Passover: Escaping Judgment

Posted: November 1, 2018 in Acts, Uncategorized

Exodus 11-12, “Passover: Escaping Judgment”

Passover: It is arguably the most important day in Hebrew history. This event, combined with the parting of the waters at the Red Sea, guaranteed freedom from Egyptian slavery, and demonstrated them to be a people chosen by, and dedicated unto the Lord God. But as important as the Red Sea was in the life of the nation of Israel, it was Passover when their redemption was purchased. That was the night that death passed over them – the night when God’s judgment was poured out on the land, and those covered by the blood of sacrifice were spared.

In other words, it was a perfect preview of the cross! The crucifixion of Jesus is to us, what Passover was to the ancient Hebrews. It was the pivotal event that changed us from a people enslaved to sin & death, to a people redeemed by, dedicated to, and given life by the Lord God. It was the event that made it possible for us to go from certain death to living fellowship with the Living God – the event in which we escaped judgment as judgment was poured out on our Substitute, Christ Jesus. (A gift of which anyone can partake!)

Yet the idea of a redeeming sacrifice didn’t arise out of thin air in Jerusalem of 33AD – the foundation for it had been laid long before…even in the Garden of Eden! At the first sin of mankind, God shed the blood of an animal in order to clothe Adam & Eve (Genesis 3:21), and the idea of sacrifice is seen throughout the pages of Genesis and the lives of the children of Abraham. Of course sacrifices continue throughout the whole of the Scripture until Christ, but there can be little doubt the climax of all Old Testament sacrifices is seen the night of the original Passover, when lambs were slain in order for the Hebrews to escape the judgment of God.

This was the latest judgment to befall Egypt, and it was the most terrible of them all. For over 400 years, the Hebrews had been in Egypt, first welcomed into the land, and later enslaved by them. God had raised up Moses as a deliverer for His people, and Moses (along with his brother Aaron) repeatedly appealed to Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. Moses had delivered the word of the Lord (YHWH) to Pharaoh, but Pharaoh did not recognize the Lord, nor did Pharaoh want to. Instead, he hardened his heart against God, and the nation of Egypt bore the consequences of punishment. Nine terrible plagues had fallen across the land, each advancing in severity to the point that even Pharaoh’s own servants knew YHWH had defeated them. Yet Pharaoh stubbornly pushed on – sometimes pretending repentance, other times lying outright. Finally he demanded that Moses and Aaron leave his presence, never to see his face again.

That demand would prove to be true, for Moses would never again see Pharaoh to appeal for freedom; Moses would speak to Pharaoh simply to communicate God’s judgment. Something far worse than frogs, lice, fiery hail, or tangibly thick darkness was coming…the next plague was death itself. Mercy could be found from death, but only through the blood of sacrifice made in faith in the One True God. God offered redemption and refuge; people needed only to trust Him through faithful obedience.

Are you covered by the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice? Jesus is the Passover lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! In Him, we escape judgment. Take refuge!

Exodus 11

  • The plague announced (11:1-10). God warns.

1 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether.

  1. God hasn’t yet said what the plague will be, but already He made it clear it would be a decisive blow. The nine previous plagues had destroyed the land of Egypt, but this 10th final plague would destroy the families of Egypt. In this terrible war, Pharaoh would give an unconditional surrender. Not only will Pharaoh let the Hebrews go, he will want them to go. “He will surely drive you out…” The idea is emphatic: Pharaoh will force them to leave. Such is the extent of the man defeated by Almighty God.
    1. Remember, Pharaoh could have experienced mercy. At any time, he could have surrendered to the Lord, and heeded the word of Moses. Instead, he stubbornly hardened his heart, and God confirmed that hardening. All that befell Pharaoh was his own fault (much like the consequences that come to us when we refuse the word of God).

2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.” 3 And the LORD gave the people favor 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.

  1. So much was the victory over Pharaoh assured that God commanded Moses to tell the people to ask for plunder before the plague hit. The Hebrews were to go to all their Egyptian neighbors and ask for valuable gifts now, because they wouldn’t have time to ask for them later.
  2. And the amazing thing is: they received it! Why? Because the Egyptian people feared Moses. “Moses was very great in the land of Egypt.” More to the point, they feared the God of Moses. They had seen what happened with Moses spoke, and they knew that the God Moses served was true to His word. If God said something would happen, it happened. When God brought plagues upon Egypt, they were devastating. At this point, it didn’t matter what the Hebrews asked from the Egyptians, they were willing to give it.
    1. We don’t want people to fear us, but we do want them to fear the God we serve. We want them to see Jesus through us, just like the Egyptians saw God through the life of Moses. The key is faithfulness! If we’re faithful like Moses was faithful, then people will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Mt 5:16)

4 Then Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. 6 Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.

  1. Note: God would personally There is an emphatic pronoun in the Hebrew, and it could be translated “About midnight I Myself will go out…” This time, there would be no frogs, bugs, diseases, or anything else sent forth; it was God Himself going forth into the land. The Almighty I AM would visit Egypt in all of their sin and rebellion. Even if God said nothing else after that point, this alone ought to have been a terrifying thought! God is a consuming fire – He is totally holy, and none can stand in His presence. What would Egypt do, if God Himself showed up in Egypt? Who could survive? The fact that only the firstborn in each household died is a demonstration of tremendous mercy!
  2. Even so, there was still massive judgment! God made it clear that “all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die.” Neither social status nor riches protected anyone – even the animal livestock would be affected. Egypt’s livestock had already been decimated by the earlier plagues, and now another was coming. This would be a crippling blow to the nation, bringing them to their knees. If Pharaoh would not willingly humble himself, he would be humbled. God would personally see to it.
  3. It was a terrible judgment, bringing great sadness & mourning…yet it was necessary. The wages of sin is death, and Egypt had sinned in untold ways. God had repeatedly provided opportunity after opportunity for them to repent, yet Pharaoh never took it. Pharaoh’s pride brought his nation to the point that the judgment of God was inevitable and unrelenting.
    1. It’s little different with people today. God gives mercy after mercy, morning after morning for people to repent. The good news of Jesus is repeatedly told them, and they still refuse to repent. They’re told of how although their sin has earned the infinite judgment of God, Jesus took that judgment in their place when He died on the cross. In Jesus’ resurrection, He offers forgiveness and eternal life to anyone who believes – all we must do is surrender ourselves to Him in faith. Every day the message goes out, and every day some people refuse it. Eventually a person just runs out of days. At some point the judgment of God becomes inevitable. (Don’t waste your opportunity!)
  4. All that was coming to Egypt. What was coming to Israel? Something vastly different…

7 But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’

  1. Israel would live. Why? God’s favor. He chose to “make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel” – God chose to give them grace. How He does so will be explained later in Chapter 12. Israel would be able to live in the grace of God, but they too needed to respond in faith.

8 And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will go out.” Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger.

  1. Some of this returns to the first verse. How bad will Pharaoh want Israel to go? He will order them to leave. All this time, Moses had been asking to go; now he wouldn’t go until Egypt told him to get out.
  2. Why was Moses so angry? Scripture doesn’t say, but it is easy to figure out. As necessary as this judgment was, it could have been avoided! Again, at any time, Pharaoh could have humbled himself in faith and repentance. How many lives would have been saved, if he had? God was surely the One to bring judgment on the land, but the fault was Pharaoh’s.
    1. God can never be blamed for His judgment. It is always holy & righteous. The fault is ours. Like a criminal in court, so we bear our own guilt.

9 But the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10 So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

  1. Once again, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. For the first time, it was done before the plague. It would take the terrible judgment and plague of God to break Pharaoh’s heart. 

Exodus 12

  • Passover instructed and explained (12:1-28). God protects / God redeems.

1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

  1. God was promising a new start for the Hebrews, and that was to be celebrated in their calendar. They were given new life, so they ought to start a new year. Traditionally known as Abib. After the Babylonian captivity, it was known as Nisan. Bottom line: they would mark the very date God saved them – it was the pivotal point of their lives.
    1. Do you remember the date Jesus saved you? Do you remember the circumstances of your faith? Mark it down!

3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

  1. One lamb per family, according to the number of people in the family. Neighbors were invited to gather together if the families happened to be too small. (An unlikely problem at the time, considering most households seemed to have anywhere from 5-8 sons listed in their genealogies – some more, some less.)
  2. More important than the number of people for the lamb was the quality of the animal itself. The lamb was to be pure, “without blemish.” This was not to be the leftover runt of the litter (so to speak) – it wasn’t the weak or injured lamb offered to God; it was the best. The lamb that would grow into the most valued of the flock was the lamb to be offered to God. Why? It wasn’t just a matter of Godly respect & reverence; it was a matter of substitution and prophecy. The lamb stood in the place of the family – it was the substitute for the impurities & blemishes of the people, so it could not have any blemishes of its own. More importantly, it pointed ultimately to Christ. 1 Peter 1:18–19, “(18) knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, (19) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Jesus was perfect – no sin, no blemish, no spot of iniquity was found in Him. Though He was tempted in every way as we are, He was without sin (Heb 4:15). That enabled Jesus to be our perfect sacrifice (as well as our perfect High Priest), as He became our sin offering in our place. The Passover lamb of the Hebrews points to the Passover lamb of Christ! 

6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.

  1. God gives some of the basic regulations: The lamb was to be set apart for 5 days, then sacrificed. The blood was to be set aside for a specific purpose. The meat was to be roasted in fire, which was the only sanctioned cooking method. All of the meat was to be consumed, and the meal was to be eaten in a state of readiness. – Some of this would be explained later (such as the blood on the doorposts); others were left simply as commands. Putting the lamb apart gave time for a thorough examination (much like Jesus was examined during His final week in Jerusalem). Killing the lamb at the same time (twilight) emphasized that this was one sacrifice for the whole nation (like Jesus was the singular sacrifice for all people for all time). Roasting the meat in fire was probably symbolic of the wrath of God (which Jesus satisfied on our behalf). The bitter herbs were to remind the Hebrews of the bitterness of their slavery (as all sin and slavery is bitter). Eating it in full and in a state of readiness emphasized the importance of the meal and the quick nature of their redemption & exodus (again, perhaps pointing to the full nature of the sacrifice of Jesus and our immediate surrender to Him).
  2. Why all the regulations? This wasn’t a regular meal; it belonged to the Lord. This was the Passover to/for YHWH; not Israel. This was His meal, His sacrifice, His provision. Israel didn’t set the rules; God did. They were invited by God to come to Him and partake of His grace, but they were to come on His terms; not their own.
    1. It’s no different with our salvation in Christ. Many people want the promises of heaven & eternal life; they just want to set their own terms for how they will go. It doesn’t work that way. Salvation is the free gift of God, but God gives it on His terms. We must go through faith in Jesus Christ, or we cannot go at all. (Jn 14:6)
  3. All of this preparation, sacrifice, and meal had a purpose. It’s what got them ready to escape the plague of judgment…

12 ‘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. 13 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.

  1. God was coming for “” He would smite/strike the “firstborn in the land of Egypt,” as well as all of the false Egyptian gods. The Lord would be shown as superior over all, and the conquering King. Again, Pharaoh had gone to war against YHWH, refusing to recognize YHWH as God. God would act decisively in return, forcing Pharaoh into submission.
    1. People often don’t like to think of the judgment of God…and for good reason: it’s terrifying! To imagine what the all-powerful Deity can do to a person is more frightening than anything Hollywood can imagine. As the Scriptures say, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31) Because we don’t want to imagine this, we prefer to think of God in terms of love & grace. And certainly God does exude grace, mercy, kindness, and love. Love is an essential attribute of God, so much so that the apostle John could write that “God is love.” (1 Jn 4:8) But God’s love does not exist to the extent that it eliminates God’s wrath. God is supremely holy, and His wrath abides on the wicked & rebellious. All sin will be judged, and God will not hesitate to bring it.
  2. But the Hebrews wouldn’t be judged. Why? They had a “sign”: the blood on the doorposts. The homes of the Hebrews were to be marked with the blood of the sacrificial lamb. If the Hebrews followed the command of God in faith, then they would be spared from judgment, because the lamb had already been judged.
    1. This is key to remember regarding Jesus! Sometimes we think that when God forgives our sin, that He just forgets about it & pretends it never existed. Not so! Our sin did exist; it’s just that because of Jesus it exists no longer. There was indeed judgment for every single born-again Christian; we just weren’t the ones judged…Jesus was. Without Jesus, we abide in God’s wrath; in Jesus, God’s wrath is satisfied.
  3. BTW – The sign wasn’t for location. God knew where His people lived, and in which houses they dwelt. The blood was a sign of their faith & God’s mercy and grace. The Hebrews could look at the blood on the doorpost and be reassured that the death they owed had already taken place via sacrifice. (What is it that we look to? The moment we repented & placed our faith in Jesus!)

14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

  1. Instructions were given for the future memorial feast of Unleavened Bread. This wasn’t to be kept in the then-current day, as there wasn’t time. When God first announced this through Moses, the actual Passover itself was at hand. The Feast of Unleavened Bread wouldn’t be able to be celebrated until the Hebrews were free & at the base of Mount Sinai. (Which was assurance that freedom would soon come!)
  2. Note: Passover was to be perpetually remembered; not redone. There was only one Passover night (and only one cross of Christ Jesus!). For Israel, future lambs were sacrificed in remembrance, but never again was blood put on the doorposts. That happened once, because God only passed through once. Every other celebration of Passover was a memorial.
    1. We have a similar application to the Lord’s Supper. When we partake of the bread & the cup of Christ, Jesus is not re-sacrificed on our behalf – time does not roll back to the moment of the crucifixion. One sacrifice was made, and once was enough. Thus we remember Jesus’ sacrifice during communion – it is a memorial meal.

16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you. 17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’ ”

  1. Why no leaven? Leaven is often a picture of sin. Paul wrote twice how “a little leaven leavens the whole lump,” (1 Cor 5:6, Gal 5:9). It only takes a bit of yeast to work its way through an entire lump of dough, as the yeast feeds off the sugar in the flour and grows. Likewise, it only takes a bit of sin in someone’s life to grow and infect all kinds of areas we never thought possible. (Sin is contagious!) Thus, the leaven was to be purged from the Hebrew homes, symbolically purging their homes of sin.
  2. The point? God was calling Israel to do two things. First, remember! Passover wasn’t a night to be forgotten; it was to be remembered all their days. [Like 9/11, never forget!] For Israel, it wasn’t tragic; it was glorious! But it wasn’t to be taken for granted, either.
  3. Second: be pure! Israel was to set themselves apart for a time of intentional holiness. They had their “holy convocation” and their rituals for getting rid of leaven. All of it was meant to set themselves apart from everything else, and to be intentionally set aside for their worship of God. It was sanctification, played out in real time.

God has given the commands. Now it was time for Moses to exhort the people to obey what God had said…

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel…

  1. Why the “elders”? There was no Aaronic priesthood yet. The elders did the work of the priests, and led their families/clans in their worship of God.

…and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 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.

  1. Again, the homes were symbolically covered in the blood of the lamb. It wasn’t that the whole amount of lamb’s blood needed to be poured all over the house, covering every nook & cranny; only the doorposts and lintel/mantle. It was a symbol, as the work of judgment was already completed in the sacrifice.
    1. BTW: There is a relationship between striking the doorpost with the blood and the plague of death. The words for “strike” in 12:22 and “plague” in 11:1 both come from the same Hebrew root/cognate. The idea is that the blood covers the home from the plague, because the plague of death has already been satisfied.
  2. Interestingly, YHWH personally passes through the land, but it is “the destroyer” (ruiner/spoiler) who brings death. Perhaps the Angel of YHWH; perhaps another angel. Either way, the destroyer works with the full authority of God.

24 And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 25 It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. 26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ ” …

  1. Again, they were commanded to remember. The practice is still done by modern Jews today, with the same question asked by the children.
  2. Notice where the Passover will be remembered in the future: in “the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised.” The land was sure to come! The promise of God was being fulfilled, and Passover was the proof. (The promise of heaven will be fulfilled, and our proof? The cross and resurrection!)

… So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

  1. Having listened to Moses, the people “worshiped.” An entirely appropriate response to the word of God! What exactly they did, we’re not told – but when they heard the words of Moses, they recognized them as the words of God & they responded rightly.
  2. The people also obeyed. Their response to God’s command wasn’t only devotional; it was practical. They acted out in faith the things God told them to do. Question: What would have happened if they didn’t? They would have fallen under the same judgment as the Egyptians! Only those whose homes were covered with the blood of sacrifice would be saved; anyone who didn’t obey would experience the death of the firstborn. If there had been a Hebrew that by this point still did not believe the words of God, they would have suffered the consequences. Being a Hebrew did not save them from judgment; only God’s mercy through the accepted sacrifice did.
    1. What happens to people who sit in church, but never receive of Jesus’ sacrifice? They receive the judgment of God! Just like everyone who openly rejects Jesus (like Pharaoh), the church-goers who silently reject Jesus experience the same judgment of God’s wrath for their sin.
  • Passover: plague (12:29-30). God judges

29 And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. 30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, 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.

  1. God did just as He said. He went through the land and the firstborn died. According to the warning, even the “the firstborn of livestock” died as well. Human or animal, none was exempt apart from being covered by the blood of sacrifice.
  2. Sadly, the warning given by Moses was ignored. Any one of those lives could have been saved if they had simply followed the instructions God gave Moses to tell Israel. (How many souls could be saved today if people simply heeded the warning?)
  • Passover: journey (12:31-42). God provides.

31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the LORD as you have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.”

  1. Just as God predicted, Pharaoh commanded them to leave. It wasn’t merely that the Hebrews had freedom to leave if they wished; they were told to go. Pharaoh was plainly beaten – totally vanquished. He wanted nothing more with the people of YHWH (whose existence he no longer doubted). He just wanted the people gone.
  2. Interestingly, Pharaoh also asked for a blessing. It’s not that he suddenly came to faith; he just knew that he had no other option. Unless Moses left and blessed him, Pharaoh would continue suffering the wrath of God.

33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.

  1. The Egyptians agreed with Pharaoh…they wanted the Hebrews out of Egypt ASAP! This was the practical reason for the unleavened bread. If the Hebrews were to be able to eat along the road, they needed dough for baking; they just didn’t have time to allow the dough to rise, nor to knead it for quicker rising. All of their kitchen equipment had to be quickly packed.

35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. 36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

  1. Hearkens back to what God had commanded the Hebrews to do in Chapter 11. They had already asked for the gold & silver & clothing, and apparently they had already received it & it was ready to go along with the Hebrews’ quick departure.
  2. How was it “plunder”? It was 430 years of back wages! (It was also advance provision for the future tabernacle of worship.)

37 Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. 38 A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock. 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves.

  1. It was a massive group! 600 thousand men + women & children was likely around 2 million people. Add to that an untold multitude of Egyptians who went with them, and this was a huge crowd of people.
  2. These large numbers cause many to doubt the Biblical account, skeptical at the size of the Hebrew nation in comparison with other population groups at the time – not to mention the sheer difficulty of providing for 2 million people in the wilderness. (That’s a lot of food & water!) Thus some scholars hold to different explanations of the numerical figures: some claiming the numbers are intentionally inflated (as other cultures might egotistically try to write themselves better histories) – others theorizing that the translation of “thousand” is incorrect. As to the first, there’s no reason to assume that the number is inflated, as the Bible does not hesitate elsewhere to show the sin and weaknesses of its people. The Bible is (by far!) the most honest ancient text in existence! On the second point, although it is possible the Hebrew word is misunderstood/mistranslated, the same word is used elsewhere with very clear context that it refers to “thousand.” Better to believe the Bible for what it says – to believe the plain meaning of Scripture.
  3. Bottom line: it was a huge group that left Egypt in the Exodus, and it was a miracle not only that they left, but that they could survive in the wilderness after they left. Guess what? Our God is in the business of doing miracles! He had no problem providing for His people in the desert. He brought water from the rocks, and gave food in the form of manna on a daily basis. It was a miracle the 2 million Hebrews survived…which is just one more testimony to the power and grace of God!

40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

  1. Summary of the Hebrew sojourn & slavery in Egypt.
  2. Again, there is the idea of remembrance. Never forget who you were, to what you were enslaved, and the freedom given you by God!
  • Passover memorial instructions (12:43-51). God invites.

43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. 44 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. 45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it.

  1. Memorial was only for those who trusted God’s covenant promise. Circumcision was the sign of the covenant, and thus only the circumcised of Israel could partake. What meaning would the Passover meal have for those who did not belong to God through His covenant promises?
  2. Again, there is a parallel to the Lord’s Supper. Communion is a memorial meal, and is only to be taken by people who can remember the sacrifice of Jesus for them. It’s for born-again believers only, those who are included in the covenant promises of God. 

46 In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.

  1. Recalls the command given in 12:10. Even the future celebrations of Passover weren’t to be ordinary meals. Unlike Christmas or Thanksgiving, the meat wasn’t to be broken up and saved for later. Most importantly, it wasn’t to be ignored by anyone in Israel. All were partake, and they were to partake of all of it.
  2. No bones broken = Christ. (Jn 19:36)

48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to 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 a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. 49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”

  1. Although only circumcised covenant people were allowed (and commanded) to eat of Passover, the invitation was open to anyone. All were welcome to convert and partake. The only people excluded were people who chose to be excluded – they chose to remain on the outside. 

50 Thus all the children of Israel did; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. 51 And it came to pass, on that very same day, that the LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.

  1. Final summary.
  2. Freedom for the armies of Israel! What armies?! When God was with them, these ragtag groups of former slaves became armies!

Conclusion:

God did an amazing work in the lives of the Hebrews: redemption from slavery & escape from the judgment of death. Any one of them could have died along with the Egyptian firstborn, but God’s desire was for them to live. And there was just one way how they could do it: by being covered by the blood of sacrifice. Once covered, they were saved – and that was to be remembered the rest of their lives.

What the Passover lamb was for the Hebrews, Jesus is for us! He is our grand sacrifice, given by God on our behalf, under whose blood we can find covering & escape from the judgment of God. It’s not that we don’t deserve death (we do! So did the Hebrews!); it’s that death was already dealt out on our behalf. Jesus was our substitution, the Passover Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Christian, do you remember? It can be so easy to take Christ for granted… Never forget! Let the reality of Jesus’ sacrifice for you saturate your every day.

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