Is Passover Eaten on the annual Sabbath Day of 1st Day of Unfermented Cakes?

//Is Passover Eaten on the annual Sabbath Day of 1st Day of Unfermented Cakes?
Is Passover Eaten on the annual Sabbath Day of 1st Day of Unfermented Cakes? 2017-03-28T14:26:50+00:00

Jehovah’s Witnesses watchman Forums Watchman Forum Is Passover Eaten on the annual Sabbath Day of 1st Day of Unfermented Cakes?

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    First, let me note how truly delightful it is to have you discuss this Biblical and JW-related doctrines in this wonderful format you have, Mr. King. Since Passover is coming up, I’d thought I’d ask a question about your take on the day Passover is to be celebrated on, specifically, whether it is eaten on the 1st day of unfermented cakes?

    Here’s a basic description of the 7 days of unfermented cakes:

    Exodus 12:14 “‘This day will serve as a memorial for you, and you must celebrate it as a festival to Jehovah throughout your generations. As a lasting statute, you should celebrate it. 15 Seven days you are to eat unleavened bread. Yes, on the first day you are to remove the sourdough from your houses, because anyone eating what is leavened from the first day down to the seventh, that person must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you will hold a holy convention, and on the seventh day, another holy convention. No work is to be done on these days”

    This establishes two special sabbath days or “high sabbaths” as some refer to them. Tbhey are Jewish holidays celebrated as sabbath days. So during Passover week the Jews have two special sabbath days to celebrate, regardless of what day of the week these special sabbath days fall. These sabbath days occur on the 1st and on the 7th days of this Passover week. But note precisely what day of the month the first day begins:

    Exodus 12:18 “In the first month, on the 14th day of the month, in the evening, you are to eat unleavened bread until the 21st day of the month, in the evening.”

    So the 1st day of UFC begins on the 14th, in the evening. Of course, the Jewish sabbath day begins in the evening. Of course Passover is eaten in the evening of the 14th as well. The evening the Israelites eat the passover meal is the same night they leave Egypt, which is why this special day is celebrated and made a special holiday. Problem is the dating. Because later this same day there is supposed to be a solemn assembly to celebrate this event. However, that solemn assembly is not spoken of as occurring on the 14th, but the 15th:

    Lev 23:6 “‘On the 15th day of this month is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to Jehovah. Seven days you should eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day, you will observe a holy convention. You should not do any hard work. 8 But you are to present an offering made by fire to Jehovah for seven days. There will be a holy convention on the seventh day. You should not do any hard work.”

    So here we see a repeat of the two special sabbath days of Passover on the 1st and the 7th days, but the solemn assembly, which is held during the day occurs on the 15th, not the 14th.

    Now, this might seem like a conflict if the 1st day of UFC begins on the 14th in the evening but the solemn assembly his held on the 15th, when both events are supposed to occur on the same special sabbath day, the 1st day of UFC. But not if you consider Egyptian custom for changing the calendar date. The Egyptians changed their date at midnight just as we do today.

    Quoting from Insight vol. 1 p. 592 “The Hebrews were not the only ones who reckoned a day from evening to evening; the Phoenicians, Numidians, and Athenians also did so. The Babylonians, on the other hand, counted the day from sunrise to sunrise; while the Egyptians and the Romans reckoned it from midnight to midnight (as is commonly done today).”

    The issue here is, the Israelites were in Egypt and were used to the practice of changing the date at midnight, even though their sabbath days began in the evening. If so, then from sundown to midnight the date would still be considered the 14th, then after midnight it would officially become the 15th. That would explain why the Israelites would have the solemn assembly on the 15th but eat Passover on the 14th, both events occurring on the sabbath day of the 1st day of UFC.

    Another indication that the Israelites were customarily changing the date at midnight at this time is a reference to the day of atonement, which is celebrated on the 10th of the 7th month, but the actual sabbath day began on the “ninth in the evening.”

    Lev 23: ““27 However, on the tenth of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. You should observe a holy convention, and you must afflict yourselves… 32 It is a sabbath of complete rest for you, and you will afflict yourselves on the ninth of the month in the evening. You should observe your sabbath from evening to evening.”

    So in the case of the day of atonement, the holy convention is held on the 10th of the month, but the sabbath day begins on the ninth in the evening. This is perfectly explained if the Israelites at this time followed Egyptian custom of simply changing the date at midnight.

    In the case of Passover, however, this works if Passover ends by midnight, which it does. Midnight is when the angel of death arrives and there were strict instructions destroy all remains of the meal after “morning,” meaning after midnight. Referring to midnight as “morning” would be another indication at this time that the Israelites were changing the date at midnight, though beginning their sabbath day at sunset.

    So my question is: Do you and/or Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, understand or teach that Passover is eaten on the 1st day of UFC? That is, was the festival held on the 15th considered by you/them to be held on the following afternoon, some 12 to 15 hours after the Passover meal? Or a day and 12 to 15 hours later?

    I ask, because, per the Bible, the Israelites left Egypt shortly after they closed down the Passover meal, that very night. Numbers 33:3 says that the date they left Egypt was the 15th…

    Numbers 33:3 “They departed from Ramʹe·ses in the first month, on the 15th day of the month. On the very day after the Passover.”

    Of course, the crux of this issue resides in Jewish tradition. Apparently later Jewish tradition simply changed the date at sundown when the sabbath day began. In that case, the 14th would be calculated from sundown to sundown. That would mean the solemn assembly held on the 15th would not be held the same day as Passover is eaten, but the day after. This conflicts with what the Bible teaches. Of course, the logical understanding would be if you follow the newer tradition of changing the date at sundown, then obviously Passover would be eaten on the 15th, not the 14th. But if you follow the earlier Biblical and Egyptian custom of changing the date at midnight, then you could maintain that Passover is eaten on the 14th after sundown, but still on the special sabbath day of the 1st day of UFC. That, of course, means that just as the Israelites left shortly after Passover on the 15th, Jesus was likewise arrested around the same time shortly after Passobver on the 15th. That means Jesus was arrested on the 1st day of UFC, always a sabbath day.

    So could you please reflect or comment on why JWs teach Jesus died on Nisan 14th when he apparently was not even arrested until Nisan 15th? Thanks so much.


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