There are some who imagine that there is no Gospel story in the. Old Testament. They think that redemption through the Blood, is a message revealed only to those who have lived since the death of Christ. This is far from right. The Cross of Christ was in the purpose of God from before the foundations of the world, the Cross and its saving power was made known to Adam and to his sons.
One of the strong Old Testament stories of redemption is the one we study to-day. It is typical in its very statement. This is attested by the fact that the Passover was plainly linked to Christ in the New Testament. Paul said, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us."
At the close we shall see, that the great difference between the peoples of the earth is a difference not of bloods, but of the Blood: not of culture but of Calvary; not of riches, but of redemption.
"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.
"But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast; that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel" (Exod. 11:6, 7).
1. The death of the firstborn in Egypt. God said, "The firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn 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."
God had wrought plague after plague upon the children of Egypt but each time Pharaoh hardened his heart. God is now ready to send the supreme and final plague. The death of the firstborn.
This death anticipates that other eternal death which awaits the wicked, for, "The wages of sin is death"—"The soul that sinneth it shall die"—"Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death."
2. The great cry. "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." The anguish and the bitterness which befell the Egyptians anticipates the anguish of the damned. When the dead small and great stand before God and they receive their sentence, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
3. There was not a home where there was not one dead. This statement is a type of the universality of sin and of sin's reward. There are no exemptions. Wherever there is sin there is death. There is sin everywhere, and so also is there death everywhere.
4. "Against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that we may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."
There are those who believe that God herein is a partial God. He makes a difference and His difference is not justified.
It is true there was a difference. The children of Israel were exempt from death and the Egyptians died. However, the difference was not a matter of favoritism.
If we want to know why the Lord "put a difference," the 12th chapter of Exodus, will tell us.
Suffice it to say now that the difference was not in the character of the two classes; neither was it in the wealth or power of the two classes.
From the viewpoint of greatness, of wealth, of influence, of recognition, the Egyptians were in the lead. The children of Israel were a vassal race. They were counted as no more than dogs by the Egyptians. They were under taskmasters, despised and denounced.
"The difference" involves the doctrine of substitution. There was death in every Egyptian home, there was also death in every Israelitish home. However, in the one case, the eldest son died; in the other case there was the death of the lamb. This is the basis on which God made the difference.
"This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
"Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house.
"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" (Exod. 12:2, 3, 6).
1. The first date—"This month shall be unto you the beginning of months." God told the children of Israel that their deliverance from Egypt should be the first month of the year to them.
This is most suggestive. We usually count time from the day of physical birth; God counts time from the day of spiritual birth. We do not truly begin to live, until we begin to live again.
All of the years spent in sin are years of drought—fruitless and rejected. All the years prior to regeneration are years of death. They are filled up with deeds which can never pass into eternal life.
We begin to live when we are born again. We then live the life that counts; the life that never dies; the life that reaps rewards in the life to come.
2. The second date—"In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb." The lamb was not to be slain until the fourteenth day, it was to be kept up from the tenth day, to the fourteenth. This presents to us the fact that Jesus Christ was a Lamb crucified from before the foundation of the world, but actually slain in the end of the age.
As the Jews were to keep up the lamb; the Lord God kept up the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was a Lamb set apart for slaughter. From the foundation of the world and until the day of His death outside the camp, He was dedicated unto death.
Thus, the shadows of the Cross reach far back, before ever God created man. When Jesus Christ was born of the virgin, He was born with the Cross in view. When Jesus Christ was baptized, He typified His own death and resurrection, by which He would save His people. He was a "Lamb" kept up until the day of His death.
3. The third date—"Until the fourteenth day of the same month; and. the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening." The Passover lamb was slain on the very day of the month, and at the very time of the day, that Christ died. This is most significant.
The Apostle Paul refers to this very thing, when he says: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (I Cor. 5:7).
"Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house" (Exod. 12:3).
1. Thou shalt take "EVERYONE OF YOU" a lamb. Salvation is an individual and not a general matter. We read the other day where one of our denominational leaders said something about the conception of the Gospel held by Carey and Judson as an individual conception. They went to India with the thought of presenting Christ to each individual man. They followed the one by one method. But, said the leader, "our conception is a far larger one." He believed in what he called the collective conception of the Gospel—the saving of communities.
We stand with Judson and Carey. It may be the old-time method, but it is certainly the Scriptural one. Salvation is an individual matter. There is no such thing as whole countries becoming permeated with the ethical conception of the Gospel, and thereby being saved.
2. Thou shalt TAKE everyone of you a lamb. Salvation is prepared for every man by the death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, but the individual must receive, believe, take. No one is saved merely because Christ died. "Whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely."
3. Thou shalt take everyone of you a LAMB. Of course, we know that the lamb was typical of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When John stood by the river Jordan and saw Jesus approaching him, he cried: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." This tells us in unmistakable words that the lamb was Christ.
The Book of Revelation uses the word "Lamb" almost exclusively in referring to our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Lamb Who takes the Book! it is the Lamb that was slain; it was the Lamb Who received blessing and honor and glory; it was the Lamb Who broke the seals; it was the wrath of the Lamb. It was by the Blood of the Lamb that the saints overcame; it was the Book of Life of the Lamb; it was the song of God and the Lamb. The antichrist made war with the Lamb; the Lamb was married; and it was the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Bride was the Lamb's wife; the twelve Apostles were the Apostles of the Lamb. The Cord God Almighty and the Lamb were the temple of the city and the light thereof. It was the throne of God and the Lamb.
Now we can appreciate the expression spoken fifteen hundred years before Christ was born: "Thou shalt take everyone of you a lamb."
In passing it is worthy of note that the lamb was never too little for the house, but there were cases where the household proved too little for the lamb. In such cases one house and his neighbor next unto his house, could take the lamb according to the number of souls.
"Your lamb shall be without blemish a male of the first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats" (Exod. 12:5).
1. Your lamb shall be without blemish. In this statement the Lord Jesus Christ is set forth as the holy One, the impeccable One. Jesus Christ knew no sin, He did no sin, and in Him was no sin.
We are redeemed not by corruptible things, but by the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without spot or blemish.
When the announcement of Christ's birth was made to Mary, Gabriel said: "That holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).
When Jesus Christ faced His enemies, He cried: "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?"
When Jesus Christ was being crucified, Judas cried, "I have betrayed innocent blood."—The centurion cried: "Surely, this was the Son of God."
This holiness on the part of Christ was necessary or else He could not have died as "the Just for the unjust." He could have never borne away the sins of others, if He Himself had been a sinner. Jesus Christ not only took away our sins, but thank God, He put upon us His holiness, and if He were not the Lamb without blemish, we would not stand before God without blemish.
2. Your lamb shall be killed. "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."
It was not the living lamb who saved the children of Israel. It was the slain lamb. The death of Christ would have been of no avail apart from His holy life; neither would the life of Christ have been of any avail apart from His death.
There is a Jewish legend about the father bringing up the lamb preparatory to slaughter. Then, his eldest son cried out in despair, "Surely, father, you will not kill this lamb. It is the lamb I love most of all the flock. It is my pet."
The legend goes on to tell how the father was persuaded to tie the living lamb at the door, and how, at the midnight hour, when the angel was about to slay his son, the father caught his arm and said, "Hold, angel, stay thy hand. Surely thou wouldest not slay my son. I took the lamb and the lamb was without blemish, and of the first year, I tied the lamb securely, and he is even now at the door." "Yes," said the angel, "I saw the lamb, but it is not the living lamb, it is the slain lamb that secures the life of your son."
How many there are who are forever speaking in glowing terms of the life of Christ, but they utterly deny His death. They speak of "the ethics of Jesus," but they know nothing of the Cross of Christ. They speak of the Man of Galilee, but they know nothing of the Christ of Calvary. All such are lost. It is the Lamb slain which brings salvation.
"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" (Exod. 12:7).
1. The blood in the basin. There are those who assert that since the Lord Jesus Christ died upon Calvary's Cross, therefore salvation has been obtained for the whole race. This salvation is secured apart from any faith whatsoever on the part of the sinner. This is a most subversive doctrine.
A second Jewish legend is told: A father took a lamb on the night in which the angel passed over. He slew the lamb and he put the blood in the basin. That night when the angel passed over he was about to slay the eldest son, when the father caught his hand and said: "Hold! Angel, Hold! surely you will not slay my son. I took the lamb, I killed it just as Moses gave instructions, and the blood is even now in the basin." "Yes," Said the angel. "I saw the slain lamb, and I saw the blood in the basin but that is not enough." This leads us to our next word.
2. The blood sprinkled. When the lamb had been killed and the blood caught in the basin, then the hyssop was to be dipped in the blood and the blood was to be sprinkled upon the side posts and the upper door post. It was the blood applied which brought salvation; it was the blood applied that lent security from the wrath of the angel.
Hyssop is the type of faith. The unbeliever must receive the atonement. He must believe that Christ died for his sins.
It is most important to remember that the hyssop is dipped in the blood. The faith that saves, must be a faith in the blood.
There are some who see the unsaved under conviction, as they cry for help. The convicted want to know how to be saved, and the personal worker or the preacher says, "Believe Jesus," "Trust Jesus." This is all wrong. We know that the Bible says "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," but it is not "Believe Jesus." It is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died on Calvary, the One who is ascended and is seated at the Father's right hand. If that is what the worker meant when he said, "Believe Jesus," it is all right. The difficulty lies in the fact that the right emphasis has not been placed upon the Blood. People can be told to believe in Jesus, without so much as knowing that He died. They may think of Him apart from His Cross. The hyssop must be dipped in the blood and faith must be in the atonement of the Lord Jesus, or else there is no salvation.
"And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread: and with bitter herbs they shall eat it" (Exod. 12:8).
1. Christ the Bread of Life. After the lamb had been slain and the blood sprinkled, the slain lamb was to be taken into the house. There it was to be stretched upon the pole and roasted with fire. The picture is clear, and its meaning is plain. Jesus Christ not only shed His Blood for us but His body was broken for us.
The roasting with fire signified the wrath of God, which Christ endured when He suffered in behalf of sinners.
Jesus Christ taught the disciples that He was the Bread that came down from Heaven. He said, "If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever: and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." He said again, "As the Living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me." "This is that Bread which came down from Heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead; he that eateth of this Bread shall live for ever."
2. The flesh was eaten—for strength. Eating the roasted lamb, was not a matter of safety but of invigoration. At the Lord's Supper both the bread and the wine have to do with Christ's death. The wine typifies the shed Blood, the bread typifies the broken body; the wine emphasizes Christ in His atonement, the Saviour of life, the bread more particularly emphasizes Christ the bruised and broken One, the sustenance of life.
The children of Israel were safe because they were behind the blood; but they were prepared for their journey, through the eating of the roasted lamb.
Christ said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
3. The flesh was eaten—ready for the march. "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."
What a striking picture! The children of Israel, made safe by the blood, were to be ready to pass out of Egypt by the morning light.
When a soul is saved, he should be ready to pass, in a moment's notice, out of Egypt. God does not want us to get under the Blood and then to remain in the world. We who are under the Blood should eat of the Living Bread with loins girded, with shoes laced, with staff in hand. We are to become strangers and pilgrims in this world, journeying toward a city whose Builder and Maker is God.
"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" (Exod. 12:13).
1. "The blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are." The children of Israel did not write up the history of their life and tack it upon the door.
The children of Israel did not secure a certificate of their Israelitish birth and tack it upon the door.
The children of Israel did not write up some noble deed they had wrought in behalf of God, and tack it upon the door.
The children of Israel merely took the hyssop, dipped it in the blood and sprinkled the two side posts and the upper door post, and then they stayed behind the blood. Thus, they were sheltered by a true token.
The harlot, Rahab, took the scarlet thread and threw it from her window. She was secured by a true token, and when the walls of Jericho fell down she perished not.
The children of Israel smitten and bitten by the serpents turned their eyes to the uplifted brazen serpent, and they were saved by a tr�