• Eddie Rogers, Minister

True News 4 U — Passover 2020 — Part 6


Unleavened Bread Do We Eat It 7 Days Or 8 Days?


I had a discussion with a brother in Yeshua/Jesus about a year or so ago about how many days we eat Unleavened Bread. His understanding is that we eat Unleavened Bread for 7 days starting with the Passover meal and eating it up to the beginning of the 21st of Aviv (March/April). I jotted down a few notes as I watched his video teaching and he and I agree (1) that there is 24 hours between Passover and the first day of Unleavened Bread (2) we both agree that we eat Unleavened Bread at the Passover meal. I have put together 4 tables/Cases below with showing the different beliefs of what people understand on this topic. The two things noted above are shown via Case B and Case D below. In both Case C and Case D, we agree that we are to eat unleavened bread on both Passover and that there is 24 hours between Passover and the first day of Unleavened Bread. As you read thorough this article/teaching, I hope this will help validate, enlighten your understanding on the number of days we are to eat Unleavened Bread. So, the question is, Do we eat Unleavened Bread 7 days or 8 Days. Read on...


According to my brother in Yeshua/Jesus, the first day of eating unleavened bread is on Passover and then six more days which is into the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is shown in Case D below. He pointed out to me Exodus 12:18 which says: “In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.” (emphasis added, ESV) Based on what he shared with me, he has the understanding that we are to eat Unleavened Bread through the end of the 20th of Abib/Nisan (March/April) and not going into the 21st day of Abib/Nisan. The two key words in the above passage are “until” and “at evening,” which he understands to stop at the end of the 20th day of Abib/Nisan.


We will be taking a close look at when the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread starts and when it ends in this study. Below, you will see four different Cases of how the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are observed.


To help illustrate the timing of the beginning of each New Hebrew day in the below Cases, you will see in each Case below a vertical gray wide line. This vertical gray wide line represents the transition from one Hebrew day to the next Hebrew day known as ba erev. See Illustration A. Ba erev was defined in the document/teaching I sent to him just before Passover titled “Did Yeshua Keep The Last Passover New.” To save space here, I will not duplicate that info here. If you want this teaching, just click on the above title. It is a FREE downloadable PDF file. You are FREE to use it and pass it on to anyone. It is a tool to help better understand what YHWH has given us in His Absolute Written Word to do. The meaning/definition of this Hebrew term ba erev is covered in the above noted teaching. Ba Erev has a beginning and it has an ending. See Illustration B below. A Hebrew day ends at sunset when the sun has disappeared below earth’s horizon known as the end of Ba Erev. At the end of Ba Erev, it starts ben ha arbayim known as “between the two evenings, at dusk, between the decline of the sun and its setting, at twilight.” See Illustration C below.


Case A

In Case A above, we see where Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are observed at the beginning of the 15th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). This group of people have chosen to combine the Feast of Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This observance is typical of how the Jews observe their Passover even to this day. By the way, the Jews were observing Passover this way long before Yeshua/Jesus came. There are others in the Messianic/Hebrew Roots groups as well as some Christians who also observe their Passover at the same time that the Jews observe their Passover. Unleavened bread is eaten from the beginning of the 15th of Abib/Nisan to the end of the 21st of Abib/Nisan just before the 22nd day begins on the Hebrew calendar. This group counts eating unleavened bread with their Passover as the first day of eating unleavened bread.


Case B

In Case B above, we see that Passover is observed at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April) and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is observed at the beginning of the 15th of Abib/Nisan. Unleavened bread is also eaten with the Passover meal according to Exodus 12:8 “They shall eat the flesh that night [at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan], roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.” (comment added, ESV) This case is typical of how some Messianic/Hebrew Roots groups observe Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For the Feast of Unleavened Bread, unleavened bread is eaten starting at the first of the 15th of Abib/Nisan until the end of the 21st of Abib/Nisan (Exodus 12:15; 23:15; 34:18; Leviticus 23:6). It is eaten for seven full days until just before the 22nd day on the Hebrew calendar begins.


Case C

In Case C above, we see that Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are observed on the same day at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). This group of people have chosen to combine the Feast of Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This group of people consists of some Messianic/Hebrew Roots groups. Unleavened bread is also eaten with the Passover meal according to Exodus 12:8 “They shall eat the flesh that night [at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan], roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.” (comment added, ESV) Unleavened bread is eaten for seven days from the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan to the end of the 20th of Abib/Nisan just before the 21st day begins. This group counts eating unleavened bread with their Passover as the first day of eating unleavened bread.


Case D

In Case D above, we see that Passover is observed at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April) and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is observed at the beginning of the 15th of Abib/Nisan. Unleavened bread is also eaten with the Passover meal according to Exodus 12:8 “They shall eat the flesh that night [at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan], roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.” (comment added, ESV) This case is typical of how some Messianic/Hebrew Roots groups observe Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Unleavened bread is eaten for seven days starting at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan until the end of the 20th day just before the 21st day begins. The total number of days of eating unleavened bread is seven.


YHWH’s Commands for the Feast of Unleavened Bread


YHWH’s instructions for observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins in Exodus 12:15, following His command to keep the Passover as a separate Memorial feast. Let’s examine the commands for the Feast of Unleavened Bread:

15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; howbeit the first day ye shall [have] put away leaven out of your houses, for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you. 17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day [the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread] have I brought your hosts [armies] out of the land of Egypt; therefore shall ye observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even [Hebrew ba erev, “at sunset,” ending the Passover day and beginning the 15th], ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even [Hebrew ba erev, “at sunset,” ending the 21st day and beginning the 22nd]. 19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses; for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a sojourner, or one that is born in the land. 20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.”

(Exodus 12:15-20, comments and emphasis added, Jewish Publication Society of America, thus JPSA)


Fred R. Coulter accurately translates ba erev as “at sunset,” showing us that the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins immediately after the Passover day ends:

17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day [the 15th, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread] I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. 18 In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening [sunset ending the Passover day and beginning the 15th], you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening [or sunset ending the 21st day].”

(Exodus 12:17-18, comments added, ESV)


Some have erroneously equated the command in Exodus 12:6 to keep the Passover lambs “until the fourteenth” and then slaying them “at even” with the command we see in Exodus 12:18 which is to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread “on the fourteenth day of the month at even.” The wording of these two commands in the Hebrew text shows that they do not refer to the same time on the fourteenth. In Exodus 12:6, the words “at even” is translated from ben ha arbayim, which occurs at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). In Exodus 12:18, the words “at even” is translated from ba erev, and it refers to the end of the 14th at sunset. To better understand the term “at even,” we will look at a few different translations.


Exodus 12:6 at evenben ha arbayim

“and he [the Passover lamb] will exist (for) you (for) a charge until the <fourteen>th day to this new moon, and all the assembly of the company of “Yisra’el He turns El aside” will slay him [the Passover lamb] between the evenings,”

(AHRC-RMT, comments and emphasis added)[1]

[1] Ancient Hebrew Research Center-Revised Mechanical Translation.

“and ye shall keep it [the Passover lamb] until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at even.”

(American Standard Version, comment and emphasis added)

“You are to keep it [the Passover lamb] until the fourteenth day of the month, and then the entire assembly of the community of Isra’el will slaughter it at dusk.”

(Complete Jewish Bible, comment and emphasis added)

“And ye shall keep it [the Passover lamb] until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole congregation of the assembly of Israel shall kill it between the two evenings.”

(1889 Darby Bible, comment and emphasis added)

“And ye shall keep it [the Passover lamb] up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel shall kill it in the evening [between the decline of the sun and its setting].”

(E.W. Bullinger Companion Bible, comment and emphasis added)

“You are to keep it [the Passover lamb] until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight.”

(Holman Christian Standard Bible, comment and emphasis added)

“and ye shall keep it [the Passover lamb] unto the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at dusk.”

(Jewish Publication Society Bible, comment and emphasis added)

“And ye shall keepH1961 H4931 it [the Passover lamb] up untilH5704 the fourteenthH702 H6240 dayH3117 of the sameH2088 month:H2320 and the wholeH3605 assemblyH6951 of the congregationH5712 of IsraelH3478 shall killH7819 it inH996 the evening.H6153

(King James Version with Strong’s Numbers, comment and emphasis added)

“And it [the Passover lamb] shall be for you to keep until the fourteenth day of this month. And all the assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the evenings.”

(Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, comment and emphasis added)

“and ye shall keep it [the Passover lamb] up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at even.”

(Revised Version, comment and emphasis added)

“And you shall keep it [the Passover lamb] until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then all the assembly of the congregation of Yisra’ĕl shall kill it between the evenings.”

(The Scriptures (ISR) 1998 with Footnotes, comment and emphasis added)

“And ye shall keep it [the Passover lamb] until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

(1833 Webster Bible, comment and emphasis added)


We can see from the various translations above that the Passover lambs are to be slain at the end of ba erev which is the beginning of “ben ha arbayim.” See Illustration C above. Now to make sure that we are on the same page, we will need to take a close look at “ba erev.”

“And you shall keep it up until [Hebrew adH5704] the beginning of the fourteenth day of the same month. And [Hebrew waw] the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it between the two evenings [bēhnH996 hã arbayimH6153].

The actual meaning of the Hebrew waw in this context is equivalent to our English “when,” as John Joseph Owens has correctly translated it in his Analytical Key to the Old Testament, Volume 1. The Hebrew text views these two clauses joined by waw (“ye shall keep it...” and “the whole assembly...shall kill it...”) as a coordinated unit, which presents two aspects of the sacrifice as a simultaneous action—i.e., the lamb is to be kept until the fourteenth of Abib/Nisan (March/April) and it is to be slain at that time.

This timing is indisputable when we understand the use of the Qal verb in the Hebrew text. The Qal verb answers the question implicitly to this narrative: “When is Israel to kill the lamb?” The answer is: “They are to keep it up until the fourteenth, when [Hebrew waw] they are to kill it.” The structure of the Hebrew text shows us that these two aspects of the Passover are one and the same and they are not separated.


The “key” to understanding the commanded time for slaying the Passover lambs is the word “until.” The word “until” is translated from the Hebrew preposition ad/gadH5704. Like other Hebrew prepositions, ad/gad has both spatial (location) and temporal (time) sense. “The basic sense of the preposition [gad] is allative (movement toward) - terminative (movement up to)” (Waltke, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, p. 215).


The use of the preposition ad/gad expresses movement toward the 14th of Abib/Nisan. However, this movement does not extend into the fourteenth day, as the movement is terminated when the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April): “...until [עַד gad 5704, “up to”] the fourteenth day.” To place bēhn hã arbayim in the afternoon of the day forces an extension of eighteen hours (noon reckoning) to twenty-one hours (3 PM reckoning) into the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). This definition of bēhn hã arbayim violates the basic sense of ad/gad and it ignores the rules of Hebrew syntax.


The temporal sense of ad/gad marks time up to the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan at sunset, at which time the event is governed by the verb which must immediately take place. In this context, the event which was to take place at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan—immediately after sunset—was the killing of the Passover lambs during the time of bēhn hã arbayim. To place even one hour of time between the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan and the killing of the lambs violates the temporal sense of ad/gad as defined by Hebrew syntax.


The use of the preposition ad/gadH5704 in Exodus 12:6 is conclusive evidence that the killing of the Passover lambs took place immediately after sunset at the beginning of the fourteenth day in the Hebrew month of Abib/Nisan (March/April).


In Exodus 12:18, the words “at even” is translated from ba erev, and it refers to the end of the 14th at sunset.


Exodus 12:18


Now, we will take a closer look at Exodus 12:18.

“In the first month, on [b bãh] the fourteenth day of the month at sunset (KJV even) [bãh geh' revH6153], you shall eat unleavened bread, until [ad/gadH5704] the twenty-first day of the month at sunset (KJV even) bah geh 'revH6153].”

The phrase “on the fourteenth day of the month at even” is designating the end of the 14th day at sunset (bah geh'rev, or ba erev). The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins at sunset ending the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April) and it continues until sunset ending the 21st day of the month.


It is erroneous to equate the phrase “ON the fourteenth day of the month at even” in this verse with the command in Exodus 12:6 to keep the Passover lamb “UNTIL the fourteenth day” and slay it “in the evening.” The words “until” and “on” are translated from two different Hebrew prepositions and they do not have the same meaning. In addition to this, the words “in the evening” are translated in Exodus 12:6 from bēhn hã arbayim, whereas in the case of Exodus 12:18, the words “at even” is translated from bah geh'rev, or ba erev. Although arbayim is a form of the noun erev, and it is accordingly listed under the same reference number, these two phrases are not synonymous with one another. Bah geh'rev, or ba erev, is properly rendered “at sunset,” whereas behn ha arbayim is “literally” translated “between the two evenings,” or “between the setting-times,” and this denotes the time between sunset and dark.[2]


[2] See Brown, Driver, Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament.


The command we read about in Exodus 12:6 specifically specifies that the Passover lamb is to be kept “UNTIL the fourteenth day,” which designates the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). Now, when we look at the command in Exodus 12:18, it specifies that unleavened bread is to be eaten “ON the fourteenth day of the month at sunset (KJV even),” which designates the beginning of the 15th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). The only parallel that exists here in these two verses is in the second command in Exodus 12:18. It specifies that unleavened bread is to be eaten “UNTIL the twenty-first day of the month at sunset (KJV even).” As in Exodus 12:6, the word “until” is translated from the Hebrew preposition ad/gad, which denotes movement toward a specific point in time, and only up to that point (Waltke, p. 215). The word “Until” we see in Exodus 12:6 does not extend past the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April), nor does “until” in Exodus 12:18 extend past the beginning of the 22nd of Abib/Nisan.


The Scriptures make it explicitly clear that the Passover day and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are two separate feasts with two different meanings. The Passover day, the 14th day of the first month on the Hebrew calendar, was established as a Memorial Feast (Exodus 12:14) to commemorate YHWH’s passing over the houses of the children of Israel when they were in Egypt. The 15th day, which is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, YHWH established this day as a Memorial Feast (Exodus 13:9) to commemorate the Exodus of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt:

“And you shall observe [keep] the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this VERY [same] DAY I BROUGHT YOUR HOST [army] OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT…”

(Exodus 12:17, comments and emphasis added)


We know from Exodus 12:1-14 that it is talking about Passover. In verse 14, it says:

“This day [the 14th of Abib/Nisan] shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.”

(Exodus 12:14, comment and emphasis added, ESV)


Now, when we look at Exodus Chapter 13, we will also see that it is to be remembered like we just read in Exodus 12:14. In Exodus 13:3, it is written,

“Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day [the 15th of Abib/Nisan] in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.”

(Exodus 13:3, comment and emphasis added, ESV)


Since both Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are Memorial Feasts, they are not to be observed on the same day! The command YHWH has given us in Leviticus Chapter 23 confirms to us that Passover and the first day of Unleavened Bread have separate identities and times. Thus, they are not observed on the same day:

4 These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. 5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight [Hebrew ben ha arbayim, beginning immediately after sunset of the 13th], is the LORD’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day [beginning at sunset (ba erev) of the 14th] of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days [Notice that the reference here of eating unleavened bread for seven days is connected to the Feast of Unleavened Bread only. It is not including the unleavened bread that is eaten at Passover.] you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. 8 But you shall present a food offering to the LORD for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.”

(Leviticus 23:4-8, comments and emphasis added, ESV)


Again, when we read the Scriptures, it is obvious that Yahweh’s Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are indeed two separate Feasts. Consider the following:

5 on the first New-Moon, on the fourteenth after the New-Moon, between the setting-times (is) Passover to YHWH. 6 On the fifteenth day after this New-Moon (is) the pilgrimage-festival of matzot to YHWH: for seven days, matzot you are to eat!

(Leviticus 23:5-6, The Schocken Bible, Volume 1)

16 In the first New-Moon, on the fourteenth day after the New-Moon is Passover to YHWH. 17 And on the fifteenth say after this New-Moon: a pilgrimage-celebration! For seven days, matzot are to be eaten:”

(Numbers 28:16-17, The Schocken Bible, Volume 1)


It is contrary to Scripture to observe Passover on the 15th day of the first month, which begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is also contrary to Scripture to claim that the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 14th, as some do. The Jewish leaders will point us to Ezekiel 45:21, which can easily be misinterpreted as evidence for a combined feast, and it ignores other Scriptures which clearly contradict their belief. If the Jewish leaders and all others who take the time to carefully read this Scripture verse in Ezekiel, they would find that there is no sound basis whatsoever for them combining Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. These two Feasts are separate Feasts and they are to be observed on their respective days, according to what YHWH has commanded in His Absolute Written Word. We will now take the time to dive into Ezekiel 45:21 to see what it really says.


Ezekiel 45:21

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten.”

When we read this passage, it “appears” to indicate that the 14th day of the first month is both the Passover day and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Is this correct? This interpretation clearly contradicts YHWH’s command He gave us in Exodus Chapter 12, which clearly states that the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th. Exodus Chapter 12 also establishes for us the Feast of Unleavened Bread to be a seven-day observance, but Passover is only one day.


So, what does Ezekiel 45:21 really mean and what is it saying to us?


When we look at the King James translation of this verse, it is misleading us because it does not convey the division of thought that is expressed in the Hebrew text. There is an examination of this verse in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia which reveals that the verse is divided at the word פֶּסַח peh'saghH6453 (“passover”) by the atnah (ˆ), an accent mark which indicates the end of a thought. The atnah is part of an accent system that “… punctuates the Hebrew text and is therefore a very important feature in its syntactic analysis….This feature of Hebrew grammar is so important for understanding that medieval Jewish sources paid more attention to it than to establishing the correct pronunciation of words.”[3]


[3] An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax by Bruce K. Waltke, p. 29. Mr. Waltke explains the function of the accent system in the Hebrew text:

“Accents in the MT [Masoretic Text] are of two kinds: disjunctives and conjunctives. Disjunctive accents, euphemistically dubbed ‘lords’ by earlier scholars, mark the length of pauses from full stop to various shades of shorter pauses; conjunctives, dubbed ‘servants,’ control the text up to the disjunctive. According to W. Wickes’s comprehensive study of the accents, the disjunctives mark a continuous ‘dichotomy’ of the verse, that is, they divide larger units [of thought], beginning with the verse itself (marked off by silluq closing the verse), into successively smaller half-units on a syntactic (or logicosyntactic) basis. A unit ending with a disjunctive of one grade is divided into halves, and its halves in turn are divided into smaller units by other disjunctive signs until the whole verse is divided into single words, or groups of words joined by conjunctives. Israel Yeivin groups the major disjunctive accents as follows: ‘Generally atnah divides the verse, zaqef the verse halves, pashta or revia the unit ending with zaqef and so on.’ ”[4]

[4] An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax by Bruce K. Waltke, p. 29.


John Joseph Owens notes the use of the Hebrew atnah (ˆ) in his translation of Ezekiel 45:21 by showing a pause at the word “passover.” He parses Ezekiel 45:21 as follows:


“in the first month

on the fourteenth

day

of the month

you shall celebrate

the feast of the passover

(logical pause)

a feast

for seven days

unleavened bread

shall be eaten.”[5]

[5] Analytical Key to the Old Testament, Volume 4 by John Joseph Owens. The logical pause that is expressed by the Hebrew atnah (ˆ) divides the observance of Passover from the observance of the seven days Feast of Unleavened Bread. Thus, Ezekiel 45:21 does not support the “claim” that the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the Passover day.


YHWH did not combine Passover and the first day of Unleavened Bread. It was the Jewish leaders who changed the commandments of YHWH and they are the ones who combined the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread into what they call their Passover. In doing this, they have eliminated the observance of Passover on the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). Thus, the Jewish leaders are proclaiming the 15th of Abib/Nisan to be their Passover day which supports their erroneous teaching with an empty argument delaying the Passover by one “day.”


Because the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread begins the day after Passover, these two Feasts are often blurred together and they are called the eight days of Passover. In Luke 22:1, 7 the entire eight days were called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover7 Then came the day [the 14th of Abib/Nisan] of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.”

(Luke 22:1, 7, comment and emphasis added, ESV)


It is interesting what Luke pointed out in verse 7 above about associating the “day of Unleavened Bread” with the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. He makes this connection because in Exodus 12:8, it teaches us to eat unleavened bread with the Passover lamb.

They shall eat the flesh [Passover lamb] that night [at the beginning of the 14th of Abib], roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.”

Part of the error is historical. After Judah and Benjamin went into Babylonian exile by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, these two Israelite tribes combined what is known in the Bible as the Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


No one knows exactly when these two observances were combined, but what is known is that it happened during the Exile in Babylon. Israelites picked up a number of errors while they were under Babylonian influence, and the joining of Passover with the Feast of Unleavened Bread was one of them. Because of this error some believe Passover is also the first High Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


The Encyclopaedia Judaica confirms for us that Passover and the Feasts of Unleavened Bread were indeed two separate Feasts:

“The feast of Passover consists of two parts: The Passover ceremony and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the [Babylonian] exile they were combined,” Vol. 13, p. 169.

The book, The Torah, by W. Gunther Plaunt, corroborates, saying,

“The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread rituals were originally two separate observances which were combined sometime between the events of the Exodus and the redaction of the text” (p. 445).


Is the Feast of Passover a High Holy Day like the first and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread?


There are at least ten clear distinctions which separate Passover from being a High Sabbath or High Holy Day unlike the first and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Ten proofs are presented below to show that the Feast of Passover is not a High Holy day.


Proof #1:

The first proof that the Feast of Passover is a separate Memorial from the first and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread comes when Moses was told by YHWH that the Israelites cannot keep His Feast among the Egyptians. He emphasized twice to Pharaoh that he could not stay and hold a feast where Israel was living at that time in Egypt, in a region called Goshen:

“Afterward Moshe and Aharon came and said to Pharaoh: Thus says YHWH, the God of Israel: Send free my people, that they may hold-a-festival to me in the wilderness!”

(Exodus 5:1, The Schocken Bible, Volume 1)

25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land. 26 And Moses said, It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God: lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?”

(Exodus 8:25-26, KJV)


Moses knew that holding the Feast of Unleavened Bread among the Egyptians would be disastrous. First, YHWH prohibited it and second the Egyptians were notorious for animal worship. The Egyptians held sacred some of the same animals that Israel was required to sacrifice during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Moses realized this fact and he knew that by sacrificing these animals that he would be signing his own death warrant.


Among the animals the Egyptians worshiped were bulls and cows which they used to worship the god Hathor. They even venerated crops to honor Osiris, the god of vegetation and the maker of grain. Moses could not hold YHWH’s Feast among the Egyptians with all of the daily animal and meal offerings that were required of Israel during the Feast.


Moses told Pharaoh that it was not possible to hold a Feast to YHWH where they lived according to Exodus 8:26. Still, the Israelites kept the Passover there in Egypt. YHWH had commanded Israel to hold a feast to Him in the wilderness and not among the Egyptians. This changed when Pharaoh’s heart was hardened by YHWH and he would not let the Israelites go to the wilderness to have a feast unto YHWH. So, the Israelites wound up observing Passover in Egypt. Now, we will look at what is written in the book of Leviticus.

6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. 8 But you shall present a food offering to the LORD for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.”

(Leviticus 23:6-8, emphasis added, ESV)


We see from the above verses that (1) the Feast of Unleavened Bread is on the 15th of the first month (Abib/Nisan—March/April) (2) we see that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to be seven days long starting with the 15th being the first day (3) we see that food offerings are to be made for seven days during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. How then could Passover be the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread? If the Feast of Passover was counted/considered the first day of eating unleavened bread, then where in all of Scripture will we find any verses letting us know what was offered on Passover other than the Passover lamb? According to verse 8 above, food offerings were to be made and yet there are no Scriptures to validate that any offerings other than the Passover lamb was killed for Passover. It simply does not add up.


Proof #2:

Another difference between the two observances is the characteristic mood of each. The Passover symbolizes a day of suffering and pain, whereas the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a time of joy. Let us detail these differences.


Two major events contribute to the solemnity of Passover. First, Passover is the day that the death angel passed over Egypt destroying all firstborn of both man and beast. Second, this is the day that Yeshua our Savior was impaled on the torture stake for our sins.


The Feast of Unleavened Bread is memorable for one great event. It is the day on which the Israelites were freed to leave Egypt and they were no longer serving the Egyptians as slaves. Their harsh, brick-making days were over.


Proof #3:

A third reason that Passover could not be a High Holy Day is that there was only one sacrifice offered on Passover, while many sacrifices were commanded for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


In Numbers Chapter 28 YHWH commands Israel to offer various sacrifices during the Feast of Unleavened Bread:

17 and on the fifteenth day of this month [Abib/Nisan] is a festival. For seven days unleavened bread is eaten. 18 On the first day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. 19 And you shall bring near an offering made by fire as a burnt offering to YHWH: two young bulls and one ram, and seven lambs a year old, perfect ones they are for you, 20 and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil. Prepare three-tenths of an ĕphah for a bull, and two-tenths for a ram. 21 Prepare one-tenth of an ĕphah for each of the seven lambs, 22 and one goat as a sin offering, to make atonement for you. 23 Prepare these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering. 24 According to these you are to prepare the food of the offering made by fire daily for seven days, as a sweet fragrance to YHWH. It is prepared besides the continual burnt offering and its drink offering. 25 And on the seventh day you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.”

(Numbers 28:17-25, comments and emphasis added, The Scriptures translation)


As we can see from the above Scripture verses, it is an unmistakable command for additional offerings for all seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread to be offered. Nowhere in the whole Bible will we find these sacrifices commanded by YHWH or offered by Israel or any other people during the Feast of Passover. It simply does not exist.


How then could the Feast of Passover be the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread when there is no evidence of these other offerings being given on the Feast of Passover?


In addition, the unleavened bread that was eaten on the Feast of Passover specifically represents Yeshua’s sacrificed body He gave in His own death for us (Matthew 26:26). But the unleavened bread for the Feast of Unleavened Bread has a different meaning. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:8 that the unleavened bread of the Feast stands for “sincerity and truth.” Confusing these two meanings by combining the two observances perverts the different purpose and design for these unleavened symbols.


Proof #4:

A fourth fact is that the Feast of Passover is never called a Sabbath or High Holy Day anywhere in the entire whole Bible. In Exodus 12:25-26 and Exodus 13:5, we see where the Feast of Passover is called a “service.”


The Hebrew word for “service” is עֲבֹדָה ‛ăbôdâh עֲבוֹדָה ‛ăbôdâh Strong’s #H5656, and it is defined as “work of any kind.” How then could the Feast of Passover be a Sabbath when the Hebrew word that depicts the Passover means to engage in work? Work is strictly prohibited on a Sabbath or Feast High Day.


Proof #5:

A fifth and most often overlooked criterion for the Feast of Passover being a non-High Holy Day is that the Passover is referred to as a Preparation Day for the Feast in the New Testament.


In Mark 15:42-43, Joseph of Arimathaea asks for the body of Yeshua the day before the first High Sabbath/High Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread:

42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.” (emphasis added, ESV)

Yeshua was impaled on the day of Passover (14th of Abib/Nisan), which is called the Preparation Day, the day before the High Sabbath or the first High Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


Joseph of Arimathaea knew that he had to remove Yeshua’s body from the stake before sunset, which started the first High Sabbath or High Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


Another passage which validates the Passover being a day of preparation is Luke Chapter 23. In this passage Joseph of Arimathaea removed the body of Yeshua from the stake and prepared it for burial:

53 Then he [Joseph of Arimathaea] took it [the body of Yeshua] down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him [Yeshua] in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath [the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread] was beginning (Greek: dawning).”

(Luke 23:53-54, comments added, ESV)


During Yeshua’s time the 14th of Abib/Nisan was known as the Passover Preparation Day by the Jews while the High Sabbath or High Holy Day which is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was yet to come. The Hebrew word for Preparation is παρασκευή paraskeuē—Strong’s #G3904, “as if from G3903; meaning, readiness, preparation or prepare one self.” The day of Preparation is the Preparation Day for the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows the Feast of Passover YHWH established in Exodus Chapter 12.


The day of Passover (14th of Abib/Nisan) is a day to make ready for the Feast of Unleavened Bread by removing all leavening from one’s premises. Remember that Passover is also called a service, pertaining to work.


In Luke 23:54 the phrase “drew on” is ἐπιφώσκω epiphōskō—Strong’s #G2020. The literal meaning is “to begin to” or begin to dawn.” The High Holy Day was about to begin, not come to an end, after Yeshua’s body was taken down from the stake and put in the tomb.

55 And the women also, which came with him [Yeshua] from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments [the women were able to buy the needed spices and ointments on the 14th of Abib/Nisan because it was not a High Sabbath or High Holy Day]; and rested the sabbath day [the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which is a High Sabbath or High Holy Day] according to the commandment [see Exodus 12:16.]

(Luke 23:55-56, comments added, KJV)


If the women would not come to Yeshua’s tomb on the weekly Sabbath (Luke 23:56-24:1), how could Joseph of Arimathaea, a Jewish follower of Yeshua, literally work to take the body of Yeshua down from the stake and prepare it for burial on a High Sabbath or High Holy Day?


Proof #6:

A sixth distinction that eliminates the Feast of Passover from being a High Sabbath or High Holy day of the Feast is that the commandment of the Passover was only for the circumcised, while the Feast and Sabbaths were commanded for ALL in the household to observe, circumcised as well as uncircumcised.


In Exodus Chapter 12, YHWH commands all Israelites, including the uncircumcised stranger, to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread:

“For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.”

(Exodus 12:19, emphasis added, ESV)


YHWH says in Exodus Chapter 12 that no stranger or alien may partake of His Passover. All must be circumcised:

“And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it,”

(Exodus 12:43, emphasis added, ESV)


Proof #7:

A seventh factor that clearly separates the Feast of Passover from a High Sabbath or High Holy Day is the strict prohibition against working on the Sabbaths.


This regulation can be seen in two passages. In Exodus Chapter 20, we have the Fourth Commandment:

8 Remember the Sabbath day [this is referring to the weekly Sabbath] by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

(Exodus 20:8-11, comment added, ESV)


YHWH commanded no work whatsoever to be done on His Sabbath day. This command is the same for the High Holy Days of the Feast in passages found in Exodus Chapter 12 and Leviticus Chapter 23.


In Luke 23:26 Simon of Cyrene comes out of the country—a literal field—on Passover day. “And when they led him [Yeshua] away, they laid hold upon one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the stake, to bear it after [Yeshua].” (comments added, American Standard)


The Greek word for country in this passage is Strong’s #G68, agros. Strong’s defines agros as: “a field (as a drive for cattle): generally the country, specifically a farm, i.e. hamlet.” From agros, we get our word agriculture.


Here one of Yeshua’s own disciples comes out of the agros or field on Passover day, indicating that Simon was working in the fields on Passover day. Neither Simon nor any other disciple would have done this on a Sabbath or High Holy Day because of the strict prohibition against working on a High Holy Day.


Proof #8:

An eighth factor witnessing against the Feast of Passover being a High Holy Day is that no buying or selling is permitted on a High Holy Day. When Israel returned to Jerusalem under Nehemiah, Nehemiah commanded them not to buy or sell on YHWH’s Sabbath or High Holy Day:

“And if the peoples of the land bring in goods or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day…”

(Nehemiah 10:31, emphasis added, ESV)


We find an additional proof in John Chapter 13 when Yeshua dips the bread (“morsel,” not a slice of leavened bread) and gives it to Judas Iscariot, the one that was soon to betray him. Yeshua said,

26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he [Yeshua] had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he [Judas] had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.”

(John 13:26-30, comments added, ESV)


There are two key facts within the above passages. The first is Yeshua’s disciples acknowledged that the Feast of Unleavened Bread had not yet begun, because of their statement, “Buy what we need for the feast.” Yeshua and His disciples had started the Feast of Passover at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). The other fact being that the disciples knew that Judas had the moneybag in order to purchase supplies. This would have violated the commandment not to buy or sell on a High Holy Day or the weekly Sabbath. Do we really think Yeshua would have prompted His own disciple (Judas) to break YHWH’s Law if this Passover they were observing were a High Holy Day?


By Yeshua’s own instructions to Judas, He shows that the Passover they were observing was neither a Sabbath nor a High Holy Day. We will not find anywhere in the entire Bible where it is prohibited to buy or sell on Passover.


Proof #9:

A ninth fact is found in the Passover Seder service held by some Jews today. These Jews hold a Passover Seder on the 14th of Abib/Nisan to commemorate the Passover meal. This Passover Seder service consists of prescribed foods, each of which symbolizes some aspect of the first Passover the children of Israel had in Egypt. For example, they partake of horseradish, which signifies the bitterness of the first Passover. They also eat a blend of chopped nuts and apples, which symbolizes the building mortar used by the Israelites in building treasure cities for the Egyptians while they were in slavery in Egypt. Also during this Passover Memorial account, the story of the Exodus is retold and prayers of thanksgiving are offered to YHWH. The entire family always observes the Passover Seder service together.


What is interesting is that the Seder service is not a High Holy Day service, but a memorial on the 14th, just as was the first Passover in Egypt.


On the one hand some Jews today honor the 14th Passover by observing the Seder service as a Memorial, but at the same time, they hold Passover on the 15th of Abib. Clearly, we see a blending of the true Passover on the 14th with a tradition of keeping the 15th Passover that emerged from their Babylonian captivity.


Proof #10:

A tenth reason why Passover is not a High Holy Day or the first day of the Feast may be found in two passages contained in Matthew 26:5 and Mark 14:2:

1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

(Matthew 26:1-5, emphasis added, ESV)

1 It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, 2 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”

(Mark 14:1-2, emphasis added, ESV)


We can see that the Jewish religious authorities were planning to take and kill Yeshua, but they knew that it would not be possible to do so on a Feast day, for that was against the Law of Moses. Therefore, they knew that He had to be taken and killed before the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Instead, they accomplished their deeds on the Feast of Passover itself, proving that it was not a High Sabbath or High Holy Day.


A Quick Review of the Facts:


The Feast of Passover is commanded to start at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan, at dusk, while the Feast of Unleavened Bread comes at the beginning of the 15th of Abib/Nisan (March/April). The Feast of Passover is a Memorial which separates it from the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The ten proofs have been presented above, which offers unmistakable proof that the Feast of Passover is not a High Holy Day. Recap:


  1. YHWH said Israel could not keep a Feast among the Egyptians; they were able to keep the Passover in Goshen because it was not a Feast. Passover is a Memorial service of the death angel’s Passing over as well as the death of Yeshua under the New Covenant.

  2. Passover is a time of pain and suffering; whereas the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a time of joyful celebration of freedom.

  3. Passover had only one sacrificial offering, while each day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread had many commanded sacrifices.

  4. The unleavened bread of the Passover service has a different meaning and significance from the unleavened bread that was eaten each day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

  5. Work was done on the Passover day; work was prohibited on the High Holy Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

  6. Only the circumcised could observe Passover; all were commanded to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

  7. Passover is never called a High Holy Day or Sabbath. Rather, it is called the Preparation Day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

  8. Buying and selling was done on Passover day; buying and selling was prohibited on all Feast High Holy Days.

  9. The Passover Seder at the beginning of the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April) is a throwback to the true Pass-over and it is not a High Holy Day.

  10. The Jewish leaders would not take and kill Yeshua on a High Holy Day, but they did do so on the Passover.


Our desire should be to keep the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread properly as commanded in the Scriptures. If we take all the evidence into consideration, we are left with only one conclusion: Passover is on the 14th, the Feast of Unleavened begins with a High Holy Day on the 15th.


CONCLUSION


It is clear that Passover is on the 14th of Abib/Nisan (March/April), while the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th of Abib/Nisan and it advances through the end of the 21st day of Abib/Nisan, making a seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. Unleavened bread is eaten for a total of eight days—Passover and the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover is not a High Holy Day.


I hope this teaching has been informative and educational. I have tried to present this teaching in such a way to provide sufficient evidence to prove the conclusion noted above.


Shalom,

Eddie Rogers, Minister

Torah-Truths.com




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