Passover

Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:4-5; Deuteronomy 16:1-8

Passover is the oldest continuously observed feast in the world, instituted by God more than 3,500 years ago. Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, means "to pass or hover over." Two thoughts are involved here: One, there is the death angel passing over, looking to see who is not covered by the Lamb's blood applied to his door. Two, there is divine protection "hovering over" our lives. It also shows the passing over from sin and death into a new life in Jesus, and indicates to us that by applying the blood of Jesus to our lives, the hovering death angel will have no power over us. It is within the Feast of Passover that we see both the judgment and mercy of God.

In every way, the Feast of Passover, like all seven feasts in Leviticus 23, points us to Jesus.

  • Passover was the beginning of months (Exodus 12:2). Passover is the first of the feasts in the first month of the religious calendar. When we accept the blood of Jesus, the Lamb, into our lives, we begin a whole new relationship with God.
  • The lamb was hidden for four days (Exodus 12:3, 6). Jesus fulfilled the commandment of setting aside a lamb for four days by going to Jerusalem and entering the temple four days before His crucifixion.
  • The lamb was to be without blemish (Exodus 12:5). Jesus was the Lamb of God who was "without blemish or spot" (1 Peter 1:19, ESV).
  • The lamb was to be a male (Exodus 12:5). Because Adam, the first male, sinned, so another male, Jesus, died to pay for the sin of Adam's race.
  • There was one lamb per household (Exodus 12:3-4). By believing in Jesus, we become "members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19, ESV).
  • The blood was applied to the door (Exodus 12:7, 13). Without the application of the blood of Jesus to the door of our hearts (Revelation 3:20), the shedding of the blood has no effect.
  • It is a memorial (Exodus 12:14). In His Passover celebration with the disciples, Jesus said, "'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me'" (Luke 22:19, ESV).
  • It was observed at sunset (Deuteronomy 16:6). When Jesus hung on the cross, "from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour" (Matthew 27:45, ESV), and thus fulfilled God's commandment.
  • Passover was observed at the place where God put His name (Deuteronomy 16: 2, 6). Second Kings 21:4 says this place is Jerusalem, and this is the reason Jesus traveled to Jerusalem; for it was only there that the Passover Lamb could be sacrificed.
  • Not a bone of the lamb was to be broken (Exodus 12:46). Because Jesus was already dead, the soldiers did not break His legs (John 19:33).

Thousands of years before Calvary, God set the plan of redemption in motion, offering us a way to come out from our bondage to sin and enter into His promised land of rest. Jesus said, "'I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture'" (John 10:9, ESV).

At the first Passover, the Israelites found safety behind their doors stained with the blood of the lamb. The next morning, they passed through those doors, leaving their bondage and beginning their journey to "find pasture" in the Promised Land. And now, the redeemed who found safety from the angel of death, are "looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10, ESV).

By Jim Thornber