WHEN Is the Passover? 14th or 15th? And, How Did the Passover Get Its Name?

The Holy Bible clearly defines the Passover and states the date of the Passover. God distinguishes activities of the 14th and 15th of the first month of the year in Leviticus 23:5-6.  God names these two separate feasts.

(5) In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover.  (6) And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

The first Passover occurred in Egypt in the year God brought ancient Israel out of slavery.  God gave much instruction about what to do to prepare for that first Passover.

From the verses in Exodus 12, we find the clear and specific instructions God gave.

(1) In the 10th day of the month (first month of the year, verse 2), Israelite households were to take a lamb and “keep it up” until the 14th day of the same month.

(3) Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: . . .  . (6a) And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month….

(2) The congregation was to kill it in the evening (verse 6).

(6) And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

(3) They then put the blood of the lamb over the door where the lamb was to be eaten, and they were to eat the lamb “in that night” (verses 7-10).

(7) And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (8) And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. (9) 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. (10) And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

(4) Verse 11 gives details describing Israel’s dress and conduct when they ate the roasted lamb.

(11) And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s passover.

(5) God CLAIMS and NAMES the Passover in verses 11-12.  Notice, God labeled it the LORD’s Passover.

(11) And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s passover. (12) For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

(6) Verse 13 describes what God was going to do on His Passover and when it was to occur. 

(13) And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

First, in verse 12, God said He would “pass through” and “smite” on that night (the 14th).  Then, He said He would see the “blood as a token” and would “pass over” the house where the door was covered with the blood.  He also described the death of the firstborn where the blood had not been applied.

In Exodus 12, we also find where God fulfilled His promise to destroy the firstborn who were not covered by the blood of the Passover lamb.  Notice, the timing was at MIDNIGHT!    

(29) And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.

After examining these verses closely, there is only one conclusion we can make.  The Lord’s Passover is the 14th of the first month!

The Passover lamb had to be killed at the beginning of the 14th in order for the blood of that lamb to be spread upon the door prior to midnight on the 14th.  There is only one midnight per night.  If the Israelites had waited until the end of the 14th (i.e., the afternoon of the 14th) to kill the lamb, their firstborn would have already been dead for over 12 hours.  Blood over the door for midnight of the 15th would not have saved them.


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