The Passover is at the heart of God’s rescuing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
A special ritual and a special sacrificial meal is instituted.
The Lord will “pass over” the houses of the Israelites (Ex 12:13,27).
The later generation were to remember this redemptive event.
Ex 11:5 - “every firstborn in Egypt will die”.
The Passover night followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The Passover - the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month;
The Feast of Unleavened Bread - began on the fifteenth day and continued until the twenty-first day of the month - seven days (Ex 12:14-20; 13:3-10; Num 9:1-14).
The eating of a year-old lamb or kid (Ex 12:24-27,42-50) was the way to commemorate the Passover.
Moreover, all the firstborn of Israel belonged to God (Ex 13:11-16).
The Account of the Passover
The first speech Ex 12:1-20 - God to Moses;
The second speech Ex 12:21-27 - Moses to the elders of Israel.
Then, comes the death of the firstborn in Egypt that forces Pharaoh to let Israel go
Ex 12:29-30 cf. 11:4-6;
Ex 12:31-32 cf. 11:1;
Ex 12:35 cf. 11:2
Ex 3:21-22; 12:36 cf. 11:3; Gen 15:14
After 430 year, Israel leaves Egypt (Ex 12:37-41).
How should Israel celebrate their deliverance from Egypt?
1. Reenacting the Passover (Ex 12:43-49);
2. Keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex 13:3-10);
3. Consecrating as holy to God every firstborn male (Ex 13:11-16).
The purpose of the Passover ritual
The slaying of a lamb or kid;
The smearing of its blood on the doorposts;
The eating of its meat.
The blood was used not only to protect but also to purify the Israelites house.
Hyssop was used in other purification (Ex 12:22; Lev 14:4,6,49,51,52; Num 19:6,18).
Eating the flesh of the sacrificial animal is important.
Basically, the ritual delivers from death.
There are also parallels between the Passover meal and the consecrating the priests in Ex 29 and Lev 8.
1. A ram is sacrificed to atone for their sins.
2. Some of the animal’s blood is sprinkled on their bodies to cleanse them from all defilement caused by sin.
3. They eat portion of the sacrificial animal’s meat.
4. Unleavened bread is also eaten as part of the sacrificial meal.
The Passover seems to be also a consecration ritual.
1. The animal atones for the sin of the people;
2. The blood smeared on the doorposts purifies those within;
3. The eating of the sacrificial meat and unleavened bread sanctifies those who consume it.
Ex 13:11-16 - the firstborn in a unique way belong to God.
Num 3:12-13; cf Num 18:15-17 - the firstborn are replaced by the tribe of Levi.
This unique holy status of the Levites makes them fitting to serve in the tabernacle (Num 3:40-51; 8:5-26)
New Testament Connections
The crucifixion of Jesus is linked to the Passover.
Jesus’ death took place in Jerusalem when the Jews were celebrating the Passover.
Matt 26:17, Mark 14:12, and Luke 22:7-8 presents the Last Supper as a Passover meal.
The first Christians celebrate this meal as the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:23-33).
John’s Gospel links the death of Jesus with the offering up of the Passover sacrifice (John 19:36; Ex 12:46).
1 Cor 5:7 makes the same connection;
John shows Jesus as the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29,36).
Jesus’ death atones for the sin of the people;
Jesus’ blood purifies and cleanses believers;
Jesus’ body sanctified those who eat it at the Lord’s Supper.
John 6:53-56; Heb 10:1,10,14; 13:12.
We are made holy and have a promise of life everlasting.