I have been both humbled and challenged by the topic of Passover this year. I am always telling people that we need to set aside our preconceived ideas and let the Bible speak for itself. We need to let the Bible interpret itself and stop trying to force it to fit our dogmas. However, this year I realized that I have been looking at the events of the crucifixion week through a lens of dogmatic interpretation, instead of simply believing what the Bible says.
I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and I was trying so hard to get it to fit that I began to round off the edges in a stubborn attempt to uphold my assumptions.
There were 4 basic assumptions that were affecting my understanding of these events.
- I assumed the Church was wrong about a Friday crucifixion.
- I assumed the sign of Jonah required 72 hours in the grave.
- I assumed that Yeshua had to die at the same time as the Passover lambs to be our Passover.
- And because of these assumptions, I also assumed a Wednesday crucifixion was correct.
However, these assumptions were requiring me to ignore and distort a number of verses in the Gospels to fit my preconceived ideas. But, my desire is to be honest with the Biblical text, and I don’t want to be guilty of ignoring or dismissing anything in the Bible. It’s easy for us to get an idea in our head and then modify our understanding of the text to fit our theory. I am trying to set aside any preconceived ideas that I might have, and understand what the Bible is telling us. As a result, I have been forced to take another look at the crucifixion timeline, and I invite you to do the same.
The Wednesday crucifixion requires us to ignore these facts. The Wednesday crucifixion also casts doubt about the Last Supper being Passover, which in turn forces us to ignore, dismiss, or twist the text to fit our theory.
If we simply let the Bible interpret itself, we have no need to speculate about these things, and we have no need to invent theories to try to explain why the Bible says things that seem to contradict our dogmas.
The Gospels tell us that on the first day of Unleavened Bread Yeshua told His disciples to prepare the Passover so that He could eat it with them. This was the preparation day for Passover.
“Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Yahshua, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I WILL KEEP THE PASSOVER AT THY HOUSE with my disciples. And the disciples did as Yahshua had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover.”
– Matthew 26:17-19
“And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover? And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, WHERE I SHALL EAT THE PASSOVER WITH MY DISCIPLES? And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover.”
– Mark 14:12-16
“Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I SHALL EAT THE PASSOVER WITH MY DISCIPLES? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of Yahweh. ”
– Luke 22:7-16
Here we have three witnesses who testify that Yeshua ate the Passover with His disciples at that house. There is no reason to question this. This is firmly established in Scripture. There is no reason to try to reinterpret it. Yeshua ate the Passover with His disciples. Then, later that night, after they ate the Passover, He was arrested and placed on trial.
Then the Gospels tell us that on the preparation day for the Sabbath He was crucified. This cannot be the preparation day for Passover because Yeshua and the disciples just ate the Passover. Therefore, this had to be the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath.
“And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath”
– Mark 15:42
“And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
– Luke 23:53-56
“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the stake on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”
– John 19:31
John says it was the preparation day “of” the Passover, which simply indicates that it was the preparation day for the Sabbath during Passover week. He was basically saying it is the Friday during the Passover celebration.
“And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!”
– John 19:14
Finally, after the Sabbath was passed, He was resurrected, on the first day of the week, and the Gospels tell us this was the third day, thus fulfilling the sign of Jonah.
“But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.”
– Luke 24:21
Yeshua ate Passover with His disciples on Thursday night, and He said for them to “do this in remembrance of Him.” He died on Friday, the preparation for the Sabbath, completing the work He came to do, and said “it is finished”, echoing back to the creation week when Yahweh finished His work on the 6th day and rested on the Sabbath.
He died on Friday, the preparation for the Sabbath, completing the work He came to do, and said “it is finished”, echoing back to the creation week when Yahweh finished His work on the 6th day and rested on the Sabbath. After resting on the Sabbath, Yeshua rose from the dead, on the third day, as the FirstFruits of the resurrection.
After resting on the Sabbath, Yeshua rose from the dead, on the third day, as the FirstFruits of the resurrection.
When we let the Bible interpret itself, then all of the pieces line up and there is no reason to doubt or question anything.
The Bible explains the sign of Jonah, saying that He rose on Sunday, the third day since His crucifixion on Friday. The Bible never says it had to be 72 hours. If He had died on Wednesday then Sunday would have been the 4th or 5th day depending on if you count Wednesday as day 1, or if you wait to count Thursday as day 1. In either case, Sunday would not be the third day.
The Bible explains that Yeshua died on the preparation day for the Sabbath. To say He died on Wednesday, then we have to say that He died on the preparation for Passover, which would mean He could not have eaten Passover with His disciples the night before. So, to hold that view, we must either ignore the fact that the Last Supper was Passover, or we have to invent theories to twist the Scriptures into saying something else.
Paul said that Yeshua is our Passover, but that does not mean He had to die at the exact moment the lambs were being killed for Passover. He was killed at the time of Passover, during the week of Passover, but more importantly, it was the function of His death that is important. His death was like that of the Passover because His death brings us freedom from bondage. The Bible also compares His death to the Yom Kippur atonement sacrifice, but He did not die on Yom Kippur. The only way this makes sense is if we look at the function and not be dogmatic about the exact timing.
I agree that we need to reject unbiblical doctrines and traditions. However, we need to make sure we are not creating our own new dogmas that are not based on Scripture.