A RE-LOOK AT "THE NIGHT TO BE MUCH OBSERVED"
In the "old" Worldwide Church of God, under Herbert
Armstrong, we observed "the night to be much observed" at the
BEGINNING or evening of the 15th day of the first month - Abib or
It was the "tradition" to first meet as a local congregation
and have an very fine evening meal and fellowship. It was done
that way in the 1960s. Later it was "groups" of brethren getting
together in different home, varying from year to year.
Now, the evening of the 15th, is the start of the FIRST holy
day of the SEVEN days of Unleavened Bread Feast. The reader is
asked to study all my studies on the nitty-gritty of the Passover
and Feast of Unleavened Bread. A long study, which should take a
fair good time, if you are reading all the Scriptures and
meditating on them all. But worth the while if you still have
questions about "days" "evenings" "14th" "15" "7" or "8" days for
Unleavened Bread, and many more questions.
In all those studies, I do not remember if I gave much
inquiry into the "night to be much observed." I guess it was not
an issue at the time with most people, so I gave little or no
time re-looking at it per se. I guess you could say I went along
with the "traditional" keeping of it from way way back as taught
in the old WCG.
A recent gentleman emailed be about it and has indeed got me
to re-investigate the matter.
I must say I was some surprised at what I've found, trying
to revisit this passage without any pre-conceived ideas. It has
been truly said that, most wrong theological ideas come from a
wrong premise or pre-conceived ideas.
We must always be willing to look at sections of Scripture
with a new and open mind, but as someone said, not so open that
your brains fall out.
So with this study I've endeavored to do just that, with
also the CONTEXT in mind.
Certainly the beginning chapters of Exodus 12 is the
Passover. The lamb kept until the 10th day. Then on the 14th day
they killed it in the evening. The Israelites were commanded to
do certain things with its blood, and how to eat the lamb. The
Lord was going to PASS OVER THEIR HOUSES THAT NIGHT of the 14th!
It was to be a MEMORIAL day - a Feast day (verse 14). It did
in Jewish history take a somewhat elaborate number of hours,
lasting until the morning hours. I have elaborated on that in
some of my studies. It was in Israel quite a full evening as at
it was practiced by Jesus and His disciples, and other Jewish
families also (celebrated with a few other families in small
groups in homes).
Exodus 12:15 starts a brief explanation of the 7 day feast
of Unleavened Bread, through to verse 20.
We are then taken back to the main topic of this section,
the Passover in verse 21 and forward. They were to remember to
teach their children the wonderful meaning of the Passover
At MIDNIGHT the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of
Egypt. Pharaoh rose up in the NIGHT. He called for Moses by NIGHT
told Moses that he and the children of Israel should RISE UP AND
BE GONE! The Egyptians wanted them out mighty fast! So the people
got going as fast as they could go with live stock, donkeys,
sheep and goats, and don't forget small children. Yes, they took
much "spoils" from the Egyptians also, I guess you could say
"back pay" for hard work, very hard work, over generations of
time (verses 31-36).
I believe the verses 37-41 are INSET VERSES. Verses you can
put in brackets as in fact and thought put within an overall
basic context - the CONTEXT OF THE PASSOVER ON THE NIGHT OF THE
14TH OF THE FIRST MONTH.
THEN YOU PICK UP THE CONTEXT AGAIN IN VERSE 42!
IT IS A NIGHT TO BE MUCH OBSERVED UNTO THE LORD IN BRINGING
THEM OUT FROM THE LAND OF EGYPT. THIS IS THE NIGHT TO BE OBSERVED
OF ALL THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
WHAT NIGHT HAS BEEN THE CONTEXT NIGHT? WHY IT'S BEEN THE
NIGHT OF THE 14TH - THE NIGHT WHEN THE LORD PASSED-OVER THE
HOUSES - THOSE WITH THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB ON THE DOOR FRAME, WERE
SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB!
PHARAOH RISES UP IN THE NIGHT AND TELLS MOSES AND AARON TO
"GET OUT OF HERE - BE GONE - TAKE OFF" AND DO IT FAST!
AND ISRAEL DID EXACTLY THAT - THEY GOT MOVING TO RAMESES.
AFTER VERSE 42, WHAT DO WE IMMEDIATELY FIND? GOD STARTS
TALKING ABOUT A CERTAIN IMPORTANT POINT OF HOW TO OBSERVE THE
PASSOVER - ALL THE WAY DOWN TO VERSE 49!
THERE WAS ONE SPECIAL DAY - THE 14TH DAY - THE PASSOVER
EVENING/NIGHT OF THE 14TH AND THERE WAS A SPECIAL DAY OF THE
15TH, WHEN ISRAEL LEFT RAMESES UNDER FULL AND COMPLETE FREEDOM,
FREEDOM FROM THE MIDNIGHT OF THE 14 ACTUALLY, WHEN PHARAOH GOT
UP IN THE NIGHT AND TOLD THEM TO "MOVE OUT, AND DO IT QUICKLY."
THE "NIGHT TO BE MUCH OBSERVED" OR AS THE MARGIN SAYS "A NIGHT OF
OBSERVATION" FROM THE **CONTEXT** IS THE NIGHT OF THE **14** -
NOT THE NIGHT OF THE 15TH!!
In chapter 15 the day to REMEMBER in which God did a further
"bringing them out of Egypt" with a STRONG HAND was the 15th day,
when they LEFT RAMESES, AS they DID LEAVE Rameses on the 15th day
of the first month - see plainly what Numbers 33:3 says. Yes of
course they went out on that day from Rameses with a high hand in
the SIGHT of the Egyptians!
Hence that beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a
mighty walk out from Rameses. There could have well been 6
million, including children. Add to all that their cattle and
herds - it must have been some awesome sight in front of the
Egyptians, as they hopelessly beheld the departure of their once
So sure the beginning of chapter 13 pays attention to the
importance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread as Israel started to
march out of Rameses on the 15th. And in that context there is
NOTHING about leaving Rameses at NIGHT! If they depart on the
MORROW after the Passover, as they did, see Number 33:3; then
"morrow" after the Passover could have been after sunset, the
beginning of the 15th, a cool night travel for 3 or 4 hours. OR,
it could have been an early morning start on the 15th. Either
would be a moving out of Rameses on the 15th, the day AFTER the
ONE MORE PASSAGE
Turn to Deuteronomy 16:1. "Observe the month of Abib, and
KEEP the PASSOVER....FOR IN THE MONTH OF ABIB THE LORD THY GOD
BROUGHT THEE FORTH OUT OF EGYPT BY NIGHT!"
THE NEXT VERSE IMMEDIATELY TALKS ABOUT SACRIFICING THE
WE AGAIN HAVE "NIGHT" CONNECTED WITH PASSOVER AND ISRAEL
COMING OUT OF EGYPT!
IT SEEMS TO BE ADDING UP - AND TO MY THINKING THE WEIGHT OF
EVIDENCE IS IN FAVOUR OF THE PASSOVER NIGHT, THE BEGINNING OF THE
14TH OF ABIB, AS THAT VERY SPECIAL NIGHT TO BE OBSERVED!! AND NOT
THE 15TH PER SE. THE 15th IS IMPORTANT FOR IT IS A HOLY DAY.
BUT LET'S FACE IT WHAT NIGHT AND DAY CAN COMPARE TO THE 14TH
OF NISAN? IT WAS THE NIGHT JESUS SPENT THE LAST PASSOVER ON EARTH
WITH HIS 12 DISCIPLES, AND INSTITUTED THE NEW TESTAMENT PASSOVER
NOW THIS IS REALLY A NIGHT TO BE OBSERVED. THIS IS A
MEMORIAL LIKE NO OTHER IN HISTORY - JESUS - GOD IN THE FLESH,
WILL DIE FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD ON THIS VERY 14TH DAY, WHICH
STARTS WITH THE MEMORIAL PASSOVER EVENING!
SURE THE DAY OF THE 15TH AND THEIR TRAVELS DURING THE FEAST
OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, TO MAKE THEIR WAY OUT OF THE PHYSICAL LAND
IS IMPORTANT, AND SO WE HAVE THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD TO
COMMEMORATE THAT MARCH OUT OF SIN TO A NEW LIFE WITH GOD!
What about "this night being the night of bringing them out
from the land of the Egyptians" (chap.12:42) - the Passover
night; And "Remember this day in which you came out of Egypt"
(chap.13:3) - the 15th day as they departed from Rameses.
God often speaks at times AS IF it is a done deal. When He
decides to do a certain thing - IT WILL BE DONE, so He speaks
accordingly. When God had decided the time HAD COME for Israel to
leave Egypt, then when that death angel passed over at midnight
of the 14th, and Pharaoh made that call, and told Moses and
Israel to LEAVE, ALTHOUGH PHYSICALLY they were still, at that
point, IN THE LAND of Egypt, they had for all purposes and intent
LEFT EGYPT. GOD HAD FREED THEN FROM EGYPT! THEY TRULY WERE OUT OF
EGYPT, EVEN IF THEIR LEGS AND CATTLE HAD YET TO CROSS EGYPT'S
IT WOULD SEEM FROM THE LITTLE EVIDENCE GIVEN US THAT THE
NIGHT TO BE MUCH OBSERVED IS **NOT** THE BEGINNING OF THE 15TH
DAY OF ABIB, BUT THE VERY NIGHT OF THE 14TH - PASSOVER NIGHT!
We certainly do not want to take anything away from the 15th
Holy Day of Abib - the first of the 7 complete days where only
un-leavened bread is to be eaten, but the night of the 14th is
the memorial of our Lord's sinless sacrifice for you and for me.
SURELY INDEED THAT EVENING AND NIGHT IS TO BE MUCH OBSERVED!
Written December 2007
ADDED February 2010
First, the WCG and others were and are wrong in teaching the "night
to be much ovserved" was the evening of the 15th.
Now, specifically "even the self same day" - this phrase is
connected to the previous one "And it came to pass at the end of
the four hundred and thirty years...."
It is not written in the Bible per se (no chapter and verse)
about 430 years ealier of Israel "dwelling in Egypt" but from this
statement we know GOD KNEW to the very day when the tribes of Israel
CAME INTO Egypt, and 430 years later, to the exact day - the 14th
of Nisan, Israel or "all the host of the Lord went out from the land
of Egypt" - same verse. God inspired Moses to so record that God knew
the day Israel arrived in Egypt, and it was the same calendar day
that He was going to bring them freedom from Egypt, 430 years later
to the very same calendar day - context obviously is the 14th day.
Now, "going out from Egypt" WITHIN the CONTEXT is simply meaning
that that night of the 14th, when Pharaoh said "get out" - Israel
had been set free, they had "gone out of Egypt" but not yet
crossed the border line, but in true mental state they had left
Egypt, they were free people, no longer in Egypt as under their
domain, they were no longer slaves to the Egyptians.
This has to be the way to understand this "being free that night"
because EITHER WAY of the night of the 14th, OR the night of the
15th when they left Rameses (as we know other verses clearly tell
us they left Rameses on the 15th), they only marched on the 15th
to Succoth, which was not a town, but the word means "tent" or
"booths" - they moved for a while and then pitched their tens for
the night. So during the 14th day light they gathered at Rameses, and
did not leaves Rameses until the 15th. Either way then THEY STILL
HAD NOT left the physical land, had NOT crossed the border line
of Egypt, on the 14th OR 15th.
The phrase "went out from the land of Egypt" (which ever day, YOU
WANT TO PICK - 14th or 15th) MUST MEAN "they were free, no longer
slaves, no longer under the thumb or rulership of any Egypt
master, not even Pharaoh."
The phrase cannot be taken literally, as meaning they crossed the
border line of Egypt into another country on that day, for the
facts of the following chapters make it clear they DID NOT cross
the border line of Egypt either on the 14th or 15th day.
They did not leave the physical land of Egypt until they crossed
the Red Sea, and that was NOT done on EITHER the 14th or 15th day.
Hence there can be only one way to understand "went out from the
land of Egypt" and that is they were free, and they STARTED to
head for the border line. It is one of those phrases that must be
understood WITHIN the context it is written in. The context is
being slaves, under chains so to speak, of rulers, and then being
SET FREE! I think the slaves of the United States of America
could have used the very same phrase "I came out of the land
of the United States the day I was freed from slavery." Some did
literally leave, came to Canada, BUT NOT ON THAT DAY when they were
given their freedom, and many stayed, but they had in 'spirit' been
set free, had come out of the USA. Yet of course in this case the
many who stayed willfully became part of the USA.
In Israel's case they all left (with others also going with them,
as it is written) Egypt.
And the context shows, they were set free the night of the 14th.
God had told them to prepare to be set free with the Passover
meal, and then God set them free from Egypt through the death of the
firstborn in Egypt, and the command from Pharaoh to "get out of
here - be gone."
Some have tried to chronologize the events of Israel leaving
Egypt to have them going through the Red Sea on the last holy day
of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is simply NOT possible to so
figure! It is true the Israelites moved through the Red Sea at
night - see Exodus 14:20-31.
But if you take Numbers 33:1-10, noting especially verses 3-8 and
the places they pitched their tents before moving through the
midst of the sea into the wilderness, you cannot know for certain
what day they passed through the sea. If you only give one day
for each place mentioned, then it surely was NOT the last day of
the Feast of UB when they passed through the sea.
We are not told HOW LONG they stayed at the places mentioned.
Giving each one day is human SPECULATION only.
It is NOT POSSIBLE to figure the daily chronology from Exodus 12
to 16:1. We are told the Passover was on the 14th day of the
first month and that getting to the wilderness of Sin, was on the
15th day of the second month. Anything else is PURELY up for
grabs. You could have a thousand chronologies from a thousand
different individuals and we still would not know which is the
right one. And it is not important to know, unless you have some
"pet" teaching you want to promulgate.
Entered on this Website December 2007