Passover: An Adventist Perspective
An excerpt from the booklet
Israelite Festivals and The Christian Church by Angel Rodriguez, published by the Biblical Research Institute based at the General Conference.
he Passover was instituted shortly before the Exodus from Egypt took place (Exod 12). It is introduced in the Exodus narrative in connection with the tenth plague. This plague is God’s final judgment on Egypt and could have affected the Israelites who dwelt there. When instituted the Passover had the purpose of protecting the Hebrews from the painful effects of the tenth plague. That night all the firstborns in Egypt would die.
During Abib 14 each family was to slaughter a lamb without blemish (12:5, 21). Its bones were not to be broken. The flesh of the victim was eaten during the evening by family members as a type of peace offering (12:27). It was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (v 8) and its blood was placed on the doorposts and lintel of each house (v 22). That blood ritual indicated that in that house a life had been given in place of the life of the firstborn of the family. The Lord would “see the blood” (v 13) and would pass over the house preserving the life of the firstborn of that family.
While in Egypt all the firstborns died, among the Hebrews a sacrificial victim died. Through its blood the firstborns of Israel were redeemed. The idea of expiation or propitiation is not clearly stated but the Hebrews may have interpreted the ritual as having some expiatory force in the sense of preserving intact their relationship with the Lord by escaping from His judgment. Although originally God told the Israelites to offer the sacrifice in their own towns, once they entered Canaan it was to be offered at the central sanctuary (Deut 16:5-6). There the blood was thrown against the altar in the same fashion as the blood of most sacrifices (2 Chron 35:11).
The feast commemorated the Exodus from Egypt and by celebrating it each generation went, in a sense, through the Exodus experience (Exod 12:26; cf Deut 6:21-25). This event was perceived by the Israelites as expressing the pattern of God’s redemptive power. Hence, any redemptive act of God in the future was interpreted typologically in terms of the Exodus event commemorated in the Passover (e.g. Isa 48:20-21).
The New Testament reveals the typological significance of this feast by identifying Jesus with the Passover lamb (John 1:36) who died during the celebration of the Passover feast (19:14) and whose bones were not broken (19:36). It is through his blood that redemption was achieved, freeing humans from the power of the evil forces of this world (Heb 9:12; 2:14-15). In fact, Paul considers Jesus to be the embodiment of the Passover feast itself (1 Cor 5:8).