Picture in your
imagination for a moment a Jewish family petting
their one-year-old lamb.
It is white as snow.
Indeed, this lamb is flawless. It would win the blue
ribbon at a state live stock exhibition. It is
Little Benjamin pets it
with his small hands, running his fingers through
its white wool. Its fleece is white as snow, clean
and cuddly. He, along with the rest of the family
has grown fond of the lamb. It has become attached
to everyone during the past week of intense
observation. The lamb was taken out of the flock and
set apart by the family so they might carefully
examine and observe it. Father Abraham has put the
lamb out into the bright sun light each day and
examined it in minute detail for any signs of a
blemish, or see if it has become lame, or has some
unexpected imperfection. The lamb must not be chosen
at the last minute. It has to become a part of their
little family. There is a sense of family identity
with the lamb. To give up this lamb would be to give
up something very personal. It would be like having
a new pet in your home when you quickly grow
attached to it.
This lamb is the father's
pride and joy. It is the very best of his flock. The
animal had to be in its first year, not old and
ready to die, but in the prime of life, full of
vigor and life. It had everything to live for. It
had to be an animal that was extremely valuable.
Late in the afternoon of
the 14th day Nisan Abraham called his family
together. "The time has come," he says. They walk
outside into the garden. Little Benjamin runs behind
them. He knows that something is going to happen to
Father takes time to
explain that there is no reason for this lamb to die
except that God intended to make the blood of that
lamb the way of His people to escape the coming
judgment upon the first born in Egypt.
He lifts his head to
heaven and prays: "Lord God of Israel, we have heard
You speak. You have promised to deliver us from the
slavery tonight if we do what you tell us to do with
the lamb You have given to us. Lord God we now obey
With one quick slash of
the long knife, father Abraham lays open the lamb's
throat. The little body quivers and is still as its
blood pours out into a bowl. Then with hyssop branch
he smears the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and
the crosspiece above the door of their house.
Benjamin cries out: "Why
did you have to kill my lamb?" Mother explains to
him again why the lamb had to die for him. He is the
firstborn in the family.
A few minutes later the
father prepares the lamb for roasting, with special
emphasis on keeping the lamb whole and intact.
Father explains to the
family the importance of the blood and the roasted
lamb. "The blood is on the door to keep God's
judgment away. Now, eat, and when you do, you will
be telling God that you accept the lamb as the way
of escape from death."
The word "Passover" means
to pass over, to spread the wings over, to spare, to
protect. Judgment passes over and the LORD God
stands guard protecting those who trust in His
provision. It is a beautiful type of the salvation
God has provided in Christ. The Passover meal was a
profession of faith in Yahweh to save His people
from the avenging angel of death.
In this ceremony recorded
in Exodus chapter twelve we have a perfect picture
in prophecy of what Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God,
did for us.
THE JEWISH PASSOVER
Judgment was coming
upon all the first born living in Egypt (Exodus
God had already brought
nine plagues of judgment on Egypt because Pharaoh
would not let God's people go.
Moses said, "Thus says
the Lord, 'About midnight I am going out into the
midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of
Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh
who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the
slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the
firstborn of the cattle as well.' . . . 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"
(Exodus 11:4–5; 12:12).
One of the things that
made this judgment so powerful was the people of
Egypt thought Pharaoh was god. Pharaoh considered
himself a divine ruler who held life and death in
his hands. The death of the first born was the
greatest blow to their religious system because the
Egyptians never accepted death. They abominated the
thought of it and worshipped everything that
symbolized life. This would bring the reality of
death and judgment to every home in Egypt, from
Pharaoh's household to the most humble home. No one
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. However, the Good News of salvation by grace
through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for
our sins is still "the power of God for salvation to
everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
The Bible tells us that
"all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"
(Romans 3:23). It also tells us there is a
punishment for sin, and no one is exempt. "The wages
of sins death" (Romans 6:23a). "The soul that sins
will surely die" (Ezekiel 18:4). The writer of
Hebrews said, "And inasmuch as it is appointed for
men to die once and after this comes judgment . . ."
The LORD God is holy and
He must punish sin. There are no exceptions.
Each Hebrew family
was responsible for selecting a lamb (Exodus
Speak to all the
congregation of Israel, saying, "On the tenth of
this month they are each one to take a lamb for
themselves, according to their fathers' households,
a lamb for each household. Now if the household is
too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor
nearest to his house are to take one according to
the number of persons in them; according to what
each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb."
The lamb is to be
in the prime of its life.
"Your lamb shall be an
unblemished male a year old; you may take it from
the sheep or from the goats" (v. 5).
Jesus Christ was
thirty-three years old in the prime of his life.
There was no reason for Him to die.
The Passover lamb
was "unblemished" (vv. 5, 6).
It was kept under
scrutiny and carefully watched to make sure it was
perfect for the sacrifice.
Jesus Christ was
carefully observed for three years. The Jewish
leaders and the people scrutinized him. One of those
who knew Him best observed that He was "as if a lamb
unblemished and spotless" (1 Peter 1:19). He went on
to add that Christ, "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 . .
. " (1 Peter 2:22–23). The word for "unblemished,"
"without blemish" is used of a sacrifice without
spot or blemish and morally of a person who is
without blemish, faultless and unblameable.
Daily the Jewish leaders
scrutinized Jesus' teaching in the Temple and local
synagogues. The religious leaders were in fierce
opposition to Him and carefully watched Jesus
seeking to find a blemish in Him. "When He left
there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be
very hostile and to question Him closely on many
subjects, plotting against Him to catch Him in
something He might say" (Luke 11:53–54). Jesus even
asked them in a tense situation, "Which one of you
convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not
believe Me?" (John 8:46). What can we say about
Jesus after all that intense observation for three
years? They simply couldn't find any sin to lay
charge against Him. Jesus had never experienced sin.
He was totally innocent (Cf. Matthew 27:4, 19, 24;
John 18:38; Luke 23:41; Mark 15:39).
Moreover, God the Father
on three occasions declared His approval of His Son.
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.' When He began His ministry, Jesus
Himself was about thirty years of age" (Luke
3:21–23a). He is a lamb who is in the prime of His
life and He is God's choice. Jesus "committed no
sin," either before or during His suffering (cf. 2
Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 3:5).
The Passover lamb
had to be slain (12:6).
"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).
The lambs were slain
between noon and 3 p.m. on Nisan 14. Three hours of
darkness covered the land from noon to 3 p.m. while
Jesus hung on the cross (Mark. 15:33). It is as if
God the Father hung an immense, dense black veil
over Calvary so depraved eyes could not see the
horror of the wrath of God being meted out against
the sinless One. Jesus cried out from the cross,
"ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" Mark translates it
for us, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME"
Martin Luther sat
contemplating in his study this profound saying of
Jesus. He sat there for a long time, without food,
in deepest meditation. After a long time he rose
from his thoughts and was heard to exclaim in utter
amazement, "God forsaken of God! Who can understand
It is impossible for us
to understand that cry of our Savior. "One would
need to go to hell itself, and go free from the
taint of personal sin, and go as the holy Son of
God, to understand it. No one ever will be in hell
in that condition. Therefore, no man on earth, no
victim in hell, can approach the experience that
will enable him to understand the significance of
Jesus' terrible cry. Thank God, our savior made it
forever unnecessary for us to experience or
understand His fourth word from the cross. . . . God
forsakenness describes those depths. When He cried,
'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' my
hell, your hell, all the hells of all guilty sinners
was burning their fires out on Him! He paid that
price, not for Himself, but for each of us
individually, personally, particularly" (Russell
Bradley Jones, Gold from Golgotha, p. 48, 52).
Probably only a few
minutes later Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "It
is finished!" (John 19:30). And He died.
Jesus was the Lamb of God
who was carefully observed and chosen to be killed.
John the Baptizer saw Jesus coming to him and said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of
the world!" (John 1:29, 36). "And Jesus answered
them, saying, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man
to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless
a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it
remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit'"
(John 12:23–24). Hebrews 9:22 gathers up all of the
teaching in the Old Testament about sacrifices
saying, "And according to the Law, one may almost
say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without
shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."
Peter observed, Christ
"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 2:24).
Romans 5:6, 8-9 explains why He had to die. "For
while we were still helpless, at the right time
Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates His
own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having
now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved
from the wrath of God through Him."
The blood of the
lamb had to be applied (12:8).
"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 12:8).
Jesus made it
imperatively clear that He must be accepted by faith
in order to appropriate His salvation. "For God so
loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but
have eternal life" (John 3:16). The apostle John
summarizes everything with these words: "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" (3:36).
The meat of the
lamb had to be eaten (12:8–11).
Moses gave instruction to
the people on how to prepare for their journey in
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
Jesus is food for the
believer to eat daily. We have to appropriate the
provision God has made in Jesus 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 nourishment every day. What
we ate for spiritual food yesterday will not carry
over for today or tomorrow. It is a daily feasting
In John 6:51–58
Jesus explains what I mean.
I am the living bread
that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this
bread, he will live forever; and the bread also
which I will give for the life of the world is My
flesh." Then the Jews began to argue with one
another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh
to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say
to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal
life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For
My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in
Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and
I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he
also will live because of Me. This is the bread
which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers
ate and died; he who eats this bread will live
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). We
appropriate Christ by faith.
The Passover was
perfect protection God's judgment (12:12–13, 23).
There was only one way to
be saved that dreadful night in Egypt when the angel
of death came to inflict judgment.
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. . . 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 12:12–13, 23).
That was the only
means of escape.
Today there is only one
means of escape from the wrath of God. I John 1:7–9
says, "if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in
the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and
the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving
ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess
our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all
We are also reminded in
Hebrews 9:27–28, "And inasmuch as it is appointed
for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the
sins of many, will appear a second time for
salvation without reference to sin, to those who
eagerly await Him."
The Passover was to
be a memorial supper (12:14. 42).
"Now this day will be a
memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a
feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you
are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. . . It
is a night to be observed for the Lord for having
brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night
is for the Lord, to be observed by all the sons of
Israel throughout their generations" (Exodus 12:14,
On the night before His
death, Jesus and His disciples celebrated the
Passover meal (Matthew 26:26f). However, that night
this celebration was more than a Passover; it was
the beginning of a memorial supper celebrating God's
new covenant with man. Properly officiated the
ordinance of the Lord's Supper is a reminder of what
Jesus accomplished on our behalf as our Passover
lamb. The apostle Paul gave instruction to the
church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 11:23–27.
"For I received from the
Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the
Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed
took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke
it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do
this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took
the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the
new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you
drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you
eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the
Lord's death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats
the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an
unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the
blood of the Lord."
Don't trample on
The blood of the lamb was
not to be put on threshold. It was not to be
trampled on. 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
1 John 1:7 enunciated this thought. "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 (Hebrews 9:13; Titus 2:14). See in verse
nine both forgiveness and cleansing. Cf. 1 John 3:3"
(Word Pictures in the New Testament).
CHRIST OUR PASSOVER
HAS BEEN SLAIN.
The apostle Paul told the
church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:7–8). "Clean out
the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just
as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our
Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us
celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with
the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the
unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
It was on the Preparation
day for the Jewish Passover, about 12 midday that
Jesus was crucified. And that is precisely when the
Passover lamb was killed in the Temple. The Passover
in the time of Christ was not killed by the
individual worshiper. It was killed in the Temple.
The priests killed it, its throat was slit, and its
blood was collected in a silver bowl and thrown upon
the altar. Then the body of the lamb was given back
to the worshiper that it might be cooked and eaten
at the Feast. This was all done at midday and in the
early afternoon preceding the Feast, which started
just as the sun went down and the first star
appeared in the sky. Jesus was being crucified at
exactly the time when the Passover lambs were being
killed. He is God's Passover Lamb, sacrificed for
the deliverance of God's people.
When Jesus died, the
Temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom
(Mark. 15:38). Right when the last of the lambs
would be on the altar in front of the sanctuary the
veil that separated God and man was torn open!
Jesus celebrated the
Passover on the preparation day when the homes were
cleansed of any leaven. The next day He was the
Passover Lamb. The sacrifice of Jesus is the
culmination of the whole sacrificial system. He is
the sacrifice that makes all other sacrifices
"Christ our Passover also
has been sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7b). The death
of Jesus Christ is the propitiation for 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. We sinned. We are
guilty. 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.
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
ransom." It is a ransom for life as of a slave,
(Matthew 20:28), and therefore, to set free by
payment of ransom. The ransom is the blood of Jesus.
Kenneth Wuest observed, "The blood of Christ is
costly, essentially and intrinsically precious
because it is God's blood (Acts 20:28), for Deity
became incarnate in humanity." 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 is by the blood
of Christ that we are redeemed from sin. It is an
ugly picture of blood spilt because sin is always
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.
"Behold the lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He
died to save us form the slavery of sin and the
judgment called hell. We don't need to offer another
lamb, or any sacrificial work, because Jesus is the
Lamb of God who was offered once for all.
God's people are
saved through the blood of Jesus alone.
However, you must accept
Jesus Christ as your personal Lamb. You must accept
His blood and His body as your only way of
salvation. The agony that Christ endured as my
Passover lamb in the substitutionary process is the
agony that I must endure in hell, if I refuse to
allow Him to substitute for me. His pains, His
suffering, His thirst, His enduring the wrath of
God, His agonizing "why" from the cross, are a
prophetic manifestation of what awaits every doomed
sinner in the everlasting condemnation. Why would
you want to go through an eternal hell when God has
provided for you salvation in a perfect lamb?
"Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ and you shall be saved today."
Title: Exodus 12 Christ
Christ in the Old Testament