sermon: Passover (Part Four)
How To Keep Passover
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 18-Apr-92; 73 minutes
I want to begin in Malachi 3—a very familiar section, a very familiar verse to every one of us. Probably all of us who are converted could quote this scripture from memory.
Malachi 3:6-7 "For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. [Now, notice this:] Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. But you said, "In what way shall we return?"
The obvious context here is in regards to tithing. But, if you look at this in the entirety of the whole book of Malachi, there were many, many things that they were not doing. When we look at it in terms of the entire Bible—and especially this subject that we are going through right now—they were not keeping the ordinances (or, statutes) of God in regards to Passover either. It was something that had been shoved aside, and it had been replaced by the traditions of the Jews.
We have been going through this methodically, step by step, trying to cover everything that we possibly can in regards to this subject, and leaving nothing unturned. Yet I know that we will probably leave something unturned, and we will probably cause a few of you to have some questions. And, incidentally, we invite them—because it makes our understanding of it more complete.
Leviticus 23:27 "Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
This is where we ended the third sermon on this Passover series, and I want to begin here because I want this to serve as a reminder. Leviticus 23:27 and 32 clearly establishes sunset, ba erev, (Remember that word?) as the end of one day and the beginning of another.
I will remind you that the severity of punishments for breaking of the Day of Atonement were such: Verse 28: "You shall do no work."Verse 29: "The person who works shall be cut off." Verse 30: "The person who does any work in that day I will destroy." It was exceedingly important to those people (and to God) that they understood very clearly the time that they were to afflict their souls, in order that they did not get cut off. And that period of time is established by sunset(ba erev). Sunset and ba erev are one and the same thing.
So, if people were going to avoid being cut off and destroyed, they knew that when ba erev came, then the day (in this case, Atonement) was either over, or another day was beginning. Then they were free to work, or they should not work.
The second thing that we covered last week is in Exodus 16:12-13. God very clearly establishes, with the context of this chapter, what He expects of His people on the Sabbath. All of us are familiar with the manna and how God said that they would receive bread in the morning, and that the people were to go out and gather it—which they did. And then, for six days, it fell. And then on the sixth day, twice as much fell, and so they collected enough for two days on that day. And then, on the weekly Sabbath, they arose. Some of them went out there, and they were looking for the manna anyway—even though God (through Moses) told them that it would not be there. Some went out anyway, and they tried to gather some manna, but there was none there.
But not all of us are familiar with what happened at the beginning of that week (i.e., the preceding Sabbath); and that is shown in verses 12 and 13.
Exodus 16:12 “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat [Now, catch that. "At twilight you shall eat meat."], and in the morning you shall be filled with bread.
We have two different events taking place here. One is going to take place at twilight of one day, and then the next morning there is going to be a second event. The second event was the one that we have already covered here—that of the manna.
Exodus 16:12-13 And you shall know that I am the LORD your God. So it was that quails came up at evening [at ba erev] and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.
God waited until ba erev (sunset) before He sent the quail. Otherwise to do so, it would have tempted His people to sin—through the capturing, the cleaning, the roasting, and then the eating of the quail. He had just said, "That they would eat—not catch, not capture, not roast—but that they would be eating at twilight." Twilight there is ben ha arbayim. God sent the quail at ba erev (sunset). Then they captured the quail, and ate the quail, at ben ha arbayim. That is very clear.
Ben ha arbayim follows sunset. Twilight follows sunset. And every day actually begins with approximately a one-hour period of light. Ba erev is only a 3 or 5 minute period—during which the sun appears to hit the horizon, and then sinks below the horizon, and disappears. But it is still light for about another hour, or hour and a half—depending upon what time of the year it is. It is in that period of time of waning light (twilight, dusk, ben ha arbayim) that the people were to kill, gather, clean, and then roast the quail.
This is important in regards to Passover because it establishes very clearly (in Exodus 12) that they were to kill the lamb at ben ha arbayim—that is, at the beginning of the fourteenth, not the end. Ba erev ends the day and begins the next one; and then follows ben ha arbayim. Then, following ben ha arbayim, comes lailah—which is night. So, ben ha arbayim is that brief period of light about one hour to one-and-a-half-hours between sunset and dark.
If God had done it in any other way, He would have created confusion among His people—because on one Sabbath He tempts His people to go out and get the quail before, and then the next Sabbath He yells at them for going out to the manna. No, He did not do it that way! God honors His own Sabbath day. God tempts no man (James 1). He did not tempt the people in the miracle of the quail. He waited until after sunset. The Sabbath was over, and they were free to do that kind of thing. And so that establishes, very clearly, when ben ha arbayim was; and it also establishes when the Passover lamb was killed—at the beginning of the fourteenth.
With that in mind, I think that we are ready to make a detailed summary of the first Passover. There are eight distinct elements, which we are going to examine. And, by the time that we are done with these, I think that you will be even more convinced of the truth that Passover is to begin at the beginning of the fourteenth—and not at the end of the fourteenth and on into the fifteenth.
The eight elements of the first Passover are:
- When were the lambs killed? At the beginning or ending of the fourteenth day of the first month?
- Where were the lambs killed?
- Where were the children of Israel located for the Passover—in their houses in the land of Goshen, or assembled in Rameses and dwelling in tents?
- What was involved in the killing, roasting, and eating of the lamb? How long did it take to kill, roast, and eat the lamb? What was involved in burning the bones, the skin, and the leftovers from the Passover meal?
- When did the children of Israel leave their houses? Did they stay in their houses all night, or did they leave shortly after midnight (after the Death Angel passed)?
- What does "night" (that is, the Hebrew word, lailah) mean? What does "the morning" (Hebrew, boqer) mean?
- When did the children of Israel spoil the Egyptians—before Passover, or after Passover?
- When did the Exodus itself begin? On the fourteenth? On the fifteenth? Was it sunset? Was it at night? Was it just after midnight (when they left their houses), or did they leave from Rameses?
We are going to begin with element #1:When were the lambs killed? Some of these things we are going to be able to do very rapidly because of the material that we have already given, and others are going to take a fair amount of time.
Before this question can be answered clearly, it is necessary to resolve the usage of ba erev in the Bible. That was done last week. It means sunset. Then we find in Exodus 16 that ben ha arbayim follows sunset. So, clearly, that is the period of time between sunset and dark.
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 twilight.
They were to keep it until, and to kill it at, ben ha arbayim. Okay, twilight has been clearly described, but here there was an additional factor. It is the word "until." The Hebrew word is ad (phonetically, in English); and it means "up to a specific point in time; not through, nor beyond; the limit of time itself." That came from Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament.
At the very least, that means that the lambs were not to be kept beyond the fourteenth (if we want to take it in its broadest application)—because the dating there would allow us maybe to think that the fourteenth would continue all the way up until the sunset. That is, the usage of the lambs, the killing of the lambs. However, when we apply what we know about ba erev—that is, the sunset of the thirteenth day beginning the fourteenth day—the killing of the lambs began the events of Passover at the beginning of the day. It does not terminate the events of the fourteenth. And "until" (that is, ad) seems to imply, very strongly, meaning the beginning of the day. It was to be kept until the beginning. So, the answer for element #1 is that the lambs were killed at the beginning of the fourteenth.
Element #2: Where were the lambs killed?
Exodus 12:7 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.
The Death Angel passed over the houses of the Israelites at midnight on the fourteenth (not on the fifteenth). The entirety of the Passover had to occur on the fourteenth (and not any part on the fifteenth). Otherwise, the Passover would have consisted of the parts of two days, not a single day. Remember what God said in Leviticus 23:5? Passover is the fourteenth, and the feast of Unleavened Bread is the fifteenth.
This little thing about where the lambs were killed will be connected to something else, so we are going to go into a great deal of detail at this time. But, the answer for element #2 is thatthe lambs were killed at the houses of the Israelites. You might want to underline the word "houses."
Element #3: Where were the Israelites located for Passover? Were they in Goshen, or were they in Rameses?
Exodus 12:21-24 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever.
Exodus 12:28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, do they did.
They explicitly obeyed what was told to them. Verse 24 is the first mentioning of these things as being ordinances—that is, having the force of law! "And the people did so." Verse 28 is important because the proponents of a fifteenth Passover said that the people did differently than what is recorded in the scriptures. And we will see this as we summarize Exodus 12.
God gave instructions to Moses. Moses gave instructions, then, to the elders—who, in turn, gave them to the people. They did this shortly after the first day of the month. Exodus 12 begins, at that time. "This month shall be your beginning of months." So that was uttered sometime after Abib 1 began, and it had to be done before the 10th—because they had to choose the lamb out, on the 10th. It is very likely (and, again, this is a speculation; but it is not something that I think is wrong) that it was done very early at the beginning of the month.
If God delivered it to Moses on the 1st, I feel reasonably sure that Moses would have delivered it to the people, and the people would have had it in their minds no later than sometime on the 2nd day of the month.
I say this because the Passover did not sneak up on the people. They had time to prepare for it. But where did they keep it? Verse 7—they were to "strike the lintel and the doorposts of the houses." Verse 22—"None of you shall go out of the door of his house."Verse 23—"The Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you." Verse 27—“That you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt.’"
Five times, the scriptures say houses. Altogether, in Exodus 12 alone, the Hebrew word, bayith (which is here translated "house" or "houses"), is used thirteen times in reference to the Israelites, once for an Egyptian house, once as a household, and once as a dungeon. Sixteen times that word appears in Exodus 12, when the Passover occurred. Now, do you think God made a mistake? I mean, that thirteen times He made a mistake in telling the people that they were to keep it [the Passover] in their houses!
Brethren, there is no record of the children of Israel assembling in Rameses to keep the Passover. And yet (assuming, or trying to twist and pervert the scriptures) people have to go to all kinds of scriptural perversions in order to make it appear as though the Israelites were dwelling in "tents" in Rameses—all ready to go—whenever the Passover occurred. But there is no record, in the Scripture, of such a thing occurring!
From Drs. Kuhn and Grabbe, "Passover In The Bible and the Church Today," page 8:
The implication is that they were all gathered into the city of Rameses and kept the Passover together there, since they began their journey from there.
Do you see that? I have been quoting a great deal from Kuhn and Grabbe, and I have been doing it mostly because it was their writing that precipitated this change within the church. Their writing goes all the way back to 1977. Those of you who have been longer in the church will remember that period of time, when it seemed as though the church was about to change our ideas regarding Passover back then (back in 1977 and 1978).
So, I am quoting a great deal from that, using it as a source—although I want to assure you that I have used other sources as well. I have used William Dankenbring's material. I have also used Lessons 33 and 34 of the old Ambassador College Correspondence Course. Also, I have used a writing that I feel has been "a Godsend"—a writing that is still in progress. It is a manuscript, and it has not yet been published. It has been authored by Fred Coulter. (Many of you who are older in the church will remember Fred Coulter.) But he is a very strong proponent of a 14th Passover, and, as far as I am concerned, he has put forth arguments here that anybody who is seeking the truth is going to recognize.
Note this again, from Kuhn and Grabbe: "The implication is that they were gathered into the city of Rameses." The problem with that is that one cannot base Bible doctrine on implications. It must be based on scriptural proof! There must be scriptural facts—not hypothetical implications. If they had been assembled in Rameses, then that would have begun the exodus.
Now, if they had done that, would not God have told us? I mean, something that important! I feel certain that He would. How could the exodus begin before the Passover even occurred? Furthermore, if they had journeyed to Rameses, how could they have kept the Passover in their houses?
Well, brethren, even Josephus does not record this properly. I think that ought to serve as a reminder that his writings are not scriptural. He was a person who was on the scene in many things in the first century. But just to give you an idea of how one-sided this man is, he lived right through the period of Jesus Christ's preaching. He lived right through the period of the birth of the New Testament church, and the martyrdom of the many great names of the past, and he barely lifted a finger to write anything about it in his history of the Jews. As far as you and I are concerned, the most significant things that have ever occurred on earth, and Josephus—living in the first century— virtually ignored them!
There is a reason for this. Josephus was prejudiced, just like all historians (apart from the Bible) are prejudiced. And Josephus' particular prejudice was toward Pharisaic tradition. So, he made very sure that he included everything in his book from a pharisaic perspective. In fact, you do not have to do anything except read the prefaces to his books, and you will see that in his own writing as well, "That was him, not me." So, what we see there is a Pharisaical point-of-view.
This point about the house is not a minor issue, because this thing about moving things to Rameses is one of the major justifications for even having proponents of a 15th Passover. And the reason that this is necessary is because they have to get the people into Rameses in order to squeeze all the events of Passover into one day, plus a little bit more.
Here is the quote from Josephus. (I have given you this twice before). It is in book 2, chapter 14, section 6. I want you to listen to see if you can pick out the contradiction here.
Accordingly, he [meaning Moses] having got the Hebrews ready for their departure, and having sorted the people into tribes, he kept them together in one place; but when the fourteenth day was come, and all were ready to depart, they offered the sacrifice, and purified their houses with the blood, using bunches of hyssop for that purpose; and when they had supped, they burnt the remainder of the flesh, as just ready to depart.
Did you catch it? How could they all be in one place and still be in their houses at the same time? Impossible! That is one of those things that we might just read over. But it is very significant, and it shows Josephus' Pharisaic, traditional point of view. In order to support a 15th Passover, you have to get the people in Rameses—out of their houses, away from their houses, traveling to Rameses, and all gathered in one place.
Now, one little aside—if they were in Rameses and they killed the lamb, how did they purify their houses? Well, did they run frantically back to Goshen, put the blood on the doorposts and the lintel, and then run back to Rameses before the Death Angel came? It gets a little bit ridiculous. God did not say, at this point, "Put the blood on the tent flaps." It was to be put on the door of their house—the doorposts and the lintel.
Here is another quote from Kuhn and Grabbe:
If this were all the information we had, we would conclude that Israel left Egypt on the same night as the Passover. Despite the logistics of getting such a huge group underway, this could have been done, since they were already prepared and already knew where the Death Angel would pass about midnight. They would have been already on the move long before sunup.
Look at the fallacies here:
1) They did not tell us when the Israelites gathered in one place, and the reason that they did not is because there is no scriptural record that they could call upon to give authority to it—that is, prior to the Passover.
2) If they were gathered in one place, how was it possible for them to keep Passover in their houses?
3) If they were gathered in one place, how could they purify their houses?
4) If they did do this, since the protection of the blood would have been on the houses, then they did not have the protection of the blood in their tents in Rameses, and they would have died there.
The only reason the Death Angel passed over was because it saw the blood on the doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which the Israelites were dwelling (not the "tents"). It is folly to twist the scriptures like that, as those men have done, in order to support something the scriptures cannot support. It is so interesting (in I Corinthians 1) that God says that He entraps the intelligent in the foolishness of their own wisdom. The children of Israel kept the Passover in their own houses—Josephus and modern scholars notwithstanding.
Exodus 12:30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
This is the same word (Hebrew bayith) that appears sixteen times in Exodus 12. The Hebrew word for "tent" is ohel; and it means a portable, movable dwelling. Another is one that you are very familiar with—Succoth (The Feast of Tents, the Feast of Tabernacles—Succoth).
Surely we have to conclude, from verse 30, that the Egyptians were living in houses. Were they too living in tents? "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." If you are dealing with the same word, you have got to translate it, and understand it, and use it (especially in the same chapter) in exactly the same way as one for the other. You cannot play with the scriptures like that and come up with true doctrine.
Let us go to Genesis 47. We are going here to establish that the children of Israel lived in their houses, in a particular place. The story is about Joseph.
Genesis 47:5-6 Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, "Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And if you know any competent men among them, then make them chief herdsmen over my livestock.
Where were their houses located? They were located in Goshen. Goshen was in the north portion of the Nile Delta, in what is called, by the geographers and the historians, Lower Egypt. We tend to think of "north" as up; but south Egypt was of a higher elevation—and so, northern Egypt became Lower Egypt (in the history books). Their houses were located in Goshen.
But, how large was Goshen? Well, it is very difficult to tell because, apparently, the ancients did not leave records (at least, in regards to the way we would look at it) in square miles. But it had to be a place large enough to support quite a number of people (which we will get to, I think, when we get to the eighth element). But, we will leave it right here in understanding that Goshen was a fairly large area.
Rameses was located within Goshen. It was at the south central end of it. It was the treasure city for Egypt. It was a city that had been built by the slave labor of the Israelitish people. And so, apparently, Rameses was like "the Jewel of the Nile," we might say. That is where Pharaoh put his treasures. That is where he put up his beautiful buildings, the monuments. Any of you who saw The Ten Commandments probably saw a pretty good description of the Israelites building the treasure city for Pharaoh. It was, probably (for that period of time), quite a magnificent place, and it was located in the south central end of the land of Goshen. So it was in part of the best of the land.
Now, it was an area that was large enough to support a fairly large population. And it was also in this area that the cattle for Egypt were grown. We just read that in Genesis 47—that the Israelites were to become the herdsmen. And so we have a fairly large population, as well as the livestock area. So we also have a lot of pastureland for these people to live in.
I am giving this to help you understand that the Israelites were not all crowded together into some metropolis (like Cairo, or New York City, or Los Angeles, or Chicago). They were spread out, because we are dealing here, again, with a reasonably large area of land. And if I would have to take a guess, it would be somewhere about six or seven hundred square miles. That is just a guess. Please understand that—Ritenbaugh's speculating!
I want to go back to Exodus 8 and show you, in a few verses, that God did put a difference between His people and the Egyptians.
Exodus 8:20-22 And the LORD said to Moses, "Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh as he comes out to the water. Then say to him, "Thus says the LORD: "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. Or else, if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land.
The Egyptians dwelling in houses—houses with lots of bugs in them, at that time. But the Israelites were separated away. They were in the land of Goshen. That is where their houses were—that is, their fly-free houses!
Exodus 9:4 And the LORD will make a difference between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. So nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.
God, again, is making a difference. Now drop down to verse 26. This is about the hail.
Exodus 9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.
That is very clear. Now, the plague of the locusts.
Exodus 10:4-6 Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail, and they shall eat every tree which grows up for you out of the field. They shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians—which neither your fathers nor your fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day." And he turned and went out from Pharaoh.
Exodus 10:15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened: and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt. [Very clear.]
Exodus 10:21-23 [A different plague here.] Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt." So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; not did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
Very clear! The Israelites lived in houses. The Egyptians lived in houses. But the Israelites lived in their houses in a different area from the Egyptians. And God made a difference between His people, living in their houses in the land of Goshen—from the Egyptians who were living in their houses in the land of Egypt. So, the answer to element #3 is that they were in their houses for the Passover, and their houses were located in Goshen. They were not dwelling in Rameses, in tents, prior to the Passover.
The next one: Element #4:the killing, roasting, eating and burning of the leftovers. How long did it take? Again, back to Exodus 12 where in verse 6, the lamb is killed at twilight.
Exodus 12:8-10 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 it legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.
The lambs were killed at ben ha arbayim, the first part of the 14th. And remember (verses 28 and 29) that the people did as they were told.
I think that we need to contemplate, for a moment, the impact of the devastation that was reaped on Egypt, and what effect that must have had on the Israelites. They were not converted. They did not grasp the spiritual implications of what they were participating it. But the biblical record shows that they were capable of short bursts of faith, and they did understand power. (Everybody understands power.) And they had seen power demonstrated before them like nobody had ever seen it—since the Flood. (And those who went through the Flood did not live through it.)
The Israelites were eyewitness to awesome demonstrations of power! Without the lifting of even one of their fingers against their captors, they saw what was then, undoubtedly, one of the greatest nations on earth devastated and broken so that they [the Egyptians] did not have any "power" after this. And the historians say that it was another 400 years before Egypt recovered from the Exodus—and that, of course, which preceded it.
Do you think that you could live side-by-side with something like that and not be affected by it? You would be one hard person, if you could do that—one uncomprehending individual; one insensitive being if you could do something like that. But I feel sure that those people were so stunned by what they saw, they were afraid to step out of line. They were in fear of that God, and in fear that it would happen to them. They were afraid to leave their houses. They were afraid not to roast that lamb just right. They were afraid to go out of their house, for fear of that Death Angel. They were afraid that if they did not do as they were told, they would be dead men. What if the power that was unleashed by God through Moses was unleashed on them?
Now, a less-than-a-year-old lamb would dress out at about 30-40 pounds. The Ritenbaugh family had lambs for a while. When we got them, they were just about a month old. But when we finally had them slaughtered and skinned, they dressed out about 60-65 pounds apiece. That meant that they probably weighed about 125 pounds when they were slaughtered.
We are trying to make this conservative, and thus, these less-than-yearling lambs would dress out to about 30-40 pounds. That would be about a 60-80 pound animal before dressing out. So, we have 30-40 pounds of animal to roast.
How long would it take to kill it, and to catch the blood? Well, let us just say that it would take about fifteen minutes. The people who were doing this were not "city slickers" like you and me. They knew how to do this kind of work—so that they would cut the throat, they would catch some of the blood in a bowl. Then they would use the hyssop, dip it in the blood, and splash some of it on the doorposts and on the lintel. So, to kill it and put it in position to catch the blood—about fifteen minutes.
To gut and skin, that would take another fifteen minutes. Then we will give them another fifteen minutes to do any necessary cleaning with water, then attaching it on a spit that would turn it around, because it had to be roasted over the fire. It is not to be put into any kind of a pan, because then it could even boil in its own juices to a certain extent. But there was to be no boiling, no eating of it raw.
Roasting of a 30-40 pound animal (we are talking about over a coal fire here, with wood embers) would take about 4-5 hours to cook it all the way through—to roast it all the way through. So, the total time, so far, is somewhere around a minimum of four-and-a-half hours (at the earliest) to about five-and-three-quarter-hours (at the latest).
Now we are ready to eat. What time is it? Remember they do not have daylight savings time. In spring, sunset would have been very close to 6:00 p.m. Ba erev occurs, and ben ha arbayim begins. The people start the preparation of the lamb. So, we are going to be somewhere around 11:00-11:30 p.m., at the latest (somewhere in that neighborhood of time), and at the earliest, 10:30 p.m.
If we allow them a half-an-hour to eat the meal, I think that you would have to agree that we are going to be very close to midnight. So, they were either just completing the meal, or maybe even involved in the meal. And it might vary a little bit from house to house—depending upon how many people were there, how large the lamb was, and so forth. But we are getting very close to the time that the Death Angel would come through.
So, allowing then half-an-hour to eat, they would then be finishing the Passover meal just about the time that the Death Angel was coming through. And then would come the burning of the remainder of it. Remember that God said He wanted not any of it to remain until morning. How long would it take to do that? Again, assuming that they kept the fire burning and it was good and hot, we are still dealing with wet skin, wet entrails, and all that kind of stuff. You throw it on the fire. It sizzles. And then it dries out, but it is still going to take 2-3 hours—especially the bones. It will take a good while for that to occur, because the whole carcass has to be burned up.
Sunrise would be about 6:00 a.m. That means that the first light of dawn would be about 5:00 a.m. Now, allowing three hours to burn the lamb—by the time that they were done, it should have been very close to 3:00 a.m. It is still pitch black, still very dark. The answer for element #4 is that it involves all the time from about 6:00 p.m. until between 2:00-3:00 a.m. (a total of 8-9 hours) on the 14th—not the 15th.
The actual, scriptural details of the Passover have been grossly distorted by those who support a 15th Passover. Their claim is that Israel killed the lambs at 3:00 p.m. on the afternoon of the 14th, and that nine hours later—at midnight, right after the Death Angel passed through—the Israelites picked up and began to leave Rameses.
In attempting to substantiate this, ancient Hebrew words (that are 3500 years old) have to be redefined and put into modern parlance. That is, given twentieth century AD meaning. And it is because of this, that we have to be going through this series of sermons—that we have to methodically scrutinize virtually every word of this twelfth chapter (and others).
We get, now, to Element #5:Did Israel stay in their homes all night? Did they leave right after the Death Angel passed over? Now, look at this:
Exodus 12:21-22 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.
In order to make a 15th Passover plausible, this scripture has to be "redefined" by some academic sleight-of-hand. But, again, remember verse 28—" just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they."
Exodus 12:28-30 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
I think that it is reasonably clear that it did not take very long for the Death Angel to pass through Egypt. We need to consider this—again reflecting back on The Ten Commandments movie. If you remember the green fog that came out of there and crept along the ground, and went into the houses of the people that did not have blood on their doorposts and lintel, it seemed to have kind of struck these people, or touched these people, on their legs. And they kind of gave a gasp, and then they collapsed on the floor and died. But I wonder if it was really like that, though? I do not mean the green fog that came around; but those people in the movie died fairly easily.
Remember that this took place in the middle of night, when most people—the great overwhelming majority of people—would have been in their beds sleeping. Did God just have these people struck dead, silently, in their sleep? Did they just stop breathing? Consider this: If that had occurred, it is very likely that most of the people would not have found that somebody had died, until they got up in the morning and found "Oh! We've got a dead person here."
No, I do not think it happened that way. I think that the Death Angel went through, and these people died a very painful, anguish-filled death that made them rise up screaming in terror, and waking up everybody in the house. It says in Exodus 12 that, as the Death Angel went through, there was "a great cry" that went out of Egypt. That is because people knew immediately that somebody in their family was hurting. They were in pain. And who knows, if Satan was the Death Angel, he may have taken a great deal of pleasure in afflicting these people with a great deal of pain before they died. It was not just a gentle "passing away," as we might say. I think the dying would have been dramatic and demonstrative, rather than silent and peaceful.
Now, consider the Israelites. I see nothing where they were given any instructions where it says, "Well, this Death Angel passing through is only going to take fifteen minutes. So, after fifteen minutes, get on your mark, let's go. It will be safe to go out." No, I do not think God did that. I think that, again, He was giving His people a test to see whether they would obey Him. Would you stay in the house until morning? I think you would. He wanted to see if they would do it. I cannot see them even daring to go out before God said—not until morning. The children of Israel did as God commanded.
You know that just four chapters after this here in Exodus 12, God told us about people who went out and did something like trying to gather some manna, and He told us about it. Do you think that He would have overlooked telling us that some of the nuts—the Israelites—went out before morning and died because of it? No! He did not do that, and the reason He did not is because nobody did it. They were in terror, and they stayed in their house until morning. So, the answer for element #5 is that they stayed in their houses in Goshen the night of the 14th. They did not leave shortly after the Death Angel passed.
Element #6: What does "night" mean? What does "morning" mean? Did the Hebrews reckon time as we do? The Hebrew word lailah: I think that I am telling you the truth when I say that in every instance in the Old Testament, it is translated night—every time. And it means that period of time beginning at the end of ben ha arbayim and ending at dawn (or, at the break of day).
Genesis 1:3-5 Then God said, "Let there be light;" and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
The word day is translated from the Hebrew yom. (You probably know it from "Yom Kippur.") The word night (capitalized in my Bible, in verse 5) is lailah. Evening is ba erev, and morning is boqer. So, we have in that three verse span, yom (day), lailah (night), (evening) ba erev, and (morning) boqer.
Exodus 10:13 So Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
In this verse, "day" is yom; "night" is lailah; and "morning" is boqer. So this one verse here shows a complete day and a complete night—with its next morning. With this usage, it clearly shows there is a difference between "night" and "morning"—shown right in the scriptures! Lailah and boqer are not the same thing. The locusts arrived at boqer (after lailah).
Please understand that, because Kuhn and Grabbe would have you believe that lailah and boqer are the same thing. That is, that somehow "night" can be "morning" and "morning" can be "night." In other words, you can stay in your house until morning and still leave at night. Figure that one out! But this scripture shows very clearly that boqer follows lailah. They are not the same things! One follows the other.
So the 15th advocates claim that it was possible for the Israelites to leave shortly after midnight, because Moses went out of his house to go to Pharaoh immediately after getting the message to leave. Now, is that true? No, it is not! Moses did not leave his house. Moses was an Israelite. He did not leave till morning either. What is he, stupid? No! He was the greatest man of faith of that day. God said to "stay in your house." Moses stayed in the house (just as all the other Israelites were told to do).
Now, in the same chapter and verses 28-29. This occurred after the ninth plague—the plague of darkness.
Exodus 10:28-29 Then Pharaoh said to him [Moses], "Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!" So Moses said, "You have spoken well. I will never see your face again."
And he did not. That is what the scripture said.
Exodus 11:4-8 Then Moses said, "Thus says the LORD: 'About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.' And all these your servants [Listen to this. He is talking to Pharaoh.] shall come down to me [in Goshen] and bow down to me, saying, 'Get out, and all the people who follow you!' After that I will go out." Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger.
Pharaoh's servants came and delivered the message from Pharaoh, "Get out!" Moses did not go to Pharaoh on that night. When the servants of Pharaoh came, we do not know exactly what time that was. We do know this: it was after midnight. But, it was still night when Pharaoh's servants arrived at Moses' house—and that is from the Bible's own record.
What about boqer? This word, too, has to be twisted in order to satisfy a 15th Passover. Now, the explanation that these people give appears to be plausible only because of some clever reasoning. Actually, it is reasoning in a circle—as we are going to see. It makes it appear that they left by night, and yet it was still morning. Now, what is their explanation? Listen to Kuhn and Grabbe, page 8:
Boqer, though, is somewhat more troublesome. In English, we can use the term 'morning' for any time between midnight and noon. We have not found any passage that specifically begins boqer in the middle of the night.
Did you catch what they said? They admit that they have not been able to find a single scripture—in the entirety of the Bible (i.e., the Old Testament)—that begins boqer in the middle of the night. You would think that would be enough. Continuing the quote:
It often refers to the light period of the day from sunrise until about the middle of the day, just as the English 'morning' does.
That is quite an admission—"not a single passage." What is so incredible is that they begin by admitting that there is no scripture, and then they proceed to play on words (like a clever lawyer trying to get a "reasonable doubt" from the jury). Continuing the quote:
It might be noted here that Exodus 11 and 12 emphasize that the Death Angel passed about midnight. The Israelites already knew the Death Angel would come by about then. Once the [Death] Angel passed, the danger was also past.
Oh, was it? Remember God said; "Don't go out until morning." Who are you going to believe?—Kuhn and Grabbe, or, are you going to believe God? Continuing the quote from Kuhn and Grabbe:
Since Israel was told to eat in haste, and to burn anything left until evidently morning (boqer), is not this a good indication, in the context, that boqer began just after midnight—just as it does in modern parlance? [Very interesting reasoning. No scripture, just "a good indication."] There is no absolute proof for this [they admit]. But it is significant that certain Jewish groups (including the Samaritans) later required everything to be eaten by midnight. What was not consumed by then was burned. Is this what God meant when He commanded them to burn anything left until boqer, and not to go out of their houses until boqer? This is certainly indicated by the context. In any case, we have evidence that boqercould include a considerable period of time before sunrise. Thus, there is no contradiction or difficulty with the statements that Israel left while it was 'morning' and yet also went out 'in the night.'
Bingo! They got you (if you believe that). According to them, "morning" and "night" are the same thing. Continuing:
A second possible explanation is as follows: The Israelites could be said to go out at night because it is when Pharaoh's command came. This is the explanation given by such eminent Jewish commentators, such as Rashi and Ibn Ezra. Even according to it, the Israelites did not have to wait until sunrise to begin getting under way. Since God commanded them to stay in their houses until only 'morning,' not 'sunrise.' But even if they waited until shortly before sunrise to leave their houses, they could be said to go out in the night simply because that was when Pharaoh was forced into ordering their departure.
Now, who are they going to obey—Pharaoh, or God? It is simple things like that that trip these people up.
Brethren, the Israelites were in their houses—scattered all over Goshen. How, pray tell, with no TV, no telephone, no radio communication, nothing in the Bible that says that they even had drums to send signals, did they know that Pharaoh's servants came to Moses and said, "Okay, get out"? There is no possible way for people scattered over hundreds of square miles of area to know anything like that.
Do you understand that is why God said, "Don't go out until the morning"? That was the signal! They did not have telephones and clocks and alarm clocks and things like that. God said, at the beginning of the Bible, that the sun and the moon are for times and seasons. And God Himself used them to set times.
And so the signal—the time to get ready and leave the house—was when boqer arrived. Everybody would have been able to know, at the same time, that boqer had arrived, and there would be no confusion. That solved the communication problem. It is simple, but it is wise—and it worked.
And you do not need to reason (like Kuhn and Grabbe did) and dig yourself a scriptural hole, with no proof to back it up. Like I said, these two men are writing like a defense lawyer trying to get a murderer off the hook—by establishing "reasonable doubt" in our minds and get us thinking, "Well, hey, maybe that's right. There seems like there's a bit of logic in that." But human logic will not cut it. We are looking for scriptural proof! And the scriptural proof is that the Israelites did not leave their houses in Goshen until boqer occurred.
I think that this is going to be a good place to stop. The next holy day we will pick this up, and I will give you further proof—from the scripture—as to when lailah occurs, and when boqer occurs. And then we will go on to the next element. That will probably take the largest part of the next sermon.