Exodus 12: 1-51
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the Bible's account of the Passover.
[Prayer] Father, we are thankful for the word of God and we thank Thee for this opportunity that is ours tonight. And we pray that Thou be with us as we consider one of the great sections of the Old Testament, and consider the Passover of Israel…the Lord’s Passover really. And we pray that Thou give us understanding and may we respond to what we hear in gratitude and thanksgiving and in more devoted service to Thee. We commit the hour to Thee in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] We are studying in our series of studies on Tuesday night the general theme From Egypt to Canaan. And as we begin tonight, we are entering that portion of the study of the Book of Exodus, particularly which becomes something of a pageant of the believers spiritual pilgrimage from bondage to liberty in Christ. And I would like to understand the word pageant in the sense that one notices particularly now in the next chapters the typical way in which these Old Testament events speak to us of New Testament’s spiritual truth.
You may remember that the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 in verse 11 says in one of his texts something that causes us to look for such things. In 1st Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 11 the apostle writes, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” It’s often pointed out that the word ensamples is the word which is sometimes translated as types and some like to translate this as these things happened for them as types, and then they like to find some technical sense for the word ‘type’ and the result is usually a bit of confusion. Strictly speaking, the word tupos, translated type, is a word that means simply an example and therefore, we don’t really have to distinguish between a type and an example because examples covers all of the ways in which the Old Testament looks forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ through experiences like these before us. So, when the Authorized Version renders that ensamples for examples, it really is more accurate than some of our Bible teachers have thought it is when they have sought to give some special sense to type. Usually, what results is the teacher has a very difficult time distinguishing a type from an example and actually he should never have attempted to do it.
Well we have been missing for a week or so, and let me just remind you in general of what we have been doing. We have studied the early chapters of the Book of Exodus in which Israel was found in the opening chapters in bondage in Egypt, a picture of the bondage of all men in sin before their salvation. And then we have studied how God prepared the deliverer in the person of Moses. Moses’ birth was an example of the supernatural preservation of the Lord. One can see the faith of Moses’ parents in the fact that they hid him in the ark.
One can also see the unfaith of Moses as an infant because he cried, and then we can also notice the preparation of Moses himself. Exodus does not tell us a whole lot about that. In fact, Stephen tells us some things that are striking about him, that he was learned in the knowledge and wisdom of the Egyptians. He was, so far as Josephus suggests, a great philosopher, a great statesman, a great warrior; but like Edward VIII, Moses experienced the great renunciation. He refused to be called the Son of Pharaoh’s Daughter, and through in his lot with the people of God, the Nation of Israel, the covenantal people.
And as a result of losing his temper in one spot, he was sent off into the desert for another kind of preparation. The Egyptian preparation took 40 years, and then the desert preparation took another 40 years and the final 40 years of Moses’ life is spent in carrying out the commission, which the Lord gave him in chapters 3 and 4 of Exodus. Then, the intervening chapters from chapter 3 and 4 on are chapters in which the contest with Pharaoh has been recorded. And Moses by the grace of God was unable to overcome Pharaoh by performing 13 miracles, 10 of which were judgments illustrating the overthrow of the satanic kingdom by the power of God.
We also have found in those passages from Exodus chapter 5 through Exodus chapter 11, those marvelous promises that the Lord gave in the 6th chapter, in which there are seven “I will” stressing the sovereign determination of God to deliver the People of Israel from the throne in Egypt. We looked at the wives of Pharaoh, they were many of them. “It will be all right Moses if you and the people go but stay in the land,” and that of course would be a compromise of the will of God. They would remain on the satanic domination and so that was not suitable for Moses. Then, Pharaoh suggested, “You can go but don’t go very far away.” And then he said, “You can go but just the men go, not the women.” And after that he said, “You can go but don’t take your flocks and herds with you.” And all of these things, of course, Moses by God’s direction rejected because God was interested in a complete deliverance from the Land of Egypt and from Pharaoh.
And so finally now, there will come now the final judgment, and as a result of this judgment, Pharaoh will let them go. In fact, the Egyptians will say, “We be all dead men.” And the Children of Israel went out and in the process of going out, they spoiled the Egyptians. In other words, by the power of God, they did what our Lord speaks about in Matthew chapter 12, “They bound the strong man.” In this case, the strong man was Pharaoh, but he is illustrative of Satan himself.
Now, in Exodus chapter 12, we have the ceremony of Israel’s deliverance, and we want to spend our time tonight taking a look at this. We will notice, of course, that death is the way of defeat. The first born of Egypt will suffer, and there is also death, the way of victory, because through the sacrifice of a lamb, the Children of Israel will be enabled to go free. This is a beautiful picture of the Lamb of God and most of the teaching in the Bible concerned with the Lamb of God has its primary beginnings here. For example, when we read in Isaiah chapter 52 and chapter 53 of the lamb led to the slaughter, the chances are that that chapter is reliant upon Exodus chapter 12. When the other parts of the New Testament refer to the lamb, they refer both to Isaiah and to Exodus chapter 12. We have passages like Paul saying, “For Christ our Passover who sacrificed for us.” We have John the Baptist saying, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” And then in Revelation chapter 5 we have the lamb who appears as it had been slain or sacrificed. All of those passages rely most likely upon Exodus chapter 12.
Now, there are some indications of this kind of thing earlier in the Book of Genesis, but this is the great illustration of deliverance through the lamb. It’s striking, isn’t it, that a person can actually be a member of a church and not really realize that these are God-provided illustrations of spiritual truth? I remember years ago when our next-door neighbors were converted, and they were members of First Baptist Church, and as they had been converted, they began to attend the Bible class and one day the wife came home after a morning Bible class and told us how she was so astonished to discover that the Passover of Israel was illustrative of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t it a striking thing that someone can be a member of an evangelical Church and not know something like that, which seems so obvious to an individual who has been exposed to the word of God?
Well now let’s read a few verses. We’ll read through verse 13 and we will kind of concentrate our attention on these verses tonight: And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the Land of Egypt saying, “This month shall be 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 and lamb according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house. And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 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 14th 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;” evidently, a reference to the lintel, wherein they shall eat. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread and with bitter herbs shall they eat it.”
Perhaps, that’s a reference, the bitter herbs, to the bitterness that Israel had felt in their slavery and bondage. “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.” I will not say much about this. Let me just say this that this emphasis upon roast with fire in verse 8 and verse 9 then again in verse 10, the fire was mentioned. Since fire is in the Bible often associated with judgment, as one might expect, then it’s very proper that that should be associated with the death of the lamb because the lamb dies under divine judgment. That is in its ideal sense in the case of our Lord. So, that’s probably the reason for the reference to 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. For I will pass through the Land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first born 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 u 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.
Now, if you will just look over the page in your Bible that’s still on the left side in mine, and read verse 7 of chapter 11. We read this, “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.”
Now, let’s look for just a few moments of the description of the lamb, which was given in the first 10 verses. Now, just single out a few things that are mentioned here by Moses as he gives what God gave to him concerning the Passover. And the first thing that strikes me is the fact that in the 5th verse the Lord said to Moses, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats. Now, when we turn over to the New Testament and we read some of the passages on the New Testament, this sense of the lamb being without blemish becomes reflected in the descriptions that are given of the Lord Jesus Christ in his saving work. For example, in 1st Peter chapter 1 verse 18 and verse 19, a passage that is obviously again built on the Passover, we read, “For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain manner of life received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Now, its ultimate fulfillment is reflected in the sinlessness of our Lord Jesus Christ. The lamb is to be without blemish; just as our Lord, in order to be an effective sacrifice must be an individual who is without sin. All of the New Testament testifies to the fact that the Lord is without sin. He, who has made sin for us, did not know sin. Peter said, “He did not commit sin.” And other passages of the New Testament lay stress upon the sinlessness of our Lord. So, the lamb in order to be an effective example of him, must be a lamb without blemish.
Now, in verse 6 it is stated that ye shall keep it until the 14th day of the same month. So, now for a few days the lamb is to be kept in order to see if really this is a lamb without blemish and without spot. And so our Lord having been born, having been largely silent in his ministry and in the things that he said for many years, then began his ministry and accomplished it in his cross, but there is a sense in which as you observe the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are finding God’s lamb tested by the facts of life. He was a proof of God. It’s evident that all of those years, those silent years, were years that were pleasing to God because in his baptism, the voice from heaven came as he begins his Messianic ministry with, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”
People have often wondered, what did our Lord do for all of those years? And is it possible that during those years he did sin? Is it possible that he had an evil thought? Is it possible that he did some things that were displeasing to Joseph in the sense of sin and things displeasing to the Lord? Well, we don’t have any question about it because the Lord Jesus at his baptism said, “This is my beloved in whom I am well pleased.” A lot of tradition has grown up in some of apocryphal types of literature concerning some things that Jesus is supposed to have done, none of which have any real sound foundation but we don’t need those things because we have in the word of God evidence that our Lord was the sinless Son of God. Even the demons recognized him as being a sinless individual. They called him, “The Holy One of God.” So, they knew who and what he was. And of course men also, and even the man who was responsible humanly speaking for his death, Judas, acknowledge that he was absolutely innocent. So, the Lord Jesus Christ then fulfills this most perfectly, the lamb is kept, is examined to be sure that he really fills the bill of the Passover lamb.
Now, we read in verse 6 also the third thing of importance that the lamb shall be killed by the whole assembly in the evening. The evening is the time between, say, the going down of the sun and dark. That’s the end of the day, and that’s the time that our Lord was crucified and that’s time the lamb was to be slain as well. The latter part of Friday so that the whole day, for the Jews reckoned time that way, is reckoned as Friday; all of Saturday. He rose in the first hours of Sunday and thus was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth according to Jewish reckoning of time. A Christian church’s tradition is true at this point. We often have people write pamphlets and tell us, why our Lord really didn’t die on Friday, but on Thursday. And then some will say, he didn’t die on Thursday, he died on Wednesday. All of these attempts are attempts to harmonize three days and three nights as being seventy-two hours instead of following the simple knowledge that we have that the Jewish reckoning of time was of a special kind.
Now, it’s very important, of course, to note that the lamb must be slain. There is no deliverance of the Children of Israel from the Land of Egypt without the shedding of the blood, just as there is no atonement without the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not the life that he lived. It’s the death that he died that is most significant for our salvation. There is an old story. I have told it before and perhaps all of you have heard it, but it’s interesting to me because the man who had the experience was the man after whom one of the buildings of Dallas Seminary was named, Stearns Hall. D.M. Stearns was an Episcopalian minister and I am not sure whether he began as an Episcopalian and became a reformed Episcopalian, but I think in his latter days he was a reformed Episcopalian.
And so at the close of his service in Germantown, Pennsylvania some years ago, a stranger came to speak Mr. Stearns and he was fine gospel preacher of his generation in the earlier part of the century; and this man said to him, “I don’t like your preaching. I don’t care for the cross. I think that instead of preaching the death on the cross, it would be far better to preach Jesus, the teacher and the example.” A lot of people feel that way because that’s what they preach, Jesus as teacher and example. And Mr. Stearns replied to him…I am sure he was shocked, “Would you be willing to follow him if I preached Christ as an example?” And the man said, “I would. I’ll follow in his steps.” And then he said, “Well then let’s take the first step. Peter says ‘who did no sin,’ can you take that step?” “No,” the man is said to have replied, “I do sin and I acknowledge it.” “Well then,” said Mr. Stearns, “Your first need of Christ is not as an example, but as a Savior.”
So, right here in the Old Testament in this fundamental experience of Israel because remember God says that this is the beginning of months for them and all of their time reckoning, April, or the time of the Passover, is the beginning of the months. Grounded in that beginning is the death of the lamb. So, I can imagine that an Israelite as he was slaying the lamb, if he understood what was happening and understood his deliverance at all, understood what Moses was trying to tell him, that he was being delivered from bondage, and as the lamb was stabbed to death, they must have gone through the eyes of the individual who was stabbing the lamb, “This animal is dying for me.” That had to be in his thoughts. This animal is dying that I may be free from bondage in Egypt. And so the substitutionary death of our Lord is obviously here in the death of the lamb.
Now, the deliverance is spoken of after the description of the lamb in verse 12 and verse 13, and we will just concentrate on perhaps three things. First of all, notice the contrast between the words, “I will pass through the Land of Egypt,” and then in verse 13, “I will pass over you.” Now, the first statement ‘that I will pass through Egypt’ is a statement that lays stress upon the fact that death rests upon all; death in every house. It’s either the lamb or the first-born. And so if the lamb is not slain and the blood is not sprinkled upon the door post and the lintel, there will be death in that family. So, it’s either the death of the lamb or it is the death of the first-born. Death is in every one of those homes. So, this is an evidence, I think, an illustration of judgment of the Lord God.
And then the second statement in verse 13, he says, “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.” That has been misunderstood, I think, and I do not want to be too dogmatic. But, I think the indication is, generally speaking, when this text is read, at least it was my thought, when I first read it.
Now, what this means is that the Lord will go down through Egypt and when he comes to a house in which the blood is on the two side posts and on the lintel, he will just leap over that house, and he will not enter in and slay the first born. It’s possible that that is what is meant. I don’t think it is, however. This verb that is translated here ‘pass over you’ is a verb that can mean to leap. And so, it is possible that that’s the force. There are a number of places where it occurs, but I would like for you to notice particularly the 23rd verse of this chapter. “For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians and when he seeth of the blood upon the lintel and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door,” and notice, “and will not suffer to destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”
Well now, that does not fit with leaping over because it says that the Lord will pass over the door. He will not permit the destroyer to come in unto your house to smite you. The sense it seems to me is very clearly that the Lord is going to hover over the door and protect that house that has the blood on the door post from the destroying angel as the destroying angel passes through. Or if the destroyer is one of the divine persons, protect in the sense of carefully seeing that there is adequate protection in the blood shed from the judgment. But, the implication again is that that the Lord is going to hover over the door in order that the destroying angel may not enter in. So, I do not think that what is meant is that the Lord will come down and he will leap over one house that has the blood on the door post and go to the next that does not.
I would like for you to turn with me to Isaiah chapter 31 and verse 5. In Isaiah chapter 31 in verse 5 we read these words, “As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.” Now that’s the same verb. And it seems clear that the passing over is the passing over in the sense of hovering over in order to preserve the Nation Israel. In other places in which this word are found Exodus chapter 12 in verse 27, 2 Samuel chapter 4 verse 4, and 1 Kings chapter 18 and verse 26, although in the Hebrew texts some of these are found in different stems of the Hebrew verb and thus they are not all together parallel.
I would like to read you a passage that Peter wrote in his first Epistle. He talks about how God has, according to his abundant mercy, begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, then listen to these words in 1st Peter 1:5. “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Now, Peter in just a few verses will talk about the Passover lamb. So, I think that what Peter is thinking, is the thing that I am thinking; that is, that the Lord God hovers over the house where the blood is on the door post and protects that house from the destroying angel. We are kept by the power of God. And thus when an individual comes to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he has the power of God to use the figure, the power of God, hovering over his saints in order that no destroying angel shall ever cause that soul to be anywhere other than ultimately in the presence of the Lord God.
Now, there are some wonderful lessons that are found here and let me just recite a few of them. He says, “And the blood shall be for you a token upon the houses where you are.” Now, to clear that the one thing that determined the safety of the children of Israel was the presence of the blood on the door post and on the lintel. In other words, safety rests and is dependent upon the blood. Certainty of our salvation depends upon the Word of God, but our safety depends on the blood.
Now, let’s analyze that in the light of the things that so many people say. What do they say? So many of us at one time or another will say, “I guess I could be saved if I just felt my sins more, if I just had an adequate and deep conception of my sins, then I could feel that I was saved.” But God didn’t say that with reference to them. He said, “When I see the blood, I will hover over you to protect you.” In other words, it was not the subjective feelings of the people who were in the dwellings that counted. It was the objective fact of the blood on the door post. So, what difference does it make whether we feel our sins as we think we ought to feel them if by God’s grace we have recognized that we are sinners and that Christ has provided an atoning sacrifice for us and if we have received the benefits of what he has done through faith.
Now, every Christian who has had any experience of Christianity knows that as the years go by after he has been saved then as he continues to read and study the word of God, then he comes to understand more and more the depth of his sins and the judgment of them and the evil of them. Most holy men tell us that it’s after they became Christians that they came to understand the depth of their sin. Well, perhaps you didn’t say that. Perhaps you said if I just valued the blood more, then I could feel that maybe I was saved. But again, it is not our conception of the blood, if I were speaking for an Israelite, it’s not our conception of the blood that caused us to have freedom. It was the fact that we put it on the door post. The chances are they did not have great concept of the value of the blood until afterwards, and then they saw what the blood on the door post came to mean for them. And often in our case too, it is after we have been saved from our sins and after we have been delivered from the burden of them and after we have come to a peace with God that we see, the value of what Christ has done on the cross at Calvary. That is what gives joy, happiness and liberty to the saints of God.
Well, maybe that’s not your problem. Maybe you would just say, “If I just had more faith.” But again, it’s not a question of how much faith you have. It’s the simple question, is the blood on the door post? There are different degrees of faith. In fact, the Bible speaks of them. Faith, little faith, much faith, more faith. These expressions are used in Scripture. But it’s the faith; simple faith that rests in the objective work of Christ that saves. Let me give you a simple illustration. All of you can understand because you are all rich and the bank is filled with your money. So, on what does your sense of the safety of your money depend, on how much faith you have in Interfirst, or let’s change that illustration from Interfirst. Let’s use, I started to say lets’ use Republic but you may have some worries about Republic Bank, too.
Let’s use one of those banks in South Carolina. They are not foolish. [Laughter] Let’s just say you’ve got your money in one of those South Carolina Banks whose offices were not tempted to plunge on energy loans. Now, you might be wringing your hands all the time. All that money in the bank. “Is my bank solvent?” But really, if the bank is solvent, your money is safe and it doesn’t make a bit of difference how much you worry about it. It’s a simple question, is the bank solvent? And furthermore, you might be foolish enough to have a lot of money in one of these banks with a lot of energy loans and you just say, “It’s in the bank, it’s in the First National Bank of Dallas, bound to be safe.” But, if the bank is insolvent, you, you are going to lose something. So, you see it is the objective fact of the solvency of the bank. And when it comes to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is the objective accomplishment of the Lord Jesus Christ that is the ground of our salvation, not how much faith we have in it, but have we come to Christ? “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”, he says.
And he says also, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” And when the person comes, he will never be cast out. Well, maybe that is not your problem. Maybe it’s, “If I just had a kind of experience like some of these Christians talked about. Some kind of dream, vision, ecstatic experience, speaking in tongues; God forbid, but nevertheless, if I just had some kind of experience.” But again, you see, safety doesn’t depend on your experience. It didn’t depend on their experience. It depended on the blood on the door post. “When I see the blood,” not when I see your faith, not when I see your growing faith, not when I see those experiences that you have had. It depends on the blood, “When I see the blood.” Or if it were, “If I just had such and such graces, if I just felt secure and untroubled.” But again, God does not say, “When I see your untroubled trust in me.”
There’s an old story among the Hebrews of two Jewish women who were in a home where there was a little boy and on the night of Passover, one of them was very, very calm and collected, and she went on eating the piece of lamb that was before and finishing the meal and finally the other one who was very, very much disturbed asked her how in the world it was possible for her to be so careless and so confident when so much hinged upon the experience that they were having. And she has reported to have said, “My sister, the blood has been sprinkled and we have God’s word that when he sees the blood, he will pass over us. Now, I have no right to doubt God’s word, although I would be uneasy if I doubted that the lamb had been slain and the blood was put on the door post. That’s cause for doubt.” So, all of these kinds of things don’t really mean anything. It’s “When I see the blood.” The certainty of our deliverance depends upon the blood that was shed.
And by the way, when we say the blood that was shed, we, of course, are talking about a substitutionary sacrifice. We have a beautiful illustration in this of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus in that. It was a penal satisfaction through substitution that the sacrifice of the lamb signified. So substitution; that’s an essential part of the saving ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we cannot believe that the Lord Jesus died and offered that which was a penal satisfaction to the holiness and righteousness of God through a substitutionary sacrifice, then we are not sound in our faith as one of the old Puritans liked to say, “Heresy is leprosy of the head.” That’s pretty good, isn’t it? Heresy is leprosy of the head. And when a person has not really come to understand that the Lord Jesus is a substitutionary sacrifice dying under the penal judgment of God, he hasn’t come to the biblical doctrine of the atonement.
When I came home last night at about 12 o’clock, we had been having some interesting experiences recently trying to catch planes. All over the country we’ve been storms and fogs and I was fogged in Chicago about two Fridays ago and had to spent the night in Chicago. I really spent my night in O’Hare Airport, going back and forth from United Airlines to Delta Airlines to American Airlines hoping that one of those planes would take off. But have you ever seen a giant airport with no airplanes on the ground? That was the case at O’Hare. Not a plane on the ground. You couldn’t find one anywhere. All of those concourses and you know that airport has more traffic, I think, than any airport in this country. Not a plane on the ground. They were all gone. I felt so alone. So I went back and forth trying to find and finally I couldn’t and then I had to find a hotel room nearby, which was like finding a needle in a haystack too. I don’t know how many hotels I called and almost before I said, “Have you got a room?” they said, “We have no rooms.” In fact, I was told that they had no rooms at the counters. I went, I stood in I don’t know how many lines.
And everybody was in the same fix and so anybody who stood before an airline counter took 25 to 30 minutes. We were all trying to figure out what to do. And there was nothing to do but finally spend the night there. Well, when I came home last night, I was looking through some of the mail and there was a magazine there, and I was kind of keyed up as often as the case when you finish a series of meetings. I preached, I think, 11 times in the last eight days, so I was kind of keyed up, and we were supposed to get in at 3 o’clock and we got in at 12. So, I took one of the magazines and began to read on the article. It was really an editorial entitled, “The Atonement Defines Evangelical Christianity” written by a man who is an editor of the Presbyterian Journal. And in it he cites a couple hymns to stress the same thing we are talking about. He cites Bernard of Clairvaux’s hymn, “O Sacred Heart”: “What Thou, my Lord hast suffered was all for sinner’s gain; mine, mine was the transgression, But Thine the deadly pain / Lo, here I fall, my Savior! / ’Tis I deserve Thy place; / Look on me with Thy favor, / vouchsafe to me Thy grace.
So many centuries ago, Bernard had the sense of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ and then Isaac Watts’ “Was it for crimes that I have done, he groaned upon the thee. Christ the mighty maker died for man that creature’s sin,” he answered. And even Charles Wesley, “The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears. Before the throne my surety stands. My name is written on his hands.” That’s the ultimate teaching of the Passover lamb.
Now, we said safety is dependent on the blood. The certainty of our safety depends simply on the Word of God. When God says, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you,” well then if we have put the blood on the door post and on the upper lintel, and if we believe God’s word, then we are safe. And if the Scripture says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and Thou shall be saved and by God’s grace,” we come to Him and we have committed ourselves to Him, we have absolutely certainty. And it rests upon the fact that God cannot lie. So, our safety depends on the blood and the certainty of it depends on the veracity of God’s word and he cannot lie. By the way, certainty is not essential for safety. It’s possible to be just like one of those Hebrew young ladies. It’s possible to have believed in the Lord Jesus and to still be uncertain because of a defective concept of the Word of God.
And so all of us have known Christians who have believed in Christ, but have not yet come to realize that having believed in Christ, they have the Word of God for what Christ has done and the Word of God for their safety, and they have not yet seen that their safety depends on the blood, but the certainty of their salvation rests upon the veracity of God’s word. They too often look within. And they are looking for something within, some kind of experience of Christian life in which they can feel a little happy about their salvation.
Well, the duty of the people was to strike the lintel. I’ll read this and then we’ll have to stop. Verse 21 through verse 23 says, “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. 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 seeth 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.’””
Now, I am not going to take any time. I just want you to think about this. We don’t have time to do it. It’s not the lamb alone that saves. You might think that it would be. Nor is it the fact that the blood of the lamb was shed that saves, but it’s the shed blood of the lamb sprinkled upon the door post that saves. The fact that Christ lived does not save anyone. The fact that he died as a substitute of itself does not save.
Now, we know in the divine intention that’s the ground of the salvation of the people of God, but also secured by what Christ did was the faith of the people of God. And that by the grace of God is an experience that we do have in time. So, it’s the sheep’s blood sprinkled that saves. There’s a whole lot of difference in believing a fact and in making it our own personal experience. We thank God because God has not only given his son to die for sins but he has also secured the blessing of faith and that is sure to come to the people of God. Well, I hope you are sound on the necessity of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ that it is substitutionary, it is penal, because he bears the judgment of our human sin. And I hope you don’t go out with leprosy of the head.
Let’s close in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are thankful to Thee for these marvelous pictures in the word of God, of the salvation that we have through Jesus Christ. And we thank Thee that by Thy grace Thou hast enabled us figuratively to put the blood on the door post and on the two side posts. And we thank Thee for the veracity of the word of God, we know we are safe. If there should be someone here, O Lord, who has never come to Christ, may they come at this very moment. Believing that he has accomplished the saving sacrifice and that Thy word is true, may they rejoice and go forth with the forgiveness of sins in the liberty that Israel went forth from Egypt.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.