PASSOVER UNDERSTANDINGS Part Four DEUTERONOMY 16:1-8 Before we look in detail at this section of scripture, a section that has given many a problem to many a person as they try to understand the feasts of the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, we need to bear in mind some basics on how to read and understand the Bible. There are portions of the word of God that are HARD to understand. Peter was inspired to say concerning the writings of Paul that "in which some things hard to be understood"(2 Pet.3:16). It is to be noted Peter did NOT say they were IMPOSSIBLE to be understood, only hard. It took a little more effort and meditation, a little more study and thought, than other parts of his writings. So it is with the word of the Lord. There are sections of scripture that are not as easy to understand as other sections. The Eternal has purposely written His word that way, so those who will not dig, search, study, meditate and realize that there is no contradictions with God, will as Peter said, WREST to their destruction. They will fall, be deceived and be blinded to the truth. There is the principle in the word of the Lord that not everything concerning a subject matter is found in one single place. There are usually many verses and passages of scripture on any important topic of the Bible, scattered here and there. We must be willing to find ALL the information from ALL the Bible on any subject, before we conclude what is the truth. Then together with the above point, is the fact that God has written some very plain words on the subjects of importance to us. He wants us to find those easy to understand verses first, then within the light they give as the foundation, we can go on to ascertain the meaning and truth of the harder to understand sections on the subject. We need to keep in mind some other points as to how the Bible is written. Sometimes the writer moved from one thought into another thought and back to the first thought, and then once more to the second thought, WITHOUT TELLING US HE WAS GOING TO DO SO! Paul and his writings are a good example of that kind of letter or way of writing. Anyone who has studied Paul for any length of time will know that was how he often wrote. He would be explaining something, then in his explanation something he said would trigger another thought that would lead him off to explaining something else, then later he would come back to his original thought and continue his first explanation. We have the book of Revelation that uses what some motion pictures use. A scene of the time, then a "going back" in time scene that fills in or brings you up to date on something that is needed to understand the present time and plan of the story. This can be used more than once in the unfolding of events. There are passages of scripture that move from one event to another event without any warning. The events told may be years apart or even thousands of years apart, yet the writer does not tell you this. An example is Isaiah 61. Jesus read this section when starting His ministry. He read verses one to the middle of verse two and stopped(see Luke 4). This section had to do with the Messiah's FIRST coming, but from the middle of verse two and on this section in Isaiah has to do with the Messiah's SECOND coming. No warning is given to us as to moving from one to the other. NOW WITH THAT let's start to look at Deuteronomy 16. We have here mentioned the Passover by name and the days of UNleavened Bread. It seems a little confusing to understand. So let's STOP for a moment. Let us realize this is the FIFTH book of Moses. We have already had Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. In those books we have ALREADY been given some verses on the Passover and Unleavened Bread feasts, some quite EASY to understand. Let's get the easy ones clear in our mind. We have seen by letting the Bible interpret the Bible that the phrase "between the two evenings" as used in Exodus 12:6 and 16:12 is clearly the DUSK or twilight part of the beginning of the day. The Passover was killed and eaten at the BEGINNING of the 14th, the death angel passing over the houses the NIGHT of the 14th. Then in Leviticus 23:5 we are told plainly that the Passover is in the 14th at EVEN. This corresponds clearly with Exodus 12:6. Lev.23:6 very plainly tells us the feast of Unleavened Bread is on the 15th for seven days, the first and seventh of those seven days are Sabbaths. And this is exactly what Numbers 28:16-25 tells us. We saw last time the logical way to understand this section in Numbers is NOT that the Passover was at the END of the 14th for then the feast of Unleavened Bread would not begin until the end of the 15th. But Lev.23:6 says it is ON THE 15TH that is the feast of unleavened bread, not after the 15th. These clear scriptures make it plain that the 15th is the first day of unleavened bread, the feast begins with this 15th day, not after it. And as this is the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, it is a Sabbath day, as is the 7th day of this feast(the 21st of the first month). We have seen that the NT gospels verify this to be the plain truth. Jesus was killed on the 14th, the Passover day, which is not a Sabbath. He was hurriedly taken down from the cross and buried towards the end of that 14th day BECAUSE the Sabbath drew on, the Sabbath of the feast of Unleavened Bread, which was the 15th day of the first month. With all that clear easy to understand information we can also now understand correctly Exodus 12 and verses 6 all the way through verse 20, which some have difficulty with. The Lamb was killed on the 14th at the beginning of the 14th. The Lord passed over that night of the 14th(verse 12). That night was to be a memorial and that day also(verse 14) corresponding to 1 Cor.11 and Paul's instructions. Then in verse 15 of Exodus 12 WITHOUT ANY WARNING the topic changes to the feast of UNleavened Bread. Seven days unleavened bread was to be eaten, from the first day of it unto the seventh day of it. In the first day was a Holy Convocation - no work - a Sabbath day then. It was on this day, the 15th that God started to bring Israel out of Egypt from Rameses where they gathered(see Num.33:3; Deut.16:1-3; Ex.12:37-42). It was at the beginning of the 15th, at night, when they left Rameses. So in Ex.12:18 we have the EXCEPTION to the general rule used in the Bible(and there is another point many stumble over, the Bible does use "exceptions" at times). The evening of the 14th is this time in verse 18 the END of the 14th, as YOU BEGIN THE 15TH. UNleavened Bread was to be eaten from the END of the 14th(the beginning of the 15th) the start of the Sabbath of the 15th(the first day of the 7 day feast of unleavened bread), to the END of the 21st day, the seventh day of the feast, which was also a Sabbath day. You will notice from all these sections of scripture, that sometimes the FIRST day of the feast is only mentioned as a Sabbath, sometimes BOTH the first and seventh days are mentioned as Sabbaths. In Deut.16 we shall see that ONLY the 7th day of the feast is mentioned as a Sabbath. Again, putting ALL verses together we can know that indeed BOTH the first and seventh day of this seven day feast of unleavened bread were Sabbaths. The plain, clear, easy to understand verses MUST COME FIRST! As we take them and hold the foundation to THEM, then the harder to understand sections can be put together correctly, so there is a NO CONTRADICTION in the word of the Lord on the matter. I am now close to getting into Deut.16, but one more thing before I do. It is also very important to realize and to remember that in the ORIGINAL HEBREW of the OT there were NO PUNCTUATION - no periods, no comers etc. just one letter after another letter. Remember this and remember the point that sometimes writers moved from one thought to another thought and back again, WITHOUT ANY WARNING to you the reader. We shall see that this was the case with HOW Deut.16:1-8 was written. DEUT.16:1-8 FIRST thought and admonition: "Observe the MONTH of Abid, and KEEP the Passover unto the Lord thy God." Two points given - the month of Abid is important and has to be observed in some way. The Passover in that month is to be kept. Why is this month important? Moses goes on to say: "for in the month of Abid the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night." Yes as we have seen, the night of the 15th when they left Rameses, the beginning of the feast of Unleavened Bread, the first day of the feast, the evening of the Sabbath when they went for a while and then tented(Succoth meaning tent, Ex.12:37). The thought now goes to the Passover sacrifice: "Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the Passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, IN THE PLACE WHICH THE LORD SHALL CHOOSE to place His name there. Thou shalt eat NO LEAVENED BREAD WITH IT." Period, end of this thought. Should be end of sentence here. We need to note this was the "second law" - Deuteronomy (meaning second law) - given by Moses shortly before Israel was to enter the promised land. They had been wandering the wilderness for 40 years. They had been one community, one large town or city of people, together as one. They had observed the feasts for 40 years as one town of people. Now they were going to posses a land. They would be scattered over a large area. They would have many towns and villages, large and small. God was instituting a law here, a rule for them on WHERE to observe the Passover when they would inherit this land of promise. The Passover memorial service was not just to be everywhere in the land, it was to be in THE PLACE that God would choose to place His name. We know from the other books of the OT that it was first placed at SHILOH and then later at JERUSALEM. Now after this thought and instruction on the Passover sacrifice, the thought CHANGES to the feast of Unleavened Bread. Beginning a new sentence: "Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith(therein, when you eat or consume as the Hebrew is), the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day(the time, not just one single day of 24 hours only) when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days(time, years, generations) of thy life. And there shall be no leaven bread seen with thee in all thy coasts seven days(this is exactly what the clear plain scriptures we have already looked at teach in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers); neither shall there any thing of the flesh which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning." End of thought on the seven day feast of Unleavened Bread for the moment. All is fully in line with the other scriptures on the feast as given in the other books of Moses. The last sentence about no flesh remaining has mixed up some. They think this is a reference to the Passover sacrifice. BUT IT IS NOT! Moses when his thoughts and instructions are on the Passover in this section, ALWAYS makes it clear to us it is the Passover he is now addressing. Notice it in verse ONE, and again in verse TWO, also in verse FIVE and once more in verse SIX. The sacrifice thought about and instructed about in verse FOUR is not called the Passover sacrifice. There were DAILY sacrifices all through the year, every day of each week, never ending. During the feast of Unleavened Bread no evening sacrifice was to be left until the morning, it was to be consumed or burnt away. In that sense it was like the Passover sacrifice, but this verse is NOT SPECIFICALLY talking about the Passover sacrifice, but the daily evening sacrifice starting on the first day(the 15th) of the feast of UB. Moses' mind and thought and instructions ONCE MORE goes back to the Passover sacrifice to GIVE RE-EMPHASIS, and nail the truth home to them about WHERE TO kill the Passover lamb. He did not want them to NOT GET IT! We often do the same today. Something that maybe NEW, or the situation is going to change for those within the doing of certain practices(as to how they were doing it for a long time), we will give the instruction MORE THAN ONCE. We do not want any to not understand it clearly, or say "well I didn't hear it the first time" and so we GIVE IT AGAIN! Moses and other writers of the books of the Bible were no different. We shall say God is no different(as He is the one who inspired the writers), so it is really He that REPEATS for us IMPORTANT instructions. So it is with many of God's laws. He repeats them over and over again for us, instructs us over and over again on the same law, maybe coming from a different angle at times, or adding a slight variation to it. But many things God repeats to us in His word. He wants to make sure we GET IT! Back to the thought of the Passover by Moses(verse 5), a new sentence: "Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee. BUT at the PLACE which the Lord thy God shall CHOOSE to place His name in, there thou shall sacrifice the Passover, at even, at the going down of the sun( the Hebrew says literally - ' when goes the sun ' and we have seen from our previous studies and previous books of Moses this was at sunset, dusk, between the two evenings, at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month), at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose( notice how Moses stated this again for the THIRD time, really wanting to drive the point home to them), and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents(the Passover memorial service in ancient Israel with a full killing and eating of the lamb etc. probably lasted well into the night and in the morning of the 14th day, they would go to their tents and sleep, for that day was not a Sabbath day, no holy convocation was called for on the daylight part of the 14th). Moses's mind had now brought them to going to their tents on the morning of the 14th to rest and sleep. His mind was now once more taken further on into the feast of Unleavened Bread. His mind was triggered once again to give instructions concerning the feast of Unleavened bread. He had covered the 14th, the killing and eating of the Passover sacrifice and the rest of the day as they went to their tents. Now to finish his thoughts on this whole Passover Feast of UB topic, he comes back to reminding them that AFTER the PASSOVER DAY, there was SEVEN DAYS of UB to be observed with the eating of unleavened bread. He has already told them just a few sentences back that there were 7 DAYS of unleavened bread(from the 15th to the 21st as clear scriptures in Leviticus and Numbers show). Now he does not contradict this in verse eight. He only breaks it down into two points that he wants to give emphasis to. Namely that after the Passover day, there are days to observe as UNleavened bread eating - there are six days(he does not even mention here that the first of those six days is a Sabbath - the 15th of the month, but other scriptures in Lev.and Ex.give us that truth), but really seven(as he has above stated), only the 7th day of this feast is a Sabbath day, a holy convocation day(as the other scriptures in Lev.Ex.Num.prove). Do you see how Moses went back and forth, moving from admonition and instructions concerning the Passover memorial service to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and back again, with more emphasis on this part of the Passover day or that part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Sometimes repeating certain important points he wanted them to make sure they understood. He brought out certain points and left out other points(like not mentioning the first day of the UB feast as a Sabbath day). There are no contradictions here in Deut.16 with the rest of the scriptures on the spring feasts of the Lord. A little new rule about the Passover being held in one location chosen by God as they went to inherit the land of Promise, a little specific emphasis on certain parts of this 8 day spring festival, but nothing to contradict Exodus, Leviticus or Numbers. In closing it is important to notice that in all the instructions about the Passover sacrifice in all the books of Moses, there is NOTHING WHATSOEVER stated or laid down as a rule or law, that the Passover lamb was to be slain by the Priesthood, OR that it was to be slain in the Tabernacle. The lamb was to be slain in the PLACE where God chose to place His name, the town, or the city, where God would place His name and tabernacle, BUT NOWHERE was it ever stated in the law of God, the books of Moses, that the slaying of those lambs was to be done by the Priesthood in the Tabernacle. That practice came about MUCH LATER in the history of Israel, and was never a commandment of the Lord. It was one of the many "traditions" of the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus said made void the law of God, and condemned them for putting those traditions above the word and law of God. Next time we need to look in depth at whether Jesus on the last day of His physical life really observed the original Passover memorial service, or was it an early supper type meal without any lamb, to introduce the bread and cup of the NT symbols of His death, as some are claiming it was. .............................................................