By Bob Barney
During this Passover season, many Christians who understand that Passover and not Easter are what Christ and the early Church of God observed. Today, thousands of Jews and Sabbath keeping Christians still observe the Passover in the spring. Everyone knows, Jesus kept the Passover, from the time of His youth. Luke records:
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast (Luke 2:41-42).
The Apostle Paul also understood that that Jesus was a symbolic replacement for the Passover lamb that the Jewish people used. He also taught that Christians should still continue to observe Passover:
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).
But how were Christians to do this?
The Apostle Paul explains:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body (1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
So Christians were to keep the Passover in the manner that Jesus observed His final Passover. And that was at night as memorial--a memorial is an annual, not a weekly event. Notice that Jesus stated, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." It is Jesus' death that this commemorates, and the Christian Passover is the annual commemoration of it. Also notice that Jesus DID NOT say to do this AS OFTEN AS YOU DESIRE, only that when you do it, you are proclaiming His death.
Now here is the rub, the simple fact is that Jesus did not hold his Passover on the same night that the Jews did! His was on the night of Nisan 13, one full day before the Jews where to have their Passover lamb. Scholars understand this dilemma and have tried to explain the paradox away over the years be making arguments that Jesus was forced to follow the Passover a day earlier only this one time because he had to die and the real date when the Jews would be slaughtering the lamb. The problem is that the Gospels never mention this fact! In short, the disciples, who seemed to always question Jesus whenever he veered from accepted norms, were not a bit wondering why their Passover meal was a day earlier than the rest! We can not also think they knew anything about Jesus' death, because he informed them of it (to their disbelief) that night during the meal. The Gospels state:
“Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat." So they said to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare?" And He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?" ' Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready." So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover (Luke 22:7-13).”
It is apparent that this was only the 12th day of Nissan (in the Jewish calendar) when this happened, and not the 13th, as other have stated. We know this because unlike what the Bible commands, Jews have adopted a pagan calendar system whose days begin at the start of the nighttime, rather than the morning time. The Roman day begins at midnight, Jews at about 6PM, whereas the Bible states the dawn is the start of the new day. (See our link: When does the day begin).
Hence according to Jewish time the 13th did not start until sunset of this day when the remark in Luke is referring to, but that IS NOT what the Gospels say. It states that this day was the day when the Passover lambs where to be slain, one full day before the Jews did it! Someone is not following the same dates here, and any reading of these verses demonstrates this perfectly.
A different Calendar?
A shocking search into the three groups that made up Judaism in the times of Christ: Essenes, Pharisees, and Sadducces. With radically differing beliefs, these movements often clashed. It turns out that there were great disagreements over the calendar among many other things religious. For example, the dating of the new moon by the Pharisees differed from the Sadducces by a day or two, hence holy days where counted differently by the two groups whenever each came to power. Whenever a Pharisee was the High Priest, the Pharisee calendar was used, and when a Sadducce was High Priest, their dating system was used.
A significant feature of the Essene sect and its calendar, which was based on a solar system Of 364 days, unlike the common Jewish calendar, which was lunar and consisted Of 354-days. It is not clear how the sectarian calendar was reconciled, as was the normative Jewish calendar, with the astronomical time system, but most likely by starting from the springtime, each calendar was was quite similar on common dates.
The author of the Essene “Book of Jubilees” accuses the followers of the lunar calendar of turning secular "days of impurity" into "festivals and holy days" (Jubilees 6:36-37).Books of Jubilees and the writings of Enoch I which discuss the calendar and dating system by which these people lived. Scholars had been attentive of the Apocryphal Calendar before this find, but interest was renewed with the discovery of these scrolls by which the Qumran sect lived. It is based on 364 days per year. The year is divided into four periods (to correspond to the four seasons of the year), of 13 weeks or 91 days in each period. There are 12 months in each year or a total of 52 weeks.
This “solar” calendar warrants extensive study, as there are now numerous proofs it was the calendar used by Abraham, King Solomon, King David, and High Priest Zadok. It is my belief that this solar calendar used by Moses and David, and Solomon, was also being used by Jesus and early Christians, and the reason why Christ's disciples where not wondering why their Passover came early is simple: They always followed a different Passover while with Christ. It appears everybody in that time had different dates for holy days!
So while many Christians in the Churches of God think that Christ changed the date of Passover from the 14th of Nissan to the 13th (instituting a new Last Supper instead) he did no such thing! Christ was not following a new “Last Supper,” but the Passover!
“And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.(Luke 22:15)”
this was a Passover meal, pure and simple!
It is clear that Jesus was eating the Passover one night before the Jews. It is also clear that he was not eating it a day early just this once. I believe it is also evident that Jesus was following the true Godly calendar instituted by Moses, followed by ancient Israel until their captivity. I also contend that Jesus observed a MORNING start of the day, as Moses did, and God commanded in Genesis. In a perfect solar year, the springtime is always on the 20th of March. 14 days later, every year is April 2, the correct time to kill the Passover, and to eat it that same night! Also we know that Christ died on a Wednesday and not a Friday, and his meal was on a Tuesday night! I was quite blown away recently to hear Hal Lindsey state on his national radio program that he has come to believe that the scriptures show a Wednesday crucifixion.
Jesus declared that he would be dead for 3 full days and nights. “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:38-40”
Try and get three days and three nights from Friday sunset to Sunday morning, you cannot!
Even more clearly, Jesus said that He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. This promise meant that 72 hours would pass from His death to His resurrection and that this would be the sign for the Jews that He was who He said He was (the Messiah). The Friday crucifixion with a resurrection before sunrise on Sunday morning totals approximately 36 hours. If we understood Jesus to mean that within three days and three nights He would rise again, then any period short of that would suffice. But He taught thatafter three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, then He would rise again. This logically would necessitate the crucifixion on a Wednesday, then the daylight and nighttime periods of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday would be three days and three nights. We count from either His actual death shortly after 3 PM or from the time His body was laid in the tomb, shortly before the annual Sabbath began, although I believe we should count the 72 hours from the time the body was laid in the tomb.
Notice in Matthew 27 that the chief priests met with Pilate the next morning after the crucifixion to get permission to post a guard and seal the tomb. The Bible records that this was the day after the day of preparation. This day of preparation is the 14th of Abib/Nisan in the Jewish calendar, when the homes were scoured for any leavened bread within the house and a preparation of food was readied for the Passover meal, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:14, 31, 42]. Therefore, the grave of Jesus was not sealed until the morning of the 15th of Abib/Nisan, on the annual Sabbath. In the text from John 19:31, we learn that the body of Jesus needed to be removed from the cross because the Sabbath was about to begin and that Sabbath was a high day or annual Sabbath. This is consistent with the other verses which teach that the day of preparation was the day that Jesus died. Now we only need to determine whether the annual Sabbath and weekly Sabbath fell on the same day, which would lead us to the conclusion that Jesus died on a Friday afternoon, shortly after 3 PM as commonly taught. If not, then He died on another day of the week.
But the Jews, because it was the day of preparation (evening of the Sabbath), they were saying, "These bodies should not pass the night on their crosses, because the Sabbath say is approaching, for that Sabbath was a high day (an annual Sabbath)." And they asked Pilate to break the legs of those who had been crucified, and they would be taken away (die quickly). John 19:31
And Nicodemus came also, who had come before to Jesus by night; and he brought with him spices of myrrh and aloes for Jesus, about a hundred pounds. And they took away the body of Jesus and wrapped it with linen and with spices, just as is the burial custom of the Jews (Judeans). John 19:39-40
And Josephtook the body and wrapped it in a sheet of pure linen; and he placed it in his own new tomb, which was cut in stone. Then they rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb; and they departed. And Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb (grave). Matthew 27:59-61
Jesus died sometimes between AD 26 and 35 according to all scholars who get these dates from various secular events. Herod died 4 BCE, so Jesus must have been born on or before 4 BCE. Luke 2:2-5 says Jesus was born during the time of Cyrenius (Quirinius) was Governor of Syria. Cyrenius became governor of Syria 6CE. So Jesus must have been born 6BCE or later. The gospels say that Jesus was crucified during the governorship of Pontius Pilate, which places it within the range 26 to 36 CE.
Is there a time between these years that the Jewish Passover fell on a Wednesday night, that their Preparation day would have fell on a Wednesday daytime, which is our April 3rd (The real date of Passover) and that they would be eating their Passover that same evening? The answer is YES! In the year 30 BCE, on our calendar today, April 2 (the real Passover) fell on a Tuesday night, and April 3rd when the Jews started killing the lambs on their 14th of Nisan! The schedule of events fits perfectly!
Jesus died for our sins! “... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed (Romans 3:23-25).” He is our Passover! “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).”
We are to keep the feast of Passover, not Easter, a pagan day instituted by pagans that took created a false Christianity that we are warned not to follow!
When did Jesus die? Most likely on this date some 1983 years ago!