Triumph Prophetic Ministries and Passover 14th or 15th for Christians?

Opinions By COGwriter

Some claim that Passover should not be observed on the 14th, but instead on the next night, the 15th.

This paper will look at the Bible, early church writings, and even writings from the late William Dankenbring's TPM to determine if Christians should observe Passover on the 14th or the 15th.

While it is not intended as an exhaustive discussion of every possible objection to specific dates, it is expected to show to all who accept the biblical teachings, when the Passover must have been and still should be. (A related sermon is titled Is Passover on the 14th or 15th for Christians?)

What is the Biblical Date of Passover?

The Bible is clear that the 14th of the month is God's Passover and the 15th day begins a different time:

5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD's Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD (Leviticus 23:5-6, NKJV throughout, unless indicated).

16 'On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord. 17 And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days. (Numbers 28:16-17)

There is only one "twilight" for the 14th and that is right after sunset that BEGINS the day. Thus, the 14th is clearly the day of God's Passover.

Now, the following is the first place in the Bible that the calendar date of the Passover is specifically mentioned:

3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire — its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover(Exodus 12:3-11).

Notice that the fourteenth day of the month is the Lord's Passover and that is when the lambs were sacrificed.

Interestingly TPM agrees with the Old Testament as it admits that the New Testament teaches that the Passover lambs are to be sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan:

According to the gospel of John, Nisan 14 is the very day the Passover lambs would have been slain – the day before the high holy day of the first day of Unleavened Bread (John 19:14-16)...Christ Himself died, as OUR “Passover lamb...Paul himself declares, “For indeed, Christ our PASSOVER, was sacrificed for us” (I Cor.5:7).  This implies that He was sacrificed at the appointed time when ALL the Passover lambs were being killed, which was on the afternoon of Nisan 14” (I Cor.5:7) (Dankenbring W.F. What Year and Date Was Christ Crucified? 6/20/06).

Hence, although I would have selected a different proof text, there is agreement that the Passover lambs were sacrificed sometime on the 14th of Nisan. Some would have been sacrificed at twilight and others apparently later. Jesus kept the Passover at twilight and was killed later on the 14th.

Who does the Bible say was the Lamb of God? Well, Jesus the Christ of course:

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).

And was Jesus the Passover lamb sacrificed for us?

7 For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). 

Thus, according to the Bible (and even TPM), the Passover lambs were sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan. Jesus was the Lamb of God who was the Passover sacrificed for us. Thus, if one agrees with TPM that the New Testament teaches that the Passover lambs were sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan, then one should agree that the New Testament Passover should also be observed on the 14th of Nisan. TPM however, seems to feel that the Passover is to be observed the night after the lambs are killed.

Passover was on the 14th in the Time of Daniel and Ezra

Daniel the prophet worked for many Gentile leaders, including Darius the Mede (Daniel 6; 9:1; 11:1). Darius was also ruling during the time of Ezra (cf. Ezra 6:14; 7:1).

Notice the proclamation Darius made, most likely at Daniel's request:

3 Now this year, the 5th year of King Darius, word was sent from the king to Arsawes, saying :

4 In the month of Tybi (?) let there be a Passover for the Jewish garrison. Now you accordingly count fourteen
5 Days of the month Nisan and keep the Passover, and from the 15th day to the 21st day of Nisan
6 (are) seven days of Unleavened bread. Be clean and take heed. Do no work
7 On the 15th day and on the 21st day. Also drink no beer, and anything at all in which there is leaven
8 Do not eat, from the 15th day from sunset till the 21st day of Nisan, seven
9 Days, let it not be seen among you ; do not bring (it) into your dwellings, but seal (it) up during those days. 10 Let this be done as Darius the king commanded. (Cowley AE. Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2005-reprint, p. 63)

This clearly tells of Passover being on the 14th followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread from the 15th through 21st.

The late evangelist Leroy Neff, in the Pastor General's Report from the old Worldwide Church of God, had the following as the lead article on March 10, 1980:

Some of the ministers have asked about the Church teaching regarding the time of the Old Testament Passover. This question comes as a result of certain papers that were circulated that concluded that the Bible account could be explained in a plausible way for the killing of the lamb on the afternoon of the fourteenth of Nisan, and then eaten later in the evening of the fifteenth. Even this paper admitted that it could not be proved conclusively either way, and that Christ kept the Passover on the evening of the 14th, not the evening of the 15th, setting us an example to follow today.

Hopefully the following comments will make it clear that the Church teaching has been correct, regardless of the teaching and practice of Jews or others.

A part of the problem lies in the meaning of the words "in the evening'' of Exodus 12:6. There are two schools of thought about this term literally meaning "between the two evenings." One is that the " two evenings" are ''noon and sunset", the other ''sunset and dark". The New Bible Dictionary under the article PASSOVER states that this "can scarcely be determined by etymology." It further states that the two variant renderings are "based on community practice."

The scriptures make it plain that the passover was killed -and eaten on the 14th. Exodus 12:6 shows it was killed the evening of the 14th and eaten ''in that night" (verse 8) , not the next night. The instructions in Leviticus 23 show that the Passover is on the even of the 14th (verse 5) and the Feast is the 15th (verse 6) which is 24 hours later.

In Numbers 9:5 we are told that they kept the Passover (not just a part of the ritual) on the fourteenth day. The following verses tell of the second Passover one month later when on the fourteenth they are to "~keep it and eat it. '

In the plains of Jericho (Joshua 5:10) they kept the Passover (not just part of the ceremony) "on the fourteenth day of the month at even." The next day they ate unleavened cakes (verse 11).

Ezra records (Ezra 6:19) that the people who returned to Jerusalem "kept the passover upon the fourteenth" and then (afterwards) kept the Feast (verse 22).

These texts should make it clear that the Passover sacrifice was originally killed and eaten on or during the 14th and then the Feast was celebrated during the 15th, 24 hours later, regardless of later practice or interpretation. (WAS PASSOVER THE FOURTEENTH OR FIFTEENTH? March 21, 1980)

Passover was on the 14th.

What About Jewish Practices?

TPM has claimed that the day that Jews NOW commonly observe is proof that Passover for Christians must be the 15th of Nisan.

Here is some of its statements along that line:

Proof No. 5 -- the Day the Jews Observe 

The apostle Paul wrote, "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?  MUCH EVERY WAY," he answered his own question.  He went on: "chiefly, because that unto THEM were committed the ORACLES OF GOD" (Romans 3:1-2).  God entrusted His Word and by extension His Holy Days and revelations TO THE JEWS for them to be preserved throughout the generations and centuries and millennia.  Were it not for the Jews' faithfulness to this command, we would not even possess the entire Old Testament of the Bible, where the laws and commandments of God are all recorded! 

The Jews all understand the truth about Passover, and all orthodox Jews to this very day, and all Judaism as a whole, observes Passover on NISAN 15, just as their forefathers and ancestors have done, century after century after century! (Dankenbring WF. Come out of Babylon, My People! SEVENTEEN PROOFS Why PASSOVER Should Be Observed on Nisan 15! 6/21/06).

The problem is that most Jews have not been faithful to the original date. And while the Jews know which day is the fourteenth of Nisan, the fact that they added additional dates for the Passover (and some of the other Holy Days for those of the diaspora) does not make them the judge of how or when to observe the Holy Days (this is to be done by the "body of Christ," Colossians 2:17, AFV). One of the reasons they did this is that they confused the meal they take on the 15th (the "night to be much observed," Exodus 12:42 KJV, see also The Night to Be Observed) with the Passover celebration (many Jews still have meals on both nights, though it is not clear that they still know why).

Here is proof from the Jewish Encyclopedia that the Jews should realize that Passover is on the 14th:

Lev. xxiii., however, seems to distinguish between Passover, which is set for the fourteenth day of the month, and (the Festival of Unleavened Bread; ἑορτή τῶν ἀζύμων, Luke xxii. 1; Josephus, "B. J." ii. 1, § 3), appointed for the fifteenth day. Passover. (Passover. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906)

Here are three other explanations as to why there has been confusion amongst Jews:

Two Passovers

The gospels appear to say that the Messiah ate a Passover meal with the twelve on the evening beginning Nisan 14, and John appears to say Jews were having their Passover meal one day later. There are different theories to explain this.

1. The Sadducees and Pharisees disagreed on the day of Passover. The Sadducees (more conservative group) believed the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread were separate feast days. They held Passover on the fourteenth as God decreed in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Those of the majority opinion, including the Pharisees, held Passover on the fifteenth. Jesus may have been following both dates by having Passover with the disciples on the fourteenth and becoming the Passover lamb on the fifteenth.

2. Thousands of people would come to Jerusalem to have their lambs ritually slain in the Temple. If they only had one day in which to prepare for the Passover, it would have been extremely difficult to have slaughtered all the lambs brought in to be sacrificed. Therefore, they worked on two different time scales. The northern part of the country went with the old way of dating (starting from morning and going to the following morning). The southern part of the country followed the official dating method (from evening to evening). Thus, there were two times when lambs were being killed in the Temple for sacrifice (Sampson R & Pierce L. A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays. Heart of Wisdom Publishing June 2001, p. 112)

Thus this shows, for whatever reason, the Jews got a little bit confused. With some keeping the correct date--the same date that Jesus kept (and He would have known which date was biblically correct).

Notice one explanation as to why Jews got confused:

Why Nisan 15?

You would think that the Jews need to learn to read their own Scriptures, for they seem to be illiterate in regard to the Passover. God tells us, in the clearest of language, that the Passover is to be held on the evening of Nisan 14. Nowhere in the Bible does it state otherwise. But they keep Nisan 15. Where did such a practice come from?

The answer to this is found in the history of the Jews in the third century before Christ.

From 301 B.C. to 198 B.C., the Palestinian Jews came under the control of Egyptians. These Gentiles imposed their philosophies and religious beliefs upon the Jews in profusion.

Dr. Lanterbach, one of Judaism’s greatest historians, admits that this period was one of religious anarchy among the Jews of Palestine (Rabbinic Essays, p. 200). They accepted, on a very large scale, many outright Egyptian customs. For example, Herodotus who visited Egypt in the fifth century before Christ, reported that the Egyptians would only drink out of pots and pans which had been scoured every day. They would religiously bathe themselves twice each day-they shunned all foreigners, especially Greeks, and would destroy any vessel or utensil which had been touched by a Greek. Such silly laws were inaugurated by the thousands by the Egyptians, said Herodotus (Book 11, pp. 37-41).

Prior to the Egyptian domination of Palestine, the Jews possessed none of these absurd customs, but after that period of religious anarchy, the Jews began practicing, with utmost vigor, those same EGYPTIAN laws. See Matthew 15:2 and Mark 7:3-8. There can be no question of this.

But what about the Passover? It can be shown that prior to this Egyptian domination, the Jews always kept the Passover on Nisan 14. Notice especially Ezra 6:19-22. Here it shows Nisan 14 as Passover and Nisan 15 as the first day of Unleavened Bread (which it is), not as the Passover day. But, after the Egyptian period, the Jews began to ob- serve Nisan 15 for Passover.


Corruption From Egypt!

The answer again is found in Egyptian customs. The Egyptian day customarily commenced with sunrise (Wilkinson, Vol. 11, p. 368). God’s day, however, begins at sunset (Lev. 23:32). This is where the trouble lay with the Passover reckoning after this period of Egyptian influence on the Jews. While the Egyptians allowed the Jews to retain their ancient calendar, there was a change made in the beginning of the day-it became common to begin the day at sunrise. This custom was adopted, and persisted among the Jews even down to New Testament times (see The Jewish Qziarterly Review, April, 1946). ...

With the 14th of Nisan supposedly beginning at sunrise, that puts what God calls the evening of Nisan 15 as still being on Nisan 14. This is where the problem arises. Even later on, when the Jews finally got back to an evening-to-evening reckoning for the day, they refused to abandon what had become the tradi- tional way of observing Passover. The principle, “What was good for my fathers, is good enough for me,” was too strong for the Jews to leave it. So, today, they are still one day out of phase with God (Martin E. The Jews DON'T Observe Passover. Good News magazine. April 1963, pp. 11-12)

Notice another reason given as to why the Jewish date is different (Pesahim means Passover) is that one Rabbi said hinted that the Jews made various changes to distinguish their Passover from what the faithful Christians were doing:

This new emphasis on the ten plagues was made in order to nullify the blood idea that was taken over by the Christian Church that claimed that the Paschal lamb was the crucified Jesus whose blood was to bring redemption...Pesahim according to our new interpretation (Wolf G. Lexical and Historical Contributions on the Biblical and Rabbinic Passover. George Wolf, 1991, pp. 16, 74)

In a short work on the Passover, Rabbi George Wolf examines some of the changes that he considers the early Rabbis introduced to the Passover in response to the observance by the early church. Scholars have long studied the New Testament without a serious consideration of other literature that impinges on its understanding. Fortunately that has begun to change in the last half century. 

The action of Jesus Christ with his disciples the night of his betrayal has most often been seen as a point of disjuncture with the established practices of Judaism of that day. This reaches its apex with the apostle Paul who speaks of the “Lord’s Supper,” which most exegetes wish to see as the proto-eucharist and the start of a Christian festival cycle independent of the Jewish Holy Days. 

Wolf, like some Jewish scholars sees it differently. He sees both Jesus and Paul keeping the Passover in such a manner that it prompted the Rabbis of the second and third centuries to bring changes to the Jewish practice to distance the Jews from the emerging church…

Paul’s references to Jesus Christ as “our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7) and the cup of blessing representing the blood of the covenant (1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:25) are instructive to Wolf in his considerations (Nathan P. Passover Considerations Rabbinic changes to the Passover to distance it from the early Church. April 9, 2008. 

So while I knew that the Catholics wanted to distance themselves from practices that they considered to be Jewish, it seems that perhaps part of the reason that the Jews may have stopped observing Passover on the 14th was to distance themselves from the faithful Christians, who were in Jerusalem until about 135 A.D. (and who came back later).

Now the following is what the Jews tell themselves:

Second Days of Festivals.

The second-day holy day, although a rabbinical institution established because of the uncertainty of the calendar, was still regarded by the Rabbis as of equal sanctity with the first day... (Holy Days. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. viewed 09/04/14 )

Question:...Why in Israel do families celebrate one Passover Seder and in North America Jews celebrate two seders?

Answer:...In ancient times, the beginning of a new lunar month had to be determined by direct observation of the new moon. Among Jews, the only observation that was "official" was the one certified by the authorities in Jerusalem. This was necessary to make sure that all Jews observed the same calendar dates.

However, many Jewish communities, including the large Jewish community in Babylon, could not reliably get word from Jerusalem about the day of the new moon before the holiday began on the fifteenth day of the month. For this reason, Jewish communities outside the land of Israel adopted the practice of observing an extra day of the pilgrimage holidays (Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot and Sh'mini Atzeret), just in case they had gotten the date of the new moon wrong.

This practice for Jews outside the land of Israel continued even after mathematical models made it possible to calculate the date of the new moon. (Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser. Why do Jews in America have two Passover Seders? viewed 04/06/09).

But the above makes little modern sense as for apparently over two thousand years, the Jews have used a Holy Day calendar that includes postponements. With a calculated calendar, two days really were not needed. It seems logical to believe that the practice really began because of the Passover night being was always followed by the The Night to Be Observed, and that this reason has been forgotten by most Jews. How the 15th in Numbers 33 fits in is explained in the article The Night to Be Observed, which is the night that the children of Israel left Rameses (Exodus 12:34-39) which was probably a 7-10 hour walk from where many of them had lived.

As far as I have been able to determine, the postponements were being observed in Christ's day (see also Calculated or observed calendar?). And it is my understanding based upon those rules of postponement, that the first day of unleavened bread could not have fallen on a Friday (as TPM claims), with the seventh day Sabbath the day after. Thus, if TPM is basing its date upon the oracles that Jews were given (as opposed to what they now do), then TPM should accept that the postponement that would have been necessary according to TPM's belief that Jesus' last Passover was in 30/31 A.D. inviolate's its entire argument--it DOES NOT SEEM POSSIBLE ACCORDING TO THE JEWISH RULES OF POSTPONEMENT FOR THE FIRST DAY OF UNLEAVENBREAD TO HAVE BEGUN ON A THURSDAY NIGHT.

It should be noted that TPM does not accept postponements and disagrees that they were observed in Jesus' time--there is proof that they were (see Calculated or observed calendar?), hence TPM's oracles' argument is without merit as it ignores much of what it tells others to do.

Perhaps I should also mention that the Jehovah's Witnesses also observe Passover on the 15th, though they seem to think it is the 14th--it may be because the Jehovah's Witnesses do not observe the other Holy Days.

But Doesn't Leviticus 23:32 Prove that Evening Starts at the End of the Day?

But doesn't Leviticus 23:32 prove that evening starts at the end of the day?

No, it does not.

Unrelated to TPM, I received an email that stated:

If the "ninth at even" (Lev 23:32) refers to end of day, then how can "fourteenth at even" (Ex 12:6) not refer to end of day as well?  Seems simple enough, doesn't it?  You don't start your fast on Tishri 9 when it says to keep it from ninth at eve to eve, do you? 

My response was:

In all due respect, the Hebrew terms in both verses (haa'arbaayim in Exodus 12:6 and 'ereb-- and mer'ereb in Leviticus 23:32), though Strong's uses the same number, are NOT the same.  Hence, it is not as simple as you suggest.

And that is the problem. Just because some English translations translate or interpret words to be the same, they are not always so in the Hebrew. Hence to conclude that Leviticus 23:32 proves that evening is always at the end of the day is linguistically incorrect. The reality is that Jesus specifically instituted the final Passover meal on 14th right after sunset, and I would suggest that He was observing it at the right time, which would have been consistent with its initial observance by the children of Israel in the land of Egypt.

Luke and Mark Prove that There Were Not Two Consecutive Sabbaths

Now if places like TPM want to argue that there were no rules of postponement then or that year, this causes TPM another problem. And that is that the Bible records that Jews, including those that believed Christ at that time rested on the Sabbath. Notice the following account:

52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. 55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. (Luke 23:52-56)

1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him (Mark 16:1).

Now since the above accounts are true, then TPM's argument about Friday being the first day of unleavened bread would be impossible!


Because the first day of unleavened bread is a Sabbath that would have prevented the women from buying and preparing spices.

Notice that the women saw where the tomb was. After the Sabbath was past they bought spices (Mark 16:1), they then prepared the spices (Luke 23:56), then they rested on the Sabbath (Luke 23:56).

This would have happened because they saw the tomb just prior to the evening on Wednesday, kept the Sabbath that was a high day (Mark16:1; John 19:31) on Thursday, bought spices after that Sabbath was past (Mark 16:1), prepared the spices on Friday (as it was not a sabbath) and rested on the weekly Sabbath according to the commandment (Luke 23:56).

TPM's sequence of events is not biblically possible. It is not possible for the women to have bought spices after the sabbath was past and then keep the sabbath according to the commandment if there were two sabbaths together! Apparently this sequence is not something that TPM has considered--it should be noted that if TPM wishes to argue that these are two different sets of women, it is illogical to conclude that they prepared the spices before they bought them.

The simple truth is that the Bible shows that Jesus kept Passover at a private location (Luke 22:15-19) on the 14th (the day prior to the high day, John 19:31) that would have gotten a lamb that would have been killed right after twilight (Exodus 12:6) as He sat down "when the hour had come" (Luke 22:14).

Note that even TPM teaches that the Passover was killed on the 14th. Hence the 14th is the Passover. Christians should be faithful to the practices of Christ--Jesus could not have observed the Passover on the 15th as will be shown later in this paper.

What Happened Before Passover?

TPM argued that last meal that Jesus ate before His crucifixion was before the Passover, thus was not a Passover meal:

What, Then, Was the “Last Supper”?...

In fact, the apostle John himself writes, “Now BEFORE the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come . . . and supper being ended, the devil having already put it in the heart of Judas Iscariot . . . to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from SUPPER [the “Last Supper”], and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself” (John 13:1-4).  He then began to wash the disciples’ feet (vs.5-12). 

John plainly calls this meal a “SUPPER” – not the “Passover” meal!  He plainly says it occurred “BEFORE” the upcoming Feast of the Passover (verse 1).  There is NO WAY that meal could have been the “Passover,” as so many seem to assume! (Dankenbring W.F. What Year and Date Was Christ Crucified? 6/20/06).

Now plainly John says this final "supper" was "before" the Passover! Therefore it could not have been the "Passover"!...

Therefore, when we understand it, there is absolutely NO PROOF that the "last supper" was actually the "Passover" itself, as so many people assume. (Dankenbring WF. John 19:14 -- What Do You Mean, “About the Sixth Hour”?,_sixth_hour.htm 6/23/06).

Jesus sent Peter and John telling them, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” In context, then, He is telling them to “Prepare for the coming Passover Feast” – all the seven days of “Passover” (verse 1). They had to prepare – that is, obtain “unleavened bread,” and all the things necessary for observing the Passover for seven days. That is why this day was called a day of preparation.’ Jesus was telling His disciples to ‘PREPARE’ for the up-coming Passover – that is, to GET READY and make preparations. He did not say the meal that very night would be the Passover! Luke plainly calls it “supper” – not “Passover” – as we shall see! (Dankenbring WF. Was the Lord’s Supper Really the Passover? Prophecy Flash, March-April 2010.)

Contrary to what TPM wrote above, Jesus DOES call say He was to eat the Passover that evening in Matthew, Mark, and Luke:

18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”‘”

19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.

20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. 21 Now as they were eating (Matthew 26:18-21).

14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.”

16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.

17 In the evening He came with the twelve. 18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” (Mark 14:14-18)

15 With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer..(Luke 22:15).

Also, contrary to what TPM wrote above, TPM's contention of what John plainly says is in error. Additionally, TPM's quoting of those passages gives the appearance that certain events were absolutely together when the reading of the entire context shows that this is NOT the case.

A review of the Greek in John 13:1 shows that before the Passover that Jesus knew His hour had come and that He loved His disciples. It does not say that He had SUPPER before the Passover.

Below are two literal translations, the first of which also shows the relevant Strong's number of each of the Greek words:

4253   1161 3588 1859 3588    3957        1492        3588
before Now  the    feast  of the passover, when knew   the

2424 3754   2064        846 3588 5610   2443
Jesus  that   was come   his    the    hour   that

3327                    1537    3588   2889  5127 4314 3588
he should depart   out of     the     world   this    unto the

3962         25            3588   9999    2398    3588 1722   3588
Father, having loved   which  were    his own  the      in       the

2889  1519 9999    5056.    25           846
world, unto   the     end. he loved   them. (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright (c) 1994 by Biblesoft).

And before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should move from this world to the Father, loving (His) own in the world, He loved them to (the) end (Green J.P. Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, 3rd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Mi, 1996).

(Note: I added the term "the" in the four places where J. Green left it blank.)

Thus to teach that John 13 plainly states that supper was before the Passover is not supported by the main verse (13:1). Secondarily, the word supper is used is in the next verse. The Greek word used is transliterated as deipnon, a term normally referring to the evening meal:

deipnon (dipe'-non)...dinner, i.e. the chief meal (usually in the evening) (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Hence, a dinner meal was normally in the evening (and the evening begins at/after twilight). Jesus' acts immediately after the meal was completed did occur on the Tuesday evening portion of the 14th of Nisan and NOT the 13th as some have suggested (this is also confirmed by 1 Corinthians 11:23 which will be quoted later).

Thus, John 13 is clearly supportive of a 14th Passover.

Furthermore, the real question is how did God view this particular meal, or at least the symbolism after the meal? Notice what Jesus told His disciples about this meal:

8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat." 9 So they said to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare?" 10 And He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, "Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"' 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready." 13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. 14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." 17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." (Luke 22:8-19).

Thus, it is clear that on that evening of the 14th, Jesus and His disciples observed the Passover. TPM may wish to assert that the meal was eaten before sunset, but since the passover lambs were not killed until the twilight on the 14th (Exodus 12:6) and the verse specifically says that Jesus did not sit down until the hour had come, the fact is that this is the Passover according to Jesus. This is when He implemented the footwashing, the wine, and the bread--it should be noted that Paul clearly teaches that this was done at night (1 Corinthians 11:23). And we are to do this in remembrance of Jesus, and since Passover is an annual 14th of Nisan event (Numbers 9:2-5), this means on the 14th shortly after sunset.

And that is what we in the Continuing Church of God and those in most other COG groups do. Yet, TPM seems to be teaching that the Passover practices of the bread, wine, and footwashing were held on the 13th of Nisan, yet that TPM teaches that they need to be observed two evenings later on the 15th of Nisan.

Furthermore, the Apostle Paul clearly shows that the symbols of the bread and wine were taken by Jesus on the NIGHT after the meal that the Gospel accounts refer to:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Notice that a careful reading of the above shows that by observing what Jesus did the night of Nisan 14 that they are proclaiming the Lord's death until He comes. The events described above clearly occurred on Nisan 14 (as even TPM must realize). Jesus could not have done this on the 15th as He had already been arrested. You do not proclaim the Lord's death on the 14th of Nisan by observing the 15th.

While some may be confused by practices of many of the Jews, the Apostle Paul teaches that our Saviour clearly kept Passover Himself the 14th right after sunset. Those who follow Jesus will do the same.

The Hour?

One of the biggest points brought up by TPM was the sixth hour mentioned in John 19:14:

John 19:14...A vital key and pivotal Scripture has been studiously ignored, misinterpreted, seriously misunderstood --and yet it holds the VITAL KEY to the date and time of the crucifixion...(Dankenbring WF. John 19:14 -- What Do You Mean, “About the Sixth Hour”?,_sixth_hour.htm 6/23/06).

But is the understanding of John 19:14 so certain that it holds "the VITAL KEY" on this matter? All who study scripture must realize that one verse needs to be understood in the context of the entire Bible:

9 "Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message?...10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little." (Isaiah 28:9-10).

Here is Matthew Henry's Commentary on the hour mentioned in John 19:14:

The hour: It was about the sixth hour. Some ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts read it about the third hour, which agrees with Mark 15:25. And it appears by Matt 27:45 that he was upon the cross before the sixth hour. But it should seem to come in here, not as a precise determination of the time, but as an additional aggravation of the sin of his prosecutors, that they were pushing on the prosecution, not only on a solemn day, the day of the preparation, but, from the third to the sixth hour (which was, as we call it, church-time) on that day, they were employed in this wickedness; so that for this day, though they were priests, they dropped the temple-service, for they did not leave Christ till the sixth hour, when the darkness began, which frightened them away. Some think that the sixth hour, with this evangelist, is, according to the Roman reckoning and ours, six of the clock in the morning, answering to the Jews' first hour of the day; this is very probable, that Christ's trial before Pilate was at the height about six in the morning, which was then a little after sun-rising. (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.).

Thus, Matthew Henry's Commentary agrees with the normal COG position that John may have used a different reckoning of time than did Matthew and also Luke (note that while Matthew Henry's Commentary is certainly a secondary source, it is a scholarly source that shows that the normal COG position is plausible to outsiders and not simply unique to the COGs). Also, the fact that some ancient manuscripts use the third hour, as does Mark, suggests that the general understanding using Hebrew time was that this occurred around 9:00 a.m. or as Matthew Henry's Commentary suggests, perhaps as early as 6:00 a.m.

TPM seemed to argue that the use of the expression "about the sixth hour" by John must mean he used the same time of reckoning that Matthew and Luke used and that it seems to mean at or after the sixth hour. Since even today there are different time zones and different ways of reckoning the hour of the day, it cannot be stated with certainty that John had to be using some specific particular hour reckoning method. The time argument simply is invalid as "the VITAL KEY" proof that Jesus did not observe the Passover on the Tuesday evening of the 14th.

TPM further taught:

“And it was the preparation of the passover, AND ABOUT THE SIXTH HOUR: and he said unto them, Behold your King!” (John 19:14)...

Judging from the crucifixion account itself, we see that the "sixth hour" clearly refers to NOON-TIME! Since Christ was on the cross at the "sixth hour," on the day of His crucifixion, therefore the "sixth hour" when He made His final appearance before Pilate had of necessity to be on the PREVIOUS DAY! (Dankenbring WF. John 19:14 -- What Do You Mean, “About the Sixth Hour”?,_sixth_hour.htm 6/23/06).

Notice that TPM taught that the sixth hour of John 19:14 is not on the same day of Jesus' crucifixion, but notice that the Bible shows both the sixth hour and the crucifixion took place on the preparation:

14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour (John 19:14).

31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away (John 19:31).

Note that both the sixth hour of John 19:14 and the crucifixion took place on the Preparation day. And although the term day is not in the original texts, it is there by implication--there was only one preparation day for each holy day. The same Greek terms for "it was" (en) and "Preparation" (paraskeue) are used in both verses--these events occurred the same day.

In addition, it is highly probable that John's use of Greek is subject to being misinterpreted. The literal translation is "about the sixth" which may mean that it was before the sixth hour in Hebrew, it could refer to Ephesus/Greek/Roman time, or it might mean something else. But it is not so certain that any can prove that it only can mean at or after the sixth Hebrew hour in contradiction to the timeline in the other gospel accounts.

The Didascalia Does Not Teach a Thursday Crucifixion

TPM also cited an author named Jack Finegan and a non-accepted document called the Didascalia as proof that Jesus was held a while before He was crucified. TPM stated:

In fact, Jack Finegan, on this issue, says, “Then as to the character of the Last Supper in regard to the present question, we turn to and accept the solution proposed by John P. Meier.  This is that the Last Supper was not a Passover or other ritual meal of Judaism but a FAREWELL MEAL OF JESUS WITH HIS DISCIPLES, deliberately arranged by Jesus in view of the ominous developments of those days” (p.357-358)....Finegan refers to an ancient and early Christian document called the Didascalia in which the apostles are quoted as saying “it was on Tuesday evening that they ate the Passover [i.e. “Lord’s Supper”] with Jesus, and on Wednesday that he was taken captive and held in custody in the house of Caiphas” (page 356).  The Didascalia was preserved in Syriac but probably written in Greek, originally, in the second or third century A.D.   

            This would mean the Last Supper was Tuesday evening; Jesus’ arrest and trial was on Wednesday.  At about noon, that day, John tells us, “Pilate . . . brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.  Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour [high noon].  And he said to them, ‘Behold your King!’  But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him!  Crucify Him!’” (John 19:13-15).  Pilate then condemned Him to death, had Him scourged, and imprisoned.  This was Wednesday. 

            The next day, bright and early, they took Jesus out of prison, and, according to Mark’s testimony, “Now it was the THIRD HOUR, and they crucified Him” (Mark 15:25).  The “third hour” would be 9:00 am in the morning!  Obviously, since Christ was condemned at the SIXTH hour, or 12:00 noon, or thereabouts, He could not have been crucified the same day, since He was crucified at the THIRD hour – three hours earlier in the same day!  He therefore had to be crucified on the NEXT day – THURSDAY!  And He was then placed in the grave prior to sunset, that same day, “the Preparation Day of the Passover” (John 19:14).  (Dankenbring W.F. What Year and Date Was Christ Crucified? 6/20/06).

This is an example of the dangers of relying a bit too heavily on secondary sources.


Because TPM does not agree with what the Didascalia actually teaches. None should believe that Jesus was held over Wednesday night because of what the Didascalia says. The Didascalia teaches that Jesus was crucified on a Friday:

But when it drew on (towards day) on the Friday, they accused him much before Pilate; and they could show nothing that was true, but gave false witness against Him. And they asked Him of Pilate to be put to death; and they crucified Him on the same Friday (Didascalia Apostolorum, Chapter XXI. R. Hugh Connolly, version Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929. 6/21/06).

Yet, TPM seems to suggest that the Didascalia supports a Thursday crucifixion, which it clearly does not!

TPM was, however, correct that Jesus had His last supper (which was the supper preceding the Passover symbols He instituted that night) on Tuesday evening and was tried on Wednesday. However, it is not true that He was not crucified until Thursday. Nor is that true that this somehow changed the Passover from Tuesday evening the 14th until Thursday during the morning of the 15th.

Jesus took the Passover meal with His disciples. He did not take it alone while He was in prison. Thus to argue that He was held in prison an extended amount of time and that the Passover thus was a day later simply does not agree with the accounts in Luke where Jesus clearly states He was having the Passover with His disciples. There is no other account of the disciples eating the Passover meal at any other time that year. Jesus also said this in Matthew and Mark:

And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples." ' " So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve...And as they were eating, Jesus took bread...(Matthew 26:18-20,26).

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, "Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?" And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?" ' "Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us." So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover. In the evening He came with the twelve...And as they were eating, Jesus took bread...(Mark 14:12-17,22).

Thus, since Jesus ate the Passover WITH His disciples after the evening had come, He was NOT IN PRISON somehow observing the Passover by Himself on Wednesday night.

Did the disciple also have a meal on the night of the 15th?


But so what?

Jesus was NOT with them for any Passover service after He was arrested on early Wednesday. Only by claiming that Jesus was a liar about having this meal with the disciples could any seriously claim that Jesus did not keep Passover on the 14th.

Jesus implemented the Passover symbols, according to TPM prior to His arrest on Wednesday. Thus, the true Passover as practiced by Jesus and the COG was prior to the 15th of Nisan.

So why would any insist that the Passover be practiced on the 15th?

It makes no sense.

Furthermore, though he held heretical views, Clement of Alexandria in the mid-second century at least understood that Jesus' Passover commenced right after 13th day sunset and the start of the 14th. Rod Reynolds reported the following:

Clement of Alexandria (c. 153- 220 A.D.) wrote, “Accordingly, in the years gone by, Jesus went to eat the passover sacrificed by the Jews, keeping the feast. But when he had preached He who was the Passover, the Lamb of God, led as a sheep to the slaughter, presently taught His disciples the mystery of the type on the [Roman] thirteenth day, on which also they inquired, "Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the passover?' It was on this day, then, that both the consecration of the unleavened bread and the preparation for the feast took place. Whence John naturally describes the disciples as already previously prepared to have their feet washed by the Lord. And on the following [Roman] day our Savior suffered, He who was the Passover, propitiously sacrificed by the Jews.” Clement continues, “Suitably, therefore, to the fourteenth day, on which He also suffered, in the morning, the chief priests and the scribes, who brought Him to Pilate, did not enter the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might freely eat the passover in the evening. With this precise determination of the days both the whole Scriptures agree, and the Gospels harmonize” (“Fragments Found in Greek,” Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, p. 1178). It's perhaps worth mentioning that Lactantius (d. c. 325) and Epiphanius of Salamis also clearly express the view that Jesus died on the fourteenth, the day of the Passover sacrifice (Epitome of the Divine Institutions 45, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7, p. 498; The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis 50, “Against Quartodecimans,” vol. 2, pp. 24-25). Another point of interest is that Epiphanius states that Jesus died in the eighteenth year of Tiberius Caesar (op. cit., vol. 2, p. 54). Tiberius acceded to his office in 14 A.D. His eighteenth year would have been 31 A.D., so Epiphanius was correct in his assessment of the year of Jesus' death, as we know from other evidence. Epiphanius contends Jesus was arrested, after having eaten the Passover, late on the third day of the week (Tuesday) (op. cit., vol. 2, pp. 57, 59). The spurious Narrative of Joseph also places Jesus arrest on the third day of the week...

So, if TPM really wanted to look at what early professors of Christ felt about the timing, he should have considered the following writings as well:

…a passover of the Lord God kept unto our generations, by those who are able to discern (this mystery), at the commencement of the fourteenth day…

And certain other (heretics), contentious by nature, (and) wholly uniformed as regards knowledge, as well as in their manner more (than usually) quarrelsome, combine (in maintaining) that Easter {Passover} should be kept on the fourteenth day  of the first month, according to the commandment of the law, on whatever day (of the week) it should occur. (But in this) they only regard what has been written in the law, that he will be accursed who does not so keep (the commandment) as it is enjoined... In other respects, however, these consent to all the traditions delivered to the Church by the Apostles. (Hippolytus.  Refutation of All Heresies, Book 8, Chapters 7 and 11)

Although the writer of the above kept Sunday (not the 15th as Passover), Hippolytus recognized that the 14th was kept by those who were not part of the Church of Rome in the early third century.

It is a fact that Passover was observed by many on the 14th.

A Thursday Crucifixion Leads to a Sunday Afternoon Resurrection

The biggest problem with the explanations provided by TPM is that its conclusions simply do not agree with the scriptural accounts.

Notice that TPM taught a Thursday crucifixion:

He therefore had to be crucified on the NEXT day – THURSDAY!  And He was then placed in the grave prior to sunset, that same day, “the Preparation Day of the Passover” (John 19:14).  (Dankenbring W.F. What Year and Date Was Christ Crucified? 6/20/06).

The Bible says Christ the Messiah was in the grave for “3 days and 3 nights” (Matt.12:40).  What does this mean?  How long was Jesus Christ in the grave?   

     The plain fact is that when we study ALL the relevant evidence from the Scriptures, Jesus Christ was crucified on Thursday, that Friday was a high holy day, and He arose just before daybreak, Sunday morning!  The simple truth is 1) you cannot count 3 days and 3 nights between a crucifixion Friday afternoon and a resurrection Sunday morning, no matter how hard you try; and 2) if you count from Wednesday, then Sunday would have been FOUR days after the crucifixion, yet the gospel of Luke says it was THREE days afterwards (Luke 24:21). What few understand is that when Matthew wrote that Jesus would be in the grave “three days and three nights” (Matt.12:40), he was reckoning the days according to the Jewish method of counting – and “parts” of a day could be considered a “day.”  Therefore from Thursday afternoon, when Jesus died, we can count as follows:  Thursday afternoon (1 day), Thursday night (1 night); Friday (2nd day), Friday night (2nd night); Sabbath day (3rd day), and Sabbath night (3rd night), bringing us to just before sunrise, Sunday morning (compare John 20:1; Luke 24:1; Matt.28:1). 

     New knowledge from astronomy shows us that the New Moon of the month of Nisan, during the year of the crucifixion, 30 A.D., had to fall on a Friday.  Therefore, the Passover sacrifice day would have been 14 days later, meaning the day the Passover was sacrificed (Nisan 14) fell on a Thursday, and the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15) fell on Friday  (Dankenbring WF. Our Statement of Beliefs – Triumph Prophetic Ministries 6/22/06).

Actually, since Jesus was apparently crucified in 31 A.D. (date of the 30th seems less likely), the new "knowledge" above is of no particular relevance. The logical conclusion from must of its writings would be that TPM seems to be teaching that Jesus should have had to have been resurrected on a Sunday afternoon--but that is not what TPM teaches.

Actually, you cannot count three days and three nights from Thursday afternoon until prior to sunrise on Sunday. You can only do it by using partial days, which is what the Roman Catholics do (from Friday afternoon) and TPM now does (though TPM gets one more day to work with).

If one adds three days and three nights to Thursday afternoon, what happen? Thursday afternoon to Friday afternoon is the first day and includes the first night. Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon is the second day and includes the second night. Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon is the third day and includes the third night.

Of course, Jesus was out of the grave while it was still dark on Sunday:

1 On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb (John 20:1).

2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus (Luke 24:2-3).

Notice that the above account does NOT allow for Jesus to have been resurrected Sunday afternoon. But also notice that the above says nothing about Jesus being resurrected on Sunday at all. It says that before it was light on Sunday morning that Jesus' body was not in the tomb--thus, the gospel accounts allow for a late Saturday resurrection.

TPM's acceptance of a Sunday morning resurrection puts it in agreement with the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and the Protestants, but outside the views of the true COG. The Bible clearly shows that Jesus was out of the grave before Sunday morning (which based upon three days and three nights would have Him out of the grave around the end of the day portion of Saturday).

Jewish Legal Practices?

While history records that some of the Jews observed the Passover on the 15th of the month of Nisan (also called Abib), the the New Testament shows that Jesus kept His Passover service one day earlier.

Let's start in Matthew's account:

17 Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" 18 And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples." ' " 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. 20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve (Matthew 26:17-20).

Here we see that Jesus kept the Passover. Then as the next passages show, He left and was arrested:

36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane...

47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people (Matthew 26:36,47).

The next morning would be the same date on the Hebrew calendar (days were reckoned from sunset to sunset):

27:1 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor (Matthew 27:1-2).

Later that same day He was crucified:

38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left...

45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"...

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit (Matthew 27:38,45-46,50).

(Some believe because the "sixth hour" of Matthew may correspond to noon, that Matthew 27:45 fulfills the prophecy of Amos 8:9, but as the darkening may have been an eclipse, this is not necessarily certain.)

Oddly, TPM argued that Jesus could not have been tried and condemned the same day do to Jewish law, thus this is part of its "proof" that Jesus was not crucified on Wednesday:

According to Jewish law, the Sanhedrin of the Jewish high court was prohibited from both judging and condemning a man on the same day! That is to say, in a capital case, where the death penalty was going to be issued, the court by law had to hear the case and render judgment on one day, but the execution had to occur on the following day! This was an iron-clad rule of Jewish jurisprudence (Dankenbring W.F. What Year and Date Was Christ Crucified? 6/21/06).

For what its worth, I feel that part of TPM's problem has been that it often overly relies on secondary (as opposed to primary) sources for its more unusual positions.

The Bible clearly records that Jewish religious leaders were known for violating their own laws. It was also against Jewish law to do most of what they did against Jesus (such as using a question posed to Him as evidence, striking Him without conviction, etc. see Matthew 26:59-68), but they did it anyway. Also, specifically note the following:

59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death (Matthew 26:59).

Seeking false testimony is not only against Jewish law, it was also against God's law (Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 19:16-19), but they did it anyway!

Furthermore, notice that the Jewish religious leaders violated their own laws regarding Paul, as Paul stated:

1 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, "Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?" (Acts 23:1-3).

They also violated other legal rules regarding Paul:

12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy. 14 They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, "We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now you, therefore, together with the council, suggest to the commander that he be brought down to you tomorrow, as though you were going to make further inquiries concerning him; but we are ready to kill him before he comes near."
(Acts 23:12-15).

Thus, to argue that the Jewish leaders must have obeyed their own rules is not reliable proof of a 15th Passover. The Bible absolutely shows that Jewish religious leaders did not have "an iron-clad rule," as TPM put it, that they would not violate to condemn those they really wanted to do away with.

Early Christian Practices Regarding the Passover

When did the early church observe Passover?

Astoundingly, TPM states that the early church kept the 15th based on faulty, inaccurate, information. Look at the following:

Proof No. 16 -- Proof of the Early Church 

When did the early Christian Church, in the days of the first and second centuries, observe the Passover?  What does the record of Church history say?  Samuel Bacchiocchi, in his scholarly book From Sabbath to Sunday.- A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, wrote: 

"Moreover we know from the Quartodeciman's sources (i.e. those who kept Passover on Nisan 14 ACCORDING TO THE JEWISH RECKONING), which apparently represent a DIRECT CONTINUATION OF THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH, that the PASCHAL FEAST WAS INDEED OBSERVED BY CHRISTIANS.  Its celebration ... occurred ... as well stated by J. Jeremias, 'at the SAME TIME AS THE JEWISH PASSOVER, that is, on the NIGHT OF THE 15TH OF NISAN. . ." (page 81). 

Bacchiocchi writes, in plain language, later on in his monumental classic work: 

". . . Epiphanius (ca.  A.D. 315-403) suggests that UNTIL A.D. 135 Christians  EVERYWHERE observed Passover ON THE JEWISH DATE, namely, ON NISAN 15, irrespective of the day of the week" (ibid.). 

This is plain, incontrovertible PROOF that both the Jews, and early Christians, observed the Passover -- and they both did so ON NISAN 15 -- NOT at the beginning of Nisan 14, as some churches claim should be done, today!  Nor did they substitute "Easter" Sunday in its place, as later paganized Gentiles began to do, especially after the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D...

Now you know the truth.  What are you going to do about it? (Dankenbring WF. Come out of Babylon, My People! SEVENTEEN PROOFS Why PASSOVER Should Be Observed on Nisan 15! 6/21/06).

This is one of the most ridiculous proofs that TPM used.

In the Spring of 2005, I even wrote the author of the above (William Dankenbring) to inform him that Dr. Bacchiocchi erred on page 81 of that book (and I did inform Dr. Bacchiocchi also), but that Dr. Bacchiocchi's book has the information correct on page 161, but TPM would not correct the above error.

Thus when I confronted W.F. Dankenbring with the proof, he refused it. I offered to FAX him the relevant page from Epiphanius if he would provide me his FAX number, but he failed to provide it and later died. How can anyone rely on the writings of one who is relying on a secondary source he has been told is wrong who also refuses to even look at the primary source?

Yet, in an article on Passover, W. Dankenbring challenged his readers:

Do You REALLY, TRULY, Sincerely Follow Christ?

When we honestly, sincerely seek to follow God, with all our hearts, like David did, and Hezekiah, and Jesus Himself, as well as Paul and the other apostles, then we must also OBSERVE THE PASSOVER ON THE SAME DAY AND IN THE SAME MANNER THEY DID...

THOSE WHO CELEBRATE ANOTHER DAY demonstrate by so doing that they are disobeying the commandments of God, and therefore do not have His “sign” that they truly belong to Him! (Dankenbring W. PASSOVER – 14th or 15th of Nisan? 04/05/09).

W. Dankenbring, if he is sincerely following Christ, should have changed back to the 14th, but has not.

Although all researchers use secondary sources at times, all true researchers realize that PRIMARY sources are far superior. Although I do have Samuel Bacchiocchi's book From Sabbath to Sunday.- A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, I also went to the library and borrowed the writing from Epiphanius that Dr. Bacchiocchi referred to. And I made a photocopy of the relevant page--the relevant page only states that their had been 15 bishops of Jerusalem--it says nothing about the DATE of Passover. Nothing about it being observed on the 15th.

The term fifteen (or the numeral 15) is used on twice on the portion of the Panarion of Epiphanius that Dr. Bacchiocchi's cites:

And there were altogether fifteen bishops from the circumcision (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verse 10,4. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, p. 412).

I.e., the first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem (The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI. Footnote presumably from the translator. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, p. 412).

When does the Panarion of Epiphanius actually state that the Passover was kept? Well on the 14th:

The Quartodecimans contentiously keep Passover on the one day, once per year...They keep the Passover on whichever day the fourteenth of the month falls...Christ had to be slain on the fourteenth of the month in accordance with the law (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 1,3;1,6;2,6. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 23-25).

It is of interest to note that Epiphanius recognized that Jesus HAD to be slain on the 14th of the month. It is sad that Epiphanius and others did not believe they needed to observe it when and how Jesus taught. The term "Quartadecima" means fourteenth, not fifteenth, which would be Quintadecima (check an online translator). The Greco-Romans often speak of the Quartodeciman controversy, not a Quintadeciman one.

Furthermore, it is the practices of the early true leaders of the true that we should be referring to.

Astoundingly, TPM inaccurately also cited Apollinaris for proof that it is correct:


Polycarp was martyred shortly after his visit to Rome in A.D. 156. The view that Christ was crucified on the fifteenth of Abib was attacked and refuted by Claudius Apollinaris Bishop of Hierapolis A.D. 160-180. He was known by Polycarp and was influenced by Polycarp's example and his teachings. Apollinaris was also a contemporary of Melito and Polycrates. Here is what Apollinaris says in regards to this view:

'"There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame -- it rather needs further instruction), and say that ON THE FOURTEENTH DAY THE LORD ATE THE LAMB WITH THE DISCIPLES, AND THAT ON THE GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD HE HIMSELF SUFFERED; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. WHEREFORE THEIR OPINION IS CONTRARY TO THE LAW, AND THE GOSPELS SEEMS TO BE AT VARIANCE WITH THEM."

Please notice that Apollinaris categorically says that this view is contrary to the law and the Gospels! (When Apollinaris says Christ ate the lamb on the fourteenth, it is actually the fifteenth, but according to Roman reckoning of the moon the day is still the fourteenth until midnight, when the fifteenth begins). (Karakasidis G. THE QUARTODECIMAN PASSOVER Which Day Was It? Triumph Prophetic Ministries, Church of God, 6/23/06).

Carefully note that Apollinaris of Hierapolis is arguing that the Passover was not eaten during the day of the 14th, not that it was not eaten the prior evening of the 14th. Contrary to TPM's claim, Apollinaris was showing when the Passover is (Nisan 14) and that it signifies the sacrifice of Christ, both of which are the positions of the Churches of God.

Apollinaris is specifically criticizing those that say Jesus was crucified on "the great day of the feast of unleavened bread," which according to the Bible (Leviticus 23:6), is the 15th. There is absolutely NO WAY that TPM was correct above when they argue that Apollinaris observed the 14th on the Roman calendar which was the 15th on the Hebrew calendar because it is the 15th on the Hebrew calendar that is being referred to (for TPM to be correct, the first great day of unleavened bread would have to be on the 16th on the Hebrew calendar).

Notice what else Apollinaris wrote, that TPM neglected to quote:

The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb (Apollinaris. From the Book Concerning Passover. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors; American Edition copyright © 1885. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby).

But it is interesting to note that even in Apollinaris' time some falsely argued that the Passover should be on the 15th. Yet, Apollinaris stood for the observance on the 14th.

One Anglican scholar noted:

...there is no doubt that Apollinarius was a Quartodeciman...Those who kept Passover in the evening understood it to be a repetition of the Lord's Supper (Stewart-Sykes A. Melito of Sardis On Pascha. St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood (NY), 2001, p. 81).

Melito, Polycrates, Polycarp, Apollinaris are considered to be Quartodecimans (one who held that the date of Passover must remain the 14th of Nisan).

Rome was the church that was against Quartodeciman practices. And in a letter rebutting Rome, Polycrates states that in his region, the Apostles John and Philip kept the Passover the same time he did as they and he would not deviate from the Bible.

The Catholic historian Eusebius tells of the problem of the date:

A QUESTION of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour's passover...But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world...But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapters 23,25).

Notice that Eusebius states that it was those led by Polycrates who held that they needed to heed an older tradition (than the Roman one), one that observed Christ's Passover on the fourteenth!

Furthermore, here is what Eusebius records that Polycrates wrote to Victor, the then Bishop of Rome:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead ? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ' We ought to obey God rather than man'...I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book V, Chapter XXIV, Verses 2-7 . Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert. Publishing, Stilwell (KS), 2005, p. 114).

This matter, which began when Polycarp first tried to get Rome to switch from a Sunday Passover to the biblical Passover on the 14th is generally known as the Quartodeciman Controversy. Notice that the Apostles and their successors in Asia Minor all kept the same original date--which according to Eusebius was the fourteenth.

The 14th is also when people put out the leaven, and that the Jews still do according to their writings:

Hence, Polycrates' exact day, according to his own words and Jewish practices would have been the evening of the 14th!

If true Christians kept the Passover on the fifteenth, they would have been called Quintodecimans. Instead, all the arguments about it refer to them as Quartodecimans. Plus, Eusebius would have stated that they observed the 15th instead of the 14th. Instead he clearly wrote that those holding Quartodeciman practices observed Passover on the 14th, as did Polycrates and Apollinaris.

But What About Roasting a Lamb in Time?

While I did not see this discussed at TPM's site, notice the following email I received on June 9, 2015:

I have two very good friends in the church that believe it's to be observed on the 15th. I made mention of several scriptures which specifically talk about Passover being the 14th and the Days of Unleavened Bread starting on the 15th. Part of their skepticism with the 14th seems to come from two things: they think it was impossible for Christ to have a Passover meal with His disciples and they think that what Scripture is referring to when it says Passover is on the 14th is that it's the killing of the lamb, but that it's to be eaten on the 15th.

What I mean by impossible, referring to Christ having a Passover meal with his disciples, they think that it takes a very long time for a lamb to be cooked, thus they think that it's not possible for Christ and His disciples to have been able to kill a lamb on the 14th and eat it so quickly afterwards.

First, I should mention that it does not take very long to kill a lamb--just a few seconds to slit the throat and couple of minutes to drain the blood. I know as I had sheep for years and slaughtered several of them.

As far as time goes, realize that the Jews killed the Passover at twilight on the 14th (Exodus 12:6), ate the lamb that night (Exodus 12:8). and LATER that night, after they did that (Exodus 12:28) the death angel came (Exodus 12:29).  Thus, it had to be possible to kill and eat a lamb within hours.
Second, consider that the lamb had to be of the first year (Exodus 12:5)--a little lamb does not have to be very big.  Here are some comments from the Benson Commentary related to Exodus 12:5:
Exodus 12:5. Your lamb shall be without blemish — Shall be perfect, as the Hebrew is, that is, in all its parts. This was a qualification indispensably requisite in all sacrifices: Leviticus 22:20-24. Even the heathen, in the worship of their false gods, were particular in this circumstance. A male — Because the males were accounted more excellent, and their flesh better than that of females. Of the first year — Under a year old, not above: for the lamb, as also a kid and calf, was fit for sacrifice at eight days old, but not before, Exodus 22:30. And the same law was observed in the daily sacrifice, Exodus 29:38.
Lambs weigh as little as little as 5 -10 lbs, and thousands of years ago would tend to be smaller than now. But even larger ones do not take a huge amount of time to roast. But I found something online in the 21st century related to a 30 lb lamb, and here is how long it says it would take to roast:
From Biblical times, roasting a whole lamb has been a way to celebrate and to give thanks...
Ideally, find a grass-fed, three-month-old lamb around 30 pounds if they are available. ...
I like to build a big roaring fire in the pit and keep feeding it for about 3 hours or so before starting to cook. You don't want to be cooking over open flames. Rather, you want a deep core of hot, glowing hardwood embers. These give off intense heat without flame which can burn your roast lamb...
Generally, if you had an adequate, deep core of hot embers at the start, these should provide more than enough heat over the 2 hour cooking period. (How to Cook a Whole Lamb or Goat. © 2006 - 2012 accessed 06/09/15)

Others may have differing opinions, but one can easily kill, cook, and eat a lamb within three hours of sunset. And a smaller lamb could be cooked even faster.

Thus, Jesus would have no problem having a killed, roasted, and eaten Passover lamb before He went to the Garden of Gethsemene (Matthew 24:26). It must have been very late when He went, because although He instructed His disciples to stay awake with Him, they could not (Matthew 26:40). Jesus' disciples were tired because it was apparently very late.

Therefore it appears that any who claim that Jesus could not have had Passover, etc. because of the time involved in killing, cooking, and eating lamb, seem to be overlooking the facts related to lambs and what happened with Jesus going to the Garden of Gethsemene.

Passover was not to be on the 15th and Jesus kept it on the 14th.

Conclusion: Is Passover on the 14th or 15th?

To accept that the Passover was to be on the 15th, one (according to TPM) would have to believe the following 15 statements:

1) That Jewish Holy Day practices must be followed, but not the calendar rules of postponement, as those rules would invalidate the idea of a Thursday night Passover as beginning the first day of unleavened bread in 31 A.D.

2) Jesus was a false prophet as He said He intended to eat that last Passover with His disciples (He could not have eaten it with them after He was arrested).

3) That Jesus did not have His disciples prepare the Passover as He told them to and Luke records they did.

4) The women who first saw Jesus after His resurrection violated the Sabbath commandment, even though the Bible shows they observed the Sabbath or that somehow the time between two allegedly consecutive sabbaths does not count as the sabbath or that they somehow prepared the spices before they bought them.

5) That Jesus was not in the grave for three full days and three full nights.

6) That one proclaims the Lord's death on the 14th of Nisan by observing the 15th.

7) That there is only one possible way to interpret John 19:14 and that way is TPM's way which ignores other verses of scripture.

8) That Jewish leaders would not violate their own laws regarding how they arrested and treated Jesus.

9) That Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday afternoon in contradiction to John 20:1.

10) That the first great day of unleavened bread that Apollinaris referred to was the 16th on the Hebrew calendar even though the Old Testament clearly teaches that the first great day of unleavened bread is on the 15th.

11) That the term Quartodeciman refers to the 14th on the Roman calendar and the 15th on the Hebrew calendar.

12) That Epiphanius wrote the 15th when he actually wrote the 14th.

13) That the New Testament account (Luke 22:15-19) of the Passover occurring when the hour had come somehow refers to the 13th of Nisan and not the 14th.

14) That the night that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 11:23, which has to have been the 14, is not the night that our COG passover practices should be based upon.

15) That Passover practices (bread and wine) were on the 13th of Nisan, but that they must be observed now on the 15th of Nisan.

To accept that the Passover was to be on the 14th, one would have to believe the following 14 statements:

1) That "the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD's Passover" (Leviticus 23:5).

2) Jesus was a true prophet as He said He intended to eat that last Passover with His disciples and that He actually did.

3) That Jesus did have His disciples prepare the Passover as He told them to and Luke records they did.

4) The women who first saw Jesus after His resurrection did not violate the Sabbath commandment, as the Bible shows they observed the Sabbath and that there was a non-Sabbath between the first day of unleavened bread and the weekly Sabbath (which happened in 2006 for example) and that they bought spices before they prepared them.

5) That Jesus was in the grave for three full days and three full nights.

6) That one proclaims the Lord's death on the 14th of Nisan by observing the 14th.

7) That John 19:14 and the other gospel accounts do allow for a possible difference in time methods.

8) That the Bible clearly shows that Jewish leaders did violate their own laws regarding how they arrested and treated Jesus.

9) That the first great day of unleavened bread that Apollinaris referred to was the 15th on the Hebrew calendar.

10) That the term Quartodecima refers to the 14th on the Hebrew calendar.

11) That Epiphanius wrote the 14th when he actually wrote the 14th.

12) That the New Testament account (Luke 22:15-19) of the Passover occurring when the hour had come refers to the 14th of Nisan.

13) That the night that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 11:23, which has to have been the 14th, is the night that our COG passover practices should be based upon.

14) That Passover practices (bread and wine) were on the 14th of Nisan, and that they must be observed now on the 14th of Nisan.

I believe that those who observe the Passover on the 14th have the strongest and most logical biblical and historical support on their side.

Without going into detail here, I will also add that Jesus taught:

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-16).

My review of TPM's writings and ministry clearly demonstrated to me that they were NOT prophetically reliable, nor did TPM have the type of fruits one would expect from the main portion of the Church of God.

As far as the Passover date goes, a related sermon is titled Is Passover on the 14th or 15th for Christians?

Those interested in more about the calendar may wish to read the following article on the Hebrew Calendar. This John Ogywn writing explains why we faithful in the Church of God use the calendar that we do and answers such questions as "Did Jesus Observe the Postponements?"

COGwriter 2009/2010/2011/2012/2014/2015/2016/2018 0322

Two free referenced booklets of possible interest may be Continuing History of the Church of God and Where is the True Christian Church Today?

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