Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go, select lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood in the basin. None of you shall go outside the door of your house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike down the Egyptians; when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over that door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you down. You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children. When you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this observance. And when your children ask you, “What do you mean by this observance?” you shall say, “It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.”’ And the people bowed down and worshipped.
The Israelites went and did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.
No one had been righteous enough to overcome the sins of the flesh. God’s chosen people had failed, and had decided to follow their own will to death. Yet even in their suffering, God had mercy on them and gave them a way to blot out their sins: they needed to sacrifice a spotless lamb. It’s important to remember the physical action that still had to take place to wipe out sin. A body had to be sacrificed. A perfect body had to be slain.
It wasn’t enough for the Jews to simply express their sorrow and try to do better. Sin corrupts the body and spirit, and only the intercessory power of a body without blemish could redeem it. The blood of the lamb would protect them from God’s wrath and renew the covenant that he had established with the Israelites.
Now, if they could live in righteousness and allow God to be their God once again, they would be blessed with the new Eden, the promised land in Canaan. Their righteousness would save creation. For a time, God was with them as they worshiped him and kept him as Lord, but eventually they turned away from God and followed their flesh into exile.