This week, we'll be studying just a chunk of chapter 12. We're getting into some good "meat," and I don't want to rush through this as there is much for the Lord to reveal to us through His inerrant word.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
Amazingly enough, you are getting ready to experience the month of Nisan. Nisan is the first month of the Jewish calendar and coincides with our March-April timeframe. The Jewish calendar is built on the moon cycle (instead of the sun), so holidays are on the same day each year. March 12 – April 10 is the month of Nisan, with March 15 being Passover. The NKJV of verse two reads, “This month shall be your beginning of months…” The Lord was bringing about a new beginning for the Israelites because they would soon be led out of bondage. Maybe you need a new beginning today. When you’ve experienced a season of testing or suffering, there’s nothing more refreshing than spiritual “spring time!”
3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
The first Passover was on the 15th of Nisan, but on the 10th, the Israelites were to take a lamb into their home. The lamb was a foreshadowing of Christ:
o “year-old males” – a lamb in the prime of his life, just as Christ (Luke 3:23)
o “ without defect” – Christ is perfect, spotless, and without defect. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
o “Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month” – John 15:4 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you.” Just as the lamb was to be brought into the home and a relationship established, so the Lord desires for each of His children to abide in Him.
The blood of the lamb was to be applied to the sides and tops of the doorframes. It was to represent a complete “covering.” It was not to be applied on the doorstep, however, because He is not to be trampled upon (Hebrews 10:29).
The meat was to be roasted over fire, along with bitter herbs. This is representative of the suffering Christ experienced up through and including His crucifixion.
God didn’t want them to just snack and nibble on the lamb; He wanted them to feast because they needed the nourishment for the hurried trek out of Egypt. The same is true for us – while we may have the “covering” of Christ over our life through salvation, He doesn’t want us to stop there. He desires us to eat of His Word so we, too, can be strengthened and ready for action.
The Israelites were to be dressed and ready, and we are called to do the same! In those days, garments were long and loose, reaching to their feet. When there was traveling involved, they'd take the back skirt portion, fold it up between their legs, and tuck it into their belt. I'm sure it looked similar to cropped, MC Hammer pants (and yes, I had a pair...they were purple). We are told in Ephesians 6:10 to, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." It then goes on to tell us what that whole armor includes: "having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feed with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints."
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
This is where we get the term “Passover.” The Lord was going to pass through, and those with the blood on the door He would “pass over” because there was a blood-covering in place. Another great statement to note in verse 12 is “I am the LORD.” Egypt was very complex when it came to its religious structure. There was literally a god for everything – sun, moon, grass, entertainment, stars, wind, love, etc. There was not one, all-encompassing god. When Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord…I do not know.” He probably had to go check his Rolodex of god contacts, just to make sure. Okay, I’m being funny, but you get the picture. That is why the Lord states He is “I AM WHO I AM” in Exodus 3:14. The word Jehovah in the Hebrew means “I AM” or “LORD” (using all capital letters to signify the reference to Jehovah). That is why the Jewish people use compound names of Jehovah. There are nearly 50 compound Jehovah names found in Scripture. I’ve listed out some of the most common ones heard today and a few you may not know. Meditate on who He is to you today (and a great song to listen to is Mark Schlutz’s song, I AM).
Jehovah El Gemuwal (Jeremiah 51:56) - The LORD GOD of Recompenses
Jehovah Elohe Yeshuathi (Psalms 88:1) - LORD GOD of My Salvation
Jehovah Makkeh (Ezekiel 7:9) - The LORD that Smiteth
Jehovah Nissi (Exodus 17:15) - The LORD My Banner
Jehovah Shalom (Judges 6:24) - The LORD (our) Peace
Jehovah Shammah (Ezekiel 48:35) - The LORD Is There
Jehovah Tsidkenu (Jeremiah 23:6) - The LORD Our Righteousness
Jehovah-Jireth (Genesis 22:14) - The LORD Shall Provide
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do. 17 Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
The Lord wanted Israel to understand that this was not a one-time event. It was to be commemorated – repeated – year after year.
To meet the letter of this precept in the fullest manner possible, the Jews, on the eve of this festival, institute the most rigorous search through every part of their houses, not only removing all leavened bread, but sweeping every part clean, that no crumb of bread shall be left that had any leaven in it. And so strict were they in the observance of the letter of this law, that if even a mouse was seen to run across the floor with a crumb of bread in its mouth, they considered the whole house as polluted, and began their purification afresh.
Adam Clarke has some great words to churn our weary hearts into action about the leaven (or sin) in our lives. May not even a crumb of sin exist in our lives, Father. Purge us completely – whatever it takes. Amen.