Coulter’s “Christian” Passover
Have you ever been so deceived, and later realized how
you had been completely misled, and felt so shamed, so
full of anger, and so hurt and foolish? People have lost
their entire life's savings to flim-flam artists and super
con men, and been left in the poor house. Spiritually,
spiritual con men have victimized thousands of trusting,
naive souls who put their faith and trust in men. Could
you be making such a mistake?
William F. Dankenbring
A number of people have been reading a book written by Fred Coulter -- a book he calls The Christian Passover, although in truth there is nothing "Christian" about it. The title itself is a sad and tragic deception and falsehood!
Yet my challenging the book, in this magazine, will not make the slightest difference in the minds of those who seek to use Coulter's book for their own nefarious and underhanded purposes, to attempt to deceive the very elect of God! Whether or not people fall for the deception may itself prove whether or not they are really the elect, after all!
Jesus warned that at the time of the End, just before His second coming, that worldwide deception would be so great that "there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs [and write "great, lengthy books"!] and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall DECEIVE THE VERY ELECT. Behold, I have told you before" (Matt.24:24).
Could you be deceived by an "end-time wonder"?
A Hebrew Word and Its Meaning
In his epic, impressive-looking book The Christian Passover, Coulter makes several claims which we ought to investigate -- and not do like most people, and just "assume" he is telling the truth! For example, Coulter writes:
"The inspired record in Exodus 12 makes it clear that the children of Israel were not
dwelling in tents at Rameses when they kept the Passover. The Hebrew word trans-
lated 'house' or 'houses' in Exodus 12 is bayith, which means '. . . a dwelling, an
abode, a house.' Bayith, which is used a total of 16 times in Exodus 12, never refers
to a tent or a temporary dwelling" (The Christian Passover, p.55).
Notice his last words again: "Bayith . . . NEVER REFERS TO A TENT OR A TEMPORARY DWELLING." Now, that statement, taken at face value, is very unequivocal and dogmatic. But is it true? Does Coulter know what he is talking about? Should we "trust" him?
The authoritative Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament gives us the meaning and usage of this word in the Scriptures:
"(1) A moveable house, a tent . . . Gen.27:15; 33:17; used of tents consecrated
[to idols], II Kings 23:7 . . . used of the tabernacle of the covenant, Exo.23:19;
Josh.6:24; Jud.18:31; I Sam.1:7, 24; 3:15; II Sam.12:20; Ps.5:8 . . .
"(2) A royal house, a palace, fortress . . .
"(3) the house of God, i.e., temple; used of the temple of idols, Isa.37:38; 44:13;
I Sam.5:2,5; and of the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem, I Kings 6:5,37; 7:12;
Isa.66:1, and very frequently . . .
"(4) a sepulchre, especially one much adorned, Isa.14:18; compare Isa.22:16 . . .
"(5) dwelling, abode, habitation, place of any kind . . ."
Clearly, the Hebrew word bayit does not just mean "house," referring only to a permanent dwelling or building, at all. Such a limitation placed on the word's actual meaning is a diabolical attempt to deceive and to delude people by subtlety of reasoning. It is clever. But it is patently false.
The reason Moses used the word bayit in Exodus 12 -- which is a general word, and means "dwelling, abode, place, habitation, tent," etc. -- is because this word best describes the dwellings the Israelites were living in at the time. Some were probably in regular houses, but most of them were most likely in tents already, since they had been told and knew that they would be leaving Egypt very soon. For Coulter to state that bayit "NEVER refers to a tent or a temporary dwelling" is sheer deception and falsehood! Yet he makes a major point of this contention!
Coulter claims, after discussing this word,
"But we find only the Hebrew word bayith used in Exodus 12, leaving no doubt
whatsoever that the children of Israel kept the Passover in their own houses" (ibid.).
Since the Hebrew word bayit does not mean what Coulter says it does, but by definition
includes all kinds of dwellings, including tents, Coulter's conclusion is spurious and erroneous, and his whole argument is nothing more than puffed up leaven!
Much Ado About the Word "Unto"
However, to show you another example of Coulter's specious reasoning and how he subtlely leads people astray in their reasoning, notice another quotation from his book The Christian Passover:
"Next, God told them when to kill the Passover lambs. Notice carefully
what God commanded. 'And you shall keep it [the lamb] unto [until] the
fourteenth day of the same month, and the whole assembly of the congre-
gation SHALL KILL IT AT DUSK' (verse 6, JPSA).
"They were to keep the lambs unto, or until as in the KJV, the fourteenth
day of the first month. The Hebrew word translated unto, or until, is ad, which
limits the time to a specific point, not through and beyond that point. Ad means
'. . . the limit of time itself' (Gesenius Hebrew Chaldee Lexicon of the Old
Testament). God made it clear that the lambs were to be kept only to the point
in time that began the fourteenth, not beyond that point" (p.49).
Again, Coulter makes a big issue of the tiny word "ad." He dogmatically asserts that this word proves that the Passover had to be killed at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan -- the lambs were only to be kept "until" (ad) the 14th, which Coulter reasons means the very beginning of the day -- not up until some later point during the day.
Proof? He provides none. However, if what he says is true, then he truly has put himself into a box. For this same word is used in Exodus 12:18 -- "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, UNTIL the one and twentieth day of the month at even." If as Coulter claims this word "until" (ad in Hebrew) means to the point of the beginning of the day, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread was to be observed "seven days" FROM THE BEGINNING OF NISAN 14 UNTIL THE
BEGINNING OF NISAN 21, and the two holy days of the Feast would have to be Nisan 14 and Nisan 20!!!
Notice! If "until" means till the "beginning" of the day, as Coulter so strongly argues, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread is only to be observed "until" the beginning of Nisan 21 -- therefore, the last day of the Feast would be Nisan 20! Nisan 20, then, would be a holy day, and seven days before that day -- the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread -- would be pushed back to Nisan 14 itself! The Feast would be Nisan 14 through 20! This is plainly erroneous. For we read in Leviticus 23, "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover. And on the FIFTEENTH DAY of the same month is the FEAST of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread" (Lev.23:5-6).
Yet Coulter argues, "the lambs were to be kept only to the point in time that began the fourteenth, not beyond that point." Whom are we to believe? If the lambs were to be kept "until" the beginning of the 14th, based on the Hebrew word ad, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread would have to be observed UNTIL the beginning of Nisan 21 -- or only through the end of Nisan 20! What confusion! What enormous nonsense!
What Began the Exodus?
But now let's notice another peculiar statement Coulter makes in his lengthy, challenging, argumentative book. Coulter asserts:
"The Scriptural account does not show the children of Israel leaving their houses
prior to the Passover. Such a movement would, in fact, have begun the Exodus.
But according to Scripture, the Exodus began after the Passover" (p.54).
But notice what he writes somewhere else in his book:
"The Scriptures plainly show that the Exodus began FROM RAMESES, not from
their houses. Leaving their houses to gather in their marching order at Rameses
did not constitute the beginning of the Exodus. Nowhere do the Scriptures relate
that the Exodus began from their houses. All the Scriptural accounts show the
Exodus itself beginning from Rameses, as an organized movement. It is a twisting
of the Scriptural account to state that the Exodus began at the instant they left their
houses, long before they arrived at Rameses" (p.80).
On page 54 Coulter says that the Israelites did not leave their houses until after the Passover and that such a movement would have begun the Exodus. Yet on page 80 he contradicts himself and says the Exodus began with the Israelites leaving from Rameses, not from their own houses! In one place Coulter says, "leaving their houses . . . would, in fact, have begun the Exodus." But in another place he disagrees with himself, and states, "Leaving their houses . . . did not constitute the beginning of the Exodus"!!!
Isn't it time we become suspicious of a book in which the author plainly contradicts himself? -- where he argues about the meanings of simple words, and causes violence to the Scriptures as a result? -- where he claims to be a "scholar," but misleads his readers as to the real meanings of simple Hebrew words such as bayit , and ad? Let's be careful lest we fall under the "spell" of bewitching, authoritative-sounding, self-professed ministers and their delusions!
Did Ezra the Scribe Tamper
with the Law of Moses?
In Deuteronomy 16:2 it says, "Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the
Passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and of the herd, in
the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there."
Yet in Exodus 12:5 it says, "Your lamb shall be without blemish,
a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from
the goats." Says one writer, the reason for this difference is that
Ezra the scribe re-wrote Moses' words in Deuteronomy 16, and
changed the Law. What is the truth?
William F. Dankenbring
Is there a contradiction between Exodus 12:5 and Deuteronomy 16:2? Why does Exodus plainly tell us the Passover had to be a kid or a lamb, but Deteronomy says even an animal from the 'herd" -- a bullock -- can be sacrificed? What gives? Why does Deuteronomy say "of the herd"?
This used to puzzle me. At one time I thought that perhaps the reference to the "herd" might have referred to a "herd of goats." Obviously, goats don't "flock" together like sheep do -- they are too independent. But we do speak of a "herd o goats."
However, in studying Ezekiel's description of the millennial Temple of God, I discovered another answer to the enigma. In Ezekiel 45:21 we read, "In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten." During these seven days of Passover, God commanded various "passover" sacrifices to be offered at the Temple, or sanctuary. On the first day of the feast, two young bullocks and one ram and seven lambs were to be offered for a burnt offering to the Lord (Numbers 28:16-19). These would be the "passover" offerings, and fell on the first high holy day, when the Passover was to be eaten. They included two bullocks. These sacrifices on passover would fulfill the commandment in Deuteronomy 16:2 about the sacrifices "of the herd," which were to be made on the Passover. However, as the commandment in Exodus plainly states, the passover sacrifice itself had to be a young sheep or goat of the first year, unblemished. Obviously Deuteronomy 16:2 is discussing a different sacrifice than the regular Passover lamb!
Another answer to this question, however, has also come to light. In studying in preparation for the Passover t his year, I ran across a reference to Deuteronomy 16:2 which cleared up the whole problem. I discovered that the "passover" sacrifice mentioned in Deuteronomy 16:2 could also refer to a special offering which often accompanied the Passover lamb itself, when it was sacrificed on Nisan 14.. In The Secrets of the Haggadah: A Commentary on the Passover Haggadah, by M. Glazerson, we read the following:
"When the Pesach Sacrifice is offered, a Peace Offering is offered with it on the
fourteenth day of the month, either from the bullocks or the sheep, large or small,
male or female. This is called the 'Chagigah of the Fourteenth.' Of it, the Torah
states: 'And you shall bring the Pesach as an offering of a meal to Hashem, your
God; from the flock and the herd . . . ' (Devarim 16:2). Scripture did not make
this mandatory, but optional . . .
"When is the Chagigah brought together with the Pesach Sacrifice? They are offered
together only in a state of ritual purity on weekdays when the Paschal lamb is too small
for all those eating. It may be eaten for two days and one night. It is governed by the
same regulations as all Peace Offerings . . . ." (p.25).
One writer has claimed that the verse in Deuteronomy 16:2 refers to the Passover lamb itself, and that Ezra the scribe, who lived about one thousand years after Moses, changed the text and rewrote the words of Moses, adding the words "of the herd," and the entire commandment that the Passover lambs had to be killed at the "place where God put His Name," and not within their own gates or homes.
This idea would mean that Ezra, a faithful and true servant of God, tampered with the Word of God, and deliberately altered Holy Scripture -- a nonsensical and foolish idea, if I ever heard of one! Ezra would never tamper with Scripture. "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments" (Ezra 7:10). He was "Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel" (verse 11). Ezra was a very righteous and godly man, and would never have tampered with or altered the meaning or the text of the books of Moses.
However, for a supposed man of God to claim that Ezra changed the writings of Moses, and altered inspired Scripture (II Tim.3:16), is tantamount to calling Ezra a heathen, pagan, blasphemous individual guilty of the grossest of sins.
The truth is, God Almighty inspired Moses when He gave him the Law -- the Torah -- including Deuteronomy 16. The fact that Deuteronomy 16 refers to sacrificing a member of the "herd" for the Passover as well as a kid or lamb does not prove Ezra tampered with Scripture. Rather, it has been our own limited and faulty understanding of the real meaning of Deuteronomy 16:2 that has been the problem. The Jewish book Secrets of the Hagiddah helps to clear up the problem, and provides a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand explanation of the "apparent" difficulty or supposed "contradiction." We do not need to stoop to unsound scholarship or wacky theories in order to understand this verse!
This is an example of how we must be very careful lest we leap to wrong conclusions when studying the Bible. As the apostle Paul wrote, we must -- "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Tim.2:15). In our effort to "Prove all things" (I Thessalonians 5:21), we must be very careful that we are not led astray by ministers and teachers who lack true understanding and who use the word of God to deceive, delude, and seduce God's people into the way of error. As Solomon wrote so vividly, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov.14:12).
At this point, when Pilate threatened to let Jesus go free, the Rabbis and Pharisees and members of the Sanhedrin present incited the multitude to vehemently protest -- nearly causing a riot to occur. They denounced Christ, rejedted Him as their king, and even blasphemed God saying, "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15). When Pilate washed His hands of the affair -- and "washing the hands" was a powerful religious symbol to the Jews present -- and said he was "innocent" of this man's blood, the Jewish religious leaders cried out, "His blood be on us and on our children" (Matt.27:25).