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