(Ex. 12:1-22) Does the Passover foreshadow the work of Christ?

CLAIM: How does the Passover foreshadow the work of Christ.

RESPONSE: Paul claimed that this entire event foreshadows the work of Christ (1 Cor. 5:7).

How does the Passover foreshadow Christ?

Passover Lamb


Exodus records, “[The Passover] is to be the first month of the year to you” (Ex. 12:2).

Similarly, the work of Jesus gives believers a new beginning (2 Cor. 5:17).

God chose a “lamb” which was offensive to the Egyptians, because it was a furry animal. The Egyptians abhorred these animals. Archer writes, “It is quite obvious that the sentiment of the Egyptian government in Joseph’s time was strongly averse to shepherds. Genesis 46:34 states: ‘For every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.’”[1]

Jesus was thought to be a “stumbling block” to the people in his time (1 Pet. 2:8).

Exodus records, “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male” (Ex. 12:5).

Jesus was a perfect substitute (2 Cor. 5:21; Jn. 1:29).

Exodus records, “The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight” (Ex. 12:6).

Jesus was a substitute that needed to die for us (Rom. 6:23).

God commanded, “They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts” (Ex. 12:7). The blood represented the life of the animal (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). Here, the blood needed to be shed and also applied for each individual household, and internalized (v.8)

While Jesus’ blood was shed for all people (Jn. 1:29; 1 Jn. 2:2; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 2:9; Titus 2:11), we each individually need to apply his work to our own lives (Jn. 1:12). We get spiritual life, when we come to know Christ, because of his blood shed for us on the Cross.

God said that the lamb should be “roasted with fire” (Ex. 12:9). Fire was a symbol of judgment.

Jesus paid for our sins, so that he could pay for God’s judgment that we deserved (Heb. 12:29).

When God saw the blood, he said he would “pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Ex. 12:13).

Jesus’ blood keeps us from coming under the judgment of God (1 Pet. 1:18-20).

God commanded that this sacrifice was supposed to be a “permanent ordinance” (Ex. 12:14).

Jesus’ last meal was a celebration of the Passover supper (Lk. 22:13-20). He explained, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Lk. 22:19). Instead, of abstaining from drinking the blood, Jesus encouraged his disciples to drink the blood (wine), which symbolizes our need for partaking of his spiritual life.

When they ate the Passover, they were not allowed to “break a bone of [the lamb]” (Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12).

None of Jesus’ bones were broken on the Cross (Jn. 19:32-36; Ps. 34:20).

[1] Archer, Gleason L. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Third Edition. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1998. 229-30.