When the Israelites were in Egypt, the final plague was when the destroying angel struck down the firstborn child in every family.
While this is a terrible judgment, remember that years ago an earlier Pharaoh had ordered that all Hebrew boys be killed (Ex 1:16). The Egyptians now reap what had been sown.
This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die…’
Furthermore, Pharaoh is warned by Moses of the pending judgment, but refuses to repent. (Ex 11:4-5)
To escape the same fate, the Israelites were instructed to take a lamb for each family and to slaughter them. (Ex 12:3-6)
Then they were to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses. (Ex 12:7)
Ex 12:13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt…
This is where the name Passover came from. When God saw the blood of the lamb on the doorpost, the destroyer would “pass over” that house..
Ex 12:21-23 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall
go out the door of his house until morning. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the
Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and
he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.”
The Old Testament (Covenant) contains shadows – the New Testament has the realities:
Col 3:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Let us consider a type or shadow of Jesus found in the Old Testament.
The Passover lamb was a type of Jesus:
1 Cor 5:7 For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
In John 1:29 John the Baptist prophetically speaks of Jesus as being the antitype of the lamb.
Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
At the Passover, protection from God’s judgment was only possible by the “shedding of blood”. A substitute innocent firstborn lamb would die in the place of the firstborn son:
Heb 11:28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
Heb 9:22 … without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
THE NEED FOR BLOOD
In the same way that the households were spared by God when he saw the lamb’s blood on the door, so God spares us from judgment when he sees the blood of Christ.
Rom 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Atonement is defined as “amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong” ("http:// www.thefreedictionary.com/ atonement">http:// www.thefreedictionary.com/ atonement)
Rom 3:25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
Note that “pleading the blood”, as applied by some to spiritual warfare, is unscriptural. The blood in the Bible, is not to protect us from Satan’s wrath, but from God’s wrath.
God says, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (Ex 12:13)
It is the armour of God, specifically the shield of faith, which protects us from Satan:
Eph 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
PLEADING THE BLOOD?
The Passover Lamb was selected on the 10th Nisan and examined for any imperfections until the 14th Nisan:
Ex 12:3-6 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household… The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect… Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
Jesus was presented in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (10th Nisan) and was examined for four days and found to be faultless. And so our Passover lamb, Jesus, was examined and tested but he “silenced them”.
THE LAMB IS EXAMINED
Examined by Chief priests and the elders - Authority of Jesus questioned (Matt 21:23-27)
Examined by Pharisees and Herodians - Paying taxes to Caesar (Matt 22:15-22)
Examined by Sadducees - Marriage at the Resurrection (Matt 22:23-33)
Examined by expert lawyer - The Greatest Commandment (Matt 22:34-40)
But Jesus silenced them all:
Matt 22:46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Examined by disciples
John 16:29-30 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
Just as the Passover lamb had to be examined and found to be without blemish, so on the 14th Nisan Jesus was examined at three trials, but they could find no basis for a charge against him.
Examined by Sanhedrin in an illegal trial at night – they had to eventually resort to false witnesses:
Matt 26:59-61 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against
Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
I find no basis for a charge against this man. [Luke 23:4]
Examined by Pilate
Examined by Herod
You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. [Luke 23:13-15]
Ex 12:5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect…
1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
This obviously refers to the sinlessness of Jesus:
Heb 5:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH
1 Peter 2:21-22 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
1 John 3:5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.
Heb 7:26-27 Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
THE SILENT LAMB
The Ethiopian eunuch was reading this passage from Isaiah: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” [Acts 8:32]
Philip explained to the eunuch that this passage applied to Jesus (Acts 8:34-35). And so before the Lamb (Jesus) was led to the slaughter, he was silent before his accusers, not responding to the charges brought by false witnesses.
1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
Before Herod: “When Herod saw Jesus, he … plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer”. [Lk 23:8-9]
Before Pilate: “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.” [John 19:9]
Now in fulfilment of the OT type, Jesus was crucified on the same day the Passover lambs were sacrificed. 1
Matt 26:1-2 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
1 Note: The entire period from Passover through the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was considered ‘Passover’. Passover was also referred to as “the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread”.
Mark 14:12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
As the Jewish day starts at dusk, this preparation by the disciples would have started in the early evening.
THE LAMB IS SACRIFICED
Luke 22:14-15 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer …”
Jesus was arrested that same night he ate the Passover lamb with his disciples, and subsequently crucified in the morning. (Note that the Jewish day starts first with night, followed by the day.)
Jesus instituted Communion as a remembrance that he was our Passover lamb. The bread represents his body which was broken for us, and the wine represents his blood which was shed for us on the cross.
Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
The Israelites were not allowed to break the bones of the Passover lamb:
Ex 12:43,46 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover: … “It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.”
And David writes prophetically of the Messiah:
Ps 34:19-20 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
NO BONES BROKEN
By pushing up on their legs, the person being crucified prevented themselves from suffocating. The custom of the Romans was to break their legs if they wished to hasten their death.
Because the following day was a special Sabbath, the Jews requested that this be done to Jesus along with the other two men who had been crucified with him:
John 19:31-31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and
the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
John 19:32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.
But in fulfilment of the OT type, Jesus was the antitype Passover Lamb whose bones would not be broken:
John 19:33-36 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water… These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken”
And just as the blood sacrifices in the OT were an acceptable sin offering to God, they foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God for our sins, where Jesus would purchase men for God:
Rev 5:6,9 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne… And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
PURCHASED BY HIS BLOOD
And with his blood, the Lamb has given us salvation from the penalty of sin.
Rev 7:9-10 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Heb 9:28 … so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people…
SALVATION BY HIS BLOOD
While the blood of goats and bulls made those in the Old Covenant ceremonially clean before God, the blood of the unblemished Lamb has made us clean (of our sins) before God.
Rev 7:14 … “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Heb 9:13-14 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
CLEANSED BY HIS BLOOD
LOOK, THE LAMB OF GOD, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD!
Not only the Passover lamb, but all the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament were shadows of the future sacrifice of Jesus.
Heb 10:1-4 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins
SHADOWS & REALITIES
Jesus was crucified on the 14th Nisan, on the same days the priests would offer up the Passover lambs.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the antitype and fulfilment of the Old Testament sacrifices, and so the shadows are no longer needed.
Heb 10:11-14 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Moses gives these details about the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Lev 23:5-6 “The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast.”
We are then told about the Firstfruits offering which was made on the day after the regular Sabbath - during this week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Lev 23:11 “… bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.’”
So when Jesus rose from the dead on this very day, he became the firstfruits of all the righteous who have died and then are resurrected.
1 Cor 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
The sacrificed Passover lamb had to be eaten
Ex 12:8 That same night they are to eat the meat
roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.
The bitter herbs
speak of the
typifies sin. The
OUR PASSOVER LAMB
Eating the lamb speaks of the fact that the sacrifice alone is not enough, we have to partake of Jesus’ flesh and blood (i.e. believe and trust in him)
John 6:53-56 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.”
Many who heard the above teaching by Jesus took offense, because they did not understand that he was speaking figuratively.
Remember that the sacrifice of the original Passover lamb was only part of the plan to save the Israelites. The blood had to be applied to the doorpost of the house to save the household from the judgment of God.
We have seen that Jesus was God’s sacrifice lamb
offered for the sins of the world. But in the same way that he Passover lamb’s blood had to be sprinkled on the doorposts, Jesus’ blood only saves when it is applied.
If you reject Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the blood of the “Lamb of God” cannot save you. If you want to be spared the judgment of God, the Jesus’ blood must be applied to “the door of your heart”.
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