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Passover Sacrifice

By Chuck Henry
chuck.henry@sbcglobal.net
http://www.halleluyahfellowship.com
rev. 7/17/2013

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

The Original Passover

Does “Forever” (Heb. olam) really mean Forever?

Further Passover Instructions in Deuteronomy 16

The Passover is called a Sacrifice in Scripture

A History of Sacrifices in Scripture

“Forever” – not only applied to Passover –

Yahweh appointed Aaron and his sons to a priesthood forever

Yahweh chose Jerusalem forever

Has Yahweh ever removed His name from Jerusalem?

Where two or three are gathered together in My name—

The Question: Revert to Exo 12 or Carry Forward with Deu 16

Is it permissible to sacrifice the Passover within our own gates

Josephus Antiq 4, 8, 7—

Numbers 9 and the Second-Month Passover

Answering charges that Deuteronomy 16:5-7 does not refer to the Passover Lamb

Sacrifice the Passover from the flock and the herd (v. 2)

“Each Day” vs. “The First Day” (v. 4)

Zabach vs. Zebach (The act of sacrificing vs. the already-sacrificed animal?)

None of the meat of the sacrifice should “remain all night until the morning” (v. 4)

Tsaliy vs. Bashal (Roast vs. Boil?) (v. 7)

“…in the morning, you shall turn and to go your tents” (v. 7)

What if Deuteronomy 16 did not at all specifically address the sacrifice of the Passover lamb or goat?

Further Historical, Scriptural Evidence from King Hezekiah’s Reign

Conclusion to This Section

Are we left without a celebration of Passover?

When You Come to the Land

Does Yahweh give us commandments which are impossible to keep?

Distinction between Sacrifice and Slaughtering Simply for the Meat

Who Was Authorized to Kill the Passover?

A Holy Priesthood in Messiah Offering Up Spiritual Sacrifices (and You are the Temple of Yahweh)

Why I believe it is improper to have a “Seder” meal which includes cuts of Lamb

Conclusion

 

Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

To begin, I would like to state that I can appreciate the major premise on both sides of this matter, and both offer good logic. Please allow me in this Introduction to briefly describe the “Pro” side (i.e., the side in favor of sacrificing a Passover lamb in our present circumstances) and the “Con” side (i.e., the side not in favor of doing so in our present circumstances). The Scripture references in this Introduction are further addressed later in this study. Right now, the intent is to provide a brief, introductory overview of both sides of the issue.

 

The “Pro” side – in favor of sacrificing a Passover lamb (but not replacing or denying Yahshua as the Messiah), being that –

 

  • Without the Tabernacle or Temple functioning, the command to celebrate Passover forever (Exo 12:14), including sacrificing a lamb or goat, is still to be observed.

 

Exo 12:14

So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

 

  • The conditions without the Tabernacle or Temple functioning revert back to the original command in Exodus 12.

 

The “Con” side – not in favor of sacrificing a Passover lamb at the present time, being that –

 

  • As of the last command given, it is forbidden for the Passover to be sacrificed within our gates (Deu 16:5-7).

 

Deu 16:5-7

5 You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which Yahweh your Mighty One gives you;

6 but at the place where Yahweh your Mighty One chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight [KJV: “at even”], at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.

7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your Mighty One chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.

 

  • It is to be done only at the place where Yahweh placed His name – Jerusalem being the final place that we are given in Scripture, and more specifically, within Jerusalem at the central place of worship, the Tabernacle or Temple, which of course is not in operation at this time.

 

Adding to the distress of the matter is the possibility of being “cut off” either way –

 

  • Not bringing the Passover offering carries with it the penalty of being cut off (Num 9:13).

 

Num 9:13

But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.

 

  • On the other hand, as already mentioned above, the last command given states that it is forbidden for the Passover to be sacrificed within our gates (Deu 16:5-7). Another passage to consider in this regard is Leviticus 17:8-9, which states that all burnt offerings and sacrifices (not just sin sacrifices, as some may think) were to be brought to the Tabernacle upon penalty of being cut off.

 

Lev 17:8-9

8 Also you shall say to them: Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice,

9 and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to Yahweh, that man shall be cut off from among his people.

 

Another possible view with regard to this topic is that the Messiah did away with the Passover sacrifice. While I can certainly appreciate that “…Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us,” as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 5:7, and that He corresponds in many ways (though obviously not in every way) to the Paschal animal, and that He is the ultimate sacrifice for my sins, I do not believe that the Messiah abolished any part of the law or the prophets, and He told us not to think that He did (Mat 5:17; Luk 16:17). Therefore, this study concentrates mainly on the “Pro” and “Con” sides of the argument as listed above.

 

With this introductory overview now complete, let us proceed with examining these matters in further detail.

 

 

 

Exo 12:3-6

3 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.

4 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.

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

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 [KJV: “in the evening”; Heb. between the two evenings].*

 

* For further explanation of “between the two evenings,” I invite you to see the related material contained in a separate study, Passover and Unleavened Bread: Time-Sensitive Information, accessible at the following location:

 

http://www.halleluyahfellowship.com/articles/passover-and-unleavened-bread-time-sensitive-information

 

To Be Kept Forever (Hebrew olam H5769)

 

Most of the time, the word “forever” in the older writings, commonly called the “Old Testament,” is translated from the Hebrew word olam (H5769).

 

Exo 12:14, 24-27

14 So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting (olam H5769) ordinance.

24 And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever (olam H5769).

25 It will come to pass when you come to the land which Yahweh will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service.

26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, what do you mean by this service?

27 that you shall say, it is the Passover sacrifice of Yahweh, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households. So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.

 

As seen in the above instructions for the original Passover, it was to be slaughtered and kept in individual households (vv 3-4) and the duration for keeping it is specified as forever (vv 14, 24).

 

 

 

As noted previously, most of the time, the word “forever” (or, as it appears in the KJV, two words: “for ever”) in the older writings is translated from the Hebrew word olam (H5769). Strong’s Dictionary definition uses various words to describe olam. Following, is the definition portion of the entry in Strong’s Dictionary

 

From H5956; prop. concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; gen. time out of mind (past or fut.), i.e. (practically) eternity; freq. adv. (espec. with prep. pref.) always.

 

The Hebrew word olam was also translated many times as “everlasting” and “perpetual.”

 

Forever (olam) has been arbitrarily interpreted by many to fit whatever it is that they want to believe as to how long something lasts. For example, the Feasts (Leviticus 23) – it has been said that even though they were forever, they have reached their “vanishing point” in Messiah, and thus the days are no longer to be kept, except as they are understood to be “kept in Him.” However, this creates an interpretational nightmare for other passages. A case in point is Zechariah 14:16-19, which speaks of the Feast of Tabernacles being kept yet in the future, in particular verse 17 —

 

Zec 14:17

And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, on them there will be no rain.

 

Besides “vanishing point,” how about considering the other portions of the definition? —

 

  • “time out of mind”

 

  • “eternity”

 

  • “always”

 

Does “forever” really mean forever? I believe we can deduce the answer from Scripture. There are numerous examples. Here are several:

 

Gen 9:16

The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting (olam H5769) covenant between the Mighty One and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.

 

-- Comment: We can see for ourselves that this covenant is still in effect when we see a rainbow in the sky.

 

Exo 3:15

Moreover the Mighty One said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: Yahweh the Mighty One of your fathers, the Mighty One of Abraham, the Mighty One of Isaac, and the Mighty One of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever (olam H5769), and this is My memorial to all generations.

 

Exo 14:13

And Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever (olam H5769).

 

Deu 32:40

For I [Yahweh] raise My hand to heaven, and say, As I live forever (olam H5769).

 

Psa 72:17

His name shall endure forever (olam H5769); His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed.

 

Psa 104:5

You who laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever (olam H5769).

 

Psa 119:89

Forever (olam H5769), O Yahweh, Your word is settled in heaven.

 

Isa 55:3

Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting (olam H5769) covenant with you —  The sure mercies of David.

 

Isa 56:1-8

1 Thus says Yahweh: Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.

2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

3 Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to Yahweh speak, saying, Yahweh has utterly separated me from His people; nor let the eunuch say, Here I am, a dry tree.

4 For thus says Yahweh: To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant,

5 Even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting (olam H5769) name that shall not be cut off.

6 Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to Yahweh, to serve Him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be His servants — Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant —

7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.

8 The Master Yahweh, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.

 

Joel 3:20

But Judah shall abide forever (olam H5769), and Jerusalem from generation to generation.

 

Furthermore, the Messiah’s position on “forever” seems to be clear—

 

Mat 5:18

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

 

Luk 16:17

And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.

 

Here we have a vanishing point mentioned, but please notice it is not until “heaven and earth pass away.” According to the Messiah, not even one jot or tittle of the Torah has been or will be cancelled until “all is fulfilled,” and “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.”

 

To say that forever means until the “vanishing point” or “until conditions change” might reflect a proper understanding if it is within the framework that this will not come to pass until the end of the age (that may even extend to the end of the Millennial Reign, when the Eternal Kingdom is ushered in).

 

The foregoing evidence points to the conclusion that Yahweh really did mean what He said when He said “forever.”

 

Having established that “forever” really does mean forever, other facets having to do with the Passover sacrifice need to be examined.

 

 

 

One of the main concerns for killing the Passover lamb or goat is the possibility of violating Yahweh’s law by doing so within our gates, that is, at our homes (or wherever we choose to do it).

 

As we observed in Exodus 12:3-6, the Passover was originally killed and kept in individual households. Later, however, it was specified that the Passover could be killed only at one location, the place where Yahweh placed His name—

 

Deu 16:5-7

5 You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which Yahweh your Mighty One gives you;

6 but at the place where Yahweh your Mighty One chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight [KJV: “at even”], at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.

7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your Mighty One chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.

 

  • The Passover was to be sacrificed at the one “place” (not “places”) where Yahweh placed His name, and not “within any of your gates.”

 

This is the way Passover was to be kept after they entered the land, where there would be one centralized location for worship. The ideal was that they would enter that land, keep Yahweh’s commandments, and live joyfully ever after. Sadly however, we know that did not take place. Disobedience has brought about dispersion—

 

Deu 28:64

Then Yahweh will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other mighty ones, which neither you nor your fathers have known; wood and stone.

 

It is certainly not an ideal world in which we live, and we have to deal with our current situation. With the one centralized location where Yahweh placed His name no longer in operation at this time, where does that leave us with regard to Passover?

 

As previously touched on, according to some, the commandments for Passover revert back to the original commands given in Exodus 12; while according to others, we must go by the last directive given, making it forbidden for the Passover to be sacrificed within our gates.

 

An additional note about Deuteronomy 16: As far as I am aware, the general consensus is that Deuteronomy 16 (in at least part of the verses) addresses the individual sacrifice of the Paschal lamb or goat. However, some assert that Deuteronomy 16 does not at all address sacrificing the Paschal lamb or goat, but refers only to the other sacrifices done daily during Passover week. This is covered in detail later in this study, under the heading “Answering charges that Deuteronomy 16:5-7 does not refer to the Passover Lamb.”

 

 

 

Some may not think of the Passover lamb or goat as actually being a sacrifice, but there are several places where it is called a sacrifice or an offering; although, it is true that it is not classified as a sin sacrifice.

 

We have already seen in Exodus 12 and Deuteronomy 16, that the Passover is called a sacrifice in Scripture. For further proof, following is a recap of the occurrences in Exodus 12 and Deuteronomy 16, plus some additional passages.

 

Exo 12:27

… It is the Passover sacrifice of Yahweh, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households … .

 

Exo 34:25

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.

 

Num 9:6-7, 13

6 Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; and they came before Moses and Aaron that day.

7 And those men said to him, “We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time among the children of Israel?”

13  But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.

 

Deu 16:2

Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to Yahweh your Mighty One, from the flock and the herd, in the place where Yahweh chooses to put His name.

 

Deu 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 [KJV: “at even”] remain overnight until morning.

 

Deu 16:5

You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which Yahweh your Mighty One gives you.

 

Deu 16:6

But at the place where Yahweh your Mighty One chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight [KJV: “at even”], at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.

 

Thus, it is true that the Passover lamb or goat is called a sacrifice many times in Scripture. That is not to say that this vilifies it in any way. Even after becoming a convert to Yahshua, Paul did not object to sacrifices which were properly carried out (Acts 21:17-26). The point being made is simply that one of the facts with which we are dealing in regard to this topic is that the Passover is, according to Scripture, called a sacrifice. This is a factor to consider as this study continues.

 

Let us now consider yet more information about the history of sacrifices in Scripture.

 

 

A History of Sacrifices in Scripture

--Sacrifices Offered by the Patriarchs

 

Sacrifices were correctly offered by the Patriarchs, the fathers of our faith, in various places going all the way back to the early part of the book of Genesis. For example, consider that Abel offered a pleasing sacrifice to Yahweh—

 

Gen 4:4 (Abel)

Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And Yahweh respected Abel and his offering.

 

Another example is Noah, who Scripture describes as “… a just man, perfect in his generations …” (Gen 6:9). See the description of Noah carrying out sacrifices and the indication that it was pleasing to Yahweh in Genesis 8:20-21—

 

Gen 8:20-21 (Noah, in the vicinity of the mountains of Ararat)

20 Then Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

21 And Yahweh smelled a soothing aroma. Then Yahweh said in His heart, I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

 

In addition, see the following references for several more examples of the Patriarchs offering sacrifices, including Abram, later called Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses.

 

Gen 12:7-8 (Abram, in the vicinities of Moreh and Bethel)

6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.

7 Then Yahweh appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to Yahweh, who had appeared to him.

8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to Yahweh and called on the name of Yahweh.

 

Gen 13:1-4 (Abram, again in the vicinity of Bethel)

1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South.

2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.

3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,

4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of Yahweh [which I would think involved worship including sacrifices].

 

Gen 13:18 (Abram, at Hebron)

Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to Yahweh.

 

Gen 22:9, 13 (Abraham, at Mt Moriah)

9 Then they came to the place of which the Mighty One had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

 

Gen 26:23-25 (Isaac, at Beersheba)

23 Then he [Isaac] went up from there to Beersheba.

24 And Yahweh appeared to him the same night and said, I am the Mighty One of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.

25 So he built an altar there and called on the name of Yahweh, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.

 

Gen 31:25, 54-55 (Jacob, at Gilead)

25 So Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountains, and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mountains of Gilead.

54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain.

55 And early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.

 

Gen 33:18-20 (Jacob, at Shechem)

18 Then Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan Aram; and he pitched his tent before the city.

19 And he bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money.

20 Then he erected an altar there and called it El Elohe Israel.

 

Gen 35:1, 6-7, 13-15 (Jacob, at Bethel)

1 Then the Mighty One said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to the Mighty One, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”

6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him.

7 And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there the Mighty One appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother.

13 Then the Mighty One went up from him in the place where He talked with him.

14 So Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it.

15 And Jacob called the name of the place where the Mighty One spoke with him, Bethel.

 

Gen 46:1 [Jacob (had been renamed Israel in Gen 32:28) at Beersheba]

So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the Mighty One of his father Isaac.

 

Exo 17:8, 14-16 (Moses, at Rephidim)

8 Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.

14 Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, Yahweh-Is-My-Banner;

16 for he said, “Because Yahweh has sworn: Yahweh will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

 

Exo 24:4-11 (Moses & others, at Mt. Sinai)

4 And Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

5 Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to Yahweh.

6 And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that Yahweh has said we will do, and be obedient.”

8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which Yahweh has made with you according to all these words.”

9 Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel,

10 and they saw the Mighty One of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.

11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw the Mighty One, and they ate and drank.

 

As we proceed, please bear in mind that these sacrifices were offered before there was ever an Aaronic Priesthood and Tabernacle functioning.

 

 

“Forever” – not only applied to Passover –

But also to the Aaronic Priesthood and to Yahweh’s appointed place for His name

 

We have already looked at the word forever as it relates to Passover. Let us also look at forever as it relates to the Aaronic Priesthood and the place where Yahweh placed His name.

 

Yahweh appointed Aaron and his sons to a priesthood forever

(also called “perpetual” and “everlasting”)

 

Exo 29:9

And you shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and put the hats on them. The priesthood shall be theirs for a perpetual (olam H5769) statute. So you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons.

 

Exo 40:12-15

12 Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water.

13 You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.

14 And you shall bring his sons and clothe them with tunics.

15 You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting (olam H5769) priesthood throughout their generations.

 

In Leviticus 17:1-9, it was commanded that Israel bring all sacrifices to “the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to Yahweh” (v 5). This was specified as a “statute forever (olam H5769) … throughout their generations” (v 7). There was eventually a provision made in Deuteronomy 12 that they could slaughter an animal for food (but not for sacrifice) within their own gates. This is covered in detail under the section “Distinction between Sacrifice and Slaughtering Simply for the Meat.”

 

Num 18:7-8

7 Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.

8 And Yahweh spoke to Aaron: Here, I Myself have also given you charge of My heave offerings, all the holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance forever (olam H5769).

 

Deu 18:5

For Yahweh your Mighty One has chosen him [the priests, the Levites; all the tribe of Levi (see v 1)] out of all your tribes to stand to minister in the name of Yahweh, him and his sons forever (kol H3605).

 

Jer 33:19-22

19 And the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, saying,

20 Thus says Yahweh: If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season,

21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers.

22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.

 

Yahweh chose Jerusalem forever

 

1 Ki 11:36

And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.

 

2 Ki 21:4, 7

4 He [King Manasseh] also built altars in the house of Yahweh, of which Yahweh had said, In Jerusalem I will put My name.

7 He even set a carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which Yahweh had said to David and to Solomon his son, in this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever (olam H5769).

 

2 Chr 6:5-6

5 Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel.

6 Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there; and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.

 

2 Chr 7:16

For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever (olam H5769); and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually (kol H3605).

 

2 Chr 33:4, 7

4 He [King Manasseh] also built altars in the house of Yahweh, of which Yahweh had said, In Jerusalem shall My name be forever (olam H5769).

7 He even set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of Elohim, of which Elohim had said to David and to Solomon his son, in this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever (eylowm H5865 “for H5769”).

 

Psa 48:1-2, 8

1 Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised in the city of our Mighty One, in His holy mountain.

2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

8 As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of Yahweh of hosts, in the city of our Mighty One: the Mighty One will establish it forever (olam H5769). Selah

 

Psa 68:16

Why do you fume with envy, you mountains of many peaks? This is the mountain which the Mighty One desires to dwell in; Yes, Yahweh will dwell in it forever (netsach H5331).

 

Psa 76:1-2

1 In Judah the Mighty One is known; His name is great in Israel.

2 In Salem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion.

 

Psa 78:67-69

67 Moreover He rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,

68 But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.

69 And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He has established forever (olam H5769).

 

Psa 87:2

Yahweh loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

 

Psa 125:1

Those who trust in Yahweh are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever (olam H5769).

 

Psa 132:13-14

13 For Yahweh has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place:

14 This is My resting place forever (ad H5703); Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

 

Has Yahweh ever removed His name from Jerusalem?

 

Some may cite the verses which follow in attempt to claim that Yahweh has officially removed His name from Jerusalem.

 

1 Ki 9:3-9

3 And Yahweh said to him [King Solomon]: I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

4 Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments,

5 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.

6 But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other mighty ones and worship them,

7 then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

8 And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, Why has Yahweh done thus to this land and to this house?

9 Then they will answer, Because they forsook Yahweh their Mighty One, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other mighty ones, and worshiped them and served them; therefore Yahweh has brought all this calamity on them.

 

2 Ki 23:27

And Yahweh said, I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.

 

Jer 7:12-14

12 But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.

13 And now, because you have done all these works, says Yahweh, and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer,

14 therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.

 

Jer 26:1-6

1 In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from Yahweh, saying,

2 Thus says Yahweh: Stand in the court of Yahweh’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in Yahweh’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word.

3 Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.

4 And you shall say to them, Thus says Yahweh: If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you,

5 to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded),

6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.

 

Compare—

 

Psa 78:60

So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent He had placed among men.

 

Zec 1:16-17 [this may refer to the return after the 70-year captivity (e.g., v 12), but also may still have prophetic significance]

16 Therefore thus says Yahweh: I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it, says Yahweh of hosts, and a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.

17 Again proclaim, saying, Thus says Yahweh of hosts: My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; Yahweh will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.

 

Zec 2:10-13

10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst, says Yahweh.

11 Many nations shall be joined to Yahweh in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent Me to you.

12 And Yahweh will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.

13 Be silent, all flesh, before Yahweh, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!

 

In light of the Scriptures just cited, it is obvious that Yahweh has had displeasure in Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem. Nonetheless, numerous Scriptures state that Yahweh chose Jerusalem forever. Furthermore, Jerusalem is still the place with reference to the future. Then what is the proper interpretation taking into account all of these verses as a whole? I believe it has to do with the way in which Yahweh has cast off Jerusalem – that is, He allowed it to be taken and the Temple destroyed because of His displeasure with the sinful people. Notice, the problem was with the people, not the place. Although Yahweh has cast off Jerusalem for a time, it is evidently still the place of His choosing with regard to future reference, and we are told of no other place to whence He officially moved His name.

 

Consider the following points—

 

  • Multiple times in Scripture, Yahweh said he chose Jerusalem “forever.” We are still within the context of “forever.”

 

  • We are told of no other place to whence Yahweh officially moved His name. Even if Yahweh has temporarily cast off Jerusalem and will again choose it, and even if that were to imply that He has temporarily removed His name from Jerusalem, there is no record that He ever officially placed it elsewhere.

 

  • Furthermore, we are told that Jerusalem will still be the place. It will again function as the central hub of activity for Yahweh’s government and will again function as the central place of worship—

 

Isa 2:1-4

1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.

3 Many people shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Mighty One of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.

4 He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

 

Mic 4:1-4

1 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it.

2 Many nations shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Mighty One of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.

3 He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of Yahweh of hosts has spoken.

 

Zec 14:16-19

16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, on them there will be no rain.

18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which Yahweh strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

  • Yahweh has expressed a special affection for Jerusalem above all other places. We are told it is the “apple of His eye”—

 

Zec 2:8

For thus says Yahweh of hosts: He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.

 

Where two or three are gathered together in My name—

 

Mat 18:20

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

 

First of all, I don’t deny Yahshua’s words in the statement above. I indeed believe that He is with us, even when it is a small group.

 

Many, however, reason that Yahweh has now placed His name wherever His people are gathered together. The result of this would be that Yahweh has placed His name in many places – when you stop and think about it, probably millions of places down through the course of history! Yet, we have been told specifically by Yahweh Himself that Jerusalem, a single location, is where He chose to place His name. Since that time, we have no record that He ever moved it to another place. Furthermore, in prophecy, we find that Jerusalem remains the place (Isa 2:1-4; Mic 4:1-4; these references have been quoted previously in this study).

 

In addition, consider that even when the Temple was standing, Yahweh’s people were also, at that time, called by His name; yet, this did not change the fact that Yahweh chose a single location in which to place His name—

 

2 Chr 7:14

14 If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.

16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

 

Similarly, think back to when the Temple was still standing for many years after the Messiah’s death and resurrection (until 70 CE). When there were two or three believers gathered together in His name, there He would’ve been in their midst – that is fine. But did that constitute a replacement of the place where Yahweh said He placed His name? From what we have examined in Scripture, I believe the answer is no. It would follow, therefore, that the answer today remains no.

 

 

 

Does Passover revert to the original commands of Exodus 12, or should we still consider it forbidden to sacrifice the Passover within our gates according to Deuteronomy 16?

 

As I stated at the outset, I can appreciate the major premise on both sides of this argument and both offer good logic. Nonetheless, having considered the foregoing, I will now begin to address what I believe is the Scriptural answer to this question.

 

  • I acknowledge that the Passover was commanded to be kept forever.

 

  • I also acknowledge that the Aaronic Priesthood was given to Aaron and his sons forever.

 

  • I also acknowledge that Yahweh chose Jerusalem forever.

 

When we see the word forever mentioned in Scripture, it obviously demands attention.

 

As stated earlier, many sacrifices were offered by the Patriarchs. It is noteworthy that these sacrifices were offered before there was ever an Aaronic Priesthood and Tabernacle functioning. If the Passover sacrifice should revert back to conditions prior to the Tabernacle or Temple, then shouldn’t other sacrifices as well?

 

Let us dwell on that a moment. Although the Patriarchs, including Father Abraham (to whom the promises were given), had once offered sacrifices, there came a time when it would actually no longer be proper to do as they had once done. There came a time when there was a central altar at a central location, to which all sacrifices were to be brought.

 

Since the Temple has been destroyed and the Priesthood no longer functions, does that mean it would be proper for us to take up the practice of the Patriarchs, the fathers of our faith, and offer sacrifices? I think most, if not all, would correctly deduce the answer to that question to be “no,” due to the fact that Yahweh eventually established strictly the Aaronic Priesthood (forever) and the Tabernacle or Temple for that purpose, and it would be improper for us to now take up that practice. As we saw in Numbers 18:7, the Priesthood was given to Aaron and his sons, “but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”

 

In other words, in the same way one could make the argument about the original Passover lamb being pre-Levitical, so one could also make the argument about the Patriarchal sacrifices being pre-Levitical.

 

But, someone might say, there was no command given to the populace to offer other pre-Levitical sacrifices. And that may be true… Or … it may not be. When sacrificing began, do you really think that it was man who came up with the idea and decided on his own that this is how he should approach and worship the Almighty? I believe it makes a lot more sense to think that the Almighty had given some directives about how this worship was to be conducted, and Scripture gives evidence to support that claim. Consider the sacrifices of Cain and Abel (Gen 4:4-5). Cain’s sacrifice was unacceptable, but Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable. According to whose rules? – Yahweh’s, of course.

 

Regardless of whether the sacrifices which the Patriarchs offered were commanded, the main point is that ever since Yahweh gave the instruction that all sacrifices should be brought to the Tabernacle or Temple, even the Patriarchs would be prohibited to offer sacrifices in whatever place they might be.

 

What about now, with the Temple destroyed and the Priesthood not functioning? Do the conditions revert back to the way they were before? If someone decided to offer a sacrifice, for example maybe something such as a ram or a turtle-dove, and claimed that they were doing so in a pre-Levitical, Patriarchal sense, would they be justified? I, for one, do not believe they would, due to the fact that there has been a command given since the time of the Patriarchs which states that sacrifices must be carried out in a certain location and by certain staff. In other words, I believe we must go by the most recent directives given by Yahweh instructing us on how any sacrifice must be carried out.

 

Going back to the book of Exodus, let us also consider something that Yahweh stated in Exodus 20:24, after the giving of the Ten Commandments—

 

Exo 20:24

An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you.

 

At this point, the Tabernacle was yet to be built, the Priesthood was yet to function, and Yahweh had not yet placed His name in a certain location. Thus, this commandment was for future reference. This would have been an excellent time, for future reference, to also cover the contingency that, IF… at a future time, you should find yourself in a situation such that the location where Yahweh placed His name is no longer functioning, or you were too far away from it, then you can offer sacrifices within your own gates. Please observe that there was no such stipulation given. In fact, the exact opposite would be stipulated in Deuteronomy 12, where a provision is given for slaughtering an animal for food within a person’s gates, but sacrifices were required to be brought to the central location of worship (see especially Deu 12:14-15).

 

Hopefully, this information will make it easier to see why I am taking the position that I believe we should take Yahweh’s later instruction on the Passover matter, given in Deuteronomy 16, where He eventually stipulated that the Passover not be sacrificed within our gates (Deu 16:5-6).

 

Many questions may still arise, however. Questions such as:

 

  • “Is it permissible to sacrifice the Passover within our own gates since we are living outside the bounds of Israel?”

 

  • “Are we left without a celebration of Passover?”

 

  • “And what about other Feast days to be kept where He placed His name – Can we not celebrate these?”

 

Therefore, let us continue on to address these issues and others in the sections that follow.

 

 

Is it permissible to sacrifice the Passover within our own gates

since we are living outside the bounds of Israel?

 

In relation to appearing before Yahweh three times in the year at the location where Yahweh had placed His name (Deu 16:16), the Jewish historian Josephus tells us that this was expected of those who lived within the bounds of Israel.

 

Josephus Antiq 4, 8, 7—

 

Let those that live as remote as the bounds of the land which the Hebrews shall possess, come to that city where the temple shall be, and this three times in a year, that they may give thanks to the Almighty for his former benefits, and may entreat him for those they shall want hereafter … .

 

This seems reasonable. If one lived far outside the bounds of Israel, it would not be practical and maybe not even possible to go to Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts. This also seems to harmonize with what is found in Scripture. For example, during reform under King Hezekiah, runners were dispatched throughout the land of Israel (not beyond its bounds) to gather the people for the celebration of Passover—

 

2 Chr 30:1-10

1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to Yahweh the Mighty One of Israel.

2 For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month.

3 For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem.

4 And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly.

5 So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to Yahweh the Mighty One of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done it for a long time in the prescribed manner.

6 Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: Children of Israel, return to Yahweh the Mighty One of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.

7 And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against Yahweh the Mighty One of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see.

8 Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to Yahweh; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve Yahweh your Mighty One, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.

9 For if you return to Yahweh, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for Yahweh your Mighty One is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.

10 So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them.

 

Moreover, this also harmonizes with evidence that the Apostles, when on a distant journey, apparently observed festival dates outside of Jerusalem, and this was even during the time that the Temple was still standing and functioning. —

 

Acts 20:6

But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

 

Acts 27:9

Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over [a reference to the Day of Atonement], Paul advised them.

 

1 Cor 16:8

But I [Paul] will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.

 

Paul also made other comments about his plans in vv 5-6 —

 

1 Cor 16:5-6

5 Now I will come to you [the Corinthians] when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia).

6 And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go.

 

In reading 1 Corinthians 16:5-8, indications are that Paul would not be in Jerusalem for Pentecost or Tabernacles. After Pentecost, his intentions were to journey through Macedonia and then come to Corinth [probably around autumn], possibly even staying over the winter in Corinth. This indicates that, just as Paul recognized Pentecost in Ephesus, he would also recognize the fall feasts at whatever place he was on his journey.

 

In addition, we find instructions given to the Corinthian saints to “keep the feast,” with nothing mentioned about making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem—

 

1 Cor 5:8

Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 

The Apostles, when on a distant journey, evidently observed festival dates outside of Jerusalem. Again, this was even during the time the Temple was still standing. Therefore, it would be no great reach to think that the early believers continued to do this after the destruction of the Temple, which is, of course, the condition that still persists even now.

 

However, would that make it permissible to offer sacrifices, namely the Passover, in whatever place they might be? I believe this question can be answered from Scripture by taking a look at Numbers 9 and the rules for the second-month Passover.

 

Numbers 9 and the Second-Month Passover

 

There are contingencies expressed in Numbers 9 for missing the Passover at the normal time, in the first month of the Scriptural year, and celebrating it in the second month.

 

Num 9:6-13 (Second Month Passover)

6 Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; and they came before Moses and Aaron that day.

7 And those men said to him, We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time among the children of Israel?

8 And Moses said to them, Stand still, that I may hear what Yahweh will command concerning you.

9 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

10 Speak to the children of Israel, saying: If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep Yahweh’s Passover.

11 On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight [KJV: “at even”; Heb. between the two evenings], they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.

13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.

 

If sacrificing the Passover lamb outside the bounds of Israel is okay, then why would the person who is far away on a journey need to wait a month? He could sacrifice it wherever he was at.

 

He could not, however, sacrifice it wherever he was at because there was no Torah commandment giving him the provision to do so. If fact, the Torah provision given, and just quoted above, was just the opposite: return to the proper place for sacrificing the Passover and then do it one month late. Therefore, even when the believer was “out in the world,” so to speak, there was no Torah commandment giving him the provision to offer the Passover wherever he was at.

 

Another situation analogous to being “out in the world,” was the first Passover in Egypt. While it is true that the first Passover was sacrificed in Egypt, this, once again, was before the later directive given in Deuteronomy 16 not to sacrifice the Passover within our gates.

 

Consider also a priest who was on a distant journey. If the requirement that sacrifices be offered overrides the place where they are offered, then it would have been incumbent upon him to see that he performed the daily sacrifice and all others needed while he was outside the land. Of course, there were no provisions given for this to be done. This, I believe, is at least further circumstantial evidence illustrating the point that the Passover cannot now properly be sacrificed at just whatever location a person is at.

 

 

Answering charges that Deuteronomy 16:5-7 does not refer to the Passover Lamb

 

As far as I am aware, the general consensus is that Deuteronomy 16 (in at least part of the verses) specifically addresses the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb or goat. However, some assert that Deuteronomy 16 does not at all specifically address the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb or goat, but refers only to the other sacrifices done daily during Passover week, thus allegedly nullifying the position that verses 5-7 command that the Passover lamb or goat be sacrificed only at Yahweh’s appointed place for His name. There are several points to address in this regard.

 

Sacrifice the Passover from the flock and the herd (v. 2)

 

Deu 16:2

Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to Yahweh your Mighty One, from the flock [tsone, H6629] and the herd [baqar, H1241], in the place where Yahweh chooses to put His name.

 

Deuteronomy 16:2 refers to offerings at Passover time not only from the flock (sheep and goats) but also from the herd (an animal from the ox family, such as a bull).

 

At first glance this seems confusing, as the Passover sacrifice certainly does not consist of a bull, but of a lamb or a goat. Consequently, as alluded to above, some assert that the remainder of the passage under consideration, including verses 5-7, does not at all address the specific sacrifice of the Paschal lamb or goat; rather, that it only addresses other sacrifices associated with Passover week.

 

Numbers 28:16-25 describes other sacrifices associated with Passover week, which do indeed include sacrifices not only from the flock, but also from the herd—

 

Num 28:16-25 (other sacrifices associated with Passover week)

16 On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of Yahweh.

17 And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days.

18 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.

19 And you shall present an offering made by fire as a burnt offering to Yahweh: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year. Be sure they are without blemish.

20 Their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah you shall offer for a bull, and two-tenths for a ram;

21 you shall offer one-tenth of an ephah for each of the seven lambs;

22 also one goat as a sin offering, to make atonement for you.

23 You shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular burnt offering.

24 In this manner you shall offer the food of the offering made by fire daily for seven days, as a sweet aroma to Yahweh; it shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering.

25 And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.

 

As seen from this passage in Numbers, other sacrifices, including bulls, are associated with Passover week. Therefore, it is true that Deuteronomy 16:2 evidently does encompass this when it states “from the flock and the herd.”

 

However, if one supposes that the context of later verses in Deuteronomy 16 do not at all refer to the Passover lamb or goat proper, several questions are raised.

 

“Each Day” vs. “The First Day” (v. 4)

 

Numbers 28:16-25 reveals that the other offerings associated with Passover week were required for each day of the feast. Why then does Deuteronomy 16:4 mention only “the first day”? —

 

Deu 16:4 KJV

And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.

 

If this is referring to the sacrifices offered each day during the feast, shouldn’t it say “nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice each day,” instead of only mentioning “the first day”? In other words, the fact that this speaks of what was sacrificed “the first day at even” differentiates it from the sacrifices performed daily during all seven days of the feast.

 

Zabach vs. Zebach (The act of sacrificing vs. the already-sacrificed animal?)

 

Another point raised with regard to this sacrifice on “the first day” has to do with whether it refers to the act of sacrificing, or to the meat of the already-sacrificed animal.

 

In all occurrences of “sacrifice” or “sacrificedst” in Deuteronomy 16 (vv 2, 4, 5, and 6), it is translated from the Hebrew word zabach

 

  • zabach (zaw-bakh'; H2076), meaning “to slaughter an animal (usually in sacrifice).”

 

A related Hebrew word, which is derived from zabach, is the word:

 

  • zebach (zeh'-bakh; H2077), which can refer to “…the victim or the act…” of slaughtering.

 

-- Source: Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

 

It is alleged that the timing of the slaughter of Passover sacrifices specified in Deuteronomy 16 does not match the timing for the specific sacrifice of the Passover lamb or goat. The rationale of this viewpoint is as follows:

 

  • Since the term zabach is used in Deuteronomy 16, it is the active slaughtering of animals under consideration and not the already-sacrificed animals.

 

  • These animals are sacrificed “the first day” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Deu 16:4).

 

  • The first day of the feast is the 15th (Lev 23:6; Num 28:17).

 

  • The Paschal lamb or goat, however, was sacrificed not on the 15th, but on the 14th (Exo 12:6).

 

  • Therefore, the animals in question must be the other sacrifices associated with Passover week, not the specific sacrifice of the Passover lamb or goat.

 

The alleged discrepancy between a sacrifice “the first day at even” (Deu 16:4), and the Paschal lamb or goat sacrificed on the 14th at even (Exo 12:6), is resolved by realizing that “the first day at even” is a reference to the closing portion of the 14th, leading up to the beginning of the 15th, and thus the evening ending one Scriptural day is spoken of in conjunction with the beginning of the next Scriptural day.* Some might ask how this can be a fair interpretation of Scripture. The reason is because this usage balances with other, similar usages found in Scripture where the evening ending one Scriptural day is spoken of in conjunction with the beginning of the next Scriptural day**—

 

Examples:

 

  • The Feast of Unleavened Bread, beginning on the fifteenth, is referred to as “the fourteenth day of the month at evening” (Exo 12:18).

 

  • The Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the month, is referred to as “the ninth day of the month at evening” (Lev 23:32).

 

* Note: The mere mention of the timing of the Passover sacrifice opens up the classic 14th vs. 15th debate, which is beyond the scope of this study. Nevertheless, I invite you to see another study wherein the 14th vs. the 15th issue is discussed in detail: Passover and Unleavened Bread: Time-Sensitive Information, accessible at the following location:

 

http://www.halleluyahfellowship.com/articles/passover-and-unleavened-bread-time-sensitive-information

 

** Note: Also, the mention of when one Scriptural day ends and another begins may raise questions which are beyond the scope of this study. Some may be unfamiliar with this concept, while others may adamantly allege a Scriptural day beginning in the morning. Therefore, the reader is invited to see another study where this issue is covered in detail: The Scriptural Day, accessible at the following location:

 

http://www.halleluyahfellowship.com/articles/day-the-scriptural

 

None of the meat of the sacrifice should “remain all night until the morning” (v. 4)

 

Deuteronomy 16:4 specifies that none of the meat of this sacrifice should “remain overnight until morning.” Please notice that Numbers 28:16-25 describes that the other sacrifices daily during Passover week were: burnt offerings and one goat for a sin offering.

 

  • Burnt offerings were consumed on the altar, not eaten. Because it is a given that burnt offerings are burned up, the regulations for burnt sacrifices given in Leviticus 1 and 6:8-13 say nothing of any meat remaining overnight. If the meat was consumed on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, why specify in Deuteronomy 16:4 that none of the meat should “remain overnight until morning”? On the other hand, the stipulation that no meat should “remain overnight until morning” harmonizes perfectly with the requirement for the Paschal lamb or goat, as seen from these passages in Exodus —

 

Exo 12:10

You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.

 

Exo 34:25

You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.

 

  • What about the remaining possibility – the one goat for a daily sin offering? Sin offerings could be eaten only by the priesthood, or else burned, according to the regulations for sin offerings given in Leviticus 6:24-30 —

 

Lev 6:24-30

24 And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

25 Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin offering shall be killed before Yahweh. It is most holy.

26 The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting.

27 Everyone who touches its flesh must be holy. And when its blood is sprinkled on any garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled, in a holy place.

28 But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. And if it is boiled in a bronze pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water.

29 All the males among the priests may eat it. It is most holy.

30 But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burned in the fire.

 

Instead of a sin offering eaten only the by Priesthood or else burned, the directives given in Deuteronomy 16:7 indicate a sacrifice which is roasted and eaten by the general populace

 

Deu 16:7

And you shall roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your Mighty One chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.

 

By process of elimination, Deuteronomy 16:5-7 describes neither a burnt offering, which is consumed on the altar, nor a sin offering, which is either eaten only by the priesthood or else burned; and thus, it does not describe the other sacrifices from the flock or the herd associated with Passover week. Rather, Deuteronomy 16:5-7 describes an offering that is to be roasted and eaten by the general populace in the place which Yahweh chose. This is none other than the specific sacrifice of the Paschal lamb or goat itself.

 

Tsaliy vs. Bashal (Roast vs. Boil?) (v. 7)

 

Another facet of Deuteronomy 16 has to do with a word study relative to the cooking instructions for the Paschal lamb or goat.

 

One argument asserts that the cooking instructions found in Deuteronomy 16:7 do not match the cooking instructions for the Passover lamb or goat given in Exodus 12:9. Consequently, this argument, once again, claims that it is impossible that Deuteronomy 16:7 is speaking of the Passover lamb or goat.

 

Exodus 12:9 states, the Paschal lamb or goat was to be roasted with fire—

 

Exo 12:9 KJV

Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

 

In Deuteronomy 16:7, a similar sounding instruction is found—

 

Deu 16:7 KJV

And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh thy Mighty One shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.

 

Although these two texts are not opposed to one another, this is where the word study comes in. Using a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the following information is found—

 

  • In Deuteronomy 16:7, the word “roast” is translated from the Hebrew word bashal:

 

    • bashal (baw-shal'; H1310): “prop. to boil up; hence to be done in cooking; fig. to ripen.”

 

    • Bashal has been translated in a variety of ways in the KJV: bake, boil, bring forth, is ripe, roast, seethe, sod (be sodden).

 

  • In Exodus 12:8-9, the word “roast” is translated from a different Hebrew word, tsaliy:

 

    • tsaliy (tsaw-lee'; H6748): “roasted.”

 

    • Tsaliy has been translated only as “roast” in the KJV.

 

  • In Exodus 12:9, both bashal and tsaliy are used but are translated different ways: bashal translated as “sodden,” and tsaliy translated as “roast”—

 

    • Eat not of it raw, nor sodden [bashal] at all with water,

 

    • but roast [tsaliy] with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

 

The rationale of this viewpoint is as follows:

 

  • The word tsaliy is used in Exodus 12:8-9 to describe the rule to roast the Passover lamb or goat.

 

  • In addition, in verse 9, tsaliy is used in contrast to bashal, in describing that the lamb or goat not be sodden or boiled, but roasted with fire.

 

  • Bashal is the word used in Deuteronomy 16:7, “And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh thy Mighty One shall choose…” Therefore, according to this theory, bashal was mistranslated as “roast” in this verse, and it should have been translated “boil.”

 

  • In turn, Deuteronomy 16:7 must therefore refer only to the other sacrifices associated with Passover week because the actual Paschal lamb or goat was to be roasted, never boiled.

 

  • Some translations, such as the RSV and the TEV, even have “boil” instead of roast in the text of Deuteronomy 16:7. The translators of the Amplified Bible seem to have straddled the fence on this by translating “roast or boil.” Several translations simply state “cook” or “cooked.” Of the translations I have checked, most say “roast” (KJV, NKJV, NIV, TNIV, ASV, CJB, HNV, NCV, NLT, WBT, TMB, WEB).

 

Let us now address the alleged discrepancy between the usage of bashal in Deuteronomy 16:7 and tsaliy and bashal in Exodus 12:8-9.

 

As noted previously, bashal has been translated in a variety of ways in the KJV. Below, is an Englishman’s Concordance-style listing of all the different verses containing bashal and how it was translated in the KJV text:

 

Gen 49:10

brought forth ripe* grapes

 

* Note: In this particular occurrence, “ripe” may be from a different Hebrew word, 'enab (H6025). The Strong’s Concordances I have consulted indicate that “ripe” is from bashal; however, the Englishman’s Concordance indicates only “brought forth.”

Exo 12:9

nor sodden at all with water

Exo 16:23

seethe that

 

ye will seethe

Exo 23:19

Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk

Exo 29:31

and seethe his flesh

Exo 34:26

Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk

Lev 6:28

vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken:

 

and if it be sodden in a brazen pot

Lev 8:31

Boil the flesh at the door

Num 11:8

and baked it in pans

Deu 14:21

Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk

Deu 16:7

And thou shalt roast

1 Sam 2:13

while the flesh was in seething

1 Sam 2:15

He will not have sodden flesh

2 Sam 13:8

and did bake the cakes

1 Ki 19:21

and boiled their flesh

2 Ki 4:38

and seethe pottage for the sons

2 Ki 6:29

So we boiled my son

2 Chr 35:13

And they roasted the Passover with fire according to the ordinance:

 

but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people.

Lam 4:10

have sodden their own children

Eze 24:5

make it boil [rathach (H7570): “a prim. root; to boil:--boil.”] well, and let them seethe [bashal] the bones of it therein.

Eze 46:20

the priests shall boil the trespass offering

Eze 46:24

the places of them that boil;

 

the ministers of the house shall boil

Joel 3:13

for the harvest is ripe

Zec 14:21

and seethe therein

 

As shown in the listing above, bashal has been translated with reference to seething or boiling in most occurrences. However, as the listing above also shows, bashal has also been translated other ways, even with reference to ripe produce.

 

Below is an excerpt from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament: having to do with bashal

 

In the more than a dozen places where bashal is used to describe the preparation of cakes or animals in the sacrificial system, it can describe any kind of cooking procedure: “baking” (Num 11:8), “roasting” (Deut 16:7; 2 Chron 35:13) or “boiling” (Lev 8:31; Ezek 46:20,24).

 

-- Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Copyright (c) 1980 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

The information from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance coupled with the information from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, in concert with comparing the usage of bashal in various verses of Scripture, reveals that bashal is a more general cooking term than is tsaliy. Moreover, if it were considered mandatory that every instance of bashal indicates boiling, then produce must be boiled before it can be considered “ripe.”

 

Compare the usage of bashal in 2 Chronicles 35:13, where it is translated as both “roasted” (KJV & NKJV) and “sod” (KJV) or “boiled” (NKJV) – (verse 1 is included for context in the quote below) —

 

2 Chr 35:1, 13 KJV

1 Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto Yahweh in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.

13 And they roasted [bashal H1310] the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod [bashal H1310] they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people.

 

Clearly, roasted with fire is not the same thing as sod or boiled, thus demonstrating within this single verse the allowable difference in usage of the word bashal.

 

In conclusion, the alleged discrepancy between bashal in Deuteronomy 16:7 and tsaliy and bashal in Exodus 12:8-9 is resolved by realizing that bashal can refer to boiling, but it can also refer to roasting, baking, or even ripe produce, depending on the context.

 

 “…in the morning, you shall turn and to go your tents” (v. 7)

 

Notice the additional instruction from verse 7: “…and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.” If this were a command associated with the other sacrifices for each day of the feast, the wording might have been more like, “… each evening you shall roast and eat … and each morning you shall return to your tents.” But if that were the case, the fact that they would not be allowed to stay in their tents at night for the duration of the feast does not properly fit the picture. This is yet another piece of evidence showing that the context refers to the singular Passover sacrifice and subsequent Passover meal.

 

What if Deuteronomy 16 did not at all specifically address the sacrifice of the Passover lamb or goat?

 

Finally, even if the Paschal lamb were totally excluded from Deuteronomy 16, the Numbers-9-distant-journey issue still remains with regard to the location of the Passover sacrifice.

 

If the Passover can be sacrificed anywhere…

 

  • Why the requirement that it could not be sacrificed when on a distant journey?

 

  • Why did the participant have to wait and return to a specific place in order to carry this out during the second month?

 

Numbers 9 is therefore supportive evidence that harmonizes with Deuteronomy 16 such that sacrificing the Passover became allowable in only one place as of the latest directives given.

 

Further Historical, Scriptural Evidence from King Hezekiah’s Reign

 

Further historical, Scriptural evidence that Yahweh’s appointed place for His name became the only permissible place to sacrifice the Passover is given in 2 Chronicles 30:1-3, during a time of reform under the righteous King Hezekiah—

 

2 Chr 30:1-3

1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to Yahweh Mighty One of Israel.

2 For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month.

3 For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem.

 

Verse 3 states that Passover was not kept at the regular time and that one of the factors affecting this was that the people had not “gathered together at Jerusalem.” Even when the country had been in a previous state of disarray, there is no evidence that the people were privately sacrificing the Passover at their own homes. If this were the case, the people could have responded to King Hezekiah’s request by stating that there was no need for them to come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover in the second month as they had already kept it at its appointed time during the first month.

 

Conclusion to This Section

 

When taken together, the above evidence shows that both the Passover sacrifice itself and the other sacrifices associated with Passover week are addressed in Deuteronomy 16, and that neither can be sacrificed in just any place, but only at the place where Yahweh chose to place His name.

 

 

Are we left without a celebration of Passover?

And what about other Feast days to be kept where He placed His Name – Can we not celebrate these?

 

Besides the Passover being offered at the place where Yahweh placed His name, it is mentioned that the three major annual festivals are also to be kept in the place where He placed His name—

 

Deu 16:16

Three times a year all your males shall appear before Yahweh your Mighty One 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 Yahweh empty-handed.

 

Also see—

 

Exo 23:14-17

14 Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year:

15 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);

16 and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.

17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Master Yahweh.

 

Does this mean that we can only celebrate Passover in Jerusalem, or not at all? And if we cannot sacrifice the Passover, then isn’t it impossible for us to keep the three major annual festivals since it says those also are to be kept in the place where Yahweh places His name? I can certainly understand the logic of these questions and the issue of consistency they raise. My answer to these questions is based on what I see in the Torah, the Acts of the Apostles, and historical information.

 

Torah: As we have already covered, as I see it, we must go by the last command given in the Torah regarding this issue, making it forbidden for the Passover to be sacrificed within our gates (Deu 16:5-7).

 

Apostles: I would like to again make reference to the evidence that the Apostles, when on a far away journey, apparently observed festival dates on the sacred calendar outside of Jerusalem, and that was even during the time the Temple was still standing.

 

History: The understanding that Josephus gives us as to the requirement of appearing before Yahweh at the three major festivals at the location where He placed His name is that this was expected of those who lived within the bounds of Israel. And, as we saw previously, 2 Chronicles 30:1-10 lends corroborating evidence.

 

This all seems to add up then, that the Apostles could rightly observe festival dates on their journeys, but notice, however, that there is no record that they ever offered the Passover or other sacrifices in whatever places they were at; for that would be against Torah.

 

If we had Biblical and historical information showing that the Apostles and early believers did sacrifice the Passover in whatever place they were at, that would indeed be significant. Conversely, the lack of that information also merits consideration regarding this issue, especially when considered in light of the fact that the only record we have of Paul offering sacrifice was in the Temple (Acts 21:17-26).

 

All of this, then, I believe, is evidence that the festival dates on the sacred calendar can still be observed, but without the associated sacrifices that were required at the one central location where Yahweh placed His name.

 

The sacrifices that were prescribed in connection with other annual festivals are certainly not being carried out today. Yet, we don’t let that get in the way of our observance of those festival dates. Thus, by the same token, why would we not have a special observance of Passover as well?

 

Having said that, to some it may seem strange to think of having a Passover celebration without a roasted lamb or goat. Yet, I do not believe that we are left without a celebration of Passover. Although I do not believe that Torah gives us the provision to sacrifice the Passover within our gates, I also do not think that keeps us from observing Passover night with a meal including unleavened bread and partaking of the bread and cup of Yahshua’s Memorial.

 

There is also another factor that I believe adds meaning to Passover night. I believe that Scriptural evidence shows that the proper timing for the Passover meal is the evening beginning the Scriptural day of Abib 15. That comment opens up a whole new, huge subject, which I will not delve into here. (However, even if you are not of this same persuasion as to the timing of Passover night, it should not render the main subject matter of this article useless to you.) Nevertheless, I believe what makes the Passover night and meal even more meaningful, is that it takes place in conjunction with the first meal celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and that it is the night to be much observed (Exo 12:42). Also consider that if we take the Memorial emblems on the evening beginning the 14th, we are commemorating a death before it occurs.

 

 

 

Going back to the Exodus 12 instructions for Passover, we are told that it would come to pass that they would keep Passover in the future in the land which Yahweh would give them—

 

Exo 12:25

It will come to pass when you come to the land which Yahweh will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service [Passover].

 

For the record, Scripture does show that Passover was kept even before they entered the promised land, “… in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt” (Num 9:1). This was also after the Tabernacle was erected (see Exo 40:17)—

 

Exo 40:17 (Tabernacle erected 1st day / 1st month / 2nd year)

And it came to pass in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up.

 

Num 9:1-5 (Passover kept in the Wilderness in the 1st month / 2nd year)

1 Now Yahweh spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying:

2 Let the children of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time.

3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight [KJV: “at even”; Heb. between the two evenings], you shall keep it at its appointed time. According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it.

4 So Moses told the children of Israel that they should keep the Passover.

5 And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, at twilight [KJV: “at even”; Heb. between the two evenings], in the Wilderness of Sinai; according to all that Yahweh commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did.

 

Incidentally, Joshua 5:1-12, cited below, indicates that they evidently did not observe Passover for most (if not all) of the rest of the years in the Wilderness because they did not continue circumcision, which is a requirement to partake of Passover (“… For no uncircumcised person shall eat it” -- Exo 12:48) —

 

Jos 5:1-12

1 So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that Yahweh had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.

2 At that time Yahweh said to Joshua, Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.

3 So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt.

5 For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised.

6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of Yahweh; to whom Yahweh swore that He would not show them the land which Yahweh had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.

7 Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.

8 So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.

9 Then Yahweh said to Joshua, This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.

10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight [KJV: “at even”] on the plains of Jericho.

11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day.

12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.

 

Returning to the specific idea of “when you come to the land,” some want to say that this makes any observance whatsoever of Yahweh’s annual festivals impossible. They may also point out that, even if we were in the land, there is no Tabernacle or Temple functioning in which to carry out the observances of the Passover and other annual festivals.

 

Some may even go to the extent of alleging that all of Yahweh’s commandments are tied to living in the land, in what was to be His Kingdom, and now that has all been done away with.

 

Indeed, the ideal was that they would enter the land, keep Yahweh’s commandments, and live joyfully ever after. However, we know that did not take place, it is not an ideal world, and we have to deal with our current situation. Scripture states that we are as pilgrims and sojourners, looking for His Kingdom to come—

 

Heb 11:13

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

 

1 Pet 1:17

And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.

 

To conduct ourselves throughout the time of our stay here in fear would certainly imply keeping His commandments. In particular, when it comes to honoring Yahweh’s calendar and observing the special dates He has appointed, information has already been given previously in this study for so doing whether inside or outside the land, such as the record of the Apostles’ observance along with corroborating historical information.

 

Therefore, in conclusion to this section, I hope you can see why I take the position that we can still endeavor to keep Yahweh’s commandments, including recognizing special festival dates on the Scriptural calendar, while also believing that we have to go with the most recent directives given by Yahweh with regard to sacrifices, whether it be the Passover sacrifice or any others.

 

 

 

Those who take the position that we should continue to kill the Passover within our gates do so on the basis that Yahweh does not give us commandments which are impossible to keep, and Passover was commanded to be kept forever; therefore, the conditions for Passover must revert back to the original commands given in Exodus 12.

 

While I can understand the logic behind such a thought, in my opinion, it doesn’t square with Scripture as a whole. For example, using the reasoning that Yahweh does not give us commandments which are impossible to keep, why shouldn’t we then attempt to do what we can to build an altar and sacrifice not just the Passover, but a multitude of other sacrifices, similar to what the Patriarchs did, as we saw earlier?

 

Also, consider the sons of Aaron who have no Temple wherein to function. It is clear that they are currently in a position where they cannot keep the commandments that were given to them having to do with the sacrifices.

 

It is obvious that there are some commands that are simply not being carried out today. Again, a person could take that statement, run wild with it, and come up with the idea that none of Yahweh’s commandments are applicable today. But to do so would be a grave error, and that is certainly not the intent here. The purpose of this writing is specifically to help determine whether or not it is proper for us to be sacrificing the Passover under our current conditions.

 

 

 

Some may have the mistaken notion that any animal that is killed, even if just for food, is a sacrifice.

 

Let us review and expand upon what has already been touched on previously.

 

In Leviticus 17:1-9, it was commanded that Israel bring all sacrifices to “the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to Yahweh” (v 5). In verse 7, this is specified as a “statute forever … throughout their generations.”

 

An important concept to note here is that not every animal that was killed was considered a sacrifice. For example, we find later in Leviticus 17 that hunters were not required to bring their game to the Tabernacle (v 13)—

 

Lev 17:13

Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust [note: this blood was allowed to be poured out on the ground instead of being upon the altar as in v 6].

 

Evidently, game animals, even though classified as clean, such as deer, were not qualified to be a sacrificial animal. And, of course, no type of unclean animal was acceptable for a sacrifice.

 

There was eventually a provision made in Deuteronomy 12 that they could slaughter an animal for food (not for sacrifice) within their own gates, even though, previously, it had been strictly required to bring it to the door of the Tabernacle as in Leviticus 17.

 

Let us now take into account the additional instructions found in Deuteronomy 12. It is actually good to read most of Deuteronomy 12 in regard to this (vv 5-27), but a couple of the key verses are shown here (vv 14-15)—

 

Deu 12:14-15

14 But in the place which Yahweh chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.

15 However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of Yahweh your Mighty One which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike.

 

Within their own gates, the animal was being slaughtered simply for the meat. It was not a sacrifice to Yahweh, and that is underscored by the fact that even the unclean person could partake of it.

 

 

 

An argument given for killing a Passover lamb or goat today, in present circumstances, is that a Levitical Priest is not required to do the killing.

 

The original Passover instructions in Exodus 12 state that the whole assembly was to kill the Passover:

 

Exo 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 [KJV: “in the evening”; Heb. between the two evenings].

 

Also compare the following Scripture references:

 

2 Chr 30:17

For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean (a multitude of people from various tribes mentioned in v 18), to sanctify them to Yahweh.

 

Ezr 6:19-21

19 And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.

20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean. And they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.

21 Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek Yahweh the Mighty One of Israel.

 

The passages in 2 Chronicles 30 and Ezra 6 show that, even with the Tabernacle or Temple standing and the Priesthood serving, had the people been in an appropriate state of cleanliness, they could kill their Passover lamb.

 

However, this was actually nothing unusual. For even with other sacrifices, notice that the person bringing the sacrifice was to kill it, as described in the opening chapters of Leviticus (Lev 1:4-5, 11; 3:2, 8, 13). If a sacrifice is deemed appropriate on the basis that a Levitical Priest is not required to kill it, then many sacrifices could be reinstituted.

 

Also with regard to what is described in the opening chapters of Leviticus, even though the person was to kill his own sacrifice, it had to be done at the Tabernacle or Temple. And we are told that, eventually, that also became the requirement for the Passover sacrifice as well (Deu 16:5-7).

 

 

 

Before the tribe of Levi was separated unto Yahweh to be the priests, the priests were meant to come from the entire nation of Israel—

 

Exo 19:4-6

4 You have seen what I [Yahweh] did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.

5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.

6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you [Moses] shall speak to the children of Israel.

 

Now consider 1 Peter 2:5—

 

1 Pet 2:5

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Yahweh through Yahshua Messiah.

 

We who are in the Messiah are called “a holy priesthood.” Because of that, some may say that we have regained the priesthood which was taken away from the people, and given to the tribe of Levi. It may also be said that we are the temple of Yahweh—

 

1 Cor 3:16

Do you not know that you are the temple of Yahweh and that the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in you?

 

And thus, it may be further reasoned that this is proof that we should be sacrificing the Passover. However, notice that 1 Peter 2:5 says “… to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Yahweh through Yahshua Messiah.”

 

Also, if it is the case that we have supplanted the Aaronic Priesthood, and that we have a Temple due to each of us being a temple of Yahweh, what is keeping us from reinstating all of the sacrifices?

 

For the record, I certainly accept what 1 Corinthians 3:16 states: that we “… are the temple of Yahweh and that the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in [us].” But, this is a spiritual application. It does not take away the fact that Yahweh specifically, officially, placed His name in a certain location (Jerusalem), and that is the last record we have of the place where He officially placed His name. To further underscore that it does not take away the literal city of Jerusalem or the literal Temple, consider all of the prophecies yet to be fulfilled having to do with Jerusalem and the Temple.

 

Also consider this: If we spiritualize where Yahweh placed His name, possibly we should also spiritualize the lamb, precluding the question of literal slaughter altogether.

 

 

 

In the absence of personally slaughtering a lamb or goat for Passover, some may opt for a Passover meal which includes cuts of lamb or goat obtained from the market, a farmer, etc. While I can appreciate a person’s desire to celebrate Passover with an attempt at a full-fledged Passover meal, including lamb or goat, I have had to face the problems associated with this type of meal, which I will describe shortly.

 

Some may balk at my use of the word “Seder,” thinking only of the Jewish Seder meal with all of its attached traditions. However, for practical purposes, this type of meal for Passover, involving a cut of lamb or goat, as previously described, could be referred to as a type of Seder meal. For our purposes, the focal point of this type of Passover meal is the fact that the observance is done with cuts of lamb or goat, which, obviously, has to be slaughtered at some previous time.

 

Because of the fact that lamb or goat is specified as the main entrée of the Passover meal, I can see how it would not seem wrong to a person to have a celebratory Passover meal in this fashion with lamb or goat served. However, there are some things about the methods involved here that seem problematical when compared to the guidance we are given in Scripture for how to celebrate Passover.

 

  • Even lamb or goat purchased from the grocery store obviously has to be slaughtered.

 

  • When buying lamb or goat after it has been slaughtered, processed, and has arrived at the market, it certainly has not been killed at the prescribed time, during the ending hours of Abib 14 (Exo 12:6; Lev 23:5; Deu 16:6).

 

  • Was it kept up (humanely) from the 10th to the 14th (Exo 12:3)?

 

  • Was it without blemish and a male of the first year (Exo 12:5)?

 

  • Was it roasted whole in the fire, its head with its legs and its inner parts (Exo 12:9)?

 

  • Will any leftovers be burnt the next morning (Exo 12:10)?

 

  • Were any of its bones broken (Exo 12:46)?

 

  • As for the leftovers from this meal, what will be done with them? Will they be burned the next morning (Exo 12:10)?

 

If we are going to partake of lamb or goat at a Passover meal, do we have a right to ignore these directives? I believe not.

 

 

 

As we come to the close of this study, I would like to reiterate several key points.

 

The Passover is called a sacrifice in Scripture.

 

When we look at the history of sacrifices in Scripture, we find that the Patriarchs, the fathers of our faith, once correctly offered sacrifices, but it would be incorrect for them to do so now because the Tabernacle or Temple and the Aaronic Priesthood was established forever to handle the sacrifices, and Jerusalem was chosen as the place forever.

 

We have seen the contingent plan in Numbers 9 for missing the Passover at the normal time, in the first month of the Scriptural year, and celebrating it in the second month. Again, a key point is: If sacrificing the Passover lamb outside the bounds of Israel is okay, then why would the person who is far away on a journey need to wait a month? They could sacrifice it wherever they were at. But there is no Torah provision for this. Similarly, there is no Torah provision even for a priest to sacrifice while he is away on a journey.

 

We have also examined the issue of whether we are left without a celebration of Passover and other festivals. We have observed what is written in the Torah, the Acts of the Apostles, and corroborating historical information in order to gain an understanding about observing these special dates on Yahweh’s sacred calendar.

 

As I stated at the outset, I can appreciate the major premise on both sides of this argument and both offer good logic. It is obvious, however, that I arrive at one conclusion over the other. And that conclusion is that, according to Torah, we cannot, under our current set of circumstances, properly sacrifice the Passover. We can, however, still celebrate the occasion as best we can, even in the absence of a Passover lamb being slaughtered.

 

I hope this study has been helpful, and may Yahweh’s Spirit guide us into all truth.

 

Sincerely,

Chuck

 

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