Fred R. Coulter—January 2, 2010

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Today we will have a Bible study. We're going to cover some questions that some people have asked. If you have any questions or comments, be sure and let us know, and we'll add that into the mix of what we have here.

The first question is: How do you solve the problem of in Genesis 15 where it says 400 years and in Exo. 12 says 430 years? What is the difference in that? Is there an error? Also, how does this tie into the age of Isaac when he was offered as the burnt offering? So where do we begin?

First of all, let's begin in Exodus 16 so that we can establish the days that we're talking about in Exodus 12 and how do we do that. This also solves a problem concerning when the English phrase between the two evenings from the Hebrew 'ben ha arbayim'—when it is. Some people say between the two evenings means from one sunset to the next sunset. In other words, the whole day long. Well, how can that be if it's referring to a specific period of time?

Other people say—and I read it in a synagogue Bible that was handed to me, that it has one page the Hebrew and on the other page the English—and it says in the afternoon. Some people say it's from noon to sunset. Some people say it's from three o'clock till sunset. What does the Bible teach and how can we know for sure? Exodus 16 is the key and we will see how that is used.

I remember the very first time that I kept the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was up here in Sacramento, by the way. Ron Kelly was the minister at time. What happened was this: he said, 'All right, open your Bibles and you read in Exo. 12'—we'll get there in a little bit—'where it is in the even you shall kill the lamb.' Then over on the next column it says concerning the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the evening. And he just made the comment, 'The first one refers to the evening of the 14th, as it begins, and the second ones refers to the evening as the 15th day begins'; and no explanation. So I said, 'Well, okay, we'll see how we can solve the problem.' Well, a lot of people have never, never solved the problem, so let's see if we can do it here.

Exodus 16:1: "And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came into the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai.... [Now there should be a period there, right there, because they didn't do any travelling on the Sabbath. We know that for sure.] ...And on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt, Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness" (vs 1-2). Period!

If we count back, and we have a chart if you need the chart, that will show that if you count back from the 15th day of the second month and how do you do this. Very simply: the first month always has thirty days. Abib or Nisan always has thirty days. We know that for sure. The second month has twenty-nine days. So we know from this, as we will see, that this day, the 15th day of the second month is a weekly Sabbath. Now we'll establish that with the rest of the context that we have here in Exo. 16. You count back to it and you come to a Passover day that falls on a Wednesday in the middle of the week.

That means (as we will see when we go through and prove this) that at sunset, right after the sun went down, that's when they killed the lamb for the Passover at the beginning of the 14th day. So here we have an absolute anchor on which to figure and calculate back to the Passover day, because it says on the 15th day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. And we also know that it is a Sabbath day. We'll see the proof of that as we go through here.

Verse 3: "And the children of Israel said to them, 'O that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots, when we ate bread to the full, for you have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger!'.... [Nothing like some angry, carnal people! Now stop and think about it how merciful God was even in this instance. Look at all of the plagues, all of the signs and wonders that He did in Egypt and the killing of the firstborn man and beast and also, when you consider it, the end of Exo. 15, He performed a miracle for them by having Moses cast a tree into the bitter waters and they turned sweet. So they could have said, 'Moses, we're really hungry for some things. Why don't you ask God to provide us with something to eat? We're running out of unleavened bread.'] ...Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Behold, I will rain bread from the heavens for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain amount every day, that I may prove [test]them, whether they will walk in My law or not" (vs 3-4). Now this becomes important for us to understand. That's why we have things that also test us, whether we will walk in the laws of God or not.

"And it shall come to pass on the sixth day... [So the 15th day of the second month was a Sabbath.] ...on the sixth day, they shall prepare what they bring in. And it shall be twice as much as they gather day by day.' And Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, 'At sunset, then you shall know that the LORD has brought you out from the land of Egypt'" (vs 5-6). Now sunset here comes from the Hebrew 'ba erev'—which means sunset.

Now the time period for sunset is approximately five minutes and on the flat horizon there in Sinai it's very easy to see when the sun touches the horizon—is it not? It's very easy to discern when it goes below the horizon. So that five-minute period is 'ba erev.' This is why God has the Sabbath begin at sunset. The reason is that everyone, regardless of your education, is able to look out and see when the sun goes down. You don't need a watch. You don't need a calculator. You don't need someone to announce it to you. You can see it. So this is what God did.

"'At sunset, then you shall know that the LORD has brought you out from the land of Egypt. And at sunrise, you shall see the glory of the LORD, for He hears your murmurings against the LORD. And what are we that you murmur against us?'" (vs 6-7). Human beings always like to blame another human being, because 'every way of a man is just in his own eyes.' They had other motives for it, too, as you read the account. Some wanted the priesthood and some wanted to replace Moses, etc.

Verse 8: "And Moses said, 'You will see when the LORD shall give you flesh to eat at sunset... [Questions: is sunset after the afternoon? Yes, it is! If He's going to give you flesh to eat at sunset, you're going to have to eat it when? After sunset—is that not correct? You can't eat it before sunset. Some people say, 'Well, God sent it in the afternoon, because He was merciful to them.' It doesn't say that. And at sunset here is 'ba erev.'] ...the LORD shall give you flesh to eat at sunset... [We will see that's when it comes, but that's not when they eat it.] ...and bread to the full at sunrise, for the LORD hears your murmurings which you murmur against Him. And what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.' And Moses spoke to Aaron, 'Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, "Come near before the LORD, for He has heard your murmurings."' And it came to pass as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel that they turned toward the wilderness. And behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud! And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, "Between the two evenings... [Now this in the Hebrew is 'ben ha arbayim.'] shall eat flesh..."'" (vs 8-12). Now I want you to notice the difference here.

Come back to v 8: "And Moses said, 'You will see when the LORD shall give you flesh to eat at sunset.'…. [He has to give the flesh first] ( v 12): 'I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, "Between the two evenings you shall eat flesh, and in the morning... ['boqer'—which is sunrise.] shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God."'"

Now notice the sequence of events that happened here, beginning in v 13 and this helps answer the question: What is the relationship between sunset and between the two evenings? "And it shall come to pass, at sunset, that the quails came up and covered the camp.... [Now how many there were, we don't know, but plenty of quail. And they came on the camp. Notice, it was notoutside the camp. There's a reason for that, because God didn't want to send them outside the camp and then it gets dark and you can't find your way back.] ...And at sunrise the dew lay all around the camp." Notice the difference there. The quail covered the camp, so all they had to do was just pick them off the roof of their tents, virtually speaking, pick them off the ground and they were probably very docile. In the morning, the dew—which we know is manna—lay all around the camp.

Verse 14: "And when the layer of dew had gone up, behold, there was a small round thing upon the face of the wilderness, small as the hoar-frost upon the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, 'What is that?'.… [which means manna. Manna means what's it.] ...For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, 'This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD has commanded. "Each man gather of it according to his eating, an omer for each one, according to the number of your persons. Each one shall take for those who are in his tent"'" (vs 14-16).

Let's go back and let's look at v 12, because this tells us specifically that 'ben ha arbayim'—between the two evenings—is after sunset, because He had to send the quail, which He said He would send at sunset, and then they would eat them between the two evenings. I don't know about you, quail are very small and if they come in, you just wring off the neck, and then you can just skin them. The most meat is on the breast and that's not much more than two small pieces of meat. So those could be cooked very quickly. So whatever campfire that they kept going during the day, so they would have a fire at night, all they had to do was kill the quail, get them ready, start roasting them over the fire, and probably with a half hour they could start eating.

He sent them at sunset. It took them very few minutes to kill them and get them ready. It took about twenty minutes to cook them, so we're looking at a half hour after sunset. So between the two evenings is after sunset and then before dark, because night is called 'lailah.' That comes after between the two evenings.

Let's go on and see that this day was a Sabbath day when the message came. And this is one of the reasons that God did not send the quail during the Sabbath—on the Sabbath Day they were to do what? No work! He didn't send the quail out around the camp because it would soon be dark, so He sent the quail on the camp right at sunset. So as soon as the sun dropped below the horizon, here they come. That must have been a fantastic sight, all those quail coming down out of heaven.

Exodus 16:17: "And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, and some less. And when they measured with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little lacked nothing. They gathered each one according to his eating.... [concerning that evening]: ...And Moses said, 'Let no man leave any of it until the next morning.'.... [You're not going to keep it overnight.] ...But they did not hearken to Moses, and some of them left part of it until the next morning. And it become rotten with maggots and stank. And Moses was angry with them. And they gathered it morning by morning, each man according to his eating. And when the sun became hot, it melted" (vs 17-21). So this fills in with what we have here, the early bird gets its worm. You have to get out there and get it before the sun comes up and gets hot.

Now notice v 22. This tells us that the day that they murmured was on the Sabbath Day. The Sabbath Day ended at sunset, the quail came after sunset between the two evenings. You start counting, that's day one—is it not? Yes, from sunset to sunset. "And it came to pass, on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said to them, 'This is that which the LORD has said, "Tomorrow is the rest of the Holy Sabbath to the LORD.... [You can just count the days right on down: one, two, three, four, five, six.] ...Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil. And that which remains over, lay up for yourselves to be kept until the next morning"'" (vs 22-23). Because He didn't want them working on the Sabbath to go out and gather it, so He provided it for them. And also this shows the use of the preparation day on the sixth day—does it not? —to get everything ready.

Verse 25: "And Moses said, 'Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD. Today you shall not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, in it there shall be none'" (vs 25-26).

Now just stop and think about this: in spite of all the things that the children of Israel did, and all their sins through all the time that they were wandering in the wilderness, God sent the manna six days out of the week, twice as much. Now you would think after forty years they would have been trained to know and realize which day is the Sabbath—isn't that correct? Even with the first one, they didn't understand it.

"'Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.' And it came to pass that some of the people went out on the seventh day in order to gather... [Some people just don't get it. Here God is telling them, through Moses, what to do, what not to do.] ...but they did not find any..... [Someone's going to get out there, 'Well, maybe there's manna out there. Maybe I can get a heads-up on them. I'll get it and I won't have to go out the next morning, I'll get it today.' Well, it wasn't there.] (Now notice v 28 where this ties in where we read, 'I'm going to test them or prove them whether they will keep My law or not.'): ...And the LORD said to Moses, 'How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?'" (vs 26-28)—referring to the people.

What does this also tell us? The commandments and laws were before Sinai. They hadn't arrived yet. This also tells us that God revealed to them the Sabbath Day, deliberately through these two acts:

  • Sending the quail after sunset or right at sunset so they would eat it between the two evenings, at the beginning of the first day of the week.
  • Then on the morning of the first day of the week there was manna.

So they could go out and get the manna and gather it six days. Then they come to the sixth day before the next Sabbath and He tells them, 'You go out and gather twice as much as you normally do and you keep it over and it won't breed worms and it won't stink.' Then He told them, 'On the Sabbath Day, don't go out and look for any.' You talk about the  commandment: 'Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy.' They couldn't even remember it from one Sabbath to the next Sabbath—right?

Verse 29: "'See, because the LORD has given you the Sabbath... [Key thing. The Sabbath Day is not a Jewish institution. The Sabbath Day is an institution from God by creation. That goes clear back to Gen. 2—doesn't it? The very first seventh day, God established it as the Sabbath by His resting on it and He sanctified it and He blessed it and He made it Holy. Another thing to understand and realize is this for all of you who think that Sunday-keeping is just swell: No man can make anything Holy. Notice it didn't say, 'Moses said to the people why do you refuse to keep my laws?' A lot of people say, 'Well, that's the law of Moses.' If you read the law of Moses carefully, you're going to find out Moses didn't say one word contrary to what God told him to tell the children of Israel. So it's all the word of the Lord.] ...the LORD has given you the Sabbath, therefore He gives you the bread of two days on the sixth day. Let each one stay in his place. Do not let any one go out of his place on the seventh day.' So the people rested on the seventh day" (vs 29-30). Very interesting—isn't it?

That's a little different than for us today. Look at their circumstances. They were in the wilderness. They all had their tents. They all had the place where they would camp on the Sabbath Day, and so forth, so they would be there. God was there in the pillar of the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, right in the presence of God. They had no place to go—did they? No shopping malls, no cars to drive. So they would stay in their tents and rest.

Verse 31: "And the house of Israel called the name of it Manna. And it was like coriander seed, white. And the taste of it was like wafers with honey. And Moses said, 'This is the thing which the LORD has commanded. "Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations... [If you look at it very carefully, there are several miracles that take place with the manna—right?

  • Every day if you kept it over, it would breed worms and stink.
  • On the sixth day, keeping it over to the Sabbath, it did not do it—correct?
  • Now here's the third miracle of it, which goes well beyond six days and a Sabbath which is this:

"'"Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations so that you may see the bread with which I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out from the land of Egypt"'" (vs 31-32). And where did that omer of manna go? Right inside the Ark of the Covenant when it was made.

Verse 33: "And Moses said to Aaron, 'Take a pot and put an omer full of manna in it, and lay it up before the LORD to be kept for your generations.'…. [So what happened before the Ark of the Covenant was made? There was the tent of meeting that Moses and Lord and Aaron would meet at, and so it was put up in that tent until the Ark of the Covenant was made. Then it was put inside the Ark of the Covenant.] …As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the testimony to be kept. And the children of Israel ate manna forty years until they came to a habitable land. They ate manna until they came into the borders of the land of Canaan. And an omer is the tenth part of an ephah" (vs 33-36).

Now this may seem like a long way to get around to where we are going, but I want us to understand all the events here in Exo. 16, because this establishes a very important thing.

  • That they were there on the Sabbath Day when they started their complaining, which was the 15th day of the second month.
  • Now when you count back the thirty days in the first month, you come to the Passover day, which then was on the middle of the week, or a Wednesday.

Let's also look at something that I mentioned before: when you look at the sequence of how the Passover days fall, apparently the week where it falls in the middle of week becomes the most important weeks that God has chosen to fulfill His will.

The Passover in Egypt was on the 14th day of the first month. All Passovers are on the 14th day of the first month and it began Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening. The 15th day began from Wednesday evening until Thursday evening. So let's keep that in mind when we come back here to Exo. 12, because we are going to see some important things and how that ties in very well with what we have going back to Gen. 15. And we'll answer the question then when we get done with Exo. 12.

Let's pick it up here 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. Speak to all the congregation of Israel saying, "In the tenth day of this month... [And the tenth day of that month, with the Passover being in the middle of the week, was a weekly Sabbath also. Now this carries forward into the New Testament to John 12, when the voice came out of heaven selecting Jesus as the Passover lamb. That was also on the tenth day of the month. So we have the parallels that take place.] ..."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... [A type of Christ Who is the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world.] ...a male of the first year. You shall take it from the sheep or from the goats. And you shall keep it up until the beginning... [Which I inserted there to clarify exactly what is meant in the Hebrew.] ...of the fourteenth day of the same month. And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the two evenings'" (vs 1-6).

Now we know that a day begins at sunset--don't we? Lev. 23:32. 'From sunset to sunset shall you keep your Sabbaths.' We know that between the two evenings, as we found out as described in Exo. 16, comes after sunset. So as soon as the sun had gone down, beginning the 14th day of the first month, that's when they killed the lamb. And you can just imagine what a tremendous thing that was. They probably had lookouts on the top of the houses out there. I don't know how they communicated it, but I'm sure they communicated it so everyone knew—the households were ready; the head of the house was ready with the lamb. He had the knife all ready to go to slit the throat of the little lamb. And as soon as the sun went down, I imagine someone said, 'The sun has gone down.' And they slit the throat of the lamb, bled the blood out, and then they took care of the rest of the slaughtering of the lamb.

The comment was made: Couldn't they use a ram's horn? Probably! With all the people spread out in Goshen, there were probably many lookouts watching, and I imagine that they had one person for the official first blower and then everyone else could blow after that and then they could slit the throat of the lamb.

You'll find in The Christian Passover book that we have. We're just about ready to have to reprint that again. You'll find that we actually ran an experiment to find out how long would it take to kill a lamb and get it ready. How long do you suppose it would take? It didn't take hours. Didn't even take an hour. Once you slit the throat and hang it upside down, then it's very easy to finish it off. You just take a knife and you cut right down the bottom of the belly and all the internal organs are in a sac and they just fall out. So you have a pan there and gather it. Then you just cut it where the throat would be, so you detach it and you have that. Then to skin it, I was absolutely amazed how quick it was to skin. You just start a little cut between the skin and the meat, right there in the ribs, right on the belly, when it's still hanging upside down on both sides and the skin comes right off. Then you just cut along the legs and you go all the way around and it's off. Took a total of twenty minutes, that's all.

Now out of the internal organs, they were to put back into the cavity where the internal organs were, they were to put back the liver and the heart and the kidneys. Some people think that they roasted the lamb whole, without even skinning it. But if you did that, the innards would heat up and the gas would be tremendous and it would explode! So it couldn't be that.
Now just as an aside, I saw a special on the National Geographic where they found this huge whale in Japan. It was all beached and they didn't know what happened to it, so the officials came along and they finally got it up on a truck and finally got it loaded. It took them more time than they expected and on the second day guess what happened? All the gas in there from this dead whale was building up, building up, building up, and as they were going down through a little village it exploded! All the putrefying mess went everywhere. So you can imagine what a mess it would have been had they not skinned it and gutted it.

So after they killed it, ate it that night, midnight God passed through the land, killed all the firstborn of the land of Egypt. The blood was a sign; He passed over. The 14th day is to be a memorial and that's what's the 14th day is—the Passover Day. And v 14 is the number of the day; v 15 is the number of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Now hold your place here and come to Leviticus 23, and we will see that, where it clearly, distinctly separates the two days. And then we will answer another question when we get to the 15th day of the first month, being the first day of Unleavened Bread.

Leviticus 23:4: "These are the appointed Feasts of the LORD, Holy convocations which you shall proclaim in the appointed seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month, between the two evenings... [Between sunset and dark, as the day begins] the LORD'S Passover, and on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD. You must eat unleavened bread seven days. On the first day... [Which day is the first day? The 15th. Some people today even get it confused and combine the 14th and 15th together. And I'll just make a comment here: One of the reasons why the Passover is so confused by so many people is because Satan is the author of confusion and he does not want people to understand it correctly because of the importance of the day and especially in the New Testament. Because if you do not keep the 14th day of the first month, the Passover, as Jesus commanded, you are not in covenant with God. So that's why. There it is, very clear. Verse 7 now:] ...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 not servile work therein"'" (vs 4-8).

Back to Exodus 12 and this will help you understand what follows next, because this is where more confusion comes in, especially if you have a King James Version of the Bible. So that's why with the Holy Bible in Its Original Order that we have, we have solved the problem of being able to figure out these days and the evenings and the sunsets and between the two evenings, with the proper translation.

Exodus 12:16: "'And in the first day there shall be a Holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be a Holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done in them, except that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you.'"

I missed v 15. "'You shall eat unleavened bread seven days; even the first day you shall have put away leaven out of your houses... [Because the truth is the Passover Day is also an Unleavened Bread day. If you don't understand that, read the Passover book again. If you don't have the Passover book, write for it and we'll send it to you.] ...for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.'"

Verse 17: "'And you shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for in this very same day... [Very same day. I want you to mark that, because we will see that again and this is the key to answer the question between the 400-years and 430-years as it applies to Abraham and Isaac and the children of Israel.] ...for in this very same day I have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall keep this day in your generations as a law forever.... [v 18 is key to understand. Here's where the confusion comes in. If you have a King James, it says, 'In the first month, in the 14th day of the month at even'—it doesn't define it. This comes from the Hebrew 'ba erev'—which means sunset.] ...In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at sunset... [That ends the 14th—doesn't it? Begins the 15th.] shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at sunset'" (vs 17-18). Which ends the twenty-first day.

Now, let's do some counting: fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty one—right? Seven days! So that's why we translated it this way so we would know that you shall, you must absolutely, eat unleavened bread beginning at sunset as the 14th ends and the 15th begins. You will eat it until twenty-first day of the month ends, which ends the Feast of Unleavened Bread and then begins the twenty-second day.

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Let's continue on here in Exodus 12 so that we fully understand the time sequence and when we do, then this will help us understand Gen. 15 when we get there. This becomes very vital. Remember, the Passover of Exo. 12 was in the middle of the week. Now notice the first part of this, God gave all the instructions to Moses and here it tells us how he got all the instructions to all the people. Remember, no cell phones in those days.

Exodus 12:21 "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). Now the King James says morning. So people today, especially the 15th Passover people say, 'Well, as soon as the firstborn were killed at midnight, it's morning and they left their homes.' You going to leave your home in the middle of the night? The Hebrew here is 'boqer'—which is sunrise. Now when is sunrise? Ten minutes after midnight? No!

"'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. And it shall be when you have come to the land, which the LORD will give you, according as He has promised that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, "What does this service mean to you?"…. [Because this was a domestic Passover, the lamb was killed at the house, the children were there to watch it.] …'Then you shall say, "It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S Passover, Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our houses."' And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. And the children of Israel went away and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron; so they did" (vs 23-28). Which means:

  • They killed the lamb according to the instructions
  • They stayed in their houses all night
  • They burned everything that was to be burned so nothing was to be left over
  • They didn't leave their houses until sunrise

Verse 29: "And it came to pass at midnight the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on this 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, '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'…. [But they didn't leave their houses until when? Sunrise!] …And the Egyptians were urging the people, that they might send them out of the land quickly, for they said, 'We are 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. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses. And they 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 29-36). Now remember, they were in their houses, in the land of Goshen.

Now v 37 becomes very important: "And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth... [How did they get to Rameses? During the day portion of the 14th as they were continuing to spoil the Egyptians, that's when they got to Rameses.] ...the men being about six hundred thousand on foot, apart from little ones…. [So we estimate 1.8-million people.] …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)—only unleavened bread

"Now the sojourning... [Here's where we get to the 430 years. This is important to understand when we come to Gen. 15.] ...Now the sojourning of the children of Israel in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years…. [How does that square with 400 years in Gen. 15?] …And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, it was even on that very same day... [The King James says the selfsame day. What does this very same day refer to? Something that took place 430 years before.] ...all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed to... [Herbert W. Armstrong. That's how some people read it. They say, 'Well, the night much to be observed is something that Herbert W. Armstrong invented.' No, it says 'it is a night to be much observed] the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt.... [Because they assembled during the day portion of the 14th to Rameses and they left beginning at sunset as the 15th day of the month was beginning.] (So that's why): ...This is that night of the LORD to be observed by all the children of Israel in their generations" (vs 40-42).

Let's come back to Genesis 15 because here is where there is an apparent conflict, and when you look at how long the children of Israel were actually in Egypt, it was just really a little over 200 years. So how do we get 430 years? and How do we get 400 years? And what was the age of Isaac when he was offered for a burnt offering and the substitutionary sacrifice of the ram caught in the thicket was provided?

Genesis 15:1—we'll begin to unravel the problem here: "After these things the Word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, 'Fear not, Abram, I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.' And Abram said, 'Lord GOD, what will You give me since I go childless, and the heir of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?' And Abram said, 'Behold, You have given no seed to me; and lo, one born in my house is my heir.' And behold, The Word of the LORD came to him saying, 'This man shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own loins shall be your heir.'…. [his own physical seed.] …And He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward the heavens and number the stars--if you are able to count them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your seed be'" (vs 1-5). When do you see the stars? At night. So we have a night—don't we? When did this day begin? At sunset and now it's night.

Verse 6, let's carry on so we get the time-sequence and we will see that there is a two-day sequence here and that becomes important in unraveling this time sequence. "And he believed in the LORD. And He accounted it to him for righteousness. And He said to him, 'I am the LORD that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.' And he said, 'Lord GOD, by what shall I know that I shall inherit it?' And He said to him, 'Take Me a heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon'... [So this has to be in the morning—isn't that correct? You going to go out and do it at midnight? No!] ...And he took all these to himself, and divided them in the middle, and laid each piece opposite the other; but he did not divide the birds" (vs 6-10).

So what he did, this is a special sacrifice called a maledictory sacrifice for which there is a maledictory oath. And what is a maledictory oath? A maledictory oath is this: You promise that your word is true and that if you do not perform what you should do, you will become like these animals, cut in two and spread out. Now between those two parts of each of the animals there was a path. So the Lord passed between those parts.

Now let's also understand something as we are looking at this sacrifice. Abraham only did the slaughtering. He did not participate in walking between the parts. So this becomes a unilateral covenant from God to Abraham based upon His Word and His promises given up here in vs 4 & 5 where he would have physical seed and then the stars of heaven as we know is a type of the spiritual seed who would come through Christ. So it's all wrapped up in these verses here all together and unfolds with the rest of the Bible showing us how that these were fulfilled.

Now v 11: "And when the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.... [God didn't tell him what He was going to do. He said just divide them. So here is Abram waiting for this to happen. So here come the birds of prey, so Abram is driving them off.] (Now notice how long that took): ...And it came to pass, as the sun was going down... [Now what happens when the sun goes down? It ends a day—doesn't it? So we have one night, one day, sunset—right? So we have one day.] (Notice what happened to him): the sun was going down, that a deep sleep fell upon Abram. And, behold, a horror of great darkness fell upon him!" (vs 11-12). This was giving him a prophetic significance of death.

Now let's look forward to the Passover when Jesus died. What happened? He died at the ninth hour.He was put in the tomb right at sunset. So here Abram was experiencing the prophetic death of Jesus Christ. Verse 13: "And He said to Abram, 'You must surely know that your seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs... [Here's the correct translation]: ...(and shall serve them and afflict them)... [an inserted statement. The complete sentence reads, 'You must surely know that your seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs 400 years.' How did we get 400 years and, yet, Exo. 12 says 430 years? That's the question. Now notice, it doesn't say they shall serve them and afflict them 400 years, because it's a parenthetical statement.] ...shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs...four hundred years."

Question: how old was Abram when this took place? He was 85 years old. How long before Isaac was born? Another 15 years—correct? Yes! So that takes care of 15 years of it—does it not?

Verse 16: "'But in the fourth generation... [And a generation is not a hundred years. They would be wandering in a land not theirs for 400 years, but after being afflicted they will come out in the fourth generation...] ...for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.' .… [notice v 17 because something happens here]: ...And it came to pass—when the sun went down... [ended that day—correct?] ...and it was dark—behold, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed between those pieces.... [What was that? This showed that God passed through. In his vision he could not see God passing through, but he saw what God was doing] ...a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed between those pieces" (vs 16-17).

Now what happened to those animals? There's no account that Abraham cleaned up the mess afterwards, so the only thing we can come to the conclusion of, based on this, is that the smoking furnace burned up those sacrifices completely and there was only ashes left.

  • wholly consumed sacrifices!
  • God walking down between those parts, this maledictory oath, prophetic of His coming death on the 14th
  • a covenant that He established with Abraham on the 15th that his descendants would come out of their captivity on that night

That's why it says in Exo. 12 that it came to pass 430 years on the very same day it came to pass that the children of Israel went out with a high hand. Here it is right here.

Verse 18: "In the same day... [the 15th. So we have the 15th here (Exo. 12), so it's the same day. It has to be the 15th back here—does it not? And if this is the 15th, what is the day before it when the promises were given? The 14th! So here is really the first Passover and first day of Unleavened Bread. The Passover does not begin with the children of Israel; it begins with Abraham.] ...the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'I have given this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, The land of the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaim, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites" (vs 18-21). That's the land of Canaan.

Let's come to Genesis 17:1: "And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am the Almighty God! Walk before Me and be perfect.... [And this is where He promised that He would give him a son as He told him by covenant over here in Gen. 15.] (v 17, after He changed his name to Abraham): ...And Abraham fell upon his face and laughed, and said in his heart, 'Shall a child be born to him that is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear?'.... [Well, he already made the mistake with Ishmael and that mistake still lives with us.] ...And Abraham said to God, 'Oh, that Ishmael might live before you!'….And God said, 'Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed. And you shall call his name Isaac. And I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him'" (vs 1, 17-19). Then He said, 'Okay, I've heard you concerning Ishmael. I will also bless him.'

So we find in Gen. 21 that sure enough Isaac was born. So that's in his 100th year. He was 99 when he was told it was going happen, 'next year at this time it's going to happen.' Genesis 21:1: "And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said. And the LORD did to Sarah as He had spoken, for Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him" (vs 1-2). Now we don't know the set time, but question: was Isaac a type of Christ? Yes, the son of promise.

When was Jesus born? Paul said, 'at the appointed time' (Gal. 4), the set time. In the article, When Was Jesus Born?—which is appendices in the Bible, which you might want to read—the closest we can figure to when Jesus was born, the middle day of the two-week probably birth period, is the Feast of Trumpets. Could it be that Isaac was born on that same day? We don't know, so we can say that's speculation. So what happened?

Verse 3: "And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him (whom Sarah bore to him) Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him" (vs 3-5). So there is 15 years. How do we find the other 15 years?

Let's come to Genesis 22. Here's how we conclude that Isaac had to have been 15 years old when this event took place. He was not a grown man, because he's called, as we will see, a lad, which means he was under 20 years old.

Genesis 22:1: "And it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.' And He said, 'Take now your son, your only son Isaac... [That really wasn't his only son—was it?—because Ishmael had already been born—correct? This means that the son of promise was counted as the only son, not Ishmael.] ...whom you love, and go into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you'" (vs 1-2). Now, was this area which later became where Jerusalem was? Was this mountain upon which Abraham offered Isaac for the sacrifice, the mountain that was later called the Mount of Olives, right close to where Christ was crucified? We don't know, but the parallels would fit. So we can't say with any dogmatism, but since God uses the same days and He has used the sequence of

  • the Passover in the middle of the week for Abraham
  • in the middle of the week for Israel in Egypt
  • in the middle of the week when Jesus was crucified

—it would seem that the pattern would fit. Now we can't make it absolutely fit and say with absolute certainty that it was so, but the parallelism follows.

Verse 3: "And Abraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son.... [So notice the difference: Isaac is his son, two young men meaning they were probably twenty or older.] ...And he split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, 'You stay here with the donkey, and I and the boy... [or the lad, as it is in the King James] ...will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.' And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac his son" (vs 3-6).

So he had a little—if you've been to the Middle East, or I remember from Korea, they used to carry wood on what were called A-frames. They would take two small trees and they would strip them down and keep the main branch this way, tie it at the top, tie it in the middle and then they would stack their wood on top of this A-frame. They had a stick that they would walk with, so when they stopped to rest, then they could hunch down below and stick the stick up there and it would hold up the A-frame while they stopped to rest or stopped to eat, or whatever it may be.

So he put the wood on him, which is a type of what? Since Isaac is a type of Christ, what is the wood a type of in relationship to Christ? Carrying the cross beam for His crucifixion; going to His death. "...laid it upon Isaac his son. And he took the firepot in his hand... [King James says, 'and he took the fire in his hands.' Now you don't carry fire in your hand, but you can carry a firepot.] his hand, and a knife. And they both went together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'My father.' And he said, 'Here I am, my son,' And he said, 'Behold the fire and wood. But where is the lamb for a burnt offering?' And Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.' So they both went on together" (vs 6-8).

Notice, almost a very similar parallel to when Jesus said what? 'If it's possible, Father, let this pass from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, Your will be done.' So Isaac asked the question: What's going to happen? And he said, 'God will take care of it.' The will of God being done; a very similar type there.

Verse 9: "And they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. And he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the wood, upon the altar. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son" (vs 9-10). Now what was thrust into the side of Jesus? A spear! Not exactly the same type, but very similar action. It was right down to the nubbins. Stretched out his hand and took the knife. He probably also pulled it out of the scabbard in which he carried it. We know in Heb. 12 it says Abraham did this because he knew that God could raise him from the dead if necessary, because he received him in a type from his dead body and Sarah's dead body reproductively—correct? Yes! So that's why he did it. And notice all the way through here, no complaint from Abraham, no complaint from Isaac—willingly doing the commands of God.

Verse 11: "And the angel of the LORD called to him from the heavens and said, 'Abraham! Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.'" (v 11). I'll bet he was—'Yeah, I'm right here.' This is a very good lesson. Do not let the circumstances of any trial in your life get you down.God will provide a way. Let those circumstances, which are difficult to understand be the thing that God is using to also test you to see what you will do. So that's why. Now, there'll be a lot of those things come up in the future as things get worse.

  • Do we really love God?
  • Do we really believe God?
  • Do we really keep His commandments?
  • Will we do it under the threat of death and duress?
  • What are we going to do?

Verse 12: "And He said, 'Do not lay your hand upon the lad, nor do anything to him... [Here it is the lad.] ...for now I know that you fear God..." Now think about this:

  • called him at 75 years old
  • at 85 promised him that he would have a son
  • at 100 the son was born
  • now He told him to take him out and offer him for a sacrifice

Now all during that time was Abraham faithful? So we have from the time he was called, to Isaac was born—25 years. We have to conclude if we take 430 years (Gen. 15), we have 15 years of the 30 years until the birth of Isaac. We then can conclude that Isaac had to be 15 years old when this event took place to get the 430 years. Because remember, the seed would wander in a land not theirs for 400 years.

So 15 of the 430 years, waiting for Isaac to be born. Fifteen was when it came to this time, so Isaac had to be 15 years old at this point and now begins the count of the 400 years from here of Gen. 15. But the 430 years began from Gen. 15, including the 15 years and the 15 years. Total of how many years then? Forty years—75 to 100 is 25, and 15 is 40—right? Forty years is also a time of trial—is it not? A time of testing! So we have the pattern that fits there.

Verse 12: "And He said, 'Do not lay your hand upon the lad, nor do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.' And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked. And, behold, behind him a ram was entangled in a thicket by its horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.... [Notice what he called the name of the place]: ...And Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide; so that it is said until this day, 'In the mount of the LORD it will be provided'" (vs 12-14).

Now notice what happened here, right afterwards. So this begins the 400 years of the sojourning. "And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, '"By Myself have I sworn," says the LORD, "because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son; That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore.... [Where does that go back to? Gen. 15—right? Plus added, sand of the seashore. So we have in both cases:

  • stars of heaven—the spiritual sons through the resurrection through Christ
  • sand of the sea—the physical descendants of Israel

We have both here. So confirms both the promises.] ...And your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice"'" (vs 25-28). That a key. And how many times have we said: The simplest definition of what God wants us to do is to obey His voice. And we've got it right here in the Bible, printed for us. The Lord said, the Lord said, the Lord said.

"Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba" (v 19). So there we have the story. That's how we calculate the 430 years. It fits.

As we discussed, we can't say dogmatically, this is circumstantial evidence, but also look at it this way: after this offering of Isaac and the acceptance of God by that obedience of Abraham and also Isaac—Isaac did not rebel—so then He reconfirms the promise at this point by swearing by Himself. So now it is signed, sealed, and delivered! At this point, then, the count beginning with Isaac at 15 years old, counting the 400 years that they would be wandering, actually did not start until the 15 and 15 years are calculated in to the 430 years.

So this is how you reconcile the 400 years of Gen. 15 with the 430 years of Exo. 12. So I hope that answers the question for you. It took a little while to get there, but you have to get all the facts lined up together and so this is what we tried to do.

Scriptural References:

  • Exodus 16:1-12, 8, 12-16, 12-36
  • Exodus 12:1-6
  • Leviticus 23:4-8
  • Exodus 12:16, 15, 17-18, 21-42
  • Genesis 15:1-13, 16-21
  • Genesis 17: 1, 17-19
  • Genesis 21:1-5
  • Genesis 22:1-19

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Exodus 15
  • Genesis 2
  • John 12
  • Leviticus 23:32
  • Galatians 4
  • Hebrews 12

Also referenced:
Books: The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter

Transcribed: 1-14-10
Formatted: bo—1-15-10