5 S HCOG News: Emphasizing News of Interest to those Once in the Worldwide Church of God
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04/12/07 a.m. In his latest bi-weekly update, COGaic's David Hulme reported:
John Bartholomew sent a note from Kenya saying that about 110 former Church of God 7th Day Jerusalem members committed to keeping the Passover as part of the Church of God, aIC--though in the end about half could not make it for a variety of good reasons. They will keep the second Passover.
It is always nice when those who had association with any branch of CG7 realize that they need to observe the Passover and other biblical holy days like is done in the Churches of God that do observe all the Holy Days.
Although CG7-Denver is a bit cavalier about why they still keep what they call "the Lord's Supper" on the 14th of the first month, their historical literature was more certain; here is what the Bible Home Instructor by the late Andrew Dugger teaches:
NOTE: According to the Bible, the year commences with the new moon after the Vernal Equinox in the spring. Then fourteen days later than this is the time for Passover, which should be taken during the first part of the fourteenth day (Dugger, A.N. The Lord's Supper. The Bible Home Instructor, circa 1920. G&S Reprint 1996, p. 59).
While that calculation is subject to seasonal adjustment so that the fall holy days occur when they should, my point is that CG7 used to claim a biblical reason for the date--now they basically state that it is essentially by tradition.
Some may wonder what the "second Passover" is, since David Hulme mentioned it.
Biblically, Passover was the one Holy Day that could be kept at a later date if there were legitimate reasons to not keep it on the 14th of the first month--it was allowed to be observed by those on the 14th of the second month (which will be after sunset on May 1 in 2007). The following is the scriptural citation for allowing a "second Passover" date:
9 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the LORD's Passover. 11 On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it. 13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of the LORD at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin. 14 And if a stranger dwells among you, and would keep the LORD's Passover, he must do so according to the rite of the Passover and according to its ceremony; you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land.' " (Numbers 9:9-14, NKJV).
Did you keep the LORD"s Passover this year?
04/11/07 a.m. The Orthodox Church made the news last week, basically claiming that they have been more tolerant and less tolerant towards other religions than many groups (like apparently the Roman Catholics). But they admit that this they seemed to make an exception to some who may have been affiliated with the Church of God--the Bogomils:
The Crescent and the Cross - Religion and Community in the Balkans - The Communities of God
American Chronicle - March 30, 2007
Sam Vaknin Ph.D.
"From the beginning, people of different languages and religions were permitted to live in Christian lands and cities, namely Jews, Armenians, Ismaelites, Agarenes and others such as these, except that they do not mix with Christians, but rather live separately. For this reason, places have been designated for these according to ethnic group, either within the city or without, so that they may be restricted to these and not extend their dwelling beyond them." Bishop Demetrios Khomatianos of Ohrid, late 12th century and early 13th century AD
"The Latins still have not been anathematized, nor has a great ecumenical council acted against them ... And even to this day this continues, although it is said that they still wait for the repentance of the great Roman Church." "...do not overlook us, singing with deaf ears, but give us your understanding, according to sacred precepts, as you yourself inspired the apostles ... You see, Lord, the battle of many years of your churches. Grant us humility, quiet the storm, so that we may know in each other your mercy, and we may not forget before the end the mystery of your love ... May we coexist in unity with each other, and become wise also, so that we may live in you and in your eternal creator the Father and in his only-begotten Word. You are life, love, peace, truth, and sanctity..." East European Studies Occasional Paper, Number 47, "Christianity and Islam in Southeastern Europe - Slavic Orthodox Attitudes toward Other Religions", Eve Levin, January 1997
"...you faced the serpent and the enemy of God's churches, having judged that it would have been unbearable for your heart to see the Christians of your fatherland overwhelmed by the Moslems (izmailteni); if you could not accomplish this, you would leave the glory of your kingdom on earth to perish, and having become purple with your blood, you would join the soldiers of the heavenly kingdom. In this way, your two wishes were fulfilled. You killed the serpent, and you received from God the wreath of martyrdom."Mateja Matejic and Dragan Milivojevic, "An Anthology of Medieval Serbian Literature in English", Columbus, Ohio: Slavica, 1978
Any effort to understand the modern quagmire that is the Balkan must address religion and religious animosities and grievances. Yet, the surprising conclusion of such a study is bound to be that the role of inter-faith hatred and conflict has been greatly exaggerated. The Balkan was characterized more by religious tolerance than by religious persecution. It was a model of successful co-habitation and co-existence even of the bitterest enemies of the most disparate backgrounds. Only the rise of the modern nation-state exacerbated long-standing and hitherto dormant tensions. Actually, the modern state was established on a foundation of artificially fanned antagonism and xenophobia.
Religions in the Balkan were never monolithic enterprises. Competing influences, paranoia, xenophobia and adverse circumstances all conspired to fracture the religious landscape. Thus, for instance, though officially owing allegiance to the patriarch in Constantinople and the Orthodox "oikumene", both Serb and Bulgarian churches collaborated with the rulers of the day against perceived Byzantine (Greek and Russian) political encroachment in religious guise. The southern Slav churches rejected both the theology and the secular teachings of the "Hellenics" and the "Romanians" (Romans). In turn, the Greek church held the Slav church in disregard and treated the peasants of Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania to savage rounds of tax collection. The Orthodox, as have all religions, berated other confessions and denominations. But Orthodoxy was always benign - no "jihad", no bloodshed, no forced conversions and no mass expulsions - perhaps with the exception of the forcible treatment of the Bogomils.
It was all about power and money, of course. Bishops and archbishops did not hesitate to co-opt the Ottoman administration against their adversaries. They had their rivals arrested by the Turks or ex-communicated them. Such squabbles were common. But they never amounted to more than a Balkanian comedia del-arte. Even the Jews - persecuted all over western Europe - were tolerated and attained prominence and influence in the Balkan. One Bulgarian Tsar divorced his wife to marry a Jewess. Southern Orthodox Christianity (as opposed to the virulent and vituperative Byzantine species) has always been pragmatic. The minorities (Jews, Armenians, Vlachs) were the economic and financial backbone of their societies. And the Balkan was always a hodge-podge of ethnicities, cultures and religions. Shifting political fortunes ensured a policy of "hedging one's bets".
The two great competitors of Orthodox Christianity in the tight market of souls were Catholicism and Islam. The former co-sponsored with the Orthodox Church the educational efforts of Cyril and Methodius. Even before the traumatic schism of 1054, Catholics and nascent Orthodox were battling over (lucrative) religious turf in Bulgaria.
The schism was a telling affair. Ostensibly, it revolved around obscure theological issues (who begat the Holy Spirit - the Father alone or jointly with the Son as well as which type of bread should be used in the Eucharist). But really it was a clash of authorities and interests - the Pope versus the patriarch of Constantinople, the Romans versus the Greeks and Slavs. Matters of jurisdiction coalesced with political meddling in a confluence of ill-will that has simmered for at least two centuries. The southern (Slav) Orthodox churches contributed to the debate and supported the Greek position. Sects such as the Hesychasts were more Byzantine than the Greeks and denounced wavering Orthodox clergy. Many a south Orthodox pilloried the Catholic stance as an heresy of Armenian or Apollinarian or Arian origin - thus displaying their ignorance of the subtler points of the theological debate. They also got wrong the Greek argumentation regarding the bread of the Eucharist and the history of the schism. But zeal compensated for ignorance, as is often the case in the Balkan.
What started as a debate - however fervent - about abstract theology became an all out argument about derided customs and ceremonies. Diet, dates and divine practices all starred in these grotesque exchanges. The Latin ate unclean beasts. They used five fingers to cross themselves. They did not sing Hallelujah. They allowed the consumption of dairy products in Lent. The list was long and preposterous. The parties were spoiling for a fight. As is so often the case in this accursed swathe of the earth, identity and delusional superiority were secured through opposition and self-worth was attained through defiance. By relegating them to the role of malevolent heretics, the Orthodox made the sins of the Catholics unforgivable, their behaviour inexcusable, their fate sealed.
At the beginning, the attacks were directed at the "Latins" - foreigners from Germany and France. Local Catholics were somehow dissociated and absolved from the diabolical attributes of their fellow-believers abroad. They used the same calendar as the Orthodox (except for Lent) and similarly prayed in Church Slavonic. The only visible difference was the recognition of papal authority by the Catholics. Catholicism presented a coherent and veteran alternative to Orthodoxy's inchoate teachings. Secular authorities were ambiguous about how to treat their Catholic subjects and did not hesitate to collaborate with Catholic authorities against the Turks. Thus, to preserve itself as a viable religious alternative, the Orthodox church had to differentiate itself from the Holy See. Hence, the flaming debates and pejorative harangues.
The second great threat was Islam. Still, it was a latecomer. Catholicism and Orthodoxy have been foes since the ninth century. Four hundreds years later, Byzantine wars against the Moslems were a distant thunder and raised little curiosity and interest in the Balkan. The Orthodox church was acquainted with the tenets of Islamic faith but did not bother to codify its knowledge or record it. Islam was, to it, despite its impeccable monotheistic credentials, an exotic Oriental off-shoot of tribal paganism.
Thus, the Turkish invasion and the hardships of daily life under Ottoman rule found Orthodoxy unprepared. It reacted the way we all react to fear of the unknown: superstitions, curses, name calling. On the one hand, the Turkish enemy was dehumanized and bedevilled. It was perceived to be God's punishment upon the unfaithful and the sinful. On the other hand, in a curious transformation or a cognitive dissonance, the Turks became a divine instrument, the wrathful messengers of God. The Christians of the Balkan suffered from a post traumatic stress syndrome. They went through the classical phases of grief. They started by denying the defeat (in Kosovo, for instance) and they proceeded through rage, sadness and acceptance.
All four phases co-existed in Balkan history. Denial by the many who resorted to mysticism and delusional political thought. That the Turks failed for centuries to subdue pockets of resistance (for instance in Montenegro) served to rekindle these hopes and delusions periodically. Thus, the Turks (and, by extension, Islam) served as a politically cohering factor and provided a cause to rally around. Rage manifested through the acts against the occupying Ottomans of individuals or rebellious groups. Sadness was expressed in liturgy, in art and literature, in music and in dance. Acceptance by conceiving of the Turks as the very hand of God Himself. But, gradually, the Turks and their rule came to be regarded as the work of the devil as it was incurring the wrath of God.
But again, this negative and annihilating attitude was reserved to outsiders and foreigners, the off-spring of Ishmael and of Hagar, the Latins and the Turks. Moslem or Catholic neighbours were rarely, if ever, the target of such vitriolic diatribes. External enemies - be they Christian or Moslem - were always to be cursed and resisted. Neighbours of the same ethnicity were never to be punished or discriminated against for their religion or convictions - though half-hearted condemnations did occur. The geographical and ethnic community seems to have been a critical determinant of identity even when confronted with an enemy at the gates. Members of an ethnic community could share the same religious faith as the invader or the heretic - yet this detracted none from their allegiance and place in their society as emanating from birth and long term residence. These tolerance and acceptance prevailed even in the face of Ottoman segregation of religious communities in ethnically-mixed "millets". This principle was shattered finally by the advent of the modern nation-state and its defining parameters (history and language), real or (more often) invented. One could sometimes find members of the same nuclear family - but of different religious affiliation. Secular rulers and artisans in guilds collaborated unhesitatingly with Jews, Turks and Catholics. Conversions to and fro were common practice, as ways to secure economic benefits. These phenomena were especially prevalent in the border areas of Croatia and Bosnia. But everyone, throughout the Balkan, shared the same rituals, the way of life, the superstitions, the magic, the folklore, the customs and the habits regardless of religious persuasion.
Where religions co-existed, they fused syncretically. Some Sufi sects (mainly among the Janiccary) adopted Catholic rituals, made the sign of the cross, drank alcohol and ate pork. The followers of Bedreddin were Jews and Christians, as well as Moslems. Everybody shared miraculous sites, icons, even prayers. Orthodox Slavs pilgrims to the holy places in Palestine were titled "Hadzi" and Moslems were especially keen on Easter eggs and holy water as talismans of health. Calendars enumerated the holidays of all religions, side by side. Muslim judges ("kadis") married Muslim men to non-Muslim women and inter-marriage was rife. They also married and divorced Catholic couples, in contravention of the Catholic faith. Orthodox and Catholic habitually intermarried and interbred. http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=23116
Why make an exception and be less tolerant to the Bogomils?
One of the reasons is that any that would have been in the true Church of God would not compromise and combine false religious practices like many of the other groups they somewhat tolerated.
Notice that the Orthodox claim to have not caused bloodshed, forced conversions, or mass expulsions of any other group, except what they did to the Bogomils. I cannot comment on how they treated others, but obviously, some of them felt mistreating people that were associated with the true Church of God was acceptable. This is sad, but consistent with what happened to true Christians in the Pergamos and Thyatira eras of the true Church.
More on the Eastern Orthodox can be found in the article Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God
Perhaps it would be a good time to mention that Protestant leaders, like Martin Luther did not care for those in the true Church of God or others who did not share his views. Notice the following:
"I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said that they should be slain; all their blood is upon my head. But I cast it on the Lord God, who commanded me to speak this way" (Werke, Erl. Edition, lix, p. 284 ‘Table Talk’ as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.96).
It is reported that 100,000 perished at that time.
Notice what the followers of Martin Luther declared in 1530,
"Article XVI: Of Civil Affairs. Of Civil Affairs they teach that lawful civil ordinances are good works of God, and that it is right for Christians to bear civil office, to sit as judges, to judge matters by the Imperial and other existing laws, to award just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers...They condemn the Anabaptists who forbid these civil offices to Christians."
It should be noted that some of those called Anabaptists were in the Church of God (please see the article The Sardis Church Era).
Martin Luther wrote,
My heart is fuller of these thoughts than my tongue can tell. I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God…And so I presume the men of Cologne cannot understand the Scripture, because it is necessary that such things take place to fulfill prophecy. If they are trying to stop the Jews blaspheming, they are working to prove the Bible and God liars ("Martin Luther's to George Spalatin," from Luthers Correspondence and Other Contemporan, Letters, trans. by P. Smith (1913), Vol. 1, pp. 28-29).
I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them…They are so blind and stupid that they see neither the words found in Genesis 17 nor the whole of Scripture, which mightily and explicitly condemns this lie…They are real liars and bloodhounds who have not only continually perverted and falsified all of Scripture with their mendacious glosses from the beginning until the present day. Their heart's most ardent sighing and yearning and hoping is set on the day on which they can deal with us Gentiles as they did with the Gentiles in Persia at the time of Esther…The worse a Jew is, the more arrogant he is, solely because he is a Jew — that is, a person descended from Abraham's seed, circumcised, and under the law of Moses. David and other pious Jews were not as conceited as the present-day, incorrigible Jews...I wanted to present this to us Germans so that we might see what rascals the blind Jews are and how powerfully the truth of God in our midst stands with us and against them" (Medieval Sourcebook: Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543)
Martin Luther advised his followers,
...to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).
Two articles of related interest may include:
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the COG is NOT Protestant.
Military Service and the Churches of God Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation.
04/10/07 a.m. The May 2007 edition of PCG's Philadelphia Trumpet has the following in an article by its Ron Frasier:
Get Ready for Pope TV
Daily and nightly, the mass media shout headline stories about the spreading influence of pan-Islamism. Daily and nightly the public is indoctrinated with the idea that the spread of the Islamic religion, in its various forms and factions, especially in its most extravagant forms of extremism, is about to overtake Western civilization.
The media are wrong.
While so many fixate on the rise of Islamism, another major religion is rapidly gaining ground in terms of its appeal to youth in particular, and, more worryingly, its political clout.
The plain fact to which Western media have yet to awaken is that secularism is becoming passé...
The arm-waving, foot-stomping, stupefyingly hyped-up emotionalism of so much of the evangelical Protestant movement that captivated a generation in Anglo-America seeking to fill the spiritual gap left by the three decades of experiments in social engineering during the 1960s through the ’80s has had its day. A powerful force is rising across the Atlantic, destined to pale all religious competition into relative insignificance. It is centered around a highly intelligent and articulate personality holding an office of increasing political significance. It has a collective budget and assets that make it the richest institution in the world. It has greater command of media than any single one of its competitors. It is the mother of all Christian religions.
In March, our news bureau noted a record number of incoming stories on current events involving the Vatican. Also in March, Pope Benedict xvi commented publicly on the power of the mass media to move the masses. Publicity and mass communication are so important to the Vatican that it has a high-profile department specifically devoted to its effective exploitation, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications...
Despite the nightly impression given that news of Islamic religious fervor dominates the mass media in the West, the figures tell a different story. The Vatican is winning the religious media war hands down! From the time of the record-breaking audiences that tuned in to see Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger conduct Pope John Paul ii’s funeral, to the massive media coverage of his investiture as Pope Benedict xvi, the small, slight figure of this Bavarian pope has become the most recognizable of personalities across the globe. Pope Benedict xvi enjoyed total audiences in 2006 greater than the annual audiences of any single previous pope, and far greater than any other single religious leader in history!
What makes the Vatican’s dominance of the mass media most intriguing is where it is all leading.
The Vatican’s Media Offensive
Pope Benedict xvi is rapidly seizing the initiative across the Atlantic in a determined effort to ensure that the secular materialistic liberalism destroying the moral fiber of Anglo-American society is arrested on the continent of Europe...
That same year, during an interview with a German journalist, Ratzinger officially declared war on the secularism that he sees as the root cause for the evils of a society in moral decline: “There really is an ideological, secular aggressiveness that gives cause to worry. … Laicism [secularism] is not any longer that element of neutrality that opens fields of freedom for everybody. It’s now turning into an ideology, which—with the help of politics—forces itself into the public and leaves no space for the Christian and Catholic conception—thereby turning it into a merely private and essentially mutilated concern. In this sense, a fight has really begun in which we have to defend the religious freedom against the pretension of an ideology that acts as if it were the only voice of reason—whereas it is only the expression of ‘a certain’ rationalism. … A society that is not at all concerned with God destroys itself. We saw that in the totalitarian experiments of the last century” (Die Welt, April 20, 2005).
Of the fact that Benedict is up to the fight, there can be no doubt. He proved that by his tenacious rooting out of liberation theologians during his term in office as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the ancient office of the Inquisition, now with its sanitized, politically correct name), under the papacy of John Paul ii. Now he has revealed that he will meet the mass media industry head on in the quest for the moral high ground globally!
With Pope Benedict having just roundly challenged the mass media to change their largely destructive tune—destructive of basic family values and all that he sees as being fundamental to a good, “Christian and Catholic conception” of society—the Vatican announced March 12 that it will go on the offensive in the media war. The pope is about to build a global television audience to add to the rapidly growing global Web-based audience currently attracted to the Vatican’s well-developed online portal. The Vatican is on the verge of launching not just its own television station, but a global television network! With the call sign h2o, the network is due to be launched by the end of the year, offering a mix of news and original entertainment in seven languages...
So! Right at the juncture that the masses are clamoring to get religion, at least in its form as entertainment, Benedict xvi is about to go global with the Vatican’s own brand of religious entertainment via its own global television network.
Take our word for it or not, the day will soon dawn when that network will air shows of a nature that will leave the public absolutely spellbound! In time to come, the Vatican will produce religious entertainment that will make Hollywood box-office hits on religious themes look more like Disney cartoons by comparison. The visions coming down the tube from Vatican-networked tv will literally hypnotize their global audience with their out-of-this-world, mind-shattering imagery.
Believe it or not, Bible prophecy declares it will be so!
Read Revelation 13:13 in your own Bible. It’s a real show stopper! In time to come when you witness that event, broadcast around the world via globally networked television, remember where you read that it would one day become a reality. It just may mean that by remembering, you may then be able to do something positive and life-changing in light of the impending consequences of those startling events!
While PCG has much of the above correct, PCG is in error that Rome is the mother of all Christian religions--it should re-read Revelation 17:5-6:
5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus...
It and others should also read the following to better understand early Church history:
History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible?
Those interested in prophetic events may also wish to read:
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist. This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666.
Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 This article explains how the COG views this, and compares this to Ellen White.
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation?
Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? What does the Bible say?
04/09/07 a.m. The following news item was of interest:
Russian Orthodox Church to join with exiled branches
ABC Radio - April 8, 2007
Reporter: Emma Griffiths
ELIZABETH JACKSON: The Russian Orthodox Church is preparing for an historic event.
Next month it will welcome back its international members from across the world. For decades they've worshipped in a separate Church in exile.
The church has been divided for 80 years, as those outside Russia rejected the church in their motherland and accused it of being tied to the Communist leaders of the Soviet Union.
But after more than a decade of negotiations, the two will again become one Russian Orthodox Church...http://www.abc.net.au/correspondents/content/2007/s1891970.htm
This simply another step in restoring unity among the Orthodox. Catholic prophecies state that a Pope will aquire unity between the Western and Eastern churches, but it certainly helps if there is more unity among the East first.
Those interested in learning about the Eastern Orthodox may wish to read the article Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God.
While I mentioned that yesterday was the wave-sheaf offering, as well as the article What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?, which mentioned Jesus being the wave-sheaf offerring, I neglected to emphasize a couple of points on this news page.
First is that the wave-sheaf offering represented the first one sheaf of "firstfruits". And that Jesus was that firstfruit. And second, that the count to Pentecost began yesterday.
The following is from the article Pentecost: Is It More Than Acts 2?
The term Pentecost is a Greek term meaning 50th. That term is derived from the following Hebrew description of calculating the date:
And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16).
The Day of Pentecost has several names, and because of that, some have been confused about it. Its other names in the Bible include, the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks and the day of firstfruits:
... the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors (Ex 23:16).
And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits (Exodus 34:22).
Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation (Numbers 28:26).
While some Protestant commentators (e.g. Radmacher E.D. ed. The Nelson Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p213) refer to the wave sheaf offering as the feast of firstfruits, this is a misnomer. While "a sheaf of firstfruits" was offered then (Leviticus 23:10), as shown above, the Bible refers to the Feast of Weeks as the time of firstfruits (not simply one sheaf). And, as shown below, it refers to the time of counting fifty as being associated with firstfruits:
Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD (Leviticus 23:16-17).
...But what about Jesus? Wasn't He a type of firstfruits?
Yes, He certainly was. Paul notes:
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming (1 Corinthians15:20-23).
Christ is the fulfillment of the wave sheaf offering in Leviticus 23:10. He is the sheaf of firstfruits. He also fulfilled that role when He ascended into heaven on the Sunday (the wave sheaf offering was on a Sunday) after He was resurrected (John 20:1,17).
More information is included in the article Pentecost: Is It More Than Acts 2?
On other matters, today is the last day of unleavened bread. And by the time many read this, these days will be close to over. Did you observe them? Did you examine yourself and ask God to help you remove sin and hypocrisy in your life? Did you eat unleavened bread each day? Of did you accept human reasoning and not properly observe these days?
Repentance is allowed any day.
Two articles related to these days should help you answer that last question. The first mainly would assist those unclear if they should follow the practices of the Church of God and the second to help some in the Church of God who may have been swayed to not properly observe these days:
Did you obey the God of the Bible or traditions of men?
04/08/07 a.m. Today is called Easter. A holiday named after a pagan goddess. The following news item was of interest:
The Big Question: Why do we celebrate Easter, and where did the bunny come from?
The Independent (UK) - April 6, 2007
What is Easter?
Easter is the oldest and most important Christian festival, marking the end of the fasting season of Lent and the death, on Good (derived from God's) Friday and resurrection of Jesus Christ, on Easter Sunday. It has deeper and more complex associations than Christmas, particularly in the Orthodox Christian world. There are many customs and traditions associated with Easter which, like most other holiday and feast days, are derived from a combination of both Jewish lore and pre-Christian and pagan practices. It is named after Eostre, the goddess of fertility and birth, worshipped by first-century pagans at the vernal equinox, who believed she would bless both their families and their crops. Christian missionaries saw this celebration took place around the time of the resurrection of Christ, so they adopted Easter as a Christian holiday to increase conversion...
What is the link with Passover?
Some of the early Christian debate centred over the desire to keep the date of Easter separate from the week-long Jewish festival of Passover, which celebrates the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. It is believed that the Last Supper was in reality the Seder meal, which traditionally marks the start of Passover. The word Paschal, used to describe many things associated with Easter, itself derives from Pascha, the Greek/Latin transliteration of Pesach, the Hebrew word for Passover...
Why have rabbits and eggs become linked with Easter?
Eggs, of course, are ancient symbols of fertility...An egg has also been seen to be associated with the rebirth or resurrection of Christ. The custom of eating them also derives from the fact that they were forbidden during Lent. There are a great many rituals associated with eggs, mainly dating from Mediaeval times in Europe, usually involving decorating, throwing, rolling or hiding eggs for children to find them.
The Easter bunny or rabbit comes from the hare, another ancient, pre-Christian symbol of fertility associated with spring. But it gets even more complicated than that. Anglo-Saxon mythology says Eostara changed her pet bird into a rabbit to entertain a group of children, and the rabbit laid brightly coloured eggs for them...
But isn't it just an opportunity to go to the garden centre?It depends on how religiously observant you are. But remember that every time you sow a few of those seeds or plant a rose bush and make a small wish they will grow, you are effectively taking part in a pagan celebration devoted to Eostre ... http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article2426203.ece
It needs to be pointed out that Easter is NOT a Christian holy day, nor was Lent. But it is true that the date was changed to separate from biblical practices that Jews and true Christians kept. It should be noted that even Roman Catholic scholars admit that many of the customs had to do with pagan worship practices (please see the article Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?).
But biblically, today is actually the wave-sheaf day (this is mentioned in article Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?).
In his latest newsletter, SDA S. Bacchiocchi reported:
The recovery from my colon cancer surgery that took place on February 20, 2007, has been excellent. The new challenge I am facing now is the battle against the liver cancer. To get a more accurate picture of the presence of cancer in my liver, I underwent a combined Pet/Cat Scan at the Center for Cancer Care in Goshen, Indiana.
The recovery from my colon cancer surgery that took place on February 20, 2007, has been excellent. The new challenge I am facing now is the battle against the liver cancer. To get a more accurate picture of the presence of cancer in my liver, I underwent a combined Pet/Cat Scan at the Center for Cancer Care in Goshen, Indiana.
The results of these tests were quite revealing. The three dimensional pictures show that the right lobe of the liver is 70% affected by cancer cells, while the left lobe about 50%. There is no question that the situation is serious. ..
Overall I am doing quite well. None of the major side effects like the loss of hair have affected me. With a shining top no one could tell if I loose a few hairs. My major problem has been a sense of weakness and some temperature. Thank God for granting me enough energy to write this newsletter. Forgive me for failing to reply to your messages. As I get stronger, I will take time to respond to your gracious messages.
I am scheduled for another chemo treatment on Monday, April 9. A week later I will undergo another Pet/Cat Scan that will reveal the effectiveness of this dual radiation, consisting of chemo and microspheres. I am looking forward to report to you the results of this clinical study, which so far has give very positive results in similar cases of liver cancer.
Please keep us in your prayers. My wife needs your prayers too, because this testing experience is taking its tool on her.
I have sometimes consulted with Dr. Bacchiocchi on certain matters of mutual theological interest. His newsletter also greatly assisted my writing the article SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 which I updated yesterday to include some information from CG7 on the similarties and differences between the two groups.
Speaking of SDAs, some apparently celebrated Passover last night (about six days late) as Dr. B. reported the following item:
Speaking of SDAs, some apparently celebrated Passover last night (about six days late) as Dr. B. reported the following item:
“On Saturday evening, April 7th, Pastor Elofer will conduct a Passover Seder at the New Otani Hotel, in Los Angeles, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A traditional Jewish meal [feast] will be served. This event is being sponsored by the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in cooperation with the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. This is an occasion where Seventh-day Adventists and Jews can come together to celebrate some common elements of their religious faith, so please invite your Jewish friends. All should understand that this is not a ‘proselytizing’ event, as is often conducted by Messianic Churches, but is one that respects both Jewish and Christian religious traditions.”
Dr. B. also wrote:
Planning for a special Easter Sunday service in Adventist churches to celebrate the event of Christ’s Resurrection, poses two serious problems. First, it assumes that Christ’s Resurrection is an event to be celebrated liturgically on Sunday by a special church service. We shall see that this assumption is devoid of biblical and apostolic support.
Second, Easter Sunday services indirectly supports Sunday observance, since it is a known fact that both the weekly Sunday and the annual Easter Sunday, are viewed by many Christians as memorial days of Christ’s resurrection. For Adventists to reject the weekly Sunday’s celebration of the Resurrection, while participating in the annual Easter Sunday celebration of the Resurrection, is a contradiction that indirectly supports Sunday observance.
Had Jesus wanted to memorialize the day of His Resurrection, He would have capitalized on the day of His Resurrection to make such a day the fitting memorial of that event. But none of the utterances of the risen Savior reveal an intent to memorialize the day of His Resurrection by making it the new Christian day of rest and worship. Biblical institutions such as the Sabbath, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper all trace their origin to a divine act that established them. But there is no such divine act for the institution of a weekly Sunday or an annual Easter Sunday memorial of the Resurrection.
The silence of the New Testament on this matter is very important since most of its books were written many years after Christ’s death and resurrection. If Christ or the apostles had enjoined the observance of Sunday as a memorial of the resurrection, then we should find in the New Testament some indications of such a commandment and of its observance. Instead, we find no trace of any commandment regarding the celebration of the Resurrection on a weekly Sunday or annual Easter Sunday.
In fact, Sunday is never called “Day of the Resurrection” in the NT, but consistently “First Day of the Week.” Paul prays that he may know “the power of the resurrection” (Phil 3:10), not the day of His resurrection. The first reference to Sunday as the “Day of the Resurrection” occurs in the fourth century in the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea. The obvious reason for this late appearance is that in earliest centuries Sunday was not viewed as the weekly memorial of the resurrection.
Eastre: Anglo-Saxon Spring Goddess...
The process which led Christianity to clothe itself in the garments of paganism began when Gentile Christians gained control of the Church, and it continued during the Middle Ages when hordes of Barbarians entered the Church with their superstitious beliefs. For the sake of brevity, I am posting here only a few excerpts of my study found in volume 1 of God’s Festivals in Scripture and History.
Passover was renamed “Easter,” which derives from Eostre, Eastur, Ostara, Ostar, terms used by the Norsemen (ancient Scandinavians) to refer to the season of the rising sun. According to Bede (ca. A. D. 673-735), the “Father of English History,” the word “Easter” is derived from Eastre, an Anglo-Saxon spring goddess to whom sacrifices were offered at the vernal equinox (March 21). “This pagan festival probably gave way to the Christian celebration of the resurrection.”
Donna and Mal Broadhurst point out, “It is probable that Eostra/Ostara is the Anglo-Saxon version of Ishtar, the Sumerian goddess of love and war who in Canaan evolved into a moon goddess and wife of Baal. According to Sumerian lore, Ishtar was the wife of the Summerian god, Tammuz. Both are spoken of in the Bible–Tammuz in Ezekiel 8:14 and Ishtar, called Ashtoreth and Queen of Heaven, in Judges 2:13, Judges 10:6, Jeremiah 44:17, and elsewhere..." (Bacchiocchi S. ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 169 “Should Adventists Celebrate Passover or Easter-Sunday?”).
Without going into all the details, let me simply post the following for Protestants who celebrate Easter to consider
Without going into all the details, let me simply post the following for Protestants who celebrate Easter to consider:
The Bible clearly teaches that the observance of Passover was on the 14th by Jesus and never enjoins the celebration of pagan-derived holidays. Will you obey God or men?
More details concerning the truth of when Jesus was resurrected are included in the article What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?
More details concerning the truth of when Jesus was resurrected are included in the article What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?
04/07/07 a.m. The AC campus was in the news:
Ambassador plan wins approval
Council OKs city's biggest development Pasadena Star News - April 2, 2007
PASADENA- It took eight years and two failed attempts to build on the prime 19.72-acre Ambassador College campus, but developers Dorn Platz were given City Council approval Monday night for the largest project in city history.
The council, however, decided that the massive 450,000-square-foot Sunrise Senior Living complex - two buildings, joined by a bridge - should be scaled back by at least 10,000 square feet. The building emerged as the only controversial aspect of the plan, drawing fire from Harvest Rock Church, which owns the adjacent Ambassador Auditorium...
The council also approved the developers' offer to donate the 2.1-acre Great Lawn as a city park instead of paying a Residential Impact Fee of $4.2 million...
Support for the project was strong from neighbors, including the West Pasadena Residents Association, which saw the Sunrise complex's density as a trade-off for preserving 72percent of the site as open space, including the historic Italian Gardens, Grove Walk and Stream and Fowler Gardens, and retaining 83 percent of the trees. Two earlier proposals for the site allowed for up to 1,900 homes on the entire 47-acre Ambassador College campus, which was later sold off in three parts by the Worldwide Church of God. The Ambassador West plan allows for 248 senior and assisted living units in a six-story, 450,000-square-foot building; 70 condos in two- and three-story buildings; reconfiguring existing apartments and dormitory buildings into 46 apartments; converting some historic buildings to educational, institutional and office uses; and preserving historic buildings, landscape and open space. Included on-site will be 25 affordable housing units, five moderate-income, eight low- income and 12 very low- income. http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_5580843
Council Approves Senior Complex
Pasadena Independent - April 6, 2007
The Pasadena City Council Monday managed to craft an agreement to approve a senior citizen residential complex for the west campus of the former Ambassador College.
The third try for a project next to Ambassador Auditorium ended up with no real community opposition...
Nothing is absolutely certain in Pasadena, but Monday’s decision would appear to end the long dispute over the use of the land once owned by the Worldwide Church of God...
Council members were impressed by the civility of the final debate, which drew absolutely no public speakers, another first for the contentious residents of the Crown City. Whether the sweet accord will last through the design process remains to be seen. http://www.coremg.net/newspapers.php?paper=pasadenaindependent&i=0&storyid=636
Perhaps this ends for a while the differing plans for the old AC campus.
Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong announced:
It was good to see the British sailors and marines returned to Britian unharmed, at least physically. As we suspected, it wasn’t exactly the all expense paid vacation Ahmadinejad tried to claim. Now that the former hostages are safely home, they are free to contradict the erroneous statements they were forced to make in fear of their lives. If you’ve seen their reports, you realize that they were subjected to intense fear and intimidation. They were 1.7 miles inside Iraqi waters when they were seized.
Iran, it appears has gotten away with it. They’ve tweaked the west’s nose again, and pretended to be heroically altruistic in the process. Just consider the source and get used to it. Ahmadinejad is convinced both the U.S. and the UK have lost their resolve, and believes he has just demonstrated that reality to the entire world. Time will tell whether or not he has miscalculated. I’m hoping he has.
I believe that Iran will be somewhat neutralized at some point in time as I differ from PCG on Iran and the king of the South.
Apparently Pope Benedict XVI believes that Jesus used a different calendar than many Jews of His day:
Pope Notes Hypothesis on Date of PassoverSays Christ Likely Followed Essene Calendar Zenit - April 6, 2007
VATICAN CITY - It is likely that Jesus followed the calendar of the Essenes of Qumran, possibly explaining some contradictions within the Gospel accounts of the Passover, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope made this observation Holy Thursday in his homily during the Mass of the Lord's Supper at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
In his address, the theologian commented on the historical investigations on the manuscripts of Qumran, found in the Dead Sea in 1947.
"In the narrations of the Evangelists, there is an apparent contradiction between the Gospel of John, on one hand, and what, on the other hand, Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us," said Benedict XVI.
The Pope continued: "According to John, Jesus died on the cross precisely at the moment in which, in the temple, the Passover lambs were being sacrificed. His death and the sacrifice of the lambs coincided.
"This means that he died on the eve of Passover, and that, therefore, he could not have personally celebrated the paschal supper, at least this is what it would seem."
The Holy Father said that according to an interpretation of the texts, "still not accepted by all," Jesus "celebrated Passover with his disciples probably according to the calendar of Qumran, that is to say, at least one day earlier -- he celebrated without a lamb, like the Qumran community who did not recognize the Temple of Herod and was waiting for a new temple."
Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, former rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome, explained that in Jesus' time the calendar of the Essenes was more traditional that the one more recently adopted by the priests of Jerusalem. He said that this doesn't signify that Jesus formed part of the Essenes.
Since they are calling the pontiff a theologian, it should not be necessary to remind him that Jesus kept the Passover on the correct night--that is--the night before most Jews kept it because many Jews were (and remain) confused about the Night to be Observed (Exodus 12:42), which occurred the next night.
Jesus kept the correct date that is in the Book of Exodus and showed by His example that most of the Jews of His day observed it on the wrong day as they observed it on the 15th and not the 14th.
Of course the pontiff must know that early Christians who kept Passover on the correct date were called Quartodecimans- a term that signifies the 14th. There is no contradiction in the Bible--the contradiction is the Roman insistence that Jesus was put to death on a Friday and resurrected early Sunday and that this is THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS. Furthermore, the pontiff has another contradiction as Catholic sources claim that Jesus was arrested a couple of days prior to the date of the crucifixion and then held--since Jesus observed the Passover BEFORE He was arrested, the Roman Catholics cannot get away with the explanation that Jesus somehow observed the Essene calendar, as even if He did, the Roman Catholic account still does not agree with either scripture or the Essene calendar. Please see the article What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?
The following was an unusual news item:
Sight Of Jesus Drinking Coke Prompts Lawsuit
Coke Doesn't Want That Type Of Promotion
POSTED: 8:31 pm CDT April 5, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The company's theme song used to be "I'd like to buy the world a Coke," but apparently the offer doesn't apply to Jesus.
Coca-Cola Co. is suing producers of an Italian film titled " 7 Km da Gerusalemme" (Seven Kilometers From Jerusalem), that shows Jesus swigging Coke from a can in the desert. Coke said the scene would probably give the soda a bad image. A spokeswoman said, "We are not interested in this kind of product placement."
The film is set in present-day
Variety reported that the movie was due to be released April 6, Good Friday, but it has now been pulled by Mediafilm. The company had hoped to capitalize on the Easter spirit, Variety reported.
Link to the mentioned article is: Sight Of Jesus Drinking Coke Prompts Lawsuit - Food News Story - WISC Madison
I hope that Coke made its decision because the placement was in bad taste as opposed to fear of religion. Perhaps I should add that I do not believe that Jesus would encourage people to drink Coke.
04/06/07 a.m. Yesterday's news featured the following:
Survey: 1 of 6 English Youth Clueless about Good Friday
Christian Post - April 5, 2007
A recent survey found that a surprising number of young adults in England were ignorant of some of the basic facts about the important Christian holidays fast approaching this weekend.
The survey, conducted by the Somerfield supermarket chain, found that one out of every six people in England aged 16-24 years old did not know the meaning of Good Friday. And about 10 percent of the participants did not know that Easter Sunday commemorated the resurrection of Jesus, according to This is London, a London entertainment guide from The Evening Standard. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070405/26706_Survey%3A_1_of_6_English_Youth_Clueless_about_Good_Friday.htm
As most readers of this page realize, most calendars claim today is "Good Friday". The observed date Jesus' crucifixion by many. But of course, the crucifixion was on a Wednesday, so why Friday?
Well forget the usual reasons that most Protestants and Catholics give as they really do not know.
Most of them believe that the biblical account supports Friday, but a careful reading of the events of the crucifixion week render that view inaccurate.
Essentially there are two reasons 1) Anti-Semitism (as well as intentional ignorance of biblical holy days) and 2) Friday was ultimately kept because pagans kept a similar observations for Osiris/Ishtar/Tammuz (having similar holidays or blending them into a universal religion, was long a Roman practice). Because of these reasons, Catholic and Protestant leaders invented a new form of math in order to justify Friday.
Sound far fetched?
Perhaps, but it is all true and documentable.
First notice the anti-Semitic reasons for adopting a Sunday (called now called Easter) date for Passover:
Notice what Constantine declared about this:
The commemoration of the most sacred paschal feast being then debated, it was unanimously decided, that it would be well that it should be everywhere celebrated upon the same day. What can be more fair, or more seemly, than that that festival by which we have received the hope of immortality should be carefully celebrated by all, on plain grounds, with the same order and exactitude? It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. By rejecting their custom, we establish and hand down to succeeding ages one which is more reasonable, and which has been observed ever since the day of our Lord's sufferings. Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. For we have received from our Saviour another way... (Theodoret of Cyrus. Ecclesiastical History (Book I), Chapter IX. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).
Actually, the Saviour observed Passover on the 14th of Nisan. It is those who reject that ways of our Saviour who accept the decision of the Roman Emperor over the Bible who do not observe it then. Notice that the first consideration was to not follow the Jews--and they were the ones who followed the Bible. Second, he claimed that people always accepted his Sunday date, but there is absolutely no evidence of this--Sunday Passover was something that second century Romans implemented--there is no proof whatsoever that any observed it on Sunday prior to that, thus Constantine's second reason is also in error.
According to Eusebius' Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18, a more accurate translation of that last line above from the Roman Emperor Constantine should be:
Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.
I do not recall Jesus indicating that Jews were detestable (He was a Jew) or that He changed the date of Passover to a Sunday. But apparently Constantine felt otherwise. And the Sunday observance is now known as Easter (a related article of interest may be Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?).
But not everyone accepted the degree of the sun-worshipping emperor. The Roman Catholic supporting Epiphanius noted:
The Quartodecimans contentiously keep Passover on the one day, once per year...They keep the Passover on whichever day the fourteenth of the month falls...Christ had to be slain on the fourteenth of the month in accordance with the law (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 1,3;1,6;2,6. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 23-25).
It is of interest to note that Epiphanius recognized that Jesus HAD to be slain on the 14th of the month. It is sad that he and others did not believe they needed to observe it when and how Jesus taught.
Second, notice the pagan connection and some early historical accounts:
Interestingly, there was a shortened (Jesus was in the grave a full 72 hours), Friday to Sunday resurrection holiday to Osiris. A recent author wrote some of how a descent story about Ishtar and a descent story for Jesus became mixed:
Somewhere after 100 A.D., a false gospel, The Gospel According to Nicodemus, surfaces...in which Jesus is made to go on a quest into the Netherworld during the three days between His death and Resurrection, to fee some Old Testament saints. The gospel of Nicodemus is never accepted, but it is a well-known fact of Church history that this idea of Jesus going on a quest, exactly like Ishtar, to free souls from imprisonment...ultimately approaches the level of official Church doctrine. This raising of the tale from superstition to dogma occurs at a politically correct time...Clement espouses both story and the Friday crucifixion. In discussing Clement's acceptance of the "Descent of Christ" as true, one author cautioned: "It is important to realize that Clement drew upon Pagan religion more systematically than any other Christian source before or since". Critical historians candidly admit that the "Descent" was derived from Pagan myth...The "other pagan religions" that the Descent Myth appears in are our most familiar stable of Sun gods:...Dionysus, Orpheus, Osiris, Hermes, Krishna, Balder...All of them are derivatives of Tammuz (Alfieri A. The Darkness at the Crucifixion, Volume I. Ngenium LLC, New Jersey, 2005, p. 367).
The Clement above is the Clement of Alexandria, who around 190 A.D. blends Nicodemus and pagan sources in his writing known as the Stromata. Hence certain pagan stories about a descent into the Netherworld became blended with Christ, and this may have been a factor in the final adoption of an Easter Sunday resurrection holiday, instead of a Nisan 14 Passover.
It may be of interest to note that writings prior to Augustine show that it was known that Jesus was arrested early on a Wednesday. The following was written around the late second/early third 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).
Now although the above account later states that the crucifixion was actually on Friday, that end portion of the Didascalia Apostolorum account does not agree with the scriptures. The Bible account does not allow for a holding period of a couple of days before the actual crucifixion (the biblical account specifically discusses the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread and this would not allow for such a delay). Thus, it was understood in the second century that Jesus' arrest occurred Tuesday night, and therefore must have been crucified on the following Wednesday...
It was also known, even by Roman supporters, in the second century that Jesus was buried for three days. Irenaeus wrote:
For the Judge of the whole world is thus proclaimed, who, having been hidden in the heart of the earth in a tomb for three days (Irenaeus. Fragments of Irenaeus, Fragment XXXI. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.).
Since the Bible clearly shows that Jesus was resurrected well before sunrise Sunday morning, there is simply no way that there were three days from Friday afternoon to prior to sunrise Sunday--let alone three days AND three nights.
Third, notice the new math that many religious leaders later came up with:
In order to justify an Friday crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection, most who do so have relied directly or at least indirectly 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?
Notice what the Book of Jonah states:
Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17).
Does any one really feel that Jonah was only in the belly of the fish for less than three days and three nights?
Yet, most Protestant commentators hedge on this and claim that parts of days is acceptable so 49 hours is possible (e.g. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press).
Of course the problem with this is that even with 49 hours, it is not possible that Jesus was buried before sunset (about 6:00pm) on Friday and rose prior to sunrise (about 6:00am) on Sunday as that only adds up to 36 hours. Furthermore, if one takes the fact that Jesus died about 3:00 pm (as opposed to the time He was buried) that only makes 39 hours.
However, the Roman Catholic position seems to be that 3 days and 3 nights is at the most 40 hours. Notice:
Christ lay forty hours in the tomb (Lent. The Catholic Encyclopedia).
However, their celebration of the Good Friday-Easter Sunday time period does not allow for Jesus to have been in the tomb for more than 36 hours as they teach that Jesus was placed in the tomb late Friday (just prior to sunset) and that when Mary Magdalene came to His tomb while it was still dark (John 20:1, hence probably a half hour or so before sunrise) He was gone.
Even the current pope, Benedict XVI, does not seem to know how long Jonah or Jesus were "swallowed up". Notice what he 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).
The length of a Sabbath is one day and one night--about 24 hours. It is not three days and three nights. But Jesus and Jonah were "swallowed up" for about 72 hours!
Martin Luther, who had been a Roman Catholic, also did not accept that Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights as he wrote,
How can we say that he rose on the third day, since he lay in the grave only one day and two nights? According to the Jewish calculation it was only a day and a half; how shall we then persist in believing there were three days? To this we reply that be was in the state of death for at least a part of all three days. For he died at about two o'clock on Friday and consequently was dead for about two hours on the first day. After that night he lay in the grave all day, which is the true Sabbath. On the third day, which we commemorate now, he rose from the dead and so remained in the state of death a part of this day, just as if we say that something occurred on Easter-day, although it happens in the evening, only a portion of the day. In this sense Paul and the Evangelists say that be rose on the third day (Luther M. Of Christ's Resurrection from volume II:238-247 of The Sermons of Martin Luther, published by Baker Book House (Grand Rapids, MI). It was originally published in 1906 in English by Lutherans in All Lands Press (Minneapolis, MN), as The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther, vol. 11).
Hence the only way to have a "Good Friday" crucifixion and a pre-dawn Sunday morning resurrection is to twist what Jesus taught and deny that He would be buried for three days AND three nights.
The above and more is included in the article What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?. Yet, in spite of the truth, Catholics and Protestants will celebrate their holidays irrespective of what the Bible teaches in order to observe the anti-biblical traditions of men.
It may be a little late as this is the fourth day of unleavened bread, but there are three to go and The Journal announced the following late this morning:
150 DELICIOUS Unleavened recipes for Spring Holy Day season!
04/05/07 a.m. WCG announced:
By Thomas C. Hanson Sr.
WCG Today editor
PASADENA—After 25 and a half years, my employment with the WCG will come to an end in a couple of months, and I wanted to take this time to say good-bye.
I will pass on my duties to Mike Morrison, who will become WCG Today editor beginning with the April issue. I wish Mike well in his endeavors.
When I started editing The Worldwide News (forerunner to WCG Today) on a daily basis at age 25 on June 2, 1980, I soon realized that I needed to leave most of the writing to others as I focused on copyediting and other duties to get the publication out the door.
Please bear with me then as I take a few column inches to say good-bye. Unlike many others in the WCG who wear many hats, my job responsibilities have remained virtually the same over my WCG career, though in addition to editing, I write, take photos and now serve as the art director after the departure of Ron Grove, with whom I worked for most of those 25 years.
I actually started work on The Worldwide News at age 20 in 1975 as a photographer, when I was an Ambassador student in Big Sandy. All told, out of my 51 years of life, I have given 27 of those years to this publication. I write this on my final “deadline Friday.”
It is sad that people who used to publicly support being in the COG changed their views. But it does not sadden me when they stop doing that.
The following news item is fairly timely:
FAQs about the date of Easter
UPI - April 4, 2007
An article posted Monday by World Council of Churches news agency answers frequently asked questions about Easter.
Q. Why isn't Easter on the same date every year - like Christmas, for instance?
A. The short answer is that in the 4th century it was decided that Easter would fall after the first full moon following the vernal or spring equinox. (The equinox is a day in the year on which daytime and night-time are of equal length. This happens twice a year, once in spring and once in autumn.)
A more detailed answer would be this:
We know from the New Testament that Jesus' death and resurrection happened around the time of the Jewish feast of Passover. According to Matthew, Mark and Luke's Gospels, the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples was a Passover meal, while John's Gospel says that Jesus died on the feast of Passover itself. In those days, the Jews celebrated Passover on the "14th day of the first month" in accordance with the Bible's commands (see Lev. 23:5, Num. 28:16, Josh. 5:11). The months of the Jewish calendar each began at new moon, so the 14th day would be the day of the full moon. The first month, Nisan, was the month that began from the spring new moon. In other words, the Passover was celebrated on the first full moon following the vernal equinox and was therefore a movable feast.
Early sources tell us that this very soon led to Christians in different parts of the world celebrating Easter on different dates. As early as the end of the 2nd century, some churches were celebrating Easter on the day of Passover itself, whether it was a Sunday or not, while others would celebrate it on the Sunday that followed it. By the end of the 4th century there were four different methods of calculating the date of Easter. In the year 325, the Council of Nicaea attempted to bring in a unified solution that would retain the link with the date of Passover as celebrated in Jesus' time. Eventually, therefore, Easter's date was established as movable.
Q. So how is the date of Easter calculated?
A. The Council of Nicaea established that the date of Easter would be the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. http://www.religionandspirituality.com/currentEvents/view.php?StoryID=20070404-084548-7320r
But the above neglects to state that the date was chosen based upon when the Days of Unleavened Bread fall. It also neglects to mention that the observation was originally PASSOVER not Easter and that throughout history it has been observed by some on the 14th.
In addition, although it is correct to say the months begin with the new moon, it is incorrect to say that the 14th would be the full moon. the Passover was not celebrated on the full moon, but the night to be much observed, the night of the 15th was the full moon, as ancient Israel was leaving Egypt.
Several articles of related interest may be:
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
Is There "An Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles which state that this should be a local decision. Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach?
Melito's Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? This article supplies some biblical answers.
UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper What does the Bible say about eating unleavened bread for seven days? What has UCG officially said about it?
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on "Good Friday"? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Click here for previous COG news (includes news on CG7's position on Holy Days, Legacy's latest news, CGG and Jesus, Catholic, TPM's, & Jehovah's Witness' positions on when to observe Passover, Barnabas, UCG, & LCG positions on eating unleavened bread, ICG and Iran, the discovery of the first temple wall, EU's military plans, death of the Westburys, an evangelical plan to discredit Mormonism, etc.
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Volume 11, issue 3 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007