The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 24: The Passover
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The flesh was to be eaten. It is not enough even that we believe
on Christ for the forgiveness of sin; we must by faith be constantly
receiving spiritual strength and nourishment from Him through
His word. Said Christ, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,
and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My
flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life." John 6:53, 54.
And to explain His meaning He said, "The words that I speak
unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Verse 63. Jesus [p. 278] accepted His Father's law, wrought out its principles in His life,
manifested its spirit, and showed its beneficent power in the heart.
Says John, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and
we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the
Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:14. The followers of
Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must receive
and assimilate the word of God so that it shall become the motive
power of life and action. By the power of Christ they must be
changed into His likeness, and reflect the divine attributes. They
must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, or there
is no life in them. The spirit and work of Christ must become
the spirit and work of His disciples.
The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, as pointing back
to the bitterness of the bondage in Egypt. So when we feed upon
Christ, it should be with contrition of heart, because of our sins.
The use of unleavened bread also was significant. It was expressly
enjoined in the law of the Passover, and as strictly observed by
the Jews in their practice, that no leaven should be found in their
houses during the feast. In like manner the leaven of sin must be
put away from all who would receive life and nourishment from
Christ. So Paul writes to the Corinthian church, "Purge out
therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump. . . . For
even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep
the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice
and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and
truth." 1 Corinthians 5:7, 8.
Before obtaining freedom, the bondmen must show their
faith in the great deliverance about to be accomplished. The
token of blood must be placed upon their houses, and they must
separate themselves and their families from the Egyptians, and
gather within their own dwellings. Had the Israelites disregarded
in any particular the directions given them, had they neglected
to separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the
lamb, but failed to strike the doorpost with blood, or had any
gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure. They
might have honestly believed that they had done all that was
necessary, but their sincerity would not have saved them. All
who failed to heed the Lord's directions would lose their first-born
by the hand of the destroyer. [p. 279]
By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith.
So all who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ
should realize that they themselves have something to do in
securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us
from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to
obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith
must be shown by his works. God has given His Son to die as a
propitiation for sin, He has manifested the light of truth, the
way of life, He has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges;
and now man must co-operate with these saving agencies; he must
appreciate and use the helps that God has provided—believe and
obey all the divine requirements.
As Moses rehearsed to Israel the provisions of God for their
deliverance, "the people bowed the head and worshiped." The
glad hope of freedom, the awful knowledge of the impending
judgment upon their oppressors, the cares and labors incident to
their speedy departure—all were for the time swallowed up in
gratitude to their gracious Deliverer. Many of the Egyptians had
been led to acknowledge the God of the Hebrews as the only
true God, and these now begged to be permitted to find shelter
in the homes of Israel when the destroying angel should pass
through the land. They were gladly welcomed, and they pledged
themselves henceforth to serve the God of Jacob and to go forth
from Egypt with His people.
The Israelites obeyed the directions that God had given.
Swiftly and secretly they made their preparations for departure.
Their families were gathered, the paschal lamb slain, the flesh
roasted with fire, the unleavened bread and bitter herbs prepared.
The father and priest of the household sprinkled the blood upon
the doorpost, and joined his family within the dwelling. In haste
and silence the paschal lamb was eaten. In awe the people prayed
and watched, the heart of the eldest born, from the strong man
down to the little child, throbbing with indefinable dread. Fathers
and mothers clasped in their arms their loved first-born as they
thought of the fearful stroke that was to fall that night. But no
dwelling of Israel was visited by the death-dealing angel. The
sign of blood—the sign of a Saviour's protection—was on their
doors, and the destroyer entered not.
At midnight "there was a great cry in Egypt: for there was [p. 280] not a house where there was not one dead." All the first-born in
the land, "from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne
unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and
all the firstborn of cattle" had been smitten by the destroyer.
Throughout the vast realm of Egypt the pride of every household
had been laid low. The shrieks and wails of the mourners
filled the air. King and courtiers, with blanched faces and
trembling limbs, stood aghast at the overmastering horror. Pharaoh
remembered how he had once exclaimed, "Who is Jehovah, that
I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah,
neither will I let Israel go." Now, his heaven-daring pride
humbled in the dust, he "called for Moses and Aaron by night,
and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both
ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have
said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said. . . .
And be gone; and bless me also." The royal counselors also and
the people entreated the Israelites to depart "out of the land in
haste; for they said, We be all dead men."
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