CHRIST OUR PASSOVER LAMB HAS BEEN SACRIFICED…3500 years ago, God Almighty commanded Pharaoh to free the people of His Abrahamic covenant who were in bondage in Egypt. When Pharaoh refused, God sent 10 plagues, and announced His Deity in every one of them. The 10th was The Plague of the Firstborn, resulting in the deliverance known today as Passover.
“On the 14th day of the month when all the community of Israel must slaughter them (lambs) at twilight…I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.…This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast.…Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.” Exodus 12:6,12-15,17
The slaughter of the lambs would occur at “twilight”, more accurately translated “between the evenings”. (There is a Hebrew word for twilight, not used here.) “Between the evenings” was understood until 200 BC to designate the hours of 3-5 pm, referred to as the 1st evening with the 2nd evening occurring at sunset. THIS IS THE TIMELINE SET BY GOD HIMSELF FOR THE DEATH OF THE PASSOVER LAMB: JESUS THE CHRIST.
From this scripture, we understand why this festival to the Almighty came to be known as Passover and the following 7 days as Unleavened Bread. Referring to this appointed time of the Almighty, Paul makes the statement, “Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed, once, for all time. The old leavened bread of religious actions and posturing has been replaced by that which can never be leavened: the Only Begotten Son of the Almighty.
But a little leaven can hinder our ability to see the truth. So when the timeline for Holy Week seems to be contradicted within the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus OBSERVING the Passover Sacrifice sometimes becomes the focus instead of Jesus BECOMING the Passover Sacrifice, WHICH WAS GOD’S APPOINTMENT ALL ALONG.
We can’t have it both ways. Either Jesus WAS AND IS OUR PASSOVER LAMB, or He OBSERVED the Passover. If there is a question at all, WHICH WILL WE CHOOSE?
This supper, or an intimate evening meal other than Passover, fits the timeline as the one Jesus shared with His disciples. John refers to the Last Supper as an evening meal that occurred just before the Passover Feast. (John 13:1-2) We also should remember that even though the paschal lamb is the focus at a Passover meal, there was no mention of the lamb in ANY of the disciples’ accounts of the Last Supper. Indeed, Jesus said, “This bread is my body.”
Add to that the fact that the lamb was required to be slain on the ceremonial altar by the priests in the Jerusalem Temple ONLY during the scheduled time for sacrifices. According to the Book of Jubilees written before 150AD, the timeline for Passover included Preparation Day on the 13th beginning between noon and 1pm, lasting until 6pm. The lamb would be slain and prepared for the Passover meal during Preparation Day and eaten around 7pm on the evening beginning the 14th. After the Temple fell in 70 AD, there was no altar for a sacrifice, the timing of eating the meal changed to sunset-midnight on the 15th day.
The disciple John, who was present at Jesus’ death, writes in John 19:14: “Now it was the Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he [Pilate] said unto the Jews, ‘Behold your king’”
Luke 23:52-54 reports “This man went unto Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.”
If we base the Passover week timeline on these facts, beginning with the Last Supper on the evening as the 13th began, (March 30th evening on our Gregorian calendar) everything falls into place perfectly. Jesus went to the cross the next morning, still God's 13th day, March 31st morning on our calendar, as the Jewish day begins at sundown, and lasts to the next sundown. During the designated Preparation Day hours, he was “prepared” as the Passover Lamb Sacrifice. He died around 3pm (between the two evenings) and was buried during the afternoon hours, still the 13th day of the first month on God’s calendar, March 31st afternoon on our Gregorian calendar.
"CHRIST OUR PASSOVER LAMB HAS BEEN SACRIFICED. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." 1 Corinthians 5:7-8