Passover

Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.  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.  And if the household is too small for a 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.  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year.  You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.  Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month.  Then the whole assembly of the congregation shall kill it at twilight.  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.  Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.  Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in the fire – its head with its legs and its entrails.  You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains until morning you shall burn with fire.  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.

‘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.  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.

‘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,” Exodus 12:1-14 NKJV.

In these verses. God is instructing Israel about what they are to do in preparation for their literally being thrown out of Egypt.  We don’t usually think of it that way, but when the Egyptians discovered at midnight that the LORD [had] 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.  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, Exodus 12:29, 30, then the Egyptians, including Pharaoh, v. 30, urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste, v. 33, emphasis added.  They couldn’t wait to see the last of them!

There’s an interesting sidelight to all this.  Perhaps you’ve read about it in one of my earlier posts, but here it is again.  As God was telling Moses what would happen and how Israel was to prepare for their sudden departure, He said, “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,” Exodus 11:7.

What does this mean?

I’m not really certain this is it, but I used to have a landlady who told me a story about her dog and the death of one of her family, or acquaintances.  I don’t remember for sure; it’s been a very long time.  Anyway, when this individual died, the landlady’s dog began to howl, quite some time before the lady herself was notified of the death.

My own mother had a similar incident.  She had befriend an elderly lady and was visiting her one day.  This old lady had a cat; my mom loved cats and easily befriended them.  But on this day, Star, the cat, would have nothing to do with Mom, but kept skulking around the edges of the room, acting like she was seeing something Mom couldn’t see.  All of a sudden, the lady died and Star streaked out of the room, never to be seen again.

Did these animals see, or somehow know of, the death angel?

I don’t know for certain, but these incidents may shed some light on what happened all those centuries ago in Egypt.  In the dead still of the night, maybe, dogs all over the country began to howl.  People woke up, saying, “What in the world…?” or whatever ancient Egyptians said in such cases, and began to investigate, only to find dead babies, sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, uncles, grandfathers.  Maybe more than one of these.  In every household.

Every household….

And out in the yard, dead sheep, cattle, goats, donkeys, oxen….

Only in those houses where blood was visible on the doorposts or the lintel on top of the doorway was there no death.

A substitute had died.

I’m certain you can see the application.

1 Cor. 5:7, Paul wrote, Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

Death stalks our land.  Even without the events so much in today’s news, each one of us has a “sell by” date, an expiration date.  As I look down the road to my 80th birthday (where have the years gone??), I’m more aware of that than ever.

Many people have the idea that death is the end of it, or that we all go to “a better place” when this life is over.  If that were true, then there’d be nothing to worry about.

However, Scripture says, “It is appointed to men for men to die once, but after this the judgment”.

You see, death isn’t the end of life; it’s just a change of scenery.  For some, their lives will catch up to them.  They may have gotten away with it, or so they thought, only to find out that “it” has gotten away from them, and they will have to answer for it.

For others, their suffering, their “bad times” will be over, and they truly will be in “a better place.”

What makes the difference?

A substitute has died.

Hebrews 9:27 says, as it is appointed for men to die once, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.

As surely as the blood of an innocent sacrificial animal applied to the entryway of that ancient house protected the inhabitants of that house, so the blood of an innocent Sacrifice applied to the life of an individual in our day protects that individual, not from the consequences of their sin, but from its final judgment.

We live in a time when the Gospel has largely been forgotten, or is being ignored.  We have become “churchians,” and not Christians.  Religious lectures have taken the place of Gospel preaching, which has largely been lost, or a substitute put in its place – and we see the results, not just today, but from about the last 50 or so years.  We’ve had all sorts of decisions and results, but very few apparent conversions.  Years ago, I even had preachers admit to me that they thought that 90% of their people were lost.  Yet, this never seemed to bother them.  I couldn’t understand it.

It’s gotten worse since then.

And, no, I’m not perfect, far from it.  My faults, failures, and shortcomings would take more space than WordPress is willing to allow me, if I were even inclined to try.  I write to you, not from some ivory tower or imaginary “higher plane,” but as another one himself badly in need of a sacrificial lamb.

Today, as I write this, Passover will start at sundown.

Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed, Hebrews 9:28.

Has the blood been applied to your life?

Oh, that you might think about it!  If it hasn’t, then may today be the day!

Turn to the Lord Jesus as your Substitute.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, Acts 16:31.

“Bird blood”

I just visited Yahoo Answers Religion/Spirituality section, and just have to respond to something I read there.  I’m putting a response here because others might have similar questions.  One of the posters made a comment about Leviticus 14 and “bird blood” cleansing a house.  Clearly, he didn’t agree with the concept.

There were several OT sacrifices which involved the use of birds, sometimes because that’s all the offerer could afford, sometimes not.  In the case of Leviticus 14, there are at least two things to keep in mind.

First, it was a health issue.  The Israelites didn’t have the technology to discover whether any particular mold was toxic.  It’s better to be safe than sorry, so every mold was treated as toxic.  They didn’t have bleach – I don’t think Clorox was around back then – so the procedure prescribed was the next best thing: scrape away the infected material and replaster, then, if the mold came back, the house had to be destroyed.  Houses weren’t as complicated then as they are now, so rebuilding a house wouldn’t be so difficult.

Second, there was a moral component.  The house was considered “polluted.”  Even those who entered the house were considered polluted and had to go through ceremonial cleansing.  The sacrifice of a bird was to demonstrate that the house was “clean,” Leviticus 14:48-53: the procedure had worked.  Hebrews 10:4 (NKJV) says “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats [and birds] could take away sin.”  All the Old Testament sacrifices were merely symbolic of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus; they pointed forward to His death on Calvary.  It wasn’t just sacrifice for the sake of shedding blood.  It was to teach the people by picture and symbol the necessity of cleansing from pollution, whether for health, as in the case of Leviticus 14, or personally, because they were all sinners.  So are we.

There are no more sacrifices for sin.  The Lord Jesus died once for sin.  The Old Testament sacrifices were thousands of fingers pointing toward Him.