Dear Brethren and Friends
The third annual ministerial conference is now behind us as we approach the upcoming Passover season. The meetings, held in San Diego, began the evening of March 6 and were completed on March 10, 2004. Those attending the conference sessions were: Edwin and Joan Pope; Norbert and Johanna Link; David and Peggy Harris; Rene and Delia Messier; Brian and Jill Gale; Margaret Adair; and Wray and Jule Zehrung. Church representatives were present from the UK, Canada and the US.
Our meetings were extremely successful. Following an extensive review of the Church’s Internet activities, plans for new design elements and greater use of Church web pages occupied the first part of this conference. The STANDINGWATCH program, which is currently available at the Church of the Eternal God website (www.eternalgod.org), will soon be available at an additional site now under construction (www.standingwatch.org). These video programs, presented by Norbert Link, highlight news events relating to prophecy along with commentary on Christian living.
Increasing the circulation of the weekly news “Update” of the Church, along with recommendations for new booklets received detailed discussion. The plan is to publish and print five (5) new booklets for distribution during 2004, addressing topics such as the authority of the Bible, healing and tithing, among others. Additionally, recent steps have been taken to provide computer backup and expanded software capabilities for live Internet Sabbath services (www.cognetservices.org). Plans were finalized to release approximately seventy-five Question and Answer reprints plus additional Editorial reprints from the “Update” for Internet access and direct mail distribution.
Several specific doctrinal questions were addressed, and general plans for Church related functions in the upcoming months were established.
But now we come to Passover, the first step in the great plan of God and the first of God’s annual festivals. God commanded the observance of this event, which pictured the death angel going throughout the land of Egypt performing his assigned task, which was to kill the firstborn but passing over those homes protected by the blood of the Passover Lamb.
We understand the great significance of this event, which has been taught to many called-out brethren during this age; yet so many of these brethren have rejected this truth because of negligence and false teaching. God had a specific purpose in mind as He stipulated the requirement of the people to be diligent in their observance of these events.
In the New Testament Christ commanded that we continue to observe these events year by year, but with new symbols which He established, so that we would never forget the tremendous sacrifice made by Him and by the Father while Christ was on this earth in the flesh.
We see this command in Luke 22:19-20: “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’”
Rather than following God’s command, many have turned to the pagan custom of observing Easter, a festival which is nowhere proclaimed by Christ or the early Christian Church which He established. The festival of Passover, along with all of God’s required festivals and holy days, are fully explained in our free booklet— “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”
As noted, Christ never observed the pagan festival called Easter; neither did any of the New Testament apostles or disciples. The Passover, however, was observed by Christ, the apostles, and the New Testament Church and that fact is clearly revealed in numerous places in the Bible.
Note, Matthew 26:17-20: “Now on the first … of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, ‘Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?’ And He said, ‘Go into the city to a certain man, and say to Him, “The Teacher says, ‘My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.’”’ So the disciples did as Jesus directed them and they prepared the Passover.”
This observance was on the very night of Christ’s betrayal. But this was not something new for Christ. This Way He had been taught from childhood. Luke 2:40-42. “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the Feast.”
No, Christ never attempted to change His Father’s Law. Thus, He kept the Passover and all of God’s Holy Days and He commanded that we do likewise.
Passover and the Holy Days are a critical part of our training and in properly observing these days we draw closer to God and to His Way of Life. They are critical to our salvation, dear brethren and friends, and we must never let down in their proper observance. Therefore, let us all begin to think on these Holy Days and their significance for us as we prepare for Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
In Christ’s Service
J. Edwin Pope
David J. Harris