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#2.14 THE FIRST DAY OF THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD IS A SABBATH

This bible study uses the Hebrew Unicode font and is printable.

Greek Word Study on 4521 σάββατον sabbaton Sabbath.
Hebrew Word Study on 7676 שַׁבָּת shabbat Sabbath.
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#2.14 The Passover

Hebrew - Leviticus 23:4-5 - English
אֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי יִַהְוֶה מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר-תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם בְּמוֹעֲדָם. 4 These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.
בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר לַחֹדֶשׁ בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם: פֶּסַח לְיִַהְוֶה. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh's Passover.

Hebrew - Numbers 28:16 - English
וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ פֶּסַח לְיִַהְוֶה. 16 And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of Yahweh.

Note: The Passover was on the fourteenth of the first month, Nisan (called Abib before the Babylonian captivity). It was the day that the angel of death killed all the first born in Egypt, and passed over the children of Israel who displayed blood on their door posts (Exodus 12:7, 22). This was not said to be a "complete Sabbath" (Hb. שַׁבָּתוֹן , Htr. shabbatôn) but it was the day that the Passover lamb was killed (Exodus 12:6;  2 Chronicles 35:1;  Luke 22:7), the same day that "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:" (1 Corinthians 5:7). It was the day that they prepared for the feast of unleavened bread, the day before the special Sabbath on the fifteenth of the month, and it was called "the preparation" (Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31). Jesus died on the Passover, before the special Sabbath on the 15th, called "a high day" (John 19:31 KJV), and not before a weekly Sabbath.

#2.15 The feast of unleavened bread

LEVITICUS 23:1-8
1 And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of Yahweh, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh is the Sabbath1 of rest2, a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work in it: it is the Sabbath of Yahweh in all your dwellings.
4 These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.
5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh's Passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to Yahweh: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
7 In the first day you shall have a holy convocation: you shall do no servile work in it.
8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is a holy convocation: you shall do no servile work in it.

NUMBERS 28:16-18, 28:25
16 And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of Yahweh.
17 And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
18 In the first day shall be a holy convocation: you shall do no manner of servile work in it.
25 And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work.

Note 1: The point that we need to see here is that special days, which were counted as Sabbaths, were appointed for Israel to keep, and were separate from the regular weekly Sabbaths (Leviticus 23:3-8). These days were usually described using two particular phrases, "holy convocation" (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:24; 23:35-36; Numbers 28:18), and "you shall do no servile work" (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 16:29; 23:25; 23:35-36; Numbers 28:18). The same phrases are used to describe the regular weekly Sabbath (Leviticus 23:3). It is not said specifically in the Old Testament that the first day of the feast of unleavened bread was a Sabbath, but we can see that it was because it was described by these same two phrases (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:7; Numbers 28:18). In the New testament it is referred to as a Sabbath (Mark 16:1; John 19:31), and as it came on the same date every year, the fifteenth of the first month (Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17), then it would occur on a different day of the week every year. When it did not coincide with a regular weekly Sabbath, there would be two Sabbaths during that week. This is important for us to understand, because as we shall see, Jesus died on the day of the Passover, on 14th Nisan. It was the day before the feast day Sabbath on the 15th day of the first month, called "a high day" (John 19:31), and not before the regular weekly Sabbath.

Note 2: We need also to make a distinction between the Passover, which was the fourteenth day of the month, and the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, which was on the fifteenth day of the month. On the Passover they ate unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8; Numbers 9:11; Deuteronomy 16:3; Mark 14:12), and on the first day of the feast they ate unleavened bread (Exodus 12:15; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:15). The Passover was referred to as "a feast day" (Luke 2:41; John 6:4; 13:1), just as the first day of the feast was (Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17; Matthew 26:5; Mark 14:2). The difference is that the first day of the feast of unleavened bread was a special Sabbath, also called "a high day" (John 19:31 KJV, or literally, "great was that Sabbath day". However, the Passover is not described as a Sabbath, or a day of rest; if it had been Jesus could not have been crucified on that day (John 19:31).
So here is the conclusion so far. Jesus was crucified on the Passover, the fourteenth day of the first month, and had to be buried on that day because the next day was the feast of unleavened bread, a great Sabbath, and he could not remain on the cross that day, because as this bible study shows, the first day of the feast of unleavened bread is always a Sabbath.

A Diagrammatic Representation of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread

Leviticus 23:4-8 and Numbers 28:16-18, 28:25

If you would like a copy of this diagram in Word.doc 98-2003 format, then download it here in a zip file.

#2.16 The timing of the days

Hebrew - Leviticus 23:32 English
שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן הוּא לָכֶם וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם; בְּתִשְׁעָה לַחֹדֶשׁ בָּעֶרֶב מֵעֶרֶב עַד-עֶרֶב תִּשְׁבְּתוּ שַׁבַּתְּכֶם 32 It shall be to you a Sabbath1 of complete rest2, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, you shall keep your Sabbath1.

Note 1: The words for Sabbath1 (Hb. שַׁבַּת , Htr. shabbat) and complete rest2 (Hb. שַׁבָּתוֹן , Htr. shabbatôn) have been explained earlier (See #2.11 Note 1). The Jewish calendar works according to the lunar cycle, there being 12 cycles per year of 29 days each. This makes 12 months having alternately 30 and 29 days each, giving a total of 354 days in the year. There is also a thirteenth month, Veadar (which means "and Adar") or Adar Sheni (which means "second Adar"), which is added 7 times every 19 years, to render the average length of the year nearly correct, and to keep the seasons in the proper months. Every month begins with a new moon, and the sacred year starts with the first day of Nisan (formerly Abib) which variously occurs between our March 22nd and April 25th throughout the 19 year cycle.

Note 2: The timing of the Jewish day, is not from midnight to midnight like our days are, but from even to even (Leviticus 23:32), or sunset to sunset. At the Passover time of year, which we call Easter, it would probably be about 6 p.m. our time when their day starts. They describe their time either as hours of the day, or hours of the night, and as there are twelve hours in the day (John 11:9), then there are also twelve hours in the night. As the length of the day varies, so the length of their hour varies also. So we can find various expressions in scripture, such as, "the third hour of the day." (Acts 2:15), "the ninth hour of the day" (Acts 10:3), "the same hour of the night," (Acts 16:33), and "the third hour of the night;" (Acts 23:23), which all show how the bible writers recorded their time. So let us make a note of a typical day in Jewish time, around the Passover time of year, and compare it to our time for reference.

Jewish timeOur period of timeOur point of time
EvenEarly after 6 p.m.6 p.m.
The third hour of the night8 p.m. to 9 p.m.9 p.m.
The sixth hour of the night11 p.m. to MidnightMidnight
The ninth hour of the night2 a.m. to 3 a.m.3 a.m.
The twelfth hour of the night5 a.m. to 6 a.m.6 a.m.
The third hour of the day8 a.m. to 9 a.m.9 a.m.
The sixth hour of the day11 a.m. to MiddayMidday
The ninth hour of the day2 p.m. to 3 p.m.3 p.m.
EvenLate afternoon6 p.m.

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