The Mystery of Passover:
Timing of Biblical Passover Meal Revealed
By Comparing Torah Requirements
In previous segments [see links below], we have seen what Messiah told us about Passover. We have also mentioned certain issues that tend to confuse Passover with the Feast of Unleavened, such as the popular tradition in Yahushua’s day, of calling the Feast of Unleavened by the name of Passover (See Luke 22:1).
In this segment, we will see some details of Passover revealed in Torah, as we compare certain features of Passover, to those of the Feast of Unleavened.
By observing the many differences between these two Feasts, we see a vivid contrast coming into view. From this contrast we can gain a new perspective on how Torah reveals—and confirms—the prescribed, exact timing for the Biblical Passover meal.
By observing the differences between these two Feasts, we can more easily see the separate and unique Torah requirements for each Feast, as well as the prophetic meaning and purpose of each.
It is only when we see these differences in the Scriptures, that we are better able to verify, and confirm, the words and examples of Yahushua Messiah, as He instructs us into the proper timing of the Feasts.
Brothers and Sisters, it is important that we see, and understand, the differences between these two Feasts. Throughout the Scriptures, we are warned not to mix some things with others. Because of the prophetic nature of those things that are not to be mixed, we should be careful not to mix or blend aspects of one Feast, with aspects of another.
We must cease mixing elements of Passover with elements of the Feast of Unleavened. It is only when we see the differences in the Feast requirements in the Scriptures, that we are better able to keep them separate.
In this writing we will first note some basic Scripture truths of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened, in order to understand the great importance of the Believers’ participation in Yahuweh’s Feasts.
We will then look at the differences between certain aspects of these Feasts, with Scripture references. We will then see from these Feast comparisons that Passover and the Feast of Unleavened are two separate Feasts, and that each feast has separate and unique requirements as to timing, location, and certain other details unique to each Feast.
Finally, we will show some of the prophetic pictures of some detailed aspects of each Feast, as newly-discovered ‘puzzle-pieces’ helping us to see the ‘bigger picture’ of the prophetic meaning of the Feasts. We will hold commentary to a minimum, so as not to detract from the great importance of these differences.
What Are Yahuweh’s Feasts?
As Born-Again Believers, it is of utmost importance that we understand what Yahuweh’s Feasts are, and how they fit into Yahuweh’s plan for the Believers. When we first put our faith in Messiah and repent of our sins, He gives us forgiveness, and makes us to become ‘Born-Again’ as one of His covenant children.
At the moment Messiah becomes ‘birthed’ within us, we become participants of His Everlasting Covenant (Hebrews 13:20), and we are made to be a part of His people called ‘Israel.’ At that moment, we begin our training as sons — and we are now expected to learn Father’s ways, and begin to live according to His instructions, His ‘House Rules’ for His family. This includes our participation in His Feasts, also known as His Festivals.
Each of Yahuweh’s Feasts [moedim or ‘appointed times’] are days in which Yahuweh has set aside to meet with His people. Our participation in His Feasts, both in a prophetic sense and in a practical sense, can be seen as vital ‘stepping-stones’ for His people to take, as a journey into His presence. This example of a journey is one sense in which the prophetic Passover Sacrifice, Yahushua Messiah Himself, can be seen as the ‘door’ or entrance into that journey.
The great importance of our active participation in Father’s Feast-days has not been fully realised by most Believers today. The Festivals of Yahuweh reveal Yahuweh’s overall plan for the restoration of mankind, and they reveal Father’s plan of redemption and salvation for His people.
As we begin to participate in Father’s Feast-days, He then begins to open-up our understanding of ‘things to come’ regarding the Body of Messiah. We might describe Passover as the ‘prophetic entrance’ to the journey Father’s Covenant people are to take, as they travel along the stepping-stones of participation in His Feast-days.
Since Passover and the Feast of Unleavened are among the first ‘stepping-stones’ of our journey along the Feasts, we will first look to see where each fits into the overall Festival Schedule, seen in Leviticus 23:1-44. From this we will notice a few basic truths about these Feast days:
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. (Leviticus 23:2)
In the above passage, we first notice that these are Yahuweh’s Feasts. Scripture does not present these as Jewish Feasts, for the term ‘Jewish’ denotes only the tribe of Judah, or Yahudah. Instead, these Feasts are for Yahuweh, and for all of His people, to whom He has given the nickname Israel! And as the apostle Paul explains (Romans 11:13-25), this includes all Believers — as both natural branches and wild branches, grafted-in to the commonwealth [citizenship] of Israel — because of their faith in Messiah Yahushua.
Let’s recall what these Feasts are:
These are the feasts [‘moed’] of the LORD, even holy convocations [‘miqra’ or assembly], which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:4-6)
In the above passage, we see that Passover and Unleavened are both moedim or ‘appointed times’ of Yahuweh, and they are both miqra or ‘convocations,’ commanded times of assembly for His people. These are times in which Yahuweh’s covenant people are to gather together to have fellowship with Him, and participate with Him in His Covenant blessings. These are times of keeping Father’s memorial Feasts, of hearing His words, and of rejoicing together.
From this Scripture passage as our introduction, we will now look at some similarities in the two Feasts, and then some differences between them. We will begin with the similarities:
Passover and Feast of Unleavened: Similarities
- Passover: A Feast or ‘appointed time’ [moed] (Lev 23:4-6)
- Unleavened: A Feast or ‘appointed time’ [moed] (Lev 23:4-6)
- Passover: A ‘Sacrificial Feast’ [chag] (Exodus 12:14a; 34:25)
- Unleavened: A ‘Sacrificial Feast’ [chag] (Exodus 34:18; 23:6)
- Passover: A ‘Convocation or gathering’ [miqra or assembly] (Lev 23:4-6)
- Unleavened: A ‘Convocation or gathering’ [miqra or assembly] (Lev 23:4-6)
With these similarities in mind, let us now look at some of the differences between them.
Passover and Feast of Unleavened: Differences
Different Days Specified
- Passover: The 14th day of the first month (Ex 12:6; Lev 23:5).
- Unleavened: The 15th through 21st day of the first month (Exodus 12:15-20; Lev 23:6-8).
- Passover: A work day. NOT a high Sabbath day, but is a preparation day, which is the day before a Sabbath [either a weekly Sabbath or a High Sabbath], in which all work and Sabbath preparations are made (Lev 23:5).
- Unleavened: NOT a work day. The first and 7th days are High Sabbath days; the 2nd through 6th are work days (Exodus 12:15-20; Lev 23:6-8).
Here we will show that the Feast requirements stated in Torah reveal many prophetic pictures of New Covenant truths. Our understanding of these truths, as expounded by Yahushua and His apostles in the New Testament writings, is greatly enhanced by seeing these prophetic truths revealed in Torah.
- Passover: The Feast of Passover speaks of Messiah, and the work of Messiah. The prophetic picture reveals that on Passover, it is the work of Messiah that is done—the work of providing the sacrifice. For the Believer, there is NO work to do, but to drink [the cup of] His Covenant with Him.
- The prophetic picture of Passover reveals the beginning of redemption and new life for the Believer. By simply taking Yahushua’s blood upon ourselves, He redeems us, and gives us forgiveness of sins and cleansing. As Believers, we begin our journey by repentance, and walking in obedience to His Word; by feeding upon the unleavened bread of His Word, while rejecting the leaven of doctrines of men; by feeding upon the bread of His presence, and by taking [the cup of] His Covenant in our mouths. When we eat the bread of His flesh, we proclaim the His death until He come; when we drink the wine of His blood, we proclaim His life, and drink of His Covenant.
- Unleavened: The Feast of Unleavened speaks of the Believer, and the work of the Believer. The 7-day duration of the Feast speaks of the lifetime of the Believer, in that it is the work of the Believer to live an unleavened life, a life of sincerity and truth. The first day of this Feast is a Sabbath Rest, picturing the Believer’s first obligation in his new life has already been completed, that of redemption by the Blood of Messiah our Passover. On this Sabbath day there is no work to be done on our part.
- The 2nd through 6th days speak of the remaining days of our lifetime, in which we are to labour to enter into His Rest. We are to feed upon the bread that is without leaven, as we go about making our calling and election sure.
- The seventh day of this Feast is also a Sabbath day. This day speaks of the completion of our course, a day in which our labouring to enter into His Rest is finished.
Let’s now look at the difference in sacrificial animals specified.
Different Sacrificial Animals Specified
- Passover: Sacrificial Animals are to be taken from among the sheep or the goats only (Exodus 12:5).
- Unleavened: Sacrificial Animals are to be taken from among the sheep or goats, but also from among the oxen and bullocks, from the flock or herd (Numbers 28:17-24; Num 15:3).
- Passover: These are all to be clean animals, but do NOT include working animals. This is a prophetic picture, in that the animal used is not a ‘working’ animal. This again tells us that the Passover sacrifice is of Messiah alone; and that there is NO work for the Believer to do.
- Unleavened: These are also to be clean animals, but these DO include working animals. This speaks to us of the work to be done by the Believer, and of the sacrifices to be offered to Yahuweh.
- The sacrifices offered by the Believer are the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, of righteousness and joy. It is the work of the Believer, however, that can be seen pictured in the various animals used for the Feast of Unleavened.
- The sacrificial animals to be offered for the Feast of Unleavened prefigure the work of the various ministries and offices of the Believers. They include the oxen that tread out the corn of Father’s Word, which is the work of preparing the necessary spiritual food.
- They include also the bullocks that plow the ground and sow the precious seed of the Word, which is the work of scattering the living Words of Messiah into prepared and ready soil, and the work of bringing in the harvest, as the harvest ripens, and becomes ready for the Master.
This distinction in types of sacrificial animals will help us to further identify and discern which Feast is being referred to in various Scripture passages.
Let’s now look at the difference in timing required for certain activities in the two Feasts.
Different Timing Required: Killing, Cooking, and Eating
Timing for Killing:
- Passover: To be killed on the 14th day of the first month, ‘at evening’ (Ex 12:6). The phrase, ‘at evening’ is the phrase beyn ha’arbayim, literally ‘in the midst of’ or between the evenings.
- This phrase beyn ha arbaiyim appears 11 times in Hebrew wording of the Scriptures [and in some English Literal versions], and may have several meanings depending on context. Five out of the 11 uses are related uniquely to Passover (Ex 12:6; Lev 23:5; Num 9:3, 5, 11); the other six uses are related to various non-Passover verses. This is a clue, telling us that this phrase is significant to Passover. Upon careful examination, we can find and study each of these phrases, and can arrive at the meaning of this phrase.
- Many have speculated as to the meaning of this phrase, between the evenings, as its meaning appears to be a key that unlocks the true timing of Passover. Most today, however, rely upon definitions given in various commentaries, Bibles, dictionaries, historical accounts, and upon religious traditions held by various groups. But what do the Scriptures tell us?
- As we look in the Scriptures, we recall that any proposed definition we might find must be subjected to the test of Scripture. To be true, any idea or definition must not be in contradiction to any of the Scriptures. We also understand that Scripture alone is able to define and interpret Scripture. We need not rely on traditions of men that contradict Scripture.
- If we disregard doctrines and traditions of men, and rely only on what the Scriptures say, here is what we see. First, we find from Bible examples alone, that the term ‘evening’ [ereb] refers to ‘sunset’ (Deut 16:6). We then see that the phrase ‘between the evenings’ is simply another way of saying ‘from evening to evening’ as used in (Lev 23:32), which teaches us plainly that this phrase means ‘from sunset-to-sunset,’ a period of approximately 24 hours.
- Thus we see the requirement for killing the Passover lamb is on the 14th day, from one sunset to the next. This unique timing specified for killing the Passover lamb can be seen as both a restriction [only the 14th] and an allowance [a full 24-hour period].
- This unique, 24-hour requirement not only specified that the lamb was to be killed at the start of the 14th day, as in Egypt—but it also made the one-time allowance for the killing of the Passover Lamb near the end of the 14th day, as in Jerusalem, when Messiah the Lamb of Yahuweh was Sacrificed.
- This now becomes the only scenario possible without any Scripture contradiction, because it links the original Passover in Egypt with Messiah’s Passover Sacrifice on the tree.
- Unleavened: To be killed each day, in preparation for the evening and morning sacrifices (Numbers 28:17-24; 1Kings 18:33-36).
- This requires that animals killed in preparation for the evening burnt offering sacrifice for the first day of the Feast of Unleavened, are to be killed on the afternoon of the 14th, in preparation for the evening sacrifice, beginning on the 15th at sunset. This is the burnt offering sacrifice of the Feast of Unleavened, as we observe in the example of Elijah (1Kings 18:31-36).
- We should note that the timing for killing and preparing the Feast of Unleavened sacrifices, overlaps and coincides with the end-of-day, one-time allowance for the sacrifice of Messiah as the Passover sacrifice— since we know that Yahushua was on the tree from the sixth to the ninth hour, and died sometime around the ninth hour (Mark 15:34-37; Luke 23:44-46). Perhaps many have thought that the Unleavened Sacrifices were Passover sacrifices, with the result that the true timing for Passover has been hidden, as a mystery.
- As we look at further differences below, we will gain more understanding, which will enable us to further confirm what we have seen thus far.
Timing for Cooking
- Passover: The Sacrifice is to be cooked in ‘that night’ prior to being eaten in ‘that night’ in the evening of the 14th day. This is the same night Yahuweh was to pass through, smiting all the first-born in the land of Egypt, all referring back to the night of the 14th (Exodus 12:6, 8, 12, 27).
- We know that the cooking of the sacrifice must take place before it is eaten. The timing for eating this sacrifice will be seen below.
- Unleavened: To be cooked ‘at even, at the going down of the sun,’ at the season <04150> [moed or ‘appointed time’] that thou camest forth out of Egypt (Deuteronomy 16:6).
- We know that the cooking of the sacrifice must take place before it is eaten. The timing for cooking the burnt offering sacrifice is after sunset, at the start of the 15th, when the burnt offering is to be made. The timing for eating this sacrifice will be seen below.
Timing for Eating
- Passover: The Sacrifice is to be eaten in ‘that night’ (v.8) referring to the time after sunset, the night or beginning part of the Biblical 14th day (v.6). This is the same night Yahuweh was to pass through on ‘this night’ (v.12) to smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, and execute judgment against their gods (Exodus 12:6, 8, 12, 27).
- The Scriptures state an important point—that not only the killing of the Passover sacrifice, but also the eating of it, is a part of the Passover memorial (Exodus 12:43, 44, 46).
- Furthermore, we know from Scripture that the eating of the Passover sacrifice must occur on the 14th day, simply because one of the Torah restrictions is that everything pertaining to Passover—all the rites and ceremonies [statutes, judgments, and rules] thereof— must be done on the 14th day of the first month (Numbers 9:3).
- We are also told that everything [every word and matter] of the Feasts of Yahuweh are to be performed, each in its own day (Leviticus 23:37).
- From these two passages alone, we know clearly that any sacrifices eaten after sunset at the start of the 15th are NOT Passover sacrifices related to the 14th day Passover, but are sacrifices pertaining to the Feast of the 15th day.
- We also note that the timing restrictions to kill the Passover sacrifice is separate and distinct from the timing restrictions to eat the Passover sacrifice. As we saw above, the killing of the Passover sacrifice must occur on the 14th day. We saw that the sacrifice must be killed at the start of the 14th, in order to eat the sacrifice on the night of the 14th. We also saw the one-time allowance for killing the Passover Sacrifice at the end of the 14th day. We saw that both scenarios for the killing are within the prescribed 14th day.
- The eating of the sacrifice must also take place on the 14th, but this must be done only at night—restricting the eating to the start of the 14th day! This Torah restriction gives us some valuable, further insight into Messiah’s Last Passover Supper.
- Unleavened: The Feast of Unleavened begins on the fifteenth day of the first month, at sunset marking the beginning part of the 15th. The burnt offering sacrifices required for the Feast of Unleavened are to be made in the first day of the Feast, which tells us that this is to occur only after sunset which marks the start of the fifteenth day. As we saw above, the killing and preparation of the animals for the burnt offering must be done in the hours before the burnt offering commences after sunset. Just as the burnt offering is made on the 15th, the eating of the burnt offering is likewise to be done on the 15th. (Lev 23:6; Numbers 28:17-24; Deut 16:6-7; 1Kings 18:33-36).
- From the many differences between Passover and Unleavened, as we shall see below, the passage in Deut 16:5-7 refers to the day Yahuweh brought Israel out of Egypt, as confirmed in Numbers 33:3. This refers to the day after the Passover, which is the 15th day, the Feast of Unleavened. We also see that this passage is one of many that refer to the sacrificial animal as ‘the passover,’ such as we see in (2Chron 30:17).
- We also note that since the burnt offering for the Feast of Unleavened is to be sacrificed at even, at the going down of the sun, at the start of the 15th day, the eating also must take place after sunset, at the start of the 15th day (Deut 16:6-7).
- After eating the burnt offering sacrifice for Unleavened, the people were told to return ‘in the morning’ to their tents. This further confirms that the eating of the burnt offering sacrifice occurred at night, but some time before the morning begins (Deut 16:7).
Let’s now look at the difference in required locations for certain activities of the two Feasts.
Different Locations Required: Killing, Cooking, and Eating
Location for Killing
- Passover: To be killed at …each and every house, of all the congregation of Israel (Exodus 12:7b, 47). This is to take place in all the houses of Israel. This includes private homes and dwellings, as well as borrowed or rented spaces within these dwellings. This IS a ‘family’ affair in the home, and is NOT a ‘public’ affair.
- The killing of the Passover sacrifice IS to be done by the common people, in each house. We should note here, that the location of Yahushua Messiah’s crucifixion was in the “house of His friends,” in Jerusalem, in the house of Judah (Zechariah 13:6).
- Unleavened: NOT to be killed at …each and every house… but only “at the place where Yahuweh shall choose…” (Deuteronomy 16:5-7). This is NOT a ‘family’ affair in the home, but IS a public affair, and is only to be done at the Tabernacle or Temple. The killing of the burnt offerings for the Feast of Unleavened is NOT to be done by the common people, but only by the Levites and priests, who are to kill and prepare the burnt offering sacrifices (2Chron 30:16).
Location for Cooking
- Passover: To be cooked at …each and every house, of all the congregation of Israel (Exodus 12:7b, 47). The location of the cooking is related to the location of the eating, which we will see below.
- Unleavened: NOT to be cooked at …each and every house… “not within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose…” (Deuteronomy 16:5-7).
- The location where Yahuweh places His name is the Tabernacle and the Temple (Deut 12:5,11), telling us this is to be a public gathering, and is not a family gathering in individual homes, as in Passover.
Manner of Cooking:
- Passover: The flesh of the Passover sacrifice is NOT to be boiled <01310> [cook, boil, seethe in water], but is only to be roasted <06748> with fire (Exodus 12:9).
- Unleavened: The flesh for the Feast of Unleavened sacrifice IS to be boiled<01310> [cook, boil, seethe in water], and can also be roasted with fire (Deut 16:7).
- This is another important difference. Note that the Passover sacrifice is NOT to be boiled<01310>, but only roasted <06748> with fire. But the portion of flesh of the sacrifice which is to be eaten, seen in (Deut 16:7), IS to be boiled<01310>. This difference tells us that the sacrifice seen in (Deut 16:7), is NOT the Passover sacrifice, but is for the Feast of Unleavened.
- In this passage however, we conclude that this sacrifice is called the passover [‘sacrificial animal’], as seen in (Num 28:17-24), but refers to the sacrificial animal used for the Feast of Unleavened.
- And so in these passages in (Deut 16:2-8), we see perhaps one of the earliest uses of the word ‘passover’ to refer to the sacrificial animal itself, which is to be killed for the Feast of Unleavened, just as we see in (2Chronicles 30:13-15). It is the many differences in the Feasts, including the location where the sacrifice is killed, and who is to kill the sacrifice, that help us to understand which Feast is being referred to.
Location for Eating
- Passover: To be eaten at …each and every house, of all the congregation of Israel (Exodus 12:7b,47).
- Unleavened: NOT to be eaten at …each and every house… but “…thou shalt roast <01310> [‘cook; roast; boil’] and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: (Deuteronomy 16:7a).
- As we notice the contrast seen here, we are given a pearl of great value. In the Exodus 12 passages above, notice that for Passover, the sacrifice is to be killed and eaten in each of the houses in which all the congregation of Israel live.
- In contrast, we see the 7-Day Feast of Unleavened (Deuteronomy 16:2-8). Here we see that these sacrifices are NOT to be killed, cooked or eaten at individual homes, as it is for Passover, but only in the place where Yahuweh shall choose to place His Name.
Perhaps the most telling contrast between the two Feasts, can be seen in the different requirements of sprinkling of the Blood.
Different Sprinkling of Blood Required
- Passover: The Blood of the Passover Sacrifice is to be put in a bason [the prophetic ‘cup’ of the Covenant] and then applied with hyssop [‘sprinkled’] onto the lintel and two side [door posts] of the door in each of the houses wherein they shall eat the sacrifice. This sprinkling was not limited to priests, but was to be done by those living in each household (Exodus 12:7, 22).
- Unleavened: The sacrifice for the Feast of Unleavened is to be a burnt offering, made by fire (Lev 23:6-8). The blood of the burnt offering sacrifice was to be sprinkled round about the altar, but was to be done only by the priests (2Chron 30:16).
- Passover: The prophetic Passover Lamb is seen here, and the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, and the sprinkling of the Blood onto the inward door-posts of the inner-man, as a sign or token of the Covenant.
- We are told that the blood on the Israelites’ door-posts protected each house from the judgment that fell upon Egypt. In the same way, the Blood of Messiah, when placed on the door-posts of the Believer’s heart, by faith in His blood, will protect each dwelling-place from the final judgment and destruction to come.
- Yahushua Messiah was our Passover Sacrifice, the Passover ‘Lamb which takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29; John 1:36). Because Messiah made this sacrifice of Himself on our behalf, we are now enabled to begin the Feast of Unleavened (1Cor 5:7-8), which speaks of a life to be lived in sincerity and truth. We are now to remain free of leaven, and are to continue our journey through our participation in the Feasts, the moedim of Yahuweh.
- Unleavened: We see that the Feast of Unleavened burnt offering sacrifice occurs only after the separate and distinct Passover Sacrifice has been made. Only after we have applied the Blood of Messiah, our Passover Sacrifice, to the door-posts of our heart, can we avert judgment and death.
- This first day of the Feast marks the beginning of a lifetime of living an unleavened life, a life lived in sincerity and Truth (1Co 5:7-8).
- Whereas Passover was the sacrifice Messiah made [on our behalf], the sacrifice of the Feast of Unleavened is a prophetic picture of the daily ‘burnt-offering’ that speaks of a living sacrifice that we as Believers are to make (Romans 12:1-2).
Let’s now see who may participate in the two Feasts.
Different Participants Allowed — Who May Observe
- Passover: Only Yahuweh’s Covenant People — Only the males who are circumcised (Exodus 12:48).
- Unleavened: Everyone — All males are to keep the Feast (Deut 16:16).
The contrast between these two Feasts can be seen in the prophetic picture.
- Passover: The prophetic picture tells us that only those who have become a part of Yahuweh’s Everlasting Covenant may participate in the Passover. These are they that have been Born-Again by faith in Messiah, and, as Scripture tells us, are those who identify themselves as participants in the killing of the Passover Sacrifice. It is these who have made a covenant with Yahuweh, as revealed in (Psalms 50:5).
- It is His covenant people who have sprinkled the Blood of the Sacrifice on the door-posts of their heart. It is these who may sit down to eat of the Passover meal.
- Only His Covenant people may eat the Passover sacrifice of His flesh (the unleavened bread) and drink [the cup of] Blood of His Covenant (Matt 25:27-28; Mark 14:23-24; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 13:20).
- Unleavened: We saw that only Yahuweh’s Covenant people may eat and drink of the Passover meal. All those who have shared the Passover meal may proceed to participate in the Feast of Unleavened, and in all the other Feasts.
- The Feast of Unleavened speaks prophetically of a lifetime of sincerity and truth (1Cor 5:7-8)], which requires that one first keep the prophetic meaning of Passover [become Born-Again, by faith in the Blood-sacrifice of Yahushua Messiah].
- Here we see a contrast. In order to keep the Feast of Unleavened, one must first observe the Feast of Passover. We might liken these restrictions to the entrance requirements for running in a race. If we desire to begin the race, we must first meet the entrance requirements, that allow us to enter the race.
Now we will notice the difference in memorials, and observe the different prophetic meanings of the two Feasts.
Different Memorials, Prophetic Meanings
- Passover: This is to be a memorial of the day Yahuweh executed judgment against all the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4); the day He smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, and delivered our houses (Exodus 12:12; Exodus 12:26-27).
- Unleavened: This is a memorial of the day Yahuweh brought our armies out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:17), a memorial so that we may “remember the day when [we] camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of [our] life” (Deu 16:3). This memorial is to be “between [our] eyes, that the LORD’S Torah may be in [our] mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought [us] out of Egypt” (Exodus 13:9).
- Passover: While we were still in Egypt, Yahuweh executed judgment against Pharaoh, and all his legions, and against all the firstborn of the land. It was through the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts, that Yahuweh spared His own Firstborn, and redeemed them (Exodus 4:22; Exodus 6:6; 2Sam 7:23).
- In the same way, while we were still in sin, Messiah became our Passover Lamb, when He shed His Blood for us, when He died for us [on our behalf] (Romans 5:8); and He has redeemed us from all iniquity (Luke 1:68; Titus 2:14)—even when we were still in sin.
- Unleavened: Yahuweh has led forth those whom He has redeemed (Exodus 15:13). Just as He led Israel out of Egypt, to be baptised in the cloud and in the sea (1Cor 10:1-2), in the same way He leads His people out of sin and bondage, to be free of the bondage of sin once and for all (1Pet 3:21).
- After Yahuweh led the Israelites to be ‘baptised’ as they crossed the Red Sea, Yahuweh then led His people through the wilderness, preparing them to enter the Promised Land. In the same way, Yahuweh is now leading His people in the same manner, into baptism, and then into the wilderness of our lifetime journey.
- It is in the wilderness that ‘The Way’ is prepared in our hearts (Isaiah 40:3; Luke 3:4). And so as we learn to allow Messiah-in-us to walk in His Way, Yahuweh is preparing us to enter the Land of Promise, the promised lot of our inheritance—just as He promised to do, as stated in the ‘fine print’ of His Everlasting Covenant.
We have seen the differences between the Feast of Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened. From these differences we have seen a great contrast, which allows us to accurately identify the various activities that occurred on the day of Messiah’s crucifixion, the day of Passover.
We see by these contrasts, that the Torah requirements, through its restrictions and allowances, does indeed confirm that Messiah’s last meal was the Passover meal. Again we confirm our earlier finding, that Yahushua did NOT break the Torah!
Yahushua did not lie, when He told His Disciples He would eat the Passover with them. Instead, He kept Torah by eating the Passover Feast at the beginning of the 14th. If Yahushua had disobeyed Torah in any way, He could not have been the sinless Passover Lamb.
Through studying these contrasts, we can now see another stark realisation. From many Scripture passages, we know that Yahushua’s death by crucifixion at the ninth hour (Mark 15:34) in Jerusalem was indeed the Passover sacrifice (John 1:29; John 1:36; 1Cor 5:7).
We have also seen above, that the Torah requirement for the timing of the Passover Sacrifice was from the start of the 14th day at sunset, to the end of the 14th day at sunset. The Passover Sacrifice is not to be eaten on the 15th, but only on the 14th, after sunset.
Since we know that Yahushua’s crucifixion was indeed the Passover sacrifice; and we saw that the one-time allowance for the timing of the Passover sacrifice extended all the way to sunset at the end of the 14th day — we now begin to realise that the timing of the Passover Sacrifice overlapped [and coincided with] the timing for the killing and preparation of the Feast of Unleavened sacrifices.
As we ponder this one-time ‘overlap’ in timing, we can not help but make this realisation: the public killing of the lambs [on the very day and hour of Yahushua’s Passover crucifixion], as we read of in various historical accounts, was for the prescribed sacrifices of the Feast of Unleavened!
For centuries we have thought that this was the public slaughter of Passover lambs; and from this error, we have allowed Tradition to rob us of the True timing of Passover!
This error also contains within it a Prophetic picture. Today, Rabbinic Tradition continues to reject Yahushua Messiah as the true Passover Lamb. As a result, they do not keep Passover, but only the Feast of Unleavened. The prophetic picture here is the picture of a people attempting to live an unleavened life without the prerequisite True Passover Sacrifice — the embodiment of a works-based religion.
And so many Messianic Believers today, while following Rabbinic tradition, actually ignore Messiah’s words concerning His keeping Passover with His Disciples. As a result, multitudes do not eat the bread nor drink the cup of the true Passover on the 14th day, choosing instead a man-made substitute born of tradition, mixed-in with the Feast of Unleavened.
As a result of ignoring Yahushua’s words regarding Passover, many today, Believers and non-Believers alike, continue to be blinded as to the timing of the True Passover. These do not observe the Passover on the 14th, but continue to observe the Feast of Unleavened on the 15th, which according to tradition, ‘…is called Passover.’
It is thus imperative that those wishing to honour Messiah in keeping the True Passover Feast, in accordance with the Scriptural timing, should re-examine each bit of evidence, in order to remove any foundations based on Tradition.
From the many differences Torah reveals regarding these two Feasts, we must conclude that the true Passover meal was not on the night marking the start of the 15th, but on the night of the 14th, at the beginning of the 14th day, when Messiah met with His disciples.
Yahuweh is now restoring all things — Yet the question remains:
Which Day will you choose:
The Day based on Truth — or The Day based on Tradition?
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Rev 3:3)