THE MEMORIAL OF THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST
OF THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST
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"Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed"
(1 Corinthians 5: 7)
The next commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ will be
SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2023, after sunset
The biblical method for determining the date of the celebration of the memory of the death of Jesus Christ is the same as that of the Passover of the Bible. Nisan 14 (Biblical calendar month), the fourteenth day starting from the new moon (being the first day of the month of Nisan): "In the first month, on the 14th day of the month, in the evening, you are to eat unleavened bread until the 21st day of the month, in the evening" (Exodus 12:18). The "evening" corresponds to the beginning of the day of nisan 14. In the Bible, the day begins after sunset, the "evening" ("And there was evening and there was morning, a first day" (Genesis 1: 5)). This means that when a lunar astronomical table mentions a full moon, April 8, or a new moon on April 23, it is the period between the two evenings of April 7 and 22, after the sunset, and before the sunrise on April 8 and 23, when the moon is changing (http://pgj.pagesperso-orange.fr/calendar.htm (In French)).
Psalm 81:1-3 (of the Bible) allows us to understand, without a doubt, that the first day of the new moon is the complete disappearance of the moon: "Blow the horn on the new moon, On the full moon, for the day of our festival" (Please, see below the full explanation)*. On this basis, the date of the next commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ will be SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2023, after sunset.
* This text (Psalms 81:1-3) poetically mentions "the new moon" from the date of Ethanim 1 (Tishri) when the horn was blown (Numbers 10:10; 29:1). It is "the full moon" of Ethanim, 15 (Tishri), the time of the joyous "festival" (see verses 1,2 and Deuteronomy 16:15). On the basis of the lunar astronomical table, the observation is as follows: When we consider that the new moon is the full disappearance (without quarter of the moon), in all cases, the 15th of the lunar month falls both in the period of the first observable full moon and the astronomical full moon. In the case when the new moon is considered to be the observation of the first quarter (as the first day of the month), in most cases, the first observable full moon or the astronomical full moon, corresponds to the night of 12 or 13 of the month, and more rarely the 14 of the month. This means that in this case, that on the 15th of the month, in almost all cases, the moon begins its descending phase (it is no longer an observable full moon)... Consequently, without a doubt, the first day of the month, as the new moon, is the complete disappearance of the moon (and not the appearance of the first quarter of the moon), according to the Bible (Psalm 81:1-3).
- The Passover is the pattern of the divine requirements for the celebration of the memorial of the death of Christ: "Those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Christ" (Colossians 2:17). "For since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things" (Hebrews 10: 1) (REALITY OF THE LAW).
- Only the circumcised could celebrate Passover: "If a foreigner resides with you and he wants to celebrate the Passover to Jehovah, every male of his must be circumcised. Then he may come near to celebrate it, and he will become like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised man may eat of it" (Exodus 12:48).
- Christians are no longer under the obligation of physical circumcision. His circumcision becomes spiritual: "You must now cleanse your hearts and stop being so stubborn" (cleanse : circumcise the foreskin of) (Deuteronomy 10:16, Acts 15: 19,20,28,29 "Apostolic Decree", Romans 10:4 "Christ is the end of the Law ").
- The spiritual circumcision of the heart means obedience to God and his son Jesus Christ: "Circumcision is, in fact, of benefit only if you practice law; but if you are a transgressor of law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. If, therefore, an uncircumcised person keeps the righteous requirements of the Law, his uncircumcision will be counted as circumcision, will it not? And the physically uncircumcised person will, by carrying out the Law, judge you who are a transgressor of law despite having its written code and circumcision. For he is not a Jew who is one on the outside, nor is circumcision something on the outside, on the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit and not by a written code. That person’s praise comes from God, not from people" (Romans 2:25-29) (PRIMARY DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE).
- The spiritual uncircumcision of heart represents disobedience to God and his son Jesus Christ: "Obstinate men and uncircumcised in hearts and ears, you are always resisting the holy spirit; as your forefathers did, so you do. Which one of the prophets did your forefathers not persecute? Yes, they killed those who announced in advance the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become, you who received the Law as transmitted by angels but have not kept it" (Acts 7: 51-53) (PRIMARY DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE (Forbidden by the Bible)).
- The spiritual circumcision of the heart is required for the participation in the commemoration of the death of Christ (whatever the christian hope (heavenly or earthly)): "First let a man approve himself after scrutiny, and only then let him eat of the loaf and drink of the cup" (1 Corinthians 11:28).
- The Christian must make a self-examination of conscience before participating in the commemoration of the death of Christ. If he considers that he has a clean conscience before God, that he has the spiritual circumcision of heart, then he can participate in the commemoration of the death of Christ (whatever Christian hope (heavenly or earthly)) (1 Timothy 3:9 "clean conscience") (Heavenly Resurrection; Earthly Resurrection; The Great Crowd).
- The requirement of Christ, to eat symbolically of his "flesh" and his "blood", is to all faithful Christians, to eat "unleavened bread", representing his "flesh" and to drink from the cup, representing his "blood": "I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness and yet they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and for a fact, the bread that I will give is my flesh in behalf of the life of the world.” Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in union with me, and I in union with him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. It is not as when your forefathers ate and yet died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever" (John 6:48-58) (CHRIST THE ONLY PATH ; CHRIST THE MEMORIAL).
- Therefore, all faithful Christians, whatever their hope, heavenly or earthly, are required to eat part of the "unleavened bread" and to drink part of the cup from the commemoration of the death of Christ, it is a commandment: "So Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. (...) Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will live because of me" (John 6: 53,57 ).
- The commemoration of the death of Christ is to be celebrated only between faithful followers of Christ with the spiritual circumcision of heart: "Consequently, my brothers, when you come together to eat it, wait for one another" (see 1 Corinthians 11:33) (IN CONGREGATION).
- If you wish to participate in the "commemoration of the death of Christ" and are not Christians, you must be baptized, sincerely desiring to obey the commandments of Christ: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things" (Matthew 28: 19,20) (BAPTISM SAVES).
How to celebrate the memorial of the death of Jesus Christ?
"Keep doing this in remembrance of me"
The commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ must be celebrated in the same way as the Passover, only between spiritual circumcised people, between faithful Christians, in congregation or in family (Exodus 12:48, Hebrews 10:1, Colossians 2:17; 1 Corinthians 11:33). After the Passover celebration, Jesus Christ set the pattern for the future celebration of the remembrance of his death (Luke 22: 12-18). They are in these biblical passages, gospels:
- Matthew 26: 17-35.
- Mark 14: 12-31.
- Luke 22: 7-38.
- John chapter 13 to 17.
The evening was spent in three stages: The moment of the Passover celebration (John 13: 1-3). The transition between this event and the establishment of the new celebration, which would now replace the Passover: the commemoration of the death of Christ, as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29-36; 2:17, Hebrews 10:1).
During this transition, Jesus Christ washed the feet of the twelve apostles. It was a teaching by example: to be humble to one another (John 13: 4-20). Nevertheless, this event should not be considered a ritual to practice before the commemoration (compare John 13:10 and Matthew 15:1-11). However, the story informs us that after that, Jesus Christ "had put his outer garments on". We must therefore be properly clothed (John 13: 10a, 12 compare with Matthew 22:11-13). By the way, on the execution site of Jesus Christ, the soldiers took away the clothes that Jesus Christ wore that evening. The account of John 19: 23,24 tells us that Jesus Christ wore a "inner garment without a seam, being woven from top to bottom". The soldiers did not even dare to tear it up. This makes us understand that Jesus Christ wore quality clothing, consistent with the importance of the event. Without setting unwritten rules in the Bible, we will exercise good judgment on how to dress (Hebrews 5:14).
Then Jesus Christ dismissed the traitor Judas Iscariot. This shows that this ceremony is to be celebrated only between faithful Christians (Matthew 26: 20-25, Mark 14: 17-21, John 13: 21-30, Luke's story is not always chronological, but in a "logical order" (Compare Luke 22: 19-23 and Luke 1: 3 "to write them to you in logical order"; 1 Corinthians 11: 28,33)).
The celebration of the commemoration is described with great simplicity: "As they continued eating, Jesus took a loaf, and after saying a blessing, he broke it, and giving it to the disciples, he said: “Take, eat. This means my body.” And taking a cup, he offered thanks and gave it to them, saying: “Drink out of it, all of you, for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you: I will by no means drink again any of this product of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in the Kingdom of my Father.” Finally, after singing praises, they went out to the Mount of Olives" (Matthew 26:26-30). Jesus Christ explained the reason for this celebration, the meaning of the sacrifice his human life, the meaning of the unleavened bread as the symbol of his sinless body, and the cup, symbol of his blood. He asked that his disciples to celebrate the memory of his death every year on Nisan 14th (Luke 22:19).
The Gospel of John informs us of Christ's teaching after this celebration, probably from verse 13:31 to verse 16:30. After which, Jesus Christ uttered a prayer that can be read in John chapter 17. The account of Matthew 26:30 informs us: "Finally, after singing praises, they went out to the Mount of Olives". It is likely that the song of these praises took place after the prayer of Jesus Christ.
How to proceed?
Based on the pattern left by Christ, the celebration must be organized by one person, an elder, a pastor, a priest of the Christian congregation. If the celebration takes place in a family setting, it is the head of the Christian family who must celebrate it. If there is no man, but only Christian women, the sister in Christ who will organize the celebration should be chosen from among the older women (Titus 2:3). She will have to cover her head (1 Corinthians 11: 2-6).
The one who will organize the celebration, will decide the Bible teaching in this circumstance based on the story of the Gospels, perhaps by reading them by commenting on them. A prayer addressed to Jehovah God will be pronounced. After which, praises may be sung to Jehovah God and in homage to his Son Jesus Christ.
Regarding the bread, the cereal is not mentioned, however, it must be made without yeast (How to prepare the unleavened bread (video)). With regard to wine, in some countries it is possible that faithful Christians can not obtain it. In this exceptional case, the elders will decide how to replace it in the most appropriate way based on the Bible (John 19:34). Jesus Christ has shown that in certain exceptional situations, exceptional decisions can be made and that the mercy of God will apply in this circumstance (Matthew 12: 1-8).
There is no Biblical indication of the precise duration of the celebration. Therefore, it is the one who will organize this event that will show good judgment, just as Christ has ended this special meeting. The only important biblical point about the timing of this event is that the memorial of the death of Jesus Christ must be celebrated "between the two evenings" of Nisan 14th. After sunset from Nisan 13 to Nisan 14, and before sunrise. It was at this moment that Jesus Christ made this celebration. John 13:30 informs us that when Judas Iscariot left, shortly before the celebration, "it was night".
Jehovah God had set this law regarding the celebration of Passover: "The sacrifice of the festival of the Passover should not be kept overnight until the morning" (Exodus 34:25). Why ? The death of the Passover lamb was to take place "between the two evenings". The death of Christ, the Lamb of God, has been decreed by "judgment", also "between the two evenings", before morning, "Then the high priest ripped his outer garments, saying: “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? See! Now you have heard the blasphemy. What is your opinion?” They answered: “He deserves to die. (...) And immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter called to mind what Jesus had said, namely: “Before a rooster crows, you will disown me three times”" (Matthew 26:65-75). So the death of the Passover lamb has been followed by the death of "the Lamb of God", Jesus Christ, "in the name of the law", "between the two evenings" (Psalms 94:20 "it is framing trouble in the name of the law"; John 1:29-36; Colossians 2:17 Hebrews 10: 1).
The other sheep
"And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd"
As we carefully read John 10: 1-16, we notice that the central theme is the identification of the Messiah as a true shepherd for his disciples, the sheep.
In John 10: 1 and John 10: 16, it is written: "Most truly I say to you, He that does not enter into the sheepfold through the door but climbs up some other place, that one is a thief and a plunderer. (...) And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd". This "sheepfold" represents the territory where Jesus Christ preached, the Nation of Israel, in the context of the Mosaic law: "These twelve Jesus sent forth, giving them these orders: “Do not go off into the road of the nations, and do not enter into a Sa·marʹi·tan city; but, instead, go continually to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:5,6). "In answer he said: “I was not sent forth to any but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”" (Matthew 15:24). This sheepfold is also the "house of Israel".
In John 10:1-6, Jesus Christ presented himself before the gate of the sheepfold. This happened at the time of his baptism. The "doorkeeper" was John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13). By baptizing him, he became the Christ. John the Baptist opened the door for him and testified that Jesus is the Christ and the Lamb of God: "See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29-36).
In John 10:7-15, while remaining on the same Messianic theme, Jesus Christ uses another illustration by designating himself as the "door", the only place of access in the same way as John 14:6: "Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"". The main theme of the subject is still Jesus Christ as Messiah. From verse 9, in the same passage (he changes the illustration again), he designates himself as the shepherd who grazes his sheep by making them "go in or go out" to feed them. The teaching is both centered on him and on how he cares for his sheep. Jesus Christ designates himself as the excellent shepherd who will give his life for his disciples and who loves his sheep (unlike the hired shepherd who will not risk his life for sheep which do not belong to him). Again, the central point of the teaching of Christ, is Himself as a shepherd who will sacrifice himself for his sheep (Matthew 20:28).
John 10:16-18: "And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I surrender my soul, in order that I may receive it again. No man has taken it away from me, but I surrender it of my own initiative. I have authority to surrender it, and I have authority to receive it again. The commandment on this I received from my Father".
Reading these verses, according to the context, Jesus Christ announces a revolutionary idea at that time: he would sacrifice his life not only for his Jewish disciples (in the sheepfold), but also in favor of other disciples who would not be part of this sheepfold of Israel. The proof is, the last command which he gave to his disciples, regarding the preaching, is this: "You will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It is precisely during the baptism of Cornelius that the words of Christ in John 10:16 began to be realized (See the narrative of Acts chapter 10).
Thus, the "other sheep" of John 10:16 apply to non-Jewish Christians in the flesh. In John 10:16-18 it is described the unity in the obedience of the sheep to the Shepherd Jesus Christ. He also spoke of all of his disciples in his day as a "little flock": "Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). By Pentecost in 33 C.E., the disciples of Christ, numbered only 120 (Acts 1:15). In the remainder of the Acts narrative, we read that their number was a few thousand (Acts 2:41 (3,000 souls); Acts 4:4 (5,000)). Be that as it may, the new Christians, whether in the time of Christ, as in that of the apostles, represented a "little flock", comparing with the whole population of the nation of Israel and then to the other nations of that time.
We must be united as Jesus Christ asked his Father
"I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word, so that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me" (John 17:20,21).
The Feelings Of The Father For His Son
“They will look to the one whom they pierced, and they will wail over him as they would wail over an only son; and they will grieve bitterly over him as they would grieve over a firstborn son”
"He was despised and was avoided by men, A man who was meant for pains and was familiar with sickness. It was as if his face were hidden from us. He was despised, and we held him as of no account. Truly he himself carried our sicknesses, And he bore our pains. But we considered him as plagued, stricken by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgression; He was crushed for our errors. He bore the punishment for our peace, And because of his wounds we were healed. Like sheep we have all wandered about, Each has turned his own way, And Jehovah has caused the error of us all to meet up with him. He was oppressed and he let himself be afflicted, But he would not open his mouth. He was brought like a sheep to the slaughter, Like a ewe that is silent before its shearers, And he would not open his mouth"
It is obviously Jehovah God (YHWH Elohim), the Father, who prophetically inspired these words recorded by the prophets Zechariah and Isaiah, regarding the death of Jesus Christ (Yehoshuah Mashiah), the Son. By meditating on this text, we can understand that it is the deposit of the feelings of the Father about the circumstances which preceded and ended in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the Son. What follows is a meditation on the feelings of Jehovah God, through a series of rhetorical questions or personal reflections, concerning the circumstances leading up to and culminating in the death of his Only Begotten Son.
What were the feelings of the Father when he saw his Son deeply saddened and anguished, shortly before the long hours of suffering until his death, that he was going to undergo?
"On leaving, he went as was his custom to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples also followed him. On arriving at the place, he said to them: “Carry on prayer so that you do not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw away, and he bent his knees and began to pray, saying: “Father, if you want to, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place.” Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. But he was in such agony that he kept praying more earnestly; and his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went to the disciples, he found them slumbering, exhausted from grief" (Luke 22:39-45).
Jesus Christ was deeply distressed knowing the sadness that God would feel, seeing what men were going to inflict on him. God sent an angel to comfort his very saddened and distressed Son, before abandoning him to death at the hands of Satan the devil and his human sons.
How did the Father feel when he saw his Son treated with disrespect, insulted, slapped, some spitting on him: “What is your opinion?” They answered: “He deserves to die.” Then they spat in his face and hit him with their fists. Others slapped him on the face, saying: “Prophesy to us, you Christ. Who struck you?”" (Matthew 26:66-68).
The expression "Prophesy to us, you Christ. Who struck you?", suggests that they had blindfolded Jesus Christ as they hit and spat on him.
What were the feelings of the Father when he saw that the people had preferred to free a criminal, rather than his Son? How did the Father feel when he saw his Son flogged, and then insulted, and beaten by the soldiers?
"Then he released Barabbas to them, but he had Jesus whipped and handed him over to be executed on the stake. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s residence and gathered the whole body of troops together around him. And disrobing him, they draped him with a scarlet cloak, and they braided a crown out of thorns and put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying: “Greetings, you King of the Jews!” And they spat on him and took the reed and began hitting him on his head. Finally, after they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak and put his outer garments on him and led him off to be nailed to the stake" (Matthew 27:26-31).
The flogging caused great loss of blood, which caused anemia to Jesus Christ, consequently he no longer had the strength to carry the load of his stake, unlike the two other criminals who accompanied him: "As they were going out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon. This man they compelled into service to carry his torture stake" (Matthew 27:32).
How did the Father feel when he saw the Roman soldiers nailing the hands and feet of his Son, to hang his body? It is very likely that Jesus Christ, at that moment, thought about the feelings of his Father, when he said: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Indeed, how can a father feel when he is in the presence of someone who attacks or try to kill his son?
How did the Father feel during the six hours of suffering and at the time of the death of his Only Begotten Son? "And Jesus called out with a loud voice and said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” After he said this, he expired" (Luke 23:46).
Jehovah God, the Father, prophetically pictured the emotional suffering of Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the time of the death of her Son: "Also, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, the child’s mother: “Look! This child is appointed for the falling and the rising again of many in Israel and for a sign to be spoken against (yes, a long sword will be run through you), in order that the reasonings of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34,35).
This image of a "sword running through" Mary, to describe the violence of the emotional pain that she would have, following the death of her Son on earth, gives us an idea of the deep feeling of sadness that the Father felt. In this circumstance, in response to the most abject act of humans, God responded with the highest act of Love, giving his Son to save mankind: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
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