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Exodus 12 - The Personal Relevance of the Passover



Hi, my name is Tom Cantor, and I would like to explain how I as a Jew came to understand the true meaning of the Passover. I grew up in a home where my great-grandfather and grandfather were Orthodox Rabbi’s, and my father was a Conservative, but we always celebrated the Passover every year and had people over to our house. It was a family affair and we went through the Haggadah. I went through my life wondering, “I wonder if I’ll ever really understand why is this empty table setting there for the Prophet Elijah. Why do we open the door and why do we go through all these different drinking’s of the cups and dipping’s and eating’s.


It wasn’t until I was nineteen years old, when I read something that a Jewish man wrote. It was called Yohan: Yohan and the Baptizer. Yohan the Emerser. John the Baptist. And when he saw one person for the first time in John chapter 1 verse 29, he said, “Behold, the lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” The Lamb of God was a person, the Jewish Messiah, the God who became man, and who I found out to be as the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember reading that for the first time and I thought, “The Lamb of God…”


I remember when I was at a Passover gathering in Cincinnati in 1969 at my Aunt Mary’s house. Her husband, Uncle Pete loved to mess with my Aunt Mary. At the Passover meal we went through Haggadah, and Uncle Pete blurts out, “Christians believe Christ was the Passover Lamb.” And immediately Aunt Mary shouts from the kitchen, “Pete, Shut up!" What Uncle Pete said lodged in my mind, “Christ was the Passover Lamb.”


In Exodus chapter 12, we find the history of the Passover that God told Moses and Aaron. This didn’t come out of the mind of Moses and Aaron, this came out of the mind of God. What God was telling Moses and Aaron, and us, is that this is such an important event, that he was going to stop the calendar, and start it again in Exodus 12 to be first day of the month to be their beginning day. God was telling the Jewish people that Passover is His beginning day with Him. No Passover, no beginning with God. That’s way Passover starts a new calendar and it also starts a new life and new birth.


The Jewish messiah said, “Except you be born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God. Except you born again, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” Being born again is your beginning, and Passover is that beginning for us all. Exodus 12:3a says, “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel…” This means it must be known to all of Israel.  Exodus 12:3b “…On the tenth day of this month, you shall take to them every man a lamb.” Not a lamb for every man but every man a lamb. Exodus 12:3c-4a “…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;” The houses were never too big for the lamb. The lamb was always big enough for the houses.


The Jewish messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, died on the cross, His death was adequate or big enough for as many who would come to him. He died for everyone. His blood was there to redeem anyone who comes to Him. There’s room at the cross for you. The Lamb is enough. It is never too many for a lamb. Exodus 12:4b “…every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.  In verse 3, “take a lamb.” Now all of the sudden “the lamb” has become important and it’s not just a lamb, it’s the lamb. It was once a lamb of the herd, but now it is identified as “the lamb”.


Exodus 12:5 says, “Your lamb shall be without blemish,” The transformation is taking place. A lamb within a herd became separated and focused on. Then he became the lamb for family. But there is a final transformation. It’s now your lamb, not just the lamb, but my lamb. A lamb, the lamb, my lamb. Do you see the progression there? God’s saying, “I’ll present to you my Messiah, the Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. You’ll see him as a Jewish man but now he will become separated out from humanity.” And you’ll say, “He’s the Messiah.” He was a man. He’s the Messiah. He’s God. He’s my Messiah and my God.” The Passover lamb goes from ‘a’ to ‘the’ to ‘your’ in verse 3, 4, and 5.


God says in Exodus 12:5a “Your lamb shall be without blemish,” That was the characteristic: without blemish. He goes on to say in Exodus 12:5b “…a male of the first year: you’ll take it out from the sheep, you’ll take it out from the goats.” This tells us that the Passover Lamb or Jewish Messiah is not just a good person who lived within society or humanity, the Jewish Messiah is God, is perfect, and we know this was the Lord Jesus Christ. How is he different? All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but not Him, He did no sin and He’s out from among them and different. God is telling us, “You take him out and you take him apart. He’s different.”


God continues telling to us in Exodus 12:6a “And you keep him for a fourteenth day.” Remember, the Passover started on the tenth day and you keep the Passover lamb until the fourteenth day. This was so they could get to know the Lamb. We know very little about the Lord Jesus Christ when he was growing up. We got a little bit of a glimpse when He was a twelve years old. We got to see Him lost in a Passover crowd, and his parents couldn’t find him, and they had to go back to Jerusalem. They found him disputing, at twelve years old, with the rabbis and the teachers in the Jerusalem Temple. His mother came to him and essentially said, “Don’t you know you caused our hearts to worry for you.” God in human flesh as a child said, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Then the door was closed, and the obscurity continued on for the thirty years when He was growing.


We know that He learned obedience by things he suffered, but there was nothing else until He presented himself openly and publically to John the Baptist who said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Then he came out from the obscurity of growing up for thirty years. This moment was the tenth day. The Lamb has presented Himself, and He was open. Teaching in the temple, and He was among the people teaching on the Mount of Olives. He was found teaching publically the people on the shore while standing in a boat. People came to Him that were sick and needing to be healed. They heard His words, He fed thousands, everybody saw Him, and He hardly had a moment of privacy His own. He had to resort unto mountain tops to be alone with God the Father, but He made Himself available in public. His enemies saw Him. His friends saw Him. His family saw him. For three years, He was under constant observation like the days of observation of the Passover lamb.


Then he said, “To all, friends, family, enemies especially, which of you convinceth me of sin? Which of you can point out in my life sin? Which of you can say I sinned?” Nobody could say He sinned. Even Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man.” The centurion at the cross said when He died, “This is a righteous man.” Nobody found any sin in him. A lamb was on display for three days, and He was without blemish. He was under constant observation.


The Passover lamb was always on display to the family for three days.  They watched, “Is there any wrong with his knees? Does he have any mucus in his nose? Do his gums look okay? Are there any abscesses on his body? Is there anything wrong with this lamb?” Then they said, “No, he’s a lamb without blemish.” For three years they said, “Is there anything that Jesus said that is wrong? Is there any sin that He said? Did anybody see anything that he did?” They said, “No, He has no fault. He’s without blemish. He’s qualified.” The God who became a man: the Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s been on display for three years. He is qualified. The lamb that we have separated and watched, He’s without blemish. The Lamb is qualified. He passed His qualification test.


Then what happened? At the end of verse 6, it says, “And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” The Lord Jesus Christ passed His qualification test after three years, and then He was killed. He was qualified. He was without blemish. The Lamb was qualified and was without blemish. The Lamb was qualified to die and they killed it. Then God says to take the blood of the lamb, “You shall take of the blood.” Now it’s dead, can I walk away? No. You take the blood. You collect the blood.


The Bible says in Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” The blood speaks for its life. You take that blood of that lamb. You take like a reed or hyssop. Think of it like a paint brush. You take that blood. You turn around. You go to the door of your house. You take the blood on the hyssop like a paint brush. You apply the blood on the top of the door. You don’t paint it on the top of your house, you strike it on the top of the doorpost. Exodus 12:22 “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.” You strike it on the top or lintel, then strike it on the mezuzah, which is the doorpost. You strike it on the doorpost. You strike it on the other doorpost here. That’s a shape of the cross. The top, then one side, and the other side. Essentially a top strike, side strike, and quickly across to the other side strike, with blood running down the top strike.


When the Lord Jesus Christ died, they took the Lamb of God. They nailed Him to a cross. They put Him in the air. They had a crown of thorns on His head. Blood is dripping from His head. Blood dripping as it would from the lintel over the door. Blood is dripping from both hands on each side. Blood is essentially dripping from doorpost to doorpost as He hung on the cross.


In striking the lintel and doorposts, the blood has been applied for the family as God said. Then it says in Exodus 12:9 “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.”  Now, you eat the flesh of the lamb. You don’t kosher-ize it. You don’t salt it. You eat the flesh in that night. Exodus 12:8 “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.” You roast it with fire, unleavened bread, with bitter herbs, and you eat it. You don’t eat it raw. You sodden at all with fire or roast it with fire, his head with his legs, and everything.


Exodus 12:10 “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.”  It was a sacrifice. You know in the temple, the people ate some of the sacrifices. Israel ate the Passover lamb, the lamb that saved them from death and destruction.


The Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no part with me.” (John 6:53-56). Those around Him when He said this said, “Whoa, whoa, what are you talking about eating flesh and drinking blood. What is this? What is it, is it Cannibalism?” No. What was he referring to? You eat that Passover lamb. If you receive me, then it’s like you’re eating the Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb.


Here’s how you’re supposed to eat the Passover lamb. Exodus 12:11 “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.” You eat it with your loins girded, meaning in a hurry, not time to rest with your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand. It’s not a leisurely dinner, and is to be eaten in haste or quickly. It’s the Lord’s Passover. It’s the Lord’s sparing. It’s the Lord’s skipping.  


Then God says, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to pass through. Exodus 12:12 “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.” It’s like a universal catastrophe. God is going to pass through the land of Egypt, and every first born of any kind is going to die. It’s going be to Egyptians, Jews, or animals. Everybody is going to be affected, and there’s only one singular way of escape. God says, “This is the way you’ve got to do it.” It’s God’s plan of salvation, and He says, “This is the way you’re going to be saved.” He says, “We’re going to get the lamb. The lamb’s going to transform to become; a lamb, the lamb, your lamb. You’re going to kill the lamb. You’re going eat the lamb. You’re going apply the blood. This is the way it’s going to work.


It applied to Jews and it applied to Egyptians. It was God, the God of all the earth. It wasn’t a way of salvation, it was His way of salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man (No Jews, no Egyptians, no Muslims) cometh unto the Father, but by me.” This is the way, and this is how it’s going to work. If they didn’t do it the right way, death came. Somebody might say, “You know what I’m a pacifist, I’m going to sit at my door way here. I’ll meditate my way through this.” Regardless of the other ways, death came.


You know who was most concerned about whether it was done right? The firstborn son. “Dad , Dad, Dad, please, please, tell me, would you please rehearse it with me again? Are you sure that you got it right, Dad? Did you go get the lamb? Dad, please tell me that was a lamb without blemish. Dad, please tell me that you killed the lamb. Please tell me. Dad, did you collect the blood? Dad, did you remember the hissop? Dad, did you put it on there? Dad, we’re trusting in what God said, would you please do it God’s way. Don’t improvise Dad.” And when Dad said, “I did it God’s way.” Then the son can say, “Now I’m trusting what God said.”


Exodus 12:13 “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.” If you went walking down the street, anyone who had the blood on their lintel and doorposts, you could say that person trusted God. Likewise, God could pass through and see the testimony, and death could pass over you. If there was blood, that person and those inside trusted God.


So why is it so important, when you receive the Jewish Messiah to confess with your mouth that you are now in the Jewish Messiah? It’s a token to you and to God. Just like they saw the blood there as a token of faith in God through the blood, confessing the Lord Jesus Christ as the Jewish Messiah is a similar token.  God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” God sees the blood when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb. God saw the blood of the lamb in Egypt, and He has can see the blood of the Lamb of God to anyone that has applied the blood to the lintel and doorposts of their heart.


Where is your Passover Lamb, where is your blood, and will you apply the blood when you find the right Passover Lamb?  God has given you the sovereignty of choice, and the sovereignty of choice is contained in this question, “Will you apply the blood?”


At the first Passover you could get the lamb, separate the lamb, make sure that that lamb had no blemish, kill the lamb, but if you didn’t apply the blood on the house, death would not pass over the first born. In like manner, you could know that Jesus of Nazareth was the God who became a man and the Jewish Messiah. You could even worship him knowing that fact. You could even understand that He died on the cross for your sins and was raised the third day. But! If you don’t apply that blood of the Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, to the spiritual doorpost of your heart, and trust that He will save you from your sins, God will not pass over you.


It’s the blood that’s applied.  “When I see the blood” means when God sees the blood applied he will pass over you. The alternative is Exodus 12:13b-14 “…and (I got a promise God says) the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. That’s your memorial day.


My memorial day was the day when I put the blood on the doorpost of my heart and I was saved from being destroyed by the angel of death and the plague never reached me. My Passover happened in September, 1970. I was in a Baptist Church of all places. How could a Jew be in a Baptist Church? I have no idea, it was a scary place, and the only scarier place was a Catholic church.


I was personally searching, and in my search I went to the Jewish temples. I have questions about Jesus being the Passover Lamb. The Rabbi’s said, “We can’t talk to you about Jesus.” So I was looking in the newspaper, the newspaper said that there was going to be a movie on Israel showing at a Baptist church. I said, “How Anti-Semitic could this Baptist church be?” I sat in a back row. I sat as close as I could be to the door. I wanted out of there as soon as the movie was finished. The movie finally finished, and I was just about to make a B-line for the door, before anyone could tell I was a Jew. Then, a little old lady came up to me and she put her hand on my shoulder and she said, “You’re a Jew, aren’t you?” I said, “Oh, no. How do you know? Do I have a map of Jerusalem on my face?” She said, “Relax, relax, our pastor’s grandmother was Jewish. Why don’t you talk to him?” and I said, “Okay.”


I met with the pastor and I talked with him a little bit about the Passover and he said to me, “Have you ever received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” I didn’t even know what was he was talking about. I know now what’s he’s talking about, but not then. He went on to say, “Have you applied His blood to the doorpost of your heart?” I replied, “I don’t understand what you are saying.” The pastor grabbed a book and said, “Look, I could tell you that I want to give you this book. That’s a fact. In fact, you can believe it and you can say to me, ‘You know I really believe you want to give me the book. You’re a nice man. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. Very kind of you to give me the book.’ That’s a fact. But then there comes a time, when you will reach out your hand, and you’ll take the book out of my hand. That’s receiving something.” I said, “Meaning?” He said, “You can tell me that you believe what this book says, but now you need to receive it and apply it.” I said, “How?”


The pastor said, “You have to pray to God with four points in your prayer. First, you must acknowledge your sin. You tell God that you’re a sinner.” I said, “Look, we haven’t even known each other for very long, but if you knew me you’d understand when I say... There’s no problem for me acknowledging that. If God doesn’t know, I can give him a list.” The pastor continued and said, “Second, you must tell him that you hate your sin.” I said, “True.” He went on to say, “Third, you have told me that you believe this (the Bible) that God became a man, the Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, so He could die for your sins, which He did, and He rose again on the third day. But, now comes the application part. You tell Him that you want that death of the Jewish Messiah, the God who became a man to die for you. Tell Him the Lamb of God should be your Lamb and that you receive Him into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior. Then He becomes your God and He becomes your Savior.”


The pastor then asked me, “Are you willing to do that?” I said, “Can you help me?” He said, “Yes. Bow with my head, and just repeat after me, but mean it from your heart though.” I repeated every part of His prayer from my heart and mouth when he prayed, “Lord Jesus. I’m a sinner. I hate my sin. I believe that you as God became a man and died for my sins. I believe that you as God became a man and died for my sins. You rose again on the third day. I open the door of my heart. I receive you now as my personal Lord and Savior. You died for me. Please save me. In Jesus name. Amen.”


For years I had been carrying so much guilt, and shame, and this dirty feeling. I secretly didn’t tell anybody about it. I didn’t even tell my wife. Nobody. But right away, it was gone. Just like that. I didn’t get amnesia. I can remember all the stuff that I did in the past, but it was like it had no more power over me. I was no longer weak, and debilitated with thoughts of ‘I gotta kill myself’. Instead, I became a child of God, and a new calendar started for me as it did for the Jewish people after Passover. It was a new calendar, because I got a new birth and a new life on that day. I was what the Bible called, “born again”.


Just like the Passover, you have to apply the blood. That is the phrase that gripped me. When John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” It still applies to today. God so loved the world that He gave His son, Jehovah himself in human flesh. The Adonai of the Adonai Elohim.  The Adonai became a man, and then God the Father chose the lamb. He singled out that lamb from humanity as the one that He knew was without sin and was without blemish. Then he called that lamb, a Lamb God. You didn’t choose the lamb from among humanity. God did. You didn’t send that lamb into humanity. God did. When God chose that lamb, He chose it for you and for me.


Then, God the Father, killed the lamb. But, then He stops and He says, “Will you apply the blood of my lamb on the door of your heart? That way I can ‘pasach’, or pass over you. The word ‘pasach’ in Hebrew means to skip, or to excuse. If you were in the military in Israel, and someone comes to you and says, “We have a list here. Here’s a list of men who are going to fight in the Lebanese front, but they find a soldier named Moshe who has flat feet and can’t go out to the front lines.  They would say, “We can’t send Moshe to fight. Moshe pasach!” Pasach simply means ‘to skip’.


We’ve all sinned.  We are on a list. God goes down the list, and He says, “Oh, he applied the blood of the Jewish Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ on the door of his heart. He has received him. He has confessed to him. Pasach!” That is Passover! Skip! No judgment! The death plague will not come upon him! That is what it means. God will pass through to destroy, but God wants to pass over those who have put their faith and trust in the Lamb of God that was slain for their sins.


If you would like to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Passover Lamb, you can pray humbly and honestly from your heart to receive Him today.


Psalms 95:7b-8a “To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness….” 


Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” 


You can receive Him right now, first confessing that you are a lost sinner; second, that you hate your sin that will condemn you to death; third, that you believe that God became a man to die for your sins on the cross in the person of Jesus Christ the Messiah, and then He rose again the 3rd day; fourth, that you receive Him today as your person Lord, Savior, and Messiah.


If you would like more answers to questions you may have, please contact us at 1-800-247-3051. You can also visit our websites for more information www.IsraelRestoration.org and www.FriendshipWithGOD.org. You can also write us at Israel Restoration Ministries, P.O. Box 711330, Santee, CA 92071.


Personal Relevance

of the Passover