Commandment keeping believers should celebrate the Passover Service with the new covenant emblems of bread and wine no more than once a year; and then only at the divinely appointed time, which is the evening of the 14th Abib, the first month in the sacred calendar.
This article, however, is not about how often the Passover Service should be observed; rather it is about WHEN it should be observed. The Bible tells us that the Passover service should be held on the evening of the 14th day of Abib, the first month in the sacred calendar.
But some will ask:
When is the evening of the 14th Abib?
Is it the end of the 13th Abib?
Or is it the end of the 14th Abib?
These questions are not as odd as may first appear, because a day according to the scriptural way of reckoning begins and ends at sunset and not at midnight as in the popular civil calendar. Therefore the evening of the 14th Abib could be taken to mean:
In Genesis chapter 1 the first style of reckoning is used, for the record reads:
The evening and the morning were the first day, ... the evening and the morning were the second day... the evening and the morning were the third day...
You will notice in that chapter that the 'evening,'
the dark part of a day, came first: it started the day.
The 'morning' then followed. It would be incorrect,
however, to conclude that in Scripture this is the only style
of reckoning a day; because elsewhere we note that the 'evening'
of a day can also mean the 'end of the day.' For
example in Leviticus 23:32 the specifications for the Day
of Atonement (10th Ethanim) are given. Notice how the 10th
day is said to begin at the even (end) of the 9th
Obviously in this passage concerning the Day of Atonement (which is the 10th Ethanim) the phrase 'ninth day of the month at even' means the 'end' of the 9th day not its beginning. In other words the Day of Atonement begins in the evening (end) of the 9th day and continues to the evening (end) of the 10th day.
This style of reckoning the evening as the 'end of a day' differs from the one used in Genesis chapter 1. Another example where the evening of a day means its 'end' not its beginning is found in:
|Exodus 12:18-19||In the first month, on the 14th day of the month at even ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses.|
In this passage, like the one concerning the Day of Atonement, the term 'even' obviously refers
to the end of the day and not to its beginning. Why obviously? The answer is, because the 21st Abib is one of the
days of unleavened bread. It is the last day of
unleavened bread. It is a Feast day; so it must be included in
that seven day count. The 'even' in this instance must
therefore mean the end of 21st Abib and not
its beginning. Thus the seven days of unleavened bread are
to begin at the evening or end of the 14th
Abib and continue in unbroken succession until the
evening or end of the 21st Abib.
If the word 'even' in this passage were taken to mean the
beginning of the day, as reckoned in Genesis, then the
seven days of unleavened bread would begin at the end of
the 13th Abib and terminate seven days later at the
end of the 20th Abib. This would effectively
exclude the 21st Abib as a day of unleavened bread:
which is unacceptable; because we know from the Scripture quoted
above and from Lev.23:6-8 that the 21st Abib is the
last day of unleavened bread; so it must be included in the seven
day count. Therefore, to include the 21st Abib in the
seven day count, one must begin counting - as directed - from the end of the
14th Abib. No other sensible conclusion is possible.
In view of these facts we may affirm that the 'evening
of the 14th Abib' is the end of that
day; just as surely as we can affirm that the evening of the
9th Ethanim is the end of the 9th;
and the evening of the 21st Abib is the end
of the 21st. The Passover service, in other
words, should be held after the sunset which ends the 14th
Abib. This same evening ushers in the first day of unleavened
bread. Here is further proof of this fact from the New Testament.
These texts plainly state that the Saviour and his disciples kept that memorable Passover on the evening which ushered in the first day of unleavened bread. Their actions verify the fact that the Passover service is kept at the evening or end of the 14th Abib, because that is the evening which ushers in the first day of unleavened bread. The above texts could not possibly be referring to the end of the 13th Abib.
In conclusion we may say: the Passover service should be held in the evening (end) of the 14th Abib, just after the sunset which ushers in the first day of unleavened bread. This is the time the Saviour kept it in obedience to his Father's law. We would do well to follow his example.
THE PASSOVER NIGHT
After the Passover Service, believers should observe the Passover Night, a night of prayer and vigil.
|Exodus 12:42:||It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.|
PASSOVER IN THE SECOND MONTH
In exceptional circumstances the Passover Service you may be held on the 14th day of the second month. The passages which tell of this provision are Numbers 9:6-14; and 2 Chronicles 30: 2-15. See separate article concerning this.
I end here trusting that the Most High will bless you abundantly as you do His will by celebrating His festivals; bearing in mind at all times that each and every one commemorates His mightiest acts in the programme of our salvation.
In Messiah's Name
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