“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites: ‘When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they are still to celebrate the Lord’s Passover.'”-Numbers 9:9-10
Today we are following on the heels of yesterday’s post concerning the couple of Israelites who were in a state of UNCLEANNESS and inquired of Moses if they would be allowed to observe the Lord’s Passover.
As we saw, Moses consulted with God and the answer he was given from the Lord is a firm NO.
Any Israelite who is in a state of defilement is NOT to observe PESACH at the appointed time but to observe it a month later.
And the other exception given that would allow one to observe PESACH exactly one month later is if one is on a “faraway journey“.
Now right here at this point, controversy arose.
How in the world do you define a “faraway journey“?
In other words, how much of a distance would comprise a “faraway journey“?
The answer to this question came down to exactly how far one was from the Tabernacle or Temple when Nissan 14 swung around.
Although a variety of opinions from the Rabbis arose concerning this point, the following became the two primary viewpoints that eventually took hold.
-Anyone who is not physically able to make the journey to the Temple borders when Nissan 14 arrives is exempt
-Anyone who lives more than 18 miles from the Temple boundaries is exempt
I am aware this might seem like I’m harping excessively on a minute point but this particular issue is connected to the timing of Yeshua’s trial and execution which took place on Passover.
The Judean Jews who lived near the Temple had their own set of rules.
And the Galileans, of whom Yeshua was a part, since they lived quite a distance from the Temple also had an entirely different set of rules.
See, here’s the thing.
Because of the long distance that Jews from Galilee had to travel to go back and forth to Jerusalem, they usually held their Passover meal on the day BEFORE Passover.
And of course, they would have begun the work of clearing their homes of all yeast much earlier than Jews from Judea.
When gentile scholars start tearing their hair out concerning apparent timing contradictions with regards to Passover, the Last Supper, and when Yeshua was really crucified etcetera, all of these arguments can be pretty easily reconciled by understanding the connection between the definition of a “long journey” and how different groups of Jews (based on where they lived) went about solving the problem if they lived quite a distance from the Holy City.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“And the child grew,
and waxed strong in spirit,
filled with wisdom:
and the grace of God was upon him.
Now his parents went to Jerusalem
every year at the feast of the passover.
And when he was twelve years old,
they went up to Jerusalem
after the custom of the feast.”
“It was almost time for the
festival of Passover in Y’hudah,
so Yeshua went up to Yerushalayim.”