(rewritten, revised, and updated on 2/23/13)
We find mention in the gospels of ‘the day of preparation’ particularly as it refers to the day Yeshua died, the day of the crucifixion. Apart from these few verses (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54 and John 19:14, 31, and 42) however, specific mention of the phrase ‘the day of the prepartion’, or any of its variants, is not found anywhere else in Scripture.
Due to this particular day, always and only being found immediately prior to the Passover (Aviv 14) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Aviv 15 – 21), it can never be broadly applied to the sixth day of every week throughout the year. Restated, the day immediately before (the sixth day of the week) each weekly Sabbath (the seventh day of the week) is not ‘the day of the preparation’.
The phrase ‘the day of the preparation’ applies only to the day before the annual weekly Sabbath (Shabbat haGadol, Aviv 14), when the Passover lamb is killed and cooked, to be eaten during the Passsover meal, at the time of transition from Aviv 14 into Aviv 15, which latter day is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The Passover lamb is always slain the fourteenth day of the first month. This day is also called Shabbat haGadol, and it is always the second weekly Sabbath of the first month of the year. It is immediately followed by the chag (feast), the first day (Aviv 15) of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Aviv 15-21). It is eaten at the commencement of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Passover Seder meal.
The priests could not defile themselves, because that would prevent them from eating the chagigah (festival offering) on the first day of the feast.
John 18:28 Then led they Yeshua from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.
The eating of the Passover Seder meal (Aviv 14 into 15) takes place one full day after the day of the crucifixion, which took place on the day of preparation (Aviv 13). The preparing that took place on the day called ‘the preparation’ involved getting the leaven, a picture of sin, out of the houses, and preparing for the Passover Seder. We see a picture of this occuring at the last supper when, after eating the Seder meal, the sop was given to Judas Iscariot, and haSatan entered him, and he went out, and it was night.
Luke 22:3 Then haSatan entered into Judas surnamed Ishcariot, being of the number of the twelve.
John 13:27 And after the sop, haSatan entered into him. Then Yeshua said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
The ‘preparation’ also included the killing of the Passover lamb, the Pesach, of necessity.
The next few citations show that the Passover meal was officially eaten following the end of the fourteenth day (Aviv 14) of the first month of each year.
John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in (alt. while, on, during) the feast day (added), many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles that he did.
John 19:14 And it was (the day of) the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
Mark 15:42 And now when the even (erev) was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath (i.e. Shabbat haGadol).
Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the (weekly) sabbath (Shabbat haGadol) drew on.
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, for that sabbath day was an ‘high day’ (Shabbat haGadol) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
A common mistake made by many who read what they want into the text here, is that they incorrectly insist that the use of the words ‘high day’ here means the first day (Aviv 15) of the Feast Unleavened Bread, which it does not. Messianic Jews and Ephraimites are both guilty of making this common error.
John 19:42 There laid they Yeshua therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the tomb was near at hand.
Matthew 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate.
The day of the crucifixion was Aviv 13, which is the day of the preparation, and it is followed by the annual weekly Sabbath, Shabbat haGadol , that immediately precedes the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
At this point, please continue with the link: Crucified on the day of Preparation