A Timetable

Commentary about the Seder

We in the western world have been raised in a culture dominated by a post-Constantinian Christian worldview of time, rather than one that is biblically Hebrew. Our days begin and end at midnight, rather than the biblical breaking point of sunset. Our days are named after celestial bodies and Norse gods revered in pagan worship and our work week begins on Monday and ends with a day of rest on Sunday (the first day of the week), rather than continuing the biblical pattern that Jesus and His disciples adhered to of keeping Sabbath on the seventh day. Our Gregorian calendar years are numbered from the birth of Christ, rather than from the traditional Hebrew reckoning of the beginning of creation. And we have replaced the biblically instituted feasts of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot celebrated by the people of Israel with a variety of newly-minted Christian seasons like Advent and Lent and holy days like Christmas and Easter, as well as secular and neo-pagan holidays (holy days?) like New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

Rediscovering the worldview and timeframe of our Hebrew heritage allows us to more fully appreciate the activities of Jesus of Nazareth at the time of His earthly ministry, crucifixion, death, and resurrection. The first month of the Hebrew calendar is the month of Nisan, which starts at the dawn of spring. On Nisan 10 every year, our spiritual forefathers were mandated in Scripture to select a Passover lamb without blemish, observe the lamb for three days for signs of unworthiness, and sacrifice it on the fourth day as a ceremonial beginning to the celebration of the Lord’s Passover and the Exodus of God’s people from slavery in Egypt. Passover has been celebrated for millennia by the house of Israel in a traditional order or Seder on the evening of Nisan 15. In the year He was crucified, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on Nisan 10, taught publicly in the Temple for three days before being sacrificed on the cross on Nisan 14, and was placed in the tomb just as the Passover feast was about to begin.

How long did Jesus stay in the “heart of the earth” before He was raised from the dead? Jesus answered our question Himself in Matthew 12.38-40. How does His prophetic answer match up with the rest of Scripture and our gentile Good Friday, Easter Sunday tradition? How did Jesus’ calendar match up with ours? The chart linked below is one attempt to solve this Passover puzzle. What is your solution? In preparation for Passover/Easter this year, read the Gospel accounts of Jesus final days (Matthew chapters 21-28; Mark 11-16; Luke 19-24; John 12-20) and map out your own timeline.

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