TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
THE PASSOVER LAMB
Before beginning our study of
the Passover lamb as a type of Christ, it is necessary to note that the death
of the lamb was to preserve the firstborn of each house from death, and in
Scripture the firstborn represents what we are by natural birth: we are born
sinners, and as such are under sentence of death, our salvation being to trust
in Christ as Savior by believing that when He died at Calvary it was in my
guilty place, for my sins, and by believing that in response to that faith God
pardons all my sin and will receive me into heaven at the end of life’s
“And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,”
Moses represents law; Aaron,
grace. God’s addressing both reminds us that He is a God of justice as well
as of grace, and that His grace is never exercised at the expense of justice.
When He pardons the believer’s sin it is on the just basis of the fact that
His own holiness is not impugned, for having declared, “In the day that thou
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” Ge 2:17, He must insist upon execution
of the sentence or make Himself a liar. Man’s disobedience had forfeited man’s
life, and Christ gave that life at Calvary. God’s claims were met, His
We must never forget that when
God comes out in grace to offer a free pardon, and the gift of eternal life,
it is not apart from absolute justice. Justice slew Christ. This is what is
being emphasized here in verse 1 in His speaking to both Moses and Aaron.
Two lands frequently mentioned
in Scripture are Egypt and Babylon. Egypt represents the world of business
and pleasure living in independence of God; and Babylon represents the world
of false religion, living in equal independence.
Each is watered by a great
river: Egypt, by the Nile, representative of the great river of wealth that
waters the world of business; Babylon, by the Euphrates, symbolic of the great
river of false doctrine that waters the realm of false religion. Each ends in
a marshy delta, the parent river diffused into a confusing host of smaller
streams that lead nowhere. So do money and false doctrine lead also to
confusion and death.
God’s speaking to them in
Egypt reminds us that it is here on earth where men are busy with the world’s
business that God speaks to them in the gospel, and commands them “to take to
them every man a lamb,” that lamb being the Lord Jesus Christ, as it is
written, “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us,” 1 Cor 5:7.
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first
month of the year to you.”
A month is the twelfth part of
a year, but twelve is the number of Divine government on display, so that we
are being directed to look for spiritual truth relative to that government.
Examples are the twelve tribes of Israel, and the Church, built upon the
foundation of the doctrine taught by the apostles (12), and prophets. The
subject of this chapter is certainly redemption, but redemption and Divine
government cannot be separated.
This appointment of the
seventh month to be now the first, declares the truth that at conversion the
past and all its deadly associations are ended. There is a new beginning, “If
any man be in Christ, he is a new creation (creature),” 2 Cor 5:17.
“Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, in the tenth day of
this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of
their fathers, a lamb for an house;”
That “all” reminds us that all
have sinned and need redemption, “For all have sinned, and come short of the
glory of God,” Ro 3:23. And as twelve is the number of the governed, ten is
the number of the Governor, God. The “every man” continues to emphasize that
ALL have come short of the Divine standard. The lamb, of course, is a type of
Christ;, “The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” Jn 1:29.
“... according to the house of
their fathers,” takes us back to the point of origin. We are being reminded
that “... in Adam all die,” 1 Cor 15:22, for the transgression began with
him. Men don’t become sinners by committing sin: they commit sin because they
are born sinners, born with a sinful nature that can produce nothing but sin.
“And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor
next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man
according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.”
There is no thought of the
lamb’s being too small for the house, but rather of the possibility that the
household might be too small to eat the whole lamb. In this we are being
taught the truth that the death of the true Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus
Christ, is sufficient to provide a pardon for the whole world.
With the exception of
unbelief, there is no sin that can’t be cleansed by faith in Christ’s precious
blood. The spiritual application is to Israel and the Gentiles, for the
household here is Israel; and the neighbor, the Gentile. As both Jew and
Gentile are guilty, so has God provided salvation for both through faith in
the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Every man according to his
eating shall make your count for the lamb.” Since eating is synonymous with
satisfaction, the truth being declared is that all who trust in Christ will be
fully satisfied. Nothing needs to be added to His perfect work finished at
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take
it out from the sheep, or from the goats:”
The physical perfection of the
Passover lamb points to the moral perfection of Christ.
Where a male is designated for
sacrifice, the emphasis is upon the activity of Christ’s will in doing His
Father’s will, e.g., “When the time was come that he should be received up, he
stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,” Lk 9:51. He would permit nothing
to turn Him aside from finishing the work the Father had given Him to do.
Where a female is designated, the emphasis is upon the perfect submission of
the Lord’s will to that of His Father, as expressed in His prayer in
Gethsemane, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:
nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt,” Mt 26:39. Activity and
passivity of the will were perfectly balanced in the Lord’s life, and should
be also in ours.
“... of the first year.” This
speaks of the vigor of youth, and reminds us that the Lord didn’t die of
sickness or old age. He died voluntarily in the vigor of young manhood to
make atonement for sin.
The requirement that the lamb
be a sheep or a goat (both clean animals), tells us that the Lord was clean,
i.e., sinless; but such is the miracle of Divine grace, that He who knew no
sin was willing to be made sin so that we might be made righteousness, as it
is written, “For he hath made him who knew no sin, to be made sin for us, that
we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Co 5:21.
“And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the
whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”
The period between the tenth
and the fourteenth day, during which the Lamb was to be kept separate from the
other animals, foreshadows the period of the Lord’s public ministry, during
which He was separated from other men in the sense that the relative obscurity
of the first thirty years of His life was exchanged for the more than three
years of His public ministry when all eyes were upon Him.
Since ten is the number
associated with God as the Governor, the lamb’s being set apart on the tenth
day, points to the fact that it was in obedience to the government of His
Father, that the Lord came forth from the obscurity and safety of private
life, to begin that public activity which would make Him the special mark of
Jewish hatred, and culminate in His death.
“... in the evening.” The
evening marked the end of the day, and as the time when the lamb was to be
slain, reminds us that it was the last sacrifice of the day, which is the
symbolic announcement of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the last
sacrifice to be offered for sin. His death ended all the types and shadows of
the OT age, for all the animals offered according to the Levitical order, were
but types pointing to Him. In Christ reality replaced type.
The fact that the lamb was to
be killed reminds us that apart from the death of Christ there could be no
pardon for sin. His life alone could secure no salvation: He must die.
A further truth, however, is
taught in the evening sacrifice being the last sacrifice of the day, for in
Heb 10:26-27 we read the warning, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have
received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for
sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,
which shall devour the adversaries.” He who refuses to present Christ to God
as his Sin Offering, need look for no other offering, for there is none.
“And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on
the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”
An Israelite might have
observed every detail relative to the Passover lamb, but if he failed to apply
the blood as directed, the firstborn in that house would have died just as
surely as if the lamb hadn’t been slain, and the truth being taught in this is
of the need for each sinner to personally apply the blood of Christ, i.e.,
trust in Him as Savior. Just as it wasn’t sufficient to have a dead lamb and
a basinful of blood outside the door, neither is it sufficient to believe, as
many do, that Christ has died for the sins of the whole world. The belief
must be personal. I must believe that He died in my place for my sins. A
general belief in Christ will save no one.
Since three is the Biblical
number of resurrection, the three parts of the door to which the blood was to
be applied, declare symbolically that each man who trusts in Christ as his
personal Savior experiences spiritual resurrection out of spiritual death, and
will enjoy literal resurrection should he die physically before the Lord
returns to rapture His Church to heaven.
One part of the door where the
blood was not to be placed was the threshold, and for a very good reason: it
might have been trodden upon by those leaving the house, and the spiritual
truth being declared in this is related to what the door represents. At the
end of life’s brief journey, death is the doorway through which men must pass
from time into eternity, to heaven or hell, depending on what they’ve done
with the blood of Christ. Those who have applied it by faith, i.e., who have
trusted Him as Savior, will pass through to heaven, but those who haven’t will
be guilty of the unpardonable sin - treading underfoot (despising) the blood
of Christ, as it is written, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall
he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath
counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy
thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Heb 10:29.