Shabbat HaGadol (The Great Sabbath)/10 Nissan
6 Nissan, 5763
(Shabbat HaGadol (The Great Sabbath) falls on 12 Nissan, 5764/April 3, 2004 and coincides with the reading of Parashas Tzav. 10 Nissan falls on April 1, 2004.)
This coming Sabbath (Saturday), 10 Nissan 5763 (April 12, 2003), is the Sabbath before Pesach (Passover) which the Jews call Shabbat HaGadol (The Great Sabbath). This is the day that Jewish tradition states that the ancient Israelites took lambs or kids into their homes and that these lambs or kids would eventually be their Pesach offering. (This is one of many explanations for the day which leaves some to believe that we really don't know what the Great Sabbath is for although the general consensus deals with what is stated here.) It was an act of defiance seeing the Egyptians worshiped lambs, yet the slaves brought these animals into their homes and tied them in a prominent place (some sources say their bedposts) as a reminder of the upcoming service. The Egyptians were unable to do anything although they were highly offended at this action, therefore this whole episode is considered a great deliverance. At the time of the Exodus tradition states that the 10th day of the first month was on the Sabbath, therefore, Jews commemorate the anniversary of this day on the Sabbath before Pesach (even if it isn't 10 Nissan).
(KJV) Exodus 12:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.Modern thought doesn't put too much stress on Shabbat HaGadol as there isn't anything "special" done on this day. Most Jews stay home in preparation for Pesach instead of attending synagogue where this day is sometimes used for elaborate all-day sessions by the rabbis explaining complicated laws and rituals associated with Pesach. This accounts for the reason why some call this day "the long Sabbath." Modern observance of the Great Sabbath is always on the Sabbath before Pesach and some years that day of the month corresponds with the calendar date of 10 Nissan but this isn't the case every year (10 Nissan usually falls on Tues, Thurs or Sat with an errant Monday every now and then; this has to do with the very complicated area of the computation of the Jewish calendar and is outside the scope of this paper. I am bringing this up just to show that it is not an unusual occurrence to have 10 Nissan on the Sabbath as it happens every third year or so).
The term "the Great Sabbath" also refers to the World to Come after the 6,000 years of history are over and there is a 1,000 year Sabbath (rest) period (which corresponds to Judeo-Christian's millennium in the book of Revelation). The Jewish calendar states that 2003 is the year 5763 but there is a supposed 240 year discrepancy in their calendar so we could say that the year 2003 is 5763+240=6003 which makes it seem that we are overdo for something significant to happen (to see more on this topic please see 5760+240=600).
Why was the lamb or kid kept for four days? There isn't any definitive answer to this question provided in Scripture. There are, however, different explanations offered by Jewish scholars. One of these involves Exodus 12:48 which states that no uncircumcised person can partake of the passover.
(KJV) Exodus 12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.At the time of the first passover circumcision had not been widely practiced so there would've been many men who would've be unable to eat of the lamb until the ceremony was performed. They would need to be fully prepared for the passover before they underwent circumcision. It is generally recognized that three full days are required in order to recuperate from circumcision (Bava Metziah 86b, Rashi on Genesis 18:1) so they would need to pick their lamb or kid one day before their circumcision leaving them three days to recover before the passover itself.
The 5th chapter of Joshua is usually referenced here and is very interesting to our study on many, many levels. It deals with Israel crossing the Jordan, entering the Promised Land (on 10 Nissan), being circumcised because they had been wandering in the desert and had not done so, celebrating the Passover, next day eating from the old corn of the land (Feast of Unleavened Bread) and the next day the manna ending (Feast of Firstfruits):
(KJV) Joshua 4:19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.
Perhaps on some Great Sabbath in the future the Jewish people will recognize Jesus and circumcise their hearts?:
(KJV) Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.Moses Maimonides, a great Jewish sage, gives an interesting explanation for the use of this Great Sabbath lamb: he states that it was slaughtered as a sin-offering for the nation's previous idolatry. Not a very popular view in Jewish circles but it certainly squares quite nicely with Judeo-Christian thought.
Another Great Sabbath practice that is interesting to this study is how some communities in Greece, Turkey and former Yugoslavia reserve Shabbat HaGadol for giving children, especially orphans, new clothes. This event is called Chag HaHalbashah, "Festival of the New Clothing." It makes me think of the common practice in America even to this day of getting a new set of clothes/shoes for Easter but it also makes me wonder if this isn't the time that the Church also gets its new garments before its entry into heaven? Is the Great Sabbath the time to be fully clothed by the Lamb of God?
Nissan 10 is not just "famous" for being the date of the first Great Sabbath, it is also the date when Jesus rode into Israel on the back of a donkey and was hailed by some as King but ultimately rejected by Israel (this dating always seemed a little bit arbitrary to me but once I saw the connection with the Great Sabbath those doubts melted away). Jesus went to Jerusalem, Israel's capital, on the very same day that the Jews were choosing their sacrificial lambs or kids and instead of deciding to take him, the Lamb of God, to heart and bring him into their lives they crucified him and received no benefit from his sacrifice at that time; all they had to do was look and believe on him yet they refused.
Jesus went and presented himself in Jerusalem in fulfillment of part of Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks. On the very day that the first 69 weeks were over, Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was rejected. Seeing Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy clock was stopped on 10 Nissan, the Great Sabbath, is it too far fetched to consider that the last week will commence on the same day? What year we can't say for certain, but I think it will probably be in some year where 10 Nissan is on a Sabbath, on the Great Sabbath day celebrated by the Jews (which happens to be the case this year 2003 and then again in 2006).
(KJV) Daniel 9:23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.How do we come to the conclusion that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on 10 Nissan and that this fulfills 69 of Daniel's 70 week prophecy? Let's take a look at chapter 10, "Fulfillment of the Prophecy" in the online book The Coming Prince by Sir Robert Anderson,FULFILLMENT OF THE PROPHECY
"THE secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children." (Deuteronomy 29:29) And among the "things which are revealed" fulfilled prophecy has a foremost place. In presence of the events in which it has been accomplished, its meaning lies upon the surface. Let the facts of the Passion be admitted, and their relation to the twenty-second Psalm is indisputable. There are profound depths of spiritual significance in the Psalmist's words, because of the nature of the facts which have fulfilled them; but the testimony which the prophecy affords is addressed to all, and he who runs may read it. Is it possible then, it may be asked, that the true interpretation of this prophecy of the Seventy Weeks involves so much inquiry and discussion?
Such an objection is perfectly legitimate; but the answer to it will be found in distinguishing between the difficulties which appear in the prophecy itself, and those which depend entirely on the controversy to which it has given rise. The writings of Daniel have been more the object of hostile criticism than any other portion of the Scripture, and the closing verses of the ninth chapter have always been a principal point of attack. And necessarily so, for if that single passage can be proved to be a prophecy, it establishes the character of the book as a Divine revelation. Daniel's visions admittedly describe historical events between the days of Nebuchadnezzar and of Antiochus Epiphanes; therefore skepticism assumes that the writer lived in Maccabean times. But this assumption, put forward without even a decent pretense of proof, is utterly refuted by pointing to a portion of the prophecy fulfilled at a later date; and accordingly it is of vital moment to the skeptic to discredit the prediction of the Seventy Weeks.
The prophecy has suffered nothing from the attacks of its assailants, but much at the hands of its friends. No elaborate argument would be necessary to elucidate its meaning, were it not for the difficulties raised by Christian expositors. If everything that Christian writers have written on the subject could be wiped out and forgotten, the fulfillment of the vision, so far as it has been in fact fulfilled, would be clear upon the open page of history. Out of deference to these writers, and also in the hope of removing prejudices which are fatal to the right understanding of the subject, these difficulties have here been discussed. It now remains only to recapitulate the conclusions which have been recorded in the preceding pages.
The scepter of earthly power which was entrusted to the house of David, was transferred to the Gentiles in the person of Nebuchadnezzar, to remain in Gentile hands "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
The blessings promised to Judah and Jerusalem were postponed till after a period described as "seventy weeks"; and at the close of the sixty-ninth week of this era the Messiah should be "cut off."
These seventy weeks represent seventy times seven prophetic years of 360 days, to be reckoned from the issuing of an edict for the rebuilding of the city – "the street and rampart," of Jerusalem.
The edict in question was the decree issued by Artaxerxes Longitmanus in the twentieth year of his reign, authorizing Nehemiah to rebuild the fortifications of Jerusalem.
The date of Artaxerxes's reign can be definitely ascertained – not from elaborate disquisitions by biblical commentators and prophetic writers, but by the united voice of secular historians and chronologers.
The statement of St. Luke is explicit and unequivocal, that our Lord's public ministry began in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar. It is equally clear that it began shortly before the Passover. The date of it can thus be fixed as between August A.D. 28 and April A.D. 29. The Passover of the crucifixion therefore was in A.D. 32, when Christ was betrayed on the night of the Paschal Supper, and put to death on the day of the Paschal Feast.
If then the foregoing conclusions be well founded we should expect to find that the period intervening between the edict of Artaxerxes and the Passion was 483 prophetic years. And accuracy as absolute as the nature of the case permits is no more than men are here entitled to demand. There can be no loose reckoning in a Divine chronology; and if God has deigned to mark on human calendars the fulfillment of His purposes as foretold in prophecy, the strictest scrutiny shall fail to detect miscalculation or mistake.
The Persian edict which restored the autonomy of Judah was issued in the Jewish month of Nisan. It may in fact have been dated the 1st of Nisan, but no other day being named, the prophetic period must be reckoned, according to a practice common with the Jews, from the Jewish New Year's Day. The seventy weeks are therefore to be computed from the 1st of Nisan B.C. 445.
1. "On the 1st of Nisan is a new year for the computation of the reign of kings, and for festivals." – Mishna, treatise "Rosh Hash."Now the great characteristic of the Jewish sacred year has remained unchanged ever since the memorable night when the equinoctial moon beamed down upon the huts of Israel in Egypt, bloodstained by the Paschal sacrifice; and there is neither doubt nor difficulty in fixing within narrow limits the Julian date of the 1st of Nisan in any year whatever. In B.C.. 445 the new moon by which the Passover was regulated was on the 13th of March at 7h. 9m. A. M. And accordingly the 1st Nisan may be assigned to the 14th March.
3. For this calculation I am indebted to the courtesy of the Astronomer Royal, whose reply to my inquiry on the subject is appended:But the language of the prophecy is clear: "From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks." An era therefore of sixty-nine "weeks," or 483 prophetic years reckoned from the 14th March, B.C. 445, should close with some event to satisfy the words, "unto the Messiah the Prince.""ROYAL OBSERVATORY, GREENWICH." June 26th, I877."SIR, – I have had the moon's place calculated from Largeteau's Tables in Additions to the Connaisance des Tems 1846, by one of my assistants, and have no doubt of its correctness. The place being calculated for – 444, March 12d. 20h., French reckoning, or March 12d. 8h. P. M., it appears that the said time was short of New Moon by about 8h. 47m., and therefore the New Moon occurred at 4h. 47m. A. M., March 13th, Paris time." I am, etc., " (Signed,) G. B. AIRY."The new moon, therefore, occurred at Jerusalem on the 13th March, B. C. 445 (444 Astronomical) at 7h. 9m. A. M.
The date of the nativity could not possibly have been the termination of the period, for then the sixty-nine weeks must have ended thirty-three years before Messiah's death.
If the beginning of His public ministry be fixed upon, difficulties of another kind present themselves. When the Lord began to preach, the kingdom was not presented as a fact accomplished in His advent, but as a hope the realization of which, though at the very door, was still to be fulfilled. He took up the Baptist's testimony, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." His ministry was a preparation for the kingdom, leading up to the time when in fulfillment of the prophetic Scriptures He should publicly declare Himself as the Son of David, the King of Israel, and claim the homage of the nation. It was the nation's guilt that the cross and not the throne was the climax of His life on earth.
No student of the Gospel narrative can fail to see that the Lord's last visit to Jerusalem was not only in fact, but in the purpose of it, the crisis of His ministry, the goal towards which it had been directed. After the first tokens had been given that the nation would reject His Messianic claims, He had shunned all public recognition of them. But now the twofold testimony of His words and His works had been fully rendered, and His entry into the Holy City was to proclaim His Messiahship and to receive His doom. Again and again His apostles even had been charged that they should not make Him known. But now He accepted the acclamations of "the whole multitude of the disciples," and silenced the remonstrance of the Pharisees with the indignant rebuke, "I tell you if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." (Luke 19:39, 40)
The full significance of the words which follow in the Gospel of St. Luke is concealed by a slight interpolation in the text. As the shouts broke forth from His disciples, "Hosanna to the Son of David! blessed is the king of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord!" He looked off toward the Holy City and exclaimed, "If thou also hadst known, even on this day, the things which belong to thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes!" The time of Jerusalem's visitation had come, and she knew it not. Long ere then the nation had rejected Him, but this was the predestined day when their choice must be irrevocable, – the day so distinctly signalized in Scripture as the fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold thy King cometh unto thee!" (Zechariah 9:9) Of all the days of the ministry of Christ on earth, no other will satisfy so well the angel's words, unto Messiah the Prince."
4. ei egnos kai su kai ge en ta hamera tauta ta pros eipanan sou k. t. l. (Luke 19:42). The received text inserts sou after hamera, but the best MSS. (Alex. Vat. Sin., etc.) agree in omitting it. kai sou, "thou also, as well as these my disciples." kai ge et quidem – "even" (Alford, Gr. Test. in loco). The Revised Version reads, "If thou hadst known in this day," etc.And the date of it can be ascertained. In accordance with the Jewish custom, the Lord went up to Jerusalem upon the 8th Nisan, "six days before the Passover." But as the 14th, on which the Paschal Supper was eaten, fell that year upon a Thursday, the 8th was the preceding Friday. He must have spent the Sabbath, therefore, at Bethany; and on the evening of the 9th, after the Sabbath had ended, the Supper took place in Martha's house. Upon the following day, the 10th Nisan, He entered Jerusalem as recorded in the Gospels.
5. "When the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus," i. e., Nisan (Josephus, Wars, 6. 5, 3). "And the Jews' Passover was nigh at hand, and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem, before the Passover, to purify themselves…Then Jesus, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany" (John 11:55; 12:1).The Julian date of that 10th Nisan was Sunday the 6th April, A.D. 32. What then was the length of the period intervening between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the public advent of "Messiah the Prince," – between the 14th March, B.C. 445, and the 6th April, A.D. 32? THE INTERVAL CONTAINED EXACTLY AND TO THE VERY DAY 173, 880 DAYS, OR SEVEN TIMES SIXTY-NINE PROPHETIC YEARS OF 360 DAYS, the first sixty-nine weeks of Gabriel's prophecy.
7. The 1st Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (the edict to rebuild Jerusalem) was 14th March, B. C. 445. The 10th Nisan in Passion Week (Christ's entry into Jerusalem) was 6th April, A. D. 32. The intervening period was 476 years and 24 days (the days being reckoned inclusively, as required by the language of the prophecy, and in accordance with the Jewish practice).Much there is in Holy Writ which unbelief may value and revere, while utterly refusing to accept it as Divine; but prophecy admits of no half-faith. The prediction of the "seventy weeks" was either a gross and impious imposture, or else it was in the fullest and strictest sense God-breathed. It may be that in days to come, when Judah's great home-bringing shall restore to Jerusalem the rightful owners of its soil, the Jews themselves shall yet rake up from deep beneath its ruins the records of the great king's decree and of the Nazarene's rejection, and they for whom the prophecy was given will thus be confronted with proofs of its fulfillment. Meanwhile what judgment shall be passed on it by fair and thoughtful men? To believe that the facts and figures here detailed amount to nothing more than happy coincidences involves a greater exercise of faith than that of the Christian who accepts the book of Daniel as Divine. There is a point beyond which unbelief is impossible, and the mind in refusing truth must needs take refuge in a misbelief which is sheer credulity.But 476 x 365= 173, 740 days
8. theopneustos (2 Timothy 3:16).Was 10 Nissan, April 6, 32 AD a Sabbath day? I don't know. Also, to bring you up-to-date on what I've found in my studies on this subject I have another book entitled "Handbook of Biblical Chronology" by Jack Finegan which seems to be generally acknowledged as one of the premier sources for chronology and he has a different date for the first day of Nissan in the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes I Longimanus: April 13, 445 BC. There is a month's discrepancy here which might be explained by the additional of an Adar II month in that year? Again, I don't know.
Shabbat HaGadol (The Great Sabbath)/10 Nisan seem to have much in common and speak of a sacrificial lamb being chosen to die in place of men and paints a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ. Does this help answer lingering questions such as what day of the week was Passover on when Christ died (if he was presented on 10 Nissan which was the Great Sabbath then Passover started four days later on Wednesday evening), does it help figure out his date of birth? does it help figure out dating of events during the Tribulation? I don't know (as I am no mathematician) but I do know that Jesus always fulfilled everything right down to the last detail and the Great Sabbath/10 Nissan connection is a perfect fit.
The Haftorah (weekly reading from the prophets) for the Great Sabbath is Malachi 3:4-24 (the KJV verse numbers are different from the Tanakh; verse 4:5 is repeated because verse 4:6 talks of curses and readings should not end on negative notes):
(KJV) Malachi 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. 13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? 14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? 15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. 16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.Elijah's name is invoked in this reading and is the prelude to his "attendance" at the Passover meal in four days time. Elijah drinks from a special cup placed on the seder table on the night of Passover and is greeted at the door as he is a herald to the coming of Messiah. It is thought that he will be one of the two witnesses of the book of Revelation.
What should we be watching for on Shabbat HaGadol/The Great Sabbath/Nissan 10? Just some thoughts: