10th Plague — Exodus 12 — Passover

There is a great deal here to examine so let us get right to it.

I.) God & the New Passover Time

Here in chapter 12 the 10th plague is being explained and the Hebrew children are being told how to prepare for the coming Angel of Death so that He will pass over.

An immediate matter of interest here that presents itself is found in vs. 2

“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 

Israel, living among a pagan people marked time in the same way as the pagans around them. God tells them that the event that is about to occur requires them to mark time in a new way. The calendar is to be remade by the Passover and the new calendar would begin with the time of Israel’s redemption.

Today, though changing, we still mark our time as BC & AD. BC stands for “Before Christ and refers to all time prior to the birth of Jesus the Christ. The abbreviation AD stands for “Anno Domini” in Latin. In English, this means “in the year of our Lord.” This abbreviation refers to all time after the birth of Jesus Christ.

The humanists have sought to change this back to reflect their preferred pagan presuppositions. In France during the French Revolution  during October 1793, the Christian calendar was replaced with one reckoned from the date of the Revolution, and Festivals of Liberty, Reason, and the Supreme Being were scheduled and mandated.

Something similar is happening now in academia. Now the Christian time tags of BC & AD are being changed out for BCE (before Common Era) and Common Era.

This is not insignificant. It is a attempted means to create standards which would strip us of being able to be known, by objective categories, as a Christian people.

With God giving to His people a new way of measuring time God is giving Israel an objective marker by which they could be known as distinctly His people. It is one way that the Israel who are not “the Israel of God,” remain in some sense God’s Israel. There are these objective markers that mark out Israel as Israel.

Similarly, when we erase Christian time markers such as BC & AD we erase an objective marker that connects Westerners to the objectiveness of Christianity even if they individually are not subjectively Christian. To erase these is one more step into the void of the complete dechristianization of a people.

II.) God, Passover & The Family

In the Egyptian plagues God goes after the gods of Egypt…. their religion and their Temples. This demonstrates the centrality of religion in the life of a people. However, when God goes for the kill shot with the 10th plague, God does not go for the people’s gods, religion, or temples, instead God goes for the family. This demonstrates that should one desire to destroy a social order one has to attack both their religion and their family structure. These two are the foundation upon which all social order rests.

With God’s killing of the Egyptians first born we see that the family is a central Institution in the life of God’s people. By killing the first born God was going after the strength of the family and its nearest future in carrying on the place and responsibility of the family into the future. God’s attack on that Institution demonstrates that the family is every bit the foremost entity in a biblical social order as is the religious assembly of a people.

This in turn reminds us that the family is every bit as important as the Church in terms of the institutions of a godly social order and that in turn destroys both the ecclesiocentrics (CREC) and the familiocentrics when either or both of them insist on being the one and only institutional center of a Godly social order.

In the way God destroyed Egypt we see that both of these institutions (Church & Family) are co-centers of our undoubted catholic Christian faith.

Our enemies well understand this, even if we do not. The Marxists for example in the Communist manifesto desired to rid men of private property and they understood that the family was an extension of private property. One could not be destroyed w/o the other being destroyed.

Marx wrote,

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie,”

The family, by God’s design, is a foundation for any social order and if one desires to destroy a social order then one goes for the family. God does that in this final plague.

The flip side of this is the way God protects Israel in their family units. What we are noting here is the centrality of the family in God’s design. We have seen that in the fact that when God goes for the kill shot in Egypt He goes for the family.

But we see also the importance and centrality of the family in this final plague in the way that the Passover is kept. All of the language throughout this text demonstrates the centrality of the family to God’s social order.

The Passover is to be a family meal. The centrality of the family here is also stressed in the fact that the children participated in the Passover ritual by asking the questions, thus being taught the meaning of the Passover and of course children who could eat table food would have partaken of the Passover meal.

And as a brief rabbit trail, this mindset was carried over in the early church where the children were trained to ask question concerning the meaning of communion as a part of the earliest liturgies, and they then partook of the elements.

The administration of the Supper standeth not in a private usage, as belonging to some chosen and appointed persons, but it is public and common unto the whole church, so that as many as be reckoned among the members of the church, for whom Christ’s body was given, and his blood shed upon the cross, are to be admitted thereunto. And the very tradition of the Apostle, and the custom of the primitive church doth sufficiently declare, that the use thereof is common unto all faithful, in so much that the fathers did admit the infants of the faithful also, as we may see in Cyprian and Augustine.

It is known that the sacrament was given to the children of the faithful also in the time of Pope Innocent, Cyprian, and of Augustine, as well in Europe as in Africa.

Wolfgang Musculus
2nd Generation Reformer

One of the errors of the modern Church over the past few 100 years has been the constant and ongoing shedding of the centrality of the family in our faith and our living.

The text here describing the Passover demonstrates that we should be re-centering the family. The community then was a family of families and the Church today should be the community that is a family of families sharing a common faith and confession.

Strong churches imply strong families and strong families imply strong churches. You can only have one without the other without great difficulty. The enemy knows this better than we do, which explains his ongoing attack on both family and church.

III.) God and Passover Atonement

A.) God & His spokesmen Declaring Passover

Here we get to the crux of the matter. What I’m about to set forth is really Christianity 101 and the substance is that which we should all be as familiar with as the names of our family members.

In this whole plagues narrative we have seen Moses & Aaron serving as types of Prophet, Priest and King of God unto Pharaoh. They are types of Christ to the antitype that will be fulfilled with the coming Christ. Which is to say that they are those who prefigure the Messiah who is to come.

Now where do we see this type – anti-type dynamic? Well, we see it first here in the work of Moses & Aaron before Pharaoh. Moses and Aaron have been to Pharaoh prophet, priest and king, which serves as a type to Christ’s fulfillment anti-type. Christ is the great prophet, priest, and King of Scripture but all of that is anticipated in the OT. Here Moses and Aaron have been the anti-type prophet who have spoken forth God’s Word to Pharaoh at every turn. They have been God’s mouthpiece to Pharaoh and in doing so they have spoken with God’s voice. In this sense Christ is the greatest prophet who speaks forth as Prophet the Word of God… indeed He does so as the very Word of God. So when we look through Moses and Aaron here in the plagues narratives as coming to Pharaoh to speak the mind of God about what will be, we see the anticipation of a coming Christ who is the antitype .. the fulfillment of all they prefigured. In brief, when we see Moses and Aaron here we see Christ the prophet. Christ comes and speaks as God’s great Prophet.

In noting this we are reading the passage Christologically — in a Christ centered fashion. We are seeing Christ adumbrated and foreshadowed. And it is proper we should read the text in such a fashion for all of Scripture breathes the presence of our magnificent Lord Jesus Christ.

In the same way in these plagues Moses and Aaron have been anti-types — prefigurements — of Christ in His Kingly role. When Moses and Aaron command Pharaoh, “Let my people God that they may serve me,” this is the voice of the King. This is not the way of a negotiator, or the way of a manipulator, or the way of the salesman. This is the the way of a King saying, “Do this, or suffer the consequences.” Moses and later Christ in a much more fulsome capacity is a Great King and He is not selling something, He is not negotiating in His commands, He is not trying to manipulate. He comes to the sinner who is in great rebellion as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He says to the sinner, just as Moses says to Pharaoh here … “Do this or die.”

Listen my friends, Christianity is not a religion where God’s spokesmen are beggars or cajolers or grifters. We are all here prophet priests and kings under sovereign God and we speak with the voice of Kings where our great God has spoken. We say to sinners as Christ says to Moses, “Repent or die.” There is a certain imperiousness to the Gospel command. This is why it is so often said of us, “you sure have a lot of confidence,” and even with frequency, “you sure are arrogant.” I’m sure Pharaoh thought the Kingly bearing of Moses and Aaron was “arrogant.” I’m confident that no one ever spoke to Pharaoh the way that Moses and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh. Of course the man thought it was arrogance on steroids.

I’m sure the Pharisees opposed to Christ also thought that Christ was imperious in the way He spoke. People who are sitting on the top of the social ladder are not used to be spoken to as if they are at the bottom of the ladder.

But there it is. We are not glad handers or grifters. We speak with earnest as Kings before God and His Christ, saying, “REPENT.”

Finally, Moses and Aaron serve as Priests before God in the larger Exodus narrative. Remember one of the key roles of a Priest was to speak to God for the people. We find that most glaringly in the plagues in Ex. 8

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people. Ex. 8:8

Pharaoh was imploring Moses and Aaron to do Priestly interceding work for him.

Later in the Exodus account when Moses intercedes before God that God might spare His people for their sin we see again the anti-type role of the Priest being raised up. It is a anti-type to Christ who is the fulfillment type who prays for His people as the Great High Priest in John 17 and who continues in His priestly role in Praying for us right now at the right hand of the Father. Hebrews 7 teaches that our Lord Christ ever lives to make intercession for us.

All of these offices are here in the plague narratives. These great truths of Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King foreshadowed in the OT via the way that Moses and Aaron deals with Pharaoh.

And this is what we are called to now. Each of us buried in baptism with Christ are united to Him and in being united to Him we now are ourselves prophets, priests, and kings, under sovereign God assigned and delegated with the work of making his name known. Even, at times, saying to people, “Repent or you will die.” Even saying to men, “In times past God winked at your ignorance, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent.”

And if we need anymore support our own Catechism asks;

Question 32: But why art thou called a Christian?

And then goes on to give as the answer (and I am summarizing here) we are called Christians because we are prophet, priests, and kings under sovereign God.

B.) God and His Passover Lamb

Here the text describes the requirements of God in order to be passed over by the wrath of God.

Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without[a] blemish, a male [b]of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two  doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

There is a great deal to speak off here.

Of course, once again, we find anti-type and type all over the passage. The Passover Lamb is an anti-type of the to come type of the lamb of God who giveth his life for the sins of the world who Himself was without the spot or blemish of imperfection/sin.

Here we find the reality of danger. God is going to kill dead the first-born of of every household where the blood does not cover the lintel of the home. If Hebrew homes don’t have the blood, Hebrew homes are going to wake up with fewer family members then they went to bed with.

God’s wrath is coming upon all men, and the only place of safety is to be found as under the blood of the lamb that was sacrificed as a means of protection of the just wrath of God. God is an avenging and jealous God. He will by no means clear the guilty apart from His proscribed way of escape.

And so that passover lamb in this 10th plague is a lamb of propitiation. The blood of this lamb turns away the just and fierce wrath of God against sinners who will not repent. This is propitiation. God see’s the blood on the lintel and His wrath is turned away and He passes over the household.

Of course the blessed Lord Jesus Christ is the lamb of God who provides our needed propitiation. God sees the blood of Christ covering us and His wrath passes by because it was already spent on the sacrifice.

And so we can understand why it is said that, “without the shedding of blood there is no turning away of wrath.”

Of course there is the idea of substitution here as well. That Passover lamb was dying a substitutionary death in the place of those whose household was under the blood. By recognizing the necessity for shed blood they confessed their need of a substitutionary and vicarious sacrifice to spare them the just wrathful judgment of God.

This idea of vicarious points to substitution. The language in the NT is that Christ died in our place, on our behalf, in our stead, for us. The word ‘vicarious’ (vicarius from vicis, ‘change,’ ‘alteration’) means acting, or suffering, for another, or in the place of another. The idea of change, transfer, or substitution pertains to the term. It has the same root as ‘vice’ in ‘vicegerent,’ ‘viceroy’ or ‘vicar,’ and other words which signify that one person has assumed the place, position, or office of another.

That lamb assumed the place, and position of the one who deserved the treatment that the Passover Lamb received in their stead.

All of this is screaming at us. It not only screams propitiation, and vicarious substitution, it screams sacrifice.

God’s wrath is just and God determines that the only way it can be turned is by a sacrifice that He determines. The sacrifice has the purpose of appeasing the just wrath of God. Pharaoh didn’t take seriously the wrath of God and so didn’t bother offering up the requisite sacrifice.

With the consequence that the first born of all of Egypt died.

Here, modern man plays the role of Pharaoh. He does not take God seriously. He does not flee to the sacrifice that God provided for his safety. Instead he seeks to provide his own sacrifices to assuage his conscience. He offers up his children as sacrifice by sending them to Government schools and by sometimes literally burning them in the fires of Molech.

If man will not have God’s sacrifice he will find his own sacrifice to desperately find forgiveness for his offenses He cannot escape.

How can we preach this or hear this apart from a sense of burden? Burdened that God’s glory is so routinely neglected? Burdened that modern man would rather die eternally …. would rather experience the wrath of God then flee the wrath to come by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s only place of safety.

The weight of God lies so lightly upon me … lies so lightly upon all of us.

Looking at the plagues, reminds us that we needs be a people who fear God and consequently are a people who command all men everywhere to repent.

My friends… much of this is the core of the Christian faith. I trust that all of us here have this at our fingertips and know this truth better than the names of our family.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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