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"For Christ Our Passover Has Been Sacrificed"

The descendants of Jacob (Israel) had been living in Egypt for 400 years, and the time had come when God determined to bring them back to the land which He had promised by covenant through their ancestral father Abraham (Gen. 12:7).

The Egyptian Pharaoh had enslaved the Israelites, keeping them in bondage, because he feared their numbers; thinking that perhaps one day in the event of war they might join themselves to Egypt's enemies and depart from the land (Exe. 1:10). But Israel lived daily with the hope that the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would Himself deliver them from their bondage and bring them back into the promised land they had left to come down into Egypt because of a seven year famine (Gen. 45:6-11).

And the day finally came when God sent His deliverance through a man named Moses. Born the son of Hebrew slaves but through divine providence raised in the luxury of Egyptian royalty. When He fled Egypt for killing an Egyptian, he lived for 40 years in the wilderness as a shepherd. So when God sent him back to Egypt to deliver His people from the grips of Pharaoh, Moses was very familiar with both the government of Egypt as well as the region in which he would lead them for the next 40 years.

Because Pharaoh had hardened his heart to determine not to let God's people go, over a period of approximately ten months God brought upon Egypt ten plagues which not only inflicted the people and their land, but defied their false gods as well. They worshiped the Nile which was turned to blood and became foul. The frog was an object of worship as well as the fertile soil; all three becoming a curse to the Egyptians through the first three plagues (Exe. 7-8). The God of Israel was God even in Egypt. The tenth plague was not a plague per se, but the final stroke by which the first born of all Egypt would die, not sparing even the first born son of Pharaoh.

While Egypt suffered the loss of their first born, Israel would observe what is called the first "Passover" (Exe. 11-12). According to their families they were to take for themselves an unblemished lamb and slay it. This lamb would be called the "Passover" lamb. They were to take the blood of this lamb, which was caught in a basin, dip into it with a bunch of hyssop and apply the blood to the lintel and two door posts of the outside entrance to their homes.

"For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two door posts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you" (Exe. 12:22).

That first Passover, observed by the children of Israel the night before they came triumphantly out from their bondage in Egypt, prefigured what God would eventually accomplish for all mankind through the death of His own "first born" Son, Jesus Christ. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward Him he exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29). For it is through Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross that God delivers all who believe in Him from their own personal bondage to sin and death (divine judgment). As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth, "For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed" (1 Cor. 5:7b).

The sacrificial Lamb, whose sprinkled blood protected Israel, pointed to Him whose precious blood is the only safety of God's people; the hyssop (as in the cleansing of the leper, and of those polluted by death, and in Psalm li.7) was the symbol of purification; and the unleavened bread that "of sincerity and truth," in the removal of the "old leaven" which, as the symbol of corruption, pointed to "the leaven of malice and wickedness." More than that, the spiritual teaching extended even to details. The lamb was to be "roast," neither eaten "raw," or rather not properly cooked (as in the haste of leaving), nor yet "sodden with water" --the latter because nothing of it was to pass into the water, nor the water to mingle with it, the lamb and the lamb alone being the food of the sacrificial company. For a similar reason it was to be roasted and served up whole-- complete, without break or division, not a bone of it being broken, just as not even a bone was broken of Him who died for us on the cross. And the undividedness of the Lamb pointed not only to the entire surrender of the Lord Jesus, but also to our undivided union and communion in and with Him. So also none of this lamb was to be kept for another meal, but that which had not been used must be burnt. Lastly, those who gathered around this meal were not only all Israelites, but must all profess their faith in the coming deliverance; since they were to sit down to it with loins girded, with shoes on their feet and a staff in their hand, as it were, awaiting the signal of their redemption, and in readiness for departing from Egypt (Alfred Edersheim, Old Testament Bible History).
As the destroyer "passed over" every home of the Israelite on which he saw the blood of the lamb, so God will "pass over," (not execute judgment) the one who has put his faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross on his behalf. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life" (Jn. 5:24).

"The Lamb, Blood on the doorpost, Death of the First-Born, Deliverance out of the Hostile Country, and the continuance of this Feast throughout Israel's history, all seem to have been intended of God to be a grand Historical Picture of Christ the Passover Lamb, and our Deliverance out of a Hostile World by His Blood" (Henry H. Hally, Hally's Bible Hand Book).
Jesus Christ died on the cross the very day Israel observed the Passover Feast, which they had done every year since the deliverance of their ancestors from their bondage in Egypt. But unlike every Passover prior, this time God provided His own unblemished Lamb, and three days later this "Lamb of God" rose bodily from the dead. Scripture says, "He was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification" (Rom. 5:10). We who were once enemies of God because of our transgressions and sins are now, through faith, reconciled to God through the death of His Son. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:23-24).

Have you put your faith in God's Passover Lamb that divine judgment might "passover" you?

Written by Gary Nystrom

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