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The passover

Query for the Month


April 2012

Next up-date: May 1st 2012 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in.  Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )

In the meantime, try this site.    And here's one where you can read it online.


Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Your glorying is not good.  Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened, for even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.    

What do these words mean to us today?


Before we can appreciate what these words mean today, we need to investigate the old system to see what it teaches. The original “pass over” occurred at midnight on the night before the departure from Egyptian slavery.  At that time, all those firstborn who were in the houses which had the blood of the Lamb on their doorposts were protected from the destroyer.  “For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass [hover] over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer [Satan] to come in to your houses to smite [kill] you.  And you shall observe this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons for ever”.  Exodus 12:23-24.

But after the first anniversary of the Passover was observed at Mount Sinai and the people moved to Kadesh-Barnea  they refused to go on into the Promised Land (Numbers 14:1-24), so the LORD suspended both the circumcision and Passover ceremonies until after they had crossed the River Jordan thirty-eight years later. 

By that time He had given them some new directions through Moses concerning the rituals.  “For you shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you shall possess it, and dwell therein.  And [there] you shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day”.  Deuteronomy 11:31-32.

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Joshua 5:

1 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the [Mediterranean] sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.

2 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, “Make you sharp knives [sharpen the brass (bronze) knives], and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time”.  3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. 

4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise:

All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war [twenty years old and upward], died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. 

5 Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.  6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: to whom the LORD swore that He would not show them the land, which the LORD swore to their fathers that He would give us, a land that flows with milk and honey.  7 And their children, whom He raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way. 

8 And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole [recovered]9 And the LORD said to Joshua, “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt [worldly slavery representing spiritual slavery] from off you.  Wherefore the name of the place is called ‘Gilgal [rolling]’ to this day.   

10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho [they had circumcised on the tenth day of the month, which was choosing day for the Passover.  Exodus 12:3; 48-49]

11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day [Exodus 12:8]12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

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Moses had also told them, “You shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.  For you are not as yet come to the [spiritual] rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God gives you.  But when you go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God gives you to inherit, and when He gives you [physical] rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety; then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there; there shall you bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to the LORD”.  Deuteronomy 12:8-11.

Then he continued:

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Deuteronomy 12:

28  Observe and hear all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you for ever, when you do that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. 

29 “When the LORD your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land; 30 take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?  Even so will I do likewise’ [because you think that the gods belong to the land.  See 2 Kings 17:25-27.].

31 “You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which He hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 

32 “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it”.   

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One of the major changes was that the Passover was no longer to be practised at home, but along with all the other sacrificial rituals, it was to be observed at the sanctuary in its various locations.  (e.g. Joshua 18:1; 2 Samuel 7:6.) 

In Solomon’s time the temple site in Jerusalem became the permanent place.  This meant that the males of Israel had to travel to that place for the three pilgrimages they made each year. 

“Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year.  You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread: (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt: and none shall appear before Me empty [handed].)  And the [one day] Feast of Harvest [Pentecost], the firstfruits of your labours, which you have sown in the field: and the [eight day] Feast of Ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labours out of the field.  Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the LORD GOD”.  Exodus 23:14-17.

Thus it was written:

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Deuteronomy 16:

1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover to the LORD your God: for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night. 

2 You shall therefore sacrifice the passover to the LORD your God, of the flock [the requested animal] and the herd [an additional added one], in the place which the LORD shall choose to place His name there ...   

5 You may not sacrifice [kill] the passover within any of your gates, which the LORD your God gives you: 6 but at the place which the LORD your God shall choose to place His name in, there you shall sacrifice [and eat] the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came forth out of Egypt. 

7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which the LORD your God shall choose: and you shall turn in the morning [after midnight], and go to your tents.

8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God: you shall do no work therein.   

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There were two unfortunate outcomes from this new rule:

The first was that often the females of Israel were thereby excluded from observing the Passover ritual, and the other was that it soon became attached (in the minds of the men) to the Feast of Unleavened Bread which followed it.  “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover”.  Luke 22:1.  This made it an eight day feast like that of the Feast of Ingathering (or Tabernacles as it was sometimes known), and this spoilt the special significance of the latter festival. 

In actual fact, the Passover “meal” (and its rituals) was observed on a working day (the 14th of the 1st month).  It was the NEXT day, the 15th, which was the first ceremonial sabbath (rest day) of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This was followed by the presentation of the firstfruits of the first harvest for the year, on the 16th which was also a  working day.  Thus Jesus Christ died on Friday the 14th, rested in the tomb on Saturday the 15th and rose in the splendour of His work as the Firstfruits (the most important of the dead) on Sunday the resurrection day, which was the 16th.   “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept [in death] . . . For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming”.  1 Corinthians 15:20-23.  The feast also ended in a “holy convocation”, another ceremonial sabbath day, on the 21st  of the month.  (These days were denominated by their number, and not by any particular day of the week and therefore varied each year.)

“In the fourteenth day of the first month at even [sunset] is the LORD's passover.  And on the fifteenth day of the same month is The Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.  In the first day you shall have a holy convocation [a rest day]: you shall do no servile [ordinary] work therein.  But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day [the 21st of the month] is [also] a holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein [either]”.  Leviticus 23:5-8.

However, I don’t think the women minded too much about being excluded from the play-acting of religion, for they were far too busy dealing with the realities of it.  (James 1:27.)  They understood what took the men much longer to comprehend, “Purge out therefore the old leaven [the old life of sin and selfishness], that you may be a new lump [a new creation], as you are [now] unleavened, for even Christ our passover [Lamb] is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the Feast, not with old leaven [of rituals], neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness [the old spiritual life]; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth [the new life].   1 Corinthians 5:7-8.

Thus we are taught that spiritually speaking, the believer in the gospel “chooses” to make the Son of God their Saviour on the 10th day of the new year, kills and ingests the body of Christ on the 14th after being prepared by a removal of the old life (Romans 7:4), then relaxes on the 15th in the knowledge that slavish obedience is not required, but only willing, loving service in the new birth.  They then rose on the third day to the resurrection of a new creation to be trained for a Pentecost of witness to the world.

Then shall they say: “Come, and let us return to the LORD: for He has torn, and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up.  After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come to us as the rain, as the latter and former rain to the earth”.  Hosea 6:1-3.

Thus it is written; “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God, (which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning His Son Jesus Christ our LORD, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God WITH POWER, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: by whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name”.  Romans 1:1-5.

Later, Paul also wrote: “Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted [buried] together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our “old man” is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is “dead” is freed from [the slavery of] sin”. Romans 6:3-7.

This experience is also described as a “marriage” in Romans 7:4.

This is how God sees His “wife”:-

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Proverbs 31:

10 Who can find a virtuous woman [i.e. a Christian]?  

For her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband [Christ] does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need [fear] of spoil.  12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life [she is mistress of his house]

13 She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands [alongside her servants]. 14 She is like the merchants' ships; she brings her food from afar [has a great selection]. 15 She rises also while it is yet night [before dawn], and gives meat [breakfast] to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants [plans] a vineyard.  17 She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives [supervises] that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night [till late at night]19 She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff [she multi-tasks].   

20 She stretches out her hand to the poor; yea, she reaches forth her hands to the needy [she has a sympathetic heart].   

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household [her actions]: for all her household are clothed with scarlet [woollen clothing, the robe of righteousness]22 She [also] makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple [functional and beautiful]

23 Her husband is known in the gates [the places of assembly], when he sits among the elders of the land [talking over the weighty matters of the law].   

24 She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles to the merchant. 

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come [she looks forward to a better world]. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness.   

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  29 “Many daughters [of Israel] have done virtuously, but you excel them all”.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears the LORD, she shall be praised.  31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates [and in the eyes of God].

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In this way, the gospel is preached in all the world. (Matthew 24:14.)

So why did God change His mind about the passover? 

Well, of course, He didn’t do that!  It is ALWAYS His people who desire the change and the LORD goes along with them as much as He can while still doing His work in the background.  They did not have the “rest” principle of the weekly Sabbath, and yet loved the rituals and ceremonies of the law, so He gave them a legal Passover.  By having the Passover meal in Jerusalem, He moved them away from the heathen practices, but unfortunately, the majority never accepted the spiritual significance of it.

Then He waited patiently.

After the return from the Babylonian exile there arose two groups among the Jews who differed in their understanding of the timing and place of the Passover and we are shown this in the life of Christ, who of course, kept the Passover and the Feast at the right time and in the right way.  

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Matthew 26:

17 Now the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where will You that we prepare for You to eat the passover?  

18  And He said, “Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, ‘The Master says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with My disciples’.”

19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.  20 Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve.

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This was Thursday night in our timing, and the Passover day had just begun with the sunset. The next sunrise was Friday morning in our terms (sometimes called “Good Friday”).  They had killed and prepared the Passover lamb on what we would call Thursday afternoon, because in the ritual it was the “eating” of it that was most important, not the death or the cooking.

But the Pharisees had a different period in mind:

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Mark 14:

1 After two days was the Feast of the Passover, and of Unleavened Bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by craft, and put Him to death. 2 But they said, “Not on the Feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people”.

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The religionists decided not to capture Him on the Feast day, yet He was arrested and tried right through the night of the 14th into the early hours of Friday morning!  (They did not consider that day to be important!)

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John 18:

28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas to the [Roman] hall of judgment: and it was early [Friday morning]; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover [that night, our Friday night, which was beginning of the weekly Sabbath].   

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So we see that there was a discrepancy in their understanding of the law. They, like many of the evangelists of today, failed to see the significance of the Passover day, and concentrated their teachings on the rituals which followed it.  Thus they preached (and still do), a gospel without power!  (See Hebrews 4:2.)

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John 19:

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying [that Christ was a rebel king], he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called “the Pavement” [by the Romans], but in the Hebrew, “Gabbatha”. 

14 And it was the preparation of the Passover [the day before the Sabbath], and about the sixth hour [6am Friday morning, Roman time, which starts at midnight]: and he said to the Jews, “Behold your King”! 16 Then delivered he Him therefore to them to be crucified. 

And they took Jesus, and led Him away.  17 And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called “The Place of a Skull”, which is called in the Hebrew “Golgotha”: 18 where they crucified Him [at 9am Friday morning], and two others with Him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst .  .  . 

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was a high day [both a weekly and a yearly day]), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.   

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However, since the destruction of the temple by the Romans in the year 70AD there has been no set place in which to observe the Passover, so it has reverted to being observed in the houses of the Jews in a modified form.  Sadly, as we read these modern-day comments on the ritual we can easily see that the confusion still reigns among them.

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Together with Shavuot ("Pentecost") and Sukkot ("Tabernacles"), Passover is one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace historically made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.[3]  Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men participate in public worship.[4][5]  .  .  .

In Israel, Passover is the seven-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, with the first and last days observed as legal holidays and as holy days involving abstention from work, special prayer services, and holiday meals; the intervening days are known as Chol HaMoed ("Weekdays of the Festival").  Diaspora Jews historically observed the festival for eight days, and most still do.  Reform and Reconstructionist Jews and Israeli Jews, wherever they are, usually observe the holiday over seven days.  The reason for this extra day is due to enactment of the Sages.  It is thought by many scholars that Jews outside of Israel could not be certain if their local calendars fully conformed to practice of the Temple at Jerusalem, so they added an extra day.  But as this practice only attaches to certain (major) holy days, others posit the extra day may have been added to accommodate people who had to travel long distances to participate in communal worship and ritual practices; or the practice may have evolved as a compromise between conflicting interpretations of Jewish Law regarding the calendar; or it may have evolved as a safety measure in areas where Jews were commonly in danger, so that their enemies would not be certain on which day to attack.[10]

Karaite Jews and Samaritans use different versions of the Jewish calendar, which are often out of sync with the modern Jewish calendar by one or two days.  In 2009, for example, Nisan 15 on the Jewish calendar used by Rabbinical Judaism corresponds to April 9.  On the calendars used by Karaites and Samaritans, Abib or Aviv 15 (as opposed to 'Nisan') corresponds to April 11 in 2009.  The Karaite and Samaritan Passovers are each one day long, followed by the six day Festival of Unleavened Bread – for a total of seven days.

According to Exodus 12:3 the Passover lamb must be separated on the "10th day of the Month" therefore, a full cycle of the moon must be observed to determine when to hold the Passover.  It cannot merely be held on the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.  It must be observed after the first New Moon after the Equinox, then count 10 days, and 14th, and 15th, then always the Passover falls on the Full Moon .  .  .

Main article: Korban Pesach

When the Temple in Jerusalem was standing, the focus of the Passover festival was the Passover sacrifice (Hebrew korban Pesach) also known as the "Paschal Lamb").  Every family large enough to completely consume a young lamb or wild goat was required to offer one for sacrifice at the Jewish Temple on the afternoon of the 14th day of Nisan,(Num 9:11) and eat it that night, which was the 15th of Nisan (Exodus 12:6).  If the family was too small to finish eating the entire offering in one sitting, an offering was made for a group of families.  The sacrifice could not be offered with anything leavened,(Exodus 23:18) and had to be roasted, without its head, feet, or inner organs being removed (Exodus 12:9) and eaten together with unleavened bread (matzo) and bitter herbs (maror) (Exodus 12:9  One had to be careful not to break any bones from the offering, (Exodus 12:46) and none of the meat could be left over by morning (Exodus 12:10Exodus 23:18).

Because of the Passover sacrifice's status as a sacred offering, the only people allowed to eat it were those who had the obligation to bring the offering.  Among those who could not offer or eat the Passover lamb were: An apostate (Exodus 12:43), a servant (Exodus 12:45), an uncircumcised man (Exodus 12:48), a person in a state of ritual impurity, except when a majority of Jews are in such a state (Pesahim 66b), and a non-Jew.  The offering had to be made before a quorum of 30 (Pesahim 64b).  In the Temple, the Levites sang Hallel while the priests performed the sacrificial service.  Men and women were equally obligated regarding the offering (Pesahim 91b).

Women were obligated, as men, to perform the Korban Pesach and to participate in a Seder.  .  .  .

Today, in the absence of the Temple, the mitzvah of the Korban Pesach is memorialized in the Seder Korban Pesach, recited in the afternoon of Nisan 14, and in the form of symbolic food placed on the Passover Seder Plate, which is usually a roasted shankbone.  The eating of the afikoman substitutes for the eating of the Korban Pesach at the end of the Seder meal (Mishnah Pesachim 119a).  Many Sephardi Jews have the custom of eating lamb or goat meat during the Seder in memory of the Korban Pesach.

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The Passover (which is really the “pass over”), commemorates the escape from the slavery of Egypt and is a picture of the believer’s escape from the bondage and death of sin.  Because it was the first of all the ceremonies required by the sanctuary service, and a picture of the new birth, Satan has taken a delight in either getting men to ignore it altogether, or to make it a relatively unimportant ritual outside of the courtyard.  To take its place in the gospel he has substituted as a SIN offering, the daily or continual BURNT offering of the lamb on the brass altar, which really represented the DEDICATION of the already attained NEW life!


For more, see also:





Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.


Next query. To be discussed from May 1st 2012,

Romans 3:10-12.

As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God’.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.   

1 John 3:7.

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.   


How can we reconcile these two apparently opposing texts?


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