Overview of the Tenth Plague – The Passover
(Listen to audio above while reading full transcript below. This transcript is available for download in Word document at: www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)
When we come to the study of the word, there is that principle of Bible study that is indispensable, and that is total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit. God hasn’t left us on our own. We have an indwelling Holy Spirit, and we want to speak the truth, and we want to be simple, and only God can reveal the Lord. The precious truth that we touch will only be theory, and theory is terrible if you don’t have the reality. Let me give this verse and then we’ll go to prayer. 2 Corinthians 3:6, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” Theory, rules, recipes is not life. The letter kills. If you only get the surface, then it’s death. You’ve got to get the Spirit of the word. Let’s pray together and then look in the word.
Heavenly Father, thank You again for bringing us together, and thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit whose delight, ministry and pleasure it is, to unveil the Lord Jesus in a fresh way. We thank You for the whole Bible, but in a special way, for this wonderful book of Exodus, and we pray that you would unveil the Lord Jesus and give us grace to receive that revelation. We commit our time unto You. In Jesus’ name. Amen
One more verse that’s not on your sheet. Malachi 3:6, “For I, the Lord, do not change. Therefore, of sons of Jacob, you are not consumed.” We are in a society now that is changing, and it’s being shaken, but the word of God doesn’t change, and the God whose word it is does not change. Welcome again, and let’s not be distracted by the changes out there. We come back now to the word of God under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We’re in Exodus and we’re not going to review a lot. We’ve completed our discussion of the first nine plagues. Our last meeting we had between the ninth and tenth plagues, and looked at the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart. This morning I’d like to introduce the tenth plague, and the first lesson on the tenth plague; the death of the first born, also called the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. According to the outline that I’ve given we’re on number 5 which is the tenth plague.
This plague, unlike the other nine, is very comprehensive. Some of the other plagues are only a couple of verses, or a little section or paragraph. This plague God spends a lot of inspired space to talk about it. The message of the entire book of Exodus, you know, is the Lord Jesus, our Deliverer, the One who sets us free, who delivers us out of Egypt, and all that pictures. In other words, He delivers us out of sin. The slavery of God’s people for more than four hundred years in Egypt was a just a powerful illustration of our slavery before the Lord accepted us as His own personal children. It’s our deliverance.
When we come to a passage like the tenth plagues, it’s a unit in itself. Janet has been taking units out of Matthew and binding them together. It’s a big book, but there are special units that are in once sense little books. The historical illustration of the entire book of Exodus we see illustrated in this final plague. It begins in Exodus 12 and it goes all the way through chapter 14. After this they sing the song of redemption. If you just count the verses, I know verses are inspired, it’s 103 verses. That’s a lot of inspired space. The reason I’m bringing that up in the beginning here is to ask for your patience with me as we look at this because there are so many glorious spiritual truths fossilized in this historical event, and we don’t want to just rush over it and miss some of these gems. It’s not possible to cover this little book in the book in one lesson, because it’s so large and comprehensive and precious. Some of you have been with us for a while, and you’ve seen my approach when we come to a new book. We studied the Book of Judges together. We studied the Book of Joshua together. We’ve introduced the Book of Exodus together. So, you’re familiar with an introduction lesson.
I’m going to look at this tenth plague, the Passover story, as if it were a little book all by itself. If you want a title for the book, it’s called “The Passover”, or “God’s Deliverance from Egypt”, or “Crossing the Red Sea”, or “God’s Salvation”. But if you think of it as a book, then if you glance at the hand out sheet you’ll see how we’re going to approach this. This morning I’d like to give the introduction to that tenth plague, and then Lord willing next week we’ll begin to look at the details, the Passover, and then after that we’ll take the little trip they had from Egypt uphill to the Red Sea, and then finally we’ll do the crossing of the Red Sea. That is a lot of inspired and significant scripture. I’m not certain how many lessons we’ll take; I think four and maybe a couple of more, depending on how much light the Lord gives. But this morning is an introduction, and in an introduction lesson we just sort of fly over the entire passage. We don’t start with verse one and then one through five and six through ten. We don’t do that in a flyover. It’s a bird’s eye view. I want you to see the big section, and what I hope is on God’s heart; what He wants to communicate.
Let me begin the introduction to this book to sort of touch on theme of the book. In a general way when we fly over chapter twelve to fourteen we could say that the theme of this book is salvation; deliverance, and God is going to set us free; four hundred thirty years in captivity, and finally emancipation. If we say that God’s salvation, just Passover, a lot of space is given to this Passover, and we might miss the main idea if we get centered in some feast, or some ceremony. I’ll begin where any inspired book begins, so that we can continue where every inspired book continues, and end up where every inspired book ends up.
We have a full explanation, the New Testament, a simple verse that gives us the theme of this little book. 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened,” now this expression, “for Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.” Whatever else is pictured in this book called Passover, the main point is Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. He is the theme of this book. He is our Passover. He is that substitute Lamb. He is the One who shed His blood. When we get to the feast, He is the feast. He’s the lamb that we feed upon, and so on. I want to begin right where the New Testament takes us. We are about to study in picture form Christ, our Passover. That’s the theme of this book. From start to finish Jesus is on display in these wonderful chapters. Everything we can ever learn about salvation is wrapped up in Jesus. That’s what the angel told Mary. Matthew 1:21, “She’ll bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for he shall save His people from their sin.” That’s His mission; He will saved His people. I understand that the original language was not “from”, but “far, far, far, far, far from their sin”. That’s what He’s come to do.
The tenth plague is important because it shines the spotlight on our Lord Jesus. From Pharaoh’s standpoint he’s not seeing Jesus. From his standpoint this is just another plague. He’s been through nine of them, and this just another. But in God’s redemptive picture this is not another plague. The first nine plagues were warnings. This plague is judgment. It’s different. He should have been warned. He should have known a day was coming when God’s patience would come to the end. In fact, he should have known from the start. Go back to the burning bush. Moses is at the burning bush, and God speaks to Moses. This is before He turned the water to blood, and multiplied the frogs or sent stinging insects; before any plague, here’s what God told Moses. Exodus 4:22, “You shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So, I said to you to let my son go, that he may serve me. You’ve refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”” That’s at the burnisg bush, and God told Moses, “When you see Pharaoh tell him about the tenth plague, before there is a first, and before there is a second or third. Tell him about the tenth.”
If you read the record, when Moses actually got to Pharaoh we have no record that Moses actually told Pharaoh that, but we assume he did because of Exodus 7:6&7, “So, Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them. Thus they did. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty three when they spoke to Pharaoh.” It looks like they did, and gave that message. Pharaoh knew about the tenth plague before he ever knew about the first plague. That’s God’s way. He warns the sinner up front. He tells them, “If you die without Christ you are going to hell.” Now he knows; he’s warned up front. And then God warns him over and over and over, “You better give your life to the Lord.”
I told you earlier that of the nine plagues, three of them came without warning. Sometimes God says, “Tomorrow at this time I’m going to such and such,” and he was warned. But, for example, the plague of lice had no warning. God just sent that. That was the third plague, and then the fifth plague, the plague of boils was no warning. God just did it. And then the ninth plague of darkness, there was no warning. But this plague there’s a warning, because it’s judgment. Exodus 10:28, “Pharaoh said to him,” this is right after the darkness, “Get away from me. Beware, and do not see my face again. In the day you see my face you shall die.” And Moses said, “You are right. I shall never see your face again.”
If you just stopped there it looks like Moses leaves. But that’s not what happened. Moses and Aaron didn’t leave right then when he said that you’ll never see my face again. Moses heard Pharaoh say, “You’ll never see my face again,” but his inner ear was also tuned to the Lord. He’s listening to Pharaoh, but at the same time God is speaking to him. Here’s what happened. He’s still in the presence of Pharaoh. Exodus 11:1, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘One more plague I’ll bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that he shall surely let you go from here. When he lets you go he’ll surely drive you out of here completely.”” At that moment when God told him that, he turned to Pharaoh and he said, verse 4, “Thus says the Lord, ‘About midnight I’m going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of slave girl who is behind the millstone; all the firstborn of the cattle, as well. Moreover, there shall be great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before, and such as shall never be again.” Verse 8, “He went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.” That’s when he left. God talked to him, and he told Pharaoh, and then he went out in hot anger.
I recently read a commentator’s suggestion that this hot anger wasn’t that he lost his temper, and stormed out, but it was more an exasperation. He had just said, “The firstborn from your son, everyone in the kingdom, right down to the slave, and all the animals are going to die, and Pharaoh hardened his heart. The commentator suggested that maybe this is more compassion on Moses. He went out thinking, “You idiot! How could you be so hard, and let all those people die? I just told you that they are going to die, and you are still resisting.” Some think that when he left in anger he left in exasperation that Pharaoh could do such a thing. Exodus 6:30, was back when Moses said to the Lord, “Behold, I’m unskilled in speech. How will Pharaoh listen to me?” It’s a different Moses now, isn’t it? He’s bold and he goes right before him.
You notice if you glance at the outline that I listed three recurring important themes which the Holy Spirit seems to underscore in order to focus our attention. There’s a lot said about firstborn. In an introduction lesson I’d like to home in on that. There’s a lot said about Passover. I’m not talking about the ceremony. We’ll get to that. I’m just talking about the word, “Passover”. What does that word mean? Then there is an awful lot said about God’s salvation. If I accomplish what I think the Lord has put on my heart, I would like to say a word about firstborn, about the word “Passover”, and a word about the God-ward aspect of the salvation He’s about to bring.
The word “firstborn” is God’s picture. The firstborn picture in the Bible has at least three different meanings. When we looked at the priesthood, we looked at the firstborn, and that meant something in terms of the priesthood. When we look at the Passover, we’re going to look at the firstborn again, and that will mean something different. And when we look at the feast of unleavened bread we’re going to look again at the firstborn, and that means something else. We’re going to look this morning at firstborn as it relates to the Passover. How it related to the priesthood we looked at way back in the Joshua tape #26 if you want to review that. Let me now spend a couple of minutes looking at the Passover aspect of the firstborn.
Exodus 4:11, “Moses said, ‘Thus said the Lord, “About midnight I’m going to the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on the throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstone, and all the firstborn of cattle, as well. Moreover, there will be a cry all over the land of Egypt such as there has not been before, such as there shall not be again. But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you shall understand how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.”” Later we’ll find out how He made that distinction, by the blood of the substitute Lamb.
Let me get this before your heart by going back to Exodus 4:22, “Thus you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is my firstborn. So, I said to you to let my son go, that he may serve me. You’ve refused to let him go. I will kill your son; your firstborn.” The chief point about firstborn as it relates to the Passover story is that the firstborn represents everybody, not just an individual. “Israel is My firstborn; the whole nation is My firstborn.” It is literal; the firstborn in a family. That’s just the picture, but that firstborn represents the entire family, and all the firstborn represent the entire nation. Firstborn as it relates to Passover means everybody, and we’ll have that same truth whether you are doing the first fruit, that’s the whole harvest, or whether you are doing the firstling, that’s the whole herd, and so on.
Usually when the average Christian pictures the Passover we picture one firstborn; whoever is firstborn is going to die. For some reason we usually picture the youngest, and that’s in their mind; somebody young is going to die. It’s possible in one house there would be more than one death at one time; more than one firstborn under that roof, and maybe two or three. Maybe it could be the firstborn son and his father might have been firstborn, and grandpa is living there and he might have been the firstborn, and maybe great grandpa, or great great grandpa. There could have been five or six deaths in each house. We don’t know how many, but the firstborn, Exodus 11:6, “There will be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before, and such as there shall never be again.”
This judgment of the firstborn is just a picture, and that cry is just a picture. What is the reality of this judgment? The answer is everlasting hell. This is just a terrible picture; the crying and the weeping. I remember so well the poignant grief of my son, in fact Jonathan my grandson is here, his parents when they lost their little baby with SIDS, and what an agony to have one child suddenly gone. Imagine in the whole land of Egypt in every house young men, little babies, grandfathers, fathers, great grandfathers, a terrible night of shock and grief and anguish, and a great cry went out. Some child might say, “Firstborn; wow! What a relief; I’m glad I’m not the firstborn. I feel safe. I’ve been jealous of my brother, the firstborn, and he gets all the attention. But I’m glad tonight that I’m not a firstborn.” Now, you are represented by him. You are the firstborn. Everybody in the family is represented by that; not in the picture, but in the reality, everybody is included. This judgment was a representative judgment and is applied to everybody. Exodus 12:12, “I’ll go through the land of Egypt on that night, and I’ll strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.”
Don’t think that this plague was coming on the Egyptians because they were sinful idolaters. Were they? Yes, they were sinful idolaters, but you can’t say that Israel was spared because they were not idolaters, because when you read the Bible record they were every bit as guilty as Egypt for the same sin. Israel were idolaters. They were enculturated in that idolatry for four hundred years. It was in their blood. Joshua 24, Joshua looks back at the history of Israel, “Joshua said to all the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, from ancient times your father lived beyond the river, namely Terah, father of Abraham, father of Nahor; they served other gods.’” And then in Joshua 24, and don’t forget they had come through the land and this was the second generation and they are in the land, and here’s what Joshua said, Joshua 24:14, “Now, therefore, fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth. Put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the river and Egypt.” They still had the gods, even in the land.
They worshipped false gods. Leviticus 17:7, “They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons of which they played the harlot.” Israel was guilty. Ezekiel especially looks back on the history and he spells out not only their idolatry, but the wonderful grace of God. Ezekiel 20:5, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘On the day I chose Israel, and swore to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I swore to them saying, “I’m the Lord your God.” On that day I swore to them to bring them out of the land of Egypt into land I had selected for them, flowing with milk and honey which is the glory of all land. I said to them, “Cast away each of you the detestable thing of his eyes. Do not defile yourself with the idols of Egypt. I’m the Lord your God.” But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to Me. They did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land, but I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations with whom they lived, in whose sight I made Myself known to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt.”
Israel deserved judgment every bit as much as Egypt deserved judgment, and for the same reason; they were idolaters. Shortly after this, you know the story, in the wilderness they made the golden calf. They are given to idolatry. God was determined to judge every sinner under the representation of the firstborn. The firstborn represented everybody, and what a night of tragedy and terror it was!
The night of the tenth plague, the Bible says that there was death in every house. Some people read it as if there was only death in the house of the Egyptians. That’s not a fact. Every house had death. It was either the death of the firstborn, or the death of the substitute lamb, but there had to be death in every house. Nobody escaped the judgment of God. Exodus 12:12&13, “I’ll go through the land of Egypt on that night. I’ll strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the Lord.” Verse 30, “There was no home where there was not someone dead.” Every house, either the death of the firstborn, or the death of a lamb. There had to be death. We’re going to return to that fact, but for now all I want you to know is firstborn represents everybody. This is introduction, and we’ll get to the details, and they’re precious, but now let’s fly over.
I want to say a word about the word “Passover”. Most Christians when they think of Passover make two words of it; pass and over; that the Lord passed over. They quote Exodus 12:13, “The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live. When I see the blood I’ll pass over you. No plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. The Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the lentil, and on the two door posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses.” Exodus 12:23, “The Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians. When He sees the blood on the lentil and the two doo post, the Lord will pass over the door, and not allow the destroyer to come into your house.”
There are two people mentioned. One is the Lord, and another is called the destroyer. Some people say that’s the Angel of Death, or another angel. But here’s my question; if you read the text, is the destroyer and the Lord the same Person? Look Exodus 11:4&5, “Moses says, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘About midnight I am going out in the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die.’” Exodus 11:12, “I will go through the land of Egypt, and on that night will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.” The end of that verse, “I will execute judgment. I am the Lord.” Verse 27, “You shall say it’s a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel and Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, and spared our homes.” Verse 29, “The Lord struck all the firstborn.” The destroyer was not some other angel. It’s the Lord.
The idea many have is that God is flying over the houses looking for the blood, and when He sees the blood you are saved, and then He goes to the next house. And then He sees the blood, and you’re saved and He goes to the next house, and keeps flying over the houses looking for the blood, and passes over you. I understand why folks picture it that way, and that contains a truth, but the truth is far more wonderful than God passing over because He sees the blood. Look again at Exodus 12:13, “The Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the lentil, and on the two door posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you.” He doesn’t pass over your house and then leave, and go to the next house, and then leave, and go to the next house. He passes over, and sees the blood, and he stays there to make sure that the destroyer will never come in. He doesn’t leave. It’s protection. It’s God guarding, and who is He guarding? The very God who promised judgment on sinners is protecting you from Himself.
That’s the third time we saw that double picture of Jesus. Remember that the name Joshua means Jesus. Joshua was leading them into Canaan which pictured Jesus. Only Jesus can lead us into Jesus. We had the double picture again when we studied the city of refuge. Who was the avenger of blood? It was Jesus. Where is He chasing us? It’s to the city of refuge that pictures Jesus. Jesus is chasing us to Jesus, and now here at the Passover Jesus the destroyer, the judge is also the lamb, the one protecting us from Himself. His grace is covering us from His judgment. The vision, I know, is too large for anything but faith, but it’s a picture of the omnipresent Savior hovering over every house that had the blood on the door, and was protected. This is much greater than that He just passes over you and leaves you.
We have the same thing in the room before us. Bill, I’ll use you as an example. Do you have Christ in your heart? How much of Christ, because I have Christ, too? Do I have 50% and you have 50%. You have all of Him. We all have all of Christ. He’s done the same thing. He’s passed over us, and yet He stays. He’s not leaving us. And that’s what He did that Passover night. The omnipresent God protected those who were secured by the blood from Himself, from His own judgment. It’s a very precious, precious thing.
We looked at the firstborn, and we looked at the word Passover which is bigger than a lot of folks think, but now I’d like to show you the Godward aspect of the Passover. Sometimes we get so focused on ourselves, “He saved me out of Egypt,” and all of that. We want to see how this relates to God, and then that will be, I think, a preparation, so when we get to the details we know everybody is involved, and we know the Lord wants to guard and protect us from His wrath, and now we’ll look at this Godward aspect. “When I see the blood,” He said, “I will pass over you.” Notice that it’s about when He sees the blood He’ll pass over. It’s all about what satisfies Him. Exodus 12:42, “It’s a night to be observed for the Lord.” This is for the Lord. Verse 26, “Your children shall say to you, ‘What does it mean to you?’ You shall say, ‘It’s the Passover sacrifice to the Lord.” It’s about Him. Exodus 12:11, “It’s the Lord’s Passover.” It’s for the Lord. It’s to the Lord. I enjoy the benefit, but it’s more for Him, than for me. You enjoy the benefit, but it’s more for Him, than for me.
There’s an interesting passage in Ezekiel which I already quoted, that they worshipped the idols, but now it’s a picture in seed form of also the law and grace. Ezekiel 27, “I said to them, ‘Cast away each of you the detestable things of his eyes. Do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” They not only didn’t cast out the idols; they couldn’t cast them out. Then in verse 8 we read, “They rebelled against me, and were not willing to listen. They did not cast away the detestable thing.” And then in verse 9, “Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, but I acted for the sake of My name.” This is an amazing thing. For His name and for His honor and for His glory, and for His renown, and for His reputation, He said, “They can’t cast Egypt out of them, so I will take them out of Egypt.” That’s the message that He’s giving here; it’s all the grace of God, and it’s all about what He does.
Please pray for me as I try to set this before you, that’s it’s the Lord’s Passover, and it’s for Him, and it’s about Him, and it satisfies Him when He sees the blood. It goes without saying that this section deals with salvation, but usually we start off here, “Let’s study deliverance from Egypt.” God doesn’t start with deliverance from Egypt. Theologians divide it up and they say there’s salvation past, justification, and salvation present, sanctification, and salvation future, glorification. When you study this section you are going to see that. When you see the Passover blood on the door, that’s salvation past. When you see the Feast of Unleavened bread feeding on the Lamb, that’s salvation present. When you see how God intersperses the promises, “I’m going to take you into the land,” that’s salvation future. That’s glorification. So, three fold salvation is all over this record, but we not only have deliverance from Egypt, there’s another deliverance in the unfolding of God’s redemption. Jeremiah 16:14, “’The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, “When it will no longer be said, as the Lord lives who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but as the Lord lives who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north.” That’s out of Babylon, from the country from which He banished them.
Same thing in chapter 23, verses 3&7, “And your testimony is that God delivered me from Egypt. I got saved.” Some day you are going to testify, “God delivered me out of Babylon; not only Egypt, but Babylon. Not only out of sin, but unto Himself. That’s what real salvation is, where He brings us unto Himself. We say that this is a section on salvation from Egypt; from Babylon. I was delivered from Egypt seven years before God started to deliver me from Babylon. It’s sort of like Lazarus coming out of the grave, you know. He came out of the grave, but he’s in his grave clothes. Then he had to have another deliverance to get him out of his grave clothes.
If I’m ever to move into the Passover message, I can’t start with Egypt, and I can’t start with Babylon. Eventually we’ll see all of that, but salvation, the most important part of salvation, before I can be delivered from Egypt (May God help us get this), I’ve got to be delivered from God; from God Himself; from the wrath of God. The tenth plague is a picture of God’s holy wrath against everybody, and they need to be delivered, and He’s determined to judge. Let me state this truth before you, and then try to develop it. Theologians talk about the freedom of God; God is free. He can do anything He wants to do. For example, he made this universe, and He made it the way He made it. That was His desire. He decided to make it this way, so He made galaxies and unnumbered stars and planets. He didn’t have to do it that way. He could have made the whole thing one galaxy, or no galaxies, or He could have had a whole different set of laws and shapes and colors and sounds that nobody ever knows about. He could have spoken anything into existence. Why? He’s free. He can do whatever He wants to do.
When He made the cherubim He decided to give them four faces and four wings. He didn’t have to do that. He put human hands under their wings. He didn’t have to do that. He made them move at the speed of light. That was His choice. He didn’t have to do that. He made it look like wheels within wheels with eyes on the rims of the wheels. He didn’t have to do that. He’s free. He could have done anything He wanted to. He could have given them a dozen faces, and one big horn. He could have done anything He wanted to. He could have made them move at a snail’s pace, instead of like lightening. He’s free; God is free. When He created seraphim He didn’t have to give them six wings, but He decided to do that. They could have been made with a mustache and ten legs, or a centipede. He could have done it anyway He wanted.
Having said that, now here’s where it gets to Christian honey; it’s sweet, but a little sticky. God is not completely free. He’s limited in His freedom. Is it a little risky to say that God is not completely free? It would be unless He said it Himself. Hebrews 6:18, “It’s impossible for God to lie.” He’s not free; He can’t lie. It goes against His nature. He’s truth. A lie is against the truth. Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change.” God can’t change. If He changed He wouldn’t be God anymore. He’s always got to act like Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we’re faithless He remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself.” It’s impossible for God; He’s not free to deny Himself. What’s my point? God is holy, God is just. He is not free to tolerate sin. He’s not free. He cannot do it. He’s free in other things. He didn’t have to make me so handsome and a specimen of Olympic charm. He didn’t have to do that, but that was His choice. He could turn me into a toad if He wanted to turn me into a toad, but God was not free once He created me to let me get away with sin. He’s not free. He’s holy, and He can’t overlook sin. He’s got to punish sin. If you don’t see that, that they need to be delivered from God before they can be delivered from Egypt; that’s what the Passover is all about. Even if God wanted to pardon the sinner, and said, “Alright, let bygones be bygones; just forget it,” He cannot do it. It would be a violation of His justice. Judgment is a stern necessity of who God is. It’s impossible for God to overlook sin.
Adam sinned one sin. Take a look at your world. How many graves all over this world, and how much sin and corruption; one sin did that! When they sinned in the days of Noah, what did He do? He sent a flood, and He washed them off the planet. He’s a holy God. When they come to Mt. Sinai it’s going to be belching. It’s a volcano, and it’s fire, and it’s fearsome and awesome. God is a holy God. When the iniquity of the Canaanites was full He sent in the army, “Kill them all; men, women, children, babies, animals, and everybody.” Why? It’s because He’s not free. If He could have ever overlook sin, it would have been when His well-beloved Son was hanging on a tree. He could not overlook sin. He had to pay for sin.
I told you that Passover means protection. It’s interesting that the same word, Passover, was used in Gethsemane. Jesus prayed it. Matthew 25:39, “He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face, and prayed saying, ‘My Father, if it’s possible let this cup pass over me, yet not as I will, but as You will.’” Jesus in Gethsemane prayed for a Passover, and he couldn’t get it. His Father said that there was no other way, “I can’t pass over You. You’ve got to die.” And when He prayed for a pass over He couldn’t have that Passover. Isaiah 53:4, “Smitten of God and afflicted.” Verse 10, “The Lord was pleased to crush Him.” Zachariah 13:7, “Awake, oh sword, against My Shepherd.” John 18:11, “The cup that the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” It’s all about God; salvation is the salvation of the Lord, and God had no choice. He was not free to overlook sin. That leads us up to this story. That’s why we said that there had to be death in every house, either the death of the firstborn, or the death of a substitute. That sin was transferred from the sinner to the head of that Lamb, and that Lamb became the substitute. God did to that Lamb what should have been done to everybody in the house.
Let me ask a couple of questions. How many sins does it take for a sinner to sin to condemn him to hell forever? One sin, and that’s it. Sin is great in proportion to the One we sin against. We are finite, and we’ve sinned against an infinite God. Any sin against an infinite God deserves infinite wages. A finite person, me, you, how long will it take to pay an infinite debt? Forever, and that’s why hell is forever, because you can never pay it. I’m seventy eight years old, and I did the math. If I sinned only once a day, I’ve already sinned 27,470 times. That’s once a day. What do I deserve? What do you deserve? And that’s only once a day. I promise you that my record is better than that. I did a lot more than that; millions and millions and millions of sins, and He didn’t die just for me. He died for you, and your neighbor, and the nation, and the world, and future generations. Everything they would have suffered as finite beings, if they went to hell forever, He being God, crushed into three hours on the cross, and He died and took my hell on the cross, and he took yours.
That’s why I want to stress, before we study Passover, the firstborn, and that’s everybody. I want you to see the protection that you have if you have applied the blood of the Lamb. I want you to see that most of all, you say, “I’ve been saved from Egypt.” You got saved from God and from the wrath of the Lord, saved from His judgment. Romans 5:8&9, “God demonstrates His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him,” not Egypt, but from the wrath of God. He’s holy, and He has to judge sin. All this is pictured by these wonderful pictures. The lamb is just a picture. The reality is bigger than the picture. In the Old Testament fire consumed the lamb. In the New Testament the Lamb consumed the fire. It’s just a picture.
The Old Testament, this death of the firstborn, what a tragedy and everybody is crying out. What is the reality like? Eternal hell. What is that suffering like? Here is a miracle of deliverance. God delivered me. That’s just a picture. The reality is so much greater.
I’ve got a couple of passages I want to read. There’s two ways to go to hell forever. One is in your own person, and one is in the person of your substitute. I sit before you and I can declare I am not going to hell when I die. Do you know why? I’ve already been there two thousand years ago in the Person of Jesus, my substitute. I’ve already been there, and I’m not going there when I die. There’s two ways to go to hell; either personally or in the substitute.
Let me close with these three verses, and they’re all about the precious blood of Jesus. 1 Peter 1:18, “Knowing you were not redeemed with perishable things, like silver or gold from your futile way of life, inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood from the Lamb unblemished, spotless; the blood of Christ.” 1 John 1:7, “If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Revelation 1:5, “Jesus, the faithful witness, firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth, to Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood, He made us to be a kingdom of priest to His God and Father. To Him be the glory, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” By the way, when it says that He released us, that Greek word is not soap and water. He washed us and that’s surgery. He released us; He dug, and He got to the core of the sin to set us free by His blood.
One more thing. I love to express my heart in poetry. This has to do with being delivered from God. Did Jesus die for you? Indeed He did! But not primarily so. He died for God in obedience.
The blood He offered God was great,
That precious blood I trust.
For by it God could vindicate
My soul and still be just.
His holiness was satisfied
That day At Calvary,
He’s just and I’m justified
Christ died for God and me.
It was for God that Jesus died
Salvation was His cause,
For God the Lamb was crucified
To glorify His laws.
His lovely Son He did not spare
Upon the sin cursed tree,
When Christ died for His Father there,
He also died for me.
His death unveiled love divine,
His mercy cut the knot,
The gift He gave to God is mine,
Without a stain or spot.
Before His majesty I bow
I am as pure as He.
The death He died for God
Is now imputed unto me.
(This transcript is available for download in a Word document at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)