Pesach 14th or 15th?

seder plat

Lev 23:1 And YHVH spoke unto Moshe, saying, 2 Speak unto the Bnei Yisroel, and say unto them, Concerning the Mo’adim of YHVH, which ye shall proclaim to be mikra’ei kodesh, even these are My Mo’adim. 3 Sheshet yamim shall work be done; but the yom hashevi’i is the Shabbos of Shabbaton, a mikra kodesh; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Shabbos to YHVH in all your dwellings. 4 These are the Moa’dim of YHVH, even mikra’ei kodesh, which ye shall proclaim in their mo’adim. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is YHVH’s Pesach. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Chag HaMatzot unto YHVH; shivat yamim ye must eat matzot. 7 In the Yom HaRishon ye shall have a mikra kodesh; ye shall do no melekhet avodah therein. 8 But ye shall offer an offering made by eish unto YHVH shivat yamim; in the seventh day is a mikra kodesh; ye shall do no melekhet avodah therein.

crescent moon
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As we begin looking at Pesach, there are a few things that we need to remember about time. Now, first of all biblically, the dates and calendar are based not on the sun, but the moon.

CJB Psalm 104:19 You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set.

 

The Hebrew calendar today still follows a lunar cycle, not solar.

NIV Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.

These feast days, new moon and Shabbats are shadows of things to come.  Things to come are future things and shadows (foreshadows) of things to come are prophecies.

As most of us have observed Pesach, I’m wanting to take a look at this study a little differently.

First of all throughout history, there has been a controversy over the proper timing of YHVH’s Pesach.  Many observe the Pesach on the 14th of the first month (Aviv) at the beginning of the day and others observe at the end of the 14th and as the beginning of the 15th.

As these two beliefs emerge, this has an impact on whether or not Yahshuah’s last supper was a seder or a memorial meal.  As the Rabbinical Orthodox calendar holds to the end of the 14th/beginning of 15th as Pesach/First Day of Unleavened Bread, then Yahshuah’s last supper would not have been a seder as they would be eating the seder that evening.  If you hold to the beginning of the 14th, then Yahshuah’s last supper could have been a seder. If it was a seder, then could Yahshuah be celebrating at the wrong time?

We need to remember that the way for counting time was evening then morning for one day.

 CJB Genesis 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, one day.

First, I believe there is an appointed time for Pesach.  The question is when.  Now, let’s go back to the passage in Shemot/Leviticus.

Lev 23:1 And YHVH spoke unto Moshe, saying, 2 Speak unto the Bnei Yisroel, and say unto them, Concerning the Mo’adim of YHVH, which ye shall proclaim to be mikra’ei kodesh, even these are My Mo’adim.

In this passage, the phrase appointed times is actually mo’edim.  According to the Hebrew Lexicon, mo’ed refers to an appointment or the time appointed for an assembly.  It’s root is from ya’ad.  It means to fix, meet, appoint, assemble, set and betroth.

close up of wedding rings on floor
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So, YHVH’s feasts have a set or fixed time.  They are also a sign of our betrothal.

Part of the controversy I believe is historical and the other interpretation. The verse that causes the controversy is the following.

Lev 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is YHVH’s Pesach.

 KJV Leviticus 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the YHVH’S passover.

The phrase even or twilight is ben ha arbayim נין הערבים . Between the evenings is disputed between the evenings of the 13th and 14th or the 14th and 15th. Between the evenings can also mean between the evening of the 14th and the evening of the 15th or day to day.

After researching, I tend to hold with the Pesach being eaten at the beginning of the 14th.  I know that there are those who disagree with me and that is fine.  I will be glad to change as the Ruach reveals more. This is why I believe it is the beginning of the 14th.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia about Pesach, it says the following.

“The festival commemorates the deliverance of Israel’s first-born from the judgment wrought on those of the Egyptians (Ex. xii. 12-13; comp. Ex. xiii. 2, 12 et seq.), and the wondrous liberation of the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage (Ex. xii. 14-17). As such, it is identical with the Maẓẓot (, Ex. xii. 17; , Lev. xxiii. 5-6) festival, and was instituted for an everlasting statute (Ex. xii. 14). Lev. xxiii., however, seems to distinguish between Passover, which is set for the fourteenth day of the month, and  (the Festival of Unleavened Bread; ἑορτή τῶν ἀζύμων, Luke xxii. 1; Josephus, “B. J.” ii. 1, § 3), appointed for the fifteenth day. The festival occurred in Abib (Ex. xiii. 4; Deut. xvi. 1 et seq., where the New Moon is given as the memorial day of the Exodus), later named Nisan, and lasted seven days, from sunset on the fourteenth day to sunset on the twenty-first day; the first and the seventh days were set aside for holy convocation, no work being permitted on those days except such as was necessary in preparing food (Num. xxviii. 16-25).”

Here it says that Leviticus seems to distinguish between Pesach on the 14th and Unleavened Bread on the 15th. Lev 23:5, Num 9:1-5 and Ex 12:6-13 state that Passover be on the 14th day.

Num 9:1 And YHVH spoke unto Moshe in the Midbar Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of Eretz Mitzrayim, saying, 2 Let the Bnei Yisroel also observe the Pesach at its appointed season. 3 In the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, ye shall observe it in its appointed season; according to kol chukkot of it, according to all the mishpatim thereof, shall ye observe it. 4 And Moshe spoke unto the Bnei Yisroel, that they should observe the Pesach. 5 And they observed the Pesach on the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight in the Midbar Sinai; according to all that YHVH commanded Moshe, so did the Bnei Yisroel.

JPS Exodus 12:6 and ye shall keep it unto the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at dusk.

During the time of Ezra (458 BC) Pesach was observed on the 14th.

CJB Ezra 6:19 The people from the exile kept Pesach on the fourteenth day of the first month.

According to Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, Pesach and Unleavened Bread are the same.

JOE Antiquities of the Jews 10:70 And when he had thus purged all the country, he called the people to Jerusalem, and there celebrated the feast of unleavened bread, and that called the Passover. He also gave the people for paschal sacrifices, young kids of the goats, and lambs, thirty thousand, and three thousand oxen for burnt offerings.

We also see this in the Brit Chadashah.

Luk 22:1  And the Chag HaMatzot was approaching, the feast called Pesach.

pesachAt some time, these two are combined into one holiday.  No one knows exactly when these two observances were combined, but what is known is that it happened during the Exile in Babylon.

After Yehudah and Benjamin went into Babylonian exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, these two Yisraelite tribes combined Pesach and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica confirms this combination:

“The feast of Passover consists of two parts: The Passover ceremony and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the [Babylonian] exile they were combined,” Vol. 13, p. 169.

The book, The Torah, by W. Gunther Plaunt, corroborates, saying,

“The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread rituals were originally two separate observances which were combined sometime between the events of the Exodus and the redaction of the text” (p. 445).

As a result of this merging of these two feasts, it resulted in Jews observing Pesach late on Aviv 14.

Now, looking at the first century… There were two leading Jewish religious parties: the Sadduccees and the Pharisees.  These two groups held opposing interpretations on Pesach.

There are two differing definitions attached to ben ha arbayim נין הערבים (Lev 23:5). The Pharisees, in accordance with their Talmudic and Hasidic tradition, defined ben ha arbayim נין הערבים as any time from afternoon to sunset. Conversely, the Sadducees and Samaritans,  held to the view that ben ha arbayim  was the time from sunset(evening of 14th) to complete darkness (beginning of 15th).

Now, for a little more of a history lesson.

In 169/168 B.C.E. the Greek king of Syria, Antiochus IV, began his suppression of Judea in an attempt to Hellenize the country. As part of this attempt, Antiochus IV forbade the Jews by threat of death from observing their national customs and sacred days. This forced Hellenization policy pushed different groups into hiding and resulted in the Maccabean revolt, which began in the winter of 167/166 B.C.E.

In 164 B.C.E. this revolt led to the subsequent defeat of the Syrians holding on to Jerusalem. Shortly thereafter the existence of the Sadducees and Pharisees is formally acknowledged by the records.

In the centuries following 70 C.E., the year when the Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed and the power of the Sadducees disappeared, the Mishnah and Tosefta represented most of the disputes between the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The Sadducees are Tzadokim were the conservative descendants, supporters, and sympathizers of the family of Tzadok, a Levitical high priest living in the days of King David.

Tzadok was appointed the first high priest over the newly built Temple in Jerusalem in the days of King Solomon (963/962–924/923 B.C.E.).

Eerdmans Bible Dictionary reports:

The Sadducees did, indeed, FAVOR THE PRIESTS and accord them an elevated role in their interpretation of the law. By the time of Jesus they included the families who supplied the high priests, as well as other wealthy aristocrats of Jerusalem. Most members of the Sanhedrin, the central judicial authority of Jewish people, were Sadducees. . . . The Sadducees accepted only the written Torah and rejected all ‘oral Torah,’ i.e. the traditional interpretations of the Torah accepted by the Pharisees that became the central importance in rabbinic Judaism. . . . The Sadducees represented in these ways a conservatism that limited both the acceptance of religious ideas not represented in the old sources and the interpretation of every aspect of life by reference to religion, which is precisely what the Pharisees most sought.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica comments:

The Sadducees were the conservative priestly group, holding to THE OLDER DOCTRINES, and cherishing the highest regard for the sacrificial cult of the Temple.

Emile Schürer, when comparing the conservative Sadducees with the liberal Hasidic (Pharisaic) system of oral laws, similarly concludes:

In this rejection of the Pharisaic legal tradition, the Sadducees represented an OLDER VIEWPOINT: they stood by the written Torah. For them, none of the subsequent development was binding. Their religious outlook was similarly VERY CONSERVATIVE.

Already suffering a setback by the pro-Pharisee position of Queen Alexandra,the power of the Sadducees began to wane further when they opposed Herod the Great’s move toward the throne of Judea. With the backing of full Roman recognition, Herod was able to seize power in Jerusalem in early 36 B.C.E. During the years of his drive for power, Herod rewarded those who supported him, including the Pharisees.

From Pharisaism derived what is now called Orthodox Judaism.

According to Josephus, there were three sects in existence.

JOE Antiquities of the Jews 13:171 At this time there were three sects among the Jews, who had different opinions concerning human actions: the one was called the sect of the Pharisees, another the sect of the Sadducees, and the other the sect of the Essenes. 172 Now for the Pharisees, {b} they say that some actions, but not all, are the work of fate, and some of them are in our own power, and that they are liable to fate, but are not caused by fate. But the sect of the Essenes affirm, that fate governs all things, and that nothing befalls men but what is according to its determination.

The Pharisees were the strictest sect in the Jewish religion. They believed in the traditions of their Hasidic forefathers, called the halakoth or oral laws. To be a Pharisee was to be instructed according to the exactness of the ancestral (oral) law, and they would pride themselves on the exact interpretation of the (oral) law of their fathers.

The Pharisees gave these oral laws equal authority with the Scriptures, and in practice made the oral laws greater than scriptural law.

Contrary to the Sadducean position, the Pharisees believed that the rabbis had the power through interpretation and traditions to alter the laws of Scriptures to fit newer circumstances.

The Pharisees and Hasidic tradition defines the phrase ben ha arbayim as the time from the afternoon to the disappearing of the sun, the first evening being from the time when the sun begins to decline from its vertical or noontide point towards the west; and the second from its going down and vanishing out of sight. This view merely reflects the strong influence of Greek culture upon the developing Hasidic schools after the conquest of Judaea by Alexander the Great. The hours that are listed in the Brit Chadashah are in reference to time that was kept in the way of the Greeks and Romans.

Two passages served to be the catalyst for all their interpretations: Leviticus, 23:5–8 and Numbers 28:16–25.

In both cases the Pesach is said to be the 14th day of the first moon/month, a day clearly designated as the time when the Pesach lamb was sacrificed. The 14th is followed by the 15th, which is called a Chag of Unleavened Bread for YHVH. This statement is in turn followed by the explanation, seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. Meanwhile, the Yisraelites were commanded to eat the Passover victim this night with unleavened bread.

Since the 15th was a chag of Unleavened Bread, the Hasidim reasoned that the 15th was also the night of the Pesach supper.

If the night of the 15th is the Pesach supper, then the under­standing of the conservative priests (the Aristocratic school), which held that twilight after sunset was ben ha arbayim and would be judged incorrect.

Also, the Essenes had their own calendar. Their calendar as was attested in I Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, consisted of a solar calendar of 364 days divided into seven-day weeks, twelve months of thirty days each except for one extra day in the last month of each quarter.  According to this calendar, the Pesach seder would always fall on a Tuesday night which would line up with the year that Yahshuah was crucified.

Now, with all of this history, we may seem very confused.  I do see another stumbling block for me.

CJB Exodus 12:25 “When you come to the land which YHVH will give you, as he has promised, you are to observe this ceremony. 26 When your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this ceremony?’

CJB Leviticus 23:4 “‘These are the designated times of YHVH, the holy convocations you are to proclaim at their designated times. 5 “‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach for YHVH. 6 On the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of matzah; for seven days you are to eat matzah. 7 On the first day you are to have a holy convocation; don’t do any kind of ordinary work.

According to Rabbinic Judaism, the Pesach Week has three Shabbats. There is the weekly Shabbat and annual Shabbats.  The first and last days of the feast of unleavened bread are Shabbats and referred to as high holy days.

However, in looking at the above verses not once do we see Pesach being referred to as a Shabbat.  It is actually called a ceremony. The Hebrew word is avodah.  Avodah is work.  If you are eating the Pesach after sundown (holding to the end of the 14th as the time of the killing), then you are eating the Pesach on the 15th. This would be a Shabbat. How could the Pesach be a Shabbat when the Hebrew word that depicts Pesach means to engage in work? Work is strictly prohibited on a Shabbat or Feast High Day.

CJB Mark 15:42 Since it was Preparation Day (that is, the day before a Shabbat), as evening approached, 43 Yosef of Ramatayim, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who himself was also looking forward to the Kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body.

So, if Yahshuah had to be put in the ground because Shabbat was at hand, then it must be the day before the first day of Unleavened Bread.  This would be on the latter part of the 14th.  So, the meal that Yahshuah had with his talmidim would be on the prior evening which is the beginning of the 14th.

Now going back to the issue of Shabbat.  I believe that YHVH is very specific.  It does not say in Lev 23 that the first and last day of Unleavened Bread is a Shabbat.  Now looking at the specific words in this passage, we can see a difference. The 14th day of the month is Pesach. It does not say that it is a Shabbat. On the 15th day of the month, the feast of Matzot and for seven days we are to eat matzah. Notice in verse 7, it says that on the first day you are to have a holy convocation and don’t do any kind of ordinary work.

Nowhere do you see the word Shabbat. It is called a mikra-kodesh. Mikra is a sacred assembly, calling or gathering. Kodesh is set-apart or holy. The same phrase is used to describe the seventh day in verse 8.

Thinking about Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and first and last day of Sukkot…these are called Shabbat. Yet, the first and last day of Unleavened Bread is called a mikra kodesh.

Some don’t believe that the meal that Yahshuah took was the Pesach seder as according to the Pharisees they would not celebrate the seder until the 15th.  That could be true that this meal is just a meal.  However, the following verse also causes a problem for me.

KJV Mark 14:12 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?

Here, we see that it is the first day of unleavened bread when they killed the Passover that Yahshuah’s talmidim ask about observing the seder.  The first time that you eat unleavened bread is on Pesach.

CJB Exodus 12:8 That night, they are to eat the meat, roasted in the fire; they are to eat it with matzah and maror.

 Another verse, as I see it…

KJV Mark 14:14 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? 15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.

Here, we see they made ready the Pesach.  This verse is also interesting.

CJB Luke 22:10 He told them, “As you’re going into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters, 11 and say to its owner, ‘The Rabbi says to you, “Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Pesach meal with my talmidim?”‘

In Jewish society, the women would get the water.  Here for a man to be carrying a pitcher of water would seem to indicate that he was an Essene. The Essenes had seceded from the priesthood and led a monastic communal lifestyle.  There would have been no women to do the work. Yahshuah knew what the Essenes believe and that there date for Pesach would line up this year  with the beginning of the 14th for Pesach.

CJB Exodus 12:6 “‘You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and then the entire assembly of the community of Isra’el will slaughter it at dusk.

The Hebrew word for until is ad.  Ad means until, up to or as far as to.  I see this verse stating that you keep the lamb up to the 14th .

The sequence of events of the first Pesach as I see it…. All verses dealing with Pesach state that it is the 14th and the 15th as the first day of Unleavened Bread. After sunset ending the 13th, the 14th would begin, which signaled the time to slay the lamb and smear blood on the doorposts and lintel. The lamb was roasted and eaten that night before mid­night when the destroyer came over.

pesach blood 1

CJB Exodus 12:22 Take a bunch of hyssop leaves and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame. Then, none of you is to go out the door of his house until morning.

 

CJB Exodus 12:29 At midnight YHVH killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock.

First notice that they could not go out of their house until morning.  This would be the morning of the 14th. On the morning of the 14th, the re­mains of the lamb were taken out, and the people began gathering their fam­ily, flocks, and herds and assembling at Rameses some 30 miles from Goshen (Num. 33:3) and spoiled the Egyptians.

CJB Numbers 33:3 They began their journey from Ram’ses in the first month. On the fifteenth day of the first month, the morning after the Pesach, the people of Isra’el left proudly in view of all the Egyptians;

The morning after is not literally a morning but mimacharat ממחרת which means the day after.  The day after Pesach would be the 15th.

CJB Deuteronomy 16:1 “Observe the month of Aviv, and keep Pesach to YHVH your God; for in the month of Aviv, YHVH your God brought you out of Egypt at night.

From Rameses they left Egypt as the 14th ended and the 15th began as Deuteronomy 16:1 says it was by night.

Even looking at Y’hoshua, they kept the Pesach on the 14th in the evening/erev.  If it is the evening, then it is the beginning of the 14th.

KJV Joshua 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even/erev in the plains of Jericho.

Now, looking at this verse, Y’hoshua observed Pesach on the evening of the 14th. The Hebrew word for even is erev and not beyn ha’arbayim.  If you kill the lamb on the afternoon of the 14th, you would be eating it on the evening of the 15th.

Now, these two verse could seem to be a conflict.

CJB Numbers 9:3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at dusk, you are to observe it- at its designated time. You are to observe it according to all its regulations and rules.”

CJB Exodus 12:6 “‘You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and then the entire assembly of the community of Isra’el will slaughter it at dusk. 7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame at the entrance of the house in which they eat it. 8 That night, they are to eat the meat, roasted in the fire; they are to eat it with matzah and maror.

In Num 9:3 , dusk is the phrase beyn ha’arbayim, this could be open to all of those definitions.  However when we look at Ex 12:8, it says that they are to eat it that night.   The phrase in Hebrew is ba’lailah hazeh בלילה הזה which is this night.  If you look at what night it is referencing, in verse 6 it is the 14th.  The night of the 14th would mean that you are eating it at the beginning of the 14th.

So if the beginning of the 14th is Pesach, then Yahshuah celebrated the seder with his talmidim.  He was crucified on the afternoon of the 14th which would be when the Pharisees/Rabbinic Judaism would slay the lambs for the seder.

After Yahshuah, there was still a controversy.  The Quartodeciman controversy, as it is called, was an issue of the first believers/Christians in the churches of Jerusalem and Asia Minor in the mid-2nd century celebrating Pesach on the 14th  of Aviv. Those who observed this practice were called Quartodecimani, Latin for fourteenthers.  The practice had been followed by Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the Apostle and the bishop of Smyrna (69-155 CE). Irenaeus (one of the early church fathers) said that he would not diverge from this custom.

Now with all of that said, if Yahshuah celebrated the true Pesach, then how was He our Pesach lamb? The Pesach lamb was to be killed in the temple.  Yet, Yahshuah was killed outside the city. Yet, the Pesach lamb was not for a sin offering. It is the Yom Kippur sacrifice that was for atonement.

Yahshuah was the Pesach lamb as declared by Yochanan who was the true high priest.

CJB John 1:29 The next day, Yochanan saw Yeshua coming toward him and said, “Look! God’s lamb! The one who is taking away the sin of the world!

CJB 1 Corinthians 5:7 Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed.

The actual cruxificion of Yahshuah fulfilled that red heifer sacrifice.

Lastly, there is another difference between the two observances is the characteristic mood of each. Pesach symbolizes a day of suffering and pain, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a time of joy.

Pesach is the day that the death angel passed over Egypt destroying all firstborn of both man and beast. Second, this is the day that Yahshua was crucified for our sins.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is memorable for one great event. It is the day on which the Yisraelites were freed to leave and were no longer serving the Egyptians as slaves. Their harsh, brick-making days were over.

I believe that the pattern fits for the first Exodus and the Pesach to hold to the slaying of the Pesach lamb at the beginning of the 14th and the seder meal then.  That is why I hold to the 14th.  I know that others may disagree and we can be free to disagree with no hard feelings.

 

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One comment

  1. Thank you Lisa. This is very interesting, love knowing more in depth history. Your the only one I know that explains it well. Love you both very much and am already missing you 😔🥰🥰🥰

    Sent from my iPhone

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