Understanding the Passover, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection in light of the sanctuary, as divinely dictated to Moses, is crucial to knowing our part in properly honoring their places in human history today. The following excerpt from Chapter 16 of The Path to the Throne of God, by Sarah Elizabeth Peck, provides a clarity too rarely discussed. Prayerfully enter the experience of those final days of Jesus on Earth for you.
Their Fulfillment in A.D. 31. The experiences prophesied in these Psalms [22, 23, 24] were fulfilled at the last divinely recognized Passover and Pentecost, in the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and inauguration of Jesus, when the sacred significance of the work of the priests in the earthly sanctuary ended and the ministry of Christ as High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary began.
In A.D. 31 two Passovers were observed – not only the one celebrated by the Jewish people generally, but the one Jesus and His disciples observed one day early. The former was prepared at the regular time, “in the evening” of Abib 14, and eaten the following night, the beginning of Abib 15. For fifteen long centuries, since the institution of the Passover at the time of the Exodus, this practice had been followed. From this, “Some have suggested that the meal Jesus and the Twelve ate together was not the regular passover repast; but the synoptic record makes clear that it was indeed the Passover they ate together. See Mark 14:12, 16, 17; Luke 22:7, 8, 13-15; DA 642, 652.” Raymond F. Cottrell, in R&H, June 9, 1955, page 18; Emphasis supplied. This statement should be remembered, for it is the key to other points sometimes misunderstood.
When was this last true Passover prepared and eaten? “When the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover,” Jesus told His disciples to “prepare…to eat the Passover.” On the first day of the feast, “when they killed the Passover,” “they made ready the Passover” (Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7, 13). This preparation was made on Thursday, Abib 13, one day before the regular time, the historic time for slaying the paschal lamb being Abib 14 (Ex. 12:6). “When the even was come (the beginning of Abib 14), He sat down with the Twelve, and they did eat” (Matt. 26:20, 21). This also was one day before the regular time for eating the Passover. “According to the best available astronomical information, Nisan (Abib) 14 fell on Friday, April 27, in A. D. 31, the year of the crucifixion.” Raymond F. Cottrell, in R&H June 9, 1955.
Why Jesus Observed this Passover One Day Early. Why did Jesus depart from an age-long and well-established custom? Apparently one reason for doing so was that His death might coincide with the slaying of the paschal lamb, and thus perfectly fulfill the type. Another reason: “Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father and because “He loved His own…unto the end.” He desired to prepare them for that ordeal. John 13:1, 19.
Further, because the death of the paschal lamb symbolized the death of Christ as the Redeemer of the world, it was to be “an ordinance forever” (Ex. 12:17); the work of redemption was never to be forgotten. Now that the Passover type was soon to pass away, it was necessary that another ordinance be provided to take its place, thus perpetuating the memory of redemption. It is obvious, of course, that this be done at once, because when the day ended, He would be lying in the tomb, and in that event, an important link in the plan of salvation would be missing. For all these reasons, it was necessary that Christ eat the Passover one day before the regular time. These reasons are all comprehended in His words, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).
The Lord’s Supper Instituted. Knowing that the Passover as a sacred ordinance was about to pass away, Jesus now instituted the Lord’s Supper “as a memorial of the same event of which the Passover had been a type” (PP 539). The paschal lamb had pointed forward to His death; the Lord’s Supper was to point back, commemorative of His broken body and His spilled blood (Luke 22:16-20). [Italics, highlight supplied.]
Before the disciples were prepared to partake of the sacred emblems of the Lord’s Supper, their hearts must be cleansed from all selfish ambition to be the greatest and from all unholy feelings toward one another. Each one must first “examine himself” (1 Cor. 11:28). For this, a preparatory service was necessary to teach humility and unselfish service. As a “type of the higher cleansing of the soul” (DA 646), Jesus proceeded to wash the disciples’ feet. The purpose of this humble service on the part of their Lord and Master was to remove from their hearts all evil thoughts, and implant a willingness for any Christian service. Without this cleansing the heart could not “enter into fellowship with Christ” and be “prepared to receive the communion of His body and His blood.” DA 650. They would eat and drink “unworthily” and thus “be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” John 13:4-17; 1 Cor. 11.26-29. When Jesus finished this service, He instituted feet washing as a sacred ordinance to precede the Lord’s Supper, saying, “I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you,” John 13:15, an ordinance to continue until type [symbol] reaches antitype [reality], “the higher cleansing: when all the redeemed have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.”
Jesus Fulfilling the Types of the Passover Supper. Nisan 14 was a long day of agonizing suffering culminating in His crucifixion. That same night, the chief priests, seeking “how they might take Him by craft, and put Him to death” before the Passover (Mark 14:1, 10, 11, 43-46), bribed Judas to betray Him — Judas, whose feet Jesus had washed only an hour or so before! “For envy they had delivered Him” (Matt. 27:18) to a band of officers from the chief priests who, having sought false witnesses against Him, bound Him and led Him to the high priest (John 18:3, 12, 13). From the high priest’s palace, as soon as it was day, He was taken before the council where, because He said He was the Son of God, the high priest accused Him of blasphemy and therefore guilty of death (Luke 22:66-71; Matt. 26:63-66).
While it was still early, He was led into the judgment hall, where the priests themselves went not lest they be “defiled” and thus disqualified to participate in the Passover (John 18:28). They seemed not to understand that the things which defile a man come from the heart – evil thoughts, murders, false witness, blasphemies, etc. (John 18:28; Matt. 15:18-20). Because they could not enter into the judgment hall, they persuaded the multitude, whom they had influenced, to regard Christ as an imposter, a deceiver, to cry out, “Crucify Him,” a cry in which they themselves joined “with loud voices” when He was brought forth (Matt. 27:20-25, 63; John 19:6; Luke 23:18, 23).
During and following His trial, He was scourged, reviled, derided, and railed upon. His persecutors spit on His face and smote Him on the head. They put on Him a crown of thorns and a purple robe, and mockingly cried, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matt. 26:27; 27:28-31). All this and much more, He calmly endured, and instead of being overwhelmed by such cruelty and injustice, He was not thinking of Himself but for others, one of His last acts being to provide for the care of His mother (John 19:25-27). Even when He was nailed to the cross, His enemies continued their insults and abuse, yet still as He hung there amidst all His agonizing sufferings, He had no unkind feelings toward them, but prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:33, 34). In these bitter afflictions, Jesus completely fulfilled “both as to the event and as to the time” (GC 399) the types of the Passover Supper: the “bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:3, 4) and the “bitter herbs,” He Himself being the lamb “roast with fire.” “Let the imagination grasp each scene. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we are saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross” (DA 83).
It seems almost incredible that the Jews, and especially the leaders of the temple service, should be guilty of having any part in putting to death Him to whom all the rites of their sacrificial service had for centuries pointed, to show their faith in Him as their Redeemer. But they were “the whole council,” or Sanhedrin, Mark 15:1, determined to put Him to death before the Passover, for “if the trial and crucifixion were not brought about at once, there would be a week’s delay on account of the celebration” (DA 703).
The Secret of His Victory. Under these most trying conditions, how could Jesus be so completely without sin? Was it not because He was familiar with the Scriptures? He knew that His hour was come when He was to be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter,” and though “oppressed and afflicted,” He was not to open His mouth (Isa. 53:7). He knew that Judas would betray Him for “thirty pieces of silver” which was “a goodly price” (Zech. 11:12, 13). He knew that “for envy” and “by craft” the chief priests would deliver Him to be crucified (Ps. 69:4; Mark 15:10; Matt. 27:18). He knew that in His thirst He would be given vinegar to drink (Ps. 69:21). In fact, from the Scriptures, He understood the whole situation. Therefore, when He was unjustly accused of the chief priests and elders, “He answered nothing …. never a word” (Matt. 27:12, 14; Mark 15:3, 5).
He knew what death He must die (John 12:32, 33; 18:11), and that the Scriptures must be fulfilled (Matt. 26:52-56; John 13:18), and with a calm faith and steadfast trust in God, He unresistingly submitted Himself to His persecutors. All this He did for your salvation and for mine. It was “for the joy (the joy of seeing souls saved) that was set before Him (that He) endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2). He was about to become our “merciful and faithful High Priest,” and it was through suffering that He was made perfect (Heb. 2:10, 17). Because He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and “He is able to succor them that are tempted” (Heb. 4:14, 15; 2:18). Jesus died, not entirely from crucifixion, for when the soldiers came to hasten the death of the malefactors, He was dead already (John 19:33). He died of a broken heart, for of Him it is written, “Reproach hath broken My heart” (Ps. 69:20).
Our time of test and trial is just ahead, and if day by day we follow the example of Jesus, making the Scriptures our safeguard, we shall come off more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Rom. 8:35-39).
Jesus the True Paschal Lamb. Jesus, the true Paschal Lamb, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), was crucified the sixth hour of Nisan 14, and He died the ninth hour, 3:00 p.m., in the evening” (Ex. 12:6; Mark 15:33-37), literally “between the two evenings,” a perfect fulfillment “not only as to the event but as to the time” (GC 399), of the paschal lamb slain between 3:00 p.m. and sunset. “When the loud cry ‘It is finished’ came from the lips of Christ, the priests were officiating in the temple. It was the hour of the evening sacrifice. The lamb representing Christ had been brought to be slain …. The earth trembles and quakes …. With a rending noise the inner veil of the temple is torn from top to bottom by an unseen hand (Matt. 27:50, 51). The most holy place of the earthly sanctuary is no longer sacred …. Type [symbol] has met antitype [reality] in the death of God’s Son” (DA 756,757). And yet, even though they, the temple leaders, witnessed all these things, their spiritual eyesight was so blinded that they did not recognize them as the end of the temple service. They were indeed “blind guides” (Matt. 23:13-16).
With His blood, Jesus had signed “the emancipation papers of the race” (MH 90) [89.3], and “the death knell of Satan was rung” (GC 503). His death was Heaven’s announcement that the Passover was now fulfilled in ‘Christ our Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7). From that time the Passover “lost its significance” (DA 723; PP 539), and its observance henceforth would be but an empty form, a mere farce. The whole system of offerings included in the ceremonial law was done away. The Passover Jesus ate with the Twelve was indeed the last Passover divinely recognized.
Ceremonial Sabbaths Abolished. In this connection it is important that we understand the difference between the ‘sabbaths” of the yearly ceremonial feasts, and the “sabbath of the Lord thy God” which is part of His eternal law, the Ten Commandments. Of the former there were seven each year. Of the latter there were and still are fifty-two, one each week. Because each of the former came once a year, they are sometimes called “yearly sabbaths.” The latter is the “weekly Sabbath” coming the seventh day of every week. The weekly Sabbath is a memorial of creation (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11). It is not a type pointing to the death of Christ, as were the sacrifices of the ceremonial or yearly Sabbaths. It has no connection whatever with the seven “yearly sabbaths.” These latter are “beside the Sabbath of the Lord” (Lev. 23:38). They are all listed in Leviticus 23:
Two with the Passover: one on the first day of this feast, the other on the last (Lev. 23:4-8).
One on the Day of Pentecost: the fiftieth day from the morrow after the Passover was eaten (verses 15, , 21).
Two connected with the Day of Atonement: the first at the blowing of trumpets on the first day of the seventh month to announce its approach (verses 24, 25), the other on the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month (verses 27-36).
Two at the Feast of Tabernacles: one on the first, the other on the last day of that feast (verses 34-39).
These days were called “sabbaths” because concerning each the command was, “Ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.” “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest” (Lev. 23:7, 8, 32).
From this list it will be seen that while the weekly sabbath always comes on the seventh day of the week, these yearly “sabbaths” came not on any regular day of the week, but on a certain day of the month, and, like December 25, or July 4, or one’s birthday, the day of the week on which they fell varied from year to year. Whenever a ceremonial “sabbath” fell on the regular weekly “Sabbath,” as it would about once in seven years, being a double sabbath, it was called “an high day” (John 19:31).
Many sincere but uninformed Christians have been taught that the weekly Sabbath — “the Sabbath of the fourth commandment” (Ex. 20:10) — was “nailed to the cross” at the death of Christ, and that in honor of His resurrection on the first day of the week, Sunday thereafter became the weekly Sabbath of the New Testament. But nowhere in the Bible is there any authority for this supposed change. Beware of it, for it is one of “the wiles (sly tricks, Webster) of the devil” (Eph. 6:11) to turn men away from obedience to the eternal law of God.
The ‘sabbaths” observed in connection with the yearly feasts were part of the ceremonial law which prefigured the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, and when at His death they met their antitype [reality] they automatically came to an end. These are the “sabbaths” that were “nailed to the cross” and abolished. Not so with the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, which being part of God’s eternal law will never cease; it will be observed by all who enter in through the gates of the Holy City, and who finally have an eternal home in the new earth (Rev. 22:14; Isa. 66:23).
Jesus the True Waive Sheaf. As the Sabbath drew on (Luke 23:54), the body of Jesus was tenderly taken down from the cross and laid in Joseph’s new tomb (John 19:38-42). Here He quietly rested, over the sacred Sabbath. His persecutors and murderers had accomplished their wicked design, and while Jesus lay in the tomb, they were having “an high day” celebrating a Passover that had lost its significance. As Israel had a day of great rejoicing when delivered from Egyptian bondage, singing, “The Lord hath triumphed gloriously” (Ex. 15:1, 21), even so, when Christ rested “from the work of redemption,” “all Heaven triumphed in the Saviour’s victory” (DA 758, 769). “A shout of triumph rang through every world” (PP 70) [69.3].
Early Sunday morning, Abib 16, (see calendar [p211]) “while it was yet dark,” the women came to the sepulchre with sweet spices to anoint the body of Jesus; but He was not there. ‘Two angels stood by them in shining garments” (Luke 24:4). One of them, the angel Gabriel, who had rolled away the stone, told them that He had risen (Matt. 28:1-6; DA 780) [779.3]. Quickly, they carried the news to the disciples. As soon as the soldiers recovered from the dazzling light of the angels which had caused them to fall as dead men, they went to the chief priests and told them all the things that were done. The priests, trembling, gave them “large money” bribing them to say, “The disciples came by night and stole Him away, while we slept” (Matt. 28:11-15; DA 782) [781.3]. Truly, what they had feared, had come to pass, so that their last error was indeed worse than the first (Matt. 27:62-66).
When Jesus by His death fulfilled the type of the paschal lamb, redemption was secured to all who accept the Sacrifice. But, although secured, it was not at that time completed. It will be completed when the decree goes forth, “He that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Rev. 22:11, 12). At His resurrection, Christ fulfilled the type of the waive sheaf of first fruits (Lev. 23:16). He was the true waive sheaf, the “first fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20), and the resurrection of them who die in the Lord was secured. It will be completed at the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6). Both these types were fulfilled “not, only as to the event, but as to the time”(GC 399).
The Forty Days After His Resurrection. Early on the morning of His resurrection, Christ ascended to His Father (John 20:16, 17). He had fulfilled His pledge to give His life a ransom for fallen man. The Father accepted the sacrifice and ratified the covenant He had made with His Son in their “counsel of peace” (Zech. 6:13). When this compact was sealed Christ “entered upon His mediatorial work” (DA 819). Then He returned to His followers in a world of sin.
For forty days after His resurrection, Christ remained on this earth, “showing Himself alive …. by many infallible proofs … and speaking (to the disciples) of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). As this time neared its close, He commanded the disciples “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait until they should be baptized with the Holy Ghost,” and receive power for witnessing (vs. 4, 5, 8). This was the fulfillment of the promise he had given them before His death. “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” Henceforth the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, was to be Christ’s representative on earth (John 16:7, 13, 14). These forty days ended on the 25th day of the second month. (See calendar [p211]).
Entering the Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary. After forty days, He again ascended, this time to enter upon His work “as Priest and Advocate in the heaven of heavens” (DA 757; Heb. 4:14; GC 420). In triumph, such as no earthly conqueror ever knew, He ascends. Nor does He go alone. ‘When He ascended up on high, He led a multitude of captives” (Eph. 4:8, margin): those who came out of their graves “after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matt. 27:50-53). Christ is “the first begotten of the dead” (Rev. 1:5), that is, the first to rise from the dead by His own power (John 10:17, 18); and these redeemed ones are trophies of His triumph whom He presents to His Father (Rev. 5:8-10; DA 829, 834). We do not know who these honored ones were, but we do know that they were raised out of graves in countries where Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, John the Baptist, and other noble worthies were buried before Christ Himself was laid in the tomb. “They were chosen and holy ones of every age, from creation down even to the days of Christ” (EW 184). They were redeemed “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:8-10).
As He ascended from the court of earth, “a cloud (of angels) “a living cloud” received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). With songs of joy they escorted Him to the Father in heaven. Two angels, “the most exalted of the angel throng,” the same two “who had come to the tomb at His resurrection and… had been with Him throughout His life on earth,” lingered for a moment to comfort the disciples who were left behind, the assurance that He would come again and receive them unto Himself (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; DA 831).”
We have been shown that the Passover service was a type or symbol, pointing toward and necessarily ending with the death of Christ Himself, the Lamb. It was substituted with the Communion service, in which those who rightly partake “do show the Lord’s death till he come,” according to 1 Corinthians 11:25. Now, let us consider how God has ordained us to honor the Savior’s burial and resurrection:
“We are buried with our Lord in baptism, but we are not left in the grave. We ‘are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we [as we are raised from the watery grave] also should walk in newness of life’ [Romans 6:4]. 17LtMs, Ms 57, 1902, par. 30
“’If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” [Verse 5]. As Christ came forth from the rent sepulcher of Joseph, He proclaimed in triumph, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ [John 11:25]. Never again is He to lie in the grave. To every believer, Christ is the resurrection and the life. This is typified in the baptismal ceremony. We are buried in the likeness of Christ’s death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection, henceforth to live a new life. And when at last we enter the portals of the city of God, we shall be welcomed by the One who prayed, ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory’ [John 17:24]. 17LtMs, Ms 57, 1902, par. 31
“In order to represent Christ aright, we must reach a high standard, ‘knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him’” [Romans 6:6-8]. 17LtMs, Ms 57, 1902, par. 32