The final plague that fell upon the land of Egypt in Moses’s day brought death to all the firstborn in the land—even firstborn animals. But God provided a way for His people to be spared from this plague. By performing a symbolic ritual, the children of Israel showed that they were God’s people, and then through the Passover, God saved them from destruction, delivered them from bondage, and sent them to inherit a promised land. (See Exodus 12.)
Here is a brief description of the emblems of the Passover, in which we see many symbolic representations of Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and our covenant with God.
Possibly endive, chicory, wild lettuce, horehound, sorrel, dandelions, horseradish, parsley, snakeroot, peppermint, or other herbs with a bitter taste. What were they?
They were eaten along with the lamb. What was done with them?
Bitterness of slavery and captivity in Egypt; bitterness of slavery to sin; bitterness of Christ’s suffering for our sins. What do they represent?
A year-old lamb without blemish. What was it?
It was killed and then roasted with fire, whole—no bones broken; head, legs, and edible inner parts attached. It was to be eaten during the Passover night, nothing remaining in the morning. If anything did remain, it was to be burned. What was done with it?
Christ as perfect and sinless sacrifice for sins; the sweet experience of coming unto Him, juxtaposed with the bitterness of sin; the complete dedication required of those under covenant to God. What does it represent?
Bread made, most likely, from emmer wheat, barley, or sorghum without leaven, which makes bread softer but also more susceptible to mold and other decay. In addition, leavened bread takes much longer to make, since the dough needs time to rise. What was it?
It was eaten for seven days. Leaven (which was probably some kind of sourdough starter) was to be removed from each home during this time. What was done with it?
Purity; haste of flight from captivity; Christ as the Bread of Life. What does it represent?
Hyssop (an herb later used in ritual purifications) was dipped in the bowl of blood from the lamb, and then the blood was placed on the lintel and posts of the door. How was it applied?
A sign identifying God’s covenant people, whom the destroying angel was to pass over; purification through Christ’s blood, which was shed to atone for our sins. What does it represent?
Loins Girt, Feet Shod, Staff in Hand, Standing While Eating
Readiness for hasty flight from captivity; desire for freedom from sin. What do they represent?
Purification of the temple (“Make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise”)—see 1st Passover: John 2:13–17.
Miracle of the loaves and fishes (“I am the bread of life”)—see 2nd Passover: John 6.
Last Supper (“This do in remembrance of me”)—see 3rd Passover: Luke 22:7–20.
On Easter Sunday 1836, the second day of Passover, the Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. April 3, 1836:
“Do we see [our weekly sacramental service] as
our passover, remembrance of our safety and deliverance and redemption?
“With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “This Do in Remembrance of Me,”
Ensign, Nov. 1995, 68.