Monthly letter archive

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442

Hollister, California 95024-1442

(831)-637-1875

Fred R. Coulter, Minister

March 3, 2003

Dear Brethren,

We are getting this mailing to you early, in order to complete the Passover Preparation series before Passover. The first time that I did this series was eight years ago, in 1995. However, now that we have the Scriptures of the New Testament translation finished, it is time to update it. Furthermore, we have learned a lot since 1995, especially about the fact that God gave the promises of His covenant to Abraham on the night of the 14th day of the first month. (You can read about all the details of this amazing truth in The Christian Passover book.)

While researching the historical records for information about the time from the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD until 100 AD, I came across a section concerning the Passover and the calendar in Samuele Bacchiocchi's book, From Sabbath to Sunday. Unlike some of his other books, this one is his most important and best book. Many of us have read this book in years past. But as is so often the case, once we have read a particular book, rarely do we go back and read it again. I was guilty of this as well. However, during my current research for part of the commentary in the coming New Testament, I began to re-read this book.

As I was reading, I came across an astounding section concerning the Passover. It verifies the truth of the matter, which is this: The observance of the weekly 7thday Sabbath, Saturday today, and the annual observance of the 14th Passover are intrinsically tied together. If one is changed, the change of the other quickly follows. When the Nisan 14 Passover is changed to an Easter Sunday celebration, then Sabbath observance is soon exchanged for Sunday-keeping. The leaders of the "great apostasy" in the first five centuries followed that pattern after the death of the apostles.

The prophet Daniel foretold of this satanic apostasy, when he wrote: "And he [the little horn—the leader of the false religious system] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws" (Dan 7:25, KJV). The very first thing that the leaders of the apostasy seek to change is the 14th Passover. Satan knows that the Passover is the covenant renewal day for true Christians. Therefore, if he can subvert the observance of the 14th Passover and change it to an Easter Sunday celebration, then he can draw the believers away from being in covenant with God the Father and Jesus Christ. Once they are not in covenant with God, then they begin to lose salvation and other heresies follow in rapid order.

In writing about the edict of Emperor Hadrian, in 135 AD, forbidding Jews to enter Jerusalem, Bacchiocchi wrote: "The fact that as a result of Hadrian's edict Judaeo-Christian members and bishops were replaced by Gentile ones, indicates that a clear distinction was made at that time between the two. We would assume that the distinction was limited not only to the racial factor [against Jews], but that it included also a new [hostile] theological orientation in particular toward characteristic Jewish festivities [actually God's commanded holy days] such as Passover and Sabbath. This hypothesis is supported by the testimony of Epiphanius [315-402 AD], who in his lengthy report about the controversy over the celebration of the Passover states: The controversy arose after the exodus of the bishops of the circumcision [Jewish Christian leaders] [A.D. 135] and it has continued until our time.' The Bishop makes specific reference to the fifteen Judaeo-Christian bishops who administered the Church in Jerusalem up to A.D. 135 and who up to that time practiced the Quartodeciman [Nisan 14] Passover since they based themselves on a document known as the Apostolic Constitutions [written about 80 AD] where the following rule is given: 'you shall not change the calculation of the time, but you shall celebrate it at the same time as your brethren who came out from the circumcision. With them observe the Passover' " (p. 161, bold emphasis and brackets added).

When we analyze these statements concerning the Passover, we will understand how important they actually are. First: The statement, "you shall not change the calculation of the time," clearly shows that they were using the calculated Hebrew calendar. They were not using an observable new moon calendar. Therefore, this is added proof that we should also use the calculated Hebrew calendar. Just as they were commanded to observe it at the correct time, we likewise should "not change the calculation of the time." If one begins to use an observable new moon calendar then that would indeed change the calculation of the time. Second: The statement, "you shall celebrate it at the same time as your brethren who came out from the circumcision," reveals that those who came out of the circumcision [Judaism] were no longer keeping a 15th Passover, as did the non Christian Jews, but they were keeping a 14 Passover. That was the time that Jesus Christ and the apostles kept the Passover on the night of Nisan 14. Third: The final statement reads, "With them observe the Passover." This command was directed to Gentile leaders and believers. It is actually commanding them to observe the Nisan 14 Passover. This historical information verifies the truth of the Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

When we consider that the Apostolic Constitutions was written about 80 AD, it undoubtedly reflects the true teachings of the apostles, as well as the practice of the early New Testament Church. While this document is not included in the canon of the New Testament, it is an excellent summary of what the apostles actually taught and what the Church brethren observed. Furthermore, this agrees with what the apostle Paul commanded the Corinthian brethren, who were mainly Gentile, when he wrote: "Therefore, purge out the old leaven, so that you may become a new lump, even as you are unleavened For Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. For this reason, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (I Cor. 5:7-8).

Because of the need to get out the Passover Preparation material to you, so we can complete the series before Passover, we are delaying the Space Wars in Prophecy booklet until next month.

Brethren, as we fully realize, partaking of the symbols of the bread and wine, as well as the footwashing, of the Christian Passover on the night of Nisan 14, renews the New Covenant of eternal life. Thus, it is the most important observance for us. Remember Jesus said: 'Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day; for My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood is dwelling in Me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father; so also the one who eats Me shall live by Me" (John 6:53-57).

We are working hard on the New Testament project and making good progress. Once again thank you for your faithful love, prayers, service to the brethren and your continued support. May God's love, grace and blessing be with you in everything.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter

FRC

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