This is the most pivotal passage in the story of God in the Old Testament. God frees his people from the bondage of their oppressors. Everything about this passage is symbolic and prophetic of how God will send His Son, The Lamb of God, to die for us so that all who believe will not perish but live forever with Him! God does all in His time, according to His plan, to display His power over all while showing His amazing love as He extends His generous grace and undeserved mercies to His created people.
Bear in mind, Jesus is there with God. Try to picture God talking to Moses through all the specific details with Jesus, who is part of God, listening with understanding for what will happen centuries later through Him once and for all. (Mind blown?) Redemption comes at a cost.
Here Redemption for the Israelites means choosing the best lamb in the herd, killing it, then smearing the blood on the doorposts of their homes signifying “We are God’s people,” while the rest of the lamb is roasted and consumed. It’s a bittersweet time. The bitter herbs will remind them of this precious time that will be talked about each year for generations. The lamb is to consumed by the family—food to sustain them for the quick exit from years of slavery and bondage to the promised land God planned for them long ago. Let’s get our sandals on! It is time to leave! It’s time to be free at last!
Exodus 12, The Message
1-10 God said to Moses and Aaron while still in Egypt, “This month is to be the first month of the year for you. Address the whole community of Israel; tell them that on the tenth of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one lamb to a house. If the family is too small for a lamb, then share it with a close neighbor, depending on the number of persons involved. Be mindful of how much each person will eat. Your lamb must be a healthy male, one year old; you can select it from either the sheep or the goats. Keep it penned until the fourteenth day of this month and then slaughter it—the entire community of Israel will do this—at dusk. Then take some of the blood and smear it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which you will eat it. You are to eat the meat, roasted in the fire, that night, along with bread, made without yeast, and bitter herbs. Don’t eat any of it raw or boiled in water; make sure it’s roasted—the whole animal, head, legs, and innards. Don’t leave any of it until morning; if there are leftovers, burn them in the fire.
11 “And here is how you are to eat it: Be fully dressed with your sandals on and your stick in your hand. Eat in a hurry; it’s the Passover to God.
12-13 “I will go through the land of Egypt on this night and strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, whether human or animal, and bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am God. The blood will serve as a sign on the houses where you live. When I see the blood I will pass over you—no disaster will touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.
14-16 “This will be a memorial day for you; you will celebrate it as a festival to God down through the generations, a fixed festival celebration to be observed always. You will eat unraised bread (matzoth) for seven days: On the first day get rid of all yeast from your houses—anyone who eats anything with yeast from the first day to the seventh day will be cut off from Israel. The first and the seventh days are set aside as holy; do no work on those days. Only what you have to do for meals; each person can do that.
17-20 “Keep the Festival of Unraised Bread! This marks the exact day I brought you out in force from the land of Egypt. Honor the day down through your generations, a fixed festival to be observed always. In the first month, beginning on the fourteenth day at evening until the twenty-first day at evening, you are to eat unraised bread. For those seven days not a trace of yeast is to be found in your houses. Anyone, whether a visitor or a native of the land, who eats anything raised shall be cut off from the community of Israel. Don’t eat anything raised. Only matzoth.”
21-23 Moses assembled all the elders of Israel. He said, “Select a lamb for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the bowl of blood and smear it on the lintel and on the two doorposts. No one is to leave the house until morning. God will pass through to strike Egypt down. When he sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, God will pass over the doorway; he won’t let the destroyer enter your house to strike you down with ruin.
24-27 “Keep this word. It’s the law for you and your children, forever. When you enter the land which God will give you as he promised, keep doing this. And when your children say to you, ‘Why are we doing this?’ tell them: ‘It’s the Passover-sacrifice to God who passed over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt when he hit Egypt with death but rescued us.’”
The people bowed and worshiped.
28 The Israelites then went and did what God had commanded Moses and Aaron. They did it all.
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29 At midnight God struck every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, right down to the firstborn of the prisoner locked up in jail. Also the firstborn of the animals.
30 Pharaoh got up that night, he and all his servants and everyone else in Egypt—what wild wailing and lament in Egypt! There wasn’t a house in which someone wasn’t dead.
31-32 Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron that very night and said, “Get out of here and be done with you—you and your Israelites! Go worship God on your own terms. And yes, take your sheep and cattle as you’ve insisted, but go. And bless me.”
33 The Egyptians couldn’t wait to get rid of them; they pushed them to hurry up, saying, “We’re all as good as dead.”
34-36 The people grabbed their bread dough before it had risen, bundled their bread bowls in their cloaks and threw them over their shoulders. The Israelites had already done what Moses had told them; they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold things and clothing. God saw to it that the Egyptians liked the people and so readily gave them what they asked for. Oh yes! They picked those Egyptians clean.
37-39 The Israelites moved on from Rameses to Succoth, about 600,000 on foot, besides their dependents. Hebrews and non-Hebrews alike set out, not to mention the large flocks and herds of livestock. They baked unraised cakes with the bread dough they had brought out of Egypt; it hadn’t raised—they’d been rushed out of Egypt and hadn’t time to fix food for the journey.
40-42 The Israelites had lived in Egypt 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, God’s entire army left Egypt. God kept watch all night, watching over the Israelites as he brought them out of Egypt. Because God kept watch, all Israel for all generations will honor God by keeping watch this night—a watchnight.
43-47 God said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the rules for the Passover:
No foreigners are to eat it.
Any slave, if he’s paid for and circumcised, can eat it.
No casual visitor or hired hand can eat it.
Eat it in one house—don’t take the meat outside the house.
Don’t break any of the bones.
The whole community of Israel is to be included in the meal.
48 “If an immigrant is staying with you and wants to keep the Passover to God, every male in his family must be circumcised, then he can participate in the Meal—he will then be treated as a native son. But no uncircumcised person can eat it.
49 “The same law applies both to the native and the immigrant who is staying with you.”
50-51 All the Israelites did exactly as God commanded Moses and Aaron. That very day God brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, tribe by tribe.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND? (SO MUCH HERE…)
“When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you!” This old hymn from my childhood is playing in the background of my mind. It means so much more now as I am older and understand the meaning of the Passover in preparation for the coming of Christ as our Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God, who saved all who will believe!
“…John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
Passover marked a new beginning for the Israelites and bound them together as a nation. When the Lord liberates you from bondage, it’s the dawning of a new day and the beginning of a new life. Whenever you see the words “redeem” or “redemption” in the New Testament, they speak of freedom from slavery. (There were an estimated 60 million slaves in the Roman empire.) Jewish believers would immediately think of Passover and Israel’s deliverance from Egypt through the blood of the lamb.
The annual observance of Passover would give parents another opportunity to teach their children the meaning of their freedom and what God did for them. The adults were to be “living links” with Israel’s past so that each new generation would understand what it meant to be a member of God’s chosen nation. (See Deuteronomy 6:1–15)
Remember God gave. God gave His people a Way out of Egypt who enslaved them. God gave his Son as THE WAY out of the bondage for all nations! Jesus forgives all our sins. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. God always keeps His promises. Jesus is the Promise of Eternal Life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Passover marked the beginning of the religious year, and at Passover the focus is on the lamb. Our focus today is on the Lamb! What do we tell our children…and grandchildren? What will they tell their kids and grandkids?
Here is another parallel. The lamb was slain and its blood was applied to the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses in which the Israelite families lived. It wasn’t the life of the lamb that saved the people from judgment—it was the death of the lamb. “Without shedding of blood, there is no remission” Hebrews 9:22. Some people who claim to admire the life and teachings of Jesus don’t want the cross of Jesus, yet it’s His death on the cross that paid the price of our redemption. Jesus was our substitute; He died our death for us and suffered the judgment of our sin.
It was important to see the wholeness of the lamb, not boiled but roasted, so no bones broken. We trust Christ that we might be saved from our sins by His sacrifice, but we must also feed on Christ in order to have strength for our daily journey with Him. As we worship, meditate on the Word, pray, and believe, we take in the spiritual nourishment of Jesus Christ and grow in grace and knowledge.
The lesson here is obvious: Unless we are protected by the blood of Christ, when death comes, we’ll be completely unprepared, and we don’t know when death is coming. Are you ready? Sandals on? Are you ready to exit the life with the Lamb and be free to love God with all your heart, mind and soul?
Forever, Jesus will be celebrated as the Lamb of God who died for our sin and rose again defeated death—once and for all! All sins erased for those who believe. And in eternity…
“And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
Thank you for saving my soul and making me whole. May we never forget your faithfulness, your love, mercy and grace that set us free to love like you love us.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen! Yes!
When I see the blood, When I see the blood, When I see the blood,
I will pass, I will pass over you.