Exodus 12:1-11 (It is the Lord’s Passover)

Exodus 12:1-11
It is the Lord’s Passover

Due to the length of this sermon, my opening comments will be short. In just 11 verses, we will see a few points which will form patterns which fill both the pages of the Bible and concepts of redemptive history which first picture, and then are repeated in the work of the Lord Jesus.

Everything fits as it should because it comes from the mind and the wisdom of God. And all of it points to Jesus because it is all about Jesus. This is our Lord; this is our Savior; this is Jesus – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Text Verse: “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” Revelation 5:6

What glory is to be found in His superior word! And so let’s 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 Beginning of Your Months (verses 1 & 2)

Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron

The beginning of Chapter 12 highlights, once again, that what occurs or is mandated is at the direction of Yehovah. In the past, it has been the call of Moses and Aaron, the announcement of the Lord’s intentions for Israel to the people of Israel, the confrontation with Pharaoh, the giving of the signs and wonders, and so on.

Now actual legal matters which are a part of the law itself are to be given. This constant use of the words, “Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron” are given to show us that divine authority rests behind both the redemptive process of Israel as well as all of their laws and practices.

This includes the entire spectrum of the body which regulated Israel’s affairs – religious, ecclesiastical, and political. Everything which is to govern their society was of divine, not human origin. Further, there is a certain dignity which is given to this particular instruction for the Passover.

Though it is a part of the law recorded at Sinai, its practice actually precedes the other laws which will be given. Thus the Passover is a sign of their redemption. In other words, it precedes the event itself. Further, the naming of Moses and Aaron here shows that these two alone are the recipients of the law.

A special distinction is bestowed upon them as the prophets who will transmit the law. After them, all other prophets who follow will merely work within the confines of that law. And so, in anticipation of the coming Passover, these words were spoken.

Much of this chapter may have actually occurred prior to the ending of the plagues recorded previously, but in order to show the logical progression of the plagues, these words follow after the final meeting with Pharaoh. Therefore, it may be rightly translated, “Now the Lord had spoken to Moses and Aaron.”

If so, then when the law was given to Moses at Sinai, the Lord carefully selected all of the details of history, from Genesis 1:1, right through the Exodus account, and put them in the order which follows logically for us to understand the events as they occurred, but in separate sections to avoid them overlapping.

This was seen, for example, in the recorded life of Isaac. His death is recorded in Genesis 35, and yet some events which occur during his life come in later chapters. The same is probably true here. The instructions for the Passover here in chapter 12 may actually predate the events of the ninth plague, that of darkness.

1 (con’t) in the land of Egypt, saying,

Later in the law, there will be additional instructions or repeats of these instructions concerning the Passover for the people of Israel. The words, “in the land of Egypt” are stated here to show that a separate instruction on the Passover was given prior to the actual giving of the rest of the law, but that this is included in the law.

Thus it is one harmonious whole even if it was received at a different place and time. We think of the Law being received at Mount Sinai as the one and only giving of the law, but in all, there will be three unique places where the law is derived from. First this portion is in Egypt.

The next will be at Mount Sinai when the people are brought there after the exodus. And the third will be there again using the name Mount Horeb. This will occur after the time of the wilderness wanderings. There the final reception will occur which encompasses the entire book of Deuteronomy.

We can’t say that it is merely a repetition of the same law because there are noted differences and additions. As one of many examples, we can look at the fourth of the Ten Commandments. When it was received after the Exodus, the reason for it reads –

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:11

However, when it was repeated after the wilderness wanderings, the reason given is different. There it says –

“And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:15

In the first announcement of the fourth commandment, the reason given is based on creation – “…in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” In the second announcement, the reason given is based on redemption – “…the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by and outstretched arm.”

This is a pattern which will continue all the way through Scripture and even to the book of Revelation. Further, the words “in the land of Egypt” show the Lord’s dominion even in the midst of the enemies of Israel. In the past, He had established them as a people and then He continued to tend to them in Egypt.

The pattern follows later in history also. Israel was called out of the midst of their enemies, having been tended to during their Babylonian exile. The church was later established in the midst of their hostile Jewish enemies. Later the true church was called out of the false church during the reformation.

And in a marked incident of immense magnitude which has happened in recent years, Israel has once again been called out of exile from among their many enemies and back to her homeland. As the church age is ending, Israel is being prepared for her long anticipated meeting with the Lord. He has carefully tended to them in the midst of their enemies.

Finally, these words show us the anticipatory nature of such occurrences. The giving of the Passover in Egypt anticipates the assurance of redemption from Egypt. The giving of the Lord’s Supper before His death anticipated our redemption. And the repeated taking of the Lord’s Supper as a memorial anticipates the realization of our redemption. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11 –

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26

A lot can be discerned from the few words of this first important verse of Exodus 12. One of the things we saw in them is perfectly realized in the next verse, that of creation preceding redemption…

“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

Until this time, the Bible has been dated based on the creation model and calendar. The story of Noah, for example, gives specific dates, but they are based on the creation calendar which began in the month of Tishri. Now a new calendar, a redemption calendar, has been instituted by the Lord for His people.

As I said, this pattern of redemption following creation continues throughout the Bible. In the book of Revelation, there are twenty four elders before the throne of the Creator, acknowledging Him as such and falling down before Him with the words –

“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11

However, in the next chapter, it notes that that there is a Lamb at the throne whom they fall down before, acknowledging Him for His acts of redemption with the words –

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9, 10

Like the calendars of the Bible, like the reason for the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments, and like the reason for praising God in Revelation, the pattern follows from creation to redemption. And so, in anticipation of the redemption of Israel, Moses is told that this will be the first month for these redeemed of the Lord.

In Exodus 13:4, the name of the month will be given, Aviv. Later in the books of Nehemiah and Esther, the same month is called by its Babylonian name, Nisan. However, it remains the same month regardless of which name is used. The name Aviv means “greenness” or “fresh” and it indicates fresh young ears of barley grain which come forth at this time of year.

In the Bible, this will continue to be the first month of the religious calendar. Tishri will be the first month of the civil calendar.

Understanding when one calendar or the other is used eliminates any supposed contradictions in the dating of the Kings of Israel. What seems like almost horrendous error between the books of Kings and Chronicles is actually perfectly given dates using these two different calendars.

As an interesting pattern, the first sacred month is the seventh month of the civil calendar and the first civil month is the seventh month of the sacred calendar. Understanding this will reveal marvelous patterns concerning the work of Christ which are hidden in plain sight. The story of Noah is a hidden story of the death and resurrection of Christ. By understanding which calendar is used, one will be able to pull out immense riches from this sacred word.

As an interesting note, the Hebrew calendar is unique and follows neither the Egyptian, nor the Babylonian calendars. It is given by God for the people of God in order to reveal the work of Christ in  history. During the church age, this calendar has not been used by us because we have been called out of the Gentile world.

However, as we approach the end of the church age, these patterns and seasons are once again coming into focus and greater use. God is preparing the world for the end times and then the return of His Son to rule for a thousand years.

Creation must precede redemption
Just as Genesis precedes Exodus
From the plagues of Egypt, Israel received exemption
By a working of the Lord so glorious

And one more plague will come upon the land
In it Egypt will find itself in a terrible jam
But once again, God will be seen as more than grand
Through the Passover, and the slaying of the lamb

In this plague Israel will finally find its release
From Egypt’s bondage and servitude
The long years of toil will finally cease
And out from Egypt will march the Hebrew multitude

II. A Lamb Without Blemish (verses 3-6)

Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.

What is obvious here is that these instructions were given prior to the tenth of the month. For the Lord to say for this to be done after speaking to the congregation implies that it was spoken at a time in advance of the tenth.

In this verse is the first use of the word edah or “congregation” in the Bible, thus it is the first time Israel is considered as such. The word comes from another word yaad which means “to appoint” or “to meet.” They are now a congregation of people involved in a united act according to the commandment of God.

And this commandment is to do a certain thing at a specified time. On the tenth day of the first month, they are told to take a lamb according to the house of the father. This means appropriate to the size of the house. The word “lamb” here is seh and it simply means one of the flock, either a goat or a lamb.

It could also mean any age and of either sex. Later, more specific instructions will be given concerning the animal though. What is also implied is that the people had the ability to either own or afford such a lamb. There seems to have been no one who was extremely impoverished among the people. This tenth day of the first month is the same day which the Israelites crossed the Jordan forty years later. That is recorded in Joshua 4:19 –

“Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.”

And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb.

This verse is obvious on the surface. If one lamb is too large for a family, then they could unite with another family to have the right sized meal for the number of people involved. Later rabbinic traditions placed the size of the family at no less than 10 people. It is also noted that no more than 20 was considered appropriate.

Your lamb shall be without blemish,

Everything about the Passover anticipates Christ Jesus. The lamb will be a Passover sacrifice which will, because of its nourishment, carry the people through the exodus of their redemption from Egypt. Jesus is called the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world in John 1:29.

His life, because of its nourishment, carries the believer through the exodus of our redemption from the world of sin and death, which Egypt pictures. Paul, in the New Testament, explicitly calls Jesus the Passover offering in 1 Corinthians 5:7 –

“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.”

That this lamb was to be without blemish is seen realized in Christ’s perfect life. In Luke 23, after his interrogation concerning the Lord, Pilate declared Jesus without fault –

“So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no fault in this Man.'” Luke 23:4

In Hebrews 7:26, we read this about Jesus –

“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners…” Hebrews 7:26

And Peter, writing to the Jews of the dispersion, refers directly to the Passover for his description of Jesus –

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18, 19

No defect was to be seen in these Passover lambs because they were to picture to the world the perfect, undefiled, and spotless Lamb of God whom they picture.

5 (con’t) a male of the first year.

This requirement is given to the Hebrews as a note concerning the lamb standing in place of the firstborn. The firstborn was to be redeemed through the death of the lamb. Thus is it an act of substitution. However, this restriction also looks ahead to Christ.

In the first year, the animal is considered more perfect in terms of innocence and yet it is in the midst of life. Later in Exodus, it will prescribe that such offerings come after the eighth day of their life. This is the same day that a baby is circumcised.

Therefore it pictures the innocent Christ in the midst of life. Not a baby in Bethlehem, and not an old man in Nazareth, but a male in Jerusalem in the midst of His life and yet endowed with innocence, waiting to be made an Offering of redemption.

He was born without original sin, lived without any sort of committed transgression, and was humble, pure, undefiled, and harmless. He is the epitome of what we would think of in such an innocent animal.

5 (con’t) You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

Both animals are used in sacrifices in the Bible for various reasons. This exception here for either a sheep or a goat was probably given to allow the poorer people to buy a less valuable goat than a sheep. The smell of the goat offering is not as sweet as a lamb. Therefore, the goat is used to picture a sin offering. That would picture Christ who, as Paul in 2 Corinthians 5, says –

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

The Lamb, having the finer smell, would picture Christ as Paul’s words of Ephesians 5 state –

“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2

The lamb was generally considered the more likely choice at the Passover and among the people, but either animal ultimately pictures Christ’s work. Thus the Lord allowed either for the feast.

Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month.

This then is a period of five days. If one selects an animal on the 10th day and sacrifices it in the evening of the fourteenth day, it is a total of five days. The animal was to be kept during this period and until the time of the Passover. The reason for this is not that the family could observe it for defects as is often claimed.

Rather, it was selected because it had no defects. Animals with defects were noted and disregarded at the selection of the animal. The reason for this advanced time was to ensure that everyone had an animal ready for the Passover.

This is especially true considering that these instructions probably came before the plague of darkness which lasted three full days. Therefore the selection five days earlier was necessary. In picture, this five-day period is speaking of the time-frame from the evening of Palm Sunday until the evening of the Passover, which the four gospels record as being five full days. In Mark 11:11 it says –

“And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.” Mark 11:11

If one counts five evenings from Sunday evening, they will come to Friday evening. Sunday evening to Monday evening is one. Monday to Tuesday is two. Tuesday to Wednesday is three. Wednesday to Thursday is four. And Thursday to Friday is five.

And if anyone is interested in a detailed breakdown of the four gospels showing exactly this, all they need to do is go to the written update of this sermon at the Superior Word website and I will include it at the very end of the sermon.

The key to understanding the timeline for Christ’s day of crucifixion is the term “Preparation Day” which is included in all four gospels. If one follows the timeline and notes that term, they can see the perfection of the timeline given here in Exodus, realized in the harmoniously recorded gospels.

In the greater picture of Jesus’ ministry, this early selection – the purpose of it – rather than being a time of inspecting for defect was, as Matthew Henry states –

“…denoting the marking out of the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour, both in the purpose and in the promise.” Matthew Henry

Adam Clarke importantly notes that four things which marked this first Passover which were not required again –

  1. The eating of the lamb in their houses dispersed through Goshen.
  2. The taking the lamb on the tenth day.
  3. The striking of its blood on the door posts and lintels of their houses. And,
  4. Their eating it in haste.

Succeeding generations did not have these requirements levied upon them. Thus, the original Passover alone serves as the necessary picture of the greater work of Christ.

6 (con’t) Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it

This is one of the main parts of the Passover that is unlike other sacrifices that are mentioned later for Israel. The congregation itself sacrificed the animal rather than it being done by the priests.  This actually looks forward to the words of John in Revelation 1 –

“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5, 6

This act in Exodus recognized the priestly status of the people as a nation, just as we have been given priestly status in Christ.

6 (con’t) at twilight.

The Hebrew here is ben ha’arbayim – “between the evenings.” It seems like a perplexing phrase, but one has to consider biblical time. According to the Bible, a day is divided into “evening” and “morning.” Thus there are actually two evenings to be reckoned. The first began after twelve and went through until sunset.

The second evening began at sunset and continued 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 is a phrase which allows the three o’clock sacrifices at the temple to be considered as the evening sacrifice even though to us it would be considered an afternoon sacrifice.

This is the same time-frame that Christ died on the cross, which is recorded in the gospels as three o’clock in the afternoon.

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

III. It is the Lord’s Passover (verses 7-11)

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.

After the animal was slaughtered, its blood would be drained into a bowl and from there it would be taken to the doorway. Verse 22 will show us that it was to be applied using a bunch of hyssop. The hyssop was to be dipped into it and then it was to be struck to the doorposts and lintels.

The word for doorposts here is mezuzot, the plural of mezuzah. The lintel is a word found only here in the exodus account – mashqoph. It comes from another word, shaqaph, which means “to look down” and so it was probably a latticed window above the doorway. The base of the window would be the door’s lintel. The word shaqaph is used in Psalm 85 when speaking of the Lord –

Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven. Psalm 85:10, 11

I don’t want to stretch the meaning of mashqoph too much, but I can’ help but see in this word, which is only used three times in the Bible and all are in this chapter pertaining to the Passover, that it appears to be a picture of Christ on the cross, looking down from the eyes which bled in agony the night before at Gethsemane. In fact, it perfectly pictures it because the sprinkling of the blood is again a picture of the Lord. Matthew Henry explains it quite well –

“The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled, denoting the applying of the merits of Christ’s death to our souls; we must receive the atonement … Faith is the bunch of hyssop, by which we apply the promises, and the benefits of the blood of Christ laid up in them, to ourselves. It was to be sprinkled on the door-posts, denoting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ. It was not to be sprinkled upon the threshold; which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant. It is precious blood, and must be precious to us. The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying angel, who had nothing to do where the blood was. The blood of Christ is the believer’s protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the damnation of hell.” Henry

As he noted the threshold was not marked with blood. It is an explicit lesson explained in Hebrews 10 –

“Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:29

It would have been a profane act to strike the threshold with blood because it is a profane thing to trample the blood of the covenant underfoot. The picture is clear.

Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire,

The Hebrews were given specific guidelines to roast the lamb. The reason for this is that it is the quickest way of cooking the meat. Further roasting would allow the entire animal to be cooked without dividing it. It is a sign and a memorial to us concerning the painful sufferings of Christ.

Christ died for us, assuming all of the divine wrath that we deserve upon Himself. This is pictured in the fire of the sacrifice. There is a picture of purification and sanctity being tied to the fire. But there is one more picture which may be drawn from the roasting process.

Justin Martyr says that the process was accomplished by using two wooden spits at right angles and thus it would extend the sacrifice on a cross. If so and not just a fabled legend, there could be no better picture of the sufferings of the Lord.

Next it notes that this was to be done, as it says, “that night.” This would have been on the night of the 15th, the night of the full moon. It is not by accident that the night the Hebrews left Egypt, they would have the full moon to assist them on their journey.

Everything was perfectly planned for this special moment in time. As a side note, by understanding that Jesus died that same afternoon 1500 years later, we can know with 100% certainty that it was not an eclipse which darkened the skies that day.

As the moon is full at night, it is on the opposite side of the earth from the sun. When the sun was out, the moon was hidden. In other words, it is impossible to have an eclipse of the sun during a full moon. So if you see one of the countless videos claiming that this is what occurred and proving it by star charts, you can save your money and not buy it.

Again, it was not by accident that the moon was full at that time. It thus was a sign to the people that it was not a natural occurrence which darkened the skies that day, but rather a supernatural one which reflected the state of the heavens at the death of the Lord.

8 (con’t) with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

The unleavened bread is later noted as being used because of the swiftness of the exodus out of Egypt. This is certain, but it only supposes that the bread was not to be made until the time of the meal. They had at least five days notice as to what was coming and so the Lord had another reason in mind for this as well.

The unleavened bread or matzah is a picture again of the Lord. Leaven in the Bible pictures sin. It causes bread to be puffed up, such as man is when filled with pride. And leaven is a species of corruption because it is produced by fermentation. In Luke 12, Jesus warned the disciples by saying –

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1

Later in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul explicitly ties leaven to sin and how we should avoid it –

“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 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. 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

The bitter herbs are certainly a lesson to the Israelites and to us. To Israel, they pictured the bitter bondage that they were about to leave. For us, it is a similar picture. We are to remember the bitterness of our own Egypt, the life of sin that we had once been a part of.

It was a land of torture, bondage, and living under the wicked ruler of this world. The bitter herbs are a memorial of Christ’s work to lead us out of that sorry place and to the wonders of eternal life with Him.

Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails.

These first instructions are given to complement and repeat that the animal was not to be eaten either raw or boiled. It was only to be roasted as a whole animal. And the entire thing, including its head, legs, and entrails were to be cooked.

Later commentators say that the entrails were removed, washed, and returned, but that is only a commentary. What we have is exactly what was expected. This again is a picture of Christ. His whole human nature is infused both in a spiritual sense and an effectual sense into His church.

This is symbolized in the Lord’s Supper which He instituted prior to His death. The eating of the entire animal is intended to instill in us the truth that we are expected to have all of Christ, or none of Him.

10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.

There are probably at least two reasons for this particular verse being included. The first is to ensure that nobody would take along any bone or other part of the animal as a talisman or memorial which could later be turned into a talisman. If you don’t think this is likely, just do a search through Catholic websites concerning body parts of people which are used for just that.

They have heaps and heaps of them. This Passover was to be participated in and then memorialized in later remembrance feasts, but it was not to be turned into a good luck charm that could be carried throughout one’s life.

The second reason is similar to the first. It was to ensure that there would be no putrefaction of anything left behind or any possible use of it by those who came behind the Israelites for profane purposes. In type and picture, we are to carry with us the sacrifice of Christ, not in idols, but in our hearts and in who we are.

We are to honor and revere the God who gave us this great Lamb and who has redeemed us through His death. Concerning the entire Passover meal, Matthew Henry again gives wonderful words of how they picture Christ and our relationship to Him –

“The solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel duty to Christ. The paschal lamb was not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon. So we must by faith make Christ our own; and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food …. It was all to be eaten; those who by faith feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ; they must take Christ and his yoke, Christ and his cross, as well as Christ and his crown. It was to be eaten at once, not put by till morning. To-day Christ is offered, and is to be accepted while it is called to-day, before we sleep the sleep of death. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with sorrow and brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin. Christ will be sweet to us, if sin be bitter.”

11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste.

The words here are given, in advance, for the people of Israel to know that their time of bondage was coming to a close and to be quickly ready to depart from it and into a new part of redemptive history. “A belt on your waist” isn’t the greatest translation and it doesn’t give the sense of what is going on.

Rather it should say “with your loins girded.” The dress of the people was loose. When they wanted to travel, and especially to go in a hurry, they would tighten up the loose clothing so that it wouldn’t cause them to trip or get caught up on anything. An example of this is found in 1 Kings –

“Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” 1 Kings 18:46

In the New Testament, Peter gives us a spiritual application of this for the believer in Christ –

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'” 1 Peter 1:13-16

Having sandals on their feet was completely out of the regular custom. In Middle Eastern homes, sandals or shoes have always been taken off indoors. This would be a sign to them that at anytime they were literally within an instant of being told they were to leave.

The staff in the hand admonition is similar to the shoes. When the people went out, they would grab their staff for the walk. It was used for defense against whatever came along as well as a help over the difficult terrains they would encounter. It’s no different today. But when one comes home, the staff is set aside.

The Lord was telling them that they would need their staffs and they would be needed that night. If they didn’t have them as they ate, they may have left them behind in the rush that would ensue. Therefore, they were told to be ready at any and every moment.

Thus, they were to eat the meal in haste and in a state of preparedness for a hasty departure. Everything about the words indicates urgency. Probably the best analogy for us concerning this admonition for them to eat in haste and be ready in haste is that all we have is right now for Christ.

We have no assurance of tomorrow and therefore we need to always use today to the fullest. When people need to hear the gospel, we need to be prepared to give it. And when the Lord blows the trumpet to call us home, we need to be prepared for our departure. We in Christ have been redeemed, but only so far as we belong to Him.

Someday that will be realized in the twinkling of any eye. That is what we need to always be ready for – both towards others and as individuals awaiting our exodus from this fallen world.

*11 (fin) It is the Lord’s Passover.

Pesach hu l’Yehovah – The words are emphatic. It is not just a common meal, nor is it any ordinary sacrifice. As the Pulpit Commentary says –

“The lamb is Jehovah’s. It is his pass-sign – the mark of his protection, the precious means of your preservation from death. As such view it; and though ye eat it in haste, eat it with reverence.”

The meal then is being used as a metonymy for the entire observance. Everything about what is to occur is tied up in the sacrifice of the lamb. It is a perfect reflection of the work of the Lord. All to do with redemptive history is tied up in His cross.

This is also the first time the term Pesach or “Passover” is used in the Bible. The meaning of the word is debated, but it appears to have two concepts tied into one. The first is that the Lord will pass by rapidly, and the second is that He will spare those who have trusted Him; those who have applied the blood.

And this is exactly what we can expect of Christ on behalf of His church. A time is coming upon the world when great plagues will cut through the masses of humanity. There will be woe and terror everywhere; most will not survive. But before that time comes, the Lord promises an exodus for His people. They will be spared from what lies ahead.

The only way to be a part of the wondrous moment, which will be but a blink in time and then it will be over, is to have the blood of the Lamb applied to your own life. With that seal of surety, you can be exempted from the destruction and taken directly to God’s Promised Land. Let me tell you how you can receive this grace…

Closing Verse: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14

Next Week: Exodus 12:12-20 (Saved Unto Holiness) (33rd Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

It is the Lord’s Passover

Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron
In the land of Egypt, concerning what to do
Saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months
It shall be the first month of the year to you

Speak to all the congregation of Israel
Saying: ‘On the tenth of this month (it will be no bother)
Every man shall take for himself a lamb
According to the house of his father

A lamb for a household
So they shall do as I have told

And if the household is too small for the lamb
Let him and his neighbor next to his house take it
According to the number of the persons
According to each man’s need your count for the lamb you shall make it

Your lamb shall be without blemish
A male of the first year
You may take it from the sheep or from the goats
And further directions from Me you will hear

Now you shall keep it until
The same month on the fourteenth day
Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel
Shall kill it at twilight; towards the end of the day

And they shall take some of the blood
On the two doorposts it they shall put
And on the lintel of the houses where they eat it
But not on the threshold where is placed the foot

Then they shall eat the flesh on that night
Roasted in fire, with unleavened bread
And with bitter herbs they shall eat it
They shall do all of this as I have said

Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water
But roasted in fire as you have heard
Its head with its legs and its entrails
Do this according to My word

You shall let none of it remain until morning does return
And what remains of it until morning it you shall with fire burn

And thus you shall eat it:
With on your waist a belt
Your sandals on your feet
And your staff in your hand, so that it can be felt

So you shall eat it in haste
It is the Lord’s Passover
With which My people have been graced

Lord, thank You for the Lamb of God
The Lord Jesus who takes away our sin
We can have confidence now as we trod
That for us the victory He did win

Help us never to forget the great deeds you have wrought
Help us to fix our eyes always on the Lord Jesus
Who by His precious blood we were bought
He who has done such marvelous things for us!

Praise You O heavenly Father, yes we praise You
And Hallelujah to the Lamb who is ever faithful and true

Hallelujah and Amen…


Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on Sunday, 6 April 0032. This is based on dating from the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 and the exemplary work of Sir Robert Anderson.

However, people will still try to find a reason why the crucifixion wasn’t on Friday, 11 April 0032. There are a couple reasons why this is disputed, each which certainly results from misunderstanding of biblical terminology. The first is a fear that what’s stated in Matthew 12:40 would mean an error in what Jesus said. The second results from a perceived conflict between the gospel accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke and that of John.

In the first disputed reason, Jesus is quoted by Matthew as saying, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40

The resurrection certainly occurred on a Sunday and only the most extreme cases dispute this – and they do it without justification. Some folks fear that because He rose on a Sunday and it was “3 days and 3 nights” that Jesus was in the tomb then it was either Wednesday or Thursday that He must have gone to the cross. It’s important to note that this verse is from Matthew and is directed to the Jewish people – Jesus as King. Hebrew idioms would have been understood and not needed any clarification or verbal amending. To the audience Matthew was writing to any part of a day is considered to be inclusive of the whole day. It’s no different than terminology we use today. If I arrive in Florida on a plane at 11:30pm on 11 April, during a later conversation I would still say I was in Florida on that day. The biblical pattern of “evening and morning” being a day goes back to the first chapter of the Bible and includes an entire day – regardless of what part of a day one is referring to.

The same verse, as recorded in Luke says, “As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.”  Luke 11:29, 20 In this instance, Luke was not writing to only Jewish people, but predominately to non-Jewish people – Jesus as the Son of Man. Therefore, the terminology is amended to avoid confusion. This occurs many times in the gospels and therefore the addressees (or the background of the writers themselves) need to be identified to understand proper terminology.

The second issue to be resolved is that some scholars claim that John “appears” to place the crucifixion on a different date than the other writers. Because of this, an attempt to insert some second type of Passover meal is made. This supposedly helps the Bible out of an apparent problem. However, no such meal is identified in the Bible – at any time. Nor is it necessary to make something erroneous like this up. The Bible identifies the timing of the entire Passion Week, dispelling the problem. The terminology for “Preparation Day” used in all four gospel accounts absolutely clears this up and will be noted below.

Here’s what you need to know:

Paul plainly states that the Feast of Firstfruits is a picture of the resurrection:

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  1 Corinthians 15:20

The feast of Firstfruits was a Sunday according to Leviticus 23:15 – “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.” Note: the Sabbath is a Saturday. We don’t need to go any further there to know this is correct and that Christ rose on a Sunday.

Here is the math from the gospel accounts. It’s all there in black and white and very easy to look up –

**“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.”  John 12:1 This would have been a Sabbath day (Saturday.)

**“The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.”  John 12:12 This would have been 5 days before the Passover, meaning Sunday (Palm Sunday) as the Passover would have started Thursday night at sundown and run until Friday night at sundown (remember biblical days start at sundown).

The account couldn’t be clearer that the next day after the Passover was a Sabbath. This is indicated several times. Some people have attempted to use the terminology in John (it was a “high day” or a “special Sabbath”) to indicate that it could have been a day other than a Saturday. Special Sabbaths are specified in Leviticus and don’t necessarily fall on Saturdays. However, the term “Sabbath” as used in the other gospel accounts is indicating a Saturday. There is no indication, anywhere, that there were two Sabbaths in a row on this particular week. In fact, such an analysis does an injustice to the reading of the text. Therefore, the special Sabbath occurred on a regular Sabbath day (Saturday).

From this we can give the entire week’s schedule (refer to the cited verses in your own Bible to familiarize yourself with what’s being said) –

Sabbath 6 before // John 12:1 – …six days before the Passover.  Bethany/Lazarus.
Sunday 5 before // John 12:12 & Mark 11:10 – The next day…  Palm Sunday/Riding the donkey.
Monday 4 before //  Mark 11:12 Now on the next day… Jesus cursed the fig tree.
Tuesday 3 before //  Mark 11:20 Now in the morning… The withered fig is identified.
Wednesday 2 before // The gospels are silent on what occurred on this day.
Thursday 1 before – Passover starts at Sundown //Mark 14:1 After two days it was the Passover… (this is the first timing mentioned since Mark 11:20 which was Tuesday).

Note:  Pay special attention to the fact that in the following accounts Mark is using Jewish time (sunset to sunset and John is using Roman time) –

Mark 14:12 – “Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread when they killed the Passover Lamb.”

John 13:1 – “Now before the Feast of the Passover….”  Meal, Washing of Feet, Gethsemane.

***Christ crucified this same 24 hour period, but it was obviously after the final night at Gethsemane and then the illegal trial.  Mark is speaking of this event from sundown, John is speaking of it on Roman time (this is obvious because they use different terminology for the same meal where Judas left to betray the Lord… can’t miss this point and get it right.)

6 days before – Saturday
5 days before – Sunday
4 days before – Monday
3 days before – Tuesday
2 days before – Wednesday
1 day before – Thursday
The Day – Friday

The problem with people believing that John was speaking of a different day (as mentioned above) is that they miss the fact that the terminology for the day is different based on the author. To clear up any misunderstanding between the synoptic gospels and the Gospel of John, one needs only to compare the uses for the term “Preparation Day.” Once one does this, there are no discrepancies in the accounts –

Matthew 27:62 – “The next day, the one after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.” This was the day after the crucifixion. Matthew says it is the day “after Preparation Day.”

Mark 15:42 – “It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached…” This is the day of the crucifixion. Mark says “It was Preparation Day.”

Luke 23:5 – “It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.” This is the day of the crucifixion. Luke says “It was Preparation Day.”

John 19:14 – “Now it was Preparation Day of the Passover.” This is the day of the crucifixion. John says “It was Preparation Day.”

Based on the biblical evidence, there is

  • No discrepancy between any of the accounts.
  • Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
  • Jesus rose on a Sunday.

As a final note, the Bible says 13 times that He was raised “on” the third day.  This is mentioned by Jesus himself as well as the apostles. Therefore, it must have been Friday that Christ was crucified.


Please don’t believe (as some have claimed) that Christ rode the donkey into Jerusalem on a Saturday instead of a Sunday. This would have been the Sabbath. If He did, He would have violated the law –

“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.”  Deuteronomy 5:12-14

There is no need to make the assertion it was a Saturday unless you simply wanted to finagle the dating. There is also no biblical provision for an exemption to the commandment prohibiting working a donkey. As stated above, the work of Sir Robert Anderson in the 1800s clearly demonstrates that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on 6 April 0032. This can be validated in other ways and is the correct year and month for the Lord’s crucifixion.

The biblical evidence is quite clear and without ambiguity or total uncertainty…Jesus Christ was crucified as the Passover Lamb on Friday, 11 April 0032 and was resurrected to eternal life on Sunday 13 April 0032.

He now offers eternal life to all who call on Him by faith. Have you accepted His offer of peace?


Leave a Reply