Count to Pentecost from the Day after Which Sabbath?

(Passover Sabbath)

Fred R. Coulter—April 19, 2008

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This is the Sabbath before the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, so we have back-to-back Sabbaths because of the way that the Passover falls this year. Last night we kept the Passover. Today we have a Sabbath and tonight we have the Night Much to be Observed. All of those things tie in with a sequence when the Passover is on the Sabbath.

This creates problems on how to count to Pentecost. So, we can entitle this: Count to Pentecost from the day after which Sabbath? There's great confusion on it and, as we saw with the children of Israel how that they entered into the land officially on the 10th day of the 1st month, which was the day that they selected the lambs for the Passover. That they kept the Passover and the Sabbath and then the first day of Unleavened Bread and the Wave Sheaf Offering.

So let's go back and let's review, from Exo. 12, the commands. Let's read the account concerning the Passover that was given to Israel, which then reflects back to the time of the promises that God gave to Abraham in making the covenant with him (Gen. 15).

Exodus 12:1: "And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 'This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you'" (vs 1-2).

That month is called 'Abib,' which means green ears or later it was called Nisan. There is also a dispute with this when we come to the green ears that we will cover when we get to Lev. 23, as to whether we should run over to Jerusalem or over to the Holy Land every year and watch the barley until it ripens. Part of the problem with that is today we have a different climate than they did then, so we don't know what the climate was and we don't know when it would ripen.

Here are the instructions that God gave to Moses to give to the children of Israel, v 3: "Speak to all the congregation of Israel saying…"

How did he speak to all the congregation of Israel? What he did, he called the elders and they would come to him and he would give them the instructions, then they would go back and tell all the children of Israel where they lived in the land of Goshen. That's how they got the instructions.

"…'In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them each man a lamb for a father's house, a lamb for a house. And if the household is too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take according to the number of the souls, each one, according to the eating of his mouth, you shall count concerning the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish…'" (vs 3-5).

We know this is a type of Christ because John said, 'Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.' It's interesting that it's not sins, it is sin, because the origin of sin comes, for the human family, from Adam and Eve and that passed on into us by heredity with the judgment that God gave to them. He was the Lamb to take away the sin of the world.

Verse 5: "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You shall take it from the sheep or from the goats." Here's a good use for goats in this particular case!

Verse 6: "And you shall keep it up until the beginning of the fourteenth day of the same month. And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the two evenings"—after sunset on the 13th and before dark on the 14th, because every day begins a sunset!

So, here's what they did: When the sun went down on the 13th beginning the 14th they killed the lamb, at the beginning of the Passover Day. Now this is important for us to understand. They had to do it at the beginning of the 14th, because at midnight God was going to pass through and kill the firstborn, and in the morning they were to get up and to leave and assemble at Rameses.

This takes away the possibility of the error that the Jews have now in combining the Passover 14th and putting it on the 15th and then extending the Feast to the 22nd; instead of from the 14th to the 21st, they have it from the 15th until the 22nd; they said that this was done on the night of the 15th, which is not true. You need the book, The Christian Passover! This covers every one of these details plus what I'm going to cover today in addition to it. But this is the most thorough book ever done on the Passover, Old Testament and New Testament. In here contains vital knowledge about:

  • when to take the Passover
  • what is the Passover
  • what is the purpose of it
  • what is the meaning of it in God's plan

We also have a summary of that in a smaller book that we send out: The Day Jesus, the Christ, Died. So you can review it in both of those books.

Here's what they were to do with the lamb after they slay it, it says: "…you shall keep it up until…" (v 6). Not through the day until the beginning of the 15th!

  • 'Until' means at the beginning
  • 'Between the two evenings' means between sunset and dark

So, when that time came, all the children of Israel were ready because they had picked out the lamb on the 10th. Then the head of the house slit the throat of the lamb, drained the blood, put the blood in a basin and then they skinned it and they gutted it. Then they put back in the kidneys, the heart and the liver, and then roasted it with fire and with bitter herbs.

One important thing to understand is that this Passover Day for Israel was not the day of establishing the Old Covenant. The Passover that Jesus instituted in His last Passover is a covenant day and that day goes clear back to the covenant day between God and Abraham (Exo. 15), which I thoroughly cover in the Passover book and in The Day Jesus, the Christ, Died.

Here's what they were to do, v 7: "And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side posts and upon the upper doorpost of the houses in which they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night…" (vs 7-8).

As soon as it was skinned and gutted, they had the fire ready to go, they put it on there, and were rolling it like a big rotisserie to roast the lamb. It was to be:

"…roasted with fire… [not with water, which we'll see later; they were not to boil it] …and unleavened bread. They shall eat it with bitter herbs" (v 8). Now one of the subsidiary questions is:

  • Can you, in eating the Passover, eat leavened bread during the day-portion of the Passover?

I've even been accused of making eight days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread!

  • What does the Bible teach?
  • Is the Passover Day an unleavened bread day?

or

  • Is it a partial unleavened bread day only for the eating of the Passover?
  • And then on the day portion you can eat leaven?

Let's see as we go through the account here.

  • Did the children of Israel stop and eat leavened bread any place along the way? No!

Obviously, they didn't eat any leavened bread all that night, because they had unleavened bread. What did they pack up in their satchels and in their packs so they could eat along the way? They had unleavened bread! So it was not possible to have the eating of any kind of leaven on the day portion of the Passover when the children of Israel kept the Passover in Egypt. As I've jokingly said before, there are no MacDonald's or Wendy's or whatever.

Here are the other specific instructions, "…They shall eat it with bitter herbs. Do not eat of it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire, its head with its legs, and with its inward parts" (vs 8-9).

That's the edible pertinence. You can't cook any animal with all of the guts and intestines in it—because it heats and it will explode—and it would be unclean anyway. That could not mean all the entrails, but just the edible portion of the heart, the kidneys and the liver.

Verse 10: "And you shall not let any of it remain until the morning…"

Let's understand very clearly what 'morning' means, and see what Moses told the elders:

Verse 21: "Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, 'Draw out and take a lamb for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip in the blood that is in the bowl, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood in the bowl. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until sunrise'" (vs 21-22).

That Scripture destroys the theory that they left at midnight as soon as the firstborn were killed. Here's a specific command: Don't go out of the door of your house until morning! You think about all the terrible screams and cries when the power of God came through and killed all the firstborn of man and beast in every house, even in the dungeons, even in the jails. Do you think anyone would go out of their houses before morning? No, you probably think you'd be killed!

Verse 23: "For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians. And when He sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as a law to you and to your children forever" (vs 23-24).

The meaning of the Passover in the Old Testament was that God passed over the houses of the children of Israel on midnight of the 14th day of 1st month! They did not leave their houses until morning, and then they assembled at Rameses and they began the exodus as the 15th day began, as the 14th was ending. We'll see that in just a minute. Just to clarify and get our bearings here.

Verse 11: "And this is the way you shall eat it: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in trepidation…. [not in haste] …It is the LORD'S Passover."

Always remember that it belongs to the Lord, not the Jews, not the Hebrews, not the Christians, etc.

Verse 12: "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 I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD."

In giving His judgment against all the gods of Egypt… Where do all of the pagan gods come from? Egypt and Babylon! People go back to that and they think, 'Oh, this is wonderful, this is great, this is marvelous. What did God say? He's already judged them as dumb, stupid idols or demonic, satanic spirits! He has judged them.

He says, "…I am the LORD." You don't argue with God. You don't want to come up and say, 'O God, don't you think you ought to do it this way?' Don't argue with God lest you become a grease spot. The confirmation through history of how all of the plagues in Egypt really did occur and they were recorded by Egyptian scribes. So, at this point, no one with the children of Israel was going to argue with God. No one was going to tell any of the elders who came back from Moses and told them 'you do this' and 'you do that' and 'you do the other thing.' Yes sir! Right away, we'll make sure it's done!

Verse 13: "And the blood shall be a sign to you upon the houses where you 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… [Passover Day] …shall be a memorial to you. And you shall keep it a Feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it a Feast as a law forever" (vs 13-14).

That's the Passover Day, then begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. So, he gives the instructions there for what they were to do for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Let's see what happened when the children of Israel left. Another thing that people have accused the Church of God of doing, for having the Night to be Much Observed—which we'll observe tonight—that that is something that was added by man. Well, they just don't read their Bibles, yet, making decision and judgment against God on what they think they think the Bible says, based upon their own feelings and emotions and religious prejudice. They're not willing to be as the Bereans and to study the Scriptures to prove all of these things.

Verse 28: "And the children of Israel went away and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron; so they did…. [no dissenters, no rebellion here; that came later] …And it came to pass at midnight… [just as He said] …the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, to the firstborn of the captive that was in the prison, also all the firstborn of livestock. 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 a house where there was not one dead. And during the night he sent word to Moses and Aaron saying…" (vs 28-31).

Moses didn't leave! If God said, 'Don't leave your house until the morning,' Moses didn't get up just because Pharaoh summoned him. As a matter of fact, the last time that he spoke to Pharaoh:

Exodus 10:27: "But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. And Pharaoh said to him, 'Get away from me! Take heed to yourself! See my face no more, for in the day you see my face you shall die.'…. [What was Moses' answer?] …And Moses said, 'You have spoken well. I will never see your face again'" (vs 27-29).

Moses and Aaron didn't go back to Pharaoh. The message was sent: 'Get out of here!' So, that's what they did.

Exodus 12:31: "And during the night he sent word to Moses and Aaron saying, 'Rise up! Get away from my people, both you and the children of Israel! And go serve the LORD, as you have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone. And bless me also'" (vs 31-32).

Isn't that the way it always is with the hardened criminals? They become absolute cowards and want blessings when the going gets rough against them. 'Don't shoot!'

Verse 33: "And the Egyptians were urging the people, that they might send them out of the land quickly…"

Did they leave Egypt the day they started to leave? No, they were on their way out of Egypt! But since God was taking them, it was good as being already out of Egypt as far as God was concerned. But the fact that they were leaving, they were on their way.

"…for they said, 'We are all dead men'" (v 33). They didn't know if it was going to happen again the next night, especially after all the other plagues as we have seen. You don't know what's going to happen.

Verse 34: "And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders."

They didn't have any leavened bread. Do you see any place here where during the day the children of Israel begged leavened bread from the Egyptians so they could have a last bite of leavened bread before the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins? No!

Verse 35: "And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses. And they… [they didn't borrow, they took spoil] …asked for articles of silver, and articles of gold, and clothing from the Egyptians. And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and they granted their request, and they stripped the Egyptians" (vs 35-36).

  • they had the Passover
  • they killed a lamb at the beginning of the 14th
  • God passed through the land of Egypt and smote the firstborn
  • they stayed in their houses until morning, which then is the beginning of the rising of the sun
  • they all left, gathered together, came to Rameses, because the land of Goshen was close to Rameses; then they all assembled there to begin the exodus on the day portion of the 14th

Verse 37: "And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, the men being about six hundred thousand on foot, apart from little ones. And also a mixed multitude went up with them, and flocks and herds, very much livestock. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not stay, neither had they prepared any food for themselves for the journey" (vs 37-39). Just unleavened bread!

That was a summary, now let's see it a little more in detail. And let's see the historical account, which refers back to the promise that God gave to Abraham 430 years earlier.

Verse 40: "Now, the sojourning of the children of Israel in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years, and it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, it was even on that very same day, all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night…" (vs 40-42).

They went out that night!. Deut. 16 says they left by night. That could not be the 14th, it had to be the 15th, the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Verse 42: "It is a night to be much observed to the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD to be observed by all the children of Israel in their generations." Nothing could be more clear than that!

Let's come to the count concerning Pentecost; let's see the command that God gave them. In Exo. 16 we know that God sent the manna and they had manna every day the rest of the 40-years that they were wandering in the wilderness.

You talk about hard to convince people, you would think that it would be so ingrained to keep the Sabbath because of the manna coming six days, five days you only gathered what you needed every day; the sixth day you gathered for the sixth day and the Sabbath Day and nobody did any work on the Sabbath. You would think that after 40-years they would have learned the lesson concerning the Sabbath and would keep the Sabbath automatically. But human nature isn't that way. Even there have been people in the Church of God for decades who have forgotten the Sabbath. So, that didn't teach them anything.

When we come to the commandments given here, concerning the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and now another special event that was going to take place during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and that's why this year is so important; because when the Passover Day is on the Sabbath with the Passover ceremony observed the night before, then the day after the Passover becomes the first day of Unleavened Bread, a Holy Day. That's on the first day of the week; while the last day of Unleavened Bread is the following Sabbath. So you don't have any day after the Sabbath or 'the morrow after the Sabbath' during the seven days of Unleavened Bread when the Passover Day falls on a Sabbath.

What is the answer? Some answer by saying, Well, you count from the last Sabbath, which is the last Holy Day and that becomes the Wave Sheaf Offering Day.' You develop a great problem because that puts it outside the days of Unleavened Bread. So what is the answer to the problem? How is this solved? Well, let's read the instructions first here, and then we will see, sure enough, the answer comes in the New Testament. You will have to re-think that the Passover Day is not an unleavened bread day. We'll get there.

Leviticus 23:6[transcriber's correction]: "And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread… [that's when it begins; that's not the whole Feast, that's the beginning] …to the LORD. You must eat unleavened bread seven days."

It's been a long time since I had someone ask: Do we have to eat unleavened bread every day? Well, if the Feast is seven days and it says you're to eat it seven days, yes you're to eat it every day during Unleavened Bread!

Verse 7: "On the first day you shall have a Holy convocation. You shall not do any servile work therein, but you shall offer a fire offering to the LORD seven days. In the seventh day is a Holy convocation. You shall do no servile work therein" (vs 7-8).

Let's see the special ceremony that was to take place during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It could not take place after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because if it did, then you would not be able to have any of the new grain for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Verse 9: "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, "When you have come into the land…"'"

They had to come into the land that God promised them. Couldn't take place before, there was no Wave Sheaf Offering ceremony during the wilderness trek of 40-years.

"…When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it…" (v 10).

Some have said that they couldn't use this harvest, so they had to do it the next year because the unclean hands of a Gentile planted it; so therefore, the grain is unclean. NO! When they came in and took over the land on the eastside of the Jordan, that was their land then.

The truth is, it doesn't matter who planted it, because when you put the grain in ground, when it begins to sprout that grain is used for the first food-source for the spouting of the new plant. The heads that come up did not have any unclean hands touching it. So, that's an auspicious argument. It was of the harvest thereof—that is of the land—and they came into the land and it was in the spring of the land. As a matter of fact, it was in the first month of the land and they kept the Passover in Gilgal.

"…then you shall bring the premier sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest" (v 10). This means the premiere sheaf of the firstfruits!

As we know, the Wave Sheaf Offering is a type of Christ. We thoroughly cover that in the Passover book.

Here are the instructions, v 11: "And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD to be accepted for you. On the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it."

That's the day after the Sabbath. Now here's an interesting thing with the Hebrew. 'The Sabbath' means the weekly Sabbath—and in the Hebrew is 'ha shabbat'—which means the Sabbath. So, this has to be the weekly Sabbath.

Now, because the Pharisees changed it to the first Holy Day, they don't begin to count to Pentecost until the 16th, and since it's on a fixed day of the week, they don't do any counting. It just automatically comes out on the 6th of Sivan. That makes counting nonsensical, but if you will go back—I think we did it last year for Pentecost—we showed the four different ways of counting Pentecost based upon how the Passover fell in the week preceding.

Now, here's the 'morrow after the Sabbath.' A Holy Day is never called 'ha shabbat.' Holy Day is only called 'shabbat.' You can read that here in the rest of Lev. 23 where it talks of the Feast of Trumpets: 'you shall have a Sabbath.' The Day of Atonement is 'a Sabbath.' The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles is 'a Sabbath.' The Last Great Day is 'a Sabbath.' But here they were to count from 'the Sabbath,' which had to be the weekly Sabbath.

Many times there is a weekly Sabbath between the first and last Holy Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. When the Passover falls on a Wednesday, then the Sabbath comes at a natural place and the next day after that is the first day of the count.

But this year where you have the Passover falling on the Sabbath, being observed the night before, now there is no Sabbath in between the first Holy Day and the last Holy Day.

  • How do you solve that problem?
  • From which day do you begin counting?

You don't count the Sabbath, because it's 'after the Sabbath.' All right, let's go forward. One other thing we need to cover here, which is in the Passover book as well as the booklet: Count Pentecost, the Morrow After Which Sabbath?

The custom was to have a special place up on the Mt. of Olives where they planted the barley for the Wave Sheaf Offering. They would cut it right as the sun set on the 14th, just before it began the 15th day. They would take this sheaf, bring it up and lay it up along side the altar at the temple to be waved on the day after the regular Sabbath, during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Now, the thing to understand is that since you don't count the Sabbath, it is the 1st day of the week—the morrow after the Sabbath—which begins the count. You must have the 1st day of the week within the Feast of Unleavened Bread! Therefore, if you count from the last Sabbath you are outside the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Is the Passover Day an unleavened bread day? We saw in the first Passover, with the children of Israel, it had to be an unleavened bread day just from the fact they ate unleavened bread for the Passover meal and they carried unleavened bread and their kneading troughs with them as they were leaving. So, they couldn't have eaten anything other than unleavened bread.

All right let's see how we are to count Pentecost. Here's another instruction that's very important:

Verse 14: "And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears until the same day, until you have brought an offering to your God. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings."

So, they had absolutely no bread of any kind all during the wanderings until they came into the land and the Wave Sheaf Offering was waved. Now, we'll see that in just a minute. Here's how they were to count:

Verse 15: "And you shall count to you beginning with the next day after the Sabbath, beginning with the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete"

Now, the 'morrow after the Sabbath' means: beginning with the day after the Sabbath you shall number your count, beginning with! When you number, it is different than adding and subtracting. You begin with the day that you are on and it has to be beginning with the 1st day of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because that's the day when the Wave Sheaf Offering was to be waved.

Verse 16: "Even unto the day after the seventh Sabbath you shall number fifty days…." The day after the 7th Sabbath can never be Monday!

Some people still keep a Monday Pentecost, because of an error by someone in counting. It's never on a Monday. The day after the Sabbath has always got to be the 1st day of the week, which today is called 'Sunday.' That's when Pentecost was to be observed, and it's counting 50 days, 7 complete weeks ending in a Sabbath, plus one day, brings you to the 1st day of the week.

Let's see something else that had to be done in order to prepare for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Exodus 13:5: "And it shall be when the LORD shall bring you into the land…that you shall keep this service in this month. You shall eat unleavened bread seven days, and in the seventh day there shall be a Feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And there shall be no leavened bread seen with you, nor shall there be leaven seen with you in all your borders" (vs 5-7).

Now, today we don't have a comprehension or an understanding of what it was like to unleaven a whole country. We can unleaven our homes. We can get rid of all the leaven, get it out of the house, get it gone, and that's the end of it. Now think about unleavening the whole town in which you live, or the whole city in which you live. Now, you can't start doing this on the 14th! It would be an impossibility!

  • What are you going to do with the bakeries?
  • What are you going to do with all of the bread that is still not eaten, that is leavened, which you can't have any for seven days?
  • How did the Jews handle it?

This is from Unger's Bible Dictionary: "Of Festivals" Here's how they did it, they had a procedure:

On the 13th of Nisan: On the evening of the 13th—which is that until the 14th—was called the 'preparation of the Passover,' every head of the family searched for and collected, by the light of candle, all the leaven. Before the beginning of the search he pronounced the following benediction: "Blessed are you oh Lord, our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified with us Your commandments and enjoined us to remove the leaven.' After the search he said, 'Whatever leaven remains in my possession, which I cannot see, behold it is null and is accounted as the dust."

Here's what they did:

Other Rabbinical writings reveal that by 10 o'clock on the morning of the 14th [that's for those who kept the 15th Passover] all leaven had to be burned.

Just carry that over, it all had to be burned on the morning of the 14th, so there would be no way to eat leavened bread the rest of the Passover Day. You didn't eat leavened bread that night—you had unleavened bread with the Passover. So, they took all the leaven and burned it by no later than 10 o'clock the next morning. Now, the same procedure would be one day earlier for those who then kept the Passover on the 14th with a domestic Passover.

Let's understand something about another name for the Passover Day, which has to do with unleavened bread.

(go the next track)

What is another name for the Passover Day that is even recorded in the New Testament? The way it's recorded in the King James has caused an awful lot of confusion. All right we will find out. Let's first of all come to Matt. 26 read it in the King James Version of the Bible. We're going to see where this has caused an untold amount of confusion for those who want to keep the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For people who keep Sunday and Easter this didn't cause any confusion at all, because they just go on their merry way and do whatever they want to do.

When we read this, let's keep in mind something very important here: the 14th day from sundown to sundown is the Passover Day. The 15th day from sundown to sundown is the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which cannot come before the Passover. It comes after the Passover! Yet, let's read here in the King James:

Matthew 26:17 (KJV): "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread…" Whoa! If you read it carefully, if you have a good King James, you will find three words that are italic: day and feast of. What do the italic mean when they're inserted: It means that these words are not in the original Greek. But it means that the translators inserted these words to clarify what the meaning of the verse is. However, in this case, they didn't clarify it, they only confused it!

Now, let's read on and see why this would cause so much confusion, because this would mean then that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover fall on the same day, which is what the Jews today believe. But in this case, it would make the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover fall on the 14th, if that were the case.

Verse 17 (KJV): "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?"

So they hadn't even eaten the Passover, yet. Yet, this day is called the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and mistakenly so because they should have stuck to the original Greek and made a proper translation of it. Then they would discover that the Passover Day itself actually has another name, which is fitting for the day and answers the question about unleavenness.

"…And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, 'The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples'" (vs 17-18 KJV).

So we know that He was going to keep—if v 17 meant the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread—then Jesus was keeping the Passover on the wrong day. Of course, we know that would be sin and since Jesus never sinned, we know that He didn't do this.

All right let's read the account in Mark 14:12 and we are going to see something just a little different, but we are going to see something concerning the slaying of the lambs. You cannot answer the questions as to what these verses mean unless you go to the original Greek and have a proper translation of it.

Mark 14:12 (KJV): "And the first day of unleavened bread…" Here the Greek does say, 'the first day of Unleavened Bread,' but there's no 'feast of' is there? But notice what was taking place:

"…when they killed the Passover…" So, this was right at the time that they were killing the Passover lambs for the domestic Passover.

"…His disciples said unto Him, 'Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover?'" (v 12 KJV).

This is confusing. It's also confusing from another point of view, because the Jews have said, 'Well, all the Passover lambs later were killed at the temple. Well, they aren't anywhere near the temple, they're just starting to enter into the city. Jesus didn't say to go to the temple and sacrifice the Passover lamb first, then go to the house. NO! He didn't say that!

Verse 13 (KJV): "And He sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, 'Go ye into the city… [So they were right at the entrance of the city] …and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, "The Master saith, 'Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with My disciples?"'…. [Whoa! That creates a problem, doesn't it?] …And he will show you a large upper room…'" (vs 13-15) and so forth.

Now let's come the account in Luke 22 and let's read it here, and then we will understand something very, very important.

Luke 22:7 (KJV): "Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed."

Sounds like they're killing it on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, doesn't it? Well, that's not exactly true. Because when you get to the Greek, it should read this way: "Now on the first of the unleaveneds…" Why would the Passover Day be called, "…the first of the unleaveneds…' Because it was the first day of the year in which unleavened bread was required.

from The Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol. 63, 1944, pgs. 188-189, from A Harmony of the Gospels):

This phrase, 'the first of the unleaveneds' or 'the day of the unleaveneds' or 'a day of the unleaveneds'—which are all in the Greek. In the first century it was commonly known that the day of the unleaveneds in Luke 22:7 was the 14th Passover Day.

That's the answer! It also tells us this: the Passover Day is an unleavened bread day separate from the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but in addition to the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

In an article entitled The Crucifixion Calendar a G. Amadon pointed out the error of those translators who translated this verse to read: 'the first day of the festival.'

—which they did in Matt. 26 also. I haven't checked any other modern translations lately, but that's how they do it. I'm sure the Revised Standard does it; and I am sure that other of the more modern translations do, because they don't care about the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. So, you can't put an credence into a faulty translation. He pointed out that the translators who translated this verse to read: 'the first day of the festival' and so forth:

…but on what authority should the Hebrew translators introduce the word 'chock' that is only of the first day of Unleavened Bread. However, this day, the Passover Day, was commonly called and was a common expression, 'the first of the unleaveneds' or the first day of the unleaveneds' and was known to be the Jewish 14th day of the first month, which was practically all the writers of the first century agree.

That's something! So, when we understand the duties that are to be performed on the Passover Day, and also the day before, it becomes clear why this day is called "…the first day of the unleaveneds…"—which then is a literal translation.

According to Jewish law, all leaven in all residences and properties owned by Jews was searched out on the 13th, the unleavened bread for the Passover was made and ready by 3 p.m. on Nisan 13, The leaven was then gathered and burned by 10 o'clock in the morning on the 14th. No one was to eat leaven in any form after 11 o'clock.

They shouldn't have eaten it at all!

These required practices show why Nisan 14 was referred to as the 'first of the unleaveneds, because on that day leaven was removed and burned, so hence, Nisan 14, the Passover Day is called 'the first of the unleaveneds' or 'the first of the unleavened bread' or 'the first day of unleavened bread.'

Now let's read it in a proper English translation, adhering to the Greek:

Matthew 26:17: "Now on the first of the unleaveneds…" The 'feast of' is removed. Just 'the first of the unleaveneds,' and that means in the year. Because it's perfectly legal to eat leavened bread any other time during the year.

"…the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, 'Where do You desire that we prepare for You to eat the Passover?' And He said, 'Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, "The Teacher says, 'My time is near; I will keep the Passover with My disciples at your house'"" (vs 17-18).

Now, let's read the account in Mark, and we will find something very interesting with the literal translation of the Greek.

Mark 14:12: "And on the first day of the unleaveneds, when they were killing the Passover lambs…"

When were they instructed to kill the Passover lambs? Between the two evenings—that is, after sunset and dark. So here, get this scene with Jesus and the disciples coming toward Jerusalem. They knew they were going to keep the Passover. But Jesus didn't tell them anything. They didn't know where. They see the Passover lambs were being killed, or they were killing. Where were they killing the Passover lambs? You're not going to see it at the temple, because they didn't do that until the next afternoon. Where were they killing these lambs? Wherever they were preparing the Passover to eat in the individual houses and particular inns in the city.

"…when they were killing the Passover lambs… [nothing like doing it at the last minute] …His disciples said to Him, 'Where do You desire that we go and prepare, so that You may eat the Passover?' And He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, 'Go into the city, and you shall meet a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him" (vs 12-13).

Now, we don't know what house that He went into. Some people say this may have been the house where Mark lived. Maybe, maybe not, because it doesn't show that Mark was there at the Passover with Jesus—so it probably wasn't. So nevertheless, they went and found the house.

  • What kind of Passover did Jesus keep?
  • Did He keep a domestic Passover in a house

or

  • Did He keep a temple Passover with the lamb killed at the temple? No, He kept a domestic one with it slain at the house!

He kept it on the 14th as the day began, not on the 15th as the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.

Luke 22:7: "Then came the day of the unleaveneds in which it was obligatory to kill the Passover lambs."

They were killing the Passover lambs, and it was obligatory to kill under the compunction of law. What did the law say was the time to kill it? Between sunset and dark! As soon as the sun went down, they started killing the lambs.

Verse 8: "And He sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and prepare the Passover for us that we may eat.' But they said to Him, 'Where do You desire that we prepare it?' And He said to them, 'Watch, and when you come into the city, you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters; and you shall say to the master of the house, "The Teacher says to you, 'Where is the guest chamber, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?'" And he shall show you a large upper room furnished; there prepare'" (vs 8-12). And they went up and got everything all set up!

Now, what does this tell us? That the Passover Day is reckoned by those who wrote the New Testament—Matthew, Mark and Luke—by custom and understanding of the time that the Passover Day is an unleavened bread day!

That being the case, when the Passover is on the Sabbath: How can we determine the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering when the Passover occurs on the Sabbath? Since the Sabbath and the Passover—when it falls on the same day—you also have this: On that day, all leaven had to be out before sunset and burned, because they couldn't do anything on the day portion of the 14th because it was a Sabbath Day.

So, if you want to 'split hairs' you can only split it so far because whenever the Passover falls on the Sabbath Day, it is an unleavened bread day from sunset to sunset and it is a Sabbath! Therefore, the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread does not occur as it would if it were in the middle of the week. But when it falls on the weekly Sabbath, and being a whole day of unleavened bread, then which first day of the week do you start counting to Pentecost? Because it is the day after the weekly Sabbath!

You have to have a first day of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You can't have it if the 1st day of Unleavened Bread is on the 1st day of the week, and the 7th day of Unleavened Bread falls on the weekly Sabbath—there is no weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You would not have any 1st day of the week during Unleavened Bread in that particular case; if you count it outside of Unleavened Bread. So the answer is this:

The Passover Day is a separate unleavened bread day as we're observing it today. Tomorrow is the day after the Sabbath, which was unleavened, and which begins the first day of the count toward Pentecost. That way the unleavened bread day of the Wave Sheaf Offering Day—being the 1st day of the week—follows the Passover!

That's how you answer the question what do you do in the years when the Passover falls on the weekly Sabbath? I think it's very important not only knowing how to count, and which day to begin with—you begin with the 15th day of the 1st month as the first day toward Pentecost. And notice, in this year when the Passover is very late, that that also accomplishes another situation, which is this: If you counted from beginning with the first day after the last day of Unleavened Bread, you would go past and be way late in June with keeping Pentecost, because the Passover is so late this year. So, it helps solve that problem, too, that you don't go beyond the 20th of June. This is important to realize.

The New Testament teaches that the Passover Day is a separate day of unleavened bread! When the Passover fell in the year that Jesus was crucified, it was in the middle of the week—on a Wednesday—so they kept the Passover Tuesday night. It had to be that way so that Jesus could be in the tomb three days and three nights. He could not have been crucified in a year when the Passover falls like it does this year, which the Passover Day today is on the Sabbath. But what it does tell us is that every Passover Day is a separate day of unleavened bread! Not a doctrine that anyone has added to the teachings of the Bible, but what the New Testament itself teaches and helps us to interpret the things that we find in Lev. 23 on how to count toward Pentecost the day after which Sabbath.

That answers both of those questions. It's fitting and right that we get all the leaven out of our houses and we observe the Passover Day as a whole day of unleavened bread in addition to the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Both days require unleavened bread!

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Exodus 12:1-10, 21-24, 11-14, 28-31
  • Exodus 10:27-29
  • Exodus 12:31-42
  • Leviticus 23:6-12, 14-16
  • Exodus 13:5-7
  • Matthew 26:17-18
  • Mark 14:12-15
  • Luke 22:7-12

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Genesis 15
  • Exodus 15
  • Deuteronomy 16
  • Exodus 16

Also referenced: Books:

  • The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter
  • The Day Jesus, the Christ, Died by Fred R. Coulter
  • Count Pentecost, the Morrow After Which Sabbath? by Fred R. Coulter
  • A Harmony of the Gospels by Fred R. Coulter
  • Unger's Bible Dictionary
  • Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 63

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 3-9-08
Reformatted/Corrected: 12/2019

BOOKS