- Is there any significance to using φάγω vs ἐσθίω?
- In Luke 22, How Should Prepare and Eat - be Translated from the Aorist Subjunctive?
- In the early church, was the Last Supper Considered a Passover Feast?

1. Question:

  1. In Luke 22:15 - Luke 22:16 - Does the Syntax indicate, whether Jesus was going to:

    • A.) Stop, and no longer (οὐκέτι) eat the current Passover;

    • B.) Not going to eat the current Passover - at all;

    • or C.) Not going to eat all future Passovers?

2. The Text

Luke 22:15 - With desire, I have desired to eat this Passover with you ... Luke 22:16 - Indeed I say to you: No Longer - no, I cannot eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Not partaking of that Passover might be supported by the texts:

Exodus 12:8 - eat the flesh at night, roasted with fire, with unleavened bread, and eat it with bitter herbs.

NASB, Matthew 27:34, Interlinear - they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall | χολῆς, (bitter herbs); and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.

Mark 15:23 They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it. Mark 15:36 - Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine;

3. How Should the Syntax Affect the Conclusion?

  1. Aorist Tense: A.) In Luke 22:15 and Luke 22:16, How should the Aorist Tense of Desired | ἐπεθύμησα and Eat | φάγω be represented in English? B.) Could οὐκέτι, and the Aorist, indicate that the act of Eating the Passover Feast had already started - but that Jesus was going to stop?

  2. Singular Pronouns: Does the inflection of "it", (singular) - indicate that the Passover Jesus would not Eat in Luke 22:16, was the same as: "this Passover" in Luke 22:16?

In Different Questions:

  1. Word Choices, (Answered in Another Question): Why are both Eat / φάγω and Eat / ἐσθίω used in these contexts? Could one imply "a Feast", and the other "a Simple meal"?

  2. Negative Subjective, (Broken Out into a Separate Question): A.) How should this Negative Subjunctive of Eat / φάγω be translated? B.) Is οὐκέτι οὐ μὴ, (three negatives) an emphatic construction?

NOTE: This question asks if the Greek Syntax and Semantic Range indicates an answer.

  • 1
    Related to question #2: Is there any significance to using φάγω vs ἐσθίω?. Different passage, same morphologic curiosity (cf. suppletion).
    – Susan
    Apr 1, 2016 at 18:51
  • @Susan - Thank you. A.) Would it be reasonable to assert that the weight of the "Suppletion" explanation would override any argument, that: one of those verbs could connote "feasting", and the other "simple meals" ? Apr 1, 2016 at 18:55
  • 1
    I think so, unless that could be shown to be a tense/mood/aspect distinction rather than a lexical distinction.
    – Susan
    Apr 1, 2016 at 18:57
  • Why does it feel that the answers already understood, but looking for confirmation? If so, what about this question gives you trouble?
    – Decrypted
    Apr 1, 2016 at 20:32
  • Does this mean it teeters on "until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."? A.) How do you consider "it"? B.) What needs to be fulfilled? C.) Do we have knowledge that it was fulfilled? D.) How can it be proved?
    – Decrypted
    Apr 2, 2016 at 0:11

6 Answers 6


I think we should allow the text to say exactly what it says.

Jesus was crucified on the day of the Passover at the time when the Passover lamb was slaughtered, and died late on Friday afternoon, "the preparation day"; Matt 27:57, 62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:41. The next day was to be the Sabbath; Matt 27:62-65, Luke 23:56.

Jesus had His final meal with the disciples on Thursday night because He knew He would be dead on the normal Passover evening.

Therefore, at that somewhat "anticipatory" final meal, Jesus frankly told them the rather obvious (to us in hind-sight) that He would not eat any more Passovers with them until He met them again in the eternal kingdom of God. Luke 22:15, 16

And He said to them, "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I say to you that never again will I eat thereof, until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

Jesus fulfilled the Passover symbolism because Jesus was the antitype of the Passover lamb; John 1:29, Rom 8:3, 1 Cor 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19, Heb 9:12. [Jesus was also our Great High Priest: Heb 4:16, 7:25, 10:22, Rom 8:26, 34, 1 John 2:1, 2, 1 Tim 2:5, John 14:6.]

Now to the subtleties of the Greek grammar - actually, the grammar is not all that subtle but relatively straight forward. The above translation (BLB) is quite accurate. Jesus simply states that He would not eat UNTIL it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Such a fulfillment occurred when Jesus died as the Passover Lamb and was resurrected three days later on Sunday morning. Later, he rose to heaven and looks forward to see us there to again enjoy the "marriage supper of the Lamb" (Rev 19:9).


(This doesn't directly answer the question about Greek grammar, but it should provide a context in which the translation will make most sense.)

The Crucifixion day was known as the "day of preparation":

And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, — Mark 15:42

And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. — Luke 23:54

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,) … — John 19:31

Part of that preparation is slaughtering the lambs for the evening Passover meal (symbolically at the same time Jesus was killed).

But, the "Last Supper" took place the evening before the day of preparation. It happened to be a meal eaten at the beginning of the Passover week, but it was not the annual Passover meal itself.

That official Passover ceremonial meal was to be eaten the next evening, at the beginning of the high sabbath, and Jesus knew that by then he would be dead.


Without addressing the Greek language, there are many who take both sides in interpreting this:

Some say he did eat the Passover with them.

Some say he did not eat the Passover with them.

I am open to whatever makes sense.

Note some of the following details and information, some of which may bear upon the answer:

The wording about his desire might indicate that he really wished he could partake with them. Might this imply that he could not?

I am unaware of any of the accounts indicating that there was cooked lamb at The Last Supper. This may or may not be indicative of whether The Last Supper was an actual Passover meal or something else.

Perhaps he was not to eat of it because he was to become "our Passover sacrificed for us"!

Some have suggested the he was Pescatarian, and might have not desired to eat most Passovers (that included flesh from a lamb), but during this one something incredibly special was to occur.

Perhaps he was expressing his great sentiment to be with them, regardless of the circumstances, or even dietary choices that may have been made by him and/or by certain or all of the Apostles. (I am aware of what it says in Romans 14 and other passages regarding diet.)

The killing of the Passover lamb seems to be unmentioned anywhere in the accounts. Not wishing to build an argument from silence – which I think would be weak here – it is conceivable that the sacrifice had not been made yet.

Some have believed that he was killed or impaled or died at the time that the Passover lamb would have been. (I haven't examined this claim.) Might the timing of his whipping be relevant? ("By his stripes we are healed.") Of his beating? Of the placement of the "crown of thorns"?

Tangential or not: It is conceivable that that year, the Jews had started the year on an incorrect day. In certain traditions, the year began on a day that was related to the sighting of barley ears (or something like that). New Moons were a tricky thing in some traditions too. What if they got it wrong that year?

Note that in the original post, you wrote "eat it", but the Greek word "autos" says "thereof" (in a linked Interlinear) meaning in English "of it". I don't know whether or not this is significant. But I did notice the difference.

Note the significant phrase "between the two evenings", which some source says was when the Passover was to be slain. This is also a phrase (from some source) that some have argued indicates a hint at the darkness that came over the land: Thus, Yahshua of Nazareth could have fulfilled that phrase (technically), regardless of the actual timing in relation to the regular Passover timings.

Passover timing: There has been discussion that there was some disagreement as to when the Passover was to be done or celebrated. There has even been discussion that there was disagreement as to which day was actually the Passover! I don't know all the ins and outs of all this, but perhaps it differed among various groups.... (I may have heard that it differed among the Samaritans?) Today, of course, there are differing traditions as to how and when to do Passover and/or other "Holy Days" (feasts, fast, etc.). On one calendar it may show that in the "Diaspora" (in this usage, meaning outside of Israel), two (2) days may be required for or other-wise kept for a certain event! (but not necessarily for all events).

Because he was to become "our Passover sacrificed for us" – and because he may have been given authority (as the Son of Man may have had authority over Sabbath) – he might have had the authority to institute a different day for Passover! For while the original meal and time spent were significant to the Israelites in the events of the Tenth Plague passing over them (and of part(s) of their Exodus), so too the sacrifice of Yahshua of Nazareth, as he tasted death for all people, was significant to all peoples. Perhaps a NEW Passover was being made – one in which not only could the Jews celebrate fully, but – one in which all nations could partake! (I have never heard this or read this before. It just came to me as I was typing this today.)

Some interesting things to think about?

  • 1
    Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics. Some tips for the future. Remember, this is not a discussion board, rather an academic question and answer site. You answer, although interesting, does include a lot of speculation. Also, you don't site any sources. This site is interested in answering the questioners exact question and supporting that answer with evidence, either biblical or extra-biblical. Thanks.
    – alb
    May 12, 2018 at 16:34

Luke 22:16 - Did Jesus say he was not going to eat THAT Passover?

Luke 22:14-16 (NASB)

The Lord’s Supper

14 "When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

What Jesus meant was that this was his last Passover that he would eat as a natural Jew. We know that he did celebrate his last Passover with his eleven faithful disciples from the parallel account in Matthew: As Jews under the Mosaic Law, Jesus and his apostles shared in the annual Passover. (Matthew . 26:17-25 NASB) Then Jesus instituted a new event that his followers thereafter were to keep annually​, "The Lord’s Supper". (Matthew 26:26-29)

Matthew 26:26-30 (NET Bible)

The Lord’s Supper

26" While[a] they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.” 27 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood, the blood[b] of the covenant,[c] that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I[d] tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit[e] of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 After[f] singing a hymn,[g] they went out to the Mount of Olives."

John 13:21- 31 (NASB) indicates that Jesus dismissed Judas , before He instituted the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal.

  • How does the passage in Matthew clearly indicate Passover? Wasn't it supposed to be eaten with a lamb which were being sacrificed the next day? Jan 7, 2020 at 18:25
  • @ elika kohen: As Jews under the Mosaic Law, Jesus and his apostles shared in the annual Passover. (Matthew . 26:17-25 NASB) The last time they did so. Then Jesus instituted a new event that his followers thereafter were to keep annually​, "The Lord’s Supper". (Matthew 26:26-29) NASB) Jan 7, 2020 at 20:44
  • Ozzie, you keep making the assumption that eating bread = eating the passover ... Jan 7, 2020 at 21:15
  • This is not so, after celebrating the Passover (Verse 18,19) with his disciples, (Matthew 26:17-26) Jesus then Instituted the Lord's Supper. (Matthew 26:26-29) ESV Jan 7, 2020 at 22:05

The authors of the NT had as their stated hermeneutic of the OT the idea that Torah should be interpreted as metaphors of Christ/Messiah Jesus. There was no value in Torah except as it pointed to Christ. Not always to Christ, per se, but to the Messianic age (the first 70 years of the 1st century) and the apostles, etc. Most importantly to the destruction of Jerusalem c. 70 AD/CE in the horrific civil war with Rome.

Some examples:

[1Co 9:8-10 KJV] (8) Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? (9) For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? (10) Or saith he [it] altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, [this] is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

[1Co 10:11 KJV] (11) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

[Col 2:16-17 KJV] (16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

[Heb 8:5 NLT] (5) They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: "Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain."

[Heb 10:1 NLT] (1) The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.

It is in this way that Paul says that the Passover was about Christ:

[1Co 5:6-8 KJV] (6) Your glorying [is] not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (7) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (8) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.

The statement in Luke 22:16 is intended to dismiss the linguistic, historical, cultural, etc. significance of the feast in favor, exclusively, of its metaphoric value in relation to Christ. Paul's big idea was that not only was everything in scripture to be taken as metaphor, it was specifically to be taken as metaphor of Christ (and his "day" (the 1st century)) etc.

Philo took Plato into Judaism but Paul took Platonic Judaism into Christ. NOTHING else mattered.

So what we see in Luke 22:16 is the complete engulfment of the Passover feast into the Christ message. The only way to properly engage in Passover is as a Jesus feast.

Jesus is saying that he must die, shed his blood and so on and thus become the Kingdom of Christ version of the Jewish Passover. Jews, Paul and Christianity would say, that the Jews were like Nicodemus, dutifully obeying the command to keep the feast. The Christians were the enlightened ones who realized that the feast was code for Jesus stuff.


Did Jesus say he was not going to eat THAT Passover?

Jesus sent Peter and John into the City to kill and prepare the Passover. Jesus said, “I will eat the Passover with my disciples” (Mk 14:14 & Lk 22:11). “I will keep the Passover with my disciples” (Mt 26:8). So, Peter and John prepared the Passover as Jesus commanded (Lk 22:8). Then, “after those two days,” after evening came, as Jesus said in Mt 26:2. In the evening he came with the twelve and they sat and did eat (the Passover), Mk 14:17-18). That night they all sat down and ate. Jesus confirmed to them his intention to eat, “With great passion I have desired to eat 'this Passover' with you before I suffer. I will eat it with you again when it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” (Lk 22:11 & 15-21, Mt 26:18, Mk 14:14 & Jn 13:2, And supper having come...).

So, Did Jesus say he was not going to eat THAT Passover? One does not need to dig into the Greek to know, the answer is, no. One cannot read the gospels, on these last days of Jesus, and come up with these contradictory views without making omissions (keeping Scriptures and traditions you like and ignoring those you don’t), or making idioms of simple truths (to keep unbiblical traditions and to add corruptions to the truth about the life of Jesus, and to the truth of our Scriptures). It has long been more important to harmonize with our contemporary and ancient Biblical scholars and what they, or what their CliffNotes in our Bibles say, before first harmonizing, or teaching others to harmonize the sayings of our Bibles.

Our Scriptures cannot be divided, to then be broken, into unfaithful and unchecked thought for thought, or contradictory Bible translations, to support various traditions (Rom 15:4 & 2 Tim 3:16). In this case, it is in the guise of Greek to divide what the gospels overwhelmingly refute Jesus as saying, "Not going to eat THAT Passover". Consider context to be higher than doubting it.

Jesus did not lie and say he's going to eat the Passover, but after sitting down to eat, imply something else, "I'm not going to eat THAT Passover".

The Greek phraseology for the word being introduced to say Jesus didn't eat is extremely vague. The context of Lk 22:15-21 seems to imply, the next time he is going to eat it, is when it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of His Father (in Heaven). The Passover was unfulfilled (The Exodus of the transfiguration (Lk 9:28-31), and his descent and ascension (Eph 4:8-10). It seems like modern translators today are progressively changing our Scriptures into fables. Context is King.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.