is the First Day of Unleavened Bread!
Many think the Passover is NOT the First Day of Unleavened - an Annual Holyday. However, it is SIMPLE to prove that it is.
Read Exodus 12.18 carefully. It is the KEY verse NOT mentioned by supposed authoritative Bible courses and books. Wonder why? To keep people from seeing that the Carpenter from Nazareth was literally and historically FULFILLING the FIRST Annual Holyday, the Passover, as our "Passover" and the Messiah?
Notice it says "until" the 21st day "at evening". In the Bible, days begin in the "evening" at sunset (Gen 1.5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). So "until" means until the 21st day begins, at sunset. This means that the 20th day is the LAST (7th) Day of Unleavened Bread, a Holyday. Then, counting backwards 7 days, the FIRST Day of Unleavened Bread (a Holyday) is the 14th day. Of course, we know that the Passover is observed on the 14th day. Perhaps the diagram below will show how obvious it is that the 14th day, Passover, is the First Day of Unleavened Bread, a Holyday.
"Passover Night" is the "Night to be Much Observed"
During the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, which nights were the most eventful nights during the 7 days of unleavened bread?
Clearly one night had to be night of the 14th of the month, when the death angel killed all of the firstborn of man and beast in Egypt, except those whose doorposts were covered with the blood of a lamb.
Then the other night had to be the night of the 20th of the month, when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry land and escaped from the Egyptian army (Ex 14.20-21,29 - " -and the Lord swept back the sea by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided - the sons of Israel walked on the dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left").
Why, then would anyone keep the night of the 15th, about which nothing is mentioned in the Bible?
I believe the confusion started when we presumed that the Israelites did NOT start leaving Egypt the night that the firstborn died because the Israelites were told to stay indoors that night. So we thought they left the following night, making the night of the 15th the "night to be much observed".
But if you read Exodus 12 closely, you will see that they did start leaving immediately after the death angel killed all of the firstborn, sometime after midnight, on the night of the 14th.
Notice the following scriptures:
Ex 12.6 - The lamb was killed just after the sunset that started the night portion of the 14th of the 1st month.
Ex 12.11 - The lamb was eaten quickly that night while they were to stay fully clothed, to be ready to leave that night.
Ex 12.12 - The firstborn were killed "on that night".
Ex 12.13 - The blood on the door was a "sign" of the "Passover".
Ex 12.14 - "Now this day [which began the night of the 14th] will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance."
Ex 12.5 "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall cause to cease leaven from your houses;"
Ex 12.16 - "And on the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day;"
Ex 12.17 - "You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance."
Ex 12.29 - 'Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all of the firstborn in the land of Egypt."
Ex 12.30 - "And Pharoah arose in the night, he and all his servants -"
Ex 12.31 - Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, 'Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the Lord, as you have said'."
Ex 12.33 - "And the Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said 'We shall all be dead'."
Ex 12.34 - "So the people took their dough before it was leavened -"
Ex 12.41 - "And it came about at the end of 430 years, to the very day, that all the hosts of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt."
Ex 12.42 - "It is a night to be observed for the Lord for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the Lord, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations."
Ex 12.51 - "And it came about on that same day that the Lord brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts."
From the above verses, it should be clear that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is seven days long (not eight), with the first and seventh days being holy days.The first day is the night & day that they left Egypt, starting with the night of the 14th being the night to "be observed" since that is when the firstborn died and the Israelites started to leave Egypt.Then the seventh day is the night the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, with the Egyptian army being drowned in the Red Sea at the "morning watch" (Ex 14.24).
The "Night to be Much Observed" is the "Passover Night" - not the night after!
Of course the proper way to observe this night was changed by the Messiah on the very night He had His last Passover meal here on earth. You can read about the new symbols and ceremony in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13, and 1 Corinthians 11. However, only those who have repented, been baptized and have had hands laid upon them to receive the Holy Spirit are allowed to participate in these symbols (Acts 2.38; 8.14-18; Exodus 12.43-45).
Finally, after 70 years of captivity to a lie about keeping the night of the 15th as the "night much observed", we truly are free to worship the "Lamb of God" in Spirit and in Truth!!