In 12:3 the children of Israel were commanded to “take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house.” The crucial point here is that the Passover lamb was not for every individual, but for every house. The unit of God’s salvation is not the individual; it is the house, the family. For example, in Joshua 2 and 6 Rahab was saved with all her father’s household. In Luke 19, the Lord Jesus said to Zaccheus the publican, “This day is salvation come to this house” (v. 9). According to Acts 11:14, the promise was made to Cornelius that he and all his house would be saved. Furthermore, when the jailor asked what he must do to be saved, Paul and Silas told him, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31). These cases indicate that the unit of God’s salvation is the house, not the individual.
Exodus 12:4 is a verse that is difficult to understand. “And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take one according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb” (Heb.). The households differed in size. If a man’s house was too small for the lamb, he and his neighbor were to come together to take one lamb according to the number of the souls. Verse 4 indicates that the lamb was both according to the number of the souls and according to every man’s eating. The lamb remained the same, but the houses differed in size. The lamb could not be too small for a house, but the house could be too small for the lamb.
It may seem that Moses’ composition in verse 4 is awkward. Actually, he wrote in a very meaningful way. If we would understand this verse, we must pay attention to three things: that a household could be too small for the lamb and would need to come together with another household; that the lamb was taken according to the number of souls; and that the count for the lamb was made according to the eating of every man. If we put these three points together, we shall see that Christ is always sufficient. With Him there is no scarcity. The extent to which He can be enjoyed is both according to the number of people and according to our capacity to eat Him. If our capacity is large, Christ is adequate to supply us. If our capacity is limited, He can still meet our need. As the Passover lamb, Christ is all-sufficient. The very Christ typified by the Passover lamb has no scarcity. In every situation He can fully meet our need. It does not matter whether our family is large or small or whether it is joined together with another family. It does not matter how many souls there are or how large our appetite may be. Christ is sufficient to meet all our need.
Exodus 12:5 says, “Your lamb shall be without blemish.” To be without blemish is to be perfect. This signifies that Christ is perfect, without fault (John 8:46).
Exodus 12:5 goes on to say that the lamb had to be “a male of the first year,” taken either “out from the sheep, or from the goats.” What does it mean that the lamb was to be a male of the first year? To be of the first year is to be fresh and not to be used for any other purpose. In the eyes of God, when the Lord Jesus was put on the cross, He was of the first year. He was fresh, never having been used for another purpose.
By the time we were saved, we had all been used for some other purpose. Some of us had been used for several different purposes. We were not at all fresh. I was saved at the age of nineteen-and-a-half However, in the eyes of God, I was much older, for I had already been used for other purposes. The Lord Jesus, on the contrary, was fresh and not used for another purpose.
Exodus 12:5 indicates that the lamb could be either of the sheep or of the goats. According to Matthew 25, sheep signify those who are good, and goats those who are bad. When Christ was on the cross, was He good or bad? In a very real sense He was both. At the time of His crucifixion, He was both a sheep and a goat, depending from what angle His crucifixion is considered. In Himself Christ was altogether good. However, as our substitute, He was sinful. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, He who knew no sin was made sin on our behalf.
(The Passover, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)