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Bible verses about Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:18

Genesis 14-15 contains time markers that help us line up these events with the Passover and Exodus from Egypt, as well as the Passover and crucifixion in the New Testament:

» “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; [H]e was the priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). This corresponds with Jesus' Passover observance with bread and wine, which took place at the beginning of the 14th.

» “Then He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants be'” (Genesis 15:5). Abraham is outside and viewing the stars. The time has progressed to full dark on the 14th.

» The sacrificial activities described in Genesis 15:9-11 indicate the arrival of the daylight portion of Abib 14; it was light enough to make sacrifices. This method of making a covenant symbolizes that, if the terms were not met, the transgressor must be cut in half, just like the animals (see Jeremiah 34:18-20).

» “Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him” (Genesis 15:12). The sun begins to go down as soon as noon has passed, so this verse could indicate any time in the afternoon or early evening.

» “And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces” (Genesis 15:17). The sun has set and Abib 15 has begun. The symbol of a burning lamp is linked with the salvation of God's people (Isaiah 62:1) and describes the eyes of God (Daniel 10:6). In addition, when God descended on Mount Sinai in fire, its “smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace” (Exodus 19:18). Through these symbols, God is seen confirming His covenant to Abraham by passing through the middle of the sacrificed animals.

What happened during the daylight portion of the 14th in Abraham's day was a conversation about inheriting the land, then Abraham divided and arranged the animals at God's command in preparation for the covenant. Thus, the timing of Christ's crucifixion on the afternoon of Abib 14 points to something centuries before the Passover in Egypt—to the promises God made to the father of the faithful and to the preparations made for their covenant.

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part Two)


 

Exodus 12:1-14

Historically, the church of God has observed the Passover just after sunset as the 14th day of Abib begins, as commanded in Exodus 12:1-14 (see also Leviticus 23:4-5; Numbers 9:2-5). However, it is also plain from Scripture that Jesus Christ was not sacrificed at that time—His trial and crucifixion took place during the daylight portion of the 14th, and He died around 3:00 pm on the preparation day for the first day of Unleavened Bread (Matthew 27:45-50; Mark 15:33-37; Luke 23:44-46; John 19:30-31). Since He is our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7), why did His death not occur at the time the Passover lambs were to be slain—at the beginning of the 14th day? Or should His death set the standard for understanding the instructions given to Israel?

To add to the complexity, the gospel accounts show Jesus observing the Passover with His disciples at the beginning of the 14th. Which of His actions should we use as our guide for observing Passover: the time when He observed it or when He died? And why are those events at different times?

When the time of Jesus' death is chosen above all else, the typical result is a change in the observance of Passover from the beginning of the 14th day of Abib, just after sunset, to the afternoon of the 14th or even into the 15th. Further, those who make this change must then find a different explanation for when the Israelites killed the lambs and later left Egypt, which frequently involves leaning on Jewish tradition for support—for those Jewish sects that follow Talmudic traditions promote this divergent perspective.

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part One)


 

Matthew 26:17-19

There is no equivocation in Jesus' words. The stated will and intent of the Son of Man was to keep the Passover with His disciples in the house of that certain man. He knew He would be betrayed and crucified, but He, God in the flesh, said with full assurance that He would be keeping the Passover with His disciples in that house.

When He was crucified, though, He was not in any man's house, nor was He with His disciples—they had all fled!—so that was not when He or they kept the Passover. Did Jesus' words return to Him void (see Isaiah 55:11)? If the Messiah's words hold any weight with us, we can be confident that His will came to pass, and that the meal He shared with His disciples—including the bread and wine (Matthew 26:26-29)—was the Passover.

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part One)


 

Mark 14:12-17

Whereas Matthew's account has Jesus saying, “I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples” (Matthew 26:18), Mark's clarifies the phrase “keep the Passover” with “eat the Passover.” This is an essential detail because some have tried to explain His words away by claiming He merely mentions preparing for the Passover. But Mark brings out the fact that on this same occasion He meant He would eat the Passover with His disciples, not simply make preparations.

We again see His intention to use the guest (or upper) room of that certain man's house. Did our Messiah mean what He said? Are any words of God untrustworthy? If He did not mean what He said here, it means that either the sovereign God's will was thwarted, or else Jesus duplicitously said one thing while intending to do another. As Paul says, God forbid!

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part One)


 

Hebrews 9:19-26

So, how did Jesus fulfill the Passover requirements? He ate the Passover with His disciples at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month. While they probably did eat roasted lamb with bitter herbs, what Jesus emphasized for His disciples was the bread and the wine. Through washing His disciples' feet (John 13:2-17), He set the example of humble service, as well as forgiving others, because cleansing is symbolic of forgiveness. Most importantly, His sinless blood was shed on Passover day.

Yet, parts of the original Passover instructions were not fulfilled in their letter! Consider that He and His disciples left the house before morning, which the Israelites were forbidden to do (Exodus 12:22). Jesus was our Passover Lamb, yet He was crucified rather than being roasted in fire (Exodus 12:8). His remains were not burned, even though that, too, is specified. His blood was not caught in a basin, nor smeared on any doorpost (see verse 7). And, as we know, He was not killed between sunset and dark at the beginning of the 14th day.

So did Jesus fulfill the Passover? We know He absolutely did, and our Father was satisfied. But He fulfilled it according to requirements that were different from what He gave to a carnal people.

Jesus set the example for us of when and how to keep it. It was during the night of the 14th when He said to partake of the bread and wine “in remembrance of Me.” In reflecting on that night, Paul instructs the Corinthians to “proclaim the Lord's death till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:26). However, the timing of His death, which did not occur until the following afternoon, was about far more than just being the Passover Lamb—as pivotal as it was.

The death of the Lamb was planned from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The timing was not an afterthought—it was deliberate, drawing our attention to something momentous. Jesus only died once to fulfill all the sacrificial requirements, including those for the Passover, the Day of Atonement and the other holy days offerings, the Sabbath, the New Moon—His one sacrifice satisfied it all. Yet, the date and time He was crucified do not correspond with any holy day, nor with any sacrifice that God commanded Israel to make! Rather, it corresponded with a much earlier event: God's covenant with Abraham.

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part One)


 

 




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