The Passover

by Joseph Hunting

In Leviticus chapter 23 is the account of seven holy convocations, known as the Feasts of Jehovah, that Israel was commanded to observe for ever. The first of these was Passover which commemorated the mighty miracle of Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt some 3,500 years ago.

I never fail to wonder at the Divinely ordained sequences that surrounded that amazing liberation from slavery resulting in the birth of the nation that will commemorate this act of Divine deliverance on April 18th.


Israel had been in Egypt for two hundred and fifteen years. Their benefactor Joseph had been dead for just over one hundred years and during that time a new Pharaoh had come to the throne "who knew not Joseph". In the meantime the Hebrews living in Goshen had multiplied and prospered. Evidently they didn't assimilate with Egyptians because the Pharaoh who came to the throne during this last hundred years felt threatened by the Hebrews and introduced the first recorded program of genocide by ordering that all the male Hebrew children be drowned in the Nile.

We would do well to ponder the great spiritual truth found in 1st Corinthians 1:27-29 that is embedded in God's program to deliver Israel from slavery. "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty . . . " And so it was God's plan that a baby boy hidden amongst the bullrushes of the Nile was later to become God's man who changed the course of history.

After the ten plagues had wreaked havoc upon Egypt and the Egyptians, there was a final confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh, after which Moses "went out from Pharaoh in a great anger" , but not before he had warned Pharaoh of the terrible judgement his obduracy would bring upon every family in Egypt.

Redemption Commences with a New Beginning

The month Abib in the Egyptian calendar was springtime. It has been said by some commentators that Abib was at that time the seventh month. However, God commanded that Israel was to abandon the current calendar because, "This month shall be the beginning of months, it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Exodus 12:2).

I find this an extraordinary statement. Contracts and legal documents of any kind must have a common date. But God instructed Moses that the Hebrews were to abandon their current calendars and introduce a new one commencing with day one, month one and year one from the first day of Abib (later known as Nisan). This meant that Israel was to have no record of their years of bondage, slavery and humiliation in Egypt. No matter what had gone before, this was to be day one, month one and year one for Israel.

Furthermore the manner of their redemption was equally extraordinary. All human means of liberation from Egypt were utterly eliminated. There was no army poised on Egypt's borders to save them. There were no freedom-fighters to rise up in rebellion against Egypt's tyranny. Again, God chose "the weak things of the world to confound the mighty" . He commanded Moses to take a lamb that was without blemish on the tenth day of that first month. The lamb was to be scrutinized for defects until the fourteenth day when it was to be slain between the evenings and its blood sprinkled on every doorway of every Hebrew home.

It is absolutely certain that the Egyptians would never suspect that these gentle creatures would be the means of Israel's release from bondage and the ultimate destruction of Egypt's mighty army. I also suspect the Hebrews themselves were also mystified by the presence of a lamb sharing their households for four days before killing it and sprinkling its blood on the lintel and doorposts of their homes. "Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it . . . You shall let none of it remain until the morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire . . . You shall eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.

"For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgement: I am the LORD. 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 upon you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be to you for a memorial; you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance" (Exodus 12:8-14).

And so it was. All that God promised He would do through the blood of a slain lamb came to pass. And Israel has observed that great deliverance ever since.


Some fifteen centuries had passed and preparations were again being made to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. It was the tenth day of Nisan, the first month, and Yeshua rode into Jerusalem whilst "the multitudes that went before, and that followed cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest" (Matthew 21:9). And for four days He taught in the Temple. "Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk . . . And no man was able to answer him a word, neither did any man from that day forth ask him any more questions" (Matthew 22:15,46). Thus, the Lamb of God was scrutinized for four days and was found to be without blemish.

At His trial before the Sanhedrin and the Roman governor He was condemned to death on two counts: firstly because He claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God, and secondly, He was accused of being Israel's king, when the rulers claimed they had no king but Caesar.

The sentence of death by crucifixion was carried out at 9 am and at 3 pm He cried with a loud voice "IT IS FINISHED" and yielded up His spirit. Thus it came to pass that as the Passover lambs were being sacrificed between the evenings on the fourteenth day of the first month, the Lamb of God was "wounded for our transgressions . . . and the LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all . . . He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken" (Isaiah 53:5-8).