Saturday, March 31, 2018

First Fruits

At Lazarus' Tomb, Bethany, Israel

The picture above was made while visiting the tomb of Lazarus, earlier this year.  What an awe-inspiring feeling to stand in the place where tradition holds that Jesus called Lazarus forth from the dead!  Just a few short months later, He spent His last days before His own death, burial and resurrection with the living Lazarus (and his sisters), fully recovered after having been dead for 4 days.

Easter is my favorite Christian "high day".  Why?  Because if Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead, our entire faith would be groundless and worthless. It would be "in vain", as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17.  The figureheads of all other world "religions" either lie dead in the grave to this day or they will be there eventually.  But, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God the Father (Ephesians 1:20), and it is because of this that we mortals who trust in His finished work have the assurance of eternal life if we trust in Him (1 Cor. 6:14).  Hallelujah!

On this beautiful Resurrection Morning though, I invite you to examine briefly with me (as most of us have a very busy Easter) the parallels between the Resurrection and the Jewish Feast of First Fruits.   To review:

It is recorded in Leviticus 23 that God the Father gave Moses the information about the 7 Holy Feasts. Here are the Spring Feasts, in chronological order:1

Passover (Pesach)   Nisan 14-15
Unleavened Bread (Hag haMatzah)   Nisan 15-22
First Fruits of the Barley Harvest (Yom Habikkurim), the first Sunday after the Hag haMatzah Sabbath Saturday.  The year Jesus was crucified, this was Nisan 17.
Pentecost (Shavuot)  The year Jesus was crucified, this was Sivan 6.

And here are the first three, added to our old friend, the handy-dandy Passion Week chart!

Thursday sundown to
Friday sundown
Nisan  8
Jesus arrives at M,M&L's house in Bethany earlier in the day.
"Mary" (most likely Mary of Bethany) anoints Jesus' feet with costly ointment.
Friday sundown to
Saturday sundown
Nisan  9
Weekly Sabbath; no work or travel.
Saturday sundown to
Sunday sundown
Nisan  10
Palm Sunday; Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Jesus presents Himself at Temple; Passover Lambs are Selected (Lamb Selection Day)
Sunday sundown to
Monday sundown
Nisan  11
Day 2 of lamb with family
Jesus curses the fig tree
Jesus cleanses the Temple
Jesus heals and teaches in the Temple
Jesus and the 12 return to Bethany.
Monday sundown to
Tuesday sundown
Nisan  12
Day 3 of lamb with family
Jesus teaches extensively in the Temple
Olivet Discourse (Mount of Olives) to disciples
Judas makes contact with Temple priests
Tuesday sundown to
Wednesday sundown
Nisan  13
Day 4 of lamb with family 
As the day begins after sundown, Jesus and the Twelve dine with Simon the Leper.  An anonymous woman anoints His head with costly oil.  During the daylight hours of Wednesday, the disciples locate a place for the upcoming feast days and make it ready by cleansing it from leaven.  
Judas leaves to sell Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver.
Wednesday sundown to
Thursday sundown
Nisan  14
The Lord's
Seder
"Preparation Day"
After sunset, to begin the day, Jesus eats The Last Supper (Jesus' early Passover seder) with the disciples.
Garden of Gethsemane in the early hours; Jesus' high priestly prayer (John 17); Jesus's mock trial; sentencing Thursday morning.
Day of Jesus' crucifixion (begins mid- morning) and death (mid-late afternoon)
Day 5 of lamb with family; sacrificed in late afternoon.  Lamb's blood applied to doorposts . God's Lamb's blood covers all our sins. 
Thursday sundown to
Friday sundown
Nisan  15
Passover
Feast of 
Unleavened
Bread
begins
High Feast of Passover at sundown; 
First day of Feast of Unleavened Bread;
Jesus' body is dead in the tomb; Disciples are scattered and terrified.
Friday sundown to
Saturday sundown
Nisan  16
The Weekly Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag haMatzah)

Jesus' body remains dead in the tomb. 

Saturday sundown to
Sunday sundown
Nisan  17
Feast of First

Fruits:
The Morrow after the Hag haMatzah Weekly Sabbath

In the wee hours  of Sunday morning Jesus is resurrected, as our First Fruits.  Other dead in the area come out of their tombs.  After dawn, the women and later the disciples witness the empty tomb.  He is risen!  He is risen indeed!
During the day, the Wave Offering is made (waving of the omer - - sheaf of barley).

Interestingly, though not coincidentally, Jesus referred to the Feast of First Fruits Himself, in John 12.

23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

The Feast of First Fruits commemorates (Leviticus 23:9-12) the beginning of the barley harvest, and signals the start of 49 days until the harvest festival of Shavuot (Pentecost) comes.  (Counting of the Omer).  It is always celebrated on the first Sunday after the Sabbath Saturday that falls within the week of Unleavened Bread, the first Sunday after the 15th of Nisan (Aviv).  See Leviticus 23:15-16.

In brief, because most of you will find your eyes crossing over this next part, there was great controversy in Jesus' day as to when First Fruits should begin.  The Pharisees thought it should always be celebrated on Nisan/Aviv 16, and the Sadducees believed it should be calculated as I have stated above, the first Sunday after the 15th of Nisan (Aviv).  {For a detailed explanation of why the Sadducees were right, see source #3, in the Sources section.}

Therefore, both First Fruits (and Pentecost) always fall on a Sunday.  As Zola Levitt so beautifully put it:4
"Thus it happens, so early in the Bible {Leviticus}, that God honors Resurrection Sunday, the Sunday after Passover, as representing particularly the things that come up out of the ground spontaneously and miraculously after the long, dead winter."
Jesus' resurrection miracle brought life to mankind, who had been enslaved to sin for 4000 years.

The ceremonies surrounding First Fruits are:
  • the waving of a sheaf of barley (wave offering)  see Joshua 5:11
  • a defect-free male lamb was offered, along with bread and wine, See Leviticus 23:13.
    • the very symbols Jesus used to ask us to remember Him ("Last Supper" aka Jesus' Early Seder)  

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
1 Cor. 15:20-23 (KJV)

Now, I want to quote very liberally from my source below: {emphasis mine, for clarity/translation}

"Yeshua {Jesus} is the first-begotten of the Father (Heb. 1:6); the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15-16); the first-begotten of the dead (Rev. 1:5); and is the First Fruits of those who are to be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:20-23).  Baruch HaShem! {Blessed be G-d!}  And just as He is our Firstfruits, so 'He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created' (James 1:18)."

How amazing that immediately after Jesus' resurrection, we find recorded only in Matthew's gospel that, in the aftermath of the crucifixion earthquake and Easter morning earthquake the graves were opened and that some of the dead were likewise resurrected, as the incredible resurrection power of God spilled over that area!  (Matt. 27:52-53)

In closing, 1 Peter 1:3-5 (NET) - -

{This from the man who had not only denied His Lord 3 times, but who had 3 days later held the empty grave clothes in his hands...}

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Alleluia!

https://youtu.be/eeZVLgbKTxo

Sources:

1  http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Introduction/introduction.html

2   Good, J. (1998). Rosh HaShanah and the Messianic Kingdom to come: an interpretation of the Feast of Trumpets based upon ancient sources. Nederland, TX: Hatikva 

3   http://nailedtocross.com/index.php/articles/calendar-studies/5-firstfruits-16th-day-or-first-day-of-the-week

4   https://www.levitt.com/essays/first-fruits

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Jesus' Passion: Preparation Day Through the Sabbaths


Today, our focus is on Thursday (Nisan 14) of Passion Week, which began after sundown on what we would call on the Roman calendar "Wednesday night".  As we saw yesterday, the Last Supper has been concluded; Judas has fled to do his dastardly deed.  The Savior and the Eleven have departed for the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives.

The name "Gethsemane" has connotations of severe pressing, such as the pulverization of olives in order to obtain their oil.  The region was replete with olive trees, as well as the mechanisms for pressing them.  For certain, as the Lord travailed in prayer in Gethsemane He was severely "pressed".


Here, then, are the incidents of those hours at the pitch of cosmic, spiritual battle:


1.  Jesus says His disciples will be "offended because of" Him and Peter vehemently says he'll never deny Him. Jesus predicts that "before the cock crows", Peter will have denied Him three times. (Matthew 26:30-35, Mark 14:26-31, Luke 22:31-34, John 13:36-38).  Jewish scholars say that this matter of "the cock crowing" is a Hebrew idiom which referred in that day to a priestly crier, who stood at the top pinnacle of the Temple in the early morning and would "cry out" three different admonitions or messages.  The Greek word for "cock" is "alektor".  Hebrew for "cock" is "gever", (Temple crier).  At dawn every day he would cry out three messages.  The third one was "All Israel, come and worship!"  Chickens were not allowed inside the walls of the Holy City at all; they were housed outside.

2.  Jesus takes Peter, James and John (the Zebedee bros.) farther into the Garden with Him, to pray with Him as He agonizes in prayer (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1).

3.  Jesus is betrayed by Judas, who leads the soldiers to them there in the Garden (Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:3-11).

4.  Jesus is taken before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, where He declares to the High Priest that He is the Messiah - - "I AM" (Matthew 26: 57-68, Mark 14:53-65, John 18:12-14 and 19-24).  During this time, Peter is in the outer court, waiting by a fire ("warming himself"), when he is asked 3 times if he knew or was with Jesus.  He denied this 3x.

5.  After a confab of all the Jewish rabbinical leadership, Jesus was sent to Pilate (Matthew 27:2, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:1-5.)

6.  Luke's gospel alone records (23:6-12) that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee, because Jesus was accused of crimes in Galilee. Interestingly enough, although Herod questioned Jesus extensively, He replied not a word.  Herod and his cronies mocked Jesus, put a beautiful kingly robe on Him and sent Him back to Pilate.

7.  During these hours of Jesus' mock trial, Judas began to be remorseful and returned the 30 pieces of silver (blood money) to the ruling priests (Matthew 27:3-10).

8.  Back at Pilate's, (Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, John 18:39-19:16), his wife warns him to have nothing to do with "that righteous man", Jesus (Matthew 27:19), and the crowds demand that Pilate release Barabbas, a notorious seditionist and murderer.  (Matthew 27:20 tells us that the chief priests and elders had persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas.)  Regardless, Pilate, afraid of an insurrection, pronounces sentence.

9.  Jesus' crucifixion began at about 9:00 a.m. (the "third hour"), where He hangs on the cross in utter agony until He cries "It is finished" and gives up His spirit, at about "the ninth hour" (3:00 p.m.)1 
Exodus 12:6 states that the passover lambs would be killed "in the evening", according to most translations.  In Hebrew, "in the evening" would be "bain haarbayim" which, when translated literally, is "between the evenings".  That makes no sense in the Western world.  However, it makes perfect sense in the language of the Jews.  In the Temple rites, the day was divided into quarters, with the later two being between noon and 3:00 p.m. (the minor evening oblation) and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (the major evening oblation).  Therefore, "between the evenings" meant between these two evening periods, or at 3:00 p.m.6 
The other Passover lambs were being slaughtered in preparation for the Passover seder (ceremonial feast), and the high priest was sacrificing the ceremonial Passover lamb in the Temple at 3:00 p.m., on behalf of all the people.2  As Jesus' blood flowed down the wooden cross, the lamb's blood flowed on the Temple altar.

Now, what else was going on in Jerusalem during these hours?  The 14th of Nisan (that year it was what we would call Thursday) is the Preparation Day, the day the Jewish people make ready for the high, holy feast of Passover, which would begin that evening at sundown.  They had actually been preparing for days, but this day bears the title "Preparation Day", because it falls immediately before the evening beginning of the high holy day of Nisan 15.  This proper name/title is used only six times in the New Testament:


(Matthew 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:14, 31, 42.)  

In EVERY case, it is used to denote the day Christ was crucified, every. single. time.  This is one of the strongest arguments for a Thursday crucifixion.  In the scriptures above, we are told repeatedly that Jesus' body had to be in Joseph of Arimathaea's (a borrowed) tomb before sundown, as Passover began at sundown, the beginning of Nisan 15.

In general, a preparation day (more generic usage) was any day that preceded a Sabbath.  However, what is less commonly known is that any feast day (such as Passover) is also a Sabbath.  So, in the time period of Jesus' Passion, there was the Sabbath spent in Bethany (Nisan 9), the Friday High Holy Sabbath of the Passover (Nisan 15) and the weekly "Saturday" Sabbath the very next day (Nisan 16), two Sabbaths back-to-back. This is why in Matthew 28:1, the word translated into English as "Sabbath" is actually the Greek word "Sabbaton"3, which is a plural, more accurately translated "Sabbaths".


In the end of the sabbath [the Sabbath rest—after both the High Holy Day Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath], as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week [Sunday] came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 4




Needless to say, this was the worst Passover meal, that "Thursday night" any of Jesus' loved ones had ever experienced.  Their Master was in the tomb, dead.  They were huddled away, hiding, confused, terrified of the authorities, probably wondering if they would be next.  It appeared to them that the Enemy had won.  (Oh, but Sunday was a-comin'!)

As the Feast of Unleavened Bread began on Passover and continued on toward First Fruits, this is where we find them: wallowing in despair.  Meanwhile, Jesus' body was in the tomb, but His spirit was elsewhere (which is a whole 'nuther blog post!)



Thursday sundown to
Friday sundown
Nisan  8
Jesus arrives at M,M&L's house in Bethany earlier in the day.
"Mary" (most likely Mary of Bethany) anoints Jesus' feet with costly ointment.
Friday sundown to
Saturday sundown
Nisan  9
Weekly Sabbath; no work or travel.
Saturday sundown to
Sunday sundown
Nisan  10
Palm Sunday; Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Jesus presents Himself at Temple; Passover Lambs are Selected (Lamb Selection Day)
Sunday sundown to
Monday sundown
Nisan  11
Day 2 of lamb with family
Jesus curses the fig tree
Jesus cleanses the Temple
Jesus heals and teaches in the Temple
Jesus and the 12 return to Bethany.
Monday sundown to
Tuesday sundown
Nisan  12
Day 3 of lamb with family
Jesus teaches extensively in the Temple
Olivet Discourse (Mount of Olives) to disciples
Judas makes contact with Temple priests
Tuesday sundown to
Wednesday sundown
Nisan  13
Day 4 of lamb with family 
As the day begins after sundown, Jesus and the Twelve dine with Simon the Leper.  An anonymous woman anoints His head with costly oil.  During the daylight hours of Wednesday, the disciples locate a place for the upcoming feast days and make it ready by cleansing it from leaven.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread (The Last Supper) was eaten after sundown (beginning of Nisan 14) by Jesus and the Twelve.
Judas leaves to sell Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver.
Wednesday sundown to
Thursday sundown
Nisan  14
"Preparation Day"/Passover sacrifice
Day 5 of lamb with family; sacrificed in late afternoon.  Lamb's blood applied to doorposts  
Garden of Gethsemane in the early hours; Jesus' high priestly prayer (John 17); Jesus's mock trial; sentencing Thursday morning.
Day of Jesus' crucifixion (begins mid- morning) and death (mid-late afternoon)
Thursday sundown to
Friday sundown
Nisan  15
High Feast of Passover at sundown; Jesus' body is dead in the tomb; Disciples are scattered and terrified.
Friday sundown to
Saturday sundown
Nisan  16
Jesus' body remains dead in the tomb. 
Saturday sundown to
Sunday sundown
Nisan  17


Sunday's comin', Y'all!  Let's count to three:  Into the tomb just before sundown on "Thursday late afternoon" (Nisan 14).  Thursday sundown to Friday (Nisan 15) sundown = 1.  Friday sundown to Saturday sundown (Nisan 16 - regular sabbath) = 2.  Saturday sundown into Sunday morning (Nisan 17 - - the feast of First Fruits) = 3.  The words of Jesus:  (Matthew 12:40)


For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.


And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
Luke 9:22

Sunday's comin'!  Hallelujah!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn94B3GHcjY


Oh how I thank you, my God, for the beautiful, perfect work of my Savior.  In Jesus' name, amen!  


Sources:


1   http://www.bibleinsight.com/prepare.html


2   http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ma_3.htm




4   http://reasonsforhopejesus.com/thursday-crucifixion-two-reasons-nail/

5   Beth HaShomer Ministries, Passover Bible Study, Woodstock, GA

6     Good, J. (1998). Rosh HaShanah and the Messianic Kingdom to come: an interpretation of the Feast of Trumpets based upon ancient sources. Nederland, TX: Hatikva Ministries.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Passion Week: A Wednesday Not-So-Silent


Those who hold to a Friday crucifixion have trouble with Wednesday of Holy Week.  With a Friday crucifixion there are not enough events to populate Wednesday on a timeline.  Therefore, they refer to it as Silent Wednesday.  However, if you subscribe to a Thursday crucifixion, the timeline flows together beautifully.  I submit to you that Wednesday is not so silent.

Think about it.  This is Jesus' last week with His disciples, His last week in Jerusalem before He lays down His life.  What sense would it make to simply "take a day off"?  I acknowledge there are periods in which the Bible is "silent" as to this or that (Jesus' first 29 years, for example, for the most part).  I don't see this day as being one of those.

If you recall from yesterday's post, Tuesday of Holy Week was a very busy day.  We will find that Wednesday was equally busy.

Remember that Jewish "days" begin at sundown on what we would call "the day before".  So, this Wednesday (like all Jewish calendar Wednesdays) began at sundown on what we would call Tuesday, So, Nisan 13's daylight hours were a "Wednesday" the year Jesus died.
Matthew 26:6-13 records that Jesus is anointed by "a woman" after sundown, the sundown which began the day we call Wednesday,   He and the disciples were attending a dinner, held at the home of Simon the Leper, who lived in Bethany, where the entourage was staying with Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  This brings us to some potential confusion.

In my initial post about Easter Week ( read it here: http://resplendentdaughter.blogspot.com/2016/03/10-days-that-changed-world.html ) I recorded that Jesus and the Twelve had a meal at the home of the three siblings, M, M&L, and that I believed it took place after the Friday night sundown which began Nisan 9.  In that post I was focused on the timeline, not the actual events of the dinner.  However, there was one very important event at that Sabbath dinner, detailed in John 12:1-4 (KJV).

Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 

Ok, so we have a "Mary" - - most likely the Mary who lived in the house, but the text is not explicit, who took a pound of expensive ointment with which she anointed Jesus' FEET and wiped them with her hair.  Remember, this took place on either Nisan 9 (I think so) or Nisan 10.

The problem comes about because of Luke 7:36-50, Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9, which also relate a woman doing something similar.  I'm not going to reproduce them here.  But, in the Luke passage we find a "sinful woman" (nameless) at the home of Simon the Pharisee (likely in the village of Nain) doing practically the same thing for Jesus as was recorded in John 12.  It is clear, though, from Luke (who was a physician and a stickler for details) that this incident occurred in the first year of Jesus' ministry.  So, not a huge problem there.

The incident recorded both in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 occurs at the beginning of Nisan 13, after the sunset that began what we would call "Wednesday" of Holy Week, at the home of Simon the LEPER in Bethany.  This woman goes unnamed.  (I would think she would have been named, had it been Mary of Bethany, as He and the three siblings were very close.)  Regardless, she poured a FLASK of expensive OIL on Jesus' HEAD.

So, there are significant differences between the three different accounts.  Warning: the headings in your Bible may mislead you to think that some of these three events were one and the same.  I don't believe they were.

One other point:  Jesus and the disciples would never have entered the home of an actual leper at this time of year, as this would have made them unclean and unable to participate in Passover.  A Jewish scholar and friend of mine, Jennifer Scrivner of Beth HaShomer ministries, asserts that the Greek word in the moniker "Leper" is a mistranslation.   The Hebrew word for "leper" is מְצוֹרָע which is similar to the word for "jar-maker" or "potter" (as in a maker of alabaster jars).  Remember that Hebrew has no vowels.  If a translator added vowels to make this word "gar-bah", then you'd have "leper".  If vowels added produced "gar-ah-bar", you'd have "potter", or "jar-maker".  In fact, the Aramaic Bible in Plain English translates Mark 14:3 like this:

And while he was in Bethany in the House of Shimeon the Potter, as he was reclining, a woman came who had with her an alabaster vase of ointment of the best spikenard, very expensive, and she opened it and poured it on Yeshua's head.

Another possible explanation, one that I've heard, is that Simon/Shimeon was a former leper which Jesus had healed during his ministry.  People continued to refer to him as Simon the Leper, in the same way the mother of Boaz, wife of Salmon and great-grandmother of King David continued to be referred to as Rahab the Harlot, even after her conversion.  Either of these explanations is plausible.

At any rate, during the daylight hours of Wednesday (Nisan 13) the disciples spent a lot of time preparing for where they would eat the next two evening meals (the latter being Passover) with Jesus (Matthew 26:17-19 and Mark 14:12).  There was a lot of work to be done because a lot of food had to be prepared for these two feasts. All the leaven had to be removed from the chosen home, in preparation for this multi-day feast in which no leaven could be eaten.

After the removal of the leaven during the daylight hours of Wednesday, what some call The First Passover or Yeshua's Seder Meal was eaten right after the sundown which began "Thursday" Nisan 14,  Preparation Day. (We'll investigate Preparation Day tomorrow).  But, the disciples had also prepared the donated home, "the upper room", for the main Passover meal which the disciples had planned to eat with Jesus the following evening (the beginning of Nisan 15).  (This makes sense to resolve what looks to be an inconsistency in Mark 14:12. No Passover lamb was killed on Wednesday, but the disciples were preparing for Thursday when, according to Jewish law, the Passover lambs would be slaughtered the afternoon of Nisan 14.)  They never ate that main Passover Meal with Jesus, because Jesus was in the tomb only an hour or so before the time for the High Feast of Passover, which began after right sundown on our "Thursday" (actually Nisan 15).

As we see recorded in Matthew 26, it is probable the men ate unleavened bread (which is why He "broke" it - - - it was more like a cracker) and drank wine.  If they had any other foods, they are not mentioned, but I think it's likely they did.  Jesus made it clear at this meal He was instituting a new sacrament for His church, one which commemorated the breaking of His body and the spilling of His blood for us, represented by the unleavened bread and the red wine.  The Bread of Life was showing them what He would be doing in just a few short hours on the cusp of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover, which began at sunset at the close of Thursday, is the first day of that feast....), to redeem not only them, but to purchase redemption for all mankind by His bodily sacrifice on the cross.  Bless those boys!  They had no idea what He was doing!  Not then...

So, this meal at the close of Wednesday was not The Passover Meal, the main one, which would occur the following night at the beginning of Nisan 15.  This meal, The Last Supper, the one at which Jesus brought both Passover and First Fruits together to form a new sacramental meal, was the meal which birthed His Church. It began that night, with those Twelve men, the remainder of whose lives were spent spreading a gospel message that has changed the world! Some Jewish scholars see in this meal many parallels to the Jewish wedding feast.  In the traditional betrothal feast, for example, once the price of the bride is agreed upon, that agreement is sealed with a cup of red wine.  Do you see it? The Father and the Son agreed on the price for us, and that price was paid in Jesus' blood.  He the Bridegroom and we, His Betrothed, His future Bride.

Let's look at the timeline/chart now.


Thursday sundown to
Friday sundown
Nisan  8
Jesus arrives at M,M&L's house in Bethany earlier in the day.
"Mary" (most likely Mary of Bethany) anoints Jesus' feet with costly ointment.
Friday sundown to
Saturday sundown
Nisan  9
Weekly Sabbath; no work or travel.
Saturday sundown to
Sunday sundown
Nisan  10
Palm Sunday; Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Jesus presents Himself at Temple; Passover Lambs are Selected (Lamb Selection Day)
Sunday sundown to
Monday sundown
Nisan  11
Day 2 of lamb with family
Jesus curses the fig tree
Jesus cleanses the Temple
Jesus heals and teaches in the Temple
Jesus and the 12 return to Bethany.
Monday sundown to
Tuesday sundown
Nisan  12
Day 3 of lamb with family
Jesus teaches extensively in the Temple
Olivet Discourse (Mount of Olives) to disciples
Judas makes contact with Temple priests
Tuesday sundown to
Wednesday sundown
Nisan  13
Day 4 of lamb with family 
As the day begins after sundown, Jesus and the Twelve dine with Simon the Leper.  An anonymous woman anoints His head with costly oil.  During the daylight hours of Wednesday, the disciples locate a place for the upcoming feast days and make it ready by cleansing it from leaven.  
Wednesday sundown to
Thursday sundown
Nisan  14
"Preparation Day"
The Last Supper, a betrothal meal, was eaten after sundown (beginning of Nisan 14) by Jesus and the Twelve.

Judas leaves to sell Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver.
Garden of Gethsemane in the early hours (after The Last Supper);
Jesus' high priestly prayer (John 17);
Jesus' farce of a trial and sentencing in the wee hours of Thursday morning;
Day of Jesus' crucifixion (9:00-3:00) and death (mid-afternoon);
Day 5 of lamb with family;
Passover lambs were sacrificed in the mid-to-late afternoon.
Thursday sundown to
Friday sundown
SABBATH (Sabbat)
Nisan  15

Friday sundown to
Saturday sundown
SABBATH (Sabbat)
Nisan  16

Saturday sundown to
Sunday sundown
Nisan  17


Hallelujah to the Lamb!  We'll continue tomorrow.  Are you getting excited yet?!

Father God, as I've prayed before over these posts, I ask Your forgiveness for any false interpretations given here.  It's not my intent to sin or to cause sin by misstating something.  Seeing the rich symbolism You reveal, the beauty of how Jesus united both the Old and the New Covenants, how He fulfilled the Old Testament.  What glory!  Thank you for Your precious Son, Your most Beloved One, given freely for us.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Sources:

https://suscopts.org/resources/interesting-facts/13/which-woman-anointed-our-lord-jesus-christ-with-oi/

http://images.shulcloud.com/294/uploads/Passover_Flyers/bedikat-chametz-faq-5774.pdf

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shabbat_HaGadol/shabbat_hagadol.html

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Unleavened_Bread/Anavah/anavah.html

Beth HaShomer Ministries' Passover Bible Study, Woodstock, GA.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Passion Week: Tuesday



Today, we are searching the Scriptures to determine what Jesus and the disciples did on Tuesday (Monday sundown to Tuesday sundown) of Holy Week.  Here are the relevant Scripture passages:

Matthew 21:23-24:51 and 26:14-16, Mark 11:20-13:37, Luke 20:1-21:36 and John 12:20-38

It's obvious already, isn't it, that Tuesday was a busy day!  It was also a day in which the Enemy ratcheted up his forces against God.  We've already seen (the two previous blog posts) that every day of this Holy Week Jesus made an appearance at the Temple.  On Sunday, he stopped by briefly (presenting Himself).  On Monday, he debated the priests (was "inspected"), healed the sick and purged the Temple. He also stopped the animal sacrifices by not allowing vessels to be carried through the Temple, pre-figuring His atoning sacrifice to come.  Now, it is Tuesday and we find Him in the Temple again, where the chief priests questioned His authority (Matt. 21:23-27). More inspection of The Lamb.  Interestingly, Scripture records in great detail Jesus' teachings on this occasion.  These include:

  • the parable of the two sons  (Matt. 21:28-32)
  • the parable of the householder  (Matt. 21:33-46) and vineyard owner (Mark 12:1-12)
  • the parable of the marriage feast  (Matt. 22:1-14)
  • discussion with the Herodians about loyalty/tribute to Caesar --- relationship between God and our government  (Matt. 22:15-22)
  • setting the Sadducees straight about the resurrection from the dead (Matt. 22:-23-33)
  • the two greatest commandments (Matt. 22:37-40)
  • declaration of the characteristics of a Pharisee and His denunciation of their wickedness - - the seven "woes" (Matt. 23:1-36)
  • the Jerusalem lament (Matt. 23:37-39)
  • the widow's paltry little "offering check" (Mark 12:41-44)

After these teachings, Jesus went out and left the Temple, proceeding to the Mount of Olives, where He gave to His closest friends what is famously known as The Olivet Discourse (or the Sermon from the Mount of Olives).  So, this was not like the Sermon on the Mount, that earlier sermon recorded in Matthew 5 and 6, which was given to thousands.  No, this was an intimate conversation, and we find it recorded in Matthew 24:1-26:2.

What is amazing to me is that in 26:1-2, He plainly told them that he'd be crucified in two days. Clearly, they did not believe Him.  Matthew just sort of drops the mic there in those two verses and then goes on to talk about what Caiaphas and the priests were up to.  The best illustration ever of "we see what we want to see and believe what we choose to believe".  (Ever been there?)  :)

Some theologians1 place John 12:20-38 on Tuesday of Passion Week.  John does not record the teachings the other three gospel writers did, instead recording others, equally important of course. John's perspective overall is quite different, though not contradictory.  Beautiful how the gospels complement each other!

It's also believed that it was on Tuesday that Judas Iscariot met with the chief priests to betray Jesus. (See Matthew 26:14-16 and Mark 14:1-2.)

So, here's our updated timeline/chart:


Thursday sundown to
Friday sundown
Nisan  8
Jesus arrives at M,M&L's house in Bethany earlier in the day.
Friday sundown to
Saturday sundown
Nisan  9
Weekly Sabbath; no work or travel.
Saturday sundown to
Sunday sundown
Nisan  10
Palm Sunday; Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Jesus presents Himself at Temple; Passover Lambs are Selected (Lamb Selection Day)
Sunday sundown to
Monday sundown
Nisan  11
Day 2 of Lamb with family
Jesus curses the fig tree
Jesus cleanses the Temple
Jesus heals and teaches in the Temple
Jesus and the 12 return to Bethany.
Monday sundown to
Tuesday sundown
Nisan  12
Day 3 of Lamb with family
Jesus teaches extensively in the Temple
Olivet Discourse (Mount of Olives) to disciples
Judas makes contact with Temple priests
Tuesday sundown to
Wednesday sundown
Nisan  13
Day 4 of Lamb with family
Not-So-Silent Wednesday!
Wednesday sundown to
Thursday sundown
Nisan  14

Thursday sundown to
Friday sundown
Nisan  15

Friday sundown to
Saturday sundown
Nisan  16

Saturday sundown to
Sunday sundown
Nisan  17


Since they had been staying with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Bethany, it is reasonable to assume that Jesus and the Twelve returned there for the night.

Source:

1  http://christianity.about.com/od/easter/ss/Holy-Week-Timeline.htm#step3