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04/19/06 a.m. COGhomeschool's Frank Olive reports:
Update on the Affiliated Churches of God websites. All 15 of the Affiliated Churches of God websites are up and running and contain links to eleven organizations and 34 non-organizational (individual's sites) resource links. Additional organizational will be added.
We have been working on the next phase of this project. 14 of the websites are topical, in that they are geared towards fundamental Church of God understanding and traditional teachings. Websites have been named accordingly. Many match booklet titles from our former association.
A primary goal remains to assist organizations "holding fast" in getting God's last warning message out to this world in a way that can reach as many people as possible.
300 million people are on the internet at any given moment throughout the day.
Most COG websites are not effective as yet in reaching any significant number. We have been perfecting and fine tuning search engine optimization (SEO) to the best of our abilities. One small organizational website that we have worked with is now receiving 12,000 hits per day average, with steady monthly increases. This is good news and has helped formulate a strategy to achieve primary goals.
Frank Olive has a plan that may increase internet views of small group/individual COG websites. The site that now has 12,000 hits per day, I believe is Raymond McNair's CG21 (this seems mainly due to the fact that it now contains much of the old HWA literature, but also that people are finding it).
Most of the topical sites that Frank Olive mentions are mainly shells of home pages, but he is in the process of adding links and making them of more use to internet viewers.
The staff at WCG's Christian Odyssey announced:
Our offices are moving. As of April 21, we will no longer be in Pasadena. On April 27, we will open our offices in Glendora, California. The new mailing address will be P.O. Box 5005, Glendora, CA 91740.
This may then mark the end of any noticeable WCG presence in Pasadena.
Yesterday, Israel International News reported:
"It's not a question of 'maybe' or 'if'," says Ramat Gan's Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel. "Bringing the Paschal sacrifice is a Torah obligation incumbent upon the People of Israel these very days."
Speaking with Yoel Yaakobi of the weekly B'Sheva newspaper, Rabbi Ariel said that though there are some grave Halakhic [Jewish legal] problems associated with bringing the Paschal sacrifice, "we have found the solutions, and the obligation is as strong as ever. This is [one of the only two positive Biblical commandments] that those who forsake it are liable to receive the ultimate karet [cutting off] punishment.
From the moment that a Jew stands on the Temple Mount and the site of the Holy Temple is under our control, the Jewish People are immediately obligated to bring this sacrifice."
Sixteen of the 613 Biblical commandments relate to the Paschal sacrifice, which must be brought on the 14th day of the month of Nissan - Passover eve - and eaten on the night of the 15th. Today, this sacrifice is remembered only in the form of the Afikoman, the piece of matzah snatched and hidden by children during the Pesach seder meal, by the small roasted shank-bone on the Seder plate, and by prayers and study.
Rabbi Ariel said, "After the destruction of the First Temple, when the Jews began returning from Babylonia to the Holy Land, they brought the Paschal sacrifice during the course of 22 years even though there was no Holy Temple. They also were considered ritually impure - because there was no Red Heifer by which to become pure - yet they still brought it... There is currently no genuine impediment to bringing the Paschal sacrifice." http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=102189
For the end to come, the sacrifices to be taken away. And of course, they must begin before they can cease--and Jewish religious leaders keep trying to begin them--and will ultimately succeed. Notice Daniel 11:31:
And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.
This is an area where COG prophetic understanding differs from that of the Roman Catholics. Roman Catholics believe that Daniel 11:31 is referring to antichrist stopping their mass, while the COGs believe that it is referring to the stopping of physical sacrifices by those in Jerusalem.
04/18/06 a.m. On Sunday, the Roman Catholic Pontiff Benedict XVI stated:
Like Jonah in the belly of the whale, so too Christ crucified was swallowed up into the heart of the earth (cf. Matthew 12:40) for the length of a Sabbath (Benedict XVI. Jesus Is Risen, and He Gives Us Peace. Easter Message, April 16, 2006. © Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana as reported by www.zenit.org/english).
Yet, notice that Jesus clearly said he would be in the grave for three days AND three nights:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40).
The length of a Sabbath is one day and one night--about 24 hours. It is not three days and three nights. And Benedict XVI does not seem to understand that even though he is considered to be a top level Roman Catholic scholar.
Should we believe the Bible or human tradition? Any who can count to three should realize that proper COG scholarship is more reliable than that of Catholic tradition.
Anyway, the above has been added to the article Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?
Lest I seem to be pointing out too many errors in Roman Catholicism this issue, look at the following from Christianity Today:
Acquitted Jane Spahr, Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, of violating her denomination's position on same-sex marriage. A PCUSA regional judicial commission ruled 6-1 that Spahr acted within her right of conscience when she married two lesbian couples in 2004 and 2005. The commission said that the PCUSA constitution's wording on marriage—reserving it for one man and one woman—offers a "definition, not a directive." Spahr said she plans to continue performing same-sex weddings.
Apparently only one of the learned biblical/legal scholars of the Presbyterian Church's regional judicial commission has even a basic understanding of biblical teachings relating to marriage. Of course, the fact that they have female ministers also shows that the Presbyterian Church no longer cares too much for biblical teachings.
An article of related interest may be Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants.
04/17/06 a.m. In his latest commentary, CEM's Ron Dart wrote:
It is well established, both in the Bible and in history that late in the first century the entire Christian church still observed Pascha on the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish calendar. This meant that Pascha, the Christian Passover, could fall on any day of the week. Meanwhile, much of the visible Christian church observed “resurrection Sunday” on the Sunday following the Passover.
It is of passing interest that in the Catholic Encycopedia’s citation of Eusebius andIrenaeus, they translate Pascha as “Easter. And, because it was the Passover season, they called the Sunday observance Pascha.
A controversy arose between the Western Christians, who observed Pascha on wave sheaf Sunday and the Eastern Christians who observed it on the 14th day of the month. It is called the Quartodeciman controversy and is discussed at some length in the Catholic Encyclopedia. The controversy became important around A.D. 190.
But Easter is still not in the picture. These people were writing in Greek and Latin, and the word in both Languages was Pascha, Passover.
And that is correct. Eventually, however, the term Easter and various pagan practices began to become associated with the day. Since the Roman Catholics changed the day themselves, it makes sense that the name and practices would change as well.
Yesterday's Los Angeles Times carried the following:
Benedict has given priority to bringing back to the Catholic fold the archconservative group known as the Society of St. Pius X, in part because he agrees with them. The religious society, led by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, split with the Vatican over church reforms in the mid-1960s, notably the decision to break with tradition and permit Mass to be said in languages other than Latin...
It is possible that a pope who is less of a star will have a better chance at repairing the schism between Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox faith, another cherished goal expressed by Benedict. John Paul could never win an invitation to Moscow because leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church suspected he promoted efforts to convert Russians.
Another shift in this papacy is Benedict's focus on Europe and his much harder line on Islam. Both reflect the prime importance he attaches to strengthening Catholic faith and values in all aspects of life, especially in the West.
"The truth is that Ratzinger has always been a Eurocentric thinker," Catholic writer Vittorio Messori said in an assessment of the pope's first year published in the Corriere della Sera magazine.
"He does not have Third World illusions," Messori said. "He knows that, in spite of everything, the future of the church is in play here in Europe. For him, it is worth more to hold the line in a small [Italian] parish, or give new life to the church in Britain, than to win new faithful in an African diocese."
An article of related interest may be Europa and the Beast of Revelation.
04/16/06 a.m. Those who accept the authority of Roman bishops over the Bible will be celebrating Easter today. But this was not the case of the early church (please see the article Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?).
In response to my statement:
Jared Olar and others rely on the interpretation of the Roman Catholic Church and its pontiffs.
XCG's Jared Olar wrote:
True. And Robert Thiel and others rely on the interpretation of Herbert Armstrong and his enormous brood of rival splinter sects.
Thus, he admits that he relies on traditions of men instead of the Bible, but accuses us of doing the same. That accusation is false.
He apparently would have people believe that agreeing with Herbert Armstrong is the same (or worse) intellectually/theologically as agreeing with the interpretation of Roman Catholic pontiffs.
This is false.
Herbert Armstrong repeatedly taught, "Do not believe me, believe what you read in your Bibles". This is a major theological, as well as intellectual, difference from accepting the "living magisterium" of the Roman Church.
Additionally, Herbert Armstrong WAS NOT the one who came up with observing Passover on the 14th of Nisan instead of observing Easter. In addition to being specifically enjoined in the Bible, throughout the history of the true church, Passover was kept on the 14th of Nisan from the first through 21st centuries (this is documented in the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3). Nothing in the Bible suggests that Passover should be changed to a Sunday resurrection holiday or that it should be observed with pagan symbols.
Jared also wrote:
About the only thing “pagan” about Easter is the fact that in English-speaking countries it is called “Easter,” whereas in most countries of a Catholic heritage it is called “Passover.”
Only the name is pagan? As can be seen below, that is not what The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:
The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring...Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter...The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast. Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar. Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method...For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip.
In the rest of the empire another consideration predominated. Every Sunday of the year was a commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, which had occurred on a Sunday. Because the Sunday after 14 Nisan was the historical day of the Resurrection, at Rome this Sunday became the Christian feast of Easter...
Men and women...In the Neumark (Germany) on Easter Day the men servants whip the maid servants with switches; on Monday the maids whip the men. They secure their release with Easter eggs. These customs are probably of pre-Christian origin (Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Das festliche Jahr, 118)...
The Easter Rabbit The Easter Rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility (Simrock, Mythologie, 551)...
The Easter Fire The Easter Fire is lit on the top of mountains (Easter mountain, Osterberg) and must be kindled from new fire, drawn from wood by friction (nodfyr); this is a custom of pagan origin in vogue all over Europe, signifying the victory of spring over winter
(Holweck F. G. Transcribed by John Wagner and Michael T. Barrett. Easter. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).
Thus, the Romans admit that the name Easter is the name of a pagan goddess, many of its practices are of pagan origin, and that the churches in Asia Minor (which they call the Orient) continued to observe Passover on the date that the Jews did, Nisan 14. It was due to cowardice and antisemitism that the Sunday date was chosen (the fact that cowards often were killed anyway, does not prove they were not cowards).
The Bible itself also condemns certain practices, now associated with Easter, such as hot Easter buns/cakes (Jeremiah 7:14), the worship towards the sun in the east (Ezekiel 8:15-18), and the worship of Astarte/Ishtar/Ashtaroth (other spellings of the word Easter).
The true early church also observed Passover on the 14th of Nisan and it did not change it to a resurrection holiday named for a pagan goddess.
More information can be found in the articles Passover and the Early Church and Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?
Personal to JO: I do appreciate it when you find typos, but you could simply send me an email COGwriter@aol.com
04/15/06 a.m. Last night, ICG Mark Armstrong reported:
If you’ve been watching the news, you know that Iran is proudly boasting of their ability to enrich uranium. Experts disagree on how long it will take Iran to build a working nuclear bomb, but all seem sure that it won’t take much longer than a few years, and may transpire much sooner. The rhetoric is hot, with Iran’s president warning that Israel will be annihilated “by one storm” just today. Over the past couple of days, the mainstream press has expressed dismay over news that the Pentagon has actually drawn up plans that include using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran’s nuclear installations. This is one of numerous dangers to world stability and security beyond man’s ability to address without unimaginable repercussions.
ICG is correct that there will be repercussions, but, contrary to the views of groups like PCG, Iran will not be The King of the South.
CG7 has once again changed its home page. Now it begins with a letter from its president, Whaid Rose:
Committed to the authority of Scripture, the truth of the Sabbath, and the centrality of Christ. That's who we are — the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day), and it is with joy in the Lord Jesus that I welcome you to our official website.
The General Conference is a family of more than 200 local congregations scattered across the United States and Canada. Through the relationship between the General Conference and the International Ministerial Congress, we are a global church, connecting well over 200,000 brethren in Christ around the world.
Speaking of CG7, I updated my article on them earlier this month, simply titled Church of God, Seventh Day.
Today, is what Roman Catholics call Holy Saturday. Instead of teaching that Jesus actually died on a Wednesday afternoon and was raised from the dead on a Saturday afternoon, they teach that His body died on a Friday, but that He actually was preaching to various spirits/prisoners according to a Homily they tend to recite on this day. Hence, Roman Catholics do not teach that Jesus actually died.
Of course, to them it does not matter. Notice what Zenit reported last night:
MADRID, Spain, APRIL 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Theology is true only insofar as it proceeds from the Catholic faith and "contributes to invigorate it and give it life," says an official of the Spanish bishops' conference.
Actually, theology is true only if it proceeds from the true God of the Bible.
04/14/06 a.m. G&S's website has this semi-update:
The Giving & Sharing Mail Order Bookstore, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849, is closed until further notice. Please do not send new orders. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Richard C. Nickels, President of Giving & Sharing, is battling a life-threatening illness. We appreciate your understanding and prayers.
I referred to it as "semi" as the life-threatening illness statement was added (though the cancer comment was removed). Richard Nickels did a lot of useful research into COG history.
Today is called "Good Friday" by many who profess some version or derivative of Roman Christianity. But was Jesus crucified on Friday and raised on a Sunday? And if so, how is that three days and three nights?
In order to justify an Friday crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection, many have relied on the personal opinions of a late fourth/early fifth century writer named Augustine, who wrote:
Scripture again witnesses that the space of those three days themselves was not whole and entire, but the first day is counted as a whole from its last part, and the third day is itself also counted as a whole from its first part; but the intervening day, i.e. the second day, was absolutely a whole with its twenty-four hours, twelve of the day and twelve of the night. For He was crucified first by the voices of the Jews in the third hour, when it was the sixth day of the week. Then He hung on the cross itself at the sixth hour, and yielded up His spirit at the ninth hour...But from the evening of the burial to the dawn of the resurrection are thirty-six hours which is six squared. And this is referred to that ratio of the single to the double wherein there is the greatest consonance of co-adaptation. For twelve added to twenty-four suits the ratio of single added to double and makes thirty-six: namely a whole night with a whole day and a whole night, and this not without the mystery which I have noticed above. For not unfitly do we liken the spirit to the day and the body to the night. For the body of the Lord in His death and resurrection was a figure of our spirit and a type of our body. In this way, then, also that ratio of the single to the double is apparent in the thirty-six hours, when twelve are added to twenty-four (Augustine. On the Trinity (Book IV), Chapter 6. Translated by Arthur West Haddan, B.D. Revised and annotated by the Professor W.G.T. Shedd, D.D. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series One, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. American Edition, 1887. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
Augustine admits that Jesus is to be in the grave for three days, yet decides that he can calculate using a non-accepted form of mathematics. Notice that Jesus clearly said he would be in the grave for three days AND three nights:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40).
Should we believe the Bible or human tradition? Does anyone really believe that single and double ratios of 12 are how Jesus expected His words to be understood?
The truth is that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday and raised late Saturday. Here is a detailed explanation about the day of the crucifixion:
Was Jesus Resurrected on Sunday?
If you visit a mainstream Christian church and ask members why the day on which they and other people attend worship services is Sunday, a typical response might be that Jesus was resurrected on that day. But how well does this idea bear up under close scrutiny?
Notice what Christ told the Pharisees, who were looking for a sign of the Messiah: "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and NO SIGN will be given to it EXCEPT the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:39-40).
The only sign Jesus gave to prove He was the Messiah was that the grave would only hold Him for a limited amount of time-exactly "three days and three nights" (or 72 hours). But the Easter Sunday tradition maintains that Christ was buried just before sunset on "Good Friday" afternoon and resurrected early Sunday morning-only two nights and one day (or 36 hours)!
Some will argue the definition of "day." But Christ clearly stated that there are 12 hours in a day, not including the night (John 11:9-10). Therefore, when Easter Sunday proponents take His remark and conclude that Christ was in the grave three days x 12 hours = 36 hours, we can see that they are leaving out the "three nights." There are approximately 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime in one 24-hour day! So three days and three nights is definitely 72 hours. But was it exactly 72 hours? Jesus said He would rise "AFTER three days" (Mark 8:31)-i.e. no less than 72 hours. But He also said He would rise "IN three days" (John 2:19, 21)-i.e. no more than 72 hours. This is absolutely clear-72 hours exactly! And God is always right on schedule.
Also consider that, when the women came to His tomb Sunday morning, "it was still dark" (John 20:1) and He had already risen. How could this be? The Sunday-resurrection proponents contend that He had risen just moments before. If they are correct, then "three days and three nights" earlier would be just before sunrise on Thursday morning. Yet no one believes Christ was buried on Thursday morning-or any morning for that matter-and with good reason. When Joseph of Arimathea laid Christ's body in the tomb, "the Sabbath drew near" (Luke 23:50-54). Biblical days, including Sabbaths, begin at sunset and end the following sunset (cf. Genesis 1:5-31; Leviticus 23:32)-a nighttime period followed by a daytime period.
Christ, then, was buried in late afternoon-before a particular Sabbath began at sunset. Three days and three nights later would be the same time of day-late afternoon! Now we have another problem. If we assume that Christ was buried on Friday afternoon, as the Good Friday tradition asserts, then His resurrection-72 hours later-would be Monday afternoon. Yet no one believes this either-again, with good reason. For remember that Christ had already risen before the women came to His tomb prior to daybreak Sunday morning! What, then, is the answer?
Why have so many thought that Christ was put in the grave on Friday afternoon? Mark 15:42 states that "it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath." Since the weekly Sabbath always occurred on the seventh day of the week (now called Saturday), the "Preparation Day" was normally on Friday. However, we have already seen the problem with this. The answer to the apparent dilemma is that the weekly Sabbath is not the only Sabbath mentioned in the Bible. Leviticus 23 lists seven annual Holy Days that occur in God's Festivals. Each of these days was considered a Sabbath (or a "rest" from normal labor). All annual Sabbaths or "High Days" (except Pentecost) fell on particular calendar dates rather than set days of the week.
Now the mystery can be solved by reading John 19:31. The Jews wanted to remove the crucifixion victims "because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a HIGH DAY)." Christ kept the Passover with His disciples the night before His death (Luke 22:15). He died on the cross the next afternoon, which was still Passover (the 14th of Abib or Nisan according to the Hebrew Calendar-Leviticus 23:5). Leviticus 23:6-7 reports that the next day, beginning the evening after His crucifixion, was not a weekly Sabbath, but an annual Sabbath-the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Now put together the facts. It is clear from the Bible that Christ died and was buried on Passover afternoon-and that the following day was an annual Sabbath. It is also clear that he was resurrected at the same time of day-late afternoon. But which afternoon? Since the women found Him already gone Sunday morning, it would be sensible to conclude that He had been resurrected the previous afternoon on Saturday! This would mean He had been buried three days and three nights earlier-Wednesday afternoon. It would also mean that Passover, Nisan 14, fell on a Wednesday that year. And, indeed, that is what happened in A.D. 31, a year that fits the time frame the Bible demands.
Scripture also provides further proof that there were TWO Sabbaths that week-an annual and a weekly one. In Mark 15:47, Mary Magdalene and her companion watched Joseph of Arimathea lay Jesus in the tomb near the end of the Passover. The next verse, Mark 16:1, tells us that after the "Sabbath," Mary Magdalene and her companions bought spices with which to anoint Christ's dead body. However, Luke 23:56 shows that they prepared the spices before the Sabbath. Naturally, they couldn't have prepared spices before they were even bought! The only explanation that makes sense is that they bought the spices on Friday and prepared them the same day-after the annual Sabbath on Thursday and before the weekly Sabbath on Saturday! Then they rested on the weekly Sabbath-at the end of which Jesus was resurrected. The next morning, Sunday, they came to the tomb before sunrise and found him already gone.
But some will point out Mark 16:9, which says, "Now when He rose early on the first day of the week...." Yet how can this be? To understand, we should read the verse in the original King James Version and continue further in the sentence: "Now when Jesus was risen [the perfect tense is correct here-He was already risen] early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene." He was not "rising" on Sunday morning. As we've seen, He rose Saturday afternoon. So early Sunday morning, He was already "risen." Also realize that in the original Greek there was no punctuation. Had the King James translators simply put a comma after the word "risen" and not after "week," this would make complete sense. The Centenary Translation renders it this way: "Now after his resurrection, early on the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene."
To conclude, a Sunday morning resurrection could not be the reason for changing the weekly day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. But even if Christ were resurrected on Sunday, why would His disciples-who had kept the seventh-day Sabbath with Him-have abandoned His example of keeping the Ten Commandments and switched to Sunday-keeping? And why would they have picked Sunday, a day already associated with pagan sun worship? But the Bible is very clear that Christ was NOT resurrected on Sunday morning. So this pitiful attempt to CHANGE God's Law does not hold water! (Meredith R.C. Which Day is the Christian Sabbath? © 2006 Living Church of God).
Hence, there is no biblical reason for Easter to be on a Sunday. The resurrection was not on Sunday. An article of possible interest may be Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?
Once again, I noticed that xCG cannot help by try to attack my articles on this subject (as Jared once again violated his statements that he was done doing that). I rely on the Bible for doctrine and also provide historical quotes and commentary that support the biblical position. Jared Olar and others rely on the interpretation of the Roman Catholic Church and its pontiffs. What he seems to think is impressive is that many of the Catholic sources I cite come to different conclusions about what they report about.
They remained Roman Catholic, I did not.
I never claim that Roman Catholic accepted writings come to the same conclusions that I do. I use them to show that true scholars who sift through them can often find statements that support my basic position. And that position is that the true Church of God has existed throughout history, and that even outside of the Bible, we can often find support for our doctrines in writings of historians.
Personal to JO: You and others of your like refer to my writings with names such as "Pseudoscholarship". The real question is: Do my writings agree with the doctrines as taught by the Bible?
And the answer is that they do.
That is an argument you and others prefer to avoid, because you all must, in order to reject the true teachings of the true Church of God.
The plain truth is that the BIBLE says that Passover is to be observed on the 14th and the Days of Unleavened Bread starting with the 15th day of the first month (called Abib or Nisan in Hebrew calendars):
These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:4-6).
There is no verse in the Bible that says to change the date of the Passover to the Sunday after the 14th, nor is there any place in the Bible where it says to instead celebrate the Passover as a resurrection holiday. The change to Easter (which even Roman scholars acknowledge contains pagan elements) was due to antisemitism, fear of man, and a disdain for scripture.
This is discussed in the article mentioned earlier Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?
04/13/06 a.m. Today is the first day of unleavened bread, a biblical holyday. Those outside the COGs sometimes participate in one practice that traditionally is associated with its prepartion--Spring Cleaning. Here are comments from a news article by a Jewish Rabbi named Schwab:
"Jewish families, also, use Passover as the official date to spring clean their homes. The tradition is founded in the requirement to rid the home of cookies, cakes and even crumbs that contain leavened bread. It's a metaphor for the annual spring cleaning of souls, a time to take stock of where you are in life and get rid of any bad habits".
"Rabbi Joel Schwab of Temple Sinai in Middletown said searching for the hametz on the night before Passover is "an old and delightful custom." The idea being to make sure no leavened materials will accidentally show up during the "Holiday of Unleavened Bread."
"The search is traditionally made with a candle, a feather, a wooden spoon and a paper bag. Lights are turned out and the search begins throughout the house for pieces of bread or crumbs. It is believed the tradition of spring cleaning started with Passover preparations".
An article of related interest may be Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?
Paul, after the resurrection and in the first century, taught that Christians were to keep the feast of unleavened bread:
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (I Corinthians 5:8).
Polycrates taught that the Apostles John and Philip, as well as Polycarp and other Christian leaders kept the days of unleavened bread:
Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr...
All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven.
Roman Catholics and Protestants, who officially consider that Polycarp was a true Christian, should ask themselves why they do not follow the instructions in the Bible or the examples of early Christian leaders on this point.
Even in the 21st century, the Roman Catholic Church claims Polycarp as a successor to the Apostles:
Polycarp was the bishop of Smyrna, today the city of Izmir, on the west coast of Turkey. He was part of the generation of church leaders who succeeded the apostles. According to one tradition, he was taught by the apostle John and was appointed to his office by the apostles himself...This indeed was one of God's chosen ones--the amazing martyr, Polycarp, an apostolic and prophetic teacher...(Zanchettin L, ed. The Martyrdom of Polycarp: Who would have thought the old man had so much courage? the WORD among us--The #1 Monthly Devotional for Catholics. 2006; Volume 25, Number 4, pp. 69,74).
The days of unleavened bread and Passover have been kept throughout the history of the true Church of God. This is documented in the updated article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
04/12/06 a.m. In his April 2006 member-letter, WCG's J. Tkach wrote:
After reviewing several options and considering budget constraints, we have decided to move to a new bi-monthly publishing schedule for CO. The cost savings from printing bi-monthly instead of monthly will allow us to print each issue with better paper, more pages and a larger, standard trim size. These changes will allow for a wider variety of articles and a more substantial feel to the magazine.
Not only is Christian Odyssey receiving a new look, our church news magazine, WCG Today, is also getting a facelift and a new printing schedule—going also to bimonthly (to alternate months with Odyssey). It will be renamed Together, and its new design will bring you the news of the church in an easier to read, more tightly focused format. Together will retain all the most popular features of WCG Today, but in an updated and accessible style. The new format will also provide a template—a guide or model—that can be easily adapted for use by any of our international publications when they design their magazines.
WCG Today, used to be called The Worldwidde News. So now, it will be called Together.
Concerning the events of this week, COGaic's David Hulme reported:
The instruction in the Hebrew Scriptures regarding Passover specifies the date of Nisan 14 for its observance. On the Hebrew calendar the new day begins at sunset. This year (2006), Nisan 14 corresponds to Tuesday-Wednesday, April 11–12 (sunset to sunset). The New Testament portrays Jesus symbolically as the Passover Lamb (see John 1:29, 35–36, 40–41; 1 Corinthians 5:7). Thus, His last Passover meal and death had to occur during Nisan 14, as demonstrated by a careful reading of the Gospels.
Which day was Nisan 14 in the year of Jesus’ death? Was it a Friday? An important clue arises in John 19:31, where the Gospel writer notes that Jesus’ body could not remain on the crucifixion stake after sunset, because “that Sabbath was a high day.” The new day that began at sunset following Jesus’ death was Nisan 15, a high day in the Hebrew calendar, the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread and a special annual Sabbath (see Leviticus 23:6–7).
John also specifies that “six days before the Passover” Jesus came to Bethany outside Jerusalem (John 12:1), bringing us back to Nisan 8. Going to the other end of the Passover week and counting back from sunset at the beginning of the first day of the new week by the three days and three nights that Jesus had said he would be “in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40), we arrive at Wednesday sunset for His being placed in the tomb (Luke 23:53–54). Following the Gospel accounts forward from Nisan 8 (not backward from an assumed “Good Friday”), we arrive at Saturday for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey; at Tuesday evening for His Passover meal before His betrayal; and again at Wednesday afternoon for His death. That evening He was already in the tomb. Thursday was the special annual Sabbath and the day that extra guards were posted at the tomb (Matthew 27:62–66). Friday was the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath that began at sunset. Then, according to Matthew’s Gospel, “after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn” (Matthew 28:1), the women came to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. The reason, of course, was that Jesus had been resurrected about 12 hours earlier.
And David Hulme is correct.
The portion I bolded above, clearly disagrees with the current Roman Pope Benedict who earlier this week claimed:
To understand what occurred on Palm Sunday and to know what it meant not only for that time but for all times, a detail is important, which became for his disciples the key to understand that event when, after Easter, they recalled those tumultuous days with a new look.
Jesus entered the Holy City riding on a donkey, that is, the animal of simple country people and, moreover, a donkey that did not belong to him, that he had been loaned for this occasion...
This nexus is made totally clear in another phrase of the Old Testament which characterizes and explains what occurred on Palm Sunday. The crowd acclaimed Jesus: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mark 11:9; Psalm 117 :25f.). This phrase forms part of the rite of the feast of tents, during which the faithful moved in a circle around the altar, holding in their hands branches of palm, myrtle and willow.
Then the people cried out before Jesus, in whom they saw he who comes in the name of the Lord. In fact, the expression: "He who comes in the name of the Lord," had become the way to designate the Messiah. In Jesus they recognize him who truly comes in the name of the Lord and brings God's presence among them. This cry of hope of Israel, this acclamation to Jesus during his entry into Jerusalem...
Speaking of the Pope, the news suggests that he is going to announce that mass should be in Latin more often according to the following news stories:
Pope may grant wider use of Pope Pius V Missal during Holy Week.Vatican City, Apr. 11, 2006 (CNA) - A source at the Vatican has told CNA that during Holy Week Pope Benedict XVI may grant universal permission to use the Missal of St. Pius V, the liturgical rite used in the Church before Vatican II.
According to the source, the announcement could come “between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday,” but the exact day has not yet been set. Nevertheless, the source said the decision has already been made by the Holy Father and that it’s “only a matter of time” before it is publicly announced. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=6462
Pope seeks peace with traditionalists....It stems from a group that met in a Grand Forks motel in the early 1980s to say Mass the way it was said before the reforms after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.Since then, Mass is said in the language of the people: English or Spanish around here, mostly, and in a "new" liturgy. Not, anymore, in Latin, in the old Tridentine Mass as it was said for centuries around the world. http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/news/14188715.htm
Since today is Wednesday, the 14th of Nisan, and we in the COGs believe that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday the 14th of Nisan, I thought that some may be interested to know that the idea that Jesus was arrested on Wednesday is NOT a COG creation as certain early Roman Catholic supporting writers seem to have also understood this.
The following was written around the end of the second century:
For when we had eaten the passover on the third day of the week at even, we went forth to the Mount of Olives; and in the night they seized our Lord Jesus. And the next day, which was the fourth of the week, He remained in ward in the house of Caiaphas the high priest. And on the same day the chiefs of the people were assembled and took counsel against Him. And on the next day again, which was the fifth of the week, they brought Him to Pilate the governor. And He remained again in ward with Pilate the night after the fifth day of the week (Didascalia Apostolorum, Chapter 21, verse 14. R. Hugh Connolly, version Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929).
In the third century, the Catholic bishop and saint Victorinus wrote:
Now is manifested the reason of the truth why the fourth day is called the Tetras, why we fast even to the ninth hour, or even to the evening, or why there should be a passing over even to the next day...
The man Christ Jesus, the originator of these things whereof we have above spoken, was taken prisoner by wicked hands, by a quaternion of soldiers. Therefore on account of His captivity by a quaternion, on account of the majesty of His works,--that the seasons also, wholesome to humanity, joyful for the harvests, tranquil for the tempests, may roll on,--therefore we make the fourth day a station or a supernumerary fast (Victorinus. On the Creation of the World. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
The above account shows that the fasting occurred the fourth day (tetras means fourth) at the ninth hour (3:00 pm). That is the precise time of the death of Christ according to the Bible. Victorinus is admitting that later that day, there was the Passover time (as does the Bible). He also clearly states that Jesus was arrested on Wednesday. And that is correct.
I will state here that Jesus was not just arrested on a Wednesday, He was crucified then too, just before the first day of unleavened bread. As that Sabbath was a high day (John 19:31), and since the day before the high days was considered to be a preparation day, it was that day, and not a Friday, that Jesus was crucified on. If professing Christians would keep the Holy Days, more would realize that.
Two articles of related interest may be Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? and What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?
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Volume 10, issue 3 COGwriter B. Thiel (c) 2006