IV. THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE LAMB
(EXODUS 12:5; 13:2)
"Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats."
"Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine."
The most important qualification of the lamb is to be without blemish. To be without blemish is to be without sin. The reason no one in the world can be our savior is that everyone has sinned. You have sinned, and I have sinned. This is why you cannot save me. You should die, and I should die. Therefore, you cannot save me. The Lord Jesus is truly the One without blemish! He said of Himself, "Which of you convicts Me of sin?" (John 8:46). Throughout history, only Jesus could say this. For two thousand years, men would only say that the Lord Jesus was too good for not resisting others; no one would say that He was too evil. Hebrews 7:26 says that He is "separated from sinners"!
The second point is that this lamb must be a firstborn lamb. God kills the firstborn ones. This is why He has to save the firstborn with the firstborn. The Lord Jesus is the firstborn son (Luke 2:7). He is indeed a Savior without blemish! (1 Pet. 1:19).
V. THE DEATH OF THE LAMB
"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."
This is the most crucial point! We sinners need a savior to save us! But if the Lord had not died, we would still perish even if we had seen and heard Him face to face in His days. Even if we were able to see and hear Him face to face today, we would still be under woe, for the wages of sin is death. He has to die before He can save us from death.
The Lamb has to be kept "until the fourteenth day of the same month" and killed "in the evening." In the same way, the Lord was killed on the fourteenth day of the first month. Even the hour was not missed. Matthew 27:45 says, "Now from the sixth hour darkness fell over all the land until the ninth hour." "In the evening" means to be between two nights; this is a Jewish expression. The famous Jewish historian Josephus said that the "evening" is the sixth hour to the ninth hour, which on our clock would be from noon to three o’clock. The Lord was crucified during this time. The sky became dark during this time until He expired.
Who killed the Lamb? It was the whole congregation of Israel that killed Him. Here is a great type: the priest typifies the church, the twelve tribes typify the nations on earth, and the congregation typifies mankind as a whole.
At the time of Noah, the world was divided into three tribes: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. On the day of the Lord’s crucifixion, there were the Jews, of Shem; the Romans, of Japheth; and Simon the Cyrenian, of Ham. The whole of mankind was there. The Lord made the testimony before all mankind that He had died!
At the time of Caesar Nero, the census recorded that there were over three million people living in Jerusalem. The Lord’s death was before so many people.
"Neither shall ye break a bone thereof" (Exo. 12:46). The Lord Jesus indeed fulfilled this. John 19:36 says, "For these things happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled: `No bone of His shall be broken.’" Here is a most amazing thing. How could the Lord become a Passover lamb? According to the record of the Talmud, forty years before the destruction of the temple, that is, one year before the crucifixion of the Lord, the Roman Emperor set a decree that forbade stoning people to death. When someone is stoned to death, his bones are broken. The Jews executed men by the way of stoning, while the Romans executed men by crucifixion. When Pilate ordered the Jews to examine the Lord according to their own law, the Jews said that they did not have the power to kill anyone (John 18:31). This is another proof. The Lord prophesied that He would be crucified and not stoned to death. Otherwise, He would not be able to become the Passover lamb.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 17: Notes on Scriptural Messages (1), Chapter 2, by Watchman Nee)