The time of the Passover is related to a certain month and a certain date. The Hebrew people had two calendars, a sacred calendar and a civil calendar. The civil calendar was common, whereas the sacred calendar was related to the experience of God’s salvation. We who believe in Christ also have two calendars, a civil calendar and a sacred calendar. Anyone who does not have a sacred age as well as a civil age is not a genuine believer in Christ and cannot share in Christ as the Passover. As God’s redeemed ones, we have had two births, two beginnings: a physical birth with a physical beginning and a spiritual birth with a spiritual beginning. I can testify that I have had a second beginning, the beginning in the divine life. On the day we believed in the Lord Jesus, our age according to the sacred calendar began. On that day we had a new birth and a new beginning.
Exodus 12:2 speaks of the month of the Passover: “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” This verse indicates that the Passover was held during the first month of the sacred year. Originally, this month was the seventh month of the civil year. According to Genesis 8:4, Noah’s ark landed on the mountains of Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month. Many Bible teachers believe that this seventh month was the first month of Exodus 12. The Passover was on the fourteenth day of this month. This means it was held three days before the day that marked the landing of the ark on the mountains of Ararat. This landing of the ark was a type of the resurrection of Christ. Christ was killed on the fourteenth day, and He was resurrected on the seventeenth day.
Exodus 13:4 says, “This day came ye out in the month Abib.” The word Abib means sprouting, budding, tender, and green, and it refers to green ears of wheat. After the Babylonian captivity, this month was called Nisan (Neh. 2:1; Esth. 3:7). Sprouting and budding signify the beginning of life’s energy. Our experience confirms this. On the day we first called on the name of the Lord, believed in Him, and were saved, life began to bud and sprout from within us. Anyone who has not experienced this is not a genuine believer. We all can testify that after we believed in the Lord Jesus, something began to bud and sprout from within us. Eventually, this sprouting produced tender green ears of grain, the issue of the inner life. This indicates that the divine life within us is productive. It is a budding, sprouting, producing life. This began on the day we were saved, and it is still going on today.
According to 12:3, in the tenth day of the month the children of Israel were to take “to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers,” and prepare it for a period of four days. Then on the fourteenth day of the month, the actual date of the Passover, the lamb was killed (v. 6). The Lord Jesus was killed on the same day of the month (Luke 22:7-8, 14-15; John 18:28).
Fourteen days make up two weeks. In the Bible a week means a life, and the end of a week denotes the end of life. The Seventh Day Adventists observe the seventh day, the end of the week. However. we enjoy the eighth day, the first day of the week, the beginning of a new week, a new beginning in resurrection (John 20:1). The fact that the Passover was held on the fourteenth day of the month means that it was held at the end of two complete weeks. This indicates that the Passover ends the course of the old life. This means that Christ’s death terminates the entire history of our old life.
We have pointed out that the children of Israel took the lamb on the tenth day of the month. After a lamb had been selected, it was examined for four days to test it, to find out whether or not it had blemishes. If you read the Gospels carefully, you will see that the Lord Jesus also was tested for four days. Like the lamb in Exodus 12, He had to be without blemish. During those four days, the Lord Jesus was examined by the congregation of Israel, as represented by the priests, elders, scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. Praise the Lord that He passed the test and was found to be without blemish! Therefore, at the end of those days, when the Passover had come, He was put to death.
The Lord Jesus was arrested on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. This day was also the day of the Passover. The feast of Passover takes place on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, which lasts a total of seven days. This means that when the Passover began, the feast of unleavened bread began also. However, the Passover lasted for one day, whereas the feast of unleavened bread continued for another six days. This is the reason that the feast of Passover could also be called the feast of unleavened bread. Hence, Luke 22:7 says, “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.” The Lord Jesus was arrested during the night that preceded the day of the Passover feast. (The Jewish calendar counts from night to day rather than from day to night, just as Genesis 1 does.) Then Christ was crucified on the very day of the Passover. Therefore, His death was the exact fulfillment of the type. Furthermore, as we have pointed out, He was resurrected on the seventeenth day of the month, in fulfillment of the type of the ark resting on the mountains of Ararat on the seventeenth day of the same month.
(The Passover, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)