[Exodus 12] The Calendar of God’s Glory: In chapter 12 of Exodus, the Lord prepares the people for the final plague in which all the firstborn of Egypt will die. The timings of God are different than the timings of man. All of the calendar events of worship are connected with the glory of God and His dealings with His people.
[Exo 12:1-25 KJV] 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. 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. 16 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. 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.
In v. 1, the Lord establishes the sacred calendar of Israel, beginning with the marking of Passover’s celebration. Two calendars developed the religious calendar and the sacred calendar. The Civil calendar is the official calendar of kings, childbirth, and contracts. The religious calendar is used to calculate the dates of the feasts and festivals. The first month referred to in v. 1 is Nissan that corresponds to March/April on the Gregorian or modern calendar.
In this first month on the tenth day of the month, the children of Israel are instructed to take a lamb for a house and to keep it till the 14th day and then kill it in the evening. What does this lamb represent, and why must it be killed on the fourteenth day?
The lamb represents Christ sacrificed as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) for the sins of the world. It is to be killed on the fourteenth day because 14 is divisible by 1, 2, and 7.
1 – there is one Savior.
2 – witnessed by two testaments.
7 – providing God’s perfect solution to the sin problem.
After killing the lamb, its blood is to be sprinkled on the doorpost, and then the family within shall eat the meal leaving nothing till morning (v. 10).
Why were they instructed to leave nothing till morning? This speaks of receiving the sacrifice, not on our terms but God’s terms. We are not merely taking our fill, but we are submitting to God’s just requirement regarding sin and salvation. Jesus is not only our savior but our Lord. We cannot pick and choose, but we must accept him on HIS terms as Jesus said at the last supper:
[Mat 26:27 KJV] 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
There was further instruction that they were to eat the meal fully clothed with their shoes on their feet, their loins girded, and their staff in their hands. What does this say to us? Consider Paul in Eph. 6:14.
[Eph 6:14 KJV] 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
We are not to be lax in our salvation. Just because the Death Angel passes over us, we are still under constraint to God, to the rod of His authority and the requirement to gird our loins (our minds with God’s word, which is His truth).
[Exodus 12:26-51 KJV] 26And 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. 28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 29 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. 30 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. 31 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. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. 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]. 34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35 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: 36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them [such things as they required]. And they spoiled the Egyptians. 37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot [that were] men, beside children. 38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, [even] very much cattle. 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. 40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, [was] four hundred and thirty years. 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. 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.
After giving the instruction regarding the ordinance of Passover, they are commanded not only to observe this once but henceforward forever as a reminder to themselves and their children of the great deliverance that God is about to work on behalf of the Israelites against the Egyptians.
In v. 28, the people do as Moses instructs and true to God’s word He strikes all the firstborn of Egypt from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the least of all the people of Egypt whereupon the blood was not applied to the doorposts of their homes.
In v. 31, Pharaoh sends for Moses and Aaron by night with the instruction to go as they have said and serve their God with their flocks and herds, and their little ones. Now all the Egyptians rise up and urge the Israelites to go, for they could only see themselves as dead men as long as Abraham’s children are among them. As they go forth, they do not do so empty-handed, but they take off the Egyptians their jewels and silver and precious raiment that the Egyptians willingly gave them. This speaks of the wealth and blessing that God does promise the people of God. There is no poverty in the kingdom. Living for God is not about going out empty-handed but rather blessed and favored in the earth as we sojourn in life toward what God has for us as believers.
In leaving Egypt in such haste, they could not leaven their bread as they were accustomed to doing (v. 39). In this instance, leaven represents sin. In 1 Cor. 5:6, Paul compared sin in the church at Corinth to leaven and warned that a little leaven would leaven the whole lump (the church), and for that reason, they were to expel the man living in a conjugal relationship with his father’s wife.
Thus (v. 41) concludes the 430-year sojourn of the children of Israel among the Egyptians. They came in as 70 souls and upon leaving number 603,550 men above the age of 20 and their wives, and their children, perhaps an estimate of at least 1.5 to 2 million souls.
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