1. THE PASSOVER INSTITUTED
a. What was the last message given to Pharaoh, the rebellious monarch, before the departure of Israel from Egypt? What was the imminent sentence? Exodus 11:4–8.
b. Before the execution of this sentence, what directions did God give the Israelites concerning their departure? Summarize Exodus 12:1–28.
“The Lord through Moses gave direction to the children of Israel concerning their departure from Egypt, and especially for their preservation from the coming judgment. Each family, alone or in connection with others, was to slay a lamb or a kid ‘without blemish,’ and with a bunch of hyssop sprinkle its blood on ‘the two side posts and on the upper doorpost’ of the house, that the destroying angel, coming at midnight, might not enter that dwelling. . . .
“In commemoration of this great deliverance a feast was to be observed yearly by the people of Israel in all future generations. . . . As they should keep the feast in future years, they were to repeat to their children the story of this great deliverance.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 274.
“The first of these festivals, the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, occurred in Abib, the first month of the Jewish year, corresponding to the last of March and the beginning of April. . . .
“The Passover was followed by the seven days’ feast of unleavened bread.”—Ibid., pp. 537, 539.
2. THE TOKEN OF BLOOD
a. What was the meaning of the blood that was to be placed on the houses of the Israelites? Exodus 12:7, 13, 23.
“Before obtaining freedom, the bondmen must show their faith in the great deliverance about to be accomplished. The token of blood must be placed upon their houses, and they must separate themselves and their families from the Egyptians, and gather within their own dwellings. Had the Israelites disregarded in any particular the directions given them, had they neglected to separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the lamb, but failed to strike the doorpost with blood, or had any gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure. They might have honestly believed that they had done all that was necessary, but their sincerity would not have saved them. All who failed to heed the Lord’s directions would lose their firstborn by the hand of the destroyer. . . .
“The sign of blood—the sign of a Saviour’s protection—was on their doors, and the destroyer entered not.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 278, 279.
b. What mark of protection do we need—and how only can we obtain it? Ezekiel 9:4; Revelation 7:1–3; 14:1.
“What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord’s adopted sons and daughters. The sin of the transgression of the law of God is taken away. They have on the wedding garment and are obedient and faithful to all God’s commands.”—Maranatha, p. 243.
“The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 117.
“Those that overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be the favored ones who shall receive the seal of the living God. Those whose hands are not clean, whose hearts are not pure, will not have the seal of the living God. Those who are planning sin and acting it will be passed by. Only those who, in their attitude before God, are filling the position of those who are repenting and confessing their sins in the great anti-typical day of atonement, will be recognized and marked as worthy of God’s protection.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 445.
3. THE BITTER HERBS AND THE UNLEAVENED BREAD
a. With what were the Israelites instructed to eat the Passover lamb? Exodus 12:8. What was the meaning of the bitter herbs?
“The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, as pointing back to the bitterness of the bondage in Egypt. So when we feed upon Christ, it should be with contrition of heart, because of our sins.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 278.
b. Living in this last generation, what might the bitter herbs cause God’s people to consider? Hebrews 2:18; Revelation 1:9.
“It is through one who is a ‘brother, and companion in tribulation’ (Revelation 1:9) that Christ reveals to His people the fearful conflicts which they must meet before His second coming. Before the scenes of their bitter struggle are opened to them, they are reminded that their brethren also have drunk of the cup and been baptized with the baptism. He who sustained these early witnesses to the truth will not forsake His people in the final conflict.”—The Home Missionary, November 1, 1893.
c. What did the unleavened bread symbolize—and what does this mean for us today? Exodus 12:15; 1 Corinthians 5:6–8.
“The followers of Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must receive and assimilate the word of God so that it shall become the motive power of life and action. By the power of Christ they must be changed into His likeness and reflect the divine attributes. They must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, or there is no life in them. The spirit and work of Christ must become the spirit and work of His disciples. . . .
“The use of unleavened bread also was significant. It was expressly enjoined in the law of the Passover, and as strictly observed by the Jews in their practice, that no leaven should be found in their houses during the feast. In like manner the leaven of sin must be put away from all who would receive life and nourishment from Christ.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 278.
4. A COMMEMORATIVE AND TYPICAL ORDINANCE
a. Who was not permitted to eat the Passover lamb? Exodus 12:43, 45. What requirement did a stranger have to meet before he or she was allowed to take part in the ordinance? Exodus 12:44, 48.
“Christ made baptism the entrance to His spiritual kingdom.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 143.
b. What ordinance takes the place of the Passover feast under the new covenant? Luke 22:14–20. What requirement is necessary in order to partake of it?
“When the Saviour yielded up His life on Calvary, the significance of the Passover ceased, and the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was instituted as a memorial of the same event of which the Passover had been a type.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 539.
“The Passover was to be both commemorative and typical, not only pointing back to the deliverance from Egypt, but forward to the greater deliverance which Christ was to accomplish in freeing His people from the bondage of sin.”—Ibid., p. 277.
c. How does God view the attempt of some professed Christians today to continue the ancient Hebrew rites? Galatians 4:9–11. What was added to the New Testament version of the Passover service—and why? John 13:1–17.
“In this ordinance [of humility], Christ discharged His disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any virtue; for type was meeting antitype in Himself, the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances that pointed to Him as the great and only efficacious offering for the sins of the world. . . .
“This ordinance does not speak so largely to man’s intellectual capacity as to his heart. His moral and spiritual nature needs it. . . . It was Christ’s desire to leave to His disciples an ordinance that would do for them the very thing they needed—that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah.”—The Review and Herald, June 14, 1898.
5. THE FIRSTBORN
a. What was the symbolical meaning of the dedication of the firstborn? Numbers 3:13.
“The dedication of the firstborn had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the Firstborn of heaven to save the sinner. This gift was to be acknowledged in every household by the consecration of the firstborn son. He was to be devoted to the priesthood, as a representative of Christ among men.
“In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the dedication of the firstborn was again commanded.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 51.
“The firstborn of both man and beast were to be the Lord’s, to be bought back only by a ransom, in acknowledgment that when the firstborn in Egypt perished, that of Israel, though graciously preserved, had been justly exposed to the same doom but for the atoning sacrifice.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 274.
“The law for the presentation of the firstborn was made particularly significant. While it was a memorial of the Lord’s wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel, it prefigured a greater deliverance, to be wrought out by the only begotten Son of God. As the blood sprinkled on the doorposts had saved the firstborn of Israel, so the blood of Christ has power to save the world.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 51.
b. In what sense is Christ the Firstborn? Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What was the Passover feast, and when was it held?
2. When the Lord was about to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, how were they required to show their faith in the expected miracle?
3. What was symbolized by the unleavened bread and by the bitter herbs?
4. What event did the Passover commemorate as it pointed to the past? What event did it typify as it pointed to the future?
5. What did the presentation of the firstborn commemorate, and what did it prefigure?