Tag Archives: plagues

Passover: Instructions & Institution

Exodus 11-15; In this last plague from Yahweh, we find there is so much more than just the hard-hearted Pharaoh at stake. The 10th plague is the death plague. When we look at Egypt – “called the house of slavery” we can draw from this phrase – it means enslaved to sin and its bondage over us. Sin is not going to let us go easily, much less go to worship the LORD! In the beginning of the plagues, Pharaoh hardened his heart. But by the last three plagues we find that the LORD knowing Pharaoh’s intentions and ego, hardened his heart further. The point of the plagues wasn’t just to get Israel out of Egypt, but also that the LORD El Shaddai would be glorified through His work in Egypt and the bringing down of Pharaoh. The news of the “LORD’s strong hand” was spread all over and for many years kept in the memories of Israel and the surrounding nations. Some 40 years later Rahab, recalls the great defeat and victory God/Israel had over the Egyptians. The Memorial of the Passover while being an Israelite Feast – it has great significance for people of Faith in Jesus Christ. The instructions for observance are important with respect to the “unblemished Lamb” – for such was Jesus. We find that the Institution of the Passover was the New Beginning of days for Israel. Their Jewish calendar is based on the event. The month is Nissan correlates to our month of March/April; hence Easter during this time of the calendar. The Lamb was to be taken and observed for 4 days; this observance was to ensure that there wasn’t any defect in the Lamb. Jesus entered into Jerusalem on Sunday and on Thursday; four days later the Religious leaders came to take him and crucify him. Jesus meet the requirement of the Unblemished Lamb. Required was the absence of Leaven; this has been over emphasized in the Lord Supper for Christians today. The reason for no leaven was because the people were to be in a poster of readiness. Some have equated the admonition of Jesus to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees [Matthew 16:6 -ff] as leaven has the meaning of sin. The Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover over time became jointed together into a week-long Feast to the Lord. Jesus in the Upper Room with the disciples on Thursday was observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread – even though it was called the Passover. Passover did not occur until the Sabbath Friday and the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb in the Temple. Jesus was the Passover Lamb – he was scourged and crucified at the time the Passover Lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple. However, Jesus’ sacrifice as the Lamb of God was a one time completion of the sacrifices – that’s why the Temple Veil was torn, no longer did there need to be a Lamb sacrifice or a Day of Atonement – Jesus in Hebrews is the High Priest and the Lamb [blood] sacrifice once and for all. The Blood was to be placed on the doorposts and the lintel; the presence of the Blood [which makes a cross] would cause the “death angel to ‘Passover’ the house.” When the blood of Jesus is applied to the repentant person, it is effectual for “passing over” the sins of the person and the eradication of death – that’s why we have eternal life – death no more holds sway over us. The Resurrection is proof that death has been defeated by Jesus. Sin and death have been dealt with and the Believer is “free” to live the abundant life in Christ – John 10:10b and Col 1:27.  The institution and Memorial were to be perpetual for Israel until the time of Jesus – who would come to “fulfill the Law” of sacrifice. The Memorial Feast finds its counterpart for us in the Lord’s Supper/Communion observance. This is an Ordinance not a Sacrament. In other words we observe for “remembering nor for saving.”  Israel was to remember and pass on the great deliverance from Egypt – just as we are called to remember the deliverance from sin by Jesus through the Lord’s Supper table. Israel fail miserably in remembering which so often led to their troubles and falling away. The failed to remember the Lord’s feasts and celebration such as the Year of Jubilee and Sabbatical Year – this directly relates to the 70 years in Babylon captivity, marking the number of times Israel forgot the Lord’s Feasts. We must remember and pass on to our children the “why” of the things we do for in doing so we exalt and bring glory to God for His “righteous powerful strong hand.”

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Let the Plagues Begin

Sometimes the things God is trying to accomplish in His Redemptive Plan are hard to understand and hard on those whom He uses. This week we look at the struggles of Moses answering the call of God to go and be used to set Israel free from the enslaved Egyptians. Moses was still hurting 40 yrs. later after being banished because of murder. He is on the back side of Mount. Horeb, probably feeling that his life basically is over except just playing out the shepherding thing. When God calls Moses, he tries to make as many excuses as he can; all of which is rejected by Jehovah. Finally, in the anger of the LORD, God says he will use Aaron as the spokesman, but Moses will still be the man God will directly talk to. At this point there are probably many of us who think because of our past sin, that God can’t or won’t use us. – the truth is God will use broken vessels to show His grace and mercy more readily than someone who has not been wayward in their walk. Now this does not excuse us from our sin and need for repentance; but God is the one who puts us on the shelf, not us! Also we read through the 10 plagues that God brings on Pharaoh and the land. There have been many that have read through this section of Exodus and felt “compassionate” for Pharaoh. The hardening of his heart by God is often felt to be unfair. A careful reading will expose to the reader, that initially Pharaoh had a hard heart, and that after plague of the Boils, does God harden Pharaoh’s heart. God is omniscient – He knows our thoughts and intents of our hearts. The rebellion and refusal to listen to Moses/God was in the heart of Pharaoh already. If we are not careful we can think that God did the same thing to Esau and Judas, but the individual has the choice to respond to the Lord – Pharaoh chose to reject God and thus endured the Plagues. There is a very clear pattern to how Pharaoh reacts to the plagues. During the first three, because they didn’t affect people or the palace, he pretty much just passed them off. This became especially true when the wizards and magicians were able to duplicate the plague. In fact the first time Moses request permission to go in the wilderness and worship [odd for they don’t do a good job of worship when they are in the wilderness] the labor of the Israelite people is increased for now they had to go get the straw to make the bricks. Needless to say, initially the Israelites were anti-Moses.  With the many plagues [10] Pharaoh doesn’t seem to get that God will reign supreme. As the plagues progress, there is a pattern of trying to negotiate with God/Moses on leaving. It is interesting that Moses kept saying let us go three days in the wilderness to worship. I am not sure just how far all the people, livestock and such could go in three days. So the intent was much more than just a go and come back – they wanted to leave permanently. Obviously Pharaoh was not willing to let his workforce just take off. This story of how God delivered Israel out of Egypt is a story that will be remembered by Israel all of its days. The point that God said He would be known and glorified throughout the world because of His great power displayed in releasing Israel from Egypt. This point was spread wide because in the Promised Land, Rahab and others knew/heard about God’s power and that He was with the Israelite people. So the point of being glorified through Pharaoh came true completely.  One final thought – Pharaoh was always in crisis of belief mode – when the crisis was in full swing, he would try to negotiate the release; but when the plague subsided; he would revert back to his hard hardheartedness. We are the same way – while a crisis is raging we cry out to God for help; but when it is over or manageable, then we become dependent on our own abilities to manage the situation. This could be a reason why God has to put drastic things in our lives to get our attention.

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