Summary: The word “Passover” comes from the word “pasha,” which comes from the noun “pesah” and resembles the Egyptian word “pesh,” which means “to spread wings over” in order to protect.”
• God must do the right thing because He is God, but He balances His righteousness with His loving mercy.
o He decrees judgment for all sin and all sinners; then He provides a way of escape, a “kiporah” or “covering.”
• In His judgment of Egypt, YHWH provided the covering with the blood of the Passover lamb.
o The word “Passover” comes from the word “pasha,” which comes from the noun “pesah” and resembles the Egyptian word “pesh,” which means “to spread wings over” in order to protect.”
o Psalm 91 speaks to this type of covering. How beautiful it is to see a loving God use a word that both an Egyptian and Hebrew would understand!
I. THE PASSOVER CELEBRATION
As we look at the object lessons found in the Passover, we see that it was a night of judgment, but the substitutionary death of the Passover lamb brought forgiveness to God’s people. It washed away 430 years of Egypt’s contamination. The blood of the lamb protected them from the wrath of the Almighty. Its roasted flesh nourished their bodies with strength for the long, perilous journey ahead. They ate in haste, loins girded, staff in hand, shoes on their feet, prepared to leave at any moment at God’s command. In that awe-filled night of waiting, they experienced God’s loving protection, even in the midst of the unleashing of His fierce judgment. Let’s look at what God taught them in the Passover celebration.
A. THE LAMB: The people had to single out from their flocks the handsomest, healthiest-looking yearling. An animal of this age, just approaching the prime of its life, was frisky and winsome. Then the family had to watch it carefully for four days before the Passover to make sure it was healthy and perfect in every way. During this period of close observation, they fed and cared for the lamb and grew accustomed to having it around the house. By the end of the fourth day, it must have won the affection of the entire household. When the head of the household plunged the knife into the lamb to draw its life’s blood, the lesson was painfully clear: God’s holiness demands that He judges sin, and the price is costly and painful. But God is also merciful, and provides a way of escape: Isaiah 53:7;
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
B. THE BITTER HERBS: Bitterness in Scripture often speaks of death.
1. The bitter herbs spoke of another lesson: that the firstborn children lived because the Passover lambs died – A Life for a Life. God created man to gain life through death, to receive physical sustenance from the death of something that once was alive, be it a plant or an animal.
2. Bitterness in Scripture also speaks of mourning. Zechariah 12:10 prophesies that one day Israel as a nation will weep and be in bitterness of deepest mourning for her Messiah:
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
C. THE UNLEAVENED BREAD: The children of Israel ate the Passover lamb with bitter herbs and unleavened bread; then they were to eat no leaven for a full seven days afterward.
1. Leaven in the Bible is almost always a symbol of sin. It teaches us this lesson: The putting away of all leaven is a picture of the sanctification of the child of God. Cleansed, redeemed by God’s Lamb, a true believer will put away the sinful leaven of the old life.
a. The Hebrew word for leaven is “chomatz” meaning “bitter” or “sour.” It is the nature of sin to make people bitter or sour.
b. Leaven causes dough to become puffed up so that the end product is more in volume, but not more in weight. The sin of pride causes people to be puffed up, to think of themselves as more than they really are.
2. Jesus identified leaven as false doctrine and hypocrisy in Matthew 16:6-12:
“Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”