Exodus 13:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
3 And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.
4 This day came ye out in the month Abib.
5 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.
6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.
8 And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.
11 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,
12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.
13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.
14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.
16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.
These opening verses are parenthetical in nature. God gave further information related to the Passover and the days immediately after that day before going on with the continued Exodus. The Passover was related to the firstborn of both man and beast. The firstborn of the nation of Egypt would be killed by the Lord on the fourteenth day of Abib. That was a one time event. Israel would begin their journey out of Egypt following that judgment from the LORD.
The nation of Israel needed to know that the firstborn within their nation belonged to the LORD. Their firstborn had been spared death because of the blood applied to the door posts and lintel and due to the proper choosing and eating of the Passover lamb. Whether it be of man or of beast, the firstborn had been spared death and the LORD was declaring that they belonged to Him. The firstborn would be celebrated by the family, and they needed to be reminded right from the start that it was the LORD that was blessing them. Everything that man has belongs to God. The nation of Israel was chosen by the LORD. They would not exist if it were not for the LORD. He rightfully wanted the firstborn for His service.
To sanctify is to set apart. The firstborn was to be set apart unto the LORD.
In verses 3-16 further details were given regarding the special nature of the month Abib and the days immediately after the day of the Passover. The nation of Israel needed a constant reminder of how they were delivered from Egyptian bondage. We have stated before that Egypt is a picture of the world. Not only was the firstborn to be set apart unto the LORD, but the nation was to be set apart unto the LORD. They were to be different than the nations around them. When the nation would come into the land of Canaan and take over that land, they were to be reminded of the LORD’s hand at work in their lives.
In verse 6 they were reminded of the importance of keeping the feast of unleavened bread for 7 days immediately after the day of the Passover. The final day of that feast was to be feast to the LORD. During the days of this special remembrance there was to be no leaven in their houses. We noted before that leaven is used as a picture of sin. The nation of Israel was not to be a friend of the world. They were to be a friend of God. The days of unleavened bread were there to remind the nation of Who they belonged to.
In verse 8 we see that these special days would give them particular opportunity to teach their sons the importance of God’s deliverance. The LORD wanted the generations to come to know of God’s work on behalf of their nation and of the importance of them serving the LORD faithfully.
The Pharisees would later take this command and turn it into an external ritual and they would assume that their “phylacteries” fulfilled this command. The phylacteries are still used by some of the Jews today. They bind some scripture in a small box and tie that to their forehead or to their wrist and they think they are honouring God.
The context shows us that this was not what God intended, These seven days were to be observed in such a way that the nation would use them to Speak of the LORD’s deliverance from bondage. We see that in the last part of verse 9. They were to use this occasion to speak of the LORD’s mighty work on their behalf.
God is never content with rituals. Most people have turned the importance of the Passover and the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ into a ritual. They have turned it into a distraction with easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies and chocolate chicks, etc. Even the observance of Friday to Sunday does not honour the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made.
The Catholics are the ones who “christianized” what most people use as a ritual today of the true Passover Lamb. God told the Hebrews to keep the Passover and the days of unleavened bread according to the command that He gave them. They were not to distort them and use them as a time of entertainment. It was a sober time of remembrance.
Christians today need to reject the ritualism associated with Christ our Passover and we need to read the Bible and pay attention to what we are reading and think about the significance of the instructions given in the Old Testament and how the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled those commands exactly.
Israel needed to keep these days as an ordinance from the LORD. An ordinance is a command from the LORD. It does not save. It reminded the nation year after year of how the LORD delivered them from Egyptian bondage. This was to be a picture of the deliverance from sin that God alone can and does provide.
The commemoration of the Passover Lamb does not save anyone. Salvation is a gift of God. We remember His death til He come as we obey what He says in His Word. We dishonour Him when we think we can modify what He commands to fit with the traditions of the world.
I John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
True Christians have been redeemed by the precious blood of the precious Lamb of God. We don’t try to make that precious Lamb more pleasing to the world. We show the world that He is precious and that His love is special and powerful. His sacrifice for man is life changing. That is what is needed in our world today.