April 14, 2003
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
The Passover Lamb
By Jack Northart
Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law and made possible the Age of Grace in which we are now living. The significance of our Lord Jesus Christ accomplishing all of this requires us to go back in the Old Testament to see where God ordained the observance known as the Passover.
God chose Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt into the promised land. However, Pharaoh didn't like the idea of losing so many slaves at once, so he stubbornly refused to let them go. A series of plagues befell Egypt as a result. In the tenth and final plague, the angel of death, "the destroyer," passed through the entire land of Egypt and killed the firstborn of every household, both humans and animals. To provide protection from the angel of death for the children of Israel, God instructed the people of Israel to sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed lamb on the two side doorposts of the house and on the upper doorpost, called a lintel. The destroyer, upon seeing the blood, had to "pass over" the house and could not destroy its firstborn.
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. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with the bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden [boiled] at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance [innards] thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning ye shall burn it with fire. 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.
There are two aspects to the Passover lamb. First, when the children of Israel ate of the Passover lamb, they ate physical health to themselves. Later when they passed through to the Promised Land, the Word of God states that "there was not one feeble person among them." (Psalm 107:37). The second aspect to the Passover lamb was the sprinkling of the blood over the doorposts and lintels. It was this that spared them from the destroyer who would "pass over" them. The shedding of the lamb's blood was representative of the atonement or covering for sin. By the shedding of blood the children of Israel were spared from the consequences of their sins. This truth of atonement by shed blood is mentioned in Leviticus and Hebrews.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission.
According to the record in Exodus 12, this Passover sacrifice and meal was to be carried out in the families of Israel. First a lamb was selected and killed. The lamb was a male of the first year, without spot and without blemish. Its blood was put into a basin and then hyssop was dipped into the blood and used to strike the blood across the lintels and doorposts. The flesh of the lamb was roasted and eaten along with bitter herbs. This was the first meal of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Numbers 9:3, 5, 12
In the fourteenth day of this month [Jewish month of Nisan], at even [or "between the evenings"], ye shall keep it… They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.
Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month [Nisan] they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 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.
God's instruction to Israel was to select the Passover lambs on the tenth of Nisan. Then they were to keep them separated from the other sheep and care for them until the fourteenth of Nisan. The fourteenth was known as a day of preparation, for it was on this day that the lamb was slain and prepared for eating. This becomes very significant when considering the arrest, torture and death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In dealing with the subject of the time of the Passover, there is a point which needs to be understood. The beginning of the day according to Biblical reckoning was different from ours. In modern times, midnight marks the end of one day and the beginning of the next. However in Biblical times, sunset, not midnight, was the start of a new day. So the killing of the Passover lamb was "at even", which at that time would correspond to just before sunset on the 14th of Nisan because sunset would mark the beginning of a new day, the 15th of Nisan. It was at this time (the 15th) that the Passover lamb was to be eaten with unleavened bread; after sunset and before midnight.
Let us now consider the significance of the Passover to how God, by way of our Lord Jesus Christ, accomplished our complete atonement and redemption.
I Corinthians 5:7b
…For even Christ our passover is [was] sacrificed for us.
I Peter 1: 18,19
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; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Because of Adam's sin, mankind became dead in trespasses and sins. It took a perfect sinless human being to atone for that sin and to make it possible for believers to be reconciled to God. It took a perfect human sacrifice to be the complete atonement for you and me and for all people ever since his sacrifice.
Hebrews 9:22, 25
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others.
For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without [outside] the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without [outside] the gate.
By the which will we are sanctified though the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.
What tremendous love God had for us in giving us His only begotten Son. Yet, the greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that something special happened after Jesus died - something occurred which had never happened to any other human being: God raised Jesus Christ from the dead to die no more!
The announcement by the angel, " He is risen," is a truth that resounds throughout all time. Salvation, remission of sin, and complete wholeness is now available to all who believe.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
I John 4:9 -10
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [complete sacrifice] for our sins.
We need to walk each day with a greater vision of what God has given us. What a thrilling opportunity is ours when we begin to appreciate the significance of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb.
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