The debate in many of the Sabbath/Feast observing groups as
to WHEN the original Passover took place has been L O N G
and vigorously defended or proclaimed as in the evening of the
14th of Nisan by the one side and in the evening of the 15th of
Nisan by the other side. Then there are those who also claim it
took place in the afternoon of the 14th on into the night of the
15th, and they so hold the NT Passover service (or as it is
popularly called "The Lord's Supper") at about 3 p.m. in the
afternoon of the 14th (the time when they suppose Jesus died on
I have spent MUCH time and much writing on the Passover
issue, for those who want to get into the nitty-gritty of it all,
as you can see from the list of Passover studies on this Website.
But there are TWO verses in the Old Testament, in the book of
Numbers that I believe make this issue very SIMPLE to understand
and clear as to the truth of the matter when the original
Passover took place and was taught by God to be observed in
ancient Israel, IF we let language be what it is and say what it
says, without configuring the language in a way that would
distort language from its natural teaching and context.
Those TWO verses are found in NUMBERS 28: 16, 17.
It reads in the KJV translation as:
"And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the
passover of the Lord. And in the fifteenth day of this month is
the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten."
The verses that follow show the first and seventh days of
this seven day feast to be holy convocation....holy gathering, in
which no regular servile work was to be done. Those first and
seventh days of that seven day feast were holy Sabbath days, as
also Leviticus 23 clearly teaches.
I have looked at the Hebrew in Green's Hebrew/English
Interlinear and how he translated the Hebrew for those two verses
of 16 and 17. You may want to consult a reader of Hebrew, such as
a Jewish rabbi.
You will find that there is NO DIFFERENCE in the meaning of
the Hebrew but in the one verse for "fourteenth day" and in the
other verses for "fifteenth day." The numerics being the only
difference. Obviously one verse is talking about the 14th day and
the other verse about the 15th day, both in the first month,
which in the Hebrew calendar is called Nisan or Abib.
Now, letting language take its natural course, if in verse
16, it is meaning the end of the 14th (as some teach) for the
Passover service, then natural language would have verse 17
saying and meaning the feast of seven days is at the end of the
15th day, not at its beginning.
If verse 16 is meaning the Passover is at the middle of the
afternoon of the 14th, then in the same way verse 17 must be
teaching that the seven day feast begins in the middle of the
afternoon of the 15th.
This would be the way to understand these two verses within
the flow of natural language.
As just about no one that I know of believes that the
Sabbath of the 15th day of the first month begins in the middle
of the afternoon of the 15th, or at the end of the 15th.
As just about all the people I know of that observe the seven day
feast of Unleavened Bread, agree that the first day of that
feast, the holy Sabbath day, does begin at the END of the 14th,
and not during the 15th or at the end of the 15th, then we are
ONLY left with ONE clear way to understand the meaning of these
As we look at ALL the other verses in the books of Moses, we
can see that the feast of Unleavened Bread is from the 15th to
the 21st day of the first month. The feast of Unleavened Bread
STARTS when the 15th day begins, and the 15th day begins when
the 14th day ends, which is at the END of the 14th, and not
before the 14th day is finished. The 15th day and so the first
day of the seven day feast of Unleavened Bread does not BEGIN in
the middle of the 15th day or at the END of the 15th day.
Let me repeat. The 15th day starts at the END of the 14th
day and not anytime thereafter, and certainly not in the middle
or at the end of its very own 15th day.
Let me repeat. All the other verses on the subject of the
length and the numeric days of the feast of Unleavened Bread,
clearly show that feast is seven days in length, from the 15th to
the 21st INCLUSIVE counting. The feast of Unleavened Bread STARTS
with the arrival of the 15th day, which STARTS when the 14th day
has come to a close.
Now all that should be pretty simple language and
arithmetic. So Numbers 28: 16, 17, from simply letting language
be itself, we can only conclude there is but ONE way to
understand and read these verses. The Passover was at the
BEGINNING of the 14th and the first day of the feast of
Unleavened bread was at the BEGINNING of the 15th.
To try and make these verses of Numbers 28, say that the
Passover was at the END of the 14th and the first day of the
seven day feast was at the BEGINNING of the 15th, hence at the
SAME time, or that the Passover was in the MIDDLE of the
AFTERNOON of the 14th day and the first day of the feast of
Unleavened Bread just a few hours way at the BEGINNING of the
15th, makes language say WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO SAY!
Then if language can say whatever you want it to say, then
it is more than true as some people are want to utter, "You can
make the Bible say whatever you want it to say."
If language in the Bible is not to be understood with the
other verses on the same subject, then language means nothing,
and other verses prove the first day of the seven day feast (of
Unleavened Bread) BEGINS at the BEGINNING of the 15th and not
before or after the 15th day has begun.
Now, if from the beginning the Passover and first day of the
seven day feast were started TOGETHER, at the beginning of the
15th, which started at or around sunset of the 14th day, then it
would have been very simple for Moses to have written (God
inspiring him), "Now the Passover of the Lord and seven day feast
is in the 15th day of the first month...." Or, "In the fifteenth
day of the first month is the passover of the Lord and the feast:
seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten...." Or, "Late in the
fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the Lord,
and in the fifteen day is the feast: seven days shall unleavened
bread be eaten...."
There is a Hebrew word for "late" - it is used in Psalm
127:2. It is number 309 in Strong's Concordance of the Bible. And
Strong gives the meaning as: "...a prim. root; to loiter (i.e. be
behind); by impl. to procrastinate:- continue, defer, delay,
hinder, be late (slack), stay (there), tarry (longer)."
If we want to work backwards in these two verses of Number
28: 16 and 17, we have the eating of unleavened bread for seven
days in the feast that is in the fifteenth day of the month
spoken about in verse 16, the first month, and in the fourteenth
day is the Lord's passover.
The Hebrew words being the same but for the numerics of each
verses, and as we know the feast of Unleavened Bread began, for
seven days, on the, or at the BEGINNING of the 15th day, then as
that feast for seven days was at the start of the 15th, then the
Passover of the Lord was also at the start of the 14th day, or
the EVENING of the 14th, the BEGINNING of the 14TH.
And that is exactly what Moses wrote in Leviticus 23, "In
the fourteenth day of the first month at EVENING is the Lord's
passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast
of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days you must eat
unleavened bread. In the first day you shall have a holy
convocation: you shall do no servile work therein...." (verses
Yes, I know the Hebrew for "evening' in this verse is
"between the two evenings" but as we study the Bible's OWN
interpretation for that phrase (not what men or any sect
of Judaism say it means), we have no contradiction. See my study
on that specific term under "The Passover" heading.
All is in perfect harmony. The Passover was from the
beginning at the BEGINNING of the 14th day, and the feast of
Unleavened Bread was to start at the BEGINNING of the 15th day.
Written during the feast of Unleavened Bread, 2003