SABBATH BIBLE STUDY
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Compiled by JS Lowther
ReNEWed COVENANT Ministry
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THE LORD’S SUPPER
A Sacrament of the Faith of Jesu(s) Christ
Compiled by JS Lowther
History and Faith
Exo_12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth (quartadecima) day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
Exo 12:19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
Exo 12:20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.
So far in this compilation of facts and evidence it has been seen how that in a word: The Day of Passover on the 14th day of the moon, the First day of the feast of unleavened bread on the 15th day of the moon, which is a Sabbath, as well as the Day of the wave sheaf on the 16th day of the moon, which is the first day of the week according to the moon. These days had, have and shall have a significant place in the Biblical calendar, more so to those of us who reckon these days in the same order by the Passion of our Lord beginning on the 14th Day of Passover, His rest tomb in the Sabbath of the first day of unleavened bread, and his glorious resurrection upon the day of the wave sheaf on the 16th day of the month.
With all of this significance and all of the typology, as well as the blessing which is offered in the analogical interpretation of Christ being our Paschal lamb, and we intended to be his loaf of unleavened bread, are to be cleansed of the analogical leaven indicating sin; as in the feast of unleavened bread the willful disregard of this law has dire consequences:
This very law was known to the Apostolic Churches, as we saw undoubtedly in the Corinthian Church, and it was from this law Paul taught the Church to acknowledge their Sin against God’s Law as leaven brought to the Paschal Table: a duplicity of mindset which was as Paul analogically says:
1Co_10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
That is literally the cup of YHWH and the of the cup of liars. (remember that)
Paul taught, as the Disciples of our Lord taught the Churches they founded to keep the recorded apostolic tradition which does not stem from the law of God, but is the very Law of God as easily found in the Pentateuch and the books of the Gospel. This is an important part of our Christian thinking, that is that the Law of God is the Apostolic Traditions spoken of numerous times in the Epistles of the Books called New Testament, and this needs said by the fortification of Christ’s very words
Mat_15:3-9 Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?…
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
and quoting Isaiah:
Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Christ’s rebuke, time and again, regardless of the subject of rebuke was not for the adherence to His Father’s Law by his rebuke was for the implementation of man made doctrine which was followed in the stead of God’s Law Which is the very voice of Jesu the Christ as the Word of God; in this way the Paschal Sacrament with it’s lawful observance of unleavened bread is no different, and in such a way the church is being called by the Scriptures Alone back to the preserved Faith of their Father’s, Holy Faith, Sanctified by the Word of God and defensible by it’s inspired nature and able to prove void the traditions of men in the wake of their lack of evidence.
Let us consider the earliest evidence of this Controversy, a controversy refereed to as the Paschal Controversy or the Easter Controversy. There are only few places to go in order to find information this old, and surprising as it may be, this information was even preserved by those who disregarded the observance them selves.
Evidence of this observance from those who knew the disciples of Christ, Early Christians taught by Apostles who’s words are not recorded in Scripture but in the pages of history.
Setting the Stage
Eusebius Ecclesiastical History Vol 5
Chapter 23. The Question then agitated concerning the Passover.
1. A question of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour’s passover. It was therefore necessary to end their fast on that day, whatever day of the week it should happen to be. But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world to end it at this time, as they observed the practice which, from apostolic tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast on no other day than on that of the resurrection of our Saviour.
Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all, with one consent, through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree, that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other but the Lord’s day, and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on this day only.
Entering upon the Stage
The Apostle John, the beloved is recorded as the last living apostle he historically lived and died in Ephesus, the place of the church to whom Paul wrote the epistle of Ephesians. While living in Ephesus which is in Asia minor, disciples surrounded John and he taught them, some of those we shall soon read about. Beside John was Philip also who lived and bore children near Ephesus. These Apostles taught many men of Church history, namely the Great martyr Polycarp, of whom there are a few of his epistles to this day. Polycarp is recorded to of observed the Sabbath, as well as the Passover- with the feast of unleavened bread.
Polycarp knew another man named Polycrates, his junior, who was bishop of Ephesus at the time of the Paschal controversy; these men where in communion with the churches of the East, as they were called, many are listed in the letter we shall read but there is dispute as to who are the churches which did as Ephesus and those who did as Rome and the Western churches, it most likely that a form of denominationalism had already formed in many places in the world where the church was.
The Bishop of Rome: History is made by the VIctor
From the Ante-nicene fathers Volume 8: book 6: sec 8 is a list of Bishops of Rome, from which the modern catholic church claims to derive it’s ordination.
The list about to be shown covers about 100+ years of Roman ordination, from Bishop to Bishop, listing a man named Victor as the 11th.
Victor is the man of the hour of the Great Paschal Controversy.
7. St. Peter, therefore, about to suffer himself, ordains Clement to succeed him.
8. As he was the first “successor of the Apostles,” therefore, in the See of Rome, and the first who had jurisdiction there (for the Apostles certainly never surrendered their mission to their coadjutors), it follows that Clement was the first Bishop of Rome.
9. This is confirmed by the earliest testimony, — that of Ignatius.
10. It agrees with Tertullian’s testimony, and he speaks (as a lawyer and expert) from “the registers.” Irenæus, speaking less precisely, may be harmonized with these testimonies without violence to what he reports.
Bishops of Rome
4. Xystus I
The Disagreement in Asia
Now before we move on to the relation of the discourse of this issue’s core, I would like to mention a story also relayed by Eusebius about the 8th Bishop of Rome, Anicetus and Polycarp about the first time we know of this disagreement on the keeping of the Passover of Scripture:
The Disagreement in Asia.
16. And when the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace with one another, not caring to quarrel over this matter. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with John the disciple of our Lord, and the other apostles with whom he had associated; neither could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it as he said that he ought to follow the customs of the presbyters that had preceded him.
17. But though matters were in this shape, they communed together, and Anicetus conceded the administration of the eucharist in the church to Polycarp, manifestly as a mark of respect. And they parted from each other in peace, both those who observed, and those who did not, maintaining the peace of the whole church.”
The Disagreement in Asia.
1. But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him:
2. “We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate.
3. He fell asleep at Ephesus.
4. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna.
5. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead?
6. All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven.
7. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘We ought to obey God rather than man.’Act_5:29
8. He then writes of all the bishops who were present with him and thought as he did. His words are as follows:
“I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus.”
9. Thereupon Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox; and he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate.
10. But this did not please all the bishops. And they besought him to consider the things of peace, and of neighborly unity and love. Words of theirs are extant, sharply rebuking Victor.
(See Ante-nicene fathers vol 8.book 8.sec 10 also)
The Door of the Controversy
Now if one were to consider, that this issue was among the first major separations in what is called the Church, this issue is cited by Church historians of protestant ad Catholics alike, as the hing by which the christian sabbath of ‘sunday’ swings, and this is believably true. While it is not my intent to enter into the Sabbath subject as a whole, but rather the subject of the Christian Pascha and it’s Ordinance, nevertheless, the Sabbath does swing from this door.
On one hand:
The generally excepted Sabbath of the Christian past called Sunday, but generally accepted as “the Lord’s day” of past church history, a name which only has one citation in holy write in Revelation 1:10, and by that citation no exact understanding of what it is referring to may be attained, it is: the day of the Lord? is it the Sabbath day of Scripture? Is it the Paschal day of Crucifixion? or is it the day of the Lord’s resurrection? To pretend as to the meaning being synonymous with Sunday by any Scriptural authority is a blatant fabrication.
Yet this day hinges upon the idea that Sunday was the resurrection’s day on the year of Christ’s crucifixion: / Passover and crucifixion would have been venus’ day (friday), Sabbath of unleavened bread would have been on saturn’s day, and the wave sheaf and resurrection day would be of solas’ day of the first day of the biblical paschal week by the reckoning of the former Roman Julian week of that year, if that is accurate; now this week is ‘frozen and isolated’ as to commemorate it throughout all eternity from henceforth, causing Sunday to be called the Lord’s day thereafter, as well as to set the hinge day of every Catholic feast thereafter, again, with no Scriptural evidence. Common-sensically: The Lord’s day can not represent the Pascha / Passover and the Resurrection on one day.
On the other hand:
There is the biblical Sabbath which is told by nature in the moon’s phases, attested to in Scripture, the moon based Sabbath which is commanded to be part of the Paschal week by Exodus 12, 13 and the Law of Leviticus 23: which as well calls to the follow day of the wave sheaf, the day of our Lord’s Resurrection on a yearly basis, it becoming part of the God ordained yearly observance.
According to Lev_23:1-18 The Passover is not the hinge of a Sabbatic door, but rather the Sabbath is the key of the entire festive system.
Again, On one hand:
There is no scripture or heavenly witness for the Lord’s day / sunday of the Roman Julian week, now called the Gregorian week of today, there is only a compulsion made by an anti-theonomian church in Rome who has for 1800 years insisted upon a Scripture-less tradition of both it’s so called “1st day sabbath” as well as a non-scriptural Easter/Pascha/Resurrection celebration created by men who’s records we have with us to day, to see their derogation of the plain law of God.
And, On the other hand:
There is abundant Scriptural evidence from the Law and the prophets, as well the natural witness of heaven and earth, along with the observance of our perfect Lord himself, as well as mentions and citing from the ‘New Testament ‘ Scriptures to back up the faith of Polycrates. Judge ye!
A Victor’s Faith?
But what was the faith of Victor in?
If his faith were is that of Anicetus, which was in his presbyters, where did their faith come from? So much faith that they were willing to cut off the more Scriptural theonomic based observance of others?
Consider, the accent to unrecorded apostolic traditions which hold it’s place in a completely different system of time keeping are being upheld higher than the Law of God and of the Act’s of Jesus Christ as recorded in the gospel.
I will side of course with Polycrates in his statement from the Apostles:
For those greater than I have said ‘We ought to obey God rather than man.’ Act_5:29
So here is the question for consideration for those who have not asked the question yet, regardless if they have kept the Passover by the commandment or not, Where is your stance?
This is a generational question which is befitting for the Christian race regardless of the time and place where we are found, and here a week from the Passover we are and some of you are as well, and the question is where are you, With God or with Men on this issue? And even if you side with the Law of God, do you do so by faith, according to the rule of Faith?
For as faith with out works is dead, so works with out Faith is dead also, so says James.
I am not at this time going to enumerate the ordinances of the Passover and the feast further according to the Law of YHWH God, though. But I would ask those who are listening read your bible, except it’s Word into your heart by faith and not as a dead work.
Last thought in your Consideration:
Let me share a quote from another writer of the 3rd and 4th century who made an impact on this issue before I close the discussion. A man whom I have mentioned in the past, particularly in the subject pertaining to the 4th commandment of our Common Law, his name is Anatolius of Alexandria.
And I wish only to read enough to whet the appetite of those who are interested in this rhetorical blunder.
Ante-nicene fathers Vol 6: Book 4, Sec 2
The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria.
“To us, however, with whom it is impossible for all these things to come aptly at one and the same time, namely, the moon’s fourteenth, and the Lord’s day, and the passing of the equinox, and whom the obligation of the Lord’s resurrection binds to keep the Paschal festival on the Lord’s day, it is granted that we may extend the beginning of our celebration even to the moon’s twentieth. For although the moon of the 20th does not fill the whole night, yet, rising as it does in the second watch, it illumines the greater part of the night. Certainly if the rising of the moon should be delayed on to the end of two watches, that is to say, to midnight, the light would not then exceed the darkness, but the darkness the light. But it is clear that in the Paschal feast it is not possible that any part of the darkness should surpass the light; for the festival of the Lord’s resurrection is one of light, and there is no fellowship between light and darkness.”
Well said Anatolius, it is impossible for all of these things to aptly at one and the same time come to pass! More simply, 14th day of Passover / the crucifixion and 16th day of the wave sheaf / the resurrection will never happen on the same day for any one but a philosopher!
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