Passover Reflections: The Lamb (ii)

The Pesach Lamb

 

We have already spent some time discussing the lamb from Aqedah story from Genesis 22 – the first time the word “lamb” occurs in the Torah. This time we will discuss a lamb in chapter twelve of the Book of Shemot (Exodus), which details the story of the Exodus from Egypt.  Like the Akedah, Exodus holds a unique place in God’s plan for Israel, as well as His plan for the whole of humanity. Reading this chapter from the beginning, we again find a lamb: the lamb that was to be slain on the eve of the Exodus had to be separated out four days beforehand.

 

On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb… Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year… Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.[1]

 

Doubtless, this passage is one of the most central in the Torah for all who believe in God’s Word. It is here that we find for the first time the image of the sacrificial lamb as a basis for salvation. The slain lamb in Exodus, with whose blood the doorposts were stained, was the symbol, the promise and the basis for Israel’s salvation from Egypt. The Lamb looking as though it had been slain,[2] from the book of Revelation, is the symbol, promise, and basis for the salvation brought to the whole earth. Everything that happened to Jesus during the time of Pesach two thousand years ago was the full, literal manifestation of the same scenario God gave us in the Book of Exodus.

 

In my last post I mentioned that this Passover I decided to give my readers a gift of a script for a Pesach play that I wrote some time ago. I hoped you would download and read it (you can download it from my website: http://readjuliablum.com), however I would like to add a few words about it. The events (fictional, of course) the play describes take place in Egypt right before the Exodus. The main character is a Hebrew boy called Avi who has a favorite pet lamb, which is his constant companion and favorite play-mate. When the Lord gives the order through Moses to separate out a lamb for the sacrifice, Avi’s family settles their choice on that lamb, possibly because he was the very best, or perhaps because he was just the only one there was. The evening before the Exodus, Avi’s parents go to catch the lamb to slay it, and the crying boy chases after them, all the time asking, “Why? Why him? He is so good, so white, so clean and pure!” His parents answer, “This is the reason we are choosing him; because he is spotless, he is the one that must be used for the sacrifice. Later you’ll understand why we could not act otherwise and the reason that he needs to die.” That night when, ready to leave Egypt, all the family members including the tearful boy sit at the table sharing the first ever Passover seder in the history of Israel, suddenly there is complete silence. Then, first from one, then from another house we hear horrified shrieks and wails. The boy, utterly frightened, is held close by his parents and when he looks up into their faces, inquisitively waiting for an explanation, his mother explains, “Now do you understand why your lamb had to die? On this night the angel of death is striking all the firstborn sons of Egypt. You are our firstborn, and if not for the blood of the lamb on our doorposts, you would have died too. With his death, he gave you life.” With tears in his eyes, the shaken Avi gives thanks to God for His provision of salvation.

 

I have related this scene to help us understand how everything that happened to Jesus fulfilled the scenario laid out by God during the time of the Exodus. At one point in the play, the boy’s parents seem cruel and inhumane in the eyes of their son, but they were simply following God’s instructions, saving his life by the blood of the sacrificial lamb. The crucifixion of Jesus seemed  also cruel and inhumane, but through it God’s plan for salvation was accomplished through the shed blood of the ‘sacrificial Lamb’.

 

The silent sufferer

So, God will provide Himself a lamb in His son – this is the theme that flows through the Akedah. The sacrificial lamb as a basis for salvation is the image given in Exodus.  There are also several places in Torah where this word occurs in a very literal sense and has no special additional spiritual connotations. The third time we find a significant mention of a lamb in the Tanach is in the well-known fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, which long ago became a stumbling stone between Christians and Jewish people – the former reading it as a prophecy of the atoning death of the Messiah, while the latter assert that Isaiah is prophetically describing the suffering of the people of Israel. In the seventh verse of this chapter we read: He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. Here we begin to hear a third motif, without which the Biblical image of the lamb is incomplete: humbly and silently, the lamb carries the sufferings laid on him for the sake of others. The substitutionary suffering of the meek and humble lamb is the third motif connected with this image that we find in the Tanach.

 

Now in a deeper and more meaningful way, we can comprehend the exclamation of John the Baptist in the beginning of John’s Gospel – the exclamation we began our quest with. In the words: ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,’ all three of God’s mysteries which we have examined are fused into a united whole:  The Lamb of God means that this is the Son (Gen. 22) and that His substitutionary suffering (Is. 53) will become the basis for salvation (Ex. 12). All that the Lord spoke to Israel during their history has found fulfillment in the substitutionary suffering and death of the lamb (you can read mote about the Lamb in  Tanach (Old Testament) in my book If you are  Son of God...)

 

 

 

[1] Ex. 12:3-7

[2] Rev. 5:6

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

You might also be interested in:

Torah Portion In Real Time:...

By Julia Blum

Torah Portion In Real Time: Toldot

By Julia Blum

Join the conversation (22 comments)

Leave a Reply

  1. Rozanna Combrinck

    My darling Julia I have been soooooooo blessed by the play you wrote! It thrilled my soul! Thankyou so much and may you and your ministry be blessed.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, Rozanna, I am so happy to hear that!

  2. Lynn

    Julia, I’ve learned so much from all of your lessons and look forward to reading your post each week! One thing I’d like to point out is God’s amazing timing! In Exodus12 it says the lamb is to be selected on the 10th day of the 1st month and it’s to be examined until the 14th day. In John 12:1,12 we see Jesus having dinner in Bethany 6 days before the Passover and in verse 12 it says “the next day” he made his Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. So he made this Triumphal entry on the 10th day of the first month….the day the perfect lamb was to be selected! He presented himself for inspection for the next 4 days and became our Passover Lamb on the 14th day! God’s timing is perfect down to almost the minute!!

    1. Julia Blum

      You are right, Lynn, these parallels are amazing. In fact, in my next post (still Passover Reflections) I will be writing about it : Jesus entering Jerusalem. Stay tuned! 🙂

  3. Luis Enrique Antolín

    My english isn’t good,so I can’t write my comment the way I would like, I’ll try my best.

    According to the narration in Exodus (Shemot) the bllod of the lamb preserves from death but in fact is the death of first-born of Egypt what is the cause of Israel’s liberation.
    According to Christianism, God offers His own Son for Redemptoion instead of demanding ,as in Akedah, for instance, the sacrifice of the son of another one,Abraham.
    It can even sounds like more or less heretic but it can also be a quite interesting question ,the possible relationship in theological terms,besides the lamb, between the Son of God who dies for redemption/liberation and the death of egyptyan first-born, especially symbolized by the son of Pharaoh.Of course,I speak from a christian point of view.

    That question,that reflection,needs a wide development,naturally. By the moment it’s just a suggestion.

    Have a good time of Passover,Julia.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you for your profound comment, Luis. Very interesting thought, indeed – let’s think about it together!

  4. Robert Tobin

    Thank you, Julia. As we prepare ourselves for the Passover Seder it is very helpful to read these thoughts that you have. Obviously, we are all at different levels in our walk but in bringing out the lamb from the Akedah to the Exodus and bringing it home to Yeshua and His sacrifice ties everything together. Yeshua came for two reasons: 1) to teach us how to be servants; 2) to take away the sins of the world, and to give us life.

  5. Marcia New

    Thank you, Julia! What an inspirational lesson for us all I LOVE it when you tell us the meaning of the Hebrew words! In past lessons you have done that. I have taken a year of the language, and it is especially meaningful for me to know the meaning of certain words.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Marcia, Hebrew is an amazing language indeed, so profound and so multifaceted; the meanings of the Hebrew words add so much depth to the understanding of the Scriptures; so it’s wonderful you love the language and are interested in the meanings of the words!

  6. EAPEN NINAN

    Thanks julia for the enlightning words,it is agreat hrlp gor meto prepare a devotional sermon for goodfriday.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Eapen, I am glad you find it helpful!

  7. Beth

    Thanks again Julia for this in depth study which I know you have more to reveal. As previously said, the Tanak is a picture, type and shadow of God’s revelation of His Son and to understand the New Testament you must first see the picture in the Tanak. Many stumble at the “Blood” because they have not had a revelation of the power of the blood. Many Christians plead the Blood of Jesus over themselves because of the Passover Lamb and the saying “When I see the blood I will Passover you.” They know it is their protection. There is great power in the Blood of the Lamb. Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death. Shalom. God bless.

  8. VILAIRE MATHEUS

    Very good Julia. John: 3 v.16 God so love the world… The lamb killed in the Garden of Eden, The Lamb killed before the passeover, the sacrificial lambs offered in the sanctuary, the lamb introduced by John the Baptist, are no other than the one crucified on the calvary cross, Jesus-Crist, the blessed Son of God. Seriously Julia, you need to have that blood sealing your heart. Do you accept that same lamb as your personal Saviour. This is the unique way of Salvation Isaiah 49 vs 26; Matthew 1 vs 21.

  9. Leinani

    Julia thank you so much. Todah ha Bah!! The richness in your insights is like food and water for the soul. May Yeshua continue to enrich you as you faithfully share the Word and may that blessing spill out into your whole life.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you so much Leinani! Your kind words touch and bless my heart!

  10. Rowland

    Wow, wow, wow! Revelation directly from above! Todah rabah!

    1. Julia Blum

      Todah Rabah Rowland! It’s a blessing to know that it touches the hearts and the minds. I really recommend you to read my book, I think you would like it. Blessings!

  11. Martin

    Good day Julia

    Thanks for immense lessons on the lamb of God

    And may I ask, why is it that you don’t quote from the New Testament nor do you teach on it

    1. Julia Blum

      Shalom Martin, thank you for your kind words. Of course, I do teach on the New Testament: before this new series, I had had a long series on Hidden Messiah, and most of this teaching was based on the New testament. In my last posts, I wanted to show the image of the lamb in Tanach (Old Testament) , that’s why, of course, all the quotes in these posts are taken from Tanach.

  12. Jimmy Wewoe

    Julian
    Thanks for the illustration of the Boy AVI. this really tells me that Jesus is my Pass Over Lamb – I Cort. 7: 9.
    Exodus 12 explain about the Ordinance . The question now is “How do we as Christian apply the Lamb’s Blood on our Lives , Homes and place of Work especially new testament believers.

    1. H. Samuel Santiago

      Ms. Blum I enjoy your blog very much. I am a Messianic believer for many years and I wish if it was possible for a small drash every week on the parshah. I go to the Synagogue every week but, I find that the more I can read about ” His Word” from different perspectives in enriches my life. Your blog on the Hidden Messiah were great. I look forward to reading more. Thank You. Brachot V’Shalom.

      1. Julia Blum

        Thank you for your kind words, Samuel. I’ve been thinking about this also; maybe , in the future it would be possible to start a series of “drashes” on weekly portion of Torah.