Behold The Lamb

The Children of Israel had suffered terribly in Egypt. For Israel, Egypt had become "the land of bondage". They could neither save themselves, nor rely on a "friendly" nation to deliver them. Their "friends" only affirmed their desperate situation.

Egypt was politically influential and militarily imposing and capable of rebuffing any objection raised. Who could protest? On what grounds could a legitimate objection be raised against the mighty and powerful Egypt? Egypt was a leader, a well-respected and esteemed civilization, recognized for its ability to provide for its people, it was a prominent and powerful kingdom. At the time, the international image of the Children of Israel could have been voiced as, "Indeed, who are these spineless Jews? Who are they to criticize their Egyptian leaders? Who cares if their workload is "sometimes" heavy, and why should anyone be concerned about them in particular? There are plenty of others whose situations are much worse?! They should be thankful for a life, and to be living in the great Egypt . . . the nerve?!"

And so, there were none who came to their aid, but God. It was God alone who heard the cry of His people. It was He alone who remembered the Patriarchs. And it was He alone who remembered His covenant with them.

"So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." (Exodus 2:24)

Though the nations had ears, they were blocked to the cries of the Children of Israel. Furthermore, despite the wealth of understanding and vast knowledge among the wise and academics, their elders and counselors chose not to remember the Patriarchs, or the covenant, or the God who made covenant with the Patriarchs.

Sounds awfully like the nations today! Observe that the international community today has ears but it does not heed the cry of the people of Israel. Note too, the international community is willing to hear the cry of others who criticize Israel. And despite the knowledge, the vast historical record, world leaders choose not to remember the Patriarchs, or the covenant, or God who made the covenant, but rather choose to instruct their delegates to impose unrighteous plans and ungodly agendas upon Israel, causing the people of Israel to walk contrary to God. The people of Israel, today, are pressed into servitude, having to follow the dictates of the international community. Consequently, the people of Israel are serving the nations as slaves, and the world has become "a land of bondage" for them. No nation hears the cry of Israel. Where is the nation that is concerned for God's agenda for Israel? Where is the nation that remembers the Patriarchs? Where is the nation that remembers the covenant, or what nation acknowledges the God who made the covenant? There is none!

Yet, God hears and He will deliver His people.

Note, when Israel was in Egypt, that it was not the nations who brought deliverance to the Children of Israel, rather, the God of Israel appointed Moses and Aaron. Note too, they would not stay in Egypt where it would have been easy to overthrow the evil collapsing regime; instead, God would fulfil His promise, the covenant which He made with the Patriarchs centuries earlier. The Children of Israel were destined for the Promised Land, "the land flowing with milk and honey" – their everlasting inheritance.

Pharaoh could not believe his eyes or ears when he saw and heard Moses and Aaron. "Who are these upstarts, and who do they think they are? They are no more than slaves, and leaders of slaves!!!" "Then the king of Egypt said to them, 'Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labour .'" (Exodus 5:4) An unlikely duo in the eyes of men, but with the power of God, Moses and Aaron were the ultimate heroes.

Amid the economic catastrophes and natural disasters that followed, the nations witnessed a world-shaking event. Nothing like it had been seen before. Neither was there any recorded in the annals of history. One of the greatest of empires ever to have arisen – a strong nation – rich in culture and history, the mighty Egypt fell, and was reduced to utter ruin. The great pride of Egypt was humbled, brought lower than slaves, despite its influence and prominence. Moreover, coinciding with Egypt's fall, and equally unbelievable for the nations, was the ascension of the Hebrew slaves. The people of Israel rose to prominence, nay, beyond what Egypt had become! As the people of God, Israel was heralded, "The Chosen Nation!", as the God of Israel stretched out His arm in an awesome display of power and majesty, to deliver them from bondage, and to set them free to serve Him.

The climax to this incredible event was the death of the firstborn. Pharaoh had refused to release Israel, God's firstborn. Consequently, the firstborn of Egypt would die.

How the Children of Israel would escape the tragedy is of special interest. There are many ways in which God could have separated His people, but God chose a lamb. The death angel went throughout the land of Egypt bringing death and tragedy. However, where the blood of the lamb had been applied to the doorposts and lintel, the death angel would pass over that house, death would not ravage the family within – life was preserved through the lamb. The God of Israel had commanded Moses to tell His people to take a lamb, slaughter it and its blood would be the signal for the angel to pass over, to withhold death.

Miraculously, life was preserved through the blood of an innocent lamb. The lamb died to allow the firstborn of Israel to live. It was the lamb that brought salvation to the firstborn of Israel. Death was in every place, except where the blood of the lamb was applied. The innocent lamb gave up its life so that the firstborn would live and not die. In this way, the innocent lamb is a portrayal of the righteous.

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints." (Psalm 116:15)

The death of the innocent lamb at Passover conveys a picture of the righteous whose death is precious in the sight of the LORD. Together, the innocent lamb and its death which brought life, point to the Messiah whose death, as the Righteous One brings redemption for all mankind. He is the Passover Lamb of God.

Hear the cry of the prophet in the wilderness, who seeing Yeshua of Nazareth declared, "Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)

Yochanan, son of Zechariah and Elisheva, was the Jewish prophet in the wilderness, and he was speaking of another Jew, born in the town of Bethlehem, and a descendant of David, whose name is Yeshua. Yeshua is the Messiah. He is the Righteous One, the Hope of Israel. He is the Passover Lamb of God.

When, by faith, the blood of the Righteous One is applied to the door posts and lintel of our heart and life, God redeems our lives from the bondage of sin (Egypt), so that we may serve Him by faith and do the good works (mitzvot) for which we were created. We are saved from the deadly path of sin, to walk the path of the righteous.

The life in Egypt is a picture of a life trapped in lawlessness. Bound by foreign ways and culture, one is incapable of walking in God's commandments, and unable to break free. God alone hears. God alone can save. God alone has provided atonement through His Passover Lamb. The consequence of a life in Egypt without the blood was death, so too, there can only be death for those who regard not, the death of the Righteous One, whose blood atones. And just as there was life in Egypt for those whose doorposts and lintels were daubed with the blood of the Passover lamb, so too, life eternal can be found by those who are under the blood of the Passover Lamb of God.

Concerning Yeshua the Messiah, Yochanan proclaimed, "This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."

"And Yochanan bore witness, saying, 'I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

"And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." (John 1:30-34)

The innocent lamb sacrificed in Egypt pointed to the sacrifice of the ultimate Passover Lamb. Through the Messiah, the God of Israel would not only redeem His people Israel, but everyone who places their faith in Him. May there be many in our day who behold the Passover Lamb of God, and believe in Him, and be found walking the path of the righteous, wherein dwells life.

Mark Warren