A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Id)

A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Id)
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 7)

God’s Festivals and Paganism
John W. Ritenbaugh
Sermon; #018; 69 minutes
Given 02-May-92

Draft Id

This is a Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part 7), 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.

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:

What is so interesting is that the Jews admit the change—from two separate feasts, to one. And, from this point on, I am going to be doing a great deal of reading. I am doing this because you do not have the resource material available to you, in many cases. In some cases, it would be difficult—maybe well nigh impossible—for some of you to get. I hope that you will bear with me. I hope that I can still make this interesting enough that you will listen, and that you will see that there are researchers who will admit to the very things that I have been teaching you here in the past six sermons, and now on into this seventh one.

First of all, from our familiar “friend,” Josephus. From Antiquities of the Jews, book II, chapter 15, section 1, he says: “We keep a feast for eight days, which is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.” That is partly wrong and partly right; but he, at least, admits there are eight days to the festival.

The Jewish Encyclopedia—now, that ought to be authoritative—published in 1905, under the title “Passover,” from volume 9: “Comparison of the successive strata of the Pentateuchal laws bearing on the festival makes it plain that the institution, as developed, is really of composite character. Two festivals originally distinct have become merged…”

At issue above is whether the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread were separate festivals or were they composite. Quoted above says “the Jews admit the change—from two separate feasts, to one,” but who are these Jews?

See the source imageThese are statements originated by the Samaritans with some devious “Jewish” background and strong antagonism against the Southern Kingdom, charging their predecessors had somehow amalgamated the Passover with the Days of Unleavened Bread and call the Passover the Jewish Passover. In fact, they were dissatisfied with the idea of keeping the Feasts in Jerusalem, so they left their original undertaking and craved an alternate explanation rather than continuing to show their subordination to the Southern Kingdom. So whereas the Jews consider Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread as a composite festival, the Samaritan eventually took the position that they were two distinct festivals.

The Jewish Encyclopedia says: “The Samaritans consider the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as two distinct festivals.” (Samaritan).

The origins of Reform Judaism lay in 19th-century Germany and were formulated by Rabbi Abraham Geiger (1810-1874) and his associates (Samuel Holdheim, Israel Jacobson and Leopold Zunz). Since the 1970s, the Movement adopted a policy of inclusiveness and acceptance, inviting as many as possible to partake in its communities, rather than “strict theoretical clarity.”

See the source imageThe Movement is in “a process of constant evolution” and it “rejects any fixed, permanent set of beliefs, laws or practices.” They stated that the old mechanisms of religious interpretation were obsolete. Geiger sought a more coherent ideological framework to justify innovations in the liturgy and religious practice. While Reform Judaism initially developed as lay Jews simply lost interest in the strict observances required of Orthodoxy, with many seeking shorter services, more frequent sermons, and organ music, modeled after Protestant churches. In Germany, one characteristic of their progressive revelation was the institution of a “Second Sabbath” on Sunday, modeled on the Second Passover, as most people desecrated the day of rest. “If you cannot keep the Sabbath on its appointed time, you keep it on the next available day,” and so the Sabbath was shifted from Saturday to Sunday. “God would accept it,” they encouraged each other.

Discrimination and persecution against Jews in Germany were rampant for the next hundred years. Work were hard to come by and such new interpretation made sense in a community struggling to survive. America was opening up to immigrants and in a new Land of the Free, the five-day workweek soon made the Sunday Sabbath redundant. But nevertheless, the Movement had already has its momentum and today the Reform Movement’s largest center is in North America.

Some Reform rabbis have other objectives in the Land of the Free. In 1888, the Jewish Publication Society (JPS), originally known as the Jewish Publication Society of America (JPSA), was founded by reform Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf (picture) among others in Philadelphia. As the years rolled on, JPS became well known for its English translation of the Hebrew Bible, the JPS Tanakh. As JPS moved into the 20th, its popularity grew rapidly. After years of meetings, deliberations and revisions, the entire translation of the Bible was finally completed in 1917.

Image result for rabbi joseph krauskopf picsIn 1985, the newly translated three parts of the Bible (the Torah, Prophets, and Writings) were compiled into what is now known as the JPS Tanakh (or NJPS, New JPS translation, to distinguish it from the OJPS, or Old JPS translation of 1917). Hence the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) is credited as both Publisher of the TANAKH 1917 and 1985 editions.

The results of these publications:

Exodus 12:6 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats; 6 and ye shall keep it unto the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at dusk.

The 1988 edition (hard copy) says “at twilight,” published by the New JPS Translation. And as a result it has overwhelming influence in every major English translation:

NKJV: Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. The NAS, NIV, NKJV and NRSV all render this similarly as “twilight.” “The Message Bible” produced by Eugene Peterson, and CJB by David Stern translate this as “dusk” like the JPS.

Today, the CoG Communities, including John Ritenbaugh, Fred Coulter and Frank Nelte are taking great pleasure in following either the Samaritans or those Jews in the Reform Movement. In fact many of their tenets are the same.

Similarly, they propagate that the festivals were distinct and separate originally, but were combined by the wicked Jews, they alleged. Hence today there are many modern authorities where they could draw their support from:

The Jewish Encyclopedia states, “Comparison of the successive strata of the Pentateuchal laws bearing on the festival makes it plain that the institution, as developed, is really of composite character. TWO FESTIVALS ORIGINALLY DISTINCT HAVE BECOME MERGED…” (Vol. IX, “Passover,” emphasis added).

The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: “the feast contains two originally separate components.”(Vol. III, s. v. “Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.”

The Encyclopedia Judaica: “The Feast of Passover consists of two parts: The Passover ceremony and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally both parts existed separately, but at the beginning of the Exile [in Babylon 603-585 BC] they were combined.

The Jewish Encyclopedia, the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, the Encyclopedia Judaica mentioned above and many others would sound Jewish, and many a time, provide great information, but they are mainly offsprings of the Reform Movement, who felt they needed to move away from the “Bondage of Judaism” i.e. away from the Orthodoxy. To give themselves more legitimacy, they need to say that the two feasts were originally separated and that the Orthodox had combined them later on, taking the view of the Samaritans.

Briefly:

See the source imageThe Jewish Encyclopedia — Its managing editor was Isidore Singer (1859–1939) and the editorial board was chaired by Isaac Funk and Frank Vizetelly. Singer was born Austria and studied at the University of Vienna and the Humboldt University of Berlin, receiving his PhD in 1884. One who held “extremely liberal views” and one who had described the Sabbath as “heavy burdens,” Singer moved to New York in 1895 where he started work which resulted in the Jewish Encyclopedia.

The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible — Its chief editor was Katharine Sakenfeld (b 1940). She is Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis Emerita at Princeton Theological Seminary, having previously been William Albright Eisenberger Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis. Sakenfeld studied at the University of Rhode Island and Harvard Divinity School before obtaining her PhD at Harvard University. She was ordained as a Presbyterian teaching elder in 1970, and has served as the moderator of the Presbytery of New Brunswick in the PCUSA.

The Encyclopedia Judaica — Its first chief editor was Cecil Roth (1899–1970). He was educated at Merton College, Oxford (PhD, 1924) and later returned to Oxford as Reader in Post-Biblical Jewish Studies from 1939 to 1964. Thereafter he was visiting professor at Bar-Ilan University, Israel (1964–1965), and at the City University of New York (1966–1969).

But fortunately we need not sought these ‘experts” for their final say on such an important issue.  Biblical record shows that the amalgamation of Passover with Unleavened Bread started way back to Moses, during the original Exodus, and this interlacing characteristic was reaffirmed by Ezekiel, a prophet sent to the northern stiffnecked Israelites; but the Jews, also stiffnecked, knew this all along.

See the source image

The first time “Passover” was mentioned is in Exodus 12:11, not at verse 6, even though verse six was describing the process of the Passover, the killing of the lamb. Verse 11 described the same continuing process of the Passover; i.e. the process of Passover runs into the Days of Unleavened Bread! The two feasts overlap right at the beginning.

Exodus 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). — this ben ha arbayim is the time to kill the Passover.

In Deuteronomy 16:6 there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at evening (ba·erev), at the going down of the sun — this ba·erev is also the time to kill the Passover

Exodus 12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening (ba-erev), ye shall eat unleavened bread until the one and twentieth day of the month at evening (ba-erev). — the above ba·erev is also the time to start eating unleavened bread, same as (ben ha arbayim) to kill the Passover.

The time ben ha arbayim to kill the Passover is also the time ba-erev to start eating unleavened bread, and let me repeat: THE TIME BEN HA ARBAYIM TO KILL THE PASSOVER IS ALSO THE TIME BA-EREV TO START EATING UNLEAVENED BREAD. Hence the two festivals were well amalgamated right from the original Exodus. Partaking of unleavened bread started six hours before the start of the fifteenth. PASSOVER AND UNLEAVENED BREAD OVERLAPPED: they start at the same time. Clear and simple! Simple and clear! Partaking of unleavened bread is an integral part of observing Passover!

Second, 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 cattles or oxens. To include cattles or oxens can only mean to include the Festival of the Days of Unleavened Bread where among other animals, two young bulls were sacrificed. Therefore the idea that the Passover was restricted solely to the fourteenth day is unattainable.

This amalgamation was reaffirmed in Ezekiel 45:21 where it describes the Passover as a seven-day festival!

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the Passover, a feast of seven days. Unleavened bread shall be eaten.”

Septuagint: And in the first [month], on the fourteenth [day] of the month, ye shall have the feast of the passover; seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread.

The Targum translates and explains the eating of the Passover from the Hebrew in Exodus 12 into the vernacular, in a very simple language, and is crystal clear:

“And you shall eat the flesh on that night, the fifteenth of Nisan . . .” Exodus 12:8

The lamb was killed on the fourteenth, at even, and this is ben ha arbayim (between the evenings) in Exodus 12:6 – the time the sun begins to decline as one evening, and the other evening is after the sun has gone down, which overlaps ba·erev (in Deuteronomy 16:6 – after noon to nightfall). Generally the lamb was killed at 3 PM and then cleaned and roasted thereafter. The Targum confirms the flesh was then eaten that night, the fifteenth of Nisan.

As eating of the lamb and the eating of unleavened bread are parts of the Passover ordinances, the composite feasts run from the late fourteenth into the fifteenth, where it is also the night to be much remembered. Most CoG Communities, in fact, are unaware that partaking of unleavened bread, too, is part of the Passover ordinances, and it started six hours before the start of the fifteenth, when the lamb was killed, and the composite Festival continues from the fifteenth to the twenty-first. Hence Passover and the Days of Unleavened were well interlaced and amalgamated right at the original Exodus.

Ezekiel 45:21 confirms that Passover as a seven-day festival!

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the Passover, a feast of seven days. Unleavened bread shall be eaten.”

The record from Exodus 12 and the Targum are like twin mirrors: when placed against the CoG Communities, they reflect their nakedness. But these Blind could not see their nakedness because they are blind. Ezekiel 45:21 reaffirms this. Plain and simple.

In summary, the originator of the idea that these feasts as distinct originated from the Samaritans, and had penetrated the Sadducees, who died out during the AD 70 inferno, but resurfaced in the tenth century as Karaites, then the Jews involved in the Reform Movement beginning the nineteenth century in Germany, and since the last century, the CoG Communities.

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A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part 8)

Josiah, Hezekiah and Deuteronomy
John W. Ritenbaugh
Sermon; #019; 72 minutes
Given 09-May-92

This is a continuing Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Passover (Part 8), a transcript posted on the Church of the Great God’s website.

See the source imageThe central question in this critique is whether Hezekiel, Josiah and Ezra change the Passover ordinances, whether it should continue as a “domestic Passover” as in Exodus 12, or whether it had moved to a Sanctuary/Temple centered ordinance. John Ritenbaugh, along with Fred Coulter, advocate it should continue as a domestic ordinance.

John Ritenbaugh writes:

Notice these differences between this Passover kept and celebrated in the days of Hezekiah, at the king’s command, with what we have learned from Exodus 12 and Exodus 25 through 40. This is the very first time in the Bible that we have these things appearing.
» This Passover was at the command of the king.
» The lambs were killed at the Temple.
» Levites killed the lambs.
» After the lamb was killed the blood was passed to the priest from the Levites who dashed it on the altar. (It was supposed to be dashed on the door posts of their homes.)
» The Passover was eaten other than was written. (Remember that they had to eat it and then burn up what was left over.)
» Hezekiah prayed for the people. (It was not the priest praying for them, but Hezekiah.)

Remember, the killing of the lamb for Passover is a sacrifice: “It is the sacrifice of the Lord’S Passover,” Exodus 12:27 (see also Deuternomy 16:1-6).

A “domestic Passover” isn’t allowed. Moses wrote:

Deuteronomy 16:5 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.

And it is God who told King Solomon that He had chosen for Himself to move the place of sacrifice to Jerusalem. Let the Scriptures speak:

See the source imageII Chronicles 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house; and all that came into Solomon’s heart to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house, he prosperously effected.12 And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night and said unto him: “I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself for a house of sacrifice.

And where is this place? It is in Jerusalem: “but I (God) have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there,” (II Chronicles 6:6). And many people, seeking the Lord God of Israel, went to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices:

II Chronicles 11:16 And after them, out of all the tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers.

All evidence are that any sacrifice in Jerusalem would inevitably include the Passover sacrifice. That’s where God dwells. He has personally chose Jerusalem that His Name might be there, and calls the Temple “a house of sacrifice.”

See the source imageGod didn’t leave us without guidance as to how to conduct an animal for sacrifice. Thus a law is given, ordering all sorts of persons, Israelites and sojourners, to bring their sacrifices to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, on pain of being cut off. They are found in Leviticus. Leviticus 17 says if one were to make a sacrifice, in the camp or out of the camp, the blood must be brought to the tabernacle, and the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle (verse 6). The critical performance of any sacrifice is that “the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle.” Incorporated in this chapter below includes Rashi’s comments: —

Leviticus 17:1 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying,
2 “Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them: ‘This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, saying:
3 Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel who killeth an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who killeth it out of the camp,

— Rashi: Who slaughters an ox, a lamb, [or a goat]: Scripture is speaking of [slaughtering] holy sacrifices [not of slaughtering ordinary animals], for Scripture continues, “to offer up as a sacrifice” (next verse). – [Torath Kohanim 17:91]

— Rashi: inside the camp: But outside the Courtyard. — [Torath Kohanim 17:89; Zev. 107b]

4 and bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation to offer an offering unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, blood shall be imputed unto that man: he hath shed blood. And that man shall be cut off from among his people,

See the source image— Rashi: shall be counted [for that man] as blood: As though he had shed human blood, for which one is liable to the death penalty.

— Rashi: He has shed blood: [This comes] to include one who dashes the blood [of a holy sacrifice] outside [the Temple Courtyard]. — [Zev. 107a]

For a sacrifice, and Passover is inherently a sacrifice, not having its blood brought to the altar for the priests to sprinkle it on the altar is a serious crime. One question we would ask is who qualify to kill an animal for sacrifice inside or outside the camp.

The Jewish Encyclopedia says:

Only those who were circumcised and clean before the Law might participate; and they were forbidden to have leavened food in their possession during the act of killing the paschal lamb.

During Passover, the killing of the lamb took place around the court of the Temple, inside or outside of it, and might be performed by a layman, but he had to be circumcised and ceremonially clean. The blood were usually caught by a Levite, and rows of Levites with gold or silver cups in their hands stood around the Temple court in line to the altar, where the blood were sprinkled by a priest. These cups were rounded on the bottom, so that they could not be set down; for in that case the blood might coagulate. The Levite who caught the blood as it dropped from the animal then handed the cup to the Levite next to him, receiving from him an empty one, and the full cup was passed along the line until it reached the last priest, who sprinkled its contents on the altar.

Let’s continue with Leviticus 17:
6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savor unto the Lord.
8 “And thou shalt say unto them: ‘Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among you, who offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,
9 and bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation to offer it unto the Lord, even that man shall be cut off from among his people.

In verse 8, referring to the phase “offereth a burnt offering or sacrifice,” the Good News Translation says “who offer a burnt offering or any other sacrifice.” In Exodus 34:25 the phase “the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover” is used, confirming that Passover is a sacrifice. John Gill says this phase means “any other sacrifice besides a burnt offering.” In summing up, a sacrifice definitely includes a Passover sacrifice and therefore the ordinances stated in Leviticus 17 applies.

See the source image“That man shall be cut off from among his people” was a serious punishment, it wasn’t merely excommunicated from the church of God, deprived of the privileges of his house, but that man shall be put to death. What about those who teaches about a “domestic Passover” where the blood were not sprinkled on the altar but only to be brushed against the doorposts and lintel of their houses? Won’t they be guilty of death too? It is a serious thought!

I am going to give you a quote from The Interpreter’s Bible, volume 5, page 868. The author is talking about the law as it is given in the book of Deuteronomy.

The heart of Deuteronomic law is not a legal enactment but a pleading for the generous heart. It is aimed at purification of the religious practices of the people. It is sought to bring this about through centralization of worship in the Temple at Jerusalem, and in this way the corruptions which entered into the religious practice through compromise with Canaanite cults of Baal could be brought under control and purified.

That is exactly what Hezekiah attempted. He attempted, through a centralization of the worship, to somehow bring about a purification. It failed, but it was one good king’s attempt to try to do something to turn the people around, and I have no doubt at all that God accepted it. It was better than no Passover at all. Even though God accepted it, this does not mean God changed His original command. It is very clearly seen the people understood this, because I gave you readings from books by Philo and Josephus that clearly showed that in the days of Christ the people were still offering the Passover sacrifice in their own homes.

The Passover under II Chronicles does not give authority for a change. It is only recording a very unusual circumstance in which the king took control of the situation. He tried to turn the nation around by centralizing the worship so that he could keep track of what the people were doing. This Passover led to even greater reform, but it did not change things for very long.

But King Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of God. He was following a sanctified Temple worship where God spoke to King Solomon: “I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place (Jerusalem) for Myself for a house of sacrifice” (II Chronicles 7:12).

Biblical record confirms that Hezekiah is a good king:

II Chronicles 30:1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel.
2 For the king had taken counsel with his princes and all the congregation in Jerusalem to keep the Passover in the second month. — this keeping of Passover on the second month is off the norm, so in this way it was a “commandment of the king” (v12), which also includes sending invitation “to all Israel and Judah,” (v1).
3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together at Jerusalem.
4 And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation.
5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem; for they had not done it for a long time in such manner as it was written.
6 So the couriers went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, “Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and He will return to the remnant of you that have escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. — the command of the king was to establish a decree “to make proclamation throughout all Israel . . . to keep the Passover in Jerusalem,” reinforcing God’s command already established through King Solomon in II Chronicles 7:11 -12.
See the source image7 And be not ye like your fathers and like your brethren who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, so that He therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see.
8 Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord and enter into His sanctuary, which He hath sanctified for ever; and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.
9 For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before those who lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you if ye return unto Him.”
10 So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even unto Zebulun; but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them.
11 Nevertheless, some from Asher and Manasseh and from Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.
12 Also the hand of God was in Judah, to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes by the word of the Lord.
13 And there assembled at Jerusalem many people to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very great congregation. — so the keeping of Passover includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days.
14 And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away and cast them into the Brook Kidron.
15 Then they killed the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month; and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the Lord. — the priests and the Levites purified themselves by offering burnt offerings to the Lord.
16 And they stood in their place according to their order, according to the law of Moses the man of God. The priests sprinkled the blood which they received from the hand of the Levites.
17 For there were many in the congregation who were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the Passover lambs for every one who was not clean, to sanctify them unto the Lord. — laymen who were not sanctified were not allowed to kill the Passover lamb, hence the Levites did it for them. In fact they were not allowed to eat too if not because of king Hezekiah’s prayer (v18-20). “For they ate it in a state of uncleanness,” (Rashi).
18 For a multitude of the people, even many from Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “The good Lord pardon every one
19 who prepared his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.”
20 And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
21 And the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord.
22 And Hezekiah spoke comfortingly unto all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of the Lord; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.
23 And the whole assembly took counsel to keep another seven days, and they kept another seven days with gladness.
See the source image24 For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep, and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep; and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.
25 And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers who came out of the land of Israel and who dwelt in Judah rejoiced.
26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem; for since the time of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, there was not the like in Jerusalem. — seven days of extreme joy plus another seven days of joy for people who were not cleansed were never experienced since the time of Solomon, but that doesn’t mean this was the only Passover kept since King Solomon.

Rashi: for since the days of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, there had not been the like in Jerusalem: It is possible that a greater multitude had come for the festival to Jerusalem in the days of Solomon, but there had never been such a great rejoicing as this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon. They were joyful about this [gathering], for if they had gathered in Jerusalem on every festival, it would have been nothing new and they would have had no cause for [special] joy But now, since they had not performed the festival pilgrimage to Jerusalem all the days of Ahaz and the wicked kings of Judah, and they were now permitted to go up to Jerusalem they rejoiced greatly. And since it was so many years since they had gone to Jerusalem, the seven days of the Festival of Matzoth were too few in their eyes and they added another seven days in which to rejoice, and they rejoiced a great rejoicing.

27 Then the priests, the Levites, arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.

All the Biblical record shows that King Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of God. He followed King Solomon’s example to celebrate Passover in the Temple in Jerusalem. Although the people were still ceremonially unclean to eat the Passover, Hezekiah prayed for them and God answered his prayers.

Next we have a look at King Josiah:

Here again is a situation similar to the days of Hezekiah. This was a national emergency, and the king simply assumed control. In his zeal he does it in a way he feels will be acceptable to God under the circumstances. He felt that if these people sacrificed the lambs at their own houses, they would have done it to Baal, and not to God.

II Chronicles 35:6 So slaughter the Passover offerings, sanctify yourselves, and prepare them for your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

The phrase “the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses” is referring back to “sanctified,” and not to the killing of the Passover.

You will notice here the term “Passover offerings.” This is not necessarily the slaughtering of the Passover lamb, but at the slaughter of animals in addition to the Passover lamb.

Since partaking of Unleavened Bread is an integral part of observing Passover, the Passover offerings include “sacrifice . . . of the flock and the herd,” Deuteronomy 16:2. As proven earlier the observance of Passover with Unleavened Bread were already amalgamated in the original Exodus. Here this confirms what were already established:

And Josiah gave to the people lambs and kids from the flock, all for the Passover offerings for all who were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks; these were from the king’s substance. II Chronicles 35:7

See the source imageKing Josiah was a good king. And this is what the Scripture says: “And like unto him (referring to Josiah) was there no king before him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” II Kings 23:25.

Notice the four “ALL”

(1) with ALL his heart;
(2) with ALL his soul;
(3) with ALL his might,
(4) according to ALL the Law of Moses;

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. But Josiah kept a Passover unto the Lord in Jerusalem; and he killed the Passover lamb, and sanctify himself and his brethren, that they may do according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses, (II Chronicles 35:6). King Josiah was a righteous king.

If it is true that Deuteronomy 16 actually commands a Temple-sacrificed lamb, it contradicts Exodus 12, Numbers 9, and Leviticus 23, which are clear and easily understood. We also find that Deuteronomy 16 gives the impression that Passover and Unleavened Bread are one festival.

We are going to have to proceed slowly here. Be prepared to take good notes, and to be able to flip back and forth in your Bible as we compare clear statements with obscure ones. Maybe even then you are going to have to listen to the tape another time or two before it will really become clear.

You are going to be surprised to learn that in Deuteronomy 16:1-8 there are at least ten or twelve contradictions. Somebody messed with the scriptures. Who was that somebody? Is it possible we might even know the personality who did it? If we do know the personality who did it, was it done in meanness? Was it done to subvert? Is it possible that it was even done like Hezekiah and Josiah did, with good intentions, and something bad arose out of it?

See the source imageSo the blame is that Ezra messed with the Scriptures. Amazing! Ezra was a high priest and “a scribe skilled in the law.” This is not just heresy but real blasphemy. When Ezra arrived from Babylon, the situation in Judah was discouraging. Religious laxity was prevalent, the Law was widely disregarded, and public and private morality was at a low level. Immediately Ezra faithfully reintroduced the Torah to all those who followed him (Ezra 7:10 and Nehemiah 8). 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. Moreover, intermarriage with foreigners posed the threat that the community would mingle with the pagan environment and lose its identity. Ezra did much revival of what was lost, restoring the laws, statutes and ordinances of God. So important was he in his restoration in the eyes of his people that later tradition regarded him as no less than a second Moses.

According to John Ritenbaugh, and without double talk, Hezekiah and Josiah should have a “domestic Passover” instead of a Temple-centered Passover. And Ezra abated these crimes by tampering and vandalising God’s Word by altering Deuteronomy 16. All these, if true, are serious crimes. So during Judgement Day, John Ritenbaugh, (along with Frank Nelte and Fred Coulter) would be found holier than Hezekiah, Josiah and Ezra?

Or is it the other way round, that John Ritenbaugh, Frank Nelte and Fred Coulter are the ones that fulfil the three shepherds of Zechariah 11:8? “Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them and their soul also abhorred me.”

((( CRITIQUE OF RITENBAUGH PASSOVER )))

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~ by Joel Huan on December 5, 2019.

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