"The Angel of Death and the First Passover"

Exodus 10:1–13:16: Make me unleavened

When we observe the commandments of God, we are like  unleavened bread, flatbread, called matzot in Hebrew. There’s nothing added, nothing taken out. So we are not to add to God’s commandments, and we are not to treat any traditions we keep on the same level as God’s commandments.

In the Torah reading Bo (“come,” Exodus 10:1–13:16), we learn that matzot gives you life, but it also gives you some affliction and difficulty. God’s mitzvot are the same, they give us life but they also bring some difficulty to life.

The account of the Exodus, with the death of the firstborn of Mitzraim granting freedom to Yisra’el teaches us that freedom comes at a price. Being the firstborn of the Kingdom of God comes from a blood purchase, Yeshua the Mashiakh‘s life for ours. Today is the day of repentance. It is never too late to repent, unless we run out of tomorrows.

According to King Solomon, he built the Temple 480 years after the children of Israel left Egypt. It was 430 years from when God told Abraham that his descendants would go to Egypt to slavery.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.’” (Exodus 10:1–2 NASB)

God made Pharaoh and his servants stubborn to show His greatness. God told Moses from the beginning that this is what He was going to do. God had in mind all along that Pharaoh’s son would die  so the people of Israel would be free from slavery. God wanted them to know this story and to relate it to all generations so that all generations would know that He is God.

The children of Israel did not really have faith in God until after they had crossed the Red Sea and the Pharaoh and his army were washed away. These plagues and the miracles were mainly for the sake of the children of Israel to increase their faith and to believe in Him.

It’s never too late to repent. Pharaoh he could have relented at anytime but he did not.

“Pharaoh’s servants said to him, ‘How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?’” (Exodus 10:7 NASB)

The prior hail struck two of the main sources of Egypt’s wealth: the flax and barley. This is when Pharaoh looses the support of his advisors. The advisors were the heart of Pharaoh’s support and they were starting to turn on him and this starts to turn Pharaoh’s heart but not to repentance.

“Then he said to them, “Thus may the LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Take heed, for evil is in your mind.” (Exodus 10:10 NASB)

This is Pharaonic shorthand for Israel is too dangerous to keep in Egypt but they are also too dangerous to allow to leave.

Plague of darkness

The next plague after locusts is called “darkness” in English but this is not just someone turning out a light. You could not see anyone even right next to you. This darkness was so profound that their lamps, fires, etc. did not emit light. The sun was blotted out. It was a darkness that could be felt. It was an all-encompassing, crushing darkness, as though one is dying. It created an intense fear in the people. This is the same darkness that was on the earth at the beginning of creation.

The Egyptians got to experience this for three straight days. Sensory depravation on a national scale.

“Then Pharaoh said to him, ‘Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!’ Moses said, ‘You are right; I shall never see your face again!’” (Exodus 10:28–29 NASB)

Plague of death of the firstborn

But Moses does not leave Pharaoh’s presence quite yet. God had more to say.

“Moses said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well. ‘Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again. ‘But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ “All these your servants will come down to me and bow themselves before me, saying, ‘Go out, you and all the people who follow you,’ and after that I will go out.” And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.” (Exodus 11:4–8 NASB)

It is at this point that Moses leaves Pharaoh’s presence and never meets him face to face again. Pharoah knows how this saga is going to end for him and the people of Egypt.

Three memorials of Passover

There are three things you should you teach your children every year at Passover. The point is to remember.

  1. Blood on doorposts
  2. Matzah
  3. Lamb

The tradition of the Pharisees of “selling” your leaven to a gentile neighbor so you can evict the leaven from your house and then get it back at the end of the Passover is cheating.

Flatbread and commands

The Hebrew word matzot is very important. It’s not just a reference to flatbread. It’s the same word as the word mitzvot, which means command. The only way to can tell the difference in Hebrew in with context. Context is everything. You eat flatbread, you keep the commandments of God. They are essentially equal. The commandments of God are not sour, they are not added to or subtracted from.

Chametz, on the other hand, is sourness, fermentation, a form of death. Chametz is not associated with the command of God at all. Chametz is not a mitzvot.

When we observe the commandments of God, we are like the flatbread: There’s nothing added, nothing taken out. We are not to add to God’s commandments and we are not to treat any traditions we keep on the same level as God’s commandments.

Matzot gives you life but it also give you some affliction and difficulty. God’s mitzvot are the same, they give us life but they also bring some difficulty to life.

Passover is personal

“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it; but every man’s slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it. “A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it. “It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it. “All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this. “But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it. “The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.”” (Exodus 12:43–49 NASB)

Passover is a personal, family event. It is not a community event. It should be in your home. If your home is too small, join up with another small family. It’s supposed to be an intimate time between you and God.

Who is ‘firstborn’?

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me.’” (Exodus 13:1–2 NASB)

The status of Firstborn isn’t always based on biology, sometimes it’s earned. Anyone who is redeemed is a firstborn of God. Messiah bought all of us with His blood so we are all Firstborns.

“And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. ‘It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.’”(Exodus 13:14–16 NASB)

“After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.”

Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it. “For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness. “When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance ― all of which took about four hundred and fifty years. “After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. “Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’ “From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. “And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’” (Acts 13:15–25 NASB)

Both Moses and John the Baptist called out for repentance. Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses. Pharaoh did not know God.

The leaders of Israel did not listen to John the Baptist, either. They refused to believe his message. They also refused to believe the words of the Messiah who he was herald.

Yeshua is the Firstborn of God, the Firstborn of the grave. No one else has these titles.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38–39 NASB)

The rulers of the synagogue didn’t believe Paul anymore than Pharaoh believed Moses.

Summary: Tammy.

Banner image: Charles Foster, ed., “The Angel of Death and the First Passover,” “Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us,” Drawing, Public domain (U.S.), W.A Foster: Philadelphia, 1897.

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