Thoughts on Passover

Hi all. It’s been a while since the last update, but Passover (Pesach) is coming up and the timing this year is particularly interesting. This year, the days fall out exactly as they did in the year Jesus (Yeshua) was crucified.

According to the state of the barley in Israel and the sighting of the New Moon over Jerusalem, Wed March 17th at sundown was the New Moon of the Aviv Barley or the start of the biblical New Year. This means that the 10th of the month was Saturday March 28th (beginning sundown Fri March 27th) and the 14th of the month is this coming Wednesday (beginning sundown Tues). That means that Passover is Wed followed at sundown Wed evening with the First Day of Unleavened Bread (the 15th of the month, the day the Israelites left Egypt, on the morning of the 15th). Note – these are all 2 days after the Rabbinic calendar which is based on calculations done hundreds of years ago by Rabbi Hillel II as an aid to Jews in the diaspora so that they could know when the Feasts were despite being unable to observe the barley or the New Moon in Israel.

Firstfruits is Sunday morning (on both the observed and Rabbinic calendars) and Pentecost/Shavout is 50 days from Firstfruits, making it March 23rd (some Rabbinic scholars disagree on this, counting the 5o days from the first day of Unleavened Bread rather than First Fruits; others take the first interpretation and count from First Fruits which I believe is correct and seems to match up both with the instructions given to Moses and with how the days appear to have been counted in Yeshua’s time).

I was going to write a whole detailed breakdown of how it works but Glenn McWilliams has done a much better job than I could have done in his article available at

Yeshua (Jesus) told his disciples this:

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3 days and 3 nights. As I said, this year exactly mirrors the year that Yeshua was crucified: we know that for Yeshua to exactly fulfill the details of the Passover, to be the Paschal Lamb, he had to die when the Passover Lamb was being killed – around 3pm on the 14th day of the first month. He had to be in the grave before sundown, lest the land be defiled for the High Sabbath of the First of Unleavened Bread. Therefore He was in the grave before sundown on Wednesday, the fourth day of the week. He was in the grave all night Wed, all night Thurs, all night Fri. 3 nights. He was in the grave all day Thurs, all day Fri, all day Saturday. 3 days.

3 days and 3 nights. When did he rise from the grave? After 3 days and 3 nights i.e. just before sundown at the end of the Sabbath! At this time the graves of many around Jerusalem were opened and those raised with/by Yeshua appeared to many around Jerusalem that evening. Which brings us to the Bikkurim or First Fruits offering.

After the Paschal lamb was killed, the priests would go across the Kidron valley to the Mt of Olives and bind 10 standing shocks of barley, marking them for the First Fruits offering. These would remain until sundown on Shabbat (Sabbath), when the priests would again go across the valley and harvest the marked barley. They would then bring it back to the temple to be prepared in accordance with Moses’ instructions and presented by the High Priest before God in the Holy Place the next morning as a wave offering – the Bikkurim or First Fruits offering, representing the first fruits of the barley harvest.

Now, when Yeshua died there was a massive earthquake. The ground was split and many graves were opened, or marked ready for the first fruits offering. When He rose at sundown at the end of Sabbath, He went around to those marked graves and raised the deceased from the dead, effectively “harvesting” them for the first fruits offering the next morning.

What about the High Priest during this time? The High Priest had to remain in seclusion on the temple mount for the entire time between the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb and the presentation of the First Fruits offering, lest he be defiled. Yeshua was also in seclusion for this time; what did he say to Mary (Miriam) when she encountered Him in the garden? “Don’t touch me, I haven’t yet ascended to My Father”. What was that about? Didn’t He later tell Thomas to put his fingers into the nail prints and his hand into the wound in His side? How come he told Mary “don’t touch me” yet not Thomas?

The answer lies in the First Fruits offering. As the High Priest He had to offer the First Fruits of the resurrection “harvest” before the throne of God in heaven, before returning that afternoon to talk with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. 50 days later the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. But that is the subject of another (upcoming) post…

Shalom and have a blessed Passover.

Rodney posted at ט׳ בניסן ה׳תש״ע (March 24, 2010) Category: Feasts, Torah