The First Month Scriptures
Relative to the Passover Season

John Plunkett


This is New Moon Day number one!  The first day of the first month in the year.

So right now, we are just drawing close to the end of the true "New Year’s Day."

We have studied through the scriptures on many of the months; but we have never been into  the First Month scriptures.  

There are actually thirty “First Month” scriptures.  I know we won’t get through them all this evening; but let’s get started on them; and the ones we don’t get to, we’ll get to this time next year, God willing!

What I’d like to cover this evening is a pre-Passover repetition of the “First Month” verses – the ones that specifically apply to the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. We went thought some of them this past Sabbath with the Deleavening sermon; but there are more to cover.  I’m sure that you’re all quite familiar with many of these scriptures; but I think that a “New Year” review of them might be in order.

One reason that I’d like to cover this topic tonight is that the late Ronald Dart’s Christian Educational Ministries (CEM) organization has been sending out Ron’s Bible studies on the subject of the Passover.  Although I have every respect for Ron’s memory and his preaching (at least for the most part), although he believed and taught that the New Covenant Passover is to be observed at the beginning of the 14th day of this first month (Abib/Nisan), he believed and taught that Jesus changed the time of the Passover observance from the end of the Passover Day to its beginning, ostensibly because He wouldn’t be alive to keep it at the day’s end.  Using the “First Month” scriptures in tonight’s First Month Bible study, I would like to show you why I respectfully disagree with Ron’s views on this.

So now, let’s go into what are perhaps (to Church of God members, at least) the best-known “First Month” scriptures – ones that we’ll be spending a lot of time on over the next couple of weeks:

Exodus 12:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2:  This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the FIRST MONTH of the year to you”…

Please note that, according to the LORD Gods holy Word, this month in the early springtime is the first month of the year. Not in January!  Not in the winter!

And NOT – and I repeat NOT – on the Jews’ inaccurately estimated Molad of Tishri in the autumn.  And NOT on their set 177 days counted back from it!

If somebody will show me a scripture that this is what God commanded, I’ll immediately rejoin the mainstream Churches of God in their partial-emulation of the Jews’ CRC timings.

No takers?  OK.  Let’s continue…

This day in the springtime of each year is the first day of the first month of God’s sacred year, calculated – not according to some 4th Century AD human ideas and traditions; but rather according to the “lights in the firmament of the heaven” – as commanded in God’s holy written Word in Genesis 1:14-18.

Is there anything special about this first month of God’s year?

Yes!  There are lots of special aspects to it.  Continuing in verse 3:

3:  Speak you unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, “In the tenth day of this month {First} they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house…
Verse 6:  And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month
{First}: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening

The Hebrew for “in the evening” is“beyn-ha-ar-bayim” which means “between the evenings” or “between sunset and dark.”  In other words, at the beginning of the 14th day of the 1st month… which is exactly when Jesus and His disciples began their keeping of what would be His last Passover.

You will notice in the gospel accounts that when Jesus asked His disciples to go and prepare for their keeping of that special Passover, there is no mention of any incredulity or questioning by them of His suggested timing.  (See Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:1-13).

Please remember that the disciples’ comments and actions later on that same Passover evening prove that, despite all He had told them, they still didn’t get it that that was an extra-special Passover Day in which He would be arrested, tried, tortured and executed.

Surely, if He did actually change the timing from the end to the beginning of the Passover Day, they most certainly would have questioned it.  And just as surely, their questioning would have been recorded in the gospel accounts.

Continuing, still in Exodus 12:

Verse 18:  In the FIRST MONTH, on the fourteenth day of the month at even {ba-erev}, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even {ba-arev}

Please note that the Hebrew words for “at even” in this verse are different than “in the evening” in verse 6.

Here, ba-erev and ba-arev mean the sunset closing the day… i.e. from the end of 14th day of the 1st month until the end of the 21st day of the first month… thus making seven full days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread… as is confirmed in the very next verse:

19:  Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

If the days of unleavened bread were to be counted from the beginning of Abib 14 (beyn-ha-ar-bayim), we would be disobeying God by keeping it for eight days instead of the commanded seven!

If you look up the word “fourteenth” in your Strong’s Concordance, you will see there, relative to Passover, that a lot of the first month scriptures that we are going to continue with tonight are clear, purposeful repetitions of which day the Passover should be kept on.  

It is never at the end of the 14th running into the beginning of the 15th.  There is no concept of that.  Yes, that is what the Jews did, and that is what the Jews still do.  That is what the Jews did on that last Passover day of Jesus’ life.  But the scriptures never tell us that we have to do that.  Rather, they tell us what to do in our very next first month scripture.

Leviticus 23:5:
In the fourteenth day of the FIRST MONTH at even
(beyn-ha-ar-bayim… between evening and dark… at the beginning of the 14th ), is the LORD’S Passover.

Then again in the book of Numbers:

Numbers 9:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the FIRST MONTH of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt
{the same year as the Tent-Tabernacle was first pitched}, saying,
2:  “Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at his appointed season.

Some seem to think that the timing was/is not very important.  But is it?  What does the LORD God say?  He says – twice! – that His people are to keep it “at/in its appointed season”!  And when, pray tell, would that “appointed season” be? …

3:  In the fourteenth {not 15th!} day of this {first} month, at even (beyn-ha-ar-bayim… between evening and dark… at the beginning of the 14th ), you shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall you keep it.”
4:  And Moses spoke unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the Passover.
5:  And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth
{not 15th!} day of the FIRST MONTH at even (beyn-ha-ar-bayim… between evening and dark… at the beginning of the 14th) in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.

And once again, in another “first month” verse, further on in the book of Numbers:

Numbers 28:16:
And in the fourteenth day of the FIRST MONTH is the
Passover of the LORD.

Then, once Aaron and Moses had died and Joshua was given the role of human leader, did the same timing continue?

Joshua 4:19: 
And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the FIRST MONTH 
{that was the annual “Behold the Lamb” day}, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho…

There they rested and prepared for the upcoming Passover:

Joshua 5:10:
And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the
{first} month at even in the plains of Jericho.

What happened when that generation died off and the Israelites moved into the era of the Kings – specifically the kings of Judah?  Did they change the Passover timing?  Here’s what the relatively righteous King Josiah did:

II Chronicles 35:1:
Moreover Josiah kept a Passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the
on the fourteenth day of the FIRST MONTH.

In every case, that killing of the Passover lambs would have occurred shortly after sunset at the beginning of the 14th.

Time goes on again, Judah goes into exile in Babylon.  What happened when they came out of that exile. 

Ezra 6:19:
And the children of the captivity kept the Passover
upon the fourteenth day of the FIRST MONTH.

Once again, upon the 14th day, not after; but upon the 14th day of the first month.

Moving on to the last of our first-month-Passover-timing scriptures – this one in the book of Ezekiel.  Whether this section of his visions and writings refers to some time in our future – perhaps in the World Tomorrow – or whether they described events closer to his own time, I am not dogmatic on that point.  But whichever of the two is correct, let’s read what Ezekiel’s inspired opinion of the correct Passover timing was:

Ezekiel 45:21:
In the FIRST MONTH, in the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the Passover
{and} a feast of seven days {when} unleavened bread shall be eaten.

Over and over and over again, the scriptures tell us that the Old Covenant Passover was to be kept, killed, cooked, and eaten on and in and during the 14th day of the first month.  Nowhere do the scriptures ever say that the Passover was to be killed at the very, very end of the 14th and the rest of the keeping of the Passover ceremonies was to be kept on the 15th.  Nowhere!  People have tried to push that version of events; but the Bible just does not bear this out.

What did God command to be done on the 15th day of this 1st month?  Let’s go back to Leviticus 23 and – just for the sake of comparison – let’s repeat verse 5:

Leviticus 23:
5:  In the fourteenth day of the FIRST MONTH at even
(beyn-ha-ar-bayim… between evening and dark… at the beginning of the 14th ), is the LORD’S Passover.
6:  And on the fifteenth day of the same month
{1st} is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.

Please note the clear delineation between the two days.

The LORD God had Moses repeat this in the book of Numbers:

Numbers 28:
16:  And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the LORD.
17:  And in the fifteenth day of this
{same first} month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.

Why?  What DID happen on the 15th?  What important thing happened on the 15th?  This is a somewhat controversial subject, and I have heard different things about it – and that Deuteronomy 16 was edited by Ezra, for some reason.  We have to think about what it says here:

Deuteronomy 16:1:
Observe the month of Abib
{i.e. this 1st month of God’s sacred year}, and keep the Passover {in its seasonal sense – the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also implied as being included} unto the LORD your God: for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night.

This is what I am looking for here – that God brought them out of Egypt by by night.

Which night?  If you just read that one verse, it will sound like it was Passover night that they came out – the  night of the 14th.  Is that what it was?  NO!!!  Let’s read what the LORD commanded.  Here’s what He commanded about what not to do during the night of the 14th:

Exodus 12:22:
And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the
basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and
none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

Some people have tried to play around with the definitions of the words “morning” and “night.”  But when they do, they get themselves all mixed up, and their incorrect timings just do not fit with the scriptures!

So again, which night did the LORD God take the Israelites out of Egypt?  Let us go back to Numbers again, and let God’s holy Word give the answer:

Numbers 33:3:
And they departed from Rameses in the FIRST MONTH, on the fifteenth day of the FIRST MONTH; on the morrow after the
Passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.

Like every other day, Abib 14 has two parts – within its "sunset to sunset". There is a nighttime part, and it has a daytime part.  

And so does "the morrow after the Passover" – Abib 15 – the First Day of Unleavened Bread.  It too is made up of two parts – the nighttime part at the beginning, and the daytime part.

The scriptures that we just read told us that the Israelites went out from Egypt, first of all, "by night"; and then it says "on the morrow after the Passover."  Both are correct and agree with each other.  The Israelites went out during the nighttime part of Abib 15, which we refer to as the Night to Be Much Observed – the beginning of the First Day of Unleavened Bread.

It was impossible for those early Israelites to have left Egypt during that first Passover night during the 14th. And for a couple of reasons.  First of all because God had commanded them to stay within their homes.  The firstborn Israelites who obeyed this command were protected from death by the front doors of their houses and by the sign of the lamb’s blood on the lintels and the door posts.  As long as they stayed all night behind those doors, they were safe.

We don’t have to go into the relevant scriptures right now; but they tell us that Pharaoh sent servants during the night, and said that he wanted to see Moses and Aaron.  As far as we know Moses and Aaron didn’t have any special dispensation; so there is no way that they would have disobeyed the Eternal by leaving their houses during the night, before the morning.

Secondly, there was not enough time.  If you think about everything that had to happen during that night.  The Passover lambs could not be killed until after sunset at the beginning of the 14th.  Right after sunset the lambs had to be slain, bled, skinned, and roasted.  There is a possibility that they may have been spit-roasted in the Israelites' fireplaces. 

I have seen deer being spit-roasted.  It takes a long time for it to cook.  What I am trying to get at here is that the preparation, cooking, eating and the clean-up must have continued well into the night. The leftovers were to be burned the following morning.

Exodus 12:10: 
And you shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remain
s of it until the morning you shall burn with fire.

How could this have happened if they were no longer there in the morning?  If they would have left during Passover night, how could they get rid of the leftovers in the morning?

Then after that fearsome Passover night was over when the morning had come and they were allowed to go out of their houses, it took much time for them to "spoil" the Egyptians:

Exodus 12:
And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, "We be all dead men."

And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

The Hebrew word for borrowed is yishalu – and it means demanded – not just borrowed, of course, which has the implication that they would need to give it back again. 

36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required.  And they spoiled the Egyptians.

The Hebrew word for ‘lent’ is yashilu – and it means give on demand.  So, the Israelites demanded it, and the Egyptians gave them to them.

The Hebrew word for ‘spoiled’ is natxal – and it means snatched away from.

It is important to know, that that this spoiling was not stealing.  First of all, that particular spoil can be thought of as back-wages, in payment for the Israelites' many years of unpaid slave labour.  But secondly, and more importantly, this spoiling of the Egyptians had actually been commanded – not by Moses, who was just a messenger who delivered the command; but by the LORD God way back at the beginning of Exodus, before all of the miraculous curses that God brought down on the Egyptians, way back at the burning bush:

Exodus 3:
:  And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when you go, ye shall not go empty:

:  But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourns in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and you shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and you shall spoil the Egyptians.

And again, that Hebrew word for spoil is natzal – and it means to snatch away from the Egyptians.

One of the obvious questions that people always bring up is this:  If the Israelites left Egypt on the night of the 15th, why did God command them to be dressed and ready for the journey on the previous night – Passover night?...

Exodus 12: 11:
And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S Passover.

The answer to this question is that they, almost definitely, did not go to bed that Passover night.  There is a good possibility that they did not go to bed during the day time portion of the Passover day, either.  

If you think about it logically, if it was us, our parents, grandparents and great grandparents who had been in Egyptian slavery for all of those years, and we saw no chance of getting out of it, then all of a sudden, in a matter of a couple of weeks or months all of this started to come together, how could we have slept with all that needed to be done and all the astounding things were happening on that evening? 

And again, the mere timetable of events: the Passover lamb had to be prepared, roasted, eaten, cleaned up; then, during the daytime portion of Abib 14, as God had told them, they had to get rid of all the leftovers.  Then there was the spoiling of the Egyptians, the packing and loading, getting ready for the journey.

 But also, going back to the Passover night (which I think "The Ten Commandments" movie depicts in a reasonably good way), how many first-born Egyptians were dying during that night?  How many Egyptian families were wailing and lamenting?  Can you imagine what the noise would have been like – it must have been awful.

There was obviously great excitement and anticipation amongst the Israelites that they were going to be leaving Egypt and that they were leaving slavery behind after hundreds of years. 

Every single Israelite, except for Moses, had been born and raised in Egyptian slavery.  (Of course, Moses was born into slavery, but he grew up in the royal house).  Over and over again, they had witnessed these miraculous fulfillments of God’s promises.  There they were, during the night, waiting for "the big one."  Would He really fulfill this one.  Would He?  Could He really free them from Egypt and slavery?  How could they sleep?  Could you have slept?  If it were me, I wouldn't want to have missed a second of it.  

Talk to Isobel Hartl!  How she wants to be there to witness everything that leads up to the end-times.  Hers is the kind of excitement and anticipation that those Israelites must have had. 

Yes, they did have problems with belief and faith later on.  And yes, they did all kinds of wrong things.  But at this point in time, they had seen the LORD God acting for them over and over again.  And finally, this was "the big move."

"Will He really do it?" they must have been asking.  Again, I wouldn't have wanted to miss a second of it, and I don’t think they did either.

So that’s it for the First Month scriptures that are relative to Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Perhaps next year, God willing, we will delve into other First Month scriptures – those that are not relative to Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread; but which are very significant in other ways.