Keith Hunt - Passover Study #9 Restitution of All Things


                       PASSOVER
                    UNDERSTANDINGS
                      Part Five

             DID JESUS OBSERVE THE PASSOVER
              OR SOMETHING NEW JUST BEFORE
                      HIS DEATH?


     Jesus did not observe the Passover before His death, yet He
did observe the Passover, but then it was not, for it was
something new He kept with His disciples the previous evening to
the Passover, some will say. And further to add still more to the
fire, some believe that this Passover that was not really the
Passover, but was the Passover, was observed WITHOUT the lamb
being sacrificed.

     To illustrate the above I will quote from, for no other
reason than it is one of the latest new books out concerning
God's festivals, and gives us all of the above that I have
mentioned that many believe. The book is called: GOD'S FESTIVALS
- In Scripture and History. The author is Dr. Samuele
Bacchiocchi, who is more famous for his work FROM SABBATH TO
SUNDAY. All emphasis and CAPITALS are mine.

     Quote: page 55.

     ".......according to the Gospel of John, Jesus was crucified
on the day the Passover lamb was sacrificed(John 19:14; 18:28),
Nisan 14. This means He ate the Last Supper with His disciples
the day before the OFFICIAL Passover meal(this was the Passover
meal observed by the Pharisees and their followers at the end of
the 14th day, official in the sense that the lambs were slain in
the Temple by the Priesthood, and that most of Judah followed
this custom and tradition. This so called "official" Passover did
not automatically make it scriptural - K. Hunt). In this case,
Jesus' meal with His disciples MAY HAVE BEEN EITHER a specially
arranged Passover meal or a farewell fellowship meal UNRELATED to
the Passover, because it was partaken of the evening before the
OFFICIAL Passover......"

     Page 56.

     "An Early Passover Meal. A PLAUSIBLE resolution of the
discrepancy is to ASSUME that the Last Supper was a special
paschal meal eaten the evening before the OFFICIAL Passover
meal.......Jesus knew He would suffer death at Passover in
fulfilment of the type provided by the slaying of the paschal
lamb on the 14. He knew He could not possibly eat of the paschal
lamb at the USUAL TIME and Himself be sacrificed as the
true Paschal Lamb WHEN THE LAMBS WERE SLAIN.(remember Dr. B is
talking about the slaying of the lambs at the usual time in the
Temple by the Priesthood on the afternoon of the 14th. We have
seen in previous studies this was not when the Passover lamb was
slain in Exodus 12 - K.Hunt).........Jesus anticipated His eating
of the PASSOVER with His disciples to the evening before the
OFFICIAL Passover......(see how Dr.B calls what Jesus did the
evening before the official Passover - the Passover -
K.Hunt).........Christ's awareness that His death would occur on
Passover day COULD HAVE CAUSED Him to anticipate His last paschal
meal with His disciples a DAY EARLIER......"(again Dr.B says what
Jesus ate with His disciples was a "paschal meal" - K.Hunt).

     Page 57.

     ".......This explains the SENSE OF URGENCY in the
instructions Jesus gave to His disciples: 'Go into the city to a
certain one, and say to him, The Teacher says, My time
is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my
disciples' (Matt.26:18). (I want you to remember what he states.
Jesus was in a sense of urgency. Later as we read the context to
this I want you to note if it was Jesus who spoke first about
observing the Passover or if it was His disciples first, and they
who were in a sense of urgency and NOT Jesus - K.Hunt). The
phrase 'My time is at hand' presumably refers to the short time
left to Passover when the 'Son of man will be delivered up to be
crucified.' Because of such shortness of time, HASTY ARRANGEMENTS
HAD TO BE MADE FOR A SPECIAL PASSOVER MEAL......"(once more I
want you to remember what Dr.B has written here. As we look at
the accounts in the Gospels later, we shall see if it really was
that hasty in arrangements, or if everything was ready for them
in the room to prepare the Passover. Notice also Dr. B calls it a
"Passover meal" but....."special" - K.Hunt).

     continuing same page:

     "........Jesus knew in advance of His impending death at
Passover and, consequently, He showed His love towards His
disciples by ARRANGING FOR AN EARLY PASCHAL SUPPER, at which,
among other things, He washed His disciples' feet.......In this
case it was the foreknowledge of the occurrence of His death
......that COULD HAVE led Jesus to arrange for an EARLY PASCHAL
meal with His disciples......."(so far Dr.B is still calling this
early meal a "paschal meal" - K. Hunt).

     Page 58.

     "Last Supper in the Synoptic Gospels..........IF the Last
Supper was simply a FAREWELL FELLOWSHIP MEAL during which Jesus
instituted the Holy Communion, then the latter is NOT LINKED TO
THE PASSOVER FESTIVAL, but is a BRAND-NEW rite instituted by
Christ to commemorate His death. In this case, Passover CAME TO
AN END when Jesus died on the cross as the true Paschal Lamb, and
the Lord's Supper must be seen as a NEW INSTITUTION TOTALLY
UNRELATED to Passover(I would agree with all he says here -
K.Hunt).......The synoptic Gospels CONSISTENTLY and REPEATEDLY
speak of the last Supper as 'the Passover'...........The phrase
'to eat the passover' which occurs again in Jesus' instructions
to His disciples(Mark 14:15; Matt.26:18; Luke 22:11), refers
EXCLUSIVELY to the PASSOVER meal, which was the essence of the
celebration of the festival......"(what Dr.B shows and proves
here is that the synoptic Gospels call the meal Jesus and His
disciples partook of as THE PASSOVER, plain and simple. Nothing
is said about it being something new or even an evening earlier
than when Jesus normally observed it - K.Hunt).

     So far we have a MAYBE, a POSSIBILITY, that this meal Jesus
was having with His disciples was a NEW institution, the evening
before the so called "official" Passover meal. Yet as Dr.B shows
from the synoptic Gospels there is NO indication from them that
this meal was ANYTHING OTHER than the "eating of the Passover."
     Now on to the idea that at this last Passover meal there was
NO lamb sacrificed and eaten.

     Page 66-67.

     "Passover Meal Without the Lamb. So far I have argued that
the Last Supper was part of a real Passover meal with the lamb,
though it was partaken of a day earlier because Jesus knew His
crucifixion would take place at the time of the slaying of the
paschal lambs. I have SUGGESTED that such a meal could have been
eaten a day earlier with a lamb........Without discounting this
conclusion, we should consider ANOTHER POSSIBILITY, namely, that
the last Supper was a SPECIAL Passover meal not ONLY because it
was partaken of a day earlier, but also because the item which
gave the most significance to the meal, the paschal lamb, WAS
LACKING........POSSIBLY Jesus wanted His last Passover Supper
with His disciples to be eaten WITHOUT THE LAMB to impress upon
them the fact that He was their Paschal Lamb. Therefore, He
COULD HAVE planned that they celebrate Passover not by eating the
flesh of the lamb and pouring out its blood at the Temple's
altar, but by partaking symbolically of His own flesh and blood,
their true Paschal Lamb........MAYBE Jesus instructed His
disciples to prepare the Passover meal without the lamb because
He wanted to impress upon them that He Himself was their Paschal
Lamb that would be sacrificed the next day. He wanted to
institute a new Passover to commemorate deliverance from the
bondage of sin through the sacrifice of Himself, the true Paschal
lamb. As such, there was no need of a roasted lamb for the new
Passover meal. The bread and wine, symbols of His body and blood,
were sufficient......"

     So we have words like "another possibility" - "possibly" -
"could have" - "maybe" and some human reasoning. No scripture is
given to support this "another possibility" for as we shall see
as we investigate in-depth the accounts of the synoptic Gospels,
they PLAINLY record Jesus and the disciples ATE the Passover. And
eating the Passover, using such language, would have
automatically in any mind of a Jew meant just that - eating the
Passover, the lamb being the central eating of the Passover.


           LET'S INVESTIGATE THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS

     Our first question we need to ask and answer is: Did Jesus'
disciples KNOW IN ADVANCE this meal was going to be a SPECIAL
EARLY Passover meal? 

     IF Jesus had previously told His disciples that they were
not going to observe the Passover towards the END of the 14th as
they usually did with Him(supposing for the sake of argument that
was the time they had always observed it with Jesus as the
original correct time going back to Exodus 12), IF He had
beforehand told them He was going to have an early Passover day
supper with them, as He had tried to tell them that this
Passover was the time when He was to be betrayed and crucified.
IF He had said these things to them to make it plain what was
going to happen on this special 14th day, the day He would die,
then surely somewhere, by at least one of the four Gospel
writers, there would have been words recorded for us that Jesus
DID TELL THEM they would be having a new early Passover supper in
which the New Covenant symbols of foot washing, bread and wine,
would be instituted as a memorial of His death for the sins of
the world. 
     Jesus had told them He was going to be betrayed and
crucified at the coming Passover. That previous foretelling of
Christ to His disciples IS recorded for us. Surely IF He had told
them in advance about His RADICLE(and believe me it would have
been a radicle undertaking to depart from the official and true
time, if it was the true time, to observe the Passover) CHANGE to
have a new and early Passover supper, THEN SOME WORDS SOMEWHERE
WOULD HAVE BEEN RECORDED FOR US THAT HE DID TELL HIS DISCIPLES
ABOUT WHAT HE WAS PLANNING TO OBSERVE AND INSTITUTE WITH THEM AT
THE BEGINNING OF THE 14TH!!
     YET NOT ONE WRITER COMES ANYWHERE CLOSE TO SAYING JESUS HAD
BEFOREHAND TOLD HIS DISCIPLES ABOUT ANY NEW EARLY PASSOVER
SUPPER!!
     Nowhere can we find any words such as: "My fellow disciples,
come here, I want to tell you what we are going to do on the
Passover day this year. As I am going to be betrayed and
crucified to death on the afternoon, as I've already told you, as
I will not be able to observe the Passover meal with you at the
end of the 14th as we have previously done. Because of this, we
shall have a special Passover meal at the beginning of the day.
It will become the New Covenant memorial service in remembrance
of my death."
     No such words as the above can be found in the New
Testament. Nothing even remotely close to them can be found. I
submit to you that something as IMPORTANT as the introduction and
institution of a NEW Passover memorial service at the BEGINNING
of the 14th. A service to commemorate and remember the BODY and
BLOOD of one who was God, given for the sins of all human kind,
WOULD NOT HAVE GONE UNRECORDED for us. Some NT writer somewhere
would have surely been inspired to have written about THIS NEW(IF
IT WAS NEW) MEMORIAL SERVICE, in the sense of telling us it was
INDEED NEW AND AT A NEW TIME OF THE 14TH. 
     But the NT is SILENT about any such idea as it being a NEW
Passover supper, meal, or memorial service, from the point of
TIME!

     Jesus had told them He was going to be handed over to the
authorities and crucified. But I as proved to you in the first
study in this series, IT WENT COMPLETELY OVER THEIR HEADS! They
could not grasp it, could not understand it, could not believe
it. And why should they. As I showed you before, it was not in
the theology of the Jews and their religions to acquaint the
Passover lamb and its death to the Messiah to come and the death
of that Messiah. Such thoughts were the furthest thing from their
mind.
They could only see a Messiah that would live and lead the Jews
to overthrow the Roman Empire and establish the Jewish nation as
leader in the world under God.  They could not envision a
suffering and dying Messiah.
     The coming Passover was for them going to be no different
than other Passover days they had observed with Jesus. He was all
powerful, why even the very forces of nature obeyed Him. The
words of Jesus that He would be betrayed and crucified just
went right over their heads.
     While they were at supper and Jesus told them one of them
was going to betray Him, they were in utter shock at the thought
of such a thing. Peter was so sure he would stand with Him. Peter
even drew his sword in the garden and sliced off the ear of one
coming to arrest Jesus. He was ready to fight. They no doubt
thought this was the time when God through the Messiah was going
to restore the Kingdom to Israel, deliver Israel again at the
Passover season from bondage to their captors. As the events
unfolded before their eyes, they were numb with shock and
confusion, running away, and Peter even denying he knew this man
Jesus.
     The following day as Jesus hung on the cross dying, they
were crying, bewildered, their world had it seemed come to an
end. They just did not know what was going on. How could their
Messiah with all the power He had exhibited through hundreds of
miracles they had seen Him perform over three and one half years,
be up on that cross dying before their eyes. It must have seemed
like the worst science horror movie that anyone could have
dreamed up.
     All of this as recorded in the Gospels cannot possibly give
any credible proof, actually just the opposite, to any idea that
the disciples KNEW BEFOREHAND, understood beforehand, that Jesus
was the Passover lamb to be slain, that the new memorial
service(without a lamb as some think it was) at the new time of
the beginning of the 14th(going along with the false idea that
the Passover had always originally been at the end of the 14th),
they had beforehand been told they would celebrate, was all to
be taken in stride, as they knew it was to fulfil the prophecies
concerning the fist coming of the Messiah.
     As Jesus hung on the cross to die there are no words coming
from the disciples as saying: "Oh, do not fret about all this,
for we know it was written so, that it must be so. We know the
Messiah is to die and be raised again to eternal life the third
day. Let us not cry, or be shaken in spirit, we understand this
is to fulfil prophecy, and so we will look to the next prophecies
that tell us about His resurrection."

     After Jesus had been put in the garden tomb as a dead man,
they thought it was all over. Peter wanted to go back fishing.
The ladies coming on that Sunday morning did not realize He had
been resurrected, they were concerned about how they could roll
away the stone to anoint His body. When they arrived and found
the stone rolled away, they were confused, they did not say, "Oh
of course we know He is resurrected." The angels at the tomb HAD
TO TELL THEM Jesus was resurrected as He had told them He would
be!  One of the ladies thinking she was talking to the gardener
pleaded with him to tell her where they had removed Jesus' body.
Then He revealed to her who He was! 
     The ladies were to go tell the 12 disciples Jesus was risen.
They did not expect it to happen. Thomas still did not believe it
even after the others had seen Jesus for themselves. The two
disciples on the road to Emmaus could not put it together, they
were bewildered and confused over it all. Jesus had to reprimand
them for being slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had
spoken about the Messiah.

     What all this CLEARLY SHOWS is that whatever had been told
them beforehand by Jesus concerning His coming death and
resurrection, it went in one ear and out the other. There is no
indication from THEIR SIDE that they knew Jesus was going to have
an early Passover supper with them because He would be dead on
the afternoon of the 14th. No indication from THEM that they knew
Jesus was going to institute a new memorial service with new
symbols at a new time of the 14th.
     As we shall clearly find in the synoptic Gospels ALL
EVIDENCE is that they thought they were going to have a regular
PASSOVER MEAL, at the USUAL TIME of the 14th, in the usual manner
with Jesus AS THEY HAD ALWAYS DONE with Him over the three and
one half years they had followed Him. It was just a casual matter
of fact question on their part, "where will you that we prepare
for you to eat the passover?"

     Second question:

     Is there any place in the Gospels where we can find some
words of Christ Himself telling His disciples that they would on
this Passover day in which He would be betrayed and crucified,
have a special early Passover fellowship meal together. Can we
find where He told them this last Passover was going to be
DIFFERENT, different in many respects but especially WHEN they
would eat together, and the new symbols He would introduce to
them for the New Covenant era?
     Please read the last few chapters of each Gospel. See if you
can find any words similar to or even close to something like
this: "I must tell you fellows that this coming Passover day will
be quite different than any Passover day you have ever
experienced. For starters, we shall celebrate the Passover meal
the evening before, at the beginning of the 14th and not the end
of the 14th, and then........."

     We can see the writers of the Gospels did not record that
THEY or any DISCIPLE said they knew that this last Passover Jesus
was to celebrate while on earth was going to be DIFFERENT than
all the others they had observed with Jesus, EXCEPT that Christ
had told them beforehand that at this Passover He was to be
betrayed and crucified. And THAT WAS ALL they recorded for us
that Jesus told them!  There are no words, or even any hints,
that Christ mentioned ANYTHING about a DIFFERENT TIME to have the
Passover meal or fellowship gathering, or farewell without a lamb
sacrifice, get together.

     Third question:

     Was it JESUS who was in a state of or "sense of urgency" in
the instructions He gave to His disciples about WHERE to observe
the Passover, OR is the truth more in keeping with it being the
DISCIPLES that were in a state of panic and urgency TOWARDS Jesus
as to observing the Passover which was UPON THEM as the 14th of
Nisan had arrived?
     Is the truth more that Jesus was NOT CONCERNED, in no state
of panic or any sense of URGENCY, about observing the Passover,
as He KNEW where they would observe it, and that all was made
ready for Him and His disciples?
     Who APPROACHED who about observing the Passover?  Was it
Jesus coming to His disciples in a sense of urgency, or was it
the disciples coming to Jesus with some urgent panic in their
mind, concerning the observance of the Passover?
     The word of the Lord gives us the answer if we will but read
it and believe it for what it plainly states to us.

     Matthew 26:17 tells us: ".....the DISCIPLES CAME TO JESUS,
saying unto Him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat
the Passover?"
     Mark 14:12 says: "......His DISCIPLES said TO HIM......"
     Luke 22:7,8 gives that Jesus sent Peter and John to prepare
the Passover.

     From the above the evidence is that the DISCIPLES first came
to Jesus on the day, at the very beginning of the day when the
Passover lambs were killed to ask Jesus WHERE they should prepare
to eat the Passover.
     The evidence is that Jesus had said NOTHING to them about
the place where they would observe the Passover meal, and when
the time came they could no longer contain themselves in THEIR
state of urgency, but had to enquire from the Lord as to where
they should go to prepare the Passover meal.

     Fourth question:

     Did Jesus have everything under control as to knowing not
only WHERE they would observe the Passover, but ALSO that many
physical preparations had already been done for them so no panic
was needed by anyone? All would go as it had in the past years of
observing the Passover with Christ.

     Matthew 26:18-19 Jesus sends them to a certain man to tell
him that they would observe the Passover in his house.
     Mark 14:13-16 adds a little more for us. A man carrying
water was very unusual to see, as it was mainly women who did
such things. They were to follow him. He would lead them to the
house and the guestchamber where they would eat the Passover.
They were shown a large upper room, and notice it, FURNISHED AND
PREPARED!
     Luke 22:8-13 says about the same as Mark.

     Clearly all was well under control. Jesus was in no state of
urgency or panic!  He knew exactly where He would observe the
Passover with His disciples. He knew the room was all furnished
and ready. Had the man of the house been told in a dream? Had God
sent an angel to tell him Jesus would observe the Passover at his
home in his upper room? The word does not tell us!  But we can
see the man was not "put out" or upset because he was not ready
for such a group of men to come for the Passover. Whatever
can be said or imagined as to how this was all done, the fact is
clear that all was prepared for Jesus' disciples to come and
prepare the Passover.

     Fifth question:

     Is there anything stated in the synoptic Gospels that show
this was SOMETHING OTHER than "the passover"?  Is there anything
said to show it was an "early Passover" or a "farewell meal" or a
"last supper together" gathering?

     Matthew 26:17-19. The disciples come to Jesus saying:
".....Where will you that we PREPARE for you to eat THE
PASSOVER." Jesus tells them to tell the man of the house that He
will "keep THE PASSOVER at your house."  The disciples did as
Jesus had appointed them and "they MADE READY THE PASSOVER."
     Pretty plain easy to understand words to me - Jesus and His
disciples were observing THE PASSOVER!
     Mark 14:13-16 gives us PASSOVER in verse 12, and in verse
14, and once more in verse 16.
     Luke 22:8-13 they prepared the Passover, they were going to
observe in the guest-chamber "the Passover" and they made ready
"the Passover."
     Notice verse 15, "And He said unto them, With desire I have
desired to eat THIS PASSOVER with you before I suffer."
     
     Simple if you read it as a little child. Jesus and His
disciples were observing THE PASSOVER and at the BEGINNING OF THE
14TH, just as we have proved in previous studies, the first and
original Passover in Exodus 12 was to be slain and observed at
dusk, and eaten that night of the 14th. How easy to understand
when you put aside the traditions of Judaism that made none
effect the laws and commandments of God.
     The disciples had no idea what was going to take place on
this Passover day. They had not yet come to understand Jesus was
the true Passover lamb that would die on the 14th of Nisan. They
were not expecting Him to die. They were going ahead observing a
Passover meal that to them was just one more in the process of
time as the years went by, no different than the others they had
observed with Him. It was THE Passover, at the beginning of the
14th as ever before in all the years they had observed it, some
with John the Baptist, as part of his disciples, and now for
three and a half years with Jesus as part of His disciples.
     It was THE Passover as the synoptic Gospel writers plainly
and clearly record, no new time, no different than ones
previously observed by Jesus......well it was no different
UNTIL the night proceeded along and Jesus Himself started to make
it quite different by the things He began to do and introduce to
them, as to how the Passover would for Christians become quite
different under the New Covenant, in the way it would be observed
and the symbols it would contain.

     Sixth question:

     Did they EAT the Passover meal with the lamb?  Just because
the lamb is not specifically mentioned by name really does not
prove anything as to the idea that at this last Passover meal
Jesus may not have called for the sacrificing of a lamb, the idea
Dr.B throws at us on pages 66,67 of his book "God's Festivals."
     Looking at the verses already given in Matthew, Mark and
Luke, we can see the word EAT used over and over again.
     In Luke 22:15 Jesus says , ".....With desire I have desired
to EAT THIS PASSOVER with you...."
     The whole ceremony, observance and keeping of the Passover
under Moses, as given in the books of Moses, was fundamentally
bound up and founded upon the main element of the
observance(besides the slaying of the lamb) and that was the
EATING of the lamb. The Passover was not completely and fully
observed WITHOUT the EATING of the lamb. It is not the purpose of
this study to go into detail to prove that point. Fred Coulter in
his book called "The Christian Passover" gives forth that
detailed proof, which the reader can study for himself/herself.

     The Passover meal would not have been a meal or supper
WITHOUT the EATING of the lamb. This last Passover was called a
supper by the writers of the Gospels. It was very much a SUPPER
MEAL, and Jesus desired to EAT this Passover with His disciples
before He suffered and was killed on the cross.

     There is nothing in the Gospels to indicate the disciples
did not prepare this Passover supper meal as they would have any
other Passover meal they had observed with Jesus in the past.
They did not know it would be His last on this earth. They did
not know He was to die the next afternoon. They asked Him where
they should go to "prepare the Passover" and nothing is stated by
Jesus to give them any idea it was not another regular Passover
meal they were to go and prepare. Jesus in fact sent them and
told them to prepare it as it was His desire to eat that Passover
with them before He suffered and died.

     When the truth is known as we have brought out in these
studies so far. This was a regular true Passover observance, at
the beginning of the 14th, as it should have been, with
everything the Passover was to have for a supper meal -
unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and the roasted lamb.

     Seventh question:

     When did Jesus arrive to observe this Passover meal?  The
synoptic Gospels bring out that it was the day when the Passover
lambs must be killed. It was from this and many other verses the
14th of Nisan. Just about no one disputes the fact that Jesus had
this last Passover meal where He instituted the New Covenant
symbols of His memorial death service, on the night of the 14th,
at the beginning of the 14th. 
     Jesus sent two of His disciples to prepare this Passover,
which they did. He did not go with them to help them prepare it,
nor did all the other disciples. 
     They came to Him probably as the sun was setting, going down
over the horizon. Somewhat in urgency because he had said nothing
so far to them as to where they would observe the Passover. He
tells them how to find the place which was already ready, and
there to prepare the Passover. Some have estimated that to kill
and clean, and roast a lamb ready for eating for 12 or so men,
would probably take from three and a half to five hours(see the
book "The Christian Passover" by F.Coulter). 
     Luke 22:14 says: "And when the HOUR was come, He sat down
and the twelve apostles with Him."

     Sunset in Palestine about the Passover time of the year
could have been around 6 p.m. or  7 p.m. or later depending on
whether a 13th month had been added to the calendar(which it must
be added from time to time) that year.  So Jesus may not have sat
down with the twelve until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. to start eating
this Passover meal.
     The main point is that it did take a number of hours to
prepare the Passover meal ready to be eaten. Jesus came later
with the other disciples to the upper room, after the Passover
had been prepared and the night was well on its way.

     It was during or after this Passover meal that Jesus
introduced the New Covenant ordinances of the foot washing, bread
and wine. It was at NIGHT all this took place, just as Paul said
it was in 1 Cor.11, the same night in which He was betrayed.

     There are still some more verses that puzzle some about this
last Passover both in the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of
John.
     Those we shall begin to look at in our next study.

          ......................................................

Written March 1997
by
Keith Hunt

 
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