At the instigation of a tyrannical ruler the Egyptians enslaved the people of Israel. Their oppressions increased with the passing of the years. There was no government on earth they could look to for help or even for a note of protest. Only a miracle could bring them freedom.
The miracle came by the hand of God through a series of plagues that was climaxed by the death of Egypt's first-born. On that very night the Hebrews were freed from bondage and urged by the Egyptians to get out of the country as quickly as possible. That remarkable deliverance by the hand of God was commemorated thereafter by a yearly festival called the Passover. The manner in which it was to be observed was established by God the first day of the month of their deliverance.
It was at the time of the new moon nearest the spring equinox of the year 1513 B.C. that God said to Moses and Aaron: "This month will be the start of the months for you. It will be the first of the months of the year for you." (Ex. 12:2) The time for the deliverance of the people of Israel was divinely set for the fourteenth day of this first month, which at that time was called Abib. Centuries later when the Jews returned from captivity to Babylon the name was changed to Nisan.
The Hebrews were commanded to begin making prepa...
You shall keep watch over it until the fourteenth day of this month; and all the assembled congregation of the Israelites shall slaughter it at twilight."-Ex. 12:3, 6.
The animal was to be sound and one year old. It could be chosen either from the male lambs or from the goats. There was to be one animal for each household, but if a household was too small to consume a whole lamb, the closest neighboring household was to join with them in eating it.
The Hebrews measured their day from sundown to sundown instead of from midnight to midnight as we do. After the sun had dipped below the horizon on the evening of the thirteenth day of Abib the anticipated fourteenth day began. They killed their animals between the time when the sun went down and when the afterglow gave way to darkness. The killing, therefore, was done "between the two evenings," as God had commanded, and on the fourteenth day of Abib. The lamb was prepared and eaten before midnight.
The blood of the animals was splashed upon the two doorposts and on the upper part of the doorway of each Israelite home where a group had gathered to eat the passover. This splashing was done with a bunch of hyssop. The animals were roasted whole with no bones being broken. If any meat was left over from the meal, it was burned. None was to be kept until the next day. Unfermented cakes and bitter greens were eaten with the meat. The Hebrews were prepared to leave Egypt on a moment's notice. "This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly: it is a Passover offering to the Lord."- Ex. 12:11.
The Passover lamb foreshadowed Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who would deliver God's people from the bondage of sin and