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at the close of the fourteenth of Nisan, and that our Lord joined his countrymen in its observance at that time.
In the considerations which we design to present on this subject, we propose to answer the following questions:
Ï. On what day of the week did Christ and His disciples observe the Passover?
II. Did they observe the feast at the same time with the Jews, who were Moses' disciples?
III. When did the Mosaic law require it to be kept?
I. To the first, we reply, that from Luke 23: 54, 56: "And that day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew on;" And they," (the women that came with him from Galilee,) returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day, according to the commandment;" and Mark 15: 42: "And now when the even was come, because it was the Preparation, that is the day before the Sabbath," &c, it is clear that our Savior was crucified on Friday, the day before the Jewish Sabbath. That he was betrayed in the garden of Gethsemane the preceding evening is manifest from the account of the Evangelists. It is also equally plain, that he ate the Passover and instituted the Lord's Supper "the same night in which he was betrayed." (1st. Cor. 11:23.) Christ then observed the Passover on Thursday evening.
II. That the Jews observed it at the same time, is the only supposition which accords with the language of inspiration. Said Jesus to his disciples (Mat. 26: 2:) "Ye know that after two days is the Passover." Again (Luke 22: 7, 8:) "Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed." "And he sent Peter and John saying: Go and prepare us the Passover that we may eat." Similar langage is employed by the other Evangelists. These passages assume that the time was well known both to the disciples and others, and the expression "must be killed" implies a necessity, which can be found only in the injunction of Moses, and the consequent custom of the Jews. If Christ and his disciples had kept the Passover the day before its celebration by the other Jews, would it not have been brought as a charge against him by the ever scrupulous observers of the law of Moses? But we hear not even a whisper of any such charge. And farther, he, whose house they occupied, seems to have understood fully their object, and accordingly furnished them with a room already prepared. We therefore conclude that Christ observed the feast at the same time with his countrymen, the Jews, that is, on Thursday night. We pass then to the third inquiry.
III. On what day of the month Abib or Nisan, did the Mosaic law require the Passover to be observed?
All, I believe, agree that the Jews divided their days by the setting of the sun, and thus the evening and the morning composed the day. The time of killing the paschal lamb is thus stated in Ex. 12: 6: "And ye shall keep it" (the lamb,) "up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening" or "between the evenings." Lev. 23: 5: "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's Passover." And Deut. 16: 6, "Thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even at the going down of the sun." But, as the setting of the sun was the point of division between the days, the expression, "at even, at the going down of the sun," may mean either the beginning of the fourteenth, or the end of it.
Josephus says: (Bell. Jud. 6, 9, 3,) "They slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour to the eleventh." Moses also says: (Ex. 29: 39, 41) "The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning, and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even," or "between the evenings." This has always been understood as referring to the time of the daily evening sacrifice, or ninth hour, or, as in Acts 3: 1: "the hour of prayer." If, therefore, the language used to specify the time of slaying the Passover is the same as that which specifies the time of offering the daily evening sacrifice, and that time occurred as early as three o'clock P. M., sometime before sunset, the point which divided the Jewish days, it is much more probable that the "fourteenth day at even,” meant the latter part of the fourteenth than the former part of it.
Again: Josephus says: (Ant. Jud. 2, 15, 2,) "The Israelites left Egypt on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus or Abib." Moses also affirms (Num. 33: 3.) "They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month: on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians." "On the morrow after the Passover," which was the fifteenth. And, as the passover was slain in the evening, we most naturally infer that the even of the fourteenth was the latter part of the day.
But lest some should for the sake of a theory claim that the morrow may mean the fifteenth, and yet the passover may have been slain in the beginning of the fourteenth, let us consult the circumstances as narrated by Moses. (See Ex. 12: 21-37.) We learn that the lamb was killed in the evening,
and its blood sprinkled upon the posts. That night the lamb was to be eaten and none of it left until the morning. In that same night the destroying angel smote the first born both of men and cattle; "and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." “And he,” Pharaoh, "called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said." "And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, we be all dead men.' "And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about 600,000 men besides women and children." Now, who in the exercise of reason, on reading this account, could possibly believe that the Israelites ate the Passover in the evening, and remained all that night and the next day until after sunset before they set out on their journey? And that, too, in the midst of universal lamentation and wailing, while all, from the haughty God-defying Pharaoh to the meanest subject in his realm, were urgently pressing them to rise up and be gone. But this is the position which those must assume who claim that the Passover was killed in the beginning of the fourteenth of Nisan.
Nor is there room left for a conjecture that the Israelites might have set out from their residence on the fourteenth, while they left the land of Egypt on the fifteenth; for it is expressly said that they departed from Rameses, the very place where Joseph located them, (Gen. 47: 11,) on the fifteenth of the first month.
We regard it then as established that the Mosaic law required the Passover to be slain in the latter part of the fourteenth of Nisan; that the Jews obeyed the law of Moses; and that Christ conformed to the custom in the time of observing it.
That we may better understand the New Testament history on this subject, we will briefly inquire into the time of the feast of unleavened bread, and its connection with the Pass
We learn from Ex. 12: 8, Num. 9:11, Deut. 16: 3. "Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it," (the Passover) &c., that the Passover which occurred on the fourteenth was eaten with unleavened bread, but all leaven was not removed from their houses until the fifteenth, which was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. For from Num. 28: 17, 18, "And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall
unleavened bread be eaten," And "in the first day shall be an holy convocation," it is manifest that the fifteenth of the month was the first day of the feast, and the holy convocation. Again: Ex. 12: 15, 16, "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread: even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses,”—“And in the first day shall be a holy convocation." These passages show conclusively that the leaven was to be removed on the feast of unleavened bread, and that that day was the fifteenth. The ("ta azuma,”) or feast of unleavened bread continued from the fifteenth to the twenty-first, both inclusive, and both days of holy convocation. Lev. 23: 7, 8. "In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein"-"In the seventh day is an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work therein." But though the feast of unleavened bread, strictly speaking, embraced only these days, yet no leaven was eaten with the Passover on the fourteenth, hence the fourteenth is sometimes spoken of as first, and then, as Josephus remarks, (Ant. Jud. 2, 15, 1,) "we keep a feast for eight days, which is called the feast of unleavened bread." In Deut. 16: 4, the fourteenth is called the first day. Thus: "there shall be no leavened "bread seen with thee in all thy coasts seven days; neither shall any thing of the flesh which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning." But this can not mean the first of the seven days, for this is the day on which the Passover was slain, and there were seven besides. According to Ex. 12: 18, they were required to eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first at even; but we have shown that "even" must mean the latter part of the day; therefore the twentyfirst was included in the "seven," and the fourteenth could not have been included:-of course it could not have been the first of the seven. Farther, in Deut. 16: 8, only six days are spoken of exclusive of the last day of holy convocation, but, if the fourteenth were included there must have been seven. The fourteenth could not therefore have been regarded as the first of the seven; and, when called the first, reference must be had to the fact that unleavened bread was eaten in the evening of that day with the Passover and then the feast continued eight days.
The first and seventh days of the feast of unleavened bread, were, as we have seen, observed as Sabbaths or days of holy convocation; and the second also, was distinguished as the day on which a sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest was waved by the priest before the Lord, and also as the day from which
the seven weeks were reckoned until the day of Pentecost, or the fiftieth day. Lev. 23: 10, 11, 15, 16, Josephus Ant. Jud. 3, 10, 5.
To recapitulate briefly, we find that, during the week of our Savior's crucifixion, the Passover was celebrated on Thursday evening. On Friday, the leaven was removed from their houses-the day observed as a holy convocationpreparation made for the weekly Sabbath-and Christ crucified. On Saturday, the sixteenth, the weekly Sabbath was kept, and the offering of the first fruits presented to the Lord. On the seventeenth or first day of the week Christ rose from the dead.
We learn from this that Christ the antitype, neither as the paschal lamb, nor as the first fruits of them that slept, answered to the types "in respect to time”—a fact, which, though simple, had it been known, might have saved many of our day from a most absurd delusion.
Having shown the order of events connected with that last Passover, we pass to consider some objections based upon the apparent discrepancies in the gospel narrative.
Obj. 1. According to the order of events as represented above, Jesus was apprehended during the feast, but his enemies had agreed to apprehend him "not on the feast day" or "during the feast," according to a more literal rendering of the original words. Mat. 26: 5, and Mark 14: 2.
Christ's enemies had thought it inexpedient to attempt his apprehension during the feast, for they feared the consequences of the "uproar" that must attend it; but the proposal of Judas to betray his master induced them to change their design. This is evident from Luke 22: 2-5, "The chief priests and scribes sought how they might take him, for they feared the people." But at this juncture, Satan, who is ever artful in plotting evil, appeared to their aid. For the Evangelist proceeds: "But Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. And he went away and consulted with the chief priests and captains how he might deliver him unto them. And they were glad." The difficulty being now removed through Satan's adroitness, they were ready to take Jesus on a feast day or any other time.
Obj. 2. Grotius maintains that the expressions, in Mat. 26: 18, "My time is at hand," and in Luke 22: 15, "before I suf fer" manifest an urgency on the part of Christ that the Passover might now be kept by him, and imply that he could not wait the customary time, and therefore he observed it the day before.