Passover - Easter

Discuss the relationship between Jews and Christians throughout history to our own day.

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Fidesetratio
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Passover - Easter

Post by Fidesetratio » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:50 pm

Hello All,

OK I've heard & read from Jews / Messianic-Jews that Christians changed the passover (Easter) date, while Christians say that we are following the true dating requirements, and the Jews havn't allowed for leap years or whatever it is....

OK - Im quite ignorant on this and would like to know whats the deal?
Who has the correct date? Does the date really matter as long as the intent is there? Also as Christians are we allowed to participate in Jewish Passover?

Forgive me if this has been discussed as I havn't gone searching through all the threads....

Peace,
Rob

Hadassah
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Post by Hadassah » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:01 pm

Hi Rob,

I waited a few days to post to see if anyone offered a response to your two inquiries. I will respond to this one, but your other post, the eschatalogical question about Israel, is better left to Ariel, Athol, or someone else entirely :-).

I find the whole calendar issue can get very complex, so I am going to try to keep this relatively simple in relation to your question. If this doesn’t answer your question, let me know.

In the Book of Exodus, Chapter 12, we find that the dates and ritual elements of the Passover in Egypt are set by the Lord Himself (i.e., “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron...”). The Lord said, “On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for iteself a lamb...” “You shall keep it until the fourteenth day...” The month is the month of Nisan.

There is no corresponding Scriptural command for when or how to celebrate Easter, the passover of Jesus Christ from death into life. Though we do know, of course, that the resurrection of the Lord was celebrated in every Sunday celebration of the Mass. In fact there was some controversy about the date of Easter in the early Church and no real consistency until the 4th century. So when you say that “Christians say they are following the true dating requirements, I am not sure what you (or they perhaps) mean.

In the first place, the controversy regarding the date of Easter centered on the fact that 14 Nisan could fall on any given day of the week. The Church wished to associate the celebration of Easter (the new Passover of Christ from death to newness of life) not only with the original Passover, but with Sunday, the day on which the Lord rose from the dead. In addition to this issue was the issue of which Sunday on which to celebrate.

It was the Council of Nicea which actually spoke to these issues. It fixed the date of Easter throughout the Church, stated that the celebration should be on Sunday, and stipulated most pertinently that Easter Sunday should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon following the vernal equinox (unless that full moon fell on a Sunday, in which case Easter would be the following Sunday).

So given this, you would expect that Easter would fall no more than a week from the start of Passover. Sometimes, however, the difference can be more, with Passover even falling later than Easter. This is where the “leap” issues you refer to come in. I'm not going to go into this in detail because it makes my head spin. But it has to do with the difference in the Jewish calendar which uses lunar months and the Gregorian calendar which really abandons any correlation of the action of the moon in defining months. Bottom line is that every so often the Jewish calendar has an extra month (13) to account for a shift in the calendar in relation to the seasons of the solar year (this is important because Passover is described in Torah as a festival of spring). The result, for example, could be seen last year when Easter fell on March 23 on the Catholic Church calendar and Passover began on April 20.

The Orthodox use a Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian (as the Catholic Church does) and therefore we do not usually celebrate Easter on the same day (though it can happen). A further difference occurs because the Western Church uses a fixed date for the vernal equinox (March 21) while the Orthodox still use, I think, actual observances of the full moon. In 2009, for example, Easter will be celebrated by Catholics on Sunday, April 12 and by the Orthodox on Sunday, April 19. There's actually a Catechism paragraph related to this difference. It is 1170.
Who has the correct date? Does the date really matter as long as the intent is there?
So what now is the question? Should Christ’s Passover from death into life be celebrated on Sunday rather than begin at sundown on 14 Nisan? I suppose that would depend upon the intent and what you are celebrating.

In Dies Domini, Pope John Paul II reminds us, “The Lord's Day — as Sunday was called from Apostolic times — has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery. In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ's Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of "the new creation." He also notes: “The fundamental importance of Sunday has been recognized through two thousand years of history and was emphatically restated by the Second Vatican Council: "Every seven days, the Church celebrates the Easter mystery. This is a tradition going back to the Apostles, taking its origin from the actual day of Christ's Resurrection — a day thus appropriately designated 'the Lord's Day'." It seems fitting that we celebrate on Sunday.
Also as Christians are we allowed to participate in Jewish Passover?
This there are some posts on. Sure, I would say. See Athol’s original post and subsequent items on Passover seders.

Blessings,
Hadassah

Fidesetratio
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Post by Fidesetratio » Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:54 am

Hi Hadassah,

Thankyou for the reply and it did help alot!
Hadassah wrote:Hi Rob,

So when you say that “Christians say they are following the true dating requirements, I am not sure what you (or they perhaps) mean.
What I was basically getting at is I've read from both sources - Christian and Jewish that the other one is not observing the time correctly etc....thats all i was alluding to.
Hadassah wrote: In Dies Domini, Pope John Paul II reminds us, “The Lord's Day — as Sunday was called from Apostolic times — has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery. In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ's Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of "the new creation." He also notes: “The fundamental importance of Sunday has been recognized through two thousand years of history and was emphatically restated by the Second Vatican Council: "Every seven days, the Church celebrates the Easter mystery. This is a tradition going back to the Apostles, taking its origin from the actual day of Christ's Resurrection — a day thus appropriately designated 'the Lord's Day'." It seems fitting that we celebrate on Sunday.
I guess what I have confused myself with is that did "Easter" replace the Jewish passover or is it in addition to? I have been told in the Apostolic times the Jewish-Christians did keep passover as a reminder of the exodus, and still celebrated the Lords Day?
So has now Easter replaced Passover...minus the ritual of the lamb as the Lord has become the spotless lamb?
I think i am confusing myself here........i better take a breather, my head is spinning from the dating thing too....

Thanks again....

Rob

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Post by Hadassah » Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:05 am

Rob wrote:I guess what I have confused myself with is that did "Easter" replace the Jewish passover or is it in addition to? I have been told in the Apostolic times the Jewish-Christians did keep passover as a reminder of the exodus, and still celebrated the Lords Day? So has now Easter replaced Passover...minus the ritual of the lamb as the Lord has become the spotless lamb?
From a Christian theological perspective, I would not say that Easter "replaces" Passover. The Passover stands on its own as a miraculous event in the history of the Jewish people and therefore in our history as Christians. For Christians, the Passover and Exodus foreshadow a future and even greater reality in the history of salvation but still have their own significance which should be celebrated.

Practically, though, you are right to ask the question because most Christians don't celebrate Passover as Jews do (or at all). It is interesting, because Passover was established as a "perpetual institution." Is the loss of the celebration the effect of a Gentile dominance in the early Church? Or is the perpetual institution changed with Christ's passover from death to life? But the Lord is very clear about what to tell those who ask about its purpose. So what would a Jewish Christian say? And now re-reading Exodus 12, I am reminded that no foreigner may partake of the Passover meal. I am not well-versed enough to know the full meaning of the word "foreigner" or its Hebrew original. So this may speak to the other side of the question about Christians taking part in Passover. Just additional questions arising from yours. It would be interesting to hear perspectives on these things.

Blessings,
Hadassah

Fidesetratio
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Post by Fidesetratio » Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:52 am

Just additional questions arising from yours. It would be interesting to hear perspectives on these things.
Yes - I am looking forward hopefully from some others perspective / input?

Rob

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Post by Athol » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:16 pm

No uncircumcised male may take part in eating the Paschal lamb. As we have no Temple or paschal lamb sacrifice it doesn't really apply today to the modern Passover Seder.
Adore Wisdom

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Post by mikemac » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:18 am

Hadassah wrote:
From a Christian theological perspective, I would not say that Easter "replaces" Passover. The Passover stands on its own as a miraculous event in the history of the Jewish people and therefore in our history as Christians. For Christians, the Passover and Exodus foreshadow a future and even greater reality in the history of salvation but still have their own significance which should be celebrated.

Blessings,
Hadassah
No offense Hadassah but I beg to differ. Easter is just called Easter in Germanic languages such as English. In most other languages Easter is a derivative of Passover.

For instance from this wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover not only for much of its symbolism but also for its position in the calendar.

...

The Greek word Πάσχα and hence the Latin form Pascha is derived from the Hebrew Pesach (פֶּסַח) meaning the festival of Passover.

Christians speaking Arabic or other Semitic languages generally use names cognate to Pesach.

...

In all Romance languages the name of the Easter festival is derived from the Latin Pascha. In Spanish, Easter is la Pascua.

In all modern Celtic languages the term for Easter is derived from Latin. In Brythonic languages this has yielded Welsh Pasg, Cornish and Breton Pask. In Goidelic languages the word was borrowed before these languages had re-developed the /p/ sound and as a result the initial /p/ was replaced with /k/. This yielded Irish Cáisc, Gaelic Càisg and Manx Caisht. These terms are normally used with the definite article in Goidelic languages, causing lenition in all cases: An Cháisc, A' Chàisg and Y Chaisht.
Same goes for Slavic, Scandinavian, Finno-Ugric and most other languages.

Mike

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