Bread of Affliction
Feasts Show Redemption Plan
The previous lesson showed us that Yahshua as our Passover sacrifice took the penalty of sin as prescribed in the law and paid with his life. He died because you broke Yahweh's law. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of Yahweh," Paul wrote in Romans 3:23. Sin is the transgression of the law, 1 John 3:4. And what results from sin? Death, Romans 6:23.
Only the Savior could have been the perfect sacrifice for you and me because only He remained sinless. The death penalty of the law was satisfied with the giving of His life so that we are not all automatically condemned to everlasting death if we accept His sacrifice. By acknowledging His blood to wipe out our sin, repenting, and then living in obedience as He did, we also can find everlasting life.
The law stands after the death of the Savior because He did not come to abolish it, as may teach. He came to "fulfill" the law, meaning to observe it totally, Matthew 5:17. He said not even the smallest letter or punctuation point would be dropped from the law so long as heaven and earth stand, verse 18.
Following the Passover observance, Leviticus 23 teaches that the next seven days are called the Days of Unleavened Bread. This is found in both the 12th and 13th chapters of Exodus. The lesson to be learned is that after accepting the shed blood of Yahshua the Messiah, we are to live a life free of sin.
The purpose of the holy days is to keep the believer constantly aware of the understanding of Yahweh's great plan of redemption on this earth. We are offered an opportunity for spiritual growth separate from the cares of the world. We gather in fellowship with others also striving for the Kingdom. Historically when man has forgotten Yahweh's holy times, he inevitably has fallen into gross error and then into idolatry. Without the knowledge of the holy purpose of Yahweh, mankind soon becomes perverted in his thinking and life.
Because nominal Christianity ignores these special times, they believe this is the only day of salvation,. Christianity pictures Yahweh and Satan locked in a gigantic battle for the minds of mankind in which Satan is clearly emerging the victor over all the world. If the purpose of our Creator is to save the world today, Satan has already won the battle.
While some people question whether the Messiah kept the Passover, it is quite evident that He fulfilled all the Old Covenant laws that included the Feast Days of Leviticus 23. Note the following verses in which the Messiah and the disciples prepared to keep the Passover: Matthew 26:17-18; Mark 14:13-26; Luke 22:7-30 and John 13.
The entire seven Days of Unleavened Bread are a memorial of the deliverance of ancient Israel from Egypt. They remind us that we should not stop with the commemoration of the Savior's death, but should continue toward perfection and put false doctrine and error out of our lives. "Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Messiah, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward Yahweh," Hebrews 6:1.
Passover pictures the forgiveness of sins that are past (Romans 3:25), while the Feast of Unleavened Bread portrays coming out of sin by leaving the world behind and following the ways of Yahweh.
Leaven as Doctrines
Many teach that leaven typifies sin; that it "puffs up" as in vanity and pride. They teach that leaven represents sin, wickedness and corruption. That it is something to be avoided.
However, if leaven typifies sin, then we should never eat it. We would not be ingesting sin into our body, but would be careful to avoid leaven at all costs.
Furthermore, in Leviticus 23:17 we see that Israel was commanded to bring two wave loaves made with leaven as a wave offering to Yahweh on the day of Firstfruits. The leavened bread was to be made with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest and to be waved before Yahweh as a wave-offering.
A token harvest of grain was garnered to make flour for baking the two wave loaves which were then offered to Yahweh as a special firstfruits offering so that He would bless the remainder of the harvest. The two wave loaves were baked with leaven and then offered with the two lambs to Yahweh as an offering to Yahweh.
Yahshua gave the example of a woman who hid leaven in three measures of meal until all was leavened, Matthew 13:33. He said the Kingdom of the heavens was like this example. If leaven is sin, why would it be hidden in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened? Does Yahweh's Kingdom countenance sin?
In Mathew 16:6, Yahshua warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Not comprehending His words, the disciples thought He meant they had no bread. After a few more words, they came to understand. "Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees," verse 12.
Obviously, leaven represents a growing or spreading process. In a short time, leaven permeates the whole lump. We are told that we are to use the Unleavened Bread of sincerity and truth in 1 Corinthians 5:8. At the beginning of each new year when we keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread we are to do so in a new way, with new bread. The old leaven is to be discarded and removed.
First we entertain the idea or thought. Then we think of actually doing it, and finally we try it. The thought can be good or bad. During the Days of Unleavened Bread we are to get rid of all that offends and fill our mind with the good things of Yahshua so that we no more fall into the trap of doing what we know is wrong. After being forgiven of past sins, we no longer walk in them.
If we understand that leaven symbolizes doctrine, then we can see that each year we are to have a spring housecleaning of our spiritual life. All of our concepts and ideas are examined in the light of the Bible. Any false doctrines are to be discarded as we feed on the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
As we review those spiritual concepts, we assimilate truth back into our life. We feed on the pure bread, the unleavened bread of Yahshua the Messiah, John 6:48-51.
By keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread every year, we are reminded of the power sin has over our lives. We realize how easy it is in our permissive society to fall into the habit of breaking Yahweh's law without consciously doing so.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread gives us time for self-examination. For seven days we root out as much error as humanly possible and rely on the power of Yahweh's spirit to put in our hearts and minds the desire to serve Him sincerely and honestly. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness," 1John 1:9.
Days of Unleavened Bread Help Eliminate Sin
A child of Yahweh must accept the sacrifice of the Savior for his sins as one of the first steps of salvation, according to Yahweh's Word. Many churches have a service in which they distribute the emblems of the Savior's shed blood and broken body daily (known as the mass) or do so either every Sunday, once a month or quarterly. It is also known as the Eucharist, Lord's Supper, Memorial, etc.
The proper time for Passover to be celebrated is when the earth again comes to live, that month in which the green ears of barley appear in the area around Jerusalem. We look to Jerusalem to establish the correct time of year for the seasons so that we are in harmony with this city of the Great King. We cannot look in our own back yard because those in Australia and the southern hemisphere have their seasons opposite ours.
The Bible teaches that Passover should be taken once a year in the month of green ears, known in the Bible as "Abib" or "Nisan." At that time, we recall the death angel's passing over the firstborn of Israel who had applied the blood to their doors and were spared. We also recall the suffering and death of Yahshua the Messiah so that we also might have life, eternal life in Him.
However, once we have accepted the shed blood of the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world, we are to do more. We are to forsake sin and go on to perfection. We are to do more than merely take the emblems of His shed blood and broken body, but are to rid our life of our sinful ways that made it necessary for the Savior to die.
Let us now look into the Bible to see how the Days of Unleavened Bread help eliminate those sins that required the life of our Savior. We must never again return to the sins from which Yahshua redeemed us with His shed blood.
Feast Is a Command Forever
- Does the writer of Hebrews warn us not to become disobedient through unbelief, as did ancient Israel? Was it because they lacked the necessary faith to act on Yahweh's Word? Hebrews 4:1-2.
- What does Paul say about the example given us of Israel's coming out of slavery? 1 Corinthians 10:1,6.
NOTE: Lust or coveting is forbidden in the commandments. Therefore, we are not to sin by following the ways of the world, but to be obedient to Yahweh and walk in His paths.
- Exodus 12 gives the account of Israel. Note verses 1-4. They were to keep the Passover as a Feast to Yahweh throughout their generations and to do so forever, verse 14. Were they to stop with the Passover? Verses 15-20.
- Were the Days of Unleavened Bread given before Israel left Egypt or afterwards? Verses 17-19.
NOTE: Both Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread were given even before Israel had left Egypt as we have seen in Exodus 12. Exodus 40:17 records the rearing up of the Tabernacle. Leviticus 1:1 shows that Yahweh spoke to Moses from the tent of meeting where He established the Levitical worship. Both Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread were already set.
- Did Israel receive the law of sacrifices and offerings before they left Egypt? Jeremiah 7:22.
NOTE: Israel was told to be obedient and keep the Feast days. It was later they were told to offer special sacrifices on the Days of Unleavened Bread as well as other Feast days and the Sabbath and every day of the year,. These sacrifices ceased when the Messiah died and the temple was destroyed in 70 C.E. because the priesthood no longer was able to function.
Yahshua Kept the Days of Unleavened Bread
- We read the account of Yahshua at the age of 12 (when most Jewish boys become a "son of the law") being with his parents and keeping the Passover, Luke 2:41-43. Note verse 43 reads, "When they had fulfilled the days," clearly showing the seven days of Unleavened Bread. Was the Savior old enough at this time to understand the meaning of the Days of Unleavened Bread? Verses 46-47.
- Did Yahshua make it a point to be in Jerusalem at the time of Passover, during the Days of Unleavened Bread? John 2:23. See also 4:45.
- When Yahshua reached full maturity, did He still keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Mark 14:1-2.
NOTE: Even Yahshua's enemies knew He would be keeping these times and were planning to kill Him. Because of the popularity of Yahshua through the miracles He performed, His enemies were afraid to take Him openly. Instead they seized Him secretly after His private Passover with the disciples.
- Did the Apostle Peter know that we could look at the life of the Messiah, noting His suffering, and realize He left us an example? 1 Peter 2:21. Does Peter say we should walk in His steps? Save verse.
NOTE: Certainly our sinless Savior did not have to partake of the Passover, for He had no sins to be forgiven. But He did keep the same days given to ancient Israel so that we would know that we are to keep the Feast days that Yahweh has instituted and walk in His steps.
Unleavened Bread Kept After Yahshua's Resurrection
- After the Savior had died and ascended to the heavens, does Luke still mention the Days of Unleavened Bread? Acts 12:1-3.
NOTE: Luke is writing the history of the Apostles so that it might be given to us. Why should he be so specific as to insert, "Then were the days of Unleavened Bread," when he is writing about the events of the early assembly and James the brother of John, both Yahshua's Apostles? Obviously it is to show us that the true assembly was still keeping these days that were ordained "forever."
- Paul was the apostle to the gentiles. Peter was to work with the Jews. Where did Paul spend the Days of Unleavened Bread before going to Troas? Acts 20:6.
NOTE: Paul spent the Days of Unleavened Bread with the believers at Philippi, who for the most part were not Jews or Israelites.
- Many religionists tell us that the Sabbath and Feast Days "ended at the cross." In 1 Corinthians (written about the year 59 C.E.) Paul addresses the gentile assembly at Corinth and brings in Old Testament holy days. What warning does he give then in 1 Corinthians 5:6?
NOTE: Paul likens the sin of fornication to leaven that will soon spread throughout the whole assembly if it is not rooted out.
- Paul also tells the assembly to purge out the old ways, the old doctrines and teachings that they might become cleaned up, a new lump in verse 7. What does he instruct them to do in verse 8:
NOTE: Paul tells the Corinthians the Messiah has been sacrificed for our sins, that we can be forgiven of our sins if we but repent and ask forgiveness, be a new lump without the old sins.
- Does Paul tell the gentile Corinthians to keep a Feast day? Same verse.
NOTE: It is obvious that Paul has instructed the Corinthians in the Feast days because of his reference to Yahshua as the sacrifice and his use of the word "leaven" and "unleavened." More than 25 years after the death of the Messiah, Paul tells these gentile believers to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread! Because the Messiah has died for our sins, let us keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread so that we do not fall into sin and walk over the shed blood of the Savior, is Paul's message of the hour. He reminds us to keep putting sin out of our lives.
The First Passover and the Following Feast
- How long is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to continue? Examine and compare Exodus 12:15 with Exodus 34:18 and Numbers 28:17. Compare Deuteronomy 16:3-4.
NOTE: The Days of Unleavened Bread are separate from Passover and have a different meaning. The time of Unleavened Brad begins on the 15th and continues through Abib 21. Remember that Bible time begins at sunset in the evening. When Passover ends at sunset on the 14th of Abib, the 15th begins and starts the Days of Unleavened Bread.
- Did the Israelites leave Egypt as the 15th of Abib began? Deuteronomy 16:1.
NOTE: Israel left Rameses in Egypt by night on the 15th, which is a night of full moon, making it bright enough to see their way. Rameses is thought to be old Cairo today.
- Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth that first day. How many made the journey? Exodus 12:37. Were there others who also came with the Israelites? Verse 38.
NOTE: The word men is "gibbor" in the Hebrew and means those of military age. Obviously, there were older men, wives and children in addition to their flocks and herds that journeyed from Egypt. Many have estimated the human population alone at 2-3 million.
- The longest trip Israel made was on the first day. They left Succoth (meaning booths) on the second day (Friday) of their Exodus and arrived at Ethanim. How did Israel know when to leave for the next leg of their journey? Exodus 13:21-22. Compare Exodus 40:36-38.
NOTE: The next day was the Sabbath, so Israel did not move that day, Exodus 14:2. After their journey, Israel was able to rest and be refreshed and Moses was able to pass on the words of Yahweh as they congregated on the Sabbath.
- In addition to the 10 plagues that Yahweh brought upon Egypt, He is about to show that He alone offers true deliverance for His people. The sea was to the left of them and the Pihahiroth mountains to the south and west. Israel was camped in a cul-de-sac. What was Pharaoh's attitude? Exodus 14:2-4.
- Israel became terrified when they realized Pharaoh's chariot army was thundering after them. They complained and murmured against Moses, verses 11-12. Moses reminded them that Yahweh was guiding them and that they should be still and see the salvation Yahweh would perform, verses 13-14. How did Yahweh protect Israel? Verses 19-20.
NOTE: Israel had left the well-traveled road of the world and had been led into a seeming dead-end, from which they would be supernaturally delivered. The spiritual lesson we are to derive from this account is that Yahweh will deliver His people when they are obedient to His instructions.
- Although Israel had three days' head start, Pharaoh (representing Satan, and his soldiers the demons) soon caught up with them. Did Yahweh keep his promise and redeem Israel from the clutch of Pharaoh as He promised? Exodus 13:15-16.
NOTE: Just as Israel was burdened by Pharaoh's army, so newly converted believers must contend with the obstacles Satan throws in their way to discourage them. He will try all his tricks to get them to return to the old ways they should be forsaking. Once we accept the shed blood of the Savior, we are to change our ways and go a different direction.
- His people are to be reminded continually that it is Yahweh who has the power to deliver His people from Egypt. Is Egypt a type of sin? Hebrews 11:24-27. Is corrupted Jerusalem also looked upon as Egypt? Revelation 11:8.
NOTE: Throughout the Bible and especially in giving the Ten Commandments, Yahweh reminds us that He is the one who has brought His people out of the world of sin (symbolized by Egypt) and will be with them as He was with ancient Israel.
- How does Yahweh introduce Himself to Israel when He gives Moses the Ten Commandments at Sinai? Exodus 20:2. Does He repeat this in Deuteronomy 5:6?
NOTE: Yahweh introduces Himself as the Redeemer of Israel and also says in the Fourth Commandment that we are to keep the Sabbath, Deuteronomy 5:14 In verse 15, He says that because we were symbolically slaves in Egypt, we are to keep the seventh day Sabbath because He is the one who called us out of the world of darkness.
- How does the Savior fit into this role of being called out? Matthew 2:15.
NOTE: Our Redeemer was physically taken to Egypt as a child for safe-keeping so that Hosea 11:1 could literally be fulfilled. As He was called out of physical Egypt, all those entering into the New Covenant by responding to Yahweh's call have come out of spiritual Egypt, the world and its allurements. Yahshua has left us an example to walk in His footsteps.
Israel's Journey from Egypt and Sin
While the Passover is to be kept along with the other seven annual Feasts that come at various harvest seasons during the year, Passover is not technically a Feast in the same sense that the others are. Notice these special holy times are all listed in Leviticus 23 and were given by Yahweh Himself.
- Which is the first Festival that occurs? See Leviticus 23.
NOTE: Every week, 52 times a year, Yahweh's people are to cease from their worldly pursuits and pleasures to rest and rejuvenate both their physical and spiritual lives. It is a time of drawing closer to Yahweh and realizing the purpose of our existence. There are other Holy Days in this 23rd chapter to be observed throughout the year. We are given a step-by-step picture of His master plan for mankind as we keep His appointed days.
- Notice that Leviticus 23:2-4 declares that these are "holy convocations." They are special and revered times, holy to Yahweh. Look up the word "convocation." Notice that it is to be a holy calling together of the people of Yahweh. Yahweh's people must gather on His Festivals to worship and praise Him. Which are specified to be set apart as holy convocations in the Days of Unleavened Bread? Leviticus 23:6-8.
- The 14th day is the Passover. It occurs in the first month, which we have found is Abib or Nisan, meaning "green ears." Does the first day of Unleavened Bread occur on the same day as Passover, or is it a different day? Leviticus 23:5-6, also note verse 8.
NOTE: Exodus 23:14-17 summarizes the three times or cycles in the year the Festivals are to be kept. Take special note that Passover is not listed. Check also Exodus 34:18. Again, Passover is not listed. Passover and Unleavened Brad are two distinct times and should not be merged. However, because Passover starts the observance, the entire time, including the seven days of Unleavened Bread, has become known as the Feast of Passover primarily in the New Testament.
- Even though Passover is listed first in Leviticus 23:5 and falls on the 14th of Abib, the Days of Unleavened Bread begin immediately following. When was the Passover lamb killed and eaten? Exodus 12:6-9.
NOTE: Just as the sun was setting, the Passover lamb was killed--at the beginning of the 14th of Abib. During this twilight period, blood was applied to the door and the lamb was cleaned, roasted and eaten. All of this began at the beginning of the 14th just before it became totally dark.
- What happened later that night? Exodus 12:29-32.
NOTE: This occurred after midnight. During the next few hours reports came to Pharaoh of the death of the firstborn following the death angel's passing through Egypt. Therefore, it was well after midnight that Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and it took them some time to get to Tanis, the summer palace of Pharaoh.
- Could the Israelites leave their homes the night of the 14th? Exodus 12:22. What did Israel do at daybreak? Exodus 12:10. Later that day what did Israel busy themselves in doing? Exodus 12:33-36.
NOTE: With the increasing severity of each new plague, the Egyptians became more and more in awe of and in fear of the Elohim of the Hebrews. They were now afraid for their lives and were insistent upon the Hebrews to leave before the next plague killed the remaining Egyptians.
- As daylight turned to darkness and the 15th of Abib began, the Israelites were gathering all their possessions, including their flocks and herds and congregating at Rameses. What did they do the night of Abib 15? Numbers 33:3.
NOTE: This was 24 hours after they had killed and prepared the Passover lamb. The Passover took place on the 14th. After the sun had set and a new day began, the people were in "convocation," all gathered to leave Egypt on the 15th.
- It should be remembered that on the 14th the Israelite families were gathered in their individual homes. They were filled with fear and trepidation. On the 15th, Israel was joyful and confident as the whole nation gathered to leave as a group, leaving with a "high hand," Numbers 33:3. A careful study of their journey shows that on the 21st day, Israel was completely free of the Egyptians as they crossed over the Red Sea. What did Moses and the children of Israel do on the 21st day? Exodus 15:1.
NOTE: This song extends through verse 19. Just as the 15th day was a special day of convocation in preparation for leaving Egypt, the 21st or last day of Unleavened Bread was also a special gathering or convocation, for they were now completely free of Egypt. The first and last days of Unleavened Bread are High Sabbaths. We see that in Revelation 15:3 a special people will again sing the song of Moses when another exodus is prophesied to take place.
Old Testament Examples of the Feast
Paul has told us that the history of ancient Israel was for our learning and admonition that we should not stumble and fall at Yahweh's words, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.
It would be helpful for you to take time now to read 2 Chronicles 29 and 30 where good King Hezekiah returned to the proper worship of Yahweh. Note the rejoicing of the people in declaring another seven days of convocation to praise Yahweh for His goodness, 2 Chronicles 30:23-26.
Soon after the death of Hezekiah, Israel forgot the ways of Yahweh and again followed the ways of the pagan nations around them. In 2 Chronicles 35:1 we read of Josiah who kept the Passover, but he did not stop there, for they also kept the Days of Unleavened Bread seven days in addition to Passover.
Read 2 Kings 23:1-20. Yahweh was well pleased with Josiah's works, verses 22-25.
When Exactly do These Days Occur
One of the age-old problems is determining exactly when Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread should be kept. Passover is clearly commanded to be observed on the 14th of Abib. The question is whether this means as the 13th ends and the 14th begins or when the 14th ends and the 15th begins. After many studies on the subject over many years it is our consensus that the Bible teaches that the proper time to observe Passover is when the 13th has ended at sunset and the 14th begins.
One of the most important phrases to comprehend in determining Yahweh's intention is found in Exodus 12:6, "And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening." Most good study Bibles will have a margin comment explaining the prepositional phrase "in the evening" as meaning "between the evenings." The Hebrew is "ben ha arbaim" according to Holladay's Hebrew Lexicon, and is translated "dusk, twilight, evening, (sunset)."
The lamb was to be kept "up until the 14th day of the same month," According to Exodus 12:6. The lamb was to be kept from the 10th day of Abib "up until" the beginning of the 14th. "Until" means up to the point of, or up to the time of the 14th. Similarly, a boss might say, "Don't leave until 5 o'clock." When 5 p.m. arrives, you are free to leave.
The lamb was to be kept up to the time when the 14th started, which would be at the sunset ending the 13th (which then started the 14th). If the lamb were kept through the 14th and killed at the going down of the sun ending the 14th, then the lamb would more than likely die on the 15th and would be eaten on the 15th as well.
Sunset lasts but a few minutes from the time it touches the horizon until it sinks out of view. The lamb was to be prepared and roasted during the twilight part of the 14th while still light enough to see. This might take several hours. Thus, it was still eaten on the 14th. The 14th is the Passover, the 15th is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Leviticus 23:5 and 6.
Scriptures Define "Between the Evenings"
"Ben ha arbaim" is one of the most overlooked words in the Hebrew with a direct bearing upon the proper time to observe Passover. This term is used no fewer than five times in referring to the Passover. Notice the following 11 times the term "between the evenings" is used and how it fits into the concept of time immediately following sunset, the twilight of evening--just before dark (New International Version, Sacred Name used):
- Exodus 12:6--"Take care of them until the 14th day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight."
The lambs were to be killed at sunset when twilight had set in. There was still time to have them prepared and roasted during the time of twilight, before darkness set in.
- Exodus 16:12--"I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, 'At twilight you will eat meat and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am Yahweh your Elohim.'"
The quail arrived "at even" or sunset. They were then caught and dressed during the twilight and eaten before it was totally dark.
- Exodus 29:39--"Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight."
One animal was offered in the morning when light came and the other offered after the sun had set, but while enough light was available for the task.
- Exodus 29:41--"Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning--a pleasing aroma, an offering made to Yahweh by fire."
The lamb was offered at twilight while it was yet light enough to see and the other lamb was offered in the morning light.
- Exodus 30:8--"He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before Yahweh for the generations to come."
Aaron was to light the lamps at twilight, while light enough to see, when he offered up the incense. Thus, the incense was offered approximately every 12 hours.
- Leviticus 23:5--"Yahweh's Passover begins at twilight on the 14th day of the first month."
The Passover was to be offered at the "going in" of the sun into the horizon, Deuteronomy 26:6. The 14th begins when the sun has set and a new day begins, according to Bible reckoning.
- Numbers 9:3--"Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the 14th day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations."
Passover was to be kept after the sun had set ending the 13th and beginning the 14th of Abib.
- Numbers 9:5--"and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the 14th day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as Yahweh commanded Moses."
The lamb was slaughtered on the 14th, cleaned, roasted and eaten on the 14th just as the sun had set, ending the 13th.
- Numbers 9:11--"They are to celebrate it on the 14th day of the second month at twilight. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs."
As the sun went into the horizon ending the 13th, the Passover was celebrated during the twilight form sunset until dark.
- Numbers 28:4--"Prepare one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight,"
One lamb was prepared in the morning when it was light and the other was prepared after the sun had set, but while there was enough light to see what must be done.
- Numbers 28:8--"Prepare the second lamb at twilight, along with the same kind of grain offering and drink offering that you prepare in the morning. This is an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to Yahweh."
These are the 11 places the Hebrew term "ben ha arbaim" is used, the time for the Passover to be observed, as the sun has set, the 13th ended, the 14th begins.
The King James Version makes little differentiation between "ben ha arbaim" and the other Hebrew word for evening, "ereb." "Ereb" or "ha ereb" (sometimes transliterated "erev") are often translated as "even" or "evening." These both refer to sunset, that time when one day ends and another day begins.
"Ha ereb" is used in Genesis 1 in referring to the days all beginning at sunset, verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31. This time element is clearer in Leviticus 23:32, "...at even, from even unto even; shall you celebrate your sabbath." In other words, the day starts at even and ends at even.
Anyone touching anything unclean was himself ceremonially unclean until even (Leviticus 22:5-6). At even, when he bathed in water and when the sun was set, he was again considered clean, Leviticus 22:7.
The ending of a day is seen in Deuteronomy 24:14-15. There the poor man's situation is recognized and Yahweh tells us to pay the poor their day's wages before the day ends at sunset. Yahshua healed a multitude of people when the sun set, ending the Sabbath, Mark 1:32. Paul refers to cleaning our attitude and not to carry grudges from one day to the next when he says, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath," Ephesians 4:26.
Day Ends and Begins at Sundown
Exodus 16 explains the usage of "ha ereb" and "ben ha arbaim." Letting the Bible interpret the Bible is the best way to explain the meaning of words. From the context and events leading up to this 15th day of the second month we deduce that this was the end of the week, a weekly Sabbath. Yahweh instructs Israel to count the days until the next Sabbath, verses 4-5. He was clarifying the weekly Sabbath for the Israelites and testing them to see whether they would walk in His law or not.
- When Israel complained of the lack of food, even accusing Moses and Aaron of bringing them in the wilderness to die, what did Moses and Aaron reply to them? Verse 6. What time of day was this to occur? Same verse.
NOTE: It was "at even" (ha ereb) that the proof would be presented. From other Scriptures, we know that it is speaking of sunset when one day ends.
- Bread was promised to be rained from heaven for the Israelites, which was to be gathered each morning for five mornings, but on the sixth, twice as much was to be prepared. In addition to the manna which was promised then come morning, what else did Yahweh promise then? Verse 8. When was this flesh to be present? Same verse.
- Both verses 6 ad 8 use the Hebrew word "ereb," meaning when the sun has set. When evening comes with the setting of the sun, Israel is to get flesh to eat. When were they to eat the flesh? Verse 12, note margin reading.
NOTE: Although Yahweh promised Israel flesh at even or sunset, they would have to take time to prepare the flesh for eating.
- What was the flesh the Israelites were given? Verse 13.
NOTE: The quails came up and encompassed the camp roundabout. Because the sun had set, the people were able to catch the quail easily enough and after gathering and cleaning them, roasted and ate them in the interval between sunset (ha ereb) and total darkness--between the evenings (ben ha arbaim).
The Sabbath ended at sunset. Then Yahweh went to work and caused the quail to come into the camp. Israel could gather and prepare the quail at the beginning of the first day of the week. They ate the quail as Yahweh had promised "between the evenings." "I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them 'At twilight you will eat meat...,'" verse 12, New International Version. Clearly this followed the sunset or evening (ha ereb).
Thus we can see that Passover is to be celebrated at the same time, after sunset, between the evenings; the twilight between sunset and total darkness.
The Bible definition shows that "between the evenings" means after sunset and before total darkness. In no way can "between the evenings" be a part of the previous day before sunset. "Ben ha arbaim" falls just after sunset, at the beginning of the day and lasts until total darkness. The importance of the 16th chapter of Exodus can be best summarized as follows:
- Yahweh spoke to Israel on the Sabbath at the wilderness of Sin.
- After the Sabbath He would send them flesh to eat, and in the morning he would send them manna on the daylight of the first day.
- The sun did set, and the quail covered the camp.
- Israel could still see to gather the quail to prepare and roast them.
- Before total darkness, Israel ate the quail--between the evenings.
- This time of day has been translated as "dusk" by the Jewish Publication Society: "twilight" by the New International Version; Moffatt is inconsistent, having "between sunset and dark" in Exodus 12:6 and 16:12, but usually "evening" elsewhere. The New American Standard translates "ben ha arbaim" as "twilight" throughout.
It was only through the later rabbinical interpretation, that the teaching began saying "between the evenings" meant from the decline of the sun at noon until sunset. However, as you have seen, the Bible meaning is that the Hebrew "ben ha arbaim" means after sunset, twilight or dusk.
Ask any Jew when the Passover is and he will most likely respond the 15th. This changing of Passover is contrary to Yahweh's inspired teaching of the 14th, as He had ordained, and is acknowledged by the Jews' own writings. "Comparison of the successive strata of the pentateuchal laws bearing on the festival makes it plain that the institution, as developed, is really of composite character. Two festivals originally distinct have become merged...," "Passover" Vol. IX, 1905, Jewish Encyclopedia.
Originally these were two distinct services: 1) The Passover service to remember the PASSING OVER of the destroyer in Egypt; and 2) the Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorating the leaving of Egypt, the Exodus of Israel from Rameses. Passover comes first and then follows the Days of Unleavened Bread for seven days. The entire observance lasts eight days, just as does the Feast of Tabernacles, which ends with the Last Great Day.
Parallels Between Feast of
Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles
|Leviticus 23:6-8||1. Kept for 7 days||Leviticus 23:34-36|
Eat Unleavened Bread
|2. Ordinance forever
3. Something physical was
Booths dwelt in
|Leviticus 23:8||4. Special sacrifices daily*||Leviticus 23:36|
Deliverance from Egypt
|5. Memorial of past event||Leviticus 23:43
Dwellings in wilderness
|6. Came to be associated with another sacred day, thereby becoming an 8-day festival. Both in Old Testament and New Testament usage.||Ezra 3:4
|Deuteronomy 16:2, 5-6||7. Was not to be kept at home.||Deuteronomy 16:15|
2 Chronicles 30:1-27
|8. Kept as a Feast in honor of Creator by the ancients||Nehemiah 8:14-18
|Ezekiel 45:21-24||9. To be kept during the Millennium.||Zechariah 14:16; Hosea 12:9; Ezekiel 45:25|
|Luke 2:41-42, 22:7-8;
|10. Was kept by the Messiah.||John 7:2, 10, 37|
|1 Corinthians 5:7-8;
|11. Was kept by the early Assembly.||Acts 18:21|
|1 Corinthians 5:7-8;
Messiah is our Passover.
Must put sin out of our
|12. Contains vital spiritual
lessons for followers of
|Matthew 25:34--We have not yet attained; Zechariah 14--Yahweh will redeem the world|
*Animal sacrifices no longer necessary, as Messiah died for us, becoming the perfect sacrifice for sin. These sacrifices required today: Romans 12:1-2; Psalm 51:17; 1 Samuel 15:22.
Time Sequence in Events of the Feast
The number seven in Scripture means completeness or perfection. This can be seen in such places as Appendix No. 10 in the Companion Bible and gematria (the study of numbers) in other reference books.
- Does the Feast of Unleavened Bread continue for seven days? Exodus 12:15. Also compare Exodus 34:18, Numbers 28:17 and Deuteronomy 16:3-4.
NOTE: The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th of Abib and continues through the 21st of Abib. Both the first and last days of Unleavened Bread are special holy days. Yahweh's people are to eat unleavened bread for seven days, signifying completely being regenerated with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
- When did the Israelites finally begin their trek out of Egypt? Deuteronomy 16:1. What day was it? Numbers 33:3.
NOTE: When daylight came on the 14th of Abib, the Israelites were permitted to go outside and burn the remains of the Passover lamb. They began gathering their possession and herds, moving from Goshen down to Rameses where they assembled. As they moved out of Goshen toward Rameses, they continued to spoil the Egyptians of precious things. Exodus 12:35-36.
- After gathering at Rameses, Israel left by night with a full moon. How far did they travel that first night and day? Exodus 12:37 and Numbers 33:5.
NOTE: Succoth comes from the Hebrew meaning booth, cottage, tabernacle, tent, etc. Israel was now beyond the buildings of Goshen and stayed in their temporary shelters but they were still in Egypt. They were not allowed to eat leavened bread.
- Yahshua was put to death on a Wednesday, Daniel 9:25-27. Thursday was the first day of Unleavened Bread, a High Sabbath. It was now Friday and Israel was ready to leave Succoth. Where was their next stop? Exodus 13:20.
NOTE: Israel had now reached the edge of the wilderness and the next day [beginning at sunset that evening] was the Sabbath. How did Israel know whether they were to move on or stay?
- Weary and tired, the Israelites were prepared to rest from their journey. How did they know whether they should move on or stay encamped? Exodus 31:21-22 and Exodus 40:36-37.
NOTE: Israel was still not free from Egyptian society. Now they would rest from their march, spending the Sabbath where they were told to turn fro the main-traveled roads of the world and follow the way Yahweh directs, Exodus 14:2.
- Now that Israel had turned from the main-traveled route, away from the inhabited places, Pharaoh and the Egyptians realized their slaves were gone. What did Pharaoh do now? Exodus 14:5-9.
- Were the Israelites confident Yahweh would protect them? Verses 10-12.
NOTE: At times we cannot see the big picture so that we get involved in too many little things that soon prove to be not so important as we first thought. When we have done all within our power to meet a crises, Yahweh will bring about the result He wants. Only later do we understand His omniscience.
- The sixth day of Unleavened Bread came to an end and the Angel of Yahweh and the pillar of cloud moved behind then to protect the Israelites, Exodus 14:19-20 and 13:21. What did Moses now do that was so miraculous? Exodus 14:21. What did Israel do then? Verse 22.
- Now the Israelites were on the east side of the sea, having crossed over dry and the Egyptians were intent upon pursuing them, Exodus 14:23. What did Yahweh do to the Egyptians' chariots? Verse 24-25.
NOTE: Yahweh works in mysterious ways to accomplish His will. The chariots were slowed down and with the chariots as dead weight, Egyptian mobility was at a standstill. At times the adversary thinks he has Yahweh's people in his grasp, but our Elohim delivers His people, Matthew 6:13
- When Israel realized that their deliverance was complete on this last day of Unleavened Bread, what was their attitude toward Yahweh? Exodus 14:28-31.
NOTE: The Apostle Paul comments that the history of Israel is a lesson for us so that we understand the tremendous power and will of the Heavenly Father to accomplish whatever He wishes, 1 Corinthians 10:6 and 11.
- On the first day of Unleavened Bread, Israel gathered at Rameses ("son of the sun") to trek out of Egypt (Exodus 12:37, Numbers 33:3) and journey to Succoth (booths or tabernacles). They had no permanent dwelling place during their 40 years in the wilderness as they journeyed to the Promised Land. This symbolizes our trek to the Kingdom. What did the Israelites join with Moses to do on the last day of Unleavened Bread? Exodus 15:1-18.
- The song of Moses is a song of victory, a wonderful view of the working of Yahweh's power. The seven days of Unleavened Bread bring us to the realization that we must evict our habit of ignoring Yahweh's way of life. Will the song of Moses be again voiced by a throng of redeemed people? Revelation 15, especially verses 1-4.
NOTE: The last book of the Bible shows a victorious group having obtained the victory over the forces of evil in the last days. They will overcome the beast, his image and the number of his name. We can see that the Days of Unleavened Bread signify a constant period of refinement and overcoming of the forces of Egypt [the world and its way of life]. We also must leave our Rameses [son of the sun] and dwell in booths [in type] knowing that the things of earth will dim and lose their value as we continue ever upward and onward in pursuit of that Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem.
We hope that this lesson has helped you to see at least a few of the many spiritual truths we know are in Yahweh's Word. Everything ancient Israel did is given in the Old Testament as an example for us--either to emulate or to reject if wrong. For our own spiritual growth we must learn vital lessons from what occurred anciently.
The next lesson will focus on the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, which enable us to keep the law in the way Yahweh wants us to so that we may enter everlasting life, Matthew 19:17.
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