Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. (Exodus 12:21-28)
The Faithfulness Of Israel To Every Detail
There is much said about the character of Israel as a rebellious, murmuring and unfaithful people. The Old Testament is filled with stories of Israel at Mt. Sinai and the golden calf, the rebellion of Korah, murmuring at the waters of Meribah, unfaithfulness of the people at Kadesh-Barnea and the punishment of forty years wandering the wilderness. Not all of the Israelites were ungrateful to God and there was a time when the Hebrew people were united under one banner of hope and faced with the certainty of death, did exactly what God told them to. Deliverance had come in the form of Moses and Aaron petitioning Pharaoh to allow the Hebrews to leave. By the power of God great signs were brought upon the Egyptian nation bringing the powerful empire to its knees. One final plague awaited the stubborn heart of Pharaoh and it would be the final exercise of God’s wrath upon the ungodly nation. The Hebrews were told to take a lamb without blemish, a male of the first year (sheep or goat) and kill it at twilight on the fourteenth day. Blood from the lamb was to be sprinkled on the doorposts and the lintel using a bunch of hyssop (a plant) and no one was to go out of the door of his house until morning. During the night the family was to eat the flesh roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs with none remaining until morning. They were to eat the flesh with a belt on their waist, sandals on their feet and a staff in the hand eating the meal in haste. It would be called the Lord’s Passover. During the night the Lord would pass through the land to strike the Egyptians and when He saw the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord would pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to take the lives of the Hebrew firstborn child. When Moses told the people what God expected and how the plan of salvation was clearly defined as what needed to be done, the people bowed their heads and worshiped. Each family went away and did exactly what the law required just as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
It is fair to say that there would have been severe consequences if any of the Hebrews would have failed in keeping the commandments of the Lord. When midnight came and the Lord came through the land, the destroyer struck all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. There was not a house where there was not one dead with the exception of the houses of the Hebrews. There were no deaths in the houses where the blood was on the lintel and doorposts. Faith moved the hearts of the Hebrews to believe in the impossible and the unimaginable. Salvation did not come because they believed the word of the Lord but because they believed in the word of the Lord and acted on that belief. A lamb had to be found and he had to be killed on the right day of the month at the right time. The flesh could not be eaten unless it was roasted and the people did exactly what God said to do. They ate the flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. That night the Hebrews were not sleeping but eating roasted lamb with their belts girded, feet shod and staffs in hand. More importantly, they had put blood from the sacrificed lamb on the doorposts and lintel. Salvation came when God saw the blood from the sacrificed lamb given to him by a people that obeyed every part of His command. If the lamb was blemished the Hebrew firstborn would have died in that house. Had the father decided not to gird the belt or shod the feet his firstborn would have died. If the mother had refused to fix unleavened bread and bitter herbs death would have invaded her home. When God came to the home of the Hebrew family that refused to sprinkle blood on the doorposts they would have lost their firstborn. Is there any power in blood painted on the doorposts that saves a man’s life? Only if it is the will of the Lord. The people obeyed that night and they did everything God told them to do.
The shadows of Old Testament imagery are found in the realities of the New Testament doctrines that are the commandments of the Lord. If the many faiths of religious people calling themselves Christians lived in Egypt during the time of deliverance, most of them would have suffered the death of the firstborn or even more tragic events. Faith only is a prevalent doctrine that many believe brings salvation and eternal life. Could a Hebrew have been saved by faith only when the Lord passed through at midnight? The majority of Protestant faiths reject the idea of baptism for the remission of sins failing to realize that blood is found in the waters of immersion. According to the modern view of baptism, few Hebrew houses would have put blood on the doorposts and lintel because that would be a work and no work could save man. There would have been a lot of firstborn dying in the homes of the Hebrews like many souls are lost today because they do not believe in the power of immersion. What separates the Hebrew people during the Passover and the religious world today is just as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. No one tried to argue the fine points of law whether hyssop sprinkled blood on wood would save a man or not. There were no families that told God they hated roasted lamb and would not eat bitter herbs. All the people did exactly what the Lord told them to do and they found the joy of life when the destroyer came. When God sends back His Son with His mighty angels He will be looking for hearts that are clothed in the blood of Jesus Christ. This will come from individuals who follow every command of God and believe with great faith in the overwhelming power of God to do the impossible. When God sees the blood He will pass over. Sadly, the majority of people – including many religious people – will not be spared because they did not believe in the will of the Lord. There will be no blood in their hearts. God will not pass over. If only …