How to Put the Word of God Together

(Passover Question)

Fred R. Coulter

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Let's understand a very basic thing that needs to be with Bible study. Too many times people have ideas. I did this when I was first started learning about the Truth. You have an idea and you go to the Bible to try and prove your idea. Or you think you're right about something so you go to the Bible to try to prove you're right about it.

Unfortunately, when you do that, you don't know the problems of translation. I've never seen it fail, yet. Most people—especially the Protestants—start out with the most difficult Scriptures in Galatians and Colossians and throw out the Law. So, they end up with a lot of problems in trying to understand the Bible.

We're going to lay a little basic groundwork here, which is important when we get to studying some of the things that we're going to study and put it together according to the Word of God.

Psa. 111 shows us the attitude that we need to have toward God. As we do, we also need to understand this: In working on the book of Job for the Bible project, there's a verse where Job was complaining, 'Can a man argue with God like he argues with his neighbor?'

That's not how you approach God, which is the whole lesson! God is God and He is going to tell us what He does. He's going to show us what we need to do. Then He will begin to show us what we need to understand.

Psalm 111:1: "Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart…" That's how we need to be toward God, not coming to God to prove something that we think is right. Nine times out of ten when we do that we're wrong.

"…in the council of the upright and in the congregation. The works of the LORD are great, sought out by all those who have pleasure in them" (vs 1-2),

Let's think of this not only in just the creation of God and what we see out there that He has made, but let's think of this as the works of His Word! His Word is God-breathed! Not only inspired by the Holy Spirit, but God deliberately moved those who did the writing in a special way to do it in the way that God intended it be done.

Verse 3: "His work is glory and majesty…"—the work that God is doing!
I've seen churches come along and say that that means 'the work that we're doing for God; so therefore, we're great and exalted.' That's not what it says or what it means!

"…and His righteousness endures forever" (v 3). All of the good things that we think that we would like to do, we just need to realize that God is in charge overall and we need to look to Him for:

  • His Spirit
  • His guidance
  • His understanding

in everything that we do!

Verse 4: "He has made a memorial for His wonderful works; the LORD is gracious and full of compassion." There we have repentance and forgiveness!

Verse 5: "He has given food to those who fear Him; He will always be mindful of His covenant." That covenant really begins with Abraham, and everything that goes with it:

  • the covenant to Israel
  • the covenant to the Church
  • the covenant between Jesus Christ and God the Father

All of those are included in that!

Verse 6: "He has declared to His people the power of His works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations"—which is the Kingdom of God when Christ returns!

Verse 7: "The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His precepts are sure." Anybody out there in Protestant-land, listen up carefully!

Verse 8: "They stand fast forever and ever; they are done in truth and uprightness." That's what's important!

This is our approach to God to understand His Word! There is enough knowledge of the Ten Commandments in the world that people understand basic things, in the main. Although when you come to a more and more lawless society, they lose even perspective on this, which is:

  • you shall not murder
  • you shall not steal
  • you shall not commit adultery

They've almost eliminated that totally and now reaping all the rewards of it.

  • you shall not bear false witness
  • you shall not covet

those have been done in truth and uprightness, and in spite of the rebellion of men who want to change it, you can't change it!

It's the first four commandments that people don't like and all the commandments attenuated with that, which then becomes the key in understanding God's Word. He says all His commandments!

Note Appendix H: How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law and the Prophets? (The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version) He didn't abolish anything; so you need to through and study that.

  • show me one commandment that is unrighteous
  • show me one commandment that is no in truth

Verse 9: "He sent redemption unto His people; He has commanded His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name."

Anyone who take the name 'reverend'—that can also mean in awe—that's what men like to take to themselves; they like to have their little 'serfs' grovel at their feet in awe of 'this great human being.'

Verse 10: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…" You have to:

  • love God
  • fear God
  • tremble at His Word

"…a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever" (v 10).

God will show and give understanding if we rightly divide the Word of God. Let's see something that is absolutely imperative for us to understand. Then we will see how we are to approach this so we could take almost any subject and have some degree of understanding, some more, some less. There are some things we just don't understand. That's just the way it happens to be.

When there are things we don't understand, what do we do? We file it in the back of our mind and keep it there, and ask God to give us understanding when we can begin to understand it!

Not even some of the greatest prophets of God were able to understand things. Imagine Daniel's disappointment when he said, 'O God, what are these going to be?' The angel came and said, 'It's not for you to know!' At the time of the end, the wise shall know, but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand! Wickedness is going against the commandments of God.

This shows the juxtapositions of understanding the Word of God. 2-Timothy 2:14: "See that they remain mindful of these things… [faith, and so forth, concerning Christ] …earnestly charging them in the sight of the Lord… [quite a charge] …not to argue over words that are not profitable in any way…"

That starts from vanity; you've got a point to prove, rather than saying, 'What does God teach us?'

"…but which lead to the subverting of those who hear" (v 14).

What happens when  you hear people arguing over things, especially in many cases not that deeply consequential? Some are, but some are not. What do you do? It grates the wrong way! It prevents you from really wanting to learn and to know.

Here's the correct way, v 15: "Diligently study to show yourself approved unto God…" We have to keep studying! We will see in a little bit, how we put the Word of God together. First of all, we start off with:

  • loving God
  • keeping His commandments
  • fearing Him
  • knowing that His Word is true forever and ever

Then we "Diligently study to show ourselves approved unto God…" which means that there's a right way to study, and there's a wrong way to study.

"…a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of the Truth…" (v 15).

That is a key thing. It's much like having a combination code to open things, such as a safe or a secured door. So, you have to rightly do it. Or a computer program, if you don't rightly program that program it's not going to work.

If you wrongly divide the Word of Truth, what can happen? Even though you're using the Bible, you can come up with the wrong understanding. It happens! Why does it happen?

The first thing that every human being comes in contact with concerning God—whether they know God or not—is right and wrong, based on the commandments of God! That's the first thing without having any knowledge of God at all.

Verse 16: "But avoid profane and vain babblings…" That comes from human reasoning:

  • vanity of vanities, all is vanity
  • man at his very best state is altogether vanity

"…because they will only give rise to more ungodliness" (v 16).

I'm going to have to say that within the Churches of God today, we see that all too many times. In just viewing the various branches of the 374 denominations of the Church of God, as they stand today:

  • there are varying degrees of understanding
  • there are varying degrees of Truth

in many different things! I think that Satan looks at it and says, 'Aha! I've got the Church of God on the run!' Because there are so many people chasing after false doctrines and vain things, that it's incredible!

Just take a look at the Journal and see what's in there. In most cases the greatest level of understanding are the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong whom they are idolizing and making a god of, and people say, 'Let's get back to what Herbert Armstrong taught.' To some people that may sound good, but it's a deception in this way:

  • Why not get back to what God teaches?
  • Why not worship God instead of making an idol of a man?

Though he did well when he did very, very well, he was still not an apostle used of God to write the Word of God. So, we need to keep that in mind.

  • yes, he taught a lot of good things
  • yes, he restored a lot of Truth
  • yes, God used him.
  • Yes, God raised up a lot through him
  • yes, all of us are indebted to him to a certain degrees as God used him to call us

But now that is over! We need to go beyond! Here's part of the way that we go beyond.

Here's what happens with wrong doctrine and wrongly dividing the Word of Truth.

"…avoid profane and vain babblings because they will only give rise to more ungodliness, and their words will eat away at the body like gangrene…" (vs 16-17). A little leaven leavens the whole lump! A little bit and they it starts eating away.

"…of whom are Hymeneus and Philetus, who have gone astray from the Truth, claiming that the resurrection has already taken place, and are destroying the faith of some" (vs 17-18).

Paul saw the same thing going on then as is going on now. We have a distinct advantage over them. What is the greatest advantage that we have over them? Perspective of where we are, and because we have the whole Bible!

The whole foundation of the Church is based upon the resurrection of Christ and our faith is based upon our coming resurrection at the coming of Christ. Here we have the beginning introduction right here of the immortality of the soul and that you go to heaven. Why did that take place? Because they didn't rightly divide the Word of God!

Verse 19: "Nevertheless, the foundation of God stands firm…"—because everything about God is true, right, Holy and so is His Word!It isn't going to be moved!

"…having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who calls upon the name of Christ depart from unrighteousness'" (v 19). That's what we need to do!

All of these things tie in together with how we understand certain things of the Word of God. We'll cover some things concerning the Passover in just a little bit.

Isa. 28 really shows the wisdom and power of God, what He is able to do. Let's just look at something in principle: When the children of Israel were by the Red Sea, entrapped there and they had no place to go when Pharaoh and his troops came. What did God do? He put a barrier between the Egyptians and the children of Israel. To the children of Israel it was light; to the Egyptians it was darkness.

So, we find a principle that when we view things God's way, we have light. When we view things from a human perspective, the same thing, we can have darkness. That's exactly what happens here with understanding the Word of God!

Isaiah 28:1: "Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower. which is on the head of the fat valleys of those who are overcome with wine! Behold, the LORD is a mighty and strong one, like a hailstorm, a destroying storm; like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, He casts them down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trampled under foot; and the glorious beauty, on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the first ripe fruit before summer; which the beholder of it swallows up while it is yet in his hand" ( vs 1-4)—just disappears!

Verse 5: "In that day the LORD of hosts shall be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, for the remnant of His people"—which gets into understanding the Word of God.

Here we have the two sides of how God deals with people; how He deals with the world. He's already told them how He's going to do it, and how He deals with His people.

Verse 6: "And for a spirit of judgment to him who sits in judgment, and for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. But they also stagger through wine, and reel through strong drink…. [they have left the Word of God] …The priest and the prophet stagger through drink…" (vs 6-7).

Those are the ones to really teach, so when they become out of the way… Let's see something concerning the priests in Mal. 2. When they reach that point of being out of the way of God, and they are supposed to be the ones who are in charge of proclaiming and teaching the way of God, guarding the way of God and making it available. This becomes very constructive for us in understanding the Word of God, and how also to understand the Bible and what happens.

Remember as we go through here, a little leaven leavens the whole lump. And wrong doctrine, wrong teaching and vanity lead astray! We've seen this time and time again.

Malachi 2:1: "'And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to My name,' says the LORD of hosts, 'then I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yea, I have indeed cursed them already because you do not lay it to heart'" (vs 1-2).

As I read this, I remember the account of how the pope went out and blessed the fishing fleet, and they were all lost as sea in a storm!

Verse 3: "'Behold, I will rebuke your seed… [your children are going to be a bane to you with their sins] …and I will spread dung upon your faces… [hypocrisy] …even the dung of your appointed feasts. And one shall carry you away with it. And you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, so that My covenant might be with Levi,' says the LORD of hosts" (vs 3-4).

Levi broke the covenant, Aaron broke the priesthood covenant!

Verse 5: 'My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him for fear; that he might fear Me, and he was in awe before My name. The Law of Truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips. He walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and turned away many from iniquity, for the priest's lips should keep knowledge… [always keep the knowledge and understanding and words and way of God] …and the people should seek the Law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts" (vs 5-7).

God has designed it so that He uses men to teach. If they don't teach properly, what's going to happen? We see this all the way through, so we're covering some of these things in general.

Let's talk about a messenger for a minute. A messenger us to convey what he's sent to tell. You have the example of the prophecy of John the Baptist in Isa. 40: 'What should I say?' Say all flesh is grass! John the Baptist knew that he was a messenger to come to prepare the way for Christ.

What happens to people when they come to a minister or a priest and say, 'What do you think? What does the Word of God tell me?' What are we supposed to do? Tell them the Truth of God's Word!

Notice v 8, and this has happened in Christianity going clear back to the very beginning as we have already evidenced in the Epistle of Paul to Timothy.

Verse 8: "'But you have departed out of the way… [ties right in with Isa. 28] …you have caused many to stumble at the Law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,' says the LORD of hosts. 'Therefore, I have also made you contemptible and base before all the people…'" (vs 8-9).

Isn't it true, how many people respect ministers and priests? Even within the Church of God ministers, but that's to say nothing of the madness that you find in the Catholic Church and the hypocrisy that you find in the Protestant churches.

"…just as you have not kept My ways but have been partial in the Law" (v 9).

The equal and the more equal, meaning that the ministry is in an exalted position, which is more equal than the brethren. The ministry should be on the bottom and they are serving so the brethren may be exalted. This ties in exactly with what we're talking about because—remember the key—'a good understanding have all they who keep His commandments.'

If you don't keep His commandments, you're not going to have understanding. Granted, some of the things we're going to cover are going to be not too difficult, but some of the things we're going to cover are going to be a little difficult. Especially if you're coming from a perspective of a set conclusion that you have in your mind.

Example: I got a letter from a man and he says that that this thing concerning the resurrection on Pentecost, that sounds very much like the rapture.

He's coming with a preset conclusion, or having been previously taught. This is why we have to approach it in the right way. God also says, 'Come let us reason together' (Isa. 1). That means that we come to the conclusion that we repent and do everything God's way. That's how you reason with God, but you can reason with God, reason with the Word of God rightly dividing the Word of God.

Here's what happens. Just like that pillar of fire, which was between the Egyptians and the children of Israel—dark on one side, light on the other side—so the Word of God is the same way.

Isaiah 28:7: "…The priest and the prophet stagger through drink…" Who holds the great golden cup of the wind of fornication? Babylon the Great (Rev. 17).

"…they are confused by wine; they reel through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment, for all tables are full of vomit and filthiness; no place is clean" (vs 7-8).

Just look at society today. I think that is an apt description of society today. There's no clean place.

  • Where can you go to find any knowledge of God?
  • Where can you go that there is not corruption, bribery and adultery?

Yet, they are exalted! All you have to do if you want to know how corrupt the society has become… I just might mention here another book: American Institutions and Christianity. We need to understand something about America, which is true, even though it was in the letter of the Law. We are the children of Joseph!

Some would argue that we are Ephraim rather than Manasseh. We're not going to get into that, so we'll just cover it with the umbrella of Joseph.

No nation in the history of the world—except when God brought Israel out of Egypt and gave them the Ten Commandments and brought them into the Holy Land—has based it's government upon the Word of God as much as they understood it. That's what makes us different! As one man said, 'We know why you have a good government in America, because you believe in God and we don't.'

Yet, the Israelites have a fatal flaw. They want to become like everybody else and become politically correct and diverse. This is their history. When they do that, they create the society like we just read. So, God looks down and in spite of all this He still has His people, still has His Church, and God has given the promise that if you seek you will find, if you knock it will be open, if you ask you shall receive.

Verse 9: "'Whom shall He teach knowledge?…." God uses people, and God always makes sure that there are those, in all points of history, who understand His way!

"…And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Those who are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts" (v 9).

This means that you have to be grounded in the very basics before you can understand! For example, I know of man who wants to understand Rev. 12. Well, it's hard to understand Rev. 12 unless you bring to bear the other 90% of the Bible, which has to do with it. Again, one of the rules that we have, which we have in the Bible is Appendix A: Fourteen Rules for Bible Study. These are also found in The Christian Passover book. You begin with the simple. Then when you understand that you build from there, which is verified here.

So, if you're newly come to the faith, don't expect to understand the deeper things of the Word of God immediately. That can come later.

Here is how God does it, because our minds are made to work this way, and God's Word is put together this way.

Verse 10: "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little." That's how we are to understand! Of course, we need God's Spirit, God's Word, and everything combined with that.

Verse 11: "For with stammering lips and foreign tongue He will speak to this people…. [they have all heard the Word of God]To whom He said, 'This is the rest He gives to the weary,' and 'This is the refreshing,'…." (vs 11-12).

In other words, how to get right with God, rest from your sins, have a relationship with God, that's all included in there:

"…yet, they were not willing to hear" (v 12).

When I was back in New Hampshire a man gave me a magazine called Zion's Fire, which is put out by Messianic Jews. And they also had a book called The Feasts of the Lord, so I thought I would get that and see what they had.

When I got the book—the man said that he had attended a Messianic church—and I saw their explanation of the Feasts of the Lord, it was really quite good from the point of view if you remember the very basics of how we were taught years ago in Worldwide, that's about what they explained.

I made the mistake—because he attended a 'Sabbath' group of probably not connected with the one who puts out Zion Fire—of saying that there are 500,000 Messianic Jews who are part of the Church of God.

Well, I thought that ought to check up on that, which I should have done first. I called them and I asked them if they are Sabbath-keepers, and they said, 'No, we don't feel bound to the Law.' I thought, what a great disappointment!

Anyway, I thought I'd pass that on to you and let you know that I did make a mistake.

"…yet, they were not willing to hear." What happens when you study the Word of God with their own ideas, because they won't listen to God? Something happens in the mind when you don't listen to the Word of God! But you want to put your own ways in there. Here's what occurs:

Verse 13: "So then, the Word of the LORD was to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken and snared and taken."

It has the opposite effect. What has happened to America because they have left God? How it started and acknowledged God… And remember, God will acknowledge everyone who acknowledges Him, because God is no respecter of persons. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are called for salvation, but they had great understanding. But now it's so that they fall and go backward.

Isaiah 29:9: "Be stunned and amazed! Blind your eyes and be blind! They are drunk… [I picks up the same theme that we covered in Isa. 28] … but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink, for the LORD has poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes…" (vs 9-10).

That's what's happened to Washington, D.C. Don't expect any political solutions coming out of there or the state governments.

"…He has covered the prophets and your rulers, and the seers…." (v 10). That includes everybody: the religious and civil people; the seers are those who are to tell us abut the future. We can include the educators as well.

"…And the vision of all has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which they give to one who is learned saying, 'Please read this,' and he says, 'I cannot, for it is sealed.' And the book is delivered to him who is not learned, saying, 'Please read this,' and he says, 'I am not learned.' And the LORD said, 'Because this people draws near Me with their mouth, and with their lips honor Me, but their worship of Me is made up of the traditions of men learned by rote, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandments of men; therefore, behold, I will proceed to do again a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise ones shall perish, and the wisdom of their intelligent ones shall vanish.' Woe to those who go deep to hide their purpose from the LORD! And their works are in the dark, and they say, 'Who sees us? And who knows us?'" (vs 10-15).

This is at all level of human activity, whether it's in a family, a group, church, community, state or federal government, or with the coming world government. If you don't follow God's ways, and if you don't do the very basic simple thing, the key that begins to unlock understanding, the keeping of the commandments of God.

God has designed it so that we understand as we do. Think about how long you have kept the Sabbath.

  • Do you understand about the Sabbath and more of the Sabbath than you understood when you first began to realize about the Sabbath.
  • Do you also understand more of God's Word subsequent to that? Yes, because you study, and because you've been keeping the Sabbath and the commandments of God!

When we go back to where we began in Psa. 111, a good understanding have those who keep His commandments, that can stretch through the whole Bible and everything that is done. Here's what happens when you don't.

Verse 16: "Surely, you have turned things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the potter's clay… [nothing but a pile of dirt] …for shall the work say of him who made it, 'He did not make me?'…."

Isn't that what has happened? We have evolution reigning supreme everywhere. Creationists are making a little bit of a dent in it, but if you want to know how things are ridiculed, just look what they did to Mike Huckabee. During the Presidential debates of 2007 he always got the questions concerning God. He said in one of the last debates, 'Why is that I get all the questions on morality? I guess that's better than questions on immorality!' But the media did a hit-job on him because he believes in Christ. He said, 'The whole nation should come back to Christ. If people would do what Jesus said—love each other, take care of each other, respect each other—then we could solve more problems.

But they hate the name of Christ, the turning of things upside down! Huckabee also has a good answer for the atheists and evolutionists, 'How can you say that something as wonderful as the human body and mind was made by something inferior to it.' They hate him for it!

The political will of people have rejected the Truth of God! We are dealing with an educated mass of people who don't believe in God, who have been taught evolution and so forth. God has something to say when they reject Him and His creation say that He didn't make it.

"…Or shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'He had no understanding?'" (v 16).

We could take this same principle, that He Who gave the commandments abolished the commandments. That is stupid, isn't it? Because then the Lawgiver becomes the lawless one. That's why people cannot understand the Bible. They may understand certain sections of it, but it is a sad day indeed when the Church of God falls itself into wrong teachings and wrong understandings because of the vanity of the ministers and the people and wanting to have all kinds of different things.

Let's understand how we can put some of these things together!

Questions concerning the Passover

Does not the book of Luke show that Judas Iscariot taking the bread and the wine?

This becomes a little tricky. So, let's begin with Matthew, and we're going to see Matthew's rendition of it, then we'll look at Mark's, and then we will look Luke's and John's. We're doing exactly what the Bible says for us to do. We are to go precept upon precept, we're to examine everything that there is concerning it. We are coming in with no preconceived notions.

This last Passover that Jesus took was a very interesting one. Jesus didn't let them know until the last minute where He was going to keep the Passover, and He did it for a reason. He was going to institute the New Covenant or Christian Passover. It was already planned out by God and Christ knew it. The house was all ready the upper chamber was all ready. The owner of the household probably had the lamb all ready prepared and ready to go.

So, Jesus told them, 'Follow this man who's carrying a pitcher of water. There have been some speculation concerning that, as to whose house and who was carrying the water and so forth. But that doesn't enter into any understanding that we need. However, it's very possible that some of that water was used for the foot-washing.

Matthew 26:19: "Then the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and prepared the Passover. And after evening had come…" (vs 19-20).

Right after sunset they killed the lamb. To prepare and get everything ready, it was at the other end of between the two evenings, getting toward dark.

"…He sat down with the twelve. And as they were eating…" (vs 20-21)—eating the meal! We will see in John 20 that it was during supper Jesus arose.

"…He said, 'Truly I say to you, one of you shall betray Me.' And being sorely grieved, each of them began to say to Him, 'Am I the one, Lord?' But He answered and said, 'He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish, he shall betray Me. The Son of man indeed goes, as it has been written concerning Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would be better for him if that man had not been born.' Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, 'Am I the one, Master?' He said to him, 'You have said it'" (vs 21-25).

We know that at that point—when we get to John 20—that Judas left.

Verse 26: "And as they were eating, Jesus took the bread and blessed it; then He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body.' And He took the cup; and after giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, 'All of you drink of it; for this is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, from this time forward I will not drink at all of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it anew with you in the Kingdom of My Father'" (vs 26-29).

A lot of people say that 'fruit of the vine' shows that they had grape juice. Even Samuele Bacchiocchi's worst book that he ever wrote was to try and prove that it was grape juice. He's a Seventh Day Adventist and they don't partake of alcoholic beverages. He said that they were able to preserve it by putting sulfur in it. When you put sulfur in it, what do you do? You pollute it! So, you're polluting the blood of Christ!

Grape juice has something in it that wine does not, yeast spores but have not been fermented. So, when you ferment the wine you eliminate all the yeast spores. You must have wine, because the wine symbolizing the blood Christ is without leaven.

They look at that and say, 'Oh, fruit of the vine.' The fruit of the vine then was wine! You can read the parable that says that he put in the vineyard and built a wine vat and so forth.

Mark 14:10: "Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order that he might deliver Him up to them." He knew what he was doing!

Of course, they agreed to pay him 30 pieces of silver; that was prophesied in the book of Zech. Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a dead slave. Very fitting, isn't it? Christ was a slave of all humankind in bringing His sacrifice!

Verse 11: "And after hearing this, they were delighted and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray Him. And on the first day of the unleaveneds…" (vs 11-12). I'm not going to explain that except for this:

One of the things understood in the past is that the Passover Day is only unleavened for the Passover, but the rest of the Passover Day is not. There are some people who still believe that. However, if you begin with the account in Exo. 12 and what the children of Israel were commanded to do, there does not give any account that there was leaven that they ate after they ate the Passover, because they had unleavened bread packed up in their kneading troughs to go, so they ate unleavened bread.

There is also a dispute concerning what kind of bread that they had at the Passover. Was it leavened? or unleavened? The word 'artos' can mean bread or loaf.

{note booklet: Christ's Last Passover—Leavened or Unleavened? by Ben Ambrose (truthofGod.org)}

Because of the circumstances of Jesus' last Passover, what did God tell them to use for the Passover? Unleavened bread! These are just some other things that we will cover as we go along.

Verse 12: "And on the first day of the unleaveneds… [because the Passover was an unleavened bread day] …when they were killing the Passover lambs…"

The New American Standard Bible—which I didn't know when I translated this—because the Greek is 'ethoun' that means it's a present tense passive participle: When they were killing the Passover lambs. When were they told to kill the Passover lambs? Between the two evenings, which is after sunset.

Here it is the sun had just gone down below the horizon, the disciples are walking in to keep the Passover. They don't know where to go because Jesus hasn't told them, yet. Here they see the Passover lambs being killed. What's the first question you would ask if you were one of the disciples? 'Lord, where are we going to keep the Passover?' Then Jesus sent Peter and John to take care of it.

"…His disciples said to Him, 'Where do You desire that we go and prepare, so that You may eat the Passover?' And He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, 'Go into the city, and you shall meet a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him'" (vs 12-13).

Verse 17—after they had prepared the Passover: "Now after evening had come…"

Get it all ready from sunset to the beginning of darkness. I was able to time between the two evenings—'ben ha arbayim'—from the time of sunset until it was dark: 1 hour and 10 minutes. This is probably about the time that Jesus came just as it was starting to get dark.

"…He came with the twelve. And as they sat and were eating, Jesus said, 'Truly I say to you, one of you shall betray Me, even he who is eating with Me.'…. [so they were starting to eat the meal] …And they began to be extremely sad, and said to Him one by one, 'Is it I?' And another, 'Is it I?' But He answered and said to them, 'The one who is dipping a morsel into the dish with Me, he is the one of you twelve'" (vs 17-20).

The others were probably also dipping with Him. We will see that John gives us a timeframe when Judas left.

Verse 21: "The Son of man indeed goes, just as it has been written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born.' And as they were eating…" (vs 21-22).

We find out in the book of John that as soon as Judas ate that sop that was dipped, he left immediately. This shows that as they were eating Judas left. Matthew and Mark show us that Judas was not there, and so does John.

This is the beauty of how God put the Bible together. He didn't put everything in one place. Only John covers the foot-washing; none of the others do. Some people would say that since only John shows the foot-washing, does that mean that we don't have to do the foot-washing? No!

Always remember that you've got to rightly put it together! Yes, you need to have foot-washing, and Paul talks about the foot-washing and so forth.

John 13:2: "And after supper began…" The KJV has caused some problems with this, because there's a mistranslation, and has caused some people to put the foot-washing after the bread and wine.

What happened at that last Passover with Jesus, they had the meal with the lamb, so He finished the Old Testament Passover before He began the New Testament Passover. He had to finish the one and then bring the other. This has caused some people to think that the foot-washing comes at the last.

But when you go through the Bible, when people come into your house, the foot-washing takes place first to get you ready to have a meal with them. Not that you eat with your feet, but you are refreshed.

"…(the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, that he should betray Him)" (v 2). Then John goes through and shows all about the foot-washing.

Verse 13: "You call Me the Teacher and the Lord, and you speak rightly, because I am. Therefore, if I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also are duty-bound to wash one another's feet" (vs 13-14).

Remember that a good understanding have they who keep—or do—His commandments! This is one of them.

I have seen this down through time that when people quit doing the foot-washing they begin to lose understanding.

Verse 15: "For I have given you an example, to show that you also should do exactly as I have done to you."

Are we to follow Christ? Yes, indeed! Here is the whole lesson; this is to take away the pomposity and vanity of men.

Verse 16: "Truly, truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord…"

We don't get lifted up above the brethren, or other people, and we don't make ourselves as Christ or in His place.

"…nor a messenger greater than he who sent him" (v 16)—which gets right back to where we began. If you're a messenger you bring the message that you were given to bring. That's why you're a messenger.

Verse 17: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." The condition, again, is upon us! He puts the if in there from the point of view that He knows that some people won't! IF you don't, you're in effect making yourself greater than Christ! Some people may not think so, but that's exactly what happens.

Verse 18: "I am not speaking of you all…" They had just started the supper; there's no account of the breaking of the bread and drinking the wine—as we find in Matthew and Mark—which came after saying who was the one to betray Jesus.

"…for I know whom I have chosen, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled: 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.' I am telling you at this time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may believe that I AM" (vs 18-19). {Note sermon: I AM That I AM}

Verse 20: "'Truly, truly I tell you, the one who receives whomever I send is receiving Me; and the one who receives Me is receiving Him Who sent Me.' As He was saying these things, Jesus was troubled in spirit, and testified, saying, 'Truly, truly I tell you, one of you shall betray Me.' Then the disciples looked at one another, wondering of whom He was speaking. Now one of His disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was leaning on Jesus' chest. And so, Simon Peter motioned to him to ask who was the one of whom He was speaking. Then he leaned back on Jesus' chest and asked Him, 'Lord, who is it?' Jesus answered, 'It is the one to whom I shall give a sop after I have dipped it.' And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, Simon's son" (vs 20-26).

Now notice what happened; v 27: And after the sop, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, 'What you do, do quickly.' But not one of those sitting at the table… [so they were still eating; they hadn't come to the point, yet, of the breaking of the bread or drinking the wine] …knew why He said this to him; for some thought, since Judas had the bag, that Jesus was telling him, 'Buy the things that we need for the feast'; or that he should give something to the poor. So then, after receiving the sop, he immediately went out; and it was night" (vs 27-30).

What John does here is he gives us a timeframe when Judas left. The question is, why didn't they know? Because they didn't hear clearly what Jesus said to Judas! That's why! That's the best we can do on that; we can't know every single detail. It said they didn't know why Jesus said these things to him. Not what, but why. He just said, "…'What you do, do quickly.'…." They didn't know!

Let's come back to Luke's account, and we're going to see that the explanation of this is that there is a little conflict in what Luke wrote. What do we do with it when there is an apparent conflict? We'll answer that in just a bit!

Luke 22:12: "And he shall show you a large upper room furnished; there prepare."

We don't know if the lamb was already up there being roasts, but we figured that if you read The Christian Passover book, knowing how God does things, that He uses the least. What is the smallest lamb that could be used to feed 13 people? A lamb had to be at least eight days old before it could be used for any kind of sacrifice!

A small lamb a couple of weeks old is just a little itty-bitty thing. We had at that time Skip Emerson who has since passed. But we were using this years ago when I was doing the second edition of A Harmony of the Gospels so this must have been 1991-92. He had a couple of little kid goats, which you could use kid-goats for the Passover.

He said, 'I'll dress them out for you.' We wanted to know how long this would take. Do you know how long it took to do one of those little kid goats when you know what to do? Of course, they knew what to do! He slit the throat and hung it upside down and let it bleed. Then cut right down the middle of the belly, open it up and all of the intestines fall out in a bag—everything falls out—God made it convenient.

With that you start with the knife and you work a little space between the flesh and the skin on both sides. Then you just take the palms of your hands—flat—and put right in that little slit between the flesh and the skin on both sides and you go with both hands very quickly, and the skin pops right off!

You can have the lamb ready to roast within 15 minutes. So, if you had a little one that was just a couple of weeks old, you would have enough meat for the meal off that one lamb. It took and hour and fifteen minutes to roast it, because it was small.

How long is 'ben ha arbayim'? An hour and ten-fifteen minutes at that time of year! So, when they came and it was getting dark, everything was ready.

We don't know when the disciples got there if the lamb was already on the spigot being roasted. But if it was, then they had to set the tables or the couches and the small tables, because they ate in a reclining position in those days. They had to get the bread and water ready, and whatever. They didn't know that there was going to be the foot-washing in a ceremonial-type thing, but nevertheless, they prepared.

Verse 14: "Now, when the hour had come… [a specific time for it] …He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said to them, 'With earnest desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you that I will not eat of it again until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God'" (vs 14-16).

Here we have not just the wine, but we have the whole Passover. Here's where the conflict comes in:

Verse 17: "And He took a cup; and after giving thanks, He said, 'Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I say to you, I will not drink at all of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God has come.' And He took bread; and after giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body, which is given for you. This do in the remembrance of Me.' In like manner also, He took the cup after supper…" (vs 17-20).

If Judas ate anything it would have been just the bread. But Judas went out during supper.

"…saying, 'This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you. Behold, even now the hand of him who is betraying Me is with Me at the table…" (vs 20-21).

It appears that Judas did take the wine and bread by this account. However, v 20 says, "…after supper…"

We have to say that the way it's written we can't be sure. But it is true, v 21: "'Behold, even now the hand of him who is betraying Me is with Me at the table, and the Son of man indeed goes, according as it has been appointed, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!' Then they began to question this among themselves, which of them it might be who was about to do this. And there was also an argument among them, even this: which of them should be considered the greatest" (vs 21-24).

So, here it doesn't show anything about Judas leaving. The only one who shows about Judas leaving in a chronological time-setting is the Apostle John.

What we have to say is that it is possible that Judas did take the bread and wine. However, the other accounts show that he did not! So, what do we do? We just have to accept it for what it is, and just understand that maybe in this case the best way to solve the problem is to take the three accounts that show us how it occurred, and follow that for the timing. I had to do that in one other place in the book of Luke when I did the Harmony.

Let's discuss what happened n Matthew's account. Matthew shows that the wise men came and brought their presents to Jesus. Then and angel warned them as they left to not go back to Herod and tell him where Jesus was. Also, an angel came and told Joseph to get out of town and take the mother and child and go down into Egypt 'until I call you.' I had a very difficult time with this when I did the Harmony. What I did, it is true, but the timing of it does not account for going to Egypt and returning to Galilee.

Luke 2:40: "And the little Child grew and became strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him."

Verse 39: "Now, when they had completed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth." That is the tricky verse!

Where does that fit? It's true that they went to Galilee, to Nazareth, but what also took place? They went down to Egypt and back to Nazareth! That's not accounted for. That's why it has to be precept upon precept and line upon line. After that, they did "…all things according to the Law…", the ritual of purification for Mary and the presenting of Jesus at the temple and so forth. Then they "…returned to Galilee, to their own city Nazareth."

This does not take into account the trip down to Egypt and back to Nazareth. So, this is why it 'precept upon precept and line upon line'; you don't get it all together. This is one of the reasons why in the Harmony when I came to this verse, I didn't know exactly what to do with this verse because it just sort of stuck out there by itself.

It is a true statement. They did everything according to the Law, that is true. And they did return to Galilee and their own city Nazareth, that is true, but Matthew shows that they went down to Egypt and then back.

So, though the chronology in Luke is not complete like it is in Matthew, Luke brings things that Matthew doesn't bring. Matthew doesn't bring anything out about the presentation at the temple. So, the only thing we can do is say, 'All right, the chronology here must fit into the chronology of going to Egypt and back, because that's what happened. This verse in Luke just kind of hangs out on it's own on the side.

Where did Luke get his sources? Luke 1:1: "Since many have taken in hand to compile a written narration of the matters, which have been fully believed among us, as they delivered them to us, those who from the beginning had been eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word" (vs 1-2). So, there were many accounts!

  • How do we get the word for word conversation of Zacharias and the angel? That had to be written down by Zacharias!
  • How do we get the word for word conversation between Mary and the angel? She must have written it down, or she told it to someone!

These are part of the sources that Luke used. In putting this here the way he did about after doing things according to the Law, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, we are not told why he didn't include the trip going to Egypt and back.

Well, the answer is that not everything is contained in whole in a single Gospel! So, we have to put it together 'precept upon precept and line upon line,' and know that there was that gap that took place going down to Egypt and back, though Luke didn't mention it. So, Luke got many sources.

There is also that there is a possibility, I don't know how true it is so you don't want to make a dogmatic statement on it, but I wonder at this point how old Mary, the mother of Jesus, was? She had to be in her 20s when Jesus was born, maybe just 20. That means when Jesus died she was 53-1/2.

How long did Mary live? We're not told! Could it be that in the 60s, which would make her in her 80s, that Luke was actually able to go talk to her directly to get the conversations that she had with the angel, and the conversation that she had with Elizabeth. Or was this already written down previously. We're not told, but I would assume that it was written down previously.

In the Harmony or in the New Testament I gave a timeframe as to when these things may have taken place as far as Luke writing. Paul was in prison in Caesarea and so Luke could—during the two years that Paul was in prison—go up to Jerusalem and back, and that's when he probably wrote his Gospel account.

Those two verses in Luke have to be put together with other verses from the other Gospels to show us what actually took place. What we can conclude in Luke 22 where it gives the indication that Judas was there for the bread and the wine, we can say that the evidence shows that he left before, however, with Luke's account we cannot be absolutely dogmatically sure of it. So, we have to say that puts it in the realm of non-dogmatic understanding. In other words, it's not absolutely 100% clear. And there are certain things in the Bible that we will come across that will be that way.

We just have to, in faith, understand that we understand it the best way that we can, and that we see things through a glass darkly.

From John's perspective, he was inspired to write the account of Jesus' life entirely differently to cover things that are not covered in what are called the synoptics of the first three Gospels. So, John undoubtedly had Matthew, Mark and Luke with him, so probably one of the things that he could have done in John 13 was to give us a clarification of the timeframe when Judas actually left. John was the closest eyewitness to it.

We could take Matthew and Mark and John and say that the preponderance of evidence—precept upon precept and line upon line—is that Judas left after he took the sop.

Plus, we also have the promise that Jesus gave in John 14 that the Holy Spirit would call to the remembrance everything that He taught them. We would also have to say that Matthew was an eyewitness, he was there. John was an eyewitness, he was there. So, their testimony is chronologically more dependable.

That's not to say that there's an error in Scripture, but it is to say that there is a difference in the accounting of it, and Luke was going by what others wrote rather than being a firsthand witness.

In the final analysis, this is a very small point, and has nothing to do with our conversion or belief! We need to keep it in that perspective. When it comes to the Sabbath and Holy Days there aren't those kinds of questions.

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version

Scriptural References:

  • Psalm 111:1-10
  • 2 Timothy 2:14-19
  • Isaiah 28:1-7
  • Malachi 2:1-9
  • Isaiah 28:7-13
  • Isaiah 29:9-16
  • Matthew 26:19-29
  • Mark 14:10-13, 17-22
  • John 13:2, 13-30
  • Luke 22:12, 14-24
  • Luke 2:40, 39
  • Luke 1:1-2

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Isaiah 40; 1
  • Revelation 17; 12
  • Exodus 12

Also referenced:

From The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version:

  • Appendix H: How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law and the Prophets?
  • Appendix A: Fourteen Rules for Bible Study.

Books:

  • The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter
  • A Harmony of the Gospels by Fred R. Coulter

Booklet: Christ's Last Passover—Leavened or Unleavened? by Ben Ambrose (truthofGod.org)

Sermon: I AM That I AM

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 7/24/19

BOOKS