The Passover and the Pass Over
Exodus 12:2-30; 13:12
The night of the Passover is one to be “had in remembrance” (Ex. 12:42). Indeed it shall never be forgotten. It was not the night of Israel’s deliverance alone, but it pictured that greater deliverance. For “Christ our Passover,” has been “sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7).
All down the centuries it pointed on to the Lamb of God who was to come to be God’s Lamb and glorify Him about the whole question of sin, and open the way in which we might be delivered from this present evil world, and from the power of Satan, its prince.
Studying the type we shall find our hearts drawn out in delight in our Lord Jesus and in praise to our God and Father, while we learn more and more of the love of God wherewith we are loved, and of the place of privilege into which we have been brought.
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” A new beginning was to be theirs. The old order was to be set aside and a new period was to open. Thus the great importance of the time was to be marked in perpetuity.
For us who believe the gospel this may speak of our new birth, of REGENERATION. The time past of our life may suffice us. It was characterized by self and sin. In the mercy of God that period is closed for ever. A new era has dawned. A new life, a new birthday, is ours now, that we “may live unto God.”
The hour of Israel’s departure from Egypt had come at last. Abraham had been told of the long sojourn of his posterity in a land that was not theirs, and of the evil treatment they should endure. Now four hundred and thirty years had gone their way and their sojourn was to end. The dock had been set to strike at a determined time, and that time was now reached. For it is ever thus in the ways of God,
“God never is before His time
And never is behind.”
And so “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. It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord (v. 41).
In delivering Israel God would act in RIGHTEOUSNESS. The Israelites were sinful, as sinful as the Egyptians. A difference must be put between them. Thus we find the direction given by Jehovah unto Moses and Aaron, “They shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their father, a lamb for an house.”
In this provision we may see illustrated,
1. The need of the sinner,
2. The grace of our God,
3. The work of our Saviour.
The sinner’s sins must be atoned for. He must be redeemed by blood. God Himself in His grace provided the way of redemption, and Christ in His delight to do the will of God came and by His death on Calvary furnished the mighty work of redemption.
The Passover was provided for all the firstborn of the houses. There was no distinction made among them. Some of them may have been much more sinful than others. Some of them may have thought themselves worthy of deliverance and others may have judged themselves utterly unworthy. But all were guilty as sinners. All were exposed to the judgment. All alike needed the sheltering blood. And for all alike the sheltering blood was provided.
Faith carried out the directions given of God and sprinkled the blood outside the door. Faith rested within the house on what God had said.
The firstborn was cleared by the blood of the passover lamb. But Jehovah claimed the one who was cleared.
So we read in Exodus 13:12 that “Thou shalt set apart unto the Lord” the firstborn. Whether of man or beast the males were to be the Lord’s. And solemn were the words as to them, “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.” “All the firstborn are mine” (Num. 3:13).
Now we may notice that the reading given in the margin of our Bibles shows that the Hebrew is “cause to pass over unto the Lord.” They were “set apart”—to “cause to pass over,” the firstborn. Jehovah demanded them for Himself, they were His. Henceforth this was to be recognized by them. They were to hold themselves free for His service.
So it is that we read that Christians are viewed as belonging to God who has redeemed them. “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”
The Holy Spirit has come to take possession of the believer’s body so that in the power that He gives, God may be glorified, glorified in our bodies by lives devoted to His interest.
We are His purchase by the precious blood of Christ.
We are His property now for His use.
His Spirit is in us with this end in view.
He is for us and we are for Him. We recognize the first thankfully as we hear the gospel. Let us recognize the latter and own to ourselves and to others that we are His and keep ourselves for His service as those who are “saved to serve.” “The body is for the Lord and the Lord for the body” (1 Cor. 6:13). In temporal things we claim that that which is ours by purchase is for our service and we care for it. A watch bought by me is my servant. It is owned by me for my pleasure and use. And I care for it so that it may be of service. Now we have been bought for the service of God and are no longer our own. Our object henceforth is to glorify God. Shall we not thankfully say,
“Lord we are Thine; Thy claims we own,
Ourselves to Thee we’d wholly give,
Reign Thou within our hearts alone,
And let us to Thy glory live.”
Sheltered by the blood of the passover lamb the firstborn was to “pass over” to the Lord for His pleasure. God joined these two things.
So it is with us as Christians. Do not let us attempt to put asunder that which God hath joined. Let us not endeavour to have a half-Christ. We shall lose part of our highest privilege if we make the attempt. On the one hand we shall not enjoy our richest blessings in the presence of God. On the other hand we shall miss the opportunity of earning the honour which the Father will give to those who follow the Lord Jesus in His footsteps here.
“Set apart for Himself” God has come in on our behalf and has raised us up from our death in trespasses and sins and quickened us together with Christ, creating us anew in Him, But He has wrought us thus for His pleasure “unto good works which He has before ordained that we should walk in them.” “Set apart” from the world which still lies in the wicked one. “Set apart” for God’s good pleasure entirely, and this sets us at liberty to be here for Himself.
And thus it is that the call comes to us to “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our intelligent service.” And the exhortation follows, “Be not conformed to the world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
“Set apart” to God. “Set apart” from the world which has not known Him when revealed in Christ.
“Lo, I come to do Thy good pleasure,” said our Lord as He came into holy Manhood here (Ps. 40:7-8).
“Ministers of His which do His good pleasure” (Ps. 103:21), is said of the angels, holy and unfallen.
“Teach me to do Thy good pleasure” (Ps. 143:10), cries the Psalmist.
Shall we not echo his cry with all the heart’s deepest longings. We have within us the flesh ever self-seeking which would draw us towards the world and hinder our being for Himself. It would say, “Be for yourself.” But the Holy Spirit given to us and indwelling us is greater than he that is in the world and in His power we may overcome and be here for the accomplishment of the will of God. “Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly FOR HIMSELF” (Ps. 4:3).
If we answer to His desire, acting in the light of our calling, we shall be qualified to be here for His glory and for the blessing of others.
Have you caused yourself to “pass over” to the Lord?