The Passover Lamb - Exodus 11.1-13.22 (Part 5 in a Series of 11)
September 28, 2008
Prayer: Father, your hand is powerful to save! Nothing is able to stop the plan of redemption you set in motion with the work of your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. The enemy accuses and rages against us, but you will not allow us to succumb to him. You alone are almighty God.
We admit and acknowledge that there are many things and people that tend to crowd You out of our lives. Forgive us. You will not allow your children to put You behind any lesser priority. You are jealous God and a consuming fire. We endeavor to put You first.
Our Father, we also know that you are just. You will do right and overwhelm the wicked of our land. We wait on You and ask that you enable our faithfulness. As you show mercy, may we do likewise. We eagerly anticipate the heavenly home that awaits us and the fellowship unhindered by this toilsome life we live. Lord, teach us this evening through Your powerful Word!
Background/Review: Pharaoh hardened his heart to the point of no return. When the Lord ultimately hardened Pharaoh’s heart before the 10th and final devastating plague, Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!” (10.28)
· Pharaoh thought himself to be powerful enough to rise above God and smite one of His servants. This king of Egypt thought he was beyond the will and control of Almighty God. As is the father, so goes the son. Pharaoh was of his father, the devil - a deceiver and himself deceived.
· The arrogant stance of Pharaoh echoes in your mind when you reach similar wording in Exodus 33:20. Here God said to Moses, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
· The difference between the words of Pharaoh and God ought to be immediately clear. God is Creator and Pharaoh is created. God is powerful, jealous of worship from His creature, just, merciful, and holy. Pharaoh is finite, deceived, cruel, and profane. All of this sets the stage for the 10th and final plague.
God sent nine plagues. We surveyed these plagues in three groupings a few weeks back. We learned that each demonstrated God’s rightful position as Creator and Sovereign; however, Pharaoh hardened and was hardened. So, Moses announced a great and terrible 10th plague that would take the life of the firstborn in every Egyptian home (11.4-8).
The manifest character of God would secure redemption for His people and condemn rebellion in the Egyptians. The reason for the plagues is found in at least four lessons that they teach about God:
1. God is all-powerful. Exodus 9:29 records Moses’ words to Pharaoh: “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the Lord; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s.”
2. God is jealous. Exodus 12:12 records what God will do in His own words: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.” God defeated the gods of Egypt and demonstrated His superiority through the plague activities. All must realize that there is none like Him. He is the Lord!
3. God is just. These plagues were deserved. Pharaoh and the Egyptians had used their stewardship from God to kill, enslave, and cruelly torment God’s people. Abraham asked God, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18.25) Of course, He shall do right - every time!
4. God is merciful. Even though God must judge sin, He is love. The plagues demonstrate not only the justice of God, but also His mercy. Israel had suffered oppression for well over 400 years. Now, God in His mercy moved to help and deliver them.
Notice that God brought death at midnight: “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt.” …Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt…” (11.1, 4).
8He destroyed the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.
Psalm 136:10 (NKJV)
10To Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn, for His mercy endures forever.
Certainly, there are parallels for us. Let me apply these four lessons from the plagues to our lives in reverse order:
· God is merciful and loving. Therefore, He does not want to punish us for our sin.
· God is just. Therefore, He must punish our sin.
· God is jealous. He desires that none perish but that all repent and give Him glory. He will not stand for lesser gods and the pursuit of evil in His creation.
· God is all-powerful. So, God purchased our redemption from the slave block of sin. “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor 5.7) Jesus Christ satisfied the righteous demands of God’s perfect justice and also gave opportunity for the demonstration of His great mercy and faithfulness to promises made in the Old Testament.
When indication of God’s displeasure came upon the Egyptians through the plagues, they could have repented and sought to glorify the true God. Yet the more they were punished, the harder they became. Why? Because they had committed themselves to lesser gods like those of the Nile, the harvest, or the sun and sky. Blood defiling the water, locusts tearing away at the harvest, and supernatural darkness overcoming the sun all point to the weakness of Egyptian gods and the power of the true God.
God brought ultimate judgment to these lesser gods and the Egyptians who served them through the 10th plague. However, we need to remember that Israel faced the same plague. God brought death at midnight to every house in Egypt. He also visited every Israelite home in Goshen. He would have killed all the firstborn sons in every Egyptian and Israelite home except for one thing:
Exodus 12:13 states, “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. … 12.23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.”
While God distinguished between Egypt and Israel for many of the plagues, He did not do so for the last plague. Why? Because the Israelites deserved death just as the Egyptians did. God taught Israel through the Passover event and its subsequent ceremony that He will not tolerate sin and man cannot save himself.
How had Israel sinned?
1. They rejected Moses, God’s prophet. Exodus 5:21 records Israel’s words to Moses: “Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” Both Egypt and Israel deserved God’s judgment.
2. They were idolatrous. Joshua admonished Israel years after this event with the following words: “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!” (Josh 24.14)
3. They were sinners by birth just like all of us. Romans 3.23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The oppressed people of God are not an exception to this. Israel and Egypt …Jews and Gentiles alike …all under sin (Rom 3.9). The wages of sin is eternal death (Rom 6.23) and this death comes upon all men because all men sin (Rom 5.12).
Before Israel made their exodus into the wilderness, God revealed through Moses that each household was to choose its own lamb. It had to be perfect. It would serve as a sacrifice for sin. Of course the only sacrifice acceptable to God is a perfect one. So the lamb had to be spotless and pure.
That innocent lamb had to be killed. This is the brutality of sin - yours and mine. The blood of the lamb was brushed upon the doorposts and death passed over the firstborn in each believing household. God required a lamb from Adam, Abel, and Abraham. He required a lamb from every household at midnight in Egypt. He required a lamb on the Day of Atonement for the sin of a nation. But Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. All along, God planned for one Lamb to die for one world. Jesus is the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13.8). Jesus is the Passover Lamb. All animal sacrifices have ceased today because they were mere pictures of what Jesus perfectly and completely fulfilled.
Jesus committed no sin. No deceit or guile was found in His mouth (1 Peter 2.22). He was tempted in every way, just as you and I are - yet without sin (Hebrews 4.15). Jesus came as a morally perfect sacrifice and offered Himself unblemished and unspotted to God (Hebrews 9.14). He was crucified right at the time of the Passover feast (John 13.1; 18.28). The first Passover occurred in Egypt and the final Passover outside the gates of Jerusalem.
Jesus made a triumphal entry in Jerusalem and then was taken outside the gates of the city as a scape-goat, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He entered as a triumphant king at a time when all the Passover lambs were being driven into Jerusalem. When He celebrated His last Passover supper with His disciples, He said, “This is My body …This is My blood” (Matt 26.17, 26-28). Even though the disciples did not understand it then, they do now. We do now. Jesus was really saying that the Passover was all about Him. He was saying, “I am the sacrificial Lamb!”
When the lambs were sacrificed by the fathers in Jerusalem just over 2,000 years ago, God the Father provided the Lamb for the world. One Lamb. One Way. One Truth. One Life! Jesus hung upon the cross, with sacrificial blood flowing from His hands, feet, and side. He was the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him [the Lamb] the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Acts 8:32) We are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19, NKJV)
Christ was the silent Lamb. He is still silent. People usually do not view this silence as forbearance or mercy. They view it with presumption and disdain. But the day is coming when the Lamb will no longer be silent. When John was given a vision of the future, he looked and saw a Lamb standing “as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6).
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! …Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13).
This is the Lamb who will open the seals of judgment (Revelation 6:1). This Lamb will cause men to cry out to mountains and rocks, praying that they might fall upon them and hide them from the fierce face of the Lamb and His wrath (6.16). And yet this Lamb will make the saints who choose Him in the great tribulation white with His precious blood (7.14).
“All who dwell on the earth [rejecting Christ during the Great Tribulation] will worship [a false christ, because their] names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)
“Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”(Revelation 19:9) The Lamb has a wife; she is His church. There is no temple over the threshold of eternity, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are eternity’s temple (Rev 21.22). There is no sun or moon to shine over the threshold. Eternity is illumined by the glory of God and the light of the Lamb (21.23). Nothing will defile anything on the other side. No lie will be whispered. No abomination present. Once humanity crosses over to eternity, it has made its choice.
Only those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (21.27) shall enter. They alone will cross over the threshold as a spotless Bride adorned for the Lamb. They alone will reclaim paradise and reign with Him. Everyone else will be eternally separated from all hope. Their threshold gone. Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Turn to Him before you cross the threshold!
235 - Pass Me Not