EXODUS 12 - WHEN WAS THE FIRST PASSOVER?

Historically, there has been disagreement regarding the chronology of events at the first Passover.  Today, most of the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God believe that the Israelites slew the Passover lamb in Egypt after sunset on 14 Abib.  The common teaching is that they ate the Passover meal on the night of the 14th, and that the destroyer killed the Egyptian firstborn later that night about midnight.  This article will show that the Israelites slew the Passover on the afternoon of 14 Abib, and then ate the Passover meal on the night of 15 Abib, a few hours before God sent the death angel to kill the Egyptian firstborn.

Most Worldwide Church of God offshoots generally accept the Passover scenario adopted by Herbert W. Armstrong (or a slight variation of it).  Mr. Armstrong taught that the slaughter of the Passover lambs, the eating of the Passover meal, and the death of the firstborn all occurred after sunset on 14 Abib.  With some minor differences, most who believe this theory propose the following general chronology of events for the Egyptian Passover:

The belief that the Passover lambs were killed just after sunset, as 14 Abib was beginning, is based on the Hebrew phrase beyn ha'arbayim (בין הערבים):

EXODUS 12:6 "And it shall be for you to keep until the fourteenth day of this month.  And all the assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the evenings [beyn ha'arbayim]." (A Literal Translation of the Bible)

As shown above, beyn ha'arbayim literally means "between the evenings."  Most of the Churches of God interpret this phrase as "between sunset and dark."  Many translations of the Bible render the Hebrew phrase beyn ha'arbayim as "dusk" or "twilight."  Additionally, many modern scholars have construed this Hebrew phrase to mean from sunset to dark.  But is this the correct interpretation of beyn ha'arbayim?

The entire argument over the timing of the original Passover rests on the true meaning of beyn ha'arbayim.  If "between the evenings" means from sunset to dark, then the eating of the Passover meal and the death of the firstborn would have taken place on the night of 14 Abib.

On the other hand, if the Jews have been right in reckoning beyn ha'arbayim as the period from afternoon until sunset, the Israelites would have slain the Passover on the afternoon of 14 Abib.  They would then have eaten the Passover meal on the night of 15 Abib, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The death angel would have killed the firstborn at midnight on the 15th.

To fully understand this topic, we have to determine which interpretation of beyn ha'arbayim is correct.  How can we prove what God meant by "between the evenings?"  Does the Bible itself give us any clues?

Exodus 29:38-41 records the instructions God gave Moses regarding the daily sacrifices Israel was commanded to offer.  Let's look at that injunction closely in A Literal Translation of the Bible by Jay Green, which is found beside the Hebrew text in The Interlinear Bible:

EXODUS 29:38 "And this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs daily, sons of a year; 39 the one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the second lamb you shall offer between the evenings [beyn ha'arbayim].  40 And a tenth of fine flour anointed with beaten oil, a fourth of a hin, and a drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine, for the one lamb.  41 And you shall offer the second lamb between the evenings [beyn ha'arbayim]; you shall do it like the morning food offering and its drink offering, for a soothing fragrance, a fire offering to Jehovah." (A Literal Translation of the Bible)

The Israelites reckoned days from sunset to sunset.  God makes it clear that Israel was to offer two lambs every day.  The first lamb was sacrificed in the morning, and the second lamb was sacrificed "between the evenings."  To be the second offering of the day, the lamb sacrificed "between the evenings" had to be slain before sunset!

If "between the evenings" occurs anytime after sunset, then the Israelites could not have carried out this command in the manner God prescribed.  At sunset, the old day has ended and the new day has begun.  Defining beyn ha'arbayim as the period from sunset to dark makes the evening sacrifice first and the morning sacrifice second according to the way the Israelites delineated a "day."  Therefore this definition of "between the evenings" must be rejected because it contradicts the Scriptures!

Obviously beyn ha'arbayim must be a period during the daylight portion of the day.  The Jews have always reckoned it to be from the decline of the sun after noon until the setting of the sun.  Indeed, history shows that at the time of Messiah, the Jewish priests fulfilled God's command by offering the evening sacrifice between 2:30-3:30 in the afternoon.

Jewish scholars generally define the phrase beyn ha'arbayim to mean "the afternoon," as shown below:

at twilight  Hebrew ben ha-'arbayim literally means "between the two settings."  Rabbinic sources take this to mean "from noon on."  According to Radak, the first "setting" occurs when the sun passes its zenith just after noon and the shadows begin to lengthen, and the second "setting" is the actual sunset. (p. 55, vol. 2, The Jewish Publication Society Torah Commentary, "Exodus")
At dusk From six hours (after noon) and upward it is called בין הערבים, when the sun declines towards the place of its setting to become darkened.  And the expression בין הערבים appears in my sight (to refer to) those hours between the "evening" of day and the "evening" of night; the "evening" of day is at the beginning of the seventh hour, from (the time that) "the shadows of evening are stretched out" (Jer. 7.6), and the "evening" of night is at the beginning of night. (p. 102, vol. II, The Pentateuch and Rashi's Commentary-A Linear Translation Into English)
at dusk.  Better, towards even (M. Friedlander); lit. 'between the two evenings'.  According to the Talmud, the 'first evening' is the time in the afternoon when the heat of the sun begins to decrease, about 3 o'clock; and the 'second evening' commences with sunset. (p. 254, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, ed. Dr. Joseph H. Hertz)

The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus tells us that in the 1st century, before the destruction of the Temple, the Passover lambs were slaughtered "from the ninth hour till the eleventh" (6.9.3, The Wars of the Jews).  This time corresponds to our 3:00-5:00 p.m.  Obviously most of the Jews in Yeshua's day understood that "between the evenings" meant from the going down of the sun at noon until the setting of the sun at sunset.  Therefore, they slaughtered the Passover lambs in the afternoon of 14 Abib (then called Nisan).

Going back even further, we have the witness of the Book of Jubilees, which dates to the mid-2nd century BCE.  Fragments of ten different Hebrew manuscripts of this book have been found in the Qumran caves; however, the text we have comes from four Ethiopian translations, and a sizable fragment translated into Latin.  The Book of Jubilees contains valuable information on how the Jews kept the Passover 200 years before Yeshua:

Remember the commandment which the Lord commanded thee concerning the passover, that thou shouldst celebrate it in its season on the fourteenth of the first month, that thou shouldst kill it before it is evening, and that they should eat it by night on the evening of the fifteenth from the time of the setting of the sun.  For on this night - the beginning of the festival and the beginning of the joy - ye were eating the passover in Egypt . . .

Let the children of Israel come and observe the passover on the day of its fixed time, on the fourteenth day of the first month, between the evenings, from the third part of the day to the third part of the night, for two portions of the day are given to the light, and a third part to the evening.  This is that which the Lord commanded thee that thou shouldst observe it between the evenings.  And it is not permissible to slay it during any period of the light, but during the period bordering on the evening, and let them eat it at the time of the evening, until the third part of the night, and whatever is left over of all its flesh from the third part of the night and onwards, let them burn it with fire . . . (Jubilees 49:1-2, 10-13, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)

To support their beliefs, those who teach that Passover falls totally on 14 Nisan allege that the Jews redefined beyn ha'arbayim to suit their own purposes sometime between Ezra and the appearance of Yeshua the Messiah.  In taking this position, they are forced to reject all the available historical evidence and the inspired definition of "between the evenings" found in Exodus 29:38-41.  They admit that the Jews were killing the Passover on the afternoon of 14 Nisan at the time of Yeshua, but they maintain that this practice was incorrect.  These people further claim that Yeshua correctly observed Passover according to the Sadducean or Essene method, keeping it a day earlier than the Pharisees and the rest of the Jewish nation.

However, no historical testimony exists to confirm these theories.  They are based on the assumption that at the "last supper," Yeshua was following the Sadducean/Samaritan custom of observing the Passover beginning at sunset on 14 Nisan, or that he was following the Essene calendar, which put the Passover meal one day earlier than the mainstream Jewish calendar.  These views originated to explain the perceived discrepancies between John's account of the "last supper," which clearly shows that it was before Passover, and the Synoptic versions, which seem to indicate that the "last supper" was the regular Passover meal.  For a detailed discussion of this topic, see "Was The 'Last Supper' The Passover Meal?"

As stated earlier, no evidence exists to support these theories.  But is there a way to disprove them?  Yes, we can refute both from the Bible.  It is a simple matter to refute the Essene observance premise.  Shortly before his crucifixion, Yeshua told the multitudes and his disciples to follow the commands given by the scribes and Pharisees while they sat on Moses' seat (Matt. 23:1-3).  This most certainly would have included the time for observing the feasts, including Passover.  If he himself did NOT observe the feast according to Pharisaic reckoning, he would have been as much a hypocrite as those Pharisees he chastised  for hypocrisy in the remainder of Matthew 23.

Disproving the Sadducean Passover hypothesis from the Bible takes a little more effort.  A careful reading of Mark 15:1 in conjunction with John 18:28 shows that the Sadducees also ate the Passover meal on the night of 15 Nisan, at the same time advocated by the Pharisees:

MARK 15:1 Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led him away, and delivered him to Pilate. (NKJV)
JOHN 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning.  But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. (NKJV)

Who were the "chief priests" mentioned in Mark 15:1 who delivered Yeshua to Pilate?

The Sadducees are mentioned by name in the NT only about a dozen times . . . but it must be remembered that when mention is made of the chief priests, practically the same persons are referred to. (p. 741, "Sadducees," The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary)

Mark records that Yeshua was taken before the Sanhedrin council (Mark 15:1).  This council included both Pharisees and Sadducees.  These were the same men who delivered Messiah to Pilate early on the morning of 14 Nisan.

None of those who brought Yeshua to Pilate would enter the Praetorium.  Why?  John clearly states the reason:  They wanted to be ceremonially clean so they could partake of the Passover meal, which was eaten on 15 Nisan after sunset!  Even if the Sadducees believed Passover fell totally on 14 Nisan, John shows that they were not observing it then.

If the Sadducees believed that they should eat the Passover meal on the night of 14 Nisan, why didn't they eat it at that time?

By the time of Jesus they [the Sadducees] included the families who supplied the high priests, as well as other wealthy aristocrats of Jerusalem.  Most members of the Sanhedrin, the central judicial authority of Jewish people, were Sadducees.  Thus, the Sadducees were the party of those with political power, those allied with the Herodian and Roman rulers, but they were not a group with influence among the people themselves.  The views of the Pharisees prevailed among the common people, so that even though the two groups differed with regard to items in the laws of purity and details of temple procedure during the feasts, the Sadducean priests were compelled to operate according to the Pharisees' views. (p. 902, "Sadducees," The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary)

The Sadducees were politically motivated; they kept the Pharisaic (and scriptural) Passover because they feared a public backlash if they didn't.  Regardless of what the Sadducees personally believed about the timing of the Passover, the Bible shows that they followed the same custom as the rest of the nation.

History shows that the Pharisees controlled the Temple rituals at the time of Yeshua.  You never find Yeshua criticizing the Jews or the Pharisees for keeping Passover on the wrong day.  Indeed, the Bible plainly records that Yeshua and his parents customarily kept the Passover in Jerusalem with the rest of their countrymen (Luke 2:41-42; John 2:23; 11:55-56).

Yeshua corrected the Pharisees on many issues where they were wrong.  Would he have neglected to correct them on such a vitally important issue if they were keeping Passover on the wrong day?  Not likely!  Yet instead of correction, just before the Passover feast we find him telling his disciples and the multitudes that "the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.  Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do . . ." (Matt. 23:1-3).  It's absurd to think that Yeshua would tell the people to follow the Pharisees if they were observing Passover at the wrong time!

On the other hand, it's also strange that the scribes and Pharisees never criticized Yeshua or his disciples for keeping the Passover on a different day from them.  Would their leaders have overlooked such an obvious point of disagreement when they were seeking a way to discredit and ultimately destroy Yeshua?  Probably not.  In this matter, the silence of Scripture is very revealing.

We have further evidence from Paul that the 1st-century Jewish interpretation of beyn ha'arbayim is the correct one.  In Philippians 3:5-6, Paul describes his Jewish background; he says that he was "concerning the Law, a Pharisee . . . concerning the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless."  Paul could not have truthfully said that he was blameless regarding the Law if he had observed the Passover at the wrong time as a Pharisee.  This inspired Scripture indirectly shows that the Pharisaic interpretation of beyn ha'arbayim, which the Jews observed in killing the Passover, was the correct one!

From where did the two different interpretations of the phrase beyn ha'arbayim arise?

The phrase "between the evenings" in Ex. 12:6 (also Ex. 16:12; Lv. 23:5; Nu. 9:3,5,11) has been accorded two variant interpretations, according to variant community practice - either between 3 p.m. and sunset, as the Pharisees maintained and practised (cf. Pesahim 61a; Josephus, BJ 6. 423); or, as the Samaritans and others argued, between sunset and dark.  The earlier time, as Edersheim points out, allows more leeway for the slaughtering of the innumerable lambs, and is probably preferred. (p. 882, "Passover," New Bible Dictionary)

Alfred Edersheim, a noted 19th-century Jewish scholar, has this to say about beyn ha'arbayim:

The lamb was to be killed on the eve of the 14th, or rather, as the phrase is, "between the two evenings" (Exod. 12:6, Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3,5).  According to the Samaritans, the Karaite Jews [8th century CE], and many modern interpreters, this means between actual sunset and complete darkness (or, say, between six and seven P.M.); but from the contemporary testimony of Josephus (Jew. Wars, 6.423), and from the Talmudic authorities, there cannot be a doubt that at the time of our Lord, it was regarded as the interval between the sun's commencing to decline and his actual disappearance.  This allows a sufficient period for the numerous lambs which had to be killed, and agrees with the traditional account that on the eve of the Passover the daily evening sacrifice was offered an hour, or, if it fell on a Friday, two hours, before the usual time. (p. 165, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, updated ed.)

We can see that at the time of Messiah, primarily two opinions existed regarding the interpretation of "between the evenings" as it applied to Passover.  The Pharisees taught that the lamb had to be slaughtered on the afternoon of 14 Nisan.  The Samaritans believed that they should kill the Passover lamb between sunset and dark, at the beginning of 14 Nisan.

Whom should we look to for our interpretation of beyn ha'arbayim, the Samaritans or the Pharisees?  Did the Samaritans have the truth regarding this matter?  Let's see what Yeshua himself said to a Samaritan woman about the spiritual knowledge and understanding of the Samaritans:

JOHN 4:22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. (NKJV)

Messiah Yeshua clearly told the Samaritan woman at the well that the Samaritans did not know what they worshiped.  In the same verse, he affirmed that the Jews did know the God they worshiped, because they had the true religion.

According to Yeshua, the Pharisees were the successors to Moses.  When they expounded on when to keep the feasts of God from the Torah, Yeshua told his disciples and the people to observe the Pharisaic commands.  He never told the people to follow the teachings of the syncretistic Samaritans or the materialistic Sadducees!  II Kings 17:22-34 shows the origin of those Samaritans and their illicit religious practices.  Just like many Christian denominations today, the Samaritans had a little of the truth mixed with much error.  Yeshua confirms in Matthew 23:1-3 that it was the Pharisees, not the Sadducees (or the Essenes), who were the authoritative religious teachers of his day.

When we look at this topic objectively with an open mind, the evidence is overwhelming that beyn ha'arbayim is the period between noon and sunset (for additional discussion of this topic, see "What Does 'Between The Evenings' Mean?").  Therefore, the Israelites must have killed the Passover lambs in Egypt on the afternoon of 14 Abib and then eaten the Passover meal sometime on the night of 15 Abib before midnight.  This time sequence will become more obvious as we examine the rest of the Exodus chronology.

Now let's look at how God told the Israelites to eat the Passover:

EXODUS 12:8 "That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.  9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts.  10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.  11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand.  Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.  12 On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.  I am the LORD." (NIV)

Those who believe in a Passover falling totally on 14 Abib have trouble explaining why God instructed the Israelites to eat the Passover in haste.  As you can see from this passage, they were to have their belongings packed and be dressed and ready to move out quickly.  Yet, there was no need for them to eat the Passover in haste, with their belts and sandals on and their staffs in their hands, if they were not going to leave Egypt until almost a full day later, on the night of 15 Abib.  So why did God give them these explicit instructions?  Is it because He truly intended for them to leave soon after the death of the firstborn?  Yes!

Additionally, those who believe that the death angel passed through Egypt on the night of 14 Abib make a major issue of the Israelites not leaving their houses until dawn.  They contend that per Moses' instruction found in Exodus 12:22, none of them dared venture out of their homes until morning, because to do otherwise would have meant coming out from under the protection of the lambs' blood!  But do the Scriptures teach this?

EXODUS 12:13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (NKJV)

When the death angel went through the land, he looked for the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts of the houses.  When he saw it, he passed over that house!  In Exodus 12:13, the phrase "when I strike" implies a definite time.  When did the Destroyer strike?

EXODUS 12:29 And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. (NKJV)

The Scriptures show that the death angel killed the firstborn at midnight.  Once the Destroyer had gone through Egypt, the 10th plague was over.  It does not appear that there was any danger to the Israelite firstborn after the death angel had passed through the land.

Now what does the Bible show happening after the death of the firstborn?

EXODUS 12:30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.  31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel.  And go, serve the LORD as you have said.  32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also."  33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste.  For they said, "We shall all be dead." (NKJV)

The Scriptures clearly record that Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron that night, soon after the death of the firstborn.  Although some try to make the case that Moses and Aaron ignored Pharaoh's summons, the text strongly suggests that they appeared before him.  Pharaoh commanded Moses to take the Israelites out of the country, and he also asked Moses to bless him before he left.  All the Egyptian people, who rose that night after the last plague, urged the people to leave in haste!  They feared that they would also be killed if the Israelites remained in their land a moment longer.

So what happened next?  Did the Israelites ignore the order of Pharaoh and the pleas of the surviving Egyptians and spend the entire next day gathering gold, silver, and clothing from the grieving Egyptians as they prepared to bury their dead?  Not according to the Bible!

EXODUS 12:34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.  35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.  36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested.  Thus they plundered the Egyptians.  37 Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.  38 A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds; a great deal of livestock.  39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves. (NKJV)

The Scriptures clearly show that the Israelites left hurriedly!  Not only did Pharaoh and the Egyptians urge them to leave, the Bible says they actually drove the Israelites out of Egypt, just as God had foretold (Exo. 11:1).  They were forced to leave without having had time to prepare any food for their journey.  Following God's instructions, they were dressed, packed, and ready to go quickly.  They did not even have time to unpack their kneading bowls and prepare bread before the Egyptians expelled them!

If we look at when the command to spoil the Egyptians was given, we can also see when it was likely carried out:

EXODUS 11:1 And the LORD said to Moses, "I will bring yet one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt.  Afterward he will let you go from here.  When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether.  2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold."  3 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.  Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people. (NKJV)

From the statement in Exodus 11:3 that "YHVH gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians," it's evident that the plundering occurred before the 10th plague took place.  It had already happened before the Egyptians expelled the Israelites.  That's why in many translations of the Bible, the account of the plundering detailed in Exodus 12:35-36 is in the past tense ("had done," "had asked," "had given").

Going back to a point raised earlier, did the Israelites wait until first light to leave their houses, or were they expelled during the night?  The Scriptures do not conclusively tell us either way.  On the surface, Deuteronomy 16:1 seems to imply that Pharaoh expelled them before dawn, while it was still dark:

DEUTERONOMY 16:1 "Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night." (NKJV)

However, this Scripture may not mean that the Israelites literally left at night.  The phrase "YHVH your God brought you out of Egypt by night" could refer to the event that caused their release, the death of the Egyptian firstborn.  After all, it was this 10th plague that occurred that night which finally caused Pharaoh to free them.  Even after the Israelites began traveling, they were not out of Egyptian territory until they crossed the Red Sea.  So a figurative meaning for this verse is likely.  Yet whether this verse is literal or figurative, the few hours we are talking about does not materially affect the chronology.

Despite whether the Israelites left their houses a few hours before dawn or as the sky was lightening in the east, Numbers 33:3 tells us that the Israelites departed from Rameses (also known as the land of Goshen, see Gen. 47:5-6, 11) on the 15th of Abib.  They were forced to obey the command of Pharaoh and the exhortations of the frantic Egyptians and start their journey out of slavery that night or just as the daylight portion of 15 Abib was dawning, just a few hours after the death of the Egyptian firstborn:

NUMBERS 33:1 These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.  2 Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the LORD.  And these are their journeys according to their starting points:  3 They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians.  4 For the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had killed among them.  Also on their gods the LORD had executed judgments.  5 Then the children of Israel moved from Rameses and camped at Succoth. (NKJV)

Moses conclusively records in the passage above that the Israelites began their journey out of Egypt on 15 Abib.  They left from their area of residence, Rameses (Goshen), shortly before dawn or at the first light of day.  During the daylight portion of the 15th, they saw the Egyptians burying their dead as they triumphantly traveled to Succoth.

I am sure that I have not covered every possible objection one could raise about the timing of the first Passover.  Hopefully, though, I have shown that the overwhelming majority of the evidence proves that the original Passover lambs were slain on the afternoon of 14 Abib, with the Passover meal being eaten on the night of the 15th.  According to the Bible, the actual sequence of events for the first Passover is as follows:

This is the sequence of events that the Bible reveals for the first Passover and the beginning of the Exodus.  As shown above, the chronology advanced by those who believe the Passover fell completely on 14 Abib has serious flaws.  It ignores some Scriptures and contradicts others.

Many believe that by partaking of the wine and bread on the night of 14 Nisan, they are keeping the New Testament Passover at the same time the Old Testament Passover was kept.  However, the original Passover was not eaten on the 14th!  God commanded the Israelites to keep the Passover as a feast to YHVH throughout their generations.  It was to be kept as an everlasting ordinance (Exo. 12:14, 24).  Did Yeshua change the time for observing the Passover?

MATTHEW 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled." (NKJV)

Yeshua fulfilled the symbolism of the Passover by dying on the afternoon of 14 Nisan at the same time the lambs had been sacrificed for centuries.  But nowhere does the New Testament record that Yeshua changed the date for the "night to be much observed" (Exo. 12:42), the night God ordained for eating the Passover meal.  Since the original Passover, this meal has celebrated the Israelites' deliverance from slavery in Egypt.  For believers, it now celebrates our deliverance from bondage to sin in spiritual Egypt, Satan's world.

Bryan T. Huie
February 23, 1997

Revised: March 19, 2010

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