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The Token of the Blood
“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, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)
The Scriptures constantly speak about the blood. It is written in the books of the law, “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” God told Moses, “The blood shall be to you for a token.” He said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” When the high priest went into the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement, he went in with blood. No man can come to God without blood atonement.
When our Savior instituted the Lord’s Supper, he took the cup of wine, held it before his disciples, and said, “This is the blood of the New Testament, shed for many for the remission of sins.” In Hebrews 9:22, we read, “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” That makes the blood a matter of infinitely immense importance.
These days, it is common for preachers, churches, theologians, and hymn writers to say as little as possible about the blood. We have become so educated, refined, and sophisticated that talking about blood is considered improper, unsophisticated, and rude. But it is still true that “without shedding of blood is no remission.” The whole of God’s revelation of himself, the whole of the gospel, the whole of salvation is wrapped up in the blood, the precious, sin-atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-21).
The shedding of Christ’s precious blood was and is absolutely essential to the saving of our souls. Let us ever cherish the blood of Christ as that which is precious above all things. — “The blood shall be to you for a token.” Because of the blood, the precious, sin-atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the blood represented and typified in the paschal lamb, the Lord God here issues the greatest promise that a man on earth can have from God, the greatest promise God ever gave to a sinner.
“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, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
What is God saying? He is saying “When I deal in judgment with Egypt, I will deal in mercy with you.” That is what he is saying to us in this passage: “When I deal in judgment with the world’s sin, when I come in wrath, judgment, and condemnation upon this world; I will cover you with my grace.” The holy, just, and true God is saying to chosen, redeemed sinners, sinners in whose hearts and consciences God the Holy Ghost has sprinkled the Savior’s blood, “When I execute wrath for sin, I am going to extend my mercy to you.” — “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
When this promise was given, an angry God was walking through the streets of Egypt. Someone said, “God, with sword drawn and sharpened for the conflict, was walking through the streets of Egypt that midnight and slaying on either hand the first-born in every home.” God came in judgment, God in wrath, God in condemnation, falling upon the land of Egypt, and destroyed the pride of every home, the joy of every house, and the firstborn of every family, from Pharaoh’s Palace to the maid behind the mill, to the cattle in the barn and the cattle in the field.
Will God smite all? Will he condemn all? Will he destroy all? No. In wrath, he remembers mercy! With the voice of mercy, he speaks. — “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” God in judgment, walking through the streets of Egypt, God in wrath, God dealing with sin, and God in mercy dealing with men, speaks to a few among many, a nation within a nation, and says, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
Saved and Safe
God’s people are safe. God’s people, chosen, redeemed, and called, are saved; and they are safe. They are secure. There is no judgment that can come upon them. Why are God’s people safe? Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:1, 33-34). Here are four things that demand the absolute, everlasting safety of God’s elect.
1. God’s people are safe because they are in his heart. He said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. In loving-kindness I have drawn you.” God’s people are safe because they are in his heart. It is in his heart to save them. It is in his heart to keep them. It is in his heart to sustain them. It is in his heart to protect them.
2. Not only are they in his heart but they are also in his hand. Our Lord Jesus Christ said; “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. My Father which gave them me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them to me is greater than all and no man can pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” They are in his hand. No one can get to them. They are secure and they are safe. God’s people are safe. When the angry God stalked through the land of Egypt at midnight, and that horrible, bitter, wail, a cry such had never been heard before and such as has never been heard since, God’s people were safe because they were in his heart and in his hand. — Not only that…
3. They were in his covenant. He said, “I will make a covenant with you and I will write my law in your hearts and on your minds and your sins and iniquities I will remember no more.” Not only are we in his heart, in his hand, and in his covenant… —
4. God’s people are safe because they are in his Son. — “There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.”
When the Lord God comes in judgment, in providential judgment to any nation, any house, or any age, or when he comes in the final judgment of that great day when the elements being on fire shall melt with a fervent heat, God’s people are safe. He has promised…
“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, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
God’s people are safe because, only because they are “under the blood.” Our salvation, our safety, our security is in the blood, only in the blood of Christ, the blood spilled by the hand of divine justice at Calvary. The blood of the Lamb had to be spilt, violently spilt, or we could never be saved. The Lord God said…
“Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” (vv. 3-6)
Without question, the most wondrous of all God’s works is the work of redemption. When we attempt to consider what that work involved, we are lost in astonishment. When we think of the unutterable depths of shame and sorrow into which the Lord of glory entered to save us, we are awed and staggered. A. W. Pink rightly wrote…
“That the eternal Son of God should lay aside the robes of his ineffable glory and take upon him the form of a servant, that the Ruler of heaven and earth should be ‘made under the law’ (Galatians 4:4), that the Creator of the universe should tabernacle in this world and ‘have not where to lay his head’ (Matthew 8:20), is something which no finite mind can comprehend; but where carnal reason fails us, God-given faith believes and worships.”
As we trace the path of our Savior from the throne of life to the tomb of death and behold him who was rich, for our sakes, becoming poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich, we cannot fathom the depths of the wonders before us. We know that every step in the path of our Redeemer’s humiliation was ordained in the eternal purpose of God. Yet, it was a path of immeasurable sorrow, unutterable anguish, ceaseless ignominy, bitter hatred, and relentless persecution; a path that brought the Beloved Son of God, the Darling of heaven, to suffer the painful, shameful death of the cross! Who could ever have imagined such things as these? Standing at the foot of the cross, as I behold the Holy One nailed to the cursed tree, covered with his own blood and the spit of an enraged mob, made to be sin, forsaken and cursed of God his Father, yet, realizing that this is the work of God’s own hand, I am lost in astonishment! I am filled with reverence and awe (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13).
Awed as I am with reverence for my crucified Lord, still there is a question that I cannot suppress, a question that reason and sound judgment cannot fail to ask. The question is, Why? Why did the Son of God suffer such a death? Why did God so torment his beloved Son, and kill him in such an horribly ignominious way? Was it to save my soul? I know that he did so that I might live. He suffered, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring me to God. But was there no other way for the omnipotent God to save me? Was all this done to demonstrate the greatness of God’s love to me? I know it was (Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). But God could have revealed his love to me in some other way. Why did he slay his Son? What necessity was there for the Son of God to suffer and die upon the cursed tree?
Only one answer can be found to that question. — The justice of God had to be satisfied. There was no necessity for God to save anyone. Salvation is altogether the free gift of his grace. But, having determined to save his elect from the ruins of fallen humanity, the only way God could save his people and forgive their sins was by the death of Christ. — “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). The justice of God had to be satisfied in order for God to save his people; and the only thing that could ever satisfy the justice of God is the blood of Christ. The blood must be spilt, or sinners cannot be saved.
And the blood spilt must be sprinkled. In verse seven the Lord God said…
“And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”
There is a striking allusion here in the sprinkling of the blood, to that of the blood of the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 9:19-20; 12:24). The blood had to be sprinkled upon the two doorposts of every house, because no one can get into the house and family of God, but by blood. And the blood had to be sprinkled upon the lentil, overhead, because sinners must have a mediator between us and the holy Lord God. But the blood must not be sprinkled upon the threshold, because the blood of the covenant, the precious, sin-atoning blood of Christ must never be looked upon as a common thing, as something that is to be trampled underfoot (Hebrews 10:29).
Our Redeemer’s precious blood must be applied as well as shed. It had to be sprinkled in heaven, accepted by God; and it must be sprinkled upon, personally applied to each ransomed soul (Romans 5:11). When the Holy Ghost, whose office it is to take of the things of Christ and show to his people, giving the heaven-born soul faith in Christ, he sprinkles the conscience from dead works and declares justification in the soul. So that every sinner, taught of God, has the testimony from God himself that Enoch had, “that he pleased God” (Hebrews 9:12-14; 11:5-6). Lord, grant that our souls may fully feel the blessed application of Jesus’ blood and righteousness, in this soul-refreshing way, to the glory of God in Jesus Christ!
Then, the Lord commanded the children of Israel go inside the house and eat the lamb, all of it; leaving nothing until the morning (vv. 8-11). This is, of course, a vivid picture of faith in Christ. Faith receives, embraces, and trusts the whole Christ. He is our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. He is our Wisdom, our Righteousness, our Sanctification, and our Redemption. And, the Lord God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” God’s people are safe only through the blood. — “It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.” That is what the Scripture says. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.”
“Under the blood of Jesus
Safe in the shepherd’s fold
Under the blood of Jesus
Safe while the ages roll.
Safe, though the world may crumble
Safe, though the stars grow dim
Under the blood of Jesus
We are secure in Him.”
God spared Israel that fearful night in Egypt. God spared the firstborn in the home of every Israelite. Why? He said; “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” Because the blood was on the door, the firstborn of every Israelite household was spared. Where there was no blood on the door, God visited in wrath. There may have been flowers out there. There may have been anything out there, but if there was no blood on the door, then death struck. God visited in wrath.
So it is with us. In the day when God shall judge the world, when God shall come forth in wrath against sin, we will be secure, we will be kept, and we will be safe if we are covered with the Savior’s righteousness and sprinkled with his precious blood. That is what Augustus Toplady was talking about when he wrote…
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee.
Let the water and the blood
From Thy wounded side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.”
It is the blood of Christ that makes atonement for the soul. That is what Peter said. — “We are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, from the vain conversation received by tradition from our fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without spot or blemish.”
“What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
“There’s a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emanuel’s veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.”
This is what the Bible teaches. — “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” That is what God said to Israel; and that is what he says to you and me. — “When I see the blood,” not your church membership, not your morality, not your self-righteousness, not your religious deeds, not even your decision. God says, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”
“It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul. I have given it to you, (God says), upon the altar. It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.” In Old Testament days under the types, and shadows, and symbols, and pictures, almost all things were sanctified by blood. The priest was sprinkled with the blood, the book was sprinkled with the blood, and the altar was sprinkled with the blood. The tabernacle was sprinkled with the blood; everything was sprinkled with the blood.
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Isaac asked his father Abraham, after they started up that mountain of sacrifice, Mt. Mariah, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” Christ is the Lamb God provided, the Lamb God sacrificed, and the Lamb God accepted.
There can be no worship of God without blood. There can be no acceptance by God without blood. There can be no redemption without blood. There can be no sin-offering without blood. A bloodless religion is just religion. It has no salvation and no hope. And it has no promise. Without the blood, religion is blasphemy.
The blood by which we are redeemed, justified, and saved is blood that is seen, seen by God himself with approbation, approval, and satisfaction. Our seeing the blood by faith is not redemption, but the blessed experience of redemption. It is God’s seeing the blood that is our redemption and salvation. Those Israelites inside their houses could not see the blood. It is God’s eye upon the blood that is salvation. And the Lord God saw the blood from everlasting, accepted it from everlasting, and accepted us by the blood from everlasting. Christ is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8; 17:8), and all for whom he was slain from eternity were saved by him from eternity (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:3-5; 2 Timothy 1:9-10).
Behold, the Lamb of God was slain by God’s own wise decree:
The blood of Christ has stood for me from all eternity!
God’s wrath could not destroy the world, though Adam fell in sin,
Because the Lamb was slain for man before the world began.
Then, at the time ordained by God, the Lamb poured out His blood
For all the world of His elect, and paid the debt we owed!
Dear Lamb of God, Your precious blood has ransomed me from death;
And I will praise You for that blood as long as I have breath.
Though Satan rage against my soul, though I am full of sin,
I trust Christ’s sin-atoning blood. — It gives me peace within.
That blood is my security; (Christ must be satisfied!)
Not one can ever be condemned for whom the Lamb has died!
When I have dropped this robe of flesh and enter heaven’s bliss,
The Lamb Who has been slain for me, I shall forever bless!
Eternal blood! Eternal Lamb! Eternal God, my King!
A worthless sinner saved by grace, I owe You everything!
Let me call your attention to four things we need to have in the forefront of our minds continually. Here is God passing through the land of Egypt in wrath, judgment, and condemnation. Men are dying on every hand. The scream is going up from the land of Egypt at midnight. God has fallen upon the people in wrath.
1. The Blood
God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” What kind of blood is it? The blood on that door was the blood of a divinely-appointed victim. It was not just any blood. God said to Israel; “Take a lamb.” God designated what it was to be, a lamb. God has designated our sin-offering, our sacrifice.
John the Baptist came preaching, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Salvation is coming. He pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” There he is. There is the ordained, appointed, designated victim, the sacrifice, the Lamb of God. He was led as, “a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, he opened not his mouth.” In the fulness of the time God sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. He was ordained and appointed of God.
It was the blood of a divinely appointed victim; and it must be a spotless victim. They could not take a lamb that was diseased or had broken bones or was sickly. They had to take a lamb, the firstling of the flock, in the first year, full of strength, without spot or blemish; and they put it up in a pen for four days and observed it to make sure there was no spot.
Our Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, is without sin. He knew no sin. He had no sin. He did no sin. And no guile was in his mouth. Our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in all points, like as we are, yet without sin. He was holy, harmless, and undefiled. He had no sin.
Their lamb was an animal. The blood of animals cannot put away sin. Hebrews 10 tells us that the blood of goats and calves can never take away sin. No human sacrifice or work or gift can make atonement for the soul. Those carnal sacrifices were types and pictures. As Isaac watts put it…
“Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.
But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.”
This blood is the blood of God himself. Let it be understood what I am saying; I want you to understand exactly what I am saying. Back in Old Testament days when Aaron and the sons of Levi, and these priests brought the lamb and slew the lamb and put its blood on the mercy seat, that was a picture.
That blood did not put away anyone’s sin. If it could have done so, “those sacrifices would have ceased to be offered.” They repeated the sacrifices again, and again, and again. Christ came, and this man, who is himself God, offered one sacrifice for sins. And, with his one sacrifice, he perfected forever those that are sanctified. By his one sacrifice, all his elect, all for whom he died, were saved.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who died on the cross, is God Almighty in human flesh. He is not just a representative. He is not just a messenger. He is not just an ambassador. He is not even a son of God. He is God the Son, the Son of God, God in our nature (Matthew 1:20-23; John 1:1-3, 14).
The Lord Jesus said, “I and my Father are one. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Paul said, “Feed the church of God which God purchased with God’s own blood.” Our heavenly Father said of Christ, “Thy throne O God is forever.”
If Jesus Christ is a mere man, he is the biggest liar, the greatest imposter and phony that ever walked on this earth. His soul is in hell at this moment, his bones are rotting in a grave in Jerusalem. But he is not a mere man. He is the God-man. When Jesus Christ came to this earth, God walked among men. When he went to the cross in human flesh, God Almighty reconciled the world to himself by providing himself a sacrifice. He provided the sacrifice to himself and of himself.
The blood spoken of in Exodus 12 is the blood of a divinely appointed victim. It is the blood of a sinless victim. It’s the blood of God himself. Can you imagine the value of it? Can you imagine the power of it? Can you imagine the glory of it? That night in Egypt, each family had its own lamb, but now all believers have the same Lamb.
2. Its Efficacy
I have to remind you of the efficacy of the blood! God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” What do I mean by efficacy? I mean that the blood of Christ, the blood of the Son of God, is effectual blood. “He is able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by him.” It accomplished and accomplishes all it was intended to accomplish. We know its efficacy because God has accepted the sacrifice. God is satisfied with the sacrifice. How do we know that God Almighty accepted Christ’s sacrifice for his people? How do I know that God is satisfied with him? Those are good questions.
First, we know it by his Word. It is written in Ephesians 1, that in Christ, “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin.” Second, we know that God’s offering and sacrifice of Christ is accepted because “he raised him from the dead” (Romans 4:25). On that Sunday morning, after three days in the tomb, the angel came down from heaven and touched that stone and it rolled away. Our Lord Jesus Christ came out of the tomb, ascended back to the Father, and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High. That’s how we know that God accepted his sacrifice for us. He was declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.
3. The Condition
One condition was fixed to the promise. God said, “When I see the blood.” The one condition of grace and salvation is God, the Triune Jehovah, seeing the blood. He saw the blood long before I saw it, from eternity. He saw the blood when it was spilt by the sword of his own holy fury and justice on Calvary’s hill. He saw the blood when I saw it, sprinkled upon my heart by the Spirit of God. And he sees the blood even if the time comes when I cannot see it.
4. The Token
The Lord God tells us that the blood sprinkled is to us for a token.
“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, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
A token is a sign of something. Of what is the blood, the precious blood of Christ a sign, or token?
Š Infinite Love (1 John 4:9-10)
Š Covenant Blessedness (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Š Perfect Satisfaction (Romans 3:24-26)
Š Complete Forgiveness (Isaiah 43:25; 44:22)
Š Free Access (Hebrews 10:19-22)
Š Blessed Safety (Exodus 11:7; Psalm 91:10)