You can’t talk about Nisan without mentioning Passover. Passover is a big deal. It’s the main event associated with Nisan. Passover is a combined observance of the biblical feasts which includes Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits. Passover and Firstfruits are single day celebrations which Unleavened Bread is a seven day observance that begins the day after Passover. Like all Hebrew days, Passover begins at sundown the day before. So on Nisan 14 at sundown Passover begins. This year (2021) that coincides with Friday, March 26th. It can get a bit confusing but the combined feasts are often simply referred to as Passover. Unleavened Bread begins on Nisan 15 (Sunday, March 28, 2021) and Firstfruits is the following day Nisan 16 which also happens to begin the counting of the Omer. I’ll get into more on that later. For now I want to talk about the week of Passover. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzot) is a seven day observance, ending at sundown on Nisan 21, Saturday, April 3, 2021.
The first day of the new month on the Hebrew calendar is called Rosh Kodesh. The new month begins on the night of the new moon. Back in the second temple era a new moon was only official when it was observed by two witnesses and officially declared by the Sanhedrin. The year begins in the Hebrew month known as Tishri. Tishri is in the fall. Like all things religious, there is controversy not only over exactly how to count the months and years, but what names are accurate. To avoid confusion I will refer to the most commonly accepted names and counting method.
Because the civil year begins in the month of Tishri identifying Nisan as the first month is confusing to say the least. In Exodus 12:2 it is recorded that God said to Moses; “This month is the beginning of months for you; it shall be the first month of your year.” It was a kairos moment. The children of Israel had reached a fullness of time juncture. God was in essence saying, “Everything leading up to today is over. We are closing the book on what has been. Now, we are beginning a whole new thing. It begins today. It begins with you. To drive home the point God reordered time. He changed the beginning. Everything shifted. No longer would they observe Tishri as the first month of the year. Now, Aviv later known as Nisan, was the beginning of months. You may have noticed that the Old Testament refers to the months such as the first month, the fourth month, etc. That counting begins with Aviv/Nisan as the first month. That is why Tishri is known as the seventh month.
In the same breath in which God declares a new beginning, He gives instructions that on the tenth of the month each household was to bring in a lamb and take care of it until the fourteenth. On the fourteenth of Aviv the lamb were to be slaughtered and blood applied to the doorposts and lintel of their households. God proclaimed: “Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.” This was referring to the night in which the Lord would go throughout Egypt and the first born of every household would die. Only those households which have the blood of the lamb over the doorway would the Lord passover.
Click this link to read the about the first Passover as recorded in Exodus 12
This year the month of Nisan began on Sunday, March 14, 2021. There always seems to be something new that begins to rollout in the month of Nisan. It will be interesting to see where find ourselves by the middle of May. Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of Nisan, and then the next day, the 15, begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread (matsot) and continues for seven days.
The feast of Weeks, Shavuot, identified as Pentecost in the New Testament, is fifty days after Passover. The days are counted beginning on Firstfruits (Bikkurim), the day after Passover, the second day of Unleavened Bread (matzot) NIsan/Aviv 16.
9And the LORD said to Moses, 10“Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you are to bring to the priest a sheaf (omer) of the firstfruits of your harvest. 11And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD so that it may be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. Leviticus 23:9-11
see also: (Acts 2:1–13)
15From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you are to count off seven full weeks. 16You shall count off fifty days until the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. Leviticus 23:15-16
What many refer to as Pentecost is known as Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. Pesach/Passover is connected to Shavuot/Pentecost through the counting of the omer. It is not so much a count down as much as an accumulation of days. Fifty days after the children of Israel left Egypt on the day after the Lord’s Passover, the Lord descended in their presence on Mt. Sinai. The days leading up to that event are remembered through the counting of the omer.
The Passover was just the beginning. God started life over for the children of Israel when He led them out of bondage and brought them to Himself at Sinai. That journey began in the month of Aviv. Their lives began anew. Every year they would celebrate the Passover as a remembrance of what God had done to deliver them from slavery.
According to Hebraic counting of the years, it was in the year 2448 (1313 BCE), that the first Passover took place. This is the Hebrew year 5781. That means the Lord’s Passover took place 3333 years ago according to the Hebrew calendar. I find it amazing that both Jew and Gentile alike, not only acknowledge Passover, but many partake in a Messianic Seder focusing on Christ our Passover lamb. (see 1 Cor. 5:7)
I will discuss more on the Passover and the Seder meal in future posts.
Aviv/Nisan was a time of new beginnings. Life was reordered. When Jesus hung upon the cross He once again changed the order. Jesus reordered the reorder when He celebrated the Passover with His disciples. On the eve before His crucifixion He said: (see Luke 22)
When the hour had come, Jesus reclined at the table with His apostles. And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering. For I tell you that I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.”
Prior to the night of THE LORD’S PASSOVER circa Yeshua/Jesus, the Passover meal was done in remembrance of that first Passover in Egypt. When Jesus made the statement, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” in essence He was saying: Now when you celebrate the Passover, don’t rehearse your deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Celebrate with reference to the deliverance I, the first born of God, am securing for mankind as I lay My life down as the Passover Lamb. THIS IS THE LORD’S ONCE AND FOR ALL PASSOVER delivering mankind from the slavery of sin and bondage to satan.
In the month of Aviv/Nisan not only did God change the order of time He changed everything. It is during the month of Nisan that salvation through Christ, deliverance from the punishment of sin, our eternal redemption was secured when Jesus took upon Himself the sin of the world and became our Passover Lamb. ALL THINGS ARE INDEED MADE NEW
In this month of Nisan may the Lord give you eyes to see how Jesus is, even now, reordering your life and setting you on a new course, free from bondage and the things of the past.