The Passover – Images of the Promised Deliverer
A picture of the promised Deliverer.
“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...Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. And 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 12:3, 5, 6
‘And 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.’
– Exodus 12:13
Moses returned to Egypt. And with his brother, Aaron, Moses went before the Pharaoh. But the Pharaoh’s heart was hard toward the Hebrew people, and he refused to let them leave Egypt. So God sent a series of terrible plagues on Egypt. But none of the plagues touched the Hebrew people. After each plague, the Pharaoh still refused to let the people go. Then God commanded every Hebrew family to slay a lamb and place blood from the lamb over the door of their dwelling. And God sent death to every first–born in the land, except those who were in a dwelling with blood over the entrance. As with Adam and Eve in the garden, and Abraham and his son on the mountain, it was yet another picture of how a sacrificial substitute would someday deliver humankind from Satan, sin, and death.
– The HOPE, Chapter 6
Observe & Consider
As we see from the Bible verses and The HOPE excerpts above, Moses returned to Egypt to deliver his people. But the ruler of Egypt refused to let them go, even after God sent a series of plagues which should have caused him to realize that God Himself was behind Moses’ request. After nine plagues which brought diseases, insects, reptiles and various natural disasters to Egypt (without affecting the Hebrew people),1 God told Moses to institute something that is celebrated in part by the Hebrew people to this very day. It is known as the Passover.
Through Moses, God instructed the Hebrew families to take an unblemished lamb into their households and to care for it for four days. That sweet innocent lamb must have become like a member of the household! After four days, they were to kill the lamb and prepare it for a meal. God gave them specific instructions for preparation of the lamb, and what they should eat with it. Every element of the Passover meal was rich with special meaning. Numerous books have been written on this subject. (See “For Further Study”).
God also instructed the Hebrew people to place blood from the lamb over the doors of their houses. God said that He would send death to every first-born in the land, passing over those dwelling in any house with blood over the door. And everything came to pass, just as God said.
There are many lessons to be learned from this story, but perhaps the central one has to do with God’s preservation and deliverance of those who trust and obey Him. The Hebrew people could not save themselves from slavery or from the judgment that was taking place all around them. But God once again provided a way of deliverance. Just as God provided a covering for Adam and Eve, an ark for Noah, and a sacrificial substitute for Abraham’s son, so also God provided the Passover lamb so that the Hebrew people might be saved.
Each of these “provisions” from God reveals something about the promised Deliverer. For those who trust in God, the promised Deliverer will be like a covering to shield them from the consequences of sin. He will be like an ark to carry them safely through judgment. He will give Himself for them in the same way that the ram in the bushes was given by God for Isaac. And like the Passover lamb, His blood will be over them to save them from eternal death.
Ask & Reflect
- As we consider the “provisions” of God listed above, it seems clear that He has gone to great lengths to help us understand who and what the promised Deliverer will be to those who trust in God. What do these examples reveal about God’s promised Deliverer?
- As we shall see in a coming lesson, the promised Deliverer will be called, by some, the Lamb of God. What are your thoughts concerning God’s instructions for the Hebrew people to take an unblemished lamb into their house, live with it long enough to become attached to it, and then to slay it so that its blood would protect them from death?
- The value of something can be measured by the price that someone is willing to pay for it. And the seriousness of a problem is often measured by the lengths to which one is willing to go to find a solution. Imagine what must have gone through the minds of the children in the family when the father slayed the Passover lamb. They could have seen this as nothing more than a horrifying act. Or they could have realized that the seriousness of this act was related proportionally to the seriousness of the need it was satisfying. How might this help us better understand the significance of the promised Deliverer’s mission to conquer Satan, sin, and death forever?
Decide & Do
Moses’ instructions to the Hebrew people may have seemed strange at the time. The same may have been true when God instructed Noah to build the ark to prepare for something called a flood. In view of the fact that rain had not yet occurred on the earth, it is easy to see why people mocked Noah. However, in view of the judgment that ensued, these instructions don’t seem so bizarre.
Is God asking you do something that seems strange by the standards of the world around you? If so, then be like Noah, Moses, and the Hebrew people. Trust and obey God. He will protect you and bless you.
For Further Study
- Passover. (Jews for Jesus, 2006). (http://www.jewsforjesus.org/judaica/passover). Retrieved October 13, 2006.
- Moishe Rosen and Ceil Rosen. Christ in the Passover, (Moody Bible Institute, 1978). (http://www.amazon.com/Christ–Passover–Moishe–Rosen/dp/0802413897/sr=8–32/qid=1158163699/ref=sr_1_32/102–1316407–0306557?ie=UTF8&s=books). Retrieved October 17, 2006. Book Description from Amazon.com: A best–selling title from the ministry of Jews for Jesus, Christ in the Passover is now revised with an updated appendix. It is written for Jews, messianic believers, and Gentiles curious about the connection between the ancient holy day of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ, and for missionaries evangelizing to Jewish people. A comprehensive and convincing look at how the Passover is fulfilled in Christ.