صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


No. II.

JUNE, 1863.

Passover; Priesthood; Borrowing the Jewels.*

The Exodus;

ONE of the leading epochs in sacred history was formed by the departure of the Hebrews from the land of Egypt. The chosen seed was originally in a succession of individuals: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In the children of Jacob the visible church expanded into a family. The sojourn in Egypt consolidated the separate clans into the unity of a common life; and the exodus transformed twelve tribes of bondsmen, apparently helpless, into a nation of kings and priests, powerful in numbers and resources, compacted together by a community of race and traditions, and inspired by the sense of an exalted destiny.

In order to obtain a clear insight into the narrative of the exodus, it is necessary to appreciate what was peculiar in the destruction of the first-born of Egypt, and in the incidents

* HELPS TO THE STUDY.-On the Passover: Hengstenberg's Auth. Pent. 2: 294. Witsius' Covenants, B. IV, chap. ix. M'Donald's Pent. 1: 209, 2: 268-272. Kurtz' Old Cov't. 2: 294–311. Fairbairn's Typol. 2: 404. Kitto's Cyclo. Art. “Passover." Orme's Lord's Supper, 10-27. McGee's Atone. Disserta. 35. Bib. Sac. 1845. p. 405. Calvin's Harm. Pent. 1: 220, 456, 458.

The Priesthood, etc.: Kurtz, 3: 203-6. Fairbairn, 2: 244-275. Hengstenberg, 2: 329-340.

Borrowing the Jewels: Hengstenberg, 2: 417. Kurtz, 2: 319. McDonald, 2: 57. Calvin on Ex. iii: 22 and xi: 2. Rosenmüller on Ex. iii: 22. Kitto Art. "Weights and Measures." Arbuthnot's Tables. Hebrew Concordance sub voce Shahal.

[blocks in formation]

connected therewith. Jehovah gave this commission to Moses: "Thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my first-born; 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 first-born." Ex. iv: 22, 23. From these words it appears, first, that the destruction of the first-born was, from the beginning, contemplated as the crowning act in the series of calamities about to be inflicted on Egypt. The preceding plagues were, therefore, merely preliminary to that. The nine were in the nature of warnings, the tenth was a work of final judgment. That destruction, secondly, was relevant to the sin of Egypt; according to a well-known principle in the divine government whereby the leading characteristic of the sin is reiterated in the leading characteristic of the punishment; as in the law of retaliation, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. The oppression of Israel, God's first-born son, was the crime-the destruction of the firstborn sons of the oppressors, was the penalty. The visitation, thirdly, was purely supernatural. Unlike most of the other wonders, it did not rest on any natural basis; that is to say, it was not a curse native-born to the country, under a form intensely aggravated by the power of God, but it was altogether a strange terror; a species of retribution never before employed, never since repeated. To this it should be added, fourthly, that the plague was not introduced by human intervention. During the progress of the ten wonders, the ministries engaged rose in dignity. The first three were brought forward by the instrumentality of Aaron in the use of his rod; at the fourth, and thence onward, the most prominent part was assigned to Moses; but in the tenth Moses warned the Hebrews that it was impending, and then stepped aside at the approach of the Jehovah-Angel. It was, therefore, an immediate manifestation of supernatural power. God had said to the king, "I will slay thy son, even thy first-born."

Before the series of plagues began,

Among the incidents connected with this visitation of God, the institution of the Passover was, perhaps, the most important. By divine command, each family of the Hebrews selected, on the tenth day of the current month, a lamb or a kid without blemish, a male of the first year. On the fourteenth

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

day of the month, at evening, it was killed; its blood was sprinkled upon the door-posts and lintels of the house; the body of the lamb was roasted entire, and eaten by the whole family with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They partook of the repast in haste, with their loins girded, sandals on their feet, and staff in hand, ready, at a given signal, to set off for Canaan. About midnight the Almighty went through the land smiting the first-born of Egypt, but passing over the houses the door-posts of which were marked with the blood of the paschal lamb. Hence the ceremony was called the feast of the Passover, and it was appointed to be observed annually, as a perpetual ordinance. Various amendments were afterward introduced into the law of the Passover, adapted to a settled church-state; but these need not be dwelt upon in this place. The fundamental ordinance may be found in Ex. xii: 1-20; the persons allowed to be present are described in xii: 43-49; the original ordinance is abridged in xxiii: 15, in xxxiv: 18, and in Lev. xxiii: 4; further directions as to the communicants are contained in Num. ix: 1-4; and the sacrifices associated with the feast are mentioned in Num. xxviii: 16-25; and the final form of the ritual, adapted to the Mosaic institutes of worship and to the condition of the church in Canaan is of record in Deut. xvi: 1-12.

Nothing is more strictly defined in these Scriptures, than the relation between the shedding of blood and the redemption of Israel from the destruction of the first-born. The Hebrews as well as the Egyptians had been guilty of idolatry; therefore the first three plagues were laid upon both people alike. Afterward the Hebrews were spared while the Egyptians were punished. But in the final execution of judgment, a new principle was associated with the grace by which the chosen seed were saved from death; the principle of redemption by the shedding and sprinkling of blood. The victim divinely selected was a lamb or a kid without blemish; the officiating priest, in the absence of a sacerdotal order, was the head of the family; the altar, in the absence of a public place of sacrifice, was the doorway of the house; the sprinkling of the blood upon the lintels and door-posts was an act of obedience to God, and of faith in his promise; the passing over of the houses which were marked by the blood, was an act of

God having respect unto his own way of salvation; and the whole was a true expiation for sin, offered by the sinner, and accepted by the Sovereign Judge. "And the blood," said Jehovah, "shall be to you a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you." Ex. xii: 13. Comp. xii; 23. Some of the cardinal principles which enter into the salvation of the Gospel are fully expressed in this transaction. God will have a chosen people to serve him; the subjects of this saving grace must be chosen not only, but redeemed as well; this redemption is effected by the blood of the Lamb; the shed blood must be appropriated to himself, by an act of faith on the part of the sinner; and when the Almighty, coming to judge the wicked, "sees the blood," he will pass over his chosen, redeemed and believing people.

It is a fact, every way remarkable, that some of the soundest of the early Protestant theologians would not admit that the Passover was, strictly speaking, a sacrificial institute. It was a sacrament, they alleged, not a sacrifice. They were driven to this position by what appeared to them to be a polemical necessity. The Roman Catholic divines constructed an argument, which began with the proposition that the Passover was a true sacrifice for sin, and terminated in the conclusion that the Lord's Supper, being both its substitute and antitype, was also a sacrifice for sin. A conclusive reply to this argument might have been found in two suggestions. So far as the question turns upon the fact that the Lord's Supper is a substitute for the Passover, it is an established principle that one ordinance of worship may take the place of another although they differ in manner and form as widely as baptism differs from circumcision, and the offering of prayer from the burning of incense. And, so far as the question turns on the fact that the Lord's Supper is an antitype of the Passover, the quality of sacrifice which was in the Passover can not appear in the Lord's Supper, for the reason that since the death of Christ there remains no more sacrifice for sin. Heb. vii: 27, ix: 28. But the Protestant theologians, not content with this reply, attempted to cut short the debate by denying, out and out, the sacrificial character of the Passover; and even to this day, traces of this opinion occasionally appear in the writings of approved divines. But this opinion can not be maintained

except in opposition to the concurrent testimonies of the Scriptures. In the first place, the Passover is repeatedly called a sacrifice. It is described in Ex. xii: 27, as the "sacrifice of the Lord's Passover;" in xxxiv: 25, as "the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover;" in Num. ix: 7, as "an offering of the Lord;" and in Deut. xvi: 2–6, equivalent expressions are four times employed. Next, after the building of the tabernacle, the paschal lamb was, by divine command, to be slain only at the place where sacrifice might be offered. Deut. xvi: 4, 5; Ezra vi: 20. Further, both the blood and the fat of the paschal victim were offered by the priest on the altar, according to the invariable law of atonement. 2 Chron. xxx: 15, 16; xxxv: 11, 14. Further still, Paul puts into the same category the slaying of this lamb and the death of Christ: "For even Christ, our Passover" (our paschal lamb, Mark xiv: 12), "is sacrificed for us." 1 Cor. v: 7. Finally, in both Philo and Josephus the ceremony is styled Ovora and fupa, an expiation for sin. Compare Ova in 1 Cor. v: 7. Nor do the particulars wherein it differed from other forms of sacrifice invalidate its title to a place among them. The imposition of hands, the service of the Aaronic priesthood, the sprinkling of the blood and the burning of the fat on the consecrated altar were omitted from the first Passover; but it is to be remembered that neither the regular priesthood nor the brazen altar were, at that time, in existence. The attitudes of the worshipers, eating the flesh of the lamb in haste, with girded loins, their feet in sandals, and leaning on their staves, were peculiarities which were laid aside after the exodus; the use of unleavened bread and bitter herbs were peculiarities which became permanent in the ordinance. But these incidents, whether permanent or transient, did not deprive the Passover of its sacrificial character-they simply determined it to be a sacrifice of a particular class.

This festival was, moreover, appointed to be the standing commemoration of past deliverance and the type of a future salvation. As a memorial of the past it was observed annually, with the utmost solemnity, through all the ages of the Jewish commonwealth. There were three feasts of convocation, at which all the Jews were required to assemble at Jerusalem; and of these the Passover was the chief. Not only

« السابقةمتابعة »