Passover On The 14th or 15th? (IIi)

This is a continuing Critique of Fred Coulter’s The Christian Passover. The main issue is whether the Passover is on the early or late fourteenth of Nisan. Quoted are his work, from an internet online version.

See the source imageDraft IIi

Chapters 16 – 17

Chapter 16 from Fred Coulter’s The Christian Passover starts with the issue of how Deuteronomy 16 was different from other text, that why and how Passover and Unleavened Bread are a composite festival which, he alleges, should be distinct and separate.

The advocates of a 15th Passover claim that the commands of God in Deuteronomy 16 support the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs. On the surface, it appears that these commands required the sacrificing of the Passover at the temple, and that the Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were combined into one feast.

Why do the commands in Deuteronomy 16 appear to be in conflict with all other commands of God for keeping the Passover?

Why does Deuteronomy 16:1 use the term “Passover” in the context of commemorating the Exodus? What is the reason for this apparent discrepancy between Deuteronomy 16:1 and other Scriptural references to leaving Egypt in the month Abib?

Remember, the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers were mainly the words of God to His subjects—to Adam, to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses—but in Deuteronomy it was Moses speaking to the Israelites. Moses uses words and terms different from God’s so that the people could understand in a language the Israelites could understand. Deuteronomy 1:1 says “These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness . . . Yes, Moses combined Passover and Unleavened Bread into one festival as the two festivals were used interchangeably in this chapter. Moses wasn’t writing anything in conflict with the Words of God—surely he won’t dare to—he was making sure in clearer language so that the Israelites didn’t miss this amalgamated feast. This composite character was already inherent in the original Exodus but Moses combined these two feasts explicitly here to ensure that those with a thicker head can also catch up.

One heading and its explanation in this chapter:

The Exiles Could Not Keep the Passover

Moreover, during the entire seventy-year captivity, the Passover could not be kept. The word of God makes it absolutely clear that when the people were not in the land of Israel, they could not keep the Passover on the 14th day of the first month. Notice the instructions that God gave to Moses when the children of Israel were in the wilderness: “And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month between the two evenings [ben ha arbayim] in the wilderness of Sinai. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, the children of Israel did.

If the Passover was home-centered, and not Temple- centered, the Jews shouldn’t have any inhibition about keeping the Passover at wherever they lived, as were the case with the original Exodus. They kept it in their homes, wherever they lived. Yet, Fred Coulter says, “The word of God makes it absolutely clear that when the people were not in the land of Israel, they could not keep the Passover.”

Why, why didn’t he provide any Scriptures to back up his claim? Actually the Scriptures say the opposite—Goshen wasn’t in Israel, neither the Sinai Desert in Israel while wandering in the wilderness for the next forty years, yet they kept the Passover. Are his devotees still sleeping? Why such wretched writing and none of his devotees are thinking?

See the source image“And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity kept the dedication of this house of God with joy….And the children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. The priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them pure. And they killed the Passover lamb for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. And the children of Israel ate the Passover lamb, all who had come again out of exile, and all such as had separated themselves to them from the uncleanness of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful…” (Ezra 6:15-16, 19-22).

The part that Fred deleted were actually the most significant (verses 17 and 18), simply because it includes “a hundred bullocks” in keeping Passover. This means that Passover extended into the Days of Unleavened Bread. Let’s have Ezra’s text in full:

Ezra 6:15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. 16 And the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy, 17 and offered at the dedication of this house of God a hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses. 19 And the children of the captivity kept the Passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together; all of them were pure, and killed the Passover lamb for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 And the children of Israel, who had come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land to seek the Lord God of Israel, ate, 22 and kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

The Scriptures above reaffirm the followings about keeping the Passover:

(1) the duties of the priests and Levites were reestablished at the Temple, “as it is written in the Book of Moses” (verse 18). After the Sanctuary was instituted, there is no such a thing about a “domestic” passover.
(2) the priests and Levites “killed the Passover lamb for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.” — contrary to what Fred thought about this, the common people didn’t do the killing, the Priests and Levites did.

Below are further quotes from Fred Coulter:

See the source imageThat the Jews in exile could not observe the Passover is acknowledged by the Karaite Jews and recorded by Samuel Al-Magribi in 1484: “Today, however, by reason of our many sins, we are scattered over the four corners of the earth, we are dispersed in the lands of the Gentiles, we are soiled with their ritual uncleanness and unable to reach the House of the Lord, and our status is equivalent to that of persons ritually unclean or traveling far away. That is why this ordinance of the Passover sacrifice no longer applies to us, and the reason for this is our fathers’ exceeding disobedience to God and our own following in their sinful footsteps” (Nemoy, Karaite Anthology, p. 206)

The reason correctly given above was that the Jews were “unable to reach the House of the Lord.” This quote above confirms that the Karaites understand that Passover couldn’t be kept other than at the Temple.

When the Jews were in exile during the Babylonian captivity, they could not keep the Passover. This prohibition led to the replacement of the Passover with the Seder meal on the 15th day of the first month, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. To make their false substitute appear Scriptural, the Jews changed the name of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread to “Passover.” By changing the name of this feast, the Seder meal on the night of the 15th became the “Passover” for those who were living in exile.

Typical of Fred Coulter’s writing, he doesn’t provide any evidence why this “prohibition led to the replacement of the Passover with the Seder meal on the 15th day of the first month.” He could just whip up something from nothing. Magic. A touch of Simon Magus again.

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Image result for blood pics passoverIt takes blood to cover sin. Blood represents life. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Only the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can pay for the sins of all mankind. Then why wasn’t His blood acknowledged to be sprinkled at the alter? Why were all the other sacrificial blood offered at the alter, but not that of the Son of God. All the blood of all the other sacrifices could never pay for the sins of anyone, yet they were offered and sprinkled at the alter. But not that of the Son of God?

The book of Ezra records the first Passover to be observed after the dedication of the second temple. Although the Passover was centered at the temple, the lambs were slain at the beginning of the 14th and were eaten on the night of the 14th (Ezra 6:19-21).

No, the verses in Ezra 6:19-21 quoted above only says the Passover was kept at the Temple, by the purified priests and Levites, but nothing about the timing of the Passover. This is a presumptuous way of ascertaining “truth.”

In later temple-centered observances, the lambs were slain late on the 14th and were not eaten until the night of the 15th. Although the temple sacrifice in the afternoon of the 14th became a widespread tradition, it did not wholly replace the domestic sacrifice of the lambs at the beginning of the 14th.

It is important to understand that Ezra’s decree did not change the time for killing the Passover lambs. His Passover law did not in any way alter or contradict the Passover ordinances of God, as recorded in Scripture. The measures that Ezra enforced were aimed at protecting the true worship of God and upholding His laws—not changing or replacing them. His restriction of the Passover to the area of Jerusalem promoted a templecentered observance, but it did not replace or prohibit the domestic killing of the Passover within that area.

There is much double-talk above. And just in case: “double-talk” is “a language that appears to be earnest and meaningful but in fact is a mixture of sense and nonsense.” If the law and ordinances for a “domestic Passover” was still in force, then changing it to a temple-centered observance would be a violation, a sin, nor matter what the intention was. Second, if the law and ordinances were for the lamb to be slain at the beginning of the fourteenth, then moving it to the late fourteenth would also be a violation and a sin. The presentation is “a mixture of sense and nonsense.” Ezra was a righteous scribe and a righteous high priest. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. He was regarded as the second Moses, who “tenaciously studied, practiced, and taught the Eternal’s law to Israel.”

Ezra was accredited with the beginning of the synagogues, where after the Babylonian captivity, the men of the Great Assembly formalized and standardized the language of the Jewish prayers and worship.

After the return of the Exile, the Jews were back in Jerusalem that the law was explained in the Aramaic language where they could understand that were originally written in Hebrew, since most of the people, after 70 years of Exile, had lost the knowledge of the ancient language to such a degree that they need the Word of God, not only translated, but explained in the vernacular.

In Nehemiah 8:6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. . . . 7 . . . .and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law; and the people stood in their place. 8 So they read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly, and gave the sense and caused them to understand the reading.

See the source imageIn order to give “the sense and caused them to understand the reading,” they need to understand the Scriptures in Aramaic, hence this gave rise to the origin of the Targum version of our modern Bible.

And the Targum says of the original Passover in Exodus 12: And it (the lamb) shall be bound and reserved for you until the fourteenth day of this month, that you may not know the fear of the Mizraee (Egyptians) when they see it; and ye shall kill him according to the rite of all to congregation of the assembly of Israel, between the suns. And you shall take of the blood and set it upon the two posts and upon the upper board outside of the houses in which you eat and sleep. And you shall eat the flesh on that night, the fifteenth of Nisan . . .”

The Targum says the instruction was to eat the flesh of the lamb on the fifteenth of Nisan. It is clear and simple.

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The rest of the chapter Fred Coulter went to quote or misquote from many non-biblical sources. From experiences cited in previous critiques, his misquoting is obvious, blatant and a constant irritant that it’s not worth following him to—Dr. Lauterbach, Wilkinson, Philo, Josephus, Joachim Jeremias, etc. Besides, he is so spiteful of the Rabbinic interpretation that everything he quoted had to be twisted to suit his early misconception of a fourteenth passover.

I will, instead, go back to a critical point about Deuteronomy being edited. Fred Coulter, Frank Nelte and John Ritenbaugh have all agreed the text, especially chapter 16:1-8 have been edited. They all meant it in the negative sense, of course, otherwise we should all accept it as the Sacred Text.

So back to chapter 15. There were lots of more to say in this chapter:

Under Sanballat’s jurisdiction, a temple was built on Mount Gerizim, which was originally the Mount of Blessing for the children of Israel (Deut. 27:12). Now Samaria had a temple similar to the one in Jerusalem. Manasseh, a descendant of Aaron, was high priest, and he had a whole corps of Levites as assistant priests. They were setting up a “Moses-like religion” that would compete with the true worship of God. For their Scriptural authority, they claimed and used the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, called the Torah. (See Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chapters 7 and 8.) They offered the commanded sacrifices, observed the Sabbath, festivals and holy days, and fulfilled all the requirements of the Torah—with the exception of the law against intermarriage. Because they had their own temple and their own priesthood, they did not have to comply with the law against intermarriage. They were now under Sanballat’s jurisdiction, where they were safe from any interference by Ezra and Nehemiah. Through their counterfeit religion, they could begin to influence Jews everywhere in the empire.

See the source imageWhat an alarming turn of events! What an absolute disaster this could bring! Only sixty miles north of Jerusalem was a competing religion, a new Jewish/Samaritan religion, with authentic copies of the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible. Because the founders of this religion had rebelled against the law of God, it was obvious that they did not respect His Word. They would not hesitate to alter the text to suit their own purposes. The Scriptures were in great danger of being corrupted.

If Ezra had edited the Scriptures, a comparison would show the difference with the Samaritans’ version: “with authentic copies of the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible.” The Samaritan religion was established earlier, but close to Jerusalem, just some sixty miles to the north, around 720 BC. They should have the true version, and any editing by Ezra, if any, will show.

Shortly after the Exile, in II Kings 17:

24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria and dwelt in the cities thereof.
25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there that they feared not the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which slew some of them.
26 Therefore they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations which thou hast removed and placed in the cities of Samaria know not the manner of the God of the land; therefore He hath sent lions among them, and behold, they slay them because they know not the manner of the God of the land.”
27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, “Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.”
28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the Lord.
29 However every nation made gods of their own and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.
32 So they feared the Lord, and made unto themselves from the lowest of them priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.

So “one of the priests whom ye brought from thence,” (verse 27) had been brought from among the northern Exile to teach the new settlers. It is likely he had some scrolls of the Torah with him, otherwise how could he teach the new settlers? By the time Ezra arrived, (around 440-480 BC), the Samaritan religion would have been around for some 250 years.

But evidence shows otherwise—Deuteronomy 16:1-8—for both versions, especially in verse 2: “of the flock and the herd,” are exactly the same.

Deuteronomy 16 (KJ21)

1“Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the Lord thy God; for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the Passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place His name there.
3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste, that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy borders seven days, neither shall there anything of the flesh, which thou sacrificed the first day at evening, remain all night until the morning.
5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee;
6 but at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place His name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at evening, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, and thou shalt turn in the morning and go unto thy tents.
8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord thy God. Thou shalt do no work therein.

See the source imageThe Samaritan Pentateuch (by Aleksandr Sigalov)
Deuteronomy 16

1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. 2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD God of you shall choose to place his name there. 3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. 4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day between the even, remain all night until the morning. 5 And thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents. 8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a celebration to the LORD thy God: thou shalt not do any work of service therein.

Even though the Samaritans consider the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as two distinct festivals, their Pentateuch remains much the same as the Masoretic Text in Deuteronomy 16:1-8. The difference, if any, is no more than the difference between the KJ21 and the NKJV, or between the KJV and the RSV.

Fred Coulter, Frank Nelte and John Ritenbaugh—these are Blind Guides! All the cries about editing are nothing but hogwash.

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~ by Joel Huan on August 11, 2019.

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