Christmas Trees and the Passover Lamb: Exodus

Last week our class studied through the book of Exodus, a drama of epic proportions: filled with plagues, pagan magicians, manna from heaven, and the Mountain of God. It was a tough week for quite a few of us, getting used to the quick, heavy pace of work each week. When we had a break we usually sat, a little shell shocked… not quite sure what to do with ourselves. I like to compare it to the rush of finals week every week. That being said, it is such a privilege to take this time to focus 100% on God’s revelation through His word.

The most gripping picture I found in Exodus was the night of the tenth plague and the introduction of the Passover Lamb. Up until the tenth plague God had shielded the people of Israel from His wrath without any action or response on their part. Yet this plague is different. Moses declares God’s judgement on the firstborn throughout the entire land of Egypt. In order to be spared from deaths in their households, each Israelite family must  take a lamb without blemish and on the fourteenth day of the month, and slaughter it at twilight. The blood of the lamb should be spread along the doorposts and lintel of every household that fears the LORD (Israeli and Egyptian alike). For the first time, Israel is introduced to the concept of blood shielding them from the wrath of God. The LORD makes it clear that this is not to be a one time event. It should be practiced every year as a day of remembrance. This will give Israelite parents the opportunity to train up children who fear YHWH and remember His goodness.

What does this have to do with Christmas? In the same way that pine-needles, cloves, mistletoe and peppermint remind us of the birth of Christ and brings back positive memories from childhood, so the details of the passover (all-night vigil, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, roasted lamb, etc) will always remind Israel of YHWH’s goodness and mercy. This is not meant to be a ritualistic, works-oriented event. Instead, it is meant to stir up awe among the descendants of the Exodus generation towards their God.

Why a lamb? Why the blood? God is setting the stage for the final passover lamb, Jesus Christ, so that he might be rightly identified as the Messiah. It is no coincidence that Jesus was slain on Passover weekend at twilight, while the last valid passover lambs were being slaughtered across Israel. He was called “blameless”. Not one of his bones were broken (as were the men to His right and His left). His blood shields us from the wrath of God.

“And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,”…For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10: 11-15

Today we begin Leviticus. Please pray for perseverance, attentiveness and a heart to learn! We love you all and, as always, are so thankful for your support!

David and Abigail