Tonight at sundown is the end of the day of Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread. It is a holy day ordained by God (Lev 23:6-7). There is a “holy convocation” on the first day.
However, some groups will only have one service during the day tomorrow. Most COG organizations will hold a special memorial tonight about sundown in small groups. The memorial is more informal than a church service and is usually accompanied by a special meal with brethren. The focus is not on the meal, but rather on what God has done for us by bringing us out of spiritual Egypt.
37And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
38And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
39And 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.
40Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
41And 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.
42It 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. (Exodus 12:37-42, King James Version)
While this isn’t listed in Leviticus 23, it is still an observance instituted by God. Today, the COG uses the occasion to reminisce about how Jesus broke our bonds of spiritual slavery and set us free from our sins.
If you left the entire entry complete (verse 43), the context shows it’s referring to Passover, not an entirely new event. Keeping a made up feast called the “Night to be much observed” is based on protestant and catholic commentaries, not the scriptures.
Verse 43: “43And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:”
The “and” shows the narrative is now moving on. The NTMBO cannot possibly refer to the Passover because they did not leave Egypt until the following day. The passage clearly shows they left Egypt, and then we are told “it” — the first night out of Egypt — is the “night to be much observed”. It also proves that the Passover took place on the 14th and not the 15th as some observe it today.
Is the word “and” in the Hebrew?
Consider this carefully, the NKJV Bible says “it is a night of solemn observance”… yet why don’t we keep NTBMO as solemn? Instead keep Passover solemn… something doesn’t add up.
Robert asked: “Is the word ‘and’ in the Hebrew?”
Very few translations of Ex 12:43 do not contain it. YLT contains it. The KJV does not italicize it.
“Consider this carefully, the NKJV Bible says ‘it is a night of solemn observance’… yet why don’t we keep NTBMO as solemn? Instead keep Passover solemn”
First of all, that is the only place that word is used, and the NKJV seems to be at variance with other translations. If they just left Egypt, it is not very likely they were having a “solemn” observance, as they came out with a “high hand” (Nu 33:3). “Solemn” seems to come from a different word in other places.
Second, the solemnity is not because of what happened in the OT but what occurred in the NT. It is solemn because of the part we played in the death of Our Savior. To remember His death with jocularity would be most unworthy, don’t you think?
Do you think that basing core biblical doctrine on the use and placement of the word “and” is solid reasoning?
The Hebrews were in bitter slavery for 400 years, their babies were being butchered, and at the end of the plagues death and destruction had ravaged the land of Egypt and finally every house in Egypt was touched by death. Not sure how these circumstances aren’t comparable to the NT…
This is where I will ask for the scriptures to back up this claim.
We currently teach that not only is Passover “solemn” but it’s the “most solemn” of Gods observances. Where is it stated in the bible that Passover is the “MOST solemn”? Why is this aspect of Passover emphasized?
Our warning about what is an “unworthy” way to keep passover (1 cor 11) is with drunkenness and selfishness, no mention of being happy or jovial as inappropriate. The law is against doing wrong, not against doing good.
I can understand that we “feel” it is solemn because of the morbid circumstances of the memorial of Christ’s death, but does God teach us from the Bible that it “is” actually solemn?
@Robert: Are you seriously suggesting we start editing the text to suit our preconceived notions? Or, should we be trying to understand what it really says within the context given? To me, it is obvious that “it” is referring to the night of “bringing them out from the land of Egypt”, which was the night following Passover. During Passover, they weren’t leaving Egypt. They were instructed to stay in their homes. You cannot be in two places at the same time. While giving instructions, God went on to give them stipulations for keeping Passover while the memory of it was still fresh in their minds. There really should be no confusion between the two.
Whose literature says it is the “most solemn”? I’m not necessarily disagreeing with that assessment, but since you said “we currently teach”, I would like to know where that comes from.
John’s longest narrative has to do with Jesus’ final night. It is obvious from it that Jesus, our example, was heavy in heart that night. He knew He was going to the cross, even praying to the point of sweating blood in the garden. Is this a cause to celebrate?
I am hoping that you aren’t questioning our part in His death. If you can acknowledge that, then again is this a cause to celebrate?
Frankly, if you cannot read 1Co 11 and realize it is different, then there really is no further point in this discussion, is there? Most other days have the explicit command to rejoice. The OT Passover is marked by bitter herbs and being ready to flee. The NT Passover is marked with sobriety and judgment. The Corinthian church was using it as an occasion to party, which Paul condemned.
If you cannot see that, then you really need to assess whether or not you have taken it in an unworthy manner.
I think you misunderstand my posts, I am not suggesting anything, I am simply asking for proof of our current teachings. Where are we taught to discern the commands of God by our feelings? If it’s in the scriptures that we should do this. But I am simply asking if you have any scriptural proof.
UCG & COGwa teaches Passover is the “most solemn” (and all other WWCG splinter COGs I believe teach the same thing)
Here’s the direct instruction to the members.
http://members.ucg.org/papers/passover_home.pdf (4th paragraph)
Deut. 16:15 says you shall rejoice and keep his “sacred/solemn” (KJV/NKJV) feast. So, this says that being solemn/sacred is not necessarily separate from rejoicing.
Treating the Passover as _extra_ “solemn” is a _major_ core doctrinal belief that we all obey very specifically. If we are to be guided by our feelings on keeping ordinances from God, then it would be good to know where I can prove this from scripture.
“Where are we taught to discern the commands of God by our feelings?”
We are not, and that’s not what I’ve been doing. I’ve cited biblical justification for it being a solemn occasion, regardless of whether or not it is the “most solemn”. If UCG wants to call it the “most solemn”, then let them explain that one.
Having said that, it isn’t an illogical conclusion to come to. After all, as I have already pointed out, there is precedence for that. Furthermore, I am going to repeat 1Co 11 makes it obvious that it is a solemn occasion. If you refuse to acknowledge that, then that is between you and God.
Each festival does have peculiarities that set it apart from the others. On some, we fast instead of feast. On some, we travel to locations other than our own homes. Passover is “solemn” because of its meaning, because of judgment, because of self-examination due to the fact that we ourselves caused our Savior’s death. It was serious in the OT as well as the NT. Paul put out those instructions because people were taking it lightly.
Dt 16:15, again, is the word of choice for the translators, in this case the KJV. Where does Strong’s imply it is “solemn”? Why did they choose “solemn feast” in that one, and only that one, case? In other places, it is “holyday” or even just plain “keep”. In fact, in 1Sa 30:16, it is translated as “dancing”. Simply put, it is not “solemn” as we would use the word today.
I’d suggest becoming more familiar with Strong’s concordance. It seems you know it’s location online but not how it works. You gloss over facts like “And” won’t necessarily be annotated each and every time as well as failing to look up words you want to take exception to.
“Why did they choose “solemn feast” in that one, and only that one, case?”
“The Word”, a free Bible software program (much like E-sword) is able to search the OT for the original Greek when the software contains a module of the Septuagint (there’s a Grk only module as well as as a Grk/Eng module). When refering to that resource, there are actually two cases when that word is used.
The scripture Dt 16:15, when read from the Septuagint uses G1858 heortazo, “you shall solemnize a holiday” (ABPen). The other instance is found in the NT. It uses the same word and it is found in 1Cor 5:8 “Therefore ‘let us keep the feast’ (heortazo), not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Concidering Paul was fluent in both Hebrew and Greek, such a thing should carry some weight.
Hopefully this will help in a mutual understanding.
@Norbert: Basically, the word in Dt 16:15 and in 1Co 5:8 mean the same thing. Strong’s says of G1858, “to keep a feast day, celebrate a feast”.
To “solemnize” something means “1. Duly perform (a ceremony, esp. that of marriage).
“2. Mark with a formal ceremony.”
Even in English, that is very different than saying something is “solemn”, “grave, sober, or mirthless, as a person, the face, speech, tone, or mood: solemn remarks.”
G1858 does not refer to something being serious or sober but simply means it is a formal observance.
I am with Robert on this one. I left a similar post on James Malm site (which I am not sure its been “approved” yet). Here is some of what I wrote:
We have been taught to NOT establish doctrine (I.e. Teaching) on a single scripture. Also, in addition to that we MUST always read a single verse in context when relating it to supporting doctrine. The only verse I have seen as concrete evidence of NTMBO is Ex.12:42
Using this as justification for a teaching goes against the way other doctrines are established. What we are asked to believe, is that the passage before this verse has no bearing on it, neither the verse directly after it. And that “all of a sudden” we are talking about a different night altogether, forget what what has gone before and what comes after. Reading this verse, IN CONTEXT, it can ONLY refer to the Passover. The YLT translation reads:
A night of watchings it is to Jehovah, to bring them out from the land of Egypt; it is this night to Jehovah of watchings to all the sons of Israel to their generations.
Which in context, has a much more appropriate application to Passover than to a night of “leaving” / “departure” as the Death angel had already passed and the need for watching and diligence was basically over.
Not to mention, there is NO record whatsoever that a different and distinct night was ever observed by the Israelites apart from the Passover night. Not to mention that it is not listed as part of the list God’s feasts (as you would expect it to be) in Lev.23 – note that the weekly Sabbath is listed here as integral day to be observed (my point is, if the Sabbath is listed, shouldn’t the NTBMO?).
My conclusion after some study is that it is a tradition rather than a commandment. Not that there is anything wrong with tradition per se.
Note also the following verses (with NO mention of the NTMBO)
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.
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.
(Wouldn’t it also be mentioned here as a night to be kept?? – the Passover is!!, This verse only substantiates that they left at night – NOT that the night itself is a commanded observance)
Below I have included the relevant passage (bolding mine)
Exo 12:24-43 (KJV)
(24) And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
(25) And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
(26) And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
(27) That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
(28) And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
(29) And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
(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.
(34) And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
(35) 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:
(36) 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.
(37) And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
(38) And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
(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.
(40) Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
(41) 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.
(42) 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.
(43) And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
I also think that the way you have inferred that the use of the “And” in verse 43 is incorrect (IMHO), as if to imply a distinction and separation from what went before. You would need to apply that rule to every use of the word “and” in this passage to be consistent, and the passage just wouldn’t make sense then. What is being said in effect is “Oh, and on top of that here is some more stuff you need to be aware of when you keep the Passover”
You are right, I am not skilled with the scriptures, I can only understand them at face value. I appreciate your logic, and it’s the exact same logic that I have been taught in sermons and in study papers. But I doubt you expect anyone (yourself included) to just have faith in another man’s understanding without the Bible to clearly back it up. And if you are correct, and following scripture, then this is valuable to understand.
Is 1 Cor 11, the only scripture in the Bible that says Passover is “solemn”? It may obvious to someone who is expecting it to be there, but I can’t find the word “solemn” or anything even similar to it there. Perhaps a more accurate word should be used to describe Passover? Maybe a specific verse in 1 Cor 11 clarifies your point? (there are 34, and half of it is about hair)
As far as NTBMO goes, Ex. 12:18 says Unleavened Bread starts the same time as Passover. (which leaves no extra day in between for NTBMO)
Robert wrote: “As far as NTBMO goes, Ex. 12:18 says Unleavened Bread starts the same time as Passover. (which leaves no extra day in between for NTBMO)”
Well, now I know that you are just reading in whatever you want to. Passover is NOT the Days of Unleavened Bread. Passover is the 14th. DUB starts the 15th. It is obvious you’ve made up your own mind about that, though, so there’s no point in trying to point out the obvious to you.
RDC wrote: “We have been taught to NOT establish doctrine (I.e. Teaching) on a single scripture.”
Then explain the “fundamental belief” in a third resurrection. It is based upon a single Scripture, and some list in their fundamental beliefs, which I believe is a mistake. It is a mistake not because I don’t believe it, but rather the evidence for the numbering of resurrections is flimsy enough that calling it a core doctrine is a mistake.
Verse 43 of Exodus 12 clearly shows a break in the chain of thought. There may have been a pause of 2 minutes or 2 hours for all we know.
You are the one pulling it out of context, my friend. Saying it is not listed in Leviticus 23 is not a game buster because the NTBMO is not a separate holy day. It is the First Day of the Days of Unleavened Bread. Rather than it being a holy day, it is a prescription for how to keep it.
The core doctrine is not the NTBMO. The core doctrine is the Days of Unleavened Bread. The NTBMO is how to observe the evening portion of it.
Think about the time sequence: Passover during the evening portion of the 14th. The firstborn of Egypt are struck. Pharaoh sends soldiers and messengers to get the Israelites out of Egypt. The day portion of the 14th is spent looting and fleeing Egypt. The night of the 15th, they encamp before sundown because 1) It is a holy day, 2) Travel by night is dangerous. God says “It” is a night to be much observed. What is “it”? What is going on right then at that time. That would be the evening portion of the First DUB. They rested from fleeing Egypt. They rested from slavery. This is what the DUB are all about!
They did not flee during the night of Passover. They stayed inside so the death angel would not take them. The night they were first out of Egypt was the evening portion of the First DUB. It is a celebration of the breaking of the bonds of slavery.
Dt 16 doesn’t list the Feast of Trumpets, either. Does that mean we should not keep it? What of Atonement? If you are going to argue from silence, then why do we need to keep Atonement?
It’s not my opinion, the scriptures tell me this plainly.
Ezek 45:21 “… you shall observe the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
Luke 22:1 “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover”
Exodus 12:18 says Unleavened Bread starts on the “14th as evening.” Which is the same as the _commanded_ timing of Passover. There are only 2 verses in the entire bible that are God’s _commands_ on when to keep Passover, Lev 23:5 and Numbers 9:3. And they are the same time as Unleavened Bread Exo. 12:18.
No where in the Bible does God command that Passover is on the day of the 14th, (again only 2 verses contains commands) but he does command the “14th at evening”, which is not the same thing.
Do any of the descriptions surrounding the events of exodus change God’s commanded date of Passover? If not, then the narrative of events can be considered irrelevant in determining the timing of Passover. If descriptions of events _do_ in fact override God’s commanded time of Passover, I would like to know the scriptures so that I can correct myself.
There are many scriptures that _describe_ or reference the 14th and Passover, but I have only found the two verses where God commands it. The only way to say Passover and Unleavened Bread start at different times is to claim that the “14th at evening” means the beginning of the day, not the end of the day, and then you’d have to apply this meaning unevenly to multiple scriptures. (Ex 12:18 vs Lev. 23:5 and Num 9:3)
But I don’t have to decide what the meaning is, as scripture clarifies itself (as I was taught).
Lev. 23:32 states when “at evening” is, it’s at the end of the day. Just as the “9th at evening” (start of Atonement) is the beginning of the 10th, the “14th at evening” is the beginning of the 15th. Thus the scriptures match up perfectly, Passover is the evening of the first holy day of Unleavened Bread, Passover is on a holy day and is a feast (as many scriptures refer to it), Passover can be referred to synonymously with Unleavened Bread and there is no space for NTBMO in between.
After we understand Gods commands, then perhaps the narrative should be understood secondly? Instead of the other way around…
Again, I am not a skilled scholar, so I have no choice but to read the scriptures plainly. If you see error in this, I am interested to hear it.
“Again, I am not a skilled scholar, so I have no choice but to read the scriptures plainly. If you see error in this, I am interested to hear it.”
All scholars do not fully agree amongst themselves nor would the vast majority of them claim to be infallible, at least that is my observation. They do however try and back up their thoughts just like the average Joe or Jane would.
Here’s a rather indepth look at Passover that attempts to explain the difference between the 14th on the evening at the beginning of the day and the evening of the 14th at the end of the day:
Either way, if a person isn’t sure what the issue between the two is, then this paper should give some insight into what the problem is on this subject.
Actually, the timing is pretty simple when you consider terminology. I can understand taking it at face value and not studying deeper, but one doesn’t have to be much of a scholar to look deeper.
First order of business, timing of DUB. Very clearly starts the 15. Leviticus 23:6 makes that clear. The Passover is said to be on the 14th at twilight–which is a different Hebrew word than at ‘evening’ (which as you note, at evening clearly means the end of the day. Exodus 12:18 tells is DUB starts on the 14th at evening, or beginning of 15th). And in those cases the Hebrew phrase is “ba erev”, the evening and fading of the day. This phrase is consistently used to refer to the end of a day, sunset, and the start of a new day.
The phrase translated twilight (in some translations, though is still ‘evening’ in KJV) in Exodus 12:6 is Ben ha ereviym or “between to the two evenings”. It is a different phrase and used to distinguish the start of the day. So the Passover was taken at the start of the 14th at sunset. These two phrasings were likely used in the Hebrew writing to clarify what was meant by a time frame.
For a modern example, if I say midnight Thursday, am I referring to the start or end of Thursday? But if I say 11:59 PM or 12:01 AM the framing becomes clearer as something we can understand and relate to by knowing the culture and time telling conventions.
Furthermore, the OT Passover timing becomes moot when considering the NT accounts. It’s also pretty obvious that Christ took the Passover meal on the night before he was crucified (the night beginning the 14th), with his death falling on the day portion of the 14th. With the 15th being a high holy day, they were rushing to get him in the grave before the start of it–not something that makes any sense if that night started the holy day itself! So there is clearly a day “gap” between Christ’s observing of the Passover and the start of the Holy Day. And we’re to emulate Christ.
So if Christ observed the Passover the night beginning the 14th, that would also seem to imply that’s the proper timing of observation of Passover. In which case, the context of the rest of Exodus 12 should be read all together and the timing in mind.
We see them slay the lamb, have the meal, and the first born dying all on the night of the 14. The day if the 14th, they burn any remains of the meal, loot the Egyptians, and leave with their unleavened bread around evening time. Verse 42 sums up the events and that they’re leaving at the start of the 15th saying that it is a night to be much observed for all the children of Israel throughout their generations. Why is that? It’s a memorial of the actual bringing out from Egypt (or a deeper meaning of bringing us out of sin). A different focus altogether than the Passover observance (the mercy of God to Israel in passing over them and staying the death penalty on the first borns, through the blood of the lamb as a sign, this clearing the way for Israel to leave… Just as we now observe it as the mercy God shows us in staying our own death penalty through Christ’s blood and sacrifice, clearing the way to free us from sin.)
Maybe God doesn’t command the NTBMO in the same way as holy days, but it is a night that he declares to be an observance for all Israel throughout their generations. And considering it’s tied directly to the holy day, it should be kept holy to begin with.
And further 12:43 is a definite break in thought from the proceeding discussion. You see this often in these books, describing an event or series of events then zooming in to discuss some specific aspect of preceding thoughts. As far as the trifle over “and” goes, it is a pretty common designation, when starting a section, to indicate breakage on thought (though not always, of course). See Ex 13:1-3 for another example. It’s used much like “then” and “now”. I even use And at the start above and it is a break in thought from my last paragraph. Pretty standard, really.
One should also remember, too, that chapters and verses are a relatively modern thing. All of Exodus would’ve run together… There’s definitely breakages in thought in sections that would otherwise be together. I think reading the section verse 43 starts as relating to the preceding topic not only ignores the very obvious shift in focus, but also would lead to sone awkward logic if applied evenly throughout!
Robert wrote: “Do any of the descriptions surrounding the events of exodus change God’s commanded date of Passover? If not, then the narrative of events can be considered irrelevant in determining the timing of Passover. If descriptions of events _do_ in fact override God’s commanded time of Passover, I would like to know the scriptures so that I can correct myself.”
That’s a good example of a false dichotomy. It’s also a good example of why I have trouble believing you are serious rather than just here for a silly argument. The Bible is not a cafeteria buffet where you get to pick and choose what you want to. That is Satan’s way: to pick and choose between good and evil, right and wrong. The Bible is a whole. We don’t get to choose the words (including “and”), the examples or anything else b/c all Scripture is “God breathed” (1Ti 3:16).
The commands are just that: commands. The examples are practical applications or misapplications as the case may be. We look at the examples because they tell us something about how to apply what God commanded or to avoid actions that misapply or reject what God commanded.
Speaking of examples, as Andrew already pointed out, Jesus kept the Passover on the 14th (Lk 22:15). We know it was the 14th because they had to get Him down from the tree before the “high day” set in (Jn 19:31). That “high day” would have been the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread. We know it wasn’t a weekly Sabbath b/c the women rested twice during the week.
So, are you now going to tell me that the descriptions around Jesus’ death changed God’s commanded day of Passover? Are you going to tell me they were “irrelevant” in determining when and how to keep Passover?
Seriously, who in their right mind is going to continue to argue in favor of a 15th Passover when Jesus set the example Himself of one on the 14th? Why anyone would promote such a heresy is beyond me!
What of the disciples? Long after John’s death, Polycarp and Polycrates kept the 14th for Passover. That is why they were called “Quartodecimans”, that is “Fourteenthers”. The eastern churches were continuing in the tradition of the 14th of Nisan as Passover while Rome had already begun keeping one of their own reckoning.
“Exodus 12:18 says Unleavened Bread starts on the ’14th as evening.’ Which is the same as the _commanded_ timing of Passover.”
No, it does not say that. Specifically, it says, “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.” Why would He command 8 days to eat unleavened bread? Because the Passover was eaten with unleavened bread (v 8). However, in the following verse we read, “Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses”, which means during the daytime portion of the 14th they could still eat leavening.
Just like there is an “eighth day” tacked onto the FOT, there are 8 days in which to eat unleavened bread, but only in 7 of them are you required to have no leavening.
“No where in the Bible does God command that Passover is on the day of the 14th, (again only 2 verses contains commands) but he does command the ’14th at evening’, which is not the same thing.”
That’s because Passover is celebrated at night. In the morning, all of it was to be burnt up if it hadn’t been eaten. The daytime portion is not a holy day. There is a spiritual lesson to be gleaned from that, but only if you submit to the practical situation first.
“Lev. 23:32 states when ‘at evening’ is, it’s at the end of the day. Just as the ‘9th at evening’ (start of Atonement) is the beginning of the 10th, the ’14th at evening’ is the beginning of the 15th.”
Again, no. It is not “just as” the command for Atonement: “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.”
“Even” is mentioned 3 x. Which “even” applies?
No, God is specifically saying that not one second of Atonement is to be done without fasting. “Even unto even” means, believe it or not, that even a small portion of the 9th should be spent in fasting. There is an extra word in there that doesn’t come out in English “min”, which means “a portion of”. Literally, as soon as dusk begins on the 9th, we should start fasting. Some Orthodox Jews take this so literally as to fast starting at noon the previous day. In contrast, Passover is to simply be “at evening” without the word “min” being used or implied. In other words, Passover time is calculated like any other.
The real question is whether we are going to pick and choose what we want or are we going to follow the example that Jesus gave and keep it on the date He showed us to keep.
“The popular and practical reckoning of the day was dawn to dusk, but for religious and calendrical purposes, the day began in the evening (Lev 23, 27, 32…” (Philip Peter Jensen, “Graded Holiness – A Key to the Priestly Conception of the World”, p.183).
I notice that John is using the “popular and practical reckoning of the day” when he says:
“Literally, as soon as dusk begins on the 9th, we should start fasting”.
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 (Exodus 12:18).
“If the day began in the evening, there would be no need to state, [in Milgrom’s view], not once but twice, that the termini are the evening…” (Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 23-27, Anchor Bible, p.1967). [Milgrom takes the “either/or” position as opposed to the “and/both” solution].
Just as there are two ways of reckoning the start of the day there is also two ways of reckoning the start of the year.
This month [Abib] shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you (Exodus 12:2).
Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field (Exodus 23:16, NIV).
Exodus 12 refers to the “religious year” and Exodus 23 refers to the “civil” or “agricultural year”.
“… it appears that sacred units of time commence before the equivalent units of secular time that they overlap” (Roy Gane, Leviticus, Numbers, NIVAC, p.435).
While the Day of Atonement is observed half way through the religious year the Jubilee Year begins at the start of the agricultural year.
Language is rich, flexible and complex and I think Bible readers apply unfair conventions on earlier times that modern people don’t apply to themselves.
I think it is also somewhat unfair to say that “The Bible is not a cafeteria buffet where you get to pick and choose what you want to”. If it was that easy then perhaps there would be no disagreement.
“The evidence is thus confusing, and it is in the least surprising that scholars have come to very different conclusions. I do not see how we can be dogmatic in our present state of knowledge. The most natural reading of the Synoptists shows that the Last Supper there to be the Passover. The most natural reading of John shows that Jesus was crucified at the very time the Passover victims were slain in the Temple. While it is undoubtedly possible to interpret the accounts in such a way that we make them tell the same story, it seems best to see them as the result of following different calendars. According to the calendar Jesus was following the meal was the Passover. But the Temple authorities followed another, according to which the sacrificial victims were slain the next day. John appears to make use of this to bring out the truth that Christ was slain as our Passover” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Revised, NICNT, pp.694-695).
I believe that the original Passover sacrifice was killed at the end of the fourteenth and that were two competing calendars employed in the time of Christ.
Jn 18:28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover (NIV).
Following John’s calendar the implication is that “the Jews” ate the Passover on the 15th – which the AV describes as “a night to be much observed” (Exodus 12:42).
And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve (Mark 14:12-17, AV).
The NIV translates Mark 14:12 as “On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” (NIV).
If it was “customary” for an element in Judean society would it be possible to kill all the Passover lambs during twilight – if that is a correct understanding of the Hebrew? If it was not possible then it would require the Passover to be killed on the 13th.
The way I read Mark 14 it would be unlikely to fit these events into such a short period of time – after the slaughter the Passover, go into the city and “make ready the Passover” – roasting some of the lamb? – before Christ came with the disciples at even.
This implies, at least for me, that Christ and the disciples were partaking of the Passover on “a night to be much observed” (Exodus 12:42) but then I am following “Satan’s way” according to John.
As an aside in preparation for the Old Covenant Passover it is interesting that lamb was set aside on the tenth and cared for until the fourteenth. In the Millennial New Covenant the preparation for the public Passover sacrifice, which is now a bull and a “purification offering” there are two days of purgation on the first and seventh of the religious year.
John from Australia wrote: “I think it is also somewhat unfair to say that ‘The Bible is not a cafeteria buffet where you get to pick and choose what you want to’. If it was that easy then perhaps there would be no disagreement.”
It is such a shame that HWA used to speak so often of the two trees, but people did not get it then, and they do not get it now. It not only is fair to say that the Bible is not a buffet to pick and choose from, but that is the actual cause of most disagreements. Adam and Eve picked and chose from the wrong tree, and even in the COG, that is what many are doing today.
“It’s also a good example of why I have trouble believing you are serious rather than just here for a silly argument. The Bible is not a cafeteria buffet where you get to pick and choose what you want to.”
While the last sentence is literally correct, but in the context that it was used I took it that you were ‘accusing’ the person of picking and choosing what they wanted. While some may ‘pick and choose’ I think most who hold a contrary position do so honestly.
For example when the author of Hebrews says “And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin” (10:8) some people honestly believe that animal sacrifices are no longer required to “atone” for sin, which is a contradiction to what God revealed to Ezekiel:
Eze 45:15 Also one sheep is to be taken from every flock of two hundred from the well-watered pastures of Israel. These will be used for the grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the people, declares the Sovereign LORD. (NIV).
Eze 43:20 You are to take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the upper ledge and all around the rim, and so purify the altar and make atonement for it.
Eze 45:19 The priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, on the four corners of the upper ledge of the altar and on the gateposts of the inner court.
Eze 45:20 You are to do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who sins unintentionally or through ignorance; so you are to make atonement for the temple. (NIV).
The expiatory power is especially attributed to animal blood in the last three verses.
The problem in many cases is not what the Bible says but what does it mean. Take for example:
Then the priest is to take some of the blood [of the purification offering] with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar … In this way the priest will make atonement [kaphar] for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven (Leviticus 4:30 & 35b, NIV).
“… kaphar has a twofold effect: it removes pollution and it counteract sin… In cultic texts, then, the best rendering for kaphar is “expiate,” focusing on the removal of sin and its effects” (John E. Hartley, Leviticus, WBC, pp.64-65).
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins (Hebrews 10: 11, NIV).
There is no contradiction, both Moses and the author of Hebrews are both correct – they are not mutually exclusive positions. The interpretation needs to adequately explain how these verse are complementary.
Some believe that Christ will be literally on the earth during the Millennium – that is after the completion of the final half of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy but make no attempt to explain Ezekiel 43:1-7.
To qualify my last post – Christ and the disciples were partaking of the Passover on the fifteenth according to Mark’s calendar. The NT Passover is at the beginning of the fourteenth following John’s calendar.
It is an argument, I admit that, but it’s not silly. I am certainly not trying to irritate you, and will stop posting if you want me to.
Scripture says we are supposed to “choose”, Deut 30:19 “choose life”. Heb. 5:14 says we are to “exercise our senses” to discern between “good and evil.”
No, I have no proof Jesus changed the date of Passover. (are you saying he did?)
The scriptures I said were “irrelevant”, are so because a specific date for Passover was _commanded_, not eluded to.
Unless Jesus changed the date, then the date is discernible by the OT alone. And unless the story of the Exodus (or other OT stories, dramas or descriptions) can change God’s commands, then the date is discernible by Gods commands alone.
This is doubtful information (Rom. 14:1), we are to use the scriptures to prove God’s laws and commands. Deut 12:30 says “…do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.'”
Should we even inquire from worldly sources? Christ said they don’t have the truth. (Mat 11:25, Luk 10:21,) “You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.”
Ex. 12:18, Lev. 23:6, all say 7 days of unleavened bread, can’t find 8 anywhere. Can you provide a scripture?
I had to look up “heresy” to understand your point. (haven’t heard that in awhile) Heresy is simply stating something that disagrees with Church doctrine, but this is only true if applied to a specific Church.
Which church organization am I being heretical against?
Christ’s example is that the leader should wash all the follower’s feet. His Passover example is to eat a meal and then recline around a table and talk amongst ourselves afterwards. (His disciple laid on his chest, some argued) He used the dinner bread and wine (in a single cup) for the Passover symbols. His example was to keep Passover in a small room with a small group of people.
Which examples of Jesus should we pick and choose to follow?
@Norbert: Regarding the paper you linked to, I have only started it, but a purely scriptural based argument (IMHO) is the only defensible one.
Perhaps I wasn’t clear, when I said I look at scriptures “plainly”, it doesn’t mean I didn’t do research, (I’ve spent many hours) I mean I don’t add or use drama or emotions added to narrative to understand scriptures, especially something as factual as a date.
You brought up the issues of the hebrew words “at evening”…
Is there a source online that shows these Hebrew words? I have read many arguments about the Hebrew words, and when I look in my Hebrew texts they all use the same phrase: ereb (ba erev)
Ex. 12:18 “the 14th day at evening”, Lev. 23:5, Num. 9:3, Deut 16:6.
This UCG paper goes into some detail to show that there is no difference between the Hebrew words referring to the evening.
Oddly, the UCG paper actually makes the claim that lexicons and concordances are wrong! Since I can’t find the phrase “Ben ha ereviym” in the Bebrew in any of my sources (all say ereb) I have to trust people that have a special translation of the bible to tell me what is in it. (ancient Catholic Latin mass?)
If it can be shown that “Ben ha ereviym” specifically means “the beginning of the day”, then I would consider this a valid argument and go back search the scriptures again.
“For example when the author of Hebrews says “And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin” (10:8) some people honestly believe that animal sacrifices are no longer required to “atone” for sin, which is a contradiction to what God revealed to Ezekiel.
Myself, having had some brief discussions with Othodox Jews familiar with the NT text. They point out that their sages have always understood that “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb 10:4) They will even point to the NT text in Mark 2:7 to confirm their point, “Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” They will also use Ps 51 to show this doctrine always existed within Judaism, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.. For you desire not sacrifice; else would I give it: you delight not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. ”
Even the author of Hebrews suggests, “‘For if’ the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
The impression the dialogue with these Orthodox Jews left me with is, just like Baptism and the laying on of hands, they understand the animal sacrifices are only ceremonial but required were there a temple still standing.
“And when he came down from the mount, great multitudes did follow him, and lo, a leper having come, was bowing to him, saying, `Sir, if thou art willing, thou art able to cleanse me;’ and having stretched forth the hand, Jesus touched him, saying, `I will, be thou cleansed,’ and immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
And Jesus saith to him, `See, thou mayest tell no one, but go, thyself shew to the priest, and bring the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony to them.‘ (Matt 8:1-4)
To put it bluntly, not all the Jews back then were ignorant of this knowledge. At least no more than any ignorance shared by Gentile and Jew alike, which continues to float around in today’s supposed far advanced and enlightened world.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases … as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:3 & 12).
At least Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., addresses the apparent contradiction between Moses and the author of Hebrews:
“The repeated statements of the law of Moses on the effects of the sacrifices offered for sin in the Levitical law is “and he shall be forgiven” (Lev 1:4; 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 16). So effective and so all-embracing was this forgiveness that it availed for such sins as lying, theft, fraud, perjury, and debauchery (Lev 6:1-7)… In fact, in connection with the Day of Atonement, what is implicit in these other lists is clearly stated: “all their sins” were atoned (Lev 16:21, 22; my emphasis). Thus instead of limiting the efficacy of this forgiveness to ceremonial sins, all the sins of all the people who were truly repentant were included. It is important to note that the qualification of a proper heart and attitude is clearly stated in Leviticus 16:29 and 31 where the people asked to “afflict (‘anah) their souls” (KJV). Accordingly, only those who had inwardly prepared their hearts were eligible to receive the gracious gift of God’s forgiveness (cf. Also 1 Sam 15:22).
“Nevertheless, a major problem appears whenever the Christian introduces the argument of Hebrews 8-10 into this discussion. The writer of Hebrews states in no uncertain terms that:
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship… because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Heb 10:1, 4).
“This surely seems to diminish the high claims that we just finished attributing to the writer of Leviticus. In fact, Hebrews 9:9 adds that “the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshipper.” What shall we say then about the forgiveness offered in the Torah? It would be too much to contend that the OT offer of forgiveness repeated so often in the Levitical institution of the sacrifices were only symbolic and offered no actual cleansing from or removal of sin…” (Towards Rediscovering the Old Testament, pp.133-34).
God is the one who grants forgiveness:
“… the verb salach, “forgive,” is always passive nipa‘l, indicating that it is God rather than the priest who grants forgiveness. Thus the kaphar process at which the priest officiates does not automatically result in forgiveness. Rather, the process is only prerequisite to the direct divine decision” (Roy Gane, Cult and Character – Purification Offerings, Day of Atonement and Theodicy, p.125). Gane uses the Hebrew so I have provided the transliteration from BDB).
During the Millennium sin will still be a problem. For Jesus Christ’s shekinah glory to dwell in Ezekiel’s Temple (Eze 43:1-7) animal blood will be required to atone/expiate for this sin (Eze 43:19-20 & 45:15 & 20). At least that what God reveals through Ezekiel.
To get the sense of this, based partly on Walter Kaiser’s argument, it can be said that:
The ‘subjective’ efficacy of Old and New Covenant sacrifices is effected (retro-prospectively) by the ‘objective’ efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice. When the author of Hebrews points out that “there is no more offering for sin” (10:18) it is only on the ‘objective’ level (cp. Romans 6:23), not the ‘subjective’.
In regard to earlier comment on the type-antitype telescopic prophecy of Daniel 9 the telescopic ‘jump’ for the Antichrist’s ‘week’ to begin occurs at the end of the 483 years – with his week being continuous; Christ telescopic ‘jump’ is at the end of 486.5 years so that Christ’s week is telescopic, so that Christ last 3.5 years, to fulfill this prophecy, begins at the end of the Antichrist’s week.
Robert wrote: “
“Scripture says we are supposed to ‘choose’, Deut 30:19 ‘choose life’. Heb. 5:14 says we are to ‘exercise our senses’ to discern between ‘good and evil.'”
OK, let me rephrase that, then. God gave Adam and Eve a choice. They could choose God’s way or the way of deciding right and wrong for themselves. They chose the latter way. The Bible is full of examples where people chose their own way over the clear directives God gave them. It is the same way that many approach the Scriptures today. They pick out what they choose to believe and discard the rest rather submit totally and completely to God’s will.
“No, I have no proof Jesus changed the date of Passover. (are you saying he did?)
“The scriptures I said were “irrelevant”, are so because a specific date for Passover was _commanded_, not eluded to.”
He did not change it. Jesus came to show the example of how to keep the Law perfectly, among other things. If He kept a different night, then He broke the Law and is not our Savior.
“Unless Jesus changed the date, then the date is discernible by the OT alone. And unless the story of the Exodus (or other OT stories, dramas or descriptions) can change God’s commands, then the date is discernible by Gods commands alone.”
That’s picking and choosing again. The commands are in the OT, but how much of the above is about the wording of those commands? Jesus gave us the practical application of the commands, so whose interpretation should we be following?
“Should we even inquire from worldly sources? Christ said they don’t have the truth. (Mat 11:25, Luk 10:21,) ‘You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.'”
According to that logic, UCG literature shouldn’t be quoted here either then. We have a fragment of Polycrates own words. He was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. We see a thread of continuation of the practice that Jesus gave to hold Passover on the 14th. While it isn’t Scripture, it refutes various notions of the timing and name of the ceremony concerning the bread and the wine.
“Ex. 12:18, Lev. 23:6, all say 7 days of unleavened bread, can’t find 8 anywhere. Can you provide a scripture?”
The math is simple, and it is in a passage you yourself pointed out: “18In 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.” 21 – 14 =7; 7 + 1 (because the 14th is one of the days) = 8 days.
In short, eat unleavened bread on the Passover + the DUBs. Put leaven out of your homes and don’t eat it for 7.
“I had to look up ‘heresy’ to understand your point. (haven’t heard that in awhile) Heresy is simply stating something that disagrees with Church doctrine, but this is only true if applied to a specific Church.”
” 1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1, King James Version)”
So, which of the current organizations is Peter concerned with?
“Christ’s example is that the leader should wash all the follower’s feet. His Passover example is to eat a meal and then recline around a table and talk amongst ourselves afterwards. (His disciple laid on his chest, some argued) He used the dinner bread and wine (in a single cup) for the Passover symbols. His example was to keep Passover in a small room with a small group of people.
“Which examples of Jesus should we pick and choose to follow?”
It is interesting how you focus on the small things of custom, such as lying around rather than sitting upright, whether or not it is a solemn occasion, and all the while not paying attention to the timeline where He had the Passover during the night, but the following night was a high day, showing the Passover and First DUB fall on different days. Are you sure you aren’t straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel?
Jesus came to fulfill the Law, did He not? Either we follow His example or we are guilty of picking and choosing what seems right in our own eyes. We know we are commanded to keep the Passover. The command clearly says the 14th. Jesus obviously kept it the night before He was crucified. John makes it clear that the approaching evening was the First DUB. If the holy days truly are core doctrines, then we really should be paying attention to the timing of events, because they are the example of the Law in practice.
Andrew wrote: “Also, John, while I agree with you mostly, not sure I agree with the 8 day logic you use. You change meaning of evening within the first to mean the start of the 14th to the end of the 21. That would be somewhat contradictory. The better explanation is that it was simply talking about the actual DUB itself and not Passover. From the end of the 14/start of 15 to end of 21/start of 22. That’s the seven days.”
You’re right. I got tripped up on the preposition, it would seem, as it isn’t necessarily inclusive.
I came across an article by Keith Hunt on “Between the Two Evenings”, which apparently is a condensed version of another article by Fred Coulter (which I have yet to find). It uses the miracle of God sending the quails to show that in that case “between the two evenings” had to occur after the Sabbath day, i.e., after sunset that begins the first day of the week. By using that same logic, there is no way that “between the two evenings” of Passover could have meant the twilight ending the 14th and leading into the 15th. As I said, I’m still looking for the Coulter article.
Since I’m preparing for business related travel today, I don’t have time to give an essay length response. However, proof of Ben ha arbayim us simple enough to come by.
Get the Hebrew text, with the Hebrew alphabet. Find a Hebrew alphabet to Latin alphabet converter–this won’t translate the words. Paste Ex 12:6 in Hebrew alphabet and see what you come up with. I come up with: v vְhayah lakֶm lְmִshְׁmֶrֶt, ‘ead aarְbia’eah ‘eashׂar yvֹm lahֹdֶshׁ haziֶh; vְshׁahֲtvi aֹtvֹ, kiֹl qְhal ‘eֲdat-yִshְׂraaֵl–biֵyn ha’earְbiayִm.
Notice the last two words.
For further checking, compare other verses that use evening and see what phrases come up with their.
Now think about the context of the uses of the phrase. As already described by the narrative in both OT and NT Passover observances, it’s extremely clear it was kept on the 14th with the high holy day falling in the 15th. This is not irrelevant information, as you would claim. For if it were irrelevant, and you can ignore context and applications of commands in interpretation, then the Bible can be made to contradict itself many times over. It’s not taking context and the Bible as a whole into consideration that has led to all the false doctrines in the world today.
You will find the use of the phrase ben ha arbayim is often used when describing the start of the day, as opposed to the ending of it.
Also, John, while I agree with you mostly, not sure I agree with the 8 day logic you use. You change meaning of evening within the first to mean the start of the 14th to the end of the 21. That would be somewhat contradictory. The better explanation is that it was simply talking about the actual DUB itself and not Passover. From the end of the 14/start of 15 to end of 21/start of 22. That’s the seven days.
In terms of calling the entire season the Passover, it’s just easier than saying the two separate names. Just as we don’t always differentiate the Feast and the 8th day and just refer to them both as The Feast. Passover came to refer to the day and the entire time period in usage (hence “first day of Passover”). This is a usage you’ll still find today. It’s not a matter of competing calendars at all–if it were, what kind of confusion would that create in the Bible?!
John, there are a ton of articles out there that use the same discussion and reasoning. I came across this one, for example: http://americaspropheticdestiny.com/betweenthetwoevenings.htm
(I’ve only really skimmed it, so I make no claims as to the truth in the article, but it does seem to use the same logic to prove beginning 14th)
My understanding is also that Coulter’s article is not an article, per se, it’s discussed in his book “The Christian Passover”