Saturday, October 24, 2009

Discussion on the Christian Passover and the Exodus

I got one of those rare opportunities to lead the discussion during Sabbath School on the "Passover" and the Exodus at Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church. Knowing what I believe and not sure of the readiness of my class to receive what I had to share, I had to tread a very thin line of not making my presentation too radical or controversial.

The discussion I lead was with a small group of mostly mothers, many of whom seem to have not been prepared for a discussion. As usual, I wanted interactivity and not just for me to talk, and decided to begin with question asking. So I began with a discussion the scripture text of the week's lesson:

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7).

I asked the question about the symbolism of the leaven. One mother from the group established the symbolism as being sin and its power to pervasively infect and contaminate. Then I asked about why is it that if leaven is sin, that the next line from the scripture links leaven to Christ being our passover and his sacrifice for us. The answer - that Jesus came to die for our sins and to remove it.

I then asked the question, that if Jesus is responsible for removing our sins, then why is it that the Apostle Paul starts out by stating that it is "we" or "us" that must purge ourselves of the old leaven.

The response - that Jesus removes sins, but we too have a part to play in putting away sin from our lives.

I then went on to discuss the Passover and how the Jews in keeping this Passover, observes it in remembrance of their ancestors and the deliverance that God gave them over their oppressors. I also mentioned that Jews try to imagine during this ceremony what it was like to be an Israelite on that night. I mentioned that the Jew personally puts himself in the shoe of his ancestors during the Passover to get the meaning of this tradition and ritual. Then after laying this background, I went on to the question of the Christian Passover, where I asked the question:

How are the followers of Jesus to commemorate the Passover today? What is this service to remind us of?

The response - The Lord's Supper. Communion Service. I probed for a deeper answer, and got the response that we must use the Christian's Passover to commemorate the Sacrifice of Christ to remove our sins.

I then went on to suggest that while we will focus on Christ's sacrifice, that the Passover should not neglect the past, and should not forget the story of the Exodus, in which God birth the nation that was to give the world its Saviour and the Scriptures (the Word of God). I encouraged the class that this festival or religious observance is to commemorate the purpose of God in his intervention in humanity, and it began at the first Passover celebrated by Israel. So while we reflect on Jesus suffering on the Cross for our sins, we must not lose sight of our spiritual ancestry and heritage. For the story of the Exodus is the story of Jesus.

I then told the group - that I am going to shock them, knowing that my statements would raise eyebrows and generate interest in what I would say next. Then I declared that the Lord Supper or Passover will be observed in the future, and the meaning of the Passover may transcend the current meaning of Christ's sacrifice for our sins. I thus reminded them that Jesus himself declared in Matthew 26:29 (King James Version):

"But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."

The same is also recorded in Luke 22:18 (King James Version):

"For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."

I then went on to discuss the following points raised by Ellen G. White:

The quickest way to Canaan from Egypt lay through the coastal area along "the way of the land of the Philistines." But God knew Israel was not ready for war (Exod. 13:17). Consequently, when the pillar of cloud signaled the tribal march, it led the nation east and north into the wilderness of Paran (Num. 10:11, 12), a journey of three days (vs. 33). "As they advanced, the way became more difficult. Their route lay through stony ravine and barren waste. All around them was the great wilderness. . . . The rocky gorges, far and near, were thronged with men, women, and children, with beasts and wagons, and long lines of flocks and herds. Their progress was necessarily slow and toilsome; and the multitudes, after their long encampment, were not prepared to endure the perils and discomforts of the way."(—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 377.)

I declared that God did not let the Israelites go through shortcuts, because he knew they were not prepared to deal with the challenges that the shortcuts provided. Nevertheless, he took them through a rough, rocky and rugged terrain, so that he could test them. He did not give them more than they could bear, but selected trials and tests for which he knew they could pass.

Someone in the group also raised the point that because they (the Israelites) kept failing the tests and trials, they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years, longer than God had intended. This is familiar to most of us, who have to be faced with the same tests and trials until we are able to overcome them, before God move these test and trials from our lives.

As usual with programmed church services such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the limitation of time cut such a fruitful discussion.


White, Ellen and Gould Harmon. The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets : As Illustrated in the Lives of Holy Men of Old Mt. View, Calif.: Wiretap, 1994.

The Christian Passover

This week in the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, the question is asked by Frank Holbrook:
"How are the followers of Jesus to commemorate the Passover today? Luke 22:15, 19, 20. What is this service to remind us of?"

To this question, I would like to voice my own views. I must begin by stating that I believe that the current Christian Passover service is woefully inadequate because we divorce it from its Jewish context.

We keep it when we feel like and justify the time that we keep it by saying that Jesus said - "whenever you do this, do it in remembrance of me." Or " For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (1 Cor. 11:26).

I believe that we should keep the LORD's supper on the LORD's chosen time period. Not 4 times a year. Or any amount of times that we choose. God has already set up his calendar in Leviticus 23, of his appointed times and seasons. The Christian Passover should be observed in keeping with that calendar.

Also, I want to raise another controversial point. The Christian's Passover utilises real red wine and not grape juice. Otherwise Apostle Paul would not state that "For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken." (1 Cor 11: 21). People do not get drunk on grape juice.

Finally, I believe that Christians must also observe the Passover by focusing on its dual meeting. The historical deliverance of Israel from Egypt and the present day meaning of the new covenant.

How beautiful this service would be if it was once a year, and the format of church services were different.

  1. We watch a video clip of Moses and Pharaoh, then we pause to reflect and discuss in small groups the spiritual truths that have come home to each of us individually.

  2. Then we proceed to watch a video clip of the Passion of Christ or the Lord's supper and his death.

  3. Then we gather in small groups to discuss the spiritual truths that have come home to us.

  4. Then we partake in Matzah - unleavened bread and red wine with the normal liturgy.

This I believe would be a more spiritually meaningful and truthful observance of the Christian Passover.

May I also shock you by suggesting that there will be a future observance of the LORD's Passover in the New Jerusalem (or new earth).

See: Matthew 26:29 (King James Version):
"But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."

In fact, Jesus made a promise that he will no longer partake in the Passover supper "until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:16), implying therefore that there is a future meaning to the Passover that we have not yet come into.

God's love and blessings.


Holbrook, Frank B. "In Remembrance of Me."Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide October - December 2009, p. 31.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Finding Meaning in Sabbath: Part 2

Last week Sabbath, in the general spirit of meditating on what spiritual benefit I could attain from Sabbath observance, I reflected on Exodus 35:3 (New International Version)
"Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day."

From this I drew the conclusion that fire represents destruction. However, on the Sabbath day, God wants us to reflect on creation. Destruction is obviously creation's opposite.

I also pondered a secondary meaning. Fire represents anger, wrath or rage. I believe God also wants us to observe a spiritual principle of avoiding anger on that day or avoid making others angry especially through our words.

I also see a third principle in this text of scripture. Wrath or anger came after sin was introduced into the earth. Thus by not lighting fires on the Sabbath, we get to really focus on the state of the earth before sin.

Another thought

My daughter and wife has 24 hours access to me on the Sabbath, except when I am sleeping or they are sleeping. The Sabbath is a time that I make myself fully available to them.

I concluded that because of my position as male and head of the house, this must reflect something about God and his relationship with humanity. I concluded that the Sabbath at creation allowed humanity to have 24hour access to God. After sin, we lost physical access to God. However, the Sabbath in picturing future reality (see Hebrews 4:9 and 11) represents a time when all humanity will have restored 24 hours of access to God, as he will be our God and dwell in our midst.

As Isaiah 66:23 states:
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one SABBATH to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

Finding meaning in Sabbath: Part 1

I did not get to attend Sabbath convocation last week. Nevertheless, I sought to be observant in spirit and meditate on the meaning of Sabbath.

God has made the Sabbath to give us a reminder of his creative works. This is seen in Genesis 2:3 where it says:
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it
he had rested from all his work which God created and made

In other words, God made the Seventh day more special and set apart more than any other day. In Exodus 20:11, God tells us what is special in the day:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

As such, on each Sabbath day period, I seek to be Torah compliant, if not Torah observant in meditating on the spiritual meaning in this holy convocation.

Just last week, I was telling a friend of mind that in Jamaica, about the meaning that I pondered of in a previous Sabbath. I told him that I find that the Sabbaths are not as necessary in Jamaica to remind you about God as they are in prosperous Canada. In Canada, you need a reminder about God. In Jamaica, God consciousness occurs everyday. In explaining I mentioned that because of the problems in Jamaica, plus the fact that there are so many professing Christians who mention God in their conversations, one will not forget about God in Jamaica.

In Canada by contrast, people do not talk about God as much. Yet they are so discipline and problem-free.

My friend then asked
"So, what's the benefit of the Sabbath for people in Jamaica (or in one of the "good" periods of ancient Israel for that matter)?"

I responded by suggesting that the observance of the Sabbath in Jamaica makes us realise that our problems will not last for ever, as it points to the rest to come in the promised land.

In the contrast, for someone in prosperous Canada, experiencing peace and rest...Sabbath becomes an identity issue - it preserves your knowledge about God and your spiritual identity and connection with that God.

My friend replied that
"i dunno.... i never been to Canada, but... prosperity doesn't always = peace"

I replied:
Yes..but I am saying - the whole time being there, I saw no police...the people were orderly, obeyed rules and regulations. There were no mad people, street people or drug addicts on the streets. [Violent] crimes hardly reported on the local newspapers. [In fact the only crime reported during my stay was committed by a priest and it was a sexual crime - dealing with the possession of child pornography on his computer.]

[Otherwise, Canada] seemed to be a place without problems. That is what I meant by peace!

My friend replied:
"Ah!...So; how then, would you get a people in that situation to see the need for God?"

I replied:"Exactly...when you understand this, you know why churches decline in prosperous countries, and why churches abound in countries like Jamaica and Africa and Latin America."

I further went on to suggest that the "Sabbath was originally intended to help us focus on purpose. The purpose for which we were created. Thus, it is good to focus on purpose every week. This will help you to realise that there is more to life than just living comfortably."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I asked My Prime Minister

I asked my Prime Minister,
You are always seeking foreign investment,
Why is it?

Our hotels are owned by foreigners,
Who feed our visitors foreign food,
And give them foreign music,

That there are two or more agencies,
Created by Jamaican Government,
To seek foreign investment,

Yet there is no small business Ministry.
Only a Ministry for large industry,

Though small businesses
Create the most employment
They are not the priority of Government,

Perhaps its is because, Prime Minister,
Small business owners do not fund your party,
And during election bids, they busy earning money,

Too busy to fund your campaigns and ads
Their money don't get you power,
For if Jamaicans were all entrepreneurs,
You would perhaps have no sponsor,

All your talk
Is job creation,
But through investment only,

You talk not of empowering
Jamaicans to create their own
Business opportunity.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Preserving Spiritual Identity

As I stay with my hosts in Canada, I realise how easy it is to lose one's spirituality. Prince Edward Island is a very beautiful island, and prosperous too. There is no crime, and I have been here for two days, and have not seen any police or security. I feel safe leaving my things and coming back to find them.

The people are courteous, and disciplined. Cars stop for pedestrians and people wait their turn. People seem to willingly follow rules here.

They have clean water, fresh air, they recycle, have good health care, grow organic food, depend upon agricultural produce and have zero traffic.

Yet, most of the people I have met do not practice traditional Christian practices. No prayers are said at meal times. No sessions are opened with prayer. People do not even mention God...although I heard someone mention "We trust the demo gods". They mention "Halleluah", but no reverence is held for Jesus or any deity by the persons I have met so far. (This could partly be due to the fact that I have only been interacting with university employees and academics so far though.)

The houses are also nice and the view lovely. There are trees in the town. There is a coastal view and beautiful well kept recreational areas for people to sit and enjoy. The civic spaces are lovely, and further, there are no drug addicts or beggars seen on the streets.

If poverty is in Charlottetown, you do not see it.

This place is a paradise in comparison to Jamaica.

Canadians seem to be very anti-war, and pride themselves as not being war mongering as the U.S. Further Canada has been reaching out to other developing states with research and funding. Their academics seem to have a real concern for the state of other developing states.

As I ponder what I observed, I started to wonder if religion really is the cause of the existing ills. Could Richard Dawkins be right?

Now I reflect on the words of First Fruits of Zion's Weekly eDrash for 24 September 2009:
"Prosperity often places a greater obstacle between us and God than poverty does. The poor man looks to God for help continually. The prosperous man can find it easy to forget about God."

Right away, I saw how easy it was for me to forget God in that environment, especially if I did not go out of my way to attend church.

Once again, God has reaffirmed to me the importance of his sabbaths. They are necessary to preserve spirituality and spiritual identity. To preserve an awareness of our calling, destiny and purpose. That man should not live by bread alone, but eagerly seeking his words in the seasons that he has appointed. It is these very words at his appointed times that sustain us.

Work Cited:

First Fruits of Zion"Spiritually Flabby." Weekly eDrash. 24 September 2009.

Being called for the Cabinet

The following is a mixture of the sermon delivered from the keynote speaker from a DVD video - Mr. Roderick Meredith and my own understanding or translation and rewording of what he said and what I heard. I just wanted to share this with you.

Mr. Roderick Meredith has been observing the feast for 61 years. Despite a few disagreements that I had which I omitted, I share his perspective on the meaning of Feast of Tabernacles to Christians.

Speaker: Robert Meredith
Denomination: The Living Church of God
Location: Holiday Inn Express, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Occasion: Opening night of the Feast of Tabernacles
Date: Friday, October 2, 2009
Theme: Bridge Between Worlds
URL for Canada:

The speaker began with Revelation 11:15 - saying that people in choirs sing this song but do not take it seriously, as they always celebrate Jesus as a baby. When Jesus is a Warrior king seated at the right hand of God.

People are still thinking of Mary as being a virgin, when she should no longer be represented as a virgin. She went on to have other physical children with Joseph, hence providing Jesus with physical brothers. Satan wants us to perceive of Jesus and Mary this way so that he can distract us from Jesus kingship and authority.

In Zechariah 14, this Warrior king will fight and put a stop to wars, and use force to subjugate dictators and warmongers. Then all the nations of the earth, or at least their representatives will be coming up to physical Jerusalem to observe or keep the Feast of Tabernacles. They will not just come to observe the Jews celebrate it, but will come to celebrate it of themselves. Those who fail to do so will be severely punished.

It is through this festival that God and Jesus would have us rather remember. This is how Christ would have us represent him and remember him.

Early Christians kept the feast of Tabernacles, until the Dark Ages. During the Dark Ages, Satan crushed this truth out of Christianity.

All of God's festivals are important to picture the plan of God and his truth. All were given to the Jews in advance to portray Jesus centuries ahead of time. Passover was given to portray his death and sacrifice.

Feast of Tabernacles was also given to portray Christ as King. In fact, when the Jews kept it centuries ago, they reminded themselves that they were strangers and pilgrims, looking for the kingdom of God. Christians today, should have the same mindset, and Feast of Tabernacles helps to remind us of this reality.

It also reminds us of the Exodus from Egypt, where not all made it to the promised land. However it took overcomers to make it.

Jesus also promises us in Revelations 2:26, that those who keep Christ's work until the end, and overcomes, will receive power over the nations.

Contrary to popular Christian view, Christ wants to take us as a class of rulers in the earth and not heaven. We are not going to be called to sit down and do nothing. It is not just about music and singing in heaven, but rather we shall operate as a ruling class in governing the nations of the earth. In Revelations 5:10, the Bible declares that God has selected us to be priests and kings unto himself. Jesus is a king of Kings, ad has a cabinet. We in overcoming, will be a part of that cabinet of leaders, that assist God in ruling and bringing justice unto nations and to peoples, also teaching them, representing them and maintaining the order in the theocracy.

In Psalms 72 - the King's son shall judge the people and those who are poor, changing the economic relations in the earth and bringing world peace. Kings and other leaders will visit the king's son and bring him gifts.

We are called to be his, Jesus, the king's son, the heir to the Davidic throne. His representatives. He has called us now, out of the world, to learn, grow and develop the mind of Christ, so that we can serve as his officials and represent him. In order for us to achieve this, we need to study, pray, meditate and fast, until we are able to overcome, and have his character in us. Only when we are like him in thought, values and heart, can we be his representatives and earn a place in his cabinet.

So the message for this season: You are being called out to grow, learn and develop the mind of Messiah, in order to be in his Cabinet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An eye for an eye: Commentaries on today's application

On my trip to Canada, a Jew was seated beside me on the airplane to Montreal. I was delighted to see him take out a book with Hebrew writings on the cover. Later he took out his skull cap. It felt good to have a man of the book beside me.

I later asked him if what he was reading was the Torah. He told me that it was part of the Talmud. This lead to us having a conversation about the Talmud and how it differs from the Torah.

My Jewish friend then told me that the Torah is the Bible, at least the Old Testament part thereof. He stated that the Talmud came after and was the explanation of the words of Torah.

The Torah according to the Jew was very general. The Talmud on the other hand, is very specific and speaks to the application of Torah to life.

In explaining or illustrating this point, the Jew referred to the command eye for eye (Exodus 21:24) saying that that is not to be taken literally.
I said "really? I thought it was literally."

Then he explained that the principles there spoke to determining or evaluating the damage that a person causes to another, and attempting to attach a price to or on that damage that someone did to another. Thus he argues that what the Bible advocates here is principles for the valuation of justice. Based on this view, the Jew made it seem s if this law applied to Judges in a court of law.

Regarding my discussion with the Jew, what came home to me from his talk was that we who are imitators of Christ, must always take responsibility where we have wronged someone and seek to make a judgement about how much we must compensate the person for the wrongs that we have done them.

Also, Jesus in his commentary on the passage, declares that we must not go to court to get justice, nor look to man or judges to give us justice. Even if the person has wronged us and has an obligation to compensate us, we must not look to them for that compensation, but rather be willing to forgive the person and be as God the Father, who is ever willing to have mercy on those who have wronged him, even when they have not given him what he is due.

(See: Matthew 5:38-48)