Passover & the Festival of Unleavened Bread 2016
So far, the following have announced sites for the observance of
Passover and the Festival for the full seven days.
The dates shown are for the festival.
red number in brackets is the calendar system - see Biblical
Armstrong declared, on returning from Gladewater, Texas, in 1952,
after observing Passover
and the Festival of Unleavened Bread :
has made it plain we MUST HAVE an adequate place, the most centrally
located possible, so that the largest number can attend, for the
Festival of Unleavened Bread ...”
location proved too small in 1953 for the numbers wishing to attend.
1954 Festival was therefore celebrated at several regional sites
in the USA - for the full seven days, with services both in
the morning and afternoon.
festival continued to be celebrated for seven days, with increasing
attendances and extra venues. Evening Bible Studies replaced daytime
services in some locations, for the benefit of those who could not
get time off work to attend both annual seven day festivals, or were
not paid if they could do so.
then did the Radio (Worldwide) Church of God reduce the observance of
the festival from 7 days to only the 2 high days?
1967 Festival (report begins on p.5) was the final seven day
festival. This was the year of the death of Herbert Armstrong's
wife, Loma, after which Stanley Rader, who was given control of the
church's finances, became his main advisor.
‘Days of Unleavened Bread – How Should They Be Observed?’
[p.4] by the Church of God the Eternal, explains why the full seven-day observance was discontinued:
Church of God members remember the marvellous spiritual sermons and
exciting fellowship that went along with this festival. But some time
during the mid-sixties, the practice was discontinued.
reason was twofold. First, many of the members were being forced to
use personal savings to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, because of a
shortage of second tithe brought about by observing the full seven
days in the Spring. Second—and by far the primary reason for
discontinuing the full seven-day observance—the receipt of income
for the ‘Work’ was appreciably reduced each Spring, because most
of the members did not receive any salary or wages during the week
they attended the seven Days of Unleavened Bread. Consequently,
tithes and offerings dropped off alarmingly in the Spring.
the decision to discontinue the practice of observing the Days of
Unleavened Bread for the full seven days was a ministerial judgment,
based on a need at the time. While the reduced income for the ‘Work’
was the major consideration in the decision, the financial strain
placed upon the membership was also a factor. It was felt by Mr.
Armstrong that if the Gospel were to continue to go forth with growth
and power, the membership would have to be in a financial position to
contribute heavily. The observance of the Days of Unleavened Bread
for the full seven days was thwarting this effort.”
late Richard Nickels compared Roderick Meredith's festival reports of
1962 and 2002 in Days
of Zeal Gone By :
“Roderick C. Meredith noted that the 1962 Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread Festival demonstrated the unusual dedication and LOVE among God’s people, the deep understanding and POWER of God’s ministers, and the tremendous world-wide work being carried on by a comparatively few people. Perhaps because of this emphasis on CHRIST’S great sacrifice and love, each year the Passover season seems to point up the deep warmth, love and DEDICATION of God’s people. In other words, the way the 1962 Passover Feast was observed showed the zeal of God’s people to do His Work!
Forty years later, quite a different Feast of Unleavened Bread was observed by Rod Meredith and others in the Church of God, as he reported in the July-August 2002 issue of Living Church News. On March 20, Meredith traveled to New Zealand to visit Living Church of God offices there, and then he went to Brisbane, Australia, to visit the LCG leader of Australia, Bruce Tyler. Meredith conducted Passover services Tuesday night, March 26, in Brisbane. On Wednesday morning, Passover day, Meredith toured Brisbane. Then he preached on Thursday, the first Day of Unleavened Bread to 58 brethren, followed by a covered dish meal and long fellowship. Then, the same day, Meredith flew the 2200-mile journey to Perth in Western Australia, arriving late and going to bed.
On Friday morning, he and the local elder toured Perth’s Kings Park and dined at a fish restaurant in Fremantle. On Sabbath, he preached to 49 brethren in Perth, followed by a patio dinner at a member’s home. On Sunday, he flew back to Sydney, did not have a service because there are so very few Church people there, but instead toured the city and took a boat trip on Monday. On Tuesday, still during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Meredith flew to Melbourne, touring interesting areas, including a war museum, met with Church elders, and on Wednesday, the last Day of Unleavened Bread, he preached to about 55 people in Melbourne. On Thursday, he toured Melbourne more thoroughly.
Notice the contrast between 1962 and 2002. In 1962, the Church observed a Feast, the whole eight-day festival together, marked by twice-daily services during the entire time. The Church of 1962 was dedicated, inspired to identify sin, to overcome sin, and to put out sin, through the power of the Spirit of God made possible by the sacrifice of the Messiah. The focus was Christ’s sacrifice and love. God’s people demonstrated love, dedication, and zeal. There were outstanding, unusual, miracles of healing.
On the other hand, in 2002, there was no mention of a Festival, the Feast of Unleavened Bread; instead, Meredith referred to the First Day of Unleavened Bread and the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. There were no daily inspiring sermons during the Festival, no miraculous healings. Instead, there were meals, site-seeing tours, and fellowship, mainly minister to minister, instead of the whole Church together for the entire eight days of scintillating spiritual feasting. The intervening days between the first and last holy days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were filled with business, meals and entertainment, touring, and traveling. Or, as they say in Australia, holiday. Instead of a Festival, a holy convocation, the 2002 Feast of Unleavened Bread was a holiday for Rod Meredith. Most of God’s people continued their daily routine, pausing only briefly for the first and last Holy Day services.
If you had to judge the character of the Church of God in 1962 versus 2002, which one would you say was zealous? Which one would you say was lukewarm, watered down?”