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Passion Week
& The Spring Feast Days

The events of Passion Week, the last days of Jesus' life,
occurred exactly on feast days,
continuing the unfoldment of God's plan for our redemption and return to at one-ment with the Almighty.



14  lamb
16  lamb
10  lamb
set aside
14  lamb

10th of Abib (Nisan) - Lamb chosen & set aside

On Palm Sunday, at sunset - the start of the 10th day of the first month (Mk 11:11),
Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem and was accepted by the people as the anointed one,
the Messiah or Christ.
He was anointed with praise and palms. The Lamb was chosen.

14th of Abib (Nisan) - Passover

On Thursday night of Holy Week - the start of the 14th day,
Jesus observes the Passover meal with his disciples.
He confirms the covenant with them, an everlasting relationship with God.
[Gen 17:7; Ezek 37:26-27; Ps 105; Heb 10:16]
Jesus makes the covenant anew by his living example,
by living life with the law in his heart and mind.
Jesus has opened the way to the inner sanctuary and is leading us to the time
when all will carry the law in their hearts and minds (Jer 31:31).
Jesus ties the Passover memorial, the freeing from the bondage of sin,
with the sin offering, the daily sacrifice,
by connecting the bread & wine to his sacrifice.
We are to remember him and the sacrifice of his precious life,
the price for the blood sufficient to cover our sins,
when we make our confession and repentance and contemplate our restitution
while observing the ongoing daily sacrifice and praise (Heb 7:23-27).

On Friday afternoon, on Passover - the same 14th day of Abib,
our powerful and compassionate Lord,
in obedience to God the Father,
laid down his life and became the perfect sacrifice,
providing the only blood sufficient to pay the price of the sin offering (Heb 10:19).

15th of Abib (Nisan) - Start of Unleavened Bread

Friday at sunset was the start of the feast of unleavened bread.
Since this day is an annual Sabbath and Friday sunset began the weekly Sabbath,
this made this 15th of Abib for that year a High day (Jn 19:31).

16th of Abib (Nisan) - Wave Sheaf for that Year

  Sunday, being the day after the weekly Sabbath during unleavened bread (Lev 23:15),
was the wave sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest.
The resurrection of Jesus fulfilled this feast day. He is the firstfruits of mankind.

The Prophecy of Jonah

Just as Jonah spent 3 days and nights in the belly of the beast,
so would the son of man spent 3 days and nights in the "heart of the earth" (Mt 12:40).
If Jesus had just said "in the earth" it would mean buried, but he meant into the hands of Satan.
On Thursday night, Jesus was arrested and taken by the beast. This begins the 3 days.
(Please note that Mk 8:31 & Lk 24:7 make clear that the three days includes his arrest & trial.)

Jesus was in the heart of the earth 3 nights and days and on the 3rd day was raised.

Controversies & Comments

The Sign of Jonah - 3 Days

Some raise a controversy that Jesus rising during the 3rd day
was not 3 complete days and should be,
but the Bible is consistent on this use as shown by the following:

Mt 20:19 "... On the third day he will be raised again." [Not "after" three days]

Acts 10:40 "... God raised him from the dead on the third day ..."

Gen 42:17-18 "And he put them all in custody for three days. On the third day, Joseph ..."
released all but one.

Esther 4:16-5:1 "Go, ... fast ... Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I ... will fast as you do.
When this is done, I will go to the king, ...
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, ..."

Start of Unleavened Bread and Preparation Day

There has been some confusion & controversy over the start of unleavened bread
due to references made to its start on Thursday & Friday and to "Preparation Day".
Originally, the lamb was eaten on the start of the 14th day (after sunset) and prepared before that
but tradition changed this so that it was prepared and eaten the next day (end of 14th, start of 15th).
Jesus observed the original but was crucified when most were killing their lambs the next day.
Footnotes in the NIV translation put these in perspective:

On Thursday, before the evening meal, the apostles make reference to the
first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and making preparation for eating the Passover:

Footnote to Mt 26:17 "the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The 14th of Nisan,
it was also called the preparation of the Passover. The Passover meal was eaten the evening of the
14th after sunset - and therefore technically on the 15th, ... The Feast of Unleavened Bread
lasted seven days, from the 15th to the 21st of Nisan (see Lev 23:5-6), but in the
time of Christ the entire period, Nisan 14-21, was referred to under that name ..."

Footnote to Mk 14:12 "the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Ordinarily
this would mean the 15th of Nisan, the day after Passover ... However, the added phrase,
'when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb,' makes it clear that the 14th of Nisan
is meant because Passover lambs were killed on that day (Ex 12:6). ..."

Preparation Day: Some see this as preparation for the weekly Sabbath.
Whether seen as this or preparation for the Passover, both occurred on the same day that year.

Which Sabbath Does the Wave Sheaf Follow?

The sheaf of first fruits is to be waved before the Lord on the day after the Sabbath (Lev 23:11).
Some say this refers to the annual Sabbath that begins Unleavened Bread and
others say it refers to the weekly Sabbath that will occur during the 7 day feast.
Whichever Sabbath it should follow, both occurred on the same day that year.
(Please note Lev 23:16: For the Feast of Weeks to begin the day after the 7th Sabbath,
the count had to begin using the weekly Sabbath.)

It is interesting to notice that because the observance of eating the Passover lamb changed by Christ's time
to be a day later, it allowed Jesus to both observe and change the memorial on the feast day
yet still be sacrificed on the feast day when all the lambs were being sacrificed around him.

The Lord God Almighty has everything carefully planned!

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First Posted: 4/17/05
Last Updated: 2/09/07