Text: Exodus 12:1-30

We are now in the second day of the Chinese New Year. The Chinese typically commemorate the new year by wishing one another luck and prosperity. Houses are pasted with red banners, while Ang Pow (red packets) are given to children and  relatives. This is because red is regarded as the symbolic colour of fortune by traditional Chinese.

The children of Israel also commemorate the New Year. However, unlike the Chinese, the date of their New Year is given to them by God. It starts from the day when the LORD God delivered them from the bondage of Egypt. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exod. 12:1-2) This first month is known as Aviv in the Hebrew calendar and typically occurs during March to April. This change in the calendar for the children of Israel      reminds them of their salvation in the LORD and their new order of life that has been instituted in Christ. They must never forget the goodness of the LORD.

The Passover (v.3-13)

For Chinese New Year, each household can choose how they commemorate the festive season. They  may eat different dishes during the Reunion Dinner. However,  for the children of Israel, the way to commemorate their New Year is determined by the LORD.

Firstly, the children of Israel are expected to keep the Passover during the first fourteen days of Aviv. The requirements of the Passover are as such:

  • A male (not female!) lamb of the first year must be chosen for every household on the 10th of Aviv. This lamb must be without blemish.
  • The selected lamb will stay in the household for four days.
  • This same lamb is to be slaughtered in the evening (not morning!) of the 14th of Aviv.
  • The blood of the lamb is to be taken and painted on the two side posts and upper door post of each house. Not one post less!
  • The meat of the lamb must be roasted and eaten by morning. It is not to be eaten raw nor sodden with water. No lamb sushi. No lamb stew.
  • The lamb must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

The Passover Lamb is the perfect picture of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who was the suffering Lamb of God that was sacrificed for our sins (1 Cor. 5:7; Jn. 1:29). As the perfect theanthropos (God-man), He was without sin. Thus, the Passover Lamb was required to be without blemish. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21) 

The Passover Lamb was not only to remind the children of Israel that their deliverance from Egypt was due to Christ, but also to direct them to find salvation from their sins in their Messiah. What a wonderful Saviour they have in the perfect Lamb of God!

The Feast of Unleavened Bread (v.14-20)

The Passover was to be followed by the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. This was to be kept for seven days until the 21st day of Aviv. Holy convocations are to be kept on the first and last day of the festival. No servile work is to be done. This festival must be kept in remembrance of the children of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt.

The leaven is symbolic of sin in this feast. We see this confirmation in 1 Corinthians 5:6 – 8. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.The unleavened bread thus points the children of Israel to live a life of purity and holiness. They must be true and sincere believers of the LORD.

Similarly, the bread used during the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament is also unleavened. As we eat of that bread, let us be reminded that since we have been cleansed by Christ’s blood, we should also walk before the Lord in all purity.

How to Commemorate the Chinese New Year

For the unbelieving Chinese, the New Year is a time of feasting. The philosophy is “eat, drink, for tomorrow we die.” (c.f. Isa. 22:13). They celebrate fortune and material prosperity. This they do, by painting the whole town red.

However, for believers, the red of Chinese New Year should remind us of the blood of the Lamb of God that was shed for the remission of our sins (c.f. Heb. 9:22). Let us therefore remember His goodness, and endeavour to live a life of full surrender unto our Lord.  Have a blessed Chinese New Year.


The Church has received a letter from Hin Tat Augustine & Partners acting on behalf of the Estate of the late Dr. Tow Siang Hwa. Under the Will of Dr. Tow, he bequeathed a sum of $5000 to Tabernacle Bible Presbyterian Church.

We thank the Lord for this kind gift. We also remember fondly the times when Dr. Tow has ministered among us in Tabernacle BPC. The Session has thus decided to place this gift into the church’s general fund to be used for the promotion of God’s kingdom.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew