Passover is an awesome day to experience whether you are Jew, Gentile, or anything in between. There is a movement happening these days involving crazy people who have “found their roots” in The Torah and are living according to it as if it shows Elohim that they love Him. One of the things these crazies are doing is keeping Passover. If you are interested in the “how to” behind keeping Passover, keep reading, if you are not interested thanks for the visit. According to Scripture, this is how Jesus kept this feast, none of us have to.
To throw out the idea of keeping Passover completely would be divesting oneself of the opportunity towards having a deeper connection with The Messiah. There are plenty of folks out there who are indeed “keeping a Passover” but they are doing it according to Rashi, or Rambam, or some other Talmudic Rabbi who has decided that his word usurps those written through Moses, the prophets, and Paul (even though much of what Paul had written was not available to the general public yet). Yes, there is only one Passover and in order to keep it correctly there are some complications on the way there. If you stick to scripture and scripture alone, you will find that Adonai has left a nice little treasure map that pin points exactly when He wants you to celebrate if you choose to do so. If you would rather not, that is ok and this day will be just a day like any other mundane day.
Let’s begin in Genesis. According to Genesis 1:19 < there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.> This means that a day does not begin at the stroke of midnight, no, no, no. The Lord placed the sun, moon and stars in the sky for us to calculate <seasons, and for days and years…>. According to Scripture, every time you have sat with your family, friends, your honey and sweetheart to watch a sunset you are watching one day slowly drift into the next day. Yep, the day begins with evening and ends with evening. In fact, the word “evening” comes from a Hebrew word that is literally translated to “even,” referencing when the sun has become even with the horizon. Now that we understand night (Laila in Hebrew) and day (Yom in Hebrew) govern the beginning and end of Scriptural days, let’s build on that.
There is a term that is found in a few different places throughout scripture that has been misinterpreted by every major Bible translation I have found. Am I accusing our hard working and studious Biblical scholars of purposefully leading people astray? I am not. In fact I would say that The Bible is such a complicated and in depth book, written so long ago, that nobody could translate the entire thing correctly without passing their work on from one generation to the next throughout several generations. Most of us would blench at the task. Our Biblical scholars are courageous and hard working people. Unfortunately though, when it comes to “Ben Ha Arbayim” they were just plain wrong. It is actually an idiom of sorts and can be found in the first five verses of Numbers 9. The NKJV translates it as “twilight” as does the HCSB and the ESV, where some other versions of the text such as the KJV translates it as “at even.”
You see, our scholars of Biblical texts translated “Ben Ha Arbayim” that way because the term literally translates to “between the evenings”. The literal translation, coupled with the time at which the Passover traditionally began would bring most people to agree with “at even” or “twilight” being an ok translation, which it is. Sort of.
“Ben Ha Arbayim” meaning “Between the evenings” does not mean “At any given time.” Nor does it mean “At any time during the day,” or “At any time during the night.” No, no no, when a Hebrew man said Ben Ha Arbayim to a friend it would be a lot like me saying “In regards to all this Passover stuff, Im gonna “show you the ropes.”” Im not actually going to show you a set of literal ropes. Just like Jesus is not literally a sheep fold’s gate and we are not literally sheep! Ben Ha Arbayim idiomatically means “From the time that the sun has began it’s decent, to the time that the sun has set.” That is the time period referenced when you see between the evenings.
Now that we know what the term Ben Ha Arbayim is used to define, let’s build on that. In Numbers 9, the first five verses are <And The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at it’s appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at it’s appointed time; according to all it’s statutes and all it’s rules you shall keep it.”> According to this, The Passover begins between the evenings on the 14th day of Abib. Could it be that God meant that we begin the Passover at the twilight of the 13th? Possibly. It could be that Scriptures were rounding off the last chunk of the 13th into the 14th and calling those hours the 14th.
In Joshua, The Israelites (long after Moses had passed) celebrated the Passover feast. <While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho.> Passover was celebrated on the 14th day, not the 13th; However, the text could still be rounding off the last few hours of the 13th into the 14th.
Another example of how to celebrate The Memorial involves some of the Passover commands in Exodus 12:6 where it says <You shall keep it until the 14th day of this month.> “This month” is referring to the first month, called Abib, and “it” is referencing the lamb. This is where we can pinpoint the 14th day instead of the 13th day. If an Israelite were to begin preparing his family’s meal between the evenings on the 13th he would be failing to keep the command that says <you shall keep it until the 14th day of this month.>
Another scripture that really sends it home is not in reference to the memorials of The Lord’s triumphant day: the day where He began to bring His children out from bondage. Nope, it is an account of the very first Passover, the actual day after He sent an angel out to deliver the final blow against Pharaoh and Egypt. In this scripture in Numbers 33 it tells us that <They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians…> This scripture is important in figuring the correct time that The Lord celebrates The Memorial of His triumph because The Israelites were told to eat their meal “in haste” with their sandals, and belts on and their staff IN THEIR HAND. If the Israelites were to have eaten this meal on the 13th, they would have had more than 30 hours to sit around waiting for the fifteenth. That’s more than one full laila and one full yom, making up a full day. The Pharaoh found His dead son during the night of the 15th and the children of Israel were finally told to get the heck out of his city.
Israelites cannot have an original Passover where The Lord kills the Israelite’s enemie’s first born, and then are sent to cross over the Red Sea on dry land. All Israelite people though are invited and encouraged to memorialize that awesome day by recognizing and celebrating that <on the 14th day of the first month, between the evenings is The Lord’s Passover.>