“Unit 9: Day 4, Exodus 12–13,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 9: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide
After Moses warned Pharaoh that “all the firstborn in the land of Egypt” (all of the firstborn males—humans and animals) would die (Exodus 11:5), he told the Israelites how to escape the plague. The Lord explained the feast of unleavened bread, or Passover, which would become a memorial to His deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt. The ordinance of the Passover would help the Israelites look forward to the Messiah’s coming and the deliverance of God’s children from spiritual and physical death.
If possible, to enhance your study of the Passover, you might want to gather the following foods before you begin this lesson: (1) some crackers, tortillas, or any kind of bread to represent the unleavened bread; (2) some parsley, horseradish, or another herb to represent the bitter herbs; and (3) a small portion of cooked meat to represent the lamb. If these items are unavailable, you can imagine eating them at the appropriate points in the lesson.
Can you remember what the 10 plagues were that came upon Egypt? What was the 10th and final plague? Read Exodus 11:5–6, looking for the Lord’s description of what would result from the 10th plague.
The Lord gave very specific instructions for the Israelites to follow in order to escape this plague. Read Exodus 12:2–14, looking for the Lord’s instructions that would help Israelite families escape the plague. You may want to mark what you find.
According to verse 11, what did the Lord call the meal Israel was to eat?
- At the top of a page in your scripture study journal, write the title Passover. You will be adding to this page as you study the Passover.
According to verses 12–13, why was it called Passover?
The lamb, its blood, the bitter herbs, and the unleavened bread used in the Passover meal were symbolic and taught the Israelites about the Lord’s hand in their deliverance.
To help you analyze and understand these symbols, first eat or imagine some of the bitter herbs. How do you think they taste?
- In your scripture study journal, write bitter herbs under the title “Passover,” and then write answers to the following questions:
What part of the Israelites’ lives in Egypt had been bitter? (As the Israelites ate the bitter herbs, they were to remember the bitterness of their bondage to the Egyptians.)
What else might the bitter herbs have symbolized in the Israelites’ spiritual life?
As you eat or imagine the bitterness of the herbs, think about when you have felt the bitterness of your sins.
Similar to Israel’s bondage in Egypt, sin places us in bitter bondage, making us unable to return to the presence of God.
Write unleavened bread after what you wrote about bitter herbs in your scripture study journal.
Do you know what leaven is? (Leaven is yeast. It produces air bubbles in bread, causing it to rise. It also causes bread to spoil and get moldy.) In the Bible, leaven is sometimes used as a symbol of corruption and sin.
Read Exodus 12:15, looking for what Israel was to do with any leaven in their homes. You may want to mark what you find.
- Under “unleavened bread” in your scripture study journal, write what you think removing all the leaven, or yeast, from the home and eating only unleavened bread could symbolize.
Eat or imagine some unleavened bread. What do you notice or think the unleavened bread does to the bitter taste of the herbs?
Write the word lamb after what you wrote about unleavened bread in your scripture study journal. Remember from Exodus 12:5 that the lamb each family would sacrifice was to be a male without blemish.
- Under “lamb” in your scripture study journal, write about what you think the lamb might symbolize and what you think the Israelites were to think about as they ate the lamb.
Eat or imagine some of the meat, and ponder the sacrifice Jesus Christ made to deliver you from your sins. You might notice that the taste of the meat can remove any remaining bitter taste from the herbs. Think about what Israel might have learned about the Savior by eating the lamb.
Read Exodus 12:21–23, looking for what the Lord would do for the families who put the lambs’ blood around their doors. The sacrifice of the lambs alone did not bring protection from the destroying angel. Only those who properly marked their doors with the blood of the lambs were promised safety.
Think about what kind of death the Israelites were saved from that first Passover night.
What kinds of death do we all need to be saved from?
We all need to be saved from both physical and spiritual death. Spiritual death is separation from God.
- In your scripture study journal, under what you wrote about the lamb, write what you think the blood of the lamb that saved the Israelites from death represents. Then answer the following questions:
Why was it important that the Israelites not only sacrificed a lamb but also did something with the blood of the lamb?
Like the Israelites who were protected from physical death by placing the lambs’ blood around their doors, how can we be delivered from spiritual death?
We can learn the following doctrine from the symbolism of the Passover: Through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and obedience to His commandments, we can be delivered from physical and spiritual death.
Read Exodus 12:28, looking for a phrase that summarizes what the children of Israel did to receive their deliverance. What would have happened if the Israelites had chosen not to put the lambs’ blood around their doors as the Lord had commanded?
What can we learn from the Israelites’ example about what we must do to apply the atoning blood of Jesus Christ in our lives?
As you read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, you might want to mark any phrases that are meaningful to you.
“Repentance and obedience are absolutely essential for the Atonement to work its complete miracle in your life. …
“The Atonement was a selfless act of infinite, eternal consequence. … Through it the Savior broke the bonds of death. … It opens the gates to exaltation for all who qualify for forgiveness through repentance and obedience” (“The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 42).
Read Exodus 12:29–30, looking for what happened to families who did not have the lambs’ blood around their doors.
Exodus 12:31–51 explains that as a result of this last plague, Pharaoh finally allowed the Israelites to go free.
Have you ever heard your parents, grandparents, or other family members share experiences that have helped them know God was watching over them? Think about how hearing about their experiences has affected you.
In Exodus 13:1–7 we read that Moses told the Israelites to remember the day they were brought out of Egypt by repeating the Passover feast each year on the anniversary of their deliverance. Read Exodus 13:8–10, looking for what the Israelites were to tell their children at the Passover feast each year.
Notice that in verse 10 the Passover is called an ordinance. An ordinance is “a sacred, formal act performed by the authority of the priesthood” (Gospel Topics, “Ordinances”; LDS.org). Ordinances can help us remember who we are and our duty to God.
Read Exodus 12:14, 17, 24, looking for how long the Lord said His people were to keep the ordinance of the Passover.
Do we still observe the ordinance of the Passover in our day?
President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how we keep this ordinance:
“At Gethsemane and Golgotha the Savior’s blood was shed. Centuries earlier the Passover had been introduced as a symbol and a type of things to come. It was an ordinance to be kept forever (see Exodus 12). …
“After the crucifixion of the Lord, the law of sacrifice required no more shedding of blood. … The sacrifice thenceforth was to be a broken heart and a contrite spirit—repentance.
“And the Passover would be commemorated forever as the sacrament, in which we renew our covenant of baptism and partake in remembrance of the body of the Lamb of God and of His blood, which was shed for us” (“Atonement, Agency, Accountability,” Ensign, May 1988, 72).
How is the sacrament like the Passover feast?
What would you place in the blank middle section of the following diagram to show what both the Passover and the sacrament help us remember?
On the evening before Jesus Christ was crucified, He and His disciples shared a Passover meal together. At the end of this meal, Jesus introduced the ordinance we now recognize as the sacrament, which He told His disciples to repeat in remembrance of Him. The following day, as a fulfillment of the Passover, the Lamb of God was sacrificed on the cross for the sins of the world. His sacrifice ended the ordinance of blood sacrifice. After the Savior’s crucifixion, His followers began to meet on the first day of the week to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of Him (see Acts 20:7).
Ponder the following question: How can understanding the Passover affect your experience when you partake of the sacrament?
You may want to think about what you have learned about the Passover and its symbolism as you next partake of the sacrament.
In Exodus 13:11–22 we read that Moses told the children of Israel they were to sacrifice the firstborn males of their flocks and herds to the Lord. They were also to offer a sacrifice for each of their firstborn sons.
When the Israelites left Egypt, they took Joseph’s bones with them to bury in the promised land as he had requested. The Lord led Moses and the children of Israel as they traveled in the wilderness.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Exodus 12–13 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: