Every year before and during Passover, also known as Pesach, we are confronted with the same questions, and we all have some specific interpretation we favor. One of these questions is: was the last meal Y’shua had with His disciples a Pesach seder?
There are many passages in Scripture that seem contradictory, especially on this topic, but we believe that these seeming contradictions are because of our lack of understanding. We believe that all Scripture is inspired by YHVH’s Ruach (Spirit). We have written a post about this topic, titled “Proof that the Apostolic writings are inspired scripture” There are minor scribal and translation errors in Scripture, but apart from these, the message remains the same.
We will show you evidence from the Scripture, regarding the last meal Y’shua had with His disciples. We will also look at the instructions regarding these days and how Y’shua fulfilled the feast of Passover. All this is important in order for us to understand why His last meal could not have been a Passover seder.
Y’shua fulfilled the Passover
We shall commence this study by looking at why we say Y’shua fulfilled this feast.
The lamb as a substitute
The first prophecy we find regarding YHVH supplying a lamb as a substitute, is in the account in Genesis.
Abraham was told to offer up his only-begotten son Isaac. When Isaac asked him about the sacrificial animal, he answered that YHVH would provide it.
8 Abraham said, â€œElohim will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.â€ So the two of them walked on together.
When he was just about to offer Isaac, an angel of YHVH told him not to offer his son, and he raised his eyes and saw a ram caught in the thicket (Gen 22:10-13.)This ram was a substitute for Isaac, just like Y’shua was a substitute for us.
Another prophetic event is found in the book of Exodus.
The blood of the lamb
When YHVH delivered the Israelites from the yoke of slavery, they were protected from the angel of death by the blood of a lamb.
5 â€˜Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 â€˜You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. 7 â€˜Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
In verse 23, we find an explanation for this blood on the lintels.
23 â€œFor YHVH will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, YHVH will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.
29 Now it came about at midnight that YHVH struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.
Knowing the prophetic nature of this event and the requirements of the Passover lamb is important for this study. We shall look at the requirements of the Passover lamb later in this post. But first, can we apply this to Y’shua?
Y’shua is the Lamb of Elohim, our Passover
When we did the study of Y’shua in prophecy, we saw how Isaiah 53 prophesied about Y’shua, specifically His death for our sin.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
This passage is quoted in the book of Acts where Philip explains this to the eunuch in the context of Y’shua’s death.
32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: â€œHe was led as a sheep to slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He does not open His mouth. 33 â€œIn humiliation His judgment was taken away; Who will relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth.â€ 34 The eunuch answered Philip and said, â€œPlease tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?â€ 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Y’shua to him.
Later, in the book of Corinthians, Paul calls Y’shua “our Passover.”
1 Corinthians 5:7
7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed.
John the Baptist called Y’shua “the Lamb of Elohim who takes away the sin of the world”
29 The next day he saw Y’shua coming to him and said, â€œBehold, the Lamb of Elohim who takes away the sin of the world!
36 and he looked at Y’shua as He walked, and said, â€œBehold, the Lamb of Elohim!â€
A few other points to ponder about the Passover lamb
- It was a male
- The lamb was to be brought in on the 10th of Aviv, Y’shua arrived on the 10th of Aviv, the day the lambs were chosen.
- It was to be examined for 4 days to ensure it was unblemished
- It was to be slain on the 14th day of Aviv and
- Redemption came through its blood
There could be no misunderstanding. According to Scripture, Y’shua fulfilled the feast of Passover; He redeemed us through His death, in the same way the blood of the Pesach lamb redeemed Israel. Y’shua was the allegorical Passover lamb; He fulfilled this prophetic feast according to how it was written.
Y’shua kept the commandments
Another very important point is that Y’shua did not ever break the commandments. He kept the Torah perfectly as He was sinless. Sin is the breaking of the commandments, and Y’shua never broke a commandment; He came to fulfill or to fill it up with meaning.
17 â€œDo not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 â€œFor truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 â€œWhoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Y’shua could not say this and then break even the smallest of the commandments! It would make Him a hypocrite, which we know He was not.
So now we know that Y’shua fulfilled the feast of Passover, and we know that He did not break any commandments.
The instructions for the Feast
We will now study the instructions for this feast in order to gain more understanding.
When was the Pesach lamb killed?
The lamb was to be kept until the fourteenth day, it is to be investigated to make sure it is unblemished. It is then killed on the fourteenth day, at twilight.
6 â€˜You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.
When is twilight?
6847 II. ×¢Ö¶×¨Ö¶×‘ (Ê¿Ä›Â·rÄ›á¸‡): n.[masc.]; â‰¡ Str 6153; TWOT 1689aâ€”1. LN 67.191 evening, sundown, i.e., the period of time related to the setting of the sun, from late or very late afternoon to the beginning of the dark night time (1Sa 14:24)2
The lamb was killed at twilight; the Youngs Literal translation, renders it as “between the evenings.” It was then grilled and eaten. The Torah commandment is to kill the lamb in the first month, on the fourteenth day at twilight.
5 â€˜In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is YHVHâ€™s Passover.
So, if Y’shua was fulfilling the prophecy, becoming the allegorical Passover lamb, which we know He was, He would have to be killed on the 14th of Aviv as this is the day when the Passover lamb was slain…That is the first point. The next point is the timing of the Passover meal according to the commandment.
When are we to eat the Passover meal according to Scripture?
This meal takes place at the beginning of the 15th day of Aviv according to the commandment. YHVH commanded us to eat unleavened bread from the evening the 15th of Aviv. The Passover was killed on the 14th at twilight, roasted and eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread on the beginning of the 15th of Aviv.
16 â€˜Then on the fourteenth day of the first month shall be YHVHâ€™s Passover. 17 â€˜On the fifteenth day of this month shall be a feast, unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days.
This is also referred to as eating the Passover. If Y’shua kept the commandments and fulfilled the prophecy, He could not have had this meal with His disciples, as He would already be dead by the time this special meal was eaten.
The Passover is a sacrifice
2 â€œYou shall sacrifice the Passover to YHVH your Elohim from the flock and the herd, in the place where YHVH chooses to establish His name.
The Hebrew word for sacrifice is “zabah”
2284 ×–Ö¸×‘Ö·×— (zÄÂ·á¸‡ÇŽá¸¥): v.; â‰¡ Str 2076; TWOT 525â€”1. LN 53.16â€“53.27 (qal) offer a sacrifice by killing a living thing, as an act. of worship, expiation or propitiation to a deity (Ex 23:18); (piel) (Hos 12:12); 2. LN 20.72 (qal) butcher, i.e., slaughter an animal and dress it out for consumption (1Sa 28:24)2
We have seen from this verse as well as in the article about the “First Passover and the commemoration of it“ that sacrifices were only to be done in the Temple, according to the instructions in Torah. Furthermore, those sacrifices that could be eaten were to be eaten at the Temple. We do not have any mention of a Passover lamb being sacrificed or eaten by Y’shua or His disciples. Not doing this, would be breaking the commandment…
So, from these three points we learn the following:
- In order for Y’shua to fulfill the Scripture, He would have been killed on the 14th day of Aviv at twilight.
- In order for Y’shua and His disciples to keep the commandments, they must have a Passover meal at the beginning of the 15th day of Aviv.
- Passover is a sacrifice and the Passover was sacrificed at the Temple and was to be eaten on the night beginning the feast of Unleavened bread.
Not adhering to these, would mean Y’shua did not fulfill the feast or did not keep the commandments. We know that is not the case…
Some people would now say, but He was following a different calendar and could therefor fulfill the feast and eat the Passover with His disciples. We disagree with that…
Which calendar did Y’shua and His disciples follow?
We have determined in a previous study, “Which calendar did Y’shua follow?” that Y’shua followed the calendar that was used in the Temple at the time.
How do we know where they were in their calendar at the time Y’shua had this meal?
28 Then they led Y’shua from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.
They have not yet observed the Passover meal according to this verse.
The day of preparation
There are also three references to it being the preparation day for the Passover in the book of John. The “Passover” referring to the meal in the evening starting the feast of Unleavened bread.
The context of these references is the time just before Y’shua’s crucifixion.
14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, â€œBehold, your King!â€ 15 So they cried out, â€œAway with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!â€ Pilate said to them, â€œShall I crucify your King?â€ The chief priests answered, â€œWe have no king but Caesar.â€
Also John 19:31 and John 19:42
31 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Y’shua there.
This day of preparation is also mentioned in the other gospels. This word is only used six times in the Apostolic writings and always in the context of the Passover.
4187 Ï€Î±ÏÎ±ÏƒÎºÎµÏ…Î® (paraskeuÄ“), á¿†Ï‚ (Ä“s), á¼¡ (hÄ“): n.fem.; â‰¡ Str 3904; TDNT 7.1â€”LN 67.201 Preparation Day (Mt 27:62; Mk 15:42; Lk 23:54; Jn 19:14, 31, 42+)2
62 Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
42 When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath,
The context of Mark is about Joseph of Arimathea going to Pilate to request Y’shua’s body for burial before the beginning of the High Sabbath.
53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. 54 It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.
This took place after the crucifixion, on the day of preparation. The gospels are thus in agreement regarding the timing.
Would it not be logical that Y’shua’s fulfillment of this prophecy would be according to the calendar of the Temple, which He also followed? This brings us to the next point…
The sign of Jonah
Some say the reference to the Sabbath is to the weekly Sabbath. This implies that Y’shua was crucified on a Friday. To answer this, we need to look at the meaning of the sign of Jonah. We have done a previous article about this “Y’shua in prophecy – The sign of Jonah” Y’shua said the only sign He would give the Pharisees is the sign of Jonah; three days and three nights.
40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
That is the time Y’shua was to remain in the earth. That would make the day of the crucifixion a Wednesday according to the Gregorian calendar. Y’shua was crucified on the fourth day of the week, on the preparation day before the Sabbath commencing the Feast of Unleavened bread. He was to remain in the grave for three days and three nights. Count with me Wednesday, Thursday- and Friday night makes three nights and Thursday, Friday and Saturday makes three days. We know that Y’shua rose from the grave just after the weekly Sabbath, early on the first day of the week.
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Master Y’shua.
All the gospels are in agreement that Y’shua rose early on the first day of the week. It would, for this reason, not be possible for the preparation day to be the day before the weekly Sabbath. That would render the prophecy about Jonah meaningless. We are always to look at Scripture in context.
Another point to ponder is whether Y’shua and His disciples observed a vigil on the night after the last supper…
Were the discipels observing a vigil the night in Getsemane?
Our previous article was about keeping watch on the night of the 15th of Aviv, the first night of the Feast of Unleavened bread. Was this what Y’shua asked His disciples to do when they went to the garden of Gethsemane on the night after the last supper?
In the Gospel of Matthew (Matt 26:36-46) and Mark (Mark 14:32-42), Y’shua took three disciples aside and asked them to watch with Him. In Luke, He told His disciples to pray (Luk 22:40-46), no mention was made of keeping watch. In the Gospel of John (John 18:1) it is only briefly mentioned that Y’shua and His disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane.
Does this sound like a commanded “vigil”?
When we look at the Greek word that is used here, we see it is different from the Greek word “prophylake” that was used to translate the Hebrew word “simmurin” in Ex12:42 in the Septuagint. This Greek word is “gregorio” and means the following:
23.72 Î³ÏÎ·Î³Î¿ÏÎÏ‰a: to remain awake because of the need to continue alertâ€”â€˜to stay awake, to be watchful.â€™ Îµá¼° á¼¤Î´ÎµÎ¹ á½ Î¿á¼°ÎºÎ¿Î´ÎµÏƒÏ€ÏŒÏ„Î·Ï‚ Ï€Î¿Î¯á¾³ Ï†Ï…Î»Î±Îºá¿‡ á½ ÎºÎ»ÎÏ€Ï„Î·Ï‚ á¼”ÏÏ‡ÎµÏ„Î±Î¹, á¼Î³ÏÎ·Î³ÏŒÏÎ·ÏƒÎµÎ½ á¼„Î½ â€˜if the man of the house knew the time when the thief would come, he would stay awakeâ€™ Mt 24:43. In some languages Î³ÏÎ·Î³Î¿ÏÎÏ‰ in Mt 24:43 may be rendered as â€˜his eyes would be openâ€™ or â€˜he would surely see what was happening.â€™3
This is therefor, in our opinion, not keeping a “vigil” as is was commanded in Exodus 12:42.
Other proof from Scripture
Apart from what we have learned above, we find other clues in Scripture that tells us that it was not a Passover seder Y’shua had with His disciples on that night.
The bread at the last supper
The bread that was eaten at the last supper was not specified as unleavened bread. The Greek word “artos” is generally used for bread or food, and it was used. There is a different word for unleavened bread in Greek.
22 While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, â€œTake it; this is My body.â€
Bread is “artos”
788 á¼„ÏÏ„Î¿Ï‚ (artos), Î¿Ï… (ou), á½ (ho): n.masc.; â‰¡ DBLHebr 4312; Str 740; TDNT 1.477â€”1. LN 5.8 loaf of bread (Mt 14:17); 2. LN 5.1 food, any kind of nourishment (Mt 6:11); 3. LN 57.190 á¼ÏÎ³Î¬Î¶ÎµÎ¹Î½ Ï„á½¸Î½ á¼‘Î±Ï…Ï„Î¿á¿¦ á¼„ÏÏ„Î¿Î½ á¼ÏƒÎ¸Î¯Ï‰ (ergazein ton heautou arton esthiÅ), earn a living, to work for my bread which I eat (2Th 3:12+); 4. LN 53.26 á¼„ÏÏ„Î¿Î¹ Ï„á¿†Ï‚ Ï€ÏÎ¿Î¸ÎÏƒÎµÏ‰Ï‚ (artoi tÄ“s protheseÅs), consecrated bread (Mt 12:4; Mk 2:26; Lk 6:4; Heb 9:2+); 5. LN 23.20 á¼„ÏÏ„Î¿Î½ ÎºÎ»Î¬ÏƒÎ±Î¹ (arton klasai), have a meal, formally, break bread (Ac 2:46; 20:7, 11; 1Co 10:16+) (possibly more references)2
Unleavened bread is “azymos” in Greek
109 á¼„Î¶Ï…Î¼Î¿Ï‚ (azymos), Î¿Î½ (on): adj.; â‰¡ DBLHebr 5174; Str 106; TDNT 2.902â€”LN 5.13 without yeast, unleavened (1Co 5:7, 8+); (Feast of) Unleavened Bread (Mt 26:17; Mk 14:1, 12; Lk 22:1, 7; Ac 12:3; 20:6+)2
Unleavened bread is commanded to be eaten from the evening of the 15th aviv, the beginning of the feast of unleavened bread. Not eating it would break a commandment, which we know Y’shua never did.
Judas went out “to buy things they have need of for the feastâ€
From the book of John, we learn the following…
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Y’shua knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,
26 Y’shua then answered, â€œThat is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.â€ So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Y’shua said to him, â€œWhat you do, do quickly.â€
After Judas was identified as the one who would betray Y’shua, he left. Some supposed that he went to buy things they needed for the feast.
28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, â€œBuy the things we have need of for the feastâ€; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.
This is proof that the feast has not yet started for when Y’shua said, “What you do, do quicklyâ€
the other disciples thought that He meant Judas must go buy the things they have need for the feast. If it was a Passover seder, it would have been Sabbath already, for the first day of Unleavened bread is a Sabbath. Buying would not be possible.
So if the last supper was not a Passover meal, what was it?
Why was Y’shua observing this meal with His disciples?
If Y’shua was not observing a Passover seder meal with His disciples, why did they have this meal together. Was there any special reason for this?
Here is some commentary by Joseph Shulam quoted by David Stern in the Jewish New Testament Commentary:
The Last Supper (vv. 17â€“30 of this chapter) is understood by most scholars to have been a Passover meal or Seder (v. 17N). Many Pesach themes are deepened, reinforced and given new levels of meaning by the events in the life of Yeshua the Messiah and by his words on this night. However, Joseph Shulam has suggested that it may have been not the Seder but a seË“udat-mitzvah, the celebratory â€œbanquet accompanying performance of a commandmentâ€ such as a wedding or bË’rit-milah.
Here is the background for his argument. When a rabbi and his students finish studying a tractate of the Talmud, they celebrate with a seË“udat-mitzvah (also called a seË“udat-siyum, â€œbanquet of completion,â€ i.e., graduation). The Fast of the Firstborn, expressing gratitude for the saving of Israelâ€™s firstborn sons from the tenth plague (compare Lk 2:22â€“24&N), has been prescribed for the day before Pesach, Nisan 14, at least since Mishnaic times. When it is necessary to eat a seË“udat-mitzvah, this takes precedence over a fast. With a modicum of foresight a rabbi can plan to complete a tractate on Nisan 14 and thus avoid having to fast; doing so is not construed as cheating, and in fact it has become the custom.
The tradition of the Fast of the Firstborn dates at least from Mishnaic times. But, Shulam reasons, if it goes back a couple centuries more to the time of Yeshua, and if the seË“udat-siyum custom applied in the first century to the completing of any course of study, then Yeshua might have arranged to have himself and his talmidim finish reading a book of the Tanakh on Nisan 14. Or, since Yeshua knew he was to die, he may have regarded it as appropriate to complete his disciplesâ€™ earthly â€œcourse of studyâ€ with a banquet. This solution would also resolve the perceived conflict between Yochanan and the Synoptic Gospels over the timing of the Last Supper (see Yn 13:29&N, 18:28N). 4
I was searching for more information about this meal when I came across an article quoting a book titled “A treasury of Jewish Holidays.” This explains this meal and how it relates to the tradition to observe the fast of the first born on the 14th of Aviv. Here is the quote:
â€œFast of the Firstborn. Because the Almighty spared the firstborn of the Jews when slaying all the firstborn of the Egyptians, there developed a custom for the firstborn among the Jews to fast on the day before Passover. However, if the firstborn are invited to a feast in celebration of a religious duty, such as circumcision or redemption of the firstborn, they need not then observe the fast, but may partake of food to celebrate the occasion. It is therefore the custom for a student of the Law to complete the study of one of the Tractates of the Talmud the day before Passover, so that he may celebrate the occasion by feasting. Such celebration is known as a siyum, or commencement, and is considered a feast in honor of performing a religious duty The firstborn of the community are invited by the student to celebrate the siyum with him. By this invitation, they become exempt from fasting, and donate instead a certain sum of money to charity “.
Hyman E. Goldin, A Treasury of Jewish Holidays (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1952), 135.5
This is all very interesting but we do not know for sure if this was already observed in the time of Y’shua. However, the tradition may have stemmed from the time of Y’shua. Nevertheless, Y’shua did not need a special traditional event to have a meal with His disciples. He knew what would take place after this meal, and He had a special meal with His disciples.
Y’shua also expressed His yearning to celebrate the feast with them.
15 And He said to them, â€œI have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of Elohim.â€
The word “again” is not in the original text and the word “never” can also be translated as “not.” The Greek word “ou” was translated as never. Here is the meaning explained by the Dictionary of Biblical languages.
4024 Î¿á½ (ou), Î¿á½Îº (ouk), Î¿á½Ï‡ (ouch): adv. (an objective negative, denying the reality of alleged fact); â‰¡ Str 3364 & 3756â€”1. LN 69.2 Î¿á½” (ou), no, in absolute, as an answer (Mt 13:29; Jas 5:12); 2. LN 69.3 not, marker of a negating proposition (Mt 7:21); 2
Here is an alternative translation of this verse:
15 He said to them, â€œI have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of Elohim.â€ 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, â€œTake this and divide it among yourselves;
The ESV, NRSV and Lexham English Bible have it translated like this. We just have one last point to address here, and that is the text in the other gospels. They seem to contradict what is written in the book of John. However, can we with certainty say that these were correctly translated?
Some seeming contradictions in the text
Just one last potential stumbling block and that is the translation in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, â€œWhere do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?â€
17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Y’shua and asked, â€œWhere do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?â€
Firstly, the first day of Unleavened bread is a Sabbath, so we already have some potential confusion here. This points to a possible translation issue. However, the writer then elaborates a bit more, and he seems to then refer to the day of Passover, also referred to as the preparation day for the seder meal.
Secondly, in both Mark and Matthew the word “on” is not in the original text and the Greek word “protos” is translated as “first.” This is indeed a possible translation, but so is “before” or ” most important”
4755 Ï€Ïá¿¶Ï„Î¿Ï‚ (prÅtos), Î· (Ä“), Î¿Î½ (on): adj.; â‰¡ DBLHebr 8037; Str 4413; TDNT 6.865â€”1. LN 60.46 first, in a series (Ac 26:23; Mk 16:9 v.r.; Jn 8:7 v.r.; Ac 13:33 v.r.); 2. LN 67.18 before, earlier, formerly (Mt 27:64); 3. LN 87.45 prominent, of high rank, foremost (Mt 20:27; Mk 6:21); 4. LN 65.24 best, superior to all compared to (Lk 15:22); 5. LN 65.52 most important (Mk 12:28)2
It could thus be translated as “Before Unleavened bread, when the Passover was being sacrificesâ€¦.or in the case of the verse in Matthew “Now before unleavened bread the disciples came to Y’shuaâ€¦..
Why did the translators choose to add “on” and also to translate “protos” with first instead of before? Consider this…
7 Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
Firstly the word “first” was added by the translators and the Greek word “came” can be translated as follows:
2262 á¼”ÏÏ‡Î¿Î¼Î±Î¹ (erchomai): vb.; â‰¡ DBLHebr 995; Str 2064; TDNT 2.666â€”1. LN 15.7 go, come (Mk 4:21; Lk 3:3; Lk 11:22 v.r. NA26; Jn 8:2 v.r.); 2. LN 15.81 come, move toward or up to (Mt 10:34; 11:3); 3. LN 13.50 become, to come to a state or condition (Mk 5:26)2
While I am no Greek expert, the Lexicon states that it can have a different meaning. Why did the translators choose this word? Were they trying to hide Y’shua’s Jewishness and His keeping of YHVH’s commandments? If you are teaching a doctrine that the law has been done away with, it would not sit comfortably if the One who did away with the law was keeping it Himself. Would it? This is, however, just speculation, but it does seem oddâ€¦
What have we learned from this?
We have learned, firstly, that Y’shua fulfilled the Passover, and secondly that He kept YHVH’s commandments.
In order for Y’shua to be the allegorical Passover lamb, He had to fulfill the feast on the right day and according to the instructions for the feast. Furthermore, if we say Y’shua never sinned, we also say He kept the commandments flawlessly. That would imply that He kept the instructions regarding the Feast of Passover and Unleavened bread perfectly according to Torah. After proving both statements, we know that Y’shua had to die on the 14th, thus being our allegorical Passover lamb. If He died on the 14th, and kept the Torah, He could not have had a Passover seder with His disciples, because He would already be in the grave.
We find further proof of that when we look at the specific examples from the Scriptures regarding the bread, the absence of a lamb, the calendar and the fact the Judas left and the others were thinking that he might have gone out to buy what they needed for the feast.
We can go into every seeming contradiction, but it cannot detract from the first two points. Any seeming contradiction is in our opinion a lack of understanding on our part or possible issues with the translations.
Even if we are wrong regarding this, the message remains the same. Y’shua took our guilt upon Himself and suffered the penalty for our sin by dying on our behalf in order to give us eternal life. We are to be eternally thankful!
- All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Yâ€™shua for Jesus.
- Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains. New York: United Bible Societies.
- Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., Mt 26:2). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.