As some celebrate Passover, millions of people are preparing to celebrate Good Friday. What is Passover and what is Good Friday? Is Passover for the Jews and Good Friday for the Christians? Where does these days originate from? Did Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus) die on Good Friday? or did He die on Passover? are both these days the same? Does it even matter which day we celebrate it on, as long as we remember it? We will delve in to the subject of Yeshua’s death today, and try to answer some of these questions. Keep an open mind, and let God’s Word show you the truth as some of the things you read here might probably shock you.
What is Passover?
Passover in one sentence, was the “Act of God”that brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt bringing them salvation from slavery to Pharaoh, through the sign of the Blood of a Lamb. From Exodus 7-10, God brings 9 plagues on Egypt and Pharaoh, through Moses. After enduring much destruction and pain, Pharaoh would still not let “Israel – God’s People” go. Finally, God tells Moses that He will bring one more Plague on Egypt(Ex 11:1-6). In Ex 12:21-30, Moses explains that Israel had to kill a Lamb, and apply it’s blood as a sign so that death would not come into their houses. God also said that this is His Passover(Ex 12:11), not Israel’s passover. And that it was an Ordinance/Appointment Forever(Ex 12:14).
A few Biblical Facts before we proceed
1) A Biblical day consists of 12 Hours of Day and 12 Hours of Night (John 11:9)
2) The Biblical day is from one Sundown to the next Sundown (Lev 23:32, Neh 13:19, Judge 14:12,18, Luk 23:54, Joh 19:31) Calculating the start of the day from midnight was a later adaptation from the Roman time system
3) We know that Yeshua for a fact died on the Evening of the Passover. (John 18:28, 19:14)
4) Yeshua died around the 9th Hour of the Passover day (3pm in Modern day time)
(Mat 27:46-50, Mar 15:33-37, Luk 23:44-46)
5) Yeshua said that He will be in the Tomb for 3 days & 3 nights (Mat 12:40, 17:23, 20:19, 26:61, 27:40,63,64, Mar 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, 14:58, 15:29, Luke 9:22, 18:33, 24:7,21,46, Joh 2:19)
Even though it is never mentioned as such in the Scriptures, almost all Christians have been taught that Yeshua died on a Friday. Is this belief Scriptural? What is the reason for this belief? Let us see.
Death before the Sabbath
In John 19:31, we see that the Jews asking Pilate to bring the bodies down from the crosses before the Sabbath.
In Mark 15:42,43, we see that evening had come, and it was close to the Sabbath when Joseph of Arimathaea went to see Pilate.
In Luk 23:52-54, we see that Joseph laid Yeshua’s body in the Tomb and the Sabbath was about to start (Remember, that according to the Biblical day, the Sabbath would be from Sundown to Sundown. So at Friday Sundown, it is the start of the Sabbath).
So according to these 3 verses, we understand that Yeshua died before the Sabbath. There is no argument between any Historians or Biblical Scholars, that the day which is called “Saturday” in modern times, is the day which was called “Sabbath” in Yeshua’s time. (Check any Biblical Encyclopedia). So accordingly, it made perfect sense to proclaim that “Friday” as the day Yeshua died. Let us also check the other facts concerning His death before we conclude that it is, in fact Friday.
Yeshua rose after the Sabbath According to Mt 28:1-6, Mar 16:2-4, Luke 24:1-3, Joh 20:1,2
The women came to the tomb on the day after the Sabbath, to see it empty.
So According to these verses, we see that Yeshua had risen when the women went to the Tomb on Sunday. So accordingly, we celebrate His “Rising from Death” on Sunday.
He said He would be in the tomb for 3 Days & 3 Nights according to Mat 12:40
If He died on a Friday around 3pm, and was buried before Sundown, before the Sabbath started, and He rose before Sunday Morning, Where are the 3 Days? Friday eve to Sunday Morning is only 1½ Days. Even if we took the whole day of Sunday, it would still be 2 Days. According to a Friday Evening Death and a Resurrection before Sunday Morning, Yeshua seems to have not accomplished what He said He would. And I believe, that He never said anything contrary to what He did. Some say that it doesn’t matter. If it matters to you that you know the Truth, read on. And you will see why it is important to understands the Feasts/Appointments God gave to Israel. (We will do a separate study on the Feasts of God in the near future, where I will cover all of the feasts mentioned in Lev 23, including Passover.)
A very brief look at the Feast/Appointment of Passover which God gave Israel
1) God told Israel to Kill the Passover Lamb on the Evening of the 14th day of the 1st Month (Ex 12:2,6, Lev 23:5, Num 9:3)
2) God told Israel to eat the Lamb with Unleavened Bread and Bitter Herbs
(Ex 12:8, 13:3, Num 9:11)
3) God told Israel to eat bread that is Unleavened for 7 days after the Passover
(Ex 12:15, 13:7, Deut 16:3)
4) God told Israel that the 1st day and 7th day of this week of Unleavened Bread were days where you rest from your regular work (Ex 12:16, Lev 23:6,7,8, Num 28:18,25) Special Sabbath*
Every year on the 1st Month according to God’s Calendar:
14th Day – Passover (Lamb was killed and meal was taken in the evening)
15th Day – 1st Day of Unleavened Bread – Special Sabbath*
16th Day – 2nd Day of Unleavened Bread
17th Day – 3rd Day of Unleavened Bread
18th Day – 4th Day of Unleavened Bread
19th Day – 5th Day of Unleavened Bread
20th Day – 6th Day of Unleavened Bread
21st Day – 7th Day of Unleavened Bread – Special Sabbath*
What day would Passover fall on? Was it Friday?
God’s Calendar has no connection to the Roman Gregorian Calendar of today. (We will delve into the nitty gritties of God’s Calendar when we study the Feasts of God). God’s Calendar works from new moon to new moon. The word that is translated in the Old Testament as “Month” actually means “New Moon” in Hebrew. (H2320 – חדשׁ – chôdesh – kho’-desh – From H2318; the new moon; by implication a month: – month (-ly), new moon) What this would mean is that when God said “First Month”, He meant “First New Moon”. And as the New moon does not appear on a fixed day, the 1st day of the 1st Month of God’s Calendar could fall on any day, meaning it could fall on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Because of this, the 14th day could be any day of the week. Effectively, Passover could fall on anyday. For Example, Sunday this year, Wednesday next year and Friday the next. It would not fall on a fixed day of the 7 day week.
*What is this Special Sabbath
Because the 14th Day, which is Passover would fall on any day of the week, the 15th Day which could be any day of the week as well, would be a Sabbath which could fall on any day rather than the fixed Sabbath which always falls on Saturday. For this Reason, These days were called Special Sabbaths.
Another look at the death of Yeshua
So with all of this information, which I know is a bit too much to take in one go, (But remember, that if we grew up knowing these things, it would be simple for us) let us try to take another look at Yeshua’s Death. We know a few new facts about Yeshua’s Death.
Yeshua died on a Passover (14th Day) which can be any day of the week, and the next day (15th Day) would be a Special Sabbath Day. (Eg. If Passover fell on a Wednesday, the next day which is Thursday, is a Sabbath).
The key to it all
In John19:31, The Jews asked for Yeshua’s body to be removed before the start of the Sabbath. And it highlights an important fact here. John writes, “for that sabbath day was an high day”. The word “high” used here, is translated from Strong’s Greek Concordance – G3173 – μέγας – megas – meg’-as – meaning big, exceedingly, great (-est), high, large, loud, mighty, strong. This Greek word is translated as “Great” in almost all instances of the New Testament. This would effectively make this a “Great” or “Big” Sabbath, different from the 7th day Sabbath.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that according to the Old Testament Feast we checked, The day after Yeshua’s death would have been a Sabbath that did not have to fall on a fixed day like the regular Saturday Sabbath. The week which the Passover was held, would always contain 2 Sabbaths. One would be the Regular Fixed Sabbath. The other would be the 15th day which could fall on any day from Sunday to Saturday. This way, He would die on the Passover(which could fall on any day), before the High Sabbath(which is not a fixed Sabbath, and would always fall on the day after Passover) and He could rise after 3 Days & 3 Nights after the Fixed Saturday Sabbath.
How Yeshua died before the High Sabbath. How His body was in the Tomb for 3 Days and 3 Nights. And how He rose after the Fixed Saturday Sabbath.
Since Passover could fall on different days of the week each year, in that Particular year in which Yeshua died, for all the Scriptures to not have any inconsistencies, Passover would have fallen on a Wednesday.
Wednesday – 14th of 1st Month – Passover (Yeshua dies and is buried before eve)
Thursday – 15th of 1st Month – 1st day of Unleavened Bread – High/Special Sabbath
Friday – 16th of 1st Month – 2nd day of Unleavened Bread
Saturday – 17th of 1st Month – 3rd day of Unleavened Bread – Fixed /Regular Sabbath
Sunday – 18th of 1st Month – By the time the women came, Yeshua had risen
Wednesday Sundown to Thursday Sundown – 1st Day (1Day + 1Night)
Thursday Sundown to Friday Sundown – 2nd Day (1Day + 1Night)
Friday Sundown to Saturday Sundown – 3rd Day (1Day + 1Night)
Good Wednesday instead of Good Friday?
Am I saying that we should start commemorating Yeshua’s death on Wednesday instead of Friday. Not at all. I am merely showing how all the Scriptures are working together to reveal the truth. He could not have died on a Friday. But is Wednesday better than Friday? No. The better question to ask would be, whether we should Celebrate Passover instead of Good Friday. It is better to remember His death on the day He died, which was the Passover, than on Friday. (Passover does not fall on Wednesday every year)
But Isn’t it a Jewish Feast?
No one can own the Passover, but God Himself, as He said “it is my Passover”(Ex 12:11, Lev 23:2). It was given to “God’s people -Israel”, not only to the Jews. It is generally called “The Jewish Passover” only because the Jews are the only people commemorating it.
Greatest reason to Commemorate Passover: Yeshua, our Passover Lamb
When God commanded Israel to commemorate Passover, it was partly about the salvation that they got from Pharaoh and slavery in Egypt as well as, a future Redemption that He had planned. Yeshua would become a Passover Lamb, so that whoever was covered with His blood was “Passed over” by Death. Is this a making of my imagination? A forced connection? I will showcase the facts for you, that you can make up your own mind.
1) The Lamb had to be without spot or blemish (Ex 12:5)
Yeshua was a Lamb without Spot or Blemish (1Pet 1:19)
2) The Lamb was to be killed in the evening of Passover (Ex 12:6)
Yeshua died on the evening of Passover (Mat 27:46-50, Mar 15:33-37, Luk 23:44-46)
3) According to the size of the Lamb any number of households could get together to share one Lamb (Ex 12:3,4)
Yeshua would be the Lamb which could die for the Sin of the whole world(John 1:29)
4) The Blood of the Lamb was a token for Israel to be saved from Death (Ex 12:13,23)
Yeshua saved us from death through His Blood (Rom 5:9)
5) The Lamb’s bones were not to be broken(Ex 12:46)
Yeshua’s bones were not broken, and John specifically mentions this, saying this is the fulfillment of this scripture (John 19:33,36)
Just as Israel was redeemed of Slavery from Egypt and Pharaoh through the Blood of the Passover Lamb, we are also redeemed through the Blood of the “Passover Lamb – Yeshua” from the slavery to Sin and Satan. God did not give the Feasts/Appointed times in Lev 23 for no reason. Each of these appointments are Prophetic Shadows of Yeshua. (We will do a separate study on the Feasts of God in the near future, where I will cover all of the feasts mentioned in Lev 23, including Passover and How Yeshua fulfilled each of these Appointed times to the T.)
Some say that Passover was only a Commandment given to Israel. That as Christians, we do not need to keep a Jewish Passover. First of all, I would ask such people to understand the definitions of Israel, Jews & Christians. Then they should notice what God said in Ex 12:11 and repeated in Lev 23:2, That the Passover is HIS. Not Israel’s or of the Jew’s.
Finally, I would also like to leave a question with you? Was the Ten Commandments given to Christians? or Israel? Who told us that we could choose what to Accept out of His Commandments & what to Reject? Remember that Passover was also a Commandment of God(Lev 23). And no, Paul did not say it was alright to discard God’s Passover. (We will study on this at a later date as well).
Jews who do not accept Yeshua as Messiah keep the Passover in commemoration of the redemption from slavery of Egypt. The Jews who believe in Yeshua (Messianic Jews) commemorate the Passover in remembrance of Yeshua, the Passover Lamb who redeemed all from Sin. Shouldn’t we, as Christians who believe in Yeshua keep the Passover instead of Good Friday in remembrance of Yeshua in the same way? Yeshua did not celebrate Good Friday. But He did commemorate Passover.
In conclusion, I hope that you have understood the Fact that Yeshua could not have died on a Friday. He died on the Passover day, as the Passover Lamb. The Passover does not belong to the Jews, but to God Himself. Passover and Good Friday is not the same, as one is instituted by God and the other by man. On the question whether it matters to God or not, I would say, if it does not matter, why would He have instituted these specific days? Start reading and searching. May He show you the Truth. And hopefully, this study has helped you to see through the common misconceptions we are surrounded with.