“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,”
“Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the
children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.”
to set apart for a special purpose; and the firstborn represents what we are
by natural birth. As descendants of our fallen, ruined head, Adam, we have
inherited his sinful nature, share in his condemnation, and are in the same
need of redemption as he, God’s claim upon us being that of Creator.
“And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out
from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord
brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.”
deliverance from Egyptian bondage is a type or figure of our new spiritual
birth which has delivered us from Satan’s dominion, and from bondage to the
impulses of our own fallen sinful nature.
already, leaven represents sin; and leavened bread, the Satanic wisdom of
this world, so that this proscription is God’s command to us not to be
governed by the world’s wisdom, the need of obedience to His command being
demonstrated in what He has written concerning that wisdom, “This wisdom
descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish,” James 3:15.
“This day came ye out in the month Abib.”
green ear (of corn), is April. See
comments on 12:2.
“And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the
Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the
Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with
milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.”
significance of the names mentioned here see
comments on 3:8.
“Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be
a feast to the Lord.”
Since seven is
the number of perfection or completeness; and unleavened bread typifies the
Scriptures, these seven days represent the totality of human life during
which we are to nourish our spiritual life by studying and obeying the
feast to be held on the seventh day is the symbolic reminder that the end of
the believer’s earthly life ought to be a time of rejoicing rather than
mourning, for it ends his earthly travail, and introduces him to eternal
rejoicing in heaven.
“Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened
bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all
command to eat unleavened bread continues to emphasize the need to nourish
our new spiritual life with spiritual food, the Scriptures; and the
reiterated command to ensure that leaven not be “be seen with thee,”
stresses the need of clinging tenaciously to sound doctrine.
“And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of
that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.”
the need to bear a clear testimony before our children, and to instruct them
in the things of God.
“And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial
between thine eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in thy mouth: for with a
strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt.”
today bind upon their foreheads and arms small pouches called phylacteries,
containing portions of the law, but it is very unlikely that God ever
intended the adoption of any such custom. The instruction more probably is
to be understood as His command that all our work (symbolized by the hand),
and all our thoughts (symbolized by the head, represented here by “between
the eyes,”) are to be governed by His Word. “... in thy mouth” speaks
clearly of the need of a verbal testimony also, the corresponding NT truth
being declared in Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” And as has been noted already, their
deliverance from Egyptian bondage is the OT type of the believer’s having
been born again spiritually through faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.
“Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.”
There was to be an annual celebration of their deliverance from
Egyptian bondage, that remembrance feast, Passover, being kept by the Jews
even today, they failing to realize that it has been superseded by the
weekly remembrance feast of the Lord’s Supper, of which the Passover was
merely a type, as it is written, “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed
for us,” 1 Corinthians 5:7. That the Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated
weekly is declared in Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week, when
the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them ....”
“And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the
Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it
“That thou shalt
set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling
that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the Lord’s.”
God, because He is the Creator, claimed as His, every firstborn
male, whether man or animal.
“And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou
wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of
man among thy children shalt thou redeem.”
makes it clear that the ass is a type of man in his natural, i.e.,
unconverted state, as it is written there, “For vain (empty, hollow) man
would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.” The need
therefore, to redeem every firstborn male ass declares symbolically that
every man (and woman) is born under condemnation as a descendant of fallen
Adam, and needs to be redeemed. The need to break the neck of the
unredeemed ass is the symbolic assertion that every person not redeemed
through faith in Christ as Savior will never enter heaven, but will instead
be cast into hell to await the resurrection of death, which will result in
the consignment of that person - body, soul, and spirit - into the eternal
torment of the lake of fire.
already, the firstborn represents what we are by natural birth: sinners,
condemned, unclean, unfit for heaven, hence the imperative of being born
again through faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, to save us from hell, and
fit us for heaven.
“And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is
this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us
out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:”
to emphasize the need to instruct our children in the things of God.
“And it came to pass when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew
all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the
firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the
matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.”
already noted that the firstborn male - the female is comprehended as being
in the male - represents what we are by natural birth, and that his need of
redemption signifies our need of being born again spiritually. Because
Pharaoh and the Egyptians refused to redeem their firstborn males, all of
them died, human and animal alike, this being the symbolic reiteration of
the truth that apart from being redeemed through faith in Christ as Savior,
all men must remain spiritually dead, and die the second death, i.e., endure
eternal torment in the lake of fire.
“And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between
thine eyes: for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt.”
Since the hand
speaks of work; and the head (“between thine eyes”), represents the
intellect, the truth being announced here is that we who have been redeemed
by Christ’s precious blood are to display in our deeds and thoughts that we
are new creatures in Christ, as it is written, “If any man be in Christ, he
is a new creature,” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Sin is never to be the deliberate
and enjoyed thing in our lives, but rather the accidental and regretted.
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them
not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near;
for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and
they return to Egypt:”
“But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red
sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.”
leading them along the King’s highway which led directly to Canaan, God led
them into the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula and up by the eastern side
of Jordan, so that they had to move directly westward and cross the Jordan
in order to enter Canaan; and all of this is replete with spiritual
wilderness represents what the world becomes to the believer at the moment
of conversion. As the literal wilderness furnishes nothing to support human
life, neither does the world supply anything to support spiritual life. For
the forty years of their wilderness wandering the Israelites were dependent
entirely on God who fed them with manna (type of the written Word), and who
gave them water from the smitten rock (type of Christ smitten at Calvary to
supply the water of life). The manna represents the written Word which is
our spiritual food; and the water from the rock, is a type of that same Word
to cleanse us.
to move directly westward across the Jordan in order to enter Canaan, has
also something to teach us, for Biblical compass directions have also
spiritual significance. North is the direction that speaks of human
intelligence, and almost invariably working in opposition to faith, of which
the south speaks; and the east speaks of departure from God, as the west
does of approach to Him.
the spiritual significance of the east, when Adam and Eve were expelled from
Eden, they went out eastward, Genesis 3:24; and when Cain was driven out
after killing his brother Abel, he too went eastward, Genesis 4:16.
having to go westward therefore speaks of approach to God; but since the
Jordan is the Biblical symbol of death, their having to cross that river
reminds us that as believers we also have to “cross Jordan,” i.e., live as
those who are dead to the things of the world, if we are going to enjoy
fellowship with God, see Romans 6:8-11, “Now if we be dead with Christ, we
believe that we shall also live with him ... Likewise reckon ye also
yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus
Christ our Lord.”
harnessed” means equipped for battle: armed: went up in military order:
marshalled in fifties.
“And Moses took the
bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel,
saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence
of Joseph is recorded in Genesis 50:24-26, but inasmuch as he is a type of
Christ, Israel’s carrying his bones with them foreshadows the experience of
the Church, for Scripture is in a figure the bones of the true Joseph,
Christ. It is in the Scriptures that we carry Him with us on our journey
through the wilderness of this present evil world.
“And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the
edge of the wilderness.”
meaning booths, lies about five miles east of Jordan on the banks of
the Jabbok river, while the location of Etham, meaning with them: their
plowshare, is uncertain, but thought to lie just north of lake Timsah.
The meaning of
Succoth reminds us that we too are pilgrims and strangers, having no
permanent dwelling place here on earth, as it is written, “Dearly beloved, I
beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war
against the soul,” 1 Peter 2:11. The meaning of Etham with them: their
plowshare, is the symbolic reminder that the Lord is with us, as our
“plowshare” going before us to open and prepare our way.
“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them
the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day
pillars were for their guidance, as the Old and New Testaments are for ours,
the cloudy pillar may represent the enigmatic character of the OT with its
types, symbols, and shadows, while the pillar of fire may portray the
unambiguous nature of the NT.
represents what is clear and easily understood in our lives, but the night
speaks of those events that we don’t understand, and about which we all too
often tend to question God’s wisdom. The two guiding pillars teach us that
we are to obey the Lord and follow His leading, even when we don’t
understand, realizing that what we view as adversity, is as necessary for
our good, as is what we consider to be blessing.
“He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by
night, from before the people.”
speaks of the eternally enduring character of God’s Word.