Speak you to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb…
Pharaoh's heart still hardened. The crowning judgment needs no intermediary; Jehovah will reveal His own right arm. Exodus 11:4. "Who shall live when God doeth this?" He who obeying His word shelters himself beneath His shadow. See: -
I. THE PREPARATION.
1. A carefully selected victim. Ver. 5, deliberately set apart four days beforehand. Pure within; innocence typified by inexperience, "the first year." Pure without, "no blemish."
2. A carefully conducted purification. The partaker of the sacrificial feast must endeavour after a purity resembling that of the victim. Leaven, evil, must be purged out that he may offer and receive worthily.
II. THE PASSOVER. A sarifice to save from death, 5:6, 7. Notice
(1) Obedience ensured safety. The judgment was to go forth against the first-born; but the lamb slain - his blood duly sprinkled - would be accepted as a substitute. Obedience all that was demanded.
(2) The meaning of the command. Few types are arbitrary; almost always some ground of relation between them and the thing typified, even though we may not see it. Here the pure lamb represents the offerer as he ought to be; it says in his name "I would be pure; I would dedicate myself wholly to thy service; accept me, not for what I am but for what Thou canst make me. Take this lamb for me; make me as this lamb!" Obedience saves, but that which is commanded shadows forth the final result to be achieved by obedience.
2. Sustenance to nerve for duty. Lamb not merely to be killed but eaten. The people saved from the destroyer are to be released also from the oppressor; to commence at once the life of liberty. Strength needed for the march. That which saves is that which supports, if the lamb represents the offerer as he ought to be, feeding upon the lamb will represent feeding by faith upon the ideal thus figured. To become righteous we must hunger and thirst after righteousness, Matthew 5:6. Dedication is the starting-point, but the road is persistent obedience, and they only can walk that road who feed upon the ideal first set before them (Philippians 3:12-14).
III. CHRIST OUR PASSOVER. The type leads naturally to the great antitype.
1. Our sacrifice.
(1) Pure, perfect. Slain for us. By faith accepting his work, peace with God; shelter from the avenging angel. This is what we mean by substitution - Christ died for me. Notice however: -
(2) Accepting this sacrifice we must still regard it as representative. Pleading its efficacy, we not merely mean "Forgive me for Christ's sake," but also, "I would be like Christ, I would give myself up wholly to Thy will even as he has done - Accept me in him, make me like him!" The doctrine of substitution is only explained by this underlying doctrine of identity, it could not otherwise be a doctrine of salvation.
2. Our sustenance. We too, saved in Christ, have to march on along the road which leads from slavery to freedom. To do this we must feed upon our ideal, "inwardly digest" it. What we ought to be; what we hope to be; what Christ is. Our great advantage over the Jew is that our ideal is realised in a person. To feed upon it is to feed upon Christ. To attain it is to be like Christ, to be one with him. Application. Christ died for us. True, but Christ dying for us implies that we also die with him. Dedication of a substitute not enough unless self is dedicated in the substitute. Very well wishing to be happy, and the hope of many is little more than this. God, however, means us to be holy, and there is no easy road to holiness. Accept the ideal, accept Christ out and out, we shall find him more than an ideal: he will strengthen and sustain us till we attain it. Forget what the ideal is; forget what dedication means; we may yet find that it is possible for those who are saved from bondage to perish in the wilderness. - G.
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: