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What has become known throughout the world as “Good Friday” seems like as good a time as any to set the record straight on who Jesus really was and what He did.
Despite the fact that His life is the most famous of anyone who ever lived, that the world’s calendars were reset as a result of His birth and that those called by His name represent the biggest religion in the world today, there seems to be more than a little confusion about Him.
Some today, like the man in the White House, suggest Jesus was an old-fashioned “progressive” – someone who wanted to spread the wealth around. Some Communists, the world’s worst butchers, even claim Him as one of their own. Muslims, who call Him Issa, claim Him as a prophet second in status only to Muhammad.
But Jesus is not a progressive or a Communist. Nor is He a Muslim. I dare say He is not even a Christian.
The word “Christ” is the Greek word for Messiah, the Anglicized term for the Hebrew “Mashiach.” No one even called Him “Jesus” throughout His entire life, because it wasn’t His name. His name was and is still Yeshua. That’s because He came first for the Jews and later offered the message of “salvation” (the precise translation of the word Yeshua in Hebrew) to the non-Jews.
Furthermore, Yeshua did not come to start a new religion.
His true followers understand that He is more than their Savior, their Lord, their King. He is the only eternal Son of God – the One who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden, visited the prophets, appeared to Joshua, wrestled with Jacob and wrote the Ten Commandments in stone tablets with His own finger.
If you believe God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, you cannot believe that Yeshua came to start a new religion called Christianity.
His ministry on Earth – everything He said and did – was in total harmony and fulfillment of all that came before, including the covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, David and so on.
Each covenant was built upon the previous ones. They all required one thing – faith and obedience.
That is true today of what we call the “New Covenant,” though I don’t believe we have actually experienced it yet. What do I mean?
There are only four references to the New Covenant in the entire Bible. The first is in Jeremiah 31:31-34: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Has this happened yet? Do we live in a time when it is no longer necessary to teach about knowing the Lord? I don’t think so. This is still a future event.
The second and third references are in Hebrews 8:8-13: Read this first century writing and it is clear the New Covenant had not yet taken place then, either.
And the last is in Hebrews 12. All of these references appear to suggest the New Covenant is still a future event.
It will come with His return, when Yeshua rules over the entire Earth as King from His own beloved and rightful kingdom in Jerusalem.
Followers of Yeshua are too caught up in the tradition of men, just as the Pharisees He came to dispute.
Take “Good Friday,” for instance. It’s tradition that tells us it was the day he was crucified for our sins. But that’s impossible – especially if He rose three days later on a Sunday. More likely, he was crucified on a midweek sabbath (he was the Passover lamb slain from the foundation of the world) and rose before the light of day on the weekly sabbath.
Matthew records: “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” (Emphasis added.) They traveled to the tomb while it was still dark, before the sun rose – in other words, during the last hours of the Sabbath. They discovered the empty tomb, which suggests He had already risen before the dawn, sometime during the sabbath.
This weekend, the followers of Yeshua will celebrate “Easter,” which is an ancient pagan holiday that only later became associated with the Resurrection during the reign of Constantine.
If you want to know the real Yeshua, the real Savior of the human race, our real king and Lord, you can read about Him in the Bible. But be sure you have the proper perspective before beginning. It’s a very Hebrew-centric book. And there are a lot of bad translations and paraphrased versions out there that can add to the confusion.
Baruch Hashem Adonai. Or, as we say in English: Blessed be the name of the Lord.