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What Is John's Sequence of the Passion Week

In Bacon's article, "The Purpose of Mark's Gospel," at 51, we read:

"The Asian gospel [i.e., John] is Quartordeciman...making the sacrifice take place on 14 Nisan (not 15th as in Mark) at the hour prescribed by the Mosaic ritual. The Anointing of Bethany is dated not "two days" before the Passover, but "six days" before in order that it would coincide in the choosing of the lamb on the 10th of Nisan. The Resurrection and Ascension fall on the Day of First Fruits, 16th Nisan...."

In the Wikipedia article on Quartordecimanism (Nissan 14-ers), we read:

According to some interpretations, the Gospel of John (e.g., 19:1419:3119:42) implies that Nisan 14 was the day that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem.

John writes in 19:14 and 19:31

[14] It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. (NIV)

[31] Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

Some misunderstood "day of Preparation" to mean the day before the ordinary weekly Sabbath (our Saturday). And thus, they assumed Jesus was executed on Friday. But the mention of the "special Sabbath" mean to refer to Passover which was an annual / special extra day of Sabbath (unless it fell identically upon the weekly Sabbath). See Numbers 28:16-18 (Nissan 14 is start of Passover; Sabbath is the 15th, making the 14th a day of preparation for a high holy Sabbath, not the weekly Sabbath.)

One can see the issue indirectly in an article "Eve of Passover," Wikipedia (2013) which deals with how to handle when the "eve of Passover" (the day of preparation) falls on a Sabbath - where no work can be done. This complicated moving the preparation for the weekly Sabbath. For example, this article shows the moving interralationship between the Hebrew and Julian calendars -- the latter being our modern calendar in the West:

The Eve of Passover occurring on Shabbat is a relatively rare occurrence, falling on Shabbat less often than any other day of the week it possibly can. Other days of the week on which the Eve of Passover can occur include Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Thus, it is important to realize that the Good Friday celebration is erroneous. And the "Passover" meal being the last supper is equally erroneous. Instead, Jesus ate a meal 2 days (daylight periods - Gen. 1:5 "light he called day") prior to the Passover Sabbath -- that is on Nissan 13 -- when preparations of Passover would be made for its special Sabbath observance on the 15th (e.g., cleaning a house of leaven), and then Jesus was executed on Nissan 14 at the ninth hour (3 pm) -- which coincides with the slaying of the lambs required in Deut. 16:6, and then passover meals were eaten that night after sunset of the 14th and when Nissan 15 began. Then Jesus arose before sunrise on Nissan 18 -- our Sunday, making Jesus three days and three nights (but not a full 4th night) in the grave. Jesus was in the grave for the full duration of the nights of Nissan 15 (Wednesday night), Nissan 16 (Thursday night), and Nissan 17 (Friday night), but not the full Saturday night through morning / Nissan 18 -- rising before sunrise of the first day of the week; and Jesus was in the grave three days -- Nissan 16 (Thursday morning), Nissan 17 (Friday morning), and Nissan 18 (Saturday morning). 

 


 

When Is Passover? When is the Sacrifice for Passover?

In most versions (16 out of 17 at Biblios.com), Lev 23:5 reads:  'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Yahweh’sPassover.’ 

Likewise, Numbers 9:2-4 reads:

"Now, let the sons of Israel observe the Passover at its appointed time.  - 3  "On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall observe it at its appointed time; you shall observe it according to all its statutes and according to all its ordinances."  - 4  So Moses told the sons of Israel to observe the Passover.

What does twilight mean? According to Dictionary.com, it means:

 

twi·light  

 

/?tw??l?t/

 

Noun

1.      The soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun's rays from the atmosphere.

2.      The period of the evening during which this takes place, between daylight and darkness.

 

However, a friend of mine, Adam, takes a view that it begins prior to twilight:

He says Leviticus 23:5 says in Hebrew, transliterated:desh haRishon asar laChodesh ben haErebim pesach laYahweh

 

Translated literally Adam contend it reads:  “In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, between the eveningsis the Passover to Yahweh.”

Adam defends it means "between the evenings" (which he says as different than twilight) and explains why:

The Hebrew word ben (Strong’s # H996) means: “between” (see Gesenius’ Lexicon).  In the form here it is spelled differently than its lexical form  because it is in the construct (if you want more details on the construct form in the Hebrew language let me know, I will give you references in Gesenius’ Grammar and another grammar).

 

The Hebrew definite article is Xxx(with a dagesh forte in the following letter) ha.  In the case above there is no dagesh in the letter following the He because the Ayin (?) is a guttural letter.  Guttural letters in Hebrew reject all forms of the dagesh (let me know if you want grammatical references to that as well).  Because of this rule, the vowel under the definite article must change to accommodate the rejection of the dagesh, so it lengthens into a changeable long form of the same vowel class, hence ?? ha.

 

The definite article in Hebrew is never detached from the word it is modifying.  Therefore, the third word in the phrase isarebim.  Let me break down that word.  It is a derivative of the Hebrewerev (Strong’s # 6153).  According to Gesenius’ Lexicon it means “evening.”

So what is Adam's point of defending it means "between the evenings?"

Adam contends that if any part of the 14th is Passover, then all of it was -- even beginning the sunset before when the 13th waned and became the 14th -- and I do not agree with this... but let's listen:

So, all of the above was a very detailed breakdown to show one thing, the word “twilight” is an incorrect translation and shouldn’t be relied upon in any way, shape, or form.  Because you were taking the word “twilight” as being a literal and accurate rendering of the underlying Hebrew phrase, it has greatly skewed your opinion of what I believe, unfortunately.  I will definitely be more careful in the future when quoting scriptures to make sure they contain the true translations (as much as physically possible).  So, please forgive me for that.

 

Moving on…In the whole of the scriptures the “Day of Passover” is a complete day, 24 hours worth, no question.  The Master’s Supper, where the first Eucharist was given, was celebrated at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month.  That means thatafter sunset that ended the 13th of the month, in the nighttime hours of the 14th day (which is the beginning of that day since the days begin at sunset) Yeshua gave the emblems of his body and blood.  Throughout that evening they took the journey to Gethsemane, he was illegally tried at night, appeared before Pilate in the morning, and was crucified on the third hour of the day (9:00am) ON the 14th (still the Day of Passover).  To clarify the next part I need to quote another scripture:

 

Deuteronomy 16:5-6 (ASV) – “Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which Yahweh thy Elohim giveth thee; but at the place which Yahweh thy Elohim shall choose, to cause his name to dwell in, there thou shalt sacrifice thepassover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.”

 

The Passover lambs were to legally be slain at the going down of the sun, not after it went down.  When does the sun start going down in the sky?  From high noon through sunset the sun is going down.  If you need me to go into the details of the Hebrew of that verse as well please let me know, I am more than willing to.  Now, Josephus gives us a contemporary testimony as to when they sacrificed the Passover in the 1st century (i.e. the exact hours):

 

So these high priests, upon the coming of that feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh” (Wars of the Jews, l. 6, c. 9, s. 3)

I do not think it necessarily follows that "between the evenings" in Lev. 23:5 means anything important as to the name "Passover" belonging to all of the 14th of Nissan. Instead, it defines a point at which Passover begins sometime within the 14th of Nissan. Hence ,there is no way to find the entire "Day of Passover" is 24 hours.

Thus, if Jesus died before the "between the evenings" on the 14th and thus not on the Passover, I do not find it important. All that is spiritually important for us as Christians is that (a) John 19:31 is correct Jesus died on the "eve of Passover" and (b) under Deut. 16:5-6 the slaying of the lambs for the Passover feast is made on the "even" of Nissan 14th "at the going down of the sun" (which Lev. 23:5 says precedes when Passover starts at twilight) and per John's Gospel Jesus was slain right at the same point that the lambs are sacrificed for Passover -- Deut 16:5-6. Thus, if this sacrifice point is the same day of Passover, then John in His gospel is wrong to call this the "eve of Passover." Thus, I have let Adam's points be considered, but in the end, I go with the 17 of 18 translations of Lev. 23:5 that place Passover itself commending at twilight at the end of the 14th of Nissan. "Between the evenings" is an unclear alternative, and does not disprove "twiight" is not intended. And going with the predominant translation preserves John's Gospel. 

 

 

Passover Sacrifice Before Passover Begins

 The execution of the lambs takes place in the middle of the afternoon on the 14th as passover approaches.

John's account would line up with the time of sacrifice for Passover. Deuteronomy 16:6 (ASV) – “thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.”

In "When Does Passover Begin?" at HEBREW FOR CHRISTIANS, it explained somewhat differently when the lambs are slain: the afternoon of the 14th prior to commencment of Passover at sunset .

 

During the time of the Temple, zman shechitat korban Pesach (the time of the slaughter of the Passover lambs) was performed during the afternoon hours of Nisan 14, in observance of the commandment: "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings (i.e., bein ha-arbayim), is the Passover for the LORD" (Lev. 23:5). Note that the time of the lamb's sacrifice is described as "bein ha-arbayim," usually translated as "between the evenings" or "between the settings." To the sages, the "first setting" of the Sun occurred at the beginning of its descent after noon, and the "second setting" referred to sundown or twilight.  Hence "bein ha-arbayim" would mean sometime after noon but before twilight, or more simply, "the afternoon." 

The sacrifice of the Passover lambs on the afternoon of Nisan 14 agrees with Jewish Oral Law and tradition. As Maimonides wrote, "It is a positive commandment to slaughter the Korban Pesach on the fourteenth of Nisan after midday" (Hilchot Korban Pesach). There is some discussion among the sages, however, as to whether the sacrifice of the korban Pesach occurred before or after the second set of tamid (daily) offerings made at the Temple (Exod. 29:38-42, Num. 28:1-8). In general, however, most of the sages agreed with Maimonides who clearly stated: "The Korban Pesach is not slaughtered until after the Tamid of the afternoon." In other words, the slaughter of the Passover lambs occurred on the late afternoon of Nisan 14.

 

Twilight of the 14th / Night's Beginning of the 15th Commences Passover

In the Law, we learn when Passover commences:

Numbers 9:2-4  "Now, let the sons of Israel observe the Passover at its appointed time.  - 3  "On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall observe it at its appointed time; you shall observe it according to all its statutes and according to all its ordinances."  - 4  So Moses told the sons of Israel to observe the Passover.

 

 Adam, a colleague of mine, says this is a mistranslation.

The Passover lambs were to legally be slain at the going down of the sun, not after it went down.  When does the sun start going down in the sky?  From high noon through sunset the sun is going down.  If you need me to go into the details of the Hebrew of that verse as well please let me know, I am more than willing to.  Now, Josephus gives us a contemporary testimony as to when they sacrificed the Passover in the 1st century (i.e. the exact hours):

 

So these high priests, upon the coming of that feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh” (Wars of the Jews, l. 6, c. 9, s. 3)

 

 This statement from Josephus aligns perfectly with the Torah.  From the ninth hour (3:00pm) to the eleventh hour (5:00pm) thePassover lambs were slain.  When did Yeshua die?  The ninth hour (Matthew 27:46). 

 

Adam further complicates the chronology by asserting Jesus was crucified on the 14th.

I believe that Yeshua was crucified on what the whole of the scriptures call the “Day of Passover”, which is the 14th day of the first Biblical month,  Aviv.  This 14th day is from sunset to sunset, just as every other Biblical day is.  At the beginning of the 14thday of the month (which is the dark portion of it, since it begins at sunset), Yeshua had his last supper with his disciples.  The following morning (which is still the 14th day of the month) he was crucified at the third hour, around 9:00am.  Six hours later, at the ninth hour, when the Passover lambs were commanded to be slain “between the evenings,” and “at the going down of the sun,” Yeshua died as our Passover.