Bottom line up front:
- Yeshua could not have been our Passover Lamb until after He died which, in itself, renders moot whether the meal He ate with His disciples was a "Passover" meal or not! Fact is, Yeshua had to carry out an early "Passover meal" with His disciples as He had told them He was about to die! See Matthew 26:2, Mark 14:21, and Luke 22:15.
- Scriptures say that the Passover lambs were to be kept until 14 Nisan and that the "appointed time" was twilight/dusk on the 14th day of the month:
Leviticus 23: 5 "'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach for ADONAI.
Numbers 9: 1 The LORD spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said, 2 "Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. 3 Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations." 4 So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover, 5 and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses.
"Twilight/dusk" happens only once per day, and it happens towards the end of a day - no matter what calendar we use! So "dusk the 14th day of the month" is as the sun sets on the 14th - not on some other day! Since God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, He would not allow the Passover Lamb to be killed at any other time, which would, in effect, change God's appointed Passover date! And if it HAD been allowed, wouldn't Yeshua have said, "From now on, Passover is to be on the eve of 13th of Nisan"? Yeshua NEVER went against His Father's Torah!
Scriptures indicate that since Yeshua was our Passover Lamb who, according to the Torah had to die on Nisan 14 when the traditional Passover lambs were slain and eaten on the same evening (as outlined in Exodus 12:5-8 and Numbers 28:16-17), then He would not and could not have partaken of Passover on the evening of 13-14 Nisan that particular year because He could not do both the same evening! That is, He could not be crucified before the Yahweh-commanded 14 Nisan "twilight/dusk" Passover meal, and partake in the meal!
To figure this out, we need only to study the Bible in context and do a little arithmetic. The Bible tells us that Passover is always on Nisan 14. Numbers 28:16-17 says: "In the first month on the 14th day of the month is ADONAI's Pesach (Passover). On the 15th day of the month is to be a feast." The Scriptures verify this several times. On the 14th, as Yahweh instructed, His people were to slaughter the lamb toward twilight/dusk toward the evening and eat it "that same night" - because the 15th was to be a feast:
Exodus 12: 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and then the entire assembly of the community of Isra'el will slaughter it at dusk ("Dusk" of the 14th doesn't happen until sunset, just before the 14th turns into the 15th!). 7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame at the entrance of the house in which they eat it. (Remember, this is the original Passover - this activity never happens again) 8 That night, (of the 14th to the 15th) they are to eat the meat, roasted in the fire; they are to eat it with matzah and maror.
Note again that we are told to slaughter the lambs at twilight on the "fourteenth day of the month". The Scripture does not say, "at twilight on the thirteenth day going in to the 14th day of the month". (It bears repeating: On the Biblical calendar, a "day" begins at sunset/twilight and ends at sunset/twilight 24 hours later.) To clarify this further, Yahweh said that the 15th day is to be a feast:
Numbers 28: 16 Then on the fourteenth day of the first month shall be the LORD'S Passover. 17 On the fifteenth day of this month shall be a feast, unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days.
Please study this for yourselves, but it seems somehow we are misunderstanding the Gospels because, at first glance, there seems to be an inconsistency in the passage of time between "the first day of Passover" and the time that Yeshua was actually crucified. One must pay very close attention in order to see that the Jews were in the process of preparing for the Passover, and that Yeshua was THE Passover Lamb who had to be killed on 14 Nisan as the Bible indicates - and therefore:
- He could not have shared "the" Passover meal with His disciples on 13 Nisan, because it was not yet Passover. The Passover Seder meal is the evening of the 14th.
- He had to be DEAD in order to be THE Passover Lamb. How could He possibly partake of the Passover Seder if He was dead?
For instance, in both Luke 22:1-13 and Mark 14:12-18 we are told it was "the day of Passover" when Yeshua shared his meal with the the Talmedim (disciples) - but when checking closely, we realize something is "off" because if it was the day of Passover, then Yeshua would have died that same day! But, at the time he ate with his Talmidim, He hadn't yet been arrested, much less tried, convicted and executed....
Upon closer examination, we see that these Scriptures do NOT actually say that Yeshua and His disciples ate the Passover meal, but rather that they "prepared" for the Passover. And nowhere do we see that for this one year, Yeshua held the traditional, remembrance Passover Seder meal of the Exodus, performing any of the 15 traditional symbolic steps. Though we know Yeshua observed Passover all his life, this year, we are told that He reclined with His disciples on the evening of the day He had ordered them to prepare for the Passover and at that time He explained to them the symbolism of the wine and matzah. This was a memorial meal!
Luke 22: 15. And he said to them, I have greatly desired that I eat this Paskha with you before I suffer. 16. I say to you for that from now on I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of Elohim.
In this scripture we can see that Yeshua stated that, despite His desire to eat the Passover (Pashka) meal with them, the Father had other plans - which included that Yeshua suffer what He had to endure. Therefore, He wouldn't be celebrating the Passover with them again until He celebrates it with them in the coming Millenium or the kingdom. We know He referred to this meal as a Passover preparation, or else the disciples wouldn't have known what He wanted prepared! (Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:8). Preparation Day is always on the 14th, when matzah is prepared and with the lambs' slaughter followed by the meal later - towards twilight - just before/as the 14th turns into the 15th. Yeshua who was to be THE Passover Lamb therefore had a "Memorial Meal" earlier, on the 14th just after sunset of the 13th as the date changed to the 14th. In fact, look at the way John puts it: "Now before the feast of the Paskha, Y’shua had known that the time that he would depart this world to his Father had arrived. And he loved his own who were in this world, and he loved them up until the end. And when supper was done, Satan placed it into the heart of Yehuda, the son
of Shimon, Skaryota that he would betray him." (John 13:1-2). This is pretty clear! John is reporting that the annual feast of Paskha had not yet happened, but Y'shua and his talmidim had their meal!
John 18 and 19 tells us that Yeshua was sentenced, tried, convicted and crucified on the "day of Passover" which the Bible tells us is always 14 Nisan going into 15 Nisan! See for yourselves:
John 18: 28 They led Yeshua from Kayafa to the governor's headquarters. By now it was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters building because they didn't want to become ritually defiled and thus unable to eat the Pesach meal. (Remember, those who had touched a corpse could not observe Pesach. They would become "unclean" and have to observe Pesach the next month. See Numbers 9.) So here, in John 18, Passover had not yet happened!
John 19: 14 ...it was about noon on Preparation Day of Pesach. He said to the Judeans, "Here's your king!" 15 They shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Put him to death on the stake!" Pilate said to them, "You want me to execute your king on a stake?" The head cohanim answered, "We have no king but the Emperor." 16 Then Pilate handed Yeshua over to them to have him put to death on the stake. "Preparation day" is the 14th, so here we know it is about noon on the 14th, and we also know Y'shua had His meal with the talmidim the preceding night!
To help us understand this properly, we need to examine the timeline in scripture backwards from the time Mary Magdalene found that Yeshua was missing from His grave early on the first day of the week (what we call "Sunday"). According to the account in all the Gospels, the timeline from that Sunday morning, back to when Yeshua was arrested, tried, convicted and executed, would have fallen on a Wednesday, which John 18:28 and 19:14 confirm was on Nisan 14. Thus Yeshua's final meal with the Talmidim must have been the evening before, as teh evening went from the 13th to the 14th.
Yeshua was in the grave three days and three nights. As the Passover Lamb He had to die on Nisan 14 (Passover) and not during the High Holy Day, 15 Nisan (see Leviticus 23:6). That means He was in the grave just before sunset on Wednesday night, according to Scripture (John 19:31); all day Thursday and Thursday night; all day Friday and Friday night, and all day Saturday (as Jonah was in the whale three days and three nights) until just before sunset on Saturday when He was resurrected. (For a complete indepth explanation on this, please see our article Settling the dispute over the day of Y'shua's death)