A Passover to the Lord your God
The opening words of the passage call out for the people of Israel to pay heed to at a certain time of year, keeping the Passover to the Lord. There is a reason for this that we will look at today. But for now, suffice it to say that if you don’t pay attention to something you are supposed to see, you miss that thing will most certainly.
The entire Old Testament asks the people of Israel to pay attention. In fact, if they had really taken the stories, the commandments, the warnings, and the shadows laid down there to heart, there is no way they could have missed Christ when He came. Everything pointed to Him.
At the same time, if you read a book that said someone was coming and would actually be the Messiah, would you recognize Him when He came? I mean, there’s that Guy. He doesn’t act the same as everyone else, but we saw Him grow up in Nazareth. He doesn’t look any different than we do. How can we be sure? Well, one way people believed in Him is found in our text verse –
Text Verse: “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.” John 7:23
Jesus did signs. Like the prophets of old, signs were given to confirm things. If there was a sign, it pointed to something else. The things Jesus did pointed to the fact that He was, in fact, Israel’s Messiah. However, it might still be hard to accept that someone who can do amazing things is really the Messiah. How far does someone need to go to actually prove – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that He is that Person?
If the people of Israel didn’t look at things like the Passover as being about them, they would not have missed who Christ is. But they took the Passover as a past act and a memorial of what occurred. Instead, they should have looked at it only as a stepping stone to the true Passover.
In seeing this, they would then see who He truly is. And from that, the Feast of Unleavened Bread would then make all the sense in the world to them as well. Someday, they will see Him for who He is, and they will realize it is all about Him, not all about them.
For now, we can see this if we are willing to acknowledge that we are in need of a Savior. When someone realizes that, the imagery of the Passover suddenly makes all the sense in the world. And the imagery of Unleavened Bread can then be understood in its proper context. This is why studying the law is so important. It is a marvel and a treasure box full of wonder.
Yes, great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. The Bread of Affliction (verses 1-8)
“Observe the month of Abib,
shamor eth khodesh ha’aviv – “Observe month the aviv.” The word shamar, translated as “observe,” signifies to keep, watch, preserve, and so on. It comes from a primitive root meaning “to hedge about” (as with thorns). Thus, one can think of guarding.
Moses tells them they are to guard this month, meaning not forget, and be sure to observe. One would think, “It’s the Passover, how could they forget that?” The answer is, “Because they failed to guard carefully what they had been given.”
It is often said that the Passover is the longest continuously held annual ceremony in the world, being observed for 3500 years. This is incorrect. The failure of Israel to observe the Passover is noted several times in Scripture, such as –
“Then the king commanded all the people, saying, ‘Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.’ 22 Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.” 2 Kings 23:21, 22
One cannot observe what one is unaware of, and it is the words of Moses now that are intended to make them aware of this particular responsibility. But the Book of the Law given by Moses had been neglected to the point that Israel didn’t even know it existed.
Just one chapter earlier, King Josiah had the temple repaired. During the work, the high priest “found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord” (2 Kings 22:8). How could Israel carefully guard the month of the aviv in order to observe the Passover if they didn’t even know they were supposed to do so?
Moses’ words to guard the month were ignored until the Book of the Law was rediscovered. As far as the word aviv, it speaks of the March-April timeframe when the ears of grain are fresh. It was introduced into Scripture in Exodus 9:31, “Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.”
The redemptive calendar for Israel was then set by the Lord in Exodus 12:2, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” This was at the institution of the Passover. After that, designating the month as “the aviv” was first proclaimed in Exodus 13 while the Feast of Unleavened Bread was being described to the people –
“Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. 4 On this day you are going out, in the month Abib.” Exodus 13:3, 4
The word aviv is used only eight times. Six times it is used to describe the month and twice to describe fresh ears of grain. It means “greenness” or “fresh” and it indicates fresh young ears of barley grain which come forth at this time of year.
In Exodus, it is also called “the aviv.” Thus, this is not technically the name of the month, but it is a designation. It is in this month, the first month of the fresh ears, that Moses says…
1 (con’t) and keep the Passover to the Lord your God,
v’asita pesakh l’Yehovah elohekha – “and keep Passover to Yehovah your God.” In this, Moses leaves off the article. Instead of “the Passover,” he simply says, “Passover to Yehovah.” He is making a general statement about what Israel is to do when they enter the land, even if it is about a specific event. The word pesakh, or Passover, comes from the verb pasakh that was introduced in Exodus 12. It signifies to pass or spring over –
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:12, 13
Because of this, it is called pesakh l’Yehovah, or “Passover to Yehovah.” The Passover is on the 14th of the month of Aviv, as was commanded in Exodus 12:6. The specific time of the day when the Passover was to be killed was first defined in that verse as well –
“Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.”
The translation as “twilight” is misleading. It does not mean “in the evening.” Rather, the Hebrew term, translated as “twilight,” is ben ha’arbayim, or “between the evenings.” It is a phrase that is based on biblical time. In the Bible, a day is divided into “evening” and “morning.” Thus, there are actually two evenings to be reckoned. The first began after 12pm and runs through until sunset.
The second evening begins at sunset and continues till night, meaning the whole time of twilight. This would, therefore, be between twelve o’clock and the termination of twilight. “Between the evenings,” then, speaks of the three o’clock sacrifices at the temple. They were considered as the evening sacrifices even though to us it would be deemed as an afternoon sacrifice. With that understood, Moses next says…
1 (con’t) for in the month of Abib
Again, in this verse it says ha’aviv, or “the aviv.” In essence, “In the month of the fresh young ears, the Lord brought you out.” Also, this is the last time that the word aviv is found in Scripture. After this, the first month will be known by its proper name, Nisan, a name found in both Nehemiah and Esther. Or it will simply be called “the first month,” such as in Joshua 4:19.
1 (con’t) the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.
As the start of a new day in the Bible begins at sundown, this then refers to the 15th of the month, when the moon was full. The words here seem contradictory to those of Exodus 12:22 and Numbers 33:3. They state –
“And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.” Exodus 12:22
“They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians.” Numbers 33:3
Moses saying in this verse that they were brought out by night is inclusive of the entire process of the Passover. The Lord accomplished the work of bringing them out by night, Pharaoh gave them permission to leave at night, and the people prepared for their departure at night. They then departed in the morning with the completion of the process.
2 Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God,
v’zabakhta pesakh l’Yehovah elohekha – “And you shall sacrifice Passover to Yehovah your God.” Again, no article precedes “Passover.” It is a general statement about the observance. It is a Passover to Yehovah and the statement encompasses not merely the Passover itself, but the entire feast adjoined to the Passover, meaning the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As it next says…
2 (con’t) from the flock and the herd,
tson u-baqar “flock and herd.” The Passover sacrifice was of the flock, either a lamb or a kid of the goats. By saying “flock and herd” here, it is referring not only to all of the sacrifices mandated throughout the entire Feast of Unleavened Bread which are precisely detailed in Numbers 28:16-25, but also to any festival meals eaten during the week of feasting. This could include firstborn of the flocks, tithe animals, and so on.
In other words, “Passover” without the article, is being used to signify the entire Feast. This is seen in the New Testament, where Luke also leaves off the article before “Passover” –
“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.” Luke 22:1
This is next mandated to be…
2 (con’t) in the place where the Lord chooses to put His name.
The unity of worship called for in the previous chapters continues to be conveyed here as well. Referring to appearing at the place chosen by the Lord is stated in one way or another six times between now and verse 16. Thus, it is its own stress and is to be carefully heeded.
All of Israel was to appear before the Lord, without exception. Next, as a continued confirmation that the term “Passover” used here is inclusive of the entire feast, Moses says…
3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it;
lo tokal alav khamets – “No you shall eat with it leavened.” The word khamets used here speaks of that which is leavened. This was originally stated in Exodus 12:15 –
“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”
For the entire feast, known as Passover, nothing leavened was to be eaten by the people. As Moses next says…
3 (con’t) seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it,
shivat yamim tokal alav matsot – “seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread.” As the Passover is a single day, and yet it says it is to be eaten for seven days with unleavened bread, then this absolutely confirms that Moses is using the term Passover to speak of the entire feast, which is made up of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Moses next defines the matsot, or unleavened bread, saying…
3 (con’t) that is, the bread of affliction
lekhem oni – “bread affliction.” The word oni comes from anah, signifying to be bowed down, or afflicted. The question concerning this bread is whether it is referring to the bread itself, being tasteless and thus afflicting to eat, or is it referring to the bread as a memorial of afflictions.
It is probably speaking of both. The bread is bland and tasteless, and thus afflicting, but that is to then remind the people of what they had been delivered from and what they had been delivered to, as well as the process by which it came about. With that understood, Moses says…
3 (con’t) (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste),
The word translated as “haste” is khipazon. It signifies haste, but it implies haste which is in a state of alarm. It comes from the verb khaphaz – to be in trepidation, hurry, or alarm. This must speak of the entire process.
The people were in bondage in Egypt and were thus afflicted. The destroyer passed through and only the blood would save them, but others would die. The people were brought out quickly and without time to prepare their bread. They had a hope of a new and better future in a fairer land, but they had to endure the trials of getting to that future on the march there. And so on.
Thus, the bread of affliction is that tasteless bread which speaks of everything the people had faced and would continue to face in the process of their redemption from Egypt.
3 (con’t) that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.
Moses says: l’maan tizkor – “to end purpose you may remember.” The eating of the bread during this feast has a specific intent, it is to remind the people. Moses ties the day in which they were brought out into the reason for eating the bread of affliction. And that remembrance was to be for “all the days of your life.”
The idea here is, essentially, “You are not to forget where you came from, how you got here, and who got you here.” With that understood, Moses says…
4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days,
Here Moses uses the word seor, or leaven for the last time in Scripture. The word used earlier referred to that which is leavened. This word refers to the leaven itself. In other words, not only is there to be nothing leavened in the houses, but there was not to be any leaven at all. It is an absolute prohibition in all ways. This takes the reader back to Exodus 12 again where all three of the pertinent words are used in one verse –
“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread [matsot]. On the first day you shall remove leaven [seor] from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread [khamets] from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.” Exodus 12:15
4 (con’t) nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.
This is referring to the paschal lamb as was originally stated –
“And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.” Exodus 12:7-10
Again, the word “twilight” must be explained. In using the term ba’arev, or “in the evening,” it is referring to the 14th of the month when the lamb was slaughtered. However, the meal is eaten in the night, making it the 15th of the month.
Here, it reads: asher tizbakh ba’erev ba’yom ha’rishon la’boqer – “which you sacrifice in the evening in the day the first to the morning.” The lamb is slain on the 14th, Passover. The evening is then the transition, the folding over into the next day. And then the 15th begins the first day of Unleavened Bread. Nothing that was eaten from the start of that day was to be left at morning time.
5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover
Here the article is used, ha’pasakh, or “the Passover.” It is not speaking in general terms, but rather of the sacrificial lamb itself which stands as representative of the day.
5 (con’t) within any of your gates which the Lord your God gives you
b’akhad shearekha – “in one of your gates.” The meaning is that they were not to sacrifice the Passover in one of their towns, symbolized by the gates of the town. Instead, Moses again speaks of the unity of worship, saying…
6 but at the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide,
Again, as in verse 2, Moses refers to the place chosen by the Lord to make His name abide, which is thus referring to the location of the tabernacle/temple. It is to this place that…
6 (con’t) there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight,
The phrase has to be taken in a general sense. Again, the word “twilight” is ba’arev, or “in the evening.” However, that has already been explained earlier as meaning, “between the evenings,” and thus, in the afternoon.
This is clearly understood from the rest of Scripture where the “evening sacrifice” refers to the afternoon, or 3pm, sacrifice – it occurs “between the evenings. It is at this time, and in the place the Lord chooses to make His name dwell, that this was to occur.
6 (con’t) at the going down of the sun,
Again, the words have to be taken in a general sense and with other relevant passages. The sun starts going down at midday. In the afternoon, the Passover would be sacrificed, and in the next day, meaning at evening when the 14th passes into the 15th, the Passover was eaten. Moses then says…
6 (con’t) at the time you came out of Egypt.
moed tsetekha mi-mitsrayim – “appointed time you came from Egypt.” This is not speaking of the time of day, but of the time appointed by the Lord for it to occur. It is a general statement of the entire process, all centered on the time of the sacrifice of the lamb. It happened during a particular month, on a particular day, at a particular time.
Everything is centered on that moment. From there, Moses then speaks of the events which occur at the outset of the next day, meaning the 15th of the month…
7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which the Lord your God chooses,
Moses uses the word bashal which comes from the idea of growing ripe, as a harvest. At times, it means to boil or seethe, but the instructions for the original Passover explicitly said that the Passover was to be roasted over the fire and not boiled –
“Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails.” Exodus 12:8, 9
As this is now to be conducted in a large gathering, rather than in the homes of Egypt, it was probably cooked over a fire, but maybe with cookware or gratings designed to accommodate innumerable people. This is seen, for example in 2 Chronicles 35:13, where the same word is used twice in obviously different contexts –
“Also they roasted the Passover offerings with fire according to the ordinance; but the other holy offerings they boiled in pots, in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them quickly among all the lay people.”
And again, Moses notes that it was to be both roasted and eaten at the place the Lord chose for His name to dwell. With that understood, he then says…
7 (con’t) and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.
As the entire feast goes on for more than a week, the obvious meaning of this is that after the people had gathered and collectively eaten the Passover and spent the night together, they then returned to the tents they brought, or to the places they stayed, during the entire week. This is again evidenced in 2 Chronicles –
“And the children of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days.” 2 Chronicles 35:17
The entire night of the Passover was probably spent in a large gathering with much celebration and enjoyment, followed by a long morning of sleeping. Moses next turns to the rules of the adjoining Feast of Unleavened Bread…
8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread,
These words certainly do not mean “only,” as in, “This is the only thing you can eat.” Rather, any bread that was eaten was to be unleavened. Joshua 5:11 notes that on the first Passover in the land they ate both unleavened bread and the produce of the land, specifically parched grain.
This week of the feast would be spent at the place of the sanctuary, and it would certainly involve eating the tithes and offerings the people brought to the various pilgrim feasts. However, for this feast, only unleavened bread could accompany those things. Nothing with leaven was to be eaten during the entire feast.
Another point which must be clarified is that this is actually an eight-day event. It involves the Passover and then seven days. And so, when it says here, six days you shall eat unleavened bread, it means six days followed by one which is…
8 (con’t) and on the seventh day there shall be a sacred assembly to the Lord your God.
Here, a word previously only used in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles is seen, atsereth, or sacred assembly. It comes from atsar which signifies to shut, restrain, and so on. Thus, it is a completing ceremony which is dedicated to Yehovah. Although it does not say it here, unleavened bread was to be eaten on this day as well. That is clearly defined in Leviticus 23 (and elsewhere) –
“On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.” Leviticus 23:5-8
As a special convocation, but not as a Sabbath, it says…
*8 (fin) You shall do no work on it.
This is defined more precisely in Leviticus 23 where it said, “no customary work.” In other words, meals could be prepared, but no regular work was to be conducted. Thus, unless it fell on a Sabbath, it was not a Sabbath observance.
A Lamb, spotless, and pure – without any defect
Will be sacrificed in my place
And looking at that Lamb, I can certainly detect
The greatest love and grace… this I see looking upon His face
Oh! That I could refrain and not see Him die
Oh! If there could be any other way
How could this Lamb go through with it for one such as I?
Oh God! This perfect Lamb alone my sin-debt can pay
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Behold the sinless One, there on Calvary’s tree
He has prevailed and the path to heaven has been unfurled
The Lamb of God who died for sinners like you and me
II. Pictures of Christ
To get a full picture of everything that Moses summarizes in these eight verses would mean going back and watching quite a few sermons from Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. It’s not possible to fit everything into a short summary.
However, a brief review of what Moses said will give an overall brushstroke of what is being pictured. First, Moses begins with the words “Observe the month of Abib.”
He is telling the people, once and forever, to pay heed and keep watch during this month. That alone hints at the coming of Messiah. The Passover was conducted during this month and it was to be an annual memorial to the people. But the shadow would someday be replaced with the Substance.
If the people paid heed to the typology, it would be as clear as crystal to them what was occurring when the events coincided with the work of Christ. Without getting dogmatic about the significance of the word ha’aviv, or “the aviv,” it may possibly be a reference to Jesus’ words spoken on this exact day about fourteen hundred years later.
As He was going to be crucified, He said, “For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:31). Obviously, wood and grain are not the same thing, but the idea is. There is the fresh green ears and there is the moist green tree (as the Greek implies).
Of His words, Albert Barnes interprets the meaning as, “If they, the Romans, do these things to me, who am innocent and blameless; if they punish me in this manner in the face of justice, what will they not do in relation to this guilty nation?”
At the time of that which is fresh and green – meaning at the time of Christ’s work, fire is resisted. But to reject that greenness would attract the fire, meaning judgment. As Jamieson-Fausset-Brown then says, “If such sufferings alight upon the innocent One, the very Lamb of God, what must be in store for those who are provoking the flames?”
The entire point of the Passover is the presentation of an innocent Lamb to redeem the people from their bondage, meaning sin. And so, Moses told them to watch at the time of the aviv, meaning the green, and at that time to observe “Passover to the Lord.”
As noted, there was no article before Passover in verse 1. It speaks of the entire eight days of both Passover and Unleavened Bread. Thus, the term “flock and herd” speaks of all of the sacrifices of the feast, all of which speak of the work of Christ (see Numbers 28, and etc.). And that explains the constant repetition of the words, “the place where the Lord chooses to put His name.”
That is referring to Jesus, in whom is the Name of the Lord. He is the place where the people of God are to meet and share in those sacrifices which only prefigure the work He accomplished.
From there Moses noted that following the Passover the people were to eat unleavened bread for seven days. It is the Passover that leads into the Feast. As seen in previous sermons, it anticipates Christ’s cross, that leads into our sinless state before God. This is what the feast only pictured.
The people ate unleavened bread which pictures our positional state of sinlessness in Christ. Paul refers to it in 1 Corinthians 5 –
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
When Paul says, “let us keep the feast,” he is not referring to the Passover. That is Christ and His work for us. Rather, he is referring to what the feast that followed the Passover pictures.
Moses then called it lekhem oni, or “bread of affliction.” As I noted this is surely referring to the bread itself, being tasteless and thus afflicting to eat, and it is also referring to the bread as a memorial of afflictions. As we saw, oni comes from anah. It is a word used twice in Isaiah 53 when describing Christ –
“Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
That resolves the memorial of afflictions, but the bread itself is its own picture of affliction. As Israel was to eat the bread of affliction, it anticipates that we too will face our own afflictions –
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Just as Christ suffered and then entered into His glory, we are left here for a season, rather than being taken home immediately. And during our stay, we will suffer our own afflictions during this time of hope in Christ and of the glory to come.
Moses then went on to explain the reason for the bread of affliction, saying that the people came out in haste, and thus they were to remember that day all the days of their lives. This is exactly what happens to believers.
As noted, he used the word khipazon. It signifies haste, but it implies haste which is in a state of alarm. It comes from the verb khaphaz – to be in trepidation, hurry, or alarm.
We aren’t brought out of our bondage to sin gradually. Rather, we are brought out instantly, and certainly in a state of trepidation because of the sin we bore.
Those who understand the significance of the work of Christ in their lives know that the word “haste” hardly captures the sense. If we are wise, we will then remember that moment all the days of our lives. Never returning to the life we were saved from.
Moses then spoke again of not having any leaven among the people for the whole time of the feast. It is a picture of clearing it out of our lives – living for God and not with sin. It’s why Paul said to “purge out the old leaven.” But Moses continued by reminding the people to not leave any of the meat of the sacrifice till morning.
The idea here is that the feast anticipates our sinless state before God. As Christ died for our sins and then went into the grave that same day, we are to leave our sins behind. On the first day of our walk with Him, we are to live as if it is so.
As Paul notes, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Israel was redeemed by the blood of the lamb. They had nothing to boast in except what God had done. The deed was finished. They were to live for the Lord, and not for the world, from that time on. This is what they were to remember each year, and it is what we must remember every day of our lives in Christ.
Moses next spoke to them about not sacrificing the Passover b’akhad shearekha – “in one of your gates,” but only at the place where the Lord chose to place His name. First, it is a note of exclusivity. There is one place, and one place alone where redemption can be made – and that is at the cross of Calvary and in the Person of Jesus Christ.
He is the place where the Lord has chosen to make His name abide. And secondly, Moses’ words tend to anticipate the statement made by the author of Hebrews, where he said –
“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Hebrews 13:12
The context of Hebrews is speaking of the animal sacrifices that were burned outside the camp, thus picturing Christ who died outside of the walls of Jerusalem. But even the walls of Jerusalem which surrounded the temple had their own gates, within which people lived. Christ, who is the true spot where the name of the Lord is placed, died outside of any gates. This may stretch the typology a bit too much, but it may not as well.
Moses next mentioned the sacrifice being at twilight. That is less specific than what has been previously stated, but the point is made. Christ died at the same time as the Passover lamb was sacrificed – three o’clock in the afternoon.
The Passover lamb’s sacrifice coincided with the daily afternoon lamb offering at the tabernacle. Each day two lambs were offered, one in the morning and one in the evening. Together they are equated as a single day’s offering and thus are considered as one offering. The gospel of Mark provides the clarity of this –
“Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.” Mark 15:25
It then next says –
“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’
35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, ‘Look, He is calling for Elijah!’ 36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, ‘Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.’
37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.” Mark 15:33-37
Mark, who is in agreement with the other gospel writers, shows that Christ was crucified at the same time as when the morning offering was being made – 9am. He then says that Christ died at the same time that the evening offering was being made – 3pm.
Thus, the two lamb offerings encompass, and stand representative of, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Passover lamb, which was slaughtered at this same time, is given as one aspect of Christ’s work while the daily lamb offerings were given as another.
Moses finishes up with the instructions concerning how and where to prepare the Passover which was followed with the note of returning to their tents. In other words, there is one gospel, one way to receive it, and one Lord who makes it possible. Nothing else will suffice. After receiving that, we are to live out our lives as is right.
Moses then repeated the thought that the people shall eat unleavened bread. It is to be taken as a positive command. It doesn’t say, “You may not eat bread with leaven for six days.” Instead, it says, “six days you shall eat unleavened bread.”
They were to eat unleavened bread during the entire feast. This goes in picture to what was just cited from Paul in 1 Corinthians, “let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Not only are we to not partake of sin, but we are to actively live our lives in “sincerity and truth.” It is not that we can abstain from the whole if we abstain from one; it is that we are to abstain from one while partaking in the other.
Moses then finished up with the note concerning the atseret, or “sacred assembly.” It is a completing ceremony to the Lord. That surely refers to the ending of life and our meeting with the Lord where we are given what we now only possess in God’s eyes. He deems us as sinless, and we are no longer being imputed sin. But someday, we will be sinless, no longer even committing sin.
This passage today speaks of the marvel of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, and of our responsibility when we are in Christ. He is our Passover Lamb, and we are His people. Every detail associated with this passage anticipates the Person and work of Jesus Christ for us and then our responsibilities toward Him.
As this is so, and as He was faithful to uphold His portion of these types and pictures, then let us, likewise, be faithful to live the lives we have been called to.
Let us live for Christ and be pleasing and faithful people, living out our lives pursuing His righteousness and sinlessness as our highest desire and goal for all of our days. May it be so to the glory of God. Amen.
Closing Verse: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9
Next Week: Deuteronomy 16:9-12 The final feast of the year for folks to tackles… (Observe the Feast of Tabernacles) (50th Deuteronomy Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
A Passover to the Lord your God
“Observe the month of Abib
And keep the Passover to the Lord your God, yes in His sight
For in the month of Abib
The Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night
Therefore you shall sacrifice
The Passover to the Lord your God; exalting His fame
From the flock and the herd
In the place where the Lord chooses to put His name
You shall eat no leavened bread with it
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it
———-of leaven not even a taste
That is, the bread of affliction
(For you came out of the land of Egypt in haste)
That you may remember the day
In which you came out of the land of Egypt
All the days of your life
To keep this memory from being from you stripped
And no leaven shall be seen among you
In all your territory for seven days, take this as a warning
Nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice
———-the first day at twilight
Remain overnight until morning
“You may not sacrifice the Passover
Within any of your gates which the Lord your God gives you
But at the place where the Lord your God chooses
———-to make His name abide
There you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, so you shall do
At the going down of the sun
At the time you came out of Egypt in a march and not a run
And you shall roast and eat it
In the place which the Lord your God chooses it to be so
And in the morning
You shall turn and to your tents you shall go
Six days you shall eat unleavened bread
And on the seventh day there shall be
A sacred assembly to the Lord your God
You shall do no work on it, as instructed by me
Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true
And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…
“Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Therefore you shall sacrifice the Passover to the Lord your God, from the flock and the herd, in the place where the Lord chooses to put His name. 3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. 4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.
5 “You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which the Lord your God gives you; 6 but at the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt. 7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which the Lord your God chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents. 8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a sacred assembly to the Lord your God. You shall do no work on it.