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Bible verses about Selfsame Day
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:17-20

Melchizedek (Christ) offers bread and wine to Abram. Working back from the events of Genesis 15, the understanding of "the selfsame day" of Exodus 12:41 and Christ's institution of the bread and wine during His final Passover, this likely occurred at the beginning of the 14th, perhaps even at twilight.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Countdown to Pentecost 2001


 

Genesis 15:1-6

Following the "bread and wine" incident of Genesis 14:18, Abraham asks for clarification of his status with God, because earlier, in Genesis 12, God had implied that Abraham's family would be great. After Abraham asks for clarification, God give the promise using an illustration involving stars. In order for Abraham to see stars, this event had to take place at night.

Notice Exodus 12:5-6:

Your [Passover] lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

This is one of those places where the word "evening" is from the term in Hebrew ben ha arbayim. In modern English it means "twilight" or "dusk." The meaning of this word describes the time that the sun has gone down, but light continues to remain for a period of time. At this time of the year, the light would have lingered very close to about 45 minutes. After that, it would be dark.

Abraham is brought bread and wine by Melchizedek. The next thing we see in Genesis 15 is the mention of "stars"; it is dark. The Passover takes place in that period of dim light before it becomes dark. That is the time that we, in our observance, normally take Passover, just as the sun goes down. That is where the opening of Genesis 15 is time-wise. By the time you see stars, it is dark. We are beginning to see that time is moving in this episode.

When ben ha arbayim takes place, the Abib 13 has ended and Abib 14, Passover day, begins. This is undoubtedly when Melchizedek brought forth the bread and wine. Then came Abraham's vision, when it was dark and the stars were out. It is clearly into Abib 14, because it is dark.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wavesheaf and the Selfsame Day


 

Genesis 15:7-17

Sunset is the beginning of Nisan 14, and chronologically we are moving into the daylight portion of that day—Passover day. As daylight hits, Abraham asks God for evidence that He will follow through. Abraham receives the command to prepare a sacrifice and a prophecy regarding his family. Verse 12 shows the preparation of the sacrifice was during the daylight part of Nisan 14, because when we get to verse 12, the sacrifice has been prepared, and the sun was going down. That brings us up to the end of the 14th.

Many have wondered why Christ was sacrificed during the daylight portion of Nisan 14 in the afternoon rather than at the beginning, and seemingly more in alignment with Passover. Was not the Passover lamb slain at the beginning of Nisan 14, after ben ha arbayim began? Yes, it was. So people think because Christ was sacrificed sometime during the afternoon of the 14th that there is something wrong. The answer as to why He was sacrificed during the afternoon rather than at the beginning of the 14th appears here in Genesis 15: Even as the covenant of promise with Abraham was ratified by the sacrifice Abraham makes here, Christ's sacrifice provides the ratification of the New Covenant. Christ's sacrifice, by God's decree, had to align with the ratification of the covenant of promise with Abraham, not the Passover. The time of the crucifixion aligns exactly with Genesis 15.

Verse 12 specifically states "when the sun was going down." Therefore, this sacrifice in Genesis 15, like Christ's sacrifice, took place in the late afternoon. What happened at Christ's crucifixion? A great darkness occurred. In Genesis 15, a great darkness occurred to Abraham. In addition to that, a great horror fell upon him. Now what does that picture? There are two possibilities.

  1. Abraham was made by God to experience a very small taste of the horror that Christ had to face in His crucifixion and burial. God almost scared him to death by putting the fear in him.
  2. It could also be a precursor of the darkness and the earthquake that took place at Christ's crucifixion.

I prefer the first one, that Abraham, as the father of the faithful and the first covenantal ancestor of Jesus Christ, had to experience a bit of what God's Son in the flesh would have to go through 1,700 years later.

Something else appears here that is not so readily apparent at Christ's crucifixion: Abraham had to beat off vultures. When the fowls came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. Vile birds are the Bible's symbol of demons. This gives the impression that, as Jesus was hanging on the cross, a great spiritual battle occurred during which the demons were taunting and persecuting Christ to induce Him to give up. Some of the psalms speak about everybody gawking at Him and taunting Him. It was not only human beings. We can understand it was demons as well, who were doing everything to break His courage and to break His spirit.

It says very clearly that God forsook Jesus. "Why have you forsaken me?" Christ asks, because now He was on His own completely and totally for the first time in His life. God made Abraham go through a little bit of that great horror and darkness. Maybe part of the horror that Abraham had to experience was the fear, perhaps, of being buried alive. We can speculate on such things, but it is included so that we will understand what Abraham went through and how it parallels what Christ endured—even to the exact days and times of the days as the events progressed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wavesheaf and the Selfsame Day


 

Exodus 12:5-6

This is one of those places where the word "evening" is from the Hebrew term ben ha arbayim. In modern English, it means "twilight" or "dusk." This word describes the time when the sun has gone down, but light continues to linger for a time, and at this time of the year, light would have remained in the sky for probably close to about 45 minutes. Following that, it would be dark.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wavesheaf and the Selfsame Day


 

Exodus 12:51

Verse 51 comes at the end of a paragraph that begins in verse 43. This verse does not mean that the Israelite men were circumcised "the very same day," but rather it refers back to verse 41: "And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years."

At this point in the story, the males had already taken the Passover, and therefore the men had been circumcised previous to that. They could not have taken the Passover, which occurred at the beginning of Exodus 12, unless they had been circumcised. So this section then, from verse 43 through 51, is a reminder of an earlier command. They were not circumcised after Passover and immediately get up and leave Egypt! That would be physically impossible.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wavesheaf and the Selfsame Day


 

Joshua 4:19

The same sequence of days appears in Genesis 14-15, Exodus 12, and in Christ's crucifixion. Joshua's command to prepare food (Joshua 1:11) therefore took place on Abib 7, because in Joshua 4:19, they have just crossed the Jordan. It is the tenth day of Abib. What was to happen on the Abib 10 in Israel? That was the day that they were to chose the Passover lamb. In the sequence of events leading to Christ's crucifixion , the tenth day was when He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. In a sense, He was crossing His own Jordan at that point, and the people chose Him as the Lamb that would be slaughtered.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wavesheaf and the Selfsame Day


 

Matthew 27:46-50

Christ's sacrifice confirming the New Covenant occurred on the anniversary of God's covenantal promise to Abraham—the same day and hour! Its specific timing draws our attention to the “eternal inheritance” promised to Abraham and his spiritual seed. Jesus set the example of when and how He wants us to observe the Passover—at the beginning of the 14th—and then on that afternoon, He shed His blood so that a New Covenant could be made.

This covenant is an outgrowth of the covenant with Abraham, making his “great nation” a reality. It provides for justification on the basis of faith—for Israelite and Gentile alike—and promises eternal life to those who continue to the end in faith. Christ is our Passover, not by lining up with the timing outlined in the instructions given to Israel, but by renewing and advancing the covenant God made with Abraham.

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


 

 




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