The Passover is recorded in Exodus 12:29. The death angel came at midnight and smote the first born of man and beast in the land of Egypt. The children of Israel were spared because the angel saw the blood upon the lintel and door posts and passed over. In Exodus 12:3-11, God issued instruction detailing the preparation that the children of Israel would need take if their first born were to live. New Testament believers, through the Holy Spirit, know that the Passover preparation is a picture of the means by which we have been spared from the judgment that shall fall upon all who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Let us consider the details that the Lord has placed before us.
The Time Frame
In verse 2, we note that the Passover marks a new beginning. The month of its occurrence is the “beginning of months.” God states: “it shall be the first month of the year to you.” The new beginning for the children of Israel required each household to take a lamb on the tenth day of the month. The lamb was to be kept separate from sheep and goats of the flock from which it was removed for a period of three full days and on the evening of the fourth day it was to be killed and its blood applied to the lintel and doorposts. The length of time that the lamb would dwell in close proximity with each household was approximately three and a half days.
While God issued this instruction to Moses and Aaron, God also presents to New Testament believers a portrait of the three and one half years which His only begotten Son should dwell among men. The Lamb of God revealed Himself to men for three and a half years and then was slain.
The Death of the First Born
The death angel took the life of the first born of both man and beast in Egypt. When the angel came to the homes of the children of Israel, he found that the life of the first born of the sheep of Israel had been taken and the blood of the first born applied to the entrance to every home. Death could not touch the first born of the flocks of Israel because their first born was already dead. The covering blood of the first born lamb was counted to be the blood of the first born of every household.
New Testament believers, like the first born of the sheep of the flocks of Israel, are already dead to judgment. The blood of the Lamb is counted to be our blood.
The Lamb Without Blemish
The lamb which was to be slain was to be a one-year-old male without blemish. A year old sheep is fully mature. The sacrificial lamb was to be perfect in every way. The Lamb of God was without blemish. Christ Jesus was without sin. His body was not broken when He died upon the cross.
In verses 8-10, the Lord issued the manner in which the body of the lamb was to be prepared for eating and the remnants were to be disposed. All that was not consumed was to be totally burned by fire. The instruction for the Passover lamb is a picture of the instruction which the Lord would issue for peace offerings. New Testament believers know the Lord Jesus as their peace offering.
The roasted lamb was to be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The unleavened bread represented the purity the new life which was ahead. The bitter herbs were in memory of the pain and oppression of slavery.
God gave specific instructions to leave no remnants of the past, as His people were made free. In the same manner, New Testament believers are to lay aside any weight or sin that so easily besets us and look to the Lord Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (see Heb. 12:1-2). The Lord instructed the children of Israel to be alert and ready to move, knowing that soon after the death of the first born marked the time of departure. The Lord told them to eat fully dressed —“loins girded,” “shoes on your feet,” and “staff in your hand” (Ex. 12:11)—in order to make a hasty exit.
As God’s judgment was released upon the land of Egypt, the blood of the sacrificed lamb served as the mark that sealed the Israelite homes and provided protection from the destroyer. The Lord told Israel that when He saw the blood, He would “pass over” that home. Although they were in Egypt, they were spared from the coming destruction. In a similar manner, as Christians, we are in the world but not of the world. When we accept the gift of salvation purchased by the blood of Jesus, we are sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:7, 4:30).
The Passover celebration is a memorial of God’s great deliverance of His people. The children of Israel were to leave behind their former way of living in servitude among the Egyptians and accept their true status as God’s chosen people. The Passover is also a picture of the promise to come. All who accept Christ Jesus as Savior are covered by His blood and delivered from the judgment to come. Born again Christians, like the children of Israel, are called to be ready for quick departure. Let us ever be ready as God has instructed.