God gave instructions to Moses for the Israelites. They were to perform a certain ritual, and the Angel of Death would pass over and not harm them. He said you must take a lamb, and it “must be a year-old male and without blemish.” (Exodus 12:5) Circle “male without blemish” for me. So it couldn’t have any blemishes on it. “You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.” (Exodus 12:5-6) Also circle “evening twilight”. Make a note next to it that twilight is 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Most Bible scholars accept that twilight is 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Then, “They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” (Exodus 12:8) Circle “unleavened bread.” “None of it must be kept beyond the next morning; whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up.” (Exodus 12:10) Notice that careful attention was paid to the leftovers. If you had leftover lamb, you couldn’t just throw it away or toss it to the dogs. If you didn’t do exactly as God prescribed, the Angel of Death would come into your home and slay your first-born. At this point they knew they were going to flee Egypt, but they had to take care of the leftovers. They had to burn it in fire if they didn’t consume it themselves. Nothing was wasted.

He also tells Moses “This day shall be a memorial feast for you in which all generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD as a perpetual institution.” Circle “perpetual institution.” “For seven days you must eat unleavened bread.” (Exodus 12:14-15) Unleavened bread doesn’t rise. There is no yeast in it. You have to have time for bread to rise, and they didn’t have time. They were going to leave Egypt in haste. There was no time to wait for the bread to rise so they ate the bread unleavened. They still eat unleavened bread today in the Passover meal. “For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. From the very first day you shall have your house cleaned of all leaven. Whoever eats leavened bread from the first day to the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel.” (Exodus 12:15) So He cuts you off from Israel if you don’t follow these instructions on the unleavened bread. These consequences are pretty serious.

He also tells them to “take a bunch of hyssop and dipping it in the blood,” from the slaughtered lamb, “that is in the basin, sprinkle the lentil and the doorpost with this blood, but none of you shall go outdoors until morning. For the Lord will go by, striking down the Egyptians. Seeing the blood on the lentil and doorpost, the Lord will pass over that door and not let the destroyer come into that house to strike you down. You shall observe this as a perpetual ordinance for yourselves and your descendants.” (Exodus 12:22-24) The ‘lentil’ is the part over the door and the sides around the door. And you are to “take a bunch of hyssop” and paint the blood on the lentil, and I’m wondering, “What is hyssop?” So I did what most good Bible scholars do: I Googled it! It works great! There are some really good pictures on the Internet. I found a plant called a hyssop and it’s very common in Egypt, even though the pictures today might not reflect what grew 3000 years ago. The point is that they couldn’t take a cloth or their hand and paint the blood on the doorpost. They had to use a special plant to apply the blood, and if they follow these instructions, the Angel of Death would pass over them.

As for the lamb, “It must be eaten in one and the same house; you may not take any of its flesh outside the house. You shall not break any of its bones.” (Exodus 12:46) Circle, “You shall not break any of its bones.” When they chose the lamb for slaughter, it was done at 12 o’clock, noon. The high priest would go out and choose this unblemished lamb. It would be a male, a year old, and he would slaughter this lamb. He couldn’t just beat this lamb with a bat because he was not allowed to break any bones. He couldn’t just strangle it; it couldn’t be a horrible tortured death. They were to kill the lamb by making make a small incision and they were to bleed the lamb and collect the blood in a basin. Then they were to take a bunch of hyssop and sprinkle the blood on the doorpost to mark their home. Now this sounds like a strange way for God to tell the people I’m going to pass over your house if you do this. He could have chosen many different rituals, but this is the way He chose to save the first born. He tells them this will be a perpetual ordinance for you and for your descendants. So they follow these instructions and the Angel of Death passes over that night and the first born of Israel is saved and the first born of Egypt dies.

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