|PASSOVER IN THE NEW
We have firmly established when the Israelites kept the Passover and its Feast in the Old
Testament. The lambs were slain on the afternoon of the 14th and the Passover Feast
began the seven days of Unleavened Bread on the “night to be much observed” of the
15th. However, does the New Testament record of The Messiah’s keeping of the
Passover show a change in its time of observance?
The New Testament has its differences. The Old Testament was a work primarily by the
Jews and Levites, as the temple was in Jerusalem and the land of Judah. After the split
between the Northern House of Israel and the Southern House of Judah, the Levites
concentrated in Judah and blended in with the Jews. However, the Jews did not accept
the New Testament as part of their keepsake. The language of the New Testament is
Greek and God preserved it differently than the Old Testament.
Two different perspectives were involved in translating the Bible. The one for the Old
Testament was that, "It was done away as far as the “Christians” were concerned, and
though it was of historical value, it was nevertheless the property of the Jews." The
attitude for the New Testament however, was that, "These are 'our' Scriptures" and a
hostility to things Jewish may be seen from time to time.
We have to realize that as far as the Passover is concerned, the translators probably
believed in a Good Friday crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection. We see that
perspective in one place in the KJV translation, the word Passover was even translated
"Easter" showing where the emotional ties of the translators truly resided – for they
observed Easter rather than Passover.
Furthermore, the misunderstanding that Christ and His disciples were keeping the
Passover before His crucifixion caused them to bend the translation in that direction as
often as possible. They of course believed in the "Lord's day" – not the Sabbath Day;
and as they were descendants of Roman Catholicism, they leaned toward despising
everything that hinted of Judaism.
The reader should understand that by using the New Testament Scriptures, the Easter
advocates have "proved" a Friday crucifixion. They say Christ ate the Passover at the
beginning of the 15th, and that the Romans crucified Him on the afternoon of the 15th,
which was a Friday, according to them. Some have "proved" that Christ kept the
Passover at the beginning of the 14th and that the Romans crucified Him, on the
afternoon of the 14th. Of course, to eat the Passover at the beginning of the 14th is
contrary to the Old Testament Scriptures, as we have seen. It would have represented
the breaking of the law, and we can hardly expect that Christ would have done that!
This illustrates the complexity that we will be working with in our study of the Passover in
the New Testament. Our general guide will be the same for the New Testament as for
the Old Testament, Truth is non-negotiable, and therefore we will accept nothing but the Truth.
Most would claim the same principle, but it is amazing how many people approach the
Scriptures with the bias and tradition of the past. The proof is whether the Scriptures
agree, or contradict one another.
There are two basic keys needed in order to unlock the truth and the proper
understanding of Passover in the New Testament. The first key we have already seen –
the proper understanding of the Passover as portrayed in the Old Testament. With that
knowledge, we can continue with confidence in the New Testament on this subject, which
has perplexed most for almost two thousand years. God established the timing of
Passover, in the Old Testament. We do not expect the New Testament to re-establish the
foundation of the Old Testament – but we do expect it to agree with what the bible
The second key we need to unlock the New Testament on this subject is a strict adherence
to the chronological order of events in the four gospels. In the past too many times we have
pulled Scriptures out of their chronological place to “prove” something which otherwise
could not have been “proved”. We have to realize that the New Testament is not trying
to establish when the Passover is to be kept. The Old Testament did that. In the New
Testament, we have the events surrounding Christ, which include the Passover among
other events of His life. We also have these events recorded from the perspective of four
writers, which while giving us far more details then we would have otherwise had, also
gives us a need to place these details in chronological order to make sense of what they
collectively tell us. That is simple logic, which many overlook in their studies of this and
other subjects in the Gospels. The need to understand the Gospels chronologically has
resulted in a type of book known as a harmony of the Gospels, which arranges everything
according to time. This alone shows the need for this criterion.
We will use a strict chronological order in the light of the Old Testament Scriptures as we
conduct our search in the New Testament for the truth about Passover. Let us begin!