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Jesus Christ our Passover Lamb

Updated on October 19, 2010


According to 1 Corinthians 5:7 "Christ our Passover Lamb was sacrificed for us." To fully appreciate the reality of Jesus Christ as the Passover lamb who fulfilled the Old Testament law and made possible the Age of Grace, we must understand the significance of the Passover.

What circumstances prompted God’s ordaining an observance called “Passover”? To understand this, we must understand the historical background of Joseph in Egypt. Joseph brought his father, Israel, and his eleven brothers and their families to Egypt when they were suffering from famine in Canaan. Joseph’s family was graciously welcomed to Egypt by Pharaoh. As time passed, the king died, as did Israel, Joseph, and his brothers. Now their children had children and as their numbers increased greatly, the native Egyptians felt threatened by them and made slaves of these foreigners. After the children of Israel had been held in captivity in Egypt for many years, God chose Moses to lead them out of bondage and back to the Promised Land. When Moses repeatedly asked the Pharaoh of Egypt to let the people of Israel depart from his land, the Pharaoh stubbornly refused; and as a result, a series of plagues befell Egypt.

In the tenth and final plague, the angel of death, “the destroyer,” passed through the entire land of Egypt and killed the firstborn of every household, both humans and animals. To provide protection from the angel of death for the children of Israel, God instructed the people of Israel to sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed lamb on the two side doorposts of the house and on the upper doorpost, called a lintel. The destroyer, upon seeing the blood, had to “pass over” that house and could not destroy its firstborn. Hence the sacrificial lamb was called the “Passover” lamb. In carrying out this commandment from God to use the slain lamb, the children of Israel protected themselves from the destroyer. The twelfth chapter of Exodus relates all this information.

Exodus 12:1, 7-13, 21-27: "And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,

And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Eat not of it raw, nor sodden [boiled] at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance [innards] thereof.

And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall bum with fire.

And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover.

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite 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.

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.

And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.

And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?

That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshiped."

There are two significant aspects of this Passover Iamb: its flesh and its blood. The flesh was to be roasted and eaten. In eating the lamb’s flesh the believing children of Israel were in reality eating physical health to themselves. When the children of Israel left Egypt, after eating the Passover as commanded by God, there was “not one feeble person” among them.

While partaking of the flesh of the Iamb brought health to the people of Israel, the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb was also significant. It was the lamb’s blood sprinkled on the lintels and doorposts which caused the destroyer to pass over them, sparing them. The shedding of the lamb’s blood was representative of the atonement or covering for sin. By the shedding of blood the children of Israel were spared from the consequences of their sins. This truth of atonement by shed blood can be seen in both Leviticus and Hebrews.

Leviticus 17:11: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."

Hebrews 9:22: "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."

According to Exodus 12, this Passover sacrifice and meal was to be carried out in the families of Israel. First a lamb was selected and killed. The lamb was a male of the first year, without spot and without blemish. Its blood was put into a basin and then hyssop was dipped into the blood and used to strike the blood across the lintels and doorposts. The flesh of the lamb was roasted and eaten along with bitter herbs. This was the first meal of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Numbers 9:12: "They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it."

Exodus 12:10: "And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall bum with fire."

In the killing of the sacrificial lamb, no bone was to be broken, and any part of the lamb not eaten was to be burned.

After this first Passover recorded in Exodus 12, the children of Israel were commanded to celebrate this event annually. According to Numbers 9:3, the second Passover, which occurred in the wilderness, was observed in the same manner as the first.

Numbers 9:3: "In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it."

Shortly before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God instructed Moses to declare to them procedures for subsequent Passovers, including some changes. The record of this is found in Deuteronomy 16.

Deuteronomy 16:4-7,16: "And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.

Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee:

But at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.

And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty."

Thus some additions and changes were made. The lamb was to be killed outside the gates of the city, a commandment to go into effect after they settled in the Promised Land. The lamb was to be killed, roasted, and eaten at the place God would choose to place His name. At this same place and time, the men were to appear before the Lord for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Bible tells us in scriptures written after the books of Moses that the place the Lord “shall choose to place his name” was the area of Jerusalem, the city where the Temple was located. These are the basic changes set forth in the Bible concerning the Passover. Later religious laws made by man, not commanded by God, gradually brought about other changes and additions.

Do you see any similarities in these Old Testament records regarding the Passover with the events surrounding the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ? That is because Jesus served in the role of being our Passover lamb, the lamb of God without blemish and without spot. There are so many parallels, and it's out side of the scope of a single hub to cover and prove them all, but to mention a few: He was crucified outside of the gates of Jerusalem at the exact hour that the Judeans were making their annual Passover sacrifices: His burial preparation was during the time the passover was being prepared. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law as the Passover lamb, to the tee. He died for the sins of mankind.

During John the Baptist’s ministry, he recognized that Jesus Christ would be the supreme sacrificial lamb offered by God as the consummate atonement for you and for me:

John 1:29 and 36: "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!"

Jesus was the lamb of God. And as we learn what Jesus Christ accomplished as the Passover lamb, we can appreciate the greatness of our redemption.

1 Peter 1:18 and 19: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things...

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

Jesus Christ was our Passover lamb. He perfectly fulfilled the law regarding the sacrificial Passover lamb. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ replaced all the animal sacrifices of Old Testament law. His death was the complete atonement.

While no animal was capable of making atonement once and for all for sins, animal sacrifices did cover for the sins of Israel on a yearly basis. The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament law were temporary substitutes until the time was right for God to send the complete and final sacrifice for all sin—His Son, Jesus Christ. This is stated very clearly and beautifully in Hebrews:

Hebrews 9:22, 25-28: "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

Hebrews 13:11 and 12: "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate."

Hebrews 10:1,10-12: "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God."

Because of Adam’s sin, mankind became dead in trespasses and sins. It took a perfect, sinless human to atone for that sin and to make it possible for believers to be reconciled to God. It took a perfect human sacrifice to be the complete atonement for you and for me and for all people ever since his sacrifice.

Jesus Christ had to be a man, just as Adam had been. Jesus was a man from among men, a lamb from the flock. He had the same potential to sin as Adam had had, yet he did not. Thus he could be the final Passover lamb, the lamb without spot or blemish.

John 1:29: "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

1 Corinthians 5:7: "...For even Christ our passover is [was] sacrificed for us."

1 Peter 1:18 and 19 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

And the story gets even better!

The two month time period starting a week prior to the crucifixion up until the day of Pentecost [50 days after the ascension - see Acts 2] contain the most significant historical events of all time. Indeed, this period is the fulcrum, the pivotal point in man’s history. All events both before and after this time revolve around it.

For help in obtaining a greater understanding of this period of time, let's think for a moment how God uses numbers in the bible. Man often uses numbers haphazardly, but God uses them always with a divine, instructive purpose. Throughout the Scriptures forty denotes a period of probation, trial, and proving. Prior to his ascension Jesus Christ was on earth forty days in his resurrected body, proving himself to be alive by many infallible proofs. He had begun his ministry being proved for forty days of temptation in the wilderness. During the forty days before the ascension, mankind was in a period of probation during which it would decide whether or not to believe that Christ was risen. The use of numbers in the Bible is always very significant. Biblically, ten represents ordinal perfection and is a multiple of five, the number of grace. On the tenth day after the ascension came Pentecost, when the administration of the Church, the one Body of Christ, was established. With the coming of Pentecost and God’ s giving of the holy spirit, any person, Judean or Gentile, could be born again of God’s Spirit. Anyone and every one who desired to believe could receive eternal life, power from on high, holy spirit. This would mark the beginning of the Administration of Grace.

But the last week of Jesus’ life before the crucifixion has to be the most stirring, heartrending time ever lived. It began victoriously as Jesus was acclaimed the Messiah on his entries into Jerusalem and confronted his religious enemies with their hypocrisy. It ended in torture and suffering as his enemies appeared to gain the upper hand. Time and again the Lord Jesus Christ courageously obeyed his Father’s will as he masterfully faced the cruel injustice of a host of hostile, evil men. Over and over again his life was unjustly maligned, called into question, and slandered. He was faced with unspeakable mental and physical torture. Yet throughout, Jesus never hurt or wronged a human being. On the contrary, he was the epitome of love, innocence, and courage, praying "father forgive them for they know not what they do."

Finally, Jesus was nailed to the cross. God had given His only-begotten Son to die for us. Jesus Christ, with utmost courage, was obedient to the death, even the death of the cross. What tremendous love God had for us in giving His only Son.

John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Yet the greatness of this story does not end with Jesus Christ in his sufferings, humiliation, and death. So-called Christianity too often stops at the cross, magnifying Jesus’ death as though his sacrifice alone made him our living savior. But did God stop at Jesus Christ’s crucifixion?

The greatness of Christ crucified and Christianity is testified by the fact that something special happened after Jesus died—something occurred which had never happened to any other human being: God raised Jesus Christ from the dead to die no more. The angel announced, “He is risen.” That truth resounds throughout all time. But did God stop with Jesus Christ’s resurrection? After his resurrection, Jesus Christ was repeatedly seen by his followers. Over five hundred witnesses saw him. In his new spiritual body, be taught his apostles and disciples to prepare for a new age. But did God stop with the resurrected witness of Jesus Christ? On the fortieth day after his resurrection Jesus Christ ascended to heaven before the steadfast gaze of his twelve apostles. He sat down in the heavenlies at the right hand of God, where he has been ever since.

Before ascending, Jesus told his apostles that they should wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the comforter about which he had instructed them. But did God stop with Jesus Christ’s ascension? Ten days later when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the twelve apostles were given the comforter and received into manifestation power from on high. This was the beginning of the Church to which you and I belong. For the first time the gift of holy spirit was poured out on believers. Jesus Christ’s life had been leading up to this great pinnacle in human history, and with this outpouring came the culmination of what he had come to make available. Pentecost consummated the purpose of Jesus Christ’s entire life, including his sacrifice as our Passover lamb. This began the Age of Grace, the greatest period in human history before Christ’s return.

With the apostles’ receiving power from on high, they were rejuvenated men, after "hiding behind locked doors in fear of the Jews" just the day previous. Acts Chapter 2 is a must read if you haven't read it lately. When Peter stood up on Pentecost in the Temple, he was absolutely convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, and he spoke very boldly to the Jews about crucifying their Messiah. A multitude of people heard what Peter had to say and believed on the Christ that day. Peter knew that he had a new power dynamically living within his soul and he walked in that power. He knew that God had indeed poured His gift of holy spirit on him and that he was filled with the power from on high—that same unparalleled, incomparable power which raised Jesus Christ from the dead, that same power which all Christians receives at the time of their new birth.

As a result of Jesus Christ’s sacrificing of himself and God’s raising him from the dead, it became possible for men and women to be born again by God’s Spirit, filled with the power of the holy spirit, sons of God. As 1 John 3:1 so wonderfully records, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God...” These truths resound throughout the Bible, as the immensity of God’s love is declared.

I John 4:8-10: "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

We can walk each day with a greater vision of what God has given us in Christ. We can live with the blood of Jesus Christ our Passover Lamb on the doorposts of our hearts. We can manifest power from on high with ever-increasing confidence and boldness. As we believe God we walk by the spirit and we prove in the senses world (with signs miracles and wonders following) that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We are completely, completely complete in Christ! What a thrilling opportunity is yours and mine when we begin to appreciate the significance of Jesus Christ: our Passover, our risen lord, and our complete savior.


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