A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Ib)

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

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

See the source imagePassover (Part 3)

John 6
John W. Ritenbaugh
Sermon; #014; 76 minutes
Given 11-Apr-92

Draft Ib

This is a Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part 3), a transcript posted on the Church of the Great God’s website since 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. And whether traditions should be followed. But what exactly is traditions, especially given that Paul says he had followed traditions?

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, in 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:

You will recall that, towards the end of last week’s sermon, I quoted Drs. Grabbe and Kuhn—from their book “The Passover in the Bible and the Church Today;” pages 14-15—as saying:

The only part of the ceremony specified for the fourteenth, ‘between the two evenings,’ is the slaughter of the lamb. The eating, and other aspects of it, did not have to come at that time.

I want to impress upon us that what they said is “true;” but it is misleading, because it begins to set one up to think that killing the lamb was all there was to Passover, and that Passover could be over in about one hour. But actually, there are nine steps (in all) connected to Passover, and eight of those steps had to take place on the fourteenth. The only one that did not have to take place on the fourteenth was the selection of the lamb, or the goat. That took place on the tenth, and that was the first of the nine steps connected with the keeping of the Passover. . . .

See the source image

I read that, because I want you to see that here is God’s final instruction in regard to keeping the Passover (the very first Passover, you see); and what does He emphasize—the killing of it? No, but the eating of it is what is emphasized. That is an important distinction because God is letting us know that keeping the Passover does not just begin and end with the killing of the animal. He seems to be more concerned with the eating of the animal, rather than the killing of the animal. (Of course, the animal had to be killed.)

I want you to connect this with John 6. Jesus was concerned with the eating of Him. We are going to find that the emphasis is really on the eating of the animal (or, the “eating of” Christ) more than it is on the killing of the animal (or, the actual death of Christ). There is reason for that.

Again, you’re placing the cart before the horse. This term “the Lord’S Passover (h6453),” is the most important aspect of the Passover process: Leviticus 23:5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at evening is the Lord’S Passover (h6453). What happened “at evening” is the sacrifice — the KILLING of the LAMB. The emphasis “at evening” is on “the Lord’S Passover” the KILLING as a Sacrifice — the rest are also important, but secondary. “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 SACRIFICE of the LORD’s LAMB is of primary importance. HE is the VINE, we are the branches. 

John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me ye can do nothing.

The cart shouldn’t be placed before the horse. The eating and the Death Angel’s “pass over” are also important, but only the effect, something that happens downstream. Cause and effects, or cause and consequences. Without the vine, all branches will fade away.

Nine steps had to be included with the Passover process, including the eating of the lamb, all within the house until the morning. The time frame designated for Passover was ben ha arbayim—a period of time between the going down of the sun and complete darkness (dusk), totally within the confines of the designated day, in this case the fourteenth, as God had commanded. To use scholarship that contradicts the Bible—relying upon tradition rather than God’s Word—is not unlike carrying the Ark of the Covenant in the oxcart.

See the source imageWait wait, why did you suddenly jump into the Samaritan’s position defining ben ha arbayim as “a period of time between the going down of the sun and complete darkness (dusk).” Are you ignorant that the Orthodox Jews define it differently? Okay let me reiterate how the Orthodoxy define ben ha arbayim:

Ben ha arbayim is the time between the two eves (erevs). It is the time between the eve of the first decline of the day and the eve of the night. Another way of saying is this: there are two evenings, one from the time the sun begins to decline is one evening, and the other evening is after the sun has gone down.

“Between the two evenings” is from the time when the sun begins to incline towards the west, which is from the sixth hour [noon or 12 o’clock] and onwards. It is erevim [“evenings”] because there are TWO EVENINGS; and “between the two evenings” is from the time that the sun begins to decline as one evening, and the other evening is after the sun has GONE DOWN. Ben ha arbayim is the space of time in between which is meant by “between the two evenings.”

Let us turn to one more scripture in regard to this. This took place after the Jews returned from their seventy-year captivity in Babylon.

Ezra 6:19-21 And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean. And they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate [Do you want to see where the emphasis is on? The eating of it!] together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel.

With that in mind, the next thing that we have to do is to begin to establish a more precise time for the beginning of these events on the fourteenth—that is, the time when the lamb is to be killed.

Now, the Jews observed a mid-afternoon to sunset definition of this term “between the two evenings.” Does this fit what God gave Moses? Are they “rightly dividing the word of truth”?

I am going to give you a number of quotes from Jews who have left us writings in regard to this usage of the word, of this usage that they have put it to. I am going to begin with a rabbi by the name of Rashi. He is one of the more famous Jewish commentators; and his work is considered (by the world, anyway) to be one of the best that is available for you and me to study into—especially in regards to his commentary on the Torah.

See the source imageRashi translates this word (spelled phonetically) ben ha arbayim. This is the word translated into English in many Bibles as “dusk,” “twilight,” “between the two evenings,” or “evening.” (We will see some examples of this in just a little bit.) But Rashi translates this word “dusk.” Here is Rashi’s definition of this word ben ha arbayim.

From six hours [“Six hours” meaning the sixth hour of the day. To you and me, that is “noon.”] and upward [i.e., towards the evening.] is called ben ha arbayim, when the sun declines towards the place of its setting to be darkened. And the expression ben ha arbayim appears in my [Rashi’s] sight [to refer to] those hours between the ‘evening’ of day, and the ‘evening’ of night. The ‘evening’ of day is at the beginning of the seventh hour [That is 1:00 p.m., by our reckoning.] from [the time that] ‘the shadows of evening are stretched out,’ and the ‘evening’ of night at the beginning of the night.

Now, are you all confused? That sounds like a Jewish definition, does it not? What he said is this: that ben ha arbayim begins no later than 1:00 p.m. and ends at sunset. Thus, in order to fulfill what God says there in Exodus 12, Passover would have to be at the end of the fourteenth and on into the beginning of the fifteenth. By that definition, that is the only time that Passover could be held. But that conflicts with Exodus 12, and much more besides, as we are going to see as we go along.

That’s right. There is no confusion. Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105; Troyes, France), generally known today by the acronym Rashi, was a medieval French rabbi and author of a comprehensive commentary on the Bible and the Talmud. His commentaries on the Bible have become a foundational element of Jewish education to this day; they are often taught side by side with the Torah when students begin learning in yeshivas and other schools of learning. Rashi’s commentaries on the Bible are based on the Masoretic text (much like the Companion Bible, with Bullinger’s commentaries incorporated for Christians today). Rashi completed this commentary in the last years of his life and was immediately accepted as authoritative by all Jewish communities, Ashkenazi and Sephardic alike.

Rashi’s commentary on the Bible was unique. At twenty-five, Rashi founded his own academy in France. His concern was for every word in the text which need elaboration or explanation. Hence, he used the fewest words possible in his commentaries.

Most of Rashi’s commentaries and his explanations were not written by him. Apparently, students would ask him questions about the text, or he would rhetorically ask questions about specific words, and students would write his short, lucid answers in the margin of their parchment text. These answers would eventually comprise Rashi’s commentaries and explanations.

So when Rashi was asked to define what ben ha arbayim is as his commentary in Exodus 12:6, his response is:

From six hours [after sunrise] and onward is called בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם, literally, between the two evenings, for the sun is inclined toward the place where it sets to become darkened. It seems to me that the expression בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם denotes those hours between the darkening of the day and the darkening of the night. The darkening of the day is at the beginning of the seventh hour, when the shadows of evening decline, and the darkening of the night at the beginning of the night. עֶרֶב is an expression of evening and darkness, like “all joy is darkened (וְעָרְבָה) ” (Isa. 24:11). — [from Mechilta],

With his French background in mind, the one who translates ben ha arbayim into English as dusk or twilight for his commentaries has done him some injustice, giving an inkling of a Samaritan definition. All the Blind Sheep are following their Blind Guides. And the CoG Communities gleefully jump into it without using their brain cells.

A quote from Alfred Edersheim. Edersheim was a Jew, a scholarly man, a man who had delved a great deal into the Jewish religion. He converted to this world’s Christianity, and then he used his background in Judaism to write quite a number of books regarding Jesus Christ, and His times. In his book entitled, The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, As They Were At The Time Of Christ, p. 222-223, he writes:

See the source imageOrdinarily it was slain [Now, in this case, the “it” was the evening sacrifice. Not the Passover sacrifice, but the evening sacrifice.] at 2:30 p.m., and offered at about 3:30. But on the eve of the Passover [Here he means Unleavened Bread, but he is calling it by the name the Jews applied to the whole Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. They called the whole thing “the Passover. So, we would say, “On the eve of Unleavened Bread”], as we have seen, it was killed an hour earlier; and if the 14th of Nisan fell on a Friday—or rather from Thursday at eve to Friday at eve—two hours earlier [1:30 p.m.], so as to avoid any needless breach of the Sabbath.

What he is doing, he is showing you and me that his interpretation also is the same as Rashi’s and Kaplan’s. The Jews (we have to give them credit) are fairly consistent in this.

It is true that truth is consistent. Edersheim’s testimony is consistent with Rabbi Rashi and Rabbi Kaplan and Josephus, another Jewish writer. In fact it is consistent with the Septuagint and the Targum too. But God’s enemies are scattered into various opinions. Psalm 68:1 Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered . . .

Ba erev means sunset. It is very specific. It includes no time before sunset. It is a period that begins whenever the edge of the sun hits the edge of the horizon. If you stood and watched how long ba erev takes, it takes about three to five minutes of time. . . .

See the source imageBen ha arbayim follows ba erev. It is that period of time between the going down of the sun and complete darkness. How long is ben ha arbayim? Well, it depends upon what time of the year. It begins at the instant that the sun disappears below the horizon and it ends with the “dark” of night.

In winter (a three month period), it may be anywhere from as long as almost an hour to as short as about thirty minutes. In spring and fall, it will be about one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes long. In summer, about one hour and fifteen to one hour and thirty minutes long. Other factors (such as the cloud cover, or the phases of the moon) would also lengthen, or shorten, the period of ben ha arbayim.

Wow! MAGIC! If this is the case where two lamb would be needed to be killed for the Passover during the Exodus; one, within the first 3-5 minutes at sunset for Deuteronomy 16:6 (ba erev) and followed by another within the next hour or so to satisfy Exodus 12:6 (ben ha arbayim).

Deu 16:6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even (ba erev) at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.

Exo 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening (ben ha arbayim).

But only one lamb were selected on the tenth of the first month (Exodus 12:3-5) for Passover. For John Riterbaugh to sudden sacrifice two lambs, one during erev and the other during ben ha arbayim he would need to perform miracles. MAGIC. His ministry is an extension of Simon Magus!


A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part 4)

How To Keep Passover
John W. Ritenbaugh
Sermon; #015; 73 minutes
Given 18-Apr-92

This is a continuing Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part 4), a transcript posted on the Church of the Great God’s website.

But not all of us are familiar with what happened at the beginning of that week (i.e., the preceding Sabbath); and that is shown in verses 12 and 13.

Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat [Now, catch that. “At twilight you shall eat meat.”], and in the morning you shall be filled with bread.

We have two different events taking place here. One is going to take place at twilight of one day, and then the next morning there is going to be a second event. The second event was the one that we have already covered here—that of the manna.

Exodus 16:12-13 And you shall know that I am the LORD your God. So it was that quails came up at evening [at ba erev] and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.

God waited until ba erev (sunset) before He sent the quail. Otherwise to do so, it would have tempted His people to sin—through the capturing, the cleaning, the roasting, and then the eating of the quail. He had just said, “That they would eat—not catch, not capture, not roast—but that they would be eating at twilight.” Twilight there is ben ha arbayim. God sent the quail at ba erev (sunset). Then they captured the quail, and ate the quail, at ben ha arbayim. That is very clear.

If anything is clear, it is as clear as mud. If the time erev (which is 3 to 5 minutes) is added to ben ha arbayim (which is an hour to an hour and a half) the time is just too short to “catch, kill, clean, and then roast the quail.” A more sensible timeline is that the quail were caught and clean one evening and the roasting and eating the next evening. Okay let’s go through the relevant verses using Jewish timing, which is the true and Biblical meaning. But before that, note the timing of evening and morning in:

Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day (yom), and the darkness He called Night (lailah). And the evening (erev) and the morning (boqer) were the first day (yom but a 24-hr day).

See the source imageIn the above context, the Roman time for Day (yom) is 6 AM to 6 PM, assuming it is spring or autumn; Night (lailah) is 6 PM to 6 AM. — 12-hr day and 12-hr night totalling a 24-hour day.

Whereas evening (erev) is from Noon to Midnight (12 hours) and morning (boqer) is from Midnight to Noon (12 hours) — 12-hr erev and 12-hr boqer to make up a 24-hour day.

Consequently, lailah overlaps boqer by 6 hours (i.e. midnight to 6 AM). But the time limit for ben ha arbayim (between the two erevim) is only from Noon to 6 PM — only a 6-hour time frame. Also erev maybe the beginning or end of a day, but ben ha arbayim can never be the beginning of a day.

Before we start to study some analysis, here are the relevant verses in the Scriptures:

Exo 16:6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even (erev), then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:

Exo 16:8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening (erev) flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.

Exo 16:12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even (ben ha arbayim) ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.

Exo 16:13 And it came to pass, that at even (erev) the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.

Chapter 16 had the timeline of what happened during the sixth day, but John Ritenbaugh had forced his interpretation that the time for the quail to appear, is the evening after sunset; that means the quail appeared during darkness. He wrote:

God waited until ba erev (sunset) before He sent the quail. Otherwise to do so, it would have tempted His people to sin—through the capturing, the cleaning, the roasting, and then the eating of the quail. He had just said, “That they would eat—not catch, not capture, not roast—but that they would be eating at twilight.” Twilight there is ben ha arbayim. God sent the quail at ba erev (sunset). Then they captured the quail, and ate the quail, at ben ha arbayim. That is very clear.

On a full moon night, it might be easy to catch a couple of quails, but what if there is no moonlight, cloudy and the sun had set, dark? Remember this catching were to be done six days a week for some 40 years in the wilderness. Fires were not easy to light and there were no torches in those days. They would be globbing in the dark. Many might get injuries bitten by desert snakes, kicking rocks or even fallen off cliffs chasing after these quails. In modern days we would need a lot of paramedics and ambulance ready. Such scenario just doesn’t make sense. But John Ritenbaugh has an amazing theory to prove — that the Israelites could catch, kill, skin and roast and eat — all within a one and a half hour period.

The story of the quail in Exodus 16 is that the Scriptures use erev and ben ha arbayim interchangeability. Everything makes sense when this is deemed as the daylight portion of erev for the Israelites to capture, skin, cook and eat the quails.

Exodus 16:8 And Moses said, “This shall be when the Lord shall give you in the evening (erev) flesh to eat and in the morning bread to the full,
11 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, 12 “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak unto them, saying, ‘At evening (ben ha arbayim) ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.’” 13 And it came to pass that in the evening (ba-erev) the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.

The gathering were to be done on the sixth day, Exodus 16:5 “And it shall come to pass that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” This same phase erev was used during the creation of man in Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening (erev) and the morning were the sixth day.

A full day is a 24-hour period. In Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. So the full evening (which makes up of two phases of erevs) is a 12-hour period (from noon to midnight). On the sixth day, the preparation, the first phase of erev starts at around 6 PM Thursday for 6-hour period until midnight. Then from midnight until noon is another 12-hour period which we call morning (boqer). The sixth day continues with the second phase of erev, from noon to sunset, which is another 6-hour of daylight evening. Altogether they (the morning and evening) totaled a 24-hour day.

The truth is so easy to understand if we use the Jewish definition of these technical words. It’s their language, it’s their Sacred Text, it’s written within the Jewish culture. They are the custodians of God’s oracles, we shouldn’t make a habit of stigmatizing them. What if they don’t believe? Nar, let every man be a liar and God be true, the Jews would still be the custodians (Roman 3:1-4). But ben ha arbayim is the time “after noon and until nightfall.” — it is only a six-hour period.

Ben ha arbayim follows sunset. Twilight follows sunset. And every day actually begins with approximately a one-hour period of light. Ba erev is only a 3 or 5 minute period—during which the sun appears to hit the horizon, and then sinks below the horizon, and disappears. But it is still light for about another hour, or hour and a half—depending upon what time of the year it is. It is in that period of time of waning light (twilight, dusk, ben ha arbayim) that the people were to kill, gather, clean, and then roast the quail.

See the source image

This is important in regards to Passover because it establishes very clearly (in Exodus 12) that they were to kill the lamb at ben ha arbayim—that is, at the beginning of the fourteenth, not the end. Ba erev ends the day and begins the next one; and then follows ben ha arbayim. Then, following ben ha arbayim, comes lailah—which is night. So, ben ha arbayim is that brief period of light about one hour to one-and-a-half-hours between sunset and dark.

As pointed out in my critique of Part 3 above, this is magic. You need a sleight-of-hand to kill one lamb at erev and another at ben ha arbayim. 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). John Ritenbaugh has laid a trap and he has caught himself inside, as he described a bit later: “(in I Corinthians 1) that God says that He entraps the intelligent in the foolishness of their own wisdom.” In fact there are two others who have similarly trapped themselves, and they are also masquerading as “ministers of righteousness.”



~ by Joel Huan on November 27, 2019.

2 Responses to “A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Ib)”

  1. If I seek the truth by trying, as you say, to define what between the evening is, I would probably end up with what John Ritenbaugh says, that “Ben ha arbayim follows sunset,” (Pt 3); or as Fred Coulter says “The chronological events that are recorded in Exodus 16 clearly define ben ha arbayim— “between the two evenings,” — as the time period that immediately FOLLOWS sunset, or ba erev. That means he would need two miraculous lambs for his early passover sacrifice.

    Certainly, this deception is so deep and profound so it is understandable that you couldn’t get over the first few paragraphs. For the LORD looks down from heaven and says “Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit” (Hosea 11:12).

  2. It was hard even getting past several paragraphs because you obviously are a traditionalist just like the Pharisees of old. You let them define between the evenings instead of letting God through the scriptures define the word. If you cannot even get that straight I see no reason to continue reading your critiques on anything. Why don’t you do a thorough word study on that word and perhaps you will see the light. Its sad when people push Orthodoxy over what God says. I pray you can actually some day see the light.

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