Eusebius Pamphilus, Bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine:
CHURCH (Congregation)  HISTORY
Book Five, Chapter Twenty-FOUR
(The Paschal or (Quartodeciman) Controversey) c. 190

The Question Then Agitated Concerning the Passover.

A Question of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour's passover.

Chapter XXIV.

The Disagreement in Asia.

1 But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the congregation of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him:

2 "We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John,who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate.

3 "He fell asleep at Ephesus.

4 "And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a elder and martyr; and Thraseas, elder and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna.

5 "Why need I mention the elder and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead?

6 "All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were elders; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people [i.e. the Jews] put away the leaven.

7 "I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said 'We ought to obey God rather than man,' [Acts 5:29]."

8 He then writes of all the elders who were present with him and thought as he did. His words are as follows:

"I could mention the elders who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus."

9 Thereupon Victor, who presided over the congregation at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the congregations that agreed with them, as heterodox; and he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate.

10 But this did not please all the elders. And they besought him to consider the things of peace, and of neighborly unity and love. Words of theirs are extant, sharply rebuking Victor.

11 Among them was Irenæus, who, sending letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord's day. He fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole congregations of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom .

He adds to this the following account, which I may properly insert:

"Among these were the presbyters - elders before Soter, who presided over the congregation which thou now rulest. We mean Anicetus, and Pius, and Hyginus, and Telesphorus, and Xystus. They neither observed it [i.e. the fourteenth day] themselves, nor did they permit those after them to do so. And yet though not observing it, they were none the less at peace with those who came to them from the parishes in which it was observed; although this observance was more opposed to those who did not observe it

"But none were ever cast out on account of this form; but the presbyters before thee who did not observe it, sent the eucharist to those of other parishes who observed it.

"And when the blessed Polycarp was at Rome , in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace with one another, not caring to quarrel over this matter. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with John the disciple of our Lord, and the other apostles with whom he had associated; neither could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it as he said that he ought to follow the customs of the presbyters that had preceded him.

"But though matters were in this shape, they communed together, and Anicetus conceded the administration of the eucharist in the congregation to Polycarp, manifestly as a mark of respect And they parted from each other in peace, both those who observed, and those who did not, maintaining the peace of the whole congregation."

Thus Irenæus ["Peace"], who truly was well named, became a peacemaker in this matter, exhorting and negotiating in this way in behalf of the peace of the congregations. And he conferred by letter about this mooted question, not only with Victor, but also with most of the other rulers of the congregations.

Summary and MESSIAH is our PASSOVER

by Richard Merrell

I thank God and the Lord Messiah Yeshua that the truth was not put out in the life of the true saints, even though ROME sought by threat to sway the faithful to depart from the 'Apostles doctrine', the faithful held to the 'FAITH ONCE DELIVERED to THE SAINTS' Jude 3; and allowed not threats to cause them to fall away unto perdition. NOTE: The early messianiacs - christians met on the 'first day of the week' this term is Jewish; Motza ei Sabbath, literally, the "going down of the Sabbath" In other words the early messianics - christians met on what we call Saturday evening, this is mentiond in Acts 20:7 where we read how the Apostle Paul preached during the evening and through the night, this was not a special evening meeting but the practice of the early congregation to meet at that time following the ending of the Sabbath day. This became known as the 8th day which we find mentioned by Barnabas in the Epistle of Barnabas where he states, "we meet on the 8th day for on that day the Lord arose." Thus the term 'first day of the week' is also recognised as the (8th day) this is significant for it also reveals the truth that after the 7th day or Sabbath rest for the whole of creation during the chiliad or 1000 years of the Lord, that then shall come the 8th day, which is the eternal time of NO counting which deals with the new heaven and earth mentioned in the Apocalypse. That is why the resurrection coming at the 'going down of the Sabbath' being on the next or 8th day is of great 'spiritual' importance indeed.



CHRISTOS is the Greek form for MESSIAH and IESOUS is the Greek form for the name YESHUA,

however in english we have the name 'Jesus'..but YOSHUA or JOSHUA would have been preferred.

see the Septuagint where the Greek name Iesous (iesous) is given as JOSHUA

Before I go into some detail of the Messiah as our PASSOVER, I would that you understood the ABOVE record reveals to us how the EARLY CONGREGATIONS stood firm on the FAITH ONCE DELIVERED, and that the later 'adoption' of Easter and other abominations like the Saturnalia (now called Christ-mass) have absolutely NOTHING to do with the Lord Yeshua, the Messiah at all.

Eons in the past, perhaps before time even existed, the Eternal God decided to bring forth beings who would become His sons and daughters - in a very literal sense. Beings like Himself who would, in a sense, "come right out from Him," having His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) His perfect righteous CHARACTER - reproduced within them through the Holy Spirit. And what is God's character? The Bible answers, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). True love is outflowing concern for others. And we find that this overriding principle is the whole basis of God's way of life, of His eternal spiritual code of conduct--that is, His law. God's way involves giving and serving, sharing and helping, cooperating and making peace. It is wholly right and good. Of course, there is also another way - the way of evil. This course of life, in opposition to God's character, is inwardly focused. It's all about self-promotion and personal gain - n other words, getting instead of giving. This law of vanity promises glory to those who live by it, but in reality leads ultimately to competition, strife, suffering and heartache. Holy, righteous character is the ability of a thinking entity with freedom of choice to willingly choose the right way--God's way. Then, in a later aeon, it was time for God to begin the creation of His literal spiritual children. Yet they would not initially be created as powerful spirit beings like the angels had been. For before making them spirit, God would first create them as physical beings - human beings.  for says Paul, "we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly"  (1 Cor. 15:45 - 49). They would have His form and shape and certain God - like capabilities - such as mind power and creative imagination - yet be made of flesh and bone,  BUT BECAUSE of the entry of sin whereby they disobeyed God, they became subject to deterioration and even death as the penalty. Adam and Eve had the freedom of choice to decide to obey God, but they did not, and thus death entered upon all men, and NOW the plan of God was put into action, inasmuch that a Saviour would be sent in aeons to come, to redeem man and to put sin to death, to take away the power of sin and set man free....... As He tells us through Paul, "the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

Of course, Adam and Eve, the first human beings, did sin - through the lies and temptations of Satan. And, despite the fact that God has codified His spiritual law for all humanity in the Ten Commandments, every single human being save Yeshua the Messiah alone has sinned nonetheless: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (3:23). And "death spread to all men, because all sinned" (5:12). But is there, then, no hope?  You see, the omniscient and omnipotent God made provision for this very circumstance. In fact, the Almighty, in His infinite wisdom, has allowed humanity to be led into sin by Satan. He has allowed people to go their own way throughout human history - letting them attend the "school of hard knocks" to see just where sin will lead them. And today, we are all still writing the lessons of life through our human experience and suffering, though most are not really LEARNING those lessons. Redemption  is made Possible  (for nothing is impossible with God,) but how would God reconcile humanity to Himself? how wuld God redem mankind ? For even if people repented at some point in their life - that is, turned to God from their sinful ways and started obeying Him - they would still be under the death penalty because of their past sins. So again, how can we be reconciled? The answer - God's plan of redemption! sinners - and that's all of us - would be redeemed - "bought back." The price, though, was necessarily quite high, as the redemption amount had to be greater than the sum value of all human beings, was to be the PRECIOUS BLOOD OF THE MESSIAH,our LORD YESHUA, the Son of God (the FATHER), worth much more than silver and gold,  so what could be more valuable than all of our lives put together? The life of the God who created us. And remember, the Father "created all things through Yeshua the Messiah" (Eph. 3:9; cf. John 1:1-3; Col. 1:18). Amazingly, They decided to make the ultimate sacrifice and pay the highest price of all: "But we see Yeshua... made a little lower than the angels... that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him [to pay this price], for whom are all things and by whom are all things" (Heb. 2:9-10). Yeshua the Messiah then, would die in our stead. It was a tremendous sacrifice. The Father gave up the closest Being in the universe to Himself (the one who was the beginning of the creation of God) Rev. 3:14; the one who was the (firstborn of all creation ,) Colossians 1:15;so that we might be saved. For, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Thus, for our sake, the WORD, (the ORACLE) became flesh, the MAN Yeshua the Messiah layinga side His glory:   which was (the glory of the Father,) see John 17:5; "who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:6-8). This awesome event was planned from the very beginning. In the book of (Rev. 13:8) the Messiah  is spoken of as "the Lamb slain from the foundation (or CASTING DOWN) of the world"  The "Lamb"? John the Baptist called Yeshua "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). And why is the Messiah called by this name? We can understand by looking to the Old Testament. In the time of Moses, weeks before the Israelites came to Mount Sinai and thus before God's "Old Covenant" with them was even proposed, the Lord commanded each household to set aside an unblemished male "lamb"--here indicating a young sheep or goat (Ex. 12:3-5). This animal was to be sacrificed on the eve of Nisan 14--the Feast of the Passover (v. 6; cf. Lev. 23:5). God had determined to destroy ALL the firstborn in Egypt that night because of the Pharaoh's refusal to let His people go. But He told the Israelites that if they would obey Him in killing and eating the Passover lamb--putting some of its blood all around the doors to their homes--then, "when I see the blood, I will PASS OVER you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt" (Ex. 12:13). This, in fact, is how the Feast got its name. Continuing, God says, "So THIS DAY shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an EVERLASTING ordinance" (v. 14). We actually need go no further than this verse to determine that memorializing the sacrifice of our Saviour Yeshua the Messiah is to be done on this very date--not just any time the fancy strikes us. the Messiah Our Passover It should be easy to see that the slaying of the Passover lamb directly portrays the sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah. As we've already seen, the Apostle Paul wrote that "the Messiah,  our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:7). Thus, nearly 1,500 years ahead of time, God guided an entire nation of some three million people to "preenact" the awesome SACRIFICE that His own Son, Yeshua the Messiah would later make for the benefit of all humanity. It is the death of Yeshua the Messiah  that atones for the awfulness of sin. Whosoever accepts this atonement can thus be redeemed or bought back. The Passover pictures the fact that we are "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in the Messiah Yeshua whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had PASSED OVER the sins that were previously committed" (Rom. 3:24-25). It should also be mentioned that Yeshua further fulfilled what the Feast of Passover represented in that He was put to death on that very day! Remember that the last meal Yeshua the Messiah ate as a human being was the Old Testament Passover--in the evening at the beginning of Nisan 14 (remember that a Hebrew day begins at sunset). We know this for certain because He not only called it "this Passover... before I suffer" (Luke 22:15), but He had earlier told His disciples to tell the man at whose home they were to eat it, "The Teacher says, 'My time is at hand; I will keep the PASSOVER at your house with My disciples'" (Matt. 26:18). And, of course, the next afternoon, when the Messiah actually died, was still the 14th--still the Passover! But what about today? Now that animal sacrifices are obsolete (Heb. 10), how are Christians to observe this Feast? the Messiah provided the answer at His final Passover meal. After instituting the ritual of footwashing (John 13:1-17) to help put us in a humble and serving frame of mind, Yeshua took two items that were traditionally part of the supper - bread and wine - and commanded His disciples to partake of them as representative of His sacrifice (Matt. 26:26-29). And every true Christian is to keep this same ceremony. It is to be observed once a year as God commanded - on the very night in which Yeshua was delivered to be crucified. The Apostle Paul explains, "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Yeshua on the SAME NIGHT in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup (on the feast Passover was the common time), you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Cor. 11:23-26). No longer, then, are we to sacrifice a lamb and eat the full Passover meal (vv. 20, 34). For now the bread and wine symbolize the Messiah's broken body and shed blood. Our Saviour had earlier hinted at this when He said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.... Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him" (John 6:51-56). Though there is a great deal of spiritual meaning in what the Messiah was saying here, the Passover symbols are certainly included in the thought. Now it must be stressed that the bread and wine are strictly symbolic. They are NOT, as Roman Catholicism teaches, "transubstantiated" into the literal body and blood of Yeshua so that this ceremony would in fact be putting Yeshua to death anew every time it was observed! The book of Hebrews clearly tells us that the Messiah was offered as a flesh-and-blood sacrifice one time and one time only (7:26-27; 9:25-28; 10:10-14). What, then, do the symbols represent? The Broken Bread The bread - unleavened bread, as that was the only bread allowed at the Passover (cf. Ex. 12:8)--pictures the sinless the Messiah's body, which was "broken" for us (1 Cor. 11:24). God's Word clearly shows that Yeshua suffered a horrible beating and scourging just before He was crucified. Historians tell us that scourging after the Roman fashion involved using a leather whip to which were fastened sharp pieces of metal designed to cut and tear the flesh. In fact, because of the trauma it inflicted and the resultant loss of blood, many condemned prisoners died of the scourging itself even before they could be crucified. WHY did Yeshua have to endure this awful beating? About 700 years before the fact, God inspired the Prophet Isaiah to describe the Messiah's final hours and the purpose behind what happened: "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Is. 53:4-5). Incredible! Because of the brutal physical beating of our Saviour, we can be restored to physical health when sick or injured! (For more on this subject, please write for our free reprint article, "God's Gift of Healing.") Moreover, notice how the phrase "He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" is rendered in the New Testament. The Apostle Matthew writes of Yeshua healing many people who were sick and then cites this verse as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy: "And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses'" (Matt. 8:16-17). But how can this be? Aside from its ultimate penalty of eternal death, sin brings terrible consequences in this life. It has produced all manner of suffering, whether spiritual, mental, emotional or physical. Sickness is ultimately the consequence of sin--either something we or another individual did or failed to do, or simply by virtue of the fact that disease and illness entered the world as a result of mankind being cut off from God since Adam and Eve sinned. How wonderful it is to know that the Messiah paid the final death penalty for sin in our place. But He also paid for the other consequences of sin - such as suffering, pain and heartache--through the beating and torture He endured. Now this is not to say that God will in this lifetime remove all the consequences of our past sins. He may choose not to so that lessons might be learned (cf. 2 Sam. 12:7-23). But we can be thankful that, through the Messiah's sacrifice, we will often receive mercy in this life. Even more importantly, we now have absolute confidence that if we are children of the Living God, begotten by the Holy Spirit, we will most assuredly escape the ultimate penalty for sin - the 'second death'. Also it is vital that we understand that the healing of our bodies is made possible through the broken body of Yeshua the Messiah. For when He underwent that terrible scourging, He bore in Himself the pain and suffering that physical sickness and injuries bring. The Apostle Peter cites Isaiah, explaining that the Messiah "Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were HEALED" (1 Peter 2:24). Yet today, the vast majority of professing Christians have NO IDEA that the broken bread of the Passover represents this very thing! The early congregation at Corinth had itself forgotten this most encouraging principle. Paul warned the Corinthian Christians that they were not properly discerning the Messiah's body at the Passover: "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are WEAK and SICK among you, and many SLEEP [in death]" (1 Cor. 11:28-30). May God help us all to see that when we eat the bread at Passover, we are reaffirming our acceptance of the Messiah's broken body to pay the penalties sin incurs in this life - most particularly the physical penalties of disease and infirmity. The Wine Then, following the partaking of the bread, the Messiah introduced the next part of the Passover ceremony: "Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins'" (Matt. 26:27-28). The drink here, as already mentioned, was wine - the "fruit of the vine" (v. 29). In this ceremony, red wine symbolizes  the Messiah's shed blood. But what is the significance of blood? The book of Hebrews tells us that "under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins" (9:22 NRSV). But why is that? God told ancient Israel that "the LIFE of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls" (Lev. 17:11). Quite obviously, then, the shedding of blood means the loss of life. And the life given up in this case was that of God's own Son, the Creator of all mankind! Paul writes that in the Messiah "we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of [God's] grace" (Eph. 1:7). Those who accept the Messiah's sacrifice in payment for their sins are now "justified by His blood" (Rom. 5:9). The word "justified" means "lined up" or "made right" with God. Or, as the next verse explains, we are "reconciled to God through the DEATH of His Son." How amazing it all is when we understand. The preincarnate Yeshua the Messiah, ( the WORD, ORACLE)  as we've seen from 1 Corinthians 10:4, was the One who gave these annual Festivals to Israel. He is the One who spoke the Ten Commandments. He is the One who guided the Israelites out of Egypt - who "saved" them. He is the One who finally brought them into the Promised Land. And later, He is the One who humbled Himself and became flesh to be the Saviour of the whole world by allowing His own blood to be shed - the blood of the ONE through whom God the Father created of us all - to pay the full penalty of our sins! No wonder the Bible speaks of the "precious" blood of Yeshua the Messiah! Indeed, when we drink the wine symbolizing this awesome act of total humility on the part of our Maker, it should fill us with a deep sense of appreciation for and WORSHIP toward our God and our Saviour. For as 1 Peter 1:18-19 assures us, if we have truly repented of our sins and accepted the Messiah as our Saviour, then we can have total FAITH that we have not been "redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold... but with the precious blood of the Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Let us, then, keep the Passover--in remembrance of Him.

presented to you by your brother in Messiah Yeshua,   Richard Merrell

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