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Compiled by JS Lowther
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THE LORD’S SUPPER
Sacrament of the Faith of Jesus Christ
Dung or Christ
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
So in this last and 7th part of this series The Lord’s Supper, the Christian Pascha we have started with a biblical look Passover and it’s command according to the law, it’s relevance to Our Lord in His observation of it as a Judean, as well as the disciples of Christ and their observation of this biblical feast; we had seen how the the Passover has been enveloped and immersed literally into the blood of Christ, that on the Passover day, the 14th day of the 1st month of Abib or Nisan Christ was crucified, on the Sabbath day of the feast of the first day of unleavened bread, that is the15th day (the full moon) Christ slept in death in the garden tomb of Josephus of Aramathia and His disciples “rested according to the commandment”, and on the following day, that is the 16th day of the month, the day of the wave sheaf and the first day of the lunar week by using the heavenly, biblical YHWH ordained feast calendar Christ our Lord rose from the dead and was seen Alive forevermore by the Glory of the Father…AMEN
The LORD’s Supper is part of the Passover meal
The Feast of Passover as it is clearly and simply spelled out in the Law of God is an enduring testimony when it is preformed in the Name of the only Begotten Son of God who shed his blood to enact the New Covenant on the same exact day the obedient and observant people of Israel slaughter the memorial sacrificial lamb for the house hold they will be commemorating and celebrating with that night.
So, before we move on in this message I would like to be clear on the subject:
I am absolutely forwarding to my Christian Israelite brothers and sisters that the only ligament sacrament of the Faith of Jesus Christ which can be called the LORD’s Supper is the Passover meal, the ordained method as prescribed by the WORD of God is God’s Law, the calculation of Passover’s timing at the time of the moon of Abib 14-16 as well as it’s celebration by the ordinances given by the Spirit of Christ Him self are available in the Law God revealed to Moses. We often time forget that our Faith teaches us that the man Jesu the Christ was the literal word made flesh, that means that every word inspired by the Holy Spirit is the substance of Christ, this is His perfect knowledge, this is His giving of the Spirit with out measure this is how: To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation… For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
This is Biblical Faith, this is the true Spirit taught by the Scripture time and again, that God causes flesh to conform to his will to be reconciled, God causes darkness and void to become a living thriving perfect world of his calling, by his Spirit, He takes the fallen and dead mater and resurrects it by his Power.
The Scripture does not have to be as it is this day, a book of mystery and abstract knowledge, a book of gnostic Spiritual Religion as what flourishes in the church building and minds of relative Christians today is not the type of supper natural spirit which provably and truly shows the power of the God of the bible as it proclaims. Rather the first and primary function of Biblical Spirituality is Faith in the resurrected Christ and proof to the fact is Comfort and Truth which comes by the Spirit and it’s inspiration, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God Eph_2:8 and by acknowledging that Faith we are lead to Baptism for the remission of sin in the flesh for the spirit, we are lead to the keeping of the Law of God in the flesh to empower the Spirit to show our sanctification and our anointing as Christ’s disciples.
Brother’s we can not displease God through our obedience to His Word, because his Word is the voice of Jesus Christ. If you ever wonder what Christ said about something in life, look at the Law and the prophets, If you ever want to know what Christian moral’s look like ask the Law and the prophets, and if you would like to know what Christian Pascha looks like, the Lord’s Supper looks like, read the Words of the Word who spoke it! As I have said before, and I will say again, a very simple thou shalt and thou shalt not always trumps the complicated doctrines of the traditions of men, just follow the scriptures; and in the case of this subject, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that Passover is wrong, when it is kept by the rule of Faith, in Christ’s name, it is Christ’s Word.
The rejection of Sola Scriptora
It is because of the rejection of Sola Scriptora from the times of the 1st and 2nd century that we are in need f this very discussion. Spiritual Religion, a concept from without the Scripture came into the church and began to contradict the Word of God, by implanting the philosophic understanding of the Logos (the word or reason) of God, giving the idea that the Greek philosophic logos was in fact the same as the Biblical Greek Logos, which in Hebrew is the DaBar, that is the Word spoke to communicate reasoning or Ideals, by this seemingly small semantically misnomer or semantically heresy, all of the prior philosophic reasonings and mussing concerning the logos as a spiritual conception began to blend with Biblical prophecy, and by aid of the Patagonian amusements of Philo of Alexandria a Levite who taught the allegories which can be extracted by the literal and physical practices of God’s Law as relayed by Moses, these Platonist and Aristotelian thoughts gained even more ground in dismissing the material application and preferring the allegorical interpretation of the Law as both were presented by Philo side by side, yet when Philo taught the philosophy was never meant to abandon realistic material application but to compliment it, as are the teachings of Paul our Apostle.
Yet, when we begin to blend non-Biblical thought unfounded in Realistic and intrinsic reason (for one can indeed apply any portion of non-biblical knowledge to life, albeit they presuppositionally acknowledge the elements thereof as belonging to the Creator YHWH God, when that reasoning is blended and justified in isolation of of in equality to, it hybridizes the Word of God and creates a Faith which can never truly be defensible as an absolute truth. Yet when our practices both are biblical in our material life as well as in our Spiritual Faith in the Bible and it’s total and sole truth, we create a foundation upon a Rock for both our life and our spirit which we may boldly call our Faith. This is the message I am proclaiming to you as we examine the interests of where the Traditions come from.
For what we find in the pages of History, particularly the acknowledged church’s history, we find rather a hybrid doctrine which when it has no foundation of stability the cement of apostolic tradition is quickly poured and before in begins to harden around the feet of ecclesiastical authority pressed into the wet mix, and those who surround the monolith hail it as having been from the beginning as they recite words of philosophic and spiritual meaning from the bible they love.
And this is why In Justin son of Priscus the Martyr’s works we see he and Trypho the Jew in disagreement on these points of Scripture, particularly it’s foundation the Law in the Law and it’s application to life, in these things Justin’s Faith in scripture is void of the full testimony contained in the teaching’s of Christ of Mathew 5, and thus he becomes chargeable to enplane away the law as only an allegory for Christians.
If we recall again the quatrodecimen controversy as it is called, this is where the first counsels where caused to decide on if the so-called apostolic tradition of sunday/lord’s day would take precedence over the law ordained Passover observation on the 14th, 15th and 16th day of the lunar month; my champion in this controversy Polycrates Bishop of Ephesus chose the Lawful day he recieved from his relatives tradition as well as from the pages of Holy Scripture, while Victor Bishop of Rome held to the traditions handed down from his presbyters, one of Victors presbyters was Anicietus who was bishop before him, whom we mentioned in the prior messages; Eusebius relays this account in his Historia Ecclesiastica 5.24
Back to History
That in Anicitus day the two opinions loved one another despite the disagreement, a standard we should continue in, yet maintaining our faith in Sola Scriptora. Another church historian named Sozomen Who wrote on Historia Ecclastica during the mid-fifth century said thus:
As the bishops of the West did not deem it necessary to dishonor the tradition handed down to them by Peter and by Paul, and as, on the other hand, the Asiatic bishops persisted in following the rules laid down by John the evangelist, they unanimously agreed to continue in the observance of the festival according to their respective customs, without separation from communion with each other. They faithfully and justly assumed, that those who accorded in the essentials of worship ought not to separate from one another on account of customs. (Sozomen’s Historia Ecclesiastica 7.19)
And as was mentioned as well in the time of Victor the synod of Cæsarea, over whom Theopholus presided at this time said:
Endeavour also to send abroad copies of our epistle among all the churches, so that those who easily deceive their own Souls may not be able to lay the blame on us. We would have you know, too, that in Alexandria also they observe the festival on the same day as ourselves. For the Paschal letters are sent from us to them, and from them to us: so that we observe the holy day in unison and together.
Thus, Victor with Alexandria and other churches took a different view and according Eusebius declare the observers of God’s Law as written in His Word ‘ Heterodox (from another origin) and thus heretics from the faith. So we see near after the controversy the tone changes from tolerance to aggression.
One of the champions of this aggression was a Roman Greek named Hippolytus who lived around A.D. 170-236, said to be a disciple of Irenaeus Bishop of who if you recall was a yoke-fellow with Polycarp an observer of the Passover according to all reports. During this great controversy and now schism Hippolytus as a Roman sided with Victor and pressed the division with Apologetic force.
In His work (read from THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS: ANTE-NICENE FATHERS) in
The Refutation of All Heresies Book VIII(8) He says in Chap. XI (11).
On the Quartodecimans:
And certain other (heretics), contentious by nature, (and) wholly uniformed as regards knowledge, as well as in their manner more (than usually) quarrelsome, combine (in maintaining) that Easter / Passover should be kept on the fourteenth day of the first month, according to the commandment of the law, on whatever day (of the week) it should occur. (But in this) they only regard what has been written in the law, that he will be accursed who does not so keep (the commandment) as it is enjoined. They do not, however, attend to this (fact), that the legal enactment was made for Jews, who in times to come should kill the real Passover. And this (paschal sacrifice, in its efficacy,) has spread unto the Gentiles, and is discerned by faith, and not now observed in letter (merely). They attend to this one commandment, and do not look unto what has been spoken by the apostle: “For I testify to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.” (Gal_5:3) In other respects, however, these consent to all the traditions delivered to the Church by the Apostles.
So his argument once again is similar to what we find today, while he can not accurately dismiss the law and that the practice is from Scripture he must then take the words of Paul and cause them to be contrary to the rest of Scripture, and seemingly rather apply the Logic Paul teaches on circumcision and it’s inability to save, he applies the logic to the Passover. It seems that his argument stems from:
Exo_12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. And by this he recalls Gal_5:3 to equate the Passover to be literally observed one must be circumcised, and if one is circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing, Gal_5:2. Yet in this way does Hippolitus, as other who take this approch to circumcision, do not represent the logic of Paul from a Scriptural perspective or even in the context of Paul’s own words, for Paul could in no wise say Gal_5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love and in Gal_6:15, but a new creature, for in so saying those circumcised according to the law can still be a new creature as can those who have not been, therefore the efficacy or effective power is not bound in the forskin or the lack there of but in grace through faith in Jesus Christ according to the Word of God which leads to the keeping of the commandments of God through the Holy Spirits work of sanctification. 1Co_7:19
Hyppolytus’ claim that Christ is the real Passover killed by the Jews and that Christ’s death has the efficacy or effective power that is to spread to the Gentiles (Uncircumcised) in faith and not by letter. So what we see is a holistic doctrine now that is combining the feast with law and the law to the Jews and by which a negation of all in preference for the efficacy of faith in the symbolic anti-typical Passover death of Christ, he like Justin martyr prefers the immaterial interpretations over the literal material which teach the lesson.
So, while I must say in light of what Hyppolytus says for the record, Christ’s efficacy does have the power to spread to the Gentiles, according to Mat_26:28 proclamation of the New Covenant seen in Jer_31:31, those people of focus were to have remission of sin on account of this powerfully efficient sacrifice, and by Biblical Faith in this sacrificial death which happened on Passover we know the Gentiles were given access by one spirit into the body of Christ, and regardless of what state that Gentile is found in, if he is a child of that New Covenant focus the Gospel calls him to start his Covenantal journey upon the Way the truth and the life which leads to the Father by Faith in this slain Son of YHWH God for the forgiveness of his sin, Christ is the starting point and the Father is the destination, circumcised or not, we all start at Christ and from his righteousness we grow in grace and truth according to his Word not in abrogation of it.
Now that was heavy to speak, but it’s the Word of God and it’s the essence of Jesus Christ.
Back to philosophy!
So, to a man I introduced in the prior messages,
Anatolius of Alexandria
A.D. 230-270-280. a native of Alexandria, and that he became bishop of Laodicea. Eusebius speaks of him as a man of learning and science, he attained the highest eminence in arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, besides language, physics, and rhetoric. His reputation was so great among the Alexandrians that they are said to have requested him to open a school for teaching the Aristotelian philosophy in their city. So, we are back to philosophy!
Here are some excerpts to demonstrate the Aristotelian thought at work in this learned man( there is an extended version to be found on the blog, and I would rather encourage you to get the whole work and read it for your self in THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS: ANTE-NICENE FATHERS VOLUME 6 6.4.2 as well as in the Eusebius church history as well.
From The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria
…Moses is charged by the Lord to keep seven days of unleavened bread for the celebration of the Passover, that in them no power of darkness should be found to surpass the light. And although the outset of four nights begins to be dark, that is, the 17th and 18th and 19th and 20th, yet the moon of the 20th, which rises before that, does not permit the darkness to extend on even to midnight.
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…
But I shall pass on without demanding such copious demonstrations(on subjects) from which the veil of the Mosaic law has been removed; for now it remains for us with unveiled face to behold ever as in a glass Christ Himself and the doctrines and sufferings of Christ.
Moreover, the allegation which they sometimes make against us, that if we pass the moon’s fourteenth we cannot celebrate the beginning of the Paschal feast in light, neither moves nor disturbs us. For, although they lay it down as a thing unlawful, that the beginning of the Paschal festival should be extended so far as to the moon’s twentieth; yet they cannot deny that it ought to be extended to the sixteenth and seventeenth, which coincide with the day on which the Lord rose from the dead. But we decide that it is better that it should be extended even on to the twentieth day, on account of the Lord’s day, than that we should anticipate the Lord’s day on account of the fourteenth day; for on the Lord’s day was it that light was shown to us in the beginning, and now also in the end, the comforts of all present and the tokens of all future blessings. For the Lord ascribes no less praise to the twentieth day than to the fourteenth. For in the book of Leviticus (Lev_23:5-7) the injunction is expressed thus: “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of this month, at even, is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord. Seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. The first day shall be to you one most diligently attended and holy. Ye shall do no servile work thereon. And the seventh day shall be to you more diligently attended and holier; ye shall do no servile work thereon.” And hence we maintain that those have contracted no guilt ‘before the tribunal of Christ, who have held that the beginning of the Paschal festival ought to be extended to this day. And this, too, the most especially, as we are pressed by three difficulties, namely, that we should keep the solemn festival of the Passover on the Lord’s day, and after the equinox, and yet not beyond the limit of the moon’s twentieth day.
After these canon’s were seemingly, generally excepted the counsel of 1st Nicaea was held in 325 AD, it’s aim was to universalize the church some time thereafter this was recorded by Eusebius in his work Life of Constantine, 3.18
It was resolved by the united judgment of all present, that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. For what can be more becoming or honorable to us than that this feast, from which we date our hopes of immortality, should be observed unfailingly by all alike, according to one ascertained order and arrangement? And first of all, it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. For we have it in our power, if we abandon their custom, to prolong the due observance of this ordinance to future ages, by a truer order, which we have preserved from the very day of the passion until the present time. Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way. A course at once legitimate and honorable lies open to our most holy religion. Beloved brethren, let us with one consent adopt this course, and withdraw ourselves from all participation in their baseness… being altogether ignorant of the true adjustment of this question, they sometimes celebrate Easter twice in the same year. Why then should we follow those who are confessedly in grievous error? Surely we shall never consent to keep this feast a second time in the same year… And let your Holinesses’ sagacity reflect how grievous and scandalous it is that on the self-same days some should be engaged in fasting, others in festive enjoyment; and again, that after the days of Easter some should be present at banquets and amusements, while others are fulfilling the appointed fasts. It is, then, plainly the will of Divine Providence (as I suppose you all clearly see), that this usage should receive fitting correction, and be reduced to one uniform rule.(Eusebius, Life of Constantine, 3.18)Nicaea I held in 325 AD
Eusebius of Caesarea 275-339 AD
The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria.1
As we are about to speak on the subject of the order of the times and alternations of the world, we shall first dispose of the positions of diverse calculators; who, by reckoning only by the course of the moon, and leaving out of account the ascent and descent of the sun, with the addition of certain problems, have constructed diverse periods,2 self-contradictory, and such as are never found in the reckoning of a true computation; since it is certain that no mode of computation is to be approved, in which these two measures are not found together. For even in the ancient exemplars, that is, in the books of the Hebrews and Greeks, we find not only the course of the moon, but also that of the sun, and, indeed, not simply its course in the general,3 but even the separate and minutest moments of its hours all calculated, as we shall show at the proper time, when the matter in hand demands it. Of these Hippolytus made up a period of sixteen years with certain unknown courses of the moon. Others have reckoned by a period of twenty-five years, others by thirty, and some by eighty-four years, without, however, teaching thereby an exact method of calculating Easter. But our predecessors, men most learned in the books of the Hebrews and Greeks, – I mean Isidore and Jerome and Clement, – although they have noted similar beginnings for the months just as they differ also in language, have, nevertheless, come harmoniously to one and the same most exact reckoning of Easter, day and month and season meeting in accord with the highest honour for the Lord’s resurrection.4 But Origen also, the most erudite of all, and the acutest in making calculations, – a man, too, to whom the epithet χαλκευτής5 is given, – has published in a very elegant manner a little book on Easter. And in this book, while declaring, with respect to the day of Easter, that attention must be given not only to the course of the moon and the transit of the equinox, but also to the passage (transcensum) of the sun, which removes every foul ambush and offence of all darkness, and brings on the advent of light and the power and inspiration of the elements of the whole world, he speaks thus: In the (matter of the) day of Easter, he remarks, I do not say that it is to be observed that the Lord’s day should be found, and the seven6 days of the moon which are to elapse, but that the sun should pass that division, to wit, between light and darkness, constituted in an equality by the dispensation of the Lord at the beginning of the world; and that, from one hour to two hours, from two to three, from three to four, from four to five, from five to six hours, while the light is increasing in the ascent of the sun, the darkness should decrease.7 … and the addition of the twentieth number being completed, twelve parts should be supplied in one and the same day. But if I should have attempted to add any little drop of mine8 after the exuberant streams of the eloquence and science of some, what else should there be to believe but that it should be ascribed by all to ostentation, and, to speak more truly, to madness, did not the assistance of your promised prayers animate us for a little? For we believe that nothing is impossible to your power of prayer, and to your faith. Strengthened, therefore, by this confidence, we shall set bashfulness aside, and shall enter this most deep and unforeseen sea of the obscurest calculation, in which swelling questions and problems surge around us on all sides.
There is, then, in the first year, the new moon of the first month, which is the beginning of every cycle of nineteen years, on the six and twentieth day of the month called by the Egyptians Phamenoth.9 But, according to the months of the Macedonians, it is on the two-and-twentieth day of Dystrus. And, as the Romans would say, it is on the eleventh day before the Kalends of April. Now the sun is found on the said six-and-twentieth day of Phamenoth, not only as having mounted to the first segment, but as already passing the fourth day in it. And this segment they are accustomed to call the first dodecatemorion (twelfth part), and the equinox, and the beginning of months, and the head of the cycle, and the starting-point10 of the course of the planets. And the segment before this they call the last of the months, and the twelfth segment, and the last dodecatemorion, and the end of the circuit11 of the planets. And for this reason, also, we maintain that those who place the first month in it, and who determine the fourteenth day of the Paschal season by it, make no trivial or common blunder.
Nor is this an opinion confined to ourselves alone. For it was also known to the Jews of old and before Christ, and it was most carefully observed by them.12 And this may be learned from what Philo, and Josephus, and Musaeus have written; and not only from these, but indeed from others still more ancient, namely, the two Agathobuli,13 who were surnamed the Masters, and the eminent Aristobulus,14 who was one of the Seventy who translated the sacred and holy Scriptures of the Hebrews for Ptolemy Philadelphus and his father, and dedicated his exegetical books on the law of Moses to the same kings. These writers, in solving some questions which are raised with respect to Exodus, say that all alike ought to sacrifice the Passover15 after the vernal equinox in the middle of the first month. And that is found to be when the sun passes through the first segment of the solar, or, as some among them have named it, the zodiacal circle.
But this Aristobulus also adds, that for the feast of the Passover it was necessary not only that the sun should pass the equinoctial segment, but the moon also. For as there are two equinoctial segments, the vernal and the autumnal, and these diametrically opposite to each other, and since the day of the Passover is fixed for the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, the moon will have the position diametrically opposite the sun; as is to be seen in full moons. And the sun will thus be in the segment of the vernal equinox, and the moon necessarily will be at the autumnal equinox.
I am aware that very many other matters were discussed by them, some of them with considerable probability, and others of them as matters of the clearest demonstration,16 by which they endeavour to prove that the festival of the Passover and unleavened bread ought by all means to be kept after the equinox. But I shall pass on without demanding such copious demonstrations(on subjects17) from which the veil of the Mosaic law has been removed; for now it remains for us with unveiled face to behold ever as in a glass Christ Himself and the doctrines and sufferings of Christ. But that the first month among the Hebrews is about the equinox, is clearly shown also by what is taught in the book of Enoch.18
And, therefore, in this concurrence of the sun and moon, the Paschal festival is not to be celebrated, because as long as they are found in this course the power of darkness is not overcome; and as long as equality between light and darkness endures, and is not diminished by the light, it is shown that the Paschal festival is not to be celebrated. Accordingly, it is enjoined that that festival be kept after the equinox, because the moon of the fourteenth,19 if before the equinox or at the equinox, does not fill the whole night. But after the equinox, the moon of the fourteenth, with one day being added because of the passing of the equinox, although it does not extend to the true light, that is, the rising of the sun and the beginning of day, will nevertheless leave no darkness behind it. And, in accordance with this, Moses is charged by the Lord to keep seven days of unleavened bread for the celebration of the Passover, that in them no power of darkness should be found to surpass the light. And although the outset of four nights begins to be dark, that is, the 17th and 18th and 19th and 20th, yet the moon of the 20th, which rises before that, does not permit the darkness to extend on even to midnight.
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. And if the moon should rise in the third watch, it is clear that the 22d or 23d of the moon would then be reached, in which it is not possible that there can be a true celebration of Easter. For those who determine that the festival may be kept at this age of the moon, are not only unable to make that good by the authority of Scripture, but turn also into the crime of sacrilege and contumacy, and incur the peril of their souls; inasmuch as they affirm that the true light may be celebrated along with something of that power of darkness which dominates all.
Accordingly, it is not the case, as certain calculators of Gaul allege, that this assertion is opposed by that passage in Exodus, (Exo_12:18, Exo_12:19) where we read: “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the first month, at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread until the one-and-twentieth day of the month at even. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses.” From this they maintain that it is quite permissible to celebrate the Passover on the twenty-first day of the moon; understanding that if the twenty-second day were added, there would be found eight days of unleavened bread. A thing which cannot be found with any probability, indeed, in the Old Testament, as the Lord, through Moses, gives this charge: “Seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread.” (Exo_12:15; Lev_23:6) Unless perchance the fourteenth day is not reckoned by them among the days of unleavened bread with the celebration of the feast; which, however, is contrary to the Word of the Gospel which says: “Moreover, on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus.” (Mat_26:17; Mar_14:12; Luk_22:7) And there is no doubt as to its being the fourteenth day on which the disciples asked the Lord, in accordance with the custom established for them of old, “Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?” But they who are deceived with this error maintain this addition, because they do not know that the 13th and 14th, the 14th and 15th, the 15th and 16th, the 16th and 17th, the 17th and 18th, the 18th and 19th, the 19th and 20th, the 20th and 21st days of the moon are each found, as may be most surely proved, within a single day. For every day in the reckoning of the moon does not end in the evening as the same day in respect of number, as it is at its beginning in the morning. For the day which in the morning, that is up to the sixth hour and half, is numbered the 13th day of the month, is found at even to be the 14th. Wherefore, also, the Passover is enjoined to be extended on to the 21st day at even; which day, without doubt, in the morning, that is, up to that term of hours which we have mentioned, was reckoned the 20th. Calculate, then, from the end of the 13th20 day of the moon, which marks the beginning of the 14th, on to the end of the 20th, at which the 21st day also begins, and you will have only seven days of unleavened bread, in which, by the guidance of the Lord, it has been determined before that the most true feast of the Passover ought to be celebrated.
But what wonder is it that they should have erred in the matter of the 21st day of the moon who have added three days before the equinox, in which they hold that the Passover may be celebrated? An assertion which certainly must be considered altogether absurd, since, by the best-known historiographers of the Jews, and by the Seventy Elders, it has been clearly determined that the Paschal festival cannot be celebrated at the equinox.
But nothing was difficult to them with whom it was lawful to celebrate the Passover on any day when the fourteenth of the moon happened after the equinox. Following their example up to the present time all the bishops of Asia – as themselves also receiving the rule from an unimpeachable authority, to wit, the evangelist John, who leant on the Lord’s breast, and drank in instructions spiritual without doubt – were in the way of celebrating the Paschal feast, without question, every year, whenever the fourteenth day of the moon had come, and the lamb was sacrificed by the Jews after the equinox was past; not acquiescing, so far as regards this matter, with the authority of some, namely, the successors of Peter and Paul, who have taught all the churches in which they sowed the spiritual seeds of the Gospel, that the solemn festival of the resurrection of the Lord can be celebrated only on the Lord’s day. Whence, also, a certain contention broke out between the successors of these, namely, Victor, at that time bishop of the city of Rome, and Polycrates, who then appeared to hold the primacy among the bishops of Asia. And this contention was adjusted most rightfully by Irenaeus,21 at that time president of a part of Gaul, so that both parties kept by their own order, and did not decline from the original custom of antiquity. The one party, indeed, kept the Paschal day on the fourteenth day of the first month, according to the Gospel, as they thought, adding nothing of an extraneous kind, but keeping through all things the rule of faith. And the other party, passing the day of the Lord’s Passion as one replete with sadness and grief, hold that it should not be lawful to celebrate the Lord’s mystery of the Passover at any other time but on the Lord’s day, on which the resurrection of the Lord from death took place, and on which rose also for us the cause of everlasting joy. For it is one thing to act in accordance with the precept given by the apostle, yea, by the Lord Himself, and be sad with the sad, and suffer with him that suffers by the cross, His own word being: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death;” (Mat_26:38) and it is another thing to rejoice with the victor as he triumphs over an ancient enemy, and exults with the highest triumph over a conquered adversary, as He Himself also says: “Rejoice with Me; for I have found the sheep which I had lost.” (Luk_15:6)
Moreover, the allegation which they sometimes make against us, that if we pass the moon’s fourteenth we cannot celebrate the beginning of the Paschal feast in light,22 neither moves nor disturbs us. For, although they lay it down as a thing unlawful, that the beginning of the Paschal festival should be extended so far as to the moon’s twentieth; yet they cannot deny that it ought to be extended to the sixteenth and seventeenth, which coincide with the day on which the Lord rose from the dead. But we decide that it is better that it should be extended even on to the twentieth day, on account of the Lord’s day, than that we should anticipate the Lord’s day on account of the fourteenth day; for on the Lord’s day was it that light was shown to us in the beginning, and now also in the end, the comforts of all present and the tokens of all future blessings. For the Lord ascribes no less praise to the twentieth day than to the fourteenth. For in the book of Leviticus (Lev_23:5-7) the injunction is expressed thus: “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of this month, at even, is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord. Seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. The first day shall be to you one most diligently attended23 and holy. Ye shall do no servile work thereon. And the seventh day shall be to you more diligently attended24 and holier; ye shall do no servile work thereon.” And hence we maintain that those have contracted no guilt25 ‘before the tribunal of Christ, who have held that the beginning of the Paschal festival ought to be extended to this day. And this, too, the most especially, as we are pressed by three difficulties, namely, that we should keep the solemn festival of the Passover on the Lord’s day, and after the equinox, and yet not beyond the limit of the moon’s twentieth day.
But this again is held by other wise and most acute men to be an impossibility, because within that narrow and most contracted limit of a cycle of nineteen years, a thoroughly genuine Paschal time, that is to say, one held on the Lord’s day and yet after the equinox, cannot occur. But, in order that we may set in a clearer light the difficulty which causes their in credulity, we shall set down, along with the courses of the moon, that cycle of years which we have mentioned; the days being computed before in which the year rolls on in its alternating courses, by Kalends and Ides and Nones, and by the sun’s ascent and descent.
XIII. The Moon’s Age Set Forth in the Julian Calendar.
January, on the Kalends, one day, the moon’s first (day); on the Nones, the 5th day, the moon’s 5th; on the Ides, the 13th day, the moon’s 13th. On the day before the Kalends of February, the 31st day, the moon’s 1st; on the Kalends of February, the 32d day, the moon’s 2d; on the Nones, the 36th day, the moon’s 6th; on the Ides, the 44th day, the moon’s 14th. On the day before the Kalends of March, the 59th day, the moon’s 29th; on the Kalends of March, the 60th day, the moon’s 1st; on the Nones, the 66th day, the moon’s 7th; on the Ides, the 74th day, the moon’s 15th. On the day before the Kalends of April, the 90th day, the moon’s 2d; on the Kalends of April, the 91st day, the moon’s 3d; on the Nones, the 95th day, the moon’s 7th; on the Ides, the 103d day, the moon’s 15th. On the day before the Kalends of May, the 120th day, the moon’s 3d; on the Kalends of May, the 121st day, the moon’s 4th; on the Nones, the 127th day, the moon’s 10th; on the Ides, the 135th day, the moon’s 18th. On the day before the Kalends of June, the 151st day, the moon’s 3d; on the Kalends of June, the 152d day, the moon’s 5th; on the Nones, the 153d day, the moon’s 9th; on the Ides, the 164th day, the moon’s 17th. On the day before the Kalends of July, the 181st day, the moon’s 5th; on the Kalends of July, the 182d day, the moon’s 6th; on the Nones, the 188th day, the moon’s 12th; on the Ides, the 196th day, the moon’s 20th. On the day before the Kalends of August, the 212th day, the moon’s 5th; on the Kalends of August, the 213th day, the moon’s 7th; on the Nones, the 217th day, the moon’s 12th; on the ides, the 225th day, the moon’s 19th. On the day before the Kalends of September, the 243d day, the moon’s 7th; on the Kalends of September, the 244th day, the moon’s 8th; on the Nones, the 248th day, the moon’s 12th; on the Ides, the 256th day, the moon’s 20th. On the day before the Kalends of October, the 273d day, the moon’s 8th; on the Kalends of October, the 247th day, the moon’s 9th; on the Nones, the 280th day, the moon’s 15th; on the Ides, the 288th day, the moon’s 23d. On the day before the Kalends of November, the 304th day, the moon’s 9th; on the Kalends of November, the 305th day, the moon’s 10th; on the Nones, the 309th day, the moon’s 14th; on the Ides, the 317th day, the moon’s 22d. On the day before the Kalends of December, the 334th day, the moon’s 10th; on the Kalends of December, the 335th day, the moon’s 11th; on the Nones, the 339th day, the moon’s 15th; on the Ides, the 347th day, the moon’s 23d. On the day before the Kalends of January, the 365th day, the moon’s 11th; on the Kalends of January, the 366th day, the moon’s 12th.
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