On April 18th-20th, the Christian world remembered the death and resurrection of Jesus. Yet, many of them do not recognize how his death was foretold in the Old Testament. One of these instances was in Israel’s Passover.
God instructed the Israelites to select one unblemished lamb per household. The lamb, a male of the first year, was to be taken into their homes on the 10th of Nisan. On the evening of the 14th, the Israelites were to kill the animal, sprinkle its blood on the lintels and doorposts of their homes and consume the entire lamb that night. During that night, the tenth plague on Egypt—the death of the firstborn—took place. When the angel of the Lord found the lamb’s blood sprinkled on the lintel and doorposts, he “passed over” sparing the firstborn in that house. The slaying of the Egyptian firstborn led Pharaoh into finally releasing the Israelites (Exod. 12:1-36).
The Apostle Paul tells us, “Our Passover Lamb has already been offered in sacrifice—even Christ” (1 Cor. 5:7, Weymouth). The unblemished Passover lamb represented the man Christ Jesus who was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26). Jesus was sinless because he was not a descendant of Father Adam. Instead, God’s only begotten Son—the Word—gave up his spirit nature and was made flesh, a perfect man. “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, New American Standard Bible).
Paul explains in Galatians 4:4,5, NASB: “When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law.” Jesus had to be a perfect man, to be a ransom for the perfect man Adam who had sinned (1 Tim. 2:5,6). God’s plan was for Jesus to be made flesh and then give up that perfect human life in death taking Adam’s place under the penalty of death. This would enable God to release Adam and his descendants from the penalty and give them an opportunity for life in Christ’s earthly kingdom.
God’s plan of salvation also includes a provision whereby the faithful followers of Jesus receive a spiritual reward, and assist the resurrected Jesus in bringing Adam and the human family back into harmony with God in Christ’s kingdom. They are the “church of the firstborn” whose names are written in heaven (Heb. 12:23). Together with Jesus, they are the “firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18). Just as the blood of the Passover lamb protected the firstborn Israelites, the blood of Jesus protects his followers during the nighttime of this Gospel Age.
This illustration of Jesus as the Passover lamb is repeated in the Bible. John described Jesus as the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Peter writes that we were redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a [Passover] lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Pet. 1:19). This illustration of Jesus as the Passover Lamb is so important, that John describes our resurrected Lord in heaven as the lamb that was slain (Rev. 5:6,12).