Several signs and plagues have already happened. In the text, few more still remain. At first, Pharaoh’s magicians could repeat the miracles that Moses and Aaron performed. But later, they could not. Some judgments affected all of Egypt, while the latter judgments only affected the Egyptians but left the people of Israel and believing Egyptians unharmed. The concept of faith in action leaps off the pages of this portion. Those Egyptians who believed Moses and prepared for the coming plagues were spared.
After the plagues of locusts and darkness came the pass-over of God’s judgment throughout the land of Egypt. As with the plague of hail, all people had time to prepare for this pass-over. Those who believed Moses chose the lambs they were to kill and eat according to God’s instructions. Then they roasted the lamb and ate it all in evening with unleavened bread. They wore their shoes, prepared to plunder the Egyptian treasures, and were ready to leave Egypt at any moment. They put the sign of faith on their doorposts, using the lamb’s blood. God passed over the land and killed all of the firstborn of those who did not act on Moses’ words.
The Egyptians and non-Hebrews who may have participated in this pass-over sacrifice showed great faith as sheep were sacred in Egypt and shepherds were an abomination. They showed faith in killing the symbol of one of their own gods. Pharaoh and the Egyptians urged the 600,000 male Hebrews to leave with their families and possessions (12:31-32), and “a mixed multitude” (12:38) of non-Hebrews left with them. They plundered the Egyptians (13:36).
God gave specific instructions on how to remember this annually, “this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever” (12:24). God instituted His calendar at this time, stating that the month of the Passover “shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you” (12:2). The word month is inseparably linked to new moon in both Hebrew and Greek. The lunar month in which this pass-over occurred is the beginning of the God’s calendar. This lunar month occurred before the wheat harvest in the Egypt was ready (9:31), which is in early spring in the Gregorian months of March and April. The name of this month is Aviv (13:4), which describes the state of the wheat as almost ripe for harvest.
While the complete instructions on God’s holy days – the Feasts of Yehovah – were not described in detail until later, the new year’s day and Passover were defined as follows.
- Day 1 Month 1 – New moon before the the wheat harvest
- Day 10 Month 1 – Selection of the Passover lamb
- Day 14 Month 1 (at evening) – Passover sacrifice and meal
- Day 15 Month 1 – Unleavened Bread week begins
- Day 21 Month 1 – Unleavened Bread week ends
The perpetual annual Sabbath of the Passover was to remember the act of God fulfilling His promise to His own people, as God always keeps His promises, so that we have faith to continue obeying Him.
You shall tell your son on that day, saying, “It is because of what Yehovah did for me when I came out of Egypt. And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of Yehovah may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand Yehovah brought you out of Egypt. Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year. – Exodus 13:8-10