MODERN  HISTORY  OF  7TH  DAY  OBERSERVERS UNDER  THE  NAME  "CHURCH OF  GO0D"  #12



Passover Question


One of the Issues that was to prove critical in the 1933 division of the Church of God was the date of the Lord's Supper, or Passover.


The April 12, 1881 Hope set forth reasons for observing the ordinance annually at the time of the Passover.   Pro and con articles followed, but Passover reports in the spring of 1881 showed that many brethren had accepted it.


The April 26, 1881 issue states that the Passover was kept on the evening after the 13th of Nisan, with footwashing, at Bro. Samuel Barackman's in Nebraska.   Also, R.E. Caviness of Beckwith, Iowa reported observing it, and Bro. S.S. Davison spoke in favor of an annual Passover. The May 24, 1881 issue contained a long article by A. F. Dugger explaining reasons for annual Passover observance.


In 1907, a letter in the Advocate from Sister Katie R. Gilstrap reveals that she and her husband were Seventh Day Adventists, but came into Church of God beliefs because Seventh Day Adventists would not accept the Passover. She wishes "Brother [J.H. ] Nichols" could visit them, as they live in an isolated place and have no contact with Church of God brethren. Mrs. Gilstrap noted that Advocate readers would probably not see the need of still keeping the seven days feast of unleavened bread with the two Sabbaths  (March 31 and April 6 of that year, as she calculated, which is a day ahead), but she and her husband believed Christ and the disciples kept them, and we should too; referring to Acts 12:3 and 20:6. Mrs. Gilstrap was pleased to see from the last copy of the Advocate that the Church of God people would keep the Passover of 1907 on the "correct" time, on the 15th night. She notes that they formerly kept Passover on the night of the 14th, and is happy to see a church not bound up in a creed that doesn't turn from past errors. The Gilstraps had kept the Passover since 1893, but knew of no

one else who kept it at the time they did. Subsequently, Bro. Nichols, De Ford and a Dr. Reed took up this truth, De Ford wrote it in Azazel, Dr. Reed in Gleanings, and both later in the Advocate.


Yet the Advocate of that same year also carried a letter of an Elder Richardson of London supporting observance of Passover on the night of the 14th, March 28 of that year. J. F. Flory of Lemoore, California kept the Passover with ten others at his house. First they had a supper, then washed each other's feet, had the bread and cup, and sang an hymn.


Two Dates Kept    1908


Eider R.E. Caviness celebrated the Passover at Pleasant Plain, Iowa, with the Cramers and several others on the evening of the 14th, with feet washing afterwards. But at the Pleasant Hill, Missouri church, they celebrated it on Nisan 15, Bro. G. W. Richards officiating.  And again, the Scranton, Iowa, church kept it on the 14th.


Further Date Controversy


In 1909, the correct date of Passover (Nisan 14) was April 5 (observed the evening of April 4). Yet in the 1909 Advocate is mention that Passover is to be observed on Monday night, April 5, and in so doing that this fulfilled keeping the Passover on the 14th of Nisan. But the Church of God at Glen, Colorado, observed Passover on the evening of April 3, or the evening of April 2. The Stanberry church met for the Passover the night after Sabbath, April 3. It is obvious that there was one or two days variance in Passover observance.


In 1910 the dispute was still on.  S.W. Mentzer computed Passover as the evening after Sabbath, which fell on April 23.  Nisan 14 that year was April 23.   J. Nuesch refuted Mentzer, saying that the Pass over lamb was slain until the evening of the 14th, not until the 15th. J.G. Gilstrap disputed Nuesch, saying Passover should be observed that year Sunday evening April 24.


In 1917, the Advocate contained reference to observing Passover the beginning of the 14th of Nisan, which fell on that year on Friday April 6. Thus the observance was on Thursday evening, April 5.


In 1924, the term "Lord's Supper" appears to be used generally for the first time instead of "Passover."  It was observed  (correctly) on Thursday evening, April 17. A lead article in the April 8 issue is entitled, "Why Unfermented Wine Is Used at the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper," and written by Evelyn L. Long.   The article stated that Jews used unfermented wine, Christ did, so we ought to also. The Church of God was listed as observing "the Passover or Lord's Supper" at the beginning of the 14th. Christ was killed between three and five o'clock in the afternoon of the 14th, the same time as when the Passover lamb was killed.   This implied that the true Jewish Passover was on Nisan 15.  


Regardless, 1924 was the first time generally that "Passover reports" of the churches were given, indicating the location of various churches keeping the Passover.


In 1926, there was a report of when the Millyard Church of God in London observed the Passover. It was correct, on Sunday evening, March 28, the beginning of the 29th. The Advocate noted that this was the same time calculated by the Church of God.


Passover     14th or 15th of Nlsan?


One of the key issues mentioned as the cause of the 1933 Church of God division was the issue of when to observe the Passover. Dugger leaned to observance on the beginning of the 14th, and this was adopted as the official church doctrine. But there was opposition. The Stanberry group (as opposed to the Salem group) leaned toward the 15th date. In a 1937 Bible Advocate of the Stanberry group, Darrell A. Davis wrote an article, "True Christian Observance of the Lord's Supper." He said that the wine should be grape juice, the footwashing before the ordinances, and the hymn should be afterwards, without a closing benediction. The leftover bread should be burnt, and leftover wine poured out.  Interestingly enough, the paper listed two "Lord's Supper dates".


TODAY  THE  PASSOVER  DEBATE  IS  NO  DEBATE;  IT   SHOULDN'T  HAVE  BEEN  BACK  THEN  EITHER.  IT  IS  CLEAR  FROM  THE  GOSPELS  JESUS  SAID  TO  HIS  DISCIPLES,  "WITH  DESIRE  I  HAVE  DESIRED  TO  KEEP  THIS  PASSOVER  WITH  YOU."  THEY  WERE  OBSERVING  THE  PASSOVER.  AT  THE  BEGINNING  OF  THE  14TH;  THE  PHARISEES  HAD  BROUGHT  IN  THE  TEMPLE  SACRIFICE  PASSOVER  ON  THE  NEXT  DAY,  AND  SO  INTO  THE  15TH,  AS  THE  JEWS  [MOST  RELIGIOUS  JEWS  ARE  DESCENDANT  IN  THEOLOGY  FROM  THE  PHARISEES]  STILL  DO  TODAY.  ALL  YOU  HAVE  TO  DO  IS  FIND  OUT  WHEN  THE  JEWS  OBSERVE  THE   PASSOVER  AND  DO  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  PASSOVER  ONE  DAY  BEFORE;  HENCE  AT  THE  BEGINNING  OF  THE  14TH.  THE  "WINE/GRAPE  JUICE  ISSUE;  IS  ALSO  A  NO  ISSUE.  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  GOSPELS  SAY,  "FRUIT  OF  THE  VINE"  -  EITHER  ALCOHOLIC  WINE  OR  GRAPE  JUICE  IS  FRUIT  OF  THE  VINE;  THE  SYMBOL  OF  THE  RED  JUICE  OF  THAT  VINE  IS  THE  MAIN  POINT  -  REPRESENTING  JESUS'  BLOOD.  ALL  OF  THE  DETAILS  OF  THE  PASSOVER  ISSUE  IS  ON  MY  WEBSITE  IN  MANY  STUDIES  -  Keith  Hunt


Custom of Fasting Before Passover


From time to time it has been noted that the Church of God advised a period of fasting prior to Passover observance in order to properly prepare for the important event. In 1924, the General Conference committee set aside a week of fasting and prayer to precede Passover of that year. It was not recommended that everyone fast an entire week, but each member was to use his own judgment. In 1925 again it was recommended a week prior to Passover, to get member's minds on the sacredness of the event.


IT  IS  NO  LONGER  BROUGHT  UP,  TO  FAST  ETC.  WHAT  IS  MENTIONED  IS  AN  INNER  "EXAMINATION"  OF  ONES-SELF  PRIOR  TO  THE  PASSOVER;  TO  GET  IN  FOCUS  TO  THIS  VERY  SERIOUS  FESTIVAL  OF  THE  LORD  -  Keith Hunt


Feast Days:  Sleeper Issue


A more quiet issue, alluded to earlier by Mrs. J. G. Gilstrap, was that of whether or not the feast days should be observed. The discussion of the Sabbath question naturally raises to the fore the question of the validity of the annual sabbaths, or holy days of Leviticus 23. The same arguments used against Sabbath observance are used against feast day observance.


James White had early rejected the feast days. (See the first issue of The Present Truth in 1849.)  Seventh Day Adventist J.N. Andrews refuted the feast days in his work in 1873. He said, "There is no evidence that the jubilee was ever observed, and it is certain that the sabbatical year was almost entirely disregarded. Lev. 26:34, 35,43 and II Chron. 36:21. "Pentecost nor the Feast of Tabernacles could not have been observed until after the Hebrews entered Palestine, and "The annual sabbaths were part and parcel of these feasts, and could have no existence until after the feasts to which they belonged had been instituted." Isa. 1:13,14 shows that God hates "your new moons and your appointed feasts," while Hos. 2:11 shows God will cause to cease "her feast-days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." Christ abolished them completely, according to Andrews.


ALL  THE  ARGUMENTS  LIKE  ABOVE  ARE  FULLY  EXPLAINED  AND  ANSWERED  IN  MY  STUDIES  ON  THE  SUBJECT  UNDER  "THE  FEASTS  OF  GOD…"  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt


Some Church of God Supporters Held to Feast Day Observance


In May, June and July of 1913, issues of the Bible Advocate carried articles supporting the observance of feast days. They were written by G. G. Rupert, later the publisher of the paper, The Remnant of Israel (1915-7), a former Seventh Day Adventist.  Rupert's starting premise was that "there is not a single text in the New Testament that teaches that any law that God ever gave was abolished and nailed to the cross...." and that only the sacrifices and oblations have ceased, as stated in Daniel 9:27.


Rupert was an independent who for a time went along with the Church of God from Stanberry, but because they refused to accept his teachings, formed an independent movement.


A  FEW  SEVENTH  DAY  ADVENTIST  CHURCHES  IN  SOUTH  AMERICA,  BELIEVED  RUPERT'S  TEACHING  WAS  CORRECT;  THEY  LEFT  THE  SDA  ORGANIZATION;  THEY  STARTED  TO  OBSERVE  THE  FEASTS  OF  THE  LORD.  IN  THE  LATE  1960s  TWO  MINISTERS  OF  THE  THEN  WORLDWIDE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  UNDER  HERBERT  ARMSTRONG,  CAME  INTO  CONTACT  WITH  THEM  BY  HAPPEN-CHANCE.  THEY  ASKED  THE  LEADERS  OF  THOSE  CHURCHES  IF  THEY  WOULD  JOIN  THE  WORLDWIDE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  AND  SUBMIT  TO  HERBERT  ARMSTRONG;  THEY  REPLIED  "WHO  IS  HERBERT  ARMSTRONG  THAT  WE  SHOULD  SUBMIT  TO  HIM?"  THE  FIRST  MEETING  WAS  REPORTED  IN  THE  "GOOD  NEWS"  MAGAZINE  BY  DR. CHARLES  DOROTHY;  THEN  ALL  WENT  SILENCE,  WE  IN  THE  WORLDWIDE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  NEVER  HEARD  ANY  MORE  ABOUT  THEM.  IT  WAS  IN  THE  MIDDLE  1980s  THAT  I  WAS  ABLE  TO  MEET  AND  SPEAK  TO  DR.  CHARLES  DOROTHY,  AND  ASK  HIM  WHY  WE  HEARD  NO  MORE  ABOUT  THEM.  HE  PERSONALLY  TOLD  ME  HE  WAS  SENT  TO  ASK  IF  THEY  WOULD  JOIN  THE  WCG  AND  THEIR  ANSWER  WAS  "WHO  IS  HERBERT  ARMSTRONG  THAT  WE  SHOULD  SUBMIT  TO  HIM!"  IN  BLUNT  WORDS  THEY  TOLD  DR.  DOROTHY  AND  THE  WCG  TO  "GET  LOST!"  


AND  THIS  ALSO  DISPROVES  THE  IDEA  TAUGHT  BY  HERBERT  ARMSTRONG,  THAT  IT  WAS  HE  THAT  GOD  REVEALED  THE  HOLY  DAYS  SHOULD  BE  OBSERVED.  THERE  WERE  ALSO  MINISTERS  AT  THE  SAME  TIME  AS  HWA  WHO  ALSO  OBSERVED  GOD'S  FESTIVALS;  ALSO  DISPROVING  HWA  TEACHING  THAT  ONLY  HE  AND  HIS  WIFE  LOMA  WAS  OBSERVING  THEM  -  Keith Hunt


Sarber Supports Annual Feast Days


In 1916, G. W. Sarber from Knox, Indiana, wrote in the Advocate supporting the annual holydays. He mentioned that Pentecost is 50 days from Nisan 16, the Feast of Tabernacles is the 15th day of the seventh month, and the eighth day of Tabernacles is also a sabbath rest. "These are the feasts of the Lord, and from the Bible standpoint they are as binding upon the sons of God at this present time as they were when God commanded them to Israel of old." The editor, A.N. Dagger, included a caption stating that "Every writer is held responsible for their sentiments."


SHOWS  AGAIN  THAT  WAY  BEFORE  HERBERT  ARMSTRONG  CAME  ON  THE  SCENE  IN  THE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  SEVENTH  DAY;  THERE  HAD  BEEN  OTHERS  IN  THE  PAST  TEACHING  THAT  WE  SHOULD  OBSERVED  GOD'S  FESTIVALS.  


IT  IS  REPORTED  IN  HISTORY  [A  SEVENTH  DAY  ADVENTIST  TRACT  MENTIONED  IT  -  READ  IT  WITH  MY  OWN  EYES]  -  THAT  AT  ABOUT  THE  TURN  OF  THE  20TH  CENTURY,  A  BLACK  MAN  WORKING  ON  THE  PASSENGER  TRAINS,  STUDIED  HIS  BIBLE,  WAS  LED  TO  PREACH  IT,  AND  WAS  LED  TO  UNDERSTAND  WE  SHOULD  OBSERVE  GOD'S  FESTIVALS.  A  WHOLE  "BLACK"  POPULATION  IN  THE  USA  WAS  RAISED  UP.  IN  THE  MIDDLE  OF  THE  1960s  I  WITH  OTHERS,  WERE  MAKING  OUR  WAY  DOWN  TO  TEXAS  TO  OBSERVE  THE  FEAST  OF  TABERNACLES  BEING  PART  OF  THE  WCG.  WE  STOPPED  AT  A  GAS/GROCERY  STORE.  WHILE  THERE  A  CAR  PULLED  UP,  OUT  CAME  4  OR  5  BLACK  MEN.  THEY  WERE  TALKING  ABOUT  ATTENDING  THE  FEAST  OF  TABERNACLES  IN  A  CERTAIN  LOCATION.  IT  WAS  VERY  CLEAR  THEY  WERE  NOT  PART  OF  THE  WCG  AND  HERBERT  ARMSTRONG  ORGANIZATION,  FOR  WE  KNEW  EVERY  LOCATION  IN  THE  USA  WHERE  THE  WCG  WAS  HOLDING  THE  FEAST  OF  TABERNACLES;  THERE  WAS  BUT  THREE  LOCATIONS.  THESE  BLACK  MEN  WERE  ON  THEIR  WAY  TO  A  DIFFERENT  LOCATION!!  WAS  THIS  THE  ORGANIZATION  THAT  WAS  STARTED  BY  THAT  BLACK  PASSENGER  TRAIN  WORKER  IN  THE  EARLY  20TH  CENTURY?  MAY  WELL  HAVE  BEEN  -  Keith Hunt


Official Church of God Position Against Holy Days


The 1917 article, "What the Church of God Believes and Why?", written by A.N. Dagger, stated in Article 21 that the commandments nailed to the cross included only animal sacrifices, and yearly sabbath days that were governed by the day of the month, new moons, feasts, and other holydays, referring to Eph. 2:15, Heb. 9:10-12.  In the same issue, in the "Question Corner" section, Dugger explained Rom. 14:15 as follows:


"The death of Christ made an end to the feast days, and meats and drinks, which were shadows.  Those who rejected Christ were still keeping these feast day Sabbaths...." and Paul gave them contrary instruction, Col. 2:16.


Another "Question Corner" answer by Dugger in 1924 stated that Acts 18:21 refers to the feast of Passover day, and Acts 20:3  (days of unleavened bread) refers only to the Passover, not the whole week.


Holy Days were to be a latent issue within the Church of God, accepted by some, but rejected by many. Though the official church position was against them, some supporters of the Church of God continued to believe and keep them, yet still maintaining Church of God membership.

………………..


THE  OFFICIAL  TEACHING  OF  THE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  SEVENTH  DAY;  BOTH  IN  DENVER, CO.  AND  MERIDIAN, ID.  IS  THAT  THE  FESTIVALS  ARE  NOT  TAUGHT  OR  OBSERVED  IN  ANY  "OFFICIAL"  WAY  BY  EITHER  ORGANIZATION.  


DR. SAMUELE  BACCHIOCCHI  THE  LATE  SEVENTH  DAY    ADVENTIST  MINISTER,  WROTE  TWO  BOOKS  ON  GOD'S  FESTIVALS,  IN  WHICH  HE  AGREED  SHOULD  BE  OBSERVED  IN  SOME  FORM.  NEEDLESS  TO  SAY  MANY  SDA  MINISTERS  DID  NOT  LIKE  HIM  FROM  THAT  TIME  ON.  SOME  SDA  PEOPLE  NOW  DO  OBSERVE  GOD'S  FESTIVALS.


MANY  OTHER  GROUPS  AROUND  THE  WORLD,  GOING  UNDER  VARIOUS  CHURCH  NAMES,  OBSERVE  THE  FEASTS  OF  THE  LORD.


Keith Hunt