A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Ia)

A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (1a)
Passover On The 14th or 15th?

See the source imagePastor — John W. Ritenbaugh

Church of the Great God
10409 Barberville Rd.
Fort Mill, SC 29707-9132

Passover (Part 1)

The Importance of Keeping it Properly
Sermon; #012; 69 minutes
Given 28-Mar-92

Draft Ia

This is a Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part I), a transcript posted on the Church of the Great God’s website in 1992. Besides the main issue of whether the Passover is on the early or late fourteenth of Nisan, of equal importance is whether Passover was restricted to a day or was it amalgamated with the Days of Unleavened Bread since early times.

The Scriptures must be our primary focus and guide. God’s concept may not match man’s concept. And sometimes the Scriptures say things very different from what we think!

Quoted are John Ritenbaugh’s sermon posted with a transcript. The excerpts from the transcript are in block form, PINK, and indented so as to differentiate it from other quotes or comments. The Scriptures, in RED, must be our primary focus and guide, and sometimes the Scriptures, which include the Septuagint and the Targum, say things very different from what we think!

And so with that in mind, we’ll start:

I wonder if you knew that, long before Jesus Christ, the Jews had already tinkered with the observation of the Passover and succeeded in moving it from the fourteenth to the fifteenth. (I think that some of you are undoubtedly aware of it.) They succeeded not only in moving it from the fourteenth to the fifteenth, but they also succeeded in blending Passover together with the Days of Unleavened Bread—and reduced an eight day festival observance into seven days. In fact, I’m going to show you much later (not in this sermon, but later on) where there is one place where it can actually be counted as six days. That is, the Jewish observation of it.

What we have to consider is “Why would Satan take such pains on the observation of one festival?” Could it possibly be because it is exceedingly important to God’s purpose?

I look forward to your presentation, too, eagerly in fact. Passover must be, indeed, “exceedingly important to God’s purpose.” Truly Satan the devil, that arch-enemy of all mankind, has “deceived ALL NATIONS” (Rev 12:9). And he is actively trying to cover up the true Passover. He has suckered the “whole world” into following him, masquerading as “an angel of light” (II Cor 11:13-15). His ministers, therefore, appear “as ministers of righteousness,” while they deceive and delude millions.

I think that most of us understand clearly that Israel went into captivity because of idolatry and Sabbath breaking. (That is very clearly shown in Ezekiel 20.) Satan succeeded in blinding the Israelites to both the true God and His true purpose, even though they were a religious people. You remember what Paul wrote of them in Romans 10:2. He said that the Jews of his day were a people who had “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” They were off base; but they were zealous. They were ‘religious.’ (We’ll hear more about the Jews later, in another sermon.)

Although Ezekiel’s message was to both the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah” its main message after chapter 24 was to the “house of Israel.” As with other prophets, Ezekiel came with a message of dire warning about breaking the Sabbath laws. Captivities were the end results. Today, the main message of Ezekiel is to the Northern Kingdom, the so-called Lost Ten Tribes. And not only that, Ezekiel 34 warned against their shepherds: “Woe unto the shepherds of Israel” — (the shepherds of the United States, Britain and related countries), says the Lord, for they feed themselves but not the sheep!

Now, we are going to spend a little bit of time on this at the very beginning of this sermon. And so I want you to turn with me to John 1:29. I’m going to be using a good deal more scriptural references than I normally do. A lot of them are not going to require a great deal of expounding. But each scripture, I think, is going to be very clear within the context of this sermon.

The speaker, here in John 1, is John the Baptist; and he is commenting on his cousin—Jesus Christ. It was something that God, by inspiration of His Spirit, must have given him an understanding of. We know that this took place after John baptized Jesus.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

That ought to give you, at least, a beginning of an insight (maybe a great deal of insight) and discernment regarding the importance of the death of Jesus Christ. One death of one man—the sacrifice of a life that was sinless—is capable, in the eyes of God, of equalizing and “making of no account” all of the sins of all of mankind for all of the time that man has been sinning!

That’s very true. The Lamb is the central feature of the Passover, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” It was the sacrifice of Jesus that makes this possible.

Furthermore, Adam Clarke adds to this:

Behold the Lamb of God, etc. – Jesus was the true Lamb or Sacrifice required and appointed by God, of which those offered daily in the tabernacle and temple . . . and especially the paschal lamb, were only the types and representatives. . . . The continual morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb, under the Jewish law, was intended to point out the continual efficacy of the blood of atonement: for even at the throne of God, Jesus Christ is ever represented as a lamb newly slain, Revelation 5:6. But John, pointing to Christ, calls him emphatically, the Lamb of God: – all the lambs which had been hitherto offered had been furnished by men: this was provided by God, as the only sufficient and available sacrifice for the sin of the world.

Surprisingly, even with so much emphasis, many still couldn’t see that the Lamb was also on offer in Leviticus 23:12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf a he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord.

What if Israel (prior to the going out, prior to the death angel going over)…What if Israel decided to choose not to follow God’s commands regarding the Passover? What would have been the result? They would have died! It’s that simple. Keeping Passover correctly is a matter of life and death.

Now, obviously, there are some things in regards to keeping Passover that are more important than others. But considered as a whole, the keeping of Passover correctly has to be done—if we are going to live!

This is very true. Observing the proper timing for passover is paramount; it’s a question of life and death, as shown by the AD 70 inferno. The Blind couldn’t figure out why the AD 70 inferno is so important simply because they only read the first part of what John the Baptist said (the holy spirits), but not the warning that came in the second part (the fire). So everybody should study this Passover issue earnestly, with prayers and fastings.

We are going to go into this systematically, practically, step by step, verse by verse. And we are going to begin with those scriptures that are easiest to understand, and work towards those that are more difficult to understand. That is the logical way to do it. To find the ones that are clear, and then you make the ones that are difficult agree with the ones that are clear. Not make the ones that are clear agree with the ones that are difficult; and try to force them into something that God never intended for them to be forced into.

Nice that you have good intention, and well-intended to promote good methodology, but I noticed you have already drawn some conclusions earlier. Yes, you have already drawn many conclusions before you even started. You just couldn’t follow what you preached.

I wonder if you knew that, long before Jesus Christ, the Jews had already tinkered with the observation of the Passover and succeeded in moving it from the fourteenth to the fifteenth. (I think that some of you are undoubtedly aware of it.) They succeeded not only in moving it from the fourteenth to the fifteenth, but they also succeeded in blending Passover together with the Days of Unleavened Bread—and reduced an eight day festival observance into seven days.

See the source imageSee, you have positioned your readers to get into your position. So much hypocrisy and double talks in your “step by step, verse by verse” right from the start. Earlier you said about making “the ones that are difficult agree with the ones that are clear. Not make the ones that are clear agree with the ones that are difficult.”

The Passover is named after God’s passing over. The sacrifice of the lamb takes its name from God passing over. The day is not named after the sacrifice. The sacrifice is named after the event that took place on that day—and, of course, made it possible for God (because of His law) to pass over.

You’re placing the cart before the horse. This term “the Lord’S Passover (h6453),” mentions in Leviticus 23:5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at evening is the Lord’S Passover (h6453). The emphasis is on “the Lord’S Passover” as a Sacrifice“And thus shall ye eat it: with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’S Passover” (h6453) Exodus 12:11. The emphasis is on the Lord’S Sacrifice (h6453), hence later on it makes greater sense in other Scriptures, especially in the New Testament period, to read about to “kill the Passover,” or to “eat the Passover.”

Also, in the Old Testament: references are made “to eat the Passover”— Exodus 12:43; ”to kill the Passover” — Exodus 12:21; “to sacrifice the Passover” — Deuteronomy 16:2; “to roast the Passover” — II Chronicles 35:13.

The sacrifice of the LORD’s LAMB is of primary importance. The Death Angel’s “pass over” is also important, but only secondary. Cause and effect, or cause and consequence. If, as you said, the Passover name is named “after God’s passing over,” how could the Gospel writers wrote about “eating the Passover” (Matt 26:17, Mark 14:12); or “killing the Passover”? (Luke 22:7, II Chron 35:6) Picture that in your mind — that eating or killing the Passover is “the Lord’s passing over” — and it just doesn’t make sense.

But let me summarize what we have achieved to this point.
1) We have seen the importance of the Passover in both the Old and the New Covenants. It is a matter of life and death.
2) The Passover is named for God’s “passing over” (not the “going out” from Egypt).
3) Passover and Unleavened Bread are two separate memorials.

No, you haven’t proven that Passover and Unleavened Bread are two separate memorials. The evidence for the opposite is overwhelming: that Passover and the days of unleavened bread were already well interlaced during the original Exodus as a composite festival right from the beginning. This is what Moses explained to the children of Israelites in more details.

In Exodus 12:5, it says, “You may take it either from the sheep or from the goats” but in Deuteronomy 16:2 above it includes from “the herd,” which is from the cattle or oxens. To include the cattle or oxens can only mean that Passover is to include the Festival of Unleavened Bread where among other animals, two young bulls were sacrificed. Second, observing unleavened bread was to start at the same time as the killing of the Passover lamb: Exodus 12:18 “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, ye shall eat unleavened bread until the one and twentieth day of the month at evening.” Therefore the idea that the Passover was restricted solely to the fourteenth day or that the taking of unleavened bread starts only on the fifteenth is unattainable. The two festivals were well amalgamated right at the time of the original Exodus. It is a blatantly lie perpetuated among the CoG Communities over again and again to make it as if they were distinct and separated.

The CoG Communities are just following the Samaritans, although none would admit it. And this is from the Jewish Encyclopedia [Under Samaritan] — “The Samaritans consider the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as two distinct festivals.”


A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part 2)

Can The Jews Be Trusted?
John W. Ritenbaugh
Sermon; #013; 61 minutes
Given 04-Apr-92

This is a continuing Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part 2), a transcript posted on the Church of the Great God’s website.

We are going to begin in Romans 3:1-4. This is a Scripture that has been used to imply that, because the Word of God has been given to Israel (including the Jews), they are the ones that we should look to for authority regarding interpretation and practice of the Old Testament scriptures.

Romans 3:1-4 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.”

One real and solid advantage on the Jews was that they were made the direct recipient of the divine oracles. The infidelity and obstinacy of some could not invalidate the oracles committed to them. This privilege is not annulled by some of the disbeliefs. In fact, the Jews were given the Oracles DESPITE their hypocrisies and frailties. Their claim to the Oracles rests not upon the precarious fidelity of men, but upon the infallible promise of God. This was their birthright:

Jacob, under inspiration, says in Genesis 49:8 “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.”

Adolf Behrman - Talmudysci.jpgThe question is, “Can the Jews be trusted?” Now, I do not mean any individual Jew—can they be trusted in regard to anything. I am talking about “Can the religion of the Jews (the practices of the Jews) be relied on as faithful interpreters of the Old Testament?” This is a very important question in regard to the Passover, because every author of every paper that I have ever read in regard to the keeping of a late fourteenth Passover, or a fifteenth Passover, must rely heavily upon Jewish interpretation and Jewish tradition. The reason that they must do so is because there is nothing in the Bible upon which they can clearly, and authoritatively, base their conclusions.

Why, you haven’t proven anything yet. You’re starting to poison your readers minds before you even start. A mirror question to ask is: Why trust Christians when “Christianity is the Mother of all Paganism”?

This context (in which this appears) begins back in chapter two. We are going to go back to verse 17 of chapter two; and, in my Bible, it says—as a heading for this paragraph, “The Jews As Guilty As The Gentiles.” Now that is an interesting thought!

What Bible you used you couldn’t even say. Don’t you know that headings are added by the translators. You boast the many years you have in the ministry and you show so much ignorance!

Second, you double talk again: show “step by step, verse by verse” where in the Scriptures why the fifteenth Passover are in error! And finally, you’re running out of ideas by using added translator’s headings to support your case. Where is your making “the ones that are difficult agree with the ones that are clear. Not make the ones that are clear agree with the ones that are difficult?”

That is a common assumption of the Jews. You might recall that, in the opening chapters of the book of Matthew, John the Baptist, in chapter 3, said to these people, “Think not that because Abraham is your father…” It shows to me that they put a great deal of reliance on their heritage physically, because there was a direct attachment (by genes) all the way back to Abraham. But were they obeying? Were they submissive to God? Were they really keeping His commands?

Romans 2:20-24 An instructor of the foolish [This is the way they thought of themselves.], a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For [And this is a quote out of the Old Testament.] “the name of God is blasphemed [profaned, reviled] among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

We could go on here, but I think that is enough to show you that the Jews (though they had the law of God) were not keeping it perfectly. It was God’s intention that they do that, but they certainly were not doing that—as even the printers of my Bible saw, and showed in the heading that they put on this paragraph.

Isn’t this the same crimes that the ministry of the Worldwide Church of God had committed? Are there no Incest, adultries, wives swappings, nepotism, pedophiles, child molesters and robbing widows by titles and offerings? Or is the WCG and its splinters lillywhite? Or are you blind? True shepherds would take this warning seriously and expose them: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” Ephesians 5:11 (RSV). This is what Adam Clarke says about Rather reprove them – “Bear a testimony against them; convince them that they are wrong; confute them in their vain reasons; reprove them for their vices, which are flagrant, while pretending to superior illumination.” — ie. don’t stay silent!

Those who stay silent are hirelings; they would pretend nothing had happened, just took their monthly salaries and neglect warning the sheep: “He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them” John 10:12 (RSV).

This is what Clarke says about Whose own the sheep are not – “A hireling priest (or a minister), who has never been the instrument of bringing souls to God, will not abide with them in the time of danger or persecution. They are not the produce of his labor, faith, and prayers: he has no other interest in their welfare than that which comes from the fleece and the fat. The hireling counts the sheep his own, no longer than they are profitable to him; the good shepherd looks upon them as his, so long as he can be profitable to them.”

Paul was a Pharisee. They, along with the Sadducees, were keeping the Temple sacrifice of the Passover, which God never commanded. I am not saying it was not done in the Old Testament. I am saying God never commanded it! There is a big difference between the two. There are examples in the Old Testament of people sacrificing at the Temple. But you cannot find any place where God ever altered the commands regarding Passover (until Jesus kept it in the New Testament). Even then, He did not change the time. There is no word, anywhere in the Bible, of a change of time in the keeping of the Passover. There is only word regarding a change of symbols.

Such ignorance! The Pharisees and the Sadducees had great differences in the way Passover was kept at the Temple. But you lump them together. If we couldn’t trust the Jews, see how could anybody trust your shobby research?

And this is from the Jewish Encyclopedia (Sadducees):

— They (the Sadducees) contended that the seven weeks from the first barley-sheaf-offering (“‘omer”) to Pentecost should, according to Lev. xxiii. 15-16, be counted from “the day after Sabbath,” and, consequently, that Pentecost should always be celebrated on the first day of the week . . . whereas the Pharisees, connecting the festival of the Exodus with the festival of the giving of the Law, interpreted the “morrow after the Sabbath” to signify the second day of Passover.

— With the destruction of the Temple and the state the Sadducees as a party no longer had an object for which to live. They disappear from history, though their views are partly maintained and echoed by the Samaritans, with whom they are frequently identified . . . who ascribe to the Sadducees the rejection of the Prophets and the Hagiographa (Writings).

— In the New Testament the Sadducees are mentioned in Matt. iii. 7 and xvi. 1, 6, 11, where they are identical with the Herodians (Mark xii. 13), that is, the Boethusians (Matt. xxii. 23, 34; Mark xii. 18; Acts iv. 1, v. 17, xxiii. 6-8). In John’s Gospel they simply figure as “the chief priests” (vii. 23, 45; xi. 47, 57; xviii. 3).

The Sadducees had similar doctrines as the Boethusians and Herodias and their views were “echoed by the Samaritans.” The Samaritans also had their own calendar, and own leap year system, and did not follow the Jews of Jerusalem. They even had their own temple on Mount Gerizim where they sacrificed their lambs. When placed in their historical perspective, it is more likely that the Samaritans had infiltrated their heretic perversion through the Sadducees, the Herodians and the Boethusians, all in Jerusalem. There the going says: “History Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But It Rhymes.” While there is no hard evidence as to how the Samaritans had infiltrated the Sadducees their linkage are rather close, their fruits were proven to be very similar; hence it is noteworthy to study this subject more closely. The foreground of the Samaritans were laid by King Jeroboam who began to reign the Kingdom of Israel in 975 B.C. On becoming king, he grew worried that the people of his kingdom might revert in their loyalty to the King of Judah, Rehoboam, because the Temple and Priesthood and religious center of worship for all Israel was then in Jerusalem:

“It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem,” says King Jeroboam. “Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt!” (I King 12:28).

So he (King Jeroboam) offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart, and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel; and he offered upon the altar and burned incense (I King 12:33).

Says the New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible about the Samaritans: “They erected images of their gods on the high places of the Israelites, and COMBINED their idolatries with the worship of Yahweh . . . This DUAL WORSHIP they kept up until after the fall of Jerusalem” (“Samaritans, Pg 823).

The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia states:

“Paschal Lamb. The Pharisees and the Sadducees had a dispute as to the time when the slaughtering should take place; the former held it should be in the last three hours before sunset [near the end of the 14th], the latter, between sunset and nightfall [beginning of 15th] . . . ” (Vol.8; Pg 406).

This great apostasy, therefore, began during the days of King Jeroboam. Further the Hastings Bible Dictionary writes:

“On the evening of the 13th [end of the 13th) the head of the family searched the house with a lighted candle, that he might seek out all the leaven. The hour on the 14th at which one must refrain from eating leavened cakes was variously fixed. It was always before noon, however, the precise time being indicated by the disappearance of two cakes which were exposed before the temple. When the signal was thus given, all leaven must be burned or scattered to the winds. . . . Work ceased on the morning, or at noon, of the 14th, save in a few occupations (tailors, barbers, laundresses) . . .

“The time of the Passover sacrifice is defined in the Law as ‘between the two evenings’ . . . was interpreted by the Pharisees and Talmudists to mean from the hour of the sun’s decline until its setting; and this was the later temple practice . . . The Samaritans, Karaites, and Sadducees, on the other hand, held that the period between sunset and dark was intended” (Vol III; “Passover,” Pg 691).

Hayyim Schauss points out that these Samaritans would go up to Mount Gerizim every year, and half an hour before sunset, as the 14th of Nisan draws to a close, their high priest leads the assembly in silent prayer:

“Exactly at sunset the High Priest faces westward and reads that portion of the Pentateuch which orders the slaughtering of the Pesach sacrifice. About twelve or fourteen of the younger Samaritans busy themselves, meanwhile, with preparing the sacrificial animals. They form a circle about the pit of fire, holding the lambs between their legs, and as the High Priest utters the words, ‘And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at dusk,’ they utter a benediction and throw the lambs, throats to the pit, where they are slaughtered by two ritual slaughterers. Six or seven sheep are slaughtered” (The Jewish Festivals, pg.63).

See the source image

In reality, the Samaritans, “AT SUNSET” and facing “WESTWARD” are SUN WORSHIPPERS, a syncretic blend of paganism and heresy. Continuing this ancient apostasy, the Sadducees, together with their close allies, the Herodians and the Boethusians, they calculated Passover and Pentecost differently from the Jews. However, the How shall God judge these sects? How shall He render every man according to his works? Their fate was met by the 70 AD inferno, which came forty years after John the Baptist had given a stern warning about another consuming fire recorded in Luke 3:16. John forewarned them:

“I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the straps of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE (pyr g4442). 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with FIRE (pyr g4442) unquenchable.”



~ by Joel Huan on November 22, 2019.

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