|The Christian Passover
(By Fred R. Coulter)
The Christian Passover is, perhaps, the largest book within the
Church of God organizations today that attempts to prove an
early fourteenth Passover Feast. Predominantly, those
Sabbath observing organizations that “Keep the Passover”
believe that one should do so at the beginning of the 14th of
Nisan. However, some of the offspring groups resulting from
the demise – shall we say God’s removal of the candlestick –
of one of the larger branches of these Churches have begun
keeping the Passover Feast on the 15th of Nisan. This
parallels the understanding of other groups that have come to
this same conclusion from the time of the Protestant
Reformation –The recent history of the Church of God.
To learn more about the Passover and when one should eat
the Passover Feast, read our book, What You Should Know
about the Passover.
Coulter has attempted to show that those who no longer
“Keep the Passover” at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan
have strayed from the truth. Moreover, he has endeavored to
demonstrate to those who have remained faithful to the
“Early 14th Eating of Passover” doctrine that they are on the
One only needs to carefully read this book to see that there is
an over abundance of assumptions and fabrications made in
order to arrive at an early 14th Passover slaying or eating.
We will address only seven of Coulter’s most erroneous
assertions and contradictions, in this book review.
2Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if
God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of
Our book, What You Should Know about the Passover proves
beyond any doubt that the Passovers were slain in the
afternoon of the 14th and eaten during the evening after the
sunset that began the 15th of Nisan. Therefore, we have
made most of the claims of The Christian Passover null and
void, with that writing. However, let us highlight a few
specific points, in the book, for our review. We have used the
1993 edition of The Christian Passover throughout, for our
2Chronicles 30:17 For [there were] many in the congregation that
were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing
of the Passovers for every one [that was] not clean, to sanctify [them]
unto the LORD.
|#1) Did the Exodus begin when the Israelites Left
sentences, Coulter says: "The Scriptural account does not show
the children of Israel leaving their houses prior to the Passover.
Such a movement would, in fact, have begun the Exodus." Page 80,
first sentence under the heading, ASSEMBLING AT
RAMESES FOR THE EXODUS, Coulter writes, "The
advocates of a 15th Passover claim that the Exodus began the
instant the Israelites left the doors of their houses." Fourth
paragraph under the same heading, second sentence: "Leaving
their houses to gather in their marching order at Rameses did not
constitute the beginning of the Exodus."
Comment: What we see in these statements is duplicity of
purpose. He is indeed a blind soul who cannot see what is going
on here. In one place Coulter tells us that “leaving their houses
…would in fact, have begun the Exodus”. The point Coulter makes
in this statement is that the Israelites ate the Passover in their
houses before they started their Exodus out of Egypt. This is a
correct point. Coulter here is countering some of his opponents
who teach that the Israelites went to the city of Rameses first,
kept the Passover there and began the Exodus the morning
after. Here Coulter successfully counters such an argument.
Later, Coulter tells us, “Leaving their houses … did not constitute
the beginning of the Exodus”. Coulter here uses the very
argument he said was impossible in the previous scenario to
support his idea that the Israelites could have left their homes,
after the Passover, without beginning the Exodus. This is a
contradiction of his previous statement: To show that the
Israelites could have left their homes and gathered at the city
of Rameses – without beginning the Exodus. In other words,
according to Coulter, The Israelites would have begun the
Exodus when they left their homes before the Passover, but
they could leave their homes after the Passover without
beginning the Exodus! All of this is nonsense. The bible says
nothing of the Israelites going to the city of Rameses. The
Israelites lived in the land of Rameses and that is where they
began the Exodus.
Genesis 47:11And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave
them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the
land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
Our question: With which of these statements does Coulter
agree? The reason for Coulter’s duplicity is that he believes
that the Children of Israel all left their homes and went to the
city of Rameses after the Passover, without beginning the
Exodus. The bible neither informs us that the Israelites went to
the city of Rameses or that they left the city of Rameses when
they departed. The bible simply informs us that the Israelites
departed from Rameses – their homeland (Genesis 47:11) –
when the morning came after the Passover, which took place
during the nighttime of the 15th of Nisan. Remember that the
15th began at sunset of the 14th day.
Numbers 33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on
the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the
children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the
Coulter’s error in this section derives from his belief that the
Israelites had to gather in the city of Rameses before they left
Egypt. The KJV translators chose a different spelling when
referring to the city of Raamses (07486).
Exodus 1:11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them
with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom
The bible uses 07486 five times. Four times the KJV uses the
spelling “Rameses” and one time “Raamses”. Only in this last
example can one prove that the reference is to a city. It is
certain that the first mention of Rameses in Genesis 47:11 does
not refer to the city because this was when the Israelites had
just come into Egypt before their slavery. The Israelite slaves
built the city of Raamses.
In other words, we have the “Land of Rameses” where the
Children of Israel lived and the “City of Raamses” which they
built sometime after becoming slaves. One must examine the
context of the bible where it uses 07486 to determine which
reference it intends – the land or the city. As Joseph settled his
relatives in the “Land of Rameses” when they first came into
Egypt, it follows that they left the same land when they began
their journey out of Egypt.
Coulter has confused the land for the city and created a great
deal of subjective reasoning around his blunder. The
commentators do not agree with each other about the city of
Raamses versus the Land of Rameses. Some say that the city
of Raamses was possibly the capitol of the Land of Rameses.
Other commentators believe that the Hebrews built the city of
Raamses in a different location than the Land of Rameses.
Some commentators believe that, as the bible uses the same
word for the city and the land that the spelling should be the
same. This is probably true, but the different spelling does help
us to differentiate between the city and the land.
The point we do not want to miss is that regardless of whether
the city was in the Land of Rameses or in a different location,
the bible makes no mention of the Israelites congregating in a
city before the Passover or leaving a city when beginning their
journey out of Egypt, after the Passover.
|#2) Coulter assumes that someone altered the bible:
Often, Coulter begins with an assumption of subjective
reasoning; and within a few sentences or paragraphs, the
assumption has become fact. For instance, our next point:
On page 139, 3rd paragraph, 4th sentence, Coulter says: "The
kings of Judah apparently chose to make this change (Author’s
note: change from a domestic Passover to a temple centered
Passover) because of the idolatrous history of the nation and
the pattern of rebellion against God." 4th paragraph, 1st
sentence: "This WAS the reason that the Old Testament Passover
ceremony was changed during the days of Hezekiah and Josiah."
Coulter has no proof that anyone altered the bible; he makes
this assumption because the bible does not agree with his
hypothesis of an early 14th of Nisan Passover. We see this in
the first portion of his argument: “The kings of Judah
apparently chose to make this change…” However, by the 4th
paragraph of the same page, Coulter has convinced himself
that his subjective reasoning is now absolute truth. He now
believes that the Kings of Judah changed from a domestic
Passover to a temple-centered Passover because of the
idolatry and rebellion of the Jews against God. Moreover, he
believes that Ezra edited the scriptures to agree with this
Of course, this opens a Pandora’s box: If God allowed
someone to alter one scripture – without leaving us absolute
proof – then perhaps He allowed the alteration of many other
scriptures! How then can we believe the bible? For Coulter to
expect us to believe his subjective reasoning rather than the
Word of God is rather arrogant! Which should we believe: 1)
the Word of God as it stands today or 2) the subjective
reasoning of some human being who has no proof for his
assertions. Surely, Coulter would not want to discredit the
entire bible in order to hang on to his hypothesis! Coulter’s
belief that the Kings of Judah altered the method of Passover
and Ezra’s putting this change down as Scripture is altering the
Word of God. The bible mentions nothing about a change in
the timing of Passover.
|#3) More Claims of Ancient Editing of the
On page 147, 1st paragraph, 4th sentence, Coulter says: "As
we analyze Deuteronomy 16 in this context, it appears that the
word Passover is entirely out of place." 3rd paragraph, continuing
to talk about the word Passover, 2nd sentence, "...the fact that
these Scriptures were edited by Ezra at a time long after the book
of Deuteronomy was originally written..."
Comment: Notice that apparent again has become fact.
Moreover, Coulter tells us dogmatically that Ezra did the
editing. There is, of course, no proof for this statement. This
is conjecture stated as fact. Coulter has a flaw: He biases the
bible to his belief rather than changing his doctrine to the
clear statements of the bible. With such faulty reasoning,
Coulter’s entire work becomes suspect. One could prove any
doctrine from the bible, if he had the authority to claim
Ancient Editing of the scriptures when they oppose his
theory! However, God frowns on such an idea:
Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of
the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the
book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are
written in this book.
|#4) Coulter Uses an Error to Promote
On page 193, 2nd paragraph, from the bottom of the page, 1st
sentence, in quoting (Unger's Bible Dictionary, "Festivals," p.
354): "The 13th of Nisan. On the evening of the 13th, which,
until that of the 14th, was called the preparation of the
Passover [John 19:14]..."
Comment: Coulter uses this to promote the 13th of Nisan as
the preparation of the Passover. It does not take a genius to
observe that Unger made a mistake when he labeled the
heading for this section, "The 13th of Nisan". The phrase, "on
the evening of the 13th...until that (the evening) of the 14th" is not
the 13th of Nisan; rather, it is the 14th of Nisan! “The 14th of
Nisan” would have been a correct heading for Unger’s
article. The next paragraph in Unger's Bible Dictionary
indicates that Unger understood this. Coulter should have
recognized Unger’s error. Instead, he used an error to
promote his own error. The 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew
Calendar is from the sunset (evening) of the 13th to the
sunset (evening) of the 14th. Therefore, the preparation for
the Passover was the 14th day of Nisan, not the 13th day of
Nisan. Of course, if one “Keeps the Passover” at the
beginning of the 14th, then he must call the 13th of Nisan the
preparation day. Again, Coulter’s eagerness to believe that
his hypothesis of an early 14th Passover is correct causes him
to use Unger’s error to promote his own error.
|#5) Coulter Changes the Days of
Unleavened Bread from 7 to 8 Days:
On page 193, last paragraph, Coulter says: "The rabbinical
writings also reveal that the Jews burned all leaven by 10 AM
on the morning of the 14th. No one was to eat leaven after 11
AM. The unleavened bread was baked and ready for the
Passover by 3 PM, for those Jews who kept the temple
Passover and would not eat the Passover meal until the 14th
had ended. Those who observed the domestic Passover at the
beginning of the 14th, according to God's ordinances in
Exodus 12, undoubtedly followed the same procedures a day
earlier on the 13th. Thus by the time that Nisan 14 arrived at
sunset, all leaven was removed and unleavened bread was
baked for the domestic Passover...."
Comment: Notice that undoubtedly again becomes fact.
However, what is more disturbing with this hypothesis is that
now Coulter is keeping 8 days of unleavened bread in order to
have an early 14th Passover. For if the home is unleavened by
the time Nisan 14 arrives, then one observes 8 days of
unleavened bread, rather than the biblically required 7 days.
When one tries to circumvent truth, one falls into all sorts of
Scriptures state plainly that one shall eat unleavened bread
for 7 days from the 14th day of the month at even (sunset)
until the 21st day of the month at even (sunset). Here is
biblical proof that the 14th day at even begins the 15th day of
the month. See our articles The Three Different Days of the
Bible & Is the 14th of Nisan a Holyday for more information.
Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first
day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth
leavened bread from the first day until (all the way through) the
seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
Exodus 12:18 In the first [month], on the fourteenth day of the month
at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until (all the way through) the
one and twentieth day of the month at even.
However, as Coulter must begin his eating of unleavened
bread with the Passover Meal at the beginning of the 14th, he
has subjectively reasoned that Unleavened Bread begins with
the evening (sunset) of the 13th, rather than that of the 14th.
As for Coulter’s doctrine of “Domestic Passovers” – the bible
tells us plainly that this would be an unlawful act. One can be
sure that Christ did not break His own law to the Israelites.
Furthermore, the bible states this law in Leviticus. Did Ezra
edit these scriptures also? If one killed a lamb or goat – the
animals used for Passover – other than at the tabernacle, the
authorities were to cut him off from among his people. This
law of Leviticus supports the law of Deuteronomy.
Leviticus 17:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of
Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath
3 What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox,
or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,
4 And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the
congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the
tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he
hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:
Deuteronomy 16:5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any
of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee:
6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his
name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going
down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
|#6) Coulter Contradicts the Bible to Keep
His Early 14th Passover:
On page 195, 3rd paragraph, 4th sentence, Coulter says: "We
can therefore conclude that it was at the beginning of the
14th day, immediately after the sun had set, when Jesus'
disciples asked Him where they should prepare the Passover
Comment: If it was the 14th day when The Messiah sent His
disciples to prepare for the Passover, then it was the 15th day
when they came to the house to eat the evening meal –
Coulter calls this “the Passover meal”. Of course, the Bible
nowhere calls this meal the Passover meal! Remember, the
word Passover has more than one meaning!
According to the bible, sunset began a new day after the
Messiah sent the disciples to prepare for the Passover. If it
was the 14th when Christ sent the disciples to prepare for the
Passover, it was the 15th later when He sat down with the
twelve – for Christ sat down with the disciples after sunset.
However, Christ sent His disciples to prepare for the up-
coming Passover before sunset.
The truth of the matter is that it could not have even been the
13th when Christ sent the disciples to prepare for the
Passover! It was the 12th when The Messiah sent them to
prepare for the Passover; therefore, it was the 13th when
they began their evening meal! We prove this point in What
You Should Know about the Passover!
The scriptures inform us that Christ sent Peter and John to
make certain preliminary preparations for the Passover:
They would need to secure a room before guests
overcrowded the city; they would also need to secure a lamb
a few days ahead of the afternoon of the 14th Nisan. After
they made these preparations, sunset came and He sat down
with His twelve disciples to eat the evening meal. Notice that
sunset came after Christ sent Peter and John to make
preliminary preparations for the Passover:
Luke 22:8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the
Passover, that we may eat.
9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city,
there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him
into the house where he entereth in.
11 And ye shall say unto the Goodman of the house, The Master saith
unto thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover
with my disciples?
12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make
13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they
made ready the Passover.
14 And when the hour (of sunset) was come, he sat down, and the
twelve apostles with him.
If one compares all three accounts, he will observe that “the
hour” of Luke 22:14 parallels “evening” in Matthew and
Matthew 26.20 (NKJV), "Now when evening (#3798) had come, He
sat down with the twelve."
Mark 14.17 (NKJV), "In the evening (#3798) He came with the
Luke 22.14 (NKJV), "And when the hour (#5610) had come, He sat
down, and the twelve apostles with Him."
Coulter says that Christ sent Peter and John after sunset to
prepare. The bible says that Christ sent Peter and John to
prepare and then when evening (sunset) had come He sat
down with the twelve. Coulter turns scripture on its head to
keep his early 14th Passover.
|#7) Coulter Misrepresents the Greek to Cling to
His Early 14th Passover!
literal translation of the Greek would be as follows: "AND
ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE UNLEAVENEDS, WHEN
THEY WERE KILLING THE PASSOVER....” Next paragraph,
1st sentence: "THE ORIGINAL GREEK TEXT SHOWS
THAT THE LAMBS WERE BEING KILLED AT THAT VERY
MOMENT AS JESUS SENT HIS DISCIPLES INTO THE CITY
Comment: As we have shown earlier, Christ sent the
disciples into Jerusalem to make preliminary preparations
for Passover, in the afternoon before the evening meal. For as
Matthew, Mark, and Luke show, the evening had not yet begun even
after they had arrived and were reclining at the house, where they
ate the Last Supper.
Coulter makes the claim that the Greek Text agrees with
his assertion and no other. However, the Greek proves no
such thing! In fact, the Greek for “first” and “day” are
general terms, which one may translate in general or specific
expressions. The context must tell us which perspective it
intends or we cannot know. The KJV translators were too
specific in their translation of “first day”. A more general
translation such as, “the beginning of the season” is just as
correct in the Greek as, “first day”. Moreover, such a
translation does not contradict the circumstances as does the
more specific selection made by the KJV translators.
However, if they were killing the lambs when Christ sent his
disciples into Jerusalem for some Passover preparations, we
do have a problem for a new day began at sunset before
they began the evening meal just a few hours later.
When Mark referred to the killing of the lambs, “And the first
day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover” he used
the general word for time in the Greek.
We have discussed this in the body of What You Should
Know about the Passover. However, the context shows that
if it was already the 14th – as Coulter claims – the Messiah
and His disciples “kept the Passover” on the 15th and the
Messiah had to die on the 17th of Nisan – much too late to
be our Passover.
In the Greek, Mark shows that it was the beginning of the
season for killing the Passover lambs. The lambs were slain
in the afternoon of the 14th when Christ hung on the tree.
Therefore, if it was the 14th day already when Christ sent
His disciples to prepare – as Coulter claims – then it had to
be the 15th day when evening came just a few verses later.
The point we do not want to miss is that If Christ ate the
Passover then He died after the Passover and could not be
However, as we have shown in the Passover Book, it was
the 12th when the Messiah sent His disciples to prepare for
the Passover; and it was the 13th when they ate the evening
meal in which He instituted the Lord’s Supper, something
new and different to the Passover Feast. The Passover
symbolizes only one aspect of the Christ – our ransom out of
the Satan’s society. The Lord’s Supper represents the
Christ’s death and sacrifice in its entirety.
Mark 14:12 And the first day (2250) (at the beginning of the season)
of unleavened bread, when (during which) they killed the Passover,
his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare
that thou mayest eat the Passover?
1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this
cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
Exodus 6:6 Go, speak to the children of Israel, saying, I [am] the
Lord; and I will lead you forth from the tyranny of the Egyptians,
and I will deliver you from bondage, and I will ransom you with a
high arm, and great judgment.
The 7 points above sufficiently indicate a frightful
carelessness in Coulter’s work. When one is too sure of his
hypothesis, he takes license beyond that which is
appropriate. Coulter has slaughtered the bible to hang on to
his early 14th Passover. In his eagerness to prove his
theory, he has discredited his work and himself as well.