This page was last updated on 29 December 2016.
There seems to be a contradiction when Jesus had His Last Supper. On this page I’ll show it’s no contradiction but using two different calendars.
Start of the day and month
Ancient nations used two methods relevant for this discussion to start a month and day.
Both methods require to watch the sky at exactly the right short period of time. Of course experience and calculations can predict but God commanded the moon to be observed.
Time between conjunction and first crescent is 17-
1 day, 1-
2 days, 24-
During Jesus’ time the Pagan-
What happened is this: Jesus kept a full blown real Passover meal on the Divine-
First calendar variation:
While the Pagan day started 12 hours after the God’ day the effect is a 24-
Second calendar variation:
The basis for this calendar is the first calendar variation. Due to the different reckoning of the start of the month there is an extra 24 hour difference between the calendars in case of one moonless night. Adding up to 48 hours.
Third calendar variation:
The basis for this calendar is the first calendar variation. Due to the different reckoning of the start of the month there is an extra 48 hour difference between the calendars in case of two moonless nights. Adding up to 72 hours.
Fourth calendar variation:
There is no diagram for that one because there is nothing to explain calendar wise. There was just one calendar. Contrary what Scripture states Jesus didn’t have Passover. John contradicts the others. That’s the classic Last Supper theory.
Problem solved, problem introduced
The first calendar diagram likely is the one that’s easiest accepted by people with a traditional view. No flaws in Scripture but still the classic story of Jesus last hours from the meal to the cross stays unaltered. Unfortunately it’s never that easy…
History shows that all nations keeping a sunset calendar started their month at the first visible crescent. There is logic in that because that way the first day of the month starts when the month starts.
Likewise the nations keeping a sunrise calendar started their month at a point related to sunrise. They all used the morning after the last visible morning crescent. Astronomers call that conjunction. Maybe the very ancient nations didn’t know the concept of conjunction, they surely were smart enough to notice the moonless days and nights. So while unaware of the exact science they still used the conjunction. Conjunction always without exception is at least one day before the first crescent is sighted. You can easily verify that by looking at the sky. The moonless night(s) always precede the first crescent.
Let’s make a few assumptions to explain the above in a different way. The people following the Divine-
That half day difference would be there the whole month. Meaning they started the fourteenth day of the month with half a day difference. It was on this fourteenth day that the preparations (killing the lamb, etc) for the Passover meal were made.
Preparations were made during daylight hours on both calendars. That means those following the Divine-
Jesus was arrested during that waiting period, was crucified during the preparation time on the Pagan-
In the months there were more moonless days between conjunction and first crescent the time between the two Passovers just got longer.
That means there were at least 24 extra hours between His arrest and crucifixion. Hours totally unaccounted for. Or not….
The Egyptian calendar
Egypt started using a religious lunar calendar before 3000 BC.
Egypt started using a civil solar calendar about 2900 BC.
Both calendars were in use until at least 180 AD; so also during the time of Moses and Jesus.
‘He (Khons, the God of the Moon) is conceived on the Feast of psdntyw; he is born on the Feast of the Month; he comes to maturity on the Feast of the Half-
Egyptologists Brugsch, Ray an Parker interpreted that ancient inscription as:
Conception = Conjunction: Psdntyw means ‘day of the new moon’.
Birth = first crescent: Feast of the new moon.
Maturity = full moon: Feast of the half month.
The Egyptians also called the first day of the month the ‘Day of crescent invisibility’.
The Egyptians had a sunrise-
The start of the day is closely related to which crescent is sighted.
The first crescent is visible in the western sky shortly after sunset
The last crescent is visible in the eastern sky shortly before sunrise.
Starting a day at sunrise is a natural thing to do. If the choice of a sunrise day is made then starting a month after the last crescent (or conjunction) just before sunrise is logical next step.
Hieroglyphs show a list of things needed for each feast.
The first day of the month (conjunction) had long list.
The second day of the month (first crescent had a much shorter list.
The third day of the month was called ‘arrival day’.
The length of the list shows the importance of the day.
It’s speculated what the third day is about. About 70% of the months the first crescent shows on the second day of the month. The remaining 30% on the third day of the month. So ‘arrival day’ was some sort of backup feast.
The Qumran/Essene lunar calendar
The month of the Qumran community started:
S. Talmon and I. Knohl, ‘A Calendrical Scroll from a Qumran Cave: Mismarot Ba, 4Q321’, in Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish and Near Eastern Ritual, Law and Literature in Honour of Jacob Milgrom, ed. D. P. Wright, D. N. Freedman and A. Hurvitz (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1995), pp. 297–8.
The Qumran/Enoch solar calendar
The Samaritan conjunction based calendar
The present day Samaritans claim God explained the calendar to Adam. That knowledge was passed down to Moses. Then God changed the start of the year. And that calendar the Samaritans are using today. With one exception they calculate it since the ninth century AD. Before that they used observation. Their month started and still starts with conjunction. How did they sight something that was invisible? There are several possibilities.
They used the Egyptian way which simply was watching the last crescent in the morning sky. If the crescent was no longer visible it was was conjunction day, start of the month.
The quote below gives a small glimpse of the fact that the Samaritans had a different calendars than the Judeans. The ‘deceit’ of the Samaritans is that they lit the fire 1-
MISHNA: Formerly bonfires were lighted (to announce the appearance of the new moon); but when the Cutheans (=Samaritans) practised their deceit, it was ordained that messengers should be sent out.
Not much known about their calendar but according to Josephus War 18.23; Antiquities 14.4–10 they had their unleavened bread at the fourteenth which means they likely used the same calendar as Moses did.
This is the area where Jesus lived. All or at least most switched to the Pagan-
It’s not entirely ruled out they used that calendar for everyday use but kept feast according to the calendar of Moses.
The first month of the year
Exod 12:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying,
Exod 12:2 This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
Why is it again mentioned they were in Egypt. Even a quick read of the previous chapters makes it very clear they were in Egypt. Maybe we should read that statement in conjunction with the second verse?
Acts 7:22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
Egypt was a very religious society and their religion was very much based on calendars and astronomy. Moses knew a lot about the Egyptian calendar. Why was the only calendar change God commanded was making ‘this month’ the beginning of the months? Why didn’t God explain Moses anything about the duration of a month, the start of a day, etc?
Did God explain, but was it just not recorded? Or was it God’s way of saying “Change that month but for the rest of it stick to what you learned about calendars in Egypt.”? (Excluding the pagan gods of course)
There is abundant proof in the Bible and extra-
The two kingdoms
In 2 Samuel we read king David established a kingdom (~1000BC) that ruled Judea, Galilee and Samaria from Jerusalem.
Judah which includes Jerusalem is the most southern part. Galilee where Jesus was born the most northern part. Samaria was a region roughly in the middle.
After David’s son Solomon died the kingdom split up in a northern (Galilee and Samaria) and southern (Judah) part. That was about 930 BC
In 597 BC and 586 BC Babylon attacked the Southern Kingdom (Judah) and captured many Jews.
In 537 BC the Jews were released and returned home.
14 & 15 vs 15 & 15
Exod 12:6 And you 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.
Exod 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
Exod 12:18 In the first [month], on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-
→ No mentioning of the fifteenth
Lev 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
Lev 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
Lev 23:7 In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
Num 28:16 And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.
Num 28:17 And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
Num 28:18 In the first day shall be an holy convocation; you shall do no manner of servile work therein:
Ezek 45:21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
→ No mentioning of the fifteenth
Please read the above verses carefully; Passover is always linked to the fourteenth while the fifteenth is always linked to the Feast of unleavened bread. Below a list of dates. Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread
Exodus: 14 Nisan/14 Nisan.
Leviticus: 14 Nisan/15 Nisan
Numbers: 14 Nisan/15 Nisan
Ezekiel written during exile: 14 Nisan/14 Nisan.
Essene calendar: 14 Nisan/14 Nisan
Judean calendar during Jesus time: 15 Nisan/15 Nisan -
At some point in time, part of the Jews switched to the sunset-
Ezek 1:1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
Ezek 11:12 And you shall know that I am the LORD: for you have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you.
The reason the Southern Kingdom was in Babylon was because God was punishing them for adopting customs of the surrounding pagan nations. Possibly calendar changes were part of the problem.
When a text was copied the Scribes often made minor changes, mostly spelling, update the text to modern use of words or change outdates city names to the modern names. Most often with all good intentions.
The killing of the lamb, preparing it and eating it used to fall the same calendar date. But when the Southern Kingdom moved the start of the calendar day from the God given sunrise to the Babylonian sunset they got in a awkward situation. Killing and preparing during daytime of the fourteenth during daytime and eating it on the fourteenth in the evening means the meal was eaten before it was prepared because the Babylonian evening and night precede the daylight portion of the day.
So some fourteenth’s are changed in fifteenth in the books of Leviticus and Numbers because the text allowed for simple minor changes. Exodus is to complex for minor changes/updates. It would require rewriting which was beyond the scope of updating text.
The book of Ezekiel switches back to 14/14 for a good reason; according to Ezekiel 11:12 Israel was in exile because they adopted the standards of the surrounding pagan nations. Unfortunately he doesn’t tell us if those practices include calendar changes. Ezekiel mentioning 14/14 may be seen as a small hint but nothing more than that because repeating something doesn’t always mean something was wrong.
But considering the month names are Babylonian, the day and month start in a Babylonian way surely makes it look like they adopted Babylonian ways, before, during or after their exile.
The Essene man with the pitcher
In the time and culture of Jesus it was custom that men carried (heavy) leather bottles and women carried (smaller) pitchers.
Mark 14:13 And he sends forth two of his disciples, and said to them, Go you into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.
There was one sect of Jews that were mostly celibate and for that reason they also had to women’s tasks. The Essenes. While the Essenes are mostly known for living in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, they had communities in many cities, including Jerusalem. Josephus wrote:
‘occupy no one city, but settle in large numbers in every town’ (War 2.124).
According to Josephus they favored by Herod the Great because their prophet prophesied Herod would be King. They even had their own gate in Jerusalem.
‘the Gate of the Essenes’ (Josephus, War 5.145)
The exact location of the Essence quarter and their gate isn’t know with any accuracy but it’s fairly well established it was in the south-
John 13:10 Jesus said to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and you are clean, but not all.
The Essence had very strict washing/purity regulations and they demanded everyone to be ritually clean before having a Passover meal. Jesus and His a apostles honored that wish and arrived bathed. However they walked to the house so their feet got unclean again. Jesus washed the feet. While many see deeper meaning in the foot washing, it’s also a hint toward that they stayed with Essene. And to close the circle an Essene with never have allowed the blasphemous act of someone having a Passover Supper in their house on the wrong date.
So Mark 14:13 packs a big revelation about the Last Supper….
Conclusion: During the last few days of Jesus’ life there were 2 Passover meals. The first one was on the Dive-
The second meal was on the Pagan-