Don’t Miss The Symbolism Of The Passover

A video presentation of this lesson can be seen on the Lakeshore YouTube Channel.

A few days ago in Turning Point #3 we studied the historical event of the Passover when God delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage.

They were slaves in Egypt and God brought about their deliverance through the 10th plague – the death of the firstborn.

God instructed them to kill a lamb and place the blood of a lamb on their door posts and then said “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 12:13).

One of the most marvelous things about the Bible and especially the Old Testament is the way it frequently FORESHADOWS the events of the New Testament. If something is a foreshadowing that means it is a likeness of something before that something takes place.

The Old Testament is full of these but there is no better example than the Passover. In fact, in the New Testament it says Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us! (1 Corinthians 5:7) Jesus is called our Passover!

We are familiar with the Old Testament event. In this lesson I want to be sure we don’t miss the spiritual significance of the Passover.

Simple Summary of the Symbolism – Just as the children of Israel were in Physical bondage in Egypt and God sent Moses to deliver them, we were in bondage to sin and God sent Jesus to deliver us from our sin.

So many points of comparison…

  1. They were slaves physically and we were slaves to sin.
  2. They killed a lamb and Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
  3. Their lamb had to be “without blemish”. Jesus was without sin.
  4. They were given instructions of what they must do to be spared from the plague: kill the lamb and place the blood on the door posts. Hebrews 11:28 says “By faith he (Moses) kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. Likewise we have instructions and commandments to obey. After His resurrection Jesus commanded His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). We must also have faith to do what God says.
  5. Both events happened at the same time. Jesus was crucified at the same time the Passover Lamb (of which He was the fulfillment) was killed. Think about that. As the priests were killing the passover lambs in the temple, Christ our Passover was being sacrificed for us!
  6. Jesus bones were not broken. Exodus commanded concerning the Passover lamb, Exodus 12:46 “nor shall you break one of its bones”. That may seem rather incidental but in John 19:36 when the soldiers came to Jesus and found that He was dead, John notes that they did not break His bones (though they did break the bones of the thieves). John says this was a fulfillment of scripture and cites Exodus 12:46 – “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” John making that connection clearly shows that the Passover was a foreshadowing of the cross in many different ways.
  7. God ordained that both the Jews and Christian observe regular memorial feasts so they do not forget what God had done for them. The Jews observe the yearly feast of Passover. For Christians it is our weekly communion service each Sunday.
  8. They were set free from Egypt and promised a new home in the land of Canaan. We are set free from sin and promised a home in heaven with this life is over. Some of the songs we sing blend the two events together: “To Canaan’s land I’m on my way….” “To Canaan’s fair and happy land where my possessions lie”. etc. We are not going to Canaan but to Heaven (our Canaan.
  9. They were set free from Egypt, but they were not “home free” regarding the promised land, in fact most of them did not make it as we saw in Turning Point #5, “Come Back In 40 Years”. In 1 Corinthian 10:5-12 Paul tells us this is an example that we must learn from: 11 “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

There are more and I would love to hear what some of our followers come up with as far as additional analogies. If you have a comparison to share please leave it in the comments section.

But we should be impressed with these! Remember, the Passover happened over 1400 years before Jesus was born!

This is an amazing testimony to the divine origin of the Bible! These are not coincidences, they are evidence of the hand and plan of God!

What other analogies do you see?

6 thoughts on “Don’t Miss The Symbolism Of The Passover

  1. Since no one is jumping in I am going to share what some of my preaching buddies said when I asked them for help on this one….

    In order to make this the definitive document on the Symbolism of the Passover I enlisted the help of some dear friends and preaching buddies: Rick Harrington, Jim Hartman, and Michael Lusk. I already shared some of Michaels thoughts in my presentation you can see on the church FB page and Youtube Channel.

    Jim and Rick offered thoughts about the timing (Jesus being crucified at the same time the Jewish Passover lambs were being offered).

    Jim –

    Mark and John agree that Jesus died on a Friday. In Mark, this was the Day of Passover (15 Nisan), the morning after the Passover meal of the evening before. Arrested and interrogated by Caiaphas and Pilate that night, Jesus was tried and crucified the next morning at 9 a.m. on Passover day. In John, Jesus died on the Day of Preparation (14 Nisan), the day before the Passover meal, sometime after noon but before sunset later that evening. According to Josephus, this would have been “from the ninth hour till the eleventh” (3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) (The Jewish War, VI.9.3). Having had a last supper the night before, Jesus does not partake of the Passover meal but is sentenced and crucified while it still was being prepared.

    In John, Passover day fell on a Saturday, thereby coinciding with the weekly Sabbath. “That sabbath day was an high day” (19:31), in which the two festivals were celebrated on the same day, and Friday was the Day of Preparation for them both. The death of Jesus on the Day of Preparation then would be at the same time that the lambs were being prepared for the Passover feast later that evening, at the beginning of Passover Day.

    Rick –

    We are specifically told in Ex. 12:5-6 that the Passover lamb was to be killed at “twilight” on the 14th day (of Nissan). The Hebrew expression translated “twilight” is literally the phrase “between the two evenings.” There is some debate among scholars as to specifically what time of the day this was, but there are rabbinical writings that define “between the two evenings” as referring to the hour that falls between noon and sunset (The first evening being noon – when the sun begins its descent in the sky, and the second evening being sunset – when the sun sinks beneath the horizon). Since there were no timepieces in those days, the children of Israel would determine when to kill the lamb by noting the location of the sun in the sky and splitting the difference between noon and sunset.

    What makes this such an appealing interpretation of the definition of “twilight” is that we’re told in the gospels that Jesus “breathed his last” at the ninth hour. Again, with no cell phones or watches to tell the time, the Jews of that day used the location of the sun in the sky to determine what hour it was. Zero hour being sunrise, the sixth hour being noon and the twelfth hour being sunset. The ninth hour would have been precisely between noon and sunset, corresponding exactly to the Hebrew “twilight” (depending on one’s interpretation). If this is the case, Jesus was not only crucified on Passover, but died on the cross at precisely the same time of day the Passover lamb was to be simultaneously killed “by the whole assembly of the congregation” (Exodus 12:6). What a provocative image.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great thought from my friend Rick —

    Another interesting detail we’re given in the gospels is that when Jesus, from upon the cross, said, “I am thirsty,” some from the crowd lifted up a sponge dipped in sour wine to give Him a drink. John specifically states the type of branch used to lift the sponge to his mouth was “a branch of hyssop” (John 19:29). Why would the apostle John include such a seemingly insignificant detail? Taking for granted that the wine filled sponge would have been red in color, this makes for an intriguing comparison when considering the instructions for applying the blood of the sacrificed lamb to the houses of the children of Israel during Passover: “And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts” (Ex. 12:22).

    Liked by 1 person

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