[Lesson 32: The Plagues] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 34: A Path Through the Sea]

Lesson 33

The Passover Lamb

Exodus 11,12

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

In our last lesson, we saw how Pharaoh tried to fight against God. The Lord purposed to deliver the people of Israel who were slaves in Egypt, but the king of Egypt was determined to keep them as his slaves. However, "an egg should not wrestle with a rock!" {Wolof Proverb}. Thus, we saw how God brought upon Egypt nine terrible plagues by the word of Moses and Aaron. Yet all these miracles and signs did not cause Pharaoh to submit to the word of God and let the Israelites leave his country.

Today we plan to continue in the story and see how God brought upon Pharaoh one final plague, the tenth, so that Pharaoh would allow the Israelites to leave Egypt. In our last lesson, we heard Pharaoh, after the ninth plague, say to Moses and Aaron, "Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die!" (Exod. 10:28) Now let us read in chapter eleven and hear how God Himself answered Pharaoh, through the mouth of Moses.

The Scripture says:

(Exod. 11) 4So Moses said [to Pharaoh], "This is what the Lord says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt, worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.' Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, 'Go, you and all the people who follow you!' After that I will leave." Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

Thus, we see how God planned to bring a plague upon the land of Egypt which was to be worse than all the other plagues that had already happened. God announced the impending death of every firstborn son in Egypt. What a terrible plague! And what would happen to the firstborn of the Israelites? Would they die along with those of the Egyptians? Certainly, they did not deserve to escape God's judgment, because they also were sinners, just as all the people of Egypt were. However, God who is faithful and merciful, designed a plan to protect the people of Israel from that plague.

Let us continue in chapter twelve and hear what God told Moses to instruct the Israelites to do so that their firstborn would escape death. The Scripture says:

(Exod. 12) 1The Lord said to Moses and Aaron…, 3"Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household… 5The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire: head, legs and inner parts… 46It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones."

11"This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord's Passover. 12On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn, both men and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt."

Let us pause here. Do you see the plan that God decreed to save the firstborn sons of Israel from death and redeem all the people of Israel from their bondage of slavery in Egypt? It was an amazing plan; a plan which, to man's way of thinking, was utterly ridiculous. He purposed to redeem them with the blood of a lamb-the blood of a lamb without blemish-blood with which they would stain the doorframes of their houses. Only the blood of the lamb could save their firstborn from death.

After God had finished speaking to Moses and Aaron, they assembled all the elders of Israel, telling them the word which God had spoken concerning the sacrifice of the lamb. When the elders of Israel heard how the Lord planned to save their firstborns from the plague of the death, they prostrated themselves and worshiped the Lord. After that, the elders and all the people of Israel did exactly what God had commanded Moses.

Thus, the Scripture says:

(Exod. 12) 29At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

Did you hear what happened on that dreadful night? Did God judge the land of Egypt as He said He would? Yes He did! At midnight, the angel of destruction passed through the land of Egypt, striking all the firstborn, from the firstborn of king Pharaoh to the firstborn of those in prison. On that night, great crying and wailing echoed throughout Egypt, because there was not one Egyptian house without someone dead!

But what happened in the houses of the Israelites? Did God save their firstborn from the plague of death? What do you think? God had promised them, saying, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." The people of Israel had stained the doors of their houses with the blood of a lamb, just as God commanded them. Consequently, there was not one death among their firstborn. However, in the houses of the Egyptians, every firstborn died because they did not take part in God's way of deliverance, the way of the blood of a lamb.

Thus, the Scripture says:

(Exod. 12) 31During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. 32…and also bless me!" 33The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. "For otherwise," they said, "we will all die!"

Finally, Pharaoh had no choice but to give in and let the Israelites go. We have already seen how, at first, Pharaoh said to Moses and Aaron, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go!" But, in the end, Pharaoh and all the Egyptians were forced to admit that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is the Almighty God, more powerful than any of their idols, fetishes, and marabouts! "An egg should not wrestle with a rock!" No one can fight with God and win!

On that night, the Israelites made their exodus from Egypt, and left with much wealth that the Egyptians gave them. The Scripture says:

(Exod. 12) 35The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians… 40Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.

All this took place to fulfill what God had promised Abraham hundreds of years earlier, saying,

"Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions." (Gen. 15:13,14)

The story we have seen today, known as the Passover, is like a deep and wide ocean full of hidden treasures. There is so much that we could say about the story of the Passover. Obviously, we do not have time to explain all the truths contained in this story. However, there is one very important truth which we must retain in our minds. It is God's promise to the Israelites: "When I see the blood I will pass over you!"

Why did the firstborn of Israel not die along with those of the people of Egypt? They did not die because God opened for them a way of salvation through the blood of a lamb. God decreed that the firstborn would be spared from death in every house where the door was stained with the blood of a lamb. But every firstborn found in a house where the blood had not been applied would die!

If a youth from among the firstborn of Israel questioned his father, saying, "Father, why does our innocent lamb have to die?" The father would reply something like this, "My son, as you know, God has condemned every firstborn son in the land. Because of our sins, we all deserve God's judgment. However, God, in His mercy, has told us that if we sacrifice a lamb without defect, and apply {Lit. in Wolof: stain} the blood to our doors, the plague will not strike us. The lamb must die, because the payment of sin is death. God is righteous and cannot simply overlook our sins. The lamb will replace you. We will sacrifice it in your place, as our forefather Abraham sacrificed the ram in his son's place. Our God is righteous and does not take sin lightly! His word to us is clear. He will only pass over our house if the blood is on the doorframes!"

Dear friends, what we need to realize today is that, before God, all of Adam's descendants are like the firstborn sons of the people of Egypt and Israel. God's holy law condemns every one of us to die and face God's righteous judgment. That is what the Scripture says: "There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:22,23) The payment of sin is eternal condemnation, "shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power!" (2 Thes. 1:9)

What then must we do to be saved? How can God save sinners from the penalty of their sins without compromising His righteousness? We cannot take it very far today, but what we need to know is this: The lambs which the Israelites sacrificed to escape the plague of death symbolized the Redeemer who was to come and pour out his blood to pay the debt of sin for all the descendants of Adam. Concerning that Redeemer, the Scripture says: "He died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God…[like a sacrificial lamb offered up to God on the day of the Passover]." (1 Pet. 3:18; 1 Cor. 5:7). Thus, the blood of the lamb, which the Israelites applied to their doors to save their firstborn from death, was an illustration. It pictured the blood which the Savior of the world would shed upon the cross, so that whoever believes in Him, might escape God's everlasting punishment.

How about you? Do you know what God's prophets have written concerning the blood of the Redeemer? The Redeemer shed His blood so that God might forgive you of your sins without compromising His righteousness. Do you believe what is written concerning the blood that has the power to save you from the punishment of hell and guarantee you a place in God's presence forever? In the Day of Judgment, will God's terrible judgment pass over you? Or will it fall upon you as it did upon the Egyptians?

Friends, our time is gone. We thank you for listening. In our next program, God willing, we will continue with the story of the Israelites and see how God opened a path through the middle of the sea.…

May God bless you and reveal to your hearts the deeper meaning of the words which He spoke to Israel, saying,

"When I see the blood I will pass over you!" (Exod.12:13)