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OMJRA DECISION

  1. JUDGMENT
  2. RULLING
  3. WORKS CITED

APPENDIX I

I. RESEARCH DATA USED

  1. BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS
  2. SECULAR ACCOUNTS

APPENDIX II

II. ROMAN TIME TABLES

  1. THE DAY BY HOURS

APPENDIX III

REFERENCES


The OMJRA Judgment Concerning The Day Of Passover

Many so called messianic groups argue concerning whether the celebration of Passover is to commence at the beginning of the fourteenth day or the beginning of the fifteenth day in the month of Aviv (Nisan). The OMJRA has a ruling of Halakhah concerning this issue. This ruling is to unify this organization and prevent the disunity and disfunction created in other messianic groups. The OMJRA recognizes and observes Passover following the guidelines established by Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Matthew, Mark and Luke all state that the day that Yeshua assembled for the Passover meal was on the first day of unleavened bread. Matthew, Mark and Luke are also in agreement with Devarim which states that the Passover must be sacrificed at the going down of the sun in the place G-D chooses as Devarim 16:6 states "But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou came forth out of Egypt." Because G-D had commanded that the Passover be sacrificed on the fourteenth of Aviv see (Shemot 12:6), this must be the going down of the sun on the fourteenth of Aviv at the place G-D chose to place His name. From historical and scriptural references we can see that the temple was the place G-D chose to place His name.

To establish an official position concerning whether the Passover sacrifice occurred at the going down of the sun on the thirteenth or the going down of the sun on the fourteenth the OMJRA convened a Beit Din gathered on July 10, 2011 to examine available scriptural and non-scriptural witnesses concerning the Passover as executed during the time of the temple. The goal of this Beit Din is to determine whether historical witnesses concerning the Passover sacrifice support the theory that the Passover sacrifice occurred at the beginning fourteenth day of Aviv or the theory that the Passover sacrifice occurred at end of the fourteenth day of Aviv.

In the examination of the available materials it was the goal of this Beit Din to rely on publicly available and academically recognized materials only. This is to prevent the pitfalls that occur when an organization or an individual states they have access to special, hidden or secret materials that are not publicly available. More often than not these special, secret, and hidden materials are fabrications and will not stand the test of academic scrutiny. Therefore, this Beit Din did not use any secret, special, or hidden materials when rendering this decision. This is because it is the goal of the OMJRA to conduct research that can be reproduced and scrutinized with the hope that we will continually get closer to the truth.

According to the Torah the process that determines the truth requires more than one witness. Devarim 19:15 states “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” The first confirmation of this scripture occurs in Matthew 18:16 which states “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” The second confirmation of the previous two scriptures occurs in 2Co 13:1 which states “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” The opinion of this Beit Din was formed with the establishment of multiple witnesses. The opinion of this Beit Din that the Passover sacrifice occurred at the end of the fourteenth of Aviv will not put to rest the controversy of the timing concerning the last Passover celebrated by Yeshua. However, the OMJRA has firmly presented this organization's official position in accordance with the multiple witnesses required by the Torah and academically recognized materials available for research.

OMJRA Beit Din Passover Ruling

After the consideration of the academically recognized and available resource materials used for this research it is clear that when Matthew, Mark, and Luke state that it was the first day of Unleavened Bread it was the first day of Unleavened Bread. Matthew, Mark, and Luke's statement concerning the first day of unleavened bread and Yeshua's death is confirmed by the time frame established for the Passover sacrifice in the Talmud, Josephus and Philo. The Talmud, Josephus and Philo make it clear that the earliest possible time for the Passover sacrifice would have been at noon and the latest possible time would have been by 6:00pm. Therefore, during the second temple period the Passover sacrifice occurred at the end of the fourteenth of Aviv and the Passover meal was consumed at the beginning of the fifteenth of Aviv. Therefore, the statement that the apostles assembled for the last Passover on the First Day of Unleavened Bread is accurate.

Let the ruling of the Observant Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Association (OMJRA) Beit Din assembled on the 15th of Tamuz, 5771 - July 17, 2011 confirm the facts presented and proclaim publicly that the OMJRA is in agreement that the last Passover meal eaten by Yeshua was eaten on the fifteenth day of the month of Aviv. Therefore, for all official functions and gatherings the OMJRA will observe Passover at the end of the fourteenth of Aviv, continuing into the fifteenth of Aviv.

For a biblical understanding of how the 15th day of Aviv also works well into Yeshua's death as witnessed by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John visit: ABOUT-Torah


The following research presents six independent and verifiable sources supporting the theory that the Passover sacrifice was killed at the end of the fourteenth of Aviv. The foundation of this evidence is from the Torah. The supporting proofs for this foundation come from the Brit Hadasha (first person accounts) and secondary source (historical) materials.

APPENDIX I

Biblical Secular And Talmudic References

Torah Foundation

Numbers 33:3 And they journey from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, on the morrow of the Passover have the sons of Israel gone out with a high hand, before the eyes of all the Egyptians.

De 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

Brit Hadasha

Matthew

Mt 26:17-19 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover.

Mark

Mr 14:12-15 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover? And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.

Luke

Luke 22:7-13 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover.

Secular Accounts

Philo

Philo also know as Philo of Alexandria was a devout Jewish individual who lived in the Alexandrian community in Egypt between 20 BCE - 50 CE or (20 BC - 50 AD). This means that Philo was alive during the period of the second temple. The reason that I can unequivocally state that Philo was a devout Jewish Individual is because Philo writes this about himself " What sayest thou, O master? Are you making war upon us, because you anticipate that we will not endure such indignity, but that we will fight on behalf of our laws, and die in defense of our national customs? For you cannot possibly have been ignorant of what was likely to result from your attempt to introduce these innovations respecting our temple; but having previously learnt with perfect accuracy what was likely to happen as well as if it had already taken place, and knowing the future as thoroughly as if it were actually present, you commanded your general to bring up an army in order that the statue when erected might be consecrated by the first sacrifice offered to it, being of a most polluted kind, stained with the blood of miserable men and women."(Philo- 1 - pp1760). Besides this Josephus wrote a similar account of Philo's devout nature in his writing Antiquities of the Jews, xviii.8, As we can see in additional writings by Philo, his stand against placing a statue in the temple cost the Jewish community of Alexandria dearly. As a result, many Jews were killed and exiled from Alexandria. This makes Philo one of the few individuals devout enough and courageous enough to stand against the influence of pagan practices that occurred in the first century and under the Roman rule. This also makes Philo an excellent source to use for the determination of the time that the Passover lamb was sacrificed during the second temple. Philo states that the Passover sacrifice began at noonday and continued until evening as we can see in The Works of Philo, THE SPECIAL LAWS which states "And after the feast of the new moon comes the fourth festival, that of the Passover, which the Hebrews call pascha, on which the whole people offer sacrifice, beginning at noonday and continuing till evening."

Josephus

Josephus assisted the Roman commander Titus, Vespasian's son, with understanding the Jewish nation and in negotiating with the revolutionaries. Called a traitor, he was unable to persuade the defenders of Jerusalem to surrender to the Roman siege, and instead became a witness to the destruction of the city and the Holy Temple.

Living at the Flavian court in Rome, Josephus undertook to write a history of the war he had witnessed. The work, while apparently factually correct, also served to flatter his patron and to warn other provinces against the folly of opposing the Romans. He first wrote in his native language of Aramaic, then with assistance translated it into Greek (the most-used language of the Empire). It was published a few years after the end of the war, in about 78 CE. He was about 40 years old.

Josephus subsequently improved his language skills and undertook a massive work in Greek explaining the history of the Jews to the general non-Jewish audience. He emphasized that the Jewish culture and Bible were older than any other then existing, hence called his work the Jewish Antiquities. Approximately half the work is a rephrasing of the Hebrew Bible, while much of the rest draws on previous historians. This work was published in 93 or 94 CE, when he was about 56 years old. (Christian Classics Library)

(423) So these high priests, upon the coming of their feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh, but so that a company not less than ten belong to every sacrifice (for it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves), and many of us are twenty in a company,

The Romans divided the day into twelve equal parts. However, the Roman hour was based on the winter or the summer solstice as Leonhard Schmitz explains in, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875 when he states “The equinoctial hours, though known to astronomers, were not used in the affairs of common life till towards the end of the fourth century of the Christian era. As the division of the natural day into twelve equal parts, both in summer and winter, rendered the duration of the hours longer or shorter according to the different seasons of the year, it is not easy, with accuracy, to compare or reduce the hours of the ancients to our equinoctial hours. The hours of an ancient day would only coincide with the hours of our day at the two equinoxes.” As a historian working for the Romans it is this method of time keeping Josephus would have used. Josephus places the Passover sacrifice between ninth and eleventh hours.

Winter-Solstice - Roman Hours & Modern Hours

Roman Modern Afternoon Equivalent
9th hour 1 o'clock, 29 minutes 0 seconds
10th hour 2 o'clock, 13 minutes 30 seconds
11th hour 2 o'clock, 58 minutes 0 seconds

Summer-Solstice - Roman Hours & Modern Hours

Roman Modern Afternoon Equivalent
9th hour 2 o'clock, 31 minutes 0 seconds
10th hour 3 o'clock, 46 minutes 30 seconds
11th hour 5 o'clock, 2 minutes 0 seconds

According to Josephus the Passover sacrifice occurred between the ninth and eleventh hour.

Despite whether the Passover occurred in the Winter Solstice or Summer Solstice both tables verify that Josephus put the timing of the Passover between 1:30pm and 5:00pm. It is interesting to note that the Romans shortened the winter hours to compensate for the amount of daylight in the Winter. (See Roman Hora (Hour))

The Talmud

The Talmud can also be used as a historical source to determine the timing of the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb during the second temple. The following reference from the (Babylonian Talmud Mas. Pesachim 58a) is based on the 12 hour time keeping method that Israel used to reference the hours of daylight. The table shows the equivalents of this system and when the Passover sacrifice would have been scheduled during the 12 hours of daylight between 6:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. According to the Talmud all possible times require the Tamid sacrifice to be completed first. Therefore, Tamid times were adjusted to accommodate the Passover sacrifice when the Passover sacrifice followed the Tamid. According to the Mishnah the earliest the Passover would have ever been offered is on a Friday. On Friday the Passover was sacrificed earlier to accommodate the amount of time needed to start the fire and roast the lamb before Shabbat. According the Mishnah this earliest possible time on Friday would be at about 1:00 p.m. During the second temple period Yeshua and the apostles would have offered their Passover sacrifice during one of the time frames in the table. After the offering had been made Yeshua and the apostles would have roast the lamb and begin to eat the lamb at start of the feast of unleavened bread.

Talmud - Mas. Pesachim 58a

MISHNAH. THE [AFTERNOON] TAMID1 IS SLAUGHTERED AT EIGHT AND A HALF HOURS2 AND IS OFFERED AT NINE AND A HALF HOURS.3 ON THE EVE OF PASSOVER4 IT IS SLAUGHTERED AT SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS AND OFFERED AT EIGHT AND A HALF HOURS, WHETHER IT IS A WEEKDAY OR THE SABBATH. IF THE EVE OF PASSOVER FELL, ON SABBATH EVE [FRIDAY], IT IS SLAUGHTERED AT SIX AND A HALF HOURS AND OFFERED AT SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS, AND THE PASSOVER OFFERING AFTER IT.5

  1. The daily burnt-offering: one was brought every morning and another every afternoon. Num. XXVIII, 4.
  2.  The day being counted from sunrise to sunset, i.e., about six a.m. to six p.m.
  3. The sacrificial ceremonies took an hour.
  4. The Heb. is in the plural: on the eves of Passovers.
  5. When the eve of Passover falls on a Friday, time must be left for roasting the Passover offering before the Sabbath commences; hence the earlier hour of the tamid.
Temple Hour In Mishnah 2-12hr Divisions Modern Equivalent 6 a.m. to 6 p.m
1st hour 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
2nd hour 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
3rd hour 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
4th hour 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
5th hour 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
6th hour 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
7th hour 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
8th hour 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
9th hour 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
10th hour 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
11th hour 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
12th hour 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Afternoon-Tamid Without Passover Following 8.5 hour To 9.5 hour 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Standard-Tamid Sacrifice/Offering With Passover Following 7.5 hour To 8.5 hour 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Friday-Tamid Sacrifice/Offering With Passover Following 6.5 hour To 7.5 hour 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The following reference from the (Babylonian Talmud Mas. Shabbat 19b) shows that on Friday evening before the Shabbat started the Passover sacrifice was allowed to be lowered into the oven just before night fall. Therefore, it is clear that in this time frame the Passover is definitely eaten on the fifteenth of AVIV or as it is also called the first day of unleavened bread. This is even the case when the fifteenth of AVIV or first day of unleavened bread falls on the Shabbat.

Talmud - Mas. Shabbat 19b

THE PASSOVER SACRIFICE MAY BE LOWERED INTO THE OVEN JUST BEFORE NIGHTFALL;28 AND THE FIRE MAY BE LIGHTED WITH CHIPS IN THE PILE IN THE CHAMBER OF THE HEARTH

(28) And left to roast on the Sabbath. We have no fear that one may rake the coals on the Sabbath (v. supra 18b)


APPENDIX II

Roman Time Tables

Schmitz, Leonhard, Ph.D, F.R.S.E, Rector of the High School of Edinburgh, on p614 of William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875 URL: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Hora.html

HORA, in the signification of hour, that is, the 12th part of the natural day, did not come into general use among the ancients until about the middle of the second century B.C. The equinoctial hours, though known to astronomers, were not used in the affairs of common life till towards the end of the fourth century of the Christian era. As the division of the natural day into twelve equal parts, both in summer and winter, rendered the duration of the hours longer or shorter according to the different seasons of the year, it is not easy, with accuracy, to compare or reduce the hours of the ancients to our equinoctial hours. The hours of an ancient day would only coincide with the hours of our day at the two equinoxes. [Dies and Horologium]. As the duration of the natural day, moreover, depends on the polar altitude of a place, our natural days would not coincide with the natural days in Italy or Greece. Ideler, in his Handbuch der Chronologie, has given the following approximate duration of the natural days at Rome, in the year 45 B.C., which was the first after the new regulation of the calendar by J. Caesar; the length of the days is only marked at the eight principal points in the apparent course of the sun.

The following table contains a comparison of the hours of a Roman natural day, at the summer and winter solstice, with the hours of our day

Winter-Solstice - Roman Hours & Modern Hours

Roman Modern Equivalent
1st hour 7 o'clock, 33 minutes 0 seconds
2nd hour 8 o'clock, 17 minutes 30 seconds
3rd hour 9 o'clock, 2 minutes 0 seconds
4th hour 9 o'clock, 46 minutes 30 seconds
5th hour 10 o'clock, 31 minutes 0 seconds
6th hour 10 o'clock, 44 minutes 30 seconds
7th hour 12 o'clock, 0 minutes 0 seconds
8th hour 12 o'clock, 44 minutes 30 seconds
9th hour 1 o'clock, 29 minutes 0 seconds
10th hour 2 o'clock, 13 minutes 30 seconds
11th hour 2 o'clock, 58 minutes 0 seconds
12th hour 3 o'clock, 42 minutes 30 seconds
End of the day 4 o'clock, 27 minutes 0 seconds

Summer-Solstice - Roman Hours & Modern Hours

Roman Modern Equivalent
1st hour 4 o'clock, 27 minutes 0 seconds
2nd hour 5 o'clock, 42 minutes 30 seconds
3rd hour 6 o'clock, 58 minutes 0 seconds
4th hour 8 o'clock, 13 minutes 30 seconds
5th hour 9 o'clock, 29 minutes 0 seconds
6th hour 10 o'clock, 44 minutes 30 seconds
7th hour 12 o'clock, 0 minutes 0 seconds
8th hour 1 o'clock, 15 minutes 30 seconds
9th hour 2 o'clock, 31 minutes 0 seconds
10th hour 3 o'clock, 46 minutes 30 seconds
11th hour 5 o'clock, 2 minutes 0 seconds
12th hour 6 o'clock, 17 minutes 30 seconds
End of the day 7 o'clock, 33 minutes 0 seconds

APPENDIX III

Additional Talmud References

Talmud - Mas. Shabbat 88a

on the fourteenth they slaughtered their Passover sacrifices, on the fifteenth they went out

Mishnah - Shabbat 1:11

They lower the Passover offering into an oven at dusk [when the fourteenth of Nisan falls on a Friday]. `And they light the fire in the fireplace of the House of the Hearth [M. Tam. 1:2]. `But in the provinces, [they do so only if] there is sufficient time for the flame to catch over the larger part of [the wood]. `R. Judah says, “In the case of charcoal [one may light the fire if there is time for the fire to catch] any quantity [of charcoal] whatsoever.”

Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 9a

There thou shalt sacrifice the Passover-offering at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.

According to the commandment the Passover is to be kept until the 14th at evening than offered. Evening is considered the going down of the sun. The Sanhedrin understood the 14th at evening to be the going down of the sun on the 14th. This was some time after 12:00pm(noon) on the 14th.

Talmud - Mas. Pesachim 58b

Our Rabbis taught: The [evening] tamid is [sacrificed] before the Passover offering,the Passover offering is [sacrificed] before the [burning of the evening] incense, the incense before [the kindling of] the lights;

Talmud - Mas. Pesachim 59a

let that in connection with which ba-’ereb [at evening] and ben ha-’arbayim [between the evenings] are said be deferred after that in connection with which ba-’ereb is not said, save ben ha-’arbayim alone.2 If so, let [the burning of] the incense [and the kindling of] the lights also take precedence over the Passover offering, [for] let that in connection with which ba-’ereb and ben ha-’arbayim are stated be deferred after that in connection with which nought save ben ha-’arbayim alone is said? — There it is different, because Scripture expressed a limitation, ‘it’. For it was taught: [Aaron and his sons shall set it in order, to burn] from evening to morning: furnish it with its [requisite] measure, so that it may burn from evening to morning. Another interpretation: you have no [other] service which is valid from evening to morning save this alone. What is the reason? Scripture saith, ‘Aaron and his sons shall set it in order, to burn from evening to morning’: ‘it’ [shall be] from evening to morning, but no other thing shall be from evening until morning; and [the burning of] the incense is likened to [the kindling of] the lights.

(2) This is why the evening tamid is before the Passover sacrifice. For in connection with the latter both these expressions are used: Ex. XII, 6: and the whole assembly . . . shall kill it at dusk (ben ha-’arbayim); Deut. XVI,thou shalt sacrifice the passover-offering at even (ba-’ereb).

Talmud - Mas. Menachoth 47b

Do you know of any offering which if offered under its own name is invalid but under another name is valid? But is there not? What of a Passover-offering offered before midday, which if offered under its own name is invalid.20

(20) For the proper time to offer the Passover lamb is after midday on the fourteenth of the month of Nisan; cf. Ex. XII, 6

The OMJRA does not take the process of establishing halakha lightly. Therefore, the OMJRA takes every possible witness and text into consideration when ruling on halakha. As more information becomes available we are flexible enough to reconsider past rulings. However, before any new information will be considered viable it must pass the scrutiny of being verified historically authentic.


Works Cited

PHILO The Works of Philo (Translated by C. D. Yonge), THE SPECIAL LAWS, II Section 27 (145) Pp 1326

PHILO The Works of Philo (Translated by C. D. Yonge), ON THE EMBASSY TO GAIUS, The First Part of the Treatise on Virtues Section 31 (208) Pp 1760

Christian Classics Library Location URL:http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/

Josephus Wars Of The Jews BOOK 6, FROM THE GREAT EXTREMITY TO WHICH THE JEWS WERE REDUCED, TO THE TAKING OF JERUSALEM BY TITUS.

Chapter 6 Pp 1769 #423

Babylonian Talmud - The Soncino