A Continual Reminder
Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Let us never forget that the Letter to the Hebrews is written to promote/present an argument for the superiority of Jesus the Christ/Anointed of God. The writer also set upon the task of reminding believers to live for Christ in the midst of disruptive/turbulent times. Though this passage speaks of Moses and the Children of Israel continually keeping the Passover as a reminder of the death of the first born not covered by the blood of the Passover lamb, it also reminds us of our own salvation with a simple reference to the blood and that those under the blood cannot be touched by the destroyer. This destroyer is the same for Israel and the Christian. The destroyer is mentioned twice in Exodus 12, the story of the first Passover, and again in I Corinthians 10:10. Who is this destroyer? Death and destruction, which entered the world through the evil one/Satan. Death and destruction cannot molest when one is under the blood of Christ.
The continual observance of the Passover for the Children of Israel began the night before their exit from Egypt. This brief reference to Passover lets us know that Passover was being incorporated into the Christian Church in a different form. Remember, Hebrews is written prior to AD 70 when the Temple in Jerusalem is desecrated and destroyed by the Romans as they put down yet another rebellion against their rule. Up until that time the Jews and Christians had a rather tattered relationship but at that time it was torn in two. Around 49 AD, Emperor Claudius expelled Jewish leaders from Rome over a religious conflict that created a disturbance in the city. In order to restore civil order, Jewish Christians including Priscilla and Aquilla (Acts 18) were among those expelled. The expulsion was directed at Jews who accepted Jesus as the Messiah and some who had not. Hence the civil disorder. These removed from the city of Rome did not go out as did God’s Children who left Egypt. Those who left Rome did so being made a public spectacle through reproaches, tribulations, and enduring great suffering (Hebrews 10:32-34). Those who had left Egypt did so with a bounty of gifts, as though they had pillaged the Egyptians. They left with the respect of, all-be-it feared by, the Egyptians. Yet, it is the same God who spoke to the Israelites of the Old Testament and to the Christ-followers in the New Testament. In fact it is the Passover of the Israelites and the Lord’s Supper of the Christian Church that binds these together. Both are centered on the blood shed for sin (Hebrews 13:10-16).
Egypt is a symbol of the world throughout Scripture and especially in Exodus we see this. The world is filled with difficulties. Not just long hours and hard work so that we earn our living by the sweat of our face but we find various plagues that invade from time to time. We can endure some plagues but there is one that seems to create the greatest fear--death. Consider, when Pharaoh would not release the Children of Israel to go out of country for three days to worship God: The water found in the Nile River, streams, pools, reservoirs, and even the wooden and stone vessels, all the water, become blood. The fish died and the water became foul so there was none to drink. Seven days later frogs were everywhere in the house, the bedroom, the bed, ovens, kneading bowls… lice became as plentiful as dust and insects swarmed...then, the Egyptian cattle, horses, donkeys, and camels died… boils and sores broke out on Egyptians… hail larger than they had ever seen fell on Egypt… locust were next and then darkness over the land. However, the last plague was death, which led Pharaoh to send away Moses and the Children of Israel and everything they possessed. He told them to go and worship and ended with “go, and bless me also.” (Exodus 12:32). Did you notice that Israel did not suffer all the plagues? In fact, when death comes, all who were in a house prepared for the moment were saved from death by the blood of a lamb. Not just any lamb, “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old” (Ex. 12:5). Each household was to have, or, if too large for their household, to share with their neighbor, a lamb that would be entirely eaten . Note, the Scripture says that the whole assembly of the congregation is to kill it at twilight. That means that each house kills their own but they do it all at once and the “it” instead of “them” speaks of the lambs slain as a focus on the Lamb of God--one sacrifice, for our sins.The lamb was the substitute for the first born in Israel. The blood of the lamb was to be sprinkled on the lintel, the horizontal board that spans the space/opening between the door posts, and on the two doorposts. The blood applied to the doorposts was a sign that the coming judgment had already been carried out. It is faith that the blood applied would give a saving benefit. Had any family not believed and failed to apply the blood, they would suffer the fate of the Egyptians. God’s judgment would pass over the house where the blood had been posted. Why? The blood shed is a testimony to the blood shed by our Lord Jesus for every believer so that when the final judgment comes, we will be passed over by the final death and eternal destruction of hell. We also must believe as Romans 5:9 says, “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him”. You see, for the Israelite to walk into the house through the entrance of the blood is the same as our entering into Christ. They had to believe and by faith received the fact that the blood on the door was indeed the salvation of God for His people. Jesus said, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved…” (John 10:9)
Have you been redeemed by the blood? The Apostle Peter wrote, (I Peter 1:18-19) “...knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”