Matthew 26:20 (NKJV), "Now when evening (#3798) had come, He sat down with the twelve."
Mark 14:17 (NKJV), "In the evening (#3798) He came with the twelve."
Luke 22:14 (NKJV), "And when the hour (#5610) had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with
John 13:1 (NKJV), "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come
that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He
loved them to the end.
It is apparent that the killing of the Passover lambs was yet future by more than a day
when Christ sent two of His disciples to make preliminary preparations for the upcoming
Passover. If the time for killing the Passover was already in progress, as some early 14th
Passover advocates claim, then it was already the 14th and when evening came, it would
be the 15th. Furthermore, if that were the case, we would have our proof for an
afternoon slaying of the Passover – however The Messiah would have be slain on the 15th
and that cannot be correct. Therefore, we know that this reasoning is unsound.
In the original, Mark 14:17 says, "And evening occurring, He comes with the twelve."
Matthew 26:20, "And evening coming, He reclined with the twelve." Luke 22:14, "And
when the hour came, He reclined, and the twelve with Him."
Mark says evening, (the beginning of a new 24-hour day) was approaching while they
were coming to the place where they would be eating supper. How long it was before
sunset we do not know.
Matthew says evening was coming (the sun had not yet set) as He reclined with the
Luke says that when the hour came (when the hour of evening – sunset – came) He was
reclining with the twelve.
One meaning of the word evening (#3798) is, according to Bullinger in his Greek Lexicon
of the New Testament, "...the latter of the two evenings among Hebrews, first being from
3 p.m. to sunset, the latter after sunset." Therefore, this word #3798 would correspond to
the Hebrew word #6153 for evening. Here it is clearly referring to the late evening when
the sun set, as Luke shows, "And when the hour (of evening – sunset) had come He sat
down with the twelve."
If it were the 14th already, when Christ sent His disciples to prepare for the Passover –
and evening came as Christ arrived with the disciples at the house where they would be
eating, it would now be the 15th! For sunset, the beginning of the second evening begins a
new day. We know that it could not have already been the 14th, because other Scriptures
show that the Romans put Christ on the tree on the 14th.
The disciples and Christ arrived at the house some time before the host served the
evening meal. It was still daylight when they arrived, as evening came after their arrival.
John lets us know this to be the case, for he says, John 13:30 "Having received the piece
of bread, he (Judas) then went out immediately – And it was night." Why mention that it
was night, if it was night already when they came in? However, as all three accounts
illustrate, when compared, they were reclining and conversing when the evening came (at
sunset) some while before night.
John gives us an even more revealing statement, in his parallel account of this same
occasion, he writes, "Now before the feast of the Passover". John tells us that this was
before the Passover Feast. However, we cannot rely on this statement alone to prove
what John means by this phrase, as John does not state any length of time. John could
have intended a few minutes before the feast or a day or two before the feast. However,
later in the narrative, John clears up his intentions. We will see more of this in detail,
The important point in this rubric is that “when the hour had come” is synonymous with
“when evening had come” which tells us that the Messiah sat down with His disciples soon
The word for <hour> used in Luke 22:14 is #5610 and has much to do with points of the
day such as sunset: see #2 & #3 below. We can corroborate this with Matthew’s parallel
statement (Matthew 26:20) “Now when evening had come” – although Matthew does use
a different Greek word for evening. Another way to translate the phrase in Luke 22:14
is, “Now when the day had come” – indicating a new day had just begun or sunset had just
ended for the previous day. Although any point of time is possible for this word, the
context constrains us to sunset because of the parallel accounts.
It is important for the reader to understand this point, for many having assumed that this
was the time of Passover have forced on us the belief that Luke means “Now when the
hour of Passover had come” instead of “Now when the hour of evening had come”. The
context is abundantly clear on this point and the definition of the word #5610 indicates
that it has much to do with the hours of every day.
5610 wra hora ho’-rah
apparently a primary word; TDNT-9:675,1355; n f
AV-hour 89, time 11, season 3, misc 5; 108
1) a certain definite time or season fixed by natural law and returning with the revolving year
1a) of the seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, winter
2) the daytime (bounded by the rising and setting of the sun), a day
3) a twelfth part of the day-time, an hour, (the twelve hours of the day are reckoned from the rising to
the setting of the sun)
4) any definite time, point of time, moment