27. Passover – Evolution to Today I

We will now focus on the evidence demonstrating the mechanics of the Christian Hasidic construct as represented by Roman assembly System E and its evolution resulting in the present-day Modern Hybrid System G as practiced by the many Sacred Name groups of today.

Just after the establishment of the System E construct, the Syrian hybrid System F was developed which was an attempt to merge the Quartodeciman System A with the Roman System E.

Eventually a more recent innovation of Passover and Unleavened Bread was created which is being followed by many present-day followers of Yahweh, the Modern Hybrid System G.

We shall begin our discussion by examining the evidence for the Roman assembly System E construct. The evidence will demonstrate the change by the western assemblies to the Hasidic method for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.

To justify this change, the System E advocates were also obliged to apply a new interpretation to the “Last Supper,” explaining why the messiah and his disciples observed the 14th of Abib as the Passover supper if the 15th was deemed the proper time under the Torah of Moses.

In the region of Syria, meanwhile, theologians, who had supported System A and System D and were influenced by the Council of Nicaea to adopt System E, developed a hybrid solution in order to overcome the strong Quartodeciman leanings of that region.

They adopted System F. The Syrian hybrid System F kept the 14th as the Passover (the “Last Supper”) but then utilized the Hasidic System B for the seven days of Unleavened Bread (i.e., from the 15th until the end of the 21st).

In this fashion, they were able to observe, along with the West, the Friday and Saturday fast and to celebrate the first day of the week within the seven days of Unleavened Bread as the Passover of the resurrection.

In effect, System F actually served as a transitional phase. As time progressed, the East, for the most part, dropped System F and fully adopted System E.

Finally, we shall address System G, a late and contemporary invention that is also built upon the Hasidic construct for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.

Like her sister systems, System G observes the seven days of Unleavened Bread from the 15th until the end of the 21st of Abib and, like System F, keeps Passover on the 14th of Abib.

System E
To counter the Quartodecimans, the western assemblies, under the leadership of Irenaeus, bishop of Gaul, and Victor, bishop of Rome, abandoned System D, which observed the 14th through 20th days of the first moon for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.

They adopted in its place System E, which utilized the Hasidic construct for these seven days (i.e., counting from the 15th until the end of the 21st day).

The advocates of System E advanced their formula by making the claim that the Pharisees had been correct all along in observing the 15th as the legal Passover and as the first day of the seven days of Unleavened Bread.

Indeed, the Jewish Talmud records that “on the arab of the Passover” Yahushua was hanged, i.e., on the afternoon before the Passover supper.1

Mimicking this view, The Good News According to Peter, a Roman Christian work composed no earlier than about 180 C.E., states that Yahushua was delivered to the people “on the day before the unleavened bread, their feast,”2 this despite the plain statements from the New Testament that the messiah both ate his “Last Supper” and died on the first day of Unleavened Bread.3

Armed with this Pharisaic view, the advocates of System E denounced any celebration of the 14th as a day of Passover. Instead, they advanced the doctrine that, at the messiah’s “Last Supper,” he never actually kept the legal Passover of the written Torah.

Rather, they claimed that he merely kept the 14th as a typology for a new Christian Passover which took the place of the old Jewish Passover.

Though Good Friday (which they calculated as the day of the week when the messiah suffered death) and the following Saturday were also observed in remembrance, these days were treated as a time of fasting.

The celebration of the new Christian Passover as a feast, on the other hand, was kept only on the first day of the week, the day of the resurrection, called “the Sovereign’s day” (the “Lord’s day” in popular English culture), when that day fell during the seven days of Unleavened Bread (i.e., from the 15th through the 21st days of the first moon).

The “Last Supper” – Not the Legal Passover?
One of the key elements in the System E scenario is the view that the “Last Supper” of the messiah was not the dinner of the legal Passover, this despite three Synoptic texts explicitly mentioning the preparations for it as the Passover4 and the reference in Luke, 22:15-18 to “eating the Passover (lamb)” at this meal.5

They do agree that the “Last Supper” took place on the 14th of Abib, within the night prior to the afternoon of the Jewish sacrifice of the Passover lamb6 and in the 24-hour day before the Jewish leaders kept their Passover supper.7

The System E view is clearly set forth by three important and early supporters of that interpretation: Hippolytus, Peter of Alexandria, and Chrysostom.

Hippolytus
Hippolytus (died 235 C.E.) was a strong advocate of the System E (Roman assembly) interpretation. Due to his beliefs, he found it important in his writings to address the Quartodeciman argument that the “Passover should be kept on the 14th day of the first moon, according to the commandment of the Torah, on whatever day (of the week) it should occur.”

Hippolytus retorts that these Quartodecimans “only regard what has been written in the Torah, that he will be accursed who does not so keep (the Torah) as it is enjoined.”8 He then condemns the Quartodecimans as coming under the written Torah, arguing:

They do not, however, attend to this (fact), that the legal enactment was made for the Jews, who in times to come should kill the real Passover. And this (sacrifice) has spread unto the nations, and is discerned by trust, and not now observed in the letter (of the law). They attend to this one commandment, and do not look unto what has been spoken by the apostle: “For I testify to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to keep the whole Torah.” In other respects, however, these consent to all the traditions delivered to the assembly by the apostles.9

The first detail noticed, as already demonstrated earlier, is that the western assemblies had lost touch with the difference between the dogmasin (public decrees) of the Mosaic Torah and the earlier statutes followed by Abraham.

The fact that the Mosaic dogmasin, such as fleshly circumcision, had been set aside has nothing to do with whether or not the festival and sacred days of Yahweh are to be kept.

To this doctrine, the proponents of System E added the legal interpretation of the Passover advocated by the Hasidic Jews.

Hippolytus, for example, claims that the Quartodecimans have “fallen into error by not perceiving that at the time when the messiah suffered HE DID NOT EAT THE PASSOVER OF THE TORAH.”10

In another place, he similarly states, “for he who said of old, ‘I will not any more eat the Passover,’ probably partook of a supper before the Passover. BUT THE PASSOVER HE DID NOT EAT, but he suffered; for it was not the time for him to eat (it).”11

Peter of Alexandria
The case for the Hasidic view and against the Aristocratic view is also made by Peter of Alexandria (300-311 C.E.). Though he accepts Abib 14 as the day of the Passover,12 he does so along the lines of the Pharisees. That is, he considers the Passover of the 14th as only including the sacrifice, while the 15th was the feast meal.13

Therefore, as is the case with the Pharisees, Peter of Alexandria makes the festival of Passover, as found in the Torah of Moses, a celebration lasting eight days.14

For example, Peter agrees that the 14th was the day upon which the Passover was sacrificed and the messiah died.15 Nevertheless, Peter only accepts the Pharisaic view that, under the written Torah, the high Sabbath was the 15th, the first day of the seven days of Unleavened Bread, and the correct time of the Passover supper.

Like Hippolytus, Peter of Alexandria states that the messiah, while in the flesh, “with the people, in the years before his public ministry and during his public ministry, did celebrate the legal and shadowy Passover, eating the typical lamb,” for he came not to destroy the Torah, or the prophets, but to fulfill them.16 Peter of Alexandria then adds:

But after his public ministry, he (Yahushua) did not eat of the lamb, but himself suffered as the true Lamb in the Passover festival, as John, the divine and evangelist, teaches us in the good news written by him.17

Peter of Alexandria then makes reference to the events of John, 18:28 that, while Yahushua was in the πραιτώριον (praitorion, hall of judgment), the Jews would not enter, “lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.”

He adds, “On that day, therefore, on which the Jews were about to eat the Passover πρὸς ἑσπέραν (pros esperan; at twilight), our sovereign and saviour Yahushua the messiah was crucified.”18

The point of this argument is that the messiah ate his “Last Supper” on the 14th, the day of his execution. Yet, after the Jewish leaders had delivered Yahushua to Pilate, they were still waiting to celebrate their Passover meal (i.e., with the arrival of the 15th).

The Quartodecimans actually agreed with this understanding of the events surrounding the “Last Supper.”

The difference between the two positions was the insistence by the advocates of System E that the Jewish leaders (who utilized the Hasidic calculations for the week of Passover) were correctly observing the legal Passover of the written Torah.

The Quartodecimans claimed the Jewish leaders of that time were mistaken.

Peter of Alexandria, therefore, finds it fitting to defend the position of the Pharisees against the Quarto­decimans. He writes:

For the deity does not say that they (the Jewish leaders) did always err in their heart as regards the precept of the Torah concerning the Passover, as you (the Quarto­decimans) have written, but on account of all their other disobedience, and on account of their evil and unseemly deeds, when, indeed, he perceived them turning to idolatry and to porneia (sexual misconduct).19

Accepting the fact that the Jewish religious leaders had not yet eaten their Passover on the 14th, Peter continues:

On that day, therefore, on which the Jews were about to eat the Passover πρὸς ἑσπέραν (pros esperan; at twilight), our sovereign and saviour Yahushua the messiah was killed on a (torture-) stake, being made the victim to those who were about to partake by trust of the mystery concerning him, according to what is written by the blessed Paul: “For even the messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us”; and not as some (the Quartodecimans) who, carried along by ignorance, confidently affirm that after he had eaten the Passover, he was betrayed.20

Peter sums up the matter, stating:

At the time, therefore, in which our sovereign suffered for us, according to the flesh, HE DID NOT EAT OF THE LEGAL PASSOVER; but, as I have said, he himself, as the true Lamb, was sacrificed for us in the festival of the typical Passover, on the day of the preparation, the 14th of the first lunar month. The typical Passover, therefore, then ceased, the true Passover being present.21

Chrysostom
Chrysostom, patriarch of Constantinople (born 347 C.E., died Sept. 14, 407 C.E.), was appointed bishop of Constantinople in 398 C.E.22

As with the other advocates of System E, he makes the 14th, the day that the messiah ate his “Last Supper” and suffered death, “the first day of unleavened bread.”

He then clarifies his view by calling it “the day BEFORE the festival; for they (the Jews) are accustomed always to reckon the day from ἑσπέρας (esperas; twilight).”23

In this way, Chrysostom counts eight days of Unleavened Bread yet makes the first day of Unleavened Bread come before the seven-day Festival of Unleavened Bread.

Chrysostom also shows that many of the Christian Quintodecimans (15th day observers) had trouble explaining away the evidence that the “Last Supper” was the legal Passover. He was forced to face the following question:

But how, if they (the disciples of Yahushua) were eating the Passover, could they eat it contrary to the Torah? For they should not have eaten it, sitting down to their food. What then can be said? That after eating it (on the 14th), they then sat down to the banquet (on the 15th)?24

His response, in agreement with other advocates of System E, was to allow that the “Last Supper” on the night of the 14th was indeed a Passover meal but not the legal one kept by the Jews. Rather, it was the ordainment of a new “sacrament, at the time of Passover.”25

As Eutychius (late sixth century C.E.) comments, “Therefore, before he suffered he did eat the Passover—the mystical Passover, of course.”26

This new Passover, Chrysostom reports, was kept by the messiah and his disciples the day before the new Christian schedule “to deliver to you the new rites, and to give a Passover” by which the messiah could make us spiritual.27

According to this view, the new sacrament was not appointed previously to the day of the messiah’s “Last Supper,” but was given at that time because the written Torah was to cease.

Chrysostom adds, “And thus the very chief of the festivals (Passover) he (Yahushua) brings to an end, removing them to another most awful table.”28 Thus began a new table from which we are to eat a new Passover with new rituals and meanings.

The advocates of System E proposed that this new Passover was kept for the first time on the 14th of the first moon with the messiah’s “Last Supper.”

Because the messiah’s “Last Supper” was observed on the 14th, it was also reasoned that it could not be the legal Passover of the Torah of Moses, which was observed by the Jewish state on the 15th.

The interpretation was then advanced that, since the messiah’s Passover was held on the 14th, it was a typology for Christians, meant to be expressed in the future only on the joyful celebration of the day of the resurrection (the Sovereign’s day), which fell on the first day of the week during the seven days of Unleavened Bread.

It was therefore advanced that the “Last Supper” actually allowed Christians to keep the Passover annually on the first day of the week during any one of the seven days of Unleavened Bread (i.e., from the 15th through the 21st day of the first moon).

The dispute was bitter and the schism was inevitable. The Quarto­deci­mans agreed with the Roman assembly that the old Passover of the Torah, which required each household to sacrifice a lamb, had indeed come to an end with the death of the messiah, the true lamb.29

They also agreed that the unleavened bread and wine consumed at the Passover meal revealed a higher meaning as symbols of the messiah. Yet, they ardently disagreed with the System E premise that the Passover supper kept by the messiah just prior to his death, falling as it did on the 14th of Abib, was not the legal Passover.

Neither would they admit to the idea that the messiah observed the Passover only this once on the 14th, and that this one-time celebration set an example which gave Christians permission to change the official reckoning for the date of the Passover supper and mystery of the cup and bread.

The Seven Days
For System E the seven days of Unleavened Bread followed the Hasidic practice (System B), extending from the beginning of the 15th until the end of the 21st day of the first moon. Nevertheless, the first moon of the year was still determined by the 14th day of the moon falling either on or after the spring equinox.30

Wilfrid, at the Synod of Whitby (664 C.E.), for example, notes that “it came to pass that the dominica (Sovereign’s day) Passover was kept only between the 15th day of the change of the moon to the 21st and no day else.”31

The System E argument is also fully expressed in a letter from the abbot Ceolfrid to Naitan, king of the Picts of Scotland, trying to convince the latter to keep the Passover established by the Roman Church. He gives three rules for the observance of Passover:

There are then three rules given in sacred Scripture by which the time of solemnizing Passover is appointed for us, which by no authority at all of many may be changed; of which rules two are established by the deity in the Torah of Moses, and the third was joined in the good news (New Testament) by the means of the sovereign’s suffering and resurrection. For the Torah commanded that in the first month of the year, and in the third week of the same month, that is from the 15th day to the 21st, the Passover should be kept: it was added by the institution of the apostles out of the good news (New Testament) that in the selfsame third week we should tarry for the Sovereign’s day (Sunday) and in it keep the beginning of the time of Passover.32

In reference to the commands of Exodus, 12:1-3, Ceolfrid also takes the Hasidic interpretation:

By the words which it is most plainly seen, that in the observation of the Passover the 14th day is mentioned, yet it is not so mentioned that on that very 14th day it is commanded the Passover (lamb) should be kept, but that, when at length vespera (twilight) of the 14th day approaches, that is, when the 15th moon, which making the beginning of the third week, comes forth into the face of the heaven (i.e. very late afternoon of the 14th), the lamb is bidden to be killed: and it is plain that it is the selfsame night of the 15th day of the moon in which the Egyptians were smitten and Israel redeemed from the long slavery. “Seven days,” he says, “shall you eat unleavened bread.” With which words likewise all the third week of the said first month it is decreed should be solemn. But that we should not think the same 7 days to be counted from the 14th to the 20th, he added straight­way: ”The first day there shall be no leaven in your houses. Whosoever eats leavened bread from the first day to the seventh, that life shall be cut off from Israel,” and so forth, till he says: “For in this selfsame day will I bring your army out of the land of Egypt.”33

Abbot Ceolfrid goes on to deny that the 14th was one of the seven days of Unleavened Bread by identifying the night that Israel was brought out of Egypt with the 15th, being the day after the Passover (sacrifice), according to the Hasidic interpretation of Numbers, 33:3.

He (Moses) then calls the first day of unleavened bread the one in which he was to bring their army out of Egypt. But it is manifest that they were not brought out on the 14th day, in the vespera whereof the lamb was slain, and which is properly called the Passover or Phase; but in the 15th day they were brought out of Egypt, as it is evidently written in the book of Numbers.34

Ceolfrid thereby makes the seven days last “from the beginning of the third week, that is, from the 15th day of the first moon to the 21st day of the same month fully complete.”35 His argument continues:

Further, the 14th day is noted down separately outside this number under the name of the Passover, as that which follows in Exodus does evidently declare; where, after it was said: “For in this selfsame day will I bring your armies out of the land of Egypt”; it was added straightway: “And you shall observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. In the first month, on the 14th day of the month, you shall eat unleavened bread to the 21st day of the month ad vesperam (at twilight).36 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your homes.” For who cannot see, that from the 14th to the 21st be not only 7 days but rather 8, if the 14th be itself also reckoned in? But if we will count from the vespera of the 14th day until the ad vesperam of the 21st—as the verity of sacred Scripture diligently search out does declare—we shall well perceive that the 14th day continues its vesperam to the beginning of the Passover festival in such a manner that the whole sacred solemnity contains only 7 nights with as many days.37

Time to conclude Part I. In our next post we will provide evidence for the full approval and appointment of System E by Emperor Constantine leading up to the present, but flawed, practice of System G held to by the many Sacred Name groups of today.

So be sure to continue reading with 28. Passover – Evolution to Today II.

For further reading see the publication by Qadesh La Yahweh press titled The Festivals and Sacred Days of Yahweh.

Who was that masked man anyway?

Footnotes:

Click this link for Bibliography and Abbreviations.

1 B. Sanh., 43a, “And it is tradition: בערב הפסח (On the arab of the Passover) they hung Yeshua (Yahushua the Nazarene). And the crier went forth before him 40 days, (saying), ‘(Yeshua) goes forth to be stoned, because he has practiced magic and deceived and led astray Israel.’” The terms “Arab” and “the Passover” are used here in the Pharisaical sense, i.e., to refer to the “afternoon” of the day of the Passover sacrifice (Abib 14).

2 GN Peter, 3.

3 Matt., 26:17; Mark, 14:12; Luke, 22:7.

4 Mark, 14:12-17; Matt., 26:17-20; Luke, 22:7-14.

5 JTS, 9, pp. 305-307; EWJ, p. 16–19, p. 16, n. 2, p. 19, n. 2; CSJBO, pp. 119f.

6 Mark, 14:12; Luke, 22:7.

7 John, 18:28.

8 Hippolytus, Ref. Her., 6:11.

9 Hippolytus, Ref. Her., 6:11. Hippolytus misses the intent of Saul’s comment. Saul also commands men to keep the Passover festival (1 Cor., 5:7-8). Circumcision was a dogmasin (public decree) and was never a pre-Torah olam (age-lasting) statute. As shown in FSDY, chaps. 4-8, the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread differs from circumcision in that it is an olam statute attached to the Covenants of Promise and does not find its origin as a dogmasin of the Torah of Moses.

10 Hippolytus, frag. 1.

11 Hippolytus, frag. 2.

12 Peter Alex., frag. 5:1.

13 Peter Alex., frag. 5:1-7.

14 Cf., Jos., Antiq., 2:15:1.

15 Peter Alex., frag. 5:1, 2, 7.

16 Peter Alex., frag. 5:7.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid.

19 Peter Alex., frag. 5:4.

20 Peter Alex., frag. 5:7.

21 Ibid.

22 JE, 4, p. 75.

23 Chrysostom, Hom., 81:1.

24 Chrysostom, Hom., 81:3.

25 Chrysostom, Hom., 82:1.

26 Eutychius, 2.

27 Chrysostom, Hom., 82:1.

28 Ibid.

29 For example, this theme is expressed throughout the work on the Passover by Melito of Sardis. Also see Ps.-Hippolytus, 1–3; Pas. Proclam., Exsult., 4.

30 E.g., Eusebius, H.E., 7:32:14–17; Ps.-Chrysostom, 7:4, 35; Bede, Hist., 5:21.

31 Bede, Hist., 3:25.

32 Bede, Hist., 5:21.

33 Ibid.

34 Ibid.

35 Ibid.

36 The term ad vesperam (at twilight) is here a translation of the Hebrew term בערב (be-arab), but is interpreted in the Pharisaic fashion as late afternoon.

37 Bede, Hist., 5:21.

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