Has the Passover Lamb Died for Everyone?
There is a common belief that the Passover Lamb has died for everyone. This is derived from the very statement Yeshua the Passover Lamb of YHVH made,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16 KJV)
This truthful statement, however, is believed to mean that whosoever believes is saved and will not perish. Notice the pair of words: the world and whosoever and how they are interpreted.
The way these two words are interpreted in conjunction is that whosoever, whatever person, from the world believes in the Son of God will have an everlasting life. Whosoever, whatever person!
This verse such interpreted by modern-day theologians creates a “shortcut” to heaven in the minds of many people.
It creates the notion that the sacrifice YHVH made to punish His only begotten Son for the iniquities of the world is like a “blanket sacrifice” for everyone. Just believe!
This theology will be challenged below.
The first Passover supper
Everything started in Egypt.
Yeshua the Passover Lamb of YHVH said it in the last supper with His disciples before He was crucified. And taking the cup, and giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying,
Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood, that of the renewed covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Mat 26:27-28)
This last supper with the disciples is reminiscence of the first supper His brothers had in the land of Egypt that night when Elohim took them out of the land of bondage.
In that first supper of the Passover lamb, YHVH made the pledge to deliver them and bring them to the Promised Land.
In this last supper, His Son raised the cup that represented His blood that was about to be shed for forgiveness of sins, as though YHVH Himself had raised it in pledge of blessed understanding between them.
The signification of these two suppers will also study below.
The beginning of months
And YHVH spoke to Mosheh and Aharon in the land of Egypt,
This month is the beginning of month for you, it is the first month of the year for you. (Exo 12:1-2)
By the words, “in the land of Egypt”, the law of Pesach (Passover) is distinguished as the first or foundation law for the people of YHVH. Thus, the creation of Israel as a nation commenced with the institution of the Passover.
And YHVH spoke to all Israel in Egypt to take a lamb, according to the size of the family, a lamb for a household, on the tenth day of the first month (Exo 12:3). And if the household is too small for the lamb, the Israelite was to invite his neighbour so that the lamb is to be sufficient according to the number of the souls (Exo 12:4).
The lamb was to be a year old male without blemishes (Exo 12:5) and be kept in the house until the fourteenth day, when it is to be slain between the evenings at sunset (Exo 12:6).
The Passover lamb of YHVH
Then, the blood of the Passover lamb was to be put on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they would eat it (Exo 12:7) that night, roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs (Exo 12:8-9). And nothing was to remain until morning but burned with fire (Exo 12:10).
And this is how you eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Pesach of Yehovah. (Exo 12:11)
Clearly here in verse 11, “it” refers to the Pesach (the Passover lamb) of YHVH, and not to the day on which it was eaten.
The word פֶּסַח, pesach, is derived from the primitive root פָּסַח, pesach, to (literally) hop, from which these two meanings arise: (1) to (figuratively) hop (1Ki 18:21; 2Sa 4:4) and (2) to pass by or spare (Exo 12:13, Exo 12:23; Exo 12:26-27).
Hence, the word pesach came afterwards to be used for the lamb (Exo 12:21, Exo 12:27), through which, the passing by or sparing had been effected. In Exo 12:12-13 pesach is explained.
On the 14th, before sunset, the Pesach lamb was slain, and its blood smeared on the doorposts. In the night of the 15th after the sunset, the people ate the lamb in haste, and from midnight until sunrise YHVH passed through Egypt, smiting all the first-born of man and beast, and thus executing judgment on all the “gods” of Egypt, and pass over, spare, the Israelites. Hence, pesach literally means to protect.
For more insight into the chronology of events and the connection between the institution of the law of Pesach and the Exodus from Egypt, refer to Chapter “The Beginning of Months” of the present author’s book Reckoning of Time, and the article “When did Israel leave Egypt?“.
But why would the “passing over” be necessary, if the Israelites lived separately from the Egyptians in the land of Goshen where they were first settled by Yoseph? Elohim could have simply passed over the entire land of Goshen and punish the Egyptian.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
During the years of Yoseph and even after his death the things were going quite well for the children of Israel, but then something happened that made them moved out to live among the Egyptians.
The sign to remember
And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I shall pass over you, and let the plague not come on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exo 12:13)
And now this is something very important to understand in our study: the blood of the Passover lamb was for them for a sign, but not for a sign for the others who had not put the blood of the Passover lamb.
Hence, we understand that they put the blood of the lambs only on the doorposts inside their houses.
And when YHVH saw the blood of His lambs set apart only for those who had it, He passed over them and spared them from the plague that destroyed the others: Egyptians and Israelites alike.
This is also important to note in our study, because not all Israel slayed the Passover lambs that night in Egypt, and not all Israel left Egypt. Egypt was the world for them; they felt comfortable in the world even though they were slaves.
What happened back then in Egypt, we studied in the article “Israel’s whoring in Egypt“.
And this day shall become to you a remembrance. And you shall celebrate it as a festival to Yehovah throughout your generations. Celebrate it as a festival, an everlasting law. (Exo 12:14)
Clearly, “this day” in verse 14 refers to “when I see the blood” in verse 13 and “that night” in verse 12, namely, the night YHVH struck Egypt, the 15th of the first month.
And that day in which YHVH spared Israel and took His people out of the land of slavery became to them a remembrance and a celebration as a festival to Him throughout all their generations as an everlasting law.
That day later would be known to the nation of Israel as the 1st day of the Festival of the Unleavened Bread, a festival we celebrate until this day.
Undoubtedly, the 14th day of the month when the blood of the Passover lamb was slain and its blood put on the doorposts for a sign between YHVH and His people, was to be remembered, too, but it was the 15th day that was decreed for remembrance, because on that day Israel was delivered and set apart from the world.
So significant was this event of leaving the land of bondage that YHVH commanded by decree or chukkah that Israel remember it forever.
The word zikaron “remembrance” should not be understood in any passive sense of keeping something in memory. In the Hebrew mind, remembering something is not simply recalling the past, but it is reliving the past in the present.
In this manner every generation effectively experiences the great deliverance from Egypt as its own deliverance and the events of that night as events as if it itself had gone through.
That is why we all say that YHVH took us from our “Egypts”, because that night is not to become some faded, distant memory, but a night of active remembrance of putting the blood of the Passover lamb on the entrance of our own hearts.
To the Israelites the blood on the houses was a sign and pledge that YHVH would spare them, and no plague should fall on them to destroy.
The blood of the Passover lamb was atoning blood, because the Passover was a sacrifice that combined in itself the signification of the future sin-offerings and peace-offerings in the service to YHVH, and most importantly, of a future sacrifice that would come.
The putting of the atoning blood of the Passover lamb that night set forth the reconciliation of Israel and YHVH, through the forgiveness and atonement of its sins and their adoption as His children at Mount Sinai.
Therefore, that night is important to remember, but first and foremost it is the work of YHVH through the lamb and its blood shed for us on that day to remember.
This focal point of the exodus from Egypt is best described in the following statement Israel is to remember for all times,
And it shall be, when you come to the land which Yehovah gives you, as He promised, that you shall guard this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, “What does this service mean to you?” (Exo 12:25-26)
then you shall say, “It is the Pesach sacrifice of Yehovah, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptian and delivered our houses”. And the people bowed their heads and did obeisance. (Exo 12:27)
It is the sacrifice of the Passover lamb of YHVH that is to be remembered.
Furthermore, the night of deliverance was to be preserved in the hearts of His people in their generations,
It is a night of preservation unto Yehovah for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of preservation unto Yehovah, for all the children of Israel throughout their generations. (Exo 12:42)
That night on the 15th day of the month, therefore, was a preservation-night to YHVH, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. The word שִמֻּרִים shimurim means “preservation”; derived from שָמַר shamar, to guard, to keep, to preserve.
What this statement means is that that same night set apart to YHVH is a preservation for all children of Israel, so that none of them would perish but have a righteous life in the Promised Land.
Four types of laws in Torah
There are four types of laws in the Torah we need to know:
- mitzvot (commands): give blessing and curses; give self-benefit
- mishpatim (judgements): how to deal with in disagreements and disputes
- torot (instructions): which give instructions and directions how to conduct our lives
- chukkim (decrees): dos and donts.
It is easy to discover the common elements in the first three types of laws. We are given explanation why or why not to do them, gains or losses, blessings or curses; we read them and do them with the consciousness that there are consequences.
However, the fourth type of laws is rather different. What is different about them is that no explanation or knowledge whatsover is given why or why not we are to do them.
A chukkah is generally understood to be an ordinance or a decree given in the Torah with no specific reason for fulfilling it. In other words, it is a command, but there is no explanation as to why we are to do it. There is also no promise connected to its fulfillment.
Thus, we simply do them without expecting any benefits; we do them out of love for and obedience to the One who decreed them.
To better understand the chukkim, we may liken them to the decrees of a king; they are not subject to an interpretation, a change, much less to a reverse or a repeal; they are chukkim: once issued they stay forever.
And since we do not know what we will receive in return, these decrees, chukkim, the Sages teach, we do by faith alone, not because we will gain something, but because YHVH has commanded them. The chukkim simply require obedience.
The Hebrew word חֻקָּה chukkah, a decree, is feminine of חֹק chok, to mean substantially the same: an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space).
However, the word chok literally means “engraved” that comes for the primitive root חָקָה chakkah, to carve as in carved work.
The engraved Word of YHVH
The Torah comes in two forms: engraved and written. In the revelation at Sinai, YHVH gave Mosheh two tablets of stone engraved with the words of the Covenant, aka the Ten Commandments.
Then, YHVH gave him all laws pertaining to the Covenant which Mosheh inscribed on parchment scrolls, the Torah. But this written Torah was preceded by the engraved words of YHVH which He wrote on the stones with His finger.
When something is written, the ink remains a separate entity from the parchment on which it has been written.
However, the letters engraved in stone are forged in it, thus they have become stone and the stone has become letters; the engraved words on the stone have become an integral part of the stone, they cannot be simply erased, because they are the stone.
The words engraved on the stone cannot be erased, but the stone can be broken: something Mosheh did when Israel broke the very Covenant carved in stone by the finger of YHVH. But, for insight on this crucial moment at Sinai, refer to the article “Why did Mosheh have to break the tablets of the Covenant?“.
Therefore, by the same token, the words YHVH engraved on stone are the stones and the stones are His words; they have become one, echad.
There is a dimension of the Torah of YHVH that is chok, engraved deeply in our souls. Everyone, regardless of culture, ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc., knows the distinction between right and wrong. Everyone knows that murder and stealing are wrong, also lying, fornication, etc. In all cultures, the respect of the father and mother is highly valued.
This dimension engraved deep down in our souls is the Torah of YHVH, His engraved Word on the two tablets of stone. Hence, the words of the Covenant of YHVH engraved in the stone are His chukkim, His decrees.
The second important thing we need to clarify, before we even go further into the Decree of the Passover in Exo 12:43-49, is the Hebrew word for “stranger”.
There are three Hebrew words in the Decree of the Passover lamb commonly translated as “stranger” or “foreigner” and they are:
- neikar, נֵכָר, meaning a foreigner, a heathen, an estranged one; from the root נָכַר, nakar, whose literal meaning is found in Jer 19:4: to profane (verse 43)
The Hebrew word behind “stranger” in Exo 12:43 is neikar. Rashi comments on neikar thus: “No estranged one: Whose deeds have become estranged from his Father in heaven. Both a gentile and an Israelite apostate are meant.” — [from Mechilta].
In general, neikar is one who has removed himself from his customary environment or associations and turned to hostility or indifference. Another word for neikar is “alien”: one who alienated himself from the society.
As Rashi commented, neikar is everyone who has removed himself from the Creator: a gentile and an apostate Israelite alike.
- toshav, תּוֹשָׁב, a dweller, from the root יָשַׁב, yashav, to sit down, by implication to dwell (verse 45).
In verse 45 is another word for “foreigner” toshav, and it is to be understood as such in the sense of a dweller, as one who travels from place to place without a permanent residence.
The best example for toshav was Avraham in Gen 23:4, who travelled in the land of Kanaan without a permanent residency.
Rashi comments on toshav: “This is a resident alien, a gentile who has accepted upon himself not to practice idolatry but eats carcasses.” — [from Mechilta].
- eved, עֶבֶד, a hired servant; eved is a gentile, who is a sojourner or a hired hand and works as a permanent servant (verse 44). He can eat of the Passover lamb only if he is circumcised.
- sachir, שָׂכִיר , a temporary servant. The Decree is very explicit to link toshav with sachir who is a temporary servant who works for wages by the day or year. He is not a permanent member of the commonwealth of Israel, and therefore, does not have the status of eved; he is a hireling working only for the money.
The best example for sachir is Yeshua’s definition of “hireling” in Joh 10:11-12 in which He the good shepherd contrasts His work with that of the hireling who is not concerned about the sheep.
- ger, גֵּר, a sojourner, from the root גּוּר, gur, to turn aside from the road (for a lodging or any other purpose) (verses 48 and 49). More attention we will show to the word ger, also translated as “stranger”.
As said above, ger comes from the verb gur with the meaning to turn aside from the road, or ger is a gentile who has turned aside from the road (figuratively), from his gentile-style of life and has become a sojourner in the land of Israel. The proper translation of ger, as it appears in the Scripture, will be a proselyte, a convert, or as Romans 11 calls him “a wild branch grafted in the olive tree of Israel.
And here is Rashi’s comments on ger: “We might think that everyone who converts must make a Passover sacrifice immediately. Therefore, Scripture states: ‘and he will be like the native of the land’ indicating that just as the native makes the sacrifice on the fourteenth, so must a proselyte. — [from Mechilta].
The word ger has an interesting reference to the Levites, as we read,
And when the Levite comes from one of your gates, from where he has sojourned among all Israel, and shall come with all the desire of his soul to the place which Yehovah chooses, (Deu 18:6)
The verb גּוּר (sojourned) above does not presuppose that the Levites were houseless or much less they were not a part of Israel, but simply that they had no hereditary possession of the land as the other tribes had, and merely lived like “sojourners” among the Israelites in the towns which were given up to them by the other tribes.
Hence, we understand, ger does not mean a foreigner, but one who does not have a possession in the land and when referring to a non-native, ger means one who sojourns among Israel, because he does not have land to dwell in.
And because ger has turned aside from his road of idolatry, paganism, and immorality, Apostle Shaul calls him also “former gentile”.
The Decree of the Passover
With all that clarified, let us read the Decree of the Passover lamb, which YHVH gave to Mosheh and Aharon,
“This is the decree of the Passover:
(1) No son of an estrange one is to eat of it,
(2) but any servant a man has bought for silver, when you have circumcised him, then let him eat of it.
(3) A dweller and a hired servant does not eat of it.
(4) It is eaten in one house, you are not to take any of the flesh outside the house, nor are you to break any bone of it. All the congregation of Israel are to perform it.
(5) And when a proselyte sojourns with you and shall perform the Passover to YHVH, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and perform it, and he shall be as a native of the land.
(6) But let no uncircumcised eat of it. There is one Torah for the native-born and for the proselyte who sojourns among you.” (Exo 12:43-49)
The Decree of the Passover lamb begins with the prohibition of “No estranged one” is to eat of the Passover lamb. In the first place, this is the heathen who does not acknowledge the sovereignty of YHVH and serves other gods. This is also and Israelite whose deeds have become estranged from the Torah: an apostate.
However, the Decree allows a gentile who is a hired servant to participate in the Passover supper only if he is circumcised. But if he is not circumcised, he and likewise the dweller, the settler, who temporarily lives and works in the land are not allowed to participate. In other words, settlers and servants working for wages, are not to eat of the Passover lamb, for they stand in an external relation to the nation, because they are not part of Israel.
If, a foreigner living among the Israelites wishes to keep the Festival of Unleavened bread, he was first of all to be spiritually incorporated into the nation of YHVH by faith and in order to take part of the Passover supper, he needs to get circumcised and thus he becomes a ger, a proselyte.
The Decree further grants the ger, the converted and circumcised former gentile, to have full rights not only in participating in the Passover supper, but to be a full member of the nation of Israel with all rights and responsibilities of the natives. This is explicitly stated in “There is one Torah for the native-born and for the ger”, for all members of the commonwealth of Israel.
In other words, in His Decree of the Pesach, YHVH prohibits no estranged one, native or non-native, both a gentile and an Israelite apostate alike who have rejected Torah to participate in Pesach, but allows the former gentiles who have accepted the Torah and have become a part of Israel to eat in the Passover supper.
The prohibition against the estranged and apostate ones, and all who are not worthy of eating the Pesach (Passover) lamb is best understood in Shaul’s letter to the Corinthians 11:20-34 concerning the Lord’s Supper,
So that whoever should eat this bread or drink this cup of the Master unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Master. … For the one who is eating and drinking unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Master. (1Co 11:27-29)
Whom did the Passover Lamb of YHVH die to save?
If the Passover lamb slain in Egypt is the picture of Yeshua the Messiah who died to save those under His blood, then:
Did He die for those who did not put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their heart?
Did He die for those who were unwilling to enter into the Covenant of YHVH?
Did He die for those who rebel against His call to leave their “Egypts”?
Did YHVH give His only begotten Son, that whosoever, whatever person, believes should not perish, but have everlasting life?
And now we will go back to key moment in the first Passover supper in Egypt. The blood of the Passover lambs was for them for a sign, but not for a sign for whosoever who had not had it on the doorposts.
Then and now, YHVH sees who has the blood of His Lamb and He will pass over them and spared them from the plague that will destroy the “Egypts”.
Then and now, not all have the blood of the Passover Lamb and not all will leave the “Egypts”.
The Passover Lamb of YHVH has not died for everyone, but only for those who first put His blood in their hearts and then start walking to His mountain to receive His Covenant and Torah.
No strangers are allowed in His Covenant!
Nothing has been changed, nothing has been abolished!
This article is a part of series of articles dedicated to the Appointed Times of YHVH and how His Messiah Yeshua has fulfilled them. For the rest of the set-apart days of the Creator, please, visit The Appointed Times of YHVH.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.