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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Smith :: Portraits of Christ

Don Smith :: Exo 11; The Passover

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Portraits of Christ in Exodus 11
“The Passover”

  1. Set before the Church is a symbolic meal ordained by Jesus Himself.
    • Each element finds its origin in the ancient Passover taken by Moses and the Israelites more than 3,000 years ago.
    • When Jesus took the Passover with His disciples, He added fresh new understanding to this meal—for them and for us.
    • I believe that you will agree after our study that the Passover is one of the clearest prophetic ordinances given the Church.
  2. Let us look at the Passover to discover the glory of Christ in Exodus 11.
    • Egypt had just endured the ninth plague of darkness.
    • At first Pharaoh gave lip service to releasing the Hebrews.
    • But when Moses demanded that their flocks must accompany them to make sacrifices to their God, Pharaoh stubbornly denied the request.
    • The Lord therefore hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
    • This was to be the last face-to-face confrontation between these two national leaders.
    • Pharaoh was in the midst of a truly great political mess.
    • The Lord had given Israel favor in the sight of the Egyptian people.
    • Perhaps driven as much by fear of further ecological disasters as by admiration for their God, the people prepared to give the Hebrews riches from their own household treasures.
    • It is intriguing to learn from Moses that in spite of all the Egyptians had suffered at his hand, he was considered great by the people and even the servants of Pharaoh.
    • Is it possible there were those alive in that day who remembered Moses’ previous greatness as a son of Egypt?
    • At any rate Moses, then came to Pharaoh and no longer made a request.
    • Instead he gave a dreadful prophetic promise from the Lord. (Exodus 11:4-6)

The Passover contains many types and shadows of Christ that find their explanation in the Lord’s Supper.

  • One of the first types used in Exodus is that of Israel.
  • They are repeatedly referred to as “My People.”
  1. Israel was God’s firstborn—they were His chosen people.
    • God’s sovereign plan was clearly revealed in Exodus 6:7, “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out form under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
    • Deuteronomy 7:6-10 further establishes God’s special relationship with Israel.
    • Israel was chosen not because they chose God but rather because of His great loving kindness.
  2. As Israel was God’s chosen people, so the Church has now become His chosen people. (Ephesians 1:3-10)
    • In Colossians 1:15 it says that Christ is the “firstborn over all creation.”
    • He is the Son who will inherit all created things, especially the Church.
  3. God’s holy purpose for Israel and the Church are similar.
    • In Exodus 4:22-23 the Lord said, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me.”
    • Israel was chosen to serve God’s purpose—to worship and glorify Him.
    • The same is said for the Church. (Ephesians 1:11-12)
    • We were predestined by Him that we should be to the praise of His glory.
    • Ephesians 2:10 makes this even clearer. “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
    • This purpose will be perfectly fulfilled when the church is gathered in heaven to ascribe glory and honor to the Lord forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)

The Egyptian plagues where a demonstration of God’s wrath against sin.

  • As His wrath was poured out on the firstborn of Egypt, so God poured out His wrath on His firstborn Son nailed to the cross.
  1. The plagues reveal His Holy repulsion to sin.
    • God’s judgments were intended to fall upon all the gods of Egypt. (Exodus 12:12)
    • The death of Egypt’s firstborns was aimed at national idolatry.
    • The “first family” of Egypt was revered as gods.
    • The firstborn son of Pharaoh was also considered a god.
    • The popular goddess “Isis,” was the protectorate of children.
    • Cain, Adam’s firstborn, was punished for his improper worship, so Egypt’s firstborn were destroyed for their idolatry.
    • Romans 1 reminds us that God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18-32)
  2. The warning in Exodus 11:5 was to all the firstborn in Egypt.
    • As I understand this, God’s wrath would include even Israel if it didn’t keep the Passover.
    • Romans 3:22-23 seems to refer to this, “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
    • There is no difference in the spiritual condition of the natural man.
    • He is spiritually dead, a child of wrath and his enemies. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
    • Romans 11:22 also tells us to consider both the goodness and the severity of God—“on those who fell, severity; but towards you, goodness.”

But in our text there is a notable difference in God’s treatment of Israel.

  • In His sovereign wisdom and goodness, God has chosen to save some.
  • This is consistent with Ephesians 2:4-7, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ [by grace you have been saved], and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
  • The Apostle Paul anticipated human protest for such selective mercy when he wrote Romans 9:14-18.
  • Our comprehension of God’s sovereign grace rests in the knowledge of His holiness.
  1. Just as God chose a holy people in Israel, so has God chosen His Church.
    • Just as God preserved His Seed enslaved in Egypt, He is committed to preserve the Spiritual Seed of Abraham today. (Galatians 3:16, 29)
  2. Read Exodus 11:9-10
    • God’s sovereign work of hardening Pharaoh’s heart was to accomplish one primary purpose—to magnify God’s wondrous works for all history to remember.
    • The same is true today when the cross is preached.
    • The hardness of people’s heart is evident when the wonder of God’s grace and power is proclaimed to deliver us from bondage to sin.
    • They think this is foolishness; but for those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-25)
  3. God’s firstborn, Israel, was chosen to be the recipient of His unmerited love and favor.
    • Even though their sin was worthy of death, God chose to deliver them from His wrath so that the wonder of His grace might be magnified.
    • The plagues are like those judgments of God yet to be poured out upon the earth in the last days.
    • But we must remember, He who was faithful to deliver His Chosen from Egypt is able to save us to the end of times.
    • But for God’s justice to be satisfied there had to be a worthy Substitute to atone for the sin of His people.

God provided the Passover Lamb as a foreshadow of Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross.

  1. The blood of the Passover lamb was shed in anticipation of Christ’s shed blood. (Exodus 12:1-6)
    • The lamb was God’s Provision for Israel’s sin.
    • It was the Lord’s Passover. (Exodus 12:11)
    • 1 Corinthians 5:7 echoes this truth “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
    • God’s plan for a substitutionary lamb was made even before time.
    • Revelation 13:8 refers to Christ as “The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”
    • He will be forever glorified and honored by the elect when they gather around His throne in heaven. (Revelation 5:9-13)
  2. The Passover Lamb is a prophetic type anticipated long before Moses.
    • When Adam and Eve stood naked before the Lord, He covered them with skins taken from slain animals. (Genesis 3:21)
    • Abel’s animal blood sacrifice was found acceptable to the Lord. (Genesis 3:21)
    • In Genesis 22:8, the Angel of the Lord promised Abraham that God will “provide Himself” a sacrifice.
    • John the Baptist identified this prophetic type when he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)
    • It was prescribed that the Passover Lamb be a male because the promised deliverer was to a Son of Eve. (Genesis 3:15)
    • The Angel Gabriel announced to Mary, that she would “bring forth a Son and shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31)
  3. The Lord also required that the Passover lamb to be without blemish.
    • This also foreshadows Christ sinless perfection as the Lamb of God.
    • The Apostle Peter referred to Christ’s blood as precious.
    • He says in 1 Peter 1:18-20 that, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from our aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
    • The Passover lamb also was to be in its first year or in the midst of days because it must be in its prime. (Psalm 102:24)
    • Is it possible that this is an illusion to Christ who gave up His life in the midst of days, age thirty, not at the end of his days. (Luke 3:23)
    • Perhaps more germane to our discussion is the requirement that the Lamb be taken on the 10th of Nisan and killed on the 14th at twilight.
    • It should not surprise us to learn that Jesus died at twilight on the 14th of Nisan, while the temple lambs were being sacrificed near by. (Matthew 27:28)
    • Take a guess! If the Passover lambs were killed on the 14th of Nisan, how many days later until Moses and his people crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground? It took them three days.
    • Let me ask how many days after the Lamb of God was crucified did He rise from the dead? Three Days!
  4. The Lord made very specific allowance for this sacrificial lamb.
    • He prescribed one lamb per household.
    • But he also made provision to share the sacrifice with those families too poor to own a lamb.
    • The author of Hebrews tells us in 10:1-14 that the Passover was a shadow of the reality of Christ’s sacrifice.
    • These are the words he attributed to Christ spoken to the Father before the moment of the incarnation, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come…in the volume of the book it is written of Me…to do Your will, O God.’ Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them,” which are offered according to the law. Then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:5-10)
  5. The Passover lamb was a foreshadow of Christ’s sacrificial death.
    • For atonement to be applied the father of the household was to lay his hands upon the lamb as a way of identifying that it was his sin and the sin in his family that was being transferred to innocent victim.
    • The lamb was dying on their behalf.
    • And that is why it says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
    • At Twilight on the 14th of Nisan, like a nation of priests in their own homes and surrounded by their family, Israel killed the lamb (death).
    • Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The lamb was to be “propitiation” or a “blood payment,” which satisfied God’s righteous demand for sin to be punished. (Exodus 12:7-13)

  1. First, there was the shedding of blood for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. (Exodus 12:7)
    • Christ put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26)
  2. Second, there was the sprinkling of blood. (Exodus 12:7)
    • The father of every Israeli household was to dip a hyssop branch into the lamb’s blood then sprinkle it over the door and on both sides of the door much like the sign of a cross.
    • Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is the Mediator of the new covenant with the sprinkling of His blood. (Hebrews 10:19-22; 12:24)
  3. Third, the angel of death would see the blood over each Hebrew home and pass over it.
    • The people were saved by the blood of the lamb. (Exodus 12:12-13)
    • Romans 3:25-26 tells us “God set forth [Christ] as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
    • The cup of the Lord that we taken at the Lord’s Table is to remind us that Christ is the Lamb of God, whose blood was shed and sprinkled so that God’s justice upon sin could be satisfied.

The second element in the Passover was unleavened bread.

  1. “Jesus said, ‘Take eat, this is My Body.’”
    • Unleavened bread was a “type” to remind Israel that because they were His people they were but sojourners on the earth. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
    • They were to be nourished on this bread as strangers in a foreign land.
    • Unleavened bread was also a type of that which had no sin.
    • This was true of Christ and to be characteristic of the Church’s low tolerance for unrepented sin in their midst. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
  2. The Feast of Passover (Exodus 12:14)
    • Was to be a sign and a memorial for Israel.
    • They were to keep it as an everlasting ordinance.
    • The Lord’s Supper comes out of the Passover ordinance.
    • It is to be a perpetual reminder that Christ has come.
    • He is our Passover, who satisfied His Father’s just wrath on sin and transferred to our account all His righteousness.
    • He has delivered His people from bondage to sin and death.
    • In Christ we are now free….free from guilt and condemnation and free to serve Him forever.

The Lord’s Supper was ordained by Christ Himself in Matthew 26:26-29.

  1. Christ is Our Passover (Exodus 12:11) is “the Lord’s Passover.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)
  2. Christ is our Passover who was sacrificed for us.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)
  3. Christ is also our Tabernacle; the meeting place between God and man. (John 8:56-59)
  4. Christ is also Our Great High Priest; Who is always making intercession for His People. (Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:11-12, 23; 10:19-22)

Christ is our Passover Lamb Who was slain before the foundation of the world.

Exo 2; The Angel of the LORD ← Prior Section
Exo 32; The Golden Calf Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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