The Last Supper - Was it a Passover Meal - or Something Else?
Updated: Jun 25, 2022
Every year I see people discussing the last supper and calling it a Passover meal. Did Yeshua partake of the Mo'ed (Appointed time) commanded by HaShem when He ate this meal with His Apostles or was it something else?
I will start by saying this. How could Yeshua have partaken of a Passover meal, commanded to be eaten on the beginning of the 15th day, sunset, of the first month, when He was being lain in the tomb at about that time? How could He be eating the Passover meal with His apostles when HE WAS THE PASSOVER LAMB? He could not both be eating the Passover meal, at its proper time, and be the Passover lamb at the same time!
What was the last supper then? The last supper was just that: the last supper. The last meal that He shared with His Apostles. Now, it is my understanding from Jewish sources, that ancient Rabbi's had gatherings with their disciples prior to the feast days. They would use these gatherings to teach and give instruction to their followers about how they were to observe the coming feast. Here, in this last supper, Yeshua is doing the same. He is using this time to teach His Apostles about the coming feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits (all of which is just commonly referred to as Passover these days and in some ancient writings) and what they need to do to observe it correctly, etc.
In this instructional meal He is letting them know that this year He will be the Passover Lamb. He will be the lamb that Yahweh provided as spoken of by Abraham to Isaac. Yahweh will provide for Himself the lamb: Yeshua. He instructs them on His broken body and His poured out blood. He instructs them about the traditional four cups that were drunk during Passover. I guess you could call it a mock Passover meal! Yeshua had this meal with His Apostles on the setting of the sun on the 13th of Aviv, the night before the commanded Passover meal was to take place.
Now, there are some clues in scripture that what I say is true. In John 13:1 it states: "Now before the Feast of Passover had come that He should depart from this world" and then goes on to tell about the events that took place after the meal. In addition, in John 13:28-29 it states that when Judas left the room that the other apostles thought he may be going to buy what they needed for the feast (since he was the treasurer). Now, if they had been eating the real Passover, at the setting of the sun on the 14th - which would be then the 15th day, then it was a HIGH sabbath and Unleavened Bread would have already started and there would have been no way for him to buy anything, because no one would be buying and selling during the high Sabbath of Unleavened Bread. Also, he would have had no need to buy anything at that point as the feast would have already been upon them. In addition, Yeshua stated that He had "desired" to eat the Passover with them that year, but He couldn't because He was to be the Passover lamb.
If you continue reading the gospel narratives you will find that the reason that they thought Judas could be going out to buy what was needed for the feast is because the 14th day of the first month is not a Sabbath. It is called the Preparation Day. All throughout the scriptures the day that Yeshua died is called the Preparation Day, the 14th, hence He had His last teaching meal with His apostles on the eve of the 13th going into the 14th, or the Preparation day. From the completion of the meal we then find Judas going out to betray Him and His arrest and kangaroo court and then crucifixion of the 14th, just like that of the Passover Lamb, and then His burial just at the timing of the Passover meal (Unleavened Bread -1st day - sunset on the 15th).
In John 18:28 we read:
Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. So, we see here that they had not yet eaten the Passover during Yeshua’s trial.
Did the Jews of the first century keep Passover on the correct day? Absolutely! Because Yeshua had to die exactly on the prescribed days and times of His Father in order to fulfill the prophetic pictures where the Appointed Times all point to Him. No other day would suffice! The timing of everything was critical and controlled by the Most High!
I hope this short lesson has brought some clarity during this Passover season.