Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Undeniable New Evidence!
When Should the PASSOVER Be Observed?
Never since the days of the Early New Testament Church has the Passover been correctly observed or understood! Some make it into a Church service; some observe it at the beginning of Nisan 14; others at the end of the 14th. What what does the Bible say? When did Israel leave Egypt? When did Yeshua himself observe Passover? What did the scribes and Pharisees, who sat in Moses' seat, command? For ALMOST TWO THOUSAND YEARS the truth has been buried under pagan superstition! What is the PLAIN TRUTH about the Passover? When should it be observed? Here, explained for the first time, is VITAL TRUTH YOU NEED TO KNOW!
by HOIM Staff
The Passover is one of the most important of all YEHOVAH God's festivals -- yet surprisingly there is more controversy and confusion over this holy festival of YEHOVAH God than any other! Why all the confusion?
Some observe the Passover at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan, some at the end of Nisan; some make it into a cold, austere religious Church service, with ministers officiating, and lock the doors to keep out any who are a minute late. To some it is even more solemn an occasion that the Day of Atonement!
Why such confusion and misunderstanding over the Passover? In this article, you will learn the truth about the Passover -- truth which has been buried and totally lost for almost 2,000 years, but now revealed during these LAST DAYS for the very first time! Surely YEHOVAH God Almighty is beginning to RESTORE His true knowledge during this end time! The true understanding of the Passover is one of the KEY ESSENTIAL TRUTHS which has been lost to the world and to the Church of YEHOVAH God for CENTURIES, since the very time of the apostles themselves!
Consider for a moment! The Word of YEHOVAH God says we are to first REPENT of sin (that is, put sin out of our lives), and then "believe on Christ" and be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. Peter was inspired to write, "REPENT, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). He later told thousands, "Repent ye therefore, and BE CONVERTED, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). Notice! Repentance comes first! Then comes the blotting out of our sins by the blood of the Messiah! First we must repent and put away our sins; and then YEHOVAH God covers our sins with the shed blood of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah!
But the way the Worldwide Church of God and others observe Passover, the "repentance" and putting away of sin occurs AFTER the acceptance of the Passover lamb to cover our sins! This is backwards! YEHOVAH God does not really cover our sins with the blood of the Messiah, our Passover lamb, until AFTER WE REPENT OF SIN, and depart from sin!
What, then, is the truth about the Passover? When should it be observed? Let us study the original instructions concerning the Passover, and see if we can sort out this problem once and for all.
The Old Testament Passover
In the book of Exodus we read, "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house . . . And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall KILL IT IN THE EVENING" (Exo. 12:3-6).
The original Hebrew in this passage is ben ha arbayim and means, literally, "between the two evenings." Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament tells us about this expression. It relates, "between the two evenings, Ex. 16:12; 30:8; used as MARKING THE SPACE OF TIME DURING WHICH THE PASCHAL LAMB WAS SLAIN, Ex. 12:6; Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3; and the EVENING SACRIFICE WAS OFFERED, Ex. 29:30, 41; Num. 28:4."
The big question is, then, what does this expression really refer to? There has been controversy over this point for thousands of years. According to the opinion of the Karaites and Samaritans, the expression refers to the time between sunset and deep twilight, or dusk. "The Pharisees, however, and the Rabbinists considered the TIME WHEN THE SUN BEGAN TO DESCEND to be called the FIRST EVENING (Arabic 'little evening'; 'when it begins to draw towards evening'; and the SECOND EVENING to be the REAL SUNSET" (Gesenius).
The question, then, is -- who is right?
Before going further into this question, I would like to point out two very important facts which we must keep uppermost in mind. First, who were the "Samaritans"? Since they are the foremost ancient "authority" for the "dusk theory" as the interpretation of this Hebrew expression, we ought to know who they were. The Samaritans were a NON-HEBREW, GENTILE people who were transported into the northern portion of Israel after the captivity of the northern Ten Tribes in 718-721 B.C.
They were PAGANS! They built their own temple at Mount Gerazim in Israel, as competition to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. We read, "And the king of Assyria brought men from BABYLON, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them IN THE CITIES OF SAMARIA instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. . . . Howbeit every nation made GODS OF THEIR OWN, and put them in the houses of the high places which the SAMARITANS had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt . . ." (II Kings 17:24-29).
The Jewish Holy Scriptures continues the account: "They worshiped the LORD, but they also appointed from their own ranks priests of the shrines, who officiated for them in the cult places. They worshiped the LORD, WHILE SERVING THEIR OWN GODS according to the practices of the nations from which they had been deported. TO THIS DAY THEY FOLLOW THEIR FORMER PRACTICES. They do not worship the LORD [properly]. They do NOT follow the laws and practices, the Teaching and Instruction that the LORD enjoined upon the descendants of Jacob -- who was given the name Israel . . . . But they did NOT obey; they continued their FORMER practices. Those nations worshiped the LORD, but they also served their idols. TO THIS DAY their children and their children's children do as their ancestors did" (II Kings 17:33-41).
Notice! These Samaritans were MIXED UP PAGANS! They perverted, twisted, and distorted the truth of YEHOVAH God into error. They tried to mix the worship of YEHOVAH God with their ancient PAGAN superstitions and practices. They compromised the truth of YEHOVAH God and amalgamated, merged, blended truth with pagan superstition and error!
In the New Testament, Yeshua the Messiah had an encounter with these pagan Samaritans. Yeshua said to a woman of Samaria, descended from these pagan people, "Ye worship ye know not what: we [Jews] know what we worship: FOR SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS" (John 4:22). Thus the Holy Word of YEHOVAH God, clearly shows us we should NOT look to the SAMARITANS for religious teaching, or practice! To do so would be a grave error of the first magnitude!
The Teaching of the Pharisees
Now, point number two: As Gesenius pointed out, the Pharisees and Rabbis of the Jews taught that the phrase "between the two evenings" meant from the time the sun begins to descend till final sunset. Josephus, a leading Pharisee and Jewish general of the first century, and the greatest Jewish historian of ancient times, wrote concerning this subject. In his book Wars of the Jews, he declared: "So these high priests, upon the coming of their feast which is called the PASSOVER, WHEN THEY SLAY THEIR SACRIFICES FROM THE NINTH HOUR TO THE ELEVENTH . . ." (Wars, Bk. VI, ix, 3).
Notice carefully! In terms of Roman time, or today's Roman calendar, this means that the JEWS in ancient times sacrificed the Passover from 3:00 PM in the afternoon until 5:00 PM -- obviously BEFORE SUNSET! In the months of March-April, when Passover occurs, sunset is about 6:00 PM or later!
Now consider carefully! Since the Passover was sacrificed between 3-5 PM, BEFORE SUNSET, on Nisan 14, IT HAD TO BE SACRIFICED AT THE END OF NISAN 14, AS THE DAY WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE! If it had been sacrificed between 3-5 PM just before the BEGINNING of Nisan 14, it would have been sacrificed on NISAN 13! That, of course, is preposterous! YEHOVAH God did not command the Passover to be killed on the 13th of Nisan -- He said very plainly, "ye shall KEEP IT UP UNTIL THE FOURTEENTH DAY" -- and then "KILL IT IN THE EVENING" (Exodus 12:6).
What could be plainer than that?
The Pharisees were the religious teachers during the time of the Messiah. They were the ones followed by the whole nation of Judea in terms of religious practice. On this point of the proper time for observing the Passover, there is no argument or disagreement between the Pharisees and high priests. They were in complete unity, so far as history relates.
Should we today follow the example set by the Pharisees, as to the proper time for observing the Passover? That is, the original Passover was slain in the latter part of the 14th, but not eaten until the twilight or darkness of Nisan 15th. What did Yeshua himself say on this issue?
Yeshua did not take issue with the teaching of the Pharisees concerning the Torah, or Law, or the proper times for the holy days and festivals of YEHOVAH God to be observed. Rather, he himself, with all the authority of Heaven, declared: "The scribes and the PHARISEES SIT IN MOSES' SEAT: ALL THEREFORE WHATSOEVER THEY BID YOU OBSERVE, THAT OBSERVE AND DO . . ." (Matt. 23:2-3).
How crystal clear -- how plain! Since the Pharisees sat in MOSES' SEAT, their authority in teaching the laws and statutes and holy days of YEHOVAH God was BINDING UPON ALL THE CHURCH! They taught that Passover should be observed at the closing or ending of the 14th of Nisan, not at the beginning of the day! The Passover was killed in the LATE AFTERNOON, AT THE VERY TIME YESHUA THE MESSIAH, OUR PASSOVER LAMB, WAS SLAIN AND SHED HIS BLOOD FOR OUR SINS! Therefore, Yeshua was a PERFECT ANTI-TYPE of the original Passover lamb!
Imagine the scene, if you can. Just as Yeshua the Messiah was pouring out his blood for our sins, hanging on the tree, paying the penalty for our sins, as our Passover Lamb of YEHOVAH God, multiple thousands of Jews throughout Judea were also slaying their Passover lambs! What a perfect fulfillment"! What a perfect anti-type! What a marvelous picture! Yeshua fulfilled the anti-type of the Passover PERFECTLY! Josephus tells us that during that time about 256,000 Passover lambs were being slain, one for every ten people who were undefiled. Thus the population in Judea was about 2,500,000 during the time of Yeshua. All those Passover lambs pointed to HIM -- the true Passover Lamb of YEHOVAH God!
Unger's Bible Dictionary points out concerning the Passover, "The daily evening sacrifice (Exod. 29:38,39), usually killed at the eighth hour and a half (i.e., 2:30 P.M.), and offered up at the ninth and a half hour (i.e., 3:30 P.M.), was on this day killed at 1:30 and offered at 2:30 P.M., an hour earlier . . ." (article, "Festivals," p. 354).
The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible declares concerning the Passover, "[Heb. pesah from pasah (to pass over, in sense of sparing) . . . ] The 1st of the 3 annual festivals at which all the men were required to appear at the sanctuary . . . known also as the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 23:15; Deut. 16:16). It was instituted in Egypt to commemorate the culminating event in the redemption of the Israelites (Ex. 12:1,14,42; 23:15; Deut. 16:1,3). THAT NIGHT WAS TO BE MUCH OBSERVED UNTO THE LORD, WHEN HE SMOTE ALL THE FIRSTBORN in the land of Egypt, but passed over the houses of the Israelites where the blood had been sprinkled. . . .The festival began on the 14th of Abib AT EVENING, THAT IS, IN THE BEGINNING OF THE 15TH DAY, with the sacrificial meal (Lev. 23:5-6). A lamb or kid was SLAIN BETWEEN THE EVENINGS, THAT IS, TOWARD SUNSET (Ex. 12:6; Deut. 16:6; cf. between the 9th and 11th hours" (article "Passover," p. 705).
Other Biblical Evidence
After studying into this subject, I must confess I find it incredibly difficult to believe anybody could claim, today, that the Passover was slain and offered AFTER SUNSET, that is, at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan or Abib. Certainly, everyone admits that Yeshua the Messiah, the true Passover Lamb of YEHOVAH God, of whom the Passover lamb was a forerunner or type, was slain at the END of the 14th of Nisan! There is no argument there. Then why do whole Churches believe that the Passover itself was offered at the BEGINNING of the 14th of Nisan? The very idea boggles my mind. However, they have swallowed the teaching of the Samaritans, those pagan idolaters who had their own competing temple at Mount Gerazim in Samaria -- the Samaritans, whose Babylonian roots is clearly revealed in the Bible!
Notice further evidence concerning the proper time for the slaying of the Passover!
YEHOVAH God told Moses, "But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the PASSOVER AT EVEN, AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 16:6). Notice! It was to be slain "at the going down of the sun" -- that is, at the DESCENDING of the sun, or, to put it another way, "as the sun goes down," or "as the sun DESCENDS." This tense is equivalent to the present progressive tense in English! It is not past tense, that is, "after the sun goes down," or "after sunset." It is, rather, AS THE SUN IS GOING DOWN, or descending in the western sky, toward the horizon -- not AFTER it has GONE down!
This same expression is used elsewhere in the Old Testament. "And when the sun was going down . . ." (Gen. 15:12). The Hebrew Scriptures state: "AS THE SUN WAS ABOUT TO SET . . ." Clearly, this expression refers to the time BEFORE SUNSET, not afterward!
"And afterward Joshua smote them (the Canaanite kings), and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees UNTIL THE EVENING. And it came to pass at the TIME OF THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave's mouth, which remain unto this very day" (Josh.10:26-27).
This event shows that the expression "going down of the sun" refers to the time right up until sunset or sundown, but not after. The Israelites were commanded, in the law of YEHOVAH God, not to allow the dead bodies of criminals to hang on a tree at night. YEHOVAH told Moses, "If a man is guilty of a capital offense and is put to death, and you impale him on a stake, you must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight, but must BURY HIM THE SAME DAY" (Deut. 21:22-23). Since each day begins and ends at SUNSET, to bury such a criminal "THE SAME DAY" means he had to be buried PRIOR TO SUNSET! Thus, we read again of Joshua who slew the king of Ai. "And the king of Ai was impaled for a stake UNTIL EVENING. AT SUNSET, Joshua had the corpse taken down from the stake . . ." (Joshua 8:29)
This same expression is used in the Bible of the death of king Ahab. As Ahad was fighting the Syrians, he was struck by an arrow from a bowman and was sorely wounded. "And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and DIED AT EVEN: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. And there went out a proclamation throughout the host ABOUT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country" (I Kings 22:35-36). The Hebrew Tanakh, or "Holy Scriptures," has this verse, "AS THE SUN WAS GOING DOWN . . ." Again, the reference is to the time just prior to sunset or sundown, as the sun's light begins to fade in the west.
The Evening Sacrifice
In the book of Numbers YEHOVAH God gives instructions concerning the daily sacrifices which were to be offered before Him. YEHOVAH commanded, "And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot DAY BY DAY [Heb. 'IN A DAY'], for a continual burnt offering. The one lamb shalt thou offer IN THE MORNING, and the other lamb shalt thou offer AT EVEN [Heb. 'BETWEEN THE EVENINGS'] . . ." (Num. 28:3-4).
Notice carefully! Both these offerings were to be offered DAILY, "day by day," "IN A DAY" -- that is, WITHIN THE SAME DAY! The first one is the morning sacrifice, and the second one is the EVENING sacrifice. In order for the evening sacrifice to be offered the SAME DAY as the morning sacrifice, it had to be offered BEFORE SUNSET! Otherwise it would have been the NEXT day! What could be clearer? Thus, the daily sacrifices is another additional proof that "evening" or "between the evenings" has to refer to the period of time BEFORE SUNSET, or LATE AFTERNOON BEFORE SUNDOWN!
Now that we have thoroughly proved this vital point, let's continue the story of the Passover in Egypt, and understand the time sequence of events which occurred during that fateful and awesome night. As we go, the story will become more and more plain, even to those who have been confused in the past.
The Passover Saga
After slaying the Passover lamb, the children of Israel were told to take the blood of the lamb and strike it over the two side posts and on the upper door post of their houses. YEHOVAH said, "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it . . . And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning . . . And thus shall ye eat it; with your LOINS GIRDED, YOUR SHOES ON YOUR FEET, AND YOUR STAFF IN YOUR HAND; and ye shall eat it in HASTE: it is the Lord's passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
"And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will PASS OVER YOU, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
"AND THIS DAY SHALL BE UNTO YOU FOR A MEMORIAL; and ye shall KEEP IT A FEAST to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a FEAST by an ordinance FOR EVER" (Exo. 12:7-14).
Now notice carefully. This day which is to be kept a "Feast" to the Lord "forever" -- what day or event is YEHOVAH God talking about in this passage of Scripture? Why, read it again! The context here is very clear; it can be nothing else; YEHOVAH is plainly talking about the PASSOVER! The Passover is a MEMORIAL; it is a FEAST -- ordained FOREVER!
Why, then, do the Worldwide Church of God and others claim the Passover is NOT a "Feast" day of YEHOVAH God? How can they say such a thing? Where did they go astray? The Word of YEHOVAH God is explicitly clear. All through this passage of Scripture, the context is the Passover celebration, the eating of the lamb, the celebrating of YEHOVAH's passing over the children of Israel when He smites the Egyptians and their pagan gods! After discussing nothing else but this magnificent "Passover" day, YEHOVAH says, "THIS DAY shall be unto you . . . a FEAST" -- not some other day, or some other celebration (Exo. 12:14).
For years I had trouble with this verse, as I read it, wondering how in the world the Worldwide Church of God could say it does not refer to the PASSOVER! What was their problem? Simple: They put the Passover a night early, and therefore they had to invent another separate feast, which they called "The Night To Be Much Observed," not realizing that the "night to be much observed" was actually the PASSOVER itself!
The Passover was to be slain on the 14th, before sunset. It was then to be eaten on the 15th, during the night (Exo. 12:8), "in haste." It was commanded to be a FEAST -- a memorial forever! Although the 14th of Nisan itself was not a "holy day," the Passover feast was actually eaten on the "First Day of Unleavened Bread," at night, which is a HOLYDAY of YEHOVAH God!
Notice! YEHOVAH commanded, "And this day [the Passover] shall be unto you . . . a FEAST to the Lord . . . ye shall keep it a FEAST by an ordinance forever. SEVEN DAYS SHALL YE EAT UNLEAVENED BREAD . . . for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first say shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you" (Exo. 12:14-16).
The Passover itself, then, introduces the seven day festival of the Passover, or unleavened bread. It was actually a seven-day festival, not an eight day festival. The first part of the 14th of Nisan, prior to the slaying of the lamb, was actually referred to by the Jews as the "preparation of the Passover." In Matthew's gospel we read that Joseph of Arimathaea came and took the body of Yeshua, "when the even was come" (Matt. 27:57), laid it in his own new tomb, and departed (v. 60). This would have had to be the evening of the 14th, beginning of the 15th. The we read, "Now the NEXT DAY [the morning of the 15th], THAT FOLLOWED THE DAY OF THE PREPARATION, the chief priests and Pharisees came . . ." (Matt. 27:62). Now since the "next day" had to be the daylight portion of the 15th of Nisan, and since it "followed the day of the preparation," this proves that the 14th of Nisan was also known as the "day of the preparation," or "the preparation of the Passover"! The day of the preparation was not the 13th; this verse proves it! Here, then, is further proof that the Passover occurred at the END of the 14th, and not at its beginning!
Mark corroborates this fact. We read in Mark, "And now when the even was come, BECAUSE IT WAS THE PREPARATION, that is, the DAY BEFORE THE SABBATH [the annual Sabbath, or First Day of Unleavened Bread) . . ." (Mark 15:42).
Luke further states, "And THAT DAY [the 14th] was the PREPARATION, and the sabbath drew on" (Luke 23:54). Even more emphatic proof is found in the gospel of John. Here we find in chapter 19 the details of Yeshua's appearance before Pilate on the daylight portion of the 14th, in the morning. Pilate brought Yeshua to the place called the Pavement (John 19:13). "And it was THE PREPARATION OF THE PASSOVER . . ." (verse 14)! This day, all admit, was the 14th of Nisan. Yet Scripture itself plainly calls it "THE PREPARATION of the Passover"! Why? Because the Passover was not yet to be eaten, until that same evening! What could be plainer?
In this same chapter, after Yeshua was crucified, and died, about 3:00 PM in the afternoon, we find, "The Jews therefore, BECAUSE IT WAS THE PREPARATION, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (FOR THAT SABBATH WAS AN HIGH DAY [the weekly Sabbath as well as the annual Feast Day or High Day],) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away" (John 19:31). Here again the 14th of Nisan is called the "preparation," because the following day, beginning at evening, was a WEEKLY SABBATH DAY AS WELL AS AN ANNUAL HOLY DAY -- an "High Day," the day the Passover was to be eaten, the First Day of Unleavened Bread!
Mark explains further, "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?" (Mark 14:12). The 14th is the "first day of unleavened bread" in this sense, because on this day all leaven has to be removed, before sundown. Therefore, this Scripture verifies the fact that the Passover was KILLED on the 14th of Nisan -- but not eaten on that day!
Now notice once again YEHOVAH God's commandment! In Exodus we read, "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month AT EVEN, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month, at even. SEVEN DAYS shall there be no leaven found in your houses . . ." (Exo. 12:18-19).
Here it should be as plain as day. The feast of unleavened bread was to last exactly SEVEN DAYS, not eight days. It was to continue through the evening of the 21st day of Nisan. Therefore, it was to begin the evening of the 14th of Nisan, or beginning of the 15th -- that is, at sunset at the end of the 14th! This verse plainly says unleavened bread was to be eaten beginning the 14th of Nisan at evening till the 21st of Nisan at evening -- and it says this period of time is "seven days." If the evening of the 14th meant the beginning of the 14th, as some suppose, then the correct number of days would have to have been EIGHT, not seven! So here again is proof the Passover occurred at the END of the 14th, and not its beginning! It is a SEVEN DAY FESTIVAL, not an eight day festival!
This "evening of the 14th" of Nisan in Exodus 12:18 has to be the same "evening" of the 14th of Nisan when the lamb was to be slain (Exo. 12:6). Counting from that evening, there were to be SEVEN DAYS of unleavened bread -- not eight!
The Saga Continues
After the Israelites struck the blood of the lamb over their doorposts, they were commanded, "none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning" (Exo. 12:22). They obeyed YEHOVAH God. Later that night, "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt . . . And Pharaoh ROSE UP IN THE NIGHT, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a GREAT CRY in Egypt; for there was not an house where there was not one dead.
"And he called for Moses and Aaron BY NIGHT, and said, RISE UP, AND GET YOU FORTH FROM AMONG MY PEOPLE, both ye and the children of Israel; and GO, serve the Lord, as ye have said, and BE GONE [GET OUT!]; and bless me also.
"And the Egyptians were URGENT upon the people, that they might send them out of the land IN HASTE; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people took their dough BEFORE IT WAS LEAVENED, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders" (Exo. 12:29-34).
Now notice what happened! That same Passover night the plague struck the Egyptians. At midnight they all arose, and found dead people everywhere! Pharaoh and his counselors were beside themselves with anger, fear, horror-struck. They immediately sent for Moses and Aaron, and commanded them, begged them, beseeched them, to take the children of Israel and GET OUT -- SCRAM! All the people were urgent upon them, urging them to DEPART immediately! As an enticement for them to leave, they gave them all their jewels and silver and gold, and beautiful things (Exo. 12:35-36). Actually, they had begun doing this before the final plague (see Exodus 11:2-3). But as an added inducement for the Israelites to be cooperative, and to get out, before more calamities occurred, the Egyptians gave them even more jewelry as they were leaving!
Isn't it perfectly clear that all this happened the very night of the Passover, and the very next morning, early? The Egyptians didn't want the Israelites hanging around any longer. They URGED them to be ON THEIR WAY! They virtually kicked them out the door!
The account goes on, "And the children of Israel journeyed from Ramses to Succoth . . . And they baked UNLEAVENED cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were THRUST OUT OF EGYPT, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual" (Exodus 12:37-39).
They were literally THROWN OUT of Egypt! They could not dilly dally, or drag their heels. They were ON THEIR WAY, and marched all the way from Ramses to Succoth that very day!
Two things you should notice here. First, the day they left Egypt was the very next morning, early, after the horrendous PASSOVER NIGHT when the Egyptians were destroyed! They did not spend a whole day wandering around, packing, and getting "ready" to go -- they were ALREADY READY! Remember, they ate of the Passover fully clothed, and with their staffs in their hands, ready to depart (Exodus 12:11). The next morning they did not wait around, or tarry; they were on their way out of Egypt!
Now those who observe Passover at the beginning of the 14th have a major problem here, because they have to conclude that the following day was spent by the Israelites just moping around, and gathering jewels, and getting organized and ready to go -- because that day would have been the daylight portion of the 14th of Nisan -- yet Scripture plainly says, "And the departed from Ramses 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" (Numbers 33:3).
Notice! They didn't depart on the 14th, but on the 15th! This was called the "morrow" after the Passover night! Remember, the Egyptians were URGENT upon the people to get out, leave, vamoose, amscray, to "beat it!" They were afraid they might all get killed (Exo. 12:33). Yet, those who observe Passover at the beginning of the 14th would have us believe that the Israelites waited around another WHOLE DAY, just getting organized, and visiting their Egyptian neighbors, saying their good-byes! Does that make any sense to you?
Secondly, notice that when the Israelites left they were in such a hurry that their dough did not even have time enough to become leavened, from sitting out in the air. The yeast did not even have time to work. If they had sat around on their hands and knees for a whole day, there would have been plenty of leaven in their dough by the following evening! As any modern cookbook will show, it only requires bread dough with leaven from one to two hours to rise, and double in bulk! But these two million or more Israelites had NO LEAVEN AT ALL! Imagine the pressure they must have been under to get moving and to get out! They did not have even an hour to spare!
When Did Israel Organize for Departure?
Some, in their haste to make apologies and excuses for their erroneous beliefs, have said that the Israelites could not have begun moving out of Egypt the following morning after the Passover (despite the plain verse in Numbers 33:3 which plainly says they departed "on the MORROW after the Passover"), because it would require all day for them to get ready, to marshall together in one place, and to be put in ranks. One writer said he discussed the logistics problems with a local army official, who said it would of course require much time to organize such a large, unwieldy group.
But, just wait a minute! The Israelites had been planning this exodus for many weeks. This was not a sudden, impromptu departure. YEHOVAH God had announced to them at the beginning of Nisan that they were to select their Passover lambs on the tenth day of the month (Exodus 12:1-3). They had weeks to prepare. It is not as if they were a bunch of ill-equipped stumble-bums who didn't know what was going to occur. They were well prepared.
The Jewish historian Josephus tells us much about their intricate and detailed planning. He wrote in Antiquities of the Jews, "But when God had signified, that with one more plague he would compel the Egyptians to let the Hebrews go, he commanded Moses to tell the people that they should have a sacrifice ready, AND THAT THEY SHOULD PREPARE THEMSELVES on the tenth day of the month Xanthicus, against the fourteenth . . . and that he should carry away the Hebrews with all they had. Accordingly, HE HAVING GOT THE HEBREWS READY FOR THEIR DEPARTURE, AND HAVING SORTED THE PEOPLE INTO TRIBES, HE KEPT THEM TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE [therefore, no gatherings were required -- the people were already assembled together!]: but when the fourteenth day was come, and ALL WERE READY TO DEPART, they offered the sacrifice . . . as just ready to depart" (Antiquities, Bk. II, xiv, 6).
Josephus continues, describing the scene: ". . . for the destruction of the firstborn came upon the Egyptians that night, so that many of the Egyptians who lived near the king's palace persuaded pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. Accordingly he called for Moses, and bid them begone; as supposing, that if once the Hebrews were gone out of the country, Egypt should be freed from its miseries. They also honored the Hebrews with gifts; some in order to get them to depart quickly, and others on account of their neighborhood, and the friendship they had with them" (ibid.).
Josephus also points out that Moses had formerly been a top general of the Pharaoh, a man well acquainted with the problems of logistics and supplies for an entire army in the field. He fought against the Ethiopians who were rampaging throughout Egypt. In dire distress, Pharaoh turned to Moses and appointed him general of the army of Egypt (Ant., II, x, l). Moses, with sagacity and brilliance, routed the Ethiopians, striking them by surprise, and slaughtering a multitude. Thus, for anyone to think that Moses and the children of Israel were ignorant shepherds, unable to organize themselves in the time they had available, to march out of Egypt in ranks, is foolishness of the highest order. Israel left Egypt "by their armies" (Exo. 12:51), "troop by troop," as the Hebrew Scriptures declare.
The New Testament Passover
When did the Jews in the New Testament times observe the Passover? And, more importantly, when did Yeshua himself observe it?
It is very clear that the Jews observed it at the ending of the 14th, when they killed the Passover lamb, and the beginning of the 15th. The time Yeshua appeared before Pilate, on the morning of the 14th, was still known as "the preparation of the Passover" (John 19:14). Early that same morning the high priests took Yeshua from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment, to see Pilate. They themselves, however, would not go into the judgment hall, "lest they should be defiled; but that they might EAT THE PASSOVER" (John 18:28).
It is clear that the year of the crucifixion Yeshua and his disciples ate a meal the evening before all the Jews, including the high priests and Pharisees ate the Passover. They still had not eaten of the Passover after they had apprehended Yeshua and brought him to trial!
Yeshua seemingly referred to the final meal he had with his disciples as the "Passover." But in what sense was this final meal a "Passover" since the traditional Passover would not be until the next evening? He plainly said to the disciples, "With desire I have desired to eat THIS PASSOVER with you BEFORE I SUFFER: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:15-16).
Notice, carefully, exactly what Yeshua said! This particular "Passover" he was going to eat with them, "BEFORE I SUFFER." The following day, when the Jews would be sacrificing their Passover lambs, he himself would be sacrificed as our Passover. As Paul wrote, "For even Christ OUR PASSOVER is sacrificed for us" (I Cor. 5:7). The following evening, when everybody else would be partaking of the Passover lamb, Yeshua would be in his tomb, dead. Obviously, he would not be able to partake of the normal Passover with his disciples at that time! Therefore, he deliberately arranged to eat this final "Passover" type of meal with them "before" he suffered -- that is, an evening early! But this was an arrangement done for only "THIS Passover." It was not an indication that he had always observed the Passover an evening before every other Jew. Nor was it an indication that he was establishing a NEW observance. Rather, he called this final meal a "Passover" because it was -- like the traditional Passover -- a special, unique, final "going away" meal -- which many have referred to as "the Lord's Supper" -- it was like a normal Passover in many respects, but it was different in other respects -- it was a night early, there was no "lamb" eaten with it, and the bread eaten at it was regular leavened bread -- artos in the Greek language! However, since Yeshua would be dead at the tiime of the traditional Passover meal, this particular year he chose to hold a special, unique "going away" dinner with his disciples the night before the regular Passover -- and since it was so much like a "Passover" in many respects, he referred to it as "this" Passover -- not as "the Passover."
Yeshua used this meal, held at the beginning of Nisan 14, as an "introduction" to the Passover Feast. The whole Feast was called "the Passover" (Luke 22:1). Therefore, this meal, as being part of the "Passover preparation" this one year, would also qualify to be called "Passover" in a general sense. It was a meal at which he would teach and instruct his disciples, giving them "final instructions," as it were. He chose this meal to introduce three new teachings which would become part of the traditional Passover service -- the wine, as the symbol of his shed blood, the bread as a symbol of his broken body, and the foot-washing ceremony of humility and service.
The meal they ate that night was called a "Passover," or Passover-type meal, even though it was an evening early (Matt. 26:17, 19). Yeshua was not instituting some NEW observance. Nor was he changing the Passover from its normal time to a new time. This was a one-time event, forced by very unusual circumstances. It was not a new policy to be perpetuated by the Church of YEHOVAH God. Yeshua nowhere said any such thing. It was simply a special, unique, introductory type of "Passover" meal, held in lieu of the regular Passover, since Yeshua would be dead and in the grave at the customary time of the eating of the Passover meal at the beginning of Nisan 15!!
Throughout his life on earth, from the time he was a child, Yeshua always observed the Passover at the same time as all the Jews. We read in Luke's gospel, "Now 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 AFTER THE CUSTOM OF THE FEAST. And when they had FULFILLED THE DAYS, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem . . ." (Luke 2:41-43).
Notice! They observed the Passover festival EVERY YEAR, and they did it "after the CUSTOM of the feast." This means they observed it just like every body else! They did not observe it a day early, but according to the custom; and Yeshua observed it with them! Every year, then, as Yeshua grew to manhood, he observed the Passover with all the other Jews in Judea. In so doing, he set us an example (I Pet. 2:21; I John 2:6).
After Yeshua began his ministry, he still did as he had always done, with his earthly parents. "And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem" (John 2:13). On this occasion he threw the money-changers out of the Temple (verses 14-16). At this Passover he foretold the Passover when he would be slain and be raised up in three days (John 2:18-21).
The gospel of John continues, "Now when he was in Jerusalem AT THE PASSOVER, IN THE FEAST DAY, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did" (verse 23).
Now, think! If the Jews had been celebrating the WRONG DAY, Yeshua would certainly have taken issue with them on such a major error. But he did not. He rebuked them for such relatively "minor" things as their preoccupation with pots and pans, and outward cleanliness as opposed to inward purity (Mark 7:1-13; Matt.15:1-20). If they had gone so far astray as to change the day of an annual holy day of YEHOVAH God, do you think Yeshua would have ignored such an abomination? On the other hand, if Yeshua himself had been observing Passover a day earlier than all the Jews, the scribes and Pharisees, don't you think that would have been one of the issues they would have confronted him with? But they didn't! Why not? Because he observed Passover on the same day as every body else!
There simply was no conflict or controversy over this point -- that is, not until modern times, and the 20th century, when various Christian-professing Churches, in their attempt to get back to the faith once delivered, repudiated the teachings and traditions of the Jews, and tried to figure out for themselves when Passover should be observed! And in so doing, they noted that Yeshua, the year of his crucifixion, observed a "Passover" type of meal at the beginning of Nisan 14, so they ASSUMED that the beginning of Nisan 14 was the right day and time for the annual Passover, and so they were forced to conclude that ancient Israel also observed it at the same time -- and one error led to another! This cause great confusion and distortion of the Old Testament Passover record and caused many to observe Passover at the wrong time and in the wrong manner for the past sixty years!
But now, as the end of this age approaches, YEHOVAH God has revealed the PLAIN TRUTH about the Passover, and its correct time and sequence of events!
The following year, as the Messiah continued his ministry, John records, "And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh" (John 6:4). Sometimes in his gospel John calls the Passover a feast of the "Jews," as he does here. That does not mean he is saying it was not YEHOVAH God's Passover. He calls it the feast of the "Jews," on occasion, because the Jews were the only ones in all the earth still celebrating it! On other occasions, however, he simply refers to this same feast as "the Passover" (John 12:1; 18:28; 19:14). This particular Passover season, Yeshua fed the multitude miraculously, and then taught them about the true bread which comes down from heaven (John 6:5-58).
All these Passovers, Yeshua celebrated according to the usual custom, at the same time as all the Jews, scribes and Pharisees, who sat in Moses' seat. He did not rail or debate or argue with them over any discrepancy in time or date of observance. He did not point out any alleged error in their calculations. Therefore, by his quiet acceptance of their teaching on this point, he personally endorsed the day of Passover which they were observing! Also, by doing this, Yeshua set us an example that we also should follow the traditional custom of the Jews in observing Passover at the ending of Nisan 14, and during the early evening of Nisan 15, and not a day earlier as some Churches do!
Isn't this clear?
Stop and think a moment. Passover typified the slain Lamb of YEHOVAH God, Yeshua the Messiah. He was slain -- no argument from anybody -- at the end of the 14th of Nisan, about 3:00 PM in the afternoon (Luke 23:44; Mark 15:33). Thus he was slain at the precise time the Jews throughout Jerusalem were slaying their sacrificial lambs, which unknown to them pointed to the supreme sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah himself.
As we, today, observe the Passover, at the close of the 14th, and beginning of the 15th of Nisan, just as the Jews have always done, we are observing it at the very time Yeshua was killed, and buried, and entombed. We are observing it at the very time the Jews observed in the night they began to come out of Egypt! As we observe it, at the very time these things were happening, it is as if we were actually there, and participating in these historic events.
Passover -- A Memorial
But if we do like some do, and observe the Passover a day or evening early, we miss the point of actually sharing in the experience with the Messiah and the disciples and the children of Israel. Rather than the Messiah having just been sacrificed for our sins, time-wise, we would be celebrating 24 hours in advance of his actual crucifixion, death and burial. The observance would be out of sync -- out of phase. It would be like being in a "time warp." It would not truly be a "MEMORIAL," but rather a shadow of something to come. Yet YEHOVAH God Almighty, specifically said, "And this day shall be unto you FOR A MEMORIAL," a remembrance of a past event -- not a shadow of future events. It was ordained as a MEMORIAL DAY, not a foretaste day.
Yeshua himself, when He added the symbols of bread and wine, as types of his shed blood and broken body, said, "this do in REMEMBRANCE OF ME" (Luke 22:19). Again, it was to be a MEMORIAL of his sacrifice for our sins, something we look back on, not something we look forward to in future anticipation! Those who observe Passover at the beginning of Nisan 14 actually miss out on this vital point. By observing it ahead of time, they are anticipating the sacrifice of the Messiah, instead of memorializing it.
How To Keep the Passover
How should we observe the Passover, today?
Should it be observed in our homes, in a family setting, with the leading family member taking charge and guiding the observance, as is done in Jewish families around the world? Or should we all go to Church, and there partake of the symbols of unleavened bread and wine, under the direction of Church ministers, in a rather formal, solemn, quiet ceremony?
Remember, first of all, that from time immemorial the Jews have celebrated the Passover as a distinctly FAMILY affair! In fact, they were COMMANDED to partake of it in their own homes (Exodus 12:3-11). Remember, too, that when Yeshua and his disciples partook of the Passover, IT WAS NOT A CHURCH SERVICE! Rather, it was an intimate, informal DINNER! We have all seen pictures of Michelangelo's "Last Supper" showing Yeshua and his disciples seated around a table, with one disciple reclining on Yeshua's bosom. At this meal, Yeshua said, "With desire I have desired to EAT this passover with you" (Luke 22:15). He still ATE a MEAL with his disciples. It was a SUPPER, held in a private home or room, NOT AN OFFICIAL CHURCH CEREMONY, MEETING, OR RITUAL!
So if churches want to follow Yeshua's example, and they contend that this final meal was THE annual Passover, and not simply a "Passover" type of meal held a day early due to special circumstances, this raises an interesting question: If that is what they believe and teach, then why don't they eat a whole Passover meal when they "celebrate" their "Passover"?
Matthew records, "AND AS THEY DID EAT . . ." Yeshua introduced the new symbols of bread and wine representing his body and blood given for us (Matt. 26:21). "AS THEY WERE EATING . . ." Yeshua took the bread and broke it (verse 26). The New Englishman's Greek Interlinear states, "AND SUPPER TAKING PLACE," Yeshua arose and introduced the footwashing ceremony (John 13:2). Yeshua "RISES FROM THE SUPPER" and begins to wash his disciples' feet, setting us all an example of a new thing we should do at the Passover (John 13:2-17).
But what do these churches do? They omit the meal entirely, and focus on observing a ritual that is much like a Catholic mass, with a tiny wafer (unleavened) and a thimble sized vial of wine! They turn a happy, festive, family occasion into a comatose, moribund, funereal dirge with overwhelming silence, austerity, solemnity, and sorrow, as they meditate on their sins and death!
Passover, then, was never intended to be a solemn, austere "Church service" as it is practiced in the Worldwide Church of God and others. It was intended to be a small, intimate, FAMILY AFFAIR with a few families and close friends gathered together, led by the elder member or patriarch, even as the Jews still celebrate it today!
Yeshua the Messiah set us an example of how to celebrate the Passover. He observed it all his life with his family -- and after he began his ministry, with his disciples. We are commanded to "FOLLOW HIS STEPS" (I Pet. 2:21) -- that is, celebrate it THE SAME WAY HE DID, SETTING US AN EXAMPLE! He never observed the Passover as a funereal dirge or evening of sorrow, like a Roman Catholic mass!
Are you willing to follow YESHUA? Or are you going to follow men, in their own practices which deviate from the pattern and truth set down in the Word of YEHOVAH God?
Paul's Instructions about a Growing Controversy
The apostle Paul noticed that controversy was already beginning to develop in the Church of God at Corinth, in A.D. 59, just 28 years after Yeshua was crucified. He reminded the Corinthians, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (I Cor.11:1). He went on to say that there should be no contention within the Church of God (verse 16), and then began to rebuke them, saying, "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that YE COME TOGETHER [in Church meetings] not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together IN THE CHURCH, I hear that there be DIVISIONS [schisms] among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also HERESIES among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."
Already heresies were beginning to creep into the Church of YEHOVAH God! Notice!
The apostle Paul declared, "When ye come together therefore into one place, this is NOT to eat the Lord's supper" (I Cor. 11:20). The margin has the original Greek as saying, "Ye cannot eat the Lord's supper." In other words, Paul is telling them that when they gather for a Church service, IT IS NOT TO CELEBRATE some new ritual called "the Lord's supper"! That is not the way it is to be done! He admonishes them, "For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another drunken. WHAT? HAVE YE NOT HOUSES TO EAT AND TO DRINK IT? Or despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you NOT" (I Cor. 11:21-22). Clearly, Paul is telling them here that they should be eating their dinners IN THEIR OWN HOUSES, and not coming together in a Church service to observe a "Lord's supper"!
Paul then goes on to give them the basic, overall instructions for observing the "bread and wine" ceremony that Yeshua revealed to his disciples on the very night he was betrayed. Paul explained the meaning and significance of the bread and wine. Paul writes, "For I have goes received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which IS broken for you: this do in REMEMBRANCE of me [in the Greek, "for a remembrance"]. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the NEW TESTAMENT in my blood [a testament, remember, is only in effect after the DEATH of the testator -- see Hebrews 9:15-17]: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do SHEW THE LORD'S DEATH till he come" (I Cor. 11:23-26).
If we apply this passage to the observance of the Passover, as a revelation of how we should reflect on the bread and wine which we partake of at the annual Passover, then consider: It is not fitting to hold a "memorial" service 24 hours BEFORE the actual death of the one being remembered! Yeshua died at 3 P.M. in the afternoon of Nisan 14 -- not the previous evening! If we are going to commemorate the sacrifice of the Messiah as part of the Passover, then we should do it AT THE PASSOVER DINNER on the night of Nisan 15 -- at the very time following the death and roasting of the lambs that the Israelites ate the Passover lambs!
Even so, it would be ludicrous to observe the Passover at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan, 24 hours before the actual events of the original Passover, and twenty hours before the actual crucifixion of our own true Passover, Yeshua the Messiah!
Paul pointed out, the cup of wine is "the NEW TESTAMENT" in Yeshua's blood. Paul wrote in Hebrews, "For where a testament is, there must also OF NECESSITY BE THE DEATH of THE TESTATOR" (Heb. 9:16). He went on, "For a testament is of force AFTER men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth" (verse 17).
All these Scriptures show us, then, that the Passover should be celebrated at its proper time -- not a day early in anticipation of the death of the Messiah, but right after it occurred on the annual calendar, as a true MEMORIAL and REMEMBRANCE of our deliverance from sin through the shed blood of the Messiah! The cup of wine should be taken each year, "after the death of the testator," "otherwise it is of no strength at all."
Partaking of the Passover "Worthily"
Paul continues, in I Corinthians, "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man EXAMINE HIMSELF, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup, for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation [judgment] to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [are dead]" (I Cor. 11:27-30).
If we partake of the wine and bread ceremony connected with the Passover ahead of time, out of sync with the truth and the Word of YEHOVAH God, then are we not actually doing it wrongly, erroneously, in error, and therefore definitely "unworthily"? To sin in ignorance is one thing; but to continue in error and sin, transgressing the law of YEHOVAH God, knowingly, after the truth has been pointed out, is another matter altogether! In YEHOVAH's sight, sins of ignorance can be forgiven, when repented of; but sins of presumptuousness, deliberate sins, are another matter, and YEHOVAH God will punish them very severely .
YEHOVAH God declares, "But the person, be he citizen or stranger, who acts DEFIANTLY reviles the LORD; that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has SPURNED THE WORD OF THE LORD and VIOLATED HIS COMMANDMENT, that person shall be cut off-- he bears his guilt" (Numbers 15:30-31).
Because of observing the wine and bread ceremony wrongly, Paul says, many in the Church of God are "weak and sickly among you," and many have died. They have no spiritual POWER with YEHOVAH God because they have been disobeying Him, even though it may have been in ignorance, due to wrong teaching. This fact is certainly also true of the observance of the annual PASSOVER! If we participate in a pagan "mass" type of "Passover," and observe it 24 hours BEFORE YEHOVAH's commanded observance, then we do it UNWORTHILY!
MAKE NO MISTAKE! This is serious business with YEHOVAH God!
When will we WAKE UP? When will we come to our senses?
The Passover -- a Time of Joy and Freedom
The true Passover is meant by YEHOVAH God to be a time of great rejoicing and joy. It symbolizes our deliverance from sin and evil, the clutches of spiritual slavery. It is to be a time of great rejoicing and gladness, not mourning and sorrow.
How many times have I gone to a Worldwide Church of God Passover service, in the years gone by, not knowing any better, and wondering why there is so much solemnity and gravity present, and why people are forbidden to talk with one another. It was like a painful, quiet, solemn ritual, even more solemn than the Day of Atonement! Yet in ancient Israel it was a time of JOY AND REJOICING, festivity and happiness running over! It celebrated rescue, deliverance, NEW FREEDOM from Egypt and oppression! Even so, our Passover today ought to be a time of newfound JOY and overwhelming JOYOUSNESS! It was anciently a time of great joy (II Kings 23:22; II Chron. 35:18; Ezra 6:19-22).
There is a tremendous amount of meaning and significance to the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. We should observe them, as a continuous festival, of seven days, with great joy and magnificent rejoicing. We should not hold back, or be tepid, or act grave or solemn. It should be a time of gratitude, of family togetherness, of thankfulness to YEHOVAH God for His merciful deliverances and great interventions in our lives, and a time of incredible spiritual joy and study of the Word of YEHOVAH God.
All of YEHOVAH's annual Holy Days have tremendous meaning and awesome significance. Unfortunately, thousands and millions are missing out on the real spiritual treasures that these days afford -- because they observe them on the wrong day, in the wrong manner, and without proper knowledge or instruction. YEHOVAH says His people are being DESTROYED for lack of true knowledge. The Almighty thunders, "My people are DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also REJECT THEE, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast FORGOTTEN THE LAW of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hos. 4:6).
Nevertheless, the apostle Paul writes, "And the times of this IGNORANCE God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to REPENT . . ." (Acts 17:30).
What about you? Will you truly come out of sin? Will you repent of false teaching, and set your heart and your mind to obey YEHOVAH God, as Daniel did (Daniel 10:12)? Will you change your ways, and repent, and keep the Passover from now on at the right time, and in the right manner, as the Messiah and the early Church set us an example?
The Passover is the FIRST of the three festival seasons YEHOVAH God commands that we observe every year. It is vitally important that we BEGIN right, on the right foot, with the first of YEHOVAH's festivals, so we don't miss out on the tremendous spiritual blessings that come from obeying the laws and statutes, and festivals, of Almighty God!
Are you going to observe YEHOVAH's festivals correctly this year?
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