Passover & the Feast of Unleavened Bread
In Leviticus 23 Passover is listed with the other six holy convocation days. All seven of these days or time periods are referred to as sabbaths in Scripture. In fact, they generally have three words used to describe them: holy convocation, sabbath, and feast. Leviticus 23:2,5 KJV, “2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of [Yahowah], which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is [Yahowah’s] passover.” A two-fold stumbling block for some is that it is not until the New Testament that (1) the word sabbath is actually applied to the day of Passover; and, (2) Passover is the only holy convocation day that does not forbid servile work from being done.
Part I - Exodus 12
1. I have yet to find a Christian ministry, or any ecclesiastical business or cult for that matter, who correctly understands the sequence of events during crucifixion week. One reason for this, although not the only reason, is that they have failed to study, understand, and discern by the Holy Ghost that which is taught in Exodus chapter 12. John 14:26 KJV, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." In this doctrine, this teaching, is the exegesis of Exodus 12. My prayer is that you will benefit greatly from a godly discussion of this chapter.
2. Exodus 12:1-2 KJV, "1 And [Yahowah] spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." This is the month of Abib, commonly called the month of Nisan by most Christians. I prefer to use the original name, Abib. The name of the month was apparently changed during the Babylonian captivity, which began circa 586 BC.
3.a. Exodus 12:3 KJV, "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:”. Yahowah is introducing the beginning of the Passover. The tenth of the month is the second day of the second week in the month. On our current Gregorian calendars we call this day Monday.
3.b. For Christians this sacrificial lamb represents Christ Yahoshua who was to become our sacrificial Lamb - the Lamb of God.
4. Exodus 12:4 KJV, "And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb." There are two parts to the Passover: the sacrifice and the feast. This verse is referring to the feast.
5.a. Exodus 12:5-6 KJV, "5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it [between the evenings]." The fourteenth day of Abib in modern terms would be a Friday. "Between the evenings" was inserted in place of "in the evening", because "in the evening" might mislead a person from our century into thinking that the sacrifice was occurring after sunset. The sacrifice was actually occurring "between the evenings", which is between noon (the 1st evening or little evening) and sundown (the 2nd evening). Sundown is when the last sliver of sun disappears on the western horizon. "Between the evenings" is the actual wording from the Masoretic Text. I am at a loss to explain why the King James translators failed to give us a better translation. "In the evening" in this context actually means afternoon in Biblical time keeping. However, afternoon is not a Biblical time marker. Please refer to our teaching named Between the Evenings.
5.b. A lamb without blemish is representative of Christ who is without sin. The killing of the lamb symbolizes the death of Yahoshua the Messiah, when He allowed Himself to be killed so that He could be our blood atonement for all of our sins. Hebrews 9:22 KJV, "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." Acts 10:43 KJV, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." The killing of the lamb between the evenings is representative of the future sacrifice that our Lord Yahoshua will make to atone for your sins and mine and for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2 KJV, "and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." However, do not make the mistake in thinking that just because this first Passover lamb sacrifice is a type of Christ's sacrifice, that Yahoshua's death must take place on the anniversary date of this first Passover lamb's death. Please refer to our teaching called Crucifixion Week and the Harmony of the Gospels.
6.a. Exodus 12:7 KJV, "And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it." This action, of course, takes place after the lamb is sacrificed. Verse 6 and now verse 7 are the heart of Christianity. Yahoshua the Christ, who is our sacrificial lamb, has provided a way for us to have our sin debt paid. And we can continue to apply His shed Blood, in the spiritual, for the covering of all our sins for the rest of our physical life. We never have to fear that we will suffer the second death by being cast into hell; i.e., if one is born again. The Hebrews at this first Passover were also protected from physical death that very night. When God sees the Blood, He will pass over that house and not kill any first born inside.
6.b. This is the Christian gospel. Christ's shed Blood provides the sin atonement for all the sins of all of mankind for all of time. However, His shed Blood does not benefit those who do not appropriate it. If one ignores Yahoshua the Christ, if one ignores His sacrifice, if one lives his own life and does not look to God, if one never repents of their sins, then that one will not become spiritually born again. If a Hebrew ignored God's instructions and failed to put the blood on his doorposts, then death would have come to that dwelling that night, not life. Choose life.
7. Exodus 12:8-10 KJV, "8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire." The sacrifice of the lamb was over. The protective blood had been applied to the doorposts, and that too was behind them. Now the roasting of the lamb can begin. After sundown the requirement to eat unleavened bread begins. After sundown they can begin the Passover Feast. Unleavened bread is also a symbol of the absence of sin.
8. Exodus 12:11 KJV, "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is [Yahowah’s] passover." This Scripture is a symbol of their imminent departure. However, since Moses came on the scene to deliver them from their slave masters, they have been told by Moses that they will be leaving. After each plague, they were still stuck in Egypt. They had no reason to believe that this time would be any different. Oh, I am sure they hoped for a different outcome, as many did every time a new plague was given. But until it actually happens, until they actually depart, the doubts will linger. Besides, the focus of the Passover is their deliverance from death, not their deliverance from Egypt.
9. Exodus 12:12-13 KJV, "12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am [Yahowah]. 13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." God has said He will destroy all the first born. Only those Hebrews who applied the blood of their Passover lambs to their doorposts will be spared. Death will pass over those houses with the blood. This is where the name of this event comes from - the Passover.
10. Exodus 12:14 KJV, "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to [Yahowah] throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever." Verse fourteen is the conclusion of the instructions for Passover. Passover has now been established as a memorial forever. The topic of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread has not been addressed yet.
11.a. Exodus 12:15 KJV, "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel." This is the first Scripture that begins to address the topic of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. However, the name "Feast of Unleavened Bread" is not used at this time. The first day of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on Saturday Abib 15 at sunrise. However, the counting of the seven days of eating unleavened bread begins the night before at sundown when the Hebrews are required to not eat leavened bread with the Passover Feast. The night before, the Hebrews were not aware that this requirement to eat unleavened bread was to continue for a total of seven days. This will become evident when we reach verse 39.
11.b. This overlapping of the counting of the days of not eating leavened bread has caused much confusion to many scholars, ministers, and lay people. They try to argue that this means that Passover is the first of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it is not. If it were, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread would be eight days long, not seven. Besides, the holy convocation day of Passover was established in verse 14. Now a second and different ordinance is being established in verses fifteen through twenty.
12. Exodus 12:16 KJV, "And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.” This means that Saturday Abib 15 and Friday Abib 21 will be holy convocation days with no servile work permitted. The five inbetween days, servile work will be permitted.
13. Exodus 12:17 KJV, “And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.” From verse 15 through verse 20 are instructions for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not Passover. The armies of the Hebrews were brought out of Egypt on Saturday Abib 15, not sooner.
14. Exodus 12:18 KJV, "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.” Once again, since unleavened bread was required to be eaten, beginning on Passover Abib 14 at sundown, it is only logical for that time to be the beginning of the count of the number of days in a row that unleavened bread will be eaten. So, even though the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins at sunrise on Saturday Abib 15, the count of the seven days of eating unleavened bread begins approximately twelve hours earlier.
Day one of eating unleavened bread begins at sundown on Friday Abib 14 and ends at sundown on Saturday Abib 15.
Day two of eating unleavened bread begins at sundown on Saturday Abib 15 and ends at sundown on Sunday Abib 16.
Day three of eating unleavened bread begins at sundown on Sunday Abib 16 and ends at sundown on Monday Abib 17.
Day four of eating unleavened bread begins at sundown on Monday Abib 17 and ends at sundown on Tuesday Abib 18.
Day five of eating unleavened bread begins at sundown on Tuesday Abib 18 and ends at sundown on Wednesday Abib 19.
Day six of eating unleavened bread begins at sundown on Wednesday Abib 19 and ends at sundown on Thursday Abib 20.
Day seven of eating unleavened bread begins at sundown on Thursday Abib 20 and ends at sundown on Friday Abib 21.
Even though the Feast of Unleavened Bread continues past sundown and continues until the following sunrise, it is now permissible to eat leaven bread beginning at sundown Friday Abib 21.
15. Exodus 12:19-20 KJV, "19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.” The seven day requirement to eat unleavened bread has been fulfilled by sundown on Friday Abib 21.
16. Exodus 12:21 KJV, "Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.” Now that this chapter has finished with the instructions regarding the Feast of Unleavened Bread it now returns to Passover.
17. Exodus 12:22-27 KJV, “22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23 For [Yahowah] will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, [Yahowah] will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which [Yahowah] will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of [Yahowah's] passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.” God commanded the people not to leave their dwellings during the night of Passover, not until sunrise. The implication was clear, they would die if they violated this instruction.
18.a. Exodus 12:28-31 KJV, "28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as [Yahowah] had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 29 And it came to pass, that at midnight [Yahowah] smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. 30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. 31 And he 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 [Yahowah], as ye have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.” Verse 31 might lead one to think that Pharaoh summoned Moses in the middle of the night so that he could talk to him face to face, but this is not the case for two reasons. (1) Exodus 10:28-29 KJV, "28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die. 29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more." (2) Exodus 12:22 KJV, "And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.”
18.b. The conversation between Moses and Pharaoh's messenger might have gone something like this. "Moses, Pharaoh wants to talk to you."
"I appreciate that, but I'm good right here. Just tell me the message."
"Pharaoh is not going to be happy about this, just come with me."
"No, you tell me Pharaoh's message."
"Okay, I'll go find out the message and be right back."
"I'm back, are you still there Moses?"
"I'm right here, what's the message."
"Look, I'm getting hoarse with all this shouting through the door. Please, open the door and let's talk. I'll deliver the message to you then."
"I'd be glad to open the door, but Aaron (the first born) is bracing himself in front of it with his staff raised in a threatening manner. He says, 'Before sunrise, you'll open this door over my dead body.'"
"You Hebrews are certainly difficult to deal with. Okay, Pharaoh wants you and your people and your flocks to clear out, pronto. Have you got that?"
19. Exodus 12:33-37 KJV, "33 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. 34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 36 And [Yahowah] gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. 37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.” Because of Exodus 12:22 we can be certain that the spoiling of the Egyptians and the departure from Egypt did not begin until sunrise, Abib 15. Since Abib 15 is near the middle of April on Gregory's calendar, sunrise in Egypt was probably in the vicinity of 5:30 AM. In verses 35 and 36 it says that the Hebrews borrowed and the Egyptians lent valuables. But it is obvious that there was no intent by either party to expect these items to be returned to the original owners. The Complete Jewish Bible and the Masoretic Text do not translate Strong's H7592 shaal/shael as borrow and lent. Instead, these translators said that the Hebrews asked for the items and the Egyptians granted their request. These translations appear to relay the original intent more clearly.
20. Exodus 12:38-39 KJV, "38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.” Verse 39 explains why the Feast of Unleavened Bread was so named. This time of unleavened bread continued as a tradition, as a memorial for centuries to come. Unlike Passover, which had up to four preparation days, the Feast of Unleavened Bread had no preparation days at all. If they had had time to prepare, then they could of made leavened bread.
21. Exodus 12:40-41 KJV, "40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of [Yahowah] went out from the land of Egypt.” They came out on Abib 15. And since the Israelites must have first taken a spoil from the Egyptians, I suspect that it was not an early start. I am sure it takes a lot of time to get about two million people moving in the same direction, especially if they are frantically collecting jewels and riches from their Egyptian neighbors.
22. Exodus 12:42 KJV, "It is a night to be much observed unto [Yahowah] for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of [Yahowah] to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.” As shown above in Exodus 12:22, the Israelites did not actually depart on the night of Abib 14, they would not even leave their homes prior to sunrise, which would be Abib 15. But they did receive word that night from Pharaoh that they could go. Thus, it is a night much to be observed. A night in which Yahowah brought them out, even though their feet did not start walking until sometime the next day. Another possible interpretation of "a night to be much observed" is that they did not actually begin their march, or the last of them did not actually leave the land of Goshen, until after sundown on Abib 15. Even though after sundown, this would still be the day of Abib 15. Thus with Exodus 12:41 saying that they left that "selfsame day" and verse 42 saying that it is "a night to be much observed", there is no contradiction.
23. Exodus 12:43-46 KJV, “43 And [Yahowah] said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof: 44 but every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. 45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. 46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.” I believe this prohibition of breaking any bone in the Passover lamb is because of the prophecy that none of Christ’s bones were to be broken during His crucifixion. Psalm 34:20 KJV, “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.”
24. Exodus 12:47-51 KJV, “47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to [Yahowah], let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. 50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as [Yahowah] commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, that [Yahowah] did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.” This selfsame day refers back to Exodus 12:41, meaning Abib 15.
25. We welcome constructive input supported by Scriptures from the Bible. Please contact us by the contact icon. Copyright © 2009 Richard Douglas Mauck and/or Sandra Faye Mauck. All rights reserved. This material is copyrighted to protect the integrity of this work. Permission is hereby granted to copy this treatise in its entirety as long as no editing is done, no charge is made to those with whom it is shared, and full credit is given to the authors.