We are now at the end of the old year and back-to-back with the Sabbath is the sacred assembly of the New Year as commanded by the Bible. The paper dealing with The Moon and the New Year (No. 213) will explain it.
This year at the Passover, as usual, we will hear from the Churches of God that have been corrupted by the faulty theology of Armstrongism claiming that the night of the Lord’s Supper is actually the Passover and that the Lord’s Supper is not the correct term to use.
We will examine the logic of their argument here so that we all realise how illogical the propositions are as advanced by the Worldwide Church of God prior to 1995 and subsequently, and still carried on by the offshoots. We will see how the reasoning applied in this matter would be plainly rejected as absurd if it were applied to any other matter by any other church.
The Lords Supper and Passover
The Lord's Supper is referred to in the NT at 1 Corinthians 11:20. The word “supper” is mentioned in the gospels concerning this meal. It was kept on the evening of the 14th of the First Month. The Passover was on the 15th and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was kept for seven days from the 15th to the 21st of Abib.
The Passover lamb was killed each year during the entire Temple period and afterwards kept as a festival by the Church and Judaism and by the Samaritans and all the Judaic sects understanding that the period of the death (and the killing of Christ in the case of the Church) was from the ninth to the eleventh hour of the 14th day of the month, and the lamb was dressed and roasted and consumed on the evening of the 15th day of the month, the night of watching or observation, somewhat misleadingly termed the “Night To Be Much Observed” by the WCG system. The remainder was disposed of so that nothing remained until the morning of the 15th day of the month. The Passover was eaten away from ones domicile in temporary accommodation, which was taken up from the evening beginning the 14th and occupied for two nights and one day, i.e. the daylight period of the 14th and on the morning of the 15th the people were allowed to return to their dwellings in accordance with Deuteronomy 16. However, they still kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the next seven days going to services and keeping the feast until the last day of 21 Abib, which was also a Holy Day.
The Jews introduced the Postponement system in the third and fourth centuries with their introduction of Rosh Hashanah from the Babylonians and the implementation of their calculations ca 344-358 CE using the first day of Tishri as the base of their calculations, and not the conjunction as was done in the Temple period and by the Church subsequently. The statements confirming this fact and the timings are contained in Rabbi Kohn’s work The Sabbatarians of Transylvania (CCG Publishing, 1998).
Much of the misunderstanding is propped up by faulty scholarship and sometimes by clear misrepresentation.
One example is that of the term “between the evening” which is used to try and demonstrate that the Passover was actually killed in the afternoon of the 13th Abib, and thus was killed and eaten by Christ and the disciples at the Lord’s Supper. This argument is false and refuted in Christ’s own words in Luke 22:15-16. It was well understood that this meal was not the Passover itself but the Chagigah meal that preceded it, and Bullinger makes this note in his footnote to the verses as published in the Companion Bible.
The arguments regarding ben har arbayim, the “between the evenings” term, are examined in the paper The Passover (No. 98). Most people simply do not and cannot rationally examine the matter for fear of having to admit error and repent of that error.
Now, it is appropriate that we examine this matter in a disciplined and logical manner.
Biblical Axiom 1: God promised through His servants the prophets that He would
send a Messiah as
Biblical Axiom 2: The Christ or Messiah was the Passover sacrifice sent by God to redeem mankind from sin.
Biblical Axiom 3: The Christ or Messiah had to be killed at the Passover to qualify as the Passover Lamb.
Basis of Reasoning:
If he was not killed at the precise time of the Passover lamb, then he was just another sacrifice and not the Passover sacrifice.
If he ate the true Passover, then he was not sacrificed at the right time and hence cannot be the Messiah.
That is the central point of the argument.
P1. Christ was sent in to the world that he might be a perfect sinless sacrifice as the Passover lamb.
P2. He was killed at the Passover as the Passover lamb.
CA. He could not partake of that which he himself was killed to provide at the time appointed.
CB. If he was not killed at the Passover Sacrifice, which is killed at a precise time, he was not the Passover Lamb.
P3. If Christ were not killed at the time of the Passover sacrifice; and,
P4. Only the person killed as the Passover sacrifice can be the Messiah
CC. Jesus the son of Mariam, daughter of Heli, cannot be the Christ, that is the Messiah unless he was killed at the precise time provided for in the law.
P5. If Christ was to be the Passover lamb, and
P6. He desired to eat the Passover with his disciples but said he would not eat it with them until it was fulfilled in the Kingdom of God (Luke 22:15-16); then
CD. He did not eat the Passover meal with the disciples as the time for the killing of the Passover was not yet arrived.
CE. He himself said he would not eat it with them until the kingdom and therefore he did not even think
he was eating the Passover with them.
P7. Christ was killed at the ninth hour of the 14th day of the month of Abib when the Passover was always killed.
P8. Christ's body was removed and buried before dark so that the others might eat the Passover, as that day approaching was the Holy Day of the feast of the Passover on 15th Abib when the Passover was eaten on the night, and is still eaten to this day by Jews and Samaritans when they are in a position to do so.
CF. Christ was dead and buried when the Passover was to be eaten in Israel.
CG. Everyone knew he was dead and buried by the Passover being killed at the exact hour of the Passover when it was presented to the high priest of Israel, and being placed in the tomb so that the Passover might be taken undefiled by those who buried him, and in their own words.
Now this sequence is irrefutable logic. The premises are true and the logic is valid, therefore the conclusions are true.
How is it that these people can be forgiven for their failure to keep the Lord's Supper?
The fact is that those arguing for a 14th Passover, on the evening beginning the 14th, actually keep the day they call the Passover on the day before the actual day of the 15th believing that they keep the Passover when the Lord's Supper is in question.
That places them actually keeping the same things on the day that the church has always kept it and so they might be correct. However, as they keep the postponements of the post Temple period Hillel calendar, and have done since 1942 when Hebert Armstrong was removed from the fellowship of the COG (SD) for introducing the Jewish Calendar, they are still wrong by a day or two each year. They thus have to repent.
Now the disputes concerning the Passover in the early Church were concerned with the introduction of the pagan Easter system into the Church in Rome by the then new bishop of Rome, one Anicetus, in 154 CE and the forced introduction of the system finally under Bishop Victor in 192 CE, which finally caused the split between the Church of God and the Church of Rome from that date. It was never argued that the Passover was not killed on the 14th day of the First Month, but rather that it was on a Friday and the Resurrection was on the Sunday as per the worship of the god Attis in Rome and Adonis in the east.
The further reading in this matter is:
The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277); The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195); The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170); and The Start of the Month and the Day (No. 203) .
In carrying on this aspect of the false understandings of the Church of God in the last days, we will now look at the postponements issue.
As we know, the keeping of the correct calendar is critical to the issue of obedience to God. The calendar during the Temple period was centred on the conjunction and the issue of postponements was never an issue. There are, however, people from WCG offshoots who try to justify their position on one matter, and contradict their positions on other issues that are quite critical to the faith. Such an example is the issue of postponements and the issue of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. One such group produced this false teaching in relation to postponements and the Resurrection and the issue of the Lord’s Supper and the Passover. This group has published a document trying to justify a Passover on the evening of the 14th Abib at the end of the 13th, the lamb killed in this period of “between the evenings” which they misplace. Their incorrect arguments are identified and examined in the paper The Passover (No. 98) above.
They originally misidentified the Passover year, which has now been retracted by them, so they say. They now agree that the Passover was in the year 30 CE, which in that year fell on Wednesday 5 April.
Recently the group has issued a declaration and indeed extensive papers trying to prove that the postponements were in operation during the Temple period. What they appear to have failed to recognise is that the very argument they advance to justify the postponements, actually destroys their premise for a Wednesday Crucifixion. Indeed, if they are correct, then the dispute over Easter is mitigated in some respects because in the year 30 BCE the Crucifixion could only have taken place on a Wednesday because the postponements were not in place and were known to be not in place.
The actual timing of the Passover depends entirely on the determination of the New Year in Abib, and was never determined from Rosh Hashanah in Tishri because that system was not invented until 344 in Babylon by two Babylonian rabbis who showed it to R. Hillel II in 344 CE. We have examined the issue of the New Year in the paper The Moon and the New Year (No. 213).
Determining the Lord’s Supper, Passover and Crucifixion Date for 30CE.
The Crucifixion can be readily determined. We know from Philo, who is an undisputed authority on Judaism at the time of Christ writing in the First Century from Alexandria, that the New Moons were determined according to the conjunction, which was determined in the astronomical schools. The various alternatives are discussed in the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159).
From the structure of the gospels we can determine the exact year of the Crucifixion and that aspect has also been examined in the Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159). The year in which it occurred could only have been 30 CE, in order to comply with the timings and limitations in the gospel narratives.
From Exodus 12:2 and Deuteronomy 16:1 we can clearly see that the beginning of months is to be commenced with the spring New Moon. The following examples show us firstly, how the Lord’s Supper and Crucifixion Day was set in 30 CE. And from the second example, shows how the Lord’s Supper and Crucifixion date would have been set in 30 CE using the current rules of the postponements, as devised by the later Jewish rabbis, from 344 up until the twelfth century which was the time that the postponements system was finally set. Thus, the system being argued and followed by WCG offshoots is actually a system some 1200 years after Christ and the establishment of the Church.
Conjunctions in the years around the 30 CE period
Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office has supplied the dates on which the New Moons fell in the years 28-33 CE based upon the work of H. H. Goldstine (ibid.). The times are supplied from observation at Babylon (Baghdad) and thus, 37 minutes must be deducted from the times to get Jerusalem civil time. Irregularities in the earth’s rotation give rise to small irregularities in times. The equinox is also earlier from the Julian dates, i.e. 20-21 March. The equinox can be as early as 20 March in the Gregorian system also. The US Naval Observatory is another source for this data.
New Moon times are thus:
Monday 15 March 28 CE @ 03:38
Tuesday 13 April 28 CE @ 17:21
Friday 4 March 29 CE @ 04:13
Saturday 2 April 29 CE @ 20:43
Wednesday 22 March 30 CE @ 20:59
Friday 21 April 30 CE @ 12:48
Monday 12 March 31 CE @ 01:29
Tuesday 10 April 31 CE @ 14:45
Saturday 29 March 32 CE @ 23:08
Monday 28 April 32 CE @ 10:09
Thursday 19 March 33 CE @ 13:41
Friday 17 April 33 CE @ 22:12
From the New Moon timings, the beginning of the sacred year, or 1 Nisan, fell as follows using the standard rules of the New Moon nearest the Equinox and the Passover falling past the Equinox, and working on the standard Jewish day from dark on one day to dark at End Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) the next day:
Monday 15 March 28 CE
Sunday 3 April 29 CE
Thursday 23 March 30 CE
Monday 12 March 31 CE
Sunday 30 March 32 CE
Thursday 19 March 33 CE
The timings will show you what alternatives were available in any year in which it might be even conceivable that Christ might have been involved.
Example of the actual timings of the Passover in 30 CE.
The astronomical conjunction occurred on March 22nd at 20:59 PM 30 CE, Jerusalem time. Since this is after dark or EENT on March 22nd, the day is then determined as the next day using the (more or less) standard way of identifying these days. Thus, the first day of the New Year would be March 23rd. Fourteen days from this day is 5th April 30 CE, which is a Wednesday. The Lord’s Supper took place on Tuesday evening after dark. Christ was nailed to the cross on Wednesday afternoon dying at the ninth hour, which was the time for the lambs to begin to be slaughtered at the Temple. The first lamb killed was placed before the High Priest at the ninth hour, and this pointed to the fact that Christ was killed to be presented to God from that time after his resurrection. At that very hour, the curtain at the Temple rent and the way was made open for us. Christ gave his life for all sinners on that day, the act of the Passover from our sins.
Example of what would have happened if the Postponement rules had been in operation
in 30 CE.
The Jews today begin the calculations with the Seventh Month on the 1st of Tishri, “The Day of Trumpets”. The astronomical conjunction for the Seventh Month occurred on Saturday 16th September at 7:45 AM 30 CE. Seventeen (17) hours and 14 minutes are added. This is called the mean molad, for it takes that much of minimum time before a trained eye can detect a crescent of the new moon. This brings the time to Sunday 1:01 PM. A postponement sets in, as Tishri 1 cannot be observed on a Sunday, Wednesday or a Friday. This brings us to Monday 18th September, which is a calculated day for 1 Tishri. The next calculation in the process is to count backwards 177 days to determine the Spring New Year. This determined as being 25th March 30. Now we must count forward 14 days and obtain the Passover for 30 CE, which is determined as Friday 7th April 30 CE. This is the calculated calendar for the Jewish Passover. The Lord’s Supper would have taken place on Thursday evening well after dark. Christ would have been nailed to the cross Friday afternoon at 3PM.
It is thus impossible to follow the gospel narrative and for Christ to have been three days and three nights in the belly of the earth as prophesied. The Sign of Jonah is thus broken (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 013) ).
By arguing for and following the revised Jewish calendar they, as well as those who follow their false teaching knowingly, are not keeping the calendar as God commanded them. They are actually denying Christ as the Saviour every year when their calculated calendar does not coincide with the astronomical conjunction, the New Moon, as it was done in 30 CE.
The Jews according to the Mishnah, which was compiled ca 200 CE, were still keeping back-to-back Sabbaths then. Thus, the postponements of the Hillel system could not have been in operation even by 200 CE. What had been set in place was a series of ad hoc postponements by pseudo-observation from the court at Jamnia, well after the fall of the Temple. The aim was to implement the traditions of the Pharisees (now rabbis) so that their traditions could finally supplant the laws of God and the Temple calendar. They did not finally get a workable system of calculations to replace the simple conjunction determination until 344 CE when the Babylonian rabbis developed the false system. The implementation of the postponement system is available to even a child in encyclopaedias such as Encarta or the Judaica. No one tries to pretend that the postponements were in operation during the Temple period, and only someone who is ignorant of the history or indifferent to fact would try to do so.
The Church was determining the New Moons according to the conjunction, and had done that for centuries before the postponements and the Hillel system, and so they never accepted this false system. The Quartodeciman Dispute was an argument between the Church of God and the Church of Rome as to whether the Lord’s Supper and Night of Watching of the Passover were to be kept on 14th Abib and 15th Abib, hence the term “14th Dispute”, which was the day the Lord’s Supper was taken. This was the system that had been done previously. The alternative was whether the pagan Easter system was to be adopted. The Easter system had been introduced by Anicetus ca 154 and opposed by Polycarp. Easter was finally forced to be the source schism by bishop Victor (ca 189-198) when he became bishop of Rome ca 192 CE, he was opposed by Polycrates, the disciple of Polycarp who had been martyred by this time.
It has been put this way by one of our members in a short summary on this matter:
“In Luke 10:1-20 we read the story of the 70 disciples of Christ that were sent out. In verse 16, Christ told them the following: ’He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects Him who sent me!’ The Jews rejected Christ and God. Why then would God leave it up to the Jews to determine the dates for His appointed feasts? The Jews no longer are blessed in keeping God’s appointed days Holy (Hosea 2:11; Isaiah 1:13-14). How much clearer can God express Himself for His elect to believe?
Modern Judaism have not kept the New Moon days, they have fallen into crescent
observation as shown in the second example above. In Acts 19:11-17, the evil
spirit recognized Christ and the apostle Paul but the evil spirit surely did
not recognise even the high priest of that day. The reason is that the word
of God (through the power of the Holy Spirit) had been transferred to the disciples
(John 17:6). Everything that God had given Christ, Christ transferred to his
As stated in CCG papers on the calendar above, F.F. Bruce (p.225) states that the Sadducees were in charge of the calendar at least up to 70 CE and Pentecost fell on Sundays. Later the Pharisees took charge of the calendar. Pentecost was no longer observed on Sundays to this very day. Pentecost was allocated to Sivan 6, which does not fall on Sundays. Was a conspiracy at work to deceive even the very elect, if that was possible? Or was it simply that God does not allow the unconverted to keep the calendar and His Holy Days as He says through the prophets?
The spring astronomical conjunction for the year 2004 will occur on 21st March at 00.41 AM, thus making 21 March the commencement of the Sacred Year. April 3rd, which is a Saturday, is 14th Abib. The Lord’s Supper will be observed Friday evening as the darkness sets in. The first day of Unleavened Bread will be observed on Sunday, 4th April 2004. Saturday evening is the Night of Observation or the designated time for the Passover meal as opposed to the Lord’s Supper, which is the night set aside by Christ with the disciples at his Last Supper for foot-washing and the taking of the bread and the wine. In that way, we commemorate Christ’s death for the sins of the world.
Thus, the people who teach this false calendar and false ideas are incorrect. They are required to repent. It is written that those who love and make a lie, are not to enter the Kingdom of God.
If you wish to follow God, then repent and obey Him with all your hearts.
In this New Year we are required to repent and to sanctify the Temple of God, which temple you are. Do it with all your might. Read the paper Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241). From this date we prepare for the Passover so that by the following Sabbath this year, on 7th Abib, we are able to go before God for the Sanctification of the Simple and Erroneous, which these people who know no better really are (see the paper Sanctification of the Simple and Erroneous (No. 291)).
We should pray for the false teachers of the Churches of God also, as they know no better.
Those who love and make a lie are a different matter, but pray for your enemies and those that despitefully use you also.
Love your enemies and do good to them that hate you.
In this year, we will find a double harvest in many ways. We will be given what we need to get to the feast and to read the Law in the following Sabbath year, which is the twenty-eighth year of the 120th Jubilee.
We are pruned and added to in this year, and we will be again as we were the last sixth-year of the last cycle.
Have faith and look to God and stand in awe.
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