As most scholars know, a careful studying of the harmony of
the Gospels, will reveal that Jesus kept the Passover with His
disciples on the "evening" of the 14th of Abib or Nisan (in the
Jewish calendar, corresponding to our March/April). On that
evening, which was the beginning of the 14th, Jesus introduced
the NT emblems of the bread and wine and foot-washing. That night
He was betrayed by Judas in the garden of Gethsemane, and was
subsequently crucified on Golgotha during the daylight hours of
the 14th. The Pharisees and their followers would then observe
their Passover that evening of the 15th, which was the start of
the feast of Unleavened Bread, according to the books of Moses,
and which I have shown and proved in another study.
All this is pretty plain to see for most astute Gospel
studiers. Why then do we have THREE Gospel writers, writing as
if, well for most people it would be as if, Jesus was going to
observe the Passover on the first evening of the feast of
Let's note how the Gospel writers actually wrote it in the
Greek. I will be quoting the literal translation from the Greek
by J. P. Green from his Greek/English Interlinear.
MATTHEW 26: 17 "And on the first unleavened came the disciples to
Jesus, saying to Him; Where will you we may prepare for you to
eat the Passover?......"
MARK 14: 12 "And on the first day of the unleavened, when the
Passover they killed, say to Him the disciples of Him; Where do
you wish going we may prepare that you eat the Passover?......"
LUKE 22: 7 "And came the day of the unleavened, on which must be
killed the Passover....."
Well, it kinda sounds like it could be the first day of the
Feast of Unleavened Bread, but if so that would put it on the
evening or start of the 15th day of Nisan, and most scholars
would immediately raise the red flag on that idea.
But we need to notice that the word "feast" or "festival"
does not appear in any of the above quotes from the three Gospel
writers. And this is VERY IMPORTANT, for it sets up the immediate
question we need to ask, "If it was NOT the feast of Unleavened
Bread, then what did they mean by it being on the first day of
We need to now search the history books to see if we can
find the answer. And yes, indeed we can find the answer. ALFRED
EDERSHEIM, D.D., Ph.D. the great Jewish/Christian writer gives it
to us as he writes about what the Jews did on this 14th day of
I quote from Edersheim's book "THE TEMPLE - its Ministry and
Services" (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982), pages 219,
220. All CAPITAL letter words are mine for emphasis.
"The SPECIAL preparations for the Passover commenced on the
EVENING of the 13th of Nisan, with which, according to Jewish
reckoning, the 14th BEGAN, the day being always computed from
evening to evening. THEN the head of the house was to SEARCH
with a lighted candle all places where LEAVEN was usually kept,
and to put what of it he found in the house in a safe place,
whence no portion could be carried away by any accident. Before
doing this, he prayed: 'Blessed art Thou, Jehovah, our God, King
of the Universe, who has sanctified us by Thy commandments, and
commanded us to remove the leaven.' And after it he said, 'ALL
the LEAVEN that is in my possession, that which I have seen and
that which I have not seen, be it null, be it accounted as the
dust of the earth.'
The search itself was to be accomplished in perfect silence
and with a lighted candle......Jewish tradition sees a reference
to this search with candles in Zeph.1: 12; 'And it shall come to
pass at this time that I will search Jerusalem with candles.'
If the leaven HAD NOT been removed on the evening of the
13th (beginning of the 14th in Jewish reckoning -Keith Hunt), it
might STILL BE DONE on the AFTERNOON OF THE 14TH OF NISAN......
Early on the FORENOON of the 14th of Nisan the feast of the
Passover may be said to have begun. In Galilee, no work was done
all day; in Judea it was continued till mid-day.....Even EARLIER
than MID-DAY of the 14th it was NO LONGER LAWFUL to eat LEAVEN.
The strictest opinion fixes ten o'clock, as the LATEST hour when
leaven MIGHT BE EATEN, the more lax, eleven. From that hour to
twelve o'clock it was required to ABSTAIN from LEAVEN, while at
twelve it was to be solemnly DESTROYED, either by burning,
immersing it in water, or scattering it to the winds.
To secure STRICT OBEDIENCE and uniformity, the EXACT TIME
for ABSTAINING from and for DESTROYING the LEAVEN was thus made
known: 'They laid two desecrated cakes of a thank-offering on a
bench in the porch (of the Temple). So long as they lay there,
all the people might eat (leavened); when one of them was
removed, they abstained from eating, but they did not burn (the
leaven); when BOTH were REMOVED, all the people burnt (the
leaven)' (Pes. i. 5)." End of quote.
Ah yes, now we see the importance of this day, the 14th day,
in the lives of those who followed the teachings and traditions
of the scribes, Pharisees, and priests. The 14th day was, with
the "leaven" search in the homes on the evening of the 14th, the
beginning of the 14th, a very important day to the Pharisee Jews,
of removing "leaven" from out of their homes and from out of
their lives, EVEN BEFORE the hour of the 15th day came, which was
the day that started the FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD. By 10 a.m. or
at the latest 11 a.m. of the morning of the 14th day, leaven was
no longer allowed to be eaten, if of course you followed the
Pharisees and their traditions and teachings.
We see now why Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all report this
BEGINNING of the 14th day, the evening of the 14th day, when
Jesus and the twelve were about to observe the Passover, as "the
first day of the unleavened" or "the day of the unleavened" or
"on the first unleavened" and NOT anytime as a day of THE FEAST
of Unleavened Bread. It was indeed to the Pharisee Jews, "A" day
of "unleavened" - "A" day when leaven was put out, and not eaten,
either on the evening of the day, or by 10 or 11 a.m. the next
morning. In Jewish Pharisee tradition the 14th day of Nisan had
become known as "unleavened." But of course for those who knew
the truth of God's word, it was the Passover day, and the
beginning of that day, the evening of that day, was the time to
celebrate the Passover meal, just as Jesus with His disciples
were recorded by the Gospel writers as doing just that...killing
and eating the Passover.