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Christ in the Old Testament 

               Exodus 12:1-51  Christ Our Passover is Slain for Us


Exodus chapter twelve records the last of the ten plagues, which was the death of all the firstborn in Egypt. In the case of the first born of Israel justice was satisfied with every claim of righteousness being fully met by the death of the substitute Passover Lamb. The blood of the Paschal lamb was a type of the Lamb of God--Christ our Passover.

The word "Passover" (pasach) means "to pass over; to spread the wings over, to spare; preserve; protecting." It refers to a specific time and place in the history of Israel when God's judgment passed over and the Lord stood guard protecting those who trusted in Him. The Jewish Passover is a beautiful type of the salvation God has provided. It was a profession of faith in Yahweh to save His people from the avenging angel of death.

In Christ's day, as in ours, two days were required to celebrate the Passover. Jesus, with His disciples, observed the Passover the first night, and was Himself the Passover Lamb the second night.

If "every shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians" what would a lamb in the sacrifice at the Passover make them do? (Genesis 46:34). This subject is still an abomination to many people.

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. The Passover Lamb was a substitutionary sacrifice. In each Jewish house in Egypt the paschal lamb was to die in the place of the firstborn. In the same way, Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us.

 Let's compare the original Passover lamb with the God's Passover Lamb who came to take away the sin of the world.

The Passover Lamb must be a choice male lamb in the prime of his life.

"Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats" (Exodus 12:5). It was to die in the fullness of its life.

Jesus Christ began His ministry in the prime of live, around 30 years of age. "When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age . . ." (Luke 3:23). Here is a lamb who is in the prime of His life.

The Passover Lamb had to be without blemish.

The Passover Lamb must be perfect without any blemish or fault of any kind (Ex. 12:5). Nothing but a perfect sacrifice could satisfy the requirements of a holy and righteous God (Lev. 22:21, 22). It has to be perfect to be accepted.

The apostle Peter knew the perfect Lamb in life and he wrote, "Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19). We are told of the beginning of His ministry that "when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased" (Luke 3:21-22). God the Father testified to His sinlessness, and therefore gave acceptance. Anyone who had sin in his life could not make atonement for sins. God can only be satisfied with a holy and pure sacrifice. The word for "unblemished," or "without blemish" is used of a sacrifice without spot or blemish and morally of a person who is without blemish, faultless, unblameable. Cf. Matthew 27:4, 19, 24; John 18:38; Luke 23:41; Mark 15:39.

The Passover Lamb must be kept under scrutiny.

"You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight" (Exodus 12:6). 

Luke 11:53-54 tells us the scribes and Pharisees grew very hostile toward Jesus and were "plotting against Him, to catch Him in something He might say." Daily the Jewish leaders scrutinized Jesus' teaching in the Temple and local synagogues. What can we say about Jesus after all that intense observation for three years? He "who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Peter 2:22-24; cf. Isaiah 5:9). Jesus "committed no sin," either before or during His suffering (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 John 3:5). He was completely innocent in both deed and word because "no deceit was found in His mouth."

It was necessary for the Passover lamb to be slain.

"The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight" (12:6). Death must be inflicted on either the guilty sinner or upon an innocent substitute. The victim's blood was taken and sprinkled upon the door-posts and lintel of the house where the Israelites dwelled. Without the sprinkling of blood there was no salvation that night. The lambs were slain between 3 and 5 PM of the afternoon before the Passover which began when the first ray of starlight could be seen in the sky. The head of the household stood for and acted on behalf of each family member.

At the trials of Jesus the people shouted, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" That was the common consent of the whole congregation of Israel (Matt. 27:22-23). Representatively Jesus stood in the place of every believing sinner. Jesus died at the very time that the paschal lambs were being slain in the temple in Jerusalem. Thousands of lambs were slain that first Passover night in Egypt, but it is interesting that throughout this chapter the singular is used when referring to the Lamb. Israel shall kill "it," not them. There was only one Lamb in Yahweh's mind that night--the Lamb of God at Calvary. "He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Jesus' scourging and death accomplished spiritual "healing" or salvation of every individual who trusts Him as his Savior. "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22; Cf. Mark 15:6-15; John 1:29, 36; 12:24).

"Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7b). Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for our sins. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). The word "redeemed" means "to set free by the payment of a ransom." It is a ransom for life as of a slave, (Matt. 20:28), and therefore, to set free by payment of ransom. The ransom is the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus' blood is God's blood (Acts 20:28). Deity became incarnate in humanity. How precious and costly is the redemption God provided in the atoning sacrifice of His own Son. More literally, we are redeemed "with costly blood, highly honored, blood as of a lamb that is without blemish and spotless, the blood of Christ." It was by the blood of Christ that we are redeemed from sin. It is an ugly picture of blood spilt because sin is ugly. We are totally depraved and in the need of God's perfect sacrifice for sin. "Redemption" is a purchasing from the marketplace of sin with the priceless blood of a perfect lamb. Cf. Hebrews 10:1-7, 10-14, 19-22, 29; 1 John 1:7; Luke 22:19-22.

The bones of the Passover Lamb must not be broken.

"It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it" (Exodus 12:46). 

The Roman soldiers came "to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, "Not a bone of Him shall be broken" (John 19:33-36). Cf. Psalm 34:20, "He keeps all His bones; not one of them is broken."

The blood of the Passover Lamb had to be applied in the correct manner.

"Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it" (Exodus 12:7).

 We have to appropriate by faith the death of Jesus for our sins. John 3:36 says, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36). Cf. Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13-14; Hebrews 11:28.

The meat of the Passover Lamb must be eaten in the home.

"They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste it is the Lord's Passover" (Exodus 12:8-11; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

The Holy Spirit awakens our sinful, depraved heart, "dead in trespasses and sins," to see Jesus Christ as the Lamb slain on our behalf. God in His sovereign grace gives us faith to receive Christ as our personal Savior. He "loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20). The Lamb of God died as my substitute. He died instead of me. He died on my behalf. I appropriate by faith the fact He died for my sins. A Savior provided is not sufficient; he must be received. There must be "faith in His blood" (Rom. 3:25), and faith is a personal thing. It is my personal responsibility to exercise faith in Jesus Christ who died for me. I must by faith take the blood and refuge beneath it. I must place it between my sins and a Holy God. To be saved by faith is to rely upon the Lamb of God as the sole ground of my acceptance with Him. The righteousness of a holy God demands acquittal of every believer in Christ.

Not only did God provide for their salvation from the death angel, but He also provided nourishment for their travel. Jesus not only saves us from sin, but He also provides daily bread for our spiritual lives. We must come to Him for our nourishment every day. What we ate for spiritual food yesterday will not carry over for today or tomorrow. It is a daily feasting on Christ. Change the metaphor and the need for daily sustenance becomes perfectly clear. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

The Passover Lamb of God provides perfect protection from the judgment of God.

"For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:12-13). The death of the Lamb and the sprinkling of its blood provided the only safe refuge from the judgment of God. Every first born who was not covered by the Passover lamb was slain that night.

The apostle John recognized this great truth when He wrote that Christ "Himself is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:2). "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). Romans 3:25 speaks of Christ "whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith." Christ is the means whereby our sin is covered and remitted. Properly propitiation is the turning away of wrath of a holy God by an offering. God's wrath is His settled, controlled, holy antagonism against all sin. Propitiation is the appeasement of the wrath of God by the love of God through the gift of God's own sacrifice. Christ is the Priest and the Sacrifice for our sin (Romans 3:25). The initiative is taken by God Himself in sheer unmerited love. He turns His own wrath away by His own blood. God's justice has now been satisfied. Our sin debt has been paid. His holiness is satisfied and God's wrath is turned away. John the Baptizer saw Jesus and he declared, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29, 36). "The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7). "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). "He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:12-14; cf. Heb. 9:27).

The death of Jesus Christ is the propitiation for all of our sins. The sacrifice of Himself turns away the wrath of God. It is God who is propitiated by His own provision made in the vicarious, substitutionary, expiatory sacrifice of Christ. Man sinned. Christ annuls the power of sin to separate God and man. Our Passover not only covers our sins, but He turns back the wrath of God which we deserve and God can look upon us with His favor.

The Passover meal was a memorial supper.

The Passover was to be celebrated every year as a remembrance of what Yahweh had done in delivering Israel out of Egypt (Ex. 12:14, 42). Every year, every family would concentrate on this meal and the meaning of each of the elements of the meal. At least once a year every family in Israel knew what God did at the Passover in Egypt. It was a method of teaching the people about redemption.

Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples (Matthew 26:26-32: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34). At the last Passover the transition was made to the memorial supper of the Lamb of God who took away our sins. Properly officiated the ordinance of the Lord's Supper is a reminder of what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. It is a message of the salvation of the family of God. "Do this in memory of Me." We come to the communion table and celebrate on the basis of redemption accomplished. The atoning sacrifice of Christ has been accomplished; now it is time to remember and celebrate! It, too, is a great method of teaching and preaching the meaning of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the believer's behalf.

The Passover Lamb's blood must not be trampled on.

 "For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you" (Exodus 12:23; cf. v. 7). The blood of the lamb is not to be put on the threshold. It is not to be trampled upon. Do not trample on the blood of the Lamb of God. How tragic when men demean the blood of God.

The beloved Greek scholar A. T. Robertson writing on I John 1:7 enunciated: "Walking in the light with God makes possible fellowship with one another and is made possible also by the blood of Jesus (real blood and no mere phantom, atoning blood of the sinless Son of God for our sins). John is not ashamed to use this word. It is not the mere 'example' of Jesus that 'cleanses' us from sin. It does cleanse the conscience and life and nothing else does (Heb. 9:13; Tit. 2:14). See in verse 9 both forgiveness and cleansing. Cf. 1 John 3:3" (Word Pictures in the New Testament).

The great application that comes out of the Passover sacrifice is the assurance and security of our salvation through the Lamb of God. The apostle Peter preached, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

The believer's security is to be found only in the applied blood of the Lamb of God. There can be no other basis for eternal security. Feelings have nothing to do with our security. Like the people of Israel long ago we must rely upon the Lamb alone to cover all our sins. When Jesus cried, "It is finished!" we were delivered once and for all from all condemnation. Nothing but the blood can cover your sins.

Have your put your trust in Christ alone to save you for all eternity? It is God's free gift to all who will call upon His name.

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb slain. Come eat.

Title:  Exodus 12:1-51 Christ Our Passover is Slain for Us

Series:  Christ in the Old Testament


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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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