A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (j)

A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (j)

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 lamb was killed on the early or late 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. The Scriptures, in RED, must be our primary focus and guide.

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Chapters 16 – 17

Chapter 16 from Fred Coulter’s The Christian Passover starts with the issue of how Deuteronomy 16 was different from other text, that Passover and Unleavened Bread should be distinct and separate, not a composite festival. And that Deuteronomy 16 was edited by Ezra to make it as if it were a composite festival, confusing students and scholars by calling the festival by using either name.

The followings are from Chapter 14 of The Christian Passover, so it’s a bit of flashback:

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. (The Christian Passover, pg 159)

Why do the commands in Deuteronomy 16 appear to be in conflict with all other commands of God for keeping the Passover? (Pg 159)

Why does Deuteronomy 16:1 use the term “Passover” in the context of commemorating the Exodus? What is the reason for this apparent discrepancy between Deuteronomy 16:1 and other Scriptural references to leaving Egypt in the month Abib? (Pg 164)

Remember, the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers were mainly the words of God to His subjects — to Adam, Abraham, Jacob, on to Moses — but in Deuteronomy it was Moses speaking to the Israelites. Moses uses words and terms different from God’s so that the people could understand in a language the Israelites could understand. The introduction to Deuteronomy says:

“These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness . . . ” (Deuteronomy 1:1)

Yes, Moses combined Passover and Unleavened Bread into one festival as the two festivals were used interchangeably in this book of Deuteronomy. Moses wasn’t writing anything in conflict with the Words of God — surely he won’t dare to — he was making sure in clearer language so that the Israelites didn’t miss this amalgamated character of the feast. This character was already inherent in the original Exodus but Moses combined these two feasts explicitly here to ensure that those with a thicker head can also catch up.

One heading and its explanation in chapter 16 of The Christian Passover:

The Exiles Could Not Keep the Passover

Moreover, during the entire seventy-year captivity, the Passover could not be kept. The word of God makes it absolutely clear that when the people were not in the land of Israel, they could not keep the Passover on the 14th day of the first month. Notice the instructions that God gave to Moses when the children of Israel were in the wilderness: “And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month between the two evenings [ben ha arbayim] in the wilderness of Sinai. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, the children of Israel did. (Pg 202)

If the Passover was home-centered – a “domestic passover” – the Jews shouldn’t have any inhibition about keeping the Passover in Babylon, as were in Egypt and in the Sinai wilderness, but Fred Coulter says, “The word of God makes it absolutely clear that when the people were not in the land of Israel, they could not keep the Passover.”

Why didn’t he provide any Scriptures to back up his claim? Actually the Scriptures say the opposite. Goshen wasn’t in Israel, neither the Sinai Desert in Israel while wandering in the wilderness for the next forty years, yet they kept the Passover. Are his devotees still sleeping? Why such wretched writing and none of his devotees are thinking?

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In fact the Scripture in Leviticus 17 commands that in any sacrifice to the Lord  the blood must be brought to the tabernacle or later, the temple. In verse 8, it says, “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 (h2077 zebach), 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. 

A Passover is a sacrifice. Its blood must be brought to the tabernacle before the Lord. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar, at the door of the tabernacle. IT WAS THIS INABILITY TO BRING THE BLOOD TO THE ALTAR THAT DURING THE SEVENTY YEARS OF CAPTIVITY THE EXILES COULD NOT KEEP THE PASSOVER!

Below are further quotes from Fred Coulter:

That the Jews in exile could not observe the Passover is acknowledged by the Karaite Jews and recorded by Samuel Al-Magribi in 1484: “Today, however, by reason of our many sins, we are scattered over the four corners of the earth, we are dispersed in the lands of the Gentiles, we are soiled with their ritual uncleanness and unable to reach the House of the Lord, and our status is equivalent to that of persons ritually unclean or traveling far away. That is why this ordinance of the Passover sacrifice no longer applies to us, and the reason for this is our fathers’ exceeding disobedience to God and our own following in their sinful footsteps” (Nemoy, Karaite Anthology, p. 206) (Pg 203)

That the Jews were “unable to reach the House of the Lord” was because the Temple wasn’t in Babylon where the captives lived. This quote above confirms that the Karaites understand that Passover couldn’t be kept other than at the Temple.

But who are the Karaites? 

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Anan ben David (715 – 795 or 811) is widely considered to be the founder of the Karaite movement, hence his followers were initially called Ananites; but now they are largely known as the Karaites. These Karaites challenge the Rabbanite establishment as they do not believe the rabbinical oral law is divinely inspired. Thus when interpreting the Torah, Karaites strive to adhere to the plain or literal meaning of the text; much like the Sadducees. Hence Abraham Geiger, a 19th-century German scholar who founded Reform Judaism, posited a connection between the Karaites and the Sadducees, simply because many of their beliefs are similar. 

When the Jews were in exile during the Babylonian captivity, they could not keep the Passover. This prohibition led to the replacement of the Passover with the Seder meal on the 15th day of the first month, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. To make their false substitute appear Scriptural, the Jews changed the name of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread to “Passover.” By changing the name of this feast, the Seder meal on the night of the 15th became the “Passover” for those who were living in exile. (Pg 203)

Typical of Fred’s writing, he doesn’t provide any evidence why this “prohibition led to the replacement of the Passover with the Seder meal” during the Babylonian captivity. He could just whip up something from nothing. Magic. A touch of Simon Magus again. On closer scrutiny, he contradicts himself later in Chapter Nineteen, saying:

“The Seder meal was adopted by the Pharisaic Jews after the destruction of the temple in AD 70,” (Pg 242).

Second, the terms “Passover” and the “Days of Unleavened Bread” had been established as a composite Festival right during the Exodus as was proven in the last few critiques.

“And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity kept the dedication of this house of God with joy….And the children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. The priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them pure. And they killed the Passover lamb for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. And the children of Israel ate the Passover lamb, all who had come again out of exile, and all such as had separated themselves to them from the uncleanness of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful…” (Ezra 6:15-16, 19-22). (Pg 204)

During the original Exodus, the Passover was killed in the evening by “the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel” but once the Levitical priesthood was established, most of the ordinances were carried out by the Levites and priests. And given that Ezra was a righteous scribe, what he did was righteous in the sight of God: “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” Ezra 7:10:

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And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.19 And the children of the captivity kept the Passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together; all of them were pure, and killed the Passover lamb for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves, (Ezra 6:18-20).

The Talmud has listed 613 mitzvot from the Torah but there is no command that the Passover should ONLY be killed by members of the congregation of Israel or by the Levites and priests. That isn’t an issue. The important criteria is that the Levites and priests must be clean and the Passover lamb must be killed on the fourteenth of the first month at even (ben ha arbayim, Exodus 12:6). 

The priests and Levites did as they “were purified together; all of them were pure,” on behalf of the returning Exiles who had returned to Jerusalem. If Ezra wasn’t a righteous scribe, he wouldn’t “seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Fred Coulter is a false accuser, along with Frank Nelte and John Ritenbaugh. Instead of upholding the Scriptures and Ezra as a man of God, these accusers are demeaning Ezra and the Scriptures.

The Scriptures quoted above (Ezra 6:19-20) reaffirm the followings about keeping the Passover:

(1) the divisions and duties of both priests and Levites were reestablished at the Temple, “as it is written in the Book of Moses” (Ezra 6:18). The Sanctuary in JERUSALEM was reinstituted. There is no such a thing about a “domestic” passover.

(2) the priests and Levites “killed the Passover lamb for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.” — contrary to what Fred hopes for, the common people didn’t do the killing, the priests and Levites did in this instance.

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When God gave unto Moses the law in Mount Sinai, He also gave the interpretation of the law, commanding Moses to put the former into writing, but to deliver the later only by word of mouth, to be preserved only in memories and be transmitted down from generation to generation orally; and from hence the former is called the Written Law and the latter the Oral Law. Sometimes later the Prophets came along and added more light on certain Laws. Ezekiel 45:21 and Ezra 6 are examples of further enlightenments.

As the account in the book of Ezra shows, the Levites themselves killed the Passover lambs at this observance.  This was not a purely domestic observance, as was the Passover that the children of Israel observed in Egypt, and in the wilderness, and in their early years in the Promised Land. This Passover—the first recorded observance by the returned exiles—was centered at the newly dedicated temple and was kept according to the new Passover law that Ezra had instituted.  Ezra’s new law was enacted primarily because of the apostate Jewish temples in Samaria and Elephantine, where unauthorized sacrifices were being made.  The new Passover law enforced the Scriptural teaching that Jerusalem was the only city where God had placed His name and that the altar at the temple in Jerusalem was the only authorized place to offer sacrifices to God.  Since the Jews of Ezra’s day were accustomed to observing a temple-centered Passover, those who lived near the apostate temples in Samaria and Elephantine would naturally have been tempted to observe the Passover at these sites.  The majority of the Jews still lived in exile, and less than 60,000 lived in Judea.  By restricting all Passover observance to the area of Jerusalem, Ezra hoped to prevent the exiles from falling prey to the counterfeit religions that were competing with the true worship of God at the temple in Jerusalem. (Pg 204-205)

Regardless of whether other temples had been established in Samaria or Elephantine, God’s law was instituted that the Passover sacrifice had to be done at the Tabernacle or in Jerusalem. Once King Solomon had finished building the Temple in Jerusalem, 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). What happened in Mount Gerizim or Elephantine had no consequence with what God had intended for those who would come to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices. Fred Coulter is continuing with his distortion.

And “this place” that God had intended is in Jerusalem:

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

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And continue in other Scriptures:

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.

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. — That house chosen by God is in Jerusalem: “I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there,” II Chronicles 6:6, 

God had His plan all worked out early. And those Scriptures quotes above are testimonies to the truth that Jerusalem is the ONLY place to offer sacrifices. Again we should refer to what Fred Coulter wrote back in Chapter One: “Anyone who twists and distorts the Scriptures is “using the law unlawfully,” and will end up believing false, satanic doctrines,” (pg 13). Only the blind couldn’t see this. And not only blind, but they are also described as wretched and naked.

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It takes blood to cover sin. Blood represents life. 

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). 

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Only the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, can pay for the sins of all mankind. Then why wasn’t His blood acknowledged to be sprinkled at the alter? Why were all the other sacrificial blood offered at the alter, but not that of the Lamb of God. The blood of all the other sacrifices could never pay for the sins of anyone, yet they were offered and sprinkled at the alter. But not that of the Lamb of God?

Fred Coulter’s quotation from the Reform Movement “authority” continues:

Hellenism was introduced by the Greeks in the days of Alexander the Great. The Greeks actively promoted their Hellenistic beliefs in the lands that they dominated. The spread of Hellenism among the Jews was curbed for a time by the influence of Simon the Just, who was high priest in the last years of the Great Assembly. As the last of the Sopherim—the great teachers of the law—Simon was held in high esteem by all Jews. With his death, the rule of 206 the Great Assembly came to a close, and Hellenism became the dominant influence in the lives of the people. Its impact on the Jewish community led to major changes in the teachings of the religious leaders. (Pg 205)

Dr. Lauterbach, a Jewish historian, describes the changes that occurred during this period: “Thus we see that after the death of Simon the Just, the conditions of the community and as a result thereof the activities of the teachers differed greatly from those that obtained in the times of the Soferim [the teachers of the Great Assembly]” (Rabbinic Essays, p. 200). (Pg 206)

Jacob Zallel Lauterbach (1873–1942) was an American Judaica scholar and author who served on the faculty of Hebrew Union College and composed responsa (written decisions and rulings) for the Reform Movement in America. His work, Rabbinic Essays, drew heavily from Abraham Geiger (1810 – 23 October 1874), known as the Father of the Reform Movement. And his other Works include contributing many articles to The Jewish Encyclopedia, another spinoff from the Reform Movement. 

The Movement sought a more coherent ideological framework to justify innovations in the liturgy and religious practice. Originated in Germany, one characteristic of their progressive revelation that started the ball rolling was the institution of a “Second Sabbath” on Sunday, modeled on the Second Passover, as jobs were hard to come by and so they started crafting a way out.

The Reform Movement claims 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 (meaning the Mishnah and the Talmud) were obsolete.

Today, Reform Judaism has two major 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.”

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

The book of Ezra records the first Passover to be observed after the dedication of the second temple. Although the Passover was centered at the temple, the lambs were slain at the beginning of the 14th and were eaten on the night of the 14th (Ezra 6:19-21). 

It is important to understand that Ezra’s decree did not change the time for killing the Passover lambs. His Passover law did not in any way alter or contradict the Passover ordinances of God, as recorded in Scripture. The measures that Ezra enforced were aimed at protecting the true worship of God and upholding His laws—not changing or replacing them. His restriction of the Passover to the area of Jerusalem promoted a temple centered observance, but it did not replace or prohibit the domestic killing of the Passover within that area. (Pg 206)

A cluster of truths and lies. Although it’s correct to say the returned exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth and centered at the Temple, nothing in Ezra 6:19-21 was said the time the lamb was slain was “at the beginning of the fourteenth and were eaten on the night of the 14th.” If Fred wants to say that the lambs were slain at the beginning of the fourteenth, that’s okay, at least we know Fred says it, but to quote Ezra as saying it, it’s lying about his writing. That’s a sign of desperation. 

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And this lie continues, sugarcoating about Ezra “upholding His laws” and yet “it did not replace or prohibit the domestic killing of the Passover within that area.” These continuous lyings are a presumptuous way of ascertaining “truth” — a deceitful way.

Although the temple sacrifice in the afternoon of the 14th became a widespread tradition, it did not wholly replace the domestic sacrifice of the lambs at the beginning of the 14th.

It is important to understand that Ezra’s decree did not change the time for killing the Passover lambs. His Passover law did not in any way alter or contradict the Passover ordinances of God, as recorded in Scripture. The measures that Ezra enforced were aimed at protecting the true worship of God and upholding His laws—not changing or replacing them. His restriction of the Passover to the area of Jerusalem promoted a temple centered observance, but it did not replace or prohibit the domestic killing of the Passover within that area. (Pg 206)

There is so much double-talk above. And just in case: “double-talk” is “a language that appears to be earnest and meaningful but in fact is a mixture of sense and nonsense.” If the law and ordinances for a “domestic Passover” were still in force, then changing it to a temple-centered observance would be a violation, a sin, nor matter what the intention was. Second, if the law and ordinances were for the lamb to be slain at the beginning of the fourteenth, then moving it to the late fourteenth would also be another sin. The presentation is “a mixture of sense and nonsense.” 

Ezra was accredited with the beginning of the synagogues, where after the Babylonian captivity, the men of the Great Assembly formalized and standardized the language of the Jewish prayers and worship. 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. We must be reminded that Ezra was a righteous scribe and a righteous high priest, one who “tenaciously studied, practiced, and taught the Eternal’s law to Israel” that he was regarded as the second Moses.

After the return of the Exile, the Jews were back in Jerusalem and the law was explained to the returning Exiles in the Aramaic language where they could understand that were originally written in Hebrew. Since most of the people, after 70 years of Exile, had lost the knowledge of the ancient Hebrew to such a degree that they need the Word of God, not only translated, but explained in the vernacular. 

And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. . . . 7  . . . .and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law; and the people stood in their place. 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 8:6-8)

In order to give “the sense and caused them to understand the reading,” they need to understand the Scriptures in Aramaic, hence this gave rise to the origin of the Targum version of our modern Bible.

And the Targum says of the original Passover in Exodus 12:6-8 “And it (the lamb) shall be bound and reserved for you until the fourteenth day of this month, that you may not know the fear of the Mizraee (Egyptians) when they see it; and ye shall kill him according to the rite of all to congregation of the assembly of Israel, between the suns. And you shall take of the blood and set it upon the two posts and upon the upper board outside of the houses in which you eat and sleep. And you shall eat the flesh on that night, the fifteenth of Nisan.”

It is clear and simple. The Targum says the instruction was to eat the flesh of the lamb on 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.

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Josephus states that 256,500 lambs were killed for the Passover that year. To kill 256,500 Passover lambs at the temple, 85,500 lambs would have to be slain in each of the three courses.  But the size of the sacrificial area limited the number of lambs in each course to less than 6,500.  The number of lambs that Josephus records is thirteen times the maximum number that could have been killed in the three courses.

WE CAN CONCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: Far more lambs were sacrificed for the Passover than could possibly have been slain at the temple during the allotted courses. The only logical explanation is that most of the lambs were not slain at the temple! (Pg 219)

The Scriptures have provided such a scenario of people making sacrifices in Jerusalem, “inside or outside the camp,” at or beyond the Temple courtyard, so long as the blood from the sacrificial animals were collected and splinked by a priest on the altar, on pain of death. In Leviticus 17 it 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. The critical performance of a sacrifice, including the Passover sacrifice, is that “the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle” (verse 6).

So the 256,500 lambs mentioned by Josephus need not be sacrificed within the Temple courtyard. In fact, most of them could be sacrificed outside, but not too far, least during the trip to the altar in front of the Temple the blood collected in their bowls could set down, and they might coagulate before a priest could sprinkle the blood upon the altar before the Lord. So there is absolutely no doubt about the accuracy of Josephus’ testimony.

Second, the slaughtering of the Passover lamb needed not be done by a Levite or a priest. Any layman (hence the phrase “the whole congregation of Israel” – usually head of household – were allowed to kill the Passover lamb, provided they were ceremonially clean, otherwise the Levites or priests might have to do it for them (II Chronicles 30:1).

The whole assembly could kill their lamb, and most would have done so beyond the Temple courtyard, “without waiting for the priests” to kill for them as testified by Philo (Special Laws, II, XXVII). The requirements were that the ones who did the killing must have to be circumcised and be ceremonially clean. Second and most important, the blood must be taken to the Temple courtyard and only a priest could sprinkle upon the altar as commanded in 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, (Leviticus 17:1-4).

Any person offering a sacrifice inside or outside the Temple precinct but its blood not carried to the Temple be offered at the altar before the Lord risked being “cut off from among his people” (Leviticus 17:3-4); that man “is liable to the death penalty” (Rashi). It’s a serious charge, hence the Passover sacrifice couldn’t be practised in Galilee nor in Babylon but near Jerusalem. “Blood shall be reckoned to that man; he hath shed blood, and that man shall be destroyed from his people” (Targum).

If the symbolism is to be carried over to the New Testament period, Jesus Christ didn’t die within the Temple Courtyard, but outside, even outside the city walls — “outside the camp” — outside the Walls of Jerusalem. What an amazing parallel!

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For the rest of chapter 17, Fred Coulter went to quote or but more often misquote from many non-biblical sources. From experiences cited in previous critiques, his misquoting is obvious, blatant and a constant irritant that it’s not worth following him to — Dr. Lauterbach, John G. Wilkinson, Solomon Zeitlin, Philo, Josephus, Joachim Jeremias, Alfred Edersheim, etc. Besides, he is so spiteful of the Rabbinic interpretation that everything he quoted had to be twisted to suit his preconceived notion of an early fourteenth passover. 

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We will, instead, go back to a critical point about Deuteronomy 16 being edited or forged. Fred Coulter, Frank Nelte and John Ritenbaugh have all colluded that the text, especially chapter 16:1-8 have been forged. They all meant it in the maligning sense, of course, their minds are vented on attacking a holy man of God, Ezra. 

So back to chapter 15. There were lots of more to say in this chapter:

Under Sanballat’s jurisdiction, a temple was built on Mount Gerizim, which was originally the Mount of Blessing for the children of Israel (Deut. 27:12). Now Samaria had a temple similar to the one in Jerusalem. Manasseh, a descendant of Aaron, was a high priest, and he had a whole corps of Levites as assistant priests. They were setting up a “Moses-like religion” that would compete with the true worship of God. For their Scriptural authority, they claimed and used the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, called the Torah. (See Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chapters 7 and 8.) They offered the commanded sacrifices, observed the Sabbath, festivals and holy days, and fulfilled all the requirements of the Torah—with the exception of the law against intermarriage. Because they had their own temple and their own priesthood, they did not have to comply with the law against intermarriage. They were now under Sanballat’s jurisdiction, where they were safe from any interference by Ezra and Nehemiah. Through their counterfeit religion, they could begin to influence Jews everywhere in the empire.

What an alarming turn of events! What an absolute disaster this could bring! Only sixty miles north of Jerusalem was a competing religion, a new Jewish/Samaritan religion, with authentic copies of the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible. Because the founders of this religion had rebelled against the law of God, it was obvious that they did not respect His Word. They would not hesitate to alter the text to suit their own purposes. The Scriptures were in great danger of being corrupted. (Pg 181)

The narrative above is already self-contradictory – if they had “offered the commanded sacrifices, observed the Sabbath, festivals and holy days, and fulfilled all the requirements of the Torah” how could this same religion be a “counterfeit religion”?

Second, if Ezra had forged the Scriptures, a comparison would show the difference with the Samaritans’ version: “with authentic copies of the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible.” The Samaritan religion was established earlier, but close and north of Jerusalem, around 720 BC. Since they have their original Samaritan version, “authentic copies” as Fred Coulter put it, any editing by Ezra, will show the difference.

Shortly after the northern Exile, in II Kings 17:

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.

25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there that they feared not the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which slew some of them.

26 Therefore they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations which thou hast removed and placed in the cities of Samaria know not the manner of the God of the land; therefore He hath sent lions among them, and behold, they slay them because they know not the manner of the God of the land.”

27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, “Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.”

28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the Lord.

29 However every nation made gods of their own and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.

32 So they feared the Lord, and made unto themselves from the lowest of them priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.

So “one of the priests whom ye brought from thence,” (verse 27) had been brought from among the northern Exile to teach the new settlers. It is with certainty he had some scrolls of the Torah with him, otherwise how could he teach the new settlers? By the time Ezra arrived, (around 440-480 BC), the Samaritan religion would have been around for about 250 years. 

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But for both versions — Deuteronomy 16:1-8 — evidence shows otherwise especially the Passover in verse 2: “of the flock and the herd” are exactly the same. And second, the usage of Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread are similarly used interchangeably in both versions. Hence this proves conclusively that there were no editings and the composite characteristics of the festivals were established by Moses himself.

Deuteronomy 16 (KJ21)

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.

2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the Passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place His name there.

3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste, that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.

4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy borders seven days, neither shall there anything of the flesh, which thou sacrificed the first day at evening, remain all night until the morning.

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.

7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, and thou shalt turn in the morning and go unto thy tents.

8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord thy God. Thou shalt do no work therein.

The Samaritan Pentateuch (translated by Aleksandr Sigalov)

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. 2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD God of you shall choose to place his name there. 3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. 4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day between the even, remain all night until the morning. 5 And thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents. 8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a celebration to the LORD thy God: thou shalt not do any work of service therein

Even though the Samaritans consider the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as two distinct festivals, their Pentateuch remains much the same as the Masoretic Text in Deuteronomy 16:1-8. The difference, if any, is no more than the difference between the KJ21 and the NKJV, or between the KJV and the RSV.

Image result for Three wolves pics

Fred Coulter, Frank Nelte and John Ritenbaugh — these are Liars and Blind Guides! Three wolves who had subjected themselves to lyings and deceits and come to believe in their own mischieves. They came to study the Bible with a preconceived notion that the Passover is at the start of the fourteenth. So when other Scriptures don’t fit into their preconceived notion, they attacked the Scriptures; attack King Hezekiah, attack King Josiah, where both conducted a centralised Feast of Tabernacle and Passover in Jerusalem; attack the people behind the Scriptures, singling out Ezra who is a righteous scribe as the main culprit in forging Deuteronomy 16:1-8. Is there any wonder for us to wonder if the Sovereign God deems these Samaritan-influenced apostates as the three shepherds whom He hates?

~~~~~

~ by Joel Huan on March 4, 2021.

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

  1. […] Critique of Chapter Sixteen and Seventeen (j) HERE  ~ […]

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