Exodus 12:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover.
In Exodus 12 we are given the record of a very important teaching that was originally given to the nation of Israel in the days of Moses. Verse 1 tells us that the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron. The nation of Israel was still in the land of Egypt when the instructions were given for this important sacrifice.
In verse 2 we see that this sacrifice that God was implementing would cause a change in the calendar for the nation of Israel. This month would be the first month of the year for the nation of Israel. In chapter 13 we will see that the name of this month would be Abib. This month corresponds to part of our March and April. Prior to this, the first month of the Jewish calendar was Tisri, which was comparable to part of our month of September. The Jews believed that was the month in which God created the world. With God’s change to the month Abib as the first month of the year, Israel would have two calendars. The calendar that began with the month Tisri, would be the civil year. The calendar that began with the month Abib, would be the ecclesiastical year.
The name Abib means: “of ear-forming, of greening of crop.”
Israel was going to be taught that this was a very important sacrifice. They would be commanded to repeat this sacrifice every year in the first month. This was to continue until the true Passover Lamb would be sacrificed. That Passover Lamb is Jesus Christ.
In verse 3 Moses was to speak to all the congregation of Israel. The command and teaching regarding this sacrifice was first spoken and then it was recorded in writing.
The details are now given. On the tenth day of this month every household was to take a male lamb according to the house of their fathers. There was to be a lamb for each house. In verse 4 the LORD made allowance for a house that was too small for the lamb. If it was a household of two people, they would not be able to fulfil the LORD’s demand for this lamb. Thus they were commanded to join with a neighbour to keep this sacrifice so that they could keep this commandment properly. The LORD did not expect the people to get sick by overeating. He did not want them to be gluttons. This meal that was to be eaten was to be a reminder of the Passover Lamb that would come.
In verse 5 the LORD commanded that this lamb was to be without blemish. This was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was without sin.
I Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
It was very important that the children of Israel made sure that the lamb they chose was a healthy and sound lamb. They were commanded to take this lamb from their flock. It was to be a male of the first year and it could be from the sheep or from the goats. We know that over time the majority of the people chose a lamb for this purpose. This lamb was to be of the first year, speaking of the time of strength for that lamb. This was a picture of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ would lay down His life in the prime of His life. He was not old and decrepit. He was also capable of taking back His life again. He did not remain in the grave. He rose again victorious over sin and death.
In verse 6 we see that each household was to keep this lamb until the fourteenth day of the first month. They were to pay attention to this lamb over these days to make sure it had no blemish. In the evening of the fourteenth day, they were to kill this lamb.
Jesus Christ presented Himself as the King of the Jews on what we call “Palm Sunday”. He rode into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass and the people rejoiced in His entrance. The religious leaders despised Him and wanted Him to stop this celebration. Then four days later, Jesus Christ was arrested, tried and crucified. When we do the math, we see that it was not on Friday as the Catholics introduced and most non-Catholics follow.
On the fourteenth day of Abib, they were to kill the lamb and catch the blood in a basin. They were to take some hyssop and dip it into the blood and strike it upon the two side posts and on the upper door post of the door of the house. This was a picture of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which must be applied to the heart of the repentant sinner.
In verse 8 they were to take the meat of this lamb and they were to roast it with fire with its head and legs and the purtenance. The word translated as “purtenance” refers to the organs of the lamb. The point here is that the entire lamb needed to be roasted. This is a picture again of the fact that the Lord Jesus laid down His life. He did not just lose some blood. He shed His blood and died on that cross.
This lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs. This was not designed to be a tasty meal. It was to be a picture of the cruel manner in which the Lord Jesus Christ was sacrificed. It was to depict the wickedness of sin and the cost of forgiveness of sin to God. Salvation is a free gift to man, but it cost the Lord Jesus Christ His life. Unlike this passover lamb, Jesus Christ rose again victorious over sin and death on the third day.
In verse 9 we are told that this lamb was not to be eaten raw. It was not to be boiled in water. It was to roasted with fire. Verse 10 tells us that those things that could not be eaten were to be burned in the fire. Nothing was to be left until the morning.
In verse 11 the nation was commanded to eat this lamb with their loins girded and their shoes on their feet and their staff in their hand. They were to eat it in haste. This was not be a relaxing meal. It was to be eaten with the expectation that they were going to be called to move out soon after consuming this meal. We see also that this was called “the LORD’s passover”.
The LORD was going to pass through the land of Egypt on that very night. He would smite every firstborn among the nation of Egypt. The reason would be because the Egyptians would not have the blood of the lamb applied to the doorposts and lintel of their houses. The LORD would execute His judgment upon them and He would again remind them that “I am the LORD.”
This was a very important sacrifice that the children of Israel needed to pay attention to. Every detail must be heeded. The LORD did not give some general instructions here that could be modified as the people wished. This commandment was given with clear instructions that needed to be followed in every detail.
It is important for us to understand the necessity of this sacrifice and to be able to see that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all of this in His sacrifice. The Passover lamb was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. It needed to be repeated every year at the same time as a reminder of what God had provided for them as the means of being delivered from Egyptian bondage.
Those who are saved by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, must understand that they have been delivered from bondage to sin and have been given eternal life. From the moment of salvation, the saved person’s life has been changed. The Lord’s Supper is to be kept as a remembrance of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ until He comes again. There is no forgiveness of sin in keeping the Lord’s Supper. In fact those who partake of the Lord’s Supper unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. They bring the judgment of God upon themselves. It is important that we understand who should partake of the Lord’s Supper. It is important to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Passover Lamb.