THE PASSOVER LAMB
Updated: Jul 1
At Israel’s first Passover, Moses commanded the people to select a lamb to sacrifice and apply its blood to the doorposts and lintels of the houses in which they dwelt (Exodus 12:7).
The blood applied would protect the Israeli from death when God passed through the land of Egypt in judgment (Exodus 12:13). In the future, Israel would ask, “What mean ye by this service?” Moses was to say, “It is the sacrifice of the Lᴏʀᴅ’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt” (Exodus 12:26–27).
In the first century, Jesus the Messiah, at His last Passover, made startling statements to His disciples. During the supper, He revealed that the Passover lamb and its blood were fulfilled in Him (Luke 22:19–20). In fact, the apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said, “For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). There are seven parallels between the Passover lamb in Moses’ day (Exodus 12) and the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.
First, a lamb was selected, “Speak to all the congregation of Israel saying: On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb” (Exodus 12:3). It was God’s divine appointment and plan that each Israeli household chose a lamb for the specific purpose of sacrifice. The lamb in Exodus 12 typified the specific means of salvation through Jesus the Messiah who was identified as the Lamb of God. At His baptism, John the Baptist identified Jesus by saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). That is, Jesus will be the ultimate sacrificial Lamb whose death on the cross will atone for the sin of the “world” (i.e., mankind). Thus, Messiah was selected by God to provide salvation for mankind.
Second, the lamb was to be a spotless young male, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year” (Exodus 12:5). The Passover lamb was flawless, a perfect type of Jesus the Messiah. Had Jesus been flawed, He would have been unqualified to become a sacrifice for sin. The apostle Peter revealed that Messiah was “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). In fact, He “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21); “committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22); “in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5).
Anyone who receives Jesus the Messiah as Saviour by faith in His substitutionary death on the cross, and repent of sins, receives eternal redemption.
Third, the lamb was scrutinised four days. It was picked on the 10th day and kept until the 14th day to make sure it was not blemished before being sacrificed (Exodus 12:3, 6). Jesus the Messiah was also tested for three and one-half years, until His crucifixion. He was tested by men and Satan (Matthew 4:1–11) throughout His life, but found to be sinless. God the Father gave His approval when He said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
Fourth, the lamb was to be sacrificed. On the 14th day, each household sacrificed their lamb at twilight, collected its blood, and applied it to their house (Exodus 12:6, 7). Messiah was sacrificed and His blood spilt for the sins mankind. The apostle Paul made this very clear when he wrote, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Messiah’s death was not accidental, nor were the circumstances related to it out of His control but thoroughly in God’s predestined providential plan. The Lord was obedient to God the Father in all things “to the point of death,” voluntarily giving up His life on the cross (John 10:17–18; Hebrews 5:7-8; 10:9). All men are born to live, but Jesus came for the purpose of dying so men might experience salvation and eternal life.
Fifth, the lamb was to be a substitute for each Israelite. God planned that the lamb’s shed blood was to protect each house from physical death, when He passed through the land of Egypt in judgment. However, Israel would learn at Mount Sinai that a slain lamb’s blood also provided a spiritual covering from the bondage and penalty of sin as revealed in the Levitical system. Animal sacrifices in the Levitical system only covered sin, but never removed sin. Jesus the Messiah came to Earth to die and become man’s substitute, taking upon Himself the righteous judgment of God for man’s sin. Through Christ’s death and blood sacrifice, He inaugurated a superior way in which man can be justified and reconciled before God. Anyone who receives Jesus the Messiah as Saviour by faith in His substitutionary death on the cross, and repent of sins, receives eternal redemption (Roman 5:8; 1 Corinthians. 5:7; Galatians 1:4; 2:20).
Sixth, blood from the sacrificial lamb was to be sprinkled or applied to the door of each house. “Take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses” (Exodus 12:7). It prefigured the provision of Jesus the Messiah’s substitutionary death and His shed blood for the sin of man (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; John 1:29).
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Seventh, blood of the Passover lamb sheltered or protected the household from physical death when God passed over to destroy the firstborn. Moses wrote, “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). The word “Passover” came from this verse. Israel was delivered from death by the blood of the lamb. Likewise, the shed blood of Messiah Jesus, applied to the individual’s life, is efficacious to provide salvation and deliverance from eternal judgment of damnation to all that believe (cf. John 3:36; 5:24).
Whether you are keeping the Passover this week, or attending church this Easter weekend, you must receive Jesus the Messiah as your Saviour to receive salvation from God.
How is this done? Simply talk to God:
God, I confess and see that I have sinned against You. I believe that Messiah (Jesus) died for my sins, and through His blood sacrifice, You will forgive my sins.
I now receive Messiah into my life, and accept the peace You have provided through Him.
I believe that since I have accepted Messiah according to God’s will in the Scripture, I possess eternal life. Thank You for taking away my sin through Messiah’s shed blood and give me Your peace.