The Chronology of Yeshua’s Death & Resurrection
Updated: Jan 19, 2020
Torah Portion: Bo
The Chronology of Yeshua’s Death & Resurrection
Exodus 12 really stands out amongst the many chapters of Exodus as it is here where we find the first laws pertaining to the Passover meal and the festival of unleavened bread.
Given this, when looking for a topic to discuss with regard to Exodus 12, the topic easiest to choose is simply ‘Yeshua in the Passover’ (it’s understandably popular). We shall certainly discuss elements of this, however this week I found myself studying a topic that I’ve never truly considered in any depth. I found myself studying the time line of Messiah’s death, burial and resurrection, however I particularly studied the last supper, and considered the question as to whether or not the last supper was really a Passover Seder?
The issue I have always had with the gospel account lies within an observation I have noticed for some time. If one were to say Yeshua was our Passover and he died at the same time the Passover lamb was sacrificed, I would be in agreement; yet, if one also said Yeshua kept the Torah and kept the Passover Seder before his death, I would also be in agreement.
The issue is that both statements cannot be true, because, if he kept the Passover at the correct time, then he could not have died as the Passover Lamb and alternatively, if he did die as the Passover Lamb, then he could not have had the Passover Sedar at the correct time.
I’ve seen many person teach and read many a study that glosses over this truth. Some say He just kept Passover early however this is a breach of Torah and is unsupported by the text. Some suggest that the Jews kept the wrong day and that Messiah kept the right day for Passover, but this would also be wrong and the Talmud and Jewish writings attest that the Jews kept the correct timing for the Passover seder (in line with the Temple’s operation as we do today). Some say Yeshua kept the Sadducee’s calendar, however this is wrong and further unsupported by the fact that the Sadducees were the Hellenised Jews and Roman sympathisers; a people Yeshua did not align with ever.
So what is it then?
Well, let’s review the text and see what we learn. I will be upfront however and inform you that this study will fall on the side of Yeshua’s last supper as not being a Passover Seder.
To begin, let’s review the Passover;
Leviticus 23:5–8 (The Scriptures)
5 ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings, is the Passover to יהוה.
6 ‘And on the fifteenth day of this month is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to יהוה—seven days you eat unleavened bread.
7 ‘On the first day you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.
8 ‘And you shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה for seven days. On the seventh day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.’ ”
We can also read in Numbers of Israel performing the Passover in the wilderness;
Numbers 9:2–3 (The Scriptures)
2 “Now, let the children of Yisra’ěl perform the Passover at its appointed time.
3 “On the fourteenth day of this month, between the evenings, perform it at its appointed time. According to all its laws and right-rulings you perform it.”
Between The Evenings
Understanding the timing of Passover in the Old Testament is vital to understanding the Gospel accounts.
The first question we encounter is what exactly is ‘between the evenings’? This is the time when the lamb that was chosen for the sacrifice was to be killed. History tells us that ‘between the evenings’ was the 9th hour which by our reckoning of time is about 3 PM. There’s a few views as to why this may be the case, one being that the first evening was considered to be when the sun started to begin making its descent at noon, with the second evening being later at about 6 PM when it started getting dark, 3pm therefore being between the two evenings.
Regardless of how we come to this conclusion there’s just about universal agreement that between the evenings was about 3 PM.
14th of Nisan
The killing of the Passover we know occurred on the 14th day of the month, at 3 PM.
Exodus 12:6 (The Scriptures)
6 ‘And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then all the assembly of the congregation of Yisra’ěl shall kill it between the evenings.
The Passover that was killed in the evening was to be eating that night;
Exodus 12:8 (The Scriptures)
8 ‘And they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire—with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
15th of Nisan
Herein is where we start to see some complications. Following the killing of the Passover lamb, which occurred on the fourteenth, is the festival of unleavened bread.
We know however that the Passover meal was to be eaten with unleavened bread, which we are to eat from the 15th.
Leviticus 23:6 (The Scriptures)
6 ‘And on the fifteenth day of this month is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to יהוה—seven days you eat unleavened bread.
This is complicated slightly because Exodus 12:18 states;
Exodus 12:18 (The Scriptures)
18 ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month in the evening.
How this is reconciled is that the Passover is killed on the 14th at about 3 PM, and then eaten that night with unleavened bread, as the verse above states. How this works and doesn’t equate to a mistake is in the fact that Biblical reckoning of a day begins in darkness, and is then followed by light. Thus, what we would consider to be the night of the 14th is really the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th. The Passover was then killed on the 14th, eaten a few hours later at the beginning of the 15th, the start of the festival of unleavened bread.
I understand this may be confusing, but if you believe that eating the lamb should occur the evening before, which would technically be the 14th by Biblical standards, you would then have to kill the lamb on the 13th which is a breach of the Passover laws.
Not only is this understanding ours, but through the volumes of Jewish writings we know that the Temple calendar with which Yeshua was in sync with followed this understanding. The lamb was killed the day of the 14th and eaten that evening, which was the beginning of the 15th, with unleavened bread as per the beginning of that festival.
Understanding the process for the 14th and 15th is vital, but so is knowing that there’s a third festival which occurred in conjunction with Passover and Unleavened Bread.
This is the festival of First Fruits which was observed the day after the weekly Shabbat.
Leviticus 23:9–11 (The Scriptures)
9 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying,
10 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ěl, and you shall say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest.
11 ‘And he shall wave the sheaf before יהוה, for your acceptance. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it.
I’m aware there’s a controversy with when First Fruits is, but for our purposes we shall go with the accepted view that it occurs the day after the weekly Sabbath after Passover.
So, when we come to the week of Yeshua’s death, it looks like this.
The 14th is when the Passover was sacrificed, eaten that evening which would be the start of the 15th.
The 15th starts the Festival of Unleavened Bread and is a High Sabbath.
The 17th of that week is the weekly Sabbath, and the 18th of that week is the Festival of First Fruits.
In our thinking the Passover sacrifice occurred on Wednesday, Thursday is the first day of Unleavened Bread, Saturday is the weekly Sabbath and Sunday is the Festival of First Fruits.
Understanding that there are multiple Sabbaths in the week of Yeshua’s death is key in understanding the gospel narrative. Knowing of the multiple Sabbaths helps us to reconcile the problem as to when Mary brought the spices to Yeshua’s tomb.
The timing of this is complicated due to the differing descriptions given in the gospel.
In Mark 16:1 Mary brought the spices after the Sabbath.
Mark 16:1 (The Scriptures)
And when the Sabbath was past, Miryam from Maḡdala, and Miryam the mother of Ya‘aqoḇ, and Shelomah bought spices, to go and anoint Him.
Luke 23:54-56 says that Mary brought the spices before the Sabbath.
Luke 23:54–56 (The Scriptures)
54 And it was Preparation day, and the Sabbath was approaching.
55 And the women who had come with Him from Galili followed after, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.
56 And having returned, they prepared spices and perfumes. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the command.
Looking at the Passover week that year, it was in fact the 16th when Mary bought the spices for Yeshua’s body. He was dead on the 14th, 15th is a High Sabbath, the 17th is a Sabbath (both prohibiting purchases) and by the 18th Yeshua had resurrected. Therefore the 16th is the only day when the spices would be bought, and it was before and after the Sabbath.
As mentioned, Yeshua’s resurrection occurred on the 18th which was the Festival of First Fruits. It is beyond the scope of our discussion now but this festival has long been associated with the resurrection of the dead in Hebraic thinking;
1 Corinthians 15:20 (The Scriptures)
20 But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep.
Let us try though to be a little bit more specific with the timing.
We are all familiar with the sign of Jonah equating to the resurrection of the Messiah;
Matthew 12:40 (The Scriptures)
40 “For as Yonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the great fish, so shall the Son of Aḏam be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Yeshua also discusses his resurrection in Mark 8:31;
Mark 8:31 (The Scriptures)
31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Aḏam has to suffer much, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days to rise again.
What is fascinating about this is that the verse says He would rise ‘after’ three days, not necessarily on the third day.
So, if you think about Yeshua dying on the afternoon/evening of the 14th it means that the 15th, 16th and 17th are the full periods of daylight for the three days, and it means that the darkness at the beginning of the 15th (14th by our Roman reckoning), 16th and 17th, is the three nights as part of the resurrection sign.
This means that Yeshua resurrected on Saturday night, as the 17th was ending, and on the 18th the festival of first fruits was beginning. Therefore, the death occurred evening of the 14th and the resurrection occurred in what we would say is the evening of the 17th, the start of the 18th, Wednesday evening to Saturday evening.
To summarise, as I think I might even be confusing myself;
15th: Is the first night and day; is also a Sabbath
16th: Is the second night and second day. Is also the day after the first of unleavened bread which is a Sabbath and is a day before the weekly Sabbath. This is the day Mary brought the spices.
17th: Is the third night and the third day of the resurrection and is the weekly Sabbath.
Yeshua resurrected ‘after’ the third day which equates to Saturday night in our reckoning and is the beginning of the Festival of Firstfruits.
Complication With ‘After’ The Third Day
There are some complications in our understanding of the resurrection occurring ‘after’ the third day which can be explained. One example I’m aware of is Luke 24:18-21;
Luke 24:18–21 (NKJV)
18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”
19 And He said to them, “What things?”
So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
This verse seems to suggest that it was the third day, not ‘after’, i.e. the evening of the resurrection as we’ve concluded above, but really, the translation of ‘it is the third day’ can be rendered ‘one is passing this day as the third’. This therefore can mean that they weren’t saying it was the third day, which would indicate resurrection earlier than we thought, but rather indicates that the third day had already passed.
Bringing the Spices
We’ve established that the resurrection occurred on the 18th which is First Fruits. The 18th, being the day after the weekly Sabbath, is also the first day of the week (Sunday). This is when Mary brought the spices to the tomb and discovered it was empty. It appears she arrived in the morning, but that Yeshua had resurrected the night before, which in Hebraic reckoning is the start of the 18th.
Luke 24:1–2 (The Scriptures)
And on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared,
2 and they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
This is also attested to in Mark 16, John 20 and Matthew 28.
Mark 16:1–2 (The Scriptures)
And when the Sabbath was past, Miryam from Maḡdala, and Miryam the mother of Ya‘aqoḇ, and Shelomah bought spices, to go and anoint Him.
2 And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
The Last Supper
If Yeshua’s death then corresponds perfectly to the timeline for the Passover, how then is it that he ate the Passover?
To begin looking at the last supper itself, we will begin with the John account as it is the one that most clearly indicates that Yeshua did not eat the Passover.
It supports this view quite clearly in John 13;
John 13:1–2 (The Scriptures)
And before the Festival of the Passover, Yeshua knowing that His hour had come that He should move out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 And supper taking place, the devil having already put it into the heart of Yehuḏah from Qerioth, son of Shim‘on, to deliver Him up,
It indicates that it was ‘before’ the Passover, and that they had already had their ‘supper’ which is in fact describing the same events as the other gospels (the last supper).
John 19 describes the day when Yeshua was judged and crucified;
John 19:14–18 (The Scriptures)
14 And it was the Preparation Day of the Passover week, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Yehuḏim, “See your Sovereign!”
15 But they shouted, “Away, away, impale Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I impale your Sovereign?” The chief priests answered, “We have no sovereign except Caesar!”
16 At that time, then, he delivered Him to them to be impaled. And they took Yeshua and led Him away.
17 And bearing His stake, He went out to the so-called Place of a Skull, which is called in Heḇrew, Golgotha,
18 where they impaled Him, and two others with Him, one on this side and one on that side, and Yeshua in the middle.
Note that the day of the crucifixion is described as ‘preparation day’. Preparation day is the 14th of Nisan, the day when that afternoon the lambs would be slaughtered.
You might have also noted a slight contradiction between John and the other gospels with regard to the timing. John here says that Yeshua was before Pilate at the 6th hour, whereas the other gospels identify Yeshua has being already on the cross by the 6th hour.
Matthew 27:45–46 (The Scriptures)
45 And from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land, until the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Ěli, Ěli, lemah sheḇaqtani?” that is, “My Ěl, My Ěl, why have You forsaken Me?”
The gospels are describing the same day but have just identified a different time of the day. How this is resolved is in the widespread acknowledgement that the gospel of John identifies hours of the day by the Roman reckoning. So the 6th hour John is speaking of here is in fact the 6th hour as we know it, 6 AM. This means that it is the morning after Yeshua’s apprehension in the garden of Gethsemane where he was taken to Pilate to be judged.
John 19:31 again identifies the death of Yeshua with the 14th of Nisan;
John 19:31 (The Scriptures)
31 Therefore, since it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the stake on the Sabbath—for that Sabbath was a high one—the Yehuḏim asked Pilate to have their legs broken, and that they be taken away.
Remember the 15th day is a High Sabbath as discussed above and as is identified in the text here.
John 19:42 identifies Yeshua’s burial, again, with the 14th day;
John 19:41–42 (The Scriptures)
41 And at the place where He was impaled there was a garden, and in the garden a fresh tomb in which no one had yet been laid.
42 There, then, because of the Preparation Day of the Yehuḏim, they laid Yeshua, because the tomb was near.
The Departure of Judas
Returning to John 13 other issues can be identified.
During the last supper it describes Judas’ departure from the meal. Note what it says when he leaves;
John 13:27–30 (The Scriptures)
27 And after the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Yeshua, therefore, said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
28 But no one at the table knew why He said this to him,
29 for some were supposing, because Yehuḏah had the bag, that Yeshua was saying to him, “Buy what we need for the festival,” or that he should give somewhat to the poor.
30 So, having received the piece of bread, he then went out straightaway, and it was night.
The issues with these verses are that during the last supper that Judas left, everyone thought he was going to buy what was required for Passover. How could he do this if it was already Passover? Furthermore, he could not purchase items if it was Passover as it was a High Sabbath and shopping is prohibited.
Famously, Yeshua breaks bread and gives a blessing.
The bread in itself is a source of contention so I will summarise briefly and remind you all that leavened bread is prohibited to be eaten with the Passover.
In the Greek there are 2 words for bread, ‘artos’ which is used for bread in general and ‘azumas’ which is used elsewhere in Scripture for unleavened bread.
The complication is that the word used here is ‘artos’ which would indicate that the blessing given was in fact done with leavened bread. This is a breach of Torah if this is indeed a Passover Seder.
Now the bread issue goes far deeper and there are other complications in the text regarding the wording of bread. For example, Yeshua discusses the showbread at one point in the gospel and he actually describes the showbread with the word ‘artos’ which is used for ‘leavened bread’. The debate that then ensues heads into the book of Leviticus which indicates that no unleavened bread is to be offered on the altar, suggesting that artos can be used for unleavened bread too. This is an issue though because the showbread isn’t actually offered on the altar and therefore it’s not exactly a requirement for the showbread to be unleavened. The debate then focuses on whether or not the showbread in the temple was leavened or unleavened and that implication on the current text. It gets a little complicated but for simplicity sake, artos is generally used to describe leavened bread, perhaps with one exception which people debate about every year the Passover comes.
Why Not Passover?
Before moving on let’s summarise why the last supper may not be a Passover;
Yeshua could not eat the Passover and be the Passover
John states that the Messiah died the day before unleavened bread, meaning He would be in the tomb when the Passover was to be eaten
Judas left during the last supper to buy things for the Passover (or so the apostles assumed) which cannot be because if it was the Passover then it was a High Sabbath (trading prohibited)
The bread used was likely leavened and in breach of the Passover laws
Additionally, there’s also no mention of the lamb or bitter herbs etc.
Why Believe it’s Passover?
The belief as to why the last supper is a Passover Seder is quite easy to identify. There are a number of key verses as to why.
Let’s start with Mark 14:12;
Mark 14:12 (The Scriptures)
12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they were slaughtering the Passover lamb, His taught ones said to Him, “Where do You wish us to go and prepare, for You to eat the Passover?”
Quite clear isn’t it?
The only issue is that if they were actually slaughtering the Passover lamb on the 15th day, which is the first day of the festival of unleavened bread, then they were doing so on the wrong day, a day to late. Remember the Passover was to be sacrificed on the 14th.
Like all scripture though, it all does actually fall into alignment and one of the common issues we in the Hebraic understanding encounter are translation issues.
Understanding the translation issue here helps address the issue with other gospels which describe this day in the same way.
The issue is the start of the verse, ‘the first day of Unleavened Bread’. The word for ‘first’ is ‘protos’ and is the equivalent to ‘rishon’ in the Hebrew. ‘Rishon’ in the Hebrew we know is actually not the number one but literally means ‘head’, as in the ‘head’ of something. This quite often is reasonably translates as ‘first’ or ‘one’ but it doesn’t actually mean that as a word.
It is similar with ‘protos’. Upon inspection we quickly learn that ‘protos’ can be translated as ‘before’, something that came ‘before’.
Understanding this shows us that the verse, including in the other gospels, can be rendered as;
‘Before the day of Unleavened Bread’
Not only am I suggesting this because it supports my position but most importantly you no longer have a contradiction with the laws pertaining to the Torah, which is our blueprint for the Passover. If they sacrificed on the 15th they were in breach of the law.
The complications continue in Mark 14 where Yeshua says;
Mark 14:14–16 (The Scriptures)
14 “And wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I am to eat the Passover with My taught ones?” ’
15 “And he shall show you a large upper room, furnished, ready. Prepare for us there.”
16 And His taught ones went out and came into the city, and found it as He said to them, and they prepared the Passover.
Luke 22 also says;
Luke 22:8–13 (The Scriptures)
8 And He sent Kěpha and Yoḥanan, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us to eat.”
9 And they said to Him, “Where do You wish us to prepare?”
10 And He said to them, “See, as you enter into the city, a man shall meet you carrying a jar of water. Follow him into the house he enters.
11 “And you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I might eat the Passover with My taught ones?” ’
12 “And he shall show you a large, furnished upper room. Prepare it there.”
13 And going they found it as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.
Taken in context I would suggest that these verses are not a slam dunk, especially when one considers the possible breaches of Torah and the issues with the timeline of Yeshua’s death and resurrection.
What I would point out here is that the verses say they ‘prepared’ the Passover but does not explicitly say that they ate the Passover.
One can speculate as to why Yeshua said ‘where is the guestroom where I might eat the Passover…’ etc. but it would be mere speculation. Perhaps Yeshua did not wish to fully state his plans for the coming days at that time. Regardless, taking these soundbites from the Bible does not resolve the issue.
When you actually get to ‘the hour’ please note Yeshua’s words;
Luke 22:14–20 (The Scriptures)
14 And when the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve emissaries with Him.
15 And He said to them, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering,
16 for I say to you, I shall certainly not eat of it again until it is filled in the reign of Elohim.”
17 And taking the cup, giving thanks, He said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves,
18 for I say to you, I shall certainly not drink of the fruit of the vine until the reign of Elohim comes.”
19 And taking bread, giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 Likewise the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the renewed covenant in My blood which is shed for you.
I’ve seen these verses argued both ways, however it does indicate, and it can depend on the wording of your translation, that Yeshua does not actually eat with them. Note that it says they hadn’t eaten yet and that Yeshua says ‘I shall not eat of it again’.
Why 'again', not because they had just shared a Passover Seder, or where about to, but because Yeshua had kept the Passover every year of his life up until now since His birth.
Verse 20 also states ‘after supper’; not ‘after Passover’.
Another complication from Luke 22 arises from verse 7;
Luke 22:7 (The Scriptures)
7 And the Day of Unleavened Bread came when the Passover had to be slaughtered.
We know from Torah that the day of unleavened bread was the day after the Passover was killed, not on the same day. This actually contradicts with John but what Luke is likely doing is lumping the 14th day of Nisan, which is the day of the Passover Sacrifice, into the festival of unleavened bread.
The coming day then would be the 14th, making it the 13th of Nisan, the day before the Passover was to be sacrificed. This would actually place the last supper in sync with John and the Torah as being on the 13th. This means that Yeshua then had his last supper, was apprehended in Gethsemane, and then on the 14th morning put to Pilate, and then in the 14th afternoon, at the same time the Passover lambs were been sacrificed, Yeshua was on the cross.
This timeline, where Yeshua’s last supper occurred on what we say is the 13th, corresponds also to the book of Matthew which says in Matthew 27:62 -64 (keeping in mind Yeshua is buried at this point);
Matthew 27:62–64 (The Scriptures)
62 On the next day, which was after the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,
63 saying, “Master, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am raised.’
64 “Command, then, that the tomb be safeguarded until the third day, lest His taught ones come by night and steal Him away, and should say to the people, ‘He was raised from the dead.’ And the last deception shall be worse than the first.”
The day after the preparation day, which is the 14th, is then the 15th, meaning that these verses further corroborate that Yeshua did indeed die on the 14th at the same time of the Passover lamb, and that the last supper, which occurred the day before, could not have been a Passover Seder as we know it.
Summary of Events
To summarise my suggested time frame;
13: In the evening of the 13th (start of the 14th) is the last supper
Yeshua goes to the garden that night (start of the 14th) and seized that night
14: Yeshua presented to Pilate in the morning; crucified in the afternoon as per the Passover lamb, and buried that evening when the first day of unleavened bread was beginning and when the Passover would be eaten
16: Spices purchased by Mary
17: Normal Sabbath
That night, which heralds also the beginning of the 18th, the first day of the week and beginning of the feast of First Fruits, Yeshua is resurrected
18: At dawn, the tomb is discovered empty
Fast of the Firstborn
What then, was the last supper?
From hereon I can simply speculate but I would like to offer a suggestion as to what the last supper may have been and I would suggest that this is how it can be viewed through Jewish eyes.
My suggestion is a tradition, and while many believers have only negative things to say about traditions, ultimately, a lot of that talk is uninformed and at times negligent to the Jewish context of Scripture. The fact is, Yeshua keeping the Passover Seder was Yeshua keeping a Jewish tradition.
In Jewish custom however, the night of the 13th is when Jewish first-born males break what is called the ‘fast of the firstborn’ with a celebratory meal.
In the Torah the firstborn males had to be redeemed by a price paid to the Temple, as a remembrance of the firstborn of Egypt, whose deaths the fast commemorates. The fast is remembering the atonement they experienced in Egypt and is an expression of gratitude that they, the first born, were spared at the time of the Exodus.
That Yeshua is the first born about to die for the atonement and salvation of Israel does make it quite fitting that the last supper corresponds to the feast held in commemoration for the Egyptian first born.
Following the last supper the scripture records that they ‘sung a song’ before going to the Mt of Olives where Yeshua would then be apprehended.
Mark 14:25–26 (The Scriptures)
25 “Truly, I say to you, I shall certainly no more drink of the fruit of the vine till that day when I drink it anew in the reign of Elohim.”
26 And having sung a song, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
We know that the song that was sung would have been from the Hallel, the songs of praise traditionally sung at the time of the Passover (Psalms 113 – 118). Whilst this was not the Passover, the Hallel are sung to commemorate divine deliverance in Jewish thinking; the kind of divine deliverance we saw in the Exodus with the plague of the first born and the kind of divine deliverance we were about to see through Messiah.
The Hallel were sung at the same time the Passover lamb was sacrificed. That Yeshua sings them now on the 13th alludes to His coming death and the coming deliverance of Israel.
Tradition I know receives much criticism, but it teaches us so much about what happened in the time of Messiah. Knowing these things gives us an accurate picture of what occurred at Yeshua’s death.
Imagine, Messiah on the cross dying, yet the whole of Jerusalem filled with the songs of praise (the Hallel) for the God of Israel; at that same moment. In fact, the sages record that so many people brought lambs to be sacrificed for Passover that the Kidron valley ran with their blood, at the same time Messiah was on the cross and at the same time the songs of praise were been sung by Israel.
Suggesting that the last supper is not a Passover seder takes nothing away from its symbolism which, though it requires re-examination, still has power. At the last supper Yeshua speaks of what was about to happen, teaches us that the reign of God on earth would be renewed, that His body would be broken, and that His blood would be spilled for the salvation of the world.
I find the image of Messiah singing the songs that were to be sung the following day as he suffered to be quite powerful. Knowing that the Hallel were sung as He hung on the cross astonishes me all the more.
As he called out;
Matthew 27:46 (The Scriptures)
46 … “My Ěl, My Ěl, why have You forsaken Me?”
The sons of Israel sang in return;
Psalm 116:1–9 (The Scriptures)
I love יהוה, because He has heard my voice, my pleas.
2 Because He has inclined His ear to me,
And I shall call throughout my days.
3 The cords of death were around me,
And the pains of the grave came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called upon the Name of יהוה,
“O יהוה, I pray to You, deliver my being!”
5 יהוה shows favour and is righteous;
And our Elohim is compassionate.
6 יהוה guards the simple;
I was brought low, but He saved me.
7 Return to your rest, O my soul,
For יהוה has treated you well.
8 For You have delivered my being from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from falling.
9 I shall walk before יהוה in the land of the living.
Verse 13 of this song of praise continues to say;
Psalm 116:13 (The Scriptures)
13 I lift up the cup of deliverance,
And call upon the Name of יהוה.
‘Deliverance’, or ‘salvation’ being the word Yeshuot, from the word ‘Yeshua’.
Notably, when this Psalm is recited in the Haggadah which is the order for the Passover Seder, the sages render it in the singular, meaning then;
‘I lift up the cup of Yeshua, and call upon the name of the LORD’.
Of that cup, which Messiah spoke of during the last supper, the sages tell us a story which proves to be quite prophetic. They teach that in the world to come that God would hold a banquet for the righteous, and that after the meal that a cup of wine would be given by God to be drank . The cup is first given to Abraham who says, ‘I am not worthy’ of the cup; the cup is then given to Isaac who says, ‘I am not worthy’, and the cup continues to be given until it is given to the Messiah who drinks and says;
‘The cup of salvation, I will call up on the name of the Lord’.
And He drinks.
This is the cup that Messiah spoke of in the last supper; the one He would not drink of until ‘that day when I drink it anew in the reign of Elohim.”
Only Messiah is worthy to drink that cup, as only He is the one who can truly bring our salvation; regardless of how you view the chronology of the Passover that year.