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Passover or Last Supper
There has been a great deal of confusion over this subject during the last two millenniums and many well meaning individuals have been lead astray! The scholarly and learned proclaim that they have the answers, but God's word states that their wisdom is foolishness.
(1Corinthians 1:23, 2:14 and 3:19) This article will attempt to clarify this very important topic.
We should start at the first instance this subject is introduced:
Then the Lord God spoke to Moses and Aaron there in the land of Egypt, and said, ‘This will be your first month. It is to be the first one [in your] year. So, tell the whole gathering of the children of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, each man should select a lamb for his household (depending on the size of his family). And if there are just a few in his house – too few [to eat a whole] lamb – they may go to [the home of] a nearby neighbor. And to figure out how many people that will be, they should each calculate how much lamb they will eat. ‘So, choose a perfect male yearling lamb from [your herd] of lambs and kids, and keep it nearby until the fourteenth of the month. Then the whole gathering of the children of Israel must slaughter [their lambs] toward the evening. And they must gather the blood and put it on the top and both sides of the doorframes of the houses where they will be eating [the lamb]. Then that night, they must roast the flesh over a fire and eat it with fermentation-free bread and bitter herbs. ‘Now, you must not eat it raw or boiled in water, just roasted over a fire with the head, feet, and extremities. Nothing should be left over until morning, and you shouldn’t break any of its bones. Any leftovers must be burned in the fire.‘And this is how you must eat it: With your thighs covered for work, your sandals on your feet, and your walking sticks in your hands. Then you must eat it quickly, for it is the Lord's Passover. ( Exodus 12:1-11 Septuagint )
The above verses seems to make it clear that the Passover lambs were to be sacrificed toward the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month (beginning of the fourteenth day of Nisan---Hebrew calendar). There is very little disagreement with this fact. History shows the Passover lambs were sacrificed as late as A.D. 70. This can be supported by numberous writings, historical books and the bible, but at some point there was a change. Evidence reveals this change from “towards the evening” to “the afternoon hours” of Nisan 14 (Hebrew days began at sunset) occurred sometime after the death of Joshua (Judges 2:8-15).
We need to understand that the first Passover was held at night for a specific
reason. The final plague of God (against Egypt) would be so devatating that there could be no other choice, but to let the Israelites go free. God tells Moses that around midnight a plague would kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt and the firstborn of the herds, but the plague wouldn't affect the Israelites (because of the blood on the doorframes/lintel). It's also important to note that the Israelites couldn't leave their dwellings until morning or they also would be affected by this plague (Exodus 12:22-23).
Editor's note: All days were to begin at sunset, not at midnight! See Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 18, 23, 31. The Hebrews were just obeying God's instructions about when each day was to begin and end.
Israel's history shows that the tabernacle (temple of God) was not a permanent structure until King Solomon.
Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” (2 Samuel 7:7)
But God would have a permanent temple built:
When your days are over (King David) and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
- King Solomon did build this great temple (1 Kings 5, 6, 7 and 8). This temple was located in Jerusalem and all would marvel at its splendor and beauty. God declares that His eyes and His heart (symbolically speaking) would always be there, if they continued to obey God's instructions. All the commanded sacrifices (Book of Leviticus) would be performed in this temple. God would not accept any sacrifices from any other location, (Deuteronomy 12:5-14) and the priests and Levites would be assigned the required duties. (1 Chronicles 23-26) The Passover service at this time could only be performed by the priests and Levites. (there were provisions made for the head of a household to perform the killing of the lamb, but only in the temple and under the priests and Levites supervision) There were a large number of lambs to be killed at the Passover Feast and only a limited number of priests and Levites to perform this duty, a change needed to be implemented, so the lambs were sacrificed during the afternoon hours of the fourteenth of Nisan, not between the evenings (twilight) or beginning of the fourteenth.
We now can fast forward to the time Jesus is preparing for His death. (Matthew 26:1-2) It should be noted that Jesus fully instructs his disciples about this event. (Matthew 16:21) Instructions are given to Peter and John:
“Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” When you go into the city, a man carrying a clay jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters. Then say to the master of the house, The Teacher asks, ‘Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large furnished upstairs room. Prepare it there.’ So they left and found things just as he said, and so they prepared the Passover. (Luke 22:8-12) Septuagint
The time Jesus is giving these instructions must be sometime on the thirteenth day of Nisan. (the day before the Passover sacrifice, which would be performed on the afternoon hours of the fourteenth of Nisan) Many believe that the above verses are talking about the Passover sacrifice, but is this really true? They believe that Jesus circumvented the process that was enacted since the time of King Solomon and held the Passover service (with His disciples) at the beginning of Nisan fourteenth. They believe that a Passover lamb was sacrificed outside the temple and authority of the priests and Levites. This would be unacceptable to God and considered sin! (disobeying God's instructions) What's wrong here? The verses in Luke 22 are not talking about the Passover sacrifice meal, (this meal was eaten on the beginning of the fifteenth of Nisan) but the first meal (of seven) during the Passover Festival or Days of Unleavened Bread. This was the time that Jesus instituted the symbols of the New Covenant or agreement with mankind. (fruit of the vine and unleavened bread)
The Passover Festival was a main event in Israel and all Israelites would attempt to be in Jerusalem at that time. The first Passover (Exodus 12) was performed by the head of the household and all were instructed to kill the lamb at the same time, (between the evenings) but this was not the case during the time of Jesus! The lambs were killed during the afternoon hours and the Israelites would then prepare and eat the Passover meal on the beginning of Nisan 15. (at the same time) There is no place in the Bible where this practice is condemned. Jesus had ample opportunity to do so! He actually participated in this practice through-out his life. (except the last one)
Jesus the Anointed did not eat a Passover sacrifice meal at this time! (He was crucified on the fourteenth of Nisan in the afternoon hours) He became the sacrifice for all human sins and opened the door for all to have the opportunity to be forgiven by his death.
The importance of the Passover sacrifice during the time of Moses was not eating the sacrificed lamb, but the blood that was used on the door posts and lintel to protect them from the death angel. The shed blood of Jesus the Anointed is also what's important. We remember the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior by partaking of the fruit of the vine (blood) and unleavened bread (body) to remind us of this special gift that was given to us, the opportunity to have our sins forgiven.
We should commemorate the death of Jesus the Anointed at the beginning of Nisan the fourteenth (yearly).
We began by asking the question: Did Jesus celebrate the Passover sacrifice or have a last meal with his disciples before his death? The information above seems to make it clear that Jesus had a last meal with his disciples before his sacrifice.
For more information see the link: The Holy Days of God
(Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread)