The Blood of the Lamb | Tim Jones
The Blood Of The Lamb
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation
The deliverance of God’s people in the book of Exodus is a widely known account, yet is it simultaneously understood to that same extent? Most people would tell the story like this, “People were slaves to the Egyptians for a long time and then God told Moses to go and free His people. When Pharaoh refused to let the people go, God sent a bunch of plagues which finally led Pharaoh to change his mind. Once the people left, Pharaoh changed his mind again and pursued them with his army. God split the sea that was in the way, led his people through, and then when the army tried to go through, the water came back down and drowned them all.” While this historical account is not wrong, per se, it does leave out what I believe to be the main points of God orchestrating all the events to take place.
In the previous post which focused on Genesis 1:1, we took a brief look at the idea that God is all for His Own Glory, and we read some biblical passages as our foundation for that assertion. At the same time, we saw how that verse foreshadows the Gospel of Jesus Christ that was yet to take place. The account of the Exodus is no different. It is sprinkled throughout with arrows pointed directly at the revealed Glory of God at that time, in partnership with the future glory God would receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that provided redemption for guilty sinners. Exodus 2:24-25 says, “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.” An important note here is that when God looked down on what was taking place, that which caused Him to begin moving within the situation was wholly and completely out of Himself. He remembered the covenant He had made in the past and His loving-kindness was what moved Him to act, it was not due to any merit of the Israelite people.
God then purposefully called Moses out of his life as a shepherd unto the business of mediation between God and Pharaoh, Pharaoh and the Israelites, and the Israelites and God. Moses stumbled over himself time and time again, yet through that, God put on display his faithfulness and meteoric patience as he dealt gently with Moses. The theme of God’s glory being made known then begins to pick up and can be seen clearly through the rest of Exodus. Take a look at the verses pulled out of the text which highlight this great and central, yet overlooked and fled from theme:
- 7:5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD…
- 8:22b that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth
- 9: 16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
- 9:29b so that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s.
- 10: 2b that you may know that I am the LORD
- 11:9 “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”
The main question I have set out to answer (where is Jesus in all of this?) is mixed within everything already spoken of, yet in Exodus chapter 12 it begins to become so clearly evident. The final plague which God would reign down on the Egyptians was approaching, and like in all the previous plagues, the effects would not be felt by the Israelites. The way in which the tenth and final plague was different is that God required something to cover the Israelites from its mortal effect on the firstborn of each family. God begins to give instruction on the Passover and in verse 5a he says, “Your lamb shall be without blemish.” Do you see Jesus? God goes on to explain that He would pass over the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn of man and beast alike. He commands the Israelites to take the lamb, slaughter it, and put its blood above the door and along its posts. Then God says in verse 13 “The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.” In verse 17 God commands that the “Feast of Unleavened bread” was to be observed as a statute forever, God did this that the people would forever remember God’s deliverance of them from the angel of death. God did as He said, “And the people bowed their heads and worshiped” (Ex. 27b).
Once the final plague had come to its conclusion the people were enabled, even urgently pushed by the Egyptians for fear that God would kill them all, to leave. God proceeded to faithfully lead His people through the Red Sea where He put an end to the Egyptians: “and I will get glory over pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen” (Ex. 14:17b-18). In response to what the Lord had done at the Red Sea, the Israelites worship God (14:31) and Moses sang a song of worship to the Lord (15:1-18).
Chapters 20 through 40 illustrate God’s interaction with His people as they wandered the desert along with instructions to them concerning their laws and ordinances. He also gave directives with regard to the way in which the Ark of the Covenant, the golden lampstand, the tabernacle, and everything which would surround and dwell inside them were to be constructed. Chapter 29 is about the consecration of the priests and how God commanded them to make Aaron and his sons worthy of the position. “Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting. Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. Then you shall kill the bull before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting” (Ex. 29:10). The book of Hebrews tells us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Heb. 9:22). When studying scripture, it is necessary to connect passages with one another. Looking at Romans 3:23-26 (emphasis added) we can see how all of this ties together: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be the just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
God divinely weaved the events of the Israelites and the Egyptians together for His Glory and as a faint image of Christ incarnate. These occurrences are images of what was to come, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was being glorified even then as God exercised “divine forbearance,” not punishing the sins of the Israelites in anticipation of the fully atoning work of Christ on the cross that “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16b).
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one who hides his face from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Try it yourself: Last week you were told to find Jesus in the account of Abraham almost sacrificing his son, Isaac. If you have not done that yet, it would be beneficial to backtrack before moving on. This week, seek to find various truths about Jesus from these passages:
- Psalm 89:3-4, 29-36, 132:11-17
- Psalm 18:49
- Psalm 22:9
- Psalm 22:10
Yes, they are all from the psalms, yet each bullet point reflects a different aspect of who Jesus is and what he came for. Give it a try!