Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The Incredible Passover Plot!
Toward the beginning of the first millennium before the present era, an incredible plot was hatched to destroy and eradicate the true date and meaning of the Passover. That sinister and historic "Passover Plot" has continued down through the centuries, deceiving and deluding the Gentile world, and even the End-Time Churches of God! Its author is none other than Satan the devil, that arch-enemy of all mankind. Could YOU be a modern-day victim of this surreptitious and gargantuan "Passover Plot"? Where did the idea of observing the Passover at the eve of Nisan 14 originate? Should Christians today follow this ancient practice which was never approved or sanctioned by the Jews to whom YEHOVAH God committed His oracles (Rom. 3:2)? You need to know! Your eternal life could be at stake!
by HOIM Staff
Strange as it may seem, there really was a "Passover Plot" that has been carefully nurtured and fostered down through the ages to obscure and hide the truth of YEHOVAH God, and to replace the truth with ancient PAGAN rites and ceremonies! Very few understand the significance of this fact, or know how the plot began, how it was perpetuated, and how it continues, even down to our very day, today!
Truly, Satan the devil has deceived "the whole world" (Rev. 12:9). Are you, perchance, one of the deceived, deluded victims of this insidious, nefarious, cleverly devised and concealed PLOT to hide the plain truth about the Passover, and its correct time and observance?
The Strange and Mysterious Passover Plot
How has Satan the devil, the master of intrigue, disguises and deceptions, pulled off one of his greatest deceptions and coups of all time? One so beguiling and clever that even many of YEHOVAH's own "elect" have fallen victim to its influence and error?
You need to know and understand the TRUTH! Nothing less than your very salvation COULD BE AT RISK! The time has come for all YEHOVAH's people, and those who think they are YEHOVAH's own chosen and elect few, to RE-EXAMINE this issue, very carefully.
As the apostle Paul says, to "PROVE ALL THINGS!" (I Thess. 5:21). As Paul also wrote, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Cor. 10:12). Are you willing to look into this matter, objectively, and with an open mind, to PROVE the truth of YEHOVAH God? Or will you just "assume" that your present practice and belief is right, and continue right along in error? Solomon wrote centuries ago, "There is a way that SEEMETH right unto a man, but the END thereof are the ways of DEATH" (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).
The Original Passover
YEHOVAH God gave the Passover to Israel when they came out of Egyptian bondage, in the middle of the second millennium before Yeshua the Messiah. YEHOVAH God Himself delivered Israel from the hands of the Egyptian oppressors, with a series of mighty miracles, leading up to the greatest miracle of all -- the divine intervention of YEHOVAH to slay all the Egyptian firstborn the night of the Passover, when YEHOVAH "passed over" the families of the Israelites, every household that had obediently slain a lamb and sprinkled its blood over their doorposts and lintels. They were then to eat the lamb, roasted, along with bitter herbs and unleavened bread (Exodus 12:1-11).
That Passover lamb was to be slain "between the two evenings" (Exodus 12:6) -- that is, as the suns goes down in the afternoon, "in the evening AS THE SUN GOES DOWN" (Deut. 16:6)not after sunset, when the sun has already gone down. The Jews have always understood this expression to mean between noon when the sun starts to go down, and sunset, when it has completely disappeared beneath the horizon and has "gone down." In historic Judaism, the Passover lambs were generally slain between 3 and 5 o'clock in the afternoon of Nisan 14, the "appointed time."
Says the Critical Experimental Commentary by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown,
"In the early period of their history the Hebrews had no proper divisions of time, and accordingly periods of the day were indicated in a very loose and general manner...'Betweens the evenings' is a phrase of similar import, denoting the part or the day between the DECLINING AND THE SETTING SUN, or between NOON AND SUNSET. As the slaughtering of the numerous victims required would of necessity occupy a considerable time, no particular hour was specified...But in order to be within the limits defined, it was necessary that it should be begun and completed between the commencement of the first and the termination of the second evening" (vo. 1, p. 310).
Adam Clarke's Commentary elucidates this vital point of truth further:
"The Jews divided the day into morning and evening: till the sun passed the meridian, all was morning or forenoon; after that, all was afternoon or evening. Their first evening began just after twelve o'clock, and continued till sunset; their second evening began at sunset and continued till night....
"The day among the Jews had twelve hours, John 11:9. Their first hour was about six o'clock in the morning with us. Their sixth hour was our noon. Their ninth hour answered to our three o'clock in the afternoon. By this we may understand that the time in which Christ was crucified began at the third hour, that is, nine o'clock in the morning, the ordinary time for the DAILY MORNING SACRIFICE, and ended at the ninth hour, that is, three o'clock in the afternoon, THE TIME OF THE EVENING SACRIFICE, Mark 15:25, 33, 34, 37. Wherefore their ninth hour was their HOUR OF PRAYER, when they used to go into the temple AT THE DAILY EVENING SACRIFICE, Acts 3:1; and THIS WAS THE ORDINARY TIME FOR THE PASSOVER" (vol. 1, p. 350-351).
Many Scriptures show that the Passover was to be slain on the 14th of Nisan, which ended at SUNSET. For the Jews, each day begins and ends at SUNSET. Concerning the Day of Atonement, YEHOVAH God inspired Moses to write: "Mark, the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you....On the ninth day of the month AT EVENING, FROM EVENING TO EVENING you shall observe this your sabbath" (Lev. 23:26-32).
The ninth day ENDED at evening, or sunset, and the 10th day BEGAN at sunset, or evening. Thus when YEHOVAH God told Israel to slay the Passover in the evening, it meant in the LATE AFTERNOON of Nisan 14. If they had slain the lamb after sunset, it would have been Nisan 15 -- the following day! But YEHOVAH clearly said they were to keep the lamb until the 14th of Nisan, and slay it on that day, not on Nisan 15 (Exodus 12:6). They were to slay it between noon and sunset, essentially AT THE VERY TIME YESHUA OUR MESSIAH WAS SLAIN FOR OUR SINS, AS OUR PASSOVER LAMB (I Cor. 5:7).
The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible tells us about Passover:
"Passover. Heb. pesah from pasah (to pass over in the sense of sparing)....It was instituted in Egypt to commemorate the culminating event in the redemption of the Israelites (Ex. 12;1, 14, 42; 23:15; Deut. 16:1,3). THAT NIGHT was to be much observed to the Lord, when he smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, but passed over the houses of the Israelites where the blood had been sprinkled and the inmates were standing, staff in hand, awaiting the deliverance promised by the Lord. The festival began on the 14th of Abib AT EVENING, THAT IS, IN THE BEGINNING OF THE 15TH DAY, with the sacrificial MEAL (Lev. 23:5-6). A lamb or kid was slain between the evenings, that is, TOWARD SUNSET (Exo. 12:6; Deut. 16:6; cf. between the 9th and 11th hours, Josephus, War, vi. 9, 3)..." ("Passover," p. 705).
During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, no leaven was to be found throughout the homes of the Israelites. YEHOVAH God says, "For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel" (Exo. 12:15). Some have been confused about which day this would have been. The "first" day, however, of the entire sequence of Passover events, begins with Nisan 14, when the Passover lamb was slain. Therefore, the leaven was to be put out on the 14th of Nisan -- not on the first Holy Day of Nisan 15, a day in which no "work" was to be done except that required for cooking (Lev. 23:6-7). They could not have been instructed to wait until Nisan 15, and then to put the leaven out, for verse 19 explains, "For SEVEN DAYS NO YEAST IS TO BE FOUND in your houses." This does not say 6 1/2 days, or 6 days and part of a seventh day, but SEVEN (WHOLE) DAYS. The Jews have always understood it thus.
Hastings Bible Dictionary points out:
"On the evening of the 13th [end of the 13th) the head of the family searched the house with a lighted candle, that he might seek out all the leaven. The hour on the 14th at which one must refrain from eating leavened cakes was variously fixed. It was always before noon, however, the precise time being indicated by the disappearance of two cakes which were exposed before the temple. When the signal was thus given, all leaven must be burned or scattered to the winds....Work ceased on the morning, or at noon, of the 14th, save in a few occupations (tailors, barbers, laundresses)....
"The time of the Passover sacrifice is defined in the Law as 'between the two evenings'...This was interpreted by the Pharisees and Talmudists to mean FROM THE HOUR OF THE SUN'S DECLINE UNTIL ITS SETTING; and this was the LATER TEMPLE PRACTICE...The Samaritans, Karaites, and Sadducees, on the other hand, held that the period between sunset and dark was intended" (vol. 3, "Passover," p. 691).
Yet today, strangely, we see people attempting to keep and observe the PASSOVER -- and they call it precisely that -- not at the time the Jews observe this annual festival dinner or seder, at night on Nisan 15, AFTER the Passover lambs were slain and roasted. Rather, we see people attempting to observe this sacred memorial of coming out of Egypt, and of our DELIVERANCE from the power of SIN, at the BEGINNING of Nisan 14, twenty-four hours too early! Why is this? How did this happen? How did Satan the devil deceive so many, so completely?
Satan's Great Deception and Hoax
The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia states: "Paschal Lamb. The Pharisees and the Sadduccees had a dispute as to the time when the slaughtering should take place; the former held it should be in the last three hours before sunset [near the end of the 14th], the latter, between sunset and nightfall [beginning of 14th]...The Samaritans have retained the ancient rite to the present day" (vol. 8, p. 406).
The Samaritans and Sadducees claimed that they observed the laws of YEHOVAH God according to the strict "letter" of the law. They, as well as the Pharisees and Rabbis, knew that the Passover was to be slain on Nisan 14. However, since they interpreted the expression "between the two evenings" as AFTER SUNSET, and before DARK, the only time during the 14th of Nisan when this period could have occurred, for them to sacrifice the Passover, would have been at the BEGINNING of Nisan 14, shortly after sunset on Nisan 13!
Who were these strange people known in history as the "Samaritans"?
Who Were the Samaritans?
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible declares concerning the Samaritans and their observance of the Passover:
"The sacrifice still survives in the dwindling Samaritan community at Nablus, Jordan. This schismatic Jewish group SEPARATED from the temple at Jerusalem in ca. the fourth century B.C....The slaughter is made at the foot of Mount Gerizim, precisely at sunset rather than earlier...The actual communal eating of the sacrifice does not occur until after midnight and is done in great haste..." (article "Passover," vol. 3, p. 665).
Putting the evidence together, it is obvious that the Samaritans, who long preceded the Karaites and Sadducees in existence, were the ones who began the observance of "Passover" by slaying the Passover lamb after sunset on Nisan 14, instead of in the afternoon of Nisan 14. Thus they apparently slew the Passover after sunset -- at the beginning of Nisan 15. The Samaritans also had their own calendar, and own leap year system, and did not follow the Jews of Jerusalem. They even had their own temple at Mount Gerizim where they sacrificed their lambs. Just who were these impostors -- these strange religious people?
The Ancient Samaritans Unmasked
Just who were the ancient Samaritans, who took it upon themselves to observe the Passover at a different time than the Pharisees and the main body of the Jews?
In 718-721 B.C., Sargon, king of Assyria, conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and led them off into captivity beyond the Euphrates River. Israel had plunged into Baal worship, provoking the LORD to anger. Despite repeated warnings, they remained obstinate in their rebellion and idolatry, and would not listen to YEHOVAH God's prophets -- which seems to be the eternal truth of how Israel deals with true prophets of YEHOVAH God. The Scriptures say, "They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them" (II Kings 17:15). We read, "So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left" (v. 18). They were exiled into Assyria.
Replacing the Israelites in northern Israel, to occupy the vacated land, "The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them into the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites" (v. 24). However, lions had multiplied in the area, and killed some of the people, creating fear. They saw that YEHOVAH God was responsible for the lions, so they besought the king of Assyria to send them an Israelite priest to teach them the laws of the God of the land (v. 27-28). This priest was one of the priests teaching the doctrines of Jeroboam, who led Israel into sin (compare verse 16 with I Kings 12:25-33). He lived at Bethel, the religious site for Jeroboam's false system of worship (I Kings 12:33; II Kings 17:19).
As a result of this policy, elements of the truth of Scripture, and misinterpreted Scripture, began to be mixed together with elements of pagan worship and idolatry. The priest taught them a schismatic system to worship YEHOVAH God, the system imposed by Jeroboam to wean his people away from the worship of the Jews and the Temple at Jerusalem. "Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places....They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. The worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.
"TO THIS DAY THEY PERSIST IN THEIR FORMER PRACTICES. They neither worship the LORD nor adhere to the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commandments that the LORD gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel....
"...[They] persisted in their former practices. Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols. TO THIS DAY their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did" (II Kings 17:29-41).
The Samaritans were PAGANS to the core! Their paganism was not rooted out of them. They had a false, perverted, syncretic system of worship -- combining a little truth with a lot of PAGANISM! Subtle differences were introduced in the observances and festivals which they emulated from the Scriptures. Instead of following the official Jewish practices, as were maintained by the Pharisees, they opted for their OWN PRIVATE INTERPRETATIONS. Rather than slay the Passover lamb in the late afternoon of Nisan 14, they slew it AFTER SUNSET of the preceding day -- at the BEGINNING of Nisan 14! Therefore, they ate their perverted "Passover" at the night of Nisan 14, whereas the faithful body of Jews in Judea ate the Passover during the night of Nisan 15, which they had slain late in the afternoon of Nisan 14!
Says the New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible about the Samaritans:
"They erected images of their gods on the high places of the Israelites, and COMBINED their idolatries with the worship of Yahweh...This DUAL WORSHIP they kept up until after the fall of Jerusalem" ("Samaritans, p. 823).
This authority continues:
"There was early an antipathy on the part of most of the Jews to social and religious association with the Samaritans, and this feeling developed into intense antipathy as years rolled on (Ezra 4:3; Eccles. 50:25-26; Luke 9:52-53; John 4:9; 8:48). The Samaritans were neither of pure Hebrew blood NOR OF UNCONTAMINATED WORSHIP...
"There is no agreement on the date of the BREACH between the Samaritans and the Jewish community, but it seems to have started in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah and gradually widened. The political separation of Judah and Samaria and the work of Ezra made the SCHISM inevitable. It may be that the Samaritans did not build a temple at the beginning of the cleavage because they hoped that someday they would secure at least partial control of the Temple in Jerusalem. Sanballat declared his allegiance to Alexander the Great and asked to build a temple where his son-in-law might be the high priest. Alexander gave his consent and Sanballat built the temple....
"During the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes they declared that they were not of the same race as the Jews, and gratified the tyrant by expressing a desire that their temple on Mt. Gerizim might in future be dedicated to Jupiter, the Friend of Strangers (II Macc. 6:2). About 128 B.C. John Hyrcanus took Shechem and Gerizim, destroying the Samaritan temple (Jos. Antiq. XIII, 9, 1); but the worshipers continued to offer their adorations on the summit of the hill where the sacred edifice had stood. They did so when our Lord was on earth (John 4:20-21)" (p. 824).
The Samaritan religion was a syncretic blend of paganism and misinterpretations of the Torah, or the Law. They outright rejected the prophets and writings, and only accepted their version of the "Law" of Moses. They rejected the "oral law" handed down from Moses through the elders of Israel, the scribes, and to the Pharisees as not binding or authoritative, despite the great problems this would create concerning the holy calendar and holy day regulation!
The Samaritans, following the paganized footsteps of King Jeroboam of Israel, REJECTED the revelation of YEHOVAH God, and put their OWN interpretations on the Passover and Pentecost, and the Word of YEHOVAH God!
The Apostasy of King Jeroboam
This great Apostasy involving a misunderstanding and mistranslating of the Laws of YEHOVAH God, including Passover and Pentecost, two of the most important festivals of YEHOVAH God, actually began during the days of Jeroboam, king of Israel. After YEHOVAH gave him ten of the tribes of Israel to rule over, because of the wickedness of King Solomon, Jeroboam grew worried that the people of his kingdom might revert in their loyalty to the King of Judah, Rehoboam, because the Temple and Priesthood and religious center of worship for all Israel was then in Jerusalem!
This caused Jeroboam and his advisers no end of anxiety, doubt, and worry. Jeroboam, therefore, decided to set up a COMPETING RELIGIOUS THEOLOGY, also based on the Torah, or five books of Moses, but with an ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATION of basic concepts and doctrines. Notice! We read:
"Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephriam and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel. Jeroboam thought to himself, 'The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to Rehoboam.
"After seeking advice, the king made TWO GOLDEN CALVES. He said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a SIN; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.
"Jeroboam built SHRINES on high places and APPOINTED PRIESTS from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. He INSTITUTED A FESTIVAL on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also INSTALLED PRIESTS at the high places he had made. On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of HIS OWN CHOOSING, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings" (I Kings 12:25-33).
This great Apostasy actually began during the days of Jeroboam, king of Israel, who began to reign in 975 B.C. We do not know a great deal about all the alterations Jeroboam and his new hierarchy of priests made to the Laws of YEHOVAH God by direct evidence, as little has been preserved. However, we do know that the SAMARITANS got their interpretations of the Torah and laws of YEHOVAH God from the renegade priests of Jeroboam's competing religion, because of their fear of being devoured by the lions of the land (II Kings 17:25-28).
Therefore, by studying the beliefs and traditions and practices of the Samaritans, we can get an idea of just what the subtle, devious doctrinal changes to the Laws of YEHOVAH God, inaugurated by king Jeroboam, actually involved! These changes even Scripture says pointedly INVOLVED THE DATES AND TIMES OF YEHOVAH'S FESTIVALS! The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, the great Harvest festival, was delayed one month -- to October/November -- the same time most people of the Western world now observe "Thanksgiving" or "Harvest Home." There can be no doubt that Jeroboam also altered the dates of Passover and Pentecost, since Pentecost depends on Passover, and because Passover is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT of all the Jewish or Hebrew Festivals, mentioned 77 times in the Scriptures, far and away more often than any other Feast of YEHOVAH God!
The Samaritans, therefore, obtained their heretical, schismatic, divergent theology of the "two evenings" and the time of slaying of the "Passover lambs," and Pentecost, FROM KING JEROBOAM and his heretical advisers! Those who today follow the Samaritans, are therefore actually following the ancient, original APOSTASY OF KING JEROBOAM who introduced the two calves into the worship of the Northern Kingdom -- probably as two representations of the two "Elohim" that brought Israel out of Egypt, the two representations of the Godhead! This was utter idolatry -- the original APOSTASY! Continuing this ancient heresy and apostasy, the Samaritans calculated Passover and Pentecost differently from the Jews. They followed a different, alternative path -- that of the apostate Jeroboam priests of the northern kingdom!
What did Yeshua the Messiah have to say about the religious teachings of the Samaritans? Did he endorse them, give them credit for maintaining the truth, or show respect for their divergent teachings?
What Yeshua Said about the Samaritans!
What was Yeshua's attitude toward the Samaritans? Yeshua had no racial prejudice against them or any other race or group. He praised the "good Samaritan" whom he used as an illustration of brotherly love and kindness, because he stopped to help a man who had fallen among thieves, and was left along the roadside wounded and bleeding (Luke 10:30-36). However, when it came to religious doctrine and teaching, Yeshua said to a Samaritan woman whom he met at Jacob's well: "You Samaritans WORSHIP WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW; we [Jews] worship what we do know, for SALVATION IS FROM THE JEWS" (John 4:22).
How plain! How crystal clear!
Yeshua brooked no nonsense. He didn't stop using plain language just because the woman could become offended. He spoke the TRUTH. He made it absolutely PLAIN. The Samaritans, who observed different Passover traditions, WERE SACRIFICING TO DEMONS, and not to the true God! When they continually observed "Pentecost" on a Sunday, the day of the SUN GOD BAAL, they were guilty of IDOLATRY!
What Yeshua Said about the Sadducees
The teachings and doctrines of this ancient conspiracy contined through the vehicle of the Sadducees, a sect of Jews during the time of Yeshua. The Sadducees were a sect of Jews, primarily among the wealthy and aristocratic community, with a number of the priests, who followed the Samaritan interpretation of many tenets of the Law and belief. They, like the Samaritans, considered "between the two evenings" to mean after sunset, not before, and considered the day of the "wave sheaf offering" to follow a different Sabbath. They, like the Samaritans, did not believe in a literal resurrection from the dead. Says The New Bible Dictionary about this Jewish heretical sect:
"In manner the Sadducees were rather boorish, being rude to their peers as to aliens, and counting it a virtue to dispute with their teachers. THEY HAD NO FOLLOWING AMONG THE POPULACE, but were restricted to the well-to-do. They were more severe in judgment than other Jews. Many, but not all, priests were Sadducees; nearly all Sadducees, however, appear to have been priests, especially of the most powerful priestly families....Under the Herods and the Romans the Sadducees predominated in the Sanhedrin. The party died out with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. Josephus says that, even when in power, the Sadducees were compelled for fear of the people to CONCUR WITH THE PHARISEES" (p. 1124).
Unger's Bible Dictionary adds,
"The price at which the Sadducees had to secure themselves power at this later period was indeed a high one, for they were obliged in their official actions actually to accommodate themselves to Pharisaic views. With the fall of the Jewish state the Sadducees altogether disappear from history" (p. 954).
The Sadducees disagreed with the Pharisees on religious matters! They were HERETICS! Says the James Hastings Dictionary of the Bible of this ancient sect:
"The Sadducees were the spiritual descendants of the priestly part in Jerusalem, which, toward the close of the Greek period of Israel's history, was ANXIOUS TO HELLENIZE THE PALESTINIAN JEWS....
"The successors of the Hellenizers, on the other hand, were in full sympathy with the secular policy of the Hasmonean princes, and, unlike the Pharisees, took no exception to the illegitimacy of their high priesthood. They entered the services of the new princes as soldiers and diplomatists, and...formed the party, to which was given their family name of Zadokites or Sadducees. Taught by experience, this party made no violent attempts to introduce Greek customs; but they were a PURELY POLITICAL PARTY; their main interest was in the Jewist State as an independent State, and not, like that of the Pharisees, in the LEGAL PURITY OF THE JEWS as a religious community....
"Herod further diminished their influence by appointing and removing high priests according to his own pleasures, and by filling the Sanhedrin with his own creatures...[The Pharisees] were the real possessors of power; for, in order to render themselves tolerable to the people, the Sadducees were compelled to act IN MOST MATTERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH PHARISAIC PRINCIPLES. And when Jerusalem was destroyed and Israel ceased to exist as a nation, they speedily disappeared entirely from history" (vol. 4, "Sadducees," p. 349).
The Sadducees never had power over the preservation of YEHOVAH's Word or Laws. They were a political, Hellenistic party, which is why they curried favor and obtained it from the Herod family and the Romans. Their beliefs never took hold of a large following among the faithful Jews. But what did Yeshua, our Messiah and Saviour, have to say about this Hellenizing, pagan-influenced religious sect?
The Words of Yeshua the Messiah
Yeshua plainly tells us that in all matters of the LAW of YEHOVAH God, we should follow the teachings of the Pharisees -- NOT the Sadducees or Samaritans! He, our Messiah and Savior, declared:
"The teachers of the law and the PHARISEES sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey THEM [that is to say -- the Pharisees!] and do EVERYTHING THEY TELL YOU. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Matt. 23:2-3).
Notice! Yeshua did not say that the Sadducees or Samaritans sat in "Moses' seat" -- only the PHARISEES! Yeshua plainly showed that the Pharisees were the legal, authoritative descendants of Moses, as the rulers and leaders of the Church of YEHOVAH God of that time. They sat in Moses' seat of authority over religious matters.
But of the Sadducees, who numbered some among the priests and ruling classes, who even denied the truth of the resurrection and the existence of angels, he said, "YOU ARE IN ERROR because YOU DO NOT KNOW THE SCRIPTURES or the power of God" (Matt. 22:29).
Yeshua said the Sadducees were ignorant of the Scriptures -- yet they, like the Samaritans, sacrificed the Passover after sunset, and always observed Pentecost at the wrong time! They were so far out of the picture that they denied the existence of a spirit world, angels or demons (Acts 23:8). But Yeshua rejected the Sadducees, and plainly said only the scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses' seat -- not the apostate Sadducees!
It was this concept that the Passover was to be slain after sunset, and that it was to be slain on the day of Nisan 14, which led Herbert W. Armstrong to assume and to believe that the Jews were wrong on the time and date they celebrated Passover, and that Nisan 14, early evening was the only possible time for it to be slain and eaten! Although the evidence indicates that the Samaritans and Sadducees by sacrificing after sunset actually killed the Passover at the beginning of Nisan 15, the Worldwide Church of God concluded that since the day ends at sunset, the only time the sacrifice could have been sacrificed on Nisan 14 would have been the previous evening. All because the expression "between the two evenings" was grossly misunderstood, and the Church adopted the erroneous interpretation of the Samaritans, and the Sadducees and rejected the testimony and practice of the Pharisees and normative Judaism!
The Old Heresy Revived
Even though the Sadducees perished when the Temple was destroyed, their beliefs and teachings were resurrected in the eighth century by another heretical sect of the Jews -- the Karaites. In 762, when the Jewish leader Solomon the Exilarch died, his nephew Anan ben David was in line for the succession, as the new governor of the Jews throughout Arab lands. However, the leaders of the two primarly Jewish colleges at Sura and Pumbeditha instead turned to Anan's younger brother as the new Exilarch.
After this bitter defeat and political powerlessness staring him in the face, Anan denounced the centers of Jewish learning, which carried on the teachings of Judaism and preserved the Scriptures, and fled to Palestine where he established his own synagogue and taught once again that only the Torah was to be obeyed, denouncing the oral laws and traditions of the Jews. The Karaites became numerous in Palestine, Egypt and Spain. They declined in the twelfth century, and only a small surviving core , a vanishing remnant, survives in Turkey, South Russia, and Arabia.
But, strange as it may seem, the peculiar heterodoxy of the Karaites, Sadducees, and Samaritans, did not die out with the meager remains of that sect. Not at all! In this modern twentieth century, factions and groups of the End-Time Church of God have bought into some of their perverted beliefs and practices, as they concern the Holy Days of YEHOVAH God!
An Ancient Heresy Revisited
Today, groups such as the Worldwide Church of God, Church of God International, Philadelphia Church of God, and others, have determined to follow the Sadducean practice of assuming the Passover lambs were killed after sunset. This forces them to observe what they call the "Passover" at the beginning of Nisan 14. They also follow the Sadducean practice of counting Pentecost incorrectly!
Thus this age-old Satanic conspiracy -- which I call the real "PASSOVER PLOT" -- has taken hold once again in this END-TIME! Once again the pagan beliefs and heretical practices of Jeroboam the Apostate, and the pagan Samaritans, have been dusted off, shined up, and polished, as if they were the truth of YEHOVAH God, deceiving THOUSANDS!
The Mystery of Iniquity -- a FALSE "Passover"!
What more diabolical deception could the devil concoct than to deceive the very Church of God as to the REAL PASSOVER? The Passover symbolizes our very belief and acceptance of the sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah, our Passover Lamb, for the payment of the penalty of all our sins (II Cor. 5:20). Yeshua the Messiah DIED for us! The Passover FORESHADOWED that awesome event -- the original Passover lambs foreshadowed YEHOVAH God's Perfect Passover Lamb! As the apostle Paul wrote, "For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed" (I Cor. 5:7). "So Christ was sacrificed ONCE to take away the sins of many people" (Heb. 9:28).
To be mixed up on the right time and day to eat the Passover is a very serious error, indeed!
Yet Paul foretold that Satanic deception would even enter the very Church of God. He wrote to the Thessalonians, "For the secret power of lawlessness is ALREADY AT WORK; but the one who now holds it back [the apostles themselves] will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way" (II Thess. 2:7). The King James has this verse,"For the MYSTERY OF INIQUITY doth already work: only he who now letteth [hinders] will let [hinder], until he be taken out of the way" (verse 7).
It was Paul himself, and James, and the other apostles, who stood in the way of this secret, clandestine, surreptitious attempt of the devil to overcome the Church and substitute FALSE BELIEFS for the Truth of YEHOVAH God! The apostles would never fall for a false Passover. They had observed the correct Passover ALL THEIR LIVES, and for three years they kept it with Yeshua the Messiah, at the very same time as ALL THE OTHER JEWS!
At the "Last Supper," Yeshua and his disciples did not partake of the Passover -- they were still making plans for it, since it was scheduled to come in several evenings. So when Judas left that dinner early, the other apostles thought he was going out to do more food purchasing, for the up-coming PASSOVER (John 13:25-30). The true Passover had not yet come (John 13:1; 18:28, 39; 19:14, 31).
Why then do even modern remnants of the Church of God erroneously observe the Passover at the very same time that the Samaritans, Sadducees, and pagan-influenced heretics observe it?
It is indeed a very strange thing!
"Hoc est corpus me us"
The truth is, Satan the devil has masterfully hatched and conceived a most ingenious plot -- a conspiracy -- he has cleverly devised a COUNTERFEIT PASSOVER!
It is not YEHOVAH God's TRUE Passover -- which is observed on the eve of the15th of Nisan. It is an altogether DIFFERENT day and time and manner! Whereas YEHOVAH's true Passover involves eating a FESTIVE MEAL with family and friends, around the Passover dinner table, with the recitation of the history of Israel, and YEHOVAH's plan of redemption, the FALSE pagan Passover is a solemn, painful, sorrowful, quiet, stark ceremony much akin to a Catholic MASS, with the congregation huddled quietly, listening to the ministers solemnly intone their genuflections, and then quietly eating a piece of wafer, like the mass, and a thimble sized vial of wine.
In the Catholic mass, the believers are required to believe that the little piece of unleavened bread IS the literal body of the Messiah, and the wine literally becomes the BLOOD of the Messiah. Thus each time they take of the mass, they sacrifice Yeshua the Messiah all over again! When the priest supposedly changes the bread and wine into the Messiah's body and blood, he intones the phrase, "Hoc est corpus me us." Evidently, the common expression used of false magic, to connote deception and fraud, is derived from this phrase -- it is "HOCUS POCUS"!
The Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation goes back long before the Messiah died on the tree. It is a prime ingredient of ancient primitive pagan religion! A type of "eucharist" was celebrated in ancient Egypt, where a cake was consecrated by a priest and was supposed to become the very flesh of Osiris. This was eaten, and wine was partaken of also, as part of the ritual. The cake and drink of Mithraism, also, with the idea of transubstantiation, was similar to the Catholic "eucharist" and its varying formulations in Protestantism, today!
In Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico, he writes that when the Roman Catholic missionaries first arrived in Mexico:
"Their surprise was heightened, when they witnessed a religious rite which reminded them of the Christian [read: Catholic] COMMUNION. On these occasions, an image of the tutelary deity of the Aztecs was made of the flour of maize, mixed with blood, and AFTER CONSECRATION by the PRIESTS, WAS DISTRIBUTED AMONG THE PEOPLE, who, AS THEY ATE IT, 'showed signs of humiliation and SORROW, declaring it was THE FLESH OF THE DEITY'! How could the Roman Catholic fail to recognize the awful ceremony of the Eucharist?" (William H. Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico, appendix, Part I, p. 696, Modern Library, New York).
Doesn't this sound like the traditional "Passover" communion service of most Protestant and Catholic churches, INCLUDING many Sabbath-observing remnant churches? How often, as I used to sit in the services of the Worldwide Church of God, I watched as the ministers broke the bread, and prayed over the bread and wine, and then it was distributed among the congregation, as each member felt humiliation and sorrow for his or her sins, and the death of the Son of YEHOVAH God, and ate the little wafer recognizing it as symbolic of the flesh of the Son of YEHOVAH God!
Writes Ralph Woodrow in Babylon Mystery Religion:
"In one form or another then, the idea of eating the flesh of the god spread to many nations and tribes. When Rome conquered the world, it absorbed many of these rites into its religious system. Later, when Christianity swept into the Empire, many noticed there were some points of similarity between the rites of the pagans and those of the Christians. Eventually the TWO SYSTEMS WERE MERGED TOGETHER. Church leaders of the FALLEN CHURCH DISGUISED THE PAGAN RITES with Christian sounding names and this DECEPTIVE MIXTURE HAS DECEIVED THE WORLD!" (p. 131).
Horror of horrors! Have YOU mistakenly been partaking of a PAGAN Passover, with all the elements of PAGANISM mixed in together with scraps of Christian doctrine?
Contrary to the teachings of many churches, which observe a fradudent "Passover," or "Lord's Supper," the Messiah NEVER INSTITUTED a "new observance" called the "Lord's Supper"! Rather, he merely added NEW MEANING to the celebration of the PASSOVER meal, itself, with the NEW EMPHASIS on the broken bread and wine symbolizing his broken body and shed blood, as our TRUE "Passover lamb"!
Those who observe the "Eucharist," or "Lord's Supper," or "Passover," as they may call it, on the eve of Nisan 14, or at some other time, nowhere indicated or commanded by Scripture, are following in the footsteps of PAGAN JEROBOAM THE APOSTATE -- they are falling, hook, line and sinker, for the greatest HOAX ever perpetrated by Satan the devil! They are unknowingly observing a slick, ingenious COUNTERFEIT of the true Passover!
Satan the devil has TRULY indeed deceived the entire world (Rev. 12:9). The vast majority of Christendom he has deceived into worshiping according to the Easter tradition of the pagans, an observance nowhere encouraged or approved in the Scriptures. He has deceived others into observing a COUNTERFEIT of the Passover celebration which YEHOVAH God commands His people to observe as an eternal statute, "for ever" (Exo. 12:14-17). In place of the true Passover, substituting for it, he has devised an ersatz "Passover" which many churches call "Communion." Others call it "The Lord's Supper." Some go so far as to call it the "Passover."
But no matter what you may call it, it is still a SPIRITUAL FRAUD! It is a SATANIC COUNTERFEIT! It is a BOGUS DECEPTION! It is a PERVERSION of the truth of God!
It is nothing more than a new version of Satan's own "hocus pocus"!
YEHOVAH God Commands, "COME OUT OF BABYLON!"
Therefore, when professing people of YEHOVAH God, modern day "Christians," observe "Passover" at the beginning of Nisan 14, eating a small piece of unleavened bread, they are not worshiping the true God in the way He set forth in Scripture! Unknowingly, they are just like the Samaritans -- THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY WORSHIP! They are following a Satanic perversion of the truth, and are therefore guilty of falling down before Satan and worshiping him, thinking his teaching is the truth of YEHOVAH God!
YEHOVAH GOD ALMIGHTY COMMAND, "LEARN NOT THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN!" (Jeremiah 10:2). YEHOVAH God commands His true chosen and elect people, wherever they may be:
"Come OUT of her, my people, so that you will not share in her SINS, so that you will not receive any of her PLAGUES; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes" (Rev. 18:4-5).
YEHOVAH God Almighty further thunders to His people -- everywhere, no matter who they are, or who they think they are --
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness [obedience to ALL God's Laws] and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can LIGHT have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial [Satan]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.... Therefore COME OUT FROM THEM, AND BE SEPARATE, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you" (II Cor. 6:14-17).
If you observe Passover at the beginning of Nisan 14, then CONSIDER THE CONSEQUENCES! Consider the antecedents! Consider whom you are REALLY following! Consider the END RESULT of disobeying YEHOVAH God's Plain Command!
Are YOU a victim of Satan's age-old conspiracy to HIDE the truth? Are you following a man, who is following pagan tradition instead of the truth of YEHOVAH God? Are YOU a modern day traumatized victim of Satan's real "Passover Plot"?
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
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