Several years ago we decided to prove for ourselves when one should observe Passover. Since that time, we have learned much more about Passover than just when one should observe it! As readers have asked questions, some positively and some negatively, we have continued to probe the subject.
Although we have found many additional items to back up our first premise, perhaps the greatest knowledge breakthrough has been the startling revelation concerning when The Messiah ate the Last Supper. You are going to be astounded when you realize how simple it is. Yet, we have overlooked this information for years. Some have concluded that the Messiah and His disciples ate the Last Supper as early as the 10th or as late as the 15th. However, the truth is that the Lord’s Supper actually took place at the beginning of the 13th of Nisan! Several answered questions make this an ironclad find.
There is an ongoing controversy in the Church of God concerning when and whether one should observe the Passover. This controversy extends all the way back to the beginning of the second era of God’s Church. At that time, what appeared to be the true church firmly entrenched itself in apostasy and ultimately embraced Easter in place of the true Passover.
It is true that the Church of God today, in many of its organizational structures believes that it is to celebrate the Passover at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan. Furthermore, most probably believe that taking the wine and bread ceremony constitutes keeping Passover. We do not know how these misunderstandings originally came about. However, even though many of the Sabbath-keeping churches established in the New World did believe the early 14th Passover doctrine organizationally – history has documented that several of the members did not accept this doctrine as truth. Most of the Church of God Seventh Day members did believe the early 14th timing, but some of them also understood this doctrine to be in error. As far as we know, no one, from the past, set down any arguments in writing to illustrate that the early 14th Passover was in error.
Herbert W. Armstrong accepted the early 14th Passover from COG7, and set it down as a required doctrine in his organization ultimately called the Worldwide Church of God. It became a tradition among WCG members. However, enough disagreement transpired that HWA called for a study of the doctrine. The results of the study did not agree with the early 14th Passover so far as the doctrine of the Old Testament. The members of the organization largely did not know this study ever took place; tradition continued. However, if one read everything HWA wrote on the timing of Passover, he would be astonished at how little he really had to say. Because his followers regarded him as the infallible apostle of the WCG organization, he did not have to say much to get adherence.
Today it seems that any Church of God organization would be committing economical suicide if it taught anything other than an early 14th Passover. Most of the organizational leaders believe that this doctrinal tradition is so entrenched that the masses of their members would not support changing it. However, God’s people rarely refuse to accept truth when a teacher properly presents it. The leaders of the various groups have convinced themselves that they cannot afford to change this doctrine, because it would mean a loss of revenue that is low enough as it is because of the high rate of defections. They would rather just leave this subject closed and continue to assume, believe, and hope that they are right.
However, at the same time, the membership has challenged their leaders on the timing of Passover, in several WCG offshoots. Nevertheless, the leaders have not been energetic to look into this subject without the bias of tradition. The leader of one of the larger groups actually admitted in a conference meeting on the subject that it was impossible to determine what day was the right day to observe Passover! Nevertheless, he told his doctrinal committee, “Let us present a united front on the Passover doctrine so as not to divide the people”. In other words, rather than tell the members that the doctrinal committee could not make a decision when one should keep Passover, they presented a facade by holding onto the tradition of the past and passing it off as the absolute truth!
In most instances of research and study, the objective is to prove that the tradition of the past is correct. Such effort leads to less than honorable works. If one wants truth, he must study this as he would any other subject, without traditional bias.
One person who commented on this Passover document said that if anyone followed our quest to answer all questions about this subject it would destroy the Bible! Can you believe that there are people in the Church of God who believe that the Bible has contradictions? However, it is most important that we search and probe until we answer all honest questions about this subject – especially as long as contradictions continue to exist. We are most unfair to ourselves if we bury our heads in the sand and believe the tradition of the past while so many unanswered questions and contradictions remain. We have found so many answers that disagree with an early 14th Passover that it would be ludicrous to ignore further research into this subject.
One teacher of a small group (about 250) said that he could not approach the subject without preconceived ideas. Too much water had gone under the bridge! He had made too many decisions in the past. This is the mentality that many of the leaders of the WCG offshoots have today! They are unwilling to look at new information. They are like the wit who said, “My mind is made up, do not confuse me with facts!”
Truth is non-negotiable, but our belief of what truth is should be negotiable in the light of new understanding. Moreover, I am not referring to just a small amount of knowledge, but huge piles of new information. Some have referred to this work as a tome! As some of us find more and more truth, the teachers get bigger and bigger shovels to try to cover it up. They claim that Ezra corrupted the Bible. They change the definitions of the Hebrew and Greek Languages! They create deceptions one after another to embrace the tradition of men.
For those who dare to blow the dust off their Bibles and look to the Source of Truth for their understanding about Passover, the following information will help them do just that. We are astonished at the present day increase of knowledge, and even more amazed at the speed that we can currently accumulate it. The Bible software that is now available makes Bible study a joy – it makes researching the bible so easy, if one has God’s holy spirit so that he can properly digest it.
Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Much of the knowledge available to us about the Bible comes to us from the 19th century. Great writers knowledgeable about the Bible Languages spent their lives organizing and recording this knowledge for us. They did not know the Mysteries of the Kingdom, but they knew how to record facts that were true about the language and culture of the bible. Today we have the technology to access this information and hone our understanding of truth. We also have at our fingertip computer software to understand the original languages of the bible in greater depth than ever before. This takes bible study and understanding to an even higher level.
The reader should accept that some of our discussion overlaps from time to time, as this book developed over a period of at least seven years. However, we have included these overlaps because each rubric brings a little different perspective to the subject. Our aim is to present our belief with adequate intensity so that the reader can come to see that there is no line of reasoning that will contradict our conclusion. The reader should also understand that this revision makes statements in its early part that tends to indicate a mind made up from the beginning. We can assure you that the first edition of the book was different in that regard, as we were searching without concern for the outcome – preferring only truth.
However, in our revision of this current edition, we realized that certain information was adrift from any reason for including it unless we brought out the arguments of the early 14th Passover advocates. Therefore, we have sought to present a clearer picture of why we make our statements where this is an advantage of better understanding the subject.
The reader should also understand that the Passover book in its first edition was the first writing of significance that this writer attempted. After writing several booklets and books, we feel that our skills have improved and wanted to bring this expertise to the subject of our first major writing; thus, we have proceeded with this second edition.
For those who are not afraid to find the truth, we lay down a challenge: Use this book to help you prove the truth about Passover from your own Bible. Do not believe what we say unless you can prove it for yourself. All that we ask is that you search the scriptures to determine whether these things are true.
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.