On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn male, both man and beast, and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.
I. THE MEANS OF SAFETY vers. 7-13).
1. They took the blood and struck it on the door posts and the lintel. We must appropriate Christ's atonement. We must say by faith, "he died for me."
2. They passed within the blood-stained portals. Christ's blood must stand between us and condemnation, between us and sin. Our safety lies in setting that between oar soul and them. The realising of Christ's death for our sins is, salvation.
II. THE MEANS OF STRENGTH FOR THE ONWARD WAY. Feeding upon Christ. While Egypt was slumbering Israel was feasting. While the world is busy with its dreams we must feast upon the joy of eternity, and, comprehending with all saints the infinite love of Christ, be filled with all the fulness of God. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
III. HOW CHRIST MUST BE PARTAKEN OF.
1. With unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The old leaven of malice and wickedness must be put away, and the feasting on Christ's love must be accompanied with repentance and self denial. There may be now and again a momentary glimpse of Christ's love where sin is not parted with, but there can be no communion, no enduring vision.
2. Christ must be taken as God has set him before us, in the simplicity of the Gospel, with nothing of man's invention, addition, or diminution. The Gospel remedy avails only when taken in the Gospel way (vers. 9, 10).
3. He must b? partaken of in the union of love. The Passover is a social, a family feast. Those who refuse to seek church-fellowship are despising God's arrangements for their own salvation, and proving themselves devoid of the spirit which, loving him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.
4. He must be partaken of with the pilgrim spirit and preparedness (ver. 11). They who will be saved by Jesus must take up their cross and follow him. - U.
Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute Judgment.Deuteronomy 10:17, Moses says, "The Lord your God is God of gods," and when, in Joshua 22:22, the people exclaim, "The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, He knoweth" — what do the words mean? Are there other "gods" than Jehovah? It is likely this inquiry will come up in the mind of almost any student of the Bible when he is reading the account of the ten plagues. The question is hard to discuss; but two considerations can be offered for help, and then we can reach the conclusion.
1. One is this: the entire record, unless a most elastic ingenuity of exposition be employed, seems to say that the contests delineated in the exciting chapters which record the deliverance from bondage and the establishment of Israel was between supernatural powers, rather than between ordinary human antagonists. Pharaoh accepted the gauntlet thrown down by Moses as a defiance to his gods, and, with a courage worthy of a better cause, took it up cheerfully in their name. So the conflict proceeds. The nations stand silently and solemnly by while these tremendous antagonistic forces are employed in the royal abodes, and are aroused only afterwards when the pressure outside begins to be felt. The close of the narrative teaches us that they were perfectly intelligent from the beginning in the conceptions they had of what was going on. Pharaoh finally confesses openly the defeat of his gods when he says humbly to Moses, "Go then, serve Jehovah; and bless me also!" And with a like acknowledgment the Israelites ascribe all the glory of their deliverance to God. They do not behave as if they owed even a decent gratitude to Moses or Aaron.
2. We must put with this consideration a second: these so-called "gods" of the Egyptians are spoken of constantly as if they were not mere dumb idols, nor even mere ideal creations of human imagination; the language could have hardly been stronger if it had meant to leave the impression that they were living existences — beings possessed of life and intelligence and will and some power (see Deuteronomy 32:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 10:20; Psalm 66:4, 5). For some mysterious reason of His own, the sovereign Monarch of the universe has accepted an antagonism between the powers of evil and the powers of good in this world; and for nearly six thousand years Satan His creature has been waging battle openly amid the sublime agencies of nature with Jesus Christ His Son. We feel as if we must assume real antagonists when we read Moses' own words in Numbers 33:4: "The Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the Lord had smitten among them; upon their gods also the Lord executed judgment."
3. Thus, then, we reach our conclusion at which all along we have been aiming. Were Pharaoh's gods real gods? How was Jehovah the "God of gods"? And what does our text mean, "Against all the gods of Egypt will I execute judgment"? We ask you to recapitulate in your own minds the delineation made concerning the three cycles of miracles grouped around the three personages who stood on a certain occasion on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus Christ, Moses, and Elijah, each the bringer of a dispensation of revealed truth for men's salvation, the law, the prophets, and the gospel. It is sufficient to say, here at the start, that this same onset of demoniacal forces is disclosed in each of these cases, and a recognition made of the fact that the old fight with Satan was renewed, the old fight which began in the Garden of Eden. Demoniacal possession is found in these same three cycles of time, and nowhere else in the history of the Old Testament or the New. This, then, is what is intended when we say that this was a contest between Immanuel and Satan, a positive resumption of the war from the instant when "the seed of the woman" began to bruise the serpent's head. So, when we return to the story we are studying, we are bold to say that this whole contest between Moses and Menephtah was really the sublime and awful conflict between Immanuel and Satan for the slavery, on the one side, for the salvation, on the other, of the race of human souls whom the Almighty had originally made in His own image. Several most welcome explanations, therefore, meet us just here.
1. One is concerning the abrupt cessation of performances, on the part of Pharaoh's magicians, when they exclaimed, "This is the finger of God." They knew that the resistance was virtually over. We may even imagine that these people had sometimes been surprised already at what actually seemed their own power. Then there is a second explanation furnished by this disclosure.
2. We know now why this history has such an evangelical spirit attributed to it when references are made in the New Testament. Read over again, in the light of such an understanding of God's true purpose, the story which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews gives concerning Moses' choice in his early career; see how singular is the motive ascribed to him: He took his stand as a believer in Jehovah Jesus as his Redeemer — "By faith Moses," etc. The New Testament writer identifies the two dispensations as the same. Israel was the Church, Jehovah was Jesus; so Moses became a Christian.
3. In the same way the allusions made to the incidents of the later history become intelligible. You recall the terrible trouble from the fiery serpents; put with that now the exhortation of the apostle Paul: "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents." He here says that Christ was the one who was tempted in that murmuring; it was Christ who was leading Israel through the wilderness. There never has been but one Church, but one Leader of God's elect, but one Redeemer, but one way in which to be saved.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
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