In Part 2 of our discussion, we will delve deeper into the Pharisaic influence on many followers of Yahweh regarding the practice of considering the maturity of barley to determine the month of Abib and the scriptural New Year.
Picking up from where we left off in Part 1, the month-name ha-Abib was next connected by the Pharisees with the day of the omer wave offering. An עמר (omer) is a dry measure or gathering of “newly cut grain,”32 as in “a heap.”33
Omer Wave Offering The omer wave offering of newly cut grain was a requirement under the Torah of Moses as a gift to Yahweh, being the first-fruits from each year’s harvest. The offering occurs in the spring at the time of Unleavened Bread and is directly connected with the Promised Land. This offering is described in detail by the book of Leviticus.
When you come into the land (of Promise) which I am giving to you, and have reaped its harvest, and have brought in this omer, the beginning (first-fruits) of your harvest, to the priest, then he will wave this omer before Yahweh for your acceptance. On the day after the Sabbath the priest will wave it. (Lev. 23:9-11)
Technically, the instructions from Scriptures do not specifically mention which first-fruits from which harvest. It only indicates in a subsequent passage that the Israelites were not permitted to eat bread, קלי (qali; roasted whole grains),34 or כרמל (karmel; fruits and produce)—all indicating a variety of produce—derived from the new year’s crops until after the omer wave offering had been made.35
Regarding the Roman construct (System E) of the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread, we will now address the protagonists of this Christian Hasidic practice who opposed the Quartodecimans (System A) and the Quasi-Quartodecimans (System D).
Irenaeus Irenaeus (c.140-202 C.E.), presbyter and bishop of the diocese of Lyons, Gaul (France),1 was a vital player in the formulation of this new Roman assembly view.
Though early in his life he lived in Asia among the Quartodecimans and personally knew Polycarp, in his adult life he helped direct the western assemblies toward their new path.2
The Quartodecimans argued that Christians should observe only the 14th as the Passover supper and Eucharist mystery (cup and bread) because the messiah and his disciples kept that same day.
Nevertheless, there was strong resistance by the Roman assembly.
The Quartodeciman (System A) and Quasi-Quartodeciman (System D) practice was made more difficult to overcome by the fact that they were both based upon the same apostolic authority (the apostle John).1
It soon became obvious that if the Roman assembly was to gain political dominance in the West, as well as over many of the eastern assemblies, a new strategy was required.
In response, during the last decade of the second century C.E., the western leaders and theologians developed a new approach: the Roman assembly Passover and, after the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E., canonized as the Roman Catholic Passover (System E).
Proof that the seven days of Unleavened Bread for the Quartodecimans extended from the 14th until the end of the 20th day of the first lunar month is established from records provided by their offshoots, the quasi-Quartodecimans ofSystem D.
The most important source for their view is found in the records of Anatolius of Alexandria.
To his words we can add the statements provided by the Audians and several bishops representing assemblies located in different parts of Europe.
Anatolius of Alexandria Like the Quartodecimans, those who keptSystem Dobserved the 14th until the end of the 20th for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
The most famous advocate of this system was Anatolius of Alexandria (c.230-283 C.E.).1
The seven days of Unleavened Bread remained an important period for all the early Christian assemblies. It was by means of these seven days that they determined when to observe Passover.
For the Quartodeciman practice (System A),being the original view of the early Christian assemblies, and its quasi-Quartodeciman offshoot System D (the early western view), these seven days began with the 14th and extended until the end of the 20th day of the first lunar month.
We begin to uncover this important detail by demonstrating three facts:
• The Quartodecimans observed the 14th of Abib as a high Sabbath (great festival day) and as the first of the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
• The quasi-Quartodecimans kept the same seven days of Unleavened Bread as observed by the early Quartodecimans.
• Both the early Quartodecimans ofSystem Aand the quasi-Quartodecimans ofSystem Ddeferred to the apostle John as their ultimate authority for establishing which days were to be observed for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
An important fact regarding the Quartodecimans that has been missed by most followers of Yahweh is that the Quartodecimans claimed and demonstrated authority from Yahushua the messiah and Scriptures for their practice of Passover.
Though they considered themselves not to be under the written Torah of Moses, they followed the guides of the Torah of Moses with regard to “all the festivals.”
Chrysostom (347-407 C.E.) Chrysostom, a strong advocate of the Roman CatholicSystem E,for example, demonstrates this point in his work titled Adversus Judaeos, where he condemns the Quartodeciman Christians because of their practice of celebrating such scriptural High Sabbath days as the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Festival of Tabernacles.1
Of all the professed followers of Yahweh, few are aware that during the first four centuries C.E. support was very strong among the early disciples and assemblies following Yahushua the messiah for the Aristocratic system of keeping Passover and Unleavened Bread, which was a 7-day Festival observed during Abib 14-20 (System A).
It may also come as a surprise to learn that this view was, in fact, the original practice of all the earliest orthodox Christians.
In later centuries, its advocates and supporters were referred to as the Quartodecimans (14th keepers).
In our posts dealing with the Quartodecimans, we shall investigate the antiquity of the Quartodeciman practice, demonstrate that they observed the 14th day of the first moon for the Passover supper, and present their claim that they kept Passover according to both Scriptures and the examples set forth by the messiah and his apostles.