Exodus 12

Exodus 12:  The Passover

The three plagues that followed the sixth plague of boils were:  plague of hail; plague of locusts and plague of darkness.

The first six plagues had brought irritation, pain and hardship- but the next two plagues of hail and locusts had brought utter destruction to their economy as their crops, livestock and servants were destroyed.  The Pharaoh continues his same pattern of asking Moses to intercede on his behalf and stop the plague and he, the Pharaoh would let the people go. Each time the plague stopped the Pharaoh would not keep his promise.

In chapter 10, God instructs Moses to ‘ tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and performed my signs among them and that you may know I am the Lord.” ( Exodus 10:1-2) It is good for each generation of new believers to hear personally what God has done for previous generations.  This story is still being told after 3500 years.

After the devastation of the hail storm that had brought major damage to Egypt, the Pharaoh’s counselors advised him to let the people go.

The locusts come and they covered the ground until it was black. They ate everything that was not destroyed by the hail storm. This was the eighth plague.  We are told in Exodus 10, ‘ the Lord hardened the Pharaoh’s heart and he would not let the people go.’ ( Ex. 10:20)

The ninth plague was darkness over the land of Egypt for three days, while the sun shone in Goshen.  As unbelievers, we all walked in darkness, but as believers we walk in the light as He is in the light.  What an ominous warning was this darkness as it preceded the 10th and final plague- the death of the first born.

I have summarized these last plagues preceding the Passover as they follow the pattern of previous behavior on the part of the Pharaoh.  The death of the first born was the tenth and final plague and God made it clear it would occur to every first born in Egypt including the cattle. Is there significance in the death of the first born? Yes. A study of Genesis reveals God often rejected the first born son and accepted the next son in the line.  He chose Abel, then Seth, not Cain. He chose Jacob, not Esau. He chose Isaac not Ishmael.  The symbolism is clear:  we must be born again. The first born son represents the natural man, a descendant of Adam and thus his sinful nature. We must be born again by faith in Jesus Christ and then receive God’s divine nature and are accepted in the Beloved.



This question asked by Isaac in Genesis 22:7 introduced one of the major themes of the Old Testament as God’s people awaited the coming of the Messiah, the Lamb of God. It was John the Baptist, who pointed out the Lord Jesus to John and Andrew and said: “ Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” ( John 1:29)   Exodus is a story of redemption and the Passover Sacrifice is one of the clearest pictures in Scripture of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus at Calvary.

God’s program for redemption contains three essential elements:  a redeemer, blood, and power. Surely we have seen the power of God in this story up until now and we recognize Moses is a type of redeemer sent to free the people from slavery. And now we will see the blood applied to the doorpost as all three elements come together in this final plague.

It is also interesting to note what encounters with the Lord produce in the individual- a heart that is softened and yields or a heart that is hardened into unbelief and rejection.

Exodus 12: 1-“ The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, this month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” God is saying this is the dawn of a new day of such significance it would herald an entirely new era in the lives of the people. It would be a day to be remembered. Do you remember the day you were redeemed?  Do you have a day to be remembered? (There is an interesting side note here as you study the calendars – the civil calendar and the sacred calendar.  Noah kept an accurate record of their days in the ark. This was before the sacred calendar was given. When we look at the record in Genesis 8- we see the exact day of the month the ark rested. It was the 17th day of the 7th month.The Hebrew calendar celebrated their new year in what would be our September-October day, they still celebrate Rosh Hashanah then, this year it will be on September 16th. Now look at the sacred calendar- the seventh month of the civil calendar becomes the first month. When was the Passover Lamb taken in?  On the 10th day of what was the 7th month of the civil calendar; sacrificed on the 14th day, which means the Lord Jesus was resurrected on the 17th day of the 7th month according to their civil calendar the very one Noah measured his days and months by.The ark rested on Mount Ararat on the very day the Lord arose.)

This Passover would also be the first of the national feasts the nation of Israel would celebrate.( They still do-3500 years later.)

Just as each of us as believers have an Exodus story if we are redeemed, we have a Passover Holiday to celebrate. It is in honor of the day you applied the blood of the Lamb to the door post of your heart and God’s judgment passed over you. It was the birth of the nation of Israel and it is your spiritual birthday. Celebrate it and tell your children and grandchildren about it. It was the beginning of a new life, a journey to be taken with God leading you to the Promised Land.

The instructions from God continue and they are rich with illustration, prophecy, symbolism and type. Each family was to take a lamb who was one year old, and without blemish into their household on the 10th day. The number 10 is a number of testing in the Bible. (The Ten Commandments were and/or are a test.)  The lamb would be taken care of by the family until the 14th day when it was to be slaughtered at twilight. The Lord Jesus entered into Jerusalem on the 10th day of the month -four days before the Passover.  We read in Matthew  the crowds welcomed Jesus and shouted: “ Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “ Who is this?” John the Baptist identified Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. ( John 1:29)  Paul writes in I Corinthians 5:7- this Jesus is the Passover Lamb.   And to the woman at the well in John 4 who said- ‘I know that Messiah ( called Christ) is coming. When He comes he will explain everything to us.’ To which Jesus declared: I who speak to you am he.

Have you answered the question:  who is this Jesus?

The significance of the lamb being one year old represents a lamb in the prime of its life. Psalms 102 tells us Christ  was ‘ cut off in the midst of His days,’ that is the prime of His life.  The lamb was to be without blemish or defect.  Peter wrote: “ For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but from the precious blood of Christ,  THE LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH OR DEFECT.” ( I Peter 1: 18,19)  “ God made Him Who had no sin, to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Just as this one year old lamb without defect or blemish was slain in place of the first born of Israel, the Lord Jesus was our lamb slain in our place. Our substitute- whose blood satisfied God the Father and when He sees it posted on the door post of our heart –God’s judgment passes over us.  The blood was collected in a basin when the lamb was slain and then applied to the door posts of the house with hyssop leaves.  We apply the blood by faith. The hyssop plant was a small flimsy plant.  To give you an idea, today Jewish families substitute parsley for hyssop in observing the Passover meal.  Our faith may be as flimsy as the hyssop plant, or as small as a parsley sprig, but it is not faith in our faith that saves us- it is faith in the Blood of Christ  shed for us.  It is not enough to know the blood saves one from judgment, it must be applied by faith.

Notice the blood was applied to sides and tops of the doorframes, but not the threshold. The blood is not to be trampled on.

Also notice- the blood was sprinkled before they ate. We cannot have Christ , our Passover Lamb, without first applying the blood to the door posts of our heart.

Peter called this blood- precious, more precious than silver or gold. It is God’s Holiness and God’s Righteousness which demands a sinless life should be given for sinful man. The blood is primarily for God.  “ When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” The blood is atonement for our sins.  Just as the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement with a blood sacrifice to be sprinkled on the mercy seat, we read in Hebrews 9 : ‘ When Christ became our High Priest of the good things that are already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but He entered into the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood having obtained eternal redemption.’ The blood satisfies God’s Holiness and Righteousness. Therefore the blood is primarily for God and we apply it to the doorposts of our hearts with hyssop of faith, God no longer sees our sins for they are covered by the blood.

Redemption from our sins requires: atoning blood; death, and resurrection. At the cross- we see the blood poured out by the Lamb of God. John the Baptist said this Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. I John 2 states this is the atoning sacrifice for not only our sins, but the sins of the world.   Burial is another important component as the first death leads to a grave, for death is the payment for sin. (Everyone born the first time physically will die. But those born the second time will not die the second death.) Then comes resurrection. Resurrection is the validating stamp- that says payment in full accepted. When Christ rose on the third day it was the sign of God’s acceptance. If Christ be not risen our faith is in vain; but He is risen indeed.

You cannot inherit unless the one leaving the inheritance dies. And you cannot inherit if you are not an heir and written in the will. If you are saved- your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and you are joint heirs with Christ.

God’s detailed instructions continue:  “ That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over fire, head, legs, and inner parts. Do not leave any of it till morning, if some is left till morning you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste, it is the Lord’s Passover.” ( Exodus 12: 8-11)

The lamb was roasted with fire and was  the main dish. There were two side dishes of bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Fire speaks of judgment and Christ was judged for our sins. The Lord Jesus our Passover Lamb  bore the fire of God’s judgment for our sins. He was the ‘ propitiation for sins; and not only for our sins but also for the sins of the world.” (I John 2:2) Do you now understand why Christ cried out on the cross: “ My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?” Do you see what He has endured- the scourging, the spikes, the thirst, the spear, the broken heart and the awful bitter cup from which He drank? Can you imagine a King who would die for His servants?  Can you imagine a Father who would let His Son die for you – while you were yet a sinner and cared nothing for Him?

Notice how they are to eat the Passover Feast- ready to begin the journey immediately. So it is with us- we must feast on Christ- He is our symbolic flesh we eat to provide us with the strength to sustain us on the journey through the wilderness of testing to the Promised Land of the spirit filled life where we battle giants.

What was the significance of unleavened bread?  Leaven or yeast represents sin and refers to that which is evil and of the old nature. Unleavened bread represents that which is right and new and not puffed up.  The Word of God is unleavened, pure and unmixed with error. Jesus was the Word of God, Manna from heaven. The Word of God, the Bible is our manna and we must feed on it daily for it sustains us spiritually in the journey of life that follows our redemption.

Jesus referred to the teaching of the Pharisees as leaven.  “ Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” ( Matthew 16)  Jesus was referring to their false teaching that was based on mans’ tradition and works rather than obeying God.  Jesus also referred to the leaven of the Sadducees who mixed Old Testament teaching with Greek culture and philosophy and did not believe in the resurrection or spiritual beings .

The bitter herbs were to remind the Israelites of their bitter bondage in the land of Egypt. Never forget the awfulness of the slavery of sin.  If we are not careful when difficulties come in the wilderness journey, we tend to remember the ‘ good old days’ in Egypt.  This is the deceitfulness of sin.

Remember the last plague before the Passover?  The plague of darkness. It is often so in the life of an unbeliever that God allows such a darkness in one’s life, they desperately want light. Who is Jesus?  The Light of the World.   The Passover represents a turning point and a new walk, where we no longer walk in darkness but in light.

Listen to Paul’s description of what the personal results of your Passover should be:  “ There is therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. “ ( Romans 8:1,2)

Our walk, our life indicates our new relationship with God. Our Passover is to symbolize a new beginning and new walk a new journey.  Egypt was picture of the world that held our old nature enslaved by sin under the prince of this world, the devil. The only way we could get out  was to be redeemed. How does Gods’ program of redemption work?  There must be a redeemer, one who can pay for your redemption; there must be blood and death as payment for sin; and there must be power, the power to forgive sin(s) and create life.

You and I could not get out of our bondage, we were powerless over sin. Our old nature could not be redeemed- for a Holy God cannot inhabit that which is stained with sin. God has shown us symbolically the first born is not acceptable- it is the second birth that is acceptable. We must be born again of the Spirit and water, the incorruptible seed, the Word of God.  For by grace are saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God , not of works lest any man boast.  So we applied the blood of the Lamb to the door posts of our hearts with hyssop of faith.   Our old nature must be crucified with the Lord Jesus at Calvary. You might say- I do not feel that I have been crucified.  Your faith is not in your feelings but in the fact  of God’s Word. It states we were placed in Christ Jesus at His Crucifixion.  We must accept this fact by faith, reckon it to be true, and then yield ourselves to the Spirit and walk in the newness of life.

Our new journey, our new life, our new walk begins with redemption, our Passover.  The exodus from our Egypt cannot occur until this takes place.  The Passover, a picture of our redemption prepares us and equips us to begin the journey which takes us out of bondage into the Promised Land.  The Promised Land is not a picture of heaven in the future.  It is picture of Christ in us, the Hope of Glory now in this present world and life. It is the Spirit filled life.

In fact, a careful reading of the 40 years in the wilderness records only one celebration of the Passover and that was in the second year.  Since the Passover represents our redemption, there is only one place it can fully be appreciated and celebrated and that is in the Promised Land, the Spirit filled, Spirit-led life in the here and now.

Let  me take you ahead in the story, for I know you know it well, but just for a moment let us consider the picture being revealed to us in type in this historical event.

Egypt is a picture of the world.  The Egyptian soldiers, the slave masters are a picture of our old nature that held us captive in the world. Pharaoh was a type of devil not wanting to let the people go, as surely as the devil,the prince of this world desired to keep us enslaved. Moses was a type of Christ, a redeemer empowered and qualified to set the captives free.

Now also understand when we were born the first time physically we were descendants of Adam.  He could be viewed physically as our great grandfather multiplied by all the generations since Adam.  We are referred to in Scripture as being in Adam.  We were in his loins, as surely as you were in the loins of your great grandfather. We inherited a sinful nature from Adam and our sin and sins come naturally to us, it is hereditary. We need new parentage if we are to ever be delivered.   That is why Jesus told Nicodemus, you must be born again. For you cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God unless you are born again of the Spirit and the water.

How can one get out of the old Adam and thus the old nature into the new nature?  Only way out of Adam was death. Only way into the New Life was to be born again.

What we see in this story- if you will allow me to put the next several chapters in a brief summary is a picture of salvation: death, burial and resurrection to walk in the newness of life. All portrayed by the following actions in the order they take place:  first- the blood of the lamb, the crucifixion of the Lamb of God at Calvary supplied the blood to cover our sins. But the cross which caused the blood to be shed, the atoning death of the Lord also provided the means by which the Lord put to death our old Adamic nature.  “ I am crucified with Christ.. past tense. Romans 6 tells us we are baptized into Christ buried with Him, united,planted with Him in death.  What happened to the Egyptian soldiers, the slave masters?  They were buried in the Red Sea, never to be seen again. What are they picture of?  Our old nature.  But Paul tells us in Romans 6- if we are united with Him in the likeness of death, we will be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection, to walk in newness of life.  What happened to the Israelites at the Red Sea? God delivered them to the other side, just like he did Noah and his family.  They came through on the other side to walk in a new life, just as we did . ( In fact Peter refers{1Peter3} to Noah and his family being saved through the water and this water symbolizes baptism; and Paul refers to the passing through the Red Sea as being baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea {1 Cor. 10} )

Is it possible to understand this process of being united with Christ?  Consider the word Paul uses in the original Greek- ‘ sumphutos’, which is translated –planted with or united or grafted. Do you understand the principle of grafting or engrafting? It is the process whereby a planter can take a portion from one fruit tree, called a ‘slip’ and transfer it into another tree. The process involves cutting off the poor or diseased tree which will be engrafted and placing the portion from the good healthy tree into the cleavage of the other tree and binding them together.This is the only way a poor, diseased tree can bear good fruit. Now if a man can engraft the life of a good  tree into the poor tree after cutting off the old tree, cannot God engraft the life of His Son into our lives . Jesus tells us He is the True Vine, the one from which His Father the Vine Dresser takes the graft. He cuts off our old diseased life which could not bear good fruit at the cross and then inserts the life of His Son into us. ( Doesn’t that make you want to sing those old songs about loving, and clinging to the Cross where you first  saw the light?)

GOD HAS DONE EVERYTHING! There is only one fruitful life in all of the world and history. It is the life of God’s Only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And this life has been grafted into millions and millions of lives throughout history. It is called the ‘new birth’ or being’ born again’ because it is the reception of a life  you and I did not have before. It is NOT my old life changed at all; it is altogether a new life, a divine life,  for Christ has become my life. I know for me there is no other explanation for what happened to me. Even my wife remarked as she observed the change in me- ‘ I have a new husband.’

“ I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

Now remember the Lord wanted the Israelites to tell the story of their redemption to their children and grandchildren.  What kind of story does one have to tell if they spend their lives wandering in the wilderness?  It is for freedom that Christ set us free.  ( Galatians 5) This means the Lord redeemed us out of the slavery of our ‘Egypt’ to take us into the Promised Land, to give us life and life more abundantly.

Can you imagine how unimpressed a young boy would be in the day of Moses after spending year after year in the wilderness existing on a diet of manna and quail.  What kind of life would that be? It was  certainly not a land flowing with milk and honey and certainly not the abundant life.  One would imagine- what kind of God do you serve?

Where is the Lamb, the Christ ? If you have been crucified with Christ, then Christ lives in you and you have been set free. His life has been engrafted into your life. Your old life has been put to death.

Now the journey to the Promised Land begins and as we shall see it will include a wilderness journey.

But know this: the Passover is the divine way of deliverance.