The Passover of the Jews???

John 2:13, Passover of the Jews. (See also John 5:5; 6:4; 11:55; 12:1; 13:1.) Have you ever wondered why John often uses this phrase? What other Passovers were there that necessitated specifying which Passover he was referring to?

This “Passover of the Jews” is in opposition to the Passover feasts held by competing religious sects of the time (e.g., the Essenes at Qumran and the Samaritans). The modern Samaritans following ancient calendric traditions, for example, will hold their Passover on May 4 in 2012 as opposed to April 6, which is this year’s likely date on the biblical calendar.

The ancient Qumran community embraced an “unorthodox liturgical calendar that [set] them apart from the rest of Jewry” (The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, by Geza Vermes, p. 41). For example, on the Qumran community’s solar-based calendar that is based on a 364-day year, the Passover always fell on a Wednesday (Ibid. p. 79).

As you can see, determining on what days the biblical feasts fall was as controversial then as it is now!

(For additional enlightening studies on the biblical calendar, check out my articles at and and


11 thoughts on “The Passover of the Jews???

  1. Hi, I have more of a question than a reply. How can you say with certainty that the Passover is on April 6th of this year? It is my understanding that the real new year begins with the first visibility of the first new moon after green eared barley is found in Jerusalem. When that new moon is sited in the sky, Aviv 1 can be proclaimed to have begun. Since the barley is not quite at the green eared stage yet and the new moon has not been sited, would not April 6 only be a probable date for the Passover of Aviv 14 with the footwashing, the wine, and the bread taken on the 13th as it was originally performed just before Yeshua was taken prisoner?

  2. Thank you Gary for your question. I changed the wording on my blog post above to “likely date” for Passover. You are absolutely correct in what you say about the factors that determine the new biblical year. These things I explain in great detail in my calendar articles on the Hoshana Rabbah website (links are in the blog post).

    In 2008, my wife and I were in Israel as part of the abib barley search team. It was very enlightening!

    In the 12 years that we have been keeping the biblical feasts on the biblical new moon-abib barley calendar, we have observed that the dates of the feasts on some years are more easily predicted ahead of time than on other years. There are a number of factors that determine this. That’s another discussion. However, it is always best to use terms like “probable” or “likely” date, because you never know!!!

    With regard to this year, we don’t know for sure that Passover will be on April 6th until March 23rd. That is when the next new moon is potentially visible and the barley has been examined to see if it is in the abib stage. You are correct in that April 6th is a probable date only at this time.

    March 23rd is the 29th day of the 12th month, so if the first sliver of the new moon is not seen due to weather, then it can move out to one day later. The Karaites use potential visibility, so they will use the April 6th date if they’ve found abib barley.

    With regard to whether Passover seder should be observed on the 13th going into the 14th, or the 14th going into the 15th, we give people liberty on this subject. Some do the Passover seder following Yeshua’s example (starting on the 13th going into the 14th), while others (including our congregation) do the Passover seder following the Torah command on the 14th going into the 15th.

    We believe that had Yeshua not been hanging on the cross on the afternoon into the evening of the 14th-15th, he’d have been doing a Passover seder then as per Torah.

    We have no problems with those who follow either the Yeshua or the Torah model. Just do the Passover!

    As far was when to do the wine and foot washing, we do it all on the evening of the 15th. However, one couple in our congregation, in desiring to follow the Yeshua model exactly, does the foot washing at home on the evening of the 14th. We have no problem with this. In our community, we go to a lot of work to put on a seder including having to rent a facilities. (The Baptist church we rent for our Shabbat services doesn’t allow wine on the premises, and since we use wine in our seder, we have to hold the seder elsewhere.) Therefore, we do the wine, foot washing and seder all on the evening of the 15th as a community.

    I hope this answers your questions and clarifies the issues raised.

    • Hi Natan,

      Thank you for responding to my question so quickly. It is good that you are flexible regarding the Passover especially since there is currently no Moses figure to say this is how it is…
      Regarding the Passover:
      12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
      13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
      14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
      On the first Passover, the Israelites sacrificed a lamb and put blood on their door posts. Later that night of the 15th , not a death angel but Yeshua himself, the future Passover, passed over the houses of the Israelites and killed the first born of the Egyptians. I do not have a Jewish background so presume that this seder you refer to is impart a remembrance of these events.
      The Passover and the events of the 15th are commanded to be remembered forever. However, there is a prophecy in Jeremiah that indicates that deliverance from Egypt will be deemphasized at some point and replace with the deliverance from the north country.

      Jeremiah 23
      7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
      8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
      So the question is can the events of the 13th with the new wine and bread and foot washing symbols be considered an early observance to the Torah mandated observances of the events of the 14th and 15th. Or could it be a separate commemoration ?

      If Yeshua intended the meal and the symbols that the disciples partook of on the 13th should actually be done at night on the beginning of the 15th but couldn’t the year introduced because of Yeshua’s scheduled crucifixion tomorrow, Yeshua could have easily stated that and cleared up any confusion on the subject. Additionally, the bread they ate was leavened bread. If the symbols were to actually to be done forever on the 15th He would have had to use unleavened bread. But Yeshua chose leavened bread to represent His body.
      Some variation of the Passover is going to last for the rest of time but the feast held on the 13th is likely to be time sensitive.

      Lu 22:16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
      Lu 22:18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
      It is not likely that Yeshua ate any of the bread or any of the wine while the disciples ate during that final meal. It would serve no purpose for Yeshua to symbolically eat his own flesh and drink his own blood. Yet he prophecies that He will not eat or drink again until all is fulfilled in the Kingdom. So it is probable that the symbols introduced on the 13th will be replaced with something new when all is fulfilled. And at that time Yeshua will drink some wine and eat .

      So what do you think? Should we combine all the instructions and have a meal and the wine and bread and foot washing on the 13th, observe Passover at sunset on the 14th, and remember the first born sacrifice on the 15th? That way all the bases are covered.

      Warm regards,


  3. Hi Gary. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    You may be right about the virtues of following Yeshua’s example by doing the foot washing and communion on the beginning of the 14th, and doing the rest at the end of the 14th going into the 15th. That’s something we’ll have to discuss in our own congregation.

    The rub is that Yeshua did a number of things at his Passover that have elements of the modern Jewish seder. (I discuss this in an article I wrote at It would be pretty hard to part of it on one night, and the other part the following night without totally disrupting the flow of the seder story—something that Torah commands us to teach our children.

    With regard to whether the bread Yeshua partook of was leavened or not, I have to respectfully disagree. I know the Greek, and have studied this subject out when it was first presented to me about 11 years ago. I wrote a paper on the timing of Passover where I discuss the leavened versus unleavened bread issue ( q.v.,

    Suffice it to say, if the bread we eat represents the body of Yeshua, then I don’t see how it could have been leavened, since leavening is a biblical metaphor for sin. Obviously, Yeshua lived a sinless life, so why would we memorialize the eating of his body by partaking of leavened bread?

    What’s more, the use of leavening in the minchah offering was forbidden (Lev 2:11). Yeshua’s death fulfilled all the types and shadows of the sacrificial system, so leavening in bread is out, in my book!

    As I’m sure you must know, leavening in bread was only permitted in the two loaves of bread that were waved on Shavuot/Pentecost (Lev 23:17), since they’re a picture of you and me/the two houses of Israel, which, needless to say, aren’t without sin…at least yet. Leavened bread was also offered as part of the peace offering (Lev 2:13) where it was eaten as part of the sacrificial meal. But it wasn’t placed on the altar, nor was it a part of the sacrifice, therefore, it wasn’t a prophetic picture of the sinless Yeshua dying on the cross.

    So we’ll have to agree to disagree on this point without being disagreeable. 😉


    • Yes, I do agree that leaven in the context of Passover does represent sin. However, outside of the context of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread it does not as the following parable indicates where the Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a lump of leaven . Mt 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. It is my understanding that Passover is not a 24 hour period but a specific event mandated by to Torah to be followed at sunset on the 14th of Aviv. Thus, Aviv 13 is not Passover and leavened bread is still legal to eat. Also the bread during the last meal represents Yeshua’ body. So you have studied the Greek and you have problems with it. Fine, we won’t go there. I do have questions regarding your perspective that need further clarification. Let’s use the Aramaic Peshitta to form the questions. I found an English/ Aramaic Peshitta interlinear online. This interlinear shows the original Aramaic and has an English word for word translation. I picked a few verses out for comparison. I noticed that the Aramaic has one word for bread and another word for unleavened bread that is spelled completely different. The verses used for this comparison are: Luke 11:11 which talks about leavened bread. Luke 22:1&7 which talks about unleavened bread. Mark 14:1 which talks about unleavened bread. Luke 22:19 during the last supper, talks about using leavened bread. Here are the links for easy reference:

      Since words mean specific things and the word choice here is of critical importance and in Luke chapter 22 both words unleavened bread and bread are used and not interchangeably, and the vocabulary here in Luke chapter 22:19 in the Aramaic seems to indicate a position in conflict to what you currently believe what sources of information do you have access to that are superior to my sources of information do you use to support your position that during the “Lord’s Supper” Yeshua gave unleavened bread to his 12 disciples rather than regular bread which the interlinear indicates. There should be an iron clad biblical answer rather than you have one opinion on the subject and I have another.

      Warm regards,


      • First, in a blog format, it’s not possible to go into lengthy dissertations about all the ramifications of a subject. Though of interest to the more scholars and studious among us, it can be tedious for those who want the quick bytes of info that a blog format provides. This is why my explanations and answers are (hopefully) short and to the point, otherwise, we’ll lose readers. For those who want more info, it is appropriate to proved links to outside sources.

        Now to address several points you brought up. I’m well aware of the biblical uses of the metaphor of leaven. I’m also aware that in the Scriptures, it’s always a pejorative term except in Yeshua’s parable about the kingdom of heaven. However, not every place where leaven is used is it in a Passover context. How about Yeshua’s warning against “the leaven (false doctrines) of the Pharisees? Also, when the Torah forbids the inclusion of leaven in the minchah offering, this is not specifically a Passover context.

        With regard to Yeshua’s Passover, Yeshua and the gospel writers on numerous occasions call it Passover. So that is what it was. It would have been occurring not on the 13th, but after sundown at the beginning of the 14th. This still falls with in the biblical perimeters of a Abib 14th Passover.

        Furthermore, the Torah states that Passover is on Abib 14. Period. I take the Torah at face value when it says it was on that day. A day last for 24 hours, and so I take it at its pashat level meaning (i.e., the plain and simple meaning of a biblical text) and so, as I read it, Passover lasted for 24 hours.

        Not only does the Gospel record call the last supper “Passover,” but, as I point out in my article on the subject (see, it had many of the telltale earmarks of a modern Passover Seder as well.

        With regard to the Aramaic, I am not an Aramaic primacist, nor a Greek or Hebrew one, for that matter. The debate is still out as to which language/s the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) was written in. I possess Greek lexical aids in my library, and so that’s what I use. My understanding is that the Peshitta varies little if at all from the Byzantine Koine Greek texts.

        My reasoning for coming to my conclusions about leavened vs. unleavened bread are spelled out in my article (see where I cite expert linguistic sources.

        There will always be some differences of opinion with regards to unclear passages in the Scriptures. Well intentioned people will sometimes come down on different sides of the same issue. Some controversies won’t be cleared up until the Messiah, the Torh-Living Word of Elohim returns give us definitive answers. My highbrow theological conclusion is this: It will all eventually come out in the wash!

        Until then, any who may be reading this discussion, my advice is this: Observe the all the biblical feasts of YHVH as best you can with the best understanding you have. Then pray that the Holy (Set-Apart) Spirit will continue to lead you into all truth (John 16:13). Until then, may we all be teachable and continue to learn and to grow in the fullness of Messiah’s image (Rom 8:29).

      • Hi Natan,

        Thank you for your quick response.

        Leavening and sin:
        During your remarks on the metaphoric meaning of leavening you mentioned minchah offerings. I do not have a Jewish background therefore I am not good with words that are not English. I tried to Google it. The closest I found was mincha prayer. Since the spelling was different I did not know if I was in the same ball park.

        Passover 24 hour period or a specific event:
        Here is one reason why I think that the Passover is a holy event done on the 14th of Aviv rather than the entire day being set apart.
        Joh 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
        Here are the main events of the 14th. The trial began at 9:00 a.m. Yeshua was hung on the cross by Noon. Yeshua died by 3:00 P.M . His burial was finished right at sunset.
        This 14th of Aviv was considered a preparation day for the first day of Unleavened bread. The Torah Lawyers of the day a.k.a Pharisees and scribes did not see it as a holy day. Their main concern was to get them buried before the Feast began. If the Pharisees did not understand the timing of Passover, a really big issue, they would have lost credibility with their followers. Additionally, with as many problems that the Pharisees had, Yeshua never pointed out to them that they had the timing of the Passover wrong. Aviv 14 is a work day. Get everything done and ready for the Passover celebration that evening and the Feast.

        I will read the study you sited.

        Sorry to hear that my letters are considered tedious! That was not my objective. I don’t know many biblically literate people converse with. I was hoping to find some here.

        Warm regards,


  4. Good evening Gary. I don’t know where you’re at, but here on the West Coast of the U.S., it’s 11 pm.

    Please bro, when I used the word “tedious” I wasn’t referring to your blog postings, which to date have been totally in keeping with a blog format—quick and to the point. Instead, I was referring to the fact that in order to properly answer some of the more technical biblical questions that could possibly arise on a blog, one would have to go into a lot of detail, which for many would be tedious to have to read. As such, the answers that I give will be on the pithy side—like skipping a rock over the top of the water, or skimming the top of the waves; i.e., hitting the high points only. Please forgive me if these words seemed directed at you. They were not.

    The mincha or minchah (different ways to spell the same Hebrew word) is word #4503 in your Strong’s Hebrew lexicon/word dictionary and is translated as “meat offering” in the KJV and as “grain offering” in the NKJV. It refers to the morning and evening unleavened bread that was offered with the morning and evening burnt offering sacrifices on the altar of sacrifice in the tabernacle, and later temple. You can first read about it in Exod 29:41, and it’s mentioned another few dozen times in the Torah after that. It contained no leavening as you can read from the ingredients listed in the above referenced chapter starting in verse 40.

    Was that a pithy, non-tedious answer? lol!


    • Hi Natan,
      Yes, I was up pretty late. I live three time zones to the east of you.
      Exodus chapter 29… If there was ever a chapter I would have previously glaze over this one is it!
      I did find unleavened bread used in a sacrifice along with one bull and two goats. Quite appropriately it was a sin offering. It looked as though this offering was done for 7 days and if I were to guess on the timing the last day would be Atonement. Additionally, Aaron and his sons were consecrated during the ceremony. I wonder if the bull was added to the sin offering do to the golden calf incident since it was compeltely burned up and Aaron and his son got to eat the goats.

      Verse 38 changes subject to a different offering the meat offering or as you call it Minchah . I looked all over. I could not find unleavened bread found in the instructions. I did find flour but I could not make the determination that it was leavened.
      38 ¶ Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.
      39 The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:
      40 And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.
      After instructions for the Minchah were instruction on building and alter and then for sweet aroma.

      Warm regards,


  5. I have a question concerning Passover coming up. The congregation that we attend and my husband has started to attend is highly recommending that my husband not show up if he is not completely sold on the idea of this way of living Yahweh’s instructions of the Torah. I want to encourage him but I don’t want to tell him to do anything wrong either. Still learning. Thanks.

    • Hello Tyra. Good to hear from you again.

      Also it’s good to hear that your husband is interested in participating in a seder. This could be the thing that lights his fires for his Hebraic roots.

      Some congregations have seders that are open to the public, or to interested parties (not biblically supported), while others have seders that are open to those who are part of their spiritual family (biblically supported). Sounds like your congregations follows the latter approach, as does Congregation Elim that I oversee.

      If after having presented your case to the elders of your congregation and they feel it’s not copacetic to their congregational halakah/protocols to have your husband there, then I suggest you do your own seder at home. They’re easy to do and it might be a great blessing to hubby. Hoshana Rabbah has a free published Passover haggadah ( the you can download and you’re off and rolling.

      Please let your congregational leaders know what you’re doing, and that you’re not in rebellion, that you respect their decision and the reasons why, but that family seders are very biblical and that you’d like their prayers and blessings as you do your own at home. Perhaps, your husband will come along and become part of the congregation as a result.

      Let us know how it goes.

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