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Passover (Part 9)

Deuteronomy 16 and Passover

Sermon; #020; 69 minutes
Given 16-May-92

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John Ritenbaugh reiterates that Josiah's temple Passover observance (II Chronicles 34) was supervised by the king so they wouldn't revert back to paganism. The only proof text of the 15th Passover advocates (Deuteronomy 16:1) has been edited or tampered with in order to reflect the practice following the Babylonian captivity of calling both Passover and Unleavened Bread "Passover." The context of Deuteronomy 16:1-3, referring to cattle sacrifices and unleavened bread suggest the real focus of these verses is on the Night to be Observed and the Days of Unleavened Bread rather than the Passover.

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This is going to be the next to the last sermon in this series on the subject of Passover. You probably did not know there was so much information in the Bible in regard to Passover, but it is a very important subject at this time in our spiritual lives and I think it needs to be gone through with a great deal of detail

In the last sermon, from the biblical narration of two unusual Passover observances (one by Hezekiah and the other by Josiah, who were strong and righteous kings of Judah), we saw that these Passovers were preceded by long periods of extreme idolatry. The people were practicing every sort of abominable act that God said He hated. We saw it was so deeply ingrained in the lives of these people that these kings felt the only way to get even part way back on the track was to force obedience to God.

II Chronicles 29:15 And they gathered their brethren, sanctified themselves, and went according to the commandment of the king...

This was during Hezekiah's day. I want you to see this theme repeated over and over again.

II Chronicles 29:21 And they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven male goats for a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. Then he [King Hezekiah] commanded the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer them on the altar of the LORD.

II Chronicles 29:24 And the priests killed them; and they presented their blood on the altar as a sin offering to make an atonement for all Israel, for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering be made for all Israel.

II Chronicles 29:27 And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar.

II Chronicles 29:30 Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer.

II Chronicles 30:6 Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the commandment of the king.

II Chronicles 30:12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to do the commandment of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.

Under ordinary circumstances, these kinds of statements in regard to civil matters would not at all be unusual, but we are involving ourselves here in commands in the area of spiritual matters in which the king has thrust himself right into the middle of all of the activities.

In II Chronicles 34 we have moved in time to Josiah.

II Chronicles 34:29 Then the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.

II Chronicles 34:32-33 And he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take their stand for it. Thus Josiah removed all the abominations from all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the LORD their God.

II Chronicles 35:10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their places, and the Levites in their divisions, according to the king's command.

II Chronicles 35:16 So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the alter of the LORD, according to the command of King Josiah.

We can see that there is a theme running through these two occasions. All of this was done according to the king's command, because "he made all that were found." These Passovers were dramatic changes from the original commands of God given in Exodus 12, in Numbers 9 specifically, and in Leviticus 23. The Bible presents the king as being the driving force in these reforms. These acts that are listed here in regard to Passover were personally supervised by the king so that they would not revert back to their paganism. Apparently it was the only way that they would hew even close to God's original command.

We thus also saw, especially in Josiah's observance, a multitude of other sacrifices from flocks and herds accompanying the Passover-lamb sacrifice. These were the burnt, the peace, and thank offerings normally offered during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Remember that.

These were administrative decisions made during an unusual circumstance by strong and righteous kings. I have no doubt from other verses within these chapters that God acknowledged and accepted these Temple-centered Passovers even though it was against His original intent and His original commands. This acceptance of these Passovers does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that God was replacing a beginning of the 14th sacrifice of the Passover with a Temple-centered late 14th sacrifice, and a 15th eating of the Passover lamb. It is important that you understand this.

Nowhere in these chapters, with these unusual Passover observances, does God give any implication at all of anything other than acceptance of these unusual occurrences. There was no command for His people to change anything that He originally instituted.

There is a principle given in Matthew 19, and we will be able to see that this principle is applied in other circumstances as well. The circumstance here is in regard to divorce and remarriage.

Matthew 19:3-4 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason? And He answered and said to them, Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female.

Jesus' immediate response was, "Let us go back to the way it was in the beginning and look at this situation from the way God originally said it."

Matthew 19:7 They said to Him, Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?

It was obvious God had told people that divorce was beyond the parameters of His law.

Matthew 19:8 He said to them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

That is very clear. We are dealing with the same kind of principle here where God accepts something, but it does not change what He intended from the very beginning. The basic reason for which He accepted this unusual thing, which in Matthew 19 was divorce, and in II Chronicles 30, 34, and 35 it was a change in Passover, was because of hardness of heart. He allowed these people to celebrate Passover in the way that they did because of hardness of heart. It was simply better than no Passover at all under the circumstance of extreme religious perversion.

The fact that large numbers of Jews living at the time of Christ also understood it in that light is substantiated by Josephus and Philo (another Jewish writer) who record that people were still sacrificing the Passover lamb at their homes and not at the Temple. They understood that God's original command and intent was for a domestic-killed Passover celebrated at home.

It is especially clear from Philo that we have two groups of people sacrificing the Passover in two different ways. The larger group sacrificed them at home. The smaller group, which happened to be the leaders, were those who would leave a record of what was going on because they controlled the Temple. They were the religious leaders. They were the ones who were following the pattern that had been established of sacrificing it at the Temple; thus two different Passover celebrations.

We have to ask ourselves the question: "What is our responsibility?" It is the same in regard to Passover as it is in regard to divorce and remarriage. We should strive with all of our being to make our marriages work. In regard to Passover, we should be willing to follow the command of God as it was given, without change, and the example of Jesus Christ, and observe the Passover when He did.

Everybody agrees—even people who support a 15th Passover—that Jesus kept the Passover at the beginning of the 14th—one whole day before the great body of Jews was keeping it, as it is recorded in the Scriptures. We have to keep it with the new symbols that He instituted at that time. We should not follow the traditions of the Jews regardless of their apparent good intent, nor of the apparent goodness accomplished at the time they observed it under Hezekiah and Josiah.

We had to go through that background first in order to understand the background for Deuteronomy 16.

For advocates of a 15th Passover, Deuteronomy 16 is the central proof given as evidence God commanded the Temple-killed Passover sacrifice. On the surface it appears to require that the Passover sacrifice only be done at the Temple, but there is another side of the story. If it is true that Deuteronomy 16 actually commands the Temple-sacrificed lamb, it would contradict Exodus 12, Numbers 9, and Leviticus 23—three very clear sections of the Bible as opposed to one that stands out like a sore thumb—Deuteronomy 16. Those clear ones are very easily understood. Also Deuteronomy 16 gives the impression that Passover and Unleavened Bread are one festival. We are going to read Deuteronomy 16 and we will begin to tear it apart verse by verse.

Deuteronomy 16:1-8 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to the LORD your God, from the flock and the herd, in the place where the LORD chooses to put His name. [That of course was the Temple in Jerusalem.] You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning. You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you; but at the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt. And you shall roast and eat it in the place which the LORD your God chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents. Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a sacred assembly to the LORD your God. You shall do no work on it.

The first thing I want you to notice is a phrase in verse 1: "Observe the month of Abib." This phrase is used in conjunction with the name "Passover" in the very next phrase, and at the end of the verse, which says, "in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night."

In Exodus 13:4, Exodus 23:15, and Exodus 34:18, every place where the phrase "the month of Abib" is used, it is used only in connection with Unleavened Bread, not Passover. Mark that well in your notes, because what we are going to see here, even in the very first verse of Deuteronomy 16, is a series of commands that is given in regard to Unleavened Bread, not to Passover. Understand that. This raises a question, because Deuteronomy 16 connects Passover with leaving Egypt.

I read those three phrases: "month of Abib," "Passover," and "the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night." Why is Deuteronomy 16 the only place in the Bible which connects Passover with the Exodus, with leaving Egypt?

Remember, I showed you in great detail that Passover commemorates God passing over the houses of the children of Israel. The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorates the going out—the Exodus.

While it is true Israel left Egypt in Abib, they did not leave on Passover because they were still in their houses. This very first verse subtly connects Passover with leaving and begins to set you up to accept everything that follows it in relation to Passover. The Bible very clearly shows the children of Israel did not leave on Passover. They left on the 15th. I think you should begin to see that something is rotten with Deuteronomy 16.

We are going to be going back and forth between Exodus 12 and Deuteronomy 16. I am going to show you the contradictions, or differences, or contrasts, or whatever you want to call it, between Exodus 12 and Deuteronomy 16.

Exodus 12:51 And it came to pass, on that very same day, that the LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.

There is the subject: the time they came out. The subject continues on into chapter 13.

Exodus 13:3-4 And Moses said to the people: Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. On this day you are going out, in the month Abib.

Now there "the month of Abib" is directly connected to the day that they went out.

Exodus 23:14-15 Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty).

There it is again. The phrase "the month of Abib" is connected with Unleavened Bread.

Exodus 34:18 The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.

You can see how consistent God is. He does not deviate all that much in the signs or evidence. Generally He makes the same connectors all the time. You can trust something like that, and it is a good teaching vehicle as well.

The phrase "the month of Abib" in these three situations is properly connected with the Exodus and not Passover. So why in Deuteronomy 16 is "being brought forth out of Egypt" used in connection with Passover and not Unleavened Bread as in all the other scriptures?

Exodus 23:14-17, Exodus 34:18-24, and Deuteronomy 16:1-17 all have something in common. They all pertain to the three festival seasons: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost (called the Feast of Firstfruits), and the Feast of Tabernacles. In neither one of these contexts is either Passover or the Last Great Day mentioned at all. What we have in these three chapters are specific instructions for these three Feasts. This is especially important to Deuteronomy 16. Deuteronomy 16 is not about Passover. It is about the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty handed.

In the context of Deuteronomy 16, the word "Passover" is beginning to look clearly out of place. As we continue to look further, we are going to see that verses 1-8 have nothing to do at all with instructions for the Passover lamb, but rather for Unleavened Bread, and specifically the Night To Be Much Observed, which is of course the first night after the Passover, not the same night as the Passover.

How did the name "Passover" get in there? God certainly did not inspire it to be in there. It had to have been edited into Deuteronomy 16 at a much later time (when the entire eight days of the spring festival were commonly called Passover) than from when it was originally written. You will see this very clearly in the New Testament that the entire spring feast was commonly called Passover by the Jews. Somebody, in copying, must have deliberately removed the name "Unleavened Bread" and placed the name "Passover" into Deuteronomy 16 in order to give support to a 15th Passover—to a Temple-centered 15th Passover.

Please do not think that Ritenbaugh is jumping to conclusions. I gave you this in the order that I did, because I am going to give you a great deal of evidence to back up what I have just said to you. Somebody has messed with the scriptures, and deliberately inserted a word that should not be there. This is one reason why I gave you that quote from Wellhausen.

Wellhausen is a man that I normally would not quote. He is a man most hated by many biblical scholars. Wellhausen was not a theologian. He was among the first of the German rationalists, and it is he who is credited with what is called "the Graf-Wellhausen theory" regarding the Bible. Wellhausen looked at the Bible as a literary device rather than a source of truth from God. But in looking at it, he could very clearly see that there is a contradiction between Deuteronomy 16 and all of the other information that is given in regard to Passover. His conclusion was that Deuteronomy 16 represents an attempt by a group of people to abolish the home-killed Passover sacrifice.

We are going to begin to focus on the contradictions between Deuteronomy 16 and the other scriptures. We have seen two of them already.

» The month of Abib is connected with the word Passover in Deuteronomy 16:1. In every other place in Scripture that phrase "month of Abib" is used only in connection with Unleavened Bread.

» Deuteronomy 16:1 appears to state that Passover commemorates leaving Egypt. Exodus 12 and Numbers 9 specifically command us to remember Passover as "the night of passing over." Passover in the Bible does not commemorate the Exodus.

We have only looked at one verse, and that is two differences already. I am now going to quote some of Deuteronomy 16 from the Jews' own version of the Bible, Jewish Publication Society Bible.

Deuteronomy 16:5-6 You may not sacrifice the Passover offering within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, but at the place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell in. There you shall sacrifice the Passover offering at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came forth out of Egypt.

You cannot see that very clearly in your Bible, but the phrase "at even" is not ben ha arbayim. It may be translated in your Bible "twilight," but it is not in the Hebrew. It is ba erev. This clearly contradicts the command given in Exodus 12 to kill the lamb at ben ha arbayim.

Exodus 12:6 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 [ben ha arbayim] twilight.

I am going to turn once again to Exodus 16:12-13 to repeat this, and burn it into our minds. Remember the context. God gave the children of Israel a test, to see "whether they will walk in My law, or not." The particular law that He has in mind is very clearly understood to be the Sabbath law. I spent some detail to show you the week begins as a Sabbath is ending, and the week that is given here in Exodus 16 ends with another Sabbath. It begins with the occasion in which God miraculously sent quail to the people so they would have meat to eat. That is the subject of verses 12 and 13.

Exodus 16:12-13 I have heard the murmuring of the children of Israel. Speak to them saying, At [ben ha arbayim] twilight you shall eat meat [quail, in this case], and in the morning [boqer] you shall be filled with bread [manna]. And you shall know that I am the LORD your God. So it was that quail came up at [ba erev] evening and covered the camp, and in the morning [boqer] the dew lay all around the camp.

It is clear that God sent the quail at ba erev. Ba erev is "the going down of the sun." That is exactly what this Jewish Publication Society Bible translation said. It said that this sacrifice He is speaking of in Deuteronomy 16:6 was to be killed at the going down of the sun, at ba erev. The Passover sacrifice was to be killed at ben ha arbayim. Verses 12 and 13 of Exodus 16 show that ben ha arbayim follows bar erev. Because the quail came at ba erev, it took the people a while to catch the quail, to put them to death, and to prepare them to eat. They then had quail after ba erev. Therefore ben ha arbayim comes after ba erev. This is very clear.

Ben ha arbayim does not occur before sunset, nor does it occur at the same time as ba erev. Therefore the sacrifice of the Passover lamb did not take place at ba erev, so whatever sacrifice is being spoken of here is not the Passover lamb sacrifice. Now what sacrifice is He talking about? We shall see. That is three differences already.

Deuteronomy 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night.

Indeed the Israelites did leave Egypt by night, but this verse subtly connects it to Passover. Let us go back again to Exodus 12:37.

Exodus 12:37-42 Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves. Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on the very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

These verses clearly show that the leaving by night pertained to the first Day of Unleavened Bread—the 15th, not the 14th.

Numbers 33:3 They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month

Passover is the 14th, and the starting point. According to verses 2 and 3, it was in Rameses, not their houses. It was the night part of the 15th day of the month that they left Egypt. It was the 15th day of the first month, on the day after the Passover.

Numbers 33:3-5 ....on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians. For the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the LORD had killed among them. Also on their gods the LORD had executed judgments. Then the children of Israel moved from Rameses and camped at Succoth.

The Egyptians would not have been burying their dead just minutes after they died on the 14th in the dead of night. They were burying their dead late on the daylight portion of the 14th toward sunset, as the Israelites were beginning to move out of Rameses. That is four differences already.

Quoting from The Jewish Publication Society Bible:

Deuteronomy 16:2 And you shall sacrifice the Passover offering unto the LORD your God, of the flock, the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to cause His name to dwell there.

We are going to concentrate here on the phrase "of the flock and the herd."

Exodus 12:3-5 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 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. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

That clearly instructs the Israelites to use a male lamb or a male kid of the goats from their flocks only. Note that it says male kid, and not the herd. If we take the word that is given in Deuteronomy 16:2, where it says "the flock and the herd," it would then be possible to have a Passover calf. That word there translated into English "herd" is baqar. That word means "bovine" in English.

In the early parts of the book of Leviticus we have the instructions for the offerings that were made at the Temple. These things were commanded by God.

Leviticus 1:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock.

This is the instruction for the burnt offering. A burnt offering could include either a lamb, a goat, a bull, or an ox—something that was from either flock or herd. Remember this in contrast to the Passover. It always had to be something from the flock—a lamb or a goat. You never heard of a Passover calf. Jesus Christ was not the Passover calf slain from the foundation of the world.

Leviticus 1:3 If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd.

These are the same words (baqar) that appear in Deuteronomy 16.

Leviticus 1:10 If his offering is of the flock.

This is the same word that appears in Exodus 12 in regard to a lamb or a goat.

Leviticus 3:1 When his offering is a sacrifice of a peace offering, if he offers it of the herd [baqar] whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.

Leviticus 3:6 If his offering as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD is of the flock.

In verse 6 the word flock appears again in regard to Passover.

Bovine sacrifices are clearly commanded as proper sacrifices to be offered as a burnt offering, as a peace offering, as a sin offering, or as a trespass offering. We saw in II Chronicles 35:7-9 the term "Passover offering." This is why I read Deuteronomy 16 from the Jewish Publication Society Bible.

The term "Passover offering" that appears in II Chronicles 35 was frequently not in reference to the Passover lamb, but was in reference to the small cattle (baqar), meaning the oxen or the bullock offered through the entire seven days of the Feast. You have to be very careful as you are reading through this account in II Chronicles 35, because sometimes it really was the Passover lamb. At other times it was merely what they called "a Passover offering." However, they are calling the whole period of Unleavened Bread Passover, just as it is called that in the New Testament, and also in Deuteronomy 16. The proof of that is cattle were offered.

II Chronicles 35:1 Now Josiah kept a Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month.

II Chronicles 35:6 So slaughter the Passover offerings, sanctify yourselves, and prepare them for your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

That has to be the offerings in addition to the Passover lamb, because the instructions, according to the word of the LORD, that involve the sanctifying of the priests had to do with the ordinary sacrifices—burnt, peace, or thank offerings—and not the Passover lamb.

II Chronicles 35:7 Then Josiah gave the lay people lambs and young goats from the flock, all for Passover offerings for all who were present [The lamb or the goat is a real Passover offering] as well as three thousand cattle.

The cattle was not a Passover sacrifice, but called a "Passover offering" because they were being offered during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

II Chronicles 35:8 And his leaders gave willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings two thousand six hundred from the flock, and three hundred cattle.

There it is again. You do not have Passover calves. It appears again in verses 9 and 11.

II Chronicles 35:9 Also Conaniah, his brothers Shemaiah and Nethaneel, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave to the Levites for Passover offerings five thousand from the flock and five hundred cattle.

II Chronicles 35:11 And they slaughtered the Passover offerings, and the priests sprinkled the blood with their hands, while the Levites skinned the animals.

II Chronicles 35:13 Also they roasted the Passover offerings with fire according to the ordinance; but the other holy offerings they boiled in pots, in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them quickly among all the lay people.

Can you remember the instructions regarding the Passover lamb? They were not allowed to be boiled. These people were not offering only Passover lambs, but they were offering other offerings such as burnt offerings, thank offerings, sin offerings, trespass offerings, and peace offerings. That meat was either burned on the fire or it was boiled in pots.

II Chronicles 35:14 Then afterward they prepared portions for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were busy in offering burnt offerings and fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared portions for themselves and for the priests the sons of Aaron.

In II Chronicles 35 we clearly have two different types of sacrifices: the Passover lambs, and the additional offerings which were boiled or burnt on the fire. They were not part of the Passover as commanded by God, but they were offerings that were commanded by God to be given at other times, including the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Remember Numbers 28 and 29 contain God's commands regarding the offerings that were to be made during the various feasts. I want to emphasize this to you at this time in relation to II Chronicles 35, and especially to Deuteronomy 16.

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

Numbers 28:19 And you shall present an offering made by fire as a burnt offering.

Very conspicuous by its absence is that there are no commanded burnt offerings, peace offerings, thank offerings, nor any other offerings for the day of Passover. I offer to you that this is powerful evidence that Deuteronomy 16:2 is not talking about the Passover offering of the lamb at all. It is talking about the sacrificial offerings from the flock and the herd that God commanded to be given during the feast days, and in this case the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not Passover. Passover is not the subject of Deuteronomy 16. Incidentally, that is already five differences.

Quoting from The Jewish Publication Society Bible:

Deuteronomy 16:5-6 You may not sacrifice the Passover offering within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you. But at the place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell in, there you shall sacrifice the Passover offering at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came forth out of Egypt.

Notice the phrase "at the place which the LORD your God shall choose." This clearly contradicts Exodus 12 and Numbers 9 which command a domestically-killed Passover lamb.

Beginning in Exodus 25 we saw all the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle, for the making of the dress of the priests, for all of the furniture, for all of the appurtenances of the Tabernacle, and the consecration of both the priests and the Levites. All of this was given by command in the first month of the second year of the coming out of Egypt. We saw the completion in the story of the Tabernacle, and then the first thing they did was keep a Passover. That is recorded in Numbers 9. There was no change between Exodus 12 and Numbers 9, even though now the Tabernacle existed and the priesthood was installed and consecrated and in its place.

A domestically-killed Passover lamb was still the command after the Temple and the priesthood were in place. This makes it very clear these things that were offered at the Tabernacle, or the Temple, were not the Passover lamb. They were other offerings. That is six differences, with Exodus 12, Numbers 9, Leviticus 23, or Leviticus 33.

Quoting from The Jewish Publication Society Bible:

Deuteronomy 16:3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction, for in haste did you come forth out of the land of Egypt that you may remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.

Again, "the day that they came forth out of Egypt." But we are going to look at the word "therewith" which they have translated in this Jewish Publication Society Bible. I believe in most English versions it will be translated "with it." What does the "with it" or the "therewith" refer back to? They refer back to the Passover offering in verse 2, that no leavened bread was to be eaten with that offering (whatever offering was being talked about).

Look at verse 3 carefully. Notice it says, "seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it." Now wait a minute here! If it is talking about the Passover lamb, what was supposed to happen to the lamb? It was supposed to be burned up immediately after the meal was done. How in the world could you possibly eat unleavened bread for seven days with it? The answer is obvious. It is not talking about the Passover lamb sacrifice at all. It is talking about the sacrifices that were made during the Days of Unleavened Bread. With those you could eat unleavened bread for seven days. That makes seven differences.

Deuteronomy 16:7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which the LORD your God chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.

At first glance that again appears to refer to the Passover lamb. However, there is a mistranslation here, and it is in the word "roast."

Exodus 12:8-9 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails.

The word there in Hebrew translated "roasted" is tsacah. That word means "roast." The Hebrew word for "boil" which appears in verse 9 is bashal. Both of them are very clear. Both of them are emphatic words. They are hard words. Now do you not think it would be strange for God to contradict Himself just a couple of books later? Because in Deuteronomy 16:7, the word there translated "roast" comes from the Hebrew bashal, which means "boiled."

The Jews are aware of this. In some of their commentaries and in their interlinears, which is a Bible that includes both the Hebrew and the language into which it is being translated, they will put a footnote there changing that word in Deuteronomy 16:7 to "boil." I know of at least two English translations in which they have translated it "boil." They are the Revised English Bible and the Revised Standard Version. Both of them translate it correctly.

I am going to give you a series of verses here in which this Hebrew word bashal is properly translated. What you will see in those verses is that other sacrifices were permitted to be boiled, but the Passover sacrifice was not allowed to be boiled. It had to be roasted. The conclusion that we can reach from this, since the Hebrew word in Deuteronomy 16:7 is bashal, is that the Passover sacrifice is not what God is talking about. He is talking about another kind of sacrifice. A peace offering, a thank offering, and a sin offering were allowed to be boiled.

Leviticus 6:28 But the earthen vessel in which it [the sin offering] is boiled shall be broken. And if it is boiled in a bronze pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water.

Leviticus 8:31 And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, Boil the flesh of at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of consecration offerings, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it.

Numbers 6:19 And the priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer; and put them upon the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated hair. [This was regarding sanctification through the Nazirite vow.]

Exodus 16:23 Then he said to them, This is what the LORD has said: Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.

Exodus 29:31 And you shall take the ram of the consecration and boil its flesh in the holy place.

Exodus 34:26 The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.

Deuteronomy 14:21 You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.

That is eight differences already. Am I giving you enough evidence that Deuteronomy 16 has nothing at all to do with Passover? It has everything to do with the Days of Unleavened Bread, and specifically it has to do with The Night to be Much Observed.

Deuteronomy 16:4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight [ba erev] remain overnight until morning.

Again this is one of those places where you want to jump to a conclusion because you know that the Passover sacrifice (the Passover lamb) had to be burned immediately after the meal was over. But such is not the case, because other sacrifices also had to be eaten before the night was past. To find these you need a concordance.

Leviticus 7:15 The flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day it is offered. He shall not leave any of it until morning.

Deuteronomy 16:4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight [ba erev] remain overnight until morning.

The term "first day" refers to the first day of Unleavened Bread, not Passover day. Calling this entire period "Passover," and especially calling the Passover "the first day of Unleavened Bread" is a practice of later traditional Judaism. It does not reflect God's Passover as given in Exodus 12, Numbers 9, Leviticus 23, or Leviticus 33. These two together make ten differences already.

Deuteronomy 16:7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which the LORD your God chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.

What does "you shall turn and go to your tents" mean? This is kind of interesting. Once you understand that He is talking about the Days of Unleavened Bread and not the Passover, and specifically about that day which began at ba erev, (remember that term was used twice preceding this, and that a sacrifice had to take place at ba erev), then what did they do with that sacrifice? They ate it! On what night were they eating it? They were eating it on The Night to be Much Observed! They were having a feast!

Some people call this "Armstrong's folly" or "Armstrong's daydream." It was not a daydream at all. It is right there in the scripture that God commanded the people to make the sacrifice at the beginning of the Days of Unleavened Bread, right after ba erev had occurred. It was on the 15th and these people were to sacrifice that animal, and then eat it in celebration of their coming out of Egypt. So what were they celebrating? They were celebrating "The Night To Be Much Observed" with a feast! They celebrated all night long. That is why He had to tell them, "When morning comes, go home!" "Sleep it off." To me that is interesting.

Now why would they celebrate all night? They were commemorating coming out of Egypt, and in all likelihood the Israelites, once they began to leave Rameses, did not stop till daylight the next day. They marched all night, and then rested in the heat of the day. They were celebrating "The Night To Be Much Observed"—a night of watching. God was watching over them as they left Egypt by night. Now verse 8 makes sense as to why He would have to tell them to leave off the celebration and go back to their tents.

Deuteronomy 16:8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a sacred assembly to the LORD your God. You shall do no work on it.

This is the most flagrant insertion in this whole section. Do you see that it contradicts verse 3? That is how dumb the insertion has been. The Days of Unleavened Bread are seven days long, not six. But it was a practice of traditional Judaism to give people the liberty of not having to eat unleavened bread on that last Holy Day, and so they sneaked it in there. But it did not get past us.

Is God so dumb that He would contradict Himself within five verses? Is He so forgetful that in one place He would say to eat it for seven days, and then a couple of verses later say to eat it for six days? It ought to be very clear that this series of scriptures has been tampered with.

I think that we can honestly conclude from the scriptural evidence that the instructions given in Deuteronomy 16, as they were originally given by God, were for Unleavened Bread and not Passover, and most specifically (at least in those first eight verses) for The Night to Be Much Observed. The word "Passover" was edited into the text at a later time (a time after Moses wrote Deuteronomy), when both feasts were commonly called Passover. This appears to be a time after the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon.

Remember that to those who believe in a 15th Passover, Deuteronomy 16 is the cornerstone of their belief. It is their only proof-text. The reason it is their only proof-text is because the other scriptures clearly show a 14th Passover. So Deuteronomy 16, as it appears in modern Bibles, has clearly been incorrectly edited by some unknown person or persons. The Scriptural truth is that God at no time ever commanded a 15th Passover, and it is only a tradition of the Jews. That is what Wellhausen clearly saw when he stated that it seemed to him an attempt to abolish the home-sacrificed Passover lamb.

We might ask, "Why would the people who edited it pick on Deuteronomy 16?" There seems to be only one reason that I can find, and that is it is the only place where there is no numbered date. It does not say "the 14th." It does not say "the 15th." That would have been impossible if a date were given. Deuteronomy 16 is simply dealing with general periods of time, general seasons of the year designated as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, or Pentecost, or the Feast of Tabernacles. It was done that way in this case because those dates shift around, and it was unnecessary for God to include the date. But the door was left open for people to insert the word "Passover" and make it appear as though those instructions gave support for a Temple-centered killing of a Passover lamb.

JWR/smp/drm




 

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Daily Verse and Comment

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Deuteronomy 16:1-8

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Passover (Part 10)