Sign of the Blood
When I see the blood I will pass over you. —Exodus 12:13
Of all the events in the history of that most wonderful of all nations, Israel, there is none quite so unique, so sacred, or significant as the one that we undertake to consider tonight known as the Passover. So wonderful was it that God commanded that people to keep it as a memorial feast forever. It was never to be forgotten. And although at the time of the Passover Israel was practically a nation of slaves, from then until now wherever a Jew exists he will point to that hour in Egypt as the grandest moment in his nation’s life and history. This miracle or one act of judgment stands out as the one instance of Divine intervention, unmistakable and direct, by virtue of which upwards of three millions of people were suddenly exalted from a state of serfdom to the status of a free nation. The staff of Pharaoh had been broken by the arm of the Almighty God, and Israel became a nation of priests unto God and His peculiar people.
But great as this event was, it typified a still greater. It foreshadowed something of a deeper significance than the miracle itself, for it pointed forward to Calvary where “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” That one statement in the New Testament connects the event in Egypt with the crucifixion of Jesus and makes it unmistakably plain that the one was a type of the other.
Christ Our All
You have probably observed that a remarkable feature of the Bible is the prominence that it gives to one man, to his life, his influence, his work, and teaching. He is the foundation of everything. He is the superstructure and he is the cap-stone of all. Just as the sun is the center of our solar system, so Christ is the center around which circle all the doctrines, all the history and all the prophecy of the Bible. He is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last.”
Jesus the Name high over all
In hell or earth or sky.
As I study the Scriptures I see Jesus right from the day that word came to Mother Eve that the “seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” That was the first promise of a Savior. In every lamb offered on a Jewish altar from then until He came I see a type of that glorious sacrifice made by Jesus on Calvary’s hill. Every one of those offerings has a peculiar story to tell, and tonight we consider the greatest and most significant of all. The Apostle Paul, you remember, speaking of these things, says, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples, and are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.” If you want a good full view of the Gospel and the provision God has made for humanity you have to go back to some of those Old Testament types to get the real vision. There are several great truths that this narrative emphasizes: (1) Universal Condemnation; (2) Satisfactory Substitution; (3) Personal Appropriation; (4) Divine Confirmation, and (5) Glorious Liberation.
The Universal Condemnation
God said, “All the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne even unto the first-born of the maid servants that is behind the mill, and all the first-born of beasts. You will see here, friends, that the land of Goshen where the Israelites lived was under this judgment. This condemnation just as assuredly rested upon all Israel as it did upon the Egyptians. They were all under judgment of death. None were excepted or exempt. God Himself was to pass through the land that night and no sinner could stand in the presence of the Almighty. This was not only true of that day but it is true of our day. “Death has passed upon all men because all have sinned.” “All the world is guilty before God,” said Paul. It is not a question of being on trial as some folks seem to think. They talk as if they were on probation and were going to stand some time in the future in the court of heaven and would find out then whether they were saved or lost. But, dear friends, this thought is not in keeping with the Scriptures. The trial is all over. The verdict has been rendered. “Every mouth is stopped and all the world is guilty before God.” That is not my word. I would not dare to make a statement like that of myself, but upon the authority of God’s Word every man and woman who is not sheltered by the precious blood of God’s Lamb is most assuredly under a sentence of death.
A few years ago I preached the Gospel to a lot of prisoners in a large penitentiary in this country. Probably five hundred men were before me. My subject on that occasion was, “Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life,” and I talked to them about Christ being the Way to Pardon, Peace, Power and Paradise. While addressing these men I was arrested by the face of a young man about the center of the crowd on the front seat. He looked so intently into my face, and seemed to be little more than a boy fresh from the country. When the service was over I asked one of the officials who that fine-looking boy in the center was, and remarked that he did not look like a criminal. “But he is,” replied the official, “and he is a bad one. He is a condemned man.” I said, “Oh, I thought they were all condemned.” “Yes,” he said, “but this man is condemned to die,” and inside of ten days he was executed. He was guilty of a crime that brought the penalty of death upon himself, and the day that I was speaking to him he was a prisoner in the penitentiary only waiting the hour when the sentence would be executed. Now, friends, according to the Scripture that is just the condition that many of you are in tonight, in fact all of you who are not sheltered by the Blood. It isn’t a question of being murderers and robbers or thieves. Jesus said, “He that believeth not is condemned already.” Not maybe or will be sometime in the future, but he is condemned “already.” And why? “Because he believeth not on the only begotten Son of God.” You may believe or not believe a thousand other things which will not affect your future life, but if you are not a believer in the deity of Jesus of Nazareth, then you are under the condemnation of death. Let me ask you a question at this point. Are you trusting Him as your own personal Savior? Do you believe that He was God manifested in the flesh as the Scriptures teach? Do you believe that He died for you on the cross of Calvary? If not, then you are under that dreadful sentence simply waiting execution. “The wages of sin is death.” This is surely a solemn word.
While the whole land of Egypt was under the shadow of death there was a satisfactory substitute provided. There was a way of salvation. I want you to see that while that judgment was absolutely necessary that God delights in mercy more than in judgment. “He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” People sometimes come to me and argue about certain passages of Scripture. They find a great deal of fault with passages regarding punishment for sin, but here is a fact that you have to face. God is not willing that you should perish. He has made provision for your salvation. The Bible is not so much a revelation of how man got into this lost condition as it is a revelation of how he can get out. He has not sent me to aggravate you with pictures of your sinfulness, but to offer you a Savior, and this is our condemnation that God sent His son into the world to save us from death, and nine out of ten to whom we bring this glorious message will turn deliberately away from Him, and while they do not say with their lips the words, yet by their attitude they do say actually, “I will not have this man to reign over me.” That is the great sin of those who hear the Gospel but refuse to embrace its glorious offer.
The first-born represents the whole household. Hence, the first-born in every family must die. But Jehovah said to Moses, “I will make a difference.” And only God can make this difference. We may try it. We may try it by our good works, but, beloved friends, if the difference between you and a lost sinner is not the difference that God alone makes then there is no difference. The first-born of every household shall die or a lamb shall die for the first-born of every household. Do you see the force of it? In every household there will be a dead son or there will be a dead lamb. No exemptions here. I can imagine that wonderful scene—the innocent lamb that has been taken from the flock, the lamb without spot or blemish, standing beside the door. The first-born son takes his stand beside it. And I have a feeling that he may have put his hand on the head of that lamb and thus identified himself with it. Then all of a suddenly the innocent victim lies dead at his feet. Just so “He Who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.” The very heart of the Gospel is “He bear my sins,” “He died the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God.” You will observe that while the Passover feast was to be kept every year after that night, yet never in just the same way. It has only been a memorial feast since that time. Just as the “Lord’s Supper” is a memorial feast of that greater sacrifice made for us on the cross of Calvary. We do not have to offer up Christ a second time. “By one offering He is perfected forever those who are saved.” It need never be repeated. “Once for all, O brother, believe it, Once for all, O sinner, receive it. Cling to the cross, thy burden will fall, Christ hath redeemed us once for all.”
You will observe that we have another great truth here. It was not enough for the lamb to be slain by the door. It was not enough for the blood to be in the basin. There had to be a personal appropriation of it. It was to be sprinkled upon the door posts and upon the lintel, above his head between him and God; on the sides of the door, between him and the world. I am glad that we have the blood between us and the world. It is a great protection against forces and powers that would surely master us were it not for this divine protection. You will observe, however, that there was to be no blood sprinkled upon the threshold. It was not to be trampled under foot. But I sometimes feel that many of our day who refuse to put the blood between them and the Almighty or between them and the world are “trampling it beneath their feet as an unholy thing.” Said a preacher not long ago from his own pulpit, “I hate the very word blood, and will be glad when every hymn that makes reference is expunged from our hymn books.” This is just about as near blasphemy as one can possibly come. I cannot think that a man who speaks thus of the atoning sacrifice could ever have taken refuge behind it. Notice also the…
“When I see the blood I will pass over you,” said the Almighty. The Israelite who had taken refuge behind that blood-sprinkled door in Egypt was just as safe and secure from the death angel as if he were in heaven itself. It wasn’t a question of his own worthiness, or his character. It was the veracity of God that was at stake. He had spoken. He had assured them that He would pass over them and it made little difference whether the death angel had passed down the street or not, so long as the blood was sprinkled on that door no harm nor hurt could come to those behind it. The word of the living God is the one sure foundation for our faith. If we try to rest on emotional experiences or on good works or anything apart from what He has said, fear, unrest and anxiety will be our experience. But the Word of God will never pass away. Tonight I have emphasized very strongly the fact that all men are sinners and unless saved through Christ’s atoning blood all are lost, but on what authority do I make these statements? On the authority of God’s own Word. It is because He has said it, that we repeat it, and on the very same authority we rest our faith and take our salvation and realize our security. “I will pass over you,” saith the Lord. I believe there are some Christians who are not resting on this sure foundation, and are greatly disturbed regarding this matter. You have probably heard the legend of the two Hebrew maids on the night of that Passover. They were behind the blood-sprinkled door. The roasted lamb was on the table. The one was peacefully feasting while the other was pacing the floor almost frantic with anxiety, and saying, “I wonder if the death angel has passed by yet.” The other sister urges her to sit down to the feast, remarking that it makes no difference whether he has passed or not, for the blood is on the door and the death angel cannot enter. You see, one was just as safe as the other, but one did not have the peace of the other, and all because she did not simply receive the divine confirmation.
Thirty-nine years ago I took a public stand for Christ and immediately a good brother, a merchant in my town came to me with the open Testament and asked me to read John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life.” And that night it gripped me that I had everlasting life. It was given me the very moment I believed on Jesus. I was sure of it because Jesus said so. John says, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You will notice that he does not say anything about love or mercy here. God grants forgiveness of sin to the sinner because Christ makes it possible through his own shed blood. Since He died for us, justice and mercy demand that we be forgiven if we claim the merits of His death. I also want to mention
The Glorious Liberation
Jehovah said to Moses, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you.” This event occurred in the middle of the regular calendar year, and also in the middle of that month, and yet Jehovah says it is to be the first month of the year and the first day of the month, the beginning of a new year. What does that suggest? That we only begin to live at that moment when by our faith in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ we claim salvation through His Name. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.” You will remember that not only did the death angel pass over them, but Pharaoh, their old task master let go his grip in that hour and besought them to take their cattle and take their families and all their possessions and go out of Egypt. We sometimes hear folks say that there are certain sinful and worldly things that they feel they cannot give up if they become Christians. I want to tell you that when you embrace the cross of Jesus Christ Pharaoh, who represents Egypt and the world, will give you up. This is God’s way of deliverance. Paul says the cross of Christ “crucifies me unto the world and the world unto me.” In other words when we embrace the cross of Christ, the world does not want us any more, nor do we want the world.
That deliverance was of a two-fold character. Not only did they march out of Egypt after that Passover, but there was another Passover a day or so later. When they came to the Red Sea they “passed over” on dry land, and the Egyptians, trying to follow them, were drowned in the depths of that sea. This second Passover made a complete separation between them and the old life. Indeed, it was quite possible that some of those Israelites could stand by the shores of that Red Sea and behold their old task masters dead upon the water. That may be a bit of my imagination, but this is a fact that “whom the Son makes free he shall be free indeed.” I have been in the ministry for a great number of years now, and I think I can safely say I have known hundreds of slaves to habits that seemed to be unbreakable come out into the light and liberty of free men in that hour they put faith in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And tonight I have confidence in God’s provision for lost sinners and slaves. I am sure He can break the power of cancelled sin in any life, and is waiting to do it for you now.
Would you be free from your burden of sin?
There’s power in the blood
Would you o’er evil the victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.