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“For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 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 no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12,13).

READY TO LEAVE EGYPT AS SOON AS THE WORD CAME, ISRAEL HAD BEEN TOLD TO STAY IN THEIR HOMES AND WAIT. Each family had eaten their Passover lamb, according to God’s command, and the blood of the lambs had been put on the doorposts of their dwellings. As God went through the land in judgment that night, the people of Israel waited, trusting the protection of God’s promise: “When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”

Blood represents life, and the sacrifice of the lambs that night was a vivid reminder that death is the consequence of sin (Genesis 2:16,17). If the one who sins is not to die, the blood (i.e., the life) of another must be offered, one without sin and not under the penalty of death. Now, if the Hebrews were spared God’s judgment on that night, it wasn’t because they were free of idolatry (Joshua 24:14). It was in grace and mercy that God exempted them — “passing over” those in the homes where a lamb had been slain. This is a powerful object lesson. What can we learn from it about the gospel of Christ?

In the New Testament, there was an occasion when John the Baptist saw Jesus and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Unlike the lambs in Egypt, which by themselves could never take away sin, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, providing our full atonement. And if it was God’s right to say that He would spare only those who put the blood on their doorposts, He can also set the conditions upon which His Son’s blood will provide atonement. In neither case do those spared deserve to be spared. But in His mercy, God “passes over” those who will reverently accept the conditions of His grace. Before time began, it was always His plan to make this gift possible.

Before lambs bled in Egypt, One was given.
Before the worm tore Eden, pain was faced.
Somewhere, before earth’s cornerstone was placed,
a hammer crashed in heaven — nails were driven.
(Keith Patman)

Gary Henry — +

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