Sabbath Message 23/4/27/120 Part A
Christ, and the Apostles, and the Church, did not take lightly the keeping of the Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread for the full period of eight days, being the Preparation Day of 14 Abib and the Feast of Unleavened Bread of seven days. Everyone was required to keep the Feast for the full period. Israel did not always do so and many were slack in that regard. However, the Church was not to be slack in the service of God.
Christ even appeared to the disciples and spoke with them. The text shows that two were moving away, for whatever purpose, from the area that God had placed His hand. This happened even though they had not gone far from Jerusalem.
The text is found in Luke 24:13-53. The Passover was established from the beginning to point towards Messiah, and the necessity of his death and resurrection.
Christ established the Lord’s Supper and then on 14 Abib he was killed in accordance with the Scriptures. That was on a Wednesday. He was in the tomb three days and three nights, to the end of the third day when he was resurrected. We know that at the end of the Sabbath, as the evening of the First Day drew near, Mary had gone to the tomb and been presented with Christ’s resurrection. There were a number of reasons why Christ was given the three-day period. The greatest reason is the sign of Jonah and witness to Judah before its judgment and dispersion after the forty-year period for repentance. The three days and three nights make it absolutely necessary that the day followed the third night, and thus we can only be dealing with the Sabbath day towards its end in 30 CE.
The law provided that a man who was defiled through contact with a dead body was to purify himself on the third day (Num. 19:11,12). The law also provided that the flesh of the peace offering was not to be kept beyond the third day. It was to be burnt on the third day (Lev. 7:17,18) as it was unfit for food from that day. Bullinger notes these requirements in Appendix 148 to the Companion Bible, and he also notes John Lightfoot’s (1602-75) quotation of the Talmudic tradition that the mourning for the dead culminated on the third day because the spirit was not supposed to have finally departed until then (Works, Pitman ed., vol xii, pp 351-353). Also the Jews did not accept evidence as to the identification of a dead body until after three days. The third day was taken as evidence that the body was truly dead.
We are told that Mary went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared to embalm him. Herodotus testifies that embalming did not take place until after three days (Herod. 2:86-89). She went early before dawn on her last visit and found Christ had risen. They returned and told the disciples what had occurred. On her return she told them, and Simon (called Cephas or Peter) went to the sepulchre and confirmed the fact of the disappearance of the body and the clothes lying there. The disciples remained at Jerusalem while two of them went to Emmaus, which was a small village, some 60 furlongs from Jerusalem. This village was about two hours walk. It was not yet dark but at evening. They obviously went there with a purpose, as the main body was still back at Jerusalem. This was the fifth day since the beginning of 14 Abib, and the fourth day since the death and the internment. The term three days is used of the full days as they were still within the fourth day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Christ appeared to them and walked with them on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were talking of the activities and did not fully understand what had taken place. He appeared to them, but they were prevented from recognising him. “What is it you are saying to one another and why are you so sad?” Cleopas (a relative) said to him: “Are you a stranger in Jerusalem and don’t know what has gone on over these days.”
Christ said: “What things?” They then explained about Christ who they said was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and the people, and how the Chief priests and their rulers delivered him to be condemned to death and crucified him.
“We trusted that it was he that was to redeem Israel and beside all this today is the third day since all these things have been done.”
They then testified of the women who had visited the sepulchre and were told by angels that Christ was alive.
They told Christ that they had checked and found that it was as the women said, but they did not find Christ. Christ then explained the prophecies to them. He said: “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken.” He then, beginning at Moses, expounded all that the prophets had written concerning himself.
He acted as though he was going on, and they asked him to stay with them as it was nearing dark. He sat at the meal and took bread and broke it, and blessed it, and then their eyes were opened. They recognised him and he vanished out of their sight. They were now into the sixth day of the Feast and the fifth day of Unleavened Bread.
They recounted how their hearts burned while he explained the Scriptures to them on the way.
The two, Clophas and Simon, got up from the meal the same hour and went straight back to Jerusalem to the eleven disciples who were gathered together and told them what had happened.
Thus, the entire gathering of the disciples had remained at the Feast the entire time, and did not leave to go to their homes. For some reason we do not know, Clophas and Simon went to Emmaus and Christ appeared to them. He, in effect, sent them back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples what had transpired. They told them of the explanations and how they knew him in the breaking of bread. They said: “The Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared to Simon (Lk. 24:34).” However, it was Clophas that spoke to him first and it was obviously Clophas speaking.
Jesus then appeared to them and they were frightened. He had them touch him to ensure that his resurrection was indeed physical. They were incredulous at his appearance before them. He asked for meat and was given fish and some honeycomb, which had obviously been left over from the evening meal.
It was at this time that he explained the Scriptures to them, and explained what was written about him in the Law, and the Psalms, and the Prophets. He said it was required of Christ to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins in his name should be preached among all nations beginning at Jerusalem (Lk. 24:46-47). He then charged them as witnesses to these things. He then also ordered them to remain at Jerusalem, not only for the remainder of the feast but also through the entire Omer Count until Pentecost, when they would receive the Holy Spirit from God.
He then led them to Bethany and blessed them, and he left them and went up into heaven. They prostrated themselves before him in adoration and then returned to Jerusalem, where they were continually in the Temple praising and blessing God.
Now this text in Luke 24:13-53 shows a number of very important matters concerning the feasts, and the requirements placed upon the Body of Christ, over the period of the Passover and Unleavened Bread.
The first point is that the majority of the activities did not take place until the end of the third day, including the Wave-sheaf offering on the morning of the First Day of the week. If the Church had followed the practice of a number of the Churches of God in the twentieth century to date, they would not have even been there to see the resurrection and to be told of the requirements placed upon them. Far from being discretionary, the disciples were ordered to remain for the Feast, and then ordered to remain for the entire Omer Count at the place of pilgrimage, in order to receive the Holy Spirit.
In every restoration of the Plan of God, when the apostasy and backsliding occurred under false teachers, God raised up people who would faithfully do what He had instructed. In each restoration, the Passover was kept for the full seven days as a bare minimum. The elect did it with joy and gladness (see the paper The Seven Great Passovers of the Bible (No. 107)).
In the Churches of God over the Twentieth Century, it was only when the Church stopped keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a pilgrimage, and attended the Feast for seven days, was the Church even close to understanding. When they stopped, then they went really bad and in the end had to be destroyed.
One of the things that is truly fascinating, is the fact that more time is spent in trying to get people not to obey the laws of God, than in any other endeavour.
We should all be trying to do God’s will and obey the Law and the Prophets. Our test cry is this. If they do not speak according to the Law and the Prophets there is no light in them. If you have been slack in the service of God in the Passover and Unleavened Bread, then repent and turn to the Lord. Let not our hand be slack in the service of our God, but serve him with all our might.
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