The ANSWERS Publication of 1991 on the Passover subject said
"The two daily sacrifices are another distinct clue as to
the time when the passover was sacrificed. One of the daily
sacrifices was to be in the morning, and one was to be 'between
the two evenings.' In Numbers 28: 3-4 we read of the daily
morning and evening sacrifices in the tabernacle (they then quote
the verse, and point out that "evening" is in the Hebrew "between
the two evenings" - Keith Hunt).....Historical testimony shows
the time of the sacrifice of the morning lamb to have been about
9 a.m. (Edersheim, 143). The rabbis stated that the 'between the
two evenings' lamb was slaughtered at 2:30 p.m. and the pieces
laid on the altar at 3:00 p.m. (Edersheim, 144)."
Ah, so we have Answers Publication of 1991 quoting from a
fellow by the name of Edersheim. Most of their readers, and maybe
most of you reading this, will not have a clue who this Edersheim
guy was or is. Well, he was, for now he is long time dead and
buried. But he is a very well known Jewish Christian scholar of
the 19th century, and most theology schools know of him and have
his books in their libraries. How many theology students have
read his books....well that is another question.
I have most if not all of Albert Edersheim's books, and I
have read them, marked them up with my red pen and yellow marker,
for indeed they contain a wealth of great historical insights and
notes for anyone studying the Gospels and the background into
Jewish and Temple life and practices and customs.
The book that ANSWERS tells you a snippet of and try to make
their case from, is Edersheim's book called "The Temple - its
Ministry and Services as they were at the time of Christ." As far
as I know Alfred Edersheim's books are still printed and
available. Most Bible Book stores will help you find them. They
are indeed well worth having and studying.
What makes me so ANGRY (in fact angry enough to spit
fireballs) on this matter before us, is that ANSWERS really make
it sound like they have this iron case, sealed up in stone, as to
when the "evening" sacrifice took place, and so it is then proof
positive that the Hebrew phrase "between the two evenings" must
mean, not one bit less, than afternoon to the time of sunset.
The average, unlearned, none Edersheim book owner, will read
what ANSWERS have said, and walk away believing it must then be
so.....so end of the matter, no need for further investigation,
it is all finished and done with.....the Passover lamb was killed
from the days of Moses (hence from Ex.12) in the middle of the
afternoon, for between the two evenings is, they are told,
quoting from the Jewish scholar Edersheim, from at least 2:30 in
Well, when I first read ANSWERS Publication in 1991 and this
section on Edersheim....RED FLAGS immediately went up, a DOZEN of
them, for I HAD READ where they were directing us to in
Edersheim's book. I KNEW IT WAS INCORRECT, or only PART of what
Edersheim said and actually taught and believed.
I will now give you the WHOLE of what Alfred Edersheim wrote
on WHEN the evening sacrifice actually took place in all of its
historical setting. Read it carefully, and note where I have
From EDERSHEIM'S book "THE TEMPLE" pages 143 and 144
For the service of the officiating ministers was not only by
day, BUT ALSO AT NIGHT in the Temple. From Scripture we know that
the ordinary services of the sanctuary consisted of the morning
and evening sacrifices. To these the Rabbis add another evening
service, probably to account for their own transference of the
evening service to a much later hour than that of the sacrifice.
THERE IS, HOWEVER, SOME DIFFICULTY ABOUT THE EXACT TIME EACH OF
THE SACRIFICES WAS OFFERED.
According to general agreement, the morning sacrifice was
brought at the "third hour," corresponding to our nine o'clock.
But the preparation of it must have commenced more than two hours
earlier. Few, if any witnesses could have witnessed the actual
slaying of the lamb, which took place immediately on opening the
great Temple gate. Possibly they may have gathered chiefly to
join in the prayer at the time of incense. In the modified sense,
then, of understanding by the morning sacrifice the WHOLE
SERVICE, it no doubt coincided with the third hour of the day, or
9 A.M. This may explain how on the day of Pentecost such a
multitude could so readily "come together," to hear in their
various tongues "the wonderful works of God" - seeing it was the
third hour, when they would all be in the temple.
The EVENING sacrifice WAS FIXED BY THE LAW (Numbers 28: 4,
8) as "between the evenings" that is , BETWEEN THE DARKNESS OF
THE GLOAMING AND THAT OF THE NIGHT (Sunset was calculated as an
average at 6 o'clock P.M......)
SUCH ADMONITIONS as "to show forth thy faithfulness every
NIGHT upon an instrument of ten strings and on the psaltery" (Ps
92:2,3) and the call to those who "by NIGHT STAND IN THE HOUSE of
the Lord," to "lift up their hands in the sanctuary and
bless the Lord" (Ps. 134), SEEM INDEED TO IMPLY AN EVENING
SERVICE - AN IMPRESSION CONFIRMED BY THE APPOINTMENT OF LEVITE
SINGERS FOR NIGHT SERVICE IN 1 CHRON. 9:33; 23:30.
BUT AT THE TIME OF OUR LORD the EVENING sacrifice certainly
commenced MUCH EARLIER. Josephus puts it down (Ant. 14. 4, 3) as
at the NINTH hour.
According to the Rabbis the lamb was slain at the eighth
hour and a half, or about 2:30 P.M., and the pieces laid on the
altar an hour later - about 3:30 P.M......The evening service was
somewhat shorter than that of the morning, and would last, at any
rate, about an hour and a half, say till about fouro'clock.
.....After that no other offering might be brought except on the
eve of the Passover, when the ordinary evening sacrifice took
place two hours earlier, or at 12:30 P.M.
END OF QUOTE FROM EDERSHEIM
Now, did you catch it all, especially concerning the EVENING
SACRIFICE? The BIBLICAL SUPPORT, that which was as Jesus
sometimes said, "from the beginning it was not so" - WAS IN THE
EVENING, AT SUNSET ON INTO THE NIGHT. That was how it was
ORIGINALLY, under Moses and how God from the beginning ordered it
done, in the evening, or starting at "between the two evening"
which we have proved in a number of studies NEVER means starting
in the middle of the afternoon. But by the time of Christ, the
Pharisees, who had the greatest influence over the people, and so
had the priests of the Temple follow their MAN MADE traditions,
the evening sacrifice they had moved up to the middle of the
afternoon and over with by about 4 p.m. On the Passover day they
had introduced the killing of the lambs in the Temple in the
middle of the afternoon by the priests, and had moved the
ordinary evening sacrifice up to 12:30 p.m.
You talk about disregarding the commandments of God in order
to hold to their own traditions, as Jesus said about them a few
times in His ministry, this that we are looking at here, is a
The Pharisees taught evening and "between the two evenings"
was from anytime noon and following, the Samaritans, Karaites,
and Sadducees Jews, all taught that it was the time as AFTER
sunset and BEFORE darkness (Interpreter's Bible, Ex.12:6; also
The Jewish Encyclopedia, art. Passover, page 553).
I have shown in other studies that there was NO LAW in God's
word, especially in the books of Moses, to have the Passover
lambs killed in the Temple by the priests, at any hour of the
Passover day. And so all of that ritual was made up, added, to
God's basic instructions for Passover observance (which was what
Jesus and His disciples did on that famous last Passover in the
last chapters of the Gospels, which I have covered in many other
studies on this subject). It was made up and added, put into
force and effect by the Pharisee religious party. It was part of
the many commandments and traditions of men that kept them and
many of their followers from observing the commandments of God
(Mark 7: 6-13). The same religious party that MOVED UP the
EVENING sacrifice to the middle of the AFTERNOON, so they did not
have to work or have people working in the Temple at sunset and
on into the early part of the night.
When we begin to understand ALL the false teachings, ideas,
traditions, making the word of God of none effect by all that
came from the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes (yes, they got a few
things correct between them, but most was corruption and
falsehood), then we can understand why Jesus told His disciples
to be ware of the "leaven" (the doctrine) of the Pharisees and
the Sadducees (Mat.16: 6-12).
Many today need to heed Jesus' words. God's word is the
truth Christ said (John 17:17). And that truth will set you free.
Written first in 1991 and re-written for this Website in 2003