God's Festivals in Scripture and History. Volume I
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Passover in the New Testament

The Observance of Passover Today

Pentecost in the New Testament

The Observance of Pentecost Today

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Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D., Andrews University

Passover has great value for Christians because the New Testament writers place the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection within the Passover festival. More importantly, they explain the meaning of Christ’s atoning death by means of Passover typology. The hope of redemption which was nourished by the Passover ritual finds its realization in the sacrifice of Christ, the true Paschal Lamb. Thus, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross at the time when Passover lambs were sacrificed links inextricably Jewish and Christian Passovers. His death represents the fulfillment of Jewish Passover and the inauguration of Christian Passover.

The death and resurrection of a human being means little by itself, unless there is an explanation that gives meaning to it. An explanation of the meaning of Christ’s death is provided by the sacrificial system of the Temple, in general, and by the Passover sacrifice, in particular. The earliest Christians were Jews. They were familiar with Jewish institutions, including Passover, and explained especially the meaning of Christ’s death by means of Passover symbolism and allusions.

Objectives of the Chapter. This chapter has two objectives which divide it into two natural parts. The first is to examine the time, nature, and meaning of the last Paschal Supper that Jesus ate with His disciples. This study aims to determine whether the Last Supper was a genuine Passover meal during which Christ instituted the new Passover to commemorate His death or whether it was a farewell fellowship meal during which Christ instituted the Holy Communion as a brand-new rite unrelated to Passover.

The second objective is to study the indirect New Testament references to the observance of Passover and the ethical implications of Passover for the Christian life-style. Our ultimate concern is to ascertain whether Passover continues as a Christian festival with a new meaning and ritual or whether it ended with the death of Christ.



The Date of the Last Supper. During His ministry, Christ participated in several Passovers, the last being the occasion in which He instituted the Lord’s Supper and offered Himself as the true Paschal Lamb for our redemption. A problem exists as to the date of the Last Supper, the exact date of which affects the nature of the meal. According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Christ ate the Passover meal with His disciples on the day when "they sacrificed the passover lamb" (Mark 14:12; cf. Luke 22:7; Matt 26:17), which is Nisan 14. He was crucified the following day, Nisan 15. This means that the Last Supper was most likely a Passover Supper since it was partaken at the time the Jews ate their Passover meal.

However, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus was crucified on the day the Passover lamb was sacrificed (John 19:14; 18:28), Nisan 14. This means He ate the Last Supper with His disciples the day before the official Passover meal. In this case, Jesus’ meal with His disciples may have been either a specially arranged Passover meal or a farewell fellowship meal unrelated to Passover, because it was partaken of the evening before the official Passover.

Countless attempts have been made to reconcile the chronology of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) with that of John. Some have tried to resolve the difficulty by presupposing the existence of two dates for Passover, one to suit the calendar of the Pharisees and the other that of the Sadducees. From Qumran literature, we know considerable dissent existed over calendars and dates of feasts.1 In her widely acclaimed study, La Date de la CÚne, Anne Jaubert argues that the discrepancy in the Gospels stems from the existence of two different calendars: an old sacerdotal calendar based on the solar system and the official calendar based on a lunar system in force at the time of Christ. According to the solar system, Passover would always fall on a Wednesday while, according to the lunar system, Passover day varied from year to year. Jaubert suggests that the synoptics follow the sacerdotal solar calendar while the Gospel of John follows the official lunar calendar.

The fundamental problem with these theories is that they assume that the synoptics and John are not thinking of the same Passover, but of two different paschal celebrations conducted according to two different dates. Such an assumption cannot be legitimately supported by the Gospels’ account of the Passover. It is hard to prove that the synoptics and John are thinking of two different Passovers celebrated according to two different calendric systems.2

An Early Passover Meal. A plausible resolution of the discrepancy is to assume that the Last Supper was a special paschal meal eaten the evening before the official Passover meal. The anticipation of the paschal meal could have been motivated by the fact that Jesus knew He would suffer death at Passover in fulfillment of the type provided by the slaying of the paschal lamb on Nisan 14. He knew He could not possibly eat of the paschal lamb at the usual time and Himself be sacrificed as the true Paschal Lamb when the lambs were slain.

It was more important that Christ’s death should synchronize with the death of the Passover lambs than that His eating of the Passover meal synchronize with the official time of the Passover meal. In view of this legitimate concern, Jesus anticipated His eating of the Passover with His disciples to the evening before the official Passover so that the types of the slaying of the lamb and the offering of the first fruits would be fulfilled "not only as to the event, but as to the time."3

Support for this assumption can be found in the time references to Passover in Matthew 26:2, 18 and John 13:1. In Matthew 26:2, Jesus says to the disciples: "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified." Clearly this indicates that Christ knew that His death would occur at Passover which was two days away. Christ’s awareness that His death would occur on Passover day could have caused Him to anticipate His last paschal meal with His disciples a day earlier.

Christ could not have instructed His disciples to prepare the Passover at the official time (Nisan 14) when He had just informed them that He would be crucified at that time. This explains the sense of urgency in the instructions Jesus gave to His disciples: "Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples’" (Matt 26:18).4 The phrase "My time is at hand" presumably refers to the short time left to Passover when the "Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified." Because of such shortness of time, hasty arrangements had to be made for a special Passover meal.

A similar conclusion can be drawn from John 13:1, which functions as a prologue or title to the story of the Last Supper in the Upper Room. As translated by the RSV, it reads: "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." Norval Geldenhuys argues that this translation, followed largely by the A. V. and N. I. V. among others, is misleading because it completely detaches the Last Supper from Passover. He suggests that the expression "before the feast" should be connected with the verb "knowing" (eidos). Thus the translation would read: "Knowing (already) before Passover that His hour had come to depart out of this world unto his Father, Jesus, he who loved his own in this world, loved them unto the end (or ‘to the uttermost’)."5

According to this translation (which is followed by Weymouth, Knox, Moffatt and others), John does not wish to detach the events of the Last Supper from the Passover. Rather he gives a reason for their occurrence, namely, Jesus knew in advance of His impending death at Passover and, consequently, He showed His love toward His disciples by arranging for an early paschal supper, at which, among other things, He washed His disciples’ feet.

John often attributes to Christ’s foreknowledge the reason for His actions (see John 12:7, 23; 13:3, 11, 18; 18:4; 19:28). In this case it was the foreknowledge of the occurrence of His death at the very time of the slaying of the Passover lambs (Nisan 14) that could have led Jesus to arrange for an early paschal meal with His disciples.

It must be granted that "there is no historical evidence of anyone else having ever eaten the Passover early,"6 but there is also no historical evidence of anyone else who ever foreknew that he would be crucified on Passover day as the antitype of the paschal lambs being sacrificed at the Temple. Christ’s actions cannot be evaluated strictly on the basis of cultural norms, because often He acted on the basis of His divine wisdom and foreknowledge.

Our proposal that Jesus anticipated His eating of the Passover meal to the night before the official eating of Passover because He knew that He would suffer death as the true Paschal Lamb at the time of the slaying of the paschal lamb on Nisan 14, provides a simple solution that reconciles the two accounts of the Passover: John was right in placing the crucifixion on "the preparation of the passover" (John 19:14), that is, Nisan 14, because the official Passover began on Friday night; the synoptics are right in calling the Last Supper a Passover supper, for the Last Supper was a special paschal meal eaten a day early.

Last Supper in the Synoptic Gospels. The question of whether or not the Last Supper was a Passover meal has implications for the continuity of Passover as a Christian festival. If the Last Supper was simply a farewell fellowship meal during which Jesus instituted the Holy Communion, then the latter is not linked to the Passover festival, but is a brand-new rite instituted by Christ to commemorate His death. In this case, Passover came to an end when Jesus died on the cross as the true Paschal Lamb, and the Lord’s Supper must be seen as a new institution totally unrelated to Passover.

On the other hand, if the Lord’s Supper was instituted in the context of a Passover Supper, anticipated a day early on account of Christ’s death at Passover, then the Lord’s Supper is inextricably connected to the Passover festival. In this case, Passover continues as a Christian festival with a new ritual and meaning. In the light of this dilemma, it is important to determine the connection between the Last Supper and Passover.

The synoptic Gospels consistently and repeatedly speak of the Last Supper as "the Passover." The disciples ask Jesus, "Where will you have us to go and prepare for you to eat the passover?" (Mark 14:12; cf. Matt 26:17; Luke 22:7-9). In Luke 22:15, Jesus Himself declares: "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." The phrase "to eat the passover," which occurs again in Jesus’ instructions to His disciples (Mark 14:15; Matt 26:18; Luke 22:11), refers exclusively to the Passover meal, which was the essence of the celebration of the festival. The eating of the Passover meal was a sign of unity with God and dependence on divine care. It served to establish a bond of unity between God and His people.

Passover Fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. It is important to note that in Luke, Jesus gives the reason for His earnest desire to eat Passover with His disciples before His death, namely, "for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:16). Two significant points should be noticed in this statement. First, the phrase "I shall not eat it until" implies that Christ expected the eating of the Passover to continue during His absence until He would partake of it again at the eschatological marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9). The Passover that Christ expects to eat again consists of the emblems of His sacrifice, since the following verse says, "I shall not drink again of the fruit of the wine until the kingdom of God comes" (Luke 22:18).

Second, the phrase "until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" implies that for Christ the ultimate fulfillment of Passover was still in the future. If Jesus viewed Passover as being completely fulfilled with His death, He would not have spoken of its future fulfillment in the kingdom of God. Leon Morris points out: "The reference to fulfillment in the kingdom of God indicates that the Passover had typological significance. It commemorated a deliverance indeed, but it pointed forward to a greater deliverance, which would be seen in the kingdom of God."7

Christ’s statement gives us a crucial criterion to determine whether or not Old Testament festivals such as Passover continue beyond the Cross. Is their typology ultimately fulfilled at the Cross or at the Return of Christ? In the case of Passover, Christ made it clear that the feast will be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. All of this goes to show that Christ viewed His Last Supper with His disciples as a Passover meal whose observance would continue until His Return. The present observance of Passover aliments our hope and faith in the future Passover Supper that we will celebrate with Christ at the consummation of God’s kingdom.

Several other positive indications in the synoptics substantiate that the Last Supper was a Passover meal. In his commentary on The Gospel of Mark, William L. Lane offers a concise summary of such indications: "The return to Jerusalem in the evening for the meal [Mark 14:17; cf. Matt 26:18; Luke 22:10] is significant, for the paschal meal had to be eaten within the city walls (M. Pesachim VII.9). An ordinary meal was taken in the late afternoon, but a meal which begins in the evening and continues into the night reflects Passover practice (Ex 12:8; Jubilees 49:12). The reference to reclining (Mark 14:18) satisfies a requirement of the Passover feast in the first century when custom demanded that even the poorest man recline for the festive meal (M. Pesachim X. 1). While a normal meal began with the breaking of bread, on this occasion Jesus broke the bread during the meal and following the serving of a dish (Mark 14:18-20, 22). The Passover meal was the one occasion when the serving of a dish preceded the breaking of bread. The use of wine was generally reserved for festive occasions and was characteristic of the Passover (M. Pesachim X. 1). Finally, the interpretation of the elements of the meal conform to Passover custom where the haggadah (or interpretation) is an integral part of the meal. The cumulative evidence supports the claim made in verses 12, 14, and 16 [of Mark 14] that the disciples prepared a Passover meal and that the external forms of the Passover were observed at the meal itself."8

The Last Supper in the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John only few details of the Last Supper are given, because, as Geldenhuys explains, "He assumes that his readers are quite aware of the fact that this meal was the paschal repast which the Lord celebrated with His disciples on the evening before His crucifixion, and that He then instituted the Holy Communion. For this reason he merely refers to it by the single word deipnon [supper] without stating expressly what precise meal it was. He knew that the first three Gospels and also the Epistles of Paul gave a full account of the celebration of the paschal repast and the institution of the Holy Communion. Consequently he does not repeat the same facts, but mentions a few supplementary occurrences that took place during the meal, as they made a great impression on him and had not been described in the other Gospels."9

Though John does not explicitly designate the Last Supper as a Passover meal for the reasons just mentioned, there are indications that he also regarded the meal shared by Christ with His disciples as a paschal meal. The meal takes place within Jerusalem even though the city was thronged with pilgrims (John 12:12, 18, 20; 13:2; 18:1; cf. Mark 14:17). During His last stay in Jerusalem, Jesus regularly left the holy city in the evening and went to Bethany (Mark 11:11,19; Luke 19:29; 21:37), but at the time of the Last Supper, He remained in the overcrowded city. Why? Because, as mentioned earlier, it was a rule that the paschal lamb had to be eaten within the gates of Jerusalem.10

The supper is held in the evening and lasts into the night (John 13:30; cf. Mark 14:17). The ordinary supper was not held at night, but in the late afternoon.11 The Last Supper began in the evening and lasted into the night because, as Joachim Jeremias explains, "the Passover had to be eaten at night ever since its institution."12

The meal was religious in character, and the participants reclined at the table (John 13:12, 23, 25, 28; cf. Mark 14:18). At an ordinary meal, diners sat down to eat, as indicated by rabbinical sources.13 At the Last Supper, however, Jesus and His disciples did not sit; they reclined, because "at the Passover, as a symbol of liberty, it was the ritual duty of the people present to recline at the table even–as is expressly stated–for ‘the poorest man in Israel.’"14

Finally, after the meal Jesus did not return to Bethany as He had done the preceding nights. He walked to the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:1-2). The reason is that custom dictated that " the night of Passover had to be spent in Jerusalem (contemporary exegesis derived this command from Deut. 16:7). In order to make possible the observance of this command, the city district had been enlarged to include Bethphage. Bethany, however, lay outside the enlarged city district."15 The above indications suggest that John, like the synoptic writers, regarded the Last Supper that Jesus shared with His disciples as a Passover meal.

The Ordinance of Foot-washing in John. John mentions an important detail of the Passover meal which is left out in the Synoptic accounts, namely, the foot-washing service that Jesus rendered to His disciples. Jesus "rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded" (John 13:4-5).

After performing this service, Jesus explained to His disciples that He wanted them to follow His example: "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you" (John 13:12-15).

The foot-washing service is generally called "the ordinance of humility," implying that its primary purpose is to teach humility by requiring His followers to perform the menial task of washing someone else’s feet. This service, however, is much more than a lesson in humility. It represents the spiritual cleansing that Christ offers to those who accept His atoning sacrifice for their sins by partaking of the emblems of the bread and wine.

This meaning is implied in Christ’s answer to Peter’s request to be washed all over. Jesus said: "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean" (John 13:10, NIV). A person who is bathed is clean, but walking on dusty roads cause open-sandaled feet soon to become dusty and in need of washing again. Similarly, the disciples were clean ("you are clean," John 13:10) because their sins had been washed away through baptism, but as they walked on the miry soil of sin, they had been tempted to nourish pride and jealousy; thus they needed Christ’s grace to cleanse their hearts again from selfishness and pride.

The spiritual cleansing typified by foot-washing could well be the Christian counterpart to the removal of all leaven from the Jewish homes before Passover. This interpretation would provide an additional indication of the paschal nature of the Last Supper. The correspondence is brought out in Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . : "Custom demanded that in celebrating the Passover Jewish families remove all leaven, sin, from their homes before the first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread (Ex 12:15, 19, 20). So believers must confess and repent of all sin–including pride, rivalry, jealousy, resentful feelings, and selfishness––before they can be in the right spirit to have communion with Christ at this deepest level. To this end Christ instituted the ordinance of foot-washing. . . . This ordinance, preceding the Lord’s Supper, fulfills the injunction that all should examine themselves so as not to participate in that meal ‘in an unworthy manner’ (1Cor 11:27-29)."16

The meaning of the foot-washing appears broader than an invitation to a preparatory cleansing prior to the reception of the Lord’s Supper. It includes also the reassurance of cleansing resulting from partaking of the emblems of Christ’s atoning death. This is suggested by the fact that the foot-washing took place either during or after the Lord’s Supper. Textual evidence is divided on whether John 13:2 should read "supper being ended" or "while supper was in progress." In either case, the spiritual cleansing of the foot-washing would be the result of partaking of the emblems of Christ’s atoning death. In this case, foot-washing could be both an invitation to cleanse our hearts in preparation for the Lord’s Supper and a reassurance of the cleansing from sin God offers us as we participate in the Lord’s Supper.

The Last Supper and the Paschal Lamb. My conclusion that the Last Supper was an early Passover meal, eaten a day earlier on account of Christ’s death at Passover, poses a problem: How could the disciples prepare the Passover meal with a lamb a day before the actual slaying of the lambs in the afternoon of Nisan 14 at the Temple? Was there a provision for slaying lambs on the day before? Or did the disciples prepare a special Passover meal without the lamb?

Some scholars argue that in the year of Christ’s crucifixion the slaying of the lambs could have began a day earlier, that is, on Thursday afternoon. Their reasoning is that when Nisan 14 fell on a Friday the slaying of the lambs would presumably begin on Thursday. Otherwise, all the paschal lambs could not be killed and roasted before the Sabbath began. This made it possible for some (presumably the Pharisees) to keep Passover on Thursday evening, and for others (presumably the Sadducees) to keep it on Friday evening.17 A major objection to this view is that "there is some evidence18 that in the time of Jesus the slaughter of them [lambs] began soon after noon [when Nisan 14 fell on a Friday], in which case there was time for the completion of all the necessary preparation before the Sabbath commenced."19

The problem I see with this objection is that it assumes that by anticipating the beginning of the slaughtering of the paschal lambs by about two hours, that is, moving it up from about 3:30 p. m. to 1:30 p. m., there would have been ample time to slay all the lambs in the Temple court before the Sabbath began.20 Such an assumption does not take into consideration the actual number of lambs slaughtered in the Temple court and the procedure that was followed there.

Josephus informs us that the Syrian Governor Cestius Gallus requested the high priest to take a census of Jerusalem to convince Nero of the importance of the city and of the Jewish nation. The method used by the high priest was to count the number of lambs slain at Passover, namely, 256,500. Then he multiplied that number by 10, the average number of persons served by each lamb. At the lowest computation of ten persons per lamb, this would give a population of 2,565,000 or, as Josephus himself puts it, 2,700,200 persons.21 On an earlier occasion, Josephus computed the number of Jews present in Jerusalem at Passover to be not fewer than 3,000,000.22

Time Needed to Sacrifice Passover Lambs. How long would it take to slaughter a quarter-million lambs in the restricted area of the Temple court? The slaughtering took place in the so-called Court of the Priests and the Court of Israel. The combined surface area of the two courts was less than 10,000 square feet. "The Court of Israel was 135 cubits long and 11 cubits wide. Next was the Court of the Priests of the same size as the Court of Israel."23 Since a cubit corresponds to about 20 inches, each court was approximately 225 feet long and 18 feet wide. Allowing 2 1/2 feet per person, the Court of Israel could accommodate at most a hundred Jews at a time lined up shoulder to shoulder with their lambs.

To estimate how long it would take for a hundred Jews to sacrifice their paschal lambs in the Temple Court, one must understand the elaborate ritual that was followed. Edersheim offers us an informative description of the ritual. "Each division [group of Jews allowed in the Temple Court at one time] must consist of not less than thirty persons (3x10, the symbolic number of the Divine and of completeness). Immediately the massive gates were closed behind them. The priests drew a threefold blast from their silver trumpets when the Passover lamb was slain. Altogether the scene was most impressive. All along the Court up to the altar of burnt-offering priests stood in two rows, the one holding the golden, the other silver bowls. In these the blood of the Paschal lambs, which each Israelite slew for himself (as representative of his company at the Paschal Supper), was caught up by a priest, who handed it to his colleague, receiving back an empty bowl, and so the bowls with the blood were passed up to the priest at the altar, who jerked it in one jet at the base of the altar. While this was going on, a most solemn ‘hymn’ of praise was raised, the Levites leading in song, and the offerers either repeating after them or merely responding. . . . This service of song consisted of the so-called ‘Hallel,’ which comprised Psalms 113 to 118. . . . Next, the sacrifices were hung up on hooks along the Court, or laid on staves which rested on the shoulders of two men (on Sabbath they were not laid on staves), then flayed, the entrails taken out and cleansed, and the inside fat separated, put in a dish, salted, and placed on the fire of the altar of burnt-offering. This completed the sacrifice. The first division of offerers being dismissed, the second entered, . . . the service being in each case conducted in precisely the same manner."24

Assuming that it took only ten minutes to fulfill this elaborate sacrificial ritual (a rather conservative estimate), means that in one hour only six groups of a hundred Jews could be admitted in the Temple Court. Thus only six hundred lambs could be slain per hour. Since on Friday the slaying began earlier, at about 1:30 p. m., and lasted until about 6:00 p. m., fewer than 3,000 lambs could be slain in the Temple court in four-and-a-half hours. If the figure given by Josephus of 256,500 lambs slaughtered at Passover in the Temple Court is correct, it would take over 417 hours (over 17 days) nonstop to slaughter that many lambs. Obviously, this could not be accomplished in one afternoon.

We have reason to believe that the figures given by Josephus are highly inflated; Jerusalem simply could not accommodate and supply food to 3,000,000 people. Supposing the actual number of lambs slain at Passover was only one tenth of Josephus’ figure, that is, only 25,000, tt would still take over 41 hours to slaughter that many lambs in the Temple court at the rate of six hundred lambs per hour. Obviously, again, even 25,000 lambs could not be slain in one afternoon. These factual observations strongly support the contention that in the year of Christ’s crucifixion, the slaying of the lambs could have begun on a Thursday afternoon since Nisan 14 fell on a Friday. In that case, Jesus and His disciples could have eaten their paschal meal with the lamb on Thursday evening. This would have been done because Christ knew that He would suffer death at Passover in fulfillment of the type provided by the slaying of the paschal lamb on Nisan 14.

Passover Meal Without the Lamb. So far I have argued that the Last Supper was part of a real Passover meal with the lamb, though it was partaken of a day earlier because Jesus knew His crucifixion would take place at the time of the slaying of the paschal lambs. I have suggested that such a meal could have been eaten a day earlier with a lamb, because the slaughtering of the lambs most likely began a day earlier when Nisan 14 fell on a Friday.

Without discounting this conclusion, we should consider another possibility, namely, that the Last Supper was a special Passover meal not only because it was partaken of a day earlier, but also because the item which gave the most significance to the meal, the paschal lamb, was lacking. Prior to the destruction of the Temple in A. D. 70, it was unthinkable for a Jew to celebrate Passover without the lamb, because it was the blood of the lamb, the symbol of divine deliverance from Egyptian bondage, that gave meaning to the feast. For Christians, however, the paschal lamb is not needed to celebrate Passover, because Jesus Himself is the true Paschal Lamb whose blood delivers us from the bondage of sin.

Possibly Jesus wanted His last Passover Supper with His disciples to be eaten without the lamb to impress upon them the fact that He was their Paschal Lamb. Therefore, He could have planned that they celebrate Passover not by eating the flesh of a lamb and pouring out its blood at the Temple’s altar, but by partaking symbolically of His own flesh and blood, their true Paschal Lamb.

Support for this view stems from the fact that no mention is made of the paschal lamb in either the Gospels or the Pauline accounts of the Last Supper, possibly because the paschal lamb was missing. Maybe Jesus instructed His disciples to prepare the Passover meal without the lamb because He wanted to impress upon them that He Himself was their Paschal Lamb that would be sacrificed the next day. He wanted to institute a new Passover to commemorate deliverance from the bondage of sin through the sacrifice of Himself, the true Paschal Lamb. As such, there was no need of a roasted lamb for the new Passover meal. The bread and wine, symbols of His body and blood, were sufficient.

The Emblems of the Christian Passover. The symbolic partaking of the body and blood of Jesus through the elements of the bread and wine (Mark 14:22-24) can be understood best as the replacement of the paschal lamb. Until that moment, Passover had been celebrated by eating a lamb and pouring out his blood at the foot of the altar. Now the new Passover was to be celebrated symbolically by partaking of the very body and blood of the Messiah, the true Paschal Lamb.

Jacob Jocz rightly observes that "The reference in John 6 to eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of the Messiah has sense only in the context of the Passover meal. Let us remember that a sin offering was never eaten by the worshipper himself, though it would sometimes be eaten by the officiating priest. Even as a metaphor, it would make little sense and appear outrageous to Jewish ears (cf. John 6:60), apart from a reference to the Passover Meal where the blood of the Lamb was a recognized symbol of salvation. John 6 read in conjunction with the Last Supper completes the pattern of his message: just as the Israelites were saved by the blood of the Passover and participated in the first Exodus, so the believers in the Messiah are saved by the sacrifice on the Cross to participate in the second and greater Exodus–from the slavery of sin to the freedom of the children of God."25

On the basis of these observations, Jocz supports D. Chwolson’s suggestion that "Jesus did in fact celebrate the Passover before the feast was due, but it was an incomplete meal, for the Paschal Lamb was missing."26 I would add that the paschal lamb was intentionally missing because Jesus wanted to institute a new Passover in which His followers would celebrate redemption from sin, not through the flesh and blood of a lamb, but by partaking, through the symbolic elements of the bread and wine, of His own body and blood, the true Paschal Lamb (Mark 14:22-25; Matt 26:26-29; 1 Pet 1:19).

In the light of the preceding discussion, we can conclude that the Last Supper was indeed a Passover Supper, though unique in two major ways. First, it was celebrated a day earlier because Jesus knew that He Himself would be sacrificed as the true Paschal Lamb on Passover day. Second, most likely it was celebrated without the paschal lamb, because Jesus wanted to institute a new Passover meal to commemorate His redemption from sin, not through the flesh and blood of a lamb, but through bread and wine, the new symbols of His own body and blood, soon to be offered "for the forgiveness of sins" (Matt 26:28). There was no need of a lamb because the Lamb of God was there in Person, giving Himself as food and offering for the sins of the world.

Why did Jesus choose the bread and wine instead of the flesh and blood of a lamb as the emblems of the new Passover? Presumably, He wanted to impress His disciples with the truth that He was the Lamb "who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). His followers no longer needed to sacrifice a lamb at Passover; their Passover Lamb "had been sacrificed" (1 Cor 5:7). The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross brought to an end the sacrifice of all animals, including that of the Passover lamb.

Had Christ chosen flesh and blood from a lamb to represent His atoning sacrifice, He would have perpetuated the sacrificial system which was designed to come to an end with His death on the Cross (Matt 27:51). By choosing instead the bread and wine (nonsacrificial elements of the Passover meal) as the emblems of His atoning death, Jesus detached the new Passover from the sacrificial system and transformed it into a fitting memorial of His redemption. This radical transformation can be seen also, for example, in the cup of blessing of the paschal meal which becomes the cup of salvation: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor 10:16). By these few words, Paul shows that though some of the elements of the Jewish Passover survive, their meanings have changed. The sacrifice of Jesus is the new reality commemorated by the remaining ancient signs.

The Meaning of the Christian Passover. At His Last Supper, Jesus instituted a simple but profoundly meaningful ceremony to celebrate His atoning sacrifice for sin. He instructed His disciples to celebrate Passover henceforth by partaking of unleavened bread and wine in remembrance of His body and blood. The four texts that give us the account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper (Mark 14:22-25; Matt 26:26-29; Luke 22:15-20, 27-30; 1 Cor 11:23-26) suggest three theological meanings.

The Christian Passover looks back at what has already happened. It is a proclamation of the death of Jesus (1 Cor 11:26), a death which took place for all participants. The fruit of salvation wrought by Christ’s death is granted to all who symbolically partake of His broken body and shed blood. Through the emblems of the bread and wine, we appropriate the benefits of Christ’s death as a death suffered for us. It is a memorial feast of the Person and substitutionary work of the Messiah.

The remembrance goes beyond historical events and becomes a proclamation and appropriation by the believer of the benefits of Christ’s death. In many ways this was true also of the Israelite Passover. Through the feast, the people reenacted and reexperiened the events on which their existence as an independent nation was based. Year-by-year, Israel called out of the past into the present the experience of the Exodus deliverance and reentered into the covenant with its blessings and obligations. Parents were to take time during the Passover meal to recount to their children the events of the Exodus deliverance, so that the original meaning and potency of the event would remain continually active (Ex 12:24-27).

In the same way the Christian Passover is an act of remembrance: "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19; cf. 1 Cor 11:24). We remember Jesus as the Paschal Lamb who was sacrificed for us by partaking of the emblems of His broken body and shed blood. This simple and yet dramatic ritual enables the believer not only to conceptualize but also to internalize and appropriate the reality of Christ’s vicarious death.

This truth can be understood best through the typology of the substitutionary sacrifice of the paschal lamb, in particular, and of the sin-offerings, in general. Through the vicarious death of sacrificial animals, the Israelite accepted the provision of forgiveness and salvation. Similarly, through the vicarious death of Christ, the Christian accepts the provision of His redemption. As the blood of the Passover lamb kept God from killing the firstborn of the Hebrews, so the blood of Jesus shed on the Cross keeps God from punishing with death the penitent sinner.

The Christian Passover points to the present. Each celebration is a new confirmation of God’s covenant with His church. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many" (Mark 14:24). The covenant is God’s commitment to love and save His people : "The Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands" (Deut 7:7-9). The covenant is at the core of the Passover account. On the eve of the Exodus, God revealed Himself as the God who remembered His Covenant to the Fathers (Ex 2:24; 3:15). The Passover lamb whose blood was struck with a bunch of hyssop over the lintel and doorposts of the houses (Ex 12:7, 22) represented the outworking of God’s covenant to protect and deliver the Israelites.

Similarly, on the eve of His Crucifixion, Christ reaffirmed His covenant by His willingness to shed His blood. At the Lord’s Table, believers enter into fellowship with the exalted Lord. Paul describes this fellowship as "a participation in the blood . . . [and] body of Christ" (1 Cor 10:16). The benefits of Christ’s atoning death are mediated to believers in the present when they partake of the emblems of His blood and body. Thus the Christian Passover reaffirms the eternal Covenant that God promised to the fathers (Jer 32:40; 50:5; cf. Is 55:3; Ez 16:60) and seals it in the blood of the Messiah (Heb 13:20).

The Christian Passover looks toward the future. It is an anticipation of the future messianic banquet. This eschatological expectation is expressed in the Gospels by Christ’s words: "I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God" (Mark 14:25; cf. Matt 26:29; Luke 22:16, 18).27 In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians the eschatological expectation is expressed by the phrase "you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26).28 This expectation gives a sense of joy and jubilation to the Christian Passover and is reflected even in the daily breaking of the bread in the homes of the early Christians, who "partook of food with glad and generous hearts" (Acts 2:46).

As Christians we joyfully partake of the Lord’s Supper, because for us it represents the redemption that Christ has already provided. While for Jews the deliverance from Egypt foreshadows the final Messianic redemption,29 for Christians Messianic redemption is already an accomplished fact. Furthermore, while the historic Exodus was limited to the experiences of one people; the Christian Exodus is open to all the peoples of the world. The Christian Passover is the beginning of a joyful journey leading to a happy reunion with the Savior at the celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9).

Passover Symbology in the Book of Revelation. The eschatological meaning of Passover appears also in the book of Revelation, especially through the prominent symbolic figure of Christ as the Lamb who was slain. In the vision of the throne, the Lamb is praised as worthy to open the scroll of human destiny, "for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Rev 5:9). The Lamb slain to redeem people of all nations calls to mind the Passover lamb slain to redeem the Israelites out of Egypt. In both instances divine deliverance came after great tribulation. The Israelites were delivered from Egyptian oppression; the redeemed "come out of the great tribulation" (Rev 7:14). The Israelites smeared the blood of the Passover lamb on the door posts; the redeemed "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev 7:14).

Revelation uses the very imagery of the epic struggle with Egypt to depict the final conflict and deliverance of God’s people. When the angels pour out the vials of God’s wrath (Rev 16:2-21), the plagues are unleashed and, like the Egyptians of old, the enemies of God’s people are scourged with hail, fire, darkness, locust, ulcers, bloody waters, and frogs. Such a chain of events leads up to a New Exodus of a great multitude out of all nations who "sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb" (Rev 15:3). The song of Moses was sung after the victory over the Egyptians at the Red Sea. The redeemed sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb in a similar setting as they stand on the banks of the sea of glass which is mingled with fire, seemingly representing the Red Sea experience of the redeemed.

The first deliverance from Egypt, which marked the institution of Passover, foreshadowed the final deliverance of God’s people "who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Rev 19:9). This joyous eschatological Paschal Banquet represents the consummation of the hopes and expectations of God’s people of all ages. A foretaste of the joy of that Paschal Banquet can be experienced even now by responding to Christ’s knocking at the door of our hearts: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me" (Rev 3:20).



Passover Taken for Granted. The New Testament makes frequent use of Passover imageries and typologies, but offers only indirect indications of the Christian observance of Passover. The oldest accounts of the actual observance of Passover come down from the second century. These documents, as we shall see in the next chapter, clearly trace the origin of Passover back to the apostolic period.

The lack of explicit information in the New Testament regarding the time and manner of observance of Passover could imply that its observance was taken for granted. In the next chapter we note the many ways the life of the apostolic church was still regulated by the Jewish liturgical calendar.

In Biblical Calendars, Van Goudoever rightly observes that "in order to understand the origin of Christian festivals, we must realize that in the first part of the first century Christians and Israelites shared the same religious tradition. They even worshipped together in the same synagogue. Christianity was in its earliest stage a ‘sect’ or group among the Israelities. . . . Part of this general tradition is formed by the festivals and the calendar. Of all parts of the liturgy the feasts are perhaps the most enduring: it is practically impossible to change the date and form of old festivals . . . We shall see that in general Christianity continued to observe the old feasts."30

Indirect Indications of Passover’s Observance. An indirect indication of the Christian observance of Passover is John’s frequent use of the phrase "The Passover of the Jews was at hand" (2:13; 6:4; 11:55). John’s concern to inform the reader that he is referring to the Passover of the Jews suggests that, to use Joachim Jeremias’s words, "he obviously distinguishes the Jewish Passover from the Christian."31

Luke offers another example of the observance of "old feasts" when he reports that Paul and his travelling companions "sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread" (Acts 20:6). Luke does not tell us why Paul postponed his departure until after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The reason could be, as Howard Marshall points out, that "he [Paul] was celebrating the Christian Passover with the church at Philippi."32

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary offers a similar comment on Acts 20:6: "Paul seems to have stayed intentionally at Philippi because of the Jewish feast. The Passover season must have continued to be fraught with great religious sentiment for Paul, a Jew and a Pharisee (ch. 23:6). Perhaps also Christians were beginning to think of the Passover time as the anniversary of Christ’s death and resurrection (cf. 1 Cor 5:7-8)."33

Ellen G. White concurs with this conclusion. She writes: "At Philippi Paul tarried to keep the Passover. . . . The Philippians were the most loving and true-hearted of the apostle’s converts, and during the eight days of the feast he enjoyed peaceful and happy communion with them."34 It is evident that, according to Ellen White, Paul did observe the feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread with the believers at Philippi.

Indirect suppport for the Christian observance of Passover is provided by Paul’s exhortation to "celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor 5:8). In this passage, the apostle emphasizes the behavioral implications of the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread. Just as the Jews before Passover clear out all traces of leaven from their dwelling, so the Corinthian believers must remove from their midst the leaven of evil in order to live up to the true meaning of the feast of Unleavened Bread. They, too, have a paschal victim, Christ, who was sacrificed once and for all. Consequently, as F. W. Grosheide puts it, " We are obliged to keep the feast, i. e. the feast of unleavened bread (cf. vs. 7). . . . The feast must be kept but must be done in a special way. They must keep the feast by leaving aside all iniquity, by parting with all sin even as the ancient Israelites did with their leaven."35

Is Paul’s emphasis on the behavioral implication of the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread derived from the actual observance of such feasts? Several scholars believe this to be the case. For example, in his article on "Passover" in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Joachim Jeremias writes: "Behind this [1 Cor 5:7-8] there probably stands a primitive Christian Passover liturgy."36

Paul did not divorce himself from the religious festivals of Judaism, because he found in them profound meaning for Christians. This point is brought out by Thomas J. Talley in The Origins of the Liturgical Year. Commenting on 1 Corinthians 5:7, he writes: "Paul writes around A. D. 55 from Ephesus in Asia Minor, a city with whose synagogue he had an extended relationship (Acts 19:8). Writing, possibly, from around the time of Passover, he tells the Corinthians that he intends to remain in Ephesus until Pentecost (1 Cor 16:8). His references to Passover and Pentecost show that these times were significant for him, and he seems to assume that they have a definite meaning for the Corinthians to whom he writes. While in this year he made no attempt to observe either festival in Jerusalem, at a later time Acts 20:16 shows him ‘hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.’ All this suggests that Paul had by no means cut himself off from the liturgical festivals of Judaism. Nothing tells us how he observed Passover in Ephesus around the time of his writing of 1 Corinthians 5:7, but it is clear that already the festival had for him a new meaning established on the Cross."37

Passover and the Lord’s Supper. The meaning and ritual of the Christian Passover was similar to that of the Lord’s Supper observed during the course of the year. The main difference, as we shall see in chapter 3, is that during the course of the year the Lord’s Supper was celebrated as part of a religious service, while at Passover the Lord’s Supper was the main part of the service, being celebrated at dawn as the climax of an all-night vigil of fasting.

A connection between Passover and the Lord’s Supper may be present in 1 Corinthians. In their commentary on 1 Corinthians of the Anchor Bible, William F. Orr and James Arthur Walter view Paul’s exhortation to keep Passover in 1 Corinthians 5:8 as an anticipation of his discussion of the observance of the Lord’s Supper in chapter 11, where he deals with the unworthy participation of some.38 In other words, Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 to keep Passover by living uprightly is closely linked to his warning in 1 Corinthians 11:27 against partaking of the Lord’s Supper in "an unworthy manner."

In his classic study on Paul and Rabbinic Judaism, W. D. Davies also notes a possible connection in 1 Corinthians between Passover and the Lord’s Supper. He writes: "It seems a justifiable assumption that 1 Corinthians was written before the Passover season and it is natural that the Passover ritual should be in the forefront of Paul’s thought, and there is considerable evidence that this was so. Thus in 1 Corinthians 15:23, Christ is called the first-fruits, an element in the Passover ritual, and there is a more specific reference still of course in 1 Corinthians 5:7. Perhaps it is strictly incorrect to claim that Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:7 is thinking of the Eucharist [Lord’s Supper] as the Christian equivalent of the Jewish Passover. . . . Nevertheless, we believe that Paschal ideas dominate his view of the Eucharist [Lord’s Supper]. We have previously pointed out that the thought of Christianity as a New Exodus, with its New Torah, was constantly in Paul’s mind and is fully consonant with this that the Last Supper should be regarded by him as the inauguration of the New Covenant."39

One could wish to know how Paul related the Passover Supper with the Lord’s Supper discussed in 1 Corinthians 11. Undoubtedly, both constituted for him a proclamation of the "Lord’s death until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26). It is clear, however, that for Paul the memorial of Christ’s death is to be observed not only once a year at Passover but "as often as" the Lord’s Supper is celebrated (1 Cor 11:26).

The phrase "as often as" suggests that the Apostolic Church sensed the need to celebrate their new Passover more frequently than once a year. The fundamental importance attached to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus made it imperative for the primitive church to celebrate the memorial of His death not only annually at Passover but periodically during the course of the year. "The salvation of men," writes Ellen White, "depends upon a continual application to their hearts of the cleansing blood of Christ. Therefore, the Lord’s supper was to be observed more frequently than the annual Passover."40

We do not know how frequently the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in the Apostolic Church. Paul is very specific regarding the meaning and manner of observance of the Lord’s Supper but very vague regarding the time of its observance. Four times he repeats the expression "when you assemble . . ." (1 Cor 11: 18, 20, 33, 34). Elsewhere I have argued that the reason for Paul’s indefinite references to the time of the Christian evening gatherings for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper was most likely the fact that such gatherings were prohibited by the Roman legislation which outlawed evening gatherings of illegal societies. To avoid a search by the Roman police, Christians apparently often changed the place and time of their evening Lord’s Supper meals.41

The observance of Passover differed from that of the Lord’s Supper especially in the length of the celebration. While the Lord’s Supper was part of an evening religious gathering (which in time was anticipated to the morning because of the Roman legislation prohibiting such gatherings), Passover, as we shall see in chapter 3, was an all-night fasting vigil which terminated at dawn with celebration of the Lord’s Supper and an agape meal.

The Influence of Passover on the Christian Life. Passover, being a feast that celebrates Christ’s redemption from sin, is a powerful symbol that influences the Christian life. In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul challenges his converts to adhere to correct moral behavior because "Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed" (1 Cor 5:7). This incidental reference to Christ as the Passover sacrifice is remarkable because the church in Corinth was heavily Gentile. This suggests that the existential meaning of Passover was well known and accepted even among the Gentiles, presumably because they observed the feast.

The Corinthian church was plagued with factional and moral problems. To bring its members back to proper Christian behavior, Paul appeals to the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread as a model for what Christians should be. "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor 5:6-8).

This passage suggests that for Paul the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread have profound ethical implications for the Christian life-style. As Anthony Saldarini points out, "The Christian community which celebrates Passover with Jesus as the Passover sacrifice must engage in behavior appropriate to the Passover festival. Contact with Christ as Redeemer at Passover demands a new way of life. The old, the sinful must be cleaned out of the community the way the old leaven is removed from Jewish homes before Passover begins. The new period initiated by Passover demands new, unleavened, pure bread. Similarly, the new Christian community is really unleavened, but it must act that way. The nature of the community which celebrates Passover coincides with the nature of Passover. If the community at Corinth has allowed the man living with his stepmother to continue as a member of the community, it has allowed old, leavened, evil behavior to continue. And this ‘leaven of malice and evil,’ even though it is only ‘a little leaven, leavens the whole lump.’ Just as Temple rituals must be celebrated in a state of ritual purity, Christian life must be lived in a state of moral purity."42

Passover serves as a model for the Christian life-style because Jesus is the Passover Lamb who is constantly present as Victim and Savior. Christians who participate in Passover celebrate not merely past deliverance from Egyptian slavery but, primarily, present redemption from all evil and sins. This allusion is also found in 1 Peter, where the Apostle urges believers to live holy lives because "You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things, such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot" (1 Pet 1:18-19).

Christians have been ransomed not with the ordinary medium of exchange, gold and silver, but with the precious blood of Christ who is compared to a "lamb without blemish or spot." The preeminent lamb which saved the Israelites is obviously the Passover Lamb. Christ, as the spotless Paschal Lamb, has power to deliver us from our past sinful ways and to empower us to live upright and holy lives.

The above examples suffice to show how the richness of the Passover imagery is effectively used in the New Testament to portray the redemptive accomplishments of Christ and the behavioral implications for those who accept Christ as their Paschal Lamb.

Conclusion. Our study of the time, nature, and meaning of the Paschal Supper that Jesus ate with the disciples has shown that the Savior anticipated eating the Passover meal the night before the official Passover meal because He knew that He would suffer death as the true Paschal Lamb at the time of the slaying of the paschal lamb.

We found that during the Passover meal, Christ instituted the new Passover to commemorate His death by the emblems of His broken body and shed blood. By stating "I shall not eat it [Passover] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:16), Christ revealed His intent for the observance of Passover to continue until its fulfillment in the kingdom of God.

Essentially, the Christian Passover points to the past, present, and future. It points to the past by commemorating the suffering and death of Christ. It points to the present by confirming God’s covenant with His church. It looks forward to the future by nourishing the hope of the happy reunion with the Savior at the celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9).

The New Testament offers only indirect indications of the observance of Passover, apparently because its observance was taken for granted. This gap is filled by documents of the second century which trace back the observance of Passover to the apostolic church.

In the New Testament, the observance of Passover served as a model for the Christian life-style by challenging believers to clean out the sinful ways, just as the Jews removed leaven from their houses before the feast, and to live a new (unleavened) life of sincerity and truth.


1. See, for example, M. Black, The Scrolls and the Christian Origins (New York, 1961), pp. 199ff.

2. For an analysis of the weaknesses of the theory, see George Ogg, Historitcity and Chronology in the New Testament (London,1965), pp. 82ff.

3. Ellen G.White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Califorinia, 1950), p. 399.

4. Emphasis supplied.

5. Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids, 1983), p. 657.

6. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, D. C., 1956), vol. 5, p. 536.

7. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to St. Luke, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, 1982), p. 305.

8. William L. Lane, The Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids, 1982), pp. 497-498.

9. Norval Geldenhuys (note 5), pp. 659-660.

10. For documentation and discussion, see Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus ( Oxford, England, 1995), pp.15-16.

11. See Josephus, Jewish Wars 2, 8, 5.

12. Joachim Jeremias (note 10), p.18.

13. Ibid., p. 20.

14. Ibid., p. 26.

15. Ibid., p. 31.

16. Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . A Biblical Exposition of Fundamental Doctrines (Washington, D. C., 1988), p. 196.

17. This view was first presented by Derenbourg in the Dutch journal Orientalia in 1840. It was later developed by D. Chwolson in Das letzte Passamahl Christi und der Tag seines Todes, 1892. For a discussion see George Ogg, "The Chronology of the Last Supper" in Historicity and Chronology in the New Testament (London, 1965), pp. 78-79.

18. Philo, DeSeptenario 18.

19. George Ogg (note 17), p. 78.

20. Edersheim himself assumes this in his authoritative study on The Temple, Its Ministry and Services (London, 1874), p. 190. Speaking of the crowd leading their sacrificial lambs up the Temple-mount, he writes: "Already the evening sacrifice had been offered. Ordinarily it was slain at 2:30 p. m. and offered at about 3:30. But on the eve of the Passover, as we have seen, it was killed an hour earlier; and if the 14th of Nisan fell on a Friday–or rather from Thursday at eve to Friday at eve–two hours earlier, so as to avoid any needless breach of the Sabbath."

21. Josephus, Jewish Wars 6, 9, 3.

22. Ibid., 2, 14, 3.

23. W. F. Stinespring, "Temple: Jerusalem," The Interpreters’ Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville, 1962), vol. 4, p. 554.

24. Alfred Edersheim (note 20), pp.191-193.

25. Jacob Jocz, A Theology of Election (New York, 1958), p. 37.

26. Ibid.

27. Emphasis supplied.

28. Emphasis supplied.

29. D. Daube, The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1956), p. 191.

30. J. Van Goudoever, Biblical Calendars (Leiden, 1961), p. 151.

31. Joachim Jeremias, "Pasha", Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Gerhard Friedrich, ed., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1968), vol. 5, p. 901,

32. I. Howard Marshall, The Acts of the Apostles, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids, Michigan 1980), p. 325.

33. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, D. C., 1957), vol. 6, p. 386.

34. Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, California, 1960), pp. 390-391. Emphasis supplied.

35. F. W. Grosheide, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983), p. 126.

36. Joachim Jeremias (note 31), vol. 5, p. 901, note 41.

37. Thomas J. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year (New York, 1986), p. 4.

38. William F. Orr and James A. Walther, 1 Corinthians (New York, 1976), p. 151.

39. W. D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism (London, 1955), pp. 250-251.

40. Ellen G. White, "The Passover," The Signs of the Times (March 25, 1880), p. 9.

41. My discussion of the Roman hetaeriae legislation is found in From Sabbath to Sunday (Rome, 1977), pp. 95-99.

42. Anthony J. Saldarini, Jesus and Passover (New York, 1984),p. 82

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