What is Passover?

It is NOT the Exodus from Egypt.

(This post interrupts the sequence started last week, and was triggered by a newsletter saying that the Passover celebrates leaving Egypt.)

According to the Bible – where the original instructions are – it is to be kept in remembrance of God ‘passing over’ the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.


“It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households’.”
Exodus 12: 25, 26. (NKJV)

The Exodus from Egypt was the next evening, after the people had gathered in Rameses and assembled themselves for the journey out of the land of their captivity.

These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread.”
Leviticus 23: 4 – 6 (NKJV)

They are two distinct days. The fourteenth at twilight – Passover. The fifteenth at twilight – the Exodus. Those are GOD’S instructions.

“For I am the  Lord, I do not change:”
Malachi 3: 6a

Yes, many things have been changed over the centuries, both Israel and Judah went into captivity and much was lost, But in trying to work things out – is it not better to go to the word of God, rather than man’s calculations, no matter how intelligent, or qualified they are?

Examining some of the discussions to disprove the fact Passover is on the fourteenth and the Exodus on the fifteenth, some notable scholars have based their writings on theorizing.

A complication for us in the 21st century is the fact we count time differently.

On a first read, with my Western time frame understanding – Passover is at evening time on the fourteenth.


The Hebrew slaves were Israelites and their time was as God had created it.

“God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So, the evening and the morning were the first day.”
Genesis 1: 5 (NKJV)

To the Israelites therefore, the fourteenth began after the sun set on the thirteenth.


Clock, Roman numerals

We are used to the Roman clock where the day officially begins in the darkness of night time.

Why they chose to have the day change as soon as it passed midnight is a mystery but the Roman calendar was not in use  – it had not been ‘invented’ then.
(The various Roman calendars are an interesting read. You will find all the different versions listed on Wikipedia.)

So, to answer the question posed in the title – What is Passover?

It is a remembrance of God ‘passing over’ and sparing the households of the children of Israel, who were the Hebrew slaves, in Egypt.

(There is a great deal of information online about the New Covenant Passover celebration.)

Some ‘food for thought’ –



you brood of vipers

Brood of Vipers!

A ‘tongue-lashing’ by John the Baptizer was not what the Jewish officials coming to check him out expected.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!  Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Matt 3: 7 – 10

So, why did they go to see this son of a Levitical priest? A man who had not followed his father and trained for work in the temple. Were they curious about why he had walked away from such an important hereditary role serving (in his ‘course’) at the temple, instead choosing to live alone is a desert?


Undoubtedly they heard that he was baptizing people and telling them to repent.

There were a few things wrong with that –

Jews did not need to be baptized, they were born into the faith. See this note from the Jewish Encyclopedia…

According to rabbinical teachings, which dominated even during the existence of the Temple (Pes. viii. 8), Baptism, next to circumcision and sacrifice, was an absolutely necessary condition to be fulfilled by a proselyte to Judaism (Yeb. 46b, 47b; Ker. 9a; ‘Ab. Zarah 57a; Shab. 135a; Yer. Kid. iii. 14, 64d)
(Emphasis mine.)

Did the Pharisees and Sadducees come to correct him? He was telling the Jews that they needed to repent and be baptized. Baptism was for proselytes – people who chose the Jewish faith.

At the same time – they could read the prophecies and count. They knew the Messiah was due!

They came to see who he was that he would do such a thing…

They knew the scriptures, and prophecies – they were expecting His coming.

Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not,
Luke 3: 15

Comment from Barnes Notes on this verse… “The great council of the nation, or the Sanhedrin, had, among other things, the charge of religion. They felt it to be their duty, therefore, to inquire into the character and claims of John, and to learn whether he was the Messiah. It is not improbable that they wished that he might be the long-expected Christ, and were prepared to regard him as such.”

But what did John – the Baptizer mean – “Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance?”

I will explore that next time. If you have any thoughts about this, please share them.

Thank you


For information on the temple ‘courses’ see this link

Priestly service at the temple

Hold the Faith – update

Hold the Faith in print is finally coming to Western Australia.

Photo, Hold the Faith, print cover


Seems as if it has been a long time since I did any ‘Hold the Faith’ updates… and that is true. So, here I rectify this with an update. As it says above, the print edition of Hold the Faith is coming to Western Australia.

It has been available in the US and through Amazon for some months now, and is in Koorong books online catalog. However – on the 19th May, 2016 there is a book launch for the folks of the Perth area.

Let me tell you about the book – after all, it has been a long time since this blog started, and I have been making a bit of a potpourri of posts.

Hold the Faith is the first book in a fiction series about early Christianity. Although all the books are linked with the sub-title – ‘The Apostle John Series’ – he is not the focus of the series. The focus is the people in the early to mid-nineties AD. Yes, that far back. <smile>

In a flyer put out by the publisher it states, “To be a Christian in 1st century Ephesus, under Roman rule, is dangerous.”


In Hold the Faith readers have their first glimpse of the ways in which this is true.

First – the tension between Jews and Christians are demonstrated when Benjamin (fictional great-grandson of the Apostle John) arrives at a Jewish wedding to execute a commission for his father, Samuel the oil-seller.

As the book progresses readers have a window into the distrust, even hatred of the Roman overlords, and the antagonism between pagans and Christians.

Join the Apostle John and Benjamin on their walk around the other churches of the Roman province of Asia Minor and meet some of the leaders and brethren in the churches named in Revelation 2 and 3.

Churches of Asia Minor

The near death of Benjamin’s mother cuts short the tour, which has already lasted more than a year, but while waiting for her recovery, Benjamin finds his love interest. Then a jealousy within the fellowship starts to show and Benjamin is cruelly spurned – but not by the young woman.

The story continues in book 2 – Grow in Grace, which will be available in print in May 2016.

At the same time I have been reading and correcting galley proofs, as well as reviewing book 4 – Keep the Flame, ready for my wonderful editor to check. It has been an interesting experience trying to keep separate these two different parts of the story.

A ‘glutton for punishment’ some would say – but during March 2016 I was privileged to be part of the Blogging Challenge which focused on International Women’s Day. The commitment was a post a week for four weeks. It was outside my ‘normal’ area of research, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the diversity of the posts from the other bloggers.

You can read the posts on the blog on my author website page


Stay tuned for other news about the book series – and if you missed the early posts on this blog and might be curious about some of the interesting facts researching the series turned up… please ask.

I have yet to fully set up my Reader’s Circle newsletter – in the meantime you can subscribe to the ‘Behind the Book’ brochures by emailing me at this link.

Tread softly – they are someone’s dreams







Rejection… Ours

John’s series comes to a close – so I will turn this post over to him…

John Reiss, image

For the final example of rejection I am going to talk about our rejection.

1 John 3:13 says, “Do not marvel, if the world hates you.”

Matthew 10 cautions us that even members of our own families will turn against us., and John 15 Jesus tells us that, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…”

In John 15 Jesus tells us “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…”

I think that it is a pretty safe bet that most of us have felt at least some of this hostility.

1 Peter 2:4 calls Christ “…a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious.”

Luke 20:17 says that the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone in the temple of God. The cornerstone is the principal, and most carefully constructed stone placed at the corner of a building

1 Peter 2:5 calls Christians living stones in this very temple.

“You yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

But at our best we are stones in the process of being cut and shaped.

Looking back to Jephthah as an example, God did not choose someone who was what we would call perfect to deliver Israel.

What does He say about us?

1 Corinthians 1:26 tells us that “…not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. “

The word noble means well-born!  Many of us were in our own way just like Jephthah.  God calls us “the low and the base,” and He is using us to put to shame the mighty!

1 Peter 4:13-14 in the NASB, “…to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you…”

To sum it up, when we are rejected by our co-workers, friends, neighbors, and even our families, we share in the rejections of Jesus Christ and the rejections of godly men and women since this age began.  Although our affections have been spurned by the world, they have been accepted by God.

We were not born royalty; we are being made royalty, and in our future positions as Kings and Priests in God’s Kingdom (Revelations 5:10), we will need to have true empathy for those we lead.

Jesus’ sufferings helped make Him perfect in His role as High Priest and King of Kings, and our sufferings will help make us perfect in our new responsibilities with and under Him.
(Hebrews 2:10).

Susan M B PrestonIn view of John’s last comment, a fitting note to end his series is the verse below.

And he shall reign forever

His throne and crown shall ever endure
And he shall reign forever
And we shall reign with him
First verse of a song by Graham Kendrick (Available on iTunes)

As John said at the start of this series “Rejection is defined as “the spurning of a person’s affections.”

Whatever the cause, rejection hurts – I imagine there are few of us who have not been touched by it.