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Passover Library Research

History of Christian Passover

Wikipedia has an article devoted to the Christian practices toward Passover entitled "Passover (Christian Holiday)." This is helpful on numerous scores, as it collects issues about passion week, the Quatordeciman controversy, etc.

Epiphanius was a Christian writer who lived between 310 AD to about 403 AD. While ostensibly seemingly criticizing Christians who refused to go along with the new time for Passover in the 300s, admits that Passover formerly was celebrated by Christians at the same time as Jews, but then changed. Epiphanius also admits those who refused to do so accused other Christians of accomodating Constantine. It is apparently he was making a service appearance of sympathizing with Constantine and his cronies, while preserving the true history of what was happening. At Tertullian.org, we find this excerpt:

§70 - On the schism of the Audians (Excerpt)

This excerpt is taken from Vol. 2, pp.410-411; Book III, Heresy 70, chapter 9.

(2) For they choose to celebrate the Passover with the jews - that is, they contentiously celebrate the Passover at the same time that the Jews are holding their Festival of Unleavened Bread.  And indeed, <it is true> that this used to be the church's custom - even though they tell churchmen a slanderous thing in this regard and say (3) "You abandoned the fathers' Paschal rite in Constantine's time from deference to the emperor, and changed the day to suit the emperor." (4) And some, again, declare with a contentiousness of their own, "You changed the Passover to Constantine's birthday" 29

9, 5  And if the Passover were celebrated on the same day each year, and it had been decided to keep it on that day at the council convoked by Constantine, what they say might be plausible.  But since the rite cannot fall on the same day each year, their argument is worthless.  The emperor was not concerned for his birthday, but for the unity of the church. (6) In fact God accomplished two highly important things through Constantine, the most beloved of God and forever the most blessed. [One was] the gathering of an ecumenical council, and the publication of the creed that was issued at Nicaea and confessed <by> the assembled bishops with their signatures - the deposition of Arius and the declaration to all of the purity of the faith. [The other was] their correction of the Passover for our unity's sake.

9, 7  For long ago, even from the earliest days, the Passover was celebrated at different times in the church... 

(I have omitted to transcribe several pages on the varied methods of calculating Easter used from the second century onwards).

Please note this is obvious self-contradictary sophistry combined with extreme flattery of Constantine, using labels appropriate only for Jesus ("most beloved of God" and "most blessed"). One has to assume that Epiphanius was a captive of the sycophants made rich earlier by the tyrant Constantine [died 337 AD], and he did what Eusebius did to pass on the truth -- by hiding the truth amongst flattery of Constantine, and seeming scathing rhetoric against Constantine's enemies but which were obvious fallacies, in the hope posterity would thereby find the truth hidden among such obvious fallascious arguments and lies.

First, Epiphanius slips in the accusation that those who celebrate Christ's resurrection at Passover time -- the undisputed time of his death and resurrection of Christ, are "contentiously" doing so. What is this accusation based upon? Because Epiphanius later says Constantine had to restore unity. Hence, the disputants are contentious while Constantine is supposedly unifying. However, then Epiphanius admits that "it is true" that Christians celebrated Passover at the same time as Jews did before Constantine changed it. Thus, who was being contentious? Oh, yes, Epiphanius let's us know Constantine was the only who was being deliberately contentious - sowing divisions by his decrees when there was no earlier conflict! But sycophants of the vain Constantine would only notice opproprium is poured on the ones holding onto Passover to celebrate Christ's death and resurrection, never seeing Epiphanius' relays facts that undermine the accusation of "contentiousness" while offering nothing to prove Constantine was in fact "unifying" the church over some fractured practice. 

We know Constantine, incidentally, created this dispute entirely on his own, and why. We have Constantine's speech at Nicea which insisted that Christian passover had to change to a date different than the Jews had for Passover to "spite" the Jews so we "Christians" would have nothing in common with them. On that speech, see our article "The Easter Error."

Please also note that Epiphanius slipped in a true argument - "you abandoned the father's Pascal ritual...to suit the Emperor" Constantine. Epiphanius, if you read carefully, never refutes that true argument. For Epiphanius had to know Constantine moved the Christian Passover to the time to celebrate the goddess Eaostre aka Isis -- the mother of the false god sol invictus -- the Unconquered Son -- Constantine's true favorite god even after supposedly claiming to be a Christian. See Constantine's Damage to Christianity

How would scycophants of a vain and tyrannical Constantine be expected to overlook a true argument in Epiphanius' writing? Epiphanius mixes that true point up with a classic sophistic straw man argument which could draw Constantine's sycophants attention away from the fact a true argument was being also relayed. Epiphanius mentions a claim by the passover hold-outs that Constantine wanted to change the date to commemorate his own birthday. Epiphanius argues against the hold-outs in a manner which is obvious enough for the astute reader to detect but is also somewhat confusing that a tyrannical censor would approve it merely because it appears to be against the hold-outs who want to celebrate the resurrection at Passover time.

For Epiphanius then argues Constantine could not want to move Passover to his birthday because had Passover been continued on the Jewish-calendar date, such a date shifts each year to a different date on the Julian calendar. Epiphanius is no idiot - he has to know that has nothing to do with the argument he is rebutting -- they have no logical connection.  For Constantine's birthday is on a Julian calendar, and would not shift year to year, as would a Passover date vis-a-vis the Julian. Epiphanius' point is so obviously wrong-headed, he no doubt thought Constantine would not notice, but Epiphanius must have hoped posterity -- you and me -- would see through what he was doing. Epiphanius was a brave Christian, burying truth among lies and flattery of a Monarch to preserve the truth for all of us.

Hence, Epiphanius was relaying to us two truths when you strip away the lies, flattery and illogical nonsense:

1. the church always observed Christ's death and resurrection on Nissan 14 in conjunction with the Jews' celebration of Passover.

2. the church changed the date to please Constantine -- obviously to match the observation of the holy time of Eastre -- the mother of Sol Invictus -- Constantine's personal favorite god.


Christian Passover

Dennis Bratcher has an article on how to conduct a Christian Passover seder at this link. He ably summarizes the holiday:

The festival of Passover, known as Pesach, begins at sunset on the 14th of Nisan (usually in March or April) and marks the beginning of a seven day celebration that includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread. -1- The focal point of Passover is a communal meal, called the Seder (which means "order," because of the fixed order of service), which is a time of rejoicing and celebration at the deliverance for the Hebrews that God accomplished in the exodus. Sometimes the meals during the entire period of Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread are referred to as Seder meals, called the first Seder, the Second Seder, etc., although usually only the first two nights are considered Seder meals.

Great advice is at how to "Host a Passover Meal."

It appears 14th Nissan, right between the "evens" is the Passover slaying and then dinner according to the Bible. See this link from Hope of Israel. However, many Jews today disregard now and say Passover begins on 15th Nissan. See this link. Perhaps it is saying the same thing because Jews view the moment "between the evens" passes, and sunset begins, it becomes 15th Nissan. So technically the meal is on 15th Nissan. But then does that mean just before the next even, e.g., 23 hours later, or right then, immediately after 14th Nissan? So it appears better to use the Bible's terminology of 14th Nissan at between the evens to prepare the lamb for eating, and then eat. 

Pasta

Although pasta is not leavened bread, the Encyclopedia of Judaism says it is still chametz -- prohibited. It does not explain. See this link.

Incidentally, Passover is a "perpetual ordinance" (Exodus 12:14).

YouTube Celebrations To Help

If you would like a Rabbi who is Christian walk you through the Seder, it is on this YouTube Video at this link. It is 1.5 hours long.

Dates of 14 Nissan To Hold Communion Just Before Sunset.

The Jews call the Sunset time at the end of Nissan 14 by the date of Nissan 15. But as explained above, get everything ready on Nissan 14, then remember somberly at "between the evens" Jesus became our passover lamb 2000 years ago... so find out when is sunset, and just 1 minute before it comes, pray a remembrance of Jesus...this is just my advice -- and this precedes the Passover Dinner which can begin immediately after the 1 minute passes. You are now into Nissan 15. Hence, if you want to know when is Nissan 14, you have to look at a Jewish calendar and find out when Nissan 15 starts -- it starts at Sunset, and then that date is Nissan 14th before Sunset. So Christians begin the celebration a few minutes before Nissan 15 - the sunset of what we know as the day Nissan 14. Here is the Jewish calendar dates in the future for Nissan 15 at this link.

4/6/2012