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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Exodus > Ex. 12 - The Passover Lamb

The Passover Lamb
Ex. 12


This is a pivotal chapter in Exodus: in v. 1 Israel is a slave nation, but in v. 51 Israel is a free nation.

Interwoven with all the topics of this chapter—life and death, last plague, leaven, meal, Passover, death angel, Exodus—is the centrality of the Passover lamb, significant in this chapter and throughout the Scriptures.

The Passover lamb is related to Christ: Christ is called the “lamb” (Jo. 1:29; I Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:6); and Christ is called “our Passover” (I Cor. 5:7).

Consider how closely the Passover Lamb and the Lamb of God are related; what is true of the one, the lamb, is true of the Other, the Lamb.


    The Passover Lamb

The lamb was to be a male, one year old, and without blemish; it was to be as perfect as possible, and was to be separated from the 10th to the 14th day of the month for inspection (vs. 1-6).

“without blemish” translates the Hebrew tamin, a word used 87 times in the OT; translations include: complete, full, perfect (14 times), sound, upright (8), whole (4), and without blemish (44).

    God’s Lamb

Like the Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God is to be perfect, complete, sound, upright, and without blemish; in other words, Christ is to sinless.

His sinlessness is stressed in the NT: Matt. 27:4, 24; II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:25-27; I Pet. 1:19; 2:22; I Jo. 3:5.

God’s Lamb: never disobeyed the Father but did the Father’s will (Jo. 5:30); He always kept the Law (Matt. 5:17); He did no evil thing (I Pet. 2:22).


    The Passover Lamb

The lamb was killed (“kill it at twilight” and “kill the Passover lamb” – vs. 6, 21), and the blood was spilt (“take some of the blood” – v. 7).

The lamb was slain so the blood could be spilt; the spilt blood was used for protection (vs. 22-23); if blood was on the house, then the firstborn was protected; here we are brought face to face with blood redemption.

 The significance of the blood is in Lev. 17:11; the life is in the blood; to give up blood is to give up life; the difference between the Egyptians and the Hebrews was not a moral difference but the difference the blood made (Ex. 12:13).

    God’s Lamb

The blood of the Lamb, His life, is for out salvation: Heb. 9:13-14, 22; I Pet. 1:18-19; I Jo. 1:7; Rev. 5:9.


    The Passover Lamb

God said to take “a lamb for a household” (Ex. 12:3); a one year old lamb died so the firstborn in the family could live—a substitute—the lamb for the firstborn.

The principle of substitution is throughout the OT: an animal died so Adam and Eve could be covered (Gen. 3); an animal died and Abel was accepted (Gen. 4); an animal died so Isaac could live (Gen. 22; and animals died on the Day of Atonement so the nation could continue (Lev. 16).

    God’s Lamb

“a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28)
“Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6)
“Christ also suffered for us” (I Pet. 2:21)
 “He bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (I Pet. 2:24)
“the just for the unjust” (I Pet. 3:18)

All of the above speak of substitution, the substitution of Christ for sinful men.


    The Passover Lamb

Through the lamb, the blood of the lamb, the life of the lamb, the specific families were spared the death of the firstborn (Ex. 12:13); those who did not have this protection suffered lost (Ex. 12:12); if no lamb then no salvation.

    God’s Lamb

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jo. 1:29).

“Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


    The Passover Lamb

The lamb that was the salvation of the people was to be eaten by the people in order that they might have strength for the journey that was ahead; the lamb that saved was also to sustain them (Ex. 12:8-11).

    God’s Lamb

The One who saves us is the One who sustains us on our spiritual journey.

See: Ex. 15:1-18 - Song of Moses
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