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