The Book of Exodus in many ways lays the foundation for the nation of Israel and much of the remaineder of the Old Testament as God reveals His plan of redemption that culminates in the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. The Israelite exodus from Egypt typifies the believer’s exodus from bondage and slavery to sin. The former was marked by the tenth and final plague, the death of the firstborn, from which a household may be delivered if it followed the Lord’s instructions and spread the blood of a spotless lamb over the lintels of the doorway, likewise typifying the deliverance that would come by way of the shed blood of the Lamb of God.
This Passover event is inaugurated in Exodus 12. In reading this passage, I was again struck by a detail that has so often been overlooked. At the opening of the chapter where God outlines the instructions for instituting the Lord’s Passover, we see the following,
“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.” Exodus 12:1-6
Notice the time period given by the Lord:
“It shall be the first month of the year for you.”
As in An Old New Year Part 1, we again have a significant time marker. While in that post the New Year was slightly ambiguous and general, here we see a more narrow date given, namely the establishment of the Jewish calendar commensurate with the Exodus from Egypt.
Later in chapter 13 verse 4 we read, “Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out.” Abib (called Nissan now) is the first month on the Jewish calendar, equivalent to the March/April time frame of the Gregorian calendar.
So is this date significant? What is God trying to communicate by tying this New Year to the Exodus and subsequently the celebration of Passover?
As in the New Year given to Noah, which signified a new creation or the beginning of a new humanity, if you will, this date memorializing the inauguration of the nation of Israel follows suit. As Noah functioned as another Adam, again in a typological sense, Israel appears on the scene as another Adam (Exodus 4:22-23). Like the first Adam, the nation of Israel will be placed in the garden of God, given covenant obligations, and like Adam will fail (Hosea 6), anticipating once again the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will in every way fulfill the promises of God and succeed where those who preceded Him failed.
This brief meditation on one verse read in a yearly reading plan demonstrates how valuable all of God’s Word is, even those things that on the surface seem insignificant. It also shows that we needn’t feel like we can only profit from familiar passages that “tell us what to do”. There is profit everywhere, on every page, in every verse, to be had, if we only slow down and listen to what the Word of God is saying.