A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (i)

A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (i)

Passover on the 14th or 15th?

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 is on the early or late fourteenth of Nisan. Quoted are Fred Coulter’s book, from an internet online version, which I presume, is his latest. Most of his quotes are in block form, in PINK and indented. The Scriptures, in RED, must be our primary focus and guide.

Image result for moses pics

Chapters 14 – 15

Ezra was a righteous scribe. He was also a righteous high priest. His priestly lineage could be traced all the way back to Aaron, the first high priest established under Moses (Ezra 7:1-5). Ezra returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile and 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. He was so righteous that he was regarded as the second Moses in the Voice Translation of Ezra 7:10 He was like Moses who tenaciously studied, practiced, and taught the Eternal’s law to Israel.

With the above in mind, we’ll continue with our critique:

WHAT IS THE TRUE MEANING OF DEUTERONOMY 16?

The advocates of a 15th Passover claim that the commands of God in Deuteronomy 16 support the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs.  On the surface, it appears that these commands required the sacrificing of the Passover at the temple, and that the Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were combined into one feast. This interpretation of Deuteronomy 16 is taught by Jewish and Christian scholars alike. As the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible states, “The section in Deut. 16:1-10 was interpreted as an attempt to abolish the private Passover celebrations…” (p. 668). 

Is this interpretation of Deuteronomy 16 correct?  Did God abolish the domestic Passover by commanding that the Passover sacrifice be offered at the temple?  If that is the meaning of God’s commands in Deuteronomy 16, then these commands are clearly contradicting His commands in Exodus 12, Numbers 9 and Leviticus 23 concerning the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (The Christian Passover, pg 159)

During the forty years of wandering in the desert, the children of Israel performed their sacrifices at the Sanctuary, but when the Temple was established God told King Solomon that He had chosen for Himself to move the place of sacrifice to Jerusalem. Hence a Temple-centered sacrifice in Jerusalem is a God-ordained command.

And just a reminder — The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, published by Abingdon Press from 2006 to 2009  — Its chief editor is feminist Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, a spinoff from the Reform Movement!

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. 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” (II Chronicles 7:11-12).

O templo do rei Salomão | Lições da Bíblia para crianças | Biblical art,  Jehovah, Bible art

And “this place” is in Jerusalem:

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

And continue in II Chronicles 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’S house.

3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever.”

4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.

5 And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep; so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.

That place chosen by God is Jerusalem as affirmed in II Chronicles 6:6, “I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there.” Only the stiff-necked think otherwise.

I King 9:3 And the Lord said unto him, “I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication that thou hast made before Me. I have hallowed this house which thou hast built, to put My name there forever; and Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually.

II Chronicles 7:12 And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night and said unto him: “I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place [Jerusalem] for Myself for a house of sacrifice.

I King 9:25 And three times in a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord, and he burned incense upon the altar that was before the Lord. So he finished the house.

Adam Clarke: Three times in a year did Solomon offer – These three times were: 1. The passover 2. The feast of pentecost 3. The feast of tabernacles.

Whedon’s Commentary on the Bible – Three times in a year — At the three great feasts required by the law of Moses. Exodus 23:14-16. The feast of unleavened bread, or the passover; the feast of harvest, or of weeks, (Exodus 34:22;) and the feast of ingathering, or of tabernacles. 

Undoubtedly this means at the three solemn great feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16) — the Passover (which is often used interchangeably with the Days of Unleavened Bread), Pentecost and Tabernacles. And Jerusalem is not only a house of sacrifices. It is also a house of prayers:

II Chronicles 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land or if I send pestilence among My people,14 if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

15 Now Mine eyes shall be open and Mine ears attentive unto the prayer that is made in this place.

16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there for ever; and Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually.

And many people, seeking the Lord God of Israel, setting their hearts right, went to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, any sacrifice, including the most important of all sacrifices, the Passover:

“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,” (II Chronicles 11:16).

Before Moses sacrifices could be made anywhere. But once the tabernacle was built, Moses received the command from the Lord God of Israel that sacrifices could only be brought to the “entrance of the tent of meeting” as instructed in Leviticus 17. And when the Temple was built in Jerusalem, God placed His name, eyes and heart there “forever” and “perpetually,” (I King 9:3).

Although Deuteronomy 16 contains instructions for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the two other holy days seasons, the fact that the word “Passover” appears in Verse 1 has caused great confusion in the minds of many Bible students and scholars. They are not aware that these verses were edited by Ezra long after the book of Deuteronomy was originally written, and that in Ezra’s time the entire eight-day observance of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was called “Passover.” When we understand that the term “Passover” was used for the Feast of Unleavened bread, the seeming discrepancy between Deuteronomy 16 and other Scriptural passages is eliminated. (Pg 165)

First of all, Ezra couldn’t have edited Deuteronomy 16 and yet remained one who “had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD,” (Ezra 7:10). He was so righteous that he was regarded as the second Moses, so how could he had obeyed the commandment: “not add to the Word that I tell you, and do not take away from it?” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

When we place all the jigsaw pieces together and they fix nicely, there isn’t any confusion. If the puzzle doesn’t fit, Fred Coulter’s understanding is obviously wrong, and so there is “great confusion.” The plain meaning of Deuteronomy 16 supports the theme that the amalgamation of the Passover with the Days of Unleavened Bread started way back during the Exodus. 

The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers were mainly the words of God to His subjects — to Adam, to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses — but in the book of Deuteronomy it was Moses speaking to the Israelites. Deuteronomy 1:1 saysThese are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness . . . 3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke unto the children of Israel according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them.”

Ezra Reading The Law To Jews Stock Illustration - Download Image Now -  iStock

So when Moses spoke, he spoke “according unto all that the Lord had given him.” He uses terms that were slightly different from what God spoke as expressed in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. In Deuteronomy Moses couldn’t be just repeating the same line, word for word, that God used before. Moses would sometimes clarify seemingly confusing issues, or to elucidate complex subjects as the wordings in Deuteronomy 16 show. 

Beside the fact that the Passover is a composite feast composed of an eight days festival, Scriptures show that it could be known by either of its names. Hence sometimes it is referred to as the Passover while other times as the Days of Unleavened Bread, as the following shows.

Deuteronomy 16:1 “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the Lord thy God; for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

Exodus 34:18 “The Feast of Unleavened Bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib thou camest out from Egypt.

Both verses claim it was during their time that they came out of Egypt! This couldn’t be possible if Passover is distinct from the Days of Unleavened Bread. The children of Israel knew this composite characteristic from the beginning all along. There is no confusion. If Moses had any doubt, he had full access to God at the Holy of Holies at the Sanctuary to ask and seek clarification. One example is found in Numbers 9 when some Israelites had came in contact with the dead, and thought they couldn’t keep the Passover. Moses said to them, “Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you” (verse 8). Moses had never been denied access to God to seek clarification on any issue or for any reason.

The book of Deuteronomy is composed entirely of the words of Moses, spoken from his heart to his people Israel. And since Moses was a righteous man, he spoke in a language that we can understand, yet it’s the Word of God. Years later Ezra used the same methodology for those who returned from the Exile and who had lost the Hebrew language, and who knew only the Aramaic language, and this same process gave birth to the Targum, another source of the Scriptures that we should refer from time to time. And the Targum says in Exodus 12: that the Passover was a late fourteenth and the eating was on the fifteenth: “And you shall eat the flesh on that night, the fifteenth of Nisan . . .” 

And this is confirmed by Deuteronomy 16:4, which commands us regarding the Passover Sacrifice: “and there shall not remain of the flesh [and bones] that you slaughter at evening on the first day until the morning.” “first day” of course, refers to the seven days of unleavened bread earlier in the same verse.

The Targum is a Ezra-inspired Scripture.

Nehemiah 8:8 So they read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly, and gave the sense and caused them to understand the reading.

Nehemiah 8:8 implied not only the reading of the Law, but also made interpretation of its Hebraic meaning — its translation and interpretation — were simplifies from Hebrew to Aramaic, so that the common people in the streets could understand, and this practice was broadened and spread to all the synagogues in Judea. Before long the Aramaic Targum was written, and today, translated — including some explanations — in the English language.

Let’s have another look at the original Passover, during the Exodus:

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).

7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses wherein they shall eat it.

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 Targum identified that night as the night of the fifteenth of Nisan).

Note in verse 8 that the Targum identified that night as “the night of the fifteenth.” Along with the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint, the Targum is also an important source of our Bible and ignoring it could only lead to our own paucity.

It was Ezra whose work gave rise to the Targum, translating the Hebrew Text to Aramaic so that the rank and file could understand. Ezra was a righteous priest and “a scribe skilled in the law.” Ezra 7:10 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. The Voice translated this same verse asHe (Ezra) was a second Moses, and tenaciously studied, practiced, and taught the Eternal’s law to Israel.”

Let’s have another look; let’s accept that the Pharisees sat on Moses’ seat as Christ instructed, instead of twisting the Scriptures for their own evil end and stigmatizing them:

The Death Angel Passes Over an Israelite Door Marked with the Blood of a  Lamb | ClipArt ETC

Exodus 12:6 says to keep the Passover, where the lamb was sacrificed at even — “after noon and until nightfall.” From verse 7 to 11, it is describing the night as the Passover, ending by saying “it is the Lord’S Passover.” So the Passover stretched into the Days of Unleavened Bread. The eating of unleavened bread also starts from the fourteenth of Nisan, at even (verse 18, ba-erev). 

Further, commenting on the beginning verse 8, “And they shall eat the flesh in that night,” the Targum translates this as the night of the fifteenth (of Nisan).

That same night was what the Lord (often deemed as the Death Angel) would do, to “execute judgment.” That night, when the Lord execute His judgment, was meant to be a memorial, and it was “a feast to the Lord.” The Targum says further, “And it was in the dividing of the night [idiom for midnight] of the fifteenth, that the Word of the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Mizraim (Egypt), from the firstborn son of Pharoh, who would have sat upon the throne of his kingdom, unto the firstborn sons of the kings who were captives in the dungeon as hostages under Pharoh’s hand.”

The subject was still the Passover — about how Passover was to be kept. What happened on the Passover night. And how we should be keeping Passover by having seven days of eating unleavened bread — observed Passover by eating unleavened bread for seven days. And this amalgamation is confirmed in the Mishnah:

What is the difference between the pesah [which was offered] in Egypt and the pesah of [subsequent] generations? The pesah in Egypt was taken on the tenth [of Nisan], And it required sprinkling with a bunch of hyssop on the lintel and on the two door-posts, And it was eaten in haste on one night, whereas the pesah of [subsequent] generations is kept the whole seven [days]. (Mishnah Pesachim 9) 

Only in verse 17 is the phrase “the Feast of Unleavened Bread” appears. And how should we keep it? The answer is found in verse 18; we are to keep it by eating unleavened bread from the fourteenth, at even. So the Days of Unleavened Bread starts a few hours before the fifteenth, overlapping with Passover which is also to start the fourteenth, at even. The Scriptures were a bit vague on casual reading, but on closer scrutiny, it is extremely clear. The two feasts, known by either name, are a composite, and this Exodus 12 account shows that the original distinction between the two feasts were well interweaved right from the start. 

Moses knew he would not be crossing the Jordan with the Israelites. So he took the opportunity to point the Israelites toward the Lord and impressed upon a new generation the importance of heeding His Commandments. For God it is His glory to conceal a mystery, sometimes to hide a truth and sometimes to hook out those having a contemptuous attitude. And Moses warned those found to be guilty of persisting with this contemptuous spirit, a serious charge, would be put to death: 

Deuteronomy 16:18 “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.

Deuteronomy 17:11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man who will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest who standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die.

Moses knew he would die soon and his understanding had been conveyed to the judges, the Levites and priests where the true interpretation of the law were taught. So in the book of Deuteronomy Moses spoke and explained unto all Israel “according unto all that the Lord had given him” as to how to keep them, the blessing they would have if they obey, or cursing if they disobey, in a language they could understand. Men may have good intentions, but may do things seen as presumptuously? What is presumptuous or presumptuously? 

Below are its synonyms: 

arrogant, bumptious, cavalier, chesty, haughty, high-and-mighty, high-handed, high-hat, huffish, huffy, imperious, important, lofty, lordly, masterful, overweening, peremptory, pompous, presuming, pretentious, self-asserting, self-assertive, sniffy, supercilious, superior, uppish, uppity

And those judgments have the force of law, and of God. In Deuteronomy 19:17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges. When we stand before a judge, we stand before God. “Then his master shall bring him unto the judges [H430 elohim]” (Exodus 21:6). In the Septuagint, it is translated as the judgment-seat of God. Elsewhere God says He is coming as a consuming fire. “For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24, 9:3, Hebrew 12:29). 

On another note, the word “pesach” has a few timeframes. Just like the word “yowm” could be a 24-hour day or a 12-hour day, both concepts are contained within such a verse like Genesis 1:5. But pesach could be any one of four timeframes:

(a) An approximately 6-hour period — “after noon and until nightfall” erev or ben ha arbayim, when the lamb was killed

(b) A one day 24-hours concept, as in Numbers 28:16 “‘And on the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord.

(c) A seven-day festival as in Exodus 12:4-15, Deuteronomy 16:1-8, and as in Ezekiel 45:21 where it is explicitly described, “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. 

(d) An 8-day period when the 7-days Days of Unleavened Bread is added to the 14th day Passover. The whole period is also known as the Passover. Another reason is given below: Back when the months of the Jewish calendar were determined by observations of the new moon, eyewitnesses would bring their testimony to the rabbinical court in Jerusalem, and the court would sanctify the new month based on this testimony. But faraway communities such as Babylonia couldn’t get the message in time, and didn’t know when the new month had begun, though they could narrow the possibilities to two days. So to play it safe, they observed another day, so Pesach were observed as an eight-day festival.

Deuteronomy 16 clarifies some earlier Scriptures as to how to keep the Passover:

(i) Passover was to be offered in the place which the Lord shall choose, not within any of their gates (Deuteronomy 16:2,5). It was no longer in their houses as was during the Exodus, hence a “domestic passover” for later observances is a misconception.

(ii) For purposes of the timing of the sacrifice of Pesach, the time is erev (Deuteronomy 16:6), the same time as ben ha arbayim (Exodus 12:6). Thus erev, for this purpose, is also “after noon and until nightfall” (Exodus 12:6).

(iii) Erev (Deuteronomy 16:6) is being defined as “at the going down of the sun.” It’s the first moment when the sun starts to go down when it passes its zenith. It is also the same time to start eating unleavened bread (Exodus 12:18). So the eating of unleavened bread started earlier than eating Pesach by some 6 or more hours.

(iv) God specifies that three times a year all males should appear before Him in the place which He shall choose, which were later identified by God to be in Jerusalem (II Chronicles 6:6): in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16, which clarifies Exodus 23:14,17; 34:23).

We should study the Scriptures in great detail and scrutinise microscopically what it actually says, not presuming what we thought it says. Start eating unleavened bread from the fourteenth onward, at even, baerev, don’t wait until the fifteenth: “Thou shalt not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread” reaffirms Exodus 23:18.

The originator of the idea that these feasts as distinct originated from the Samaritans and then penetrated the Sadducees, who died out during the AD 70 inferno, but resurfaced during the ninth and tenth century by the Karaites. And since the last two centuries, this Samaritan idea had been promoted by the Jewish Reform Movement, and since then by the Worldwide Church of God and its splinters: the CoG Communities. “You shall know them by their fruits” Matthew 7:16. And they all bear the same Samaritan fruits.

And just as a reminder of what Fred Coulter wrote so truthfully of himself and his comrade in the CoG Communities back to Chapter One: 

“False doctrines and misinterpretations are continually being spread because ministers and teachers use the Word of God deceitfully. How diabolical it is to take the Word of God, which is the truth, and misapply it to create a lie!” (Pg 13)

So true, for it was well prophesied way ahead when God looked down from heaven and said in Hosea 11:12: “Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit.” 

~~15~~

In this chapter, we will examine the historical circumstances that led to the modifications that Ezra made in Deuteronomy 16. These same circumstances led Ezra to institute a “new Passover law,” which officially centralized the Passover at Jerusalem. As in the days of Hezekiah and Josiah, this action was an emergency measure in response to a national crisis. The true worship of God in Jerusalem was being threatened by a Samaritan conspiracy, and the Scriptures—particularly the books of the Law—were in danger of being corrupted. (The Christian Passover, pg 174)

Ezra Reading the Law to the Jews', 1890. Ezra, a scribe and High... News  Photo - Getty Images

Ezra would have sinned if he had instituted a “new Passover law.” The Scriptures says Ezra was a righteous scribe and a righteous high priest. After returning to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile, he 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. He was so righteous that he was regarded as the second Moses, but Fred Coulter finds it appropriate to demonise a righteous man of God, sugarcoating his statements but actually vilifying him by accusing him of forging the Scriptures.

To preserve the true worship of God, Ezra used his authority as priest and religious leader of the Jews to edit and canonize the Old Testament Scriptures.  As part of his work in preserving the Book of the Law, known today as the Pentateuch, Ezra edited Deuteronomy 16 in order to make the text more understandable to the Jews of his day.  Since they referred to the Feast of Unleavened Bread as “Passover,” Ezra edited the commands in Deuteronomy 16 to fit this later terminology.  The offerings for the seven days of unleavened bread are referred to as “passover-offerings” because the Feast of Unleavened Bread was called “Passover.” (Pg 174)

While Ezra was responsible for centralizing the Passover, it is important to remember that his action was intended to protect the true worship of God. He was not acting in opposition to God’s ordinances and therefore was NOT ACTING AGAINST THE AUTHORITY OF GOD. (Pg 177)

Why such doublespeak above? Or a gobbledygook? A doublespeak is a language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. If centralizing the Passover in Jerusalem is not against God, then it is for God. Why so much ambiguity in his language to distort his true message?

A gobbledygook is usually used as either a substitute for a speaker’s lack of knowledge or confusion about a subject. If forging the Scriptures is “NOT ACTING AGAINST THE AUTHORITY OF GOD” then what is it? 

This is not only lying but playing with various forms of deceits, a prime example of Ephraim’s character:

“Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit;” (Hosea 11:12).

Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Lord and to teach in Israel His laws, statutes and judgments. He was so highly regarded that he was appraised as the second Moses.

To this day, the members of this Samaritan religion keep their Passover at the beginning of the 14th, in the same manner as their ancestors. The fact that this Jewish/Samaritan sect has always observed a domestic Passover indicates that the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs was not the practice in Jerusalem when their religion was founded. The following description of their Passover confirms that it has not changed from the original domestic observance: (Pg 182)

No, they don’t. The Samaritans kept their passovers outdoors at Mount Gerizim, just as the Sun was about to set and their celebration went into the night under the light of the moon, near today’s city of Nablus in the West Bank. This mountain isn’t at their homes, so to say it’s a “domestic Passover” is another lie. 

Passover: The Annual Israelite Samaritan Sacrifice and Festival

But yes, the Samaritans kept their passover at the beginning of the fourteenth, and through Tobiah, the Ammonite, this belief penetrated the Jewish community through a sect later known as the Sadducees, accompanied by their close comrade, the Boethusians, who both died out during the AD 70 inferno, but this belief resurfaced in the ninth and tenth century with the birth of a Jewish sect known as the Karaites. 

And since the last two centuries, this idea of an early fourteenth passover was regenerated by the Jewish Reform Movement and modern Protestants (A.T. Olmstead, including Ernst Würthwein both works Fred relied heavily from) springing forth as experts many from Jewish background. And then at the tail end by the Worldwide Church of God and today its Laodicean splinters: the Church of God Communities who are described as blind, wretched and naked. “You shall know them by their fruits.” And they all bear the same fruits of whom the CoG Communities today follows exactly in the same manner like their forebears. 

“They, therefore, observe Pesach exactly as it was observed two or three thousand years ago [emphasis added]….Modern historical research has proved that the Samaritans are not descendants of the heathen colonists settled in the northern kingdom by the conquerors of Samaria, as was once assumed….Actually the Samaritans of today are a small and poor remnant of an old and great Jewish sect….The only religious books that they possess, however, are the Pentateuch and Joshua….these two hundred [remnant] Samaritans observe Pesach to this day on Mount Gerizim, in a manner that other Jews ceased practising thousands of years ago. The custom of offering sacrifices has died out with the Samaritans, except on the fourteenth day of Nisan, when they offer the ceremonial Pesach sacrifice” (Schluss, The Jewish Festivals, pp. 60-61). (Pg 182)

Another book published by Schocken, a spinoff of the Reform Movement, author Hayyim Schluss would like us to think that the Samaritans are “not descendants of the heathen colonists” but “a small and poor remnant of an old and great Jewish sect.” But the Scriptures give a different view, that the new settlers weren’t a Jewish sect but pagans from various regions of Babylonia when the Assyrians captured their land and redistributed its captives throughout the Assyrian empire. The background of the arrival of the Samaritans to live in Samaria is recorded in the Scriptures for our enlightenment, hence there is no need to seek guidance from Schluss’ heresy. 

How Ukrainian women saved the Samaritans of Mount Gerizim | Palestinian  territories | The Guardian

And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hands of despoilers until He had cast them out of His sight. 21 For He rent Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. 22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them, 23 until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. 24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria and dwelt in the cities thereof (II Kings 17:20-24).

The newly arrived Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, Manasseh and the other Lost Tribes where most of today’s Church of God communities come from. The capital of the country was Samaria, then a large and splendid city. When the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Assyria, the king of Assyria sent people from Cutha, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim to inhabit Samaria (II Kings 17:24). So for simplicity sake, Jews assert that the Samaritans are “Cutheans.”

In order to preserve the true worship of God, it was essential to differentiate the Scriptures of the Jerusalem Jews from the Scriptures of the Jewish/Samaritan religion. The first step was to set the Scriptures in order and canonize each book as the authentic Word of God. When this work was completed, accurate copies of the entire text had to be made and distributed to Jewish synagogues throughout the empire. Once canonized, the Word of God could be preserved for all time. (Pg 183)

As part of the canonization of the Scriptures, Ezra also edited the books which became the Old Testament. This editing included the substitution of current terminology for ancient names that were no longer in use. (Pg 184)

Ezra edited Deuteronomy 16 from the then old Samaritan version, so Fred Coulter alleged, as the Samaritan version must be the authentic version. Quoting his own work, “The Original Bible Restored,” he says, “Although a few alterations were made in the text of the Old Testament after its canonization, there is no question that Ezra was the one who compiled the books, edited them and canonized them.” But of course, Fred was mainly referring to Ezra’s forging of Deuteronomy 16 (mainly verses 1-8). 

“Whatever I command you, observe to do it. Thou shalt not add thereto nor diminish from it (Deuteronomy 12:32). Forging the Bible is a serious charge, risking eternal life (Revelation 22:18-19). But on the other hand, if Ezra isn’t guilty of forging, then his accusers would be in danger of death.

Fred Coulter’s charge isn’t alone. He has a few comrades who share his view. 

From Frank W. Nelte, referring to Deuteronomy 16:1, 2, 4, 5, 6

These verses give the impression that the Passover is being spoken about. But the word “Passover” was deviously inserted into these verses by some dishonest scribe. The motivation for these devious changes was to justify the Jewish custom of referring to the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread as “Passover”.

The evidence for the fraudulent changes in this section of Scripture is not found in preserved manuscripts but in the pages of the Bible itself. We are dealing with a passage that is absolutely vital to upholding a Jewish belief, which belief is clearly unbiblical according to all the other Scriptures in the entire Old Testament. And these fraudulent changes have been accepted in every preserved manuscript, because they endorse a specific Jewish custom.

In addition, there is also a mistranslation in verse 6.

The only evidence for these alterations consists of exposing incompatible, contradictory and illogical statements in the changed text, when compared to other biblical passages. The person who altered this text overlooked some things which expose his fraudulent tampering.

Here are the changes that were made:

In these verses some scribe REMOVED the expression “the Feast of Unleavened Bread” from verse 1, and then REPLACED IT with the word “Passover”. In addition, this scribe also simply INSERTED the word “Passover” into the text of verses 2, 5 and 6 (SOME SCRIBES CHANGE THE TEXT OF DEUTERONOMY 16:1-6).

From John W. Ritenbaugh:

Guess Who’s the Top Dog?

In the context of Deuteronomy 16, the word “Passover” is beginning  to look clearly out of place. As we continue to look further, we are going to see that verses 1-8 have nothing to do at all with instructions for the Passover lamb, but rather for Unleavened Bread, and specifically the Night To Be Much Observed, which is of course the first night after the Passover, not the same night as the Passover.

How did the name “Passover” get in there? God certainly did not inspire it to be in there. It had to have been edited into Deuteronomy 16 at a much later time (when the entire eight days of the spring festival were commonly called Passover) than from when it was originally written. You will see this very clearly in the New Testament that the entire spring feast was commonly called Passover by the Jews. Somebody, in copying, must have deliberately removed the name “Unleavened Bread” and placed the name “Passover” into Deuteronomy 16 in order to give support to a 15th Passover—to a Temple-centered 15th Passover (Passover transcript, Part 9). 

“Why were these particular Scriptures chosen as the ones to be edited? It was very likely because Deuteronomy 16 does not contain any numbered dates—for example, “Passover is on the 14th, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th.” Because of the lack of numbers, the text in Deuteronomy 16 could be edited and changed to give the appearance of a 15th Passover. But if the texts of Exodus 12, Numbers 9, and Leviticus 23 would be altered, somebody would have to alter the numbers, and that would result in very dramatic editing. That was unthinkable, and it would have been very obvious, too, that the Scriptures had been tampered with.”

“Who would have the authority to make such a change from Unleavened Bread to Passover in Deuteronomy 16? The finger of history points to someone during or after the time of Ezra. Ezra came along in the period roughly between 530 BC and about 515 BC. When Ezra came on the scene, the Jews, who had just come out of captivity, were again starting down the same path that originally took them into captivity” (Passover transcript, Part 10).

Tampering and forging God’s Word are serious charges, whose penalty is death (Revelation 22:18-19):

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book,” Revelation 22:18-19. 

Zechariah 11:8 is one of the most intriguing verse in the Scriptures. It says, Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them and their soul also abhorred me.Who are these three shepherds? Could they be Fred Coulter, Frank Nelte and John Ritenbaugh?

My nerves stand on end when I think about this. I hope it isn’t, of course.

~~~~~

~ by Joel Huan on February 28, 2021.

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

  1. […] Critique of Chapter Fourteen and Fifteen (i) HERE  ~ —— […]

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