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Christ -- Our Passover
By David A. DePra
Egypt, in the Bible, always stands for the world, the realm of darkness, and bondage to sin. It speaks of the old nature which keeps us in bondage. Israel, in captivity, stands for the real person who God wants to save. Presently, he is captive to Egypt. There is no way out by his own strength.
When reading about the story of how Israel was delivered from Egypt, think in terms of all that is described going on inside of each person. YOU have Egypt and Israel in you. God wants to deliver you, and bring you into a new land of promise: Jesus Christ.
The New Testament tells us to do this. Paul writes:
Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (I Cor. 10:11)
The events recorded in the OT are true history. But they happened the way they did, and are written the way they are, as physical types of spiritual realities. Not only do we see this from the above passage from I Corinthians, but if we review how the NT writers use scripture in other places, we see that this is so. Paul, Peter, John, and of course, Jesus Himself, all take the historical narratives of the OT and glean from them profound spiritual lessons.
Along this line, we find that in the first Passover there is a wonderful picture of God’s provision through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Christ, according to Paul, is our Passover lamb. "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." (I Cor. 5:7) John the Baptist announced Him as, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1;29)
Just prior to that first Passover, God gave specific instructions to Moses as to what the children of Israel were to do to prepare. He said,
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (Ex. 12:5-7)
So God is telling the children of Israel that each of their households must kill a lamb without blemish. They must take the Blood of the lamb and sprinkle or strike it on the two sides of the doorway, and on it’s top. Furthermore, they must EAT the lamb during that same night – the night during which the plague would come upon the land.
This Blood, and it alone, provided salvation that night for that household:
It is the LORD'S passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite 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. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Ex. 12:11-13)
What a picture of Christ, our Passover Lamb! But if we continue on and examine what is going on here, it gives us a greater dimension of knowledge as to the Truth of the Redemption.
First, note the reason as to why the Israelites had to kill the Lamb, and then apply the Blood. Ask: Was God confused as to who was an Israelite, or who was an Egyptian? Of course not. He knows everyone by name. Thus, we see here that it wasn’t being an Israelite that mattered at all. It was that you were under the Blood. It was, in fact, whether you put YOURSELF under the Blood by faith.
We do not see God saying to the Israelites, "Because I have chosen you, just sit tight. I’m going to come through and curse the Egyptians, and save you." No. Even though God had chosen the Israelites, and had destined them to freedom, they had to "come under the Blood," or they were going to suffer exactly the same fate as the Egyptians that night. They had to come "under the Blood" by believing God – and by "applying" that Blood to their houses.
This is clearly stated at least three times in God’s instructions. Being an Israelite was not was protected the Israelites! It was only if they were under the Blood that they were protected.
For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not permit the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Ex. 12:23)
Again – what would cause the Lord to "pass over" those households spared? The fact that they were children of Abraham? No. Only the Blood. God told them: "When I see the blood upon the lintel and the two side posits, the Lord will pass over the door, and not permit the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you." He also said earlier, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." It was clear that if any Israelite had not applied the Blood as God instructed, that they too would have been under the curse that night. In the Blood and only the Blood was salvation.
This is so important to understand. God choose the nation Israel before any of those people involved in the first Passover were born. They WERE God’s chosen people. But did the fact that they were "chosen of God" automatically save them? No. In fact, God tells them that despite the fact that they were chosen of God, that without the Blood, they would experience the same curse as the Egyptians.
What we see in this story is that God draws people to salvation, but that this alone does not insure it. They must believe and come under the Blood. God does not save, and then bring us to the Blood. He brings us to the Blood, and then we must believe and embrace it by faith, and then we are saved.
This progression is clearly described to the Israelites:
Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Ex. 12:21-23)
We start with the Israelites, the chosen people of God, who God was calling out of Egypt unto salvation. We start with ALL of them. Indeed, the Blood of a Lamb was to be shed for each and everyone of them. There were no exceptions. It was always God intention to save them ALL. He tells everyone of them to slay a lamb, and to keep it’s Blood.
Notice that once the lamb was slain, that it’s Blood was held in a BASIN – which can be likened to the covenant which God offers us through Christ. At that point, the death of the LAMB is finished. The Blood has been shed. But ask: Is that all there was to saving Israel that night? NO. Their salvation was fully paid for, and provided. But if they had stopped there, not a one of them would have been spared the curse!
Why? Because the Blood had not been applied. Only those who took the provision of the Blood with "a bunch of hyssop" and "sprinkled" or "applied" it to the sides and top of the doorway would be saved. Otherwise, despite the fact that the Lamb was slain for them, it would do them no good. Or, to put it in New Covenant terms, the Lamb IS slain, but unless we believe, His death will not save us!
Do you see that the slain Lamb was enough to save everyone that night – but that not a single person would have been saved without the Blood being applied by faith? The death of the Lamb was the only death necessary, and was fully sufficient to save all. But the death alone saved no one! Why? Because until the Blood was applied through the faith of the one being saved, it was a neutral thing – still in the basin.
Jesus Christ died for ALL the sin of ALL people. No one is excepted. And if not a single person ever believed it, or put their faith in His Blood, his death is nevertheless finished, and sufficient for the salvation of every person. But only those who actually believe and embrace what Christ has done can be saved! You must believe.
The fact that an Israelite who refused the Blood would have come under the curse of Egypt tells us that the Blood was no respecter of persons. Indeed, we might infer that any Egyptian household which had put faith in the Blood would have escaped the curse. It was the Blood which saved, and the faith which embraced that salvation. The nationality of the person was not at issue.
The Christian Calling
This begins to point us in the right direction with regard to our Christian calling. No man can come to Jesus, except the Father draw Him. (Jn. 6:44) The parallel here is that God called Israel solely by grace, and had shown them the Truth that night about how to be saved from the plague of death. God did that – and only God could do it.
But God did not save Israel that night by simply making sure the angel passed them over. Neither did He save them merely on the basis of the slain lamb. No. Israel themselves had to come under the Blood by faith. THAT was necessary, or else they would have come under the curse.
We do not see here a salvation given resulting in Israel coming under the Blood. No, for the possibility continued to exist of not coming under the Blood, and of not being spared. Rather, and as the NT teaches, we see a coming under the Blood, and the salvation being received upon that basis.
Clearly, the Father draws a person and does what no man can do: Bring him to see Jesus. Bring him to see the Lamb slain. But that person must come – by faith to the Blood. Just as the Israelites had the choice to put their faith in the Blood, or not to put their faith in the Blood, and had to act that faith out by applying the Blood, so must we make the choice to put our faith in the Blood.
There comes a point in the calling by grace where we SEE enough light to "come to Jesus." WE must do that by choice; by surrender. And if we don’t, our calling – as it could have been for any child of Israel that night – will mean nothing. We will have judgment instead.
Freedom Through Death
Death was coming that Passover night to those who dwelt in Egypt – death to ALL – as is symbolized by the death of the first-born. This death would NOT be a respecter of persons, for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) But God offered His people a substitute – the Lamb. The Lamb would be slain. Those who would take the Blood and apply it in faith to their doorway would be spared – for they were coming under the Blood of the Lamb, and accepted His death for their own. God would honor their faith and "pass over" them.
Notice how – in a manner of speaking -- no one escaped death. It was just a matter of whether you were going to die for your own sins, or come under the death of the slain Lamb. Regardless, however, death was coming in one form or another that night. There would be no escape.
Those who came under the Blood of the Lamb were able to emerge the next day, free of what had enslaved them. The power of Egypt had been broken for Israel. The power of sin is broken for us.
Do you see how the only means by which God can solve the sin question is DEATH? God cannot fix Egypt, or rehabilitate it. No. Egypt must DIE. Then Israel is free.
Here we see that "our Egypt" – our old man of sin – must die. There is no reprieve and no pardon. He must die. But the "real us" – which is under the Blood – is saved. It is that which emerges the next morning, ready to come out of Egypt.
If we again picture ALL of this going on inside of US, we will see that our "outer man" – Egypt which is "outside" of the houses covered by Blood – must die; must have it’s power broken. But our inner man – the fundament of our being, long ago brought into captivity through sin – is safe inside, covered by the Blood. It is THAT part of us which is IN CHRIST – and which is saved.
Paul the apostle says all of this. He tells us that we – and by "we" I mean our old man in Adam – do not escape death because of the Lamb. No. Our "old man" isn’t inside, under the Blood. It is "outside" – of Egypt. Our old man, the "old we" -- MEETS death – is crucified in Christ. But because of that, our new man is set free from sin.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)
So if you understand that YOU have an Egypt and an Israel, you realize that there is a part of you that must die: Your Egypt. There is NO reprieve for your Egypt, for it is only through the death of your Egypt, that your Israel can be set free.
What we see here is that the Blood of the Lamb is your salvation. But so is the destroyer. The destroyer puts to death all that must die for you to be free. The destroyer puts to death all that stands between you and God. But the Blood preserves the real you -- unto a resurrection this next morning.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Rom. 5:10)
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6:8-11)
The Blood of the Lamb was to be applied to the sides and the top of the doorway. This "barred" the destroyer from coming into the house. But notice: The blood was not to be applied to the floor part of the doorway. Why? For in one sense, it would seem appropriate to apply the Blood to the floor, since it would be an even greater barrier through which no one dared to pass.
But this is really the whole point. The floor part of the doorway being left open was symbolic of the fact that those inside were there by choice. They were not prisoners – held in by the Blood. They had put their faith in the Blood, and had come under it’s protection. But they could walk out into the open air anytime they wanted – although doing so would have subjected them to the curse of that Passover night.
Here we see the freedom, and free-will aspect of the Redemption. God shows us we must come under the Blood. But we must, by faith, come under it. Once we do, we are not prisoners. We are those who learn that coming under the Blood is everything we ever wanted.
God tells us that the only thing necessary for salvation is to come to Jesus – included in which is our repentance of not coming to Jesus. Coming to Jesus is the one thing WE must do, and the only thing we CAN do. God does the rest. He draws us to Christ, shows us Christ, presents us to Christ. He makes us to understand the Truth, and gives us the grace to grasp what we need to know. But we must make that choice of faith. God will not do that for us.
Yet once we do make that choice and come to Jesus – come under His Blood – God does not lock us in. He knows that once we come to Jesus, we will begin to experience Jesus, and will fall in love with Him. Thus, He is free to leave the door open.
Trodden Under Foot?
There is yet another symbolism in leaving the floor of the doorway free of the Blood: So that none may TROD THE BLOOD UNDERFOOT. We see this in Hebrews:
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:26-29)
When the writer of Hebrews speaks of those who "sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the Truth," he is not talking about losing one’s salvation. Neither is he saying that if we ever sin, knowing we shouldn’t, that we are doomed. All of us would be doomed in that case.
When the writer speaks of sin, he is speaking of THE SIN which he is about to describe – the sin of trampling underfoot the Son of God. This is clear from reading the above passage as a whole. THE SIN which will doom us, if we willfully commit it after seeing the Truth, it to trample underfoot the Son of God, and the blood of the Covenant.
The writer of Hebrews isn’t talking about a saved person who loses salvation. He is talking about someone who receives the knowledge of the Truth, but nevertheless goes ahead and tramples it underfoot. In other words, they don’t lose salvation – they refuse to be saved. And it is willful. They know what they are doing.
So if we want to discover as to why the floor area of the doorway was not sprinkled with Blood, we now know that it can’t be because God was making it impossible to trample under foot His Son. No, because Hebrews is telling us that it IS possible to see the Truth, and refuse it. So how could one trample underfoot the grace of God, if the Blood was not applied to the floor area? Simple. You could trample the Blood under foot BY applying it to the floor, against the commands of God.
Herein we see THE SIN. THE SIN is to know the Lamb is slain. To have access to the Blood – in the basin. But then, out of sheer irreverence for the Blood, to put it on the floor so that it might be walked upon.
Do we see the terrible picture of possible if the floor was stained with Blood? The Israelites would spend the night in the house, under the Blood, eating the Lamb. Then, in the morning of deliverance out of Egypt, they would leave the house, but trample upon the Blood. This would show that despite seeming to be under the Blood, they gave it no reverence. They not only disobeyed God’s command with regard to the Blood, but they then trampled upon it.
There are those who, seeing the Truth, choose to refuse it, in favor of something else. There is nothing left to offer them. How could there be? Christ paid everything and offered it free of charge. That is why there is, for them, no longer any sacrifice for sin. They have rejected the only One there is.
Eating the Passover
You will remember that the Passover included more than just applying the Blood to the doorposts, and waiting out the night.
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remains of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover. (Exodus 12:8-11)
The people were told to EAT the lamb. In other words, take the Lamb "into yourselves." You will be taking into yourself the Lamb Himself which provided the sacrifice which saved you.
To "eat the Lamb" is explained by Jesus Himself. He said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:53-57)
To eat of Jesus means to live BY Him. It means, having died in Him, to now be raised through Him – as symbolized by the energizing food. And again: The Israelites had to do this. They had to eat the Lamb. What it provided was not given to them unless they ate of it.
There were other characteristics of this Passover meal. First, there was to be NOTHING left over until morning. In other words, we are to take ALL of Christ, not just some of Him. And the Lamb was to be eaten overnight, leaving none till morning. This shows a complete and finished work – through the death of the night, into the resurrection of the morning.
Jesus has given all of Himself for us, that we might have life. But just as the Israelites who came under the Blood, once under the Blood, had to eat all of the Lamb during the time the destroyer was passing them over, so must we. Again – we can do nothing to save ourselves. But we are told to receive it by faith.
The Israelites were told to eat the Lamb with bitter herbs – which is symbolic of the fact that we must repentance of everything for which the Lamb has died. We swallow that bitter pill even as we are eating of the Lamb. The two go together.
In addition to eating the Lamb with bitter herbs, the Israelites were to eat the Passover meal dressed to depart from Egypt. This "departing posture" is to show our desire to forsake sin and no longer belong to Egypt. Imagine eating the Passover, comfortable and at ease! No. We eat it as the means of our deliverance – and because we want freedom from sin.
Stranger and Foreigners
Israel was God’s chosen, but God wanted to foreshadow the fact that salvation would be open to ALL people, not only to a select few. God would later made it clear to Israel that, "There shall be no stranger to eat thereof," of the Passover. (Ex. 12:43) Strangers were always Gentiles, or those not of Israel. But then God would go on to qualify His remarks. Strangers COULD eat of the Passover – but only if circumcised. He said:
And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof: But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. (Ex. 12:43-48)
Here we see that, in the final analysis, the qualification for keeping the Passover was NOT that you were a child of Abraham. No. It was that you became circumcised. Thus, even those who were strangers could eat of it once circumcised. For God said, "ONE law shall be to him that is home born, and unto the stranger that sojourns among you."
There is a direct parallel to this in the New Testament. Up to that time, it was unthinkable that salvation could be offered to the Gentiles. The Jews thought it only offered to God’s chosen -- Israel. But Jewish Christians came to see that God’s chosen were not only the Jews, but anyone who would come to Jesus – in other words, those circumcised spiritually.
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (Rom. 2:27-28)
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:26-29)
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. (Eph. 2:19)
The message here is clear. You become a spiritual child of Abraham through the new birth – through the "cutting off" of the flesh – and then through the resurrection in Christ. You are NOT a child of Abraham before that, nor can you become one any other way.
Strangers could come under the Old Covenant, and thus take of the Passover, by being circumcised. But before this, there were never considered chosen of God. We know this is what God meant, because in the New Testament, those in the early church who did not understand the Truth, were demanding that Gentiles converts to Christianity be circumcised. They did not believe they were saved solely by faith in Christ, and therefore made spiritual Jews – to the complete disregard of circumcision.
In this we see that God has offered salvation to all. But in order to receive it, you must believe. You must take the Blood and come under it. You must allow your flesh to be "cut off." This is not restricted to a certain few. You do not become circumcised because you are OF the chosen. You become circumcised to be among the chosen. Not only is salvation NOW open to all – both Jew and Gentile – but we see that God had already deposited this great Truth right from the beginnings of His dealings with Israel. ANYONE could come and enter into the Covenant with God. They needed only to be circumcised to eat of the Passover.
God illustrated this right from the beginning. We see it in the fact that Israel had to come under the Blood, or the destroyer would have visited them – even if they were God’s chosen people. And we see it in the fact that someone who was NOT of Israel could become circumcised and take of the Passover. God is showing us that salvation is not only open to all, but that it can be refused by those to whom Jesus is revealed.
We see this Truth, that salvation is now open to all, without restriction, even more clearly taught in the New Testament. Paul is able to tell the Corinthians, who were Gentiles, that salvation is now open to them as well. Indeed, he is able to say to them:
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. (I Cor. 5:7-8)
The Passover Lamb has been slain for all. God now beckons all to become a child of Abraham, by faith in Jesus Christ. Through the spiritual circumcision of the Cross, we have "cut off" the power of sin; the power of the old man. We come under the Blood of the true Passover Lamb.
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (Col. 2:11)
All of that speaks of the death of the OLD. We come under the Blood by faith in the Blood, and are "circumcised with the circumcision made without hands." But because of that DEATH, we are able to be born again unto newness of life through the resurrection. We are then born into the New Covenant a brand new circumcised baby, a child of Abraham, a spiritual Jew, through Jesus Christ.
The Destroyer and Freedom
And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. (Ex. 12:29-30)
To slay all the first born, in those days, meant to cut off all inheritance. Symbolically, it meant to cut off the natural lineage. By this we see God picturing the death of the old heredity in Adam. It is cut off, and can no longer keep those under the Blood in bondage.
We see through this that when everything was said and done, nothing could set Israel free short of death. Simply plaguing Egypt and Pharaoh would not do. There must come a death in order for those under the Blood to be set free.
The reaction of Egypt was swift. The Egyptians "were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste." (Ex. 12:33) Indeed, it was at this time that the Israelites asked of the Egyptians jewels and silver and gold. They gave them gladly, as one might suppose they were willing to do anything to speed them on their way.
Remarkably, when it came time to build the tabernacle, God would command that the Israelites give offerings of this same wealth to built it. The only wealth slaves could have had was this same wealth they had asked of the Egyptians the night of Passover. It would be this gold, silver, etc., that would eventually be used to build the tabernacle.
What are we being shown by this? Well, for one thing, it shows that when you forsake all to follow the Lord, God will see to it that you have what you need. Furthermore, it also shows that there are many aspects of the old life – as symbolized by the wealth of Egypt – that God can take and sanctify to His glory. God does not despise good things. He does not despise wealth or beauty. It is when it is used apart from Him that it becomes a bad thing. God is well able to take everything about us, even the talents and wealth of the old life, and use them if we will surrender them to Him.
There is much irony here. The Egyptians who had enslaved Israel, were now begging them to go. The Egyptians who had become rich by making Israel work for nothing, were now paying them, not to work, but to LEAVE. Israel was not leaving Egypt as fugitives, even though Pharaoh would later pursue. They weren’t even leaving as those who had gotten that concession from Egypt. They were practically being thrown out of Egypt, and given great wealth for their trouble.
Israel was never called to reform Egypt. They were called out of Egypt into a new life. And God had such a victory, that even Egypt wanted Israel to leave. Indeed, we are told that they were "thrust out of Egypt." (Ex. 12:39) What seemed so impossible not many months earlier was now happening.
Days of Unleavened Bread
The days of unleavened bread was a celebration of the fact that Israel belonged to God. Leaven is a type of sin. During these seven days, Israel was to have purged from their dwelling places all leaven. This was to show that God had delivered them, and that they now would live as HIS people.
We see here the Truth of sanctification. Once saved by the Blood, we are not set free to sin. We are set free to be cleansed by that same Blood. God does not merely FORGIVE us for sin. He DELIVERS us from sin.
How could this be more clearly pictured in Exodus? God did not say to Israel, "I forgive you for being slaves in Egypt." No. He delivered them FROM Egypt.
Two deaths had occurred that first Passover night. There was the death of the first born of Egypt. But there was also the death of the Lamb. The death of the first born of Egypt was, in type, the death of all that holds us captive. The death of the Lamb is the death which substitutes for the death of what God wants to save – the real us. What we end up with is a new creation – one that has been set free from bondage by coming under the Blood of the Lamb. The next morning we are "resurrected" unto newness of life.
But notice: We are no longer IN Egypt. Consequently, this is not merely forgiveness. It is deliverance FROM that which held us captive. Yet once delivered from bondage, we can LIVE like it. We can walk in newness of life. We can live, not as slaves of Egypt, but as those who belong to God. The days of unleavened bread picture our new condition and relationship with God.
God says as much to His people through Moses with regard to the days of unleavened bread:
Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. (Ex. 13:6-9)
Not Ready For War
We are now only about three days or less out of Egypt. The natural route for God to take Israel was through the land of the Philistines. But He said no. Why? "Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt." (Ex. 13:17)
This is remarkable because, clearly, God could have wiped out the Philistines and proved even more to the Israelites that He was with them. But instead, He took them another way, a way, which we will see, gave Him even greater glory. But back to the Philistines. Why did God not want Israel to be faced with this test at this time?
Imagine it. Here were two million frightened people who had just left the only life they had ever known. They were probably shaking with fear – wondering if Pharaoh was going to change his mind. They were coming out of a terrible place, probably wondering if it was a dream. God did not want them to have to face a terrible enemy like the Philistines two days into the trip to the promised land. It would have been more than they could bear.
We know this would have been too much for them because the place God DID lead them – the Red Sea – was one which taxed them to the limit. There Pharaoh himself would try to destroy them, and they questioned the faithfulness of God. At the Red Sea, Israel did not need to lift a finger to be saved. But here, with the Philistines, it would have been different. They were not ready for warfare, and God knew it.
God never puts more on us than we can take. This is a promise of the New Testament:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (I Cor. 10:13)
God knows exactly what we need, and when we need it. He knows what we are ready for, and how to work all of it into His purposes. Such is His love and care for His people.
The adventures of Israel were just beginning. God would now take them to the Red Sea, where He would work even yet another miracle. Sadly, however, not one of the adults who came out of Egypt would enter into the Promised Land. That would be a blessing experienced some forty years later by a new generation under Joshua. *
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