Last time, we started to discuss the Last Supper. We reviewed the traditional approach: Jesus was crucified on Friday, and the Last Supper was indeed the Passover meal (Seder) that took place on Thursday night; we asked some questions bound up with this traditional approach – and today, we will try to answer these questions. Then, we will discuss the alternative scenarios.
Here is what David Baron writes: “The expression ‘three days and three nights’ is an Old Testament idiom carried over into the New Testament, and means not necessarily three whole days and three whole nights, but in round numbers a period of about three days.” In the case of Jonah, Baron continues, we have no means of knowing exactly how long he was in the belly of the fish. However, it can be proved from some other scriptures: for instance, in the book of Esther we read that Esther says to Mordecai:“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise” – but already “on the third day” she appeared before Ahaseurus. To this argument, he adds: “I might point out also the fact that the Jews who heard the Lord use the expression did not understand it to signify literally ‘three days and three nights’ for after the Crucifixion they came to Pilate saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day.” So we see that, throughout the Old and New Testament, part of a day is counted as a whole day. Therefore, Baron concludes: Jesus indeed “may be said to have been in the grave ‘three days and three nights’: Friday, to which legally belonged the night of what we shall call Thursday; Saturday, consisting of the night of Friday and the day of Saturday; and Sunday to which belonged the night of Saturday and the very early morn of Sunday.”
I have to admit that Baron’s arguments sound pretty convincing to me. However, if you are still not convinced, I am going to present here an alternative scenario. I personally believe that it does correspond to the real events – but once again, I want to emphasize that I don’t claim to have the final answers, nobody can be one hundred percent certain exactly how and when these events took place. Moreover, even though I will share with you some Hebrew insights here, I still want us to remember that there is always the possibility that we are missing something. “The secret things belong to the Lord”…It’s important for me to emphasize that we don’t have to stumble over this story: there are several plausible scenarios presenting the final days of Jesus
Personally, I don’t think it was the traditional Passover meal. Why? We read in the Mishnah:
A paschal lamb is invalid if it was slaughtered for those who will not eat it… 
The paschal lamb had to be eaten during the Passover meal! The eating of the paschal sacrifice was the principal part of Seder, and therefore the meal that happened BEFORE the sacrifice, by definition, could have not been Seder.
However, if it was not Seder, what was it? What was the nature of this meal? Before we actually start our discourse, let me share with you some additional quotations from Mishna, from the same tractate Pesachim:
… The sages say that in Judah they would work on the day before Pesacĥ until noon, whereas in the Galilee they did not work at all. As far as the
night is concerned: Bet Shammai prohibit whereas Bet Hillel permit until sunrise.
Where it is customary to work until noon on the day before Passover, people may work; where it is not customary to do so, people may not …
We see that there were different festival traditions in different places. As we all know, Jesus and his disciples were Galileans, therefore they would have observed the Galilean traditions. There were several differences between Judean and Galilean Passover observance, but the most important one was a special fast – the Fast of the Firstborn, in remembrance of the firstborn Israelites who were saved from death (that is why we read in Mishna that “in the Galilee, they didn’t work at all” on Passover day). The fast took place on Nisan 14, on the day of Passover.
In Hebrew, the last meal before fast is called seudah maphsehket (if you have ever been in Israel for Yom Kippur, you know that seudah maphsehket, the last meal before Yom Kippur fast, isa very special event indeed). Thus, in the Galilean tradition, there had to be this special meal at the beginning of Passover (Nisan 14th) called seudah maphsehket. After this meal, there would be a whole day fast – and the next meal would be Seder. In this sense, this seudah maphsehket was indeed the Last Supper.
Let us now try to figure out the days of the week when all of this was happening. We will definitely need the sign of Jonah here: Sunday is a given, so to make it simple, we will just count three nights back and arrive at Thursday, and then everything else falls into place. It was on Wednesday Nisan 13 that the disciples prepared this special meal that we call the Last Supper and that was, in fact, seudah maphsehket – the last meal before the Fast of the Firstborns. Jesus and the disciples ate this meal on Wednesday night, as the day changed to Nisan 14. Then Jesus was arrested at night, tried and convicted early on the Thursday morning, and then crucified during the day – and all this happened on Nisan 14, Thursday, the day of “Pesach”, the day of the slaughtering of the paschal lamb. Thus, on Thursday, Nisan 14, Jesus died on the cross; and on Sunday, Nisan 17 – the Feast of Firstfruits – Jesus was resurrected.
I would like to finish this article with the words of L. Piperov: “Crucifixion on 14th Nisan, Thursday, followed by the Day of Resurrection, by Sunday dawn, on 17th Nisan, would be an amazing confirmation of the Lord Jesus’ own prophetic words based on the prophet Jonah (Jonah 1:17):
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40)
Note that the Lord Jesus said days and nights, not nights and days! Indeed, arrest on late Wednesday night, followed by the terrible ordeal, including trial/humiliation/crucifixion and death and burial before sunset on the next day, Thursday (Day One in the heart of the earth), and Resurrection shortly before dawn on Sunday, correspond … accurately to these words”
 David Baron, Types, Psalms and Prophecies, Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 2000 p.361
 Esther 4:16-5:1
 David Baron, Types, Psalms and Prophecies, p.363
 Deut. 29:29
 Mishna, Tractate Pesachim, Chapter 5 Mishna 3
 Mishna, Tractate Pesachim, Chapter 4 Mishna 5
 Mishna, Pesachim, Chapter 4, Mishna 1
 You can read more about it in: David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1995, p. 77
 For this idea, I am indebted to Tom Bradford from TorahClass.com
 Lyuben Piperov, A Tale of Two Gospels, p.22; This study on Bible codes also confirms Thursday, 14th Nisan as the true day of the Crucifixion
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