Text: Exodus 11
Monday: Exodus 11
The final plague looms largest all—the death of the firstborn. It will shatter the hardened heart of Pharaoh and break his iron grasp upon God’s people—the sons of Israel. The plague of the death of the firstborn would kill everyone, including Israel, were the blood not over their heads. For this reason, the plague of the firstborn is coupled with the first Passover. This Jewish celebration has been very important to Jewish people throughout history even up until now.
“It is a night of solemn observance to the Lordfor 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.” (Exodus 12:42, NKJV)
The Passover commemorates God liberating the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. The word “Passover” refers to the angel of death “passing over”the homes of the Israelites because of the shed blood of the lamb upon their doorways. There are many parts of the Passover and its attending meal that serve to remind Israel of the specific events that happened when they were delivered (as we will see in this week’s reading).
“And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 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.’ ” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.” (Exodus 12:26–27)
But more than that, it is a very prophetic event as it points ahead to the Messiah Jesus Christ. As the blood of the slaughtered lamb was splashed upon doorframes of the homes so that God would see the sign that would spare them, so Christ’s blood is the sign upon the believer that saves him.
Christ will be seen all over the Passover and exodus sequence before us. See in today’s reading of Exodus 11 a hint at the curse of Adam and the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. God specifies that the “firstborn” will die, and this speaks of God’s rejection of our first birth. All people are “firstborn” who have not been “twice-born.” We remember what Jesus told Nicodemus: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:6–7, NKJV)
Read Exodus 12:1-13
The visitation of God is a solemn experience. Judgment is over a people. Like the hull of Noah’s ark, death is as close as the thickness of a wall in Goshen. Separation attends God’s way and defines those who belong to Him and those who do not.
When the plague falls, screams are without while reverent relief and rest are within. Oh, what a salvation the blood of the Passover lamb secured. And what a greater salvation that Christ has secured for us who believe. Make no mistake about it. It is the blood that separates and distinguishes those who are being saved from those who are not safe from death.
“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.” (Exodus 12:7, NKJV)
From a human point of view, there was no difference between the firstborn of Egypt and the firstborn of Israel. All sinners who trust Christ are “under the blood”and saved. This is most important difference in the world!
The Lord told Moses, “this month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Vs 2
Before this event, the Jewish New Year was celebrated in the fall. Now it is moved to the beginning of spring, which renews the face of the earth. See Christ here: He celebrated the Passover with his disciples the night before his crucifixion. His death and resurrection would mark the beginning of new birth for every believer. Indeed, Christ is the author of new beginnings.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Re-Read Exodus: 12:1-3
Christ is throughout the Passover meal:
He is chosen. We see Him as the lamb that is chosen on the tenth of the month for death on the fourteenth day of the month. In the same way, Christ was chosen well before he was slain, even from the foundation of the earth. “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:20, ESV)
He is Sufficient. Notice how every person was considered. If the household was too small for a whole lamb, these were encouraged to get a neighbor. “you shall make your count for the lamb.” The greatest invitation in the Bible is found in John 3:16. It is addressed to: Whosever.This is the greatest invitation with the greatest number attached to it. It reminds us that Christ is sufficientfor everyone who believes. But he is only efficient for those who partake of Him.
He is Blameless. The Passover lamb was to be spotless and tested. “a male, without blemish.” Christ is the only perfect man who ever lived. Only a blameless sacrifice can make an imperfect people perfect in God’s eyes. Peter saw it right:
“…you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
(1 Peter 1:18–19)
He is tested. There was a period of waiting from the time the lamb was chosen to the time of his death. This was to give time to see that the lamb was satisfactorily chosen. Christ was tested and watched during his ministry, from the testings of the wilderness, right up until his faithfulness unto death. Even the ungodly said, “I find no fault in this man.”Luke 23:4
He is slain. When John the Baptist announced him three years before, he saw Passover’s prophecy walking right in front of him. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NKJV) It is quite remarkable that Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples and then died on the Passover the next day. “Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”” (John 19:14) We are not saved by his example or His life, as remarkable as it was. We are saved because the chosen, blameless and tested Lamb of God died for us. His death and grace is sufficient for all who believe.
“Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7, ESV)
Read Exodus 12:16-52
“At midnight the Lordstruck down 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 the livestock. 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 someone was not dead.” (Exodus 12:29–30, ESV)
The great cry of Egypt was the crushing of all that remained of human pride in the carrying out of God’s wrath. It sealed God’s word and secured, finally, the release of Israel. For those of you who have wondered why the communion bread is more matzo than bread, the riddle is solved here:
They are called to leave in a hurry, so the bread is not leavened. The deliverance was so quick there would be no time for bread to rise.
The Passover instructions included the meal should be eaten “with belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. 12:11” They must eat in haste. Salvation is not a casual game that can be waited upon. It is a reality to be immediately acted upon. Like Lot’s wife, to pause is fatal. We live in the land of sudden death so let us make haste with salvation.
We see Christ in this unleavened bread. The Gospels describe the last supper which was a Passover meal: “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”” (Matthew 26:26, ESV)
During today’s Passover meals, which are called a Seders, the bread is called afikomen. This is a Greek word meaning: “The coming one”. The afikomen is broken after the meal and part of it is wrapped in a cloth and hidden. Later, it is brought back and distributed to the participants and eaten as the final morsel.
Does this bring anything to mind?
We know that our Messiah’s sinless body was “broken” in death, wrapped in a cloth and hidden as in burial, then brought back; resurrected by the power of God. When Jesus broke that crisp cracker-like matzo with those little holes in it, he said, “This is my body.” Not only was this a declaration that He would be pierced; it was also prophetic to do the resurrection that would follow his death.
Read Exodus 13
The blood saved the firstborn of Israel. Now the Lord commands that they be “set apart”to the Lord. This is a lesson in gratitude that reminded the Jews that the firstborn had been distinguished by mercy in the night of the Passover. We should always dedicate to God that which is most dear and valuable to us.
“God who is first and best,
should have the first and best.”
From these instructions about the firstborn, the Lord gives them a description of the “seven day feast of unleavened bread.” In a Jewish home, even today, every room must be cleaned from chametz/ yeast during Passover. A careful search is made for every leavened product: bread crumbs under the cushions of sofas and chairs, in the pockets of coats and pants, closet floors. The stove, cupboards, and refrigerator are thoroughly cleaned. Every trace is removed. It reminds the Jew of his need to be cleansed from every corrupting influence.
See Christ here and his warning:
“Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”” (Matthew 16:6, NKJV)
What does yeast do? It puffs up like pride .
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6, NKJV)
It has been said of Christ: “The greatest man who ever lived spoke the truth when he said, “I am gentle and lowly in heart.” And it is true. Humility not only makes a man great but keeps him safe, as well. The yeast of pride, on the other hand, is more dangerous than we may believe.
“According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil is pride. Unfaithfulness, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through pride that the devil became the Devil. Pride leads to every other vice; It is the complete anti-God state of mind.
The end of the chapter sees God taking the people out of Egypt. The word exodus means “the road out”. The means by which they are led is by the Pillar of Fire. The Pillar of Fire is Christ Himself. We saw the “Angel of the Lord” in the burning bush who said, “I AM that I AM.” And Christ called Himself the same (John 8:58). Here, Christ, the “Angel of the Lord”, is the one who lights their way and ours. He is darkness to our enemies and light upon our “road out” of sin and slavery.