The first time I encountered the two Passover theory was about 20 years ago while speaking with a southern Baptist pastor. The Pastor told me that this theory seemed to resolve conflict between the Gospel accounts of Passover. He explained that two Passover were required so that the Gospel accounts of the last Passover would agree. This is because in Baptist understanding Jesus celebrated one Passover and died as the Passover lamb on the other Passover. Two Passover theorists believe that the Sadducees and the Pharisees observed two different times for the Passover sacrifice. This theory teaches that one Passover sacrifice was conducted by the Sadducees at the beginning of the 14th of the month of Aviv and the second Passover sacrifice was conducted by the Pharisees at the end of the 14th of Aviv. In other words, Yeshua could observe Passover at the beginning of the 14th and be crucified at the end of the 14th. When heard the theory of two Passover sacrifices it appeared legitimate. However, the more study committed to understanding the Gospels concerning Passover, the two Passover theory left three questions unanswered.
The first question that the two Passover theory does not answer concerns the Sadducees linage. Two Passover theory believers told me that the levites and priests only joined the Sadducees. Therefore, the Sadducees knew the proper timing of the biblical Passover sacrifice. This Passover sacrifice occurred at the beginning of the 14th of Aviv. This explanation made sense until encountering John 1:19-24 which states " And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.". Clearly from this passage it was revealed that the levites and priests also joined the sect of the Pharisees. The belief that the levites and priests only joined the Sadducees is not true.
The second question the two Passover theory did not answer concerned why the appropriate time of the crucifixion. Two Passover theorists believe that as the Passover lamb Yeshua was required to be sacrificed at the same time as the Passover lambs. However, this understanding raises another question. As the Passover lamb why was the proper time of Yeshua’s crucifixion at the time of Pharisees Passover sacrifice? In other words, If the Pharisees were wrong concerning the time of the Passover sacrifice why was Yeshua willing to be crucified when the Pharisees made their Passover sacrifices? As the Passover Lamb why was Yeshua crucified at the time of the biblically wrong Passover sacrifice. This would have made Yeshua’s crucifixion an invalid Passover sacrifice. The nature of who Yeshua was and his desire to do the will of YHVH would not allow Yeshua to be crucified as the Passover Lamb during the biblically incorrect Passover sacrifice. Therefore, the two Passover theory concerning Yeshua’s crucifixion as the Passover Lamb at the end of the 14th confirms the Pharisee sacrifice as biblically correct. This conundrum creates the possibility Yeshua did not die at the same time as the Passover lambs at the end of the 14th of Aviv.
The third question the two Passover theory does not answer concerns the multitude who witnessed Yeshua’s trial and sentencing. Yeshua’s crucifixion at the time of the Pharisees' Passover sacrifice at the end of the 14th does explain the multitudes including the chief priests and elders who attended Yeshua’s sentencing. Matthew 27:20-26 states,"But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask for Barabbas, and convict Yeshua. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed is hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified." To witness the sentencing of Yeshua the chief priests and the elders would have been required to stop the Passover sacrifices at the temple. Stopping the Passover sacrifices to attend the trial of Yeshua would not have been possible. This is because multitudes of people were in Jerusalem and at the temple for Passover. Stopping the temple sacrifices so that the priests and elders could attend the trial would have delayed the sacrifices. This is because Yeshua’s trial and sentencing was in a public courtyard and before Pilate. This type of mixed atmosphere including Romans and other gentiles would have made the priests and elders unclean. As a result, the priests and elders would have needed to take the extra time required to Mikvah and purify themselves before the Passover sacrifices could resume.
Unfortunately, unanswered questions have led many two Passover theorists such as Yahweh’s Assembly in Yeshua to fabricate proof to justify the two Passover theory. One individual recently sent the following two quotes from Yahweh’s Assembly in Yeshua to justify his accusations against the Rabbis. The first quote states “the more Scriptural Karaite Jews and Samaritans who still observe Passover on the 14th and the Feast of Unleavened Bread beginning the 15th (see Which Day Is the Passover? by Phinehas Ben Zadock).” The second quote states "The feast of Passover consists of two parts: The Passover ceremony and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the [Babylonian] exile they were combined," Vol. 13, p. 169. However, after researching these quotes it was revealed the quotes were not used in context. These quotes state the Karaite Jews and Samaritans “sacrifice the Passover at the biblical time”. Unfortunately, these quotes leave out that the fact the Karaite Jews and Samaritans state that the biblical time to Sacrifice the Passover lamb is at the end of the 14th when the sun is going down. The Pharisee started their sacrifices in the afternoon of the 14th anywhere from 1:00 to 3:00 depending on the temple activity. The Karaite Jews, Samaritans and Rabbis all agree the end of the 14th is exactly what Deuteronomy 16:6 commands “But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou came forth out of Egypt.” The Christian scholar Alfred Edersheim also acknowledged in 1874 the end of the 14th of Nisan/Aviv is correct when he stated “The question, whether or not the Savior instituted His Supper during the meal of the Paschal night, although not strictly belonging to the subject treated in this volume, is too important, and too nearly connected with it, to be cursorily passed over. The balance of learned opinion, especially in England, has of late inclined against this view. The point has been so often and so learnedly discussed that I do not presume proposing to myself more than the task of explaining my reasons for the belief that the Lord instituted His Supper on the very night of the Paschal Feast, and that consequently His crucifixion took place on the first day of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Nisan.” ✺ Unfortunately, to justify their beliefs many messianic leaders have chosen to accuse the Rabbis of perverting the time of Passover sacrifice. Fabrication of facts to prove the Rabbis changed the time of the Passover sacrifice is bearing false witness and is a sin.
To answer the unanswered questions of the two Passover theory many sources were researched. All of the sources researched are included in the following appendix. The only difference noted concerning a Passover difference between the Sadducees and Pharisees was when to begin counting the Omer. The Sadducees began after the weekly Shabbat and the Pharisees began after the first day of unleavened bread. If anti-rabbinical sources such as the Karaite Jews and Samaritans only acknowledge the difference of the counting of the Omer, it is clear the counting of the Omer is the only difference. Anti-rabbinical sources would surely have recorded how the Pharisees perverted the Passover sacrifice if the Pharisees had changed the sacrifice. Therefore, it is clear messianic leaders accusing the Rabbis of changing the time of the Passover sacrifice are committing Lashon Hara and bearing false witness. Anti-rabbinical sources don’t even provide evidence to support their accusations against the Rabbis. This does not mean the Rabbis are always right, this only proves that the Rabbis did not change the time of the Passover sacrifice. Therefore, it does call into question the motives of the messianic leaders who falsely accuse the Rabbis.
XLI. (224) Accordingly, in this month, about the fourteenth day of the month, when the orb of the moon is usually about to become full, the public universal feast of the passover is celebrated, which in the Chaldaic language is called pascha; at which festival not only do private individuals bring victims to the altar and the priests sacrifice them, but also, by a particular ordinance of this law, the whole nation is consecrated and officiates in offering sacrifice; every separate individual on this occasion bringing forward and offering up with his own hands the sacrifice due on his own behalf.1
XLII. (228) When he heard this he saw that the justification which they alleged was not inconsistent with reason and truth, and that the excuse which they alleged for not having previously offered their sacrifice was founded in necessity, and that they were entitled to merciful consideration. And while he as wavering in his opinion, and inclining this way and that way as if in the balance of a scale, for compassion and justice inclined him one way, and on the other side the law of the sacrifice of the passover weighed him down, in which the first month and the fourteenth day of the month are appointed for the offering of the sacrifice; accordingly, Moses, being perplexed and balancing between consent and refusal, besought God to decide the question and to announce his decision to him by an oracular command.2
XXVII. (145) And after the feast of the new moon comes the fourth festival, that of the Passover, which the Hebrews call pascha, on which the whole people offer sacrifice, beginning at noonday and continuing till evening.3
XXVII. (149) And this universal sacrifice of the whole people is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the month, which consists of two periods of seven, in order that nothing which is accounted worthy of honour may be separated from the number seven. But this number is the beginning of brilliancy and dignity to everything.4JOSEPHUS - CE 74
(110) and they offered the sacrifice which was called the passover, on the fourteenth day of the same month, and feasted seven days, and spared for no cost, but offered whole burnt offerings to God, and performed sacrifices of thanksgiving, because God had led them again to the land of their fathers, and to the laws there to belonging, and had rendered the mind of the king of Persia favorable to them.5
(423) So these high priests, upon the coming of their feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh, but so that a company not less than tenf830 belong to every sacrifice (for it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves), and many of us are twenty in a company.6BABYLONIAN TALMUD CE 200- 500
And [the controversy of] these Tannaim is like [the controversy of] the other Tannaim in the following Baraitha: There thou shalt sacrifice the passover-offering at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.14 R. Eliezer says: ‘At even’,15 you sacrifice; ‘at sunset’, you eat; and ‘at the season that thou camest out of Egypt’,16 you must burn [the remainder]. R. Joshua says: ‘At even’, you sacrifice; ‘at sunset’, you eat; a and how long do you continue to eat? Till ‘the season that thou camest out of Egypt’.7ALFRED EDERSHEIM - CE 1874
The lamb was to be killed on the eve of the 14th, or rather, as the phrase is, “between the two evenings.” (Exodus 12:6; Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 9:3, 5) According to the Samaritans, the Karaite Jews, and many modern interpreters, this means between actual sunset and complete darkness (or, say, between six and seven P.M.); but from the contemporary testimony of Josephus,fl3 and from Talmudical authorities, there cannot be a doubt that, at the time of our Lord, it was regarded as the interval between the sun’s commencing to decline and his actual disappearance. This allows a sufficient period for the numerous lambs which had to be killed, and agrees with the traditional account that on the eve of the Passover the daily evening sacrifice was offered an hour, or, if it fell on a. Friday, two hours, before the usual time.8
The question, whether or not the Savior instituted His Supper during the meal of the Paschal night, although not strictly belonging to the subject treated in this volume, is too important, and too nearly connected with it, to be cursorily passed over. The balance of learned opinion, especially in England, has of late inclined against this view. The point has been so often and so learnedly discussed that I do not presume proposing to myself more than the task of explaining my reasons for the belief that the Lord instituted His Supper on the very night of the Paschal Feast, and that consequently His crucifixion took place on the first day of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Nisan.9
It seems to me almost inconceivable, that under such circumstances, and on so busy an afternoon, there should have been, at the time when they must have been most engaged, around the cross that multitude of reviling Jews, ‘likewise also the chief priests, mocking Him, with the scribes,’ which all the four Evangelists record.(Matthew 27:39, 41; Mark 15:29, 31; Luke 23:35; John 21:20) Even more difficult does it seem to me to believe, that after the Paschal lamb had been slain, and while the preparations for the Paschal Supper were going on, as St. John reports, (John 20:39-39) an ‘honorable councillor,’ like Joseph of Arimathaea, and a Sanhedrist, like Nicodemus, should have gone to beg of Pilate the body of Jesus, or been able to busy themselves with His burial.10JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA - CE 1901-1906
Only those who were circumcised and clean before the Law might participate; and they were forbidden to have leavened food in their possession during the act of killing the paschal lamb. The animal was slain on the eve of the Passover, on the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan, after the Tamid sacrifice had been killed, i.e., at three o'clock, or, in case the eve of the Passover fell on Friday, at two. The killing took place in the court of the Temple, and might be performed by a layman, although the blood had to be caught by a priest, and rows of priests with gold or silver cups in their hands stood in line from the Temple court to the altar, where the blood was sprinkled. These cups were rounded on the bottom, so that they could not be set down; for in that case the blood might coagulate. The priest who caught the blood as it dropped from the victim then handed the cup to the priest next to him, receiving from him an empty one, and the full cup was passed along the line until it reached the last priest, who sprinkled its contents on the altar. The lamb was then hung upon special hooks or sticks and skinned; but if the eve of the Passover fell on a Sabbath, the skin was removed down to the breast only. The abdomen was then cut open, and the fatty portions intended for the altar were taken out, placed in a vessel, salted, and offered by the priest on the altar, while the remaining entrails likewise were taken out and cleansed.11ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA - CE 1971
Passover was originally not a pilgrimage feast, but a domestic ceremony consisting of the slaughtering and eating of the paschal animal. This animal–according to Exodus 12:21 (J) a sheep or goat; according to Deuteronomy 16:2, either a sheep or a bovine animal; according to Exodus 12:5 (P; cf. II Chron. 35:7), a year-old lamb or kid–was killed; in accordance with later texts (Ex. 12:6; Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3–5; 28:16 (33:3); Josh. 5:10: Ezek. 45:21; Ezra 6:19; II Chron. 35:1) – on the 14th of the first month (i.e., the 14th of Nisan, March/April), "between the evenings" (Ex. 12:6b; Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3, 5, 11; 28:4, 8), i.e., at the setting of the sun.12THE BOOK OF JUBILEES CHAPTER 49
49:1-2 Remember the commandment which the Lord commanded thee concerning the passover, that thou shouldst celebrate it in its season on the fourteenth of the first month, that thou shouldst kill it before it is evening, and that they should eat it by night on the evening of the fifteenth from the time of the setting of the sun.13
49:19-20 before the Lord from year to year. And in the days when the house has been built in the name of the Lord in the land of their inheritance, they shall go there and slay the passover in the evening, at sunset, at the third part of the day. And they shall offer its blood on the threshold of the altar, and shall place its fat on the fire which is upon the altar, and they shall eat its flesh roasted14
The Torah commands that the Passover sacrifice be brought "In the First Month on the Fourteenth Day of the Month between the two evenings" (Leviticus 23:5). It is unclear from this verse whether what is being referred to is the period of dusk at the beginning of the 14th or the period of dusk at the end of the 14th. Leviticus 23:6 continues that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is "on the Fifteenth Day of this month". From this verse it appears that the Passover Sacrifice is to be brought at sunset at the end of the 14th and eaten on the night of the 15th. This is confirmed by Deuteronomy 16:4, which commands us regarding the Passover Sacrifice: "and there shall not remain of the meat that you slaughter at evening on the first day until the morning." We see that the entire Paschal lamb must be consumed on the following night it is slaughtered and none of it may be left over until the morning (see also Exodus 12:10, 22). For our purposes what is significant is that the verse describes the Passover sacrifice as being slaughtered "at evening on the first day". The passage in Deuteronomy 16:1-8 is talking about the Feast of Unleavened Bread and there can be no doubt that "the first day" in v.4 refers to the first day of Unleavened Bread. We have already seen in Leviticus 23:6 that the First Day of Unleavened Bread falls out on the 15th of the First Month. When we look at Leviticus 23:5-6 and Deuteronomy 16:4 together it becomes clear that the Passover Sacrifice is brought at the end of the 14th of the First Month between the two evenings and eaten that same evening on the 15th of the First Month. The period of "between the two evenings" is reckoned as both the end of the 14th (Leviticus 23:5) and the beginning of the 15th (Deuteronomy 16:4)! It is not unusual for the Torah to refer to "such and such a date at evening" and to mean the evening that ends that day. In Leviticus 23:27 we learn that the Day of Atonement occurs on the 10th day of the Seventh Month. A few verses later the Torah makes clear what is meant by the 10th day: "and you shall afflict your souls on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening to evening you shall observe your Sabbath" (Leviticus 23:32). So we see that to fast on the 10th day means to fast from sunset on the 9th until the following sunset. In this verse "the ninth at evening" refers to the onset of evening at the end of the 9th, not the beginning! So the fast of the Day of Atonement on the 10th of the month runs from sunset ending the 9th until sunset ending the 10th (see also Exodus 12:18). Similarly, the 14th between the two evenings in verse 5 of the same chapter refers to the end of the 14th, not the beginning, as confirmed by Deuteronomy 16:4. "and there shall not remain of the meat that you slaughter at evening on the first day until morning"15
… the priests substituted prayers for all the sacrifices, except the Passover lamb, which we still offer on the fourteenth of Nisan … The Passover sacrifice, as celebrated at the present day, is described by Nutt ("A Sketch of Samaritan History," pp. 72,73) as follows: "The lambs must be born in the month of Tishri (October) preceding and be without any blemish. On the previous day the Samaritans pitch their tents on the lower plateau of Mount Gerizim. At sunset of the following day [the fourteenth of Nisan] or in the afternoon, if that day falls on Friday, the lambs are slain, prayers being recited meanwhile, then stripped of their wool, cleaned and sprinkled with salt, after which they are well roasted in hermetically covered trenches. In either case the lambs are eaten hastily after sunset with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, all the participants having staffs in their hands [compare. Ex. 12:9-11].” (The Jewish Encyclopedia Sacrifices Pages 624-625)16
On the 14th of Nisan the congregation ascend to the lower plateau of Gari-zim and pitch their tents there: at sunset ' on the following day the lambs are slain amid the recitation of prayers, hymns, and passages of the Law describing the original ceremonial, then stripped of their wool, cleaned and sprinkled with salt ; next, sticks are run through the leg-sinews and the animals suspended in a trench lined with stones which has been well heated by a fire lighted within ; wet earth and turf are then piled over and trampled down, so that the hole is hermeti-cally sealed and the lambs thoroughly roasted.17
The Essenes Did Not Sacrifice Animals at the temple or Enter Cities (Jerusalem) This rules out Yeshua as an Essene Yeshua went to Jerusalem to sacrifice a Passover Lamb Essenes, absorbed in theosophic speculations, not untinged with Eastern mysticism, withdrew from all contact with the world, and practiced an ascetic life.
The doctrine of the Essenes is this: That all things are best ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for;(19) and when they send what they have dedicated to God into the temple, they do not offer sacrifices,ft548 because they have more pure lustrations of their own; on which account they are excluded from the common court of the temple, but offer their sacrifices themselves; yet is their course of life better than that of other men; and they entirely addict themselves to husbandry.18
ft548 It seems by what Josephus says here, and Philo himself elsewhere (Op. p. 679), that these Essenes did not use to go to the Jewish festivals at Jerusalem, or to offer sacrifices there, which may be one great occasion why they are never mentioned in the ordinary books of the New Testament; though, in the Apostolical Constitutions, they are mentioned as those that observed the customs of their forefathers, and that without any such ill character laid upon them as is there laid upon the other sects among that people. Moreover Palestine and Syria too are not barren of exemplary wisdom and virtue, which countries no slight portion of that most populous nation of the Jews inhabits. There is a portion of those people called Essenes, in number something more than four thousand in my opinion, who derive their name from their piety, though not according to any accurate form of the Grecian dialect, because they are above all men devoted to the service of God, not sacrificing living animals, but studying rather to preserve their own minds in a state of holiness and purity.19
The Only Difference Recorded Concerning The Sadducees The Start Of Counting Of Omer During Passover Week The Sadducees, dormant for a while after Herod executed some of their leaders, took the name Boethuseans after the family of high priest and became active again under this new guise.(The high priest Simon ben Boethus was Herod's father-in-law. You'd be the Boethusean doctrines were those of the Sadducees. They believed in the absolute power of the high priest as the sole authority on Jewish law and its interpretation. They repudiated the oral law and denied providence, resurrection, immortality of the soul, and reward and punishment. In tannaitic literature the term Boethusean and Sadducees are used interchangeably(see Solomon Zeitlin, The Rise and Fall of the Judean State, 2:100-101, 318, 399, n. I, and apps, II and III; see also Josephus, The War Against The Jews, 2.8.14).20
The Sadducees interpreted the verse concerning the offering of the omer on the first day after the weekly Sabbath (Leviticus 23:11) literally and held that it must always take place on the Sunday of Passover week. The Pharisees understood the "Sabbath" in this verse to be synonymous with "holy day" or "the day of cessation from work," and the context shows that Passover is meant. Therefore, they decreed that the omer was to be offered during the day of Nisan 16.21
Priestly party under the reign of King Herod and his successors; called by the Rabbis "Boethusians," as adherents of the family of Boethus, whose daughter Mariamne was one of the wives of King Herod, and whose sons were successively made high priests by him. They followed the Sadducees in their opposition to the Pharisees, and were therefore often identified with the former (see Grätz, "Gesch." 4th ed., iii. 2, 693; Boethusians).22
A National political party desiring to break away from Roman rule. The did not practice a separate Passover. Each individual zealot could be from any religious party such as the Essenes, Sadducees, or Pharisees. This I because the Zealots were exclusively a nationalist party. They were similar to the Zionist today.
It will be remembered, that the Nationalist party — or ‘Zealots,’ as they were afterwards called, first appeared in those guerrilla-bands which traversed Galilee under the leadership of Ezekias, whom Herod executed. But the National party was not destroyed, only held in check, during his iron reign. It was once more the family of Ezekias that headed the movement. During the civil war which followed the accession of Archelaus, or rather was carried on while he was pleading his cause in Rome, the standard of the Nationalists was again raised in Galilee.23
The Samaritans and Karaites imitate the Sadducee in counting forward to Pentecost in Christian/Messianic fashion, not from the Sabbath following the first day of the Passover, but from the day after the weekly Sabbath, in opposition to the Pharisee rule.24
The Samaritans and Karaites are proud of their opposition to rabbinic rule. Therefore, if it were ever possible that a different time for the Sadducee Passover sacrifice existed the Samaritans and Karaites would be keeping Passover on a day other than at the end of the 14th of Nisan/Aviv.
In all sources even the anti-Rabbinic sources such as Karaite, Samaritan there are no references or evidence to indicate a different time concerning the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb by the Sadducees. The only recorded difference concerning the Passover and the Sadducees in all of the researched texts is in regard to when to begin the counting of the Omer. There is no way such a major topic would remain silent in this many sources. The anti-rabbinical Karaite Jews and Samaritans would have challenged the rabbis on this topic. However, even the Karaite Jews and Samaritans celebrate Passover at the end of the fourteenth day of Aviv. Therefore, in this specific instance accusing the rabbis is bearing false witness.