1 . The festival was to last seven days.
2 . No leavened bread was to be eaten during that space, and leaven was even to be put away altogether out of all houses.
3 . On the first day of the seven and on the last, there was to be "a holy convocation" or gathering for worship.
4 . No work not strictly necessary was to Be done on these days.
Other directions were given at a later date.
1 . Besides the Paschal lamb, with which the festival commenced, and which was to be a domestic rite, public sacrifices were appointed for each day of the seven—to consist of two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs, and one goat, with appropriate "meat-offerings" ( Numbers 28:19-24 ).
2 . On the second day of the feast, "the morrow after the sabbath," the first fruits of the harvest were to be presented in the shape of a ripe sheaf (of barley) which was to be a wave-offering, and to be accompanied by the sacrifice of a lamb with meat and drink offerings ( Leviticus 23:10-14 ). By this regulation the festival was made to embody the old spring feast, and to have thus a double aspect.
With your loins girded , etc. Completely prepared, i.e; to start on your journey—with the loose wrapper ( beged ), ordinarily worn, collected together and fastened by a girdle about the waist; with sandals on the feet, which were not commonly worn in houses; and with walking-sticks in the hand. There were some Jews who regarded these directions as of perpetual obligation; but the general view was that they applied to the first occasion only, when alone they would have answered any useful purpose. You shall eat it in haste . As not knowing at what moment you may be summoned to start on your journey, and as having to see to the burning of the bones after the flesh was eaten, which would take some time. It is the Lord's Passover . Very emphatic words! "This is no common meal," they seem to say, "it is not even an ordinary sacrificial repast. The lamb is Jehovah's. It is his pass-sign—the mark of his protection, the precious means of your preservation from death. As such view it; and though ye eat it in haste, eat it with reverence."
The Passover Proper.
The Passover may be viewed:—
I. AS A COMMEMORATIVE RITE . Instituted with reference to the tenth plague, and as a means by which the first-born of the Israelites might be saved from destruction, but accompanied by ceremonies which were connected with the prospective departure of the whole nation out of Egypt, the Passover feast, as established " by an ordinance for ever," commemorated two distinct and different things.
II. AS A FEAST OF THANKSGIVING . The sacrifices of the Paschal week, with the exception of the Paschal lamb and the daily goat, must be viewed as thank-offerings. They consisted of fourteen bullocks, seven rams, and forty-nine lambs of the first year, provided by. the priests, and offered to God in the name of the nation. They were burnt on the altar as holocausts, accompanied by meat-offerings of flour mingled with oil. At the same time individuals offered their own private thank-offerings. So far, the special object of the thanksgiving was the great deliverance, with which might be conjoined, in thought, God's further mercies in the history of the nation. On the second day of the feast, however, another subject of thankfulness was introduced. The season of the year was that in which the earliest grain ripened in Palestine; according to a conjecture already made, it was the time when the return of spring had been long celebrated among the Semites by a traditional observance. As " each return of the Passover festival was intended to remind the Israelites of their national regeneration" (Kalisch), it was thought appropriate to bring the festival into connection with the regeneration of nature, and the return of vernal vegetation. On the second day, therefore, a sheaf of the first ripe barley was offered as the first-fruits of the coming harvest, and thanks were rendered to God for his bounty in once more bringing to perfection the fruits of the earth. During the remainder of the week, both subjects occupied the thoughts of the worshippers, who passed the time in innocent festivities, as songs, music, and dancing.
III. AS A SYMBOLICAL CEREMONY . We have not to guess at the symbolical meaning of the Passover, as of so much that is contained in the Jewish law. Scripture distinctly declares it. "Christ, our Passover , is slain," says St. Paul; "therefore let us keep the feast." Christ, who was prefigured and foreshown in every sacrifice, was symbolised especially by the Paschal victim. He was "the Lamb of God' ( John 1:29 ), "without spot or blemish" ( 1 Peter 1:19 ), "holy, harmless, undefiled" ( Hebrews 7:26 ); offered to keep off "the destroyer," saving us by His blood from death ( Acts 20:28 ); slain that we might feed upon His flesh ( John 6:51 ). The Paschal lamb, when prepared for sacrifice, presented, as Justin Martyr informs us, a lively image of the Saviour upon "the accursed tree," being extended on a cross formed of two wooden spits, one longitudinal, and one transverse, placed at right angles each to the other. "Not a bone of it was to be broken," that it might the better typify Him whom God preserved from this indignity ( Psalms 34:20 ; John 19:33 ). It was to be consumed entirely, as Christ is to be taken entire into the heart of the faithful ( Galatians 4:19 ). Scripture also distinctly declares the symbolical meaning of the unleavened bread. "Let us keep the feast," says St. Paul, "not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." He who would feed on Christ must first put away from him all corruption and impurity, eject all leaven out of the house wherein his spirit dwells, make himself fit to sit down at that heavenly banquet, by getting rid of all those "evil things which come from within, and defile the man" ( Mark 7:23 ). There may be some doubt, however, as to the symbolism of the "bitter herbs," which Scripture leaves unexplained. The exegesis, that the bitter herbs symbolised the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt, if taken as exhausting the meaning, is unsatisfactory. The memory of past sufferings inflicted by others is not a necessary accompaniment of present festal joy, though it may enhance that joy by contrast. The "bitterness" should be something that is always requisite before the soul can find in Christ rest, peace, and enjoyment—something that must ever accompany that rest, peace, and enjoyment, and, so long as we are in the flesh, remain inseparable from it. Two things of this kind suggest themselves—repentance and self-denial. The bitter herbs may perhaps symbolise both, pointing on the one hand to the important truth, that real repentance is a continuous act, never ceasing, while we live below, and on the other to the necessity of men's "taking up their cross daily ," and striving towards perfectness through suffering.
God's last and overwhelming blow was about to be struck at Egypt. In anticipation of that blow, and in immediate connection with the exodus, God gave directions for the observance of a Passover.
I. THE PASSOVER IN ITS CONNECTION WITH THE HISTORY . For details of the ritual, see the verses of the chapter.
1 . The design of the Passover was to make plain to Israel the ground on which its salvation was bestowed—the ground, viz; of Atonement. "The more recent plagues had fallen on Egypt alone. The children of Israel were saved from them. But though the salvation was obvious, the way of salvation had not yet been indicated. But now that the last and heaviest plague is about to fall, not only will Israel be saved from it, but the ground on which (the whole) salvation is bestowed will be made plain."
2 . The connection of the Passover with the exodus. In this relation it is to be viewed more especially as a purificatory sacrifice. Such a sacrifice was peculiarly appropriate on the night of leaving Egypt, and one would probably have been appointed, even had no such special reason existed for it as the judgment on the first-born.
3 . The connection of the Passover with the judgment on the first-born. Israel was God's Son, His firstborn ( Exodus 10:22 ), and is in turn represented by his first-born; and so with Egypt. Because Pharaoh would not let Israel (God's first-born) go, God had declared his purpose of smiting "all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast" ( Exodus 12:12 ); the punishment in this case, as frequently in God's Providence (cf. Isaiah 30:16 ), taking a form analogous to the sin it is designed to chastise. "The first-born represented the family, so that judgment of the first-born stood for judgment upon all, and redemption of the first-born stood for the redemption of all" (Dr. Gibson). Accordingly, not the firstborn merely, but the entire household, as represented in him, was redeemed by the blood of the Passover, and joined in the subsequent feast upon the lamb ( Exodus 12:8 ). Note, there was a peculiar fitness in the Passover being instituted at this particular crisis.
4 . The teaching of the Passover. It taught the people
(b) In redemption. This was beautifully symbolised in the eating of the lamb. The lamb was to be roasted entire, and placed on the table undivided ( Exodus 12:9 ). "By avoiding the breaking of the bones ( Exodus 12:46 ), the animal was preserved in complete integrity, undisturbed and entire ( Psalms 34:20 )… There was no other reason for this than that all who took part in this one animal, i.e. all who ate of it, should look upon themselves as one whole, one community, like those who eat the New Testament Passover, the body of Christ ( 1 Corinthians 5:7 ), of whom the apostle says ( 1 Corinthians 10:17 ), 'We being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.'" (Bahr.)
1 . As an historical witness to the reality of the events of the exodus. See below; also Homily on Deuteronomy 16:1-9 . The Passover, like the Lord's Supper, was an institution which, in the nature of things, could not have been set up later than the event professedly commemorated.
2 . As a perpetuation of the original sacrifice. The blood of the lambs was year by year presented to God. This marked that the true sacrifice had not yet been offered ( Hebrews 10:1-3 ). Now that Christ has died, and has "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" ( Hebrews 9:26 ; Hebrews 10:12 ), there is no room for further sacrifice, and the Lord's Supper is to be regarded as simply a commemorative ordinance and means of grace. The doctrine of the mass has no foundation in true scriptural analogy.
3 . As a means of grace. It was a feast, collecting the Israelites in great numbers at the sanctuary, and reviving in their minds the memory of the great deliverance, in which had been laid the foundation of their national existence. The lamb, slain on their behalf, roasted with fire, and set on the table before their eyes, to be handled and eaten by them, in solemn observance of a Divine command, gave them a vivid sense of the reality of the facts they were commemorating. The Lord's Supper, in like manner, is a powerful means of impressing mind and heart, an act of communion on the part of Christian believers, and a true source of nourishment (through spiritual participation in Christ) to the soul.
4 . The observance of the Passover was connected with oral instruction (verses 26, 27). This was a further guarantee for the handing down of a faithful, ungarbled tradition of the meaning of the ceremony; added to the interest of the service; took advantage of a favourable opportunity to impress the minds of the young; and helped to keep alive in all classes of the community a vivid remembrance of God's mighty works.
III. THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD ( Deuteronomy 16:14-21 ). The ordinance for this feast was probably given at Succoth, on the day succeeding the exodus (see Deuteronomy 16:17 , and Exodus 13:5-8 ). It is inserted here on account of its internal connection with the Passover. It is to be viewed—
1 . As a memorial of the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt. The Israelites had evidently intended to leaven their dough on the night of the exodus, but were prevented by the haste (verse 34). "For thou earnest out of the land in haste" ( Deuteronomy 16:3 ). This is the historical groundwork of the institution.
2 . As a symbol of spiritual truth.
The institution of the Passover.
Moses has now done with requesting and threatening Pharaoh. He leaves Pharaoh to the terrible smiting hand of Jehovah, and turns, when it is quite time to turn, to his own people. He who would not listen had to be left for those who would listen. It is now manifest that Moses is to be profitably occupied with matters which cannot any longer be delayed. It was needful to give warning concerning the death of the first-born to the Israelites quite as much as to Pharaoh. For some time they had been the passive, the scarcely conscious objects of Divine mercy and power. Painfully conscious they were of the physical hardships which Pharaoh inflicted on them, but they had little or no thought of deprivations and hindrances with respect to higher things. God had been leading them forward by a way they knew not, and now the hour has come for them to know the way and walk in it with understanding, choice, circumspection, and diligence. All at once, from being passive spectators in the background, they came forward to be prime actors in the very front; and God is here telling them through Moses what to do, and how they are to do it. More is to be done than simply wait for God's coming at midnight: that coming has to be made ready for with great solemnity and minuteness of preparation.
I. NOTICE HOW JEHOVAH HERE BRINGS THE VOLUNTARY ELEMENT INTO THE DELIVERANCE OF HIS PEOPLE AND THEIR CONNECTION WITH HIM . They are to be delivered , only as they are willing to be delivered. They are to signify their willing regard to conform with the will of God. The matter is made almost a personal one; if not brought before every Israelite, it is brought before every head of a household. Hitherto the immunities of the people during the course of the plagues had been secured in a mere external way. The protection belonged to a certain territory, and the Israelites had to exert no attention, take no trouble, in order to secure the protection. God kept the flies, the hail, and the darkness out of Goshen without requiring any mark upon the habitations and property of His people. But now, as the last visitation from God draws nigh, they have to take a part, and a very decided part, in making their exemption effectual. Jehovah comes, treating all who are in Egypt as belonging fully to Egypt, and it is for the Israelites to show by some significant act the deep difference which separates between them and the Egyptians. There had been, up to this time, certain differences between the Egyptian and the Israelite which did not depend upon the Israelite's choice. The Egyptian was master, and the Israelite slave; assuredly the Israelite had not chosen that. An Egyptian might soon lose all trace of his personal ancestry, but every Israelite could trace his ancestry back to Jacob, to Isaac, to Abraham; and this was a matter he had not chosen. The Egyptian belonged to a nation which had been smitten with nine plagues, but from the later and severer of these the Israelite dwelling in Goshen had been free; yet this freedom had been secured without making it to depend on the Israelite's own action. But now, as the day of redemption draws near, Jehovah reminds every Israelite that underneath all the differences which, in carrying out His purposes, He may make to exist among men, there is a common humanity. Before Him who comes smiting at midnight there is neither Israelite nor Egyptian, bond nor free; everything depends on the sprinkled blood; and the sprinkled blood depends on whether the Israelite has put it on his door of his own accord. If , that night, the Israelite did not of his own accord make a difference between himself and the Egyptian, then no natural distinction or past immunity was of the slightest avail. Even already it is being shown that circumcision availeth nothing, but a new creature. Israel can only be truly Israel as he is Israel inwardly. The mark upon the door without must come from the perfect heart and willing mind within. The only great abiding differences between man and man are such as we, fully considering our position, concur in making of our own free will True it is that we cannot establish and complete these differences in our own strength; but it is very certain that God will not do this—indeed, by the very limitations of the thing to be done, he cannot—except as we willingly and with alacrity give him opportunity.
II. In these instructions for the Passover, GOD BRINGS THE FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF PURE FAITH INTO ACTIVE EXERCISE . In Hebrews 11:28 we are told that by faith Moses kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the first-born should touch them. And this faith extended from Moses to every head of a household in Israel. The whole instructions imply a trustful, disciplined spirit, on the part of those receiving them. Up to this time nothing had been required of them except to stand still and wait while God dealt with Pharaoh. They are left on one side, treated as helpless captives, whom it is vain to ask for what they cannot give. But now they are asked for something, and they have not only to render it willingly, but with the obedience of faith ( Romans 16:26 ). They are asked to slay a number of lambs, the number being determined according to a settled proportion. When the lambs are slain, the blood is to be sprinkled on the doors of each Israelite dwelling, and the flesh, prepared in a peculiar and exact way, is to be eaten by the inhabitants. Well , what should all this have to do with the protection of Israel? How should it advance the captives towards deliverance? If God had told them to get ready swords and spears, and discipline themselves for battle there would have been something intelligible in such instructions, something according to the schemes of human wisdom. But God does not deliver as men would deliver. It pleased him, in the fulness of time and by the foolishness of a slain lamb and sprinkled blood to save Israel. And yet it was not the slain lamb and sprinkled blood that saved by themselves. Moses and Aaron might have slain so many lambs and sprinkled their blood, and yet there would have been no efficacy in them. Their efficacy as protectors was not a natural efficacy. The efficacy lay in this: that the lambs were slain and the blood sprinkled in the obedience of faith. The thing done and the spirit in which it is done—truth and faith-go together in resistless power. There must be truth; faith by itself does nothing; for a man may believe a lie and then where is he? There must be faith; truth by itself does nothing; just as food does nothing unless a man takes it into his stomach. Of course it was quite possible for a sceptical Israelite to say, "What can there be in this sprinkled blood?"—and the very fact that such a question was possible shows how God was shutting his people up to pure faith. He asks them to act simply on the word of Moses. That word was now to be a sufficient reason for their conduct. Moses had done enough to show from whom he came. It is interesting to notice how faith stands here, asked for, the first thing, by Moses, even as it was afterwards by Jesus. As the Israelites believed because Moses spoke, so we must believe because Jesus speaks. Jesus speaks truth because it is true; but we must receive it and believe it, not because in our natural reason we can see it as true, but because of the ascertained and well-accredited character of him who speaks it. And we must show our faith by our works , as these Israelites did. It was not required of them to understand how this sprinkled blood operated. They acted as believing that it would operate, and the indisputable fact is that they were saved. It is a great deal more important to have a thing done, than to be able to understand all the ins and outs by which it is done. A man does not refuse to wind up his watch, because he cannot understand its intricate mechanism. His purposes are served, if he understands enough to turn the key. And so our purposes are served, if we have enough practical faith in Jesus to gain actual salvation through him. Exactly how Jesus saves, is a question which we may ask again and again, and vainly ask. Let us not, in asking it, waste time and risk eternity, when by the prompt and full obedience of faith, we may know in our experience, that however obscure the process may be, the result itself is a real and abiding one.
III. Looking back on this passover lamb in the light of the finished work of Jesus, we see HOW AMPLE A TYPE IT IS OF HIM WHO WAS TO COME AFTER AND STAND BETWEEN THE BELIEVING SINNER AND THE AVENGING GOD .
1 . The lamb was taken so as to bind families and neighbours together. This reminds us of Him, who gathers round himself, in every place, those who form the true family, the new family; joined together not after the temporary, dissolving order of nature , but after the abiding, ever-consolidating order of grace. Wheresoever two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus, there the true Lamb of God is present in all those relations of which the passover lamb gave but a foreshadowing. The true families are made by the coalescence of those who, living in one neighbourhood, have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.
2 . The passover lamb was without blemish. Consider what is said in this respect of Jesus.
3 . It was a male of the first year. So Jesus was taken in the freshness and strength of his manhood ( Luke 3:23 ).
4 . The flesh of the lamb was eaten in the company for which it had been slain. It is only when we bear in mind the first passover in Egypt, that we reach the significance of all that was said and done on the night when Jesus sat down for the last passover feast with his disciples. Jesus took the bread and said: "Take, eat; this is my body." There was to be no more killing of the lamb; the bread, easily made and easily portioned out, took its place. But still the Lord had to say "this is my body." A body had to be thought of as eaten, and not mere bread. Really, when we look into the matter, we find that the sprinkling of the blood was only part of the protection; the eating was protective also. Assuredly the sprinkling by itself would have counted for nothing, if the eating had been omitted. When the blood was sprinkled, it illustrated faith in him who comes between God and the sinner. When the flesh was eaten, it illustrated faith in him whose life becomes our life. Being unblemished, he makes us unblemished, and being acceptable to God, he makes us acceptable also.
IV. We observe that even before the event to be commemorated was accomplished JEHOVAH MADE CAREFUL PROVISION FOR A MEMORIAL OBSERVANCE . Thus another indication is given to us, as to the completeness and order with which his plans were laid. Directions are given for the present need, and along with them are combined directions by which the record of this great liberating event may be transmitted to the remotest generations. Henceforth, the beginning of the year is to date from the month of these dealings with the first-born. Then there was also the appointment of the feast of unleavened bread. So crushing was the blow of Jehovah, and so precipitate the consequent action of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, that the Israelites were hurried out of the land with their dough before it was leavened. Here then in this domestic operation of preparing the daily bread was an opportunity given of setting forth once a year the complete separation which God had effected between the Israelites and the Egyptians. When for seven days no leaven was put in the bread, the great fact to be called up was this: that the Egyptians had hastened the Israelites out of the land. This memorial act called up at once the great change which God had produced, and in a comparatively short time. But a little while before and the Egyptians were spoiling the Israelites, demanding from them bricks without straw; now the Israelites are spoiling the Egyptians, getting gold and silver and raiment from them in profusion, and with the utmost good-will.
V. ALL THE OTHER PREPARATIONS FOR JEHOVAH 'S VISIT WERE TO BE CROWNED BY MAKING PULL PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE . Jehovah was coming to open the prison-doors and strike off the fetters; and he would have the captives ready to march on the instant. He is the God who makes all things to work together for good to them who are called according to his purpose. To him who is truly and devoutly obeying God, nothing comes but he is able to meet it. The obedient is never taken at a disadvantage; he is never defrauded of a great opportunity. The children of Israel were to eat the lamb in full readiness for the journey; even though it might plausibly be said that it was a making ready before the time. The lesson is, obey God in everything where as here the terms of his requirement are plain to the understanding and imperative to the conscience. Reasons are not for you, who know only in part, but for him to whom the darkness and the light are both alike.— Y .
1. It Was then only that the history of the nation as the people of God began. Before they had been told of God's favour towards them; they now knew it. "Now we believe, not because of thy saying, for we have heard him ourselves" ( John 4:42 ).
2 . God's final deliverance begins a new era for his people. "Behold! make all things new."
3 . This has its correlative type in Christian experience now. The true life of the servant of God dates from the hour of his deliverance from the bondage of sin. "If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold all things are become new." Before Israel lay the experience of God's care and love, Sinai, the giving of the law, etc. Before us ties the deepening knowledge of his love, and of his will, the priestly service, etc.
II. THE COMMAND TO MAKE IT THE BEGINNING OF MONTHS .
1 . The remembrance of God's grace makes the soul the dwelling-place of humbleness and trust.
2 . It is joy and strength for service.
3 . It is consecration; in the brightness of that unmerited grace the life is claimed for God; the ear is opened, the heart is touched and changed; we forget things that are behind, and reach forth to things that are before.— U .
Christ his people's salvation and strength.
I. THE MEANS OF SAFETY , Exodus 12:7-13 ).
1 . They took the blood and struck it on the door posts and the lintel. We must appropriate Christ's atonement. We must say by faith, "he died for me."
2 . They passed within the blood-stained portals. Christ's blood must stand between us and condemnation, between us and sin. Our safety lies in setting that between oar soul and them. The realising of Christ's death for our sins is, salvation.
II. THE MEANS OF STRENGTH FOR THE ONWARD WAY . Feeding upon Christ. While Egypt was slumbering Israel was feasting. While the world is busy with its dreams we must feast upon the joy of eternity, and, comprehending with all saints the infinite love of Christ, be filled with all the fulness of God. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
III. HOW CHRIST MUST BE PARTAKEN OF .
1 . With unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The old leaven of malice and wickedness must be put away, and the feasting on Christ's love must be accompanied with repentance and self denial. There may be now and again a momentary glimpse of Christ's love where sin is not parted with, but there can be no communion , no enduring vision.
2 . Christ must be taken as God has set him before us, in the simplicity of the Gospel, with nothing of man's invention, addition, or diminution. The Gospel remedy avails only when taken in the Gospel way ( Exodus 12:9 , Exodus 12:10 ).
3 . He must b? partaken of in the union of love. The Passover is a social, a family feast. Those who refuse to seek church-fellowship are despising God's arrangements for their own salvation, and proving themselves devoid of the spirit which, loving him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.
4 . He must be partaken of with the pilgrim spirit and preparedness ( Exodus 12:11 ). They who will be saved by Jesus must take up their cross and follow him.— U .
"It is the Lord's Passover" ( Exodus 12:11 ). After Pharaoh's refusal to see Moses again, Jehovah comes more manifestly into the history, in the last judgment and deliverance of his people. Three great events crowd now into a single night, the Passover, the slaying of the first-born, the march out. Consider now the Passover.
I. ITS NECESSITY .
1 . Israel must be separated from Egypt. This idea of separation runs through all Hebrew history from the time of Abraham to this hour. But to a large extent Israel had now become merged into the Egyptian race, catching the plagues of its idolatry and sins. Great separating acts necessary— e.g; as in some of the earlier visitations, in the tenth, in the passover, in the exodus, in the Red Sea.
2 . To this end Israel must be atoned afresh with God. The tenth plague was a miracle of pure judgment: for Israel to escape the penalty of its sin, an atonement necessary. That atonement was the passover.
II. ITS DESIGNATIONS . They were these: " A passover unto Jehovah : a sacrificial-slaying of pass-over unto Jehovah:" "The sacrifice of the feast of the passover," Exodus 12:11 , Exodus 12:27 ; Exodus 34:25 . Here we have four distinctive ideas.
1 . The Objective of the passover was God. "Unto Jehovah." Like prayer intended to benefit man, but its objective God. Herein lies the distinction between Scriptural and unscriptural ideas of atonement.
2 . The pass-over was a Sacrifice. [For the argument, see Kurtz, vol. 2:297, 298, Eng. ed.]
3 . The result was a Passing-over. The stained lintel a bridge over which Jehovah was to pass in dread judicial progress through the land.
4 . And a more remote result, the ushering in of a Festal Life for Israel. The festival of the passover foreshadowed the coming life of liberty.
III. THE LAMB . After expository development of the leading incidents, the following truths will emerge in relation to the antitype.
1 . The objective of the death of Christ is God. The Socinian formula runs: "The death of Christ was not to reconcile God to man, but man to God." The scriptural doctrine is that the atonement does both: but reconciles man to God, by first atoning God with man.
2 . Christ is "without blemish and without spot. "
3 . The atoning Christ was deliberately selected , and fore-appointed.
4 . Kept in view of the world , that His worth, beauty and destiny might suitably affect men; as the lamb went in and out, for four days, the homes of Israel.
5 . Slain .
6 . The death was Sacrificial.
7 . The result a Passing-over of judicial wrath.
8 . But the sacrifice must be appropriated. The blood on the posts of the door a sign of the appropriating faith of the people. Here may be brought out the idea, that the door was the only possible altar at that moment of history. The idea of sacrifice had come down from patriarchal times; but there was no law of sacrifice, for as yet there was no nation to which to give it, and therefore there was no temple, and so no altar. Every family must be atoned for apart; every house was then a temple, and every door an altar.
9 . Then, faith in Christ's atonement begins for us high Festival.
IV. THE MEAL . Show that the meal was much more than a mere supper to prepare for a journey. It had in it spiritual significance, in relation to the Christ.
1 . The Atoning Christ is the Food of the Soul ( John 6:51 ). This for the very simple reason, that the truth of the atonement is central, supreme, and comprehensive.
2 . An uncorrupted Christ. The lamb was roasted, i.e; was pure flesh acted on by fire; not sodden, diluted with water, or any way corrupted.
3 . A perfect Christ, no bone broken. So on the cross a Christ divided is not sufficient for the nourishment of the soul, e.g; Christ as an "elect spirit of the race;' or as one in whom the "God-consciousness ' received high development; or as example; Teacher, etc. Christ in his whole nature, character and office.
4 . The enjoyment of Christ and of his salvation will depend on the memory of the slavery of sin. "Bitter herbs."
5 . The christian life is to be characterised by simplicity and sincerity. Note that unleavened bread is simply pure meal, all water Parched out by the action of fire. For the significance see the Christian Rabbi, Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:6-8 .
6 . The end of soul nutriment is the Pilgrim-Life. Each with staff in hand that night.
7 . To the banquet, to the Exodus, to the Pilgrim-Life, all are welcome , on conditions, 12:43-45. In that case, first circumcision; then coming under the sprinkled blood, were needful. The analogy is clear. Note! at the moment, when the distinction between Israel and Egypt was most marked, then did the catholicity of true Judaism most appear. In Abraham all mankind was to be blessed.— R .
If one died for all then all died.
Pharaoh's heart still hardened. The crowning judgment needs no intermediary; Jehovah will reveal His own right arm. Exodus 11:4 . "Who shall live when God doeth this?" He who obeying His word shelters himself beneath His shadow. See:—
I. THE PREPARATION .
1 . A carefully selected victim. Exodus 11:5 , deliberately set apart four days beforehand. Pure within; innocence typified by inexperience, "the first year." Pure without, "no blemish."
2 . A carefully conducted purification. The partaker of the sacrificial feast must endeavour after a purity resembling that of the victim. Leaven, evil, must be purged out that he may offer and receive worthily.
2 . Sustenance to nerve for duty. Lamb not merely to be killed but eaten. The people saved from the destroyer are to be released also from the oppressor; to commence at once the life of liberty. Strength needed for the march. That which saves is that which supports, if the lamb represents the offerer as he ought to be, feeding upon the lamb will represent feeding by faith upon the ideal thus figured. To become righteous we must hunger and thirst after righteousness, Matthew 5:6 . Dedication is the starting-point, but the road is persistent obedience, and they only can walk that road who feed upon the ideal first set before them ( Philippians 3:12-14 ).
III. CHRIST OUR PASSOVER . The type leads naturally to the great antitype.
1 . Our sacrifice .
2 . Our sustenance. We too, saved in Christ, have to march on along the road which leads from slavery to freedom. To do this we must feed upon our ideal, "inwardly digest" it. What we ought to be; what we hope to be; what Christ is. Our great advantage over the Jew is that our ideal is realised in a person. To feed upon it is to feed upon Christ. To attain it is to be like Christ, to be one with him.
Application. Christ died for us. True, but Christ dying for us implies that we also die with him. Dedication of a substitute not enough unless self is dedicated in the substitute. Very well wishing to be happy , and the hope of many is little more than this. God, however, means us to be holy , and there is no easy road to holiness. Accept the ideal, accept Christ out and out, we shall find him more than an ideal: he will strengthen and sustain us till we attain it. Forget what the ideal is; forget what dedication means; we may yet find that it is possible for those who are saved from bondage to perish in the wilderness.— G .