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From Eternity Past

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    Chapter 24—The First Passover

    This chapter is based on Exodus 11; 12:1-32.

    When the demand for Israel's release had been first presented to the king of Egypt, the warning of the most terrible of the plagues had been given. “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, even My firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” Exodus 4:22, 23.EP 189.1

    God has a tender care for the beings formed in His image. If the loss of their harvests and their flocks and herds had brought Egypt to repentance, the children would not have been smitten; but the nation had stubbornly resisted the divine command. Now the final blow was about to fall.EP 189.2

    Moses had been forbidden, on pain of death, to appear again in Pharaoh's presence; but again Moses came before him, with the terrible announcement: “Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”EP 189.3

    Before the execution of this sentence the Lord through Moses gave direction to the children of Israel concerning their departure from Egypt and their preservation from the coming judgment. Each family, alone or in connection with others, was to slay a lamb or a kid “without blemish,” and with a bunch of hyssop sprinkle its blood on “the two sideposts and on the upper doorpost” of the house, that the destroying angel at midnight might not enter that dwelling. They were to eat the flesh roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, at night, as Moses said, “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's passover.”EP 189.4

    The Lord declared: “I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment... . And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you.”EP 190.1

    In commemoration of this great deliverance, a feast was to be observed yearly by Israel in all future generations—“the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”EP 190.2

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