- The Perfect Lamb
- Protection and deliverance
- Korban Pesach
The Perfect Lamb:
The unblemished lamb was sacrificed by the father (head) of the household.
The unblemished lamb selected on Nisan 10 was to be sacrificed (by the Father of the household) on the eve of Nisan 14, exactly at the appointed time, designated in the Torah, the time occurring “between the two evenings” (1, 2, 3, 4-בֵּ֥ין הָעַרְבָּֽיִם). From the testimony of Josephus (first century, CE) and from the Talmud (third century, CE) the time of between the evenings was regarded as the interval between the sun’s commencing to decline and its actual disappearance (approximately 3 to 6 pm). This three hour period of time allowed in Temple times a sufficient period of time for the priests to sacrifice the large number of lambs that had to be killed in the observance of Pesach in Jerusalem.
Protection and deliverance:
וְעָבַר יְהוָה לִנְגֹּף אֶת־מִצְרַיִם וְרָאָה אֶת־הַדָּם עַל־הַמַּשְׁקֹוף וְעַל שְׁתֵּי הַמְּזוּזֹת וּפָסַח יְהוָה עַל־הַפֶּתַח וְלֹא יִתֵּן הַמַּשְׁחִית לָבֹא אֶל־בָּתֵּיכֶם לִנְגֹּֽף׃
“For Adonai will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, Adonai will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.”
The Hebrew verb “pasach” (פָּסַח) is first mentioned in the Torah account of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:23). Pesach means “He passed over.” This refers to Adonai stepping over, passing over the houses of Israel during the final plague of the Ten Plagues of Egypt. The meaning of the Passover is further revealed through the ancient Greek translation of the Tanakh provided in the Septuagint. The Greek verbs “pareleusetai” (παρελεύσεται) and “eskepasen” (ἐσκέπασεν) are used in the Septuagint to convey “he hovered over” and “guarding” (Exodus 12:23, 27). This imagery is used by Isaiah in his use of the Hebrew verb “pasach” (פָּסַח) in Isaiah 31:5:
כְּצִפֳּרִים עָפֹות כֵּן יָגֵן יְהוָה צְבָאֹות עַל־יְרֽוּשָׁלִָם גָּנֹון וְהִצִּיל פָּסֹחַ וְהִמְלִֽיט׃
As birds hovering, so will Adonai Tseva’ot protect Jerusalem; He will deliver it as He protects it, He will rescue it as He passes over.
דַּבְּרוּ אֶֽל־כָּל־עֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר בֶּעָשֹׂר לַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה וְיִקְחוּ לָהֶם אִישׁ שֶׂה לְבֵית־אָבֹת שֶׂה לַבָּֽיִת׃
“Speak to all the congregation (assembly) of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.’”
The term Pesach refers also to the lamb or kid that was designated as the Passover sacrifice (called the Korban Pesach). Four days before the Exodus, the Israelites were commanded to set aside a lamb or kid and inspect it daily for blemishes (Exodus 12:3).
On the afternoon of the 14th day of Nisan, our ancestors (the people of Israel) were to sacrifice the animal and use its blood to mark the lintels and doorposts. The lintels and the doorposts are a symbol of the entrance and governance of the heart. The heart is the eternal core (center) of our being; also called ‘spirit.’ Only through the atonement sacrifice of Messiah are our hearts cleansed sufficient for the life-sustaining Presence of the Holy Spirit to dwell within our spirits; which is the new heart that never fails.
Messiah has made it possible for both Jew and Gentile to become the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This is the work of the grace (chesed, chen) of the Holy One. Therefore no one may ever boast that they are equal in righteousness to the Holy One. Since all have sinned, our salvation must come from the Lord. Adonai alone is perfect (שָׁלֵם-shalem, complete in every way). He is complete morally and developmentally. He does not learn. He does not grow. Adonai Avinu is never changing.
Man is not yet perfect (שְׁלָמִים-shelamim, intact) as our Father in heaven is perfect (Shalom). Adonai Avinu (our Father) has always been perfect. He needs no help from anyone. In contrast, Man desperately needs the help of the Almighty. We have been delivered from sin by the Messiah so that we might one day live in the perfect righteousness of our Righteous Father. We boast only in the works of Adonai who is our Salvation and not in our own works; the former is adequate to deliver all from sin, the latter is capable of saving no one.