A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (k)

A Critique of Fred Coulter’s Passover (k)

Passover on the 14th or 15th?

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

This is the second last 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. Quotes are from Fred Coulter’s book, and some from his compatriots, all are in block form, in PINK. The Scriptures, in RED, must be our primary focus and guide.

Quiet time? Forget about it. - Opinion - Jerusalem Post

Chapters 18

In earlier critiques, we have found that when Solomon had finished the Temple in Jerusalem the Lord appeared to the young king by night and said unto him as affirmed in II Chronicles 6:6, “I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there,” as affirmed in II Chronicles 7:11-12 “I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place (Jerusalem) for Myself for a house of sacrifice.” 

God Himself had chosen Jerusalem and these Scriptures run in contradiction to Fred’s heresy that “[b]oth Hezekiah’s and Josiah’s temple-centered Passover observances were the result of a personal commitment by these kings to restore apostate Israel and Judah to the true worship of God” (The Christian Passover, pg 220).

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. (I King 9:25) — Adam Clarke: These three times were: (1) The passover. (2) The feast of pentecost. (3) The feast of tabernacles.

Second, it was God and not Ezra who instituted the laws regarding the slaughtering of the Passover lamb not needed be done solely within the Temple courtyard – but “inside or outside the camp.” This runs contrary to another of Fred’s heresies that “[a]fter the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, Ezra promulgated the “new Passover law,” which designated Jerusalem and the surrounding festival area as the only place where the Passover could be observed” (pg 220). 

The principle requirements being that the blood had to be carried to the Temple courtyard for a priest to sprinkle upon the altar as commanded in Leviticus 17 – it wasn’t a “new Passover law,” and it wasn’t instituted “according to the commandment of the king” but a commandment of God. Any person offering a sacrifice inside or outside the camp 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). It was God who instituted this commandment way back during the time of Moses.

Before we go into the Passover issue in the New Testament  it is important to start with John the Baptist, the forerunner to the arrival of the Messiah. Note his prophecy:

Luke 3:3 And he (John the son of Zacharias) came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

7 Then said he to the multitude who came forth to be baptized by him, “O generation of vipers! Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say among yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say unto you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees. Every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire (pyr g4442).” 

And further down, John prophesied about the Messiah:

Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the straps of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire (pyr g4442). 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire (pyr g4442) unquenchable.”

The Greek word pŷr is “fire” literally or figuratively, especially lightning. A pyre in English is also known as a funeral pyre, which is a structure, usually made of wood, for burning a body as part of a funeral rite or execution. As a form of cremation, a body is placed upon or under the pyre, which is then set on fire. 

John was a voice crying in the wilderness, and he said to make the crooked paths straight, he needed to hewn some trees and cast them into the fire (verse 9).

Then John said that the Messiah that comes after him, will have a winnowing fan in His hand, and will thoroughly purge His floor by gathering the chaff together and burn them with fire (verse17). This story is so important that it is similarly recorded in Matthew 3:1-12.

Enfield Fire: Huge Blaze Near M25 Prompts Smoke Warning To ...

Notice the consistency of “fire” is important. After the flood, God promised the world that whenever we see the rainbow it is a reminder of His promise not to similarly destroy the world by flood again. But about destroying by fire here are some of Jesus own warnings:

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.

Matthew 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be at the end of this world.

Matthew 13:50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 25:41 “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Mark 9:44 where ‘their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.’

Luke 12:49 “I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled?

John 15:6 If a man abides not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Acts 2:19 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath — blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

And destruction came in AD 70, roughly 40 years after Christ’s warning! The Romans, led by the future Emperor Titus, came and destroyed Jerusalem, killing more than 1.1 million, with another 97,000 enslaved. “O Brood of vipers!” warned John the Baptist, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” From all the chaos that took place, only a few Jews escaped.

Once the Roman started the fire, it spread quickly and was soon out of control. The Temple was captured and destroyed on 9/10 Tisha B’Av, around the end of August, and the flames spread into the residential sections of the city. 

Josephus described some of the scenes:

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.

As the legions charged in, neither persuasion nor threat could check their impetuosity: passion alone was in command. Crowded together around the entrances many were trampled by their friends, many fell among the still hot and smoking ruins of the colonnades and died as miserably as the defeated. As they neared the Sanctuary they pretended not even to hear Caesar’s commands and urged the men in front to throw in more firebrands. The partisans were no longer in a position to help; everywhere was slaughter and flight. Most of the victims were peaceful citizens, weak and unarmed, butchered wherever they were caught. Round the Altar the heaps of corpses grew higher and higher, while down the Sanctuary steps poured a river of blood and the bodies of those killed at the top slithered to the bottom.

During the four years of war, the Romans had taken 97,000 prisoners. Thousands of them were forced to become gladiators and were killed in the arena, fighting wild animals or fellow gladiators. Some, who were known as criminals, were burned alive. Others were employed at Seleucia, where they had to dig a tunnel. But most of these prisoners were brought to Rome, where they were forced to build the Forum of Peace (a park in the heart of Rome) and the Colosseum. The Menorah and the Table were exhibited in the temple of Peace. (Full Details in Wars Bk 6)

But John wasn’t alone, earlier King David also saw this, more likely one for the end-time, even “he shall fill the places with the dead bodies . . . over many countries”: “The Lord at thy right hand (i.e. the Son, who came later as the Messiah) shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries” (Psalm 110:5-6). Were these “baptised in fire” as warned by John the Baptist?

The foundation of Fred Coulter’s Passover on the early fourteenth of Nisan has been proven to be built on quicksand. Once this foundation is wacky, it shifts and moves and its consequence can be desperating. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall,” (Matthew 7:24-27).

That’s right! The Worldwide Church of God was growing at some 30 percent each year for decades, but it was built on sand. Once its founder died, the organisation imploded, and it fell like a bang, and great was its noise, scattering into many splinters as a result. Because Fred Coulter’s belief is similarly built on a shaky foundation it will with certainty come with a desperating end. So we’ll proceed with him to the New Testament era.

But notice the following four verses during the New Testament time before we proceed. They show that the Feast of the Passover were well understood by the writers as the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a composite Festival, known by either name.

Matthew 26:17 Now on the first [day of the Feast] of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto Him, “Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?”

Mark 14:12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said unto Him, “Where wilt Thou have us go and prepare, that Thou mayest eat the Passover?”

Luke 22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.

Luke 22:7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread when the Passover lamb must be killed.

Now another quote from The Christian Passover:

When we examine the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last Passover, it is evident that Jesus and His disciples kept a domestic Passover at the beginning of the 14th, according to the commands of God in Exodus 12. On the other hand, the New Testament discloses that the Sadducees, scribes and Pharisees observed a 14/15 temple Passover, eating their Passover on the night of the 15th. This dichotomy makes it clear that the 14/15 controversy existed in New Testament times. We will have a better basis for understanding the observance of the Passover in the New Testament if we survey the terminology that is used in the Gospel accounts. (Pg 220)

See the source image

There are many errors in the above paragraph. The Sadducees didn’t subscribe to a 14/15 Passover, the Pharisees did. The Sadducees (and also the Samaritans), kept an early fourteenth Passover, because they also define erev as twilight, and ben ha arbayim (between the two evenings) as between sunset and dark.

Fred Coulter must be suffering from memory loss, for he wrote in Chapter 10: “The Sadducees, including some high priests and their families, continued to practice the domestic killing of the Passover lambs at the beginning of the 14th,” (Pg 119).  Such oversight is glaring. And where are all his team? — Carl and Jean Franklin, Philip Neal, Albert and Mela Cataga John, Hiedi and Sasha Vogele — all sleeping?

The Pharisees, and later the Rabbinics considered the time when the sun began to descend from its zenith to be called the First Evening and the Second Evening when the sun disappears from sight over the horizon. The time between the eve of the First Evening and eve of the Second Evening is “between the two evenings.” Only the Pharisees retained keeping the Passover during this time frame which is also known as a late fourteenth Passover.

Both Mark and Luke make a clear distinction between the Passover day and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in their accounts of the events leading to Jesus’ last Passover. On the other hand, in his narration of the early life of Jesus Christ, Luke includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the Passover day as a single feast called “the feast of Passover.” In this passage, Luke does not distinguish the Passover day from the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but records that Jesus and “… His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover….[And] they departed after completing the days…” (Luke 2:41, 43). (Pg 221)

That’s right, the feast of the Passover involves several days. The gospel writers all well understood that the feast of the Passover and the days of Unleavened Bread were a composite feast. By separating the Passover from the days of Unleavened Bread can also mean we are separating our Messiah’s sacrifice from the redemption of His subjects.

Can we redeem ourselves from sin when we separate ourselves from the One who makes our redemption possible? Certainly not, but to argue otherwise is going against the spirit of the Scriptures, and the writings of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Unless, of course, Fred Coulter, Frank Nelte and John Ritenbaugh are holier and more righteous than Ezra, Matthew, Mark and Luke.

The Gospel accounts make it clear that Jesus did not follow the traditions of men. Jesus strongly denounced the traditions of the Jews—ALL OF THEM! (Pg 222)

All of them? Nar. Early in His life, Jesus went with his parents to keep the Passover, Luke 2:41.

Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. If these Galileans were to keep a domestic Passover, as Fred Coulter alleges, they would stay back to keep a “domestic Passover” in Galilee. Bad traditions are already well documented, so I won’t reiterate them, but good traditions are seldom mentioned. Here there are, as Paul says:

Image result for last supper pics

“I profited in the Jews’ religion beyond many of my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers” Galatians 1:14.

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold to the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle” II Thessalonians 2:15.

“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother who walketh disorderly and not according to the tradition which you received from us” II Thessalonians 3:6.

And how come Jesus wore the tassels or ham, described as “edges”; a distinctively Jewish tallit (Matthew 9:20-22, 14:36; Mark 6:56)? Then Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Festival of Dedication (John 10:22), another Jewish tradition. To say that Jesus rejects “ALL” the traditions of the Jews is a presumption that could only come from one with a devious mindset, and it will come with a serious consequence. “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” Deuteronomy 17:12.

The Gospel of John shows how far the Jews had strayed from the worship that God desired. John records that the Jews were actually defiling the temple of God with their corrupt practices: “Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem . . .  (Pg 225)

Wasn’t a Jerusalem centred Passover an ordinance from God? Jerusalem was chosen by God as affirmed in II Chronicles 6:6, “I have chosen Jerusalem.” And the three annual feasts (Deuteronomy 16:5-6) were established in Jerusalem during Solomon’s reign, (I King 9:25). Jesus, setting the best example, went to Jerusalem to keep the Passover of the Jews. He didn’t stay back in Galilee, in their own homes, to keep a “domestic Passover” as occurred in the original Exodus. Neither did He keep a Passover of the Samaritans at Mount Gerizim.

Yet Fred harps and moans over this “domestic Passover” all over his book. To the knowledgeable this is revolting. The original Passover had to be observed in a strict prescribed manner because of what God was going to achieve through Exodus. However, in later years it was a commemoration of the event, not the event itself.

For in Deuteronomy 16:16 it commands “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.” God had provided a provision where He will choose a place in the future where the Israelites are to worship him.  And that place chosen by God is Jerusalem as affirmed in II Chronicles 6:6, “I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there.”

And God’s prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Zechariah, they all say the same thing. In Isaiah 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; Isaiah 24:23

Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously: Isaiah 28:14, Jeremiah 3:17, Joel 2:32, Joel 3:16, Amos 1:2, Micah 4:2, Zechariah 1:16,17, 2:12, 3:2, 8:3, 8:22, 12:10), and other follows identifying Jerusalem as God’s chosen city, but why is Fred Coulter still harping and whining about a “domestic Passover”?

Image result for jesus 12 to jerusalem for the passover

And Jesus, at the age of twelve, readily went to Jerusalem to keep the Passover! “Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Deuteronomy 16:5) Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

And when Jesus was twelve years old, they similarly went up to Jerusalem “after the custom of the feast,” rather than staying back in Galilee. Was Jesus misled? “Custom of the Feast,” that means to say, Jesus went to Jerusalem every year for Passover! 

But Fred still groans about a “domestic Passover” all over. In Old Testament times, the old Jeroboam stopped his subjects from going to Temple-based Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles; but here in modern times, a new Jeroboam also teaches against keeping Passover in a Temple-based Jerusalem. Amazing parallels!

In later chapters, John uses similar terminology when referring to the Jews’ observance of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread: “Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near” (John 6:4). Again, John states, “Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from out of the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, so that they might purify themselves” (John 11:55). John’s repeated use of this terminology makes it clear that the Jews were not keeping these feast days as God intended them to be kept. (Pg 225-226)

Another work of high Satanic quality, so according to Fred, even Jesus and His disciples “were not keeping these feast days as God intended them to be kept!” 

Among the Gospel writers, John lived the longest. He was there when there arose a revolting movement by the Gentiles to get rid of anything that had to do with being adhering to Mosaic Laws, anything considered as “Jewish.” With that in mind, John emphasized the Jewishness of those feasts by reiterating “Passover of the Jews” or “feast of the Jews.”

He also mentioned a Jewish feast of tabernacles too in John 7:2 “Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand” which is also Jewish. Mosaic laws were considered among the Gentiles then and now as Jewish.

John emphasised their Jewishness simply because there was a real Samaritan counterfeit nearby: they practiced another version of the Passover, which were observed on a Samaritan calendar on the early fourteenth of Nisan, at twilight, on Mount Gerizim. Jewish and Samaritan rivalries were so intense and hence imbuled their perception that Samaritans were having a devil (John 8:48).

The animosity was well understood as Samaritans would often, among numerous devices, light bon-fires in order to deceive the Jews as to the tidings of the announcement of a new moon in Jerusalem, confusing and fooling them.

Being Galileans, John and the other disciples have to travel innumerable times passing Samaritan territories, including Jacob’s well in Shechem, which lies between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim in the hill-country of Ephraim, to come to Jerusalem to keep the three annual feasts. So bad and threatening to these Jewish faiths and practises since Ezra’s time that eventually the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, (John 4:9). 

So when John was writing, he emphasized “of the Jews” as distinct from that of the Samaritan’s. And to put a sting to their Jewishness, John even recorded Jesus in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), which all the other Gospel writers ignored, for it says in John 10:22 “And it was at Jerusalem the Feast of Dedication,” where Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s Porch.

However, John writes differently when he refers to Jesus’ last Passover, which was observed on the night of the 14th, the time that God commanded. Notice that John does not use the phrase “of the Jews” to describe this Passover: “Now six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany…” (John 12:1).

Again, John records, “Now before the feast of the Passover, knowing that His time had come to depart from this world to the Father…” (John 13:1). As the subsequent verses in John 13 show, John is referring to Jesus’ last Passover, which He ate with His disciples on the 14th day of the first month, as commanded by God. The different terminology that John uses makes a clear distinction between Jesus’ observance of the Passover and the Jews’ observance of their feast. (Pg 226)

“And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?” (Mark 14:12, KJV.)

Although the translators did not insert the words “feast of” before “unleavened bread,” this translation of Mark 14:12 gives the impression that the lambs were killed on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Such a statement would be contrary to all records of Scripture and history.  (Pg 227)

Mark rightly didn’t incorporate the “feast of” before unleavened bread and credit should be attributable to him, not attacking him. This is a typical case of Fred having a preconceived notion of what the Scriptures say, and when it doesn’t fit, he attacks his own misconception: “If these verses are actually stating that the lambs were killed on the 15th, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, then we are confronted with gigantic problems.” And then he continues his attack with various “imaginary scenarios” (three in fact, on page 228) as he describes them.

Let’s recall what Fred Coulter wrote about sticking to the Scriptures on Chapter 1:

Fourteen Rules for Bible Study:

12) Do not allow your own personal assumptions or preconceived notions to influence your understanding and conclusions.

13) Do not form conclusions based on partial facts or insufficient information, or the opinions and speculations of others.

14) Opinions, regardless of how strongly you feel about them, don’t necessarily count. Scripture must be your standard and guide. (Pg 14-15)

Amazing! Fred Coulter has been making presumptions all the time. He doesn’t read that it was God who established Jerusalem where He put His name there for worship but keeps on harping that it was the commandment of the kings. And right here at the second paragraph of this chapter:

“When we examine the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last Passover, it is evident that Jesus and His disciples kept a domestic Passover at the beginning of the 14th, according to the commands of God in Exodus 12,” (Pg 220)

Image result for jerusalem for the passover

And the title for the next chapter, he already has his heading as, 

Chapter Nineteen – Jesus’ Last Passover—When and How Was It Observed?” (Pg 232)

He already had a preconceived notion that it was “Jesus’ Last Passoverbefore he began to prove it.  Are these statements and headings not presumptuous? Are Fred’s devotees still adoring him? Are they not correctly described as “blind” “wretched” and “naked”?

The wording in Mark’s account causes confusion because it appears to contradict these facts, as does the wording in Luke’s account: “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed” (Luke 22:7, KJV).

If these verses are actually stating that the lambs were killed on the 15th, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, then we are confronted with gigantic problems: (Pg 227)

No, there are nowhere considered as “gigantic problems” not even a slight problem. Exodus 12 confirms the opposite. Verse 18 says “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening (erev), ye shall eat unleavened bread until the one and twentieth day of the month at evening (erev).” 

Eating of unleavened bread starts BEFORE the beginning of the fifteenth. Unleavened bread is to be eaten “on the fourteenth day of the month at evening (erev),” (Exodus 12:18). As another testimony from Deuteronomy 16:1-8 shows, the full ordinances for Passover and the time for taking unleavened bread overlapped. The Targum translates and explains the Sacred Hebrew Text into the vernacular, in very simple language and is extremely clear: “And you shall eat the flesh on that night, the fifteenth of Nisan.”


~ by Joel Huan on March 4, 2021.

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