How Did This Happen? Who Separated Passover From Easter?

Passover the-last-supper

This year, as Christians celebrate Good Friday, Jews will be celebrating Passover. But most years, the two holidays are separated, sometimes by several weeks. How did we end up with two distinct holy seasons when, in the beginning, they were one?

It’s important to remember that, 2000 years ago, there were not two different faiths, Judaism and Christianity. Instead, Jesus the Jewish Messiah came to His Jewish people with a message of salvation, and that message was then preached to the whole world.

In the beginning, it was an exclusively Jewish movement, and the first disciples were all Jews, with names like Yaakov (James) and Yehuda (Judas) and Yochanan (John). In fact, the Lord’s name was Yeshua, not Jesus, and He was a rabbi, not a reverend. As for His mother, her name was Miriam, not Mary.

And when did Yeshua die for our sins? It was in conjunction with the Passover. And He rose from the dead on Firstfruits, which took place on the first day after the Passover Sabbath. (In other words, on that Sunday.) And when did He send the Holy Spirit? It was at Pentecost, the Jewish feast of Weeks (Shavuot).

So these momentous events—the Messiah’s death and resurrection and sending the Spirit—all happened in conjunction with the Jewish biblical calendar. (See Leviticus 23; for more on the Jewish roots of the faith, see my book The Real Kosher Jesus.)

This was understood by many of the first Gentile converts, which is why Paul wrote this to the believers in Corinth: “Therefore purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new batch, since you are unleavened. For even Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old yeast, nor with the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

Over time, the followers of Jesus began to mark the day of His death and the day of His resurrection, leading to what we know today as Good Friday and Resurrection (or Easter) Sunday. But at first, this was done during the Passover season. How, then, did it get separated, becoming a separate holiday called Easter?

Messianic Jewish scholar Mark Kinzer explains:

The point of disagreement was this: should the Gentile ekklesia [congregation, church] commemorate the death and resurrection of Yeshua on the fourteenth of Nisan, when the Jews celebrate the Passover?

Those who said yes were called the Quartodecimans (from the Latin word for “fourteenth”). Their practice likely derived from the early Jewish ekklesia. The small communities of Jewish Yeshua-believers in the second century almost certainly maintained this custom. … The problem came from the fact that the Gentile ekklesia of the province of Asia (in Asia minor) was Quartodeciman and claimed that their practice was of apostolic origin.

The Quartodeciman controversy observing was disturbing, since (if followed) it would obligate the entire ekklesia to order its liturgical calendar in accordance with the decisions of the Jewish community. In a matter of great practical import it expressed dependence upon and even solidarity with the wider Jewish world” (Post-Missionary Messianic Judaism, 199).

The problem, then, was simple: Following the Jewish calendar was too Jewish for the increasingly Gentile church! The idea of a Sunday celebration of the resurrection was not the real issue, since that could have been done, theoretically, in conjunction with Firstfruits.

The issue was having a major Christian (which by then meant “non-Jewish”) holy day determined by the Jewish calendar. That was simply unacceptable, leading to the final decision at the Nicene Council in A.D. 325. As Kinzer notes, “Constantine’s language is almost embarrassingly direct.

To quote the decision directly:

It was declared to be particularly unworthy for this, the holiest of all festivals, to follow the custom [the calculation] of the Jews, who had soiled their hands with the most fearful of crimes, and whose minds were blinded. In rejecting their custom, we may transmit to our descendants the legitimate mode of celebrating Easter, which we have observed from the time of the Saviour’s Passion to the present day [according to the day of the week].

We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Saviour has shown us another way; our worship follows a more legitimate and more convenient course (the order of the days of the week); and consequently, in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep the feast … it would be still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people [the Jews].


Yes, such language is “almost embarrassingly direct,” not to mention shamefully unchristian. How painfully ironic that the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah had to be separated from anything Jewish! If ever there was a tragic severing of Jewish roots, this was it.

How, then, do we reconnect these severed roots? My proposal is radical, requiring a change of the most commonly-used Church calendar. But, to be candid, severing Easter from Passover was radical.

Here, then, is what I propose. Let the Church celebrate Easter in conjunction with Passover, coordinating its calendar with the biblical, Jewish calendar. And during the Passover week, commemorate Yeshua’s death on Friday and His resurrection on Sunday. Can anyone give me a biblically-based reason not to?



The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Easter after Passover. Every six  years the Protestant/Catholic Easter falls on the same day as the Greek Easter, some years it is six weeks apart.  The Greek Easter this year is celebrated Sunday April 8, 2018, one week after the Protestant/Catholic Easter.

See our previous postχριστός-ἀνέστη-christos-anesti/


VIDEO A True Mirror – Man in the Mirror

A True Mirror

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15

Mirrors help us see ourselves as we are on the outside, but not who we are on the inside, nor the person we might become. Average athletes think they are good until they play against someone who is great—same for musicians, artists, teachers, or any other role in life. To know who we really are we must see ourselves in light of a higher standard.

That happened to the apostle Paul. Before he met Jesus Christ, he had one of the most impressive résumés in Israel. As a young man, he was brilliant, a Pharisee, a law-keeper, a defender of the faith, and destined for greatness (Philippians 3:4-6). But after meeting Christ everything changed. He had one phrase to describe himself: the chief of sinners. He was still profoundly qualified and capable, just in a different way. He suddenly realized that without the grace of God, he was nothing (Philippians 3:7-11).

The more we get to know Christ—“the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15)—the more accurate picture we have of ourselves. He is our true mirror.

We are transformed into the image of the Lord by beholding it, not by reflecting it.  Charles Hodge

JOYFUL NOISE “Man in the Mirror” full scene 2012

VIDEO The Servant’s Primary Goal

The Servant’s Primary Goal

We make it our aim…to be well pleasing to Him. —2 Corinthians 5:9

“We make it our aim….” It requires a conscious decision and effort to keep our primary goal constantly in front of us. It means holding ourselves to the highest priority year in and year out; not making our first priority to win souls, or to establish churches, or to have revivals, but seeking only “to be well pleasing to Him.” It is not a lack of spiritual experience that leads to failure, but a lack of working to keep our eyes focused and on the right goal. At least once a week examine yourself before God to see if your life is measuring up to the standard He has for you. Paul was like a musician who gives no thought to audience approval, if he can only catch a look of approval from his Conductor.

Any goal we have that diverts us even to the slightest degree from the central goal of being “approved to God” (2 Timothy 2:15) may result in our rejection from further service for Him. When you discern where the goal leads, you will understand why it is so necessary to keep “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Paul spoke of the importance of controlling his own body so that it would not take him in the wrong direction. He said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest…I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

I must learn to relate everything to the primary goal, maintaining it without interruption. My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life. Is my primary goal in life to please Him and to be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how lofty it may sound?


Am I getting nobler, better, more helpful, more humble, as I get older? Am I exhibiting the life that men take knowledge of as having been with Jesus, or am I getting more self-assertive, more deliberately determined to have my own way? It is a great thing to tell yourself the truth. The Place of Help

The Servant Song


VIDEO Presence of Peace – What a friend we have in Jesus

Presence of Peace


“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen Matthew 28:20

A child is frightened by a crashing thunderstorm in the middle of the night. With a parent’s presence and assurance, soon the child will be asleep again. Did the storm stop because the parent entered the child’s room? No. Assurance was gained not by what was taken away—the storm—but by what was added—the parent’s presence. Safety is not the absence of trouble; safety is the presence of Jesus.

During the year-and-a-half Paul spent in Corinth on his second missionary journey, he encountered stiff opposition from the Jews when he spoke in the synagogue. This was not unusual for Paul, but he decided he needed to move on to evangelize Gentiles (Acts 18:6). But Jesus appeared to Paul in a dream and said, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you” (verses 9-10). Jesus didn’t remove the opposition; He reminded Paul that He was with him in Corinth.

Are you facing trouble, storms, opposition, discouragement? Instead of praying for God to remove them, first pray for a deeper awareness of the peace that comes from His presence. He is with you!

Anxious care is out of place in a heavenly Father’s presence.  Kenneth Wuest

What a friend we have in Jesus

VIDEO Identified or Simply Interested – Crucified With Christ

Identified or Simply Interested?

Identified or Simply Interested?

I have been crucified with Christ… —Galatians 2:20

The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him” —but— “I have been identifiedwith Him in His death.” Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.

“…it is no longer I who live….” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.

“…and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh— the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God….” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits— a faith that comes only from the Son of God.


The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it.  Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1459 R

Crucified With Christ – Phillips Craig and Dean

VIDEO Friendship with God – What a friend we have in Jesus

Friendship with God

Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing…? —Genesis 18:17

The Delights of His Friendship. Genesis 18 brings out the delight of true friendship with God, as compared with simply feeling His presence occasionally in prayer. This friendship means being so intimately in touch with God that you never even need to ask Him to show you His will. It is evidence of a level of intimacy which confirms that you are nearing the final stage of your discipline in the life of faith. When you have a right-standing relationship with God, you have a life of freedom, liberty, and delight; you are God’s will. And all of your commonsense decisions are actually His will for you, unless you sense a feeling of restraint brought on by a check in your spirit. You are free to make decisions in the light of a perfect and delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will lovingly produce that sense of restraint. Once he does, you must stop immediately.

The Difficulties of His Friendship. Why did Abraham stop praying when he did? He stopped because he still was lacking the level of intimacy in his relationship with God, which would enable him boldly to continue on with the Lord in prayer until his desire was granted. Whenever we stop short of our true desire in prayer and say, “Well, I don’t know, maybe this is not God’s will,” then we still have another level to go. It shows that we are not as intimately acquainted with God as Jesus was, and as Jesus would have us to be— “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22). Think of the last thing you prayed about— were you devoted to your desire or to God? Was your determination to get some gift of the Spirit for yourself or to get to God? “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). The reason for asking is so you may get to know God better. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). We should keep praying to get a perfect understanding of God Himself.


Jesus Christ is always unyielding to my claim to my right to myself. The one essential element in all our Lord’s teaching about discipleship is abandon, no calculation, no trace of self-interest. Disciples Indeed

What a friend we have in Jesus

VIDEO Do You Now Believe? – Jesus I Believe

Do You Now Believe?”

“Now we believe….” But Jesus asks, “Do you…? Indeed the hour is coming…that you…will leave Me alone” (John 16:31-32). Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our soul has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-6). This is not deliberate sin and there is no punishment attached to it. But once a person realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and caused uncertainties, sorrows, and difficulties for himself, it is with shame and remorse that he has to return.

We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now. We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them; it is not in His realm to do so, and those decisions are severed from reality. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ. We become a prideful, arrogant person, thinking we know what to do in every situation. We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to “walk in the light” of our conscience or in the light of a sense of duty, but to “walk in the light as He is in the light…” (1 John 1:7). When we do something out of a sense of duty, it is easy to explain the reasons for our actions to others. But when we do something out of obedience to the Lord, there can be no other explanation— just obedience. That is why a saint can be so easily ridiculed and misunderstood.


The great thing about faith in God is that it keeps a man undisturbed in the midst of disturbance. Notes on Isaiah, 1376 R

Jesus I Believe by Big Daddy Weave (Lyric Video) | Christian Worship Music

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