Remembering the Passover

KEY VERSE: “This day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.” —Exodus 12:14

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Exodus 12:11-17, 24-27

THE Passover, as recorded in Exodus the twelfth chapter, is a type of the eventual redemption and deliverance of the world of mankind from the oppressor, Satan, and from the condemnation of sin and death that resulted from Adam’s transgression. The lamb, selected from the flock, was to be without spot or blemish, and, because of this, it aptly represented Jesus. The Apostle Paul describes Jesus as “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) When the lamb was slain, after sundown on the fourteenth of Nisan, its blood was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintels of the houses of the Israelites. God had promised that when the death angel passed through the land at midnight, he would pass over the dwellings where the blood was sprinkled and the firstborn of those families would be spared from death; but in all the houses in the land of Egypt where no blood was sprinkled, the firstborn would die.

When Pharaoh and the people of Egypt realized the extent of the disaster that had been brought upon them, “Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.” (Ex. 12:30) Pharaoh immediately released the Israelites from slavery.

After the blood was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintels, the Israelites were instructed to enter their houses and stay there until the death angel had passed over. They were to eat the Iamb, roasted with fire, and nothing was to be left until morning. They were to eat it with unleavened bread, and bitter herbs, with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet and their staffs in their hands. All of these things had a particular meaning to the Jews in their subsequent celebration of the Passover feast, but they were to have a much deeper meaning to the church of the Gospel Age who would recognize them as shadows of things being fulfilled now and of things to be fulfilled in the Millennial Age.

First, it is important to note that it was only the firstborn of the nation of Israel who were in jeopardy that night. The first-born were a picture of the church of the firstborn of the Gospel Age. (Heb. 12:23; Rom. 8:29) The Apostle Paul states, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (I Cor. 5:7) The blood of the typical lamb released the firstborn of Israel. In the fulfillment of the type, the blood of Christ (the ransom price) was first applied to the church of the firstborn. (Heb. 9:24; I John 2:2) And just as the nation of Israel was released because of the passing over of the firstborn, so the world of mankind will be released from the bondage of sin and death when the merit of Christ’s blood is no longer needed by the church and can be reapplied on behalf of the world; and then, by means of the New Covenant, they will all be given an opportunity to gain life.

The Israelites were instructed to eat all of the lamb and to eat it with unleavened bread. This pictures, to us in the Gospel Age, the feeding on heavenly food. Jesus said, “I am that bread of life. … If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world.” Then, in explanation of this statement, he said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:48-51,63) The unleavened bread pictured the purity of the food. The bitter herbs represented the bitter experiences of life that would whet the appetite for more of the pure words of life.

This wonderful miracle performed on behalf of the nation of Israel was to be a perpetual memorial to them to remind them of God’s overruling providence on their behalf. And at the beginning of the present age, the Gospel Age, its real meaning was revealed to a remnant of the Jews, and since that time to all other faithful footstep followers of Jesus. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”—I Cor. 10:16

Dawn Bible Students Association
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