Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
If the Passover Dinner Is Eaten on Nisan 15, Why Does YEHOVAH Say, "The 14th of Nisan Is the Passover"?
Because of much false teaching, many are still confused about the Passover. Many Scriptures say the Passover is the 14th of Nisan. What does this actually mean? Is there a contradiction here?
by HOIM Staff
A person once wrote to me, saying, "I've caught you in some errors. You need to get your ducks in a row. I disagree with your claim that the Passover ought to be on Nisan 15. I say you cannot show me one verse in HIS WORD saying the PASSOVER is on the 15th of Nisan. I can show you many places where it says 'The 14th of Nisan is the Passover of the LORD.' Here are a few: Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:5, 28:16-17; Joshua 5:10-11; Ezek. 45:21."
What about this point? Do these verses prove we must observe the Passover on Nisan 14? There is no question but that PART of the Passover is kept on the 14th of Nisan -- that is when the lambs were to be presented to the priests at the Temple of YEHOVAH God, and slain, in preparation for the Passover meal which is on the 15th of Nisan. Since the lambs were slain between 3 and 5 P.M., on Nisan 14, and then had to be roasted, the meal itself had to fall on Nisan 15 -- at the very time leading up to the moment at midnight -- when the firstborn of the Israelites were spared, while the Egyptian firstborn were being slaughtered by the hand of YEHOVAH God (Exodus 12:6, 8, 12, and 29).
The verses mentioned above are in reference to the SLAYING of the Passover, that is, the killing of the lamb. The Passover lamb was SLAIN "AT EVEN" (Lev. 23:5) -- Josephus shows it was essentially between 3-5 P.M. of Nisan 14. Then it had to be taken home from the Temple, put on a spit, and cooked -- roasted -- for hours. Therefore, the Passover meal was EATEN, and CELEBRATED, at night on Nisan 15. The Jews have always known this.
When Scripture says "they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at evening," (Num.9:5), it is referring to the fact that the lambs were SLAIN at that time! But since you cannot slay and eat at the same time (unless you ate it raw!), you must add to that time of slaying the time needed for preparation, cooking, and eating, which must of necessity be several hours later -- or on the 15th.
Numbers 28:16 points out the obvious: "And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD." That is, it was KILLED then. "And in the fifteenth day of the month is the FEAST." That is just as it should be -- the killing of the lamb is in the 14th, without which there could be no Passover FEAST, which is here even said to be on the fifteenth!
In Joshua's day the children of Israel "kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month AT EVENING in the plains of Jericho" (Joshua 5:10). What does "kept" mean? The Hebrew word translated "kept" in reference to the Passover (Num. 9:5; Josh. 5:10; II Chron. 35:1,17-19, Ezra 6:19) is asah and means: "to do, to make," in the broadest sense and widest application -- and is variously translated "dress," "make," "hold," "keep," "feast," "accomplish," "furnish," "fulfill," "gather," etc. (see Strong's #6213). The same word is used in Genesis 1:16 -- "And God MADE (Heb. asah) two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he MADE (asah) the stars also."
In fact, YEHOVAH God "made" the firmament (Gen. 1:7), He "made" the beasts of the earth (v.25), He "saw everything that He had MADE" (v.31), He "ended his work which he had made" (Gen. 2:2), He "made the earth" (2:4), and made "a woman" (2:22). Adam and Eve "made" aprons after they sinned (Gen. 3:7). In fact, YEHOVAH God "made" man in His likeness, and later repented that He had "made" him (Gen. 5:1; 6:6-7). The word in every one of these cases is asah.
Therefore, people who get hung up on the word "kept," when discussing the "Passover," need to be AWARE of the real meaning of this word ASAH in the Hebrew language! It would be best to translate the passages where this word is used to apply to the Passover, "they MADE the Passover on the fourteenth of the first month." This would solve the difficulty in understanding. They MADE the "Passover" on the 14th, by taking it to the priests at theTemple, for approval and certification, by killing the lamb, and by roasting it. They "made" the Passover by all the preparations they made that day, the 14th of Nisan -- but they ATE it on the 15th!
In fact, in the Millennium, we find that the Temple will be rebuilt as an abode for YEHOVAH's Shekinah Glory, and the Levitical priesthood will function with Yeshua as High Priest. And we read: "In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten." The word "have" is the Hebrew hayah and means, "exist, become, come to pass, " always emphatic.
This is the true teaching of the Word of YEHOVAH God. To attempt to observe the Passover differently, or at a different time than YEHOVAH directs, is tantamount to rebellion against YEHOVAH's Word, which says explicitly: "Ye shall not ADD unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish anything from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" (Deut. 4:2). The apostle John also wrote: "If any man shall ADD unto these things, God shall ADD unto him the PLAGUES that are written in this book; and if any man shall TAKE AWAY from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall TAKE AWAY his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book" (Rev. 22:18-19).
The truth is, Yeshua did not change the Passover symbols. He merely introduced new meaning for the bread and wine. YEHOVAH God says: Observe the month Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God, for in the month of Abib [Nisan] the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. Thou shalt therefore SACRIFICE the passover unto the LORD thy God" (Deut. 16:1-2).
While lambs will not be sacrificed during the Millennium since Yeshua was the ultimate sacrifice that the lambs pointed to, the Passover meal, with all its New Testament significance, will be observed after sundown on Nisan 14 -- the beginning of Nisan 15! Not recognizing the New Testament significance, this has been the Jewish custom throughout the ages. When the Jews were unable to go to Jerusalem for the Passover, they observed it at home or the synagogue, without lamb -- not understanding that the Messiah's death did away with the temporary sacrificial system.
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