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The Timing of the Passover Sacrifice

In Blog, Random Thoughts | on February, 08, 2015 | by

The Timing of the Passover Sacrifice

The Passover’s implementation is an ongoing source of question. Those striving to follow the Father’s ways as Yeshua directed, sometimes find what seem to be contradictions which lead to conflicting interpretations.
Before delving into one of these, we need to remember we should never separate over matters of interpretation. Conversely, HaSatan’s goal is to separate the body. Yeshua spoke clearly of this issue when He said a house divided against itself cannot stand. Clearly, individual personal interpretation can lead one into (and feed) pride which, in turn, leads to idolatry. This is especially true when the “I’m right” syndrome takes over.

The question being addressed here involves the timing of the killing of the Passover lamb. The initial instruction is found in Exodus 12:6 where the Father instructs us to “kill it in the evening” (KJV) on the 14th day of the month. The King James may not be the authoritative word however because the Stone edition of the Tanach renders the same passage as “slaughter it in the afternoon” of the 14th.

Considering the seeming contradiction and knowing there can be no contradictions in the Father’s word, let’s look at the timing of the Father’s Passover sacrifice. Yeshua identified Himself as our Passover and his death came at 3:00 PM. This seems to make the Tanach’s wording more explanatory. The Father’s fulfillment of the rehearsals His people had followed for centuries logically leads us to believe His Passover observance would occur with correct timing. The exact time He had in mind when He gave the instruction initially.

There is little more we can glean from the scriptures to give any additional understanding.This, however, is not the final question which needs addressing. Since we know the Father’s days begin at evening, and Exodus 12:6 says we are to kill the Passover at evening, even if we agree this would be after or about 3:00 PM, we still have the question: Since evening begins and ends every day, should it be done at the beginning or at the end of the 14th?

For the answer, we should, according to scripture, find two or more witnesses.

The first witness, in this case, involves looking at the rest of the Passover instructions. Exodus 12:8 instructs us to eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Unleavened bread is the key here. Verses 15 and 19 of the same chapter clearly say we are to eat unleavened bread for seven days, not eight! Yet, in verse 18, the dates for the Feast are given as the 14th through the end of the 21st. This is an 8 day period. If the feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread is 8 days long and we are commanded to eat unleavened bread with the Passover lamb, how can it be a 7 day commandment? The simple solution seems to be, we prepare it on the 14th but begin eating it on the evening (beginning) of the 15th.

In order to resolve this seeming conflict, we then prepare for Passover on the day of the 14th including the killing of the lamb in the afternoon as the Tanach says, with the actual eating beginning in the evening (beginning) of the 15th.

Our second witness needs to agree with this. This second witness comes from Matthew’s account in Chapter 26. In verse 2, Yeshua says the events described take place two days before Passover. This includes finding a room, and Judas’s act of betrayal. Verse 18 of the King James, indicates the upper room search came at the first day of Unleavened Bread, but the italicized words indicate this meaning was added. Other translations say the day approached.

Thus, as we will see from the text, the meal where Yeshua broke bread and shared the cup happened at the end of the 13th into the evening (and beginning) of the 14th (verse 26:20). In verse 26, we find the Greek telling us the bread was leavened.

And there is more. Exodus 12:22 commands those following the commandments about Passover to stay inside until morning. Yeshua and his Talmudim went to the garden to pray that night. This is a second issue with the belief the meal mentioned in Matthew 26 is the actual Passover meal.

Yeshua would not have broken two rules of Passover. Therefore, the second witness of Matthew 26 clearly shows two things which would not have happened if they were eating the meal as a Passover observance.

This leads us to the conclusion the killing of the Passover must occur on the afternoon of the 14th with the eating of the Passover meal and the accompanying unleavened bread must happen after the 14th ends.

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