Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Were Quartodecimans and Traditionalists Enemies?

This is going to be my final post in my series on Quartodecimanism. There is so much more to say, but that is exactly the problem. And, chances are you're getting tired of it too.

I started looking into the Quartodecimans due to an article I wrote back in January 2024, called "Refusing To Understand". Realizing this might aid my "Easter FAQ" article, I decided to keep digging for more information. It was not a simple thing. How could I possibly put all of this into a Blogspot post? Can't. So, I chose to concentrate on a few points that had the most relevance to me, considering my background in Armstrongism. (If you don't know what Armstrongism is, just glance at the "Welcome to ABD" blurb or read the "About ABD" page.) All said, I could easily have two more posts just out of the material I cut from the three posts I published. And that's why this has to be the last in this series. I just wanted a little look into Quartodecimans, not a PhD specialization.

In the first post in this series, "Primer to the Quartodeciman Controversy", I reviewed the basics like timelines and locations. We found Lent is a real thing, the Council of Nicaea wasn't the shock to the system and tool of unfair oppression it is made out to be, and that the Controversy's origins were a strange combination of Apostolic tradition and personal freedom exaggerated by calculation and calendar differences.
In the second post, "Quartodecimans - Were They Law-Keepers?", I reviewed the claim that the Quartodecimans were theological ancestors of Old Covenant legalists like Armstrongism. Turns out they were not. They used law words, but understood them in a very non-law way.

I will finish this series today by reviewing an unexpected oddity I found while reading through Quartodeciman writings. You've heard how the two sides were different. I was told the two sides were virtually incompatible. One was God's true Christianity and the other were pagan agents of Satan himself. But is that really so? Read on and find out.

I honestly do not think you stand a chance of truly understanding the Quartodecimans without this.


One problem with doing studies like this is the baggage you bring with you. The wilder your background, the more baggage you bring. I only had what I was given by my Armstrongist upbringing. So, I went in with those old biases and pre-existing ideas affecting me without being aware of it. That very baggage can keep you blind to certain truths. But if you try to stay neutral and let the data take you where it will, strange new things can open up to you. Oh, you'll still misstep, but on the whole you're better off.

As I read about Quartodecimanism, an idea began tickling the back of my mind. I began to suspect something wasn't right, but I couldn't quite tell what. Finally, it occurred to me: I had been making assumptions. There are at least two assumptions going on here:

1) Traditional Christians oppose the 14th of Nissan.
2) Quartodecimans oppose Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Your initial reaction might be to say, yes, of course they did those things. But don't decide yet. We all know they refused to honor Pascha in the same way. That goes without saying. I'm not talking about that. I am questioning if that refusal means more. It is one thing to decline to do something, it is another thing entirely to actively oppose it. Was there no common ground at all? Did they see themselves as theological enemies?

Judging from how Victor reacted to Polycrates, you might think there was no common ground. The battle lines were drawn and shots were fired, right? Actually, no. That was a one-off. Practically everyone else in nearly every other instance urged unity.

If something was truly seen as heterodox, for example Gnosticism, there was no push for unity. There was quite a bit of condemnation. When Origen wanted to counter Celsus, he wrote eight books, each with more than sixty chapters - one has 99 chapters!
Irenaeus did not fly in to save Blastus when he caused a schism in Rome and afterward sought to introduce Pascha on the 14th of Nissan (Tertullian, "Against All Heresies" chapter VIII). Irenaeus opposed him as much as Victor did.
No one complained when Victor excommunicated  Eleutherus, who, like Blastus, was causing schisms in Rome and issuing challenges against Victor over Pascha (Charles L. Souvay, "The Paschal Controversy under Pope Victor I", The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, Apr., 1929, pp. 52-53, on
Many scholars think the reason why Victor reacted to Polycrates by excommunicating Quartodecimans was directly because of Blastus and Eleutherus.

Unity was not afforded to everyone. I think that fact only serves to highlight the overall push for unity.

How can there be such call for unity if Quartodecimans and Traditionalists reject and oppose each other? In Armstrongism, where I came from, the Quartodecimans are called "true Christianity" and the Traditionalists "paganism". There is an ocean of difference there. Armstrongists wouldn't side with Victor; they would side with Blastus and Eleutherus. If that were true, how could there have been such unity? Why unity rather than libraries written about their errors? How can Polycarp go to Rome and share the Eucharist with Anicetus? That would be like Herbert Armstrong flying to Rome in his Gulfstream G-III to attend Sunday Mass with the Pope himself. How can Polycrates call a synod upon the request of Victor if Victor was the pinnacle of evil? Speaking of synods, how can there be synods held to decide? A local synod wouldn't be held to decide whether or not to adopt a heresy. After Nicaea, Arianism was clearly treated as a heresy and condemned, but Quartodecimanism was just decided against. Do you see the difference? How can both ideas coexist, mostly peacefully, in several regions throughout the Empire? They had their differences, sure enough, but overall they did not condemn each other. We were told by Herbert Armstrong, and the claims are repeated to this day, that the Traditionalists were killing the Quartodecimans by the thousands. I see no killings at all. Not even close. There are no records of Quartodecimans condemning Easter Sunday, and only one record of one Traditionalist (Victor) condemning Pascha on the 14th - which was met with calls for unity. As I said in my last post, Polycarp, Aphraphat and Melito - Quartodecimans all - are Catholic Saints. And Ephram the Syrian is a Doctor of the Catholic Church!

Hopefully you see what I mean now. It is one thing to decline to do something, it is another thing entirely to actively oppose it.

In Armstrongism (and similar groups), that opposition is central. There needs to be a world of difference in the past because there is a world of difference in the present. That opposition affirms the movement. It practically requires it. It is energized by words like "Controversy". It must paint one side to be "true Christianity" and the other "Babylon the Great" or there is no point in existing. No product differentiation means no good reason people should keep paying for the product. But, what if there was no true opposition?

I needed answers.


I wanted to know what traditional Christians thought about the 14th. After Nicaea, definitely there would be opposition. But prior?

It didn't take long before it became fairly obvious that both sides believed Jesus suffered on the 14th. Just because traditional Christians did not have an observance on the 14th does not mean they opposed the 14th (prior to Nicaea).

I will give Clement of Alexandria, a traditional Christian who died around 215 AD, as an example. He wrote his work "On the Passover" because he was so inspired by Melito's "On the Passover". A Traditionalist so inspired by a Quartodeciman that he needed to imitate it? The sincerest form of flattery. Where is the conflict there? Estimates on the dating range from 182-202 AD. Sadly, Clement's work is lost. But we do have some fragments, and here's one:

"Suitably, therefore, to the fourteenth day [of Nissan], on which He also suffered, in the morning, the chief priests and the scribes, who brought Him to Pilate, did not enter the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might freely eat the Passover in the evening."
-Clement of Alexandria, "On the Passover" [bold mine]

You can see here, Clement believed our Lord suffered on the 14th. That's the Quartodeciman view, from a Traditionalist. Both sides agreed on this. Oh, you'll find an outlier here or there who believed He died on the 15th, I believe Socrates of Constantinople wrote about this, and clearly they are wrong, but in general everyone agreed on the 14th.

Anatolius of Alexandria (also called Anatolius of Laodicea) adds this about the Traditionalists:

"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"
-Anatolius of Alexandria, "Paschal Canon", chapter X [bold mine]

What this quote is saying is, they observed that day with "sadness and grief". The traditional Christians did not reject the Passion on the 14th. They did accept that our Lord ate the Last Supper, was betrayed, tried, crucified, and was buried on the 14th. They just didn't observe it as their focal Paschal day.

I need to be more specific. They disregarded the Jewish calendar. They did not observe the 14th day of Nissan with sadness and grief. The day Jesus was crucified, the 14th, was a Friday (As Bereans Did has several articles about this, perhaps try "Two Sabbaths of Matthew 28"). What they observed with sadness and grief was a fixed Friday, Good Friday. Even though they ignored the Jewish calendar, they accepted the original Good Friday was the 14th.

Some chose to follow after Nissan 14, whenever it happened, and some chose to follow after Friday, ignoring the Hebrew calendar - which was increasingly wrong anyway. Both saw themselves as observing one and the same thing. For the most part, neither denied the other. Sure, you could find a Blastus or an Eleutherus on either side, but why judge the whole by such errant examples?

So, you see, even though the Traditionalists were not observing the Passion on the 14th, they were also not condemning the importance of the 14th. It is one thing to not observe the Pascha on Nissan 14, it is another thing to oppose it.


This made me want to know about the opposite side of this coin. If the the traditionalists accepted the 14th of Nissan as the date of the Passion, then did the Quartodecimans accept the 14th was on a Friday? In other words, did the Quartodecimans accept a Good Friday to Easter Sunday timeline of the entombment and resurrection?

Again, I want to hearken back to my post "Refusing To Understand". The United Church of God read a document called the Didiscalia Apostolorum, which is at its core a Quartodeciman document originally written in Syria in the 200's AD. This is a central document for any study into Quartodecimanism. The Didiscalia has a very unique timeline. It puts the Last Supper on a Tuesday. The United Church of God, copying Herbert Armstrong, saw the Last Supper on Tuesday and stopped there. To them, a Tuesday Last Supper equals a Wednesday crucifixion scenario. Their conclusion was that since the Didiscalia mentions a Tuesday Last Supper, that meant someone out there had a Wednesday crucifixion (a Wednesday crucifixion is the official Armstrongist position). I showed how that conclusion was premature. Truth is, the Didiscalia is the only Quartodeciman document with a Tuesday Last Supper, and it blatantly supports a Friday-Sunday crucifixion scenario:

"But when it drew on (towards day) on the Friday, they accused him much before Pilate; and they could show nothing that was true, but gave false witness against Him. And they asked Him of Pilate to be put to death; and they crucified Him on the same Friday.

... And again (there was) the day of the Sabbath; and then three hours of the night after the Sabbath, wherein our Lord slept."
-Didiscalia Apostolorum, chapter XXI [bold mine]

He was crucified on a Friday and resurrected three hours after midnight on Sunday morning.

Regardless of placing the Last Supper on Tuesday, the Didiscalia still honored the Good Friday to Easter Sunday timeline. The UCG even acknowledged this! ...Then continued to say it indirectly supported a Wednesday crucifixion anyway. *sigh*

But, more importantly, the answer to my question is yes. Quartodeciman team did accept the Good Friday to Easter Sunday timeline.

Isn't that odd? I bet you never read that on a Living Church of God website, "Accept Good Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection, like the Quartodecimans."

But I can show you something even greater than this.

Aphraphat the Persian was a Syriac Christian and a later Quartodeciman who lived from about 270-345 AD. In the source I pulled, the translating author wrote this way in summary of Aphraphat:

"Therefore the true Passover is celebrated in the Church, that is the sacrifice of Christ (sections  5-6). Jesus is numbered with the dead, from the time of the last supper on Thursday. From the night of the fourteenth of Nisan until when he arose on the dawn of the sixteenth, he has completed three nights in Sheol (section  7). Our Lord gave the true baptism on the night of the Passover, when he washed the feet of his disciples (section  10). Jews celebrate the Passover on the fourteenth, but for the Christians the greater day is Friday, the fifteenth (sections  8 and  12). Our festival of unleavened bread is the festival of our Saviour. If the Passover of the passion of our Saviour happens to  us on Sunday, it is right to celebrate it on the Monday, so that the whole week with his passion and with his unleavened bread is observed (section  12).
-Kuriakose Valavanolickal, "Aphraphat Demonstrations II", p. 18, Baker  Hill, Kottayam, Kerala,  India, March  2005 (summary of the Demonstration on Passover, XII) [bold mine]

You get three heavy-hitting statements in here.
1) As a Quartodeciman, he honored 14th of Nissan as the Passion of our Lord. That date could fall on any day of the week. Regardless, he honored Easter Sunday so much that if the 14th of Nissan were to be on a Sunday, he would have the Pascha delayed to Monday in honor of the resurrection.
2) He regards Good Friday as a greater day than the Jewish Passover.
3) There is a difference between the Old Covenant Passover of the Jews and the "Passover of the passion of our Savior". This wasn't about law-keeping.

Here is what Aphraphat says, in his own words:

"For if the day of the Passover of the passion of our Savior happens to us on the first day of the week, according to the law it is right to celebrate it on the second day...  If the passion (of Christ) happens on another day of the week, we have no dispute about these things..."
-Aphrahat, "Demonstrations" XII The Demonstration on Passover

That quote puts Sunday in such regard, due to the resurrection, that the Quartodecimans would not fast on Sunday.

The Didiscalia agrees with Aphraphat on that first point:

"For it is not lawful to you to fast on the first of the week, because it is My resurrection; wherefore the first of the week is not counted in the number of the days of the Fast of the Passion..."
-Didiscalia Apostolorum, chapter XXI

Do you get the significance of this? They honored Easter Sunday so much, they would alter their Pascha traditions to avoid fasting on Sunday.

It is one thing to not observe the Pascha on Sunday, it is another thing entirely to oppose Easter Sunday.


You will often read that Quartodecimans observed the Pascha regardless of what day it was. I will offer this example from a much later writer named John of Damascus (676-749 AD):

"The Quartodecimans celebrate Easter on a fixed day of the year. On that day which coincides with the fourteenth of the moon, whether it be a Saturday or Sunday, they fast and celebrate the vigil and the feast simultaneously."
-John of Damascus, "The Fount of Knowledge II: On Heresies" 

From what we have seen, this claim is not entirely accurate. At least not for later Quartodecimans. Clearly, at least for later Quartodecimans, they did not fast on Sunday. Clearly, many had high regard for Sunday.

And not just Sunday, but Friday, too. Remember back when I said Clement of Alexandria was inspired to write "On The Passover" by Melito of Sardis? Both were lost for centuries. In 1936, a writing was discovered that many believed to be most of Melito's "On The Passover". In 1960, a second copy was found that guaranteed this was the missing work. It turns out the work was a sermon. A sermon some say was given ... on Good Friday.
If that is true, it speaks volumes.

It wasn't as if the Quartodecimans observed the 14th only. They had an entire week of fasting with special observances on the Friday and the Saturday.

"But on the Friday and on the Sabbath fast wholly, and taste nothing. You shall come together [Saturday night] and watch and keep vigil all the night with prayers and intercessions, and with reading of the Prophets, and with the Gospel and with Psalms, with fear and trembling and with earnest supplication, until the third hour in the night after the Sabbath; and then break your fasts. For thus did we also fast, when our Lord suffered, for a testimony of the three days; and we were keeping vigil and praying and interceding for the destruction of the People, because that they erred and confessed not our Savior."
-Didiscalia Apostolorum, chapter XXI

What this means is, the Quartodecimans did not only observe the 14th whenever it may be. They also observed a Friday and a Sunday. At least from the 200s onward, Quartodecimans did all three!

The Traditionalists did not do all three. They did not have an observance on the 14th of Nissan. But the Quartodecimans did have a Friday and Sunday observance, like the Traditionalists.

Any number of sources will tell you this observance of Friday, with its fasting and mourning, and Saturday, with its fasting and vigil, and Sunday, with its joyfulness, was the same for Quartodeciman and Traditionalist alike. Catholic and Orthodox churches still have these elements.

Once again, these rituals may not have been the same in form, and they may not have been at the same time, but at their core and in their spirit they were exactly the same.

It is one thing to not observe the Good Friday, it is another thing entirely to reject it.


The Traditionalists did not reject the 14th of Nissan, and the Quartodecimans did not reject Good Friday / Easter Sunday.

I am guessing if you didn't like what I said about Unleavened Bread and Sabbath in my last post, you really did not like what you just read in this post. If one wishes to claim some ancestry from the Quartodecimans, it follows that one also adopts Good Friday crucifixion and a Sunday resurrection as we saw in this post, reject a legalist view of Sabbath and holy days as we saw in the last post, and observe Lent as we saw in the first post. Still want to be a Quartodeciman?

If you listen to the Church of God ministry, they would tell a tale of two very different groups arguing over some serious, incompatible points of doctrinal disagreement - far deeper than just the 14th/Sunday issue. Sadly, from what I've seen, this is not unique to Armstrongists. And the more they insist on saying "Yeshua" or "Yehoshua" rather than "Jesus", the worse it gets. I have found I cannot trust any legalist group who writes about the Quartodecimans. They all seem to do the same things, which is sad. They all seem to adopt the Quartodecimans, then transform them into versions of themselves.

That's what Herbert Armstrong did - transformed them into himself. Armstrong's personal version of the Quartodecimans is the unrealized baggage I came into this study with. It took a lot of reading to understand how wrong I was about their nature. I had been conditioned to believe the Quartodecimans were something very, very different from what they really were. This was not some group of legalist anti-Romans (for the most part). Quite the contrary. They could not have co-existed so closely with the rest of the church in every area, with unity being stressed so much, while being as different from the rest of the church as Armstrongism is to Catholicism. Those kinds and magnitudes of differences could not exist in unity. They would not have been tolerated together anywhere. I had to adjust my understanding, and once that happened I could see how the similarities greatly outweighed the differences.

If I had to summarize the difference, I would say it boils down to the exact same thing that keeps the Orthodox and the Catholics separate: insisting on tradition.

The Quartodeciman group started by doing exactly as the Apostle John did when John did it. It wasn't about law-keeping nor by compulsion. They knew the law couldn't be kept. And it wasn't as if they didn't understand how anyone could have Pascha on a Sunday - they had the Eucharist every Sunday just as much as most everyone else did. It was just their Pacsha tradition, and that was that. Jesus did it on that date, so why change it?
The Traditionalists group did exactly as the Apostles permitted them to do. They didn't keep the law, either. And they didn't care to rely on the broken Hebrew calendar. It was just their Pacsha tradition, and that was that. Sunday already pictured the Passion and the resurrection, so why change it?

So, when the two would debate which practice should win out, all either side could do is appeal to tradition. "We were taught by John." "We were taught by Paul." I do not criticize either side for this. After all, what is "orthodoxy" if not traditions handed down? One is going to guard one's traditions. Such is life. Naturally, the only solution we have is to get together into synods and ecumenical councils and hash it out before taking a vote. I feel Nicaea truly was the right way to handle it.

And that's the odd thing about this Quartodeciman Controversy, the two groups really were not very different at all. No wonder they were able to share the Eucharist together. No wonder why Victor excommunicating Polycrates seemed like such an overreaction. It all makes the centuries-long dispute seem so ... pointless. But to them, it wasn't pointless.


In my first post in this series, I said this:

"Both sides agreed our Lord ate the Last Supper and was betrayed on the night at the start of 14th of Nissan according to the Hebrew calendar used at the Temple in Jerusalem. Both sides agreed our Lord was crucified on a Friday and they also agreed He was resurrected on Sunday, the third day after being crucified. There are plenty of Quartodeciman documents that make this plain. These details of timing were never in dispute on either side of the issue. The Quartodecimans were not advocating a Wednesday to Saturday crucifixion scenario. (But that is for another article.)"

This was that other article.

These, dear reader, are the beliefs of the Quartodecimans whom Herbert Armstrong called disciples of Christ's true Christianity. The Church of God splinter groups continue to this very moment to say the same. Do they understand the Quartodecimans beyond the shallow, surface knowledge of the Controversy? I don't think so, or they wouldn't say such things.

The more I study about this topic, the less and less I agree with claims about how different these two groups were. In fact I practically don't agree with it at all any longer. From what I have seen, these two groups were 99% compatible. This was not at all a case of "true Christianity" versus "Babylon the Great". They were not enemies. They were not even "frenemies". It seems a lot less like two groups, two dates, one and the same event, and a lot more like one group, two dates, one and the same event.

I don't want to come across as saying the difference was no difference at all. It was a difference. But it was not nearly what I had been conditioned to accept up until now.

Even if you disagree with what you've read in my series, please at least grant me this much: I am stating my case with sources cited. Please grant me a pardon if I distrust the Armstrongist narrative at this point. Along with all of the other things that As Bereans Did has presented over the years, we have beyond any shadow of a doubt proven that the claims Armstrongism makes must be fact-checked before they are accepted.

List of some sources used in this series:
I have taken the time to find and provide links to make your life simpler and to show how the most important parts of this are available for free online.
I do not recommend doing your own study into the maddening world of the history of Quartodecimanism. But, then again, maybe you should.

Aphraphat, "Demonstrations", XII The Demonstration on Passover, and XIII on Sabbath, on Archive

Anatolius of Alexandria/Laodicea, "Paschal Canon", on Bible Hub

Athanasius, "Letters", on New Advent

Claudius Appolinarus, on Early Christian Writings

Clement of Alexandria, "On the Passover", on Early Christian Writings

Didache, on Early Christian Writings

Didascalia Apostolorum, on Early Christian Writings

Ephram the Syrian, "Hymn 19" on Unleavened Bread, on Colby

Epistula Apostolorum, on Early Christian Writings

John Chrisostom, "Adversus Judaeos", on Catholic Library

John of Damascus, "The Fount of Knowledge II: On Heresies", on Catholic Library

Hippolytus of Rome, "Against the Jews", on Early Christian Writings

Melito of Sardis, "On Faith", on Early Christian Writings (look for fragment IV)

Melito of Sardis,  "On Passover", on St. Anianus Coptic

Philip Schaff, "History of the Christian Church", volume II, on Christian Ethereal Library

Socrates Scholasticus, "Church History", Book I, on New Advent

Sozomen, "Ecclesiastical History", on Bible Hub

Tertullian, "Against All Heresies", on New Advent


It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )

Acts 17:11



Anonymous said...

It’s mind boggling how deeply misled everyone is who is trapped in the mind-control of Armstrongism experiences. Bad research tactics, poor reasoning skills, biblical ignorance, misquoting documents and not bothering to make sure they aren’t misquoting the source material.

Deception runs strong and becomes a stronghold on people. It doesn’t matter what cult you are being influenced by, it takes an act of God to wake people up.

Thank you for all this research and for providing sources. I’ve read some of your citations and have read quite a bit of church fathers. I have been very surprised by how many are misquoted by the cogs.

If you’re in a cog reading this comment, do your own research. Read the Bible without twisted interpretations. Accept Jesus Christs words as Gods Word. Let those strongholds be torn down. There is grace and truth and freedom waiting for you.

jim said...

Such a service you have provided! Though I will dig in deeper, the greatest takeaways for me are:
1) The first desire among the early Christians in this difference was Unity.
2) The Quartodecimans did not disagree with a Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection.
3) The COGs agree with the Sadducees in determining the day of the wavesheaf and therefore when Pentecost falls. It’s interesting that Paul was a Pharisee however and didn’t address the difference. Also, when Paul wants to be back for Pentecost I suspect that was the Pharisees’ calculation AND because the Pharisees were more numerous they would have the larger group. It’s likely the COGs would have calculated a different day for Pentecost than the day Paul referenced.
4. Polycarp and Anicetus though disagreeing about easter still considered one another brothers in the faith and the two of them partook of the Eucharist (bread and the wine) together after their meeting.
5. Polycarp appears to be following the churches of Asia practice of the Apostle John, and Anicetus following the more western practice of Peter and Paul. Still neither practice was believed to be a command from God.
6. This issue was early in the Church; seemingly even from the time of John. But, was again viewed as an important practice but not a command. This shows uncommanded practices (and yes, traditions) were part of the early church and the church (Christianity) grew quickly and brought good to the world even if there were times of bad. Still for the common Christian their lives were better, having Hope and purpose.

More take aways later. Please comment on any of the above that your research would improve or correct.

xHWA said...

Hi Jim,
I don't think you got anything wrong. I'm glad this post was helpful to you.

I would add that I have thought a long time about Pentecost and if the difference between Pharisees and Sadducees on the timing of the Wave Sheaf would affect the timing of Pentecost. At first, I thought it might, but after I thought a while longer I am no longer convinced it would.

Pentecost was always on a Sunday, seven weeks from the Wave Sheaf. That partially fixed timing might be enough to ensure both groups kept Pentecost on the same day. Sure, Pentecost being "count fifty" might sound like it would force things to be different, but since it always landed on a Sunday I think the 50 was more or less a rough number for the Pharisees rather than an absolutely definite number. But, the 50 would make more sense from a Sadducee point of view.

Anonymous said...

Pentecost (Shavuot) can fall on any day of the week in current Jewish practice. I presume Pentecost in the New Testament followed the Jewish calendar. As such, Jesus and the apostles did not hold to a strictly Sunday Pentecost unless I’m missing something?

xHWA said...

Anonymous April 10.

Rabbinic Judaism descended from the Pharisees. For the most part. So they would have taken after the Pharisees in their reckoning of time. It's not a matter of the calendar they used so much as it is a matter of when they believed the Wave Sheaf should be performed. As it happens, we have an article on that. Please read Firstfruits and the Beauty of God's Timing.

jim said...

Right. And for Rabbinic Judaism Pentecost is always Sivan 6; This year it is on a Wednesday. Would Christ have also observed Pentecost (Shavuot) on Sivan 6? I believe so. Paul as a Pharisee did. My point is that the COGs do not. They follow the Sadducees. They apparently do not observe Pentecost (Shavuot) on the day Christ did most years.

Yes. The year Christ died the wave sheaf was on a Sunday as was Pentecost (Shavuot). But, I do not believe Christ observed Pentecost (Shavuot) as the Sadducees did, always on Sunday...but the COGs do.

xHWA said...


I really wish we had more evidence from that time period. Certain things are just missing completely. For example, there is no record at all of what a Passover meal was like in Jesus' day. So, whatever I say next is totally speculative.
I believe you are likely correct that Jesus would have followed the Pharisees. He did seem to prefer them in saying they sit in Moses' seat (MAT. 23: 2). Jesus was a small town boy. He would have been raised to follow His local synagogue. That would have likely had a Pharisee as the leader of the synagogue. It makes sense He would follow their schedule.

The COGs do seem to follow the Sadducees, despite themselves. It wasn't always that way. For example, take the two church splits in Worldwide (first in the late 40s and second in the early 70s) over Armstrong's position on Monday Pentecost. But yeah, any more they do.

If anyone reading this wants more detail on that Monday Pentecost, I discussed it in my Easter History II article. Towards the end.