A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (g)

A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (g)

Passover at the beginning or end of the 14th?

Fred R. Coulter
Christian Biblical Church of God
Post Office Box 1442
Hollister California 95024-1442

This is a Critique of Fred Coulter’s The Christian Passover. The main issue is whether the Passover Lamb was to be killed at the early or at the end of the fourteenth of Nisan. Quoted are Fred Coulter’s book, from an internet online PDF version. Most of his quotes are in block form, in PINK and indented so as to differentiate his from other comments. The Scriptures, in RED, must, foremost, be our primary focus and guide.

Chapters 11

While reiterating the story of Israel in Chapter 11 of The Christian Passover from the time of Joshua, the judges and then Samuel, King David and Solomon, and so on, Fred Coulter seems to avoid one critical sin of King Jeroboam. Jeroboam not only moved the Feast of Tabernacles to the eight month, he also set up altars in Bethel and Dan as houses of worship.

“Then the king [Jeroboam, now king of the northern ten tribes of Israel] took counsel, and made two calves of gold and said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ And he set the one in Bethel, and he put the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan. And he made houses of worship on the high places [pagan temples to Baal], and made priests of the lowest of the people, who were not the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordered a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast that is in Judah. And he offered upon the altar. So he did in Bethel [meaning “house of God”], sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

“And he offered unto the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised out of his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel. And he offered upon the altar and burned incense” (I Kings 12:28-33). (The Christian Passover pg 127).

See the source image

But why didn’t Fred Coulter bold by emphasising Jerusalem as God’s designated holy place to keep the Feast? Or has he deemed it wasn’t a sin? That Jeroboam’s sin were only moving the Feast from the seventh to the eight month and worshipping the two golden calves? 

Notice Fred Coulter also didn’t emphasize the other cities — Bethel and Dan — neither cities authorised by God as a place of worship. This runs parallel with his thought that the Israelites were wrong to keep the Passover in Jerusalem, that they, like King Jeroboam, should keep a “domestic” Passover — for it is too hard to keep the Feast in Jerusalem!

Later the Samaritans came along and said Mount Gerizim is the holy place to worship. But the truth is that Jerusalem is a very important city to God, one close to His heart.

The Lord said, “In Jerusalem will I put My name,” II Kings 21:4.

The Lord said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put My name for ever,” II Kings 21:7.

“(God) have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there,” II Chronicles 6:6.

The Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall My name be for ever,” II Chronicles 33:4.

And many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. Jeremiah 3:17

“Thus saith the Lord God: This is Jerusalem. I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her,” Ezekiel 5:5.

“Thus saith the Lord: ‘I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’ Zechariah 8:3

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God, and I will write upon him My new name. Revelation 3:12

And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2

~~~~

While going into details reiterating the fall of Israel’s apostasy in Chapter 11 of Fred Coulter’s The Christian Passover, I’ll take this opportunity for better use studying into the original Exodus. Exodus 12 is a chapter where the principal subject is the Passover and its ordinances, with all other secondary issues incorporated to support the main structure.

Evidently, the Samaritans were the first to propagate that the festivals of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were distinct and separate originally, but were combined by the wicked Jews, so they claimed. Today there are many modern “authorities” where Fred Coulter could draw support from. But let’s study right at the source — Exodus 12.

When we study Exodus 12, we’ll see that the primary focus is the Passover and its ordinances. Those secondary subjects are the death angels passing over, a memorial experience, the days to take unleavened bread, etc. The first 7 verses apply principally to the Passover sacrifice. Verses 8 to 11 say about how to eat the Passover meal. Verses 12-13 say about God’s judgement and the protection for those who obeyed. Verse 14 describes the day as a memorial and how to keep “it” i.e. the “it” is the Passover — by keeping IT as a feast, and that Passover feast is a composite Feast which includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread, verse 15. Verses 16 to 17 go into details about keeping IT with unleavened bread. Verses 18 to 20 is a reinstatement of keeping the Passover with unleavened bread. 

Image result for moses before pharol pics

Then Moses reiterates the Passover in verses 21-33, reemphasizing it by adding details as to how to keep it. In verses 34 and 39, it explains why the dough couldn’t leaven. Then in verses 35-38, it says about spoiling the Egyptians, then back to Passover in verses 43-50. Verses 40-42 and 51 emphasize the Exodus from Egypt since the prophecy God had given to Abraham 430 years before. The primary focus of Exodus 12 is the Passover; the eating of the meal with bitter herbs and unleavened bread and keeping it as a memorial are also important but secondary.

Exodus 12 (any capitalized IT is referring IT to H6453 pecach; the Passover LAMB).

1 And the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,

2 “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. — setting the background to the Passover

3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month they shall take for themselves every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house. — preparing for the Passover

4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take IT (the Passover LAMB) according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. —  preparing for the Passover

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take IT out from the sheep, or from the goats. — identifying the Passover

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. — the killing of the Passover LAMB

7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it (the blood) on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses wherein they shall eat IT (the Passover LAMB). — the blood and the eating of the Passover

8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire; and with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat IT. — the Passover meal (the Targum says this meal is to be taken on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan). The main focus is still the Passover LAMB).

9 Eat not of IT raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire — his head with his legs and with the viscera thereof. — how to eat the the Passover meal

10 And ye shall let nothing of IT remain until the morning, and that which remaineth of IT until the morning ye shall burn with fire. — Passover meal (the Targum says the night of the fifteenth)

11 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. — Passover meal on the fifteenth

12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. — Passover and the judgement on Egypt

13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt. — Passover judgement on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan

14 “‘And this day (of the LORD’s judgement above) shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep IT a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep IT a feast by an ordinance for ever. — the Passover is a feast and was also an ordinance on the night of the fifteenth forever

15 Seven days (Rashid: Heb. שִׁבְעַתיָמִים, seteyne of days, i.e. a group of seven days) shall ye eat unleavened bread. Even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. — seven days of Unleavened Bread, i.e. a group of seven days

16 And in the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation to you. No manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you. — details of observing the seven days of unleavened bread

17 And ye shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. — seven days of Unleavened Bread as another ordinance of Passover

18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. — the eating of unleavened bread starts at the same time as the killing of the Passover lamb, “on the fourteenth day of the month at even”

19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses; for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger or born in the land. — more details of observing the seven days of unleavened bread

20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.’” — details of observing the seven days of unleavened bread

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said unto them, “Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the Passover.  — back to the Passover sacrifice (H6453 pecach)

22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it (the hyssop) in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out from the door of his house until the morning. — what to do with the blood of the Passover sacrifice

23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over (H6452 pacach) the door and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. — the passing over (H6452 pacach)

24 And ye shall observe this thing as an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. — an ordinance for the Passover sacrifice

25 And it (at a later time) shall come to pass, when ye come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as He hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. — the Passover ordinance is to be kept as a memorial

26 And it (at a later time) shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, ‘What mean ye by this service?’

27 that ye shall say, ‘IT is the sacrifice of the Lord’S Passover (H6453 pecach), who passed over (H6452 pacach) the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. — the Passover sacrifice is to be kept as a memorial

28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron; so did they.

29 And it (at a later time) came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne, unto the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. — the judgement on the night of the fifteenth is to be kept as a memorial

30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. — the judgement

31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel! And go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. — judgement on those who were not defended by the blood of the sacrifice

See the source image

32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said; and be gone, and bless me also.”

33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, “We are all dead men.” — the judgement

34 And the people took their dough before it (the bread) was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. — the feast of unleavened bread

35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses, and they borrowed from the Egyptians jewels of silver and jewels of gold and raiment. — a process of being thrust out of Egypt

36 And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they despoiled the Egyptians. — a process of being thrust out

37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot who were men, besides children. — a memorial for being thrust out of Egypt

38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them, and flocks and herds, even very much cattle.

39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt; for it (the bread) was not leavened because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual. — the feast of unleavened bread

40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

41 And it (at a later time) came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even on the selfsame day it (at a later time) came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. — a memorial

42  IT is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt. This is that night of the Lord to be observed by all the children of Israel in their generations. — a memorial for being thrust out of Egypt for later generations

43 And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof; — the night for being thrust out of Egypt was to be a Passover ordinance

44 but every man’s servant who is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. — the Passover ordinance

45 A foreigner and a hired servant shall not eat thereof. — the Passover ordinance

46 In one house shall IT be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth any of the flesh abroad out of the house, neither shall ye break a bone thereof. — the Passover ordinance

47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep  IT. — the Passover sacrifice to be a memorial

48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee and will keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep IT; and he shall be as one that is born in the land, for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. — the Passover sacrifice to be kept

49 One law shall be for him that is homeborn and for the stranger who sojourneth among you.” — the Passover ordinance to be a memorial

See the source image

50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. — the Passover ordinance to be a memorial

51 And it (at a later time) came to pass the selfsame day that the Lord brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies. — a memorial for being thrust out of Egypt

Of the 51 verses in Exodus 12 (not counting verse 1):

— 29 are clearly pertaining to the Passover or its ordinances (2-14, 21-28, 43-50); 

—   5 are judgement on those not defended by the blood of the sacrifice (29-33); still related to the Passover above;

—   8 are coming out of Egypt (35-38, 40-42, 51); and 

— only 8 are about unleavened bread (15-20, 34, 39). In fact, eating unleavened bread wasn’t planned; it was thrust upon them, v 34. 

In summary, the primary focus of Exodus 12 is the Passover, which also included bringing God’s judgement on the Egyptians, allowing the children of Israel to be freed from captivity. The process involves selecting and killing the Passover lamb, spreading its blood on the lintel and doorposts, the eating of the meal with bitter herbs and unleavened bread and later, keeping IT as a memorial which are all considered as ordinances to the Passover. 

In fact, the eating of unleavened bread is just a sideshow of the Passover; at best it’s as integrated like a flower girl in a wedding, which is extremely important to the celebration but definitely secondary to the main rite, the Passover. The SACRIFICE of the LAMB is of primary importance. The LAMB is the FOCUS, all others are secondary.

~~~~

In a previous post, we went through Conservative Judaism, a spinoff of Reform Judaism. Here, we’ll dive deeper into how the Movement started, a serious subject that most seekers of the truth ignore. 

The origins of Reform Judaism lay in 19th-century Germany, where its early principles 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.”

Image result for rabbi abraham geiger
Rabbi Abraham Geiger

They claim their Movement is in “a process of constant evolution” and this movement “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. 

Discrimination and persecution against Jews in Germany were rampant in the 19th and early 20th century. Work were hard to come by and such new interpretation made sense in a community struggling to survive. “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.

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 had its momentum and today the Reform Movement’s largest center today is in North America. 

Reform Judaism encourages adherents to seek their own means of engaging a new Judaism, enhancing “individualism.” Tolerance for LGBT and ordination of LGBT rabbis were also pioneered by the Movement. It started slowly then gathered speed. Intercourse between consenting adults was declared as legitimate by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 1977, and openly gay clergy were admitted by the end of the 1980s. Same-sex marriage were sanctioned by the end of the following decade. In 2015 the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) adopted a Resolution on the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People, urging clergy and synagogue attendants to actively promote tolerance and inclusion of such individuals.

Today, Reform Judaism has two main objectives:

(1) Reform Jews are committed to the absolute equality of women in all areas of Jewish life. “We were the first movement to ordain women rabbis, invest women cantors, and elect women presidents of our synagogues,” they claim.

(2) Reform Jews are also committed to the full participation of gays and lesbians in synagogue life as well as society at large.

As of 2013, the Pew Research Center survey calculated Reform Judaism represented about 35% of all 5.3 million Jews in the US, making it the single most numerous Jewish religious group in the country. Based on these, the URJ claims to represent 2.2 million people. It has 846 congregations in the US and 27 in Canada, the vast majority of the 1,170 affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) that are not Reconstructionist. Its rabbinical arm is the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), with some 2,300 rabbis as members, mainly trained in Hebrew Union College. As of 2015, the URJ was led by President Rabbi Richard Jacobs, and the CCAR headed by Rabbi Denise Eger.

Image result for Denise Eger
Rabbi Denise Eger

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), founded in 1889 by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, is the principal organization of Reform rabbis in the United States and Canada. Today, the CCAR is the largest and oldest rabbinical organization in the world. Its current president, and its first openly gay president, is Rabbi Denise Eger.

Denise Eger became the first openly gay president in 2015. The Reform Movement acknowledged that Jews and their rabbis “have long been part of the struggle for gay rights, and that includes advocacy for marriage equality.”

Rabbi Denise Eger was also the founding President of the Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Interfaith Clergy Association. In the summer of 2010 she was named one of the fifty most influential women rabbis.

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 among others in Philadelphia. It claimed to be the oldest nonprofit, nondenominational publisher of Jewish works in English. 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.

Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf

In 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 JPS followed a central tenet, to adopt “a policy of inclusiveness and acceptance, inviting as many as possible to partake in its communities, rather than strict theoretical clarity.” It is strongly identified with progressive political and social agendas, mainly under the traditional Jewish rubric Tikkun Olam, or “Repairing of the World”. In their endeavour to avoid the “bondage of Judaism,” a new policy of inclusiveness and acceptance was established. And a new Tikkun Olam became a central motto of Reform Judaism — to “express wholeheartedly the idea of universal equality, freedom, and peace for all,” and to “forge a common bond in true harmony to banish all hatred and bigotry.”

The results:

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 translates this as “dusk” like the JPS. *

And besides Fred Coulter there are others yielding great influence among the CoG Communities:

Image result for John W. Ritenbaugh pics
John W. Ritenbaugh

And John W. Ritenbaugh wrote: “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. It is very specific” (Passover, Part 3).

Frank Nelte
Frank W. Nelte

After discussing the meaning of Exodus 12:6, Frank W. Nelte of South Africa, an ex-WCG minister, states: “The JPS translation of “between the two evenings” is AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT that dusk is bounded by “the two evening.” Frank emphasized further, “Now “dusk” is NEVER before sunset. Dusk is ALWAYS AFTER SUNSET!  It follows that dusk can ONLY refer to a period of time at the very start of a day. Therefore this instruction to kill the Passover “at dusk” could only be at the very start of the 14th day. The word “dusk” does not allow for any other possibility.”(The Meaning of ‘Between the two Evenings’)

As of this writing, a new “gender-sensitive version of the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) translation” is on promotion in their endeavour to adapt to the needs of the day. It’s a “largely gender-neutral God language” and a completely fresh translation of the Torah. This new translation will prove exceedingly useful not only for clergy and synagogue professionals, but also for anyone interested in Biblical learning, so they claimed.

The next challenge for Fred R. Coulter, John W. Ritenbaugh and Frank W. Nelte is to continue cutting off from the “bondage of Judaism” to attain their next level of spirituality.

~~~~~

~ by Joel Huan on February 23, 2021.

One Response to “A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (g)”

  1. […] Critique of Chapter Eleven (g) HERE ~ […]

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