May 2017 Newsletter - "Early Church Fathers" by Raul Ayala

Shalom! Happy end of Passover and Unleavened Bread! We had an amazing Passover service and beautiful three-day service with Pastor Rudy Esqueda from Torrance, California. These last weeks have really felt like change is coming, and with change there are always events, people, understanding that force us to change along with it. During the Industrial Revolution, a lot of new inventions and demands for change happened. If the people, workers, and owners of that time would have stayed to traditional methods of operating, the newer methods would have left them behind. Abba works in a similar way: He always brings a new move to replace the old, from Glory to Glory, until the fullness of Christ in us. The issue is when we want to stick to old ways. In the wilderness the Hebrews made 42 stops, and every one of those stops was for an issue to be overcome and also symbolic of the 42 generations from Adam to Christ, anointed ones prophesied in Obadiah. You can’t just stop at the 22nd stop and expect that to be the fullness of God. He has so much for us to go through, and we can’t be lazy or complacent at any of his stops until we reach the end of this race.

I wanted to share something from Origen this month about eating the Passover lamb. The majority know Yeshua after the cross and after the crucifixion, which is a picture of the lamb being slain. For 1500 years, the Jews would skewer the lamb in the shape of the cross and cook it over a fire, symbolizing the suffering of Yeshua. The beautiful symbolic nature of Messiah is that he didn’t stop there; he had all the Hebrews eat the Passover lamb after it was cooked.

They are to eat the flesh the same night, roasted with fire, and they are to eat unleavened bread with bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled with water, but roasted with fire, the head with the feet and the entrails. Exodus 12:8-9

In Origen’s Treatise on the Passover, he gives us a picture of why the meat isn’t to be eaten raw but cooked with fire.  He says, “if the lamb is Christ and Christ is the Logos, what is the flesh of the divine words if not the divine Scriptures? This is what is to be eaten neither raw nor cooked with water.” Origen gives us a very clear understanding that the lamb was Christ. Even John proclaimed, “Behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin…” But Origen explains that it’s not just saying that Jesus is the lamb but understanding that his Flesh is the Word of God, the Torah, the Tankah, the inspired and divine works that the entire Early Church studied and understood. He goes on to say, “Therefore, some cling just to the words themselves, they would eat the flesh of the savior raw, and in partaking of his flesh would merit death and not life - it is after the manner of beasts and not humans on that they are eating his flesh- since the Apostle teaches us that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” This explains that the letter of the Word of God that is eaten is the Scripture, but there are different ways of it being eaten.

Eating raw as beasts is eating the Word of God at its face value, like the rabbis of our Messiah’s time. He explains that this eating of raw flesh, eating the Word of God raw, makes you a beast; it reveals your nature since you eat as an animal. This ultimately produces death within the person. Paul says, “The letter kills.”

Origen continues to say, “Therefore the Holy Spirit is rightly called fire, which it is necessary for us to receive in order to have converse with the flesh of Christ, I mean the divine Scriptures, so that […] we may eat them roasted with fire. For the words are changed by such fire, and we will see that they are sweet and nourishing.” Origen perfectly expounds that in order to arise from a beastly nature, we need the Holy Spirit who burns away the flesh of Christ and reveals the divine Word inside. The Mystery of Christ having the flesh revealed is the Word that nourishes and is good for us! Revealing the mystery of the letter killeth, the literal, dead, historic letter will kill, but the living Word, gives Spiritual life!