Background Reading: Exodus 12 and 13:1-16

Exodus 12:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,

2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

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:

4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour 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.

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

6 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.

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.

8 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

21 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.

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

23 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.

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

25 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.

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

27 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 worshipped.

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.

43 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:

44 But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.

45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.

46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.

47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.

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.

49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.

50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

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.

MEMORY VERSE: For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. —I Corinthians 5:7

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Before the tenth and last plague, God prepared His people by instituting a special memorial feast to be observed on the same day each year thereafter, which was called Passover, to commemorate the day God passed over the houses of the believing Israelites, sparing their firstborn from the death angel, and brought them out of Egypt.


Exodus 12:2: “The beginning of months”: “It is supposed that God now changed the commencement of the Jewish year. The month to which this verse refers, the month Abib, answers to a part of our March and April; whereas it is supposed that previously to this the year began with Tisri, which answers to a part of our September; for in this month the Jews sup- pose God created the world, when the earth appeared at once with all its fruits in perfection. From this circumstance the Jews have formed a twofold commencement of the year, which has given rise to a twofold denomination of the year itself, to which they afterwards attended in all their reckonings: that which began with Tisri or September was called their civil year; that which began with Abib or March was called the sacred or ecclesiastical year” (Clarke’s Commentary).

Exodus 12:8 “Unleavened bread”: bread made without yeast or a leavening agent. “Bitter herbs”: “The Mishna enumerates endive, chicory, wild lettuce, and nettles” (Pulpit Commentary).

Exodus 12:9 “Sodden with water”: boiled in water. “His head with his legs”: “Justin Martyr says that it was prepared for roasting by means of two wooden spits, one perpendicular and the other transverse, which extended it on a sort of cross, and made it aptly typify the Crucified One” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers). “Purtenance”: the intestines, which were taken out, washed, and then put back inside and the lamb roasted in some sort of oven.

Exodus 12:46 “Neither shall ye break a bone thereof”: In other cases of sacrifice, the limbs were to be separated from the body. This was to be roasted whole, and no bones broken, to show it as a type of Christ, as was written in John 19:33-36, which Jesus truly fulfilled in His death on the cross.


God showed Moses how the Israelites were to observe the Passover from year to year. It was to be a feast of seven days. They were to thoroughly cleanse all yeast or leaven out of their houses all seven days or they would be cut off from the congregation. A holy convocation, or specially called assembly, was to be held on the first and seventh days, in which (as on the weekly Sabbath) they could do no work, except for that which was required for their eating.

God specified for each household to take a bunch of hyssop dipped in the lamb’s blood and apply the blood to the doorposts of their houses. The hyssop plant was known for its cleansing properties and was also used for the cleansing ceremony for leprosy and in the water of purification. David referred to being cleansed with hyssop in his prayer of repentance in Psalm 51.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. “This month shall be the beginning of months.” What did He name this month and on what day of the month did He establish the Passover?
  2. Describe the age, condition and other instructions for the Passover lamb.
  3. Describe where on the house the blood was to be applied, and how it was to be applied.
  4. What were the Israelite parents to say to their children when they asked about the Passover?
  5. Describe who could and who could not eat of the Passover
  6. Explain the meaning of “neither shall ye break a bone thereof.”


Matthew Henry has such a thorough explanation of the spiritual lessons contained in the Passover:

“Observe, 1. The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our passover (1Corinthians 5:7). Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29); often in the Revelation he is called the Lamb. It was to be without blemish; the Lord Jesus was a Lamb without spot. Not a bone of it must be broken, which was fulfilled in Christ (John 19:33).

“2. The sprinkling of the blood was typical. Faith is the bunch of hyssop, by which we apply the promises, and the benefits of the blood of Christ laid up in them, to ourselves. It was not to be sprinkled upon the threshold; which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant. It is precious blood, and must be precious to us. The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying angel, who had nothing to do where the blood was. The blood of Christ is the believer’s protection from the wrath of God (Romans 8:1).

“3. The solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel duty to Christ. The paschal lamb was not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon. So we must by faith make Christ our own; and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food (John 6:53, 55). It was all to be eaten; those who by faith feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ; they must take Christ and his yoke, Christ and his cross, as well as Christ and his crown. “4. The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 5:7, 8). The Jews were very strict as to the passover, so that no leaven should be found in their houses. It must be a feast kept in charity, without the leaven of malice; and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy.”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


I am the oldest child, the oldest son, in my family. Growing up, my mother often referred to me as her firstborn son. Naturally, as a youth the story of the Passover resonated with me quite strongly. It wasn’t hard to imagine what would have been if I had lived during that time. Would my parents have obeyed exactly the instructions of God given to Moses and proclaimed to the people, sparing my life? Or would they have missed some small detail, or even worse, not known about or even cared about, the orders given, thereby leading to my destruction by the death angel?

I am grateful that the Passover through which the Israelites lived was a type of what was to come, used by God to establish what He would do once and for all through His own firstborn Son, Jesus Christ! God allowed the perfect Lamb to be killed, not one bone broken, and the blood of that Lamb flows freely for anyone who will access it!

Since Jesus’ sacrifice, neither I nor any other person, need worry about whether anyone else has applied the blood for our salvation. If one is willing to be circumcised in heart and, as more than one song states, “the blood has been applied” to the doorposts of his or her heart also, that person will not be a stranger to God and may live under the covenant of the Passover forever.

—Bro. Fari Matthews