Why the Memorial Is Held on the Wrong Day

by Leolaia 58 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • moshe

    Thank you Leolaia- I don't have the patience to try and explain this to the JWs with a skewed logic chip in their brain.

    Being out of step with the majority view is a hallmark of WT theology/dogma. If they agreed the memorial was to be observed like Christians do Communion, then JWs might get the idea they were not so much different and then interfaith entanglements would likely siphon off JWs to regular- more loving- churches.

  • drewcoul

    I copied and pasted the following from Yahoo homepage just now. Maybe, just maybe the Witnesses have it right? AFP/File – "The last supper of Tongerlo" by Leonardo da Vinci is pictured during the exhibition "The … – Mon Apr 18, 12:31 pm ET

    LONDON (AFP) – Christians have long celebrated Jesus Christ's Last Supper on Maundy Thursday but new research released Monday claims to show it took place on the Wednesday before the crucifixion.

    Professor Colin Humphreys, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, believes it is all due to a calendar mix-up -- and asserts his findings strengthen the case for finally introducing a fixed date for Easter.

    Humphreys uses a combination of biblical, historical and astronomical research to try to pinpoint the precise nature and timing of Jesus's final meal with his disciples before his death.

    Researchers have long been puzzled by an apparent inconsistency in the Bible.

    While Matthew, Mark and Luke all say the Last Supper coincided with the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, John claims it took place before Passover.

    Humphreys has concluded in a new book, "The Mystery Of The Last Supper", that Jesus -- along with Matthew, Mark and Luke -- may have been using a different calendar to John.

    "Whatever you think about the Bible, the fact is that Jewish people would never mistake the Passover meal for another meal, so for the Gospels to contradict themselves in this regard is really hard to understand," Humphreys said.

    "Many biblical scholars say that, for this reason, you can't trust the Gospels at all. But if we use science and the Gospels hand in hand, we can actually prove that there was no contradiction."

    In Humphreys' theory, Jesus went by an old-fashioned Jewish calendar rather than the official lunar calendar which was in widespread use at the time of his death and is still in use today.

    This would put the Passover meal -- and the Last Supper -- on the Wednesday, explaining how such a large number of events took place between the meal and the crucifixion.

    It would follow that Jesus' arrest, interrogation and separate trials did not all take place in the space of one night but in fact occurred over a longer period.

    Humphreys believes a date could therefore be ascribed to Easter in our modern solar calendar, and working on the basis that the crucifixion took place on April 3, Easter Day would be on April 5.

  • Leolaia

    drewcoul....The Society teaches that Jesus held the Last Supper the day before the sabbath (see the chart in the February 1st Watchtower), i.e. Thursday evening with the sabbath starting Friday evening. This claim that it was on a Wednesday is quite different from what the Society teaches.

    In Humphreys' theory, Jesus went by an old-fashioned Jewish calendar rather than the official lunar calendar which was in widespread use at the time of his death and is still in use today.

    Like the schematic sabbatical 364-day calendar? Is this an original idea or is he reviving Annie Jaubert's old thesis?

  • TD
    Humphreys has concluded in a new book, "The Mystery Of The Last Supper", that Jesus -- along with Matthew, Mark and Luke -- may have been using a different calendar to John.

    Doesn't the discrepancy between the synoptics and the Johannine account revolve around Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12 and Luke 22:7 versus John 18:28? --That would not be an issue over what calendar John personally was using...

  • talesin


    you have helped so many w/ your knowledge,

    and wow, gurl, you are SO smart,

    I don't really have a place on this thread, but just wanted to acknowedge that .... :D


  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    Great info!

  • Larsinger58


    This is all such a mess. However, I would like to include a few misconceptions.

    1. The only reason why JWs are a day ahead of the Jews this year is because of a different calculation for the lunar date of the 14th.

    That is, Jews believe that the 14th falls on Monday, the 18th. This is when they celebrate the Seder meal after sundown, which is the 14th! They are using the calendar date which begins and ends at midnight. However, just as with every sabbath which is dated on a Saturday, we all know the official sabbath begins on Friday after midnight.

    Here is a reference where it is clear that the Seder, though celebrated on Monday, the 18th, is still considered the 14th and not the 15th.


    The link above clearly shows this.

    Thus one misconception by JWs is that they think the Jews celebrate passover on the wrong day. My impression is someone looked at a regular calendar, saw that Passover was dated on the calendar on the 15th and they thought it should be celebrated on the 14th, so they decided to be a day ahead, thinking they were being more Biblically correct. But just because it says passover is held on the 15th, it is not held that night but the previous night on the 14th.

    So this is just a misconception of theirs that the Jews celebrate their Seder on the 15th. Technically, they don't, though that appears that way on the calendar. So this represents a cultural misconception by JWs. How so? On a JW calendar the actual date of the passover that evening is given on the calendar. But on a Jewish calendar, the passover would be eaten the day before. In other words, if Jews looked at a JW calendar and saw the Passover/Memorial was on the 17th, they would presume the meal was eaten on the 16th in the evening.

    Now of note, JWs used to be smarter than this. They have understood before, for instance, that the 1st day of the month occurred at least 18 hours after the technical new moon, which would have been the earliest that the new moon crescent might have been observed by the naked eye. However, the Full Moon might have been more significant with respect to when Passover was eaten. Thus it is interesting that the technical Full Moon does not occur until 10:44 p.m. EDT (7:44 p.m.. PDT). So if the Full Moon was a consideration for when Passover was to occur, JWs celebrated Passover too early in some time zones. For instance, after sundown around 7:30 p.m. in New York was still 3 hours shy of the technical Full Moon.

    By contrast, the Jewish calendar may have assigned the 14th to the day after the Full Moon, that is, after Sunday night and thus on Monday. Even so, in their minds, the Passover Seder is eaten on the 14th after Sundown until midnight. But on their calendars, just as the sabbath is dated on a Saturday, it doesn't reflect that sabbath day actually begins on Friday, after sundown.

    So, again, JWs are mistaken that the Jews eat passover on the 15th, that is, the evening of the 15th, which they don't. They eat passover on the evening of the 14th.

    2. What else is wrong with this picture is another blind spot for JWs. That is, when the Israelites first left Egypt, they followed the Egyptian custom of changing the calendar date, which is the solar date, at MIDNIGHT. The Seder meal ended at midnight, however, and thus it has always been spoken of as being celebrated on the 14th. The festival of the first day of unfermented cakes, which was a solemn assembly at the temple, was conducted on the 15th.

    So this addresses another technicality misunderstood by the witnesses, which is the passover being eaten at the end of the 14th or at the very beginning. Clearly, since Luke 22:7 says the 2 disciples were sent out to prepare for the meal the very day the lambs were killed, and thus Nisan 14th, with the 14th not ending officially until midnight, the meal was eaten after sundown on the 14th at the end of the day. There is no way around this. Thus there is no contradiction with the historical reference by Josephus that the lambs at the temple specifically were killed from 3 p.m. It is also clear that one of the disciples had to take the lamb to the temple to be slaughtered. JWs want us to believe, therefore, that at sundown when they think "between the two evenings" was between sundown and nightfall, that one of those disciples were at the temple getting the lamb killed. No way. Besides that contradicts Luke 22:7. No matter when you decide the 14th actually began since the day they were sent to prepare was before the sunset of the day the meal was eaten, they were sent out on a different day than the meal was eaten. So even if the 14th began at sunset and the 2 disciples were sent out a minue after sunset, rushed to the temple to have the lambs killed before nightfall, it still wouldn't be until after sunset that following day that Jesus and the others arrived. So their claim he sent the disciples out on the 13th is just a blatant lie and contradiction of scripture.

    Perhaps, then the key text that we should consider is precisely when the 1st day of unfermented cakes began. As I noted, if the actual date in reference changed at midnight, then the sabbath day of the 1st day of UFC would have begun on the "fourteenth in the evening." Well, that is precisely when the 1st day of UFC is said to begin:

    Exodus 12: 18 " In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening YOU are to eat unfermented cakes down till the twenty-first day of the month in the evening."

    Of course, things get confused if you change the date at sundown instead of at midnight.

    It seems clear Jehovah must have blinded them to all of this, which is why they have become the "man of lawlessness" fulfilling 2 Thess 2:4.

    Of course, since it is quite obvious the Israelites left Egypt on the 15th but on the same night that they ate passover on the 14th, that the passover was eaten on the first day of unfermented cakes, which began on the 14th after sundown. But that also meant that passover was eaten on a sabbath day. So Nisan 14th up until sundown is the day of preparation, but after sundown, Nisan 14th until nightfall Nisan 15th is the sabbath day of the first day of UFC. That means, no matter what day of the week Nisan 14th falls on, passover is always eaten on a sabbath day, the first day of UFC, the very same day they leave Egypt.

    Thus if you insist upon changing the date at sunset, if the Bible tells you that the Israelites left on the 15th, then the 15th began at sunset which is when the passover was eaten that same night. Thus passover would be eaten on the 15th if you change the date at sunset since the Israelites after midnight were said to have left that same night but it was the 15th.

    But that also means, as I've pointed out before, that Jesus could not have died the same day he ate passover because passover always occurs on a sabbath day and impalements were not carried out on a sabbath day. Further, the Bible is explicit that Jesus died on a day of perparation; it was already the 15th when Jesus was arrested after midnight. So this is on top of another lie and false teaching, that Jesus died on Nisan 14th, the same day he ate passover. IMPOSSIBLE.

    SUMMARY: The only reason why JWs conduct passover on the 17th instead of the 18th, is not because the Jews celebrate passover on the 15th, but because of the difference between the dating of the lunar calendar. Jews date the 14th on Monday, JWs date the 14th on Sunday. But of note, in favor of the Jews, the technical Full Moon does not begin until 10:44 p.m. EDT. So if that was the significant factor for celebrating passover, that is, DURING the day the Full Moon, then JWs celebrating passover at 7:30 p.m. would have celebrated passover on the wrong day, that is, at a time before the Full Moon actually occurred. Apparently JWs are going by the 1st day of the month occurring at least 18 hours after the technical New Moon which would date the 1st of the lunar month on the 4th, which in turn dates the 14th of Nisan on Sunday the 17th. The Jews must calculate from the 5th, a day later, but that assures that passover occurs after the Full Moon.

    Oh well. Since Jesus allegedly arrived in 1914 according to them, it doesn't matter what day they celebrate passover since technically the Memorial should have ended the passover after Jesus' arrival! Further, due to their misunderstanding of Jewish culture and tradition of passover, they have misinterpreted when the Jews celebrate passover. The Jews celebrate passover on the evening of the 14th as mandated by the Bible. JWs misinterpreted the Jewish calendar date for passover with their own. JWs must have presumed the date of passover on a Jewish calendar must have meant it was celebrated that evening as in their case, but it is not; it is celebrated the evening before.

    Quite ironically, even if you date the 14th as beginning at sundown in the evening, if you follow Luke 22:7 it would have been that following afternon when the disciples were sent out to prepare for the meal and that afternoon when the lambs would have been killed, which means when Jesus and the others arrived for the meal, it would have been eaten on the 15th after sundown per JW reckoning. The irony is, that that is precisely when the Jews celebrated it as well, Monday night, rather than Sunday night. So clearly, the JWs celebrated the memorial on the wrong evening this year, no matter how you slice it.


  • freydo

    I think jw's lucked out and got it right this year for once. Usually they're several days off and some times a whole month. That's because they rely on the unscriptural first-full-moon-in-spring corruption of the the Catholic church. I ran into a Jewish woman yesterday who wished me "Happy Passover." I told her that I had had a delightful Passover meal the night before and she said, "I thought it was tonight." I said, "I hate to tell you this, buuutttt...then she blurted, "I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT."

  • undercover


    Thanks Leo. The Nisan 14/15 thing has always been pretty confusing to me. I know that the WT has it's own calculations that differ from the Jewish calender. With so much wrong with the Memorial, I've never really focused on why the date was different. It's good knowledge to have, or to be able to access (why I'm marking).

  • snowbird



    John 18:28 They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor's palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn't enter the palace because they didn't want to be disqualified from eating the Passover.

    Luke 22:7 The Day of Unleavened Bread came, the day the Passover lamb was butchered, Jesus sent Peter and John off, saying, "Go prepare the Passover for us so we can eat it together." .

    Mark 14:12 On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the day they prepare the Passover sacrifice, his disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations so you can eat the Passover meal?"

    Matthew 26:17 On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Where do you want us to prepare your Passover meal?"

    The Message Bible

    At the link I posted, an attempt is made to harmonize those scriptures.

    Interesting stuff.

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.


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