QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM

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Where in the Bible can I find out about Satan's fall from heaven. Recently someone in a church group said that he had been "the director of music" and that is one reason he uses some of today's music to infiltrate our minds. I had never heard that and would like information on it. 

It is declared in symbolic language in Revelation 12:4. There, Satan is described as a dragon, and the angels he brought down as stars. The details are not provided for us. Allusions to the fallen angels are also mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6.

The notion that Satan was a "director of music" is assumed from a text in the twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel. There, an allusion is made to Satan, whose image or likeness was found in the king of Tyre. It says of the wicked one, "the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God" (Ezek 28:13-14). The word "tabrets" means timbrels or tambourines. Some have assumed from this text that the devil was a choir director. I find that view to be stretching the text a bit.


I am confused by the verse Dan 12-2 here where it says "many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall wake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" I thought when we died, if we believed in Jesus and were saved we went to heaven? Arewe not awake when our spirits go on to heaven after we die? Would you please try to explain this to me?

This text, as well as other verses on resurrection (1 Cor 15:51; 1 Thess 4:14; 5:10), refer to the body, which is placed in the grave. Our spirits are alive and well, but are separated from our bodies in dearth. But God will also raise our bodies from the grave. They are the part of us that sleeps.


How long did the bondage last, if from the giving of the promise to Abraham and the giving of the law was 430 years? 

It is not necessary to read the text as meaning 430 years after Abraham received the promise. It is generally understood that this referred to the length of Israel's stay in Egypt, as specified in Exodus 12:40-41. I understand the "after" to refer to, what exodus twelve calls, "at the end of four hundred and thirty years." Some have chosen to make this an insurmountable difficulty, but like yourself, I do not see it as a problem. he was, in my understanding, speaking in the language of Scripture.


Do you believe we should keep the Sabbath as part of obeying God's commands? If so, when is the Sabbath to be observed? 

I do not. We are told not to allow anyone to impose Sabbath days upon us, for they are a shadow of things to come, and not the real substance of spiritual life (Col 2 :16-17). I understand it is not sinful to keep the Sabbath day. However, it cannot be bound upon other believers, which is the point of the Colossians passage.

The fourth chapter of Hebrews deals extensively with the Sabbath, showing it has been overshadowed by a greater sabbath--one of spiritual rest. The passage is Hebrews 4:1-11, and speaks rather plainly.

Under the Law, the Sabbath day was imposed upon the people because of
their hard hearts. They would have forgotten God altogether if a day had not been commanded from which to rest from ordinary labors and concentrate upon the Lord.

In Christ, we are simply told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb 10:25) -- we are not told not to work. There is something in the renewed heart that senses the need for focusing on a gathering of kindred spirits, and building one another up in the most holy faith. That is why an exhortation, or reminder, is given for them to do this, not a commandment like the sabbath day commandment. We also have records of early believers meeting on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). This was doubtless done because of our Lord's resurrection on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9), and His appearance to the disciples on a first day of the week (John 20:19).

This is an area of sharp controversy among believers in Christ. However, the fact that neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever bound the Sabbath day upon people makes it wrong for others to do so. It is in the area of conscience. 


Jesus spoke against calling another man "teacher." Doesn't calling someone "discipler", amount to the same thing? 

The word "Rabbi" (taken from rhabbi--Matt 23:9-10) and "teacher" are NOT synonymous. "Rabbi" does not mean merely a teacher, but the "MASTER teacher," or the most significant teacher. That is why the KJV, ASV, Websters, Darbys, and NLT translate the word "Master." Young's Literal translates is "Director," giving the same sense to the word. In this sense, there is only one Master Teacher, and that is Jesus Himself. No other can bear that distinction, regardless of his understanding or effectiveness.

"Teacher," in its strictest usage, comes from didaskalos, and is used numerous times in the New Covenant writings. There were certain "teachers" in Antioch who are named (Acts 13:1). "Teachers" are the third gift place into the church (1 Cor 12:28). They are also mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. Paul said he was a "teacher of the Gentiles" (1 Tim 2:7), also affirming he was "appointed" to that role (2 Tim 1:11). Tenured believers are told that, for the reason of time, they ought to be "teachers" (Heb 5:12), and James warns that this is not a function for everyone (James 3:1). The term, then, is not an unlawful one, but a Divinely given one. All such teachers are subordinate teachers under the one Master Teacher, like all shepherds are subordinate shepherds under the "Chief Shepherd" (1 Pet 5:1-4).

The Matthew 28:19 text uses an altogether different word (mateteuo), which means to disciple, or enroll as a learner. While teaching emphasizes the communication of truth itself, discipling emphasizes the objective of the teaching, which is to bring the individual to feet of Jesus, where true learning is experienced. The word used in Matthew 28:19 is translated "instructed" in Matthew 13:52 and "taught" in Acts 14:21). 

Christ's denunciation in the 23rd chapter of Matthew is against those who take this title to themselves out of a desire to be honored of men. It is not to be construed as a condemnation of those upon whom He Himself bestows the function. The passage confirms that titles do not make the individual, nor are they to be sought by men. Teaching is a vital role in the body of Christ, placed there by the Lord Himself.

As with any activity within Christ's body, functions are the point, not titles. This also includes evangelists, elders, and deacons--also placed in the church by Jesus. This is not to mention "Apostle" and "Prophet," also terms applied to the Lord Jesus (Heb 3:1; Deut 18;15).

It is not wrong to identify people by what they effectively do, whether the term is apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, or deacon. It IS wrong, however, to seek such titles independently of the responsibilities associated with them. It is also wrong to apply the preeminent position in any of these offices to anyone but Christ. That, I believe, is the intent of Christ's words.


I read or heard something about the time the Glory of God departed from the Temple. Can you tell me where I can find it? I know about His Glory departing from the Ark of God as found in 1 Sam. 4.

The reference is probably Ezekiel 9:3, where judgment was being brought on Jerusalem. It is again mentioned in Ezekiel 10:18. 


In the church I visit, everybody has a "discipler" - another Christian who guides them. The disciplers in turn have their disciplers all the way up to one man in another church at the head of all the churches. Is there anything wrong with that?

In my judgment, some of this is tolerable when dealing with new coverts. Even then, however, great care must be exercised. Such an approach is an open door for lifeless legalism and stifling institutionalism. It makes more room for Scribes, Pharisees, and Lawyers, than for Christ, the Spirit, and Divine tutelage. If used, an extraordinary amount of grace must be sought so as not to stifle spiritual life.

Life in Christ, however, cannot grow and mature in an externally regimented environment, or where fundamental responsibilities are to our peers. The Word of God knows nothing of a man over a group of churches. There is not enough room for Jesus or the Holy Spirit in such an arrangement.

Think of the Ethiopian eunuch returning to Ethiopia, the African segment of the world. God took away the one who discipled him, moving Philip to Azotus, a place in Palestine, and a long way from Ethiopia (Acts 8:40). Or think of the disciples who were "scattered abroad" through the early persecutions (Acts 8:4). Did their disciplers go with them? Instead of being made responsible to a discipler, they themselves became disciplers. And what of the demoniac from Gadera? After he was made whole, the principle Discipler sent him back to his home town alone, to tell what the Lord had done for him (Mark 5:19). What discipler did he have at home?

There is also the possibility of the one who is being discipled, or taught, advancing beyond the point of his teacher. David himself experienced this, and spoke of it in the 119th Psalm. "I have more insight than all my teachers . . . " Jesus spoke of "babes" who attained more wisdom from God than "the wise and the prudent" (Matt 11:25). I imagine that would be a most difficult situation for a professional discipler.

The situation you have described cannot be assessed with a simple "right" or "wrong" response. If such an arrange is necessary because of the infancy of the believers, there may be a place for it (although even that is questionable, as confirmed by Scriptural examples). But it should not be a permanent arrangement. It seems to me that is more related to lifeless institutionalism than to vibrant spiritual life. That is my opinion on the matter.


One of Jesus discourses on faith, the type of faith capable of commanding mountains to be thrown into the sea, seems to be preceeded by an apparent discrepancy or two. I might just be reading this wrong, but any insights you have would be welcome because my faith in the accuracy of the gospels is challenged.

According to MARK the sequence of events is as follows: Did Jesus curse the fig tree before he drove out the money changers (Mark) or after (Matthew)? 
Did they see the fig tree withered the day after being cursed (Mark) or did it wither immediately (Matthew)?
Did Jesus drive out the money changers, heal the sick, speak with the chief priests etc., the day he arrived at the temple (Matthew) or leave it to the next day because it was late (Mark)?


These questions assume the Gospels are written in strict chronological order. However, this is not always the manner of Divine revelation. Sometimes things are written in order of priority rather than strict sequence. This is seen in the account the creation (Gen 2-5). Often, the point that is being made is not buttressed by chronology, but by the significance of various events.

In order to distinguish his Gospel, Luke says he was providing "an orderly account" (NRSV), or sequential record, of the things fulfilled in Christ Jesus (Lk 1:1,3). That, however, is not the only manner in which the Spirit moved men to record the Gospel. Matthew and Mark, as well as others, often speak of events within the context of the thought being developed, rather than strict chronological order. This is a recognized manner of teaching, and should require no further substantiation. 

I suggest you read the aforementioned accounts with this in mind. It will serve to clarify a lot of seeming contradictions. It will also give more glory to God, make your faith more firm, and more fully satisfy your heart. Additionally, it allows for the involvement of the Holy Spirit with your exposure to Scripture.


Please furnish me with all the scripture you can on Abortion.

The sin of abortion is so heinous that it goes beyond the transgressions specified by the Law. It represents a willful taking of life that goes further than wicked Pharaoh and Herod. It is evidence of an unprecedented hardness of heart.

The Law affirmed that if a woman was harmed in a brawl between two men, so that a miscarriage occurs, yet no serious injury followed, a penalty was to be paid at the discretion of the husband. The phrase "serious injury" is understood to be the death of the prematurely born child or the woman. Should the death of either result, the life of the offender was to be taken (Exodus 21:22-23). 

Pharaoh came close to the near-birth abortion that is practiced now. He commanded the midwives to kill male children as soon as they were born (Ex 1:15-16). The midwives, you may recall, feared God, and refused to do what Pharaoh commanded. Because of their refusal, God blessed the midwives, dealing well with them and giving them households (Ex 1:17-21).

The fact that offspring are recognized children while they are in the womb, is fully confirmed in scripture. They are called "the blessing of the womb" (Gen 49:25). When twins Jacob and Esau were being carried in Rebekah's womb, it is written, "But the children struggled together within her; and she said, 'If all is well, why am I like this?' So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her: 'Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger" (Gen 25:22-23). It would certainly be inappropriate to refer to the struggling twins as fetus, when God calls them "children" and even "two nations." 

Samson was separated to God as a Nazarite "from the womb" (Judges 13:5,7). Job considered himself a personal entity while in the womb (Job 3:11). Even the wicked are so seen by God when they are in the womb (Psa 58:3). God is said to 'form" individuals "in the womb" (Isa 44:2,24). Isaiah was called to be a prophet "from the womb" (Isa 49:1,5), which prophesy also applies to the Lord Jesus. God chose, sanctified, and ordained Jeremiah as a prophet when he was "in the womb" (Jer 1:5). He also "separated" Paul to be an Apostle from his "mother's womb" (Gal 1:15). 

When John the Baptist was in the womb, and his mother in her sixth month, "the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit" when Mary came to announce she was going to give birth to the Son of God (Lk 1:41). In fact, God promised "He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb" (Lk 1:15).

God is the one who "gives breath" to all people (Isa 42:5). Paul told the idolatrous Athenians, "He gives to all life, breath, and all things" (Acts 17:25). Further, the Lord affirms "All souls are Mine" (Ezek 18;4). He, and He alone, is "the Father of spirits" (Heb 12:9).

Those who abort children have taken life that God has given. They have murdered a spirit that God has created. They would have aborted John the Baptist because he was born to an old woman. They would have aborted Jesus because He was conceived by an unmarried woman. 

Believers are under no obligation to explain to abortionists why what they do is wrong -- but we can surely do so. The real obligation is their part, to show what leads them to believe that the life they "abort" did not come from God. And, if they say it came from God, how did they dare to take it? What is there about what they call a "fetus" that is divorced from the "Father of spirits," the One who "gives life and breath" to all? And, if all souls belong to God, what will He do with those who rip those souls from Him, as though they belonged to them?


I am divorced. Can I remarry? I divorced my ex-husband because of spousal abuse. I have gone through a great deal of hurt and pain. I never can meet anyone. I been divorced for six years. Pray for me. 

There is mercy from the Lord, and you must believe that is the case. God tells us that he hates divorce (Mal 2:16). He also allows remarriage when divorce has been for the cause of fornication (Matt 19:9). These texts are straightforward, and easy to understand. 

There is an additional text on marriage in the seventh chapter of first Corinthians. It mentions a circumstance that may apply to your situation. n an intolerable situation, where the one NOT trusting God refused to live amiably with the believer, here is what the Spirit says. "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace" (verse 15).

In this matter, no one can really tell you what to do. This is an area of conscience, in which God will help you see His will. I would suggest you approach the situation with God's mercy and grace in mind, and with a firm desire to be pleasing to Him. There is no reason to expect He will not show you mercy and lead you into a satisfying life.

I am adding you to our weekly prayer list. My heart goes out to you, and I want to be assured your case is not hopeless.


My neighbor is a Mormon and he puts me down because I drink wine. My family is from Italy & we've drank wine our whole life. When he starts with his holier than thou attitude about being a Mormon, what do you suggest I say? 

As you already know, the Lord does not forbid drinking wine. He does forbid drinking it is large measures (Eph 5:18), or becoming drunk from it (1 Cor 6:9-10). Paul advised Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach's sake and frequent sicknesses (1 Tim 5:23).

Traditional Mormons also refrain from all stimulants, like coffee, tea, etc. They do not, however, have a right to bind their preferences on other people--particularly since God has not done so. Your reply should reflect a humble spirit. Simply ask where God forbids you to drink wine. Tell the person you are serious about wanting to please the Lord, and are quite willing to do what he tells you to do. However, you will not allow him to judge you in something God has not condemned.

On a practical note, the drinking of wine is to be forfeited as a right where it causes offense. "It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves" (Rom 14:21-22). As you can see, it is not a matter so simple as doing what we think is all right. 

This is a matter of conscience, and can only be worked out by yourself before God, with a determination to please Him in all things.


How long did the bondage last, if from the giving of the promise to Abraham and the giving of the law was 430 years? 

It is not necessary to read the text as meaning 430 years after Abraham received the promise. It is generally understood that this referred to the length of Israel's stay in Egypt, as specified in Exodus 12:40-41. I understand the "after" to refer to, what exodus twelve calls, "at the end of four hundred and thirty years." Some have chosen to make this an insurmountable difficulty, but like yourself, I do not see it as a problem. he was, in my understanding, speaking in the language of Scripture.


I am looking for information about the agape meal or feast that was celebrated in homes when Christ Jesus was here on earth during His ministry. It was from this that He developed The Lord's Supper.

Personally, I have never been satisfied with this approach to the Lord's Supper. I do respect your inquiry, and certainly mean no offense by this response. My observation comes after over fifty-five years of exposure to the various approaches the Lord's Supper. Of course, I hold this as a personal matter, and by no means suggest it should be everyone's view.

My persuasion is largely due to the total absence of this kind of reasoning in Scripture. I cannot conceive of the Lord using mere Jewish tradition as a basis for that solemn and instructive occasion. There was something new about the evening, even though it was during the feast of the Passover, which lasted several days. This meal was not the actual Paschal meal, for the passover lamb was not killed until Friday--the day our Lord died. This was evidently a preparatory meal, observed during the days preceding the main Passover meal, as outlined in Exodus 12:1-20; 13:6-8; Leviticus 23:5-6; and Deuteronomy 16:1-6. It is my persuasion that Jesus kept the Passover period in strict accordance with the Law, which He came to magnify and make honorable (Isa 42:21). Whatever tradition had been gathered around this sacred time is open to question, and is an area of strong disagreement among believers. This is because the Word of God simply does not approach the Supper in that manner.

The Passover Feast centered around the Passover lamb, as indicated in the Law (Exodus 12:1-49). Yet, at the last supper, the Passover lamb (according to the Law) had not yet been slain, much less would be eaten. No reference is made to any ordinary passover lamb during that sacred supper. Instead, Jesus introduced the real Lamb of God, instituting a feast in remembrance of Himself, not the exodus from Egypt. Had the Holy Spirit laden us with the details of that evening according to Jewish custom, the real intent of the supper would have been obscured, or not perceived as the Lord intended for it to be.

It is, in my judgment, better to present the Supper as the Holy Spirit has done in Scripture, You have the Gospel accounts, and an enlargement of them in First Corinthians 10:16-21 and 11:23-32. The foundation for this inspired reasoning will come from the ordinances of the Law, which constituted a shadow of good things to come.

Nevertheless, I am including a lengthy article from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on the Passover. It will contain some authentic historical information. I do this because there is a wide disparity among professed scholars on what the real customs of the times were, and which ones were valid.

The following links may also be helpful to you.

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Judaism/holidaya.html
http://www.holidays.net/passover/
http://www.holidays.net/passover/
http://www.greetz.com/Holidays/passover/seder.html

In Jesus,
brother Given
____________________________________________________________

1. Pecach and Matstsoth: The Passover was the annual Hebrew festival on the evening of the 14th day of the month of 'Abhibh (Abib) or Nisan, as it was called in later times. It was followed by, and closely connected with, a 7 days' festival of matstsoth, or unleavened bread, to which the name Passover was also applied by extension <Lev 23:5>. Both were distinctly connected with the Exodus, which, according to tradition, they commemorate; the Passover being in imitation of the last meal in Egypt, eaten in preparation for the journey, while Yahweh, passing over the houses of the Hebrews, was slaying the firstborn of Egypt (<Exo 12:12> f; <13:2,12> ff); the matstsoth festival being in memory of the first days of the journey during which this bread of haste was eaten <Exo 12:14-20>.
2. Pecach mitsrayim: The ordinance of pecach mitsrayim, the last meal in Egypt, included the following provisions: (1) the taking of a lamb, or kid without blemish, for each household on the 10th of the month; (2) the killing of the lamb on the 14th at even; (3) the sprinkling of the blood on doorposts and lintels of the houses in which it was to be eaten; (4) the roasting of the lamb with fire, its head with its legs and inwards-- the lamb was not to be eaten raw nor sodden (bashal) with water; (5) the eating of unleavened bread and bitter herbs; (6) eating in haste, with loins girded, shoes on the feet, and staff in hand; (7) and remaining in the house until the morning; (8) the burning of all that remained; the Passover could be eaten only during the night <Exo 12:1-23>.
3. Pecach doroth: This service was to be observed as an ordinance forever <Exo 12:14,24>, and the night was to be lel shimmurim, "a night of vigils," or, at least, "to be much observed" of all the children of Israel throughout their generations <Exo 12:42>. The details, however, of the pecach doroth, or later observances of the Passover, seem to have differed slightly from those of the Egyptian Passover (Mishna, Pesachim, ix. 5). Thus, it is probable that the victim could be taken from the flock or from the herd (<Deut 16:2>; compare <Ezek 45:22>). (3), (6) and (7) disappeared entirely, and judging from <Deut 16:7>, the prohibition against seething (Hebrew bashal) was not understood to apply (unless, indeed, the omission of the expression with water" gives a more general sense to the Hebrew word bashal, making it include roasting). New details were also added: for example, that the Passover could be sacrificed only at the central sanctuary <Deut 16:5>; that no alien or uncircumcised person, or unclean person could partake thereof, and that one prevented by uncleanness or other cause from celebrating the Passover in season could do so a month later (<Num 9:9> ff). The singing of the Hallel <Psalms 113--118>, both while the Passover was being slaughtered and at the meal, and other details were no doubt added from time to time.
4. Matstsoth: Unleavened bread was eaten with the Passover meal, just as with all sacrificial meals of later times <Exo 23:18; 34:25; Lev 7:12>, independently perhaps of the fact that the Passover came in such close proximity with the Feast of Unleavened Bread <Exo 12:8>. Jewish tradition distinguishes, at any rate, between the first night and the rest of the festival in that the eating of matstsoth is an obligation on the first night and optional during the rest of the week (Pesachim 120a), although the eating of unleavened bread is commanded in general terms <Exo 12:15,18; 13:6-7; 23:15; 34:18; Lev 23:6; Num 28:17>. The eating of leavened bread is strictly prohibited, however, during the entire week under the penalty of kareth, "excision" (<Exo 12:15,19> f; <13:3; Deut 16:3>), and this prohibition has been observed traditionally with great care. The 1st and 7th days are holy convocations, days on which no labor could be done except such as was necessary in the preparation of food. The festival of matstsoth is reckoned as one of the three pilgrimage festivals, though strictly the pilgrimage was connected with the Passover portion and the first day of the festival.
During the entire week additional sacrifices were offered in the temple: an offering made by fire and a burnt offering, 2 young bullocks, 1 ram, 7 lambs of the first year without blemish, together with meal offerings and drink offerings and a goat for a sin offering.
5. The `Omer: During the week of the matstsoth festival comes the beginning of the barley harvest in Palestine (Menachoth 65b) which lasts from the end of March in the low Jordan valley to the beginning of May in the elevated portions. The time of the putting-in of the sickle to the standing grain <Deut 16:9> and of bringing the sheaf of the peace offering is spoken of as the morrow after the Sabbath <Lev 23:15>, that is, according to the Jewish tradition, the day after the first day, or rest-day, of the Passover (Mend. 65b; Meg Ta`an. 1; Josephus, Ant, III, x, 5), and according to Samaritan and Boethusian traditions and the modern Karites the Sunday after the Passover. At this time a wave offering is made of a sheaf, followed by an offering of a lamb with a meal and drink offering, and only thereafter might the new grain be eaten. From this day 7 weeks are counted to fix the date of Pentecost, the celebration connected with the wheat harvest. It is of course perfectly natural for an agricultural people to celebrate the turning-points of the agricultural year in connection with their traditional festivals. Indeed, the Jewish liturgy of today retains in the Passover service the Prayer of Dew (Tal) which grew up in Palestine on the basis of the needs of an agricultural people.
6. Non-traditional Theories: Many writers, however, eager to explain the entire festival as originally an agricultural feast (presumably a Canaanitic one, though there is not a shred of evidence that the Canaanites had such a festival), have seized upon the `omer, or sheaf offering, as the basis of the hagh (festival), and have attempted to explain the matstsoth as bread hastily baked in the busy harvest times, or as bread quickly baked from the freshly exempted first-fruits. Wherein these theories are superior to the traditional explanation so consistently adhered to throughout the Pentateuch it is difficult to see. In a similar vein, it has been attempted to connect the Passover with the sacrifice or redemption of the firstborn of man and beast (both institutions being traditionally traced to the judgment on the firstborn of Egypt, as in <Exo 13:11-13; 22:29-30; 23:19; 34:19-20>), so as to characterize the Passover as a festival of pastoral origin. Excepting for the multiplication of highly ingenious guesses, very little that is positive has been added to our knowledge of the Passover by this theory.
7. The Higher Criticism: The Pentateuch speaks of the Passover in many contexts and naturally with constantly varying emphasis. Thus the story of the Exodus it is natural to expect fewer ritual details than in a manual of temple services; again, according to the view here taken, we must distinguish between the pecach mitsrayim and the pecach doroth. Nevertheless, great stress is laid on the variations in the several accounts, by certain groups of critics, on the basis of which they seek to support their several theories of the composition of the Pentateuch or Hexateuch. Without entering into this controversy, it will be sufficient here to enumerate and classify all the discrepancies said to exist in the several Passover passages, together with such explanations as have been suggested. These discrepancies, so called, are of three kinds:
(1) mere omissions, (2) differences of emphasis, and (3) conflicting statements. The letters, J, E, D, P and H will here be used to designate passages assigned to the various sources by the higher criticism of today merely for the sake of comparison. (1) There is nothing remarkable about the omission of the daily sacrifices from all passages except <Lev 23:8> (H) and <Num 28:19> (P), nor in the omission of a specific reference to the holy convocation on the first day in the contexts of <Deut 16:8> and <Exo 13:6>, nor even in the omission of reference to a central sanctuary in passages other than <Deut 16>. Neither can any significance be attached to the fact that the precise day is not specified in <Exo 23> (E) where the appointed day is spoken of, and in <Lev 23:15> (H) where the date can be figured out from the date of Pentecost there given.
(2) As to emphasis, it is said that the socalled Elohist Covenant (E) <Exo 23> has no reference to the Passover, as it speaks only of matstsh in verse 15, in which this festival is spoken of together with the other reghalim or pilgrimage festivals. The so-called Jehovistic source (J) <Exo 34:18-21,25> is said to subordinate the Passover to matstsoth, the great feast of the Jehovistic history (JE) <Exo 12:21-27,29-36,38-39; 13:3-16>; in Deut (D) the Passover is said to predominate over matstsoth, while in Lev (P and H) it is said to be of first importance. JE and P emphasize the historical importance of the day. Whether these differences in emphasis mean much more than that the relative amount of attention paid to the paschal sacrifice, as compared with matstsoth, depends on the context, is of course the fundamental question of the higher criticism; it is not answered by pointing out that the differences of emphasis exist.
(3) Of the actual conflicts, we have already seen that the use of the words "flock" and "herd" in Deut and Hebrew bashal are open to explanation, and also that the use of the matstsoth at the original Passover is not inconsistent with the historical reason for the feast of matstsoth-- it is not necessary to suppose that matstsoth were invented through the necessity of the Hebrews on their journey. There is, however, one apparent discrepancy in the Biblical narrative that seems to weaken rather than help the position of those critics who would ascribe very late dates to the passages which we have cited: Why does Ezekiel's ideal scheme provide sacrifices for the Passover different from those prescribed in the so-called P ascribed to the same period <Ezek 45:21>?
8. Historical Celebrations: Old Testament Times: The children of Israel began the keeping of the Passover in its due season according to all its ordinances in the wilderness of Sinai <Num 9:5>. In the very beginning of their national life in Palestine we find them celebrating the Passover under the leadership of Joshua in the plains of Jericho <Josh 5:10>. History records but few later celebrations in Palestine, but there are enough intimations to indicate that it was frequently if not regularly observed. Thus Solomon offered sacrifices three times a year upon the altar which he had built to Yahweh, at the appointed seasons, including the Feast of Unleavened Bread (<1 Kin 9:25> = <2 Chr 8:13>). The later prophets speak of appointed seasons for pilgrimages and sacrifices (compare <Isa 1:12-14>), and occasionally perhaps refer to a Passover celebration (compare <Isa 30:29>, bearing in mind that the Passover is the only night-feast of which we have any record). In Hezekiah's time the Passover had fallen into such a state of desuetude that neither the priests nor the people were prepared for the king's urgent appeal to observe it. Nevertheless, he was able to bring together a large concourse in Jerusalem during the 2nd month and institute a more joyful observance than any other recorded since the days of Solomon. In the 18th year of King Josiah, however, there was celebrated the most memorable Passover, presumably in the matter of conformity to rule, since the days of the Judges (<2 Kin 23:21; 2 Chr 35:1> ff). The continued observance of the feast to the days of the exile is attested by Ezekiel's interest in it <Ezek 45:18>. In post-exilic times it was probably observed more scrupulously than ever before (<Ezra 6:19> ff).
9. Historical Celebrations: New Testament Times: Further evidence, if any were needed, of the importance of the Passover in the life of the Jews of the second temple is found in the Talmud, which devotes to this subject an entire tractate, Pecachim on which we have both Babylonian and Palestine gemara'. These are devoted to the sacrificial side and to the minutiae of searching out and destroying leaven, what constitutes leaven, and similar questions, instruction in which the children of Israel sought for 30 days before the Passover. Josephus speaks of the festival often (Ant, II, xiv, 6; III, x, 5; IX, iv, 8; XIV, ii, 2; XVII, ix, 3; BJ, II, i, 3; V, iii, 1; VI, ix, 3). Besides repeating the details already explained in the Bible, he tells of the innumerable multitudes that came for the Passover to Jerusalem out of the country and even from beyond its limits. He estimates that in one year in the days of Cestius, 256,500 lambs were slaughtered and that at least 10 men were counted to each. (This estimate of course includes the regular population of Jerusalem. But even then it is doubtless exaggerated.) The New Testament bears testimony, likewise, to the coming of great multitudes to Jerusalem (<Jn 11:55>; compare also <2:13; 6:4>).
At this great festival even the Roman officers released prisoners in recognition of the people's celebration. Travel and other ordinary pursuits were no doubt suspended (Compare <Acts 12:3; 20:6>). Naturally the details were impressed on the minds of the people and lent themselves to symbolic and homiletic purposes (compare <1 Cor 5:7; Jn 19:34-36>, where the paschal lamb is made to typify Jesus; and <Heb 11:28>). The best-known instance of such symbolic use is the institution of the Eucharist on the basis of the paschal meal. Some doubt exists as to Whether the Last Supper was the paschal meal or not. According to the Synoptic Gospels, it was <Lk 22:7; Mt 26:17; Mk 14:12>; while according to John, the Passover was to be eaten some time following the Last Supper <Jn 18:28>. Various harmonizations of these passages have been suggested, the most in genious, probably, being on the theory that when the Passover fell on Friday night, the Pharisees ate the meal on Thursday and the Sadducees on Friday, and that Jesus followed the custom of the Pharisees (Chwolson, Das letzte Passahmal Jesu, 2nd edition, St. Petersburg, 1904). Up to the Nicene Council in the year 325, the church observed Easter on the Jewish Passover. Thereafter it took precautions to separate the two, condemning their confusion as Arianism.
10. The Jewish Passover: After the destruction of the temple the Passover became a home service. The paschal lamb was no longer included. Only the Samaritans have continued this rite to this day. In the Jewish home a roasted bone is placed on the table in memory of the rite, and other articles symbolic of the Passover are placed beside it: such as a roasted egg, said to be in memory of the free-will offering; a sauce called charoceth, said to resemble the mortar of Egypt; salt water, for the symbolic dipping (compare <Mt 26:23>); the bitter herbs and the matstsoth. The cedher (program) is as follows: sanctification; washing of the hands; dipping and dividing the parsley; breaking and setting aside a piece of matstsah to be distributed and eaten at the end of the supper; reading of the haggadhah shel pecach, a poetic narrative of the Exodus, in answer to four questions asked by the youngest child in compliance with the Biblical command found 3 times in Exodus and once in Deuteronomy, "Thou shalt tell thy son on that day"; washing the hands for eating; grace before eating; tasting the matstsah; tasting the bitter herbs; eating of them together; the meal; partaking of the matstsah that had been set aside as 'aphiqomen or dessert; grace after meat; Hallel; request that the service be accepted. Thereafter folk-songs are sung to traditional melodies, and poems recited, many of which have allegorical meanings. A cup of wine is used at the sanctification and another at grace, in addition to which two other cups have been added, the 4 according to the Mishna (Pecachim x. 1) symbolizing the 4 words employed in <Exo 6:6-7> for the delivery of Israel from Egypt. Instead of eating in haste, as in the Egyptian Passover, it is customary to recline or lean at this meal in token of Israel's freedom.
The prohibition against leaven is strictly observed. The searching for hidden leaven on the evening before the Passover and its destruction in the morning have become formal ceremonies for which appropriate blessings and declarations have been included in the liturgy since the days when Aramaic was the vernacular of the Jews. As in the case of other festivals, the Jews have doubled the days of holy convocation, and have added a semi-holiday after the last day, the so-called 'iccur chagh, in token of their love for the ordained celebration and their loathness to depart from it.
NATHAN ISAACS
(from International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)


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