Saturday, May 25, 2013

Moses: “When You Enter The Land God Will Give You . . .” -- Exodus 12:21-28


Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb.  You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.  For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.  And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.  When you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.  And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped.  Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
 
Up to this point God has been giving His instructions for the Children of Israel to Moses and now the Patriarch passes them on to the people.  But he too, due to the numbers involved, uses the representatives of the entire group – the “elders of Israel”.  According to the American Tract Society Bible Dictionary, these ‘elders’ were the heads of the tribes, who, exercised authority over their own families and the people.  They were representatives of the nation (see Exodus 3:16, 4:29, and then here again in 12:21).  Later in Exodus (chapter 24:1,9) we read that there were 70 plus 2 elders in total, plus Moses and Aaron, it would appear.   The number 72 would likely mean that there were six elders from each of the twelve tribes.


Easton’s Bible Dictionary says each elder was “clothed with authority, and entitled to respect and reverence (Genesis 50:7).”  Later in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) we read more about the specific roles the ‘elders’ played in ancient Israel.  Easton says, “The ‘elder’ is the keystone of the social and political fabric wherever the patriarchal system exists. This is still the case today among the Arabs, where the sheik (i.e., ‘the old man’) is the highest authority in the tribe.”
While all through history we note the various duties of the body known as the "elders" of Israel, we have to realize that some of them were Jesus’ enemies (Matthew 16:21, 21:23, and 26:59 [as part of the whole Council]).  For the churches established by the first disciples and early Christians the offices of deacon and apostle were established.  But no similar establishment is recorded for ‘elders’ in the New Testament as the office already existed from ancient times.  Deacons and apostles were created to satisfy new needs and special situations including those requiring immediate attention.  As such, the true ‘elders’ of the churches were more than likely to be the pastors (Ephesians 4:11), bishops or overseers (Acts 20:28), and leaders or rulers (Hebrews 13:7 and I Thessalonians 5:12) of the congregation.  Perhaps this is why some Baptist churches today are spiritually overseen by an Elders Board and operationally managed by a Deacons Board.  Other denominations take different approaches to the government and operation of the church.  Where there are Elder Boards, the Pastor is certainly usually considered as the Chief Elder, or at least one of the Elders.  It is also interesting to note that in the New Testament, bishop and presbyter are titles given to the same officers of the Christian church.  That is, the elder (usually due to age) or presbyter is also the bishop or overseer He who is called presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also called a bishop or overseer, who has a heavy duty laid upon him (Titus 1:5 and Acts 20:17).

In this current passage in Exodus, we have the elders of Israel being told by Moses how exactly the blood of the lamb is to be transferred to the doorposts of their houses.  The attention to detail is impressive to say the least.  The people were to use a “bunch of hyssop” (an aromatic herb) and dip it in the blood lying in the basin the lamb was in and then use the soaked hyssop to spread or smear the blood on the posts.  In addition, no one from the household was to go outside after that until the morning.  Both these latter instructions are new in the sense that Moses did not record God telling him about them.  So, we have a choice.  We can believe God did tell Moses earlier and he neglected to write that down when he was recording what God had said, or Moses added them himself as further explanations at the time he was passing the instructions to the elders, perhaps being proactive in anticipating the questions the elders, and later the people, might have.  That is, “How do we get the blood on the posts?” and “What do we do after that? Can we go outside and see what’s happening?”   I prefer the former option although once again we must say, “we don’t know”.   I hope by now, you are getting one of the key messages I have been trying to get across over and over – there are many things that we do not know for sure, so why even try to pretend we do?  Unfortunately many do and cause more harm to the body of Christ than one could imagine.

It is, however, interesting to wonder as to why they were not to go outside after they applied the blood?  I have a friend on one of the social media networks I use who likes to always look for the modern-day spiritual application of much of what we read in Scripture, regardless of its location in the Bible.  Jane would be pleased to note that keeping her in mind, I surmise that one could (I say ‘could’) make a connection between the fact that once God saves us through the blood of Christ, He does not want us checking out ‘the world out there’ out of curiosity as Lot’s wife did when she looked back at the burning Sodom and Gomorrah and then she turned into a pillar of salt.  The idea is similar.  [This is not to say we are to avoid the ‘world’ – it is just to say that we are not to pursue it out of Christianity.  One example that comes to mind is the feeling I have often had of going to a “palm-reader” as I walk by their flashing neon signs in our city.  My rationale is “let’s just see how accurate they would be about my past and present; I won’t even ask about my future.”  But I know and my wife reminds me how wrong that would be for many have taken that route and fallen to the Enemy.  God forbid we should pursue the world out of curiosity.  Eve did it once.  Millions have followed.  May we stand strong.]

Again, Moses passes on to the elders the fact that it was mandatory that this whole night was to be observed as a memorial going forward once they “entered the land which God will give you”.  There was no doubt in Moses’ mind that God would lead them to the Promised Land.  And that was so much an integrate part of Moses’ belief system, that he had no difficulty passing on God’s demand that the Israelites explain the meaning of this rite to their children when they ask about it.
And it appears that the elders and the people they shared the instructions with also believed it, for they “bowed and worshipped” and then they went and did as they were told – exactly as God had commanded Moses and Aaron.  They had heard the testimony of two men to whom God had spoken.  The elders accepted that testimony.  And the congregation of Israel obeyed as they followed the instructions word for word.  I cannot help but think what a beautiful picture of living a life of obedience as an individual and as a body of people that represents: A people of God, facing difficulties, having full trust in their God to deliver them, and listening to their leaders who had heard directly from two witnesses that God had spoken to.

Oh, how we need that divine line of authority and direction to bless us today, given the mess we are in.  We need it in our families, our local churches, and our nations.  I believe it is there for the asking if God felt we would obey Him.  Unfortunately, we cannot get our act together as the Body of Christ, so together we all remain in our symbolic Egypt as the demands “for more bricks” increase day by day.  The Good News and the ‘good news’ is that while in Exodus God was saving an entire people group, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary saves individuals like you and me.  And even though we all cannot get together to act in unity to defeat the Enemy, we can, with God’s help, defeat him in our own individual lives.  God will allow you to enter the Land He has promised you.  Just follow the instructions – bow low and worship the King of Kings and then act with trust and in obedience as God has commanded you to do.  Amen.
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[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

And by the way, No Leaven in the House, Or Else -- Exodus 12:15-20


“‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  And on the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you. You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.  Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.  You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall not eat unleavened bread.’”
 
The word ‘leaven’ is used to refer to an agent, such as yeast, that causes batter or dough to rise, especially by way of fermentation.  Wikipedia says that yeasts are microorganisms that are part of the Fungi kingdom.  They are unicellular, for the most part.  Through fermentation (the conversion of sugar to acids, gases and/or alcohol using yeast or bacteria), the yeast converts carbohydrates (fermentable sugars in the dough) to carbon dioxide and alcohols (primarily ethanol).  For thousands of years the carbon dioxide has been used in baking and the alcohol in alcoholic beverages.  So, why did God say “absolutely no partaking of anything assisted by leaven and don’t even have it in your house” during this special celebration period each year?

The words translated ‘Leaven’ and ‘unleavened’ are mentioned many times in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  When the word ‘leaven’ is mentioned it usually refers to sin or evil.  Any reference to ‘unleavened’ had as its symbolic meaning, a pointing to Christ.  Here in our passage the Hebrews were commanded to celebrate the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” which immediately follows as a continuum the Passover Meal which is referred to in verse 14.  The weeklong Feast of Unleavened Bread goes from the 14th day of the 1st month of the Jewish calendar to the 21st day.  During that period the Israelites also had to remove all leaven (representing sin and evil) from their houses.

The thinking was, as can be drawn logically from the simple scientific explanation provided above, the ‘leaven’ causing the rising of bread or dough is due to the corruption of the dough with which it is mixed.  Some historical scholars believe each year just prior to the beginning of the Feast week, the Jews would search their houses with extreme care to make sure every particle of leaven was removed.
The symbolism for us today may well be that we need to regularly search our hearts and remove every immorality we find therein.  If we are leaders in the Church, we also need to make sure that we remove from our heart and our teaching any false or corrupt doctrine which is not crucial to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but is held on to because of tradition or in the name of ‘separated uniqueness’ – unfortunately often keeping us from fellowship with our own brothers and sisters in Christ.  The reason for this purging, we read much later in the New Testament, is that a “little leaven (corruption) has the effect of corrupting the whole loaf of bread”.  We know from experience in life that one lie begets many; one sinner pulls many down; a little legalism in our gospel destroys the purity of the message; and so on.

You can see therefore the significance of God saying, “Eat anything that was made using leaven and you are cut off from Israel.”  And here’s the symbolism I find interesting – that goes for both genuine biological children of Israel and those that joined their family as “aliens”.  So, does God’s willingness to cut off from Israel both His original children and those ‘non-native Israelites’ that were adopted into their families, because they ate food with leaven, or for having sin or evil in their houses, mean anything for us today?  I believe it does.  I believe and as the references to ‘leaven’ and ‘unleavened’ in the New Testament indicate, we can indeed be cut off, become unrecognizable to the Lord, perhaps because we “never knew Him”.  While many today say under the new covenant we do not need to worry about sin and evil if we are believers washed in the blood of Christ (as the Israelites had sprinkled the blood of the lamb on their doorposts), I am not finding it is that simple a matter in the Scriptures.

I also find it interesting that this week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was to commence and end with a “holy assembly” or ‘convocation’.  God required the people to be called together for a special purpose – that is what convocation means.  When we celebrate our Feast memorials I believe the Church has a role to play.  It must “call us together”.  It must “encourage us to celebrate”.  It must ensure we celebrate in the way acceptable to God, so that we are not “cut off”.  And the Church does this at the beginning and the end of the Feast.  This is not a time to begin the Feast as a spiritual memorial and to end it as heathen holiday.  For the entire Feast God wants us to live it, celebrate it, without ‘leaven’, without sin or evil in our lives.  And to help ensure that very thing in the days of Moses, God made it clear that the only thing the Israelites could do on those two “assembly days” was to have their food cooked for them.  The days were to be treated like Sabbaths by them.  Later on, God would have more to say about the keeping of the Sabbath both in the Ten Commandments He gave to Moses and in the New Testament.

So where are we?  How do we celebrate our Feasts – Passover, Communion, Christ’s Birth, and so on?  What does our New Year’s Eve look like, especially after we’ve celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas perhaps in the Church?   These are all questions that can only be self-answered, but they must be asked.  Not to do so would mean we might be missing the full blessings God has in store for us.
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[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This Day Will Be A Permanent Memorial -- Exodus 12:14


“Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.”
 
Before we begin deliberations on this passage, let me state that a friend of mine provided me with an interesting verse about the question we raised concerning the possibility of non-Israelites escaping Egypt in the Exodus. Deuteronomy 29:11 says that there were “alien” people within their camps.  Albeit we cannot say for certain whether they came from Egypt or joined them along the way in the wilderness, Exodus 12:19 which we will study shortly, also uses that word implying that there were ‘aliens’ among the Hebrews from the start.  All this gives us more data for our reflection.  Finally, some think the word “rabble” in Numbers 11:24 that we will come to later or the reference to a “mixed multitude” later in this chapter that we are studying here (Exodus 12) is a reference to non-Israelites.  However, it is also possible it is simply a reference to the different types of people from within the Hebrew ranks.  The point being, we do not know.
Now let us return to Exodus 12:14.  God wanted this day, this Passover feast and night, to be a memorial to all His children.  He wanted it celebrated as a “feast”.  It was to be a permanent celebration.  And it was to be celebrated by all the generations that came after those that left Egypt during the Exodus.
I started thinking about my celebration of the Passover and Easter.  First of all, I consider myself as a Christian to be a “spiritual son” of Abraham (see Galatians 3:7).  Secondly, I was born in Greece and even after coming to Canada as a child, we continued celebrating the major tradition of Greeks having fresh lamb at Easter time.  It seems, however, that over the years, for one reason or another, Christians seem to have moved away from the celebration of the Passover or Easter meal celebration.  It may be that Christmas has become a bigger holiday in North America and taken over.  It may also be that more Christians are failing to recognize their spiritual roots with Abraham, Moses, and the Jews.  Sadly to say, it may also be as one brother told me recently after I had taught on our connection with Israel, that some of us still have some anti-Semitic tendencies.  Perhaps it is time to rethink how we ourselves celebrate Easter.
I note two very strong verbs in this verse.  First, this day “will be” a memorial.  Secondly, “you shall celebrate it”.  No doubt, many can argue that this is all meant for the Jews, and not for us today.  Today we have our Communion Supper and we celebrate that regularly – some annually, some monthly, some weekly because Jesus said “when-so-ever you do it, do it in remembrance of Me.”  He did not give us a command as to when to do it.  We have the freedom to choose the frequency.  And perhaps they that argue that what is talked about here in Exodus 12 is only meant for the Jews, are right.
But let us take a little different perspective.  It may be perfectly all right for us today to neglect this feast celebration God commanded of the Hebrews exiting Egypt three thousand years ago.  But would it be wrong to actually celebrate?  I believe not.  Let me explain.
First, the God of Moses and Aaron is the same God to whom you and I belong.  And our God does not change.  If He wanted that for His children then, but may not demand it of us now – is that a reason for us to neglect following it?  I think not.  You see, God had a purpose for demanding it of His children.  That purpose may well have to do with the idea that we are mere mortals who tend to forget, tend to stray, from remembering what God has done and is doing for us.  We need these celebrations to help remember our history, or in our case, the history of our “spiritual ancestors”.
Secondly, I believe we are indeed part of the “generations” of those very people, albeit “spiritual generations”.  We were grafted into those Jewish roots, the roots of the Children of Israel. (Romans 11:17-21)
Thirdly, I cannot help but believe that when we celebrate the Passover, or Easter in our case, appropriately “with a feast” and with thanksgiving, we make God glad.  This is no different than when a son who has gone to the big city to get educated and become someone in his own mind, returns to his parents’ village and sees his mom and dad stomping on grapes to make wine.  He takes his shoes off, rolls up his pants, washes his feet, and joins in.  His parents are ecstatic.  It is human nature to have your children, even though they have learned new ways to do things, join you in your ways.  And I believe God has a bit of that desire too, if we have it.  After all, we were created in His image.
As an aside, you may wish to take some time to learn about the symbolism in the way the Jewish Passover Meal is celebrated.  You can simply Google that on the Internet.  It is well worth it.
There is a phrase worth noting in this verse.  It is “to the Lord.”  Our celebration of this event is to be feast “to the Lord.”  It is for His honor, not for ours.  Can we really neglect it?  And you will note that it was important enough to God to make it an “ordinance” --  a decree, rule, order, law, edict, dictum, etc.  Get the picture? 
So how do you celebrate Easter?   I know for one, I’ll be doing it a little different come next year.  Maybe I can even talk my daughter or son-in-law into doing at least a leg of lamb on the barbecue.  And as I eat it a little of it with family and friends, I will remember my spiritual ancestors and how they ate on their last night in Egypt.
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[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Second Look at the Sprinkling of the Blood on the Doorposts – What if the Egyptians had done it? - (Repeating) Exodus 12:12-13


“For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments – I am the Lord.  And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; 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.”
 
Someone read the material I had provided earlier on Exodus 12:12-13 and asked this question:  “What if the Egyptians had got hold of the instructions and did likewise, that is, they sprinkled blood on their doorposts – would the angel of darkness have passed over their house?”  Excellent question.  It is even more significant if we deem that this whole scene is representative of how Christ’s shed blood saves us.
Viewpoints on this very question are few and far between.  I saw one reference to the fact that indeed the protection that made the difference on that night was the “sprinkled blood” and not the race of the people doing the sprinkling, implying, but not directly claiming, that Egyptians could have done this successfully and further implying that salvation through Christ is for all nations.  I think, as a minimum, we all would agree with the latter implication.  The more I think about this question, the more I realize that it is also possible, but not likely to have happened often, that some of the Israelites had become close to some of the Egyptians, as people become regardless of race or circumstances, and the Hebrews themselves could have also encouraged some Egyptians to do place blood on their doorposts.  But again these are all assumptions and we can draw great parallels to this story and the salvation available to all through Christ’s blood in discussing them or studying them.
On the other hand, the sprinkled blood was the last step of a series of instructions to the Israelites.  You remember there was the selection of a special lamb, the keeping of it for a number of days in the household, how it was to be cooked, how it was to be eaten, and so on.  And then its blood was to be sprinkled.  As such, one could argue that, as we see elsewhere later in Scripture, the entire instructional chain had to be observed for the miracle to have worked.  And since they likely did not follow all of the steps, the Egyptians would not have been saved from the loss of their first-born.  The problem with that is that would make Christ’s death insufficient for salvation, something that is not easy for many of us to accept either.  It would also mean the thief on the cross would not have been saved as all he could do was accept Christ’s death for his sins.  And yet Jesus says he was.
Indeed a difficult question.  It is one that requires more insights of others as they search the Scriptures.  I honestly, for one, do not know the answer to the question.  But I do know that it is not the central point of this story and event and thus it should not keep us from accepting the power of God to bring salvation to His people through the spilled blood of Jesus Christ and our acceptance of His sacrifice for us.  Many people go through the motions of accepting the gift of God as a ritual not unlike how host dignitaries receive gifts from visiting dignitaries, only to ridicule them or discard them later.
Which takes me to my position. I believe that what really matters in this case, as in our cases, is the sincerity of the heart.  That is a theme throughout all Scripture.  I tend to believe (but am willing to be surprised otherwise) that had an Egyptian family sprinkled blood on its doorposts and done it with true belief in God, the God of the Hebrews, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – they may well have been saved from losing their first-born that night.
________________________________________________________________________

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Then See What I, the Lord, Will Do -- Exodus 12:12-13

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:“For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments – I am the Lord.  And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; 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.”
 
After God tells the Israelites how to prepare for their day of deliverance – their day of freedom from the slavery of Egypt and their exodus from the land, He tells them what He will do.  And I love the assurance with which He makes His statement, starting with “For I will . . .”.  They could count on it.  God was going to go through the land of Egypt that very night and take the first-born of every man and beast.  The Israelites had seen enough of God’s power and miracles and they had no reason to doubt Him for one moment.  I wonder where we stand in regards to the issue of doubting what God has said He will do in His Word.  Have we seen or experienced enough of His power and miracles in our own lives to be able to count on His Word for the future?  I do not about you, but I can assure you that my own life has been stamped with God’s fingerprints over and over again.  So much so, that nothing and no one can convince me I cannot count on Him to deliver what He said He would.  And by believing that without any doubt, I can be at peace, even when I consider the state the world is in today and what lies ahead.  Can you count on God?
God does not only exercise His power over evil man and his beasts, but we read here that in so doing, He is “executing judgments against all the gods of Egypt.”  Now what exactly is this all about?  Later in the Bible we read that the Lord “had” taken action or judgments against the Egyptian idols at the same time the Egyptians were burying their first-born.  And Jewish tradition indicates that this same night, by the same destroying Angel, God had broken the idols the Egyptians had in their homes and elsewhere into pieces.  When God acts against the evils of man, He not only goes after man’s possessions (the first-born of both man and of their cattle), but also of the false idols that have contributed to man’s deeds of evil.  You can count on God to do what He says He will do.  So, I humbly ask you and myself, “Who and what are we prepared to lose and allow to suffer because of our stance against God?  What false idols do we adhere to that will ultimately be destroyed and mean nothing?  Is it our wealth, or our cars, or our addictions – drugs, immoral sex, pornography, sports, gambling?  What is it?  Is any of it worth it?”
And then God adds this phrase of authority, “I am the Lord.”  Not, “for I am the Lord” – but just, “I am the Lord” as if to say “I don’t even need to give you a reason as to why I can or why I do what I do – I just am.”  This past week I heard of two good friends in the ministry being diagnosed with colon cancer.  Yesterday I heard that a man I personally knew was killed in a serious accident.  (In fact, the police had diverted the traffic I was part of that morning as a result of that accident ahead.  Little did I know who was involved in it.)  It is at times like these, and we all face them in our lives, that one can easily ask, “Why did God allow that? Or why did He do so and so?”  I learned early in my walk with Him not to do so.  In fact, my wife reminds me of how often I have asked the opposite question, “Why was I, why were we, spared?”  Please do not try to challenge God – He is the only one that cannot be challenged, for the simple reason, “He is the Lord.”  If you have a hard time accepting that, then your journey walking with Him, will be much more difficult.
God told the Israelites the blood of the Passover lamb they were to sprinkle on the doorposts of their houses would be a sign that indicates they belong to Him and the destroying Angel would not visit that house to take the first-born of man and animal.  Have you ever seen signs that say, “We gave at the office, so please do not ask again.” Or what about signs that say, “No soliciting whatsoever.”  Well, the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb was the sign for the destroying Angel to leave that household untouched that night – safe and sound with no harm befalling it unlike the rest of the Egyptian households.  Skip forward three thousand years and today we too are covered “by the blood of the Passover Lamb – Jesus Christ” who died in our place, for our sins.  God will not exercise His condemning judgment of eternal death on us who believe in, and personally know and love and serve, Jesus Christ.
You may have noticed in this passage and elsewhere that God refers to the destroying Angel and Himself interchangeably.  I do not want to get into a debate here of “who or Who it is exactly that is going to bring death to the first-born in Egypt.”  It is possible that it is God Himself.  It is also possible that the usage is such to imply that God is giving the orders and the Angel is carrying them out on God’s behalf.  I respectfully submit to you that this is indeed one case where it really does not matter, does it?  But here is what does matter.  There is no logical or intellectual or scientific reason whatsoever to think that by placing blood on one’s doorposts, one would actually prevent the destroyer from entering one’s home.  Absolutely none.  So, what’s the point here?  Simply this.  You have to do it by faith.  Only faith can save one from the plague that is about to befall Egypt, and only faith can save you and me from the everlasting death that is to befall mankind.
And even if you were religious enough in those days to participate in the Passover lamb dinner just to be part of the community, to fit into the Israelite society at the time, and you didn’t believe in the power of the sprinkling of the blood and thus did not carry out the splashing of it on your doorposts – well, you would have a great dinner, but your first-born would be gone in the morning.  Faith had to be exercised.  
But how hard was that since you believed in God and since you had seen His power and His works?  If you believed He was going to rescue Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians, then was it that hard to take that extra step of faith to be secured from the last plague?  I submit it would not have been.  But why is it so hard for so many today to accept the shed blood of Christ as their protection from death?  I do not know except to say God knew this would happen.  God knew the Enemy in the world would make things difficult for good men and women and children to come to Jesus.  God knew that many would see the simplicity of His plan for us as foolishness.  Others would fail to even see its need.  What remains is for you and me to determine whether or not we fall into that category.
Finally, as we study this portion of Scripture, I wonder if it is an answer to the question about whether or not we will live through all the tribulation the world will face in the future.  I think there is a good possibility that it is exactly that.  If this entire story of the Exodus of the Israelites form Egypt is a type of the end days, then I am coming to the conclusion that some of God’s people will live to see what is going on, but we will be spared, and kept safe from, the horror.  I leave that to your own further research.
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[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Saturday, May 04, 2013

Instructions on How To Use the Blood and How To Eat the Passover Lamb -- Exodus 12:7-11


“Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  And they shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails.  And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.  Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste – it is the Lord’s Passover.”
 
So the Israelites have been told what they need to do in advance to prepare for that night of physical deliverance and salvation.  Now God proceeds to tell them (through Moses) on what exactly they are to do with the blood of the lamb they kill in each household and how to eat it the night of the actual deliverance.  I think the first thing to consider here if we have never done so before is the idea that God cares about how we do things.  He is a God of detail.  We need to be careful when we casually say, “Oh God does not care about the details, only the end result.”  Well, this section of Scripture clearly points to the contrary.  When it comes to obedience and salvation, God cares about the details.  It’s His Plan of Salvation.  It does not belong to the Israelites, or Moses, or you, or me.  We tend to forget that.  We have access to it, but it is His plan, not ours.
The first bit of instruction in this regard is that the Israelites are to take some of the blood from the slain lamb and put it on the two vertical doorposts – left and right frames which hold the door of their dwelling in place, and also on the lintel – the horizontal piece at the top which connects to the two vertical doorposts.  It is important to note that the dwelling that matters is the one in which they will be partaking of the lamb together as a family or household, not just any of their buildings.  This is very symbolic in the sense that the family inside that dwelling, celebrating their deliverance, will be “covered by the blood of the lamb” sprinkled on the doorposts.
The next thing we note is that no blood is to be put on the threshold of the frame – the horizontal part at the bottom which connects to the two vertical doorposts and on which people trod on when entering or leaving a room through that door.  Commentator Chuck Smith suggests that this is because the blood of this lamb is actually symbolic of the blood of Jesus Christ, which is never to be trampled under foot.  We also need to remember that while some of the Israelites may have lived in actual buildings, others may well have still dwelt in tents. Certainly had any moved closer to the center of the activity during those days, they would have lived in more temporary housing which would have meant tents.
The purpose for this sprinkling of blood on the doorposts was to ensure the ‘destroying angel’ that was going to go through Egypt that night would distinguish their homes from those of the Egyptians.  It was a way of protecting and covering those inside the home, those inside with a family that were part of God’s people, His children.  It seems to be the case that somehow God’s own people to be distinguished from those that are not His.  This will also be the case now and in the end days.  For starters, we need to have been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Then God tells the Israelites how He wants them to prepare the lamb for consumption.  It had to be roasted on a fire.  It was to be enjoyed with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Did these detailed instructions matter?  I believe they did.  The unleavened bread was symbolic of the fact that they had to take this meal in haste and had no time to allow the bread to rise.  It was the bread of ‘affliction’.  The bitter herbs were symbolic of the ‘bitterness of Egyptian slavery’.  Those were their Old Testament meanings.  However, they also have New Testament meanings as well.  There’s an excellent article on the Internet that goes into this in a very creative and informative way.  You can check it out here: http://eatingedenblog.blogspot.ca/2012/04/passover-food-lamb-unleavened-bread.html .
The Israelites were also not to eat any of the meat raw or even boiled in water.  Many have tried to explain this instruction – both in a physical sense and in a symbolic one.  You can research that further on the Internet by searching for the following – {"commentary"+"exodus 12:9"} exactly as shown including quotation marks but excluding the parenthesis, on Google.  What I believe the emphasis here is to be is that God wanted this meal prepared in a way that was special as the Israelites most commonly boiled their meat and other dishes.  This was a special ceremony, one that was about salvation.  It was also about a new beginning, and a new calendar.  Secondly, it was to be prepared whole, not in parts.  That preparation was to include the head, the legs and the entrails – innards or internal organs of the animal.
[I must admit one of the memories I have of growing up in a Greek home, was the fact that my mom cooked the entrails of the various meat sources we prepared for meals.  There is nothing like a tasty liver or even a heart of a chicken.  Indulge me for a moment though. Recently I tried to reproduce a day from my youth by buying some fresh smelts at the fish market and deep-frying them.  They were delicious.  My only regret was that the fishmonger, to sell more fish to his North American clientele, had chopped their heads off.  But I digress.]
In fact, if this meal were grouped with the other sacrifices – one would note that all of them except this one involved only parts of the animal, not the whole of the animal.  For this one, God wanted the whole of the animal prepared in this special way.  The parallelism to the preparation of Christ and all his death meant for our salvation is evident.
And then God says “You are to eat it all tonight; don’t leave anything until the morning.”  There are several possibilities for this.  The first being that they needed to eat well this night because their next meal would not be a while as the journey out of Egypt that would follow would be long.  The second is that God wanted them to be totally dependent on Him for their daily needs.  This is, of course, a theme that God wants to drive home to His children, throughout the Bible.  From Genesis to Revelations we see this requirement to be totally dependent on Him if we are to have total access to His best blessings.  Another possibility may be that this meal was to be a “complete” act.  They were not to enter it half-heartedly or put in modern terms, just to “play with their food” leaving much of it uneaten.  And even though God gives that instruction, He knows them well enough to know that some will not comply.  And He gives them another chance, in the morning, to obey Him by then burning anything left over in a fire.  What an amazing and understanding God.
And then God gave them the final instructions in this regard; instructions as to how the Israelites should dress and be equipped when eating this meal.  They had to be fully dressed for action – no hanging around in their sleepwear or less.  And they had to be wearing their sandals for when the time came, they had to rush out the door.  They had to have their staffs in their hands ready to tackle the difficulties of the road and to provide their bodies the support needed, as they tired.  This was going to be no doubt an “eat and run” event.  It reminds me of the meals that some children have in the summertime when they know their friends are waiting outside to play.
Much can be said about the “eat it in haste” part but suffice it to say, that this was a meal with a purpose.  It was the “Lord’s Passover” and whether eaten in Egypt that night, eaten by Christ’s Disciples about a thousand years later, or partaken of by us today – it is a meal that has meaning – in all cases pointing to a time when our “salvation is near”.  For us, it points to a time when Christ will return and we will be redeemed for eternity because of what He did for us on the cross.  The blood had been sprinkled on the doorposts of the homes of the Israelites.  The Son of God has shed His blood for us on the cross of Calvary.  Our sins can be forgiven; we can be sure of our salvation.  I pray that is so with you.
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[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.