This week’s parasha is entitled, Bo, which means, “Go.” It covers Exodus, chapter 10:1 to 13:16.
We heard about the first 7 plagues last week and chapter 10 begins with the 8th plague, the plague of locusts. One of the purposes of each plague is that it represents a confrontation between the Living God and the false gods of Egypt which really have no power. This 8th plague is no different. The locusts will come and finish off the crops that remain in Egypt.
The 9th plague is the plague of darkness. This darkness was so thick and heavy that it could be felt, v. 21. I imagine that even if the Egyptians lit a candle, the light could not be seen.
Again, the plagues show God’s power over the powerless Egyptian gods. But the plagues also have future implications. They are a testimony about the power of the True God to future generations of the children of Israel, Exodus 10:2. And, they are also a warning to other nations that God brought these plagues on Egypt, 1 Samuel 4:8.
Chapter 11 discusses the last plague, the death of the firstborn, both of humans and of animals. This plague stands apart from the other 9 in terms of how devastating it will be. It is one thing to experience locusts, or darkness, for example, but it is another to experience the death of a family member. Everyone in Egypt is affected by this plague and Exodus 12:30 tells us there was no home where there was not someone who died.
Why did God utilize the death of the firstborn as the final plague? The answer to that can be found in Exodus 4:22 and 23, where Adonai states: “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My first-born. “So I said to you, ‘Let My son go, that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your first born.’” Even before Moses goes before Pharoah for the first time, which is in Exodus, chapter 5, God tells Moses what will happen.
While other plagues affected only the Egyptians, the plague of the death of the firstborn affects everyone in the land, Israeli and Egyptian. In chapter 12, God provides a way to be “passed over” by this plague. Each household was to select an unblemished, one-year old lamb. They were to watch that lamb for 4 days, from the 10th day of the month until the 14th day of the month. Then, each household was to kill the lamb at twilight and smear some of the blood on the two door posts and the top of the door. The lamb was to be roasted over the fire and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. After partaking in these foods, the family was to stay inside their house until morning.
At midnight, the Lord passed through the land and at the houses where there was no lamb’s blood on the door, the firstborn was killed. There was much grief in the land of Egypt. Moses and Aaron are summoned by Pharoah and commanded to leave the land, fulfilling God’s words that the people will be driven out of Egypt, Exodus 6:1.
It is very important that we understand the symbolism of the Passover holiday. It is one of the most central themes of the Old Testament, mentioned in every book of the Torah, even in Genesis, where, in chapter 15, God tells Abraham that Abraham’s descendants will be enslaved in a foreign land, but that God will free them.
Passover speaks of redemption. By putting the blood of the unblemished, or innocent, lamb on the doors of their houses, the Israelis were spared the death of the firstborn. They were covered, or protected, by the blood of the sacrificed lamb as the plague came. Through this final plague, the children of Israel were redeemed out of the land of Egypt. Through this physical redemption, they went from being slaves, to being free.
The Passover mentioned in the Old Testament is a picture, a prophecy of another, and greater Passover. Messiah Yeshua, was referred to as a lamb. John calls him the lamb who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Just as the lamb was watched for 4 days before it was killed at twilight at the first Passover, so too, our Lord was watched closely by the nation of Israel during the three years of His ministry. Just as the Passover lamb was unblemished, or innocent, so too was our Messiah. He never sinned. However, because of His death and resurrection, those who believe in Yeshua as the Son of God, are covered by His precious blood. Even though we are sinners, we are passed over because His sinless life atones for our sins. We, who were slaves to sin, become free through the blood of Messiah. Just as the Israelis were physically redeemed out of Egypt, we who believe in God, through His Son, are redeemed spiritually.
So that we would be sure to understand the imagery, Yeshua died exactly on Passover in fulfillment of this holiday. The Last Supper was a Passover meal. After that, Yeshua and His disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. Yeshua is then arrested, He goes before the Sanhedrin, which then took Him to Pilate. He is sent to Herod and back to Pilate, the people demand the freedom of Barabbas, Yeshua carries His Cross and is crucified, dies and is buried all within the span of the Jewish day, evening to evening.
Please do not miss out on the plan that God has for you. He wants you to be saved, but it has to be on His terms. Remember, for the firstborn, it wasn’t just being inside the house on that Passover night, it was being in the house which had the covering of the lamb’s blood. Just as God provided a plan of physical redemption out of the slavery of Egypt, so too, He has a plan for spiritual redemption out of sin. That plan is believing in the Messiah that He was sent to take away the sins of the world. If you have been thinking about this and want to become a part of God’s plan of redemption, I ask that you not delay one more day so that you can be a part of His Passover, His plan of redemption.