PASSOVER IS A FEAST AND A HOLY CONVOCATION
Passover Night is the Night to be Much Observed
Why didn’t you, or I, ever read that?
At least we read over it and missed it completely.
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
Passover, all day, not just an hour, is a memorial, a Feast and an ordinance forever.
Passover is first on the list of God’s feasts and holy convocations.
What does this mean to us? Is it only a technicality? Could it change our practice in any way?
Think about it.
Have you ever felt a little uncomfortable or uneasy the day after the Passover service? Christ was suffering and dying on that day. Yet, by our understanding, we were working normally, gorging on left-over leavening and preparing for a “Night to be Much Remembered” party.
Have you ever had mixed emotions on the Night to be Much Remembered or Observed (NBMO)? It was a “Sabbath,” but the church was high-handedly partying, not treating that evening like the other Sabbaths of the year, annual or weekly. Does it make sense—and fit scripture—to party on a Sabbath? Is that what “high hand” actually means?
Have you ever wrestled with the practice of eating unleavened bread with the Passover, but not putting leavening out of your home until the next evening? Some now keep eight days of unleavened bread to resolve the question. Is that the right answer?
When these questions were asked of me, I had to admit I had felt vaguely uncomfortable some years—especially if I meditated on what Christ was going through on that day while I was blithely treating it like any other day of the week.
However, when it was suggested we could have had some faulty understanding, I immediately fell back on my fifty-year fund of explanations, responding by preaching a sermon using all the stock answers we have always used in the Church (es) of God. BUT I HAD TO EAT CROW!
When we have uneasy feelings, have to shout louder to convince or invoke the authority of Herbert Armstrong, the Jews or some Protestant commentary to prove a point, we should read the scriptures themselves more carefully!
Did Herbert Armstrong have EVERYTHING right? Some think so. Others are now convinced he had almost everything wrong! I believe God used him to call most of us to His “truth” or way of life, and I respect the work God did through him. However, he was not the final authority and often changed his beliefs. The Bible is the final authority. There is no “new truth” for we are to live by every word of God, the scriptures, “which are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16) and “cannot be broken” (John 10:35). While there is no “new” truth, as all truth needed for salvation has always been in the Bible, there can be new or better understanding of the scriptures.
Could we really have had some elements of the Passover observance wrong? If so, what and how? (This is not a paper about a 15th Passover, but addresses other issues which in due process disprove a late 14th or 15th Passover).
PREMISE: Passover night IS the Night to be Much Observed and the 14th IS a holy day AND also the first day of unleavened bread! This is contrary to all our old arguments and previous “understanding,” but true. Let’s see the proof!
Using the principle of Philip explaining to the eunuch “from that scripture,” let’s examine Exodus 12 and 13 carefully and see if we overlooked some statements. If so, does the rest of scripture corroborate the findings?
The Passover lamb or goat was separated on the 10th and killed on the 14th “at even”.
There are arguments raging through the churches today about whether “ba erev” and “ben ha arbayim” mean at sunset or from noon to sunset and even a whole day--from sunset to sunset, as one man argues. Perhaps we can establish the time of the Exodus 12 Passover without rehashing those arguments or even needing them.
We are warned about striving over words to no profit (II Tim. 2:14). There is a time to check Hebrew or Greek, but Bible context and example will answer most questions. We should not need to be Hebrew and Greek scholars to understand a book that embodies the simplicity in Christ (II Cor. 11:3). The best Hebrew and Greek minds in history have studied the Bible all their lives and not even come close to understanding it. We must pray for God’s Spirit to open our minds or we can easily be taken, snared and deceived.
Genesis 1 establishes the day as two parts, “the evening and the morning.”
The evening or night portion is the first part of the day. [A few argue that the day begins in the morning, but Genesis 1 states several times that the evening and morning is the correct sequence]. The day is from sunset to sunset, not sunrise to sunrise. The day and night are defined and divided by the sun and moon that rule the day and night respectively (Gen. 1:14). The sun’s rule ends at sunset, therefore marking the “evening” period of Genesis 1:5, etc. and the beginning of the new day. Man—and scripture—may refer to “evening” in various ways before and after sundown, but to define the day, sunset is the key.
Lev. 23:27-32 establishes exactly when the Day of Atonement occurs. It is the 10th of the month. Moses shows how to count the 10th. It begins at sundown ending the ninth since a new day begins at sundown. It continues from even to even or sundown to sundown since the day is divided by the going down of the sun. Each day only has one “even” or sunset assigned to it—at its beginning.
Leviticus 23:5 tells us Passover is “in” the 14th at even.
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
Since Passover is “in” the 14th, it cannot be after sundown at the end of the 14th because that sundown starts the 15th, belongs to the 15th. The only evening time assigned to the 14th is the beginning of the 14th. It is quite clear that the Passover was killed early on the 14th and subsequent events occurred through the rest of the night, such as the killing of the firstborn.
The argument that the “evening sacrifice” occurred around 3:00 P.M., and therefore we should kill the lamb on the afternoon of the 14th, and eat it on the 15th, holds no water. Consider that there was no morning or evening sacrifice in Exodus 12! Those sacrifices were instituted later (Jer. 7:22). The Passover sacrifice stands on its own and it occurred on the 14th, continuing on into the evening from the beginning of the 14th. Nowhere does scripture give any indication that the Passover observance should cover parts of two days—a 14th and 15th Passover. It is always stated as being the 14th. We shall see Christ kept it that way in the New Testament, contrary to the tradition of some Jews—and it wasn’t a “pre-Passover meal” as we shall see proved in scripture.
Once we establish that the Passover was killed at the beginning of the 14th, the rest is easy if we pay attention to what Exodus 12 and 13 actually say.
They were to eat the flesh “in that night”, the 14th , with unleavened bread. It was all to be eaten that night and what remained was to be burned by morning, verse 10.
And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
Verse 11 begins to give us some important information. They were to eat with their loins girded, shoes on their feet, staff in hand and IN HASTE. If they were not to leave until the 15th, why would they be dressed to go in a hurry as they ate the Passover? Were they to dress up to leave, dress back down to stay and then dress back up to leave on the 15th? Verse 11 indicates danger and awareness—being ready—on the night of the 14th.
And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD's passover.
The firstborn were killed that same night at midnight, verse 12. The church has never questioned all these events happening on the night of the 14th. We have always presumed Israel left Egypt on the next night, the 15th. We were correct about the timing of the events of the 14th, but, as we shall see, wrong about leaving on the 15th.
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
Now notice: Verse 14 gives us much!
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
“This day…” Passover DAY, not just “night”, is a memorial, a feast and an ordinance forever! We have traditionally kept the Passover as roughly a one hour observance, gone home and done nothing particularly spiritual until the beginning of the 15th! But this verse tells us this DAY is a memorial—a complete day to keep as a memorial. It is also a FEAST! Lev. 23:4-5 echoes this. Passover is both a holy convocation and a feast according to these two verses!
These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
Now turn to one of your favorite Passover passages, Ezekiel 45:21. No, it probably isn’t a favorite. Most of us never really noticed it!
“In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.”
To explain away some passages in the New Testament, we have tried to say “the Jews called the whole Passover/unleavened bread period of time ‘Passover’”. Not just the Jews! Scripture, GOD, calls Passover a feast of seven days! This statement confirms several things: Passover is a Feast. This feast is on the 14th. This feast on the 14th begins seven days of unleavened bread.
We have never kept Passover and Passover DAY as a FEAST!! A feast is not just one hour. A memorial is not just one hour. This is also an ordinance forever—a distinction that will shortly become apparent and important.
There is no change in subject or antecedent in Exodus 12:15.
Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
The context continues without break, to mention seven days of unleavened bread, the first day being a holy convocation.
And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
We have already seen in Lev. 23 that Passover IS a holy convocation and a feast. Verse 16 explains that a “holy convocation” is not just a one hour meeting, but that no work can be done on a holy convocation, as explained also in Lev. 23 several times and specifically in Lev. 23:4, where it names Passover the first holy convocation in the list of holy convocations!
The entire chapter of Exodus 12 is about the Feast of the Passover. There is no mention of a separate Feast of Unleavened Bread at all. Verse 14 transitions into verse 15 with no break in subject.
We are beginning to see that Passover day is the FIRST day of unleavened bread! I know about Lev. 23:6. Deuteronomy 16 is another passage that raises objections. Some have stated that Deuteronomy 16 does not address the Passover at all, but is only speaking of the “days of unleavened bread,” assuming a 15th beginning. This premise will be exploded, along with all the arguments about it. Deuteronomy 16:4 substantiates that the Passover was killed on the first day of the seven days of unleavened bread at even. THAT is the sacrifice that Exodus 12 tells us not to leave uneaten till morning and that instruction is repeated at the end of Deut. 16:4. Deuteronomy 16 will be explained in detail a bit later, and yes, I know all the arguments about Deut. 16.
We will address Lev. 23 and Deut. 16 later, but let’s understand Exodus 12 in context first. There is still no change of subject or antecedent in verse 17. It is still talking about Passover day and states that they left Egypt on that selfsame day!
And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
Notice that verse 17 says “this day” shall be observed by an ordinance forever! This is a repeat of verse fourteen, that called Passover DAY an ordinance forever. There are not two holy days, two feasts and two holy convocations back to back at the beginning of Passover and unleavened bread, so Passover has to be the one that “is” all those things—it simply says so! Additionally, once we prove when they officially left Egypt (the14th), we have another proof that Passover day is the first day of unleavened bread.
VERSE 18 CONTINUES WITH NO CHANGE IN SUBJECT! It still addresses the 14th!
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
If the Passover is to be killed the 14th at even (at the beginning of the 14th), then the “14th at even” in verse eighteen has to be the exact same time frame. Unleavened bread is to be eaten for seven days, from the beginning of the 14th at even. The even (or sundown) at the end of the 14th does not belong to the 14th, but begins the 15th! Remember that God counts days beginning with the evening or dark period!
Count it out! From the beginning of the 14th, we count seven days: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. That’s seven. If you count the 21st you have 8, not 7 days. “Even” of the 21st in this context has to refer to the beginning of the 21st just as Lev. 23:32, regarding Atonement, uses the even at the end of the ninth to transition to the 10th and then counts the 10th from sundown to sundown or even to even. Since we start the count at the beginning of the 14th, just as we do the Passover, we have a total of seven days by the end of the 20th or “UNTIL the 21st” begins at sundown.
If you were to define the first day of creation week, how would you do it? You would go to Genesis 1 and see that God counts a day from sundown to sundown. The first day of creation was counted as “the evening and the morning.” The second, third and fourth days were also counted as “the evening and the morning.” The 14th day from creation would be counted the same way, “the evening and the morning.” That is the sequence God uses and has since Genesis. Using God’s method of counting, the “even of the 14th” simply has to be the beginning of the 14th. The evening at the end of the 14th begins the 15th and therefore cannot be called the “even of the 14th.” “Even” of the 21st has to be the beginning of the 21st and that is where you stop counting.
Remember how long Herbert Armstrong went back and forth on the Pentecost count, sought out various Hebrew experts and still was a long time finally determining that God counts inclusively? Counting from the morrow after the Sabbath made the count start with Sunday, not Monday. The simple answer to that count is found in Lev. 23:15-16:
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be completed:
Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
You count fifty days from that morrow. That morrow is a Sunday. It is also the "Waive Sheaf Day" seven completed Sabbaths or weeks, and that morrow after the 50 day count is Pentecost. 49 plus 1 == 50. These verses are showing how to count and the count includes the first day mentioned. The same is true of Exodus 12:18. It is very simple but escaped us, probably because of our predisposed thinking based on Lev. 23:6 where we assumed it said the 15th is the first day of unleavened bread. “First” is not in that verse! We will explain that one later.
Now, COULD they have left Egypt on the 14th? Yes. Numbers 33:3 says they left Rameses on the 15th. Did you catch that?? It does not say they left EGYPT on the 15th, but Rameses on the 15th. Nowhere does it say they left Egypt on the 15th. More of that later.
Let’s examine Exodus 12 some more first. Verse 22 says they could not come out until morning, after keeping the Passover and it was an ordinance forever, verse 24.
For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
The firstborn were killed at midnight the same night, verse 29. Remember from verse 17 that GOD says Passover DAY is when he brought them out of Egypt. Does that contradict the verse that says they came out at night, Deut. 16:1? A day is 24 hours, so they had to come out of Egypt sometime during the 24 hours of Passover night/Passover day.
No one argues against the firstborn being slain Passover night at midnight. As soon as that event occurred—that night—Pharaoh gave the order for them to leave right then!
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and 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 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.
32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
“Rise up and go forth.” This was urgent to Pharaoh and all the Egyptians as seen in verse 33, “go in haste!”
This fits with verse 11. They were to be fully dressed as they ate the Passover for they were to be ready to leave in haste. Through all the plagues on Egypt, God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not let them go. After this last plague, Pharaoh was not hardened—he commanded them to leave immediately. In other words, God freed them THAT NIGHT! Maybe they did not actually burn any leftover lamb and spoil the Egyptians until whenever they felt safe leaving their houses the next morning.
Whether “morning” means sometime after midnight, dawn or after dawn has been argued, though the Hebrew “boquer” appears to be at sunrise. But the point is moot. They were officially released at night, that same night and thrust out that same night. They were released from bondage, from slavery, FREED, that night! This squares with Deut. 16:1—the events of THAT night were what “brought them out.” Deuteronomy says He brought them out by night. Passover night was His LAST act in the bringing out process that had begun with the earlier plagues. No further act of God is mentioned in the bringing out process, so Deuteronomy 16:1 can only be referring to Passover night—and says so!
Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
The ORDER for them to leave came at night—after midnight—on the 14th. They had been freed that very night—free to go, urged to go in haste, immediately, officially dismissed. Verse 39 enforces this: “they were thrust out of Egypt and could not tarry”.
Ex 12:39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
Perhaps it would have taken a few hours from midnight when the first born were killed for recognition of the breadth of the plague of death to spread, for communication to reach Moses and from Moses to Israel that they had been ordered to leave. By that time individual Egyptians were likely going directly to the Israelites urging them to leave lest they all die, verse 33. Maybe they did feel safe leaving their homes in the early hours before dawn—the context sounds like it. But for those who maintain they could not even walk out their doors until dawn, the fact remains they were released—commanded!—to go as soon as they dared—and that release came at night.
They burned any leftover lamb and spoiled the Egyptians the morning of the 14th and began to leave on the 14th.
Does that conflict with Numbers 33:3, about leaving Rameses on the 15th? No. They began their journey on the 14th. That is, they spoiled the Egyptians on the morning of the 14th and left their homes, their property, their villages that day to gather in Rameses. Some of them likely traveled several miles on the 14th in order to line up and leave Rameses on the 15th. They likely lined up ( in ranks of five, Ex. 13:18) in Rameses to leave on the morning of the 15th, not the beginning or evening part of the 15th.
Think about it! How long had they been awake? They had not slept since the night of the 13th! They arose as usual on the 13th, went through the day normally and killed the Passover lamb at sundown beginning the 14th. They were up all night that night eating the lamb, dressed and ready to go. They were worrying about the killing of the firstborn, which occurred at midnight. They then began to hear the wailing of the Egyptians sometime thereafter. You don’t sleep through that! Not only that, they were fully dressed and prepared to leave. Then the Egyptians began banging on their doors, screaming for them to leave.
You don’t sleep through that either! Whenever, “in the morning” was and they felt safe in going outside, they still had to burn any leftover lamb, then receive and pack the wealth of the Egyptians who were handing it to them as inducement to get rid of them. Once each family packed up and gathered their animals, they had to travel to Rameses as family units.
They had begun their journey from Egypt on the 14th, arriving in Rameses bone-weary, having been through two days and a night of extreme emotional and physical challenge. Party mood? They only wanted sleep so they could travel the next day. On the 15th, they lined up in ranks of five or “harnessed” as Ex. 13:18 shows and then they traveled.
In Exodus 12:37, they were counted, as a group, and left Rameses for Succoth on the 15th as revealed in Numbers 33:3. And they departed from Rameses [does not say Egypt] in the first month on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
Ex 12:37-39 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
NOTE: Numbers says they left on the morrow after Passover. Passover extended through the END of the 14th as it was a FEAST and holy convocation to them. We have looked on the Passover as just an evening event, but we have seen that it was an all-day festival, so the morrow after the Passover would have to be the 15th! “Morrow” might even in itself imply they left Rameses in the daylight of the 15th rather than at night.
They had reached Rameses sometime by the end of the 14th and were therefore on the scene to leave Rameses on the 15th as stated by Numbers 33:3:
And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
The argument that they wouldn’t spoil the Egyptians on a holy day, Passover day, does not hold water. Would that be any worse than traveling all night the 15th if it was a holy day as we have always been taught? God would not have imputed sin to them in any case, as they were acting out what would later become symbolic to us—fleeing from the bondage of sin. They likely crossed the Red Sea on the last day of unleavened bread—also a holy convocation and Sabbath. That symbolism is of death in baptism—the removal of sin through Christ’s death.
Additionally, think about the wealth they obtained on the morning of the 14th. They received all the treasures of Egypt they could carry. Gold, silver, jewels…
And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
Jesus Christ was spoiled on that same day, the 14th—spoiled to the point of His precious life—the greatest wealth our Father had—being given to us, the spiritual Israelites, on that day that we might begin our journey to the ultimate Promised Land, the Kingdom of God.
What greater symbolism is there? Without the events of the 14th, we could not begin to leave “Egypt”, or bondage, as there could be no passing over our sins. That is the day Israel was released to begin their journey out of Egypt to the Promised land. The same is true with us in the New Testament, Christ freeing us on the 14th.
What day could be more important to designate as a holy convocation and Feast? And a memorial? And an ordinance?
So let’s ask the question: What is important about the 15th? No miracles were done. No one did anything but line up and march in order on a journey they had begun on the 14th! You begin a journey when you leave your home and land, not when you meet with friends or relatives in St. Louis to begin a trip together from that point.
They had no time to bake leavened bread on the morning of the 14th for sure (v 39), having been thrust out in haste and having no time to bake until the evening of the 15th or the next morning. They had eaten unleavened bread at the beginning of the 14th in any case, so that covered them in the instruction to eat unleavened bread for seven days.
They traveled all day the 14th, collapsed in a heap to sleep that night and had to line up and march the 15th. They did not have time to make unleavened bread until the morning of the 15th. The point is the urgency in leaving on the 14th!
You say they “left Egypt” beginning the night of the 15th? No, they left Rameses, still being in Egypt the 15th, camped in Succoth the next night, still in Egypt. It took several days to actually get out of Egypt.
But they began to leave Egypt when they left their homes behind, never to return, and headed for Rameses to get organized. That was the morning, the daylight portion, of the 14th , having been freed that night.
If this is true so far, then when is the Night To Be Much Observed (NBMO), or Night of Observations, as my King James center reference clarifies?
Exodus 12:41 says they left Egypt on the “selfsame day” they had come in 430 years earlier. Verse 42 says THAT night is a NBMO.
And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
This verse says the NBMO is the same night they came out of Egypt. We have already seen that they were released, thrust out the night of the 14th! The last half of verse 42 says “this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.” The expression “this is that night” requires an antecedent—a previous statement about some night. Since this story begins at the beginning of Exodus 12 and we are still in Exodus 12, it can only refer to a previous reference IN THIS SAME CONTEXT. Look back from verse 42 toward verse one and the only reference to any night is to Passover night!
The Night to be Much Observed can ONLY be Passover night, by the rules of grammar in any language!
The notation in verse 37 that they journeyed from Rameses does not change the antecedent in verse 42. They left Rameses organized on the 15th as per Numbers 33:3. The context in verse 36 shows them spoiling the Egyptians on the 14th and moves forward to leaving Rameses on the 15th.
However, verse 40 changes the subject, taking the context back 430 years and showing they arrived in Egypt and left Egypt on a night they were always to remember—Passover night.
That is the night all the fireworks happened: Institution of a Passover service, killing of all the firstborn of Egypt and the orders coming, finally, to actually leave, spoiling the Egyptians and heading for Rameses on the 14th. Everything that WAS anything happened on the 14th! The entirety of the chapter keeps returning to “this day, “that day,” the Passover day!
Verse 43 makes specific more of the “ordinance” of the Passover of verse14. No stranger was to eat it. He had to first be circumcised. We have to be circumcised of the heart—and that can only come through Jesus Christ who was killed on Passover.
And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
There is no change of subject from verse 43 through verse 51. The context is the “ordinance of the Passover”. Again, the only antecedent to verse 43 is verse 14 where Passover DAY is declared an ordinance! So the subject here is Passover day and verse 51 says they left Egypt the selfsame day. The 15th is never mentioned as an ordinance, only Passover day.
Now let’s consider the New Testament parallel and time line: Which night did Christ have trouble getting the disciples to observe or watch with Him? Passover night. They kept falling asleep while He was preparing for the worst trial and temptation ever to befall any man. On the 15th, He was dead and buried. There was no need for watching or observing with Him on that night! More of that later.
Another “proof” we had of the 15th being the NBMO is that they were to have a “high hand” that night. That was our signal to party. We took this from Numbers 33:3. No doubt they left Rameses all organized and powerful looking and with a “high” or “upper” hand over the Egyptians. Was that the only time they had a high hand and therefore signifies we are to party on the 15th? No!
How about Exodus 14:8? They still had a high hand days later when the Egyptians were pursuing! It was not just on the night of the 15th as we supposed. When did they receive this high hand they had on the 15th as they left Rameses and maintained until they reached the Red Sea days later? The night of Passover! THAT is the night God gave them the victory over the Egyptians by His strong hand! The Egyptians were whipped that night and ordered them to leave in haste for fear they would ALL die! They had the high or upper hand the next morning as they spoiled the Egyptians. From midnight Passover onward, they held the high or upper hand. Passover night is the Night to be Much Observed, Remembered, Memorialized. IT is the night of the holy convocation and the beginning of the Feast.
Notice one more proof from Exodus 12 that they officially began to come out of Egypt on the 14th.
And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.
Here again, Moses states that God brought them out of Egypt on the selfsame day they kept the Passover!
We will yet get to Lev. 23:6 and explain the days of unleavened bread. It must be understood in the light of the original, detailed story in Exodus 12 and 13, not vice-versa.
In the first verses of Exodus 13, tied to Numbers 8:17, we find a distinctly separate yet indisputable proof God reckoned the official leaving of Egypt to be the 14th.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.
This day came ye out in the month Abib.
These verses show they came out of Egypt on the day God sanctified the firstborn. As an aside, it was also the day He showed His strength of hand. When did He show strength of hand? When He killed the firstborn of Egypt. Is there any strength of hand mentioned on the 15th? Anywhere? No. Just marching from Rameses. No mighty hand of God needed. Whichever day this was, there was no leavening to be eaten!
Getting back to the original question, WHEN did God set apart the firstborn of Israel? Look at Numbers 8:17 For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.
Sanctify means to “set apart.” He set apart the firstborn of Israel by “passing over” them, not killing them as He did the Egyptians.
Exodus 13:2 tells us Moses was to sanctify the firstborn thenceforth. God shows HE had started the process on the night He preserved the firstborn of Israel, rejecting the firstborn of Egypt. But was that also the night they officially left Egypt?
VERSE 3 IS THE CLINCHER! “Moses said to the people, remember THIS day in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.”
The day they left Egypt was the same day the firstborn were sanctified and the same day He smote the firstborn of Egypt! THAT was Passover night/day! The 14th.
Putting it all together, Passover is the Night to be Much Remembered as it was the night they were released, the night the firstborn were killed. Passover is also a Feast and a memorial and ordinance. It is the first day of unleavened bread and a holy convocation!
Another solid proof of the 14th as the first day of the feast of unleavened bread being Passover is found in Exodus 13:5-10:
And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.
Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.
And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.
Verses 5-7 show when they entered Canaan, they were to keep seven days of unleavened bread—seven only, not eight. “In that day”, i.e. on the day you keep to show God’s strong hand bringing you out of Egypt, you shall explain the meaning to your son. It is the day you came out of Egypt. It is a sign, a memorial and an ordinance, verse 9.
Which day did God say was to be a memorial, a feast and an ordinance? Exodus 12:14 says Passover night and the following day!!! Never does it say the 15th is any of these.
Verses 11-16 rehearse and amplify verses 2-3, explaining more regarding the firstborn:
11 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,
12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD's.
13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.
14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.
16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.
When they come to Canaan they are to set apart the firstborn animals and the explanation to the children again is that it is to remember when they came out of Egypt, the night God slew the firstborn, verse 15. Again, GOD Himself memorializes Passover night as the official night He brought them out of Egypt—regardless of what time of morning they left their homes. Look how many times God lets us know which day is most important!
Before moving on to Deuteronomy 16 and Leviticus 23, let us consider references throughout the Bible to the Exodus and what God memorializes since Passover night is “a memorial”.
DOES HE EVER MENTION A NBMO AS WE KEPT IT? No, the only night He memorializes is Passover night, mentioned in scripture after scripture. Did He want THAT night remembered or the next one? He also mentions the Red Sea over and over. The two most important days are the first, Passover, and the seventh as it appears likely that they crossed the Red Sea on the 7th of unleavened. Notice the scriptures below and discern what GOD wants remembered for all time….
Heb 11:28-29 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
Deut 11:3-4 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;
4 And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you…
Ps 136:10-12 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth forever.
Acts 7:36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
Ex 7:4-5 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.
Ex 10:2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD.
Ex 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
Deut 4:34 Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
Deut 5:15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
Deut 6:21-23 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:
22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:
Deut 26:8 And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
Deut 34:10-12 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,
12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.
Judg 19:30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.
Neh 9:9-11 And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day.
11 And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.
Ps 78:51-52 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
Ps 105:36-38 He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.
37 He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
Ps 106:21-22 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea
Ps 135:8 Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.
Jer. 32:21 And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror;
Dan 9:15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly
Acts 13:17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
There are more, but these suffice to show that God over and over mentions mighty wonders in Egypt, smiting the firstborn and deliverance at the Red Sea as the key things to remember or memorialize. He never mentions leaving Rameses on the 15th. He constantly and consistently recalls the events of Passover night and the Red Sea—likely the seventh day of unleavened bread. It is hard to follow the chronology of the days after the 14th and 15th, but since the 14th is memorialized as a holy convocation and the Red Sea is mentioned so often, it would seem Passover and the Red Sea are the logical days to be the first and last days of unleavened bread.
We have found two days and their events throughout the Bible. One day includes the events of Passover and the other the crossing of the Red Sea. Leaving Rameses the 15th is essentially forgotten in scripture.
Does it make sense that the first day of unleavened bread is the holy convocation that occurred on Passover day? Does it make sense that they may have actually crossed the Red Sea on the last day of unleavened bread, making the first and last holy convocations to be remembered and observed?
Our Savior was killed on the 14th as well, though later in the day. (We will explore in the New Testament why He observed Passover beginning the 14th but did not die Himself until the next afternoon). HE was truly the “firstborn” but He died that WE should be able to live. The blood of the actual lamb the previous evening is what sanctified Israel’s firstborn and Christ’s blood is what sanctifies the firstborn of spiritual Israel today.
Both the lamb that symbolized Him (OT) and He Himself (NT) were sanctified on the 14th. What night and day should we remember and not forget?
Symbolically, Christ began to deliver us on Passover, with the greatest miracles and sacrifice ever. Over a time period of seven days, the putting of Egypt (bondage to sin) out of our lives (symbolized by leavening) makes it possible for us to cross the Red Sea (symbolized by baptism in I Cor. 10:2) and begin the journey through the spiritual wilderness to the real Promised Land, the Kingdom of God.
Our previous lack of understanding of Exodus 12 and 13 has led some to teach Deuteronomy 16 is addressing ONLY a festival of unleavened bread, separated from Passover. Some cannot reconcile this chapter with our old beliefs so they say Deuteronomy 16 was corrupted by some Rabbi in the past. No time or circumstance is given for this tampering, for there is no historical evidence for such. It is only by “internal evidence” that does not square with their beliefs.
Until recently, I also bought into this, until I came to understand Exodus 12-13. Now it can all fit together with no tampering accusation needed. Let’s see how.
Verse 1 instructs Israel to keep the Passover in Abib as that is the month God brought them out of Egypt by night—He freed, released, caused them to be thrust out, on the night of the Passover. Passover is introduced as the subject of the chapter! Has the deceiving rabbi already struck?
Deut 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
They were to sacrifice the Passover of the flock and herd. Ah, the first objection!
Deut 16:2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.
The Passover sacrifice was only to be taken from the flock, a lamb or goat, not the herd (cattle), Exodus 12:5.
Recall that there were no other sacrifices instituted at the time Passover was introduced in Exodus 12. That came later because of transgression as per Jeremiah 7:22. The ONLY Passover sacrifice was the sacrificial lamb beginning the 14th. By the time Deuteronomy 16 was written, other sacrifices had been added.
II Chronicles 35:1-8 records Josiah keeping a most solemn Passover. The lamb or goat was killed on the 14th, verse 1. In verse 6, lambs and kids are given for the Passover offerings but it does not stop there! Verse 8 shows Passover offerings included 300 oxen and 500 more oxen in verse 9!
2 Chron 35:1 Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
2 Chron 35:6-9 So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
7 And Josiah gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance.
8 And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen. 9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen.
Once we understand that “Passover” is a Feast, a holy convocation or holy day and also the first day of unleavened bread, we have no problem with Deut. 16:2 including cattle as Passover offerings since Passover offerings occurred on the first day of unleavened!
Josiah understood. Verse 13 shows they roasted the Passover, a lamb or goat, with fire according to the ordinance of Exodus 12 during the evening portion of the 14th. The other holy offerings, the oxen, they sod in pots, caldrons and pans—boiled them. They were ALL Passover day sacrifices, but a distinction in type was made.
While the Passover lamb or kid was THE Passover, God had included oxen as part of the sacrifices for ALL holy days (Numbers 28). On the first day of unleavened bread they were to include cattle (bullocks). We have already seen Passover is a holy convocation, a holy day in Exodus 12.
We saw in both Exodus 12 and 13 that Passover is the first day of unleavened bread. Therefore the next objection in Deut. 16:3, is easily answered.
Deut 16:3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
The argument is that they were not to eat leavening “therewith” for seven days, objecting that Passover and its sacrifice did not last seven days, just seven days separated from Passover.
Numbers shows us there were sacrifices throughout the seven days and offerings on every one of them. Since Passover day is the FIRST day of unleavened bread, members of flocks AND herd were sacrificed on that day and leavening excluded. Ezekiel 45:21 tells us God Himself calls the entire seven days “Passover.”
The next problem is the second half of verse 3, the reference being to “the day they came of out Egypt.” Since that day WAS the Passover, Passover is automatically included in Deut. 16’s context and there is no reason to exclude it or claim “tampering.”
Verse 4 agrees with what we saw in Exodus 12 and 13 and is therefore no problem. Notice: “And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there anything of the flesh which thou sacrificedst the first day at even remain all night until the morning.”
This verse is a clear reference to the command in Exodus 12 of not leaving any of the Passover sacrifice until morning. It plainly states that the lamb that was not to be kept until morning was the one sacrificed ON THE FIRST DAY AT EVEN! The Passover itself! So far, Deuteronomy 16 is in complete accord with Exodus 12-13.
The next objection is found in Deut. 16:6.
Deut 16:6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
This one is that “even” here is “ba erev” instead of “ben ha arbayim” of Exodus 12:6. This is no problem. Ben ha arbayim has been shown to be between the evenings—between sundown and dark. Ba erev is at sundown. The two coincide. If you wait until sundown, you have entered dusk. Shall we war over words, or do both refer to essentially the same period of time, beginning at sundown? Deut. 16:6 is specific at even, at the going down of the sun—end of one day, beginning of another as God divides time.
Deut 16:7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.
The KJV translates the Hebrew word used for cooking here as roast. The Hebrew word is “bashal” whereas the word used in Exodus 12:9 is “tsaliy” which is specific to roasting. The objection is that “bashal” means to boil. It can include boiling, but it also is a general term for “cook,” and therefore can include any kind of cooking, including roasting. Wycliff shows “bashal” can mean roasting and only means boiling in water when other words are included. It is translated in various places into almost all types of cooking in the King James.
When we might ask someone to cook us some dinner, they might roast, boil, fry or steam us a dinner since we used a general term. The Passover itself specifically had to be roasted as seen in Exodus 12. To say cook here does not contradict the more specific command. The context of Deuteronomy includes more than just the Passover lamb, including other Passover, Holy Day, offerings. We saw in II Chronicles 35:13 that Josiah roasted the lambs and boiled the other holy offerings. While verse 6 appears to be speaking of the Passover specifically, the word used can include roasting, while at the same time not excluding other sacrifices of that day which could be boiled.
Deuteronomy 16 not only agrees with Exodus 12 and 13 properly understood, but augments the instruction given there. It also supplies a bridge for understanding a very summarized Leviticus 23:4-8.
LEVITICUS 23: A CONTRADICTION?
Exodus 12-13 gives a detailed description of the first Passover and instruction for later ones. With no interference from other passages, we have seen Passover as a holy convocation, a memorial, an ordinance and a Feast and that it is, indeed, the first day of unleavened bread.
Leviticus 23:6 taken by itself seems to contradict this understanding of Exodus. “And on the 15th day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread.” Numbers 28:17 says the same.
The scriptures cannot contradict, cannot be broken (John 10:35). They must somehow be reconciled. Exodus 12-13, as explained above, seems clear of and by itself. But Lev. 23:6 at first glance seems to contradict that understanding or interpretation as discussed.
Let’s examine Leviticus 23 more closely.
Lev 23:1-8 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
The subject of the chapter is introduced as the feasts of the Lord which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—or Sabbaths, which cannot include labor, as explained throughout the chapter. The first is the weekly Sabbath. It is included as a “Feast.”
Verse 4 reiterates that what is to follow will be both feasts and holy convocations as well.
Verse 5 names the first feast and holy convocation in the list. It is the Lord’s Passover. Since it is a feast and a holy convocation it has to be from sundown to sundown like the rest of the feasts and holy convocations or Sabbaths. It is stated to begin “at even.” That would HAVE to be sundown since it is a holy convocation. This disproves the increasingly popular notion that “even” can begin at noon and the Passover sacrificed at 3:00 P.M. on the 14th and eaten on the 15th. Since “this day” is a Feast, memorial, ordinance and holy convocation, all three (Exodus 12:14,16; Lev. 23:4), it cannot span two days. It is clearly a 24 hour observance, not just an hour’s ceremony that can be shifted around.
As an aside, Ezra knew the Passover was on the 14th, not the 15th
20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,
22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
If we are to kill it on the 14th and eat it on the 15th, how could they “keep” it on the 14th? “Keep” has to mean the observance, the meaning of the day and they “kept” the 14th UPON the 14th, not the 15th!
Notice they “did eat” (the Passover), “And kept” the feast of unleavened bread seven days… There appears to be no separation between Passover and unleavened bread. Ezra lumps them together.
Now, back to Lev. 23: Since Passover itself is a Feast and holy convocation on the 14th, what about the 15th? Lev. 23: 6 indicates the fifteenth is the feast of unleavened bread. Notice that it DOES NOT SAY it is the FIRST day of unleavened bread. It only says “the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread.”
Here is where Deuteronomy 16 helps us understand. Deut. 16:4 designates Passover as the “first day.” Deut.16:8 picks up after the discussion of the Passover itself in the preceding verses: “Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord thy God…”
It states that SIX days shall you eat unleavened bread. That is, Passover is the first day and then you keep six more for a total of seven. It further stipulates keeping the seventh day as a solemn assembly. We have already seen in Exodus and Leviticus that Passover is a holy convocation, Feast and also the first day of unleavened bread as confirmed here in Deut. 16:4. So, Deuteronomy 16 is saying the first day is the day you killed the Passover, keep six more and the last of those six, or the seventh of the TOTALITY, is also a solemn assembly or holy convocation.
1 plus 6 equals 7. The first and last are holy convocations. Question: Why would Lev. 23:4-5 designate Passover as a Feast and then add the other six for a total of seven?
Primarily because Passover, the 14th, is by far and away the most important day of them all. It deserves special sanctification and attention because of this. It is the day the most important events of Exodus occurred and is designated as a memorial, ordinance and holy convocation in specific terms: “this day.”
That is why Leviticus 23:6 does not say the 15th is the first day of unleavened bread, but only that it is unleavened. Perhaps God left this a little obscure that we might be left in the dark until He was ready to reveal it. Leviticus 23:6 could easily have stated “the fifteenth is the first day of unleavened bread” if that had been true. That would have cleared any chance for misunderstanding. It does not say that because it has to agree with Exodus 12-13 and Deuteronomy 16 or the scripture would be broken!
Deuteronomy 16, far from having been tampered with, confirms Exodus as explained in this paper and bridges the seeming contradiction in Lev. 23:6 and Numbers 28:17. Deut. 16 makes clear that Passover is “the first day”, the day upon which the Passover was killed, with six to follow and that the seventh of the total is also a holy day. Exodus 12-13 is a very detailed account and gives us several proofs of the proper sequence and what is important. Deuteronomy 16 was written after sacrifices were instituted and gives us detailed information as to how to merge the Passover sacrifice and observance with the added daily sacrifices for Passover. Leviticus is a very limited summary and therefore HAS to be understood in the light of the detailed passages, not vice-versa.
The “Passover” can be a reference to the ceremony and all that followed it that day. It can also be a reference to the whole seven days. The whole season can also be referred to as “the feast of unleavened bread”—and that includes Passover day as the first day. These are not just Jewish names for them, as the Bible itself uses Passover or the feast of unleavened bread interchangeably. This will be seen clearly in the New Testament as well.
What we have missed all these years are the plain statements in Exodus and Leviticus that Passover is indeed a Feast and a holy convocation. Armed with these simple truths, we can then understand the whole picture.
Passover day is the most important day—it made possible, and actually began, the movement out of bondage (Egypt). The last six days are a continuation of that process, culminating in the 7th day when they apparently crossed the Red Sea, symbolizing the complete removal from Egypt. Paul used that crossing as a type of baptism (I Cor. 10:2) since the “repent and be baptized” command of Acts 2:38 and 3:19 involves repenting (changing and coming out of sin) before the sins are washed away in baptism.
Separating the Passover service by one day from the seven days of coming out of sin would separate us by one day from the One who made it possible to come out! Should we wait a while to be forgiven of our sins? Should we not be able to have them immediately forgiven once His mighty arm has made it possible? In times past, we kept the Passover service and went back to daily living, watching TV, deleavening houses, working and eating leavening for the remainder of that night until sunset of the next day. Is it good symbolism to “put Christ on the shelf” for a day after all He did for us? Especially since that day is the day He was doing the delivering!
The Passover of the Old Testament was observed at sundown at the beginning of the 14th and continuing through that night and day with very important events. That night was the “Night To Be Much Observed.” The entire14th was the first day of unleavened bread, a Feast and holy convocation. That is the night they were freed from Egypt by God’s mighty hand and gained the upper or high hand over the Egyptians. It is the day they spoiled the Egyptians, left their homes to travel to Rameses where they formed into an integral body to march out the morning of the 15th.
We shall now move to the New Testament to see if it agrees with this assessment.
Could we possibly have been keeping the first day of unleavened bread on the wrong day and the Night to be Much Observed on the wrong night? COULD WE HAVE BEEN UNWITTINGLY TRAMPLING ON THE MOST HOLY DAY OF THE YEAR? We were eating leavening and working on the day our Savior fulfilled incredible prophecies, made salvation possible for us, ultimately for the world and suffered more than any human has ever suffered! All this happened on a day we have deemed relatively unimportant except for an hour or two at sunset beginning the 14th.
Most of us probably have copious notes in our New Testament that seek to explain why what we read about the Passover is not actually what it means… Why? Did we miss something that made us scratch our heads to find an explanation?
Where do we find the real Passover as opposed to the “Jewish Passover?” Did Christ keep the real Passover with His disciples beginning the 14th or was it a pre-passover dinner as some allege? Should we keep the Passover at the beginning of the 14th or on the afternoon when Christ actually died? Is it more important to keep it as He did or when He died? Or even on the 15th? What about the “high day” in the New Testament? Was it a godly high day or just of the Jews?
It is important to all of us to understand what God desires of us and to please Him if at all possible. Let’s now see if the New Testament confirms and maybe even adds strength to what we have already seen.
Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
Jesus declared to His disciples that the feast of the Passover would be in two days, 26:1. The Jews sought to kill Him but wanted to be sure it was not on “the feast day” (26:5). Historically, the Jews kept Passover as a Feast day, just a day late, on the 15th. In this case they proceeded to take Christ on the night of the 14th and were sure to have Him killed before their high day, the 15th. They looked on the 14th as the preparation day as we shall see in scripture.
What does Mat. 26:17 actually say? As written, it says the first day of the feast of unleavened bread… So far, we have agreement with Exodus 12:14 which calls Passover day a feast.
It also confirms that the Passover is on the first day of unleavened bread. We have always argued this cannot mean what it says.
“Day” and “feast of” are in italics, so were supplied by the translators. “Bread” may also not have been in the original text. Without these words, it reads “Now the first of the unleavened…” Does that really change anything? The first of the unleavened can only be referring to either the first day of unleavened bread or to the Passover service itself which is unleavened.
Which is it? Mark 14:12 is a parallel account and Mark does not stutter or equivocate, leaving no room for Greek translation problems. He says “AND THE FIRST DAY OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, WHEN THEY KILLED THE PASSOVER…” There are no italics! Mark says the Passover was killed on the first day of unleavened bread! This agrees with Exodus 12-13, Deuteronomy 16:4 and Ezekiel 45:21, among others we saw in the Old Testament.
Why did we always go to Matthew 26:17 to explain our beliefs instead of Mark? Because there is no wiggle room in Mark’s account!
In Matthew 26, the actual Passover service was drawing near since the disciples were asking where to prepare the Passover. Notice they did not say “the Jews” Passover, but THE Passover. They went to Jerusalem to make preparations.
The Greek language in this instance allows for “as the first day of unleavened bread was approaching.” The context obviously shows they asked somewhat ahead of time so there would be time to prepare before “even.” Some claim they did not have time to prepare if the 14th was almost or already there when they asked the question. Let us not forget that Jesus had already made arrangements with the host. How extensive were those preparations? Most of the work might have already been done when the disciples arrived, requiring only final preparations by the disciples.
Be that as it may, this is clearly the beginning of the 14th as the Jews kept the 15th and Christ died on the 14th before their Passover arrived. This fact is why the “15ers” try to hide that this was the actual Passover as instituted in Exodus 12. Exodus 12 was obviously at sundown since the firstborn were killed at midnight that same night. We need not argue the exact meanings of “ba erev” and “ben ha arbayim” since the context shows the original Passover was held at the beginning of the 14th.
Further proof of this can be drawn from I Corinthians 11:23-29:
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
Paul received “from the Lord” an account of that Passover night—probably while in the desert of Arabia receiving personal instruction. Verse 23 states that it was “the same night He was betrayed.”
First, it was night. Secondly, it had to be the beginning of the 14th since the Jews wanted to have Him dead and buried before the 15th began. Thirdly, it had to be the actual Passover service since Paul continues in the context to mention the bread and wine and how taking them properly is a life and death issue! The original Passover was a LIFE AND DEATH ISSUE in Egypt at the beginning of the 14th. So was what Jesus Christ did with His disciples the same night, a life and death issue—and Paul received this directly from the mouth of the Savior!
This passage alone disproves any idea that we are to keep a “late 14th to night of the 15th” Passover. It disproves any idea Christ only had a “pre-passover meal” that night. The meanings of the Passover were discussed by Paul who says Christ did these things “when He had supped.” It WAS the Passover meal and Christ DID EAT, though some say He “desired to but didn’t”. Christ calls it THE Passover in Matthew and Luke. We shall see shortly that THE Passover and “the Jew’s Passover” are two different things entirely!
Consider another important point: When we follow the instructions of I Corinthians 11, which is what the New Testament practice was under Paul—taught personally of Christ—we keep a beginning of the 14th Passover and it “shows the Lord’s death till He come.” This answers the question of “how can we memorialize His death before He actually died?” Paul kept the Passover at the beginning of the 14th and says it is the correct way to remember His death—and that it is to be that way until the return of Christ! That includes us today!
There is simply no way Exodus 12 was a “kill one afternoon, eat it the following evening” situation. Nor was the New Testament example. They prepared on the afternoon of the 13th, ate the Passover that evening/night (the 14th) and Christ was betrayed to die at the same time, midnight, that the firstborn in Egypt were killed and Israel spared. He began the process of being scourged for our healing and ultimately dying for our salvation at midnight the 14th! We do not need Hebrew or Greek definitions of “evening” to prove this. Scriptural example and outright clear, plain statements prove it! It is clear that all that occurred at the original Passover occurred within the confines of ONE night/day, the 14th. Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23:5 say Passover is the 14th. The same is true of the New Testament.
Let’s move to Luke 22:1 “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.” Traditionally, we have said “that is what the Jews called it.” We did this in order to separate Passover from the days of unleavened bread by one day, explaining that “the Jews referred to the whole season as the Passover.” Was it just the Jews?
Ezekiel 45:21, Deuteronomy 16:1, II Chronicles 35, Exodus 12 and Exodus 13:3 combined with Numbers 8:16-17 make the same connection Luke does, as do other passages. Luke 22:7 says “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.” Luke does not stutter either! Christ calls it THE Passover in verses 8 and 11. The disciples say the same in verse 13.
Luke 22:7, 8, 11, 13, 15
Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
Christ said in verse 15 He desired to eat “this Passover” with you “before I suffer”. They killed and ate the Passover and He changed the symbols to Himself before He suffered and died!
Jesus Christ is the example and we are to follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21). This passage speaks directly of that same Passover, the one He called “this Passover.” Are we to do as scripture tells us or use human reasoning to believe it would be better to kill the lamb when He actually died? We are not to kill a lamb in any case! HE is the lamb of God! The 15ers cite “killing the lamb” on the afternoon of the 14th, thus showing they understand, at least, that the Passover was killed sometime on the 14th. So why wait until the 15th to actually eat it? Since when did Christ approve of Jewish traditions? Especially when they deny scripture?
Some have tried to explain away Luke 22:15 by saying “this Passover” meant “the beginning of the Passover season” and that He “desired to eat it, but did not.” He sat down to the Passover meal in verse 14, explaining He would not do so again until the Kingdom and then proceeded to eat it with them according to this and the other gospel accounts. Verse 20 says “after supper.” I Cor. 11:25 says “when He had supped”. That scripture should remove any doubt. He did eat that Passover!
John gives us another reason to do it when Christ did it rather than later in the day on the 14th or even the 15th. “He that saith he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked (I John 2:6)”. We are to do it as Christ did it, not according to our own best idea. Paul got the right message about the night of the 14th and kept it accordingly.
Do we do anything “because that’s the way the Jews did it?” Christ frequently condemned Judaism—very vehemently (Matthew 23). So did Paul (Romans 3). We are to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4), not Jewish traditions. Am I now anti-Semitic? No, my favorite Person who ever lived on earth is Jesus Christ, born a Jew. There are righteous Jews and unrighteous Jews. Jesus was a righteous Jew who kept His Father’s commandments. Those who practiced Judaism did not keep God’s doctrines—“beware the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They have not improved since that time when Christ called them sons of snakes, whited sepulchers, hypocrites, fools, blind and children of hell. What a ringing endorsement! Should we now put their traditions ahead of scripture?
The Passover was kept at the beginning of the 14th in Exodus and by Jesus Christ and Paul in the New Testament. Now back to the question at hand: Was the Passover the first day of unleavened bread, a holy convocation and a night to be much observed?
Was Luke confused? “Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover (Luke 2:41).” Passover is called a Feast—just like Exodus 12, Leviticus 23 and Ezekiel 45 proclaim. Passover is a Feast!
John 2:23 “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day…” Could it be John understood Passover was a Feast and is correct here in combining the two? All God’s Feasts begin and end with a holy day. GOD calls Passover a Feast. Does it not have to begin with a holy day?
To fully understand the whole New Testament account, we must understand that Jesus and the disciples kept THE Passover on the 14th and the Jews kept their Passover a day later, the 15th.
John uses the expression Jewish feast or feast of the Jews several times. Yet we saw in John 2:23 that he sometimes used THE Passover. Is this happenstance or did he see a difference in the two? Did he use common slang for the “Jew’s feast” or did he recognize a difference between GOD’S feasts and feasts of the Jews? He did not always use “the Jew’s feast” when the context clearly shows that was his reference. In John 19:31 he uses “the preparation” and “an high day” without reference to the Jews, but the context clearly shows he was speaking of the Jewish observance since the 14th was their preparation for their high day on the 15th. Yet all that Jesus experienced happened on the 14th!
Let’s examine each of the passages where John addresses the Passover and see if he consistently makes a difference between THE Passover and the Jewish Passover or Feast.
John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
John uses both the Jews’ Passover and THE Passover in this context. There is no break in the timing and context. He did not need to say “Jews” twice, having introduced this section as meaning their Passover. Another explanation could be that John referred to the Jewish Passover in verse 13, but that Christ kept the true Passover in verse 23, apart from the Jews and did miracles at that time.
John 5:1 “…there was a feast of the Jews.”
John 6:3-4 “And the Passover, a feast of the Jews was nigh.”
John 7:2 Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand.” Jesus did not feel compelled to be at this Jewish feast until perhaps later in the feast, though He sent the disciples on ahead. Why? Was there a reason He held back? Wrong calendar? Wrong practice? When He did go there, He disputed their doctrines, verses 15-19.
John 11:55 “And the Jews Passover was nigh at hand…” The Jewish Passover was close at hand, but no date is given. If the Jews’ Passover was drawing near, so was the true Passover.
John 12:1 Then Jesus six days before THE Passover, came to Bethany…”
Now John addresses the true Passover and events that led to the crucifixion. He arrived in Bethany six days before the Passover. That date would have to be Abib 9. With no break in the context, the next day (Abib 10), He rode the young ass into Jerusalem—selected as the Passover lamb as per Exodus 12:3, on the 10th Abib. When speaking of the true Passover, John gives a time frame that coincides with history and with prophecies of Him—that He would ride into Jerusalem on an ass, selected as THE Passover. This happened on the 10th, five days before Passover, just as Exodus 12:3 directs.
John 13:1 “Now before the feast of the Passover when Jesus knew His hour was come…” This is both THE feast and also the FEAST of the Passover. Did John know the truth? Why did he refer to the Passover as a Feast? He did not make the mistake of calling it a Jewish feast either! The timing in John 13:1 is just as they were preparing to eat the Passover at the beginning of the 14th. Jesus knew that the hour to begin the process of establishing the New Covenant at the Passover and then to actually become the Passover was at hand—the time, the hour had come. Jesus was about to keep the Feast of the Passover!! In his written account, John was fully aware that Passover was a Feast!
John 13:29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
In John 18:38-39, Pilate tells the Jews the custom was to release a prisoner at the Passover. Recall that they wanted him killed before their high day, which was to be the 15th, but Jesus had already kept the FEAST of the Passover and had already died on that day. The Jews were a day late and more than a dollar short.
John 19:14 “And it was the preparation of the Passover and about the sixth hour…” By this time, Jesus was about to be crucified on the 14th, having already observed the true Passover, but the Jews were in their preparation day for their Passover. That’s the context, the Jews’ preparation day and Passover.
In 19:31 and 42, they hastened to take Him down since it was the preparation and the next day was their high day.
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
John 19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Since the preparation day was the Jewish preparation, they had to be preparing for a Jewish high day as well. The real high day had already passed on the 14th. The entire context of John 18-19 is about activities of the Jews, not what Jesus Christ did. God’s Passover was completed on the 14th, the new symbol of Passover, Jesus Christ, was dead and buried just as the Jews finished up their preparation day for their Passover and their high day. Whose example should we follow, Jesus or the Jews?
Note also, very importantly, that the Jews kept their Passover at the beginning of the 15th and kept the 15th as their high day and Sabbath. And even though they were a day late, they did understand Passover and the days of unleavened bread are seven days inclusive, not covering eight days as we formerly observed it.
Matthew 27:62 “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation…” Matthew does not even call the 15th a high day, but refers to it very commonly as “the next day….”
In Luke 23:54-56, Luke refers to the preparation and the Sabbath straight up, not mentioning them as Jewish. Also, the women who followed Jesus rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Is there a contradiction? John is the one who introduced the “Jewish feast” and “Jewish preparation” thought. He wrote much later than the other gospel writers. The others wrote according to the Jewish practice of many years which included the 15th Passover. To them it was the usual custom. Perhaps Christ had not yet explained the difference to them and to the women who followed. There are many things He reserved until later, even much later, circumcision being a good example. John later made it clear in his gospel account that there was a difference between Jewish and Biblical practice.
Often, when people want to follow a particular doctrine, they will fall back on “Jesus never made an issue with the Jews about...” Or “Surely He would have made an issue if it had been a problem.” Not necessarily. He was not trying to convert the Jews or make them holy at that time. He protested primarily their hypocrisy and selfish disregard for the commandments.
Jesus frequently scolded the Jews, mostly about their personal sins and occasionally referred to their doctrines of demons, but He rarely discussed which of their doctrines were wrong. With tithing in Matthew 23, He told them they should tithe, but should not forget the weightier matters. Never did He list all their specific wrong doctrines. It simply was not His purpose at the time.
By the time the Jews finished their preparation day and began their 15th Sabbath, both the traditional Exodus 12 Passover had been finished and the actual Passover, Jesus Christ, had been killed and buried. What was left to observe? The New Testament is TOTALLY silent about any high-handed party on the 15th! Would any of Christ’s followers have been in any mood for such an observance that night? He had just died horribly and been buried. Did they feel high-handed at that point? Or discouraged, depressed and frustrated that their teacher had died? Maybe guilty that they had betrayed Him?
Just as in Exodus 12, everything important had occurred by the end of the 14th. THAT is the important day. Is it any wonder God sanctified it as a memorial, a feast, a holy convocation and an ordinance forever? There are no ordinances given for the 15th, only the 14th. The New Testament story perfectly dovetails with the Old Testament. We simply overlooked or tried to explain away the many references to the Passover as a Feast day in the Old Testament and in the New Testament as well.
One frequent first reaction to this viewpoint is “Passover is not a feast!” yet we have just reviewed a long list of scriptures that say just that—and they are plain, clear, straight-forward scriptures.
Luke 2:41-42 says: “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.” Again, we have Passover designated as a Feast. As an aside, if the Jews were doing it wrong, did Christ also do it wrong? Do we know for a fact what custom Jesus’ parents kept? There were several sects of the Jews. Might they have affiliated with a small one that did it right? We can only speculate as to what Joseph and Mary did. Was the Passover one of the things Christ argued with the rabbis at age 12? We know little of His life from childhood until He began His ministry. Even had He and his parents done it wrong, it would not have been accounted as sin to Him until He was 20. He might have straightened it out at age 12? Or 20? It must not be an important issue to God or it would be addressed. We know Christ never sinned, so what He did as a youth was either not sin at all or whatever he did as a child under parental control was not imputed as sin. We DO know He kept it right as an adult and at His last one. That is the one in which He set the example for us to follow.
Some object that if we keep the Passover beginning the 14th, before Christ actually died, the symbolism is ruined and we aren’t yet “covered” since He had not died when we took it.
First, we already discussed that Christ and the disciples did it that way. Secondly, Paul said years later that it is the way Christ told him eyeball to eyeball to do it—the same way and in the same night. If not done properly, it could result in death.
To answer the objection directly, the Passover is retroactive. God sent His son because “He so loved the world”—all humanity from Adam down. He has an order of resurrections designed to give everyone an opportunity, including those born thousands of years before Christ. We know the names of some of them: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, etc. Jesus was “slain before the foundations of the world.” How is that for retroactive? He was as good as dead before Adam was ever created, so His sacrifice goes back that far. Since it goes back that far, it should be obvious it can go back from His death a few hours to Passover night.
There is an important reason God set the Passover up on the night of the 14th in Egypt and Jesus Christ kept the Passover that same night: Keeping the Passover as Jesus and His disciples did and as Paul and the Corinthians did gives us the annual opportunity to rehearse the whole proceeding just as He experienced it. The Passover service comes first, followed by instruction from passages that explain what He went through. Then we can go home, meditate and pray (staying awake) as He did. We can remember His betrayal and beating and follow His trial and scourging at the same time He suffered them. We can agonize as He hung from the stake and died.
The night He was betrayed was not a night the disciples “much observed,” much to their later chagrin. They kept going to sleep and later in the night denied Him even as He was stripped of His flesh and brutalized worse than any man. Yet it was the most important night in the history of the world! They should have “watched” or observed but did not.
Have we also been denying Him? Asleep at the switch? Not realizing we were out pounding nails, driving trucks, managing offices and eating pizza and donuts while profaning the holy day, the memorial, the solemn Feast day and holy convocation on which our Savior was suffering and dying? Have we kept the Passover unworthily for seventy years in the end-time church?
God set aside as His memorial—“this day” (Ex. 12:14). It is a Feast, holy convocation and Sabbath (Exodus 12:14 and Lev. 23:4-5). His death, “this day,” is a memorial forever. It commemorates when we were sanctified and set apart from sin and death. It begins the process of coming out of sin through His dripping blood. No, the Israelites did not get “clear out of sin” on the 14th, but they were released and began their journey that day, leaving their homes and farms even as Christ tells us to leave homes, lands and relatives to begin our walk. We get more organized as we go just as they did at Rameses on the 15th and walked together instead of separately.
The overwhelmingly most important part of coming out of bondage occurred on the 14th. Jesus Christ’s death began the process which continues for an additional six days. Everything of any real importance happened on the 14th. THAT is the memorial! The Night To Be Much Observed. The 14th is the day they obtained wealth. That is the day we received the greatest wealth in the history of man—forgiveness of sin and opportunity at life eternal.
What could be more of a memorial to rehearse, remember and observe? Should we not keep holy the day we first were able to partake of His holiness? Lev. 23 calls it a holy convocation. Will we argue with that?
What is left to observe or memorialize on the 15th? Nothing much. All the fireworks were over. The high hand had been given the previous night. All that was left to do was organize themselves and walk together—help each other get out of bondage. Our Christian walk is the same: Repent, accept the blood of Jesus Christ, have the laying on of hands to receive His spirit, His Comforter, and begin to help each other by not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, but to sharpen each other as iron. That is another very important symbolism in the Passover service itself. Once Christ has done His part with the bread and wine, we must quit competing with one another as the disciples did in their post-Passover argument as to who was the greatest, humble ourselves and serve each other, symbolized by the footwashing. The footwashing should come after the bread and wine as it did that night. See the separate article on Passover: Does The Footwashing Come Before or After the Bread and Wine?
The Old Testament and New Testament accounts of the Passover are consistent and precise. We simply missed some key understanding in Exodus 12-13. That led us into major error. It is time to repent, pray for forgiveness for sinning in ignorance and keep the Feast of the Passover as ancient Israel did and as Jesus, the disciples and the New Testament church did.
Consider again that separating the Passover by one day from the days of unleavened bread isolates us from our Savior. Can we separate ourselves from sin when we are separated from the One who makes it possible? Passover as the first day of unleavened bread links our walk out of sin directly to His sacrifice, as memorialized by the bread and wine at the very beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Just as God’s mighty arm freed Israel from Egypt (bondage to sin) at midnight with the killing of the firstborn, so the killing of the first of the firstfruits, the firstborn of God immediately frees us and gives us the power and urgency, the thrust, to follow in His sinless footsteps, walking as He walked, becoming as He is. We simply cannot afford to sleep on our watch as the disciples did, but did we not all slumber and sleep before the cry came?
1 Peter 2:21-25 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1) This movement of the first day of unleavened bread to its original and rightful place does not change the sequence of the death and resurrection. Scripture requires that Christ die on Wednesday, the midst of the week. It requires that He be resurrected by the end of the weekly Sabbath three days later—the sign of Jonah. This change confirms the Wednesday crucifixion of that year as a Feast and holy convocation.
It confirms that Wednesday was the first day of unleavened bread that year.
2) This correction does not change the counting of Pentecost. The rule is that the wave sheaf and count to Pentecost begin the Sunday after the weekly Sabbath during Unleavened Bread. That remains constant, though the days of unleavened bread are shifted back one day to include Passover as the first day. This will in turn cause Pentecost to fall on a different Sunday in some years than it would have under the sequence of unleavened bread in our faulty church tradition.
3) Symmetry. This correction actually improves what we viewed as the symmetry of the Feasts of God. Traditionally, we considered the Passover-unleavened 8 days to match the FOT/LGD 8 days with Pentecost, Trumpets and Atonement in the middle.
Now consider the new symmetry:
Passover/Unl 7 Christ’s sacrifice gives:
Pentecost (Linked by count) 1 A new beginning (church)
Trumpets 1 Christ’s return makes
Atonement 1 Bride “at one” with Groom
FOT 7 Makes world peace & open salvation
LGD 1 Extends salvation to remainder