Dear Brother Russell:—Allow me to express to you my deep gratitude for your kindness in supplying me gratuitously with the Watch Tower and booklets. I have not language at my command to convey to you how thankful I feel to our heavenly Father for raising you up as one of his honored servants in the spreading of the present truth, and trying to build up and assist those of the household of faith in their walk in the narrow way. It is proving a great blessing to me. I lay awake for hours meditating on the great and precious promises of God and the glorious prospect there is in store for those whom he has called according to his purpose.
In reading the last Tower for Dec. 1st, I was much helped by your interpretation of "The Voices of the Three Signs," also with the typical meaning of "The Passover Lamb." But I can not quite understand what you mean when you say, "On the fourteenth day of the month it was to be killed between evenings (between six o'clock the one evening and six o'clock the next evening—the usual Jewish day)." If the lamb had to be killed on the fourteenth day, between the evening of that day and the evening of the next, which would be the fifteenth, it would have to take place after six o'clock in the evening on the fourteenth day, and that would not correspond with the time of the death of the antitype as recorded in Matt. 26:45,46,50; Luke 23:44,46; and yet the properties which the passover lamb was to possess, the manner in which it was to die, the effects which were to be produced, and the ceremonies which were to be observed, as recorded in the twelfth chapter of Exodus, have been fulfilled in a most remarkable and striking manner in the promised Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, our blessed Lord.
Having been brought up in the Jewish faith up to the age of 20, I always understood the matter to be thus: The killing of the lamb was on the evening of the fourteenth day, or more correctly speaking, according to the original, Bain haarbayim, between the evenings, that is, between the sun's declining west and his setting about three o'clock p.m. For the Jews observe two evenings in each day. The first commences after twelve o'clock at noon, and the second at three o'clock, p.m. Between these two evenings the daily evening sacrifice was offered up and immediately after the passover lamb was killed and prepared. But if the passover fell on the weekly Sabbath, i.e., on Friday, they began an hour sooner, that they might despatch their business by the time that the Sabbath began. Hence that day is called the preparation of the passover.—John 19:14.
The Jews computed their days from evening to evening; i.e., from the setting of the sun of one day to the setting again on the next day. This appears to be the command given by Moses, "From even to even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath." (Lev. 23:32.) Moses, in giving an account of the Creation, says, "And there was evening, and there was morning, one day." (Gen. 1:5.) By the evening and the morning the Jews understand the same portion of time that we call day and night, or twenty-four hours; the former continued from the rising of the sun until its setting, and from that time till his reappearance was called the night. The division of time into hours was not known in the days of Moses.—Compare Gen. 15:12; 18:1; 19:1.
The day was again divided into two equal portions; from the rising of the sun until noon was the morning, and after that, until the sun had gone down, was the evening. Hence we read only of morning and evening sacrifices. Again, the morning and the evening were divided each into two equal parts, for the regulation of the morning and evening sacrifices and prayers.
The morning sacrifice and prayer was allowed to be offered at any time between the rising of the sun and the third hour, i.e., 9 a.m., and the evening sacrifice and prayer may be offered up at any time during the first evening, Hebrew, erev katon, the short or lesser evening, i.e., from noon until ninth hour, or 3 p.m.; and from that time until sun setting, is called in the Hebrew erev gadol, i.e., the greater evening. It was between these two evenings the paschal lamb was to be slain, and so was Jesus, the antitype, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world as recorded.