In life, origins are important.  From the origin of mankind by the creative process of a loving and personal Creator, to the origin and discovery of the Sabbath, the subject of origins is important to Christians.  Seventh-day Adventists credit their origins to the Waldenses of Piedmont Valley, and the Alps; Roman Catholics credit their origins to Peter—the so-called first Pope, and the Jews credit their origins in Abraham.  When we study words, we seek to find their “root” meaning, because in the “root” lies the original meaning and purpose behind the word.  Similarly, when studying human behaviors, we seek not to understand the effect as we do the cause—the origin—of such responses.  To simply take a pill to stop a headache is not addressing the origin of the headache, but to speak to the symptom, and as soon as the pill wears away the headache returns.  The purpose of this essay is to discuss the origins of the Waldenses Christians, and in particular their theological understandings, as well as their life practice in relation to the Torah (YHWH’S Laws).  To know the origins of this people, is to take a walk through the annals of Church history, even to the birth of the Christian Church.

When authenticating his ministry, as well as the primacy of the Church, Paul declared, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Eph. 2: 19-20.

Paul wanted it to be known everywhere that the Christian church has a legacy which can stand the test of time, it has integrity, it has pedigree, it has identity and origin in the “apostles and prophets,” with “Jesus Christ himself” as Commander In Chief, and “Chief Corner Stone.”  Thus the question of origins is settled on “the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” yes, it is forever settled in Jesus Christ!  This type of legacy lends confidence in the heart of believers everywhere, that they are not following cunningly devised fables, but are anchored in the truth of the Prophets—the very truth of Messiah Himself!

In like manner therefore, the existence question of the Waldenses is important, because it is a question of origins.  In summary I shall here state, with proofs to follow, that the Waldenses were:

  • The true stock from the Apostles after the first century had passed and the Apostles retired to their graves.
  • The preservers of the true doctrine and life practice of the Apostles
  • Ardent observers of the ten commandments, and kept holy the Seventh-day Sabbath
  • Persecuted for commemorating the holy days (Passover, etc.) as pointed out in the Torah
  • Persecuted for their stubborn determination to keep the Sabbath and YHWH’S Festivals in harmony with Apostolic teachings, and practice.
  • Later (more recently) known as the Christians of Piedmont Valley.
  • The Progenitors of the early American Pilgrims, known as the “The Puritans”
  • Called “The Church of God,” in the New World
  • Also called the Pilgrim Fathers, whose descendants started the Great Religious Awakening in America and Across the World, in the 1840’s.
  • The pioneers of the religious movement now known as Seventh-Day Adventists

The prophetess to the Remnant sees the Waldenses as of apostolic origin, and reports that “The religious belief of the Waldenses was founded upon the written word of God, the true system of Christianity, and was in marked contrast to the errors of Rome. But those herdsmen and vine-dressers, in their obscure retreats, shut away from the world, had not themselves arrived at the truth in opposition to the dogmas and heresies of the apostate church. Theirs was not a faith newly received. Their religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers. They contended for the faith of the apostolic church, –‘the faith once delivered to the saints.’” {4SP 69.1}

There is documented evidence that “The Waldenses were the first of all the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation, they possessed the entire Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution…Through ages of darkness and apostasy, there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest tempests of opposition they maintained their faith. Though gashed by the Savoyard spear, and scorched by the Romish fagot, they stood unflinchingly for God’s word and his honor. They would not yield one iota of the truth.” {4SP 70.1}

We are further told from the same indefatigable pen that, “Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains–in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed–the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.” {GC 65.3}  The “ancient faith” which the Waldenses maintained was that of the Apostles’.  To rightly understand what their theological composition was requires a working knowledge of apostolic teaching and practice, and throughout the remainder of this research, we will seek to answer this question from the Scriptures and sacred history.

The Reformation Has Not Ended

The Spirit of Truth in our day further states of the Remnant believers: “Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His Word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming.”  E.G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 464.

To experience this revival of primitive godliness, requires us to take hold of the conviction of the Apostles.  It was Paul who declared in the face of privation and much distress: “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.  Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace.” 1 Cor. 4:10-11.  We must be willing to face for the pursuit of truth, the cost and consequence of discomfort for the excellency of the Cross of our Lord and Saviour. The price we are willing to pay must be equal to our zeal and commitment to let God (YHWH) be true, and all men liars!  It requires a principled approach to godliness which will at times stand in stark contrast to corporate religion.

To attain this spiritual character, we must embrace what they embraced, and be as selfless as they were.  Reading the account of Papias, and early Christian Martyr, he recounts:

“From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and by sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, that is, a company of soldiers who only become worse when they are well treated. In the midst of their wrongdoings, however, I am more fully learning discipleship, but I am not thereby justified. May I have joy of the beasts that are prepared for me; and I pray that I may find them ready; I will even coax them to devour me quickly that they may not treat me as they have some whom they have refused to touch through fear.  And if they are unwilling, I will compel them. Forgive me.  I know what is expedient for me. Now do I begin to be a disciple. May naught of things visible and things invisible envy me; that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Let fire and cross and attacks of wild beasts, let wrenching of bones, cutting of limbs, crushing of the whole body, tortures of the devil,—let all these come upon me if only I may attain unto Jesus Christ.” Ignatius and His Epistles, p. 168.  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xxxvi.html

To experience this “primitive godliness” of the early apostles requires of believers today the “hungering and thirsting after righteousness” (Matt. 5:6) as our Saviour declared.  It requires devoted study of the Scriptures, not through the lenses of our sensational preachers, many of whose eyes have been made blind to these truths, because of theological training, pride of opinion, or sheer ignorance of the Torah.  We must individually study the Scriptures, as we will be individually required to give an answer to our Father in Heaven for their precepts.  The Waldenses were willing to be different for Christ’s sake, and wore their difference as a badge of honor for the glory of the cross, and so must we.  To take up the name of Christianity is to wear the badge of being different.  At a time when the cross meant certain death, the adherents of “the way” were willing to spend and be spent for the truth of Christ.

Nor must we, like the unbelieving Jews in Christ’s day, fall asleep at the grave of the prophets of our times, we must study the Scriptures and seek the face of YHWH whose Spirit will guide us into “all truth.” There are so many believers in our day who will not venture to study a passage of Scripture because “Ellen White did not comment on it.”  This attitude breeds cultism, Shintoism and non-progressive Christianity!  Ever remember that truth is progressively unfolding, and even Daniel did not understand the visions he was given, and was informed that “knowledge would increase” (Dan. 12:4) in the understanding of the Bible.  Many individuals believe that knowledge will increase in travel, science and technology, but when it comes to the Bible, they think that there is no more truth to be revealed from its sacred pages.  This view has given rise to many schisms, and the multi-denominational systems of our modern age. A few words of inspired counsel are in order at this point:

“If professed Christians would but carefully and prayerfully compare their views with the Scriptures, laying aside all pride of opinion and desire for the supremacy, a flood of light would be shed upon the churches now wandering in the darkness of error. As fast as his people can bear it, the Lord reveals to them their errors in doctrine and their defects of character. From age to age he has raised up men and qualified them to do a special work needed in their time. But to none of these did he commit all the light which was to be given to the world. Wisdom does not die with them. It was not the will of God that the work of reform should cease with the going out of Luther’s life; it was not his will that at the death of the Wesleys the Christian faith should become stereotyped. The work of reform is progressive. Go forward, is the command of our great Leader,–forward unto victory.”  {4SP 186.1}

Baton Exchange
Passing the baton of Truth from  the Apostolic days to ours.

And I dare say, dear reader, it is not the will of God that the work of reform should cease with Ellen White, the work of reform is progressive, and Heaven is calling us, you and me, to take up the baton of truth, with the torch of the truth in our hands, and faithfully run the race that is set before us.  God did not close the bible and tuck it away in Ellen White’s grave in 1917, so let’s not get stuck with the idea that the truth and wisdom of the Scriptures died with her!

Divine wisdom admonishes that “We shall not be accepted and honored of God in doing the same work that our fathers did. We do not occupy the position which they occupied in the unfolding of truth. In order to be accepted and honored as they were, we must improve the light which shines upon us, as they improved that which shone upon them; we must do as they would have done, had they lived in our day. Luther and the Wesleys were reformers in their time. It is our duty to continue the work of reform. If we neglect to heed the light, it will become darkness; and the degree of darkness will be proportionate to the light rejected.”  {4SP 186.2}

“The prophet of God declares that in the last days knowledge shall be increased. There are new truths to be revealed to the humble seeker. The teachings of God’s word are to be freed from the errors and superstition with which they have been encumbered. Doctrines that are not sanctioned by the Scriptures have been widely taught, and many have honestly accepted them; but when the truth is revealed, it becomes the duty of every one to accept it. Those who allow worldly interests, desire for popularity, or pride of opinion, to separate them from the truth, must render an account to God for their neglect.” {4SP 186.3}

The Light Bearers of The Ages

Dr. Adam Blair in his definitive work on the Waldenses has recorded the full life story of these witnesses during the period of spiritual darkness, and reports below:

“We proceed now to demonstrate from the writings of the Waldenses themselves, from the most enlightened Protestants, and from the most zealous Roman Catholics, that the inhabitants of the valleys received their religion from the primitive Italian churches… The Vaudois are in fact descended from those refugees from Italy, who, after St Paul had there preached the gospel, abandoned their beautiful country, and fled, like the woman mentioned in the Apocalypse, to these wild mountains, where they have, to this day, handed down the gospel from father to son, in the same purity and simplicity as it was preached by St Paul.”…

“The Waldenses complain, that it has been the cruel policy of their persecutors to destroy all the historical memorials of their antiquity. About the year 1559, the Roman Catholics, with a view to exterminate the Protestants of the valleys, cruelly butchered them, and in order to obliterate every memorial of them, diligently searched for their records, which they committed to the flames. Though on this account the testimonies of their antiquity are not so ample as could he wished, yet we possess a variety of their own declarations on this point previous to the period just mentioned, which have been preserved in the wonderful providence of God. In the Noble Lesson, dated 1100, they assert,—in Glorious Recovery by the VaiHois of their Valleys, Preface, p. 14. Translated by H. D. Aclaml.

Now, after the Apostles, were certain teachers, who taught the way of Jesus Christ our Saviour. And these are found even at this present day. If any man love those who are good, he must needs love God and Jesus Christ. Such an one will neither curse, swear, nor lye.” Now, such an one is termed a Waldensian, and worthy to be punished. For, I dare say, and it is very true,” that all the Popes, which have been from Silvester to this present, and all Cardinals, Bishops, Abbots, and the like, “Have no power to absolve or pardon.”

Here this people are called Waldensian long before Waldo; and in the end of the eleventh century, they call their doctrine “ancient and apostolic,” in opposition to the inventions of Rome. John Saran, Canon of the church of Cracow, in the elucidation of the errors of the “Rhutenic Ritual,” writes, the Waldenses are not willing to admit another name than “Apostolics, namely, because they alone establish themselves the true successors of the apostles, and of the primitive church.” History of the Waldenses, By Adam Blair (1897), pp. 7-8. http://books.google.com/books?dq=HISTORY+OF+THE+WALDENSES+IN+ITALY&pg=PA6&id=MtwRAAAAIAAJ

Up to this point, what has been common knowledge to us as Seventh-day Adventists is that the Waldenses Christians kept true the Ten Commandments including the historic Bible Sabbath (on Saturday). What has not been made plain in The Great Controversy, and thus to most Adventists is whether or not the Waldenses also kept the entire system of festivals as enunciated in Leviticus 23!  At this point, I would caution my readers” do not make Ellen White an authority or the final authority on Church History, nor are we to make an historian out of her.

Many have gone to the erroneous extent to suggest that “if Ellen White has not commented, or given strong remarks on a particular segment of church history, this means it has either not occurred, or it is not important for us to know!”  This would be a very sad state of affairs, were we to continue in this thought.  In as much as we have read Deis Domini (the Pope’s encyclical with much prophetic interest), and all the recorded history on the Sabbath, many of which have not been contemplated in The Great Controversy, we are required by heaven to bring the same level of scholarship to the discussion of our Waldensian heritage, and discover whether or not they learnt the observance of the festivals form the Apostles, or that Constantine was right in making outlaws of them for their judaising practices.

Since the History of the Waldenses has agreed with Ellen White on the existence of this people and their relation to the Bible Sabbath, we will use the same verifiable data from the historian’s pen to chronicle this truth, and leave it to you, dear reader, to do with it as the Holy Spirit bids you—the truth that the Waldenses kept all of YHWH’s festivals throughout the ages of persecution, and as a beacon light of hope, passed it on to their successors.  In her book Daniel, Understanding the Dreams and Visions, Charlene Fortsch has provided ample historical evidence to sustain the fact that the Apostles and the Waldenses kept undeviatingly the festivals of the early church, including Passover etc.  Below is a direct clip from her book, which can also be accessed online: Daniel: Understanding the Dreams and Visions – Google Books Result: by Charlene R. Fortsch, (2006), p. 132.

The Passover vs. Easter Controversy

It is important for the reader to realize in the below quotes, that due to the confusion which crept in over the great Easter vs. Passover debate, most recorded historical mentions of Easter are in reality addressing the festival of Passover, as here shown:

“Far be it from us to charge John with foolishness, for he observed the precepts of the Law of Moses literally, at a time when the church still followed the Jews in many things; and the Apostles were not able suddenly to set aside the entire observance of the Law laid down by God…So, John, according to the custom of the Law, began the celebration of the feast of Easter [Passover] on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, paying no attention to whether it fell on the Sabbath or on some other day.” (Bede’s The Ecclesiastical History of the English People for The Great Histories Series by Washington Square Press, N.Y., 1968)

Now, you know there was no “Easter” celebration called for the in the Bible, but the apostle John, being consistent with the Torah, observed what Bede called Easter, but what the Bible calls Passover!  Remember that one of the enemy’s tools of deception is CONFUSION.  He will spin the truth in a thousand different ways, each time taking away a little and also adding a little, thus he spreads a false gospel, and have us all confused as to what is truth.

Warning:  Truth can only be found in the Torah!  “To the Law [Torah], and to the testimony [Teachings of the prophets]: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is NO LIGHT in them.”  Isa. 8:20. [Added].  Bearing in mind that confusion is like a blanket thrown, to becloud the truth, the reader will realize that the mentioning of Easter is in essence a reference to Passover.

Even in the KJV, the enemy raised his head and inspired the translators to supplant the word Passover with Easter, in an attempt to give the unwary confidence in his falsehoods and enmity against heaven’s precepts! “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.”  Acts 12:4.

From Strong’s Greek Dictionary, the word Easter #3957, is the Greek word  “pasca, pascha, pas’-khah, of Aramaic origin,” and is used 29 times in the New Testament, correctly translated as Passover 28 times, and only ONE time (Acts 12:4) translated as Easter! The same Dictionary further declares of this word—pascha: “1) the paschal sacrifice (which was accustomed to be offered for the people’s deliverance of old from Egypt), 2) the paschal lamb, i.e. the lamb the Israelites were accustomed to slay and eat on the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan (the first month of their year) in memory of the day on which their fathers, preparing to depart from Egypt, were bidden by God to slay and eat a lamb, and to sprinkle their door posts with its blood, that the destroying angel, seeing the blood, might pass over their dwellings; Christ crucified is likened to the slain paschal lamb, 3) the paschal supper, 4) the paschal feast, the feast of the Passover, extending from the 14th to the 20th day of the month Nisan.”

In their Commentary On the Whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown make this comment, “intending after Easter–rather, ‘after the Passover’; that is, after the whole festival was over. (The word in our King James Version is an ecclesiastical term of later date, and ought not to have been employed here).” Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Commentary on Acts 12, http://www.studylight.org/com/jfb/view.cgi?book=ac&chapter=012

While the ‘living oracles’ were neglected, the zeal of the clergy began to spend itself upon rites and ceremonies borrowed from the pagans. These were multiplied to such a degree, that Augustine complained that they were ‘less tolerable than the yoke of the Jews under the law.’ [4] At this period the Bishops of Rome wore costly attire, gave sumptuous banquets, and when they went abroad were carried in litters. [5] They now began to speak with an authoritative voice, and to demand obedience from all the Churches. Of this the dispute between the Eastern and Western Churches respecting Easter is an instance in point. The Eastern Church, following the Jews, kept the feast on the 14th day of the month Nisan [6]—the day of the Jewish Passover.

The Churches of the West, and especially that of Rome, kept Easter on the Sabbath following the 14th day of Nisan. Victor, Bishop of Rome, resolved to put an end to the controversy, and accordingly, sustaining himself sole judge in this weighty point, he commanded all the Churches to observe the feast on the same day with himself. The Churches of the East, not aware that the Bishop of Rome had authority to command their obedience in this or in any other matter, kept Easter as before; and for this flagrant contempt, as Victor accounted it, of his legitimate authority, he excommunicated them. [7] They refused to obey a human ordinance, and they were shut out from the kingdom of the Gospel. This was the first peal of those thunders which were in after times to roll so often and so terribly from the Seven Hills.” J.A. Wylie’s History of Protestantism, Chapter Two, “Declension of the Early Church”

“For this we have the confession of Raynerus, an inquisitor, who lived before the middle of the thirteenth century. He ingenuously acknowledgeth, ‘That the heresy of those he calls Waudois, or poor people of Lyons, was of great antiquity. Mongst all sects, saith he, cap. 4. that either are or have been, there is none more dangerous to the Church than that of the Leonists, and that for three reasons: the first is, because it is the sect that is of the longest standing of any; for some say it hath been continued down ever since the time of Pope Sylvester, and others, ever since that of the Apostles. The second is, because it is the most general of all sects; for scarcely is there any country to be found, where this sect hath not spread itself.’” The Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of the Piedmont and the Albigenses by Peter Allix D.D., p. 185, http://www.doctrine.org/history/HPv1b1.htm

“The Reformers held that the Waldensian Church was formed about 120 A.D., from which date on, they passed down from father to son the teachings they received from the apostles.” Our Authorized Bible Vindicated by B. G. Willkinson, p. 33

J.N. Andrews quotes another writer in the following statement.

“President Edwards says:—‘Some of the popish writers themselves own that this people never submitted to the church of Rome. One of the popish writers, speaking of the Waldenses, says, the heresy of the Waldenses is the oldest heresy in the world. It is supposed that they first betook themselves to this place among the mountains, to hide themselves from the severity of the heathen persecutions which existed before Constantine the Great.’ (Edward’s History of Redemption, period 3, part 4, sec. 2) (The History of the Sabbath, p. 303).”  Armageddon and The International Sunday Law by Richard and Melody Drake, pp. 46-49

“These Puritans were also known as the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’, and brought the Sabbath observance to America. This is confirmed by Dugger: In the month of December, 1934, Hugh Sprague, editor of the St. Joseph Gazette (Missouri), wrote an editorial on this very matter. ‘Strange as it may seem in the early history of America there was an attempt at suppression of the Christmas spirit. The stern Puritans at Plymouth, imbued with the rigorous fervor of the Old Testament, abhorred the celebration of the orthodox holidays. Their worship was on the Sabbath (Saturday), rather than Sunday, and Christmas in particular they considered a pagan celebration.

“Later immigrants attempted to observe Christmas as a time of joy, but were suppressed. Governor Bradford, Elder Brewster, Miles Standish and other leaders were firm against the yuletide spirit as we know it today.’ In a private conversation between Elder A. N. Dugger and Editor Hugh Sprague, after this editorial appeared, the latter stated that the Pilgrims were his direct ancestors, and that he very well knew their religious beliefs and practices. And in addition, he stated that all his grandparents and great-grandparents knew that the Pilgrims of the Mayflower days were strict Sabbath keepers on the seventh day of the week instead of Sunday.” (The Bible Study Papers at www.logon.org). Also quoted in Armageddon and The International Sunday Law by Richard and Melody Drake, p. 49

“The Waldenses maintained the ancient faith, the same faith that Paul and John the Revelator had, and observed God’s Holy Days just as they did. The Waldenses also observed the Seventh-day Sabbath and rejected the pagan holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, which were brought into the Christian Church by the Catholic Church. They were taught their faith by the apostles and they maintained their faith for seventeen hundred years. ‘Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)” Armageddon and The International Sunday Law by Richard and Melody Drake, p. 51

In the below discussion, the reader is encouraged to see that in the early confusion brought on by the enemy of souls, as mentioned earlier, the word Easter has been used instead of the true Biblical Festival of Passover, so whenever the word Easter appears, in actuality, it is discussing Passover in conflict with the Sun-worshipping crowd of Eostre (Easter).  On this matter, the record is now clear.

An erroneous derivation of the word pascha from the Greek waaxav, ‘to suffer,’ thus connected with the sufferings or passion of the Lord, is given by some of the Fathers of the Church, as Irenaeus, Tertullian and others, who were ignorant of Hebrew. St Augustine (In Joann. Tract. 55) notices this false etymology, shows how similarity of sound had led to it, and gives the correct derivationThere is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians.  ‘The whole of time is a festival unto Christians because of the excellency of the good things which have been given’ is the comment of St Chrysostom on 1 Cor. 5:7, which has been erroneously supposed to refer to an apostolic observance of Easter. The ecclesiastical historian Socrates (Hist. Eccl. v. 22) states, with perfect truth, that neither the Lord nor his apostles enjoined the keeping of this or any other [heathen] festival. He says: ‘The apostles had no thought of appointing festival days, but of promoting a life of blamelessness and piety’; and he attributes the observance of Easter by the church to the perpetuation of an old usage, ‘just as many other customs have been established.’” The Encyclopedia Britannica, By Hugh Chisholm, (Cambridge, England; New York: At the University Press, 1910-1911. Edition: 11th Ed.)  pp. 828. [Emphasis supplied].

This same Encyclopedia continues to inform us in very clear terms that:

The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed, and became the Christian Easter.

Although the observance of Easter was at a very early period the practice of the Christian church, a serious difference as to the day for its observance soon arose between the Christians of Jewish and those of Gentile descent, which led to a long and bitter controversy. The point at issue was when the Paschal fast was to be reckoned as ending. With the Jewish Christians, whose leading thought was the death of Christ as the Paschal Lamb, the fast ended at the same time as that of the Jews, on the fourteenth day of the moon at evening, and the Easter festival immediately followed, without regard to the day of the week. The Gentile Christians, on the other hand, unfettered by Jewish traditions, identified the first day of the week with the Resurrection, and kept the preceding Friday as the commemoration of the crucifixion, irrespective of the day of the month. With the one the observance of the day of the month, with the other the observance of the day of the week, was the guiding principle.

Generally speaking, the Western churches kept Easter on the first day of the week, while the Eastern churches followed the Jewish rule, and kept Easter on the fourteenth day. St Polycarp, the disciple of St John the Evangelist and bishop of Smyrna, visited Rome in 159 to confer with Anicetus, the bishop of that see, on the subject; and urged the tradition, which he had received from the apostle, of observing the fourteenth day. Anicetus, however, declined to admit the Jewish custom in the churches under his jurisdiction, but readily communicated with Polycarp and those who followed it. About forty years later (197) the question was discussed in a very different spirit between Victor, bishop of Rome, and Polycrates, metropolitan of proconsular Asia. That province was the only portion of Christendom which still adhered to the Jewish usage, and Victor demanded that all should adopt the usage prevailing at Rome. This Polycrates firmly refused to agree to, and urged many weighty reasons to the contrary, whereupon Victor proceeded to excommunicate Polycrates and the Christians who continued the Eastern usage…

A final settlement of the dispute was one among the other reasons which led Constantine to summon the council of Nicaea in 325. At that time the Syrians and Antiochenes were the solitary champions of the observance of the fourteenth day. The decision of the council was unanimous that Easter was to be kept on Sunday, and on the same Sunday throughout the world, and ” that none should hereafter follow the blindness of the Jews “ (Socrates, H.E. i, g).

The correct date of the Easter festival was to be calculated at Alexandria, the home of astronomical science, and the bishop of that see was to announce it yearly to the churches under his jurisdiction, and also to the occupant of the Roman see, by whom it was to be communicated to the Western churches. The few who afterwards separated themselves from the unity of the church, and continued to keep the fourteenth day, were named Quartodecimani [an early name given the Waldenses], and the dispute itself is known as the Quarto-deciman controversy.” The Encyclopedia Britannica, By Hugh Chisholm, (Cambridge, England; New York: At the University Press, 1910-1911. Edition: 11th Ed) pp. 828-829. [Brackets and emphasis supplied].

A Closer Look at the Early Church’s Patriarchs & Matriarchs

It is important, at this juncture, that we expand our knowledge of this church leader and Elder, “St. Polycarp, the disciple of St John the Evangelist and bishop of Smyrna,” because from him we vicariously have a direct link to the earliest life practice of the Apostles, Y’shuah (Jesus), and of the early Christians in general.  It muse be recalled that Smyrna is in Asia Minor, and one of the fields where Paul, the “apostle to the gentiles” spent a great portion of his time (Acts 19:22) in ministry.

Moreover, the record is abundantly clear that this Polycarp was a convert (disciple) of John’s (the disciple who wrote the Revelation).  Now for the link: John was in the Spirit on a particular Sabbath when he heard the voice of One “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, what thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna…” Rev. 1:11.  These letters to the seven churches are recorded in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, and are directed to the “angel” or Elder (leader) of the respective church.  Touching the church of Smyrna, this is what the Spirit says:

“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Rev. 2:8-11.

Do you now see the connection with the church at Smyrna?  The “angel” or Bishop of Smyrna was faithful to his charge, and did not flinch under papal pressure from pope Anicetus, but unhesitatingly protested:

“Therefore we keep the day undeviatingly, neither adding nor taking away, for in Asia great luminaries sleep, and they will rise on the day of the coming of the Lord, when He shall come with glory from heaven and seek out all the saints. Such were Phillip and two of his daughters, there is also John, who lay on the Lord’s breast, and there is also Polycarp at Smyrna, both bishop and martyr, Thraseas, both bishop and martyr from Eunemaea…All these kept the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the gospel, never swerving but following according to the rule of the faith.  And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, live according to the tradition of my kinsmen, and some of them have I followed. For seven of my family were bishops and I am the eighth, and my kinsmen ever kept the day when the people put away the leaven, therefore brethren, I who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord and conversed with brethren from every country, and have studied all holy Scripture am not afraid of threats, for they have said, who were greater than I, ‘It is better to obey God rather than men’…And I could mention the bishops who are resent whom you required me to summon, and I did not.  If I should write their names they would be many multitudes; and they knowing my feeble humanity, agreed with the letter, knowing that not in vain is my head grey, but that I have ever lived in Christ Jesus.” Seventh – day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 9, p. 362.

Polycrates is here, nearly 200 years after the cross, ubiquitously identifying himself as having descended from a dynasty of Bishops—Church overseers, equivalent to our modern First Elders, who are responsible for the spiritual oversight of the local congregation—and for space, did not list the “many multitudes” of Bishops from surrounding congregations who also kept the Passover in harmony with the teachings of the Apostles, some of whom he mentions by name, calling them “great luminaries”!  Friend, in light of Acts 15, ask yourself the searching question, were the Apostles teaching “Gentiles” living in Asia their “Jewish” traditions, or were they teaching the truths of Messiah?

The record is clear that these Waldensian (quatrodeciman) believers suffered much persecution for their faith, because they were up against spirits which “say they are Jews” but did everything against authentic torah worship, and so are rightly identified by Heaven as being “of the synagogue of Satan.”  Many years ago, Christ told the woman at the well these words which would certainly cause modern Christianity to flinch, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22.  True worship was handed down through Abraham’s lineage, all others have been shown to be opposed to YHWH’S Laws.  Placing in context His teaching that “Salvation is of the Jews,” Y’shuah declared, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Matt. 23:2-3.  In true focus then, the Rabbi’s were positionally executing Moses’ office, and were recognized by heaven as being correct in their teachings of the Torah, minus, of course, their yoke which make compliance difficult.  These yoke and heavy burdens, Messiah came to undo (Isa. 58:6).

That the Apostles taught and practiced Passover as a right of passage in the Christian experience, cannot be debated.  Modern Church Historians whose denominational views on Passover closely resemble that of Constantine’s, accurately report that “the early Christians seem to have continued the observance of Passover (Acts 20:6) and may have thought of it as a memorial of the Passion (cf. 1 Cor. 5:7, 8).  The apostles John and Philip are reported to have kept Passover in this way, and such a celebration seems definitely to have been an established practice form the time of Bishop Xystus 1 (c. A.D. 116-c. 125) of Rome.”  Seventh – day Adventist Encyclopedia Vol. 10, p. 482.  Notice that these historians truthfully said that the practice of Passover amongst the early disciples seems “definitely to have been an established [long-standing] practice.”  In other words, this was not a practice carried out by the few, it was not a practice for the deceived, and unskilled in the Scriptures, rather it was handed down by those who personally met and handled the Word of God—Y’shuah.

The Easter vs. Passover Controversy of Modern Times

As a Christian today, learning the truths of the historic faith handed down from the Apostles of the Lamb, the prominent question in my mind is: “since the Apostles bequeathed Passover to the Christian church, why is it not recognized and observed by modern Christianity today?”  The answer seems rather obvious:  we have yielded conscience to the dictates of another master, even Constantine, the Great Roman Pope and Emperor, who declared against Passover this serious dogma:

“And first of all it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with the enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul….Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.  A course at once legitimate and honorable lies open to our most holy religion.  Beloved brethren, let us with one consent adopt this course, and withdraw ourselves from all participation in their baseness.  For their boast is absurd indeed, that it is not in our power without instruction from them to observe these things.” Seventh – day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 9, p. 363.

Thus, hatred for the Jews and their so-called heritage compelled Constantine to lead the charge of his anti-Semitic practice by “having nothing in common with the Jews.”  The doctrine of contempt for Jewishness, was then created, which later fomented Hitler’s wrath in the execution of some 6 millions in recent times!

The below table (first two columns) is a representation of the Seventh-Day Adventist’s position on the Ten Commandments vs. the so-called “Ceremonial Law,” as summarized in Jan Marcussen’s National Sunday Law.  I have added a third column with correction to the enshrined errors, with the hope that readers will see through the artificial veil being erected between the Divine Statutes, Judgments and Commandments of our Father.  For starters, we must be clear that there is no such mention of “Ceremonial Law” in the Bible, and that this is a Roman Catholic invention form St. Thomas Aquinas in his epic work against the Torah, entitled Suma Thelogica.  From this basis, Aquinas reasoned that the ceremonial laws had to do with “ceremonies of service” and thus were removed from the requirements of Christians, once the sacrifice was nailed to the cross.  These ceremonies of service, also included the seventh-day Sabbath, he said, since there was a double sacrifice requirement for that day (Num. 28: 9-10)!

10 Commandments: No animal sacrifices Ceremonial Law: The one with animal sacrifices was nailed to the cross, the other will stand forever. Correction: 7th Day Sabbath had double animal sacrifices, Num 28: 9-10.
  1. Is called the “royal         law” James 2:8.
  2. Was spoken by God, Deut. 4:12,13.
  3. Was written with                      the finger of God, Ex. 31:18.
  4. Was placed in the                                 ark. Ex. 40:20,  Heb. 9:4.
  5. ls to “stand forever                          and ever.” Ps. 111:7,8
  6. Was not destroyed by Christ. Matt. 5:17 &18.

 

  1. Is called “the law contained in ordinances.” Eph. 2:15.
  2. Was spoken by Moses. Lev. 1:1-3
  3. Was written by Moses in a book, II Chron. 35:12
  4. Was placed in the side of the ark.    Deut. 31:24-26.
  5. Was nailed to the Cross. Col. 2:14.
  6. Was abolished by Christ. Eph. 2:15.

 

  1. Torah (Statutes, Judgments & Commandments)—Lev. 26:15
  2. Spoken by YHWH, Ex. 34: 10-27
  3. Torah Written by Moses on tables of stone; Ex 34:27-28
  4. Placed in The Most Holy Place
  5. Sacrifice “ceased,” holy days and other rites remained. Dan 9:27, Luke 22:14-16
  6. Continued forever! Isa. 66:24, Zech 14: 12-20; Matt. 5:17-18.

In keeping with the common understandings of her time, Ellen White has repeatedly used the term “ceremonial law,” which she has defined thusly:

“The ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice and His priesthood. This ritual law, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings were to cease. It is this law that Christ ‘took . . . out of the way, nailing it to His cross.’ Colossians 2:14.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 365.

Clearly then, the ceremonial law does not mean “feast days”, but the law of sacrificial offerings and ordinances.  Were we to include the holy days with the “ceremonial law” because of the sacrificial offerings offered on them, then the seventh-day Sabbath would be the first one to be nailed to the cross, because of the double sacrifice requirement on that day (Num 28: 9-10)!  The Apostles who knew Y’shuah more intimately than us, as they knew Him personally as a man among men, seeing Him in his daily life, taught all their converts of the continuity of the festivals WITHOUT the sacrificial offerings, realizing that the One great sacrifice has been made once and for all times.

The Waldenses Kept YHWH’S Statutes, Judgments and Commandments

Towards the latter portion of the nineteenth century, Dr. Samuel Kohn, the Chief Rabbi of Budapest Hungary recognized the fervor of the Waldenses Christians thusly:

Of the Christian groups in Transylvania during this period [1588-1623], there were those who restored the original and true Christianity, in that they actually accepted and practiced Jewish religious customs and statutes which the Old Testament prescribes and which original Christianity observed as binding and only later discarded. Die Sabbatharier In Siebenburgen Ihre Geshichte, Literatur, und Dogmatik, Budapest, Verlag von Singer & Wolfer, 1894; Leipzig, Verlag von Franz Wagner, p. 8.

The objectivity of Dr. Kohn, cannot be disputed, as he had nothing to gain in this revelation. After all, he was the Chief Rabbi, at the time when Christianity was most abusive to the people of Jewish heritage!  He noted, with great candor, that “original Christianity” also observed  and practiced Jewish religious customs, and held them as binding!  That the Waldenses shared this Hebrew heritage, also cannot disputed.  Dr. Kohn further states of this veteran group of saints that they had an  Old Sabbath Songbook, which he describes at length:

“The hymnal was written in Hungarian. It consisted of one hundred and two hymns. Forty-four for the Sabbath, five for the New Moon, eleven for Passover and Unleavened Bread, six for the Feast of Weeks, six for Tabernacles, three for New Year, one for Atonement, and twenty-six for everyday purposes.” Die Sabbatharier in Siebenburgen Ihr Geshichte, Literalur, und Dogmatik, Budapest, Verlag von Singer & Wolfer, 1894; Lipzig, Verlag von Franz Wager, p. 55. (Translated by Gerhard O. Marx).

Dr. Kohn further amplified his knowledge of this people when he stressed:

“Furthermore they celebrated the three main Jewish Feasts: the celebration of the unleavened bread for a week and the Feast of Tabernacles, for which they had provided several songs which tell the history and the meaning of the celebration concerned. In particular the first of these celebrations, which they tended to call Passover in the Hungarianised Hebrew term, was held in great admiration among them. They ate only unleavened bread during the time, ‘although they had not come out of Egypt themselves with the Jews.’ They observed the first and seventh day as high holidays, and the days lying between them, which were designated weekdays of the Passover after the literal translation of the Hebrew designation usual ‘with the Jews’, demi-feast days. This celebration had for them, apart from its direct Biblical meaning, in addition the significance of ‘the future redemption’ which Jesus will bring when he comes again… One of their Passover hymns refers to this deliverance of which the deliverance of the Jews is a reminder. The memory of the marvelous release of Israel from Egypt encourages them in their faith in ‘a still more splendid future release.’…

They celebrated all of these Jewish celebrations, however, as they so seriously stress at every opportunity, in order to obey the teaching and example of Jesus. They sanctified the Sabbath because one who does not do so does ‘not participate with Christ in eternal life.’ They celebrated ‘the Feast of the Passover of Israel according to the instruction of our Christ,’ and the Feast of Tabernacles, because whoever observes it ‘belongs to Christ.’” (ibid, pp. 106-107).

Regarding the institutions of Rome, Dr. Kohn said of the Waldenses: “The Christian holidays, which, according to their opinion were not prescribed in the Bible, but were the ‘inventions of the Popes’ are left completely disregarded by them.” (ibid, p. 108).  And as a mock to the unbiblical authority of Rome, the Waldenses chanted this Passover song, also found in their Hymnal:

“All pageantry not from the Bible Word Most certainly arrives from Italy. Of this truth we bear witness, hearts bestirred, As far as Rome itself, the Pope’s city. Just ask the Pope! He shall himself confess His celebrations do not come from God, The Jewish statutes God alone will bless, Where Popes unholy refuse to trod. He may claim that the Bible is divine, But his grand liturgies are not found there. He does not say they are not Rome’s design, Invented for the god-man’s idol prayer.

“However held, Passover in God’s Word As we can clearly read what God commands, Pope Victor changed, the Jewish rites interred, Wrote innovations with unholy hands. The dastard change was implemented when Commodus ruled in splendid Roman state, in which year if you count from Christ till then One hundred seventy will give the date.” (ibid., p. 57-58)

As a silent witness throughout the passage of time, the Waldensian Hymnal records the true testimony of the faithful throughout the ages, thus another of their hymns also exposes Rome’s craftiness in changing “times and laws” (Dan. 7:27), and instituting festivals of precept which Heaven has flatly condemned. The following Passover song, found in their Hymnal, clearly tells the truth of the change, while also revealing the orthodox teachings of the Waldenses:

“Instead of Sabbath, they Sunday hold, The Passover into Easter transform; Whitsuntide they boldly make the celebration of the Fiftieth day. The New Year and its celebration they do boldly Shift from the autumn into the winter; They do not hold all other celebrations—Just as the Gentiles.” (ibid., p. 80)

To those readers who know not the meaning of “Whitsuntide…the fiftieth day”, it is the Waldenses’ poetic  way of exposing the mockery of “White Sunday” which is the Roman Catholic Replacement for “The Feast of Weeks”—Pentecost!  Pentecost comes 50-days after Wave Sheaf day (the third day from Passover).

Reflection

In this brief history of the Waldenses, we have seen a people who have preserved the true Apostolic faith throughout the ages of darkness, they have passed the beacon of truth to us with trembling hands, dripping with the blood of the many martyrs before, and it is today our duty to lift the standard high, as we press on to victory in this revival of the Reformation spirit, in the faith of our Redeemer and King, Y’shuah.Ω

************  ***********  **************

By Garrick Augustus, Sabbath, April 11, 2009

10 thoughts on “Who Were The Waldenses?

  1. I am Waldensian following the ancient faith not modern Eucaminical intergration. My family DNA was recently profiled declaring me a Jew. Many of us are now preparing to try and instigate the DNA haplotype Waldensen Jew to be added to the several geno dna ancestry projects now popular. Currently only Askenazi and Sephardic. This new discovery is an act of God now happening amongst Waldensen blood descendants to fulfill Torah prophecy of the ingathering. We are also attempting to get Israel to recognise us as a new type of Jewish formerly unknown group. This is all very new and exciting and your church is theonly one my wife and I follow though we at this stage do not belong to any church. We do keep the basic festivals of Passover, Feast of Tabernacles and Friday evening Sabbath lighting some candles. For your information hope this is of interest to you sincerely and Holy Messiah Yeshua Jesus Christ Bless You and Members

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    1. I am also of Waldensian decent and I can say that what Vincent says is true! Not sure how all the Jewish threads pull together but I saw this connection several years ago during my quiet time. I found a website from Harry Stein that had a documented list of Sephardic Jews from Spain. I also have a well documented and detailed list of names from the Waldensian Valleys in Italy where most resided and went forth to evangelize Europe during the middle ages. At any rate I found of the 845 names in the Waldensian book 300 and counting were identical. I believe that as they were Christian Jews of old, they were a safe haven for the exiles of 1492 in Spain and the numerous pograms and exiles in Europe prior to. I would love to get a contact with Vincent so I can share more. I would love to work on a DNA project. There is a Waldensian group now with Family Tree DNA but the administrator seems to have dropped out. I am in the process of trying to revitalize this group. My name is Lillian Jacumin Modak and my email is lmodak@burke.k12.nc.us. Hope Vincent sees this.

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      1. Shabbat Shalom Lillian:

        I am delighted to aid in my small way of connecting you with your roots. I am also very interested in my spiritual Adventist-Waldensian heritage as well. As you can see from my site, I am an avid advocate of our Hebrew (Abrahamic) heritage in the Messianic faith, as ones who have been “grafted” into the commonwealth of Israel by the blood of the Lamb.

        I will definitely pass your email to Vincent today.

        Finally, I encourage you to check our my blog on the many educational topics I write on, especially those dealing with God’s consummation of the Abrahamic covenant today, and the establishment of the pre-millennial kingdom in Palestine, prior to the Second Advent of Christ, as a sort of ark of safety or city of refuge against the persecutions of the last days.

        Shalom in Messiah.

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  2. Thankyou for the marvelous and Blessed response I will contact you. Keep the faith and do not fall into what is now happening the watering down of Gods Holy Words, he will spew out of His mouth all churches who water down His words.

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  3. Hello Lillian Modak that email you gave is rejecting heres what I sent you also anyone interested feel free to email me at vincent.ruello@bigpond.com ” Hello Lillian, thankyou for responding to my post. I am glad it was seen and that some awareness is now beginning to take root. I have been defending the Apostolic Waldensian jewish roots for a few years now with many posts around the net. I first found out I was Waldensen 8 years ago which was a big shock and then late last year my brothers dna came through showing Jews ancestry. He has now applied for a Y test which will give more info. I have done my autosomal test also and am waiting for the results, I am from Sydney Australia a big hug to you Holy Messiah Jesus and His Holy Father Bless you from Vincent stay in touch would love to be of any assistance to you in making the TRUTH about our heritage come out. ”

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  4. A scholar Bonacursus, also wrote against them: “Not a few, but many know what are the errors of those who are called Pasigini ( Valdensis) First, they teach that we should obey the sabbath. Furthermore, to increase their error, they condemn and reject all the church Fathers, and the whole Roman Church” In Spain the persecution was directed at the Waldensian Sabbath-keepers. Also the monk Bernard de Foncald wrote about the heretics who were known as “Valdensis” who were condemned during the pontificate of Pope Lucius II in 1144, decades before Peter Waldo. These extant citation sources clearly prove the existence of the actual name Valdenses existed prior to Peter supposedly born in 1140 AD though there is no record of his birth, death, or parentage. We must thank Holy Jesus Christ who allowed true historians whether for or against the Waldenses, the church in the wilderness to leave REAL documented history proving our existence from the first massacre of 1144 AD. I am saddened by the intergration of modern day Waldenses with other faiths who have removed the Sabbath commandment, I am now a part once again of the church in the wilderness but do believe that I am not alone and my brothers and sisters who feel as I do also exist

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  5. My hope is that Israel will one day declare that the ancient Waldenses were Jews and that if we want we also have the right of passage return to live in Israel

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