blessings (Lev 26:3-12), yet ensured by mercy even when Israel failed to live up to their side of the arrangement. (Lev 26:45; Mal 3:6)

Next we could ask: How should we understand the phrase, "whom ye delight in"? Who delighted in this messenger? The priests and Levites? Yet they did not uphold the Levite covenant nor their own marriage covenants, so why would they delight in this messenger of the covenant between Israel and the Lord?

Was he, the coming Messiah, their delight because of their expectation that he would vindicate and honor Israel when he came? Would he not deliver his chosen people from enemy occupation, and exalt them to rule with him in his new kingdom that they read about in Isaiah? (Isa 25:8-9)

Malachi puts an end to their delusions of grandeur.
Malachi 3:2, 3 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

When Christ would come suddenly to his temple, the very temple the priests were desecrating by their ruinous ways, he would teach Truth that would make men uncomfortable. Those who were led to repent, purified, could then reflect his likeness, and their offerings would be accepted. The Son of Man would teach and command a higher way than the priests enforced.

Malachi 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
If there were true repentance, the worship services could be as in some former times when there was peace and fellowship between the Lord and his people. However, as we know, this did not occur. The Temple rulers did not repent but instead called for Christ's crucifixion. But after his death and resurrection, many priests did commit their hearts to Christ. (Acts 6:7)

There is an aspect of prophecy that does not state what the future holds, but how it might be, if certain conditions are met. God already knows which course will come to light.

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

It's true, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and made pointed statements, for example, And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. (Luke 11:19-20)

This passage might be applied to Christ as a swift witness against the sorcerers.

Yet, on balance, Christ's words preserved for us in the Gospels are gracious and wonderful (Luke 4:22) much more than words of fierce accusation. The one caught in adultery was told to go and sin no more rather being condemned to hell (John 8:7-11); the teaching about ignoring the stranger, for example, is within a parable (Luke 10:33-36), not directed to specific wrongdoers.

In view of this, Malachi 3:6 makes perfect sense: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

God's laws never change: sorcery, adultery, false swearing, oppression of the vulnerable, discounting the stranger, and lack of fear of God are warned against from generation to generation. God's nature cannot change either. He is long suffering toward us, not wanting any to perish (John 3:16; 2 Pet 3:9).

The messenger of the covenant is calling. Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. (Ps 95:7-8; Heb 3:7-8; Heb 3:15; Heb 4:7)

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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