C. H. Mackintosh.
Chapter 5 & 6
Chapter 7 - 11
Chapter 21 - 23
Chapter 33 & 34
Chapter 35 - 40
In manuscript and proof sheets, we have been travelling over a deeply instructive and most interesting portion of the Word of God — THE BOOK OF EXODUS.
Redemption by blood occupies a prominent place therein. It characterizes the book. God's many mercies to His redeemed, in the display of His power, the patience of His love, and the riches of His grace, flow from it. The great question of Israel's relationship to God is settled by the blood of the lamb. It changes their condition entirely. Israel within the blood-sprinkled door-posts was God's redeemed, blood-bought people.
God being holy, and Israel guilty, no happy relationship could exist between them till judgment had been accomplished. Sin must be judged. A happy friendship once existed between God and man, on the ground of innocence; but sin having entered and snapped the link asunder, there can be no reconciliation, but through the full expression of the moral judgment of God against sin. We can only have "life through death." God is the God of holiness, and He must judge sin. In saving the sinner, He condemns his sin. The cross is the full and perfect expression of this.
Typically, this was the great question, on "the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month," namely, how can God exempt from judgment, and receive into His favour, those whom His holiness condemns? To this most solemn question, there was but one answer that would satisfy the demands of the God of holiness, and that was the blood of the Lamb of His own providing. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." This settled the all-important question. It was one of life or death, of deliverance or judgment. The blood-sprinkled door-post was a perfect answer to all the claims of holiness, and to all the need of the congregation. All was settled now. God was glorified, sin judged and put away, and Israel saved through the blood of the lamb.
Blessed truth! Israel was now at peace with God, a sheltered, saved, and happy people, though still in Egypt, the land of death and judgment. God was now pledged to deliver Israel — precious type of the perfect security of all who are trusting to the blood of Christ! They were securely and peacefully feeding on the roasted lamb, when "at midnight, the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, to the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (xii. 29, 30.) "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." (xi. 7.)
But why, some may ask, put this difference? The Israelites were sinners as well as the Egyptians. True, on this ground, there was "no difference." But, in type, the judgment of God against sin had been expressed in the death of the unblemished lamb. The blood "on the lintel and the two side posts" was the proof of this. It proclaimed, with a loud voice, that the lamb was slain, the ransom paid, the captive freed, justice satisfied, and the hour of Israel's deliverance fully come. It was the blood that made the difference, and nothing else. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. iii. 23.)
But oh! what a difference! The one divinely shielded from the sword of judgment; the other, defenceless and slain by it. The one, feasting on the rich provisions of grace; the other, compelled to taste the bitterness of the cup of wrath. The destroying angel entered every house, throughout all the land of Egypt, that was not sprinkled with the blood. The firstborn of Pharaoh on the throne, and the firstborn of the captive in the dungeon, fell together.
No rank, age, or character escaped. The day of God's long-suffering was ended, and the hour of His judgment was come. One thing alone guided the angel of death on that dark and dreadful night, and that was, WHERE THERE IS NO BLOOD, THERE IS NO SALVATION.
Dear reader! this is as true now as it was then! Where there is no blood there is no salvation. "Without shedding of blood is no remission." Can any question be of such importance to you as this one, Am I shielded by the blood of Jesus? Oh! have you fled for refuge to the blood that was shed on Calvary? There, "Christ our passover was sacrificed for us." His blood is represented as being sprinkled on "the mercy-seat above." There, God's eye ever sees the blood of our true paschal Lamb. Have you faith in that precious blood? Though deeply sensible of your guilt, can you say in truth, This is my only hiding place, "I do depend upon the blood?" Then rest assured that you are perfectly safe; that you are eternally saved. You have God's own word for it — "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." "We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." "But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ." "Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." (Ephesians i. 7; ii. 13; Romans iii. 25.)
Happy they who trust in Jesus,
Sweet their portion is and sure.
But, on the other hand, if the blood of Jesus is neglected, or despised, there can be no security, no peace, and no salvation. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb. ii. 3.) Unless the destroying angel sees the blood, he enters as the judge of sin. Every sin must be punished, either in the person of the sinner, or the sinner's substitute. This is a deeply solemn truth; but how blessed to know that "Christ has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." "For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (1 Peter iii. 18; 2 Corinthians v. 21.) To neglect this divine Substitute, and the shelter which He has provided, is to expose the soul to the unrelenting judgment of God. No sin, however small, can escape judgment, either on the cross of Christ, or in the lake of fire. Oh! the priceless value of that blood which "cleanses us from ALL sin!" — which makes us clean enough for heaven!
Redemption being now accomplished, and Israel divinely prepared, they commence their journey. But, observe, in passing, how they start. Before taking one step, every question between the conscience and God is divinely settled. They are forgiven, justified, and accepted, in His sight. Hence, it is written, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." (Hosea xi. 1.) Blessed type of the real condition in which every true believer begins his Christian course! He may not see this blessed truth, or he may have a very feeble apprehension of it, as Israel had, but that does not alter the fact. God acts according to His own knowledge of the relationship, and the affections which belong to it. We see this, in the glorious deliverance of His beloved people at the Red Sea, in the manna from heaven, the water from the flinty rock, and in the pillar of His presence, which accompanied. them in all their wanderings. He ever acts according to the purposes of His love, and the value of the blood of Jesus.
Once more, dear reader, allow me to ask, Are you sure that you are under the safe shelter, the secure refuge, the blessed hiding-place of the Redeemer's blood?
But I must now leave my reader, earnestly recommending him to pursue the journey across the wilderness in company with God and His redeemed. He will find the "NOTES" most useful. They convey truth, agreeably and intelligently, to the heart, the conscience, and the understanding. May many find them to be a real oasis in the desert. The journey will prove a most profitable one, if we thereby learn more of the natural unbelief of our own hearts and the abiding faithfulness of God's. He never changes, blessed be His name; and the blood of the slain Lamb never loses its efficacy.
Blest Lamb of God! thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till every ransomed saint of God
Be saved to sin no more.
May the Lord graciously own and use the following "Notes" for His own glory and the blessing of many souls.
A. Miller. London
Preface to the Third Edition.
The writer cannot suffer a new edition of this volume to issue from the press without a line or two of deep thankfulness to the Lord for His grace, in making use of such a feeble instrumentality in the furtherance of His truth, and the edification of His people. Blessed be His name, when He takes up a book or a tract, He can make it effectual in the accomplishment of His gracious ends. He can clothe, with spiritual power, page and paragraphs which, to us, might seem pointless and powerless. May He continue to own and bless this service, and His name shall have all the praise.
C.H.M. Dublin, April, 1862.