The feast of unleavened bread, or “Passover,” begins upon the evening of the 14th day of Nissan (April), and was instituted in commemoration of our ancestors’ redemption from Egypt, a memorial forever. During its continuance we are strictly forbidden the use of any leavened thing.
Moses said to the Israelites in the name of the Lord:—
“Draw out and take for yourselves a lamb,” etc.
By the observance of this precept they would deserve well of God and He would redeem them, for when He spoke they were “naked and bare” of good deeds and meritorious acts.
“Draw out and take for yourselves a lamb.”
Draw yourselves away from the idols which ye are worshiping with the Egyptians, the calves and lambs of stone and metal, and with one of the same animals through which ye sin, prepare to fulfill the commandments of your God.
The planet sign of the month Nissan is a lamb; therefore, that the Egyptians might not think that through the powers of the lamb they had thrown off the yoke of slavery, God commanded His people to take a lamb and eat it.
They were commanded to roast it whole and to break no bone of it, so that the Egyptians might know that it was indeed a lamb which they had consumed.
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the children of Israel that they shall borrow of the Egyptians gold and silver vessels,” in order that it might not be afterward said, “The words ’they will make them serve, and they will afflict them,’ were fulfilled: but the words ’they shall go out with great substance’ did not come to pass.”
When Moses told the Israelites that they should go up out of Egypt with great substance, they answered, “Would that we could go even empty-handed,” like to the servant confined in prison.
“To-morrow,” said the jailer to him, “I will release thee from prison, and give thee much money.”
“Let me go to-day, and give me nothing,” replied the prisoner.
On the seventh day of the Passover the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea on dry land.
A man was once traveling along the road and his son preceded him on the way. A robber appeared in the path, and the man put his son behind him. Then lo, a wolf came after the lad, and his father lifted him up and carried him within his arms.
The sea was before the Israelites, the Egyptians were behind them, so God lifted up His child and carried it within His arms.
When Israel suffered from the hot rays of the sun God “spread the cloud for a covering;” when they were hungry He sent them bread from heaven; and when they thirsted “He brought forth floods from a rock.”
The Feast of Weeks, or “Pentecost,” occurs upon the sixth day of the third month, Sivan (June). It is called the Feast of Weeks because forty-nine days, or seven weeks, duly numbered, elapse between the second day of Passover, when (during the existence of the Temple) a sheaf of green barley was offered, and this festival, when two loaves made of the first flour of the wheat harvest were “brought before the Lord.” It is also the anniversary of the delivery of the commandment from Mount Sinai.