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Seven Famous Passovers in Scripture

Then God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-19).

God made the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day of creation. The most obvious reason for their creation was so there would be light (and heat) on the earth. The other reason is for man to be able to tell time. This is an article about the different calendars that are used in scripture to determine days, months, and years for events (specifically the Feast of Passover) that transpired in the lives and people of the Bible (the Holy word of God). Although there were other non-biblical calendars in use throughout various parts of Israel and elsewhere (including the Essenes Dead Sea Scrolls calendar, Enoch calendar, etc.), the ones we will concentrate on are those that are outlined in the Bible and were used by the kings of Israel/Judea and the priests in Jerusalem’s temple; and therefore would have been followed by the children of Israel (including Moses, the prophets, and Jesus and his disciples). These calendars must align with the requirements God gave Moses and the children of Israel regarding the seven annual Feasts of the Lord and the one weekly one (the Sabbath) mentioned in Leviticus 23. In particular, we will look at 7 famous Passover events that are recorded in the Bible and determine their dates. This includes Jesus’ crucifixion date in AD 33. Our current dating system of BC (BCE) and AD (CE) is based on the birth of Jesus Christ (which the Roman Catholic Church got wrong by about 4 or 5 years – nobody knows the exact date of his birth). It should be based on His death in my opinion, as this is a knowable date (with evidence supplied by scripture and history) and is the most important one in all of human history. The first calendar mentioned is in Genesis 1. It is the weekly calendar which includes the 6 days of work when the Lord created the heavens and the earth, and the 1 day of rest that followed. The weekly calendar of 7 days is God’s perpetual calendar and is the only one used by all mankind and has never changed throughout history. Even when the Roman Catholic Church revised the Julian calendar (which eventually became the Gregorian calendar) in October 1582, when 10 days were dropped from the calendar, to bring the vernal equinox from March 11 back to March 21, the days of the week remained the same and progressed in its proper order without change. “The weekly calendar marks off the week of seven days, which is universal and immemorial in its observance amongst all nations and in all times. It tells of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection. It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used.” {1} The next calendar we see in scripture is found in the account of the great flood of Noah’s time. The flood begins in the 600th year of Noah’s life, in the 2nd month, the 17th day of the month, according to Genesis 7:11. “The waters prevailed on the earth 150 days” (Genesis 7:24). At the end of the 150 days the waters decreased. “Then the ark rested in the 7th month, the 17th day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:3-4). These verses are very specific regarding days and months for the length of the flood until the waters receded. The duration is for 5 months of 30 days per month. The flood started in the 600th year of Noah’s life on the 17th day of the 2nd month. It ended when Noah and his family exited the ark on dry land in the 601st year of Noah’s life on the 27th day of the 2nd month. (Genesis 8:13-16). The total duration of the flood (until the earth was dry) was 370 days or 1 year (12 months of 30 days each) and 10 days. Either the Antediluvians had a yearly calendar (tropical year) of 360 days, or more likely they followed a solar calendar (with 30 days per month) with an intercalary/embolismic month (of 21 days) added every four years to keep the harvesting seasons in sync. Noah had a window built into the ark (Genesis 8:6) which served two purposes. The first purpose was to keep time. They could watch the phases of the moon to determine how much time had elapsed. They probably couldn’t see the moon for the first 40 days while it was raining. As long as it wasn’t cloudy they could watch the moon. The second purpose for the window was to release birds (after the rain stopped) to see if the water had receded from the earth (Genesis 8:6-12). In those days (until the time of Moses and the Exodus), the calendar year started in the fall, so the occupants entered the arc in the 2nd month of fall, and spent the following winter, spring, summer, and part of the following fall months in the ark. The 30 days per month of 360 days per year calendar of the Antediluvians is known as the 360-day calendar, Noah’s calendar, or the prophetic calendar. It is used in the book of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27, 7:25, 12:7-12) and the book of Revelation (Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 12:14, 13:5). The last 7 years of Daniel’s prophecies describe the end-time Tribulation and the antichrist’s activities. No intercalary 13th month is included with this prophetic calendar. As the evil Antediluvian age came to an abrupt end observing the 360 day per year calendar, so will the apostate citizens of the Tribulation age. Perhaps it is the work of the antichrist, “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:25). Or perhaps it is a result of the great judgments God sends upon the world during the Great Tribulation. “And He changes the times and the seasons, He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:21). There is about 36 days difference between the Gregorian calendar and the Prophetic calendar in the last 7 years of the Tribulation. “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22). Besides the prophecies in Daniel, the only other time the word ‘week’ is used in the Bible for a period of 7 years (or possibly 2520 days) is in Genesis 29:15-30. These verses describe the marriages of Jacob to the sisters Leah and Rachel. Jacob served 7 years (a week) in lieu of wages for Leah and an additional 7 years for Rachael. It’s interesting that Jacob had already worked for a month (for free) before he made this arrangement with Laban. This extra month could represent an intercalary month that was deducted from a week of 7 years. Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible, was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:22). He was familiar with the different calendars of the Egyptians and even the Sumerians. During the time of the 10 plagues (from the Lord) of Egypt, God informed Moses to change the Hebrew calendar so the first day of the new year would be observed in the spring rather than the fall season. The changing of the first month was due to the importance of the upcoming 10th and final plague in Egypt. On this night, God concluded the last and most devastating plague against the Egyptians, by sending His angel of death to kill every firstborn (man and animal) of Egypt to convince Pharaoh to let His people go. The Hebrews were divinely protected from this plague by the sacrifice of the Passover lamb and the application of its blood to their doorposts. When the angel saw the blood on the Hebrews' doorposts (in the form of a cross), he passed over their home to continue his judgment against the Egyptians. The Feast of Passover was to be the first of 7 annual Feasts of the Lord to be observed by the Hebrew people which God instituted by His word as recorded in Leviticus 23. “On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover” (Leviticus 23:5). The month of Abib was formerly the 7th month of the year in the past, but now would be the 1st month in the Hebrew lunar/solar calendar. “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:1-2). The counting of months and days would commence on the first day of Abib, but the counting of Years (Anno Mundi – years from creation) would still be observed in the fall on the 1st day of Tishri (when the first crescent moon of fall appeared). New Year’s day would now be celebrated on the first day of Abib (later known as Nisan) after the first sighting (by at least two witnesses) of the first crescent moon of spring.

Besides the observance of the moon, there were a few agricultural observances that had to be met before the first month of Abib could be officially declared. The main one was that the early barley crops had to be in a near state of ripeness (for consumption) and readiness for harvesting. If not, an extra intercalary or leap month was added to the 12-month calendar, in order that the harvesting seasons would stay in their proper months. This also kept the Feasts of the Lord in alignment with their perspective harvesting seasons. It also kept their lunar calendar (29 -30 days per month or 353-355 days per year) in near alignment with the solar calendar (365.2425 days per year). By observing the moon and crops for their calendar, an extra 13th month was needed every 2 to 3 years, so the first month of Abib/Nisan would always occur in the spring and not the winter. On Rosh Hodesh, the first day of each month of the Jewish calendar, the appearance of even a tiny sliver of the crescent moon (after the new moon or dark moon) in the evening sky signaled the beginning of the month. The shofar, or ram’s horn, was blown to announce the first day of the month. “In the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets” (Numbers 10:10). During the First Temple period, in King Solomon’s reign, the High Priest announced the appearance of the crescent new moon. Later, the Sanhedrin announced the first day of the first month to set the calendar for the new year and to set the dates for the seven annual Feasts of the Lord. For more detail on the Feasts of the Lord, see my three-part series, “Ancient Calendars, Feast Days, and Daniel 12:11.” Moses brought the Hebrew people out of Egypt 430 years to the day that God confirmed the covenant with Abraham in the land of Canaan. “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel (who dwelt in Egypt) was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty yearson that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night of solemn observance to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the Lord, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations” (Exodus 12:40-42). The Hebrews left Egypt in 1446 BC, which was 430 years (to the day) after God made His covenant with Abraham in the land of Canaan, in the year 1876 BC. See here. The day/s was Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar. Both God-ordained events occurred during a full moon, as the Passover Feast always occurs on a full moon of spring. Usually, it occurs on the first full moon of spring, but if it comes too early (before the tropical year) it will fall on the 2nd full moon of spring. Before God initiated the original ‘pass-over’ in 1446 BC, there was the pre-Passover or the ‘pass-between’ in 1876 BC; where Elohim in the form of a “smoking oven” and a “burning torch” passed between the carcasses of the dead animals that were left as a sacrifice to the Lord during God’s land covenant with Abraham and his descendants. Most of the Feasts of the Lord occur on either a crescent moon or a full moon. “Blow the trumpet at the time of the new moon, at the full moon, on our solemn Feast day. For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 81:3-4). The Passover Feast always occurs on a full moon of spring (Nisan 15-16). Tabernacles (Tishri 15) occur on a full moon of fall. Trumpets (Tishri 1) occur on a new/crescent moon of fall. The Hebrew lunar/solar calendar was ordained by God for these Feasts of the Lord to occur in their designated seasons (and moon phases) throughout the year. They occur during the three harvest seasons. The first three spring Feasts are celebrated during the early barley harvest. Pentecost celebrates the summer harvest of barley and wheat. The last three Feasts occur during the fall harvest of fruits, olives, etc. With time, the observational calendar eventually gave way to a mathematical determined calendar called the Metonic cycle. The Metonic cycle is a period of 19 years in which there are 235 lunations (or synotic months) after which the moon’s phases recur on the same days of the solar year, or years, of the seasons. This cycle is named after Meton of Athens, a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and engineer who lived in Athens in the 5th century BC. Meton introduced his calculations including the eponymous 19-year cycle in 432 BC into the lunisolar Attic calendar. Meton’s calendar assures a given day of a lunar month will often occur on the same day of the solar year, as it did 19 years previously, thus aligning with the solar calendar. Ancient civilizations used some form of a 19-year cycle for centuries before Meton’s. According to Jewish tradition, the patriarch Hillel II revealed and mandated the rules to move from an observable calendar to a fixed mathematical calendar, including a perpetual intercalation cycle. This calendar has morphed into the Metonic cycle (with a few other Jewish religious rules) used today by Israel for religious purposes, including observing the Feasts of the Lord. The Jewish calendar follows the cycles of the moon and generally has 353 - 355 days. Every 2 to 3 years an intercalary 30 day month is added towards the end of the calendar year. The extra 13th month makes that particular calendar year 383 - 385 days in duration. In the calculated Hebrew lunisolar calendar, the years (cycles) 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 are the long (13th month) years of the Metonic cycle. The modern Jewish calendar is very accurate in computing the phases of the moon. There are four major phases in a lunar month (or more precisely 29.53 days): new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter. The four major phases of the moon vary slightly but generally last for about 7.38 days on average. NASA’s website has tables of lunar and solar eclipses going back 5000 years. A lunar eclipse always occurs on a full moon. A solar eclipse always occurs on a new moon. By determining when a lunar eclipse occurs in a particular year and month, you can figure the date on the Jewish calendar, as it will always occur on (within a day) the 15th of every month. By determining when a solar eclipse occurs in a particular year and month, you can figure the date on the Jewish calendar, as it will always occur (within a day) on the 1st day of every month. The Gregorian solar calendar is about as accurate of a calendar as you can get. It has approximately 365.2425 days per year within 12 months. A calendar obtained by extension earlier in time than its invention or implementation is called the ‘proleptic’ version of that calendar. If you extend the Gregorian calendar backward to dates before it was officially introduced in 1582, it is called the proleptic Gregorian calendar. “Likewise, the proleptic Julian calendar is produced by extending the Julian calendar backward to dates preceding AD 8 when the quadrennial leap year stabilized. The implementation of the Julian calendar occurred in 45 BC., before the implementation of the Anno Domini era (Latin for “in the year of the Lord”), counting years since the birth of Jesus Christ as calculated by Dionysus Exiguus in the 6th century. The proleptic Julian calendar uses Anno Domini throughout, including for dates of late antiquity when the Julian calendar was in use but Anno Domini wasn’t, and for times predating the introduction of the Julian calendar. AD 1 is the first year of the Anno Domini era, immediately preceded by 1 BC (before Christ), the first year preceding the Anno Domini era. There is no zero year.” {Wikipedia – Proleptic Julian Calendar}. With this in mind, these calendars, along with the modern Jewish calendars, and NASA’s lunar and solar eclipses tables, can determine ancient dates that are mentioned in the Bible. In this article, we will look at the 7 famous Passover Feasts of the Lord mentioned throughout scripture. They all occurred on Nisan 14 (according to the Bible) during a full moon of spring. We will attempt to find the Julian and proleptic Gregorian dates for these biblical events. The most recent Passover mentioned in the Bible was the crucifixion of Jesus. Most credible Bible scholars believe Jesus was crucified either in the year AD 32 or 33. However, there are a few that still believe it could have happened in AD 30. According to Luke 3:1-6, John the Baptist began his ministry in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Tiberius began his official reign in the fall of AD 14 after the death of Augustus; so the fifteenth year would be AD 29. It is believed, therefore, that John and Jesus’ ministry began either in late AD 29 or the spring of AD 30. There are three definite mentions of Jesus observing the Passover feast in the gospel of John: John 2:13, John 6:4, and John 11:55-57. This would account for two years of ministry, which puts us at AD 32. Many scholars suspect there was another Passover that wasn’t recorded (but implied) in the synoptic gospels, or perhaps the “feast” mentioned in John 5:1 was the fourth one. If this is the case, then that places us in the year AD 33. So which year is the correct one? This should be a very special and important date to memorialize forever, so we should try to get it right. Let’s look at three websites (three witnesses) to get the necessary information to make the correct decision for what year Jesus was crucified on Passover (Nisan 14). Catalog of Lunar Eclipses: 0001 to 0100 (nasa.gov) and www.moonpage.com and 360calendar.com Calendar Converter (for Jerusalem time enter 12:00).

AD 30 shows a lunar eclipse on May 6 (Julian date). This is Lyyar 16, 3790 on the Jewish calendar, so we must deduct a full moon lunation of 29.53 days to get to Nisan 16, 3790. This is the date for the first full moon of spring. The date on the Julian calendar is April 6, AD 30. The date on the (proleptic) Gregorian calendar would have been April 4, AD 30. The day of the week is Thursday. Passover would have been 2 days earlier on Nisan 14, a Tuesday. This automatically disqualifies AD 30, as Jesus was crucified on a Thursday. See https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/solving-the-three-day-three-night-mystery/, for proof of a Thursday crucifixion as described in the Gospels.

2} AD 32 shows a lunar eclipse on April 14 (Julian date). The date on the (proleptic) Gregorian calendar would have been April 12, AD 32. The date on the Jewish calendar is Nisan 15, 3792. The day of the week is Monday. Passover would have been one day earlier on Nisan 14, a Sunday. This automatically disqualifies AD 32, as Jesus was crucified on a Thursday.

AD 33 shows a lunar eclipse on April 3 (Julian date). The date on the (proleptic) Gregorian calendar would have been April 1, AD 33. The date on the Jewish calendar is Nisan 15, 3793. The day of the week is Friday. Passover would have been one day earlier on Nisan 14, a Thursday. The date on the Julian calendar for Jesus’ crucifixion was April 2, AD 33. The date on our Gregorian (proleptic)/solar calendar would have been March 31, AD 33. This is the day we should commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross. I say we should celebrate His resurrection 3 days later on April 3rd. What say you?

Jesus was dead and in the grave on April 1st (April Fools Day). God played the ultimate April Fools joke on Pontius Pilate, the Romans, and the Jewish Sanhedrin. They thought they had gotten rid of Jesus forever by judging and crucifying him. “April Fools!” Jesus was resurrected back to life on the third day (from crucifixion) and now sits at the right hand of God. He will judge those fools, who judged him, at the Great White Throne Judgment. “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31). Next time, the other 6 famous Passovers in scripture. Randy Nettles nettlesr@suddenlink.net

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