|THE LAST SUPPER WAS ON THE 13TH
This is a study about, “When the disciples and The Messiah ate the Last Supper.” We
have covered much already, but we add some of the details here. As most probably
already recognize, it had to be no later than the 13th when the disciples came to Christ
and asked where He would have them to prepare for the Passover Feast. Had it already
been the 14th as some claim, it would have been the 15th when they sit down to eat
because the scriptures say that “when the evening was come” He sat down with the
twelve. Therefore, as the evening of sunset, which this was, begins a new day, we know
that it could not have been the same day earlier – before evening came – when Christ sent
them to prepare for the Passover.
Mat 26:20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
Therefore, it could not have been the first day of unleavened bread! For, the 13th is not a
day of unleavened bread by anyone's interpretation of the scriptures! What is the answer
to this riddle?
The KJV translates #4413 as <beginning> in 2Peter 2:20. This is the same word that they
translate as <first> in Matthew 26:17. It is true that the word <first> is the primary
translation chosen by the KJV translators. The word can be translated: “at the first” in
other words, <toward the first>. Therefore, we could translate Matthew 26:17 as, “Now
toward the first of unleavened bread”.
4413 prwtov protos pro’-tos
contracted superlative of 4253; TDNT-6:865,965; adj
AV-first 84, chief 9, first day 2, former 2, misc 7; 104
1) first in time or place
1a) in any succession of things or persons
2) first in rank
2a) influence, honour
3) first, at the first
2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse
with them than the beginning <4413>.
Mt 26:17 Now the first <4413> (day) of the (feast of) unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus,
saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?
In Matthew 26:17 the words <day> and <feast of> are not in the Greek.
Therefore, realizing that one could not wait until the actual first day of unleavened bread
to prepare for the Passover, the following would be a better and more accurate
Mat 26:17, Now, toward the first of unleavened bread the disciples came to Yahshua, saying to Him,
Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the Passover?
An alternative translation:
Mat 26:17 Now, toward the beginning of unleavened bread the disciples came to Yahsuah, saying to
Him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the Passover?
This seems to be the thrust of the original, when put with all the other scriptures on this
subject. Had it already been the 14th when Christ sent His disciples to prepare, it would
have been the 15th when the evening came and they sat down to eat the Last Supper.
Therefore, it could not have been the first day of unleavened bread, even if one considers
the 14th to be a day of unleavened bread!
Now, look at Mark 14:12. Mark uses the same word, as Matthew, for <first> (#4413). We saw above that one could translate it as
<beginning>. Here however, we have the word <day> #2250. Observe that Acts 20:6 translates this in the plural, and this is the
case with this word many times, in a general sort of way. Sometimes the writer translates the word as <time>. Sometimes the
writer translates it as years! It is a very general word for time, but <can> be specific with qualifying words in the context.
Acts 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days <2250> of unleavened bread, and came
unto them to Troas in five days <2250>; where we abode seven days <2250>.
Mark 14:12 And the first day <2250> 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?
Notice what happens if we translate this verse within the above allowed limits:
Mark 14:12 Toward the beginning of the days of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, His
disciples said to Him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the Passover.
Keep in mind that it could not have been the first day of unleavened bread when they
killed the Passover, for that was when they would be eating the Passover. Moreover, it
could not have been the 14th as previously indicated, for then it would have been the 15th
when they ate the Lord’s Supper. The latest Christ could have sent His disciples to
prepare for the Passover, based on the immediate context, was the afternoon of the 13th.
Furthermore, there is nothing prohibiting it from being the afternoon of the 12th – and as
the larger context substantiates it must have been the 12th! The thrust of Mark 14:12 is
“toward the beginning of the days of unleavened bread”.
Luke 22:7 uses the word day, the same as Mark 14:12. Fenton translates this word as <time>. One
could translate it, as <days> or <season> just as well.
Lu 22:7 Then came the day <2250> of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.
Lu 22:7 When the time arrived for the unfermented bread, when the Passover ought to be offered,
Notice this permissible translation:
Lu 22:7, Then came the season (days) of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.
When we put all three of these accounts together, we see that the writers referred to the
season of unleavened bread rather than the first day of unleavened bread. Explore the
way this word day/days (#2250) is used in the New Testament and you will see that it is a
word that means time in general, but can also be used for a specific day – all based on the
context of the immediate and larger context of the bible. The translators chose to
translate it as a specific day in the verses concerning when the disciples came to Yahshua
(Joshua) for instructions to prepare for the Passover.
Luke is easier to translate into English and get the sense, as he was a Greek writer.
Matthew and Mark probably used Hebraisms causing difficulty in getting the sense in
English. That is probably why the KJV translators translated this as they did. Moreover,
they were not involved in keeping the holy days and did not understand this subject from a
believer’s point of view. In other words, they translated this subject based on head
Notice that the biblical writers used the Greek word #2250, for days or time in a general
way. They used it as a period of time or season. The word season is a synonym for the
word <time>. The season of Unleavened Bread came annually, at about the same time
Mt 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days <2250> of Herod the king,
behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Ac 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time <2250> there was a great
persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad
throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
The season of unleavened bread would be from the 10th through the 21st, as the Hebrews
put up the lambs on the 10th and slew them on the 14th and the official days of
unleavened bread began on the 15th and continued through the 21st. Now, the scriptures
indicate that Christ sent His disciples to prepare for the Passover no earlier than the 12th
Nisan. Why? Because there is a time sequence given in the gospels.
Matthew 26:1 says, "When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to His disciples, 'As you know,
Passover is <two> days away, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be nailed to the tree."
It was after this time that He sent His disciples to prepare for the Passover. The
implication is that Christ spoke of the 14th Nisan (the day for the Passover sacrifice) in
Matthew 26:1, as He mentions nothing of the Feast. Two days before the Passover
sacrifice could have been on the late 11th or anytime on the 12th Nisan. Therefore, it
probably could not have been earlier than the 12th sixteen verses later in Matthew 26:17.
Matthew 26:17 Now the first [day] of the [feast of] (Now toward the beginning of) unleavened bread
the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the
Now we have a verse of scripture that has been very problematic because of our
misunderstanding of the above scriptures. As you will note, the sixth hour of this
particular day would have been 12 Noon when Pilate released Christ for hanging.
However, as shown in Mark 15:25, Christ was hung on the tree at the <third hour>. That
is 9 A.M. Scholars have been unable to resolve this seemingly contradiction because they
believe that both of these scriptures refer to the same day of the month – the 14th of
John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto
the Jews, Behold your King!
Mark 15:25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
However, when we understand that the Last Supper was after sunset of the 12th, which
would have been the beginning of the 13th, and that this trial before Pilate took place on
the 13th it all becomes clear. Pilate released the Messiah at 12 Noon on the 13th and the
Roman soldiers hung Him on the tree the following morning at 9 A.M. of the 14th.
The scriptures are clear that the disciples and The Messiah ate the Lord’s Supper on the
night beginning the 13th, Pilate released Him for hanging at Noon of the 13th, and the
Roman soldiers hung Him at 9 A.M. on the 14th. This puts to rest any idea of a Passover
at the beginning of the 14th based on some supposed changes the Messiah made for the
timing of Passover. Such an idea is the tradition of man for the bible does not support this
The word preparation in John 19:14 has also thrown us off track in the past. For the
Passover, preparation began on the 10th of Nisan. The Jews put up the lambs on the 10th
for slaughter on the afternoon of the 14th. Notice the word day is absent in this verse.
Therefore, it is speaking of a portion of time from the 10th to the 14th at sunset. It was
also during this time when the Jews had to perform the purification ceremony before the
John 11:55 (JNT), "The Judean festival of Passover was near, and many people went up from the
country to Jerusalem to perform the purification ceremony prior to Passover."
The Pharisees had already been through this purification ceremony and would not go into
the hall of judgment for fear of being defiled, requiring that this ceremony be performed
again in order for them to be qualified to take the Passover.
Therefore, during these five days from the 10th to the beginning of the 15th, they
prepared by putting up the lambs on the 10th and performing the purification ceremony
during the next few days until on the afternoon of the 14th the lambs were slain. There
would have been no time to go back and do this ceremony again – even supposing that was
allowable. Therefore, they had to be careful to remain ceremonially clean.
They had to find homes early where they would eat the Passover, as thousands came into
Jerusalem for this pilgrimage feast and the longer one waited the harder it would be to
find a place. Even two days before the feast would have been almost impossible to find a
place to lodge. That was why The Messiah had to tell the disciples specifically where to
go and prepare.
When we put everything together, we see that the Lord’s Supper was at the beginning of
the 13th. Earlier would be in conflict with the time sequence of the scriptures. Later
would be in conflict with John 19:14 and Mark 15:25.