Passover, The 10th Plague
Exodus 12

This message is a continuation of the message titled “Leave Egypt? Where to next?”

This chapter records the tenth plague, God’s judgment of Egypt in the death of the firstborn of all Egypt including their livestock. The Israelites were protected by the blood of the Passover Lamb while the Destroying Angel went through the land and took the life of all the Egyptian first born. This persuaded Pharaoh to actually drive the Israelites out of Egypt. How God could judge Egypt but redeem Israel, both of whom were sinners, was dealt with in the previous message.

This first Passover also marked the beginning of Israel as a nation and God declared it to be the beginning of a new calendar for that nation, one the Jews still use to some extent.

The Passover lamb’s blood was shed as an atonement for the sins of all Israel and it points to Christ in His sacrifice for our sins. 1 Corinthians 5:7, "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."

Exodus 12:1-2. "And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."

Earlier we found that Moses was the instrument God would use to deliver His people. Now we shall see how the physical deliverance of Israel will come about. Before there could be any physical deliverance, there had to be redemption by the blood of the Passover lamb.

God delivered Israel by blood and by power and our redemption today is by blood and by power. The blood that the Lord Jesus Christ shed on the cross paid the penalty for our sins. The power of the Holy Spirit makes it effective in our sinful hearts. The Lord Jesus Christ did the Redemption work for us on the cross and the Holy Spirit works in us.

Israel entered Egypt as just one family and when they made their exit some 400 plus years later they were a nation of over 2 million souls and God claimed them as His Chosen People.

Exodus 12:3. “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house." God is going to redeem this extended family with blood and He will do it by families and by the individuals in the family. There was to be a lamb in every house and the blood of that lamb was to be put on the doorpost.

Verse 4. “And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.”

This verse doesn’t say anything about the lamb being too little for the household. That points to the Lamb of God whose blood was sufficient to cover all the sins of the world.

The celebration of the Passover was a personal matter just as salvation is today. Salvation must be received and accepted by each individual in the family.

The Israelites in the land of Goshen were spared during the last three plagues and God's people were delivered from this judgment by the blood of the Passover lamb. If they are to be redeemed and safe from this final plague, innocent blood has to be shed in their behalf and they have to show faith in the blood.

Verses 5-6. “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening."

Notice the terminology God uses in connection with the lamb. In verse 3, it was ‘a’ lamb. In verse 4, it’s ‘the’ lamb. And, in verse 5, it’s ‘your’ lamb. How this points to Christ as our Savior! First, there had to be a Redeemer who could redeem fallen mankind. Then He had to take action to become the Redeemer. Then you have to make Him your Redeemer. As the Lamb of God, He is all of these.

There must have been thousands of lambs killed that evening since each family had a lamb. All those lambs that were slain that evening were pointing forward to one Lamb, Christ, the Lamb of God. While the blood of those lambs was sufficient atonement for God to spare His people temporarily, Christ’s blood alone is sufficient to cover the sins of the world permanently. None other is required nor would it be accepted by God to redeem us.

Verse 7. “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."

The blood identified God’s people. There was no blood on Egyptian doors that night. They were trusting in their gods to save them but if God saw no blood, the death angel struck.

Verses 8-9. “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9. “Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 10: And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.”

Each instruction given had a specific meaning
and it’s message points to the cross.
They were to roast the lamb with fire.
In scripture, fire speaks of judgment of sin.
They were to eat the lamb with unleavened bread.
Leaven speaks of sin,
and unleavened bread speaks of Christ
as the sinless One the believer is to “feed on.”

They were to eat this meal with bitter herbs. There are different meanings suggested by the herbs. They may well foretell the bitter experience of the cross where Christ, as the final passover for all mankind, would shed His blood for these very people.

The lamb was to be totally consumed. This pictures Christ’s total sacrifice for our sins.

Verse 11. “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.”

This event serves as a beautiful illustration
of the redemption Christ accomplished at Calvary.
The lamb was to be without blemish,
pointing to the sinlessness of Christ,
the lamb had to be killed,
pointing to Christ’s death on the cross,
and the blood applied,
signifying that the sinner has to apply the innocent
blood of Christ to our sin nature to pay for our sins.

Verse 12. “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. Verse 13. “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.”

The Israelites were not saved because they were the seed of Abraham. If the Egyptians had obeyed God's command, they, too, would have been saved. God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." No one was saved by works or because he was a good person. Those who believed God and applied the blood were saved that night. God says that the shed blood of Christ will save me and nothing else will.

All through scripture it’s stated that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. In other words, God can’t ignore sin. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Without redemption, we face an eternal death sentence.

Until Christ died, sin was 'set aside' by the blood of a lamb, but Christ became "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), when He shed His sinless blood on the cross for our sins. When we trust Christ as our Savior, we are saved from the judgment that we deserve as sinners.

Verse 14. "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever."

When we get saved we are to be totally dedicated to the Lord and ready to serve Him, ready to forsake the ways of the world. Total commitment to the Lord doesn’t mean that you will never sin again. It means that your first order of business is to do His will and refrain from living in a pattern of sin.

Verse 15. “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel."

The Feast of unleavened bread began on the evening of the Passover and lasted for seven days. Homes were to be completely cleared of leaven because it’s a symbol of corruption and evil.

Verses 16-20: "And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. 17: And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18: In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. 19. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 20: Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread."

On the night of the Passover they ate unleavened bread. Pharaoh forced them to leave Egypt in such a hurry that they could only take unleavened bread so they ate unleavened bread for seven days in the wilderness.

They were to hold a holy assembly the first day and again on the seventh day. No work was to be done on those days except the necessary cooking of food. If they ate leavened bread they were cut off from fellowship.

Leaven speaks of sin, and as an illustration of how it can corrupt, Jesus, in Matthew 13:33, tells of a woman that put a little leaven in three measures of meal and it leavened all of it. A little sin can spread and increase just like leaven does.

In Matthew 16:6, Jesus gave His disciples a warning, "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." He wasn’t talking about leaven in the bread they ate, He was speaking of the false doctrine of the Pharisees. Matthew 16:11, "How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?"

Exodus 12:21-23. “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."

Hyssop is a common plant that grows around rocks. It was something that was available to rich and poor alike. Sheep were common herd animals for the Israelites and may have been community property. No one had an excuse for not sacrificing a lamb. God promised them that if they did as he required, the Death Angel would pass over them.

If the sinner will do as God has instructed and apply the blood of Christ to the heart by faith and trust Christ for salvation, that person will be saved.

Verses 29-30. “And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.”

This was God’s final judgment on the Egyptians of that day. Even in Pharaoh’s house, the life of the firstborn ended. Pharaoh got out of bed and sent for Moses and Aaron. Verses 31-32. “And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also."

Pharaoh ordered them out of the land. He realized the hopelessness of defying God but at the same time asked for a blessing. However, he never professed faith in the one true God and little did he realize that he would shortly be drowned in the Red Sea.

If Pharaoh had believed God, the children of Israel could have left the land and Pharaoh would have spared his people the judgments. God is not to blame here. If a person refuses to accept the forgiveness God offers through the shed blood of His Son, that soul is entirely to blame for being sentenced to hell for eternity.

Verse 33: “And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.”

They didn’t know where the judgment of God would end. They knew that if God was able to take their firstborn, He was able to do more. Who would be next? The Egyptians and Pharaoh just wanted the children of Israel out of the land.

Verses 34-35. “And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment.”

One commentary I read said that “God gave them favor in the sight of the Egyptians so that when they asked, the Egyptians gave them whatever they wanted. It was God's way of simply collecting back wages for their years of slave labor in Egypt. The Egyptians owed the Israelites so much in back wages that the children of Israel spoiled them; that is, Israel left with much of Egypt's wealth.”

Now we know where all the gold and jewels and cloth used in the Tabernacle and in the priest’s garments came from.

Verse 37. “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.”

As a general rule, only men fit for war, men between the ages of 20 and 50 were counted. Six hundred thousand men on foot came out of the land of Egypt. If each one was married and had two children that would total 2.4 million. We can add to that the single women and widows and all the men and women over 50.

Here is another fact that has repercussions to this day: Verse 38: “And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.”

These people were probably the descendants of a Hebrew and a person of another nationality and they later caused a lot of trouble in Israel’s camp. One of the big problems in Israel today is the mixed multitude, those who are part Jew and part Gentile.

Verse 39: “And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual. Verse 40: Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. Verse 41: And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. Verse 42: It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.” Verse 47: “All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.”

God ordered this Passover celebration and the unleavened bread and these are the rules.

Verse 48. “And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.” All Israelite baby boys were circumcised on the eight day and that circumcision would identify them as members of God’s chosen race. Therefore, circumcision signifies the separation of God’s people from those of the world.

God provided that any Gentile who wanted to could identify himself in belief and worship of the God of Israel. These were God’s requirements for identifying with His people.

Circumcise means to cut off. Spiritual circumcision refers to a person that has accepted Christ as their Savior and is cut off from the world and identified with Christ.

Verses 49-50: “One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they." God is never partial in His dealings. Regardless of nationality, all true believers would be welcome.

Verse 51: “And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.”

In later scripture messages we will follow the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land by way of the wilderness. We’ll see many lessons that are applicable to the child of God today. There are types, pictures, and promises of Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah of Israel and our Redeemer, in almost every passage in these scriptures.

The "scarlet cord" runs through the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation.
That "scarlet cord" is the blood of Jesus Christ.