Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Was it Passover or the Last Supper?

By Maria Merola אריאל 

© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, March 2018

Have you ever wondered why Modern-day Judaism observes the Feast of Passover & the Feast of Unleavened Bread as if they are just ONE FEAST?

If YaHuWaH commands us to keep SEVEN FEASTS, annually, why do so many behave as if there are only SIX FEASTS, by combining Passover and Unleavened Bread into one feast on the night of the 15th of Abib?

During Passover Week, there are three DISTINCT FEASTS on three SEPARATE NIGHTS:

1.) Pesach (Passover) sundown on the 13th of Abib, which then becomes the 14th of Abib/Nisan.
2.) Unleavened Bread (Matzah), sundown on the 14th of Abib, which then becomes the 15th of Abib/Nisan.
3.) Day of First-Fruits (Yom haBikkuriym) on the 1st day of the week following the Passover. This means, at sundown, on the first weekly Sabbath after Passover (Saturday Night at sundown, going into all day on Sunday).

*Explanation: for those who would object to keeping Passover on the evening of the 13th of Abib, going into the 14th of Abib, pay close attention to what it says in Exodus 12:6:

Shemoth (Exodus) 12:6 And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Yisrael shall kill it in the evening. 

Debariym (Deuteronomy) 16:6  But at the place which YHWH your Elohiym shall choose to place his name in, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at evening, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came forth out of Egypt.

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at evening [between the two evenings] is YHWHs Passover. 

This article by Yoel Halevi, offers an excellent explanation of the meaning of the phrase “between the evenings,” or in Hebrew, “beyin haarbayim.There are many conflicting arguments as to what this phrase in Hebrew actually means. However, after researching this for many years, I have concluded that the best explanation can be found in this article by Yoel HaLevi, entitled: “Beyin Haarbayim - When is Pesach Done?” 

A bit of background about Yoel Halevi: 

He is an Orthodox Jew who lives in Israel, but he also takes a unique position, when it comes to the sacred name of our Creator. He does not adhere to the Talmudic ban on the divine name. He also agrees with the with the research that reveals the most ancient spelling and pronunciation of YaHuWaH.

Yoel Halevi explains, (and I agree with him, having made the same analysis myself), that the meaning of the phrase “between the evenings,” meant something different in the days of the Exodus from Egypt, than it did in the days of the Second Temple era. Here is his quote from the article:

Some have tried to explain that the day begins at sunrise, based on Leviticus and Genesis (De Vaux, Milgrom and more), and claim that the day has not ended, and it is still the 14th. These arguments ignore the difference between Leviticus, which is temple centered where services are only during the day, and the rest of the bible which is not (the Genesis argument is too long to explain here, and we might deal with it at another time). On top of this, the Pesach is unusual because it is an individuals responsibility and is done by the owner regardless of the Kohanim (priests), and therefore is actually different than usual temple practice. It also is done at a time when usual temple services end–with the last evening offering of the Tamid (Numbers 28:1-10).

This passage in the book of Judges shows us that evening (arab) is at the end of the day, before the sun goes all the way down at dusk:

Shophtiym (Judges) 19:9  And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsels father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draws toward evening (to grow dusky), I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day grows to an end, lodge here, that your heart may be merry; and tomorrow get you early on your way, that you mayest go home. 

The Hebrew term “baereb,(at sunset), designates the end of one day, and the beginning of the next day. It means the three to five-minute period of time that begins when the sun appears to touch the horizon, until it descends below the horizon. The Torah agrees with this definition, (Genesis 1:5), that as soon as the sun has set below the horizon, a new calendar date has begun. Thus, Scripture defines the term “baereb,” (at sunset), as the point at which one calendar day ends, and the next calendar date begins. One important example of this is found in Leviticus 23, when it is describing how to observe Yom Kippur:

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto YHWH.  

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 23:32 It shall be unto you a Shabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall you celebrate your Shabbath

The Hebrew rendering of Leviticus 23:32 also uses the phrase “between the evenings,” as follows:

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 23:32 It shall be unto you a Shabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at dusk, from dusk between dusk, shall you celebrate your Shabbath

The Hebrew word for “up until,” in Exodus 12:6, is defined in the Concordance as follows: as far as, up to, to the degree of, to the point that, as far as, against. This means that from the moment that the new calendar date of the 14th begins (after sundown), is how long we keep the lamb, before slaughtering it between the two evenings. 

As an example, if I was teaching my teenage son to drive a car, and I hand him the car keys and say to him “I want you to pull out of our driveway, and drive right up until you see the first stop sign,” these instructions are pretty clear and straightforward. However, if my son kept on driving beyond the stop sign, and went to the second stop sign, and stopped just short of that second stop sign, that would be a violation of my instructions. 

And yet, this is how most Yahuwdiym (Jews) keep Passover to this day. However, they are not entirely wrong in doing this, because the definition for “beyin haarbayim,(between the evenings) has changed over time, with the inception of the Second Temple, and the evening and morning sacrifices. I explain this further, in my other study entitled “Between the Two Evenings,” where I go into much historical background. Please examine this graphic from Blue Letter Bible, showing that the phrase “up until, is describing the beginning of the 14th of Abib, when the sun sets on the 13th of Abib.

The historical truth is, the two feasts were kept on two separate, and distinct nights, until after the Babylonian Captivity.

A quote from “Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry,” at their website confirms what I have been seeing in the Scriptures since I first began celebrating Passover in 2004 all by myself.

“When the Jews returned from Babylon under Ezra, they first observed two days, the first for Passover and the second for the first day of the Feast [of Unleavened Bread]. But in a later shift, they merged Passover and Unleavened Bread.”

The article states in another section:

The Jews freely admit that the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread were at one time two separate festivals. However, following their return from Babylon, the two were merged into one observance, and Passover is now kept by Jews on Abib 15. That they kept Passover a day late is clear from John’s Evangel.

“Then led they Yahushua from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover” (John 18:28).

The Encyclopedia Judaica admits that the Jews have fused the two observances, and now keep Passover a day late on the 15th, observing it along with the first day of Unleavened Bread:

“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 exile they were combined” (Vol. 13, “Passover,” p. 169).

“Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry” article ends here, and Marias article continues.

The Towrah makes it clear that we are commanded to celebrate each of these feasts distinctly on the 14th & on the 15th (Passover & Unleavened Bread) of the first month of the Hebrew year, which is called “Abib” (Exodus 12:2 & 13:4).

The Day of First-Fruits/Resurrection Day is to be kept on the day after the weekly Sabbath following the Passover. And finally, we are to observe the last night of Unleavened Bread on the 21st of Abib, for a total of eight nights (see Exodus 12:18). The seven days when we continue to eat unleavened bread, commences on the 15th of Abib (see Leviticus 23:6-8).

*Note: First-fruits does not always fall on the 18th of Abib, but it did fall on the 18th at the first Passover in Egypt, and also at the Passover of our Messiah.

Leviticus 23:9-16 says that the Feast of First-Fruits is to take place on the day after the WEEKLY SABBATH FOLLOWING PASSOVER.

Some people think this means the HIGH SABBATH of Unleavened Bread. However, this is easily cleared up by knowing that the Hebrew word for the weekly Sabbath is “Shabbat” (#H7676 in the Strong’s Concordance).

However, the annual High Sabbath is called “Shabbatown” (#H7677 in the Strong’s Concordance). 

Spring Feast #1 Celebrated on the 14th of Abib:

On the night of the 14th of Abib (Passover) we commemorate when YaHuWaH PASSED OVER the homes of the Yisraelites, in Egypt.

We also commemorate (on the very same night) of the 14th of Abib (Passover), when our Messiah caused us to PASS OVER from the BROKEN COVENANT into the RENEWED COVENANT (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Hebrews 8:8-10 & 10:16). Yahuwshuwa held up the cup of wine and said the following words:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 26:28 For this is my blood of the Renewed Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

*Note: This was NOT a last supper, this was a true rite of passage into the Renewed Covenant, called Passover!

Between the Two Evenings & Between Two Thieves 

As Yoel Helevi explained, at the time of the Exodus, the period known as “between the two evenings” meant that time-period in between when the sun begins to decline along the horizon line (usually 6-7 p.m.), and when the sun completely disappears below the horizon line, (usually 7-8:30 p.m.), thus causing it to be dark. 

It would not have been possible during the Second Temple period to conduct the slaughter of that many lambs in such a short window of time. Josephus recorded that in first century Jerusalem, there would often be as many as one million lambs slaughtered for Passover. Thus, the period known as “between the two evenings” was extended from between 12 noon, until 6:00 p.m. The middle of this window of six hours would have been exactly at 3:00 p.m., when our Messiah drew his last breath and died.

Mark 15:25 And it was the third hour (9:00 a.m.), and they crucified him.

 According to many sources I have researched, at the time of the Exodus, each individual family conducted their own sacrifice at home, therefore, killing a lamb “between the two evenings” meant anytime between sunset on the 13th of Abib, going into the 14th of Abib at sundown (twilight).

 However, at the time of the Second Temple, this phrase “between the two evenings” came to mean between 12 noon, and 6:00 p.m. (for the actual killing), on the 14th of Abib, due the fact that close to a million people came to the Temple to have their lambs slaughtered. This perfectly aligns with the time our Messiah was crucified at 9:00 a.m., (which is when the morning sacrifice at the Temple was conducted). 

The evening sacrifices at the Temple were conducted at 3:00 p.m., however, it was extended to 6:00 p.m. during the holy days, when large volumes of animal sacrifices were sacrificed. And since our Messiah died “between the two evenings,” this means that he died exactly at 3:00 p.m., thus fulfilling the command to kill the lamb “between the two evenings” of 12 noon and 6:00 p.m.

Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour (12 noon), there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.).

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), Yahuwshuwa cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My EL, my EL, why have you forsaken me? 

Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour (12 noon) was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.) Yahuwshuwa cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My EL, my EL, why have you forsaken me? 

Luke 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour (12 noon), and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.).

The Torah commands that the lamb be killed between the two evenings (Exodus 12:4). However, there is no restriction, as far as how long it should take to cook the lamb, so long as the cooking begins immediately following the slaughter of the lamb. According to many sources, it takes approximately 4-6 hours to spit roast a lamb, depending on the size of the lamb. It must be roasted slowly at low temperature, to prevent the outside of the lamb from burning, before the inside cooks all the way through. How to Spit Roast Lamb on a Spit Rotisserie

According to Timeanddate.com, this year on April 5th, 2023, sunset begins at 7:01 p.m. and the last bit of Astronomical twilight ends at 8:24 p.m. This means they would have slaughtered the lamb sometime around 6-7 p.m. in Egypt, and then the lamb would be ready to eat by 11:00 p.m. This coincides with what Scripture says regarding YaHuWaH coming at midnight, to take the first-born of the Egyptians. This gave the Yisraelites enough time to roast their lamb outside on the spit, and then take shelter inside their homes before midnight (Exodus 11:4 & 12:29). Sunset to Twilight April 5th 2023

Spring Feast #2 Celebrated on the 15th of Abib:

On the night of the 15th of Abib (Unleavened Bread), we remember when Israel DEPARTED out of Egypt.

Numbers 33:3-4 corroborates the timing of this event:

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. 

4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which YHWH had smitten among them: upon their gods also YHWH executed judgments.

We also remember on the 15th of Abib (Unleavened Bread), that our Messiah
DEPARTED after he died, and went to the lowest parts of the earth, and gave gifts unto men (see Ephesians 4:8-9). 

Exodus 12:42 refers to this night of the 15th of Abib as “A NIGHT TO BE MUCH OBSERVED.”

“It is a night to be much observed unto YHWH for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of YHWH to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.”

Spring Feast #3 Originally Celebrated on the 18th of Abib:

*Note: In the year when Israel crossed the Red Sea (after a 3-day journey from Egypt), and also in the year that our Messiah died, it happened to be three days after Unleavened Bread. However, First-Fruits does not always fall three days after Unleavened Bread. As previously explained, we are commanded to observe First-Fruits on the first day of the week following the weekly Sabbath that follows the Passover.

Three days later, on the 18th of Abib, (First-Fruits), we remember that Israel CROSSED OVER from DEATH TO LIFE, as they walked across the Yam Cuwph (Sea of Reeds) aka The Red Sea.

They first DESCENDED into the depths of the sea, and then they ASCENDED as they reached the other side to victory and life.

Three days later, on the 18th of Abib, (First-Fruits), we remember that our Messiah CROSSED OVER from DEATH TO LIFE, as he took the keys of death and Sheol (Hell), away from the devil.

First, he DESCENDED, and then he ASCENDED to the throne in heaven where he presented before the Father, those souls who were his FIRST-FRUITS from among the dead.

Thus he resurrected, and caused others to resurrect with him (see Matthew 27:53-53, Romans 8:23; 16:6; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 4:8-9; Revelation 1:18).

Our Messiah first DESCENDED to the lowest parts of the earth, and then he also ASCENDED to the Father to present his wave sheaf offering of souls as his first-fruits!

One final thought, for those who are still confused:

The 14th of Abib (Passover) is a preparation day, indeed. However, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is inclusive of all eight days (the 14th of Abib through the 21st of Abib is eight days). The Passover Lamb Slaughter is a separate ordinance from the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The slaughter took place in Egypt at the beginning of the 14th---not at the end of the 14th.

YaHuWaH designed it to be “between the evenings” (or between the two sunsets on the 14th of Abib). In Hebrew the term is “beyn haarbayim (between the two evenings). 

Some people think this term means “between the morning and evening sacrifice,” during the Second Temple times, and indeed, it does mean this as well---in some cases. However, because of the events of the Exodus in Egypt, we have to conclude that this term “beyn haarbayim (between the evenings) means between the two sunsets on the 14th of Abib & the 15th of Abib. Remember, there was no temple in Egypt, so there was no precedence yet for the “morning and evening sacrifice.”

Why did Yah design it to be this way? Because he knew that later on in history there would be Two Houses of Yisra’eland they were going to have two evenings for slaughtering in 1st Century Jerusalem.

The Sadducees slaughtered their lambs on the evening of the 14th (just after the sun went down on the 13th). The Pharisees did it just before the sun went down on the 15th, the following evening.

Additionally, each family did a personal lamb slaughter at their homes on the night of the 14th. On the following evening (the 15th), they celebrated at the Temple and participated in a community Passover Meal.

Yahuwshuwa had to eat the Passover Meal the night before he died, otherwise he was in violation of the Towrah, and therefore unfit to be the sinless Lamb of Elohiym the next day.

In 1st Century Jerusalem, there were two evenings for slaughtering lambs. Thats why YaHuWaH designed Passover to be “Between the evenings,” or in Hebrew, “beyin haarbayim.” 

See my other blog entitled: “Did Messiah Eat the Passover Before He Died?

Two Passovers?

The gospels appear to say that the Messiah ate a Passover meal with the twelve on the evening beginning Abib/Nisan14, and John appears to say Jews were having their Passover meal one day later. There are different theories to explain this. The Sadducees and Pharisees disagreed on the day of Passover. The Sadducees (the more conservative group) believed the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread were separate feast days. 

They held Passover on the fourteenth as Elohiym decreed in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Those of the majority opinion, including the Pharisees, held Passover on the fifteenth…Thousands of people would come to Jerusalem to have their lambs ritually slain in the Temple. If they only had one day in which to prepare for the Passover, it would have been extremely difficult to have slaughtered all the lambs brought in to be sacrificed. 

Therefore, they worked on two different time scales. The northern part of the country went with the old way of dating (starting from morning and going to the following morning). The southern part of the country followed the official dating method (from evening to evening). 

Thus, there were two times when lambs were being killed in the Temple for sacrifice----Sampson R & Pierce L. A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays. Heart of Wisdom Publishing June 2001, p. 112.

Did Yahuwshuwa Eat a Passover Meal the Night Before he Died?

The term “Last Supper” is not found any place in Scripture, and it wasn’t a Catholic Communion Wafer with a cup of grape juice either. The Hebrew word for “Passover” (Pesach) means “The Victim.” In Greek, the word for “Passover” (Pascha) means “The Lamb.” 

The Passover Meal is not just bread and wine! Therefore, when our Messiah said in the gospels that he was going to eat the Passover with his disciples, it included lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. 

Mattityahuw (Matthew) 26:17 Now [the first] before [the feast of] unleavened bread, the disciples came to Yahuwshuwa, saying unto him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the Passover (Pesach)?

*Explanation: the Greek word for “first” is “protos” which means “before,” or “beginning.” The word “day,” and the word “feast,” are both italicized in the KJV, because the word was added by the English translators. Therefore, this was before the seven days of unleavened bread. Here is how it is rendered in the King James Version:

Matthew 26:17 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? 

Since the word “day,” was not originally in the Greek Textus Receptus, and neither is the word “feast,” this rendering causes confusion, because it leads the reader to believe that this was on the first day of the 15th of Abib. However, as already noted, the word “first,” (protos) means “before.” Matthew 26:17 is not describing the first day of the “Feast” of Unleavened Bread. It is describing “before” the seven “days,” of Unleavened Bread.

Mark 14:12 And [the first] before the day of unleavened bread, (when they killed the Passover), his disciples said unto him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the Passover (Pesach)? 

Mark 14:14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say you to the goodman of the house, The Master says, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the Passover (Pesach) with my disciples? Luke 22:8 And he sent Keefa (Peter), and Yahuwchanon (John), saying, Go and prepare us the Passover (Pesach), that we may eat. 

Luke 22:11 And you shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master says unto you, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the Passover (Pesach) with my disciples? 

Luke 22:15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover (Pesach) with you before I suffer

 *Explanation: Yahuwshuwa knew that he was going to suffer the next day on the 14th of Abib, when he would be killed as the Passover Lamb. And yet, he had already planned to eat the Passover meal with his disciples on the previous evening (when the 14th of Abib began at sundown). In 1st Century Jerusalem, there were two evenings for slaughtering lambs. The meal must include roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread, or you cannot call it a Passover Meal. If you do not have access to lamb, you can substitute beef as a last resort, because our Messiah also fulfilled the pattern of the Red Heifer in addition to the Passover Lamb. 

But please do not use chicken, because our Messiah was not a chicken! When you try and kill a chicken, it runs away and squawks! But a lamb lays down his life, and quietly allows you to slit his throat. Our Messiah was a like a lamb, not like a chicken.

When the Apostle Shaul (Paul) used the term “communion” in 1st Corinthians 10, that word in Greek is “koinonia,” which means “fellowship.” When we partake of the annual Passover Meal in remembrance of our Messiah, we are partaking in the fellowship with his sufferings: 

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

When our Messiah said “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME,” he was using Passover language, because we are commanded to keep the Passover as a MEMORIAL FOREVER:

Shemoth (Exodus) 12:14 And this day shall be unto you for A MEMORIAL; and you shall keep it a feast to YHWH throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance FOREVER.

These other articles offer conflicting views of the term “beyin haarbayim, but I have listed them for the sake of having the full spectrum of opinions to judge from.

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