Living By Faith
To this point in time, everything we have looked at has been preliminary to the life of faith. Before we can begin the journey, we must first recognize our dependence on God for everything and His capacity to supply all we need. Then we must understand that He is holy and expects us to be holy as well. Finally, we must turn to God from idols (I Thessalonians 1:9).
Today, we want to look at salvation. This is the starting point of our march to the Promised Land. It is represented by the final judgment of Egypt—the death of the first born.
By way of introduction, God judged Egypt with a terrible judgment. Nine plagues ravaged the land, yet there was one more. This final one was the ultimate and effectual one.
Scripture: Exodus 11:1
In view of Pharaoh’s obstinate refusal to let Israel go and the intensifying nature of the plagues, we know that this cataclysm would be very terrible. It would be so horrifying that Pharaoh would actually thrust Israel out of the land altogether. Then, God instructed Israel to do something strange.
Scripture: Exodus 11:2-3
Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold. 3 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people.
Israel was to plunder Egypt. In this way, they would extract reparation for years of hardship and bondage. Egypt would pay financially. Their destruction would be complete. Keep in mind that Egypt of this time was the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen. They were said to have had as much as eight per cent of all the gold the world has ever known. For years, the Jews had been kept in poverty and slavery. After this, they had gold untold.
Unfortunately, wealth does not guarantee success in God’s eyes. Treasure will only profit if it is consecrated to the Lord. It may be used both for good (the making of the Tabernacle in the wilderness in Exodus 35) or evil (the making of the golden calf in Exodus 32).
Having instructed the Israelites to plunder Egypt, God then revealed the plague.
Scripture: Exodus 11:4-6
4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. 6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
Every first born of both man and beast would die. Every household in Egypt would be affected. The loss and grief is beyond our comprehension. Someone may say, “This judgment is too severe.” But it accurately portrays the just condemnation for sin (Romans 6:23).
Someone may cry as Cain, “My punishment is more than I can bear (Genesis 4:13). Yet, God used this horror to reveal a beautiful picture of His wonderful, marvelous, and amazing grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). The death angel was to slay every first born, but there was a way of escape!!!
If the blood of the lamb was found on the doorposts and lintel of the house, the death angel would pass over without harm. Hence this is the origin of the Jewish Passover Feast and the words to the song, “When I see the blood….I will pass over you.”
Ten Observations About the Feast:
1.) A beginning of months (Exodus 12:1-2)
First God told Moses and Aaron that the Passover Feast marked a new beginning for Israel: i.e., it was to be a beginning of months. In like fashion, our salvation in Jesus Christ marks a new beginning for us (II Corinthians 5:17). We become new creatures in Christ at the very moment of salvation. Whatever we have done in the past is now under the blood. We have a fresh start.
We need to remember, particularly if we are saved later in life, that salvation is a new birth experience. We start over again. We become new babes in Him. We are supposed to do away with the worldly philosophy and mindset that we picked up in our course of life. We are to begin again on a new foundation—the Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 3:11-12)—relearning how to conduct ourselves and think as God would have us think.
Too many professing Christians see Christ only as a room addition on a termite-infested house. Soon the vermin move to the new. Eventually, the new house becomes as decrepit as the old. Instead, we are to tear down the old (Ephesians 4:22) and build the new (Ephesians 4:24). How? By the renewing of our minds (Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:16).
Every method, thought, and motive must be questioned and tested by the mirror of God’s Word. Is it worldly or Christ-like?
2.) The lamb (Exodus 12:3)
Second, they were to take a lamb—a cuddly, soft, innocent little lamb. Why a lamb? Because the innocence of this lamb pictures the innocence of Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Scripture: II Corinthians 5:21
3,) Let him and thy neighbor take it (Exodus 12:4)
Thirdly, if the family was too small to eat a whole lamb, they were to join with another family. This pictures the communion we have in Christ.
Family lines break down in Christ, and we become one body in Him.
Scripture: I Corinthians 12:12-13
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
We are made blood relatives of Christ (Matthew 12:46-50), and thus blood relatives of each other. We are also made equal in Christ. Romans 8:17 says that we are made joint-heirs with Christ. The Greek word for "joint-heirs" implies equality. This word is used to correct the ungodly thinking of 'macho men' regarding their wives (I Peter 3:7). It is also used of Isaac and Jacob as equal participants with Abraham in the promises of God (Hebrews 11:9).
This equality is based upon our position in Christ. We are different but equal. We come together from many backgrounds, but in Christ we are one and equal. There is no room for prejudice or bigotry in our Lord and Savior.
Because of this, we can have sweet fellowship with one another without regard to background; however, we need to cultivate the connection. It does not just happen. Division happens. Prejudice and bigotry happen. We are sinners by nature—that happens. Love and fellowship require attention and work. To have those, we must work at our relationship to Christ.
4.) Without blemish (Exodus 12:5)
Fourthly, the lamb was to be without blemish to demonstrate the absolute perfection and sinlessness of the Savior. Isaiah 53:10 says that His soul was made a sin offering for us. Only a sinless soul could satisfy the Holy God. Since all men inherit a sin nature through Adam, God provided His own offering—the virgin-born Son of God.
5.) Keep it four days (Compare Exodus 12:3 and 6)
Fifthly, they were to keep the lamb four days. It was to be taken to them where it could become a family pet. Picture a lamb—small, wooly, lovable. Before you know it, the children play with it. Mom finds it underfoot but puts up with the annoyance because she, too, develops a love for it. Soon he has a name. Then comes the sacrifice!!! Why?
A.) The act demonstrates the grief of the Father at the slaying of the Son.
B.) The event vividly captures the horrible nature of sin that forces innocent blood to be shed.
Too often our view of sin is detached from the terrible toll it exacts. We fail to see the suffering and bloody trail left by our deeds. Oh, that we might see sin as God sees it!
6.) Two side posts and lintel (Exodus 12:7)
Sixthly, the blood was to be sprinkled on the side posts and lintel of the doorway.
This is a beautiful enactment of the passion of Christ. At His thorn-crowned brow, we have the lintel sprinkled with blood. At the outstretched arms, we have the side posts dripping with blood. At the threshold, the blood from His wounded side and battered body collects in a pool. Hebrews 9:22 says, “without the shedding of blood is no remission” for sins. This is the terrible price of our salvation.
7.) Eat the flesh (Exodus 12:8)
Seventh, they were to eat the flesh, which demonstrates our communion and fellowship with Christ. We are to partake of His body—the Word of God—that we may grow in grace and knowledge of Him (I Peter 2:2-3).
8,) Roast with fire (Exodus 12:9)
Eighth, they were to eat it roasted with fire—not raw or watered down. Jesus Christ is not merely a man of God or a good person. He is the Lamb of God come to save sinners by being sacrificed on the cross to satisfy the just and fiery judgment of God. He must be claimed on that basis alone for salvation of our souls. Raw won’t do! Christ did not just die. He did it for my sins. Watering down that message is not an option if we want to maintain the truth.
9.) Leave nothing until morning (Exodus 12:10)
Ninth, they were to leave nothing till morning. Our communion with Christ is based upon daily renewing our commitment to serve Him. We cannot store up spirituality or rest on our laurels. We must continually examine ourselves (I Corinthians 11:28-31). We must allow God to search our hearts for us and confess our sins daily.
10,) With your loins girded (Exodus 12:11)
Tenth, they were to eat the passover hastily with girded-up loins, shoes on feet, and staff in hand. In other words, they were to be ready to go at a moment's notice. Our Lord is not a dead body in a grave. He is a living Savior and we look for His return at any moment. We need to ready ourselves for the occasion.
Exodus 12:13 says that the blood of the lamb was a token. We have no need of such tokens today. Jesus Christ ended all that with one sacrifice, once for all, at the cross of Calvary. Today, we need only take hold of the sacrifice that He made once for all for us.
Next time: The Exodus