So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. Exodus 12.14
Passover, which is also known as Pesach, in Hebrew, literally means “pass over” (Exodus 12.13,23,27). The first feast took place about 3,500 years ago in Egypt, and is celebrated every year by the Jewish people as a reminder of their deliverance from Egyptian oppression.
To emphasize on how this moment would be important, the Most High referred to it as the most important of all months. And the change in the life of the Hebrews would not be limited to their calendar; this would be a redemption, a new birth to a new life, through their deliverance.
It was the fourteenth day of the first month of Nisan (Exodus 12.18; Leviticus 23.5), early in spring, a period marked by the latter rain, during the beginning of the harvest, when baby animals are born into the herds and there was a true renewal of life and nature. By Divine Action, the Jews would abandon their old way of living and have the privilege of starting a new life, full of good fruit. As for us, Christians, Passover is celebrated between March and April.
Egypt suffered afflicted by pests, and before the tenth and last one came, the Almighty instructed Moses and Aaron to tell each family take a one year old male lamb without blemish, and sacrifice it in the evening (Exodus 12.1- 5).
The blood of the animal should be sprinkled with hyssop on the doorposts and lintels of the doors, because it would protect the families of Israel, especially the first-borns (Exodus 12.13). The sacrificial lamb could have any broken bones and his meat should be roasted and eaten by all, along with unleavened bread, symbolizing the separation of sin, corruption and evil. Another element that was part of the meal was the bitter herbs, symbolizing the years the Israelites suffered in bondage in Egypt (Exodus 12.8).
Usually people are comfortable at home and eat without rushing, but the Divine order was that families eat the Passover meal while wearing their clothes and shoes. The men should have their staff in the hand – this was a sign for them to be ready to leave. The Almighty is in a hurry to deliver and bless those who call upon Him. But to achieve deliverance, it is essential to obey His instruction (Exodus 12.11).
When the angel of death passed at midnight, he killed all the firstborn Egyptians – from the heir to the throne of Egypt to the eldest son of the prisoners – in addition to all the firstborn of the animals – even those in the house of Pharaoh (Exodus 12.29). However, when he saw the blood on the doors of the Hebrews, the angel could not hurt them.
Years later, God the Father provided a new Lamb, His Own Son, giving new meaning to Passover. The Lord Jesus became the only “Pass over” to Salvation (John 1.29). No one can come to the Father except through Him. This is because only those who have His blood sprinkled on their conscience are purified, protected and filled with peace (Hebrews 9.22). In addition, they can enjoy being secure because no harm has the power to touch them.
Before the Lord Jesus was crucified, He invited His disciples to attend a supper. The first Passover gave way to the nation of Israel. However, Passover celebrated by the Master was superior and more remarkable. Through His Flesh and His Blood an infinitely greater nation of righteous people would be born throughout the world. A new covenant was made between God and man. Here was, therefore, established the most important and sacred Christian celebration, which should be celebrated in remembrance of Christ until His coming: the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22.14-20).
The Lord Jesus was arrested and crucified exactly in the month of Nisan, during the week of the feast, as it is written: “Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover and about the sixth hour” (John 19.14). He was the ultimate Passover Lamb, slain by God, according to the instructed Law: Male and Perfect (Exodus 12.5; 1 Peter 1.19); all His Blood would come out (John 19.34); His Flesh would serve as food before bitter suffering (John 19.29,30) and none of His bones would be broken (John 19.33). He fulfilled the Word – suffered, died and resurrected, because He has risen! This is the greatest news mankind could receive.
There was physical deliverance during the exodus of the Hebrews; however, today’s exodus promotes the greatest deliverance of all – spiritual deliverance. Whoever surrenders to the Lord Jesus, in obedience, begins a new life story. The suffering becomes a memory in the past. There is a new calendar, new life, new opportunities.
It is night and midnight approaches. Our days in this world may be few or many, but nobody knows for sure. One thing, however, we can be sure: we must be prepared at all times – live apart from sin, coated with Salvation and covered with the precious blood of the Lamb sprinkled upon our souls. Only then can we escape eternal damnation.