‘new and everlasting covenant’ before going the next day, Good Friday 7 April 30, to consummate His holy Sacrifice on the hill of Calvary. 8
The Passover (or Pasch from the Hebrew Pesah) was the greatest of the three main feasts of the Jewish liturgical year. It was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the lunar month of Nisan (15 Nisan) which was the first month of spring. This feast therefore was always to fall on the first full moon after the spring equinox, 21 March. The Passover was celebrated to commemorate that night in Egypt in about 1270 B.C. when the people of Israel were spared the tenth Plague inflicted upon Egypt by God because their homes had been daubed by the blood of a sacrificed lamb. Called the Passover Lamb, this lamb had been specially prepared and sacrificed on God’s instructions so that His exterminating angel would ‘pass over’ and not kill the first born males in the households so marked. On the day before the Passover, 14 Nisan, the Passover lamb was slain. It had to be eaten that evening after sunset. (As the first sighting of the new moon signalled the beginning of the new month, it had become the Jewish custom to reckon a new day as having begun after the previous day's sunset.) The Passover meal followed a standard pattern. First came an opening prayer and then the blessing and passing around of the first cup of wine. The story of the first Passover was recounted, and then the second cup was filled and passed around. The climax was the festive meal of the roast Paschal lamb, which was followed by the third cup of wine. After this came the final psalm followed by the fourth cup of wine. At the Last Supper, our Lord sang this final psalm (St. Matthew 26:30) but it was not until He was about to complete His suffering on the cross (when He called ‘I thirst’) that He drank this fourth cup) to signal and complete His offering of Himself as the new and everlasting Paschal Lamb. St. John agrees with the others that our Lord died on a Friday – on the eve of a Passover which that year fell on the Sabbath, i.e. Saturday. St. John however says that the priests were eating Passover not on Thursday but on Friday evening. The apparent discrepancy is explained by the fact that besides the official day measured from evening to evening there persisted the ancient method which measured a day from morning to morning. This older system was kept because of the thousands of people wanting to have their Paschal lambs ritually slain in the Temple. Those from the Galilean (northern) part of the country were accorded the old way of dating, while the local Judaean (southern) part of the country followed the official dating method (from evening to evening). This way there were two afternoons when lambs were being killed in the Temple for sacrifice and eating, both for 14 Nisan. In 30, the Galilean worshippers had their lamb killed on Thursday (6 April) for eating that evening (when the official 14 Nisan began), while the Judaeans had theirs killed on Friday (7 April) for eating that evening. Thus as a Galilean our Lord ate Passover Supper on Thursday. On the following day, the official and Judaean 14 Nisan, at 3 p.m., when the burnt corporate sacrifice for the whole nation was offered, He died on the cross. At
Published on Nov 29, 2011
Published on Nov 29, 2011
This survey of how the New Testament came to be written is also a chronicle of the first 40 years of the history of the Christian Church. It...