The Blood of the Passover
April 11th, 1960 @ 12:00 PM
THE BLOOD OF THE PASSOVER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-11-60 12:00 p.m.
These services, as Mr. Till, our singer, has announced, are built around the theme, "Five Emblems of Grace." All of the Scriptures point to our suffering Lord. Every sacrifice, every sermonic subject, every prophetic utterance, everything wrought in the woof and warp of the Holy Scriptures point to our suffering Lord. And I have chosen five of those emblems which depict our deliverance and our salvation in Him: today, The Blood of the Passover; tomorrow The Type of the Tabernacle; Wednesday, The Serpent of Brass; Thursday, The Breaking of Bread; and Friday, The Sign of the Cross, the cross of Calvary.
The beginning today; The Blood of the Passover. At the conclusion of the ninth of the terrible and severe judgments of God upon the land of Egypt, Pharaoh hardened his heart and said unto Moses, "Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt surely die" [Exodus 10:28]. Pharaoh was like a plastic ball, yielding under pressure but swelling back to full rotundity when the pressure was eased; the answer of the man of God to the words of Pharaoh were ominous indeed: "And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more" [Exodus 10:29].
Pharaoh is the type of a man who says "no" once too often to God.
There is a line that crosses,
There is a line that crosses our path.
By us unseen that divides
Between God’s mercy and God’s wrath.
There is a time I know not when.
A place, I know not where.
That guides the destiny of men,
To glory or despair.
[adapted from "Preparation for Meeting God," George W. Truett in A Quest For Souls, J.B. Cranfill]
"No" to God, "no" to the overtures to grace, "no" to the overtures of mercy, and he says it one time too often. "Thou has spoken well," answered Moses, "I will see thy face again no more" [Exodus 10:29].
Then follows this awful lull, this interlude between the tenth and the twelfth chapters of the Book of Exodus. In this eleventh chapter, God announces to Moses the tenth and the final judgment.
Thus saith the Lord, At midnight will I go through the land of Egypt:
And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon the throne, unto the firstborn of the maidservant that works behind the mill,
And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such a cry as there was none like it, nor shall ever be again.
This awful, terrible judgment of God upon the land of darkness and the land of Egypt, the death angel shall pass over, and every firstborn shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the menial slave, from the firstborn of the princess sleeping under her silken curtains to the firstborn of the slave that grinds at the mill, anguish throughout all the darkened land of Egypt.
There was something about this plague [Exodus 11:1-12:30], this judgment, that was different from any of the other previous nine [Exodus 7:14-10:29]. It was this: Israel and Egypt alike were under the judgment of God. Heretofore, Israel had enjoyed an unbought and an unpurchased exemption. The murrain had not slain their cattle, the boils had not broken out on their persons, the hail and the storm had not swept their fields, the locusts had not devoured their land, the darkness had not obscured their villages, but now, in the awful hour of that final judgment, the Israelite, as the Egyptian, was under the peril of the destroying angel. Birth, genealogy, lineage wrought no exemption.
It was the same thing as found in the preaching of John the Baptist when he called all alike unto repentance, the scribe, the elder as well as the rude, crude Roman soldier [Matthew 3:1-12].
It was the same thing as found in the preaching of the apostle Paul when he declared that, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" [Romans 3:23], there is no difference, "There is none righteous, no, not one" [Romans 3:10].
And every Israelite and every Egyptian that night, in terror, trembled before the rustling of the wings of the destroying angel, and every soul was filled with fear under the eyes of the death [angel] that even then was scrutinizing the lintels and the doorposts [Exodus 12:23].
But the exemption that an Israelite did not possess by birth as a son of Abraham [Matthew 3:9], he could gain, he could achieve through the grace and mercy of God, for the Lord provided a way of redemption and salvation [Exodus 12:3-13]. Take, said the Lord, take a lamb, the firstling of the flock, without spot and without blemish, carefully chosen, and set it apart. For four days make it a member of the household, from the tenth of Nissan to the fourteenth, until it becomes identified, as it were, with the family. And as the evening draws on, on the fourteenth day, the head of the family shall solemnly slay the lamb. Its body is to be roasted in fire, in the wrath and fury of God, the body roasted in fire [Exodus 12:3-9]. No bone shall be broken [Exodus 12:46]. And it shall be eaten with the staff in hand, with the feet sandaled [Exodus 12:11], ready for the pilgrimage to the Promised Land. And the blood of the lamb shall be caught in a basin. It is to be sprinkled on the outside of the house in the form of a cross, on the lintels and on either side on the doorposts [Exodus 12:7]. It shall be the sign, publicly acknowledged, that the Israelite stood in peril of that judgment of God. It is the sign of expiation of sin, a life has been forfeited, blood has been poured out, the penalty of death has been made.
And that rite, that memorial was to be commemorated through all generations and through all the following centuries. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months" [Exodus 12:1-2]. It is the beginning of a new era and a new day, a new hour, a new life, and it is signalized by a new calendar. God says by that, that the life spent in the brick kilns and around the fleshpots of Egypt is a blank, it is lost. And the life really begins in the hour of its deliverance and in the day of its redemption.
How opposite that is to what most of us think, that when a man becomes a Christian life ceases. The good things of life are gone and interdicted. God says the opposite. God says that a man’s life spent in the world by the fleshpots is lost, is a blank, that life begins in the day of redemption and salvation.
And in commemoration of this signal and marvelous deliverance, God said the firstborn shall be, may I translate it actually, "caused to pass over to the Lord" [Exodus 13:12]. It belonged to the Lord; it was to be sacrificed to the Lord. And an Israelite who could not, of course, be sacrificed on an altar, the Israelite was to be redeemed by the lamb [Exodus 13:13]. The Israelite was taught that the lamb was offered in his stead. That idea sunk deep into the heart and soul of the people of God. They felt they were not so much the beloved of Jehovah as the redeemed of the Lord. Their lives were bought with a price. That was the blood of the Passover.
In the great, marvelous revelation God gave to the apostle Paul, the preacher said "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" [1 Corinthians 5:7]. He called Christ our Passover, not because the Mosaic ritual happened to have that particular ceremonial but rather that ceremonial was placed into the very heart and soul of the people of God because it pointed toward and prefigured the great sacrifice of our suffering Christ.
How strange it must have seemed to those people in slavery and in bondage that in the night of their deliverance they should be called upon to celebrate such a service as this, but this is no different from all of the entire tone and revelation of the Book of God. Whether it is in the blood of the Passover, whether it is in the entire sacrificial system of the Old Testament, whether it is in the preaching of the apostles or of the prophets, by emblem and by type, by word and by sermon the whole fabric of the Bible is put together in that unusual red, scarlet cord, pointing to the suffering of the Lamb of God.
I had one time a man describe for me a cathedral he had visited in Europe, and he said at the head of the cathedral was a picture of the suffering Lord, and around the Lord were statues of the prophets and the apostles, pointing unto Him. Isaiah, as he said, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one unto his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" [Isaiah 53:6].
Next was sculptured the likeness of the prophet Zechariah, "And in his day, a fountain shall be opened for sin and for uncleanness" [Zechariah 13:1].
And next to him, the great preacher, John the Baptist, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" [John 1:29].
And next to him, the apostle Paul, "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" [Romans 5:8].
And next to him, Simon Peter, "He has redeemed us not with corruptible things as silver and gold: but with the precious blood of the Lamb of God" [1 Peter 1:18-19].
And next to him, John, the sainted apostle, "Unto Him who loved us and gave Himself for us, and washed us from our sins in His blood" [Revelation 1:5].
That is the picture, and the likeness, and the theology, and the revelation, and the fabric, and the substance, and the reality of the whole Bible. Whether in sermon or prophecy, whether in syllable and sentence, whether in type or in sacrifice, all of it pointed to the suffering of the Son of God who washed us from our sins in His own blood.
Was it for crimes that I have done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity, grace unknown
And love beyond degree.
["At the Cross," Isaac Watts]
For we are delivered, we are saved in the sacrifice of the Son of God in the blood of the cross. The cross opened for us the everlasting floodgates of love, of pardon, and of mercy. Not in His obedient life but in His death He procured for us our everlasting, eternal salvation [Hebrews 5:9]. The Lamb had to be without spot and without blemish [1 Peter 1:18-19], "But without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins" [Hebrews 9:22].
If to this day our Lord had gone through the cities of Israel doing good, the veil in the temple had remained unrent, barring the worshipper into the presence of God, but the cross rent, tore that veil from the top to the bottom [Matthew 27:50-51], and in the love, and blood, and sobs, and tears, and wounds, and sacrifice of our Lord, we have full and perfect access to the very presence of the throne of God.
In His stripes, not His obedient life, we are healed [Isaiah 53:5]. In the cross, not in His words of wisdom, we are saved. In His death, not in His good deeds, we are washed from our sins [1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5]. It was on the cross He died in our stead [2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:8; John 3:16], and it’s in the cross our sins are washed away. It is full, and final, and complete, nothing need be added [John 19:30].
In my hands, no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.
["Rock of Ages," Augustus Toplady]
Outside may be death and judgment, but under the blood is peace and security. And it is mediated to us just by coming, just by trusting, just by acceptance, just by looking in faith, and in love, and in adoration.
O, blessed, blessed Jesus! When I was saved, coming down the aisle, taking the preacher by the hand, they were singing that famous and marvelous hymn, written by one of England’s greatest poets, William Cowper. That’s been, that’s been forty years ago, and to this day, that hymn, when I hear it, moves my heart as much as it did then as they sang when I came to Jesus. Do you remember?
There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath the flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
‘Ere since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supplied,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be ’til I die.
["There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood," William Cowper]
The substance of every sermon, the heart of every appeal, the refrain of every song, the blessed, blessed love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" [Exodus 12:13].
May we pray? Our Lord, not one of us but would humbly bow in Thy presence, O God, that such a sacrifice should be paid for such as we. Dear Master, if someone in the presence of the Lord this noonday has never given his life in faith and in trust to Jesus, may he do so now with us kneeling at the foot of the cross, in Thy precious and saving name, amen.
BLOOD OF THE PASSOVER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. All alike under judgment
II. Salvation – deliverance by redemption
III. Passover was a protevangelium