Ex 12:48                    God Guards the Signs of the Covenant                       9/13/2009      ßà   

 

  • Four sections: Ex 12:1-20, 21-28, 29-42, 43-50.

 

 

 

#1.       Walking Out of Egypt (Ex 12:35-51, Isa 45:7, 46:11)

 

 

 

  • From Rameses to Succoth (Ex 12:37-38, 2Cor 6:14,17)

 

 

 

  • After Precisely 430 Years (Ex 12:39-42)

 

 

 

#2.       The Sanctity of the Passover (Ex 12:43-51)

 

 

 

  • Circumcision (Gal 3:16, Gen 17:7,8,10-11,26, Rom 4:13, Deut 10:16, 30:6)

 

 

 

#3.       Guardrails (Eph 4:5, 1Cor 11:29)

 

 

 

  • For Our Protection (Psalm 119:11, Prov 25:2)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 12:35 (2X). The last few Sundays we have seen how the children of Israel celebrated their first Passover feast when they were still slaves in Egypt. And we have seen how God preserved the description of that entire event in such a way, that the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt was a perfect picture of our redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. They killed the lamb without blemish at the doorstep, they put the blood of the lamb on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost, they roasted the lamb in the fire, they ate the flesh with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs, and they did everything exactly as the Lord has commanded through Moses and Aaron, because they were made obedient by God's irresistible grace. And while the children of Israel were feasting, the LORD passed through the land of Egypt and the LORD killed all the firstborn everywhere in Egypt. What a contrast!  Did God make a difference between the children of Israel and the Egyptians?  Absolutely! God shows us here the principle of Election: God has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens. And God struck fear in the hearts of the Egyptians, and as a result Pharaoh let the children of Israel go free. Now look at the accuracy of the picture: It was not until the day following the Passover night that Israel was delivered from Egypt. It was not until the blood of the lamb was shed that redemption was made effective, and as soon as it was shed, the very next morning, Israel marched forth as a free people. It does not say: "All the hosts of Israel", but it says: "All the hosts of the LORD" went out from the land of Egypt. You know what the difference is, don't you? They were a picture of "All the hosts of the LORD that were bought with a price throughout time". They were bought, not with corruptible things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of the lamb without blemish. Now, if we take a bird's eye view of this whole chapter 12, it seems as if the Passover is mentioned four times in this chapter. Why this repetition? Actually, the structure of this chapter is very logical and systematic, and it is divided into four parts: Look at these four sections of this chapter in your bibles. Part A,  in verses 1-20, God is speaking to Moses and Aaron, and God gives them extensive instructions about what they must do now, and how they must celebrate the feast when they have come into the land of Canaan which the LORD will give them. Part B, In verses 21-28, Moses is speaking to the congregation of Israel, and gives them the message from God about what they must do now to celebrate the feast, and how they must celebrate the feast later in the land of Canaan. C,  In verses 29-42 all the things that God had promised actually came to pass: The death of the firstborn, the liberation of the children of Israel, and the exact day that the LORD has designed for this event. D,  In verses 43-50 God is again speaking to Moses and Aaron, and God gives them additional instructions to guard the sanctity of the Passover. This last portion of the chapter contains the subject matter I would like to address today. Let us pick up the context in verse 35.          

#1.       Walking out of Egypt (Ex 12:35-51, Isa 45:7, 46:11)

Ex 12:35-36  And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels (vessels) of silver, and jewels (vessels) of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

Can we see why they did that? First of all, God clearly told Moses much earlier, when He talked with him at the burning bush, that the children of Israel should ask this favor from the Egyptians. It is as if they were receiving their wages for so many centuries of slave labor. Secondly, a small part of this gold and silver was later used to make the golden calf that the children of Israel worshipped. This amount of gold and silver was lost, for it was contaminated with sin and was destroyed by Moses. And thirdly, most of this gold and silver was used later for the Ark of the Covenant and for the Tabernacle that Moses was instructed to build for the LORD. God knew that a certain fraction of the gold and silver would be lost, but God had planned all these details ahead of time. Here is another example that our God knows the end from the beginning. Do we recognize what an amazing God we have? Our God does not just know the end from the beginning, but He causes history to unfold according to His will, since He is the cause of the end from the beginning, except for sin. We read in Isa 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” This is a surprise to many people that God says, “I create evil.” This does not refer to the evil of sin, but to the evil of calamities such as tornadoes, and hurricanes, and earthquakes. We also read in Isa 46:11, where God speaks of Cyrus,

Isa 46:11  Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

God says, “I will also do it.” And God did all these things for OT Israel as a sign that He will do this also for us, NT Israel. He knows the end from the beginning because He causes all events from the beginning to the end to come to pass. But why does God say these things? It is to give us hope.

#1.  If He rescued these rebellious children of Israel, then there is also hope for us who also were born as rebels against God. And thus we also can have hope that our sins may be forgiven us. #2.  If they could be saved from death by being under the blood of the little lamb without blemish, then we also can be saved from the second death by being under the blood of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly, the Lamb of God can do far greater things than the little lamb without blemish. #3.  If they could be delivered from bondage out of the land of Egypt, then we can also be delivered from bondage to sin and Satan. Keep I mind that the Lord Jesus Christ is also called Israel. If the children of Israel of the flesh could be delivered bodily out of the land of Egypt, then certainly the children of the Israel who is God, can also be delivered spiritually out of the house of their bondage to sin and Satan. And so, all these things give us hope and faith in the power of Christ. Let us return now to the historical end of the exodus. When we read Ex 12:35 we should keep in mind that this is a very liberal translation. First of all, the children of Israel did not “borrow” from the Egyptians. This would plainly be lying and deception, for the children of Israel did not plan to return to Egypt. The Hebrew text clearly says that they “asked” of the Egyptians. And what did they ask from the Egyptians? They asked of them vessels, or implements, or articles of gold and silver, and some of those implements turned out to be jewels, but most of these were vessels; bulky vessels containing much gold and silver. And in verse 36 the Egyptians did not lend unto them these articles of gold and silver. This also would be lying and deception. The Hebrew text clearly says that these articles were given to the children of Israel at their request. Moreover, the end of verse 36 reads, “And they spoiled the Egyptians.” This also is a very liberal translation. It should have read, “And they delivered themselves from the Egyptians”, for this Hebrew word has been translated “spoil” only two times, and it has been translated “deliver” 179 times. This word tells us that the children of Israel not only escaped Pharaoh, but they escaped most of the Egyptians, for most of them were on the side of Pharaoh. Now they are walking out of Egypt. And then we read in Ex 12:37,

    • From Rameses to Succoth (Ex 12:37-38, 2Cor 6:14,17)

Ex 12:37 ¶ And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.

Is it not amazing how God arranged everything, so that we can see the bigger picture? The name Rameses means "Child of the sun". It was a fortress, which the Israelites, as slaves, had helped to build for the Egyptians. It was named after the Pharaoh bearing that name. Typically, Rameses represents this present evil world, the kingdom of Satan, out of which God delivers His Elect by the grace and power of God. So here, at the very beginning of their journey, God shows us a wonderful parable: A picture that like the literal Israel was called out of the domains of the "Child of the sun" to journey to a land unknown to them, so, in like manner, is the spiritual Israel, the Church, called out from the realm that is described in Ecclesiastes as "under the sun", to go to that unknown land that is called Succoth. And what does Succoth mean? It means "tents" or "booths". We are called out of this world of glamour and fame, and become strangers and pilgrims in this world, because this world is not our home. Our home is in Heaven. You must be a fool to make such a transition! True! Such a change of heart can only be made by the grace and power of God. And then we will gladly be fools for Christ. We read in Ex 12:

Ex 12:38  And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

This was a subtle move by the enemy, Satan, the prince of the power of the air. At first sight, this seems to be very loving and nice of the children of Israel to be so tolerant toward others who are of a different persuasion. But what does God say about this practice? God says in 2Cor 6:14, and 17

2Cor 6:14,17, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean.”

It did not take long to prove that this "mixed multitude" was a thorn in the side of the nation of Israel. It was this same mixed multitude that first became dissatisfied with the manna, the bread from heaven, which means that they became dissatisfied with Christ, who is the bread of life, and they influenced Israel to murmur, which was a terrible sin against God. Let us now continue with Ex 12:39 (2X).

    • After precisely 430 years (Ex 12:39-42)

Ex 12:39-42  And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual. Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day (2X)  it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.

They were in Egypt four hundred thirty years precisely down to the very day. Aside from the spiritual significance of the number 430, can you see the hand of God in this entire story? Unquestionably, God orchestrated this exodus at the precise time and at the precise location. And God wants us to remember the number 430, which He is going to use for future reference. Those who went forth from the land of bondage are called "the hosts of the LORD", which means “the armies of Jehovah.” It means that God owns them! It means that these are the armies with whom Christ is going to defeat Satan and his armies. Paraphrased here are 8 points of what God says in this event of the exodus out of Egypt.

#1.  God says that He is sovereign. He sovereignly ruled over all the circumstances that were governing the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt. There is nothing occurring outside of His control, and that includes our salvation, our deliverance from the house of bondage, including our sanctification.

#2.  Like the children of Israel were the scum of society, so we were the scum of the earth.

#3.  Like the children of Israel were unworthy to be saved, but God chose them, so we were unworthy to be saved, but God chose us before the foundation of the world.

#4.  Like God accepted the blood of the little lamb without blemish as payment for their sins, so God accepted the blood of the Lamb of God, the blood of Jesus Christ, as payment for our sins.

#5.  Like God brought them out of Egypt because God promised that to Abraham, so God brought us out of our bondage to sin and Satan because God promised that before the foundation of the world.

#6.  Like God made them believe His word through Moses and so God delivered them; in like manner God made us to believe His word through the Apostles and Prophets and so God delivered us.

#7. Like the children of Israel were in Jacob, so all the children of God are in the spiritual Israel, in Christ

#8.  There is only one difference: The Exodus from Egypt was only a picture. The children of Israel died in the wilderness because of unbelief, but God will not allow us to fall away in like manner, because the Lamb of God is infinitely more valuable than the lamb without blemish that was slain at the first Passover. To us God says: "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee".

Therefore, because God will preserve us and will not allow us to fall away, God has built guardrails around us, to keep us safe. One of those guardrails is:

#2.       The Sanctity of the Passover (Ex 12:43-51)

Ex 12:43-51 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the Passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof: But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it (Lit: shall prepare it). And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is home born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.

In this passage God puts additional guardrails around the ordinance of the Passover. Not only did the nation of Israel have to follow the rules that were already prescribed, but now God erects a wall to shut out enemies. Here we see three classes of people who were forbidden to partake of the Passover meal. First, no stranger was to eat thereof. This feast was for Israel alone, for the redeemed alone, and therefore, no stranger or foreigner may participate. Who was in charge of enforcing these rules? All the male heads of the households of the congregation of Israel were in charge. They must keep the oversight. God was beginning to show some of the shadows of the presence of overseers throughout the N.T. ceremonies. Second, no hired servant should eat the Passover. A hired servant is mentioned in contrast with a servant who is a slave. In verse 44 God specifies who a slave is. Ex 12:44, “But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.” Slaves were allowed to eat the Passover, but not a hired servant. Why would God mention a hired servant in a separate category? God did that to show that there is no indication here of redemption. A hired servant is an outsider who works for pay. A true Saint does not serve God for pay, but he serves God out of gratitude. Third, no uncircumcised person should eat of the Passover. This limitation applied to Israel as well as to the Gentiles. The children of Israel ate the Passover for the second time in the Wilderness, one year after they came out of Egypt, but the third time they ate it was when they had entered the land of Canaan. Why? They did that because the children of Israel were not circumcised while they were wandering through the wilderness for 40 years. God did not permit an uncircumcised person to eat the Passover. And so, they had to wait until under the leadership of Joshua all the males were circumcised. However, God not only erected a wall to keep outsiders out, but God also opened a door to receive friends. Literally Verse 48 reads as follows:

Ex 12:48  And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and has made the Passover to Jehovah (2X), let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.

Historically this does not make sense. But actually, Verse 48 is saying that the stranger who has made the transition to regard Jehovah as his God, (i.e. one who has become a proselyte by the power of the Holy Spirit), let him be subject to all the rules of the Law and let him and all his male children and slaves be circumcised, because that is what the Law prescribes, and then (thereafter) let him eat the Passover on the 14th day as the Law prescribes. In this we can see a beautiful picture of the grace that was to come to US, Gentiles in the flesh, who by nature were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now, by grace, we are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. (Eph 2:12,19) And at the end of verse 48 God underscores again the sanctity of the Passover: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. What is the meaning of this command? And what is the meaning of circumcision?

    • Circumcision (Gal 3:16, Gen 17:7,8,10-11,26, Rom 4:13, Deut 10:16, 30:6)

Circumcision was an outward sign of the Covenant. God established the Law of circumcision for O.T. Israel in Gen 17. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Genesis, Gen 17:10 (2X). There are at least three aspects of the covenant of grace that are mentioned in this chapter. First God promises a multitude of descendants that shall come out of Abraham. We understand that this refers to all the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Secondly, in Gen 17:7 God promises that He will establish His covenant between Him and the Seed of Abraham for an everlasting covenant. From Gal 3:16 we understand that this Seed was Christ, and all those who are in Christ. Thirdly, in Gen 17:8 God promises to Abraham all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. From Rom 4:13 we learn that Abraham understood this to mean that he would be the heir of the world in the NH&NE after this world is destroyed. Fourthly, God spoke of the outward sign of the covenant. God said in Gen 17:10-11,

Gen 17:10-11  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

God said: "it is a token of the covenant", which means: it is just a sign. To be in the covenant of God means that you have become saved, or you are going to be saved. But circumcision is a work that WE DO, and therefore it cannot accomplish salvation; because "Salvation is of the Lord." In fact, when Jonah was in the belly of the fish and Jonah proclaimed: "Salvation is of the Lord" the fish immediately vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. This must have been an Arminian fish, because he could not stomach this truth of the Gospel of grace, and he immediately got rid of Jonah. We all know that it is only God who does the saving. Any ceremony that we perform, either circumcision or water baptism cannot accomplish or guarantee salvation. Only God can do that. God underscores this truth in Gen 17:26, where God says, “In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.” And yet we know from the N.T. that Ishmael remained unsaved and he died unsaved. Therefore, physical circumcision is only an outward sign of something that hopefully God will do. Many of the Ninevites to whom Jonah preached became saved, and yet most of them remained uncircumcised in the flesh. But what matters to God is spiritual circumcision. God says in Deut 10:16. 

Deut 10:16  Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.

            How are we supposed to do that?  We cannot do that. But God gave us the answer in Deut 30:6,

Deut 30:6  And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Therefore, when God said: "For no uncircumcised person shall eat of the Passover", God was putting guardrails on the ceremony of the Passover.

#3.       Let us talk about Guardrails (Eph 4:5, 1Cor 11:29)

When God said: "You cannot celebrate the Passover without the sign of the covenant", God was stating the principle (and I am paraphrasing): "You cannot have the one without the other".

God also placed guardrails on the N.T. ceremony of the Lord's Supper. On the heels of His last Passover meal the Lord Jesus Christ established the ceremony of the Lord's Supper with the words: "This do in remembrance of Me". Of course the Passover had to be replaced, because it was a bloody ceremony, which was looking forward to the cross. And of course circumcision had to be replaced by water baptism, because it also was a bloody ceremony, which was looking forward to the cross. But the principle remains: "You cannot have the one without the other". You cannot celebrate the Lord’s Supper without having been baptized. However, in this NT age anyone can claim that he has been baptized, and this might be true if we do not identify this statement more precisely. In fact we can take this principle one step further. We read in Eph 4:5, that there is only one Lord, one faith and one baptism, and yet we also know that our baptism with water is not as important as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our water baptism is only an outward washing with water, whereas the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the true baptism that washes our souls from sin; just like the circumcision of the heart is far more important than the circumcision of the flesh. But we cannot require that a person is baptized by the Holy Spirit before he or she is admitted to the Lord’s Supper, because this act of salvation by God the Holy Spirit cannot be verified. When we look at the ceremony of the Passover, or at the ceremony of the Lord’s Supper we recognize that these are memorials to the Lord’s death and resurrection. We then see that the OT ceremony requires only outward signs. The NT ceremony of the Lord’s Supper, however, requires far more self-examination, for God says in 1Co 11:29  “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” What does that mean, “unworthily”? It means unsaved. It means that God designed some guardrails for the Lord’s Supper, like He has designed some guardrails for the OT ceremony of the Passover.

Why did God design these guardrails?

    • For our protection (Psalm 119:11, Prov 25:2)

God also guard's our lives. He knows what happens when we get outside those boundaries. Let us learn from the O.T. Saint who wrote Psalm 119.  We all remember the words of Psalm 119:11

Psalm 119:11   Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Why "in my heart"?  Because from the heart are the issues of life: the thoughts, the words and the actions. When God rules in our heart by His Word and Spirit, it is totally an act of grace, we become His subjects, and then "the Kingdom of Heaven is within us" and we are at peace with God. Then we know our guardrails, and we know that they are there for our protection. God also guards our Church. And why does He place guardrails there? God does that to keep false doctrines out. God does not give our Church instruction without reason. It is for our protection. But are we willing to follow God's orders? You know, following God's orders is being obedient to whatever He says in His Word. We cannot pick and choose. But we can search out these matters which have been revealed.

Prov 25:2,  It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

God has hidden the truth in the Bible, because He wants us to search it out.

And in so doing, we will grow in the faith by reading the Word of God, so that we will be warned for false gospels. Those who really want to find truth, will find it, within the protective guardrails that God has provided.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.