From the Beginning

A STORY OF "TIME" by Trevor Topsfield


The Gospel story is a stumbling block for a great number of people. It is designed in such a way so that all who accept the authority of God believe in Jesus Christ, while all those who refuse to accept his authority will not. The Gospel is not an intellectual argument so that all who understand it are saved; God does not want only smart people to live with him forever, he wants those who will stay within the righteousness he demands out of respect for his authority.

Therefore within the information he has given to us through the Bible he has allowed a certain ambiguity in the English translations. This allows those who don’t want a relationship with him to find faults within his Word and so have a valid reason for their unbelief. It is not as though God is misleading them as he must be truthful, but as the result of some of the translators not fully understanding the original Greek language. This means that he leaves us with the possibility of finding out certain things for ourselves that appear to be flawed.

Part of our salvation is the indwelling Holy Spirit which gives us a tremendous advantage. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them.” 1 Corinthians 1:14. (NIV)

This begs the question. Were those who translated The Bible into English saved so they understood the things of the Spirit of God? There is ample evidence to suggest that at least some were not, as it appears there are passages where they simply translated the words as best they could, but without spiritual understanding lost the story behind them.

The classic example is the failure to delineate how the three days of Easter unfold. A crucial point in the events surrounding the Cross is that it must occur first before Salvation is possible. However, this is difficult to find in some of the English versions of The Bible. The King James Version set many of the standards and while later versions have upgraded their English to a modern style and improved some of the translations. Some still remain consistence to the King James story.

According to the New International Version in Matthew 26:2 The Passover is two days away. This means at that particular time it was the 12th day of the 1st month as the Passover is celebrated on 14th (Leviticus 23:5). In Chapter 26, Verse 17 the New International Version states that on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover? The problem with this verse is that the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month according to Leviticus 23:6, so the disciples went to Jesus on the day after the Passover to find out where he wanted them to prepare for it.

The unbelievers won’t realise this apparent error and neither did the translators. However, from the believer’s perspective with some spiritual understanding this is obvious. (An explanation of this passage is given in “The Only One” found in the Preface of “From the Beginning” by the same author).

The problem seems to go back to Exodus Chapter 12 Verses 3-8 where the Exodus generation is to take a lamb from the flock on the 10th day of the 1st month and care for it until the 14th when they are to slaughter it at twilight. (NIV)

There appears to be little doubt that the lambs are to be killed on the 14th, but the 14th is the Passover. The Passover is never directly stated as being a Sabbath and the only time there is a suggestion it is a Sabbath is in John 19:30+31 when it records that Jesus said on the Cross; (“It is finished” and with that he gave up his spirit. Now it was the day of Preparation and the next day was a special Sabbath. (NIV)) So Christ died on the Day of Preparation, but what was the special Sabbath the next day? It would appear that so sacred was the celebration of the angel of death passing over the Exodus generation that it being a Sabbath was taken for granted. Also a Sabbath was a day of rest because it meant that they were celebrating something that God had done and they could rest in his work. In this case God had directed the Angel of Death to pass them by.

I am personally of the opinion that it is a deliberate ploy by God to give those who will not accept his authority a way out. God has made salvation a possibility for every single soul on the planet, but the Cross is designed to weed out those who will not accept God as their God. Therefore salvation is not as simple as believing in Jesus Christ because of an intellectual argument, but an act of faith.

One way this is achieved is the way the Jewish day has evolved. In Australia like most of the rest of the world a day starts at Midnight on the dot, not a second earlier, not a second later and the date on our watches alters at this precise moment. However, it has not always been like this and certainly not in Jewish circles when days in The Bible are mentioned. While it is accepted a day according to the Jews starts at evening and goes through to the next at around 6.00 PM our time, there are the odd times that 6 O’clock is far from accurate assessment of their evening.

In Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of The New Testament it says that ȍψιος means “evening”, but it also states there are times when Evening can be between three to 6 o’clock P. M. Matthew 8:16, 14:15, 27:57 and Mark 4:35. Then there are occasions when evening is from 6 o’clock P. M. to the beginning of night. Matthew 9:23, 16:2, 20:8, 26:20, along with other verses in Mark and John.

While it is difficult or even seemingly impossible to be accurate to say when a day begins, there is also the problem of understanding exactly what “until” means in The Old Testament. In Exodus 12:6 it insists that a lamb is selected on the 10th and cared for until the 14th when it is to be slaughtered in the evening.

Because the 14th (the Passover) is a Sabbath and no work can be done, killing the lamb on this day would be against the Law. There is an exception to the Sabbath rule is that they could cook (Exodus 12:16). So they kept it until the 14th and killed it late in the evening on the day of preparation the day before, the Passover. The killing of the lamb and the death of Jesus Christ is the preparation that is required that we might be saved. (The Angel of Death passes over us.)

This means that they can cook the food (the lamb has already been slaughtered) as this is not considered as work and eat it on the 14th. The eating of the Passover Lamb indicates they are taking in all that it signifies, which is of course is their salvation.

It would appear to me that the translators who King James employed back in the 1600s did not completely understand the Jewish rituals and therefore some of the technical accuracies were not interpreted precisely as they should.

For those who refuse to place their faith in Jesus Christ need a solid argument to justify their decision and so God has allowed an easy way of discrediting him.

I also consider that if the death of Christ is assumed to have occurred on the Passover it is impossible to calculate the three days and three nights he was to be in the heart of the earth before he would be raised from the dead. This has been an ongoing issue for a very long time. The celebration of the death of Jesus on Good Friday and his rising from the dead on Sunday morning contradicts the times stated by Jesus and therefore the Cross can be cast aside as unimportant as it is obviously inaccurate.

A paragraph found in the Theological Dictionary of The New Testament I think consolidates the argument that there is a way out for those who would like one. It is found in Page 903 of Volume 2;

“It is perhaps surprising that in the accounts of the Last Super we nowhere find the common LXX expression έσθίειν άζυμα for on the evening of the Passover άζυμα alone were eaten and not ordinary bread (αρτος). This implies either that the meal presupposed in the story (Mk., Mt., 1C.11) was not the Passover but took place the evening before (cf.JJn.13:1,4; 18:28) or that αρτος is used in these accounts for άζυμα”

What this paragraph is saying; throughout the Last Supper ordinary bread alone was eaten, but if it had been the Passover only unleavened bread was to be present.

However, so that this apparent flaw can continue the writer explains that perhaps ordinary bread was used in these accounts for unleavened.

For the believer the death of Christ or that of the Passover Lamb has to occur before the angel of death will Passover us, therefore it happened when our salvation was being prepared.

For the unbeliever, he thinks he can go straight to a celebration of the angel of death passing over him without having to bother about the Passover Lamb.

Remember God does not want everyone to be saved; O! He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9”), but for all those who refuse to accept his authority and believe in Jesus Christ; God refuses them salvation.

For all who are reading this particular story I assume you have read the book “From the Beginning” either the paperback or from my website. Then hopefully you have looked further and found this one too which I hope consolidates your faith.

Trevor Topsfield


Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.


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