The Sabbath More Fully Lesson 8: Timing and Calculating the Holy Days
Calculating the Dates of Passover and Unleavened Bread


Determining when Passover falls each year is a significant part of calculating the annual Sabbaths throughout the year. Passover is the first of the annual holy days and always falls in the Spring of the year. Once it's date is determined, it is simply a matter of counting days and months to place all the other holy days.

Passover is not kept as a Sabbath, as there is no Biblical command that no work be done on it. In addition, we know that Christ was crucified on Passover. This work was done quickly for the Jews were concerned that no work be done on the Sabbath. Christ was in the tomb before the Sabbath came.

The Bible tells us a very simple formula for determining which day is Passover in a new Biblical year. It is found in Leviticus 23:5. “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even (evening) is the LORD's Passover.” To find Passover then, all one needs to do is determine which day is the first day of the Biblical month, and then count fourteen days.

The year ends with the tekufah (now called "vernal equinox"). The new Biblical year begins with the first new moon after the tekufah. (For a detailed study of how we arrived at this method for starting the Biblical year, read our online study on this subject, titled: Calculating the Beginning of the Biblical Year.) So the day of the new moon is the first day of the Biblical month. From there, go to the 14th day. This is Passover.

Because the Passover event takes place on the fourteenth day of the Biblical month, it will always happen when the moon is full or nearly full. Psalm 81:3 - "Blow on a horn for the Hodesh (New Moon) On the Keseh (Full Moon) for the Day of our Hag (Feast)."

The first day of Unleavened Bread is the day immediately following Passover. It is a Sabbath, in which no work is to be done. Leviticus 23:6-8 - “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.” The fifteenth day of the first Sabbath of Unleavened Bread. Mark this date as the first day of the seven-day festival of Unleavened Bread. The seventh-day of this week-long festival is also a Sabbath (annual Sabbath, not necessarily a Seventh-day Sabbath)."

The festival of First Fruits also falls within the week of Unleavened Bread. For details about how to determine the timing of First Fruits, view our online Bible study on it at: When are Firstfruits and Pentecost?


Studies on Calculating the Biblical Holy Days:

Calculating the Weekly Sabbath: Lunar or Seventh-week day
Calculating the Beginning of the Biblical Year
When are Passover and Unleavened Bread?
When are Firstfruits and Pentecost?
When is the Feast of Trumpets
When is the Day of Atonement?
When is the Feast of Tabernacles?


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