12:1. “And the
Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,”
Moses represents law;
Aaron, grace. God’s addressing both reminds us that He is a God of justice
as well as of grace, and that His grace is never exercised at the expense of
justice. When He pardons the believer’s sin it is on the just basis of the
fact that His own holiness is not impugned, for having declared, “In the day
thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,” He must insist upon execution
of the sentence, or make Himself a liar. Man’s disobedience had forfeited
man’s life, and Christ gave that life on man’s behalf at Calvary. God’s
claims were met, His righteousness preserved.
We must never forget that
when God comes out in grace to offer a free pardon, and the gift of eternal
life, it is not apart from absolute justice. Justice slew Christ when He
deigned to become our Representative. This is what is being emphasized here
in verse 1 in His speaking to both Moses the representative of law; and
Aaron, of grace.
Two lands frequently
mentioned in Scripture are Egypt and Babylon. Egypt represents the world of
business and pleasure living in independence of God; and Babylon represents
the world of false religion, living in equal independence of God.
Each is watered by a great
river: Egypt, by the Nile, representative of the great river of wealth that
waters the world of business and pleasure; Babylon, by the Euphrates,
symbolic of the great river of false doctrine that waters the realm of false
religion. Each ends in a marshy delta, the parent river diffused into a
confusing host of smaller streams that lead nowhere. So do money and false
religion lead also to confusion and death.
God's speaking to them in
Egypt reminds us that it is here on earth where men are busy with the
world's business that He speaks to them in the Gospel, and commands them "to
take to them every man a lamb," that lamb being a type of the Lord Jesus
month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month
of the year to you."
A month is the twelfth
part of a year, but twelve is the number of divine government on display, so
that we are being directed to look for spiritual truth relative to that
government. Examples are the twelve tribes of Israel, and the Church, built
upon the foundation of the doctrine of the twelve apostles and prophets.
The subject of this chapter is certainly redemption, but redemption and
Divine government cannot be separated.
This appointment of the
seventh month to be now the first, declares the truth that at conversion the
past and all its deadly associations are ended for ever for us by God’s
reckoning. There is a new beginning, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new," 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The name of that month was
Abib, which very fittingly means green ear (of corn).
ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, in the tenth day of this
month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of
their fathers, a lamb for an house;"
That "all" reminds us that
all have sinned and need redemption. And as twelve is the number of the
governed, ten is the number of the Governor, God. The "every man" continues
to emphasize that all have come short of the Divine standard. The lamb, of
course, is a type of Christ, "The Lamb of God, which beareth away the sin of
"... according to the
house of their fathers," takes us back to the point of origin. We are being
reminded that, "In Adam all die," 1 Corinthians 15:22, for the transgression
began with him. Men don't become sinners by committing sin: they commit sin
because they are born with fallen sinful natures that can produce nothing
Even a casual reading of
this chapter discloses the frequent use of the term "house," the Biblical
symbol of what is corporate rather than individual. This prepares us to
recognize that the teaching of the chapter is first corporate, and then
But why? One reason at
least is apparent. There is no clearer OT picture of redemption by blood,
and then of the maintenance of that new life by the spiritual food
represented by the roast lamb. But the Passover is one of the outstanding
types of the Lord's supper, which is itself a corporate ordinance, in
contrast with baptism which is a personal ordinance - and it is in
connection with that corporate ordinance that disorders are frequently
found, as witness, for example, Paul's letter to the Corinthian Church.
Certainly the personal
aspect of redemption is set before us in the redemption of the firstborn,
but inasmuch as he was himself but a figure of the whole household, the
corporate aspect cannot be missed.
12:4. "And if
the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto
his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according
to his eating shall make your count for the lamb."
There is no thought of the
lamb's being too small for the house, but rather of the possibility that the
household might be too small to eat the whole lamb. In this we are being
taught the truth that the death of the true Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus
Christ, is sufficient to provide a pardon for the whole world.
The spiritual application
is to Israel and the Gentiles, for the household here is Israel; and the
neighbor, the Gentile. As both Jew and Gentile are guilty, so has God
provided salvation for both through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that
salvation however, being effective only to those who confess themselves
sinners and then trust in Christ as Savior and Lord.
"Every man according to
his eating shall make your count for the lamb." Since eating is synonymous
with satisfaction, the truth being declared is that all who trust in Christ
will be fully satisfied. Nothing needs to be added to His perfect work
completed at Calvary.
lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it
out from the sheep, or from the goats:"
The physical perfection of
the Passover lamb adumbrates the moral perfection of Christ.
Where a male is designated
for sacrifice, the emphasis is upon the activity of Christ's will in doing
His Father's will, e.g., "When the time was come that he should be received
up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem," Luke 9:51. He would
permit nothing to turn Him aside from finishing the work His Father had
given Him to do.
Where a female is
designated, the emphasis is upon the perfect submission of the Lord's will
to that of His Father, as expressed in His prayer in Gethsemane, "O my
Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I
will, but as thou wilt," Matthew 26:39. Activity and passivity of the will
were perfectly balanced in the Lord's life, and should be also in ours.
"... of the first year."
This speaks of the vigor of youth, and reminds us that the Lord didn't die
of sickness or old age. He died voluntarily in the vigor of young manhood
to make atonement for sin.
The requirement that the
lamb be a sheep or a goat (both clean animals), tells us that the Lord was
clean, i.e., sinless, but such is the miracle of Divine grace, that He who
knew no sin was willing to be made sin so that we might be made
righteous, as it is written, "For he hath made him who knew no sin, to
be made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" 2
12:6. "And ye
shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole
assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening."
The period between the
tenth and the fourteenth day, during which the Lamb was to be kept separate
from the other animals, foreshadows the period of the Lord's public
ministry, during which He was separated from other men in the sense that the
relative obscurity of the first thirty years of His life was exchanged for
the more than three years of His public ministry when all eyes were upon
Since ten is the number
associated with God as the Governor, the lamb's being set apart on the tenth
day, points to the fact that it was in obedience to the government of His
Father, that the Lord came forth from the obscurity and safety of private
life, to begin that public activity which would make Him the special mark of
Jewish hatred, and culminate in His death.
"... in the evening." The
evening marked the end of the day, and as the time when the lamb was to be
slain, reminds us that it was the last sacrifice of the day, which is the
symbolic announcement of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the last
sacrifice to be offered for sin. His death fulfilled and ended all the
types and shadows of the OT age, for all the animals offered according to
the Levitical order, were but types pointing to Him. In Christ reality
replaced type. He who will not be saved by trusting in Christ as Savior,
cannot be saved at all, as it is written, “For if we sin wilfully after that
we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more
sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery
indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27.
The fact that the lamb was
to be killed reminds us that apart from the death of Christ there could be
no pardon for sin. His life alone, however long perpetuated, could secure
no salvation: He must die to make atonement for man’s sin.
A further truth however,
is taught in the evening sacrifice being the last sacrifice of the day, for
also in Hebrews 10:26-27 we read the warning, "For if we sin wilfully after
that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more
sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery
indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." He who refuses to present
Christ to God as his Sin Offering, need look for no other offering, for
there is none.
they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the
upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it."
An Israelite might have
observed every detail relative to the Passover lamb, but if he failed to
apply the blood as directed, the firstborn in that house would have died
just as surely as if the lamb hadn't been slain, and the truth being taught
in this is of the need for each sinner to personally apply the blood of
Christ, i.e., trust in Him as Savior. Just as it wasn't sufficient to have
a dead lamb and a basinful of blood outside the door, neither is it
sufficient to believe, as many do, that Christ has died for the sins of the
whole world. The belief that saves must be personal. I must believe that
He died in my place for my sins. A general belief in the historicity of
Christ will save no one.
Since three is the
Biblical number of resurrection, the three parts of the door to which the
blood was to be applied, declare symbolically that each man who trusts in
Christ as his personal Savior experiences spiritual resurrection out of
spiritual death, and will enjoy literal resurrection should he die
physically before the Lord returns to rapture His Church to heaven.
The three may also be the
reminder that the redemption of the believer is of his body, soul, and
One part of the door where
the blood was not to be placed was the threshold, and for a very good
reason: it might have been trodden upon by those leaving the house, and the
spiritual truth being declared in this is related to what the door
represents. At the end of life's brief journey, death is the doorway
through which men must pass from time into eternity, to heaven or hell,
depending on what they have done with the blood of Christ. Those who have
applied it by faith, i.e., who have trusted Him as Savior, will pass through
to heaven, but those who haven't will be guilty of the unpardonable sin:
treading underfoot (despising) the blood of Christ, as it is written, "Of
how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath
trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the
covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done
despite unto the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:29.
they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened
bread: and with bitter herbs they shall eat it."
This introduces a new
section which deals with the flesh rather than the blood of the lamb, and
the spiritual instruction relates now, not to the sinner, but to the saint
and his spiritual food. The flesh represents Christ as set before us in the
written Word, for it is that Word which is the spiritual food with which the
new life is nourished. The command to Israel to eat the flesh translates
into God's command to us to feed on the written Word, that is, to read,
study, meditate upon, and obey the Scriptures.
Every Scriptural reference
to night or darkness points to the corresponding spiritual state of the
unconverted, so that the command to eat the flesh "in that night" is the
symbolic announcement of the fact that it is here amid the surrounding
spiritual darkness of the world that believers are to nourish their souls
with the written Word which is the revelation of Him Who is the Living Word.
"... roast with fire...."
Fire is one of the Biblical symbols of the Holy Spirit, and the truth being
taught here is that His enlightenment is essential to an understanding of
Scripture, as it is written, "The natural man receiveth not the things of
the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned" 1 Corinthians 2:14. A man
must be indwelt by the Holy Spirit - and only believers have that indwelling
- before he can understand the spiritual meaning of the written Word. It is
to be noted however, that obedience is necessary in order to have the
Spirit's enlightenment, for when He is grieved or quenched His enlightening
ministry is suspended until there is repentant confession to God of the sin
which has caused that grieving or quenching. (It may be well to note here
that there is a difference between grieving and quenching. The Holy Spirit
is grieved when we do what He has forbidden; and He is quenched when we
refuse to do what He has commanded. The former is the positive; the latter,
the negative aspect of sin).
"... and unleavened
bread...." What was literal for Israel is but the figure or type of what is
true for spiritual Israel, the Church, as Paul has written, "Purge out
therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.
For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the
feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and
wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" 1
Corinthians 5:7-8. This continues to emphasize the need of holy living if
we would enjoy the Holy Spirit's enlightenment when we study Scripture.
"... and with bitter herbs
they shall eat it." This seems to point to the need of studying the written
Word against the background of Christ's suffering and death. It must never
be forgotten that all of the OT is the presentation of the Christ Who would
come to suffer, bleed, and die to make atonement for sin.
12:9. "Eat not
of it raw, nor sodden (boiled) at all with water, but roast with fire; his
head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof."
Since God authorized the
boiling of some of the sacrificial animals, see for example Leviticus 8:31,
the question arises, Why did He forbid the boiling of the Passover lamb?
The answer is found in the spiritual significance of boiling, and that
significance is remarkably simple.
Four things are required
in order to boil something: (1) the thing to be boiled, (2) a pot, (3)
water, and (4) fire. In spiritual terms, whether it be meat, meal or other
vegetable, the thing to be boiled represents Christ as presented in the
written Word. The vessel or pot represents the believer; the water, the
written Word, see Ephesians 5:6; and the fire, the Holy Spirit. The meat or
meal in the pot represents Christ in the believer, and also the part of
Scripture he, the believer, is presently studying. The water in the pot
represents that part of the written Word which the believer has absorbed by
reading or as a result of oral or written ministry he has received; and the
fire, as noted already, represents the Holy Spirit. As the fire bubbles up
the water, so does the Holy Spirit "bubble up" in the believer's mind what
he already knows of the Word as a result of study or ministry received,
bringing that knowledge to bear on the particular part presently being
studied, the end result being that it is "boiled" - it becomes his spiritual
food for that day.
So why did God forbid the
boiling of the Passover lamb that night in Egypt? As those who had just
been delivered from death, the Israelites represent the sinner just newly
converted, and such a man doesn't have any "water" in the "pot." He hasn't
had time to read, nor has he received any teaching, so how can he "boil" any
part of the Word? He can't. He is shut up to what the Holy Spirit will
reveal to him as he himself simply reads the Scriptures. The spiritual
lesson couldn't be clearer: the new believer must begin by simply reading
his Bible, for that is the spiritual equivalent of putting "water" in the
"pot." What is thus stored in his mind will contribute to his further
understanding of Scripture, and little by little, his knowledge of Christ
will increase, as it is written, "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom
shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk,
and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon
precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little,"
Isaiah 28:9-10. As stated above, those newly delivered Israelites represent
the new convert. Their being commanded to roast, rather than boil the lamb,
is the symbolic picture of what we have just been considering.
"... his head with his
legs, and with the purtenance thereof." Purtenance refers to the edible
inward parts, such as the liver, heart, and kidneys. From a literal
perspective it is strange that God should have commanded the Israelites to
eat the head, legs, and purtenance, for these are the least desirable parts
of the animal. (It must be noted that what is sold in the supermarket today
as leg of lamb is more correctly the rump or hip. The lower part of the leg
is itself mere skin and bone). The head likewise is virtual skin and bone;
and lamb hearts, kidneys, and liver have little general appeal. Why, then,
did God specifically command the Israelites to eat these very parts? Again,
the explanation become crystal clear when we look for the spiritual
Keeping in mind that the
lamb is a type of Christ, then it is clear that the lamb's head is a figure
of His head or mind, and immediately the words of Paul come to mind, "Let
this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who, being in the form
of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no
reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the
likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," Philippians
2:5-8. God's command to Israel to eat the lamb's head therefore, translates
into His command to us to become Christlike in our thinking. If our study
of Scripture doesn't produce that conformity it has been in vain.
"... with his legs...."
Again, since the lamb represents Christ, and since the legs symbolize the
walk or manner of life, the command to Israel becomes God's command to us to
live Christlike lives, as Paul exhorted the Corinthians, "I beseech you, be
ye followers of me" 1 Corinthians 4:16, but when repeating the exhortation
in 11:1 he added, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."
Again, study that doesn't produce a Christlike manner of living has failed
to achieve its purpose.
"... with the purtenance
thereof." Purtenance refers more specifically to the heart than to the
other internal organs, and the lesson scarcely needs comment. Christ had a
tender, loving heart that embraced sinner and saint alike. If our study of
Scripture doesn't produce a similar heart in us it has failed to accomplish
its God-appointed objective.
12:10. "And ye
shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth
of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire."
That morning which marked
their departure from Egypt, is a figure of the day when we will leave the
world as represented by Egypt. Since the roast lamb is a figure of Christ
as our spiritual food while here on earth, the announcement is that we will
take into eternity nothing more than the amount of the Word absorbed here on
earth, but since our absorption of the Word is demonstrated, not in the
amount read, but obeyed, the spiritual picture comes into sharper focus.
The burning of the uneaten portion of the Passover lamb does not signify
that in heaven we will have no greater knowledge of the Lord than what we
had on earth, for Scripture declares otherwise, as it is written, “For now
we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part;
but then shall I know even as also I am known,” 1 Corinthians 13:12. This
verse has nothing to do with our knowledge, but our obedience. It is our
obedience here on earth that will determine our place in the administrative
hierarchy of heaven when we shall reign with Christ. The degree of
authority given us will be in proportion to our faithfulness on earth, see
the parable of the servants, Matthew 25:14-30. The lesson conveyed in God's
command to burn what hadn't been eaten during the night is that the end of
his natural life will mark the end of the believer's opportunity to change
the position assigned him in Christ's government. It is our obedience here
on earth that will determine the degree of our eternal exaltation.
thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and
your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's
As we shall see in a
moment, the reference here is to preparation for our passage through the
wilderness of this world; but that passage involves conflict with Satan and
all his demon hordes, as it is written in Ephesians 6:10-18, "Finally, my
brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the
whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the
devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you
the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt
about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your
feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the
shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of
the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in
the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication
for all saints...."
The parallels are too
obvious to leave any doubt that Exodus 12:11 is the OT symbolic announcement
of the truth specifically stated here in the NT.
What does it mean to “be
strong in the Lord”? It means simply to be obedient, for when we are
obedient all the power of the Holy Spirit is available to us, as it is
written in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My (God’s) strength is made perfect in
weakness,” and Paul continues, “For when I am weak, then am I strong,”
v.10. In Hebrews 11:34 we read of the heroes of faith, and of them it is
written that they, “... out of weakness were made strong.” We are strong
only when we acknowledge our own weakness, and rely entirely on Christ for
His enablement to obey His word, as it is written, “My (Christ’s) grace is
sufficient for thee: for my (Christ’s) strength is made perfect in
weakness,” so that Paul could exult, “When I am weak, then am I strong,” 2
The literally girded loins
of Exodus 12:11 are clearly symbolic of the need for us to be "girt about
with truth," Ephesians 6:14, i.e., to live in obedience to the Word of God,
for it is written, "Thy Word is truth," John 17:17.
The shoes on the feet are
the OT counterpart of the need to have our "feet shod with the preparation
of the gospel of peace," Ephesians 6:15. Obedience and peace belong
together for peace is dependent on obedience.
“... the preparation
of the gospel of peace,” means that we should always be able to present the
gospel. We should be such students of Scripture that we will know how to
present the gospel, answer questions, and refute error.
Since the shoe, which
separates the foot from the ground, speaks of separation, the lesson here is
that the Gospel will be effectively preached only as we live in separation
from the world.
It is a great mistake to believe that we will win the unconverted to the
Savior by joining them in their worldly activities. Note the difference
between Abraham and Lot. Abraham lived in separation from his Canaanite
neighbors, yet their testimony to him was, “Thou art a mighty prince among
us,” Genesis 23:6. It was very different with Lot who choose to live among
them and become involved in their affairs. When he then tried to witness to
his sons-in-law and warn them, “... he seemed as one that mocked....”
Genesis 19:14. You don't pull a man out of a quicksand by jumping in beside
him, but by standing on a firm foundation, a rock. That rock is Christ.
The staff of Exodus 12:11
is the equivalent of the "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God," Ephesians 6:17, but when the Word is represented by the staff the
lesson is connected with the Word as that upon which we lean for support and
guidance; when it is represented by the sword, the lesson has to do with our
warfare against the forces of evil. The more skilled we are in the use of
that sword, the more effective will we be in defending ourselves against the
attacks of the evil one, and in our incursions into his territory with the
Gospel which alone can bring deliverance to his captives.
There is instruction also
in the need to "eat it in haste," for in this God would remind us that as
there were but a few brief hours between that midnight and the coming of
morning when they would leave Egypt, so is there also but a brief time
between the moment of conversion and our departure from this doomed world.
There is but little time in which to render that service which will bring an
eternal recompense, and which will determine our eternal position in the
governmental hierarchy of heaven as we reign with Christ. What folly, then,
to allow ourselves to be distracted by Satan's worthless allurements!
12:12. "For I
will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the
firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods
(princes) of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord."
As always, the spiritual
message transcends the literal. Egypt is a type of the world, and the night
during which God would pass through smiting all the unredeemed firstborn,
declares the truth that in the spiritual darkness which envelops the world,
God passes through it smiting with death what the firstborn represents,
i.e., unbelievers, those who have never had a second, a spiritual birth.
This knowledge should lend
wings to our feet in spreading the gospel. The man we fail to warn today
may be carried off by death into a lost eternity before this day ends.
the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when
I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you
to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."
Nothing but the blood of
the Passover lamb could save the firstborn in Egypt that night, nor can
anything but the blood of Christ, the true Passover Lamb, save "the
firstborn" today, i.e., those who are unregenerate, under sentence of death
because of the first (natural) birth that brought them into this world as
sinful sons of condemned Adam. This declares the worthlessness of religion,
morality, philanthropy, etc., as a means of getting to heaven.
this shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the
Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance
Having instructed them as
to their conduct during that night, God also directed them to observe
perpetually the memorial of that night of deliverance. He has also directed
us to observe a perpetual memorial of the night of our deliverance from the
spiritual bondage to death, of which Israel’s Egyptian bondage is but a
figure or type. The Lord Jesus Christ is the true Passover Lamb concerning
Whom it is written that “... the same night in which he was betrayed took
bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this
is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After
the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup
is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in
remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup,
ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come,” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
The memorial of the
Passover was an annual celebration, but believers of this present age are to
celebrate the Lord's death and resurrection on the first day of each week,
see Acts 20:7, His death having delivered us from a far more terrible
bondage than Israel ever knew.
days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away
leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the
first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel."
Inasmuch as leaven is one
of the Biblical symbols of sin, particularly wrong doctrine; and the seven
days, representative of the whole of the believer's life, the truth being
declared here in symbol is certainly of the need to abstain not only from
sin in general, but from wrong doctrine. The command however, is not only
negative, i.e., the putting away of leaven: there is also the positive.
During those seven days they were to eat unleavened bread. But since
unleavened bread is a Biblical symbol of the written Word, which is itself
the revelation of Him Who is the Living Word, the lesson is that while on
earth the believer is to nourish his new life by feeding on the Word of God.
The severity of the
penalty (death) for eating leavened bread declares the solemn truth that sin
(and sin includes wrong doctrine) is a deadly thing, because time spent in
sin is time in which we might as well be dead since it can merit no reward
at the judgment seat of Christ.
12:16. "And in
the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day
there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done
in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you."
Verse 18 indicates that
this "first day" was the fourteenth, and the "seventh day" the twenty-first
day of the month.
Scripturally ten and
twelve are governmental numbers, ten being associated with those who govern;
and twelve, with the governed, e.g., the Ten Commandments are the
declaration of what God requires of man; and twelve, the number of the
tribes of Israel under that government.
Israel had been under the
tyrannous heel of Egypt for over four hundred years (four, incidentally,
being the number of testing), but now she was about to be delivered from
that thralldom, and brought back under the beneficent rule of Jehovah, her
emancipation being a typological picture of that experienced by those who
through faith in Christ, are delivered from their bondage to Satan.
12:17. “And ye
shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I
brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe
this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.”
“... armies” is better
translated ranks: hosts.
12:18. “In the
first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat
unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.”
Leaven is the biblical
symbol of sin, and unleavened bread is the symbol of the written Word, of
which it is written, “The words of the Lord are pure words,” Psalm 12:6;
“Thy word is very pure,” Psalm 119:40; “Every word of God is pure,” Proverbs
30:5; and in Hebrews 10:22 the Word is presented under the figure of “pure
water.” The Word of God is meant to fulfill a dual function: it is to feed
us, and also to cleanse us, which it can do only as we obey it.
Israel’s being commanded
to eat unleavened bread for seven days therefore, translates into the NT
truth that believers of this present age of grace are to feed their souls
daily on the written Word every day of their lives, for the seven days
(number of perfection or completeness) from the fourteenth till the
twentieth, represent the duration of our lives here on earth as believers.
days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth
that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the
congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.”
God’s proscription went
beyond the eating of leaven: it wasn’t even to be found in the houses of His
people, nor is the evil which it represents to be found in the houses of
believers today. Since unleavened bread represents the written Word,
everything that is contrary to Scripture is “leavened bread” and is to be
put away, and in the present context the command may apply particularly to
the reading material in our homes. The world’s literature will contribute
nothing to the strengthening of a man’s spiritual life.
The fact that the penalty
for disobedience relative to leaven was death, declares the truth that time
devoted to perusal of the world’s literature is time in which the believer
might as well be dead, for it will bring him no reward at the Bema. And its
having application to the stranger as well as to the Israelite, may be
intended to teach the truth that in the present context the stranger may
well represent our unsaved children. There is need for vigilance relative
to what they read.
shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened
The repeated warning
against eating leavened bread, and of the need to eat only that which was
unleavened, continues to emphasize the need for careful discretion relative
to what we read.
Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and
take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.”
Clearly the command given
to the elders was to be transmitted by them to the whole congregation, and
in this we learn the lesson that the elders of the churches are responsible
to teach the people. Note for example 1 Timothy 3:2, “A bishop (elder,
overseer) then must be ... apt (skilful) to teach.”
Godly elders are also to
be obeyed, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:
for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may
do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you,”
The lamb of course is a
type of Christ, and its having to be killed to save the life of the
firstborn, declares the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ must die if we are
to live, for the firstborn represents what we are by natural birth:
condemned sinners under sentence of death.
12:22. “And ye
shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason,
and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the
bason; and none of you shall go out at the the door of his house until the
The hyssop mentioned here
is generally understood to be a small shrub, it being written in 1 Kings
4:33 that Solomon “spake of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even
unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall ....” In the present
context its being dipped in the blood represents the humble faith that
trusts in Christ’s shed blood as having made complete atonement for the sin
of every believer.
See comments on
relative to the three parts of the door.
That night represents the
life of the believer lived here amid the spiritual darkness of this
unbelieving world; but their going out in the morning to begin their journey
to Canaan, points to another aspect of the believer’s life. The dark night
of waiting will end with our departure, by death or rapture, to the eternal
light and glory of heaven. But their exodus in the morning declares another
truth relative to our lives here on earth. Faith in Christ has “delivered
us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of
his dear Son,” Colossians 1:13.
the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the
blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over
the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to
As Egypt represents the
world of business and pleasure living in defiant independence of God, so do
the Egyptians represent the
that world. The Lord’s passing through the land that night is symbolic of
the fact that the angel of death continues to pass through this world
carrying into eternal torment myriads of unbelievers; but by the same
article of physical death, transporting multitudes of believers into eternal
bliss in heaven.
12:24. “And ye
shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.”
While the Egyptians
mourned the death of their firstborn, the Hebrews rejoiced in the
preservation of theirs; and so is it still spiritually. The weeping of the
believer is very different from that of the unbeliever, for even his
mourning is tempered by his anticipation of resurrection.
The Hebrews were never to
forget, or permit their children to forget, that memorable night, nor should
we ever forget the moment of our salvation, when we passed from death to
life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. And above all, we
should never forget that our redemption has been procured by the Lord’s
submitting Himself to death on our behalf, as our Representative, His death
securing for us God’s priceless gift of eternal life.
12:25. “And it
shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give
you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.”
The promised land was
Canaan, which is not a type of heaven, but of the realm here on earth into
which faith brings us. As Canaan was a place of warfare, so also is its
spiritual counterpart: the realm in which “we wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,”
In the midst of their
warfare to take possession of Canaan, they were to keep the Passover in
remembrance of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. We too in the midst
of our warfare are to remember our deliverance from Satan’s thralldom, our
emancipation being by the blood of the true Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus
Christ, the Lord’s Supper being the weekly memorial feast at which we are
privileged to remember the Lord’s death, and to present our grateful
12:26. “And it
shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by
ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over
the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians,
and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshiped.”
the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses
and Aaron, so did they.”
We too should be careful
to explain to our children what it is that sets us apart from the
unbelieving world in which our lot is cast. And relative to their bowing
their heads and worshiping, we ought to remember that besides presenting our
corporate worship at the Lord’s Supper on the first day of each week, we are
to worship continually by obeying God’s Word, for it is written, “Behold, to
obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams,” 1
12:29. “And it
came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land
of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the
firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of
God never goes back on His
word. What He promises, He does, and here, with His word ignored, and His
patience exhausted, He executed the foretold judgment. Every firstborn,
whether of man or beast, was slain. He will be no less scrupulous in the
execution of judgment upon everyone who dies unrepentant.
Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the
Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house
where there was not one dead.”
He who by obedience would
have been blessed, by his disobedience made himself instead an heir of
judgment, and so will it be with all who duplicate his folly, and die
without having received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
12:31. “And he
called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth
from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the
Lord, as ye have said.”
This was what God had
foretold in 11:1, Pharaoh’s folly being demonstrated in the fact that his
compliance was compelled by God’s judgment, when it could have been yielded
in willing obedience which would instead have secured blessing. His
rebellious and ruinous madness is duplicated daily by the myriads who die
unrepentant, and who thus pass out into eternal torment instead of eternal
blessing. Compelled obedience constitutes the road to everlasting ruin, the
madness of rebellion being revealed in the magnanimity with which God
forgives sin simply in response to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me
the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of
the land in haste; for they said; We be all dead men.”
What dramatic change God’s
judgment had wrought in the hearts of Pharaoh and his people! Sadly
however, their submission came too late, as will that of all who die
unrepentant. What madness to have to yield compelled eternal obedience in
the unquenchable flame of the lake of fire, when obedience yielded willingly
on earth would have secured eternal blessing in heaven!
the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs
being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.”
The freed Hebrews took
with them unleavened bread, which, as noted already, represents the written
Word. This is the typological announcement of the truth that from the
moment we trust in Christ as Savior and Lord, we are to take with us His
Word which is our spiritual food for the journey home to heaven.
the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed
of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:”
the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they
lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the
As noted in our study of
11:2, the word “borrowed” means “demanded”; and “lent” means “gave.” These
valuables were not to be returned. The silver, gold, and raiment, given up
by the Egyptians, are the symbolic equivalents of the redemption, glory, and
righteousness unwittingly forfeited by the unbeliever’s lack of faith in
Christ as Savior.
the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth; about six hundred
thousand on foot that were men, beside children.”
thunder of the standard, may speak of the unseen divine power behind the
exodus; and Succoth, meaning booths, may speak of the visible
apparent weakness of that redeemed company. The spiritual picture is of the
Church. In the eyes of the world she is a despised thing, but the seeming
weakness simply veils the divine omnipotence of the Holy Spirit who indwells
every member of Christ’s Church, He being the head, and we the members of
that mystical body.
Six is the number of man,
weakness, incompleteness, so that while that six hundred thousand man army
may have seemed the epitome of invincible power, the fact remains, that
divorced from the power of God, it was as nothing, as is all the vaunted
power of man, see, e.g., Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by
my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”
“... beside children” is
more accurately rendered, “... besides women and children.” The total
number of Israelites was about 2 million.
12:38. “And a
mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very
“Mixed multitude” is also
translated, a mingled array of other folk: a motley mob: a crowd of mixed
ancestry: a great rabble.
As the unfolding history
reveals, that mixed multitude was the source of much trouble to Israel
during their forty years in the wilderness. We are however, misreading this
history if we fail to recognize that it is the prewritten typological
history of the professing church, for even before the Apostolic age had
ended unbelievers had crept in unawares, with the result that the
congregations quickly became the equivalent of that “mixed multitude” that
accompanied Israel out of Egypt.
they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of
Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and
could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.”
As has been discussed
already, leaven represents evil, particularly wrong doctrine, so that
Israel’s having no leaven when they left Egypt is the symbolic declaration
of the fact that in the beginning the Church was equally free of doctrinal
the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four
hundred and thirty years.”
12:41. “And it
came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the
selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from
the land of Egypt.”
All scriptural numbers
have spiritual significance, the meaning of numbers greater than 12 being
determined by factorizing. The factors of 430 however, are two, the
number of witness or testimony; five, the number of responsibility;
and 43, a prime number having no discernible spiritual significance, so I
regret being unable to determine the spiritual lesson being taught in the
430 years. That this is an exact number, and not just one that has been
rounded up or down, is confirmed by the emphatic “even the selfsame day.”
12:42. “It is
a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the
land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the
children of Israel in their generations.”
Even to the present the
Jews have been punctilious in their observance of the Passover, failing to
understand that the reality it typified has been fulfilled in the death of
the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Passover Lamb, the feast of Passover having
been superseded by the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, which is to be
observed on the first day of each week in commemoration of his death and
resurrection, His one perfect offering of himself without spot to God having
put away the believer’s sins for ever.
the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover:
There shall no stranger eat thereof:”
represents the unbeliever; but even the believer is warned, “Whosoever shall
eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty
of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so
let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he who eats and
drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the
Lord’s body,” 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. It is generally agreed that to eat
and drink unworthily is for a believer to partake of the Lord’s Supper
without having examined himself, and without having confessed to God, and
having forsaken every known sin.
This command is flagrantly
violated in the so-called churches of Christendom, where the emblems of the
Lord’s Supper are presented to the whole congregation, with virtually no
effort made to distinguish between believer and unbeliever, the dereliction
being justified by the pious excuse that “we don’t have the right to judge
every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised
him, then shall he eat thereof.”
The bought servant
represents the believer, of whom it is declared, “For you are bought with a
price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are
God’s,” 1 Corinthians 6:20, and again, “You are bought with a price; be not
you the servants of men,” 1 Corinthians 7:23.
“... when you have
circumcised him.” Circumcision speaks of the cutting off of the deeds of
the flesh, as it is written, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly;
neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a
Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the
spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God,”
Romans 2:28-29. Mere lip profession of faith, that is not accompanied by a
transformed life, is worthless.
foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.”
The foreigner represents
the unbeliever, as does also the hired servant, for the foreigner portrays
the man of alien birth: he has never been born again; while the hired
servant represents the man who is trying to buy entry to heaven by means of
good works. Neither was to eat the passover, nor is the spiritual
counterpart to eat the Lord’s Supper.
12:46. “In one
house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh
abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.”
The “one house” represents
the family of faith, i.e., believers. None but believers are to eat the
The “one house” speaks of
the Church which is the spiritual body of Christ. Only those who comprise
that “house” may eat the Lord’s Supper.
The proscription against
carrying any of the flesh out of the house is the warning that the Lord’s
Supper is not to be made available to the unconverted.
“... neither shall ye
break a bone thereof.” A broken bone would have marred the physical
perfection of the lamb; and in this command God was guarding against even
the suggestion that His Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, was less than morally
perfect. This type was fulfilled when the legs of the malefactors crucified
with Christ were broken, but the Lord’s were not.
the congregation of Israel shall keep it.”
The “congregation” here
represents the true Church, i.e., all those who are born-again believers.
when the stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the passover to the
Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep
it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised
person shall eat thereof.”
This stranger represents a
genuine believer who desires to associate himself with those who also seek
to walk according to God’s Word; and the need for him to be circumcised
continues to emphasize the need of a changed lifestyle that will confirm the
profession of the lips.
Since the male represents
the activity of the will, the need for “all his males” to be
circumcised is the symbolic way of saying that every part of the believer’s
life - religious, domestic, professional, social - is to be such as will
honor God and confirm the man’s verbal profession of faith.
His being “as one that is
born in the land” is another way of saying that every facet of the man’s
life must confirm the reality of his professed new spiritual birth.
The emphasized exclusion
of the uncircumcised from eating the Passover, continues to declare that
continuation of the old lifestyle bars a man from partaking of the Lord’s
law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth
There is to be no
partiality in the local church: the same standard is to be applied to him
who has been in fellowship for fifty years, as to the most recently received
did all the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so
This implicit obedience
foreshadows that which marked the early Church, and which contributed so
much to the warmth of their love for one another, and to the power of their
witness to the unconverted amongst whom they dwelt.
12:51. “And it
came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of
Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.”
Israel’s being brought out
of Egypt on the selfsame day that had begun with their eating the Passover,
has also a lesson to teach. As their break with Egypt was immediate, so is
ours to be with the world in which we formerly dwelt as the captives of
Satan. The believer’s break with his old life and all its associations is
to be immediate and complete. Only eternity will reveal the number of
testimonies that have been ruined by the new convert’s failure to make a
complete break with the sinful things and associations of his former life.
“... their armies” is also
translated hosts: array: martial order: company: wave after wave of them.
These different groups represent the individual local churches which
comprise the corporate body, the Church universal, here on earth at any