My previous column about the True Sign of the Messiah generated more feedback than normal, so I thought it was appropriate to expand on it to answer some of the questions and comments. We have been so programmed over the years, that even when clear Scripture shows us something, our natural tendency seems to be to stick with the tradition we’ve lived with all of our lives. Yet we must keep in mind what Yahshua said about tradition being worship in vain (Matthew 15:9), and that we need to receive the word with readiness of mind and search the Scriptures to see what is true (Acts 17:11). It simply is not safe to use our own reason over the word of God because what may seem right to us can lead to our death (Proverbs 14:12).
For those of you who missed my last column, you can access it here. In it, I explained the discrepancy about the resurrection accounts of the four gospels by showing that Yahshua was actually in the grave 72 hours, as he prophesied in Matthew 12:40, instead of the 36 hours that tradition holds. The misunderstanding is because there are two Sabbaths mentioned (the annual Feast of Unleavened Bread and the weekly seventh day Sabbath), but they are commonly interpreted as both pertaining to just the weekly Sabbath.
Daniel 9:26-27 said that the Messiah would be cut off, and cause the sacrificial system to end, in the “midst of the week”. In a seven day week, the midst is the fourth day, Wednesday, not the sixth day, Friday. With the Passover and crucifixion being the midst of the week Wednesday, the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread would have fallen on Thursday. It was after this Sabbath that Mark 16:1 tells us that the women purchased the spices to prepare his body. That gave them Friday to do whatever work was necessary, which likely involved some soaking, steeping, straining, and other time consuming steps. Then, after preparing them, Luke23:56 tells us that they rested the Sabbath (here referring to the 7th day Sabbath). Two Sabbaths is the only possible explanation for these two passages of Scripture, otherwise there is a clear contradiction, as it is not possible to buy spices after the Sabbath (Mark), but yet have prepared them before resting on the Sabbath (Luke). The understanding of the two Sabbaths is also the only possible explanation that would fulfill the three day and three night sign of the Messiah, which he said would be the only sign that was given as to who was the true Messiah.
Another facet of this story that most people fail to consider is that the Friday/Sunday story is based on paganism. When Constantine merged Christianity with his pagan religion, the sun worship resurrection story began. Any dictionary will tell you that the root of the word Easter is from the name of the goddess of spring, Eostre (Ishtar), also known as Semiramis. Her husband, Nimrod, (Babylonian name Ba’al) was a mighty hunter who was involved in the building of the Tower of Babel. After Nimrod’s death, Semiramis became pregnant, and claimed that Nimrod had ascended to the sun as the sun god and through its rays caused a miracle conception. Her son, Tammuz , was said to be the reincarnation of Nimrod. Together, Nimrod, Semiramis, and Tammuz make up the pagan trinity. When Tammuz was gored to death by a wild boar, the legend was that, due to the weeping of his mother, he was resurrected. (That is the source of the "Easter ham" tradition, taking revenge on the boar to celebrate the resurrection.)
The weeping for Tammuz is mentioned in Scripture. The book of Ezekiel, chapters 8 – 11, enumerates visions of idolatry in the temple. Ezekiel 8:14 is the abomination of “women weeping for Tammuz”. This is followed by verse 16, the abomination of worshipping the sun. Yet modern Christians, year after year, follow these pagan rituals. Lent (something that you will not find in the Bible) is the period of time that corresponds to weeping for Tammuz. Friday is his day of worship. Sunday is the day of worship of his father the sun god. There is nothing Christian about the spring festival of the fertility goddess, celebrated with eggs and bunnies. If your religion includes any of these traditions of man, then according to Scripture, you are worshipping in vain. (Matthew 15:2-9; Mark 7:1-13)
Revelation 18 calls for the true worshippers to come out of Babylon, which is false worship. If you have found that your traditions, which you truly believed were innocent, are in fact rooted in pagan sun worship, my prayer is that you will turn to true worship and “choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15).