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The events of the past week are very important for any believer in Christ to know. However, there is a great amount of ignorance of the facts that make up probably the most important part of our Bible. A great insult, on the truth of the crucifixion of Christ, deals with “Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, Easter baskets and the teaching of Easter, itself.” Let me challenge you to read any of the gospel accounts of the resurrection of Christ from the grave. Such a check of the scriptures will not show a single Easter bunny, Easter egg or Easter basket anywhere near the tomb where Christ had been laid on the evening of the preceding Friday, and from which He arose on the following Sunday morning. Neither is there a single reference to “Easter,” except in the King James Bible. In the KJV, in Acts 12:1-4, you will find an incident which relates to the jailing of the Apostle Peter, and the intention of Herod to put Peter on trial and have him publicly executed for being a witness of Christ. There is no joy in such brutality toward Peter. There are no bunnies or eggs seen in that passage. Neither was there a reference to the early church celebrating “Easter.” The time of year of this event was Passover and The Feast of Unleavened Bread. The King James Version chose a pagan day to be made as a reference to an event that was not celebrated by the church of Christ. To teach anything about Easter, that relates it to the resurrection of Christ, is to teach a lie.
Let’s consider the passages that relate to Passover and The Feast Of Unleavened Bread. As seen below, Passover lasts for one day, and is immediately followed by The Feast Of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Passover occurs on the 14th day of Nissan. Unleavened Bread lasts from the 15th day of Nissan through the 21st day of Nissan. All days begin at sunset of the stated day, and continue through sunset of the following day.
Exodus 12:1-14 – Passover (One day)
Exodus 12:15-20 – Feast Of Unleavened Bread (Seven days)
Leviticus 23:5 – Passover (One day)
Leviticus 23:6 – Feast Of Unleavened Bread (Seven days)
Numbers 28:16 – Passover (One day)
Numbers 28:17 – Feast Of Unleavened Bread (Seven days)
Deuteronomy 16:1-3 – Passover (One day)
Deuteronomy 16:4 – Feast Of Unleavened Bread (Seven days)
Let’s consider the day of the month of Passover
Deuteronomy 16:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Passover Reviewed
1 “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.
16:1 the month of Abib. Abib (which was later called Nisan) occurred in the spring (approximately Mar. or Apr.). (MacArthur Study Bible)
My note: Passover took place in the month of Abib/Nissan.
Exodus 12:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Passover Instituted
1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
12:2 This month. The month of Abib (Mar./Apr.) by divine decree became the beginning of the religious calendar, marking the start of Israel’s life as a nation. Later in Israel’s history, after the Babylonian captivity, Abib would become Nisan (cf. Neh. 2:1; Esth. 3:7).
12:6 at twilight. Lit. “between the two evenings.” Since the new day was reckoned from sunset, the sacrificing of the lamb or kid was done before sunset while it was still day 14 of the first month. “Twilight” has been taken to signify either that time between sunset and the onset of darkness, or from the decline of the sun until sunset. Later Moses would prescribe the time for the sacrifice as “at twilight, at the going down of the sun” (Deut. 16:6). According to Josephus, it was customary in his day to slay the lamb at about 3:00 p.m. This was the time of day that Christ, the Christian’s Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7), died (Luke 23:44–46).
My note: It is on the 14th day of the month of Abib/Nissan when Passover takes place.
Exodus 12:14-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you. 17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’”
12:14 a memorial. The details of how this Passover Day was to be memorialized in future years were laid down (vv. 14–20), and then repeated in the instructions to the elders (vv. 21–27). Prescribing the eating of unleavened bread for 7 days, demanding a thorough house-cleaning from leaven (v. 15), issuing a stern warning of banishment for eating leaven (v. 15), and bracketing the 7 days with special holy days (v. 16), served to proclaim the high importance of the nation’s remembering this event. (MacArthur Study Bible)
My note: The feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the day after Passover (Nisan 14), and continues for seven days (Nisan 15-21).
Leviticus 23:4-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Passover and Unleavened Bread
4 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
My note: Passover begins on the 14th day of Nissan. The Feast Of Unleavened Bread immediately follows Passover from the 15th day of Nissan through the 21st day of Nissan.
Numbers 28:16-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
Passover And The Feast Of Unleavened Bread
16 ‘On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord. 17 And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days.
My note: Passover began on the 14th day of Nissan. The Feast Of Unleavened Bread began on the 15th day of Nissan, and continued through the 21st day of Nissan.
Deuteronomy 16:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Passover Reviewed
1 “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God, from the flock and the herd, in the place where the Lord chooses to put His name. 3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. 4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.
16:1–8 keep the Passover. The offering of Passover itself was to be only a lamb (Ex. 12:3–11). However, additional offerings were also to be made during the Passover and the subsequent 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (cf. Ex. 12:15–20; 13:3–10; Lev. 23:6–8; Num. 28:19–25). Therefore, sacrifices from both the flock and the herd were used in keeping the Passover. (MacArthur Study Bible)
16:1 the month of Abib. Abib (which was later called Nisan) occurred in the spring (approximately Mar. or Apr.). (MacArthur Study Bible)
16:3 remember. This was the key word at Passover time as it is for the Lord’s Supper today (cf. Matt. 26:26–30; Luke 22:14–19; 1 Cor. 11:23–26). (MacArthur Study Bible)
Let’s relate Passover and The Feast Of Unleavened Bread to the week that led to the crucifixion of Christ, which is also known as Holy Week and Passion Week. We will begin with the day that is known as Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday – The triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem – Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19.
Monday – The cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple – Matthew 21:12-19; Mark 11:12-18; Luke 19:45-48.
Tuesday – Debates with religious leaders; The Olivet Discourse; Judas betrays Christ – Matthew 21:23-23:39, 24:1-25, 46, 26:14-16; Mark 11:27-12:40, 13:1-37; Luke 20:1-47, 21:5-36,22:3-6.
Wednesday – (no recorded events of Christ) Judas agrees to betray Christ – Matthew 26:14-16.
Thursday – The Passover Meal; The Upper Room Discourse; Teachings On The Way To Gethsemane;In The Garden of Gethsemane (Thursday/Friday) – Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25, 26-42; Luke 22:7-30, 22:39-46; John 13:2-14:31, 15:1-18:1.
Friday – The Betrayal and Arrest of Christ; The trials of Christ; The Crucifixion of Christ; The Sayings From The Cross; The Burial of Christ – Matthew 26:57-27:66; Mark 14:53-15:47; Luke 22:54-23:54; John 18:2-19:42.
The following timeline goes from the festive Passover Seder to the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Thursday has come and gone. It is now early Friday morning, but the sky is still dark. A dark day of injustice will soon arrive. The Day of Preparation will soon lead to sunset, which is the time of day on Friday when the Sabbath will begin. The Day of Preparation occurs on Friday before the beginning of Sabbath at sunset, on Friday (John 19:14,31; Luke 23:54).
That Sabbath was a “High Day,” (a “High Sabbath,” mine), i.e. the first day of the Feast Of Unleavened Bread fell that year on a Sabbath, making it a “high,” or “special” festival. (See Exodus 12:14-20 and Leviticus 23:5-8 for information on the Feast Of Unleavened Bread.) (Ryrie Study Bible, John 19:31 note)
Luke 23:54-56 New King James Version (NKJV)
54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment
In Luke 23:54-56, notice verse 54. This occurrence was before sundown on Friday, just before the Sabbath began. The Preparation Day, Day of Preparation, was on Friday and ended at sundown on Friday: it was a time of preparing for the Sabbath…sort of like when we used Saturday to get ready for church on Sunday. In verse 55, we see the women who had followed the body of Jesus to the burial tomb. In verse 56, because the Sabbath was nearing, the women did nothing more than observe the location where the body of Jesus was laid. From that viewpoint, the women returned to their homes in observance of the Sabbath.
Luke 23:55 New American Standard Bible (NASB) – Friday, prior to the onset of the Sabbath.
Luke 23:56 New American Standard Bible (NASB) – The Sabbath (Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown)
In John 19:14 and 19:31 we see the relation between the Preparation Day and the Sabbath. Read verses 14 – 42 to see that the death and burial of Jesus occurred on Friday afternoon/evening before the beginning of the Sabbath.
The chronological reckoning between John’s gospel and the synoptics presents a challenge, especially in relation to the time of the Last Supper (13:2). While the synoptics portray the disciples and the Lord at the Last Supper as eating the Passover meal on Thursday evening (Nisan 14) and Jesus being crucified on Friday, John’s gospel states that the Jews did not enter into the Praetorium “lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover” (18:28). So, the disciples had eaten the Passover on Thursday evening, but the Jews had not. In fact, John (19:14) states that Jesus’ trial and crucifixion were on the day of Preparation for the Passover and not after the eating of the Passover, so that with the trial and crucifixion on Friday Christ was actually sacrificed at the same time the Passover lambs were being slain (19:14). (MacArthur Study Bible)
The verses of Luke 23:54-56 show the respect that the Jewish women had for honoring the Lord’s Sabbath. Notice in Exodus 31:12-14 that the Sabbath is a sign between God and the Jews, for the Jews to keep. Notice that in Genesis 2:1-3, prior to the giving of the Law to the Jews, that God declared the seventh day to be Holy, to be sanctified, to be set apart. Jews have been given the command by God to “keep the Sabbath.” We, who are not Jews should honor the Sabbath Day, the Lord’s Sabbath, because God made it Holy, sanctified it, made it special, set it apart from all other days of the week. No other day of the week can become someone’s Sabbath; only the seventh day is the Lord’s Sabbath. Consider how you may honor the Lord’s Sabbath.
Exodus 31:12-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Sabbath Law
12 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.
Genesis 2:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
1 So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.
Leviticus 23:3 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
3 “Work may be done for six days, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; it is a Sabbath to the Lord wherever you live.
Note: Luke 23:55, 56. There was not time on Friday to do all that Jesus’ followers would have liked for His burial. The women took note of where the body was laid, evidently to know where to come when the Sabbath was over to complete the burial. Joseph and Nicodemus placed a considerable quantity of myrrh and aloes with the body as they laid it in the tomb (John 19:38, 39),but the women wanted to make their own contribution.(Reformation Study Bible)
Note: Luke 23:55 observed…how His body was laid. According to John 19:39, Nicodemus brought a hundred pounds of spices and aloes (probably obtained while Joseph was negotiating with Pilate for Jesus’ body), and he and Joseph wrapped the body with linen and the spices. These women, from Galilee, were probably unfamiliar with Joseph and Nicodemus, who were Judeans. After all, both men were associated with the Jewish leaders who orchestrated the conspiracy against Jesus (v. 50; John 3:1). So the women were determined to prepare Jesus’ body for burial themselves. So they returned (i.e., went to their homes) to prepare their own spices and perfumes (v. 56). They had to have Jesus’ body placed in the tomb before sunset, when the Sabbath began, so they were not able to finish preparing the body. Mark 16:1 says they purchased more spices “when the Sabbath was past,” i.e., after sundown Saturday. Then they returned Sunday morning with the spices (24:1), expecting to finish the task that had been interrupted by the Sabbath. (MacArthur Study Bible Note)
As we consider the resurrection of Christ on Resurrection Sunday morning, it is important to note that no verse of scripture identifies an Easter bunny, Easter egg or Easter basket anywhere near the tomb from where Christ arose. The day was Resurrection Sunday. Don’t say Easter!
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