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The Feast of Pecach (Passover)


One disciple of scripture has asked a very good question concerning the timing of the crucifixion.  She writes, “When Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, and Luke 22:1 begin speaking about the crucifixion of Yeshua, it states that it was the first day of unleavened bread.  Now according to Exodus 12:6, the Passover came first (so Yeshua would have already died before the feast of unleavened bread began). 

Let’s take this apart, using the original text first, working back to front. 

First Lucas (Luke) 22:1

Now the feast of unleavened bread (Matsah) drew nigh, which is called the Passover (Pecach).

This is telling us that in all other references to this feast of Pecach/Matsah, it will be referred to as Matsah or unleavened bread. This then describes the entirety of the feast, which is actually three feasts in one setting and includes one Sabbath.

The order of the feast, again assuming that the feast begins at sundown, would occur like this:

Pecach (which is the day of Preparation, when the lamb is slaughtered); then Matsah (or unleavened bread) which continues for seven days.  At some point, there is a weekly Sabbath (beginning Friday evening and continuing through the day Saturday), and the day following that weekly Sabbath is called Bikoor, or First Fruits, which is a celebration of the ripening of first fruits, namely the winter barley. So the feast is in the New Testament reference, an eight day feast. 

Second, Marcus (Mark) 14:12 gives us more clarity:

And the first day of unleavened bread (Matsah), when they killed the Passover (Pecach), his disciples said unto him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the Passover (Pecach)?

Again, we have a reference that the day of preparation is actually Passover (Pecach) but is lumped in with the feast of unleavened bread.

So, by the time we reach Mattithyahu, we can conclude that the passage references all eight days and not just the seventh day.

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 26:17

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread (Matsah) the disciples came to YAHUSHA, saying unto him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the Passover (Pecach)?

However, let us refer to the critical term in all three of these verses which is the Greek word adzumos. Adzumos (αζυμος) means at the outset unleavened, i.e. (figuratively) uncorrupted. However, Strong’s tells us that in the neutral plural, specially, and by implication it means the Passover week, also referred to as unleavened bread (which the Torah refers to as Matsah).

In addition, the word ‘day’ is injected into the passage by the KJV interpreters, marking the word with an italic to indicate that is does not appear in the original Greek.  This election was made to accommodate a reading of the Greek word protos (which means first, primary, outset, and/or beginning).   In our view, the better wording is not first, but the beginning.  Compare the phrase now to give a more complete meaning to the underlying Greek.

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 26:17

At the beginning of the Pecach week, the disciples came to YAHUSHA saying to him, where will you that we prepare for you to eat the Pecach? 

In Marcus 14:12, we have another anomalous word in the Greek, which rightly can be interpreted as day, but becomes ambiguous when using it as a direct translation of the Hebrew day (from sunset to sunset) as compared with a modern understanding (day begins in the middle of the night).  The word in question is the Greek word hamera (ημερα). Hemera means literally, the time space between dawn and dark; a period always defined more or less clearly by the context.  Sometimes the word can mean an age, always, midday, daily, forever; even judgment day, a time, a while, or even years.

Given what we know about the word protos (the beginning, rather than the first), adzumos (the Pecach week, rather than unleavened bread), and now this word hemera, we reach the conclusion that the better interpretation of this passage in Marcus is as follows:

Marcus (Mark) 14:12

And at the beginning of the daylight hours of the Pecach week, when the Pecach was killed, the disciples said to him, where will you that we should go to prepare that we may eat the Pecach?

Finally, the passage in Lucas is better said as follows:

Lucas (Luke) 22:1

Approaching now to the feast of the Pecach week, which is said to be Pecach.

I hope this answers the question.  

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