Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, Lord, art become their God.( 2 Samuel 7:22-24)
The time for the last plague had come. Pharaoh had proven utterly resistant. Several times he admitted he was wrong and even tried to negotiate compromises with the Israelites, but in the end he kept on hardening his own heart.Finally God hardened Pharoah’s heart, giving him over to the pride and self delusions he cherished. “Who is the LORD?” ,Pharoah had once asked. Now he knew.
Every Plague had a purpose, to show unto Pharaoh, Egypt and to the miracle nation Israel, that the gods were nothings,and that Pharaoh himself wasn’t a real god. They served also to demonstrate the end of worshipping false gods, filth, disease, vermin, darkness, tormenting thirst, and destruction in this life. Perhaps also they were a portent of the life to come for those who ordered their very lives by the false “gods”. Darkness forever? Thirst forever?
This plague would be the most instructive of all for it would teach Israel of the God appointed way of salvation out of Egypt, but it would also be the clearest demonstration of God’s salvation for everyman, for all time, out of the “Egypt” of living under condemnation in this fallen world.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 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:(Exodus 12:1-3)
First of all, Israel was to recognize another “New Year”. The former “New Year”, Rosh Hoshana is in the fall, but the new “new Year” is going from now on to be the first day of the month of Nissan, in the spring.
Secondly, each family was to select a lamb and take it into their house for three days.
On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, the entire congregation of Israel is to kill the lamb.
Thirdly, they are to take the Lamb’s blood, pour it into a bowl and use a Hyssop branch to apply the blood to the door of each house, at the top and on the two sides of the house.
Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.(Exodus 12:21-22)
Fourthly, Israel was to search and take all leaven out of the house and eat only unleavened bread for the following week.
The Lamb was to be gutted and put upon a spit, and roasted. All of the Lamb is either to be eaten or consumed in the fire, including head, hooves, and offal. Not boiled or raw, but roasted . Not a bone was to be broken, and all of the Lamb had to be consumed that evening. The Jews were to eat with their garments on as though on the way out the door.
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; 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.(Exodus 12:8-11)
Why this elaborate preparation? Because of the final plague, which by right should have come upon all of the inhabitants of the land, ie the death of the firstborn. God was going to go forth and strike the firstborn of everything that night, but gave his people a way to escape, for the LAMB IS THE SUBSTITUTE offering. When God sees the blood applied to the house, He “Passes Over”.
Redemption is a word which means deliverance by purchase. The children of Israel were slaves, they belonged to Pharaoh, but by the death of the firstborn, and by the blood of the lambs, which substituted for the Firstborn, Israel was redeemed out of their bondage and Pharaoh was compelled to let them go.
God anticipated the millions of family Passover feasts that would be held from that time forth, and that the children would ask, why do we do this thing?
And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is 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. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.(Exodus 12:26-27)
Ever since then, in countless differing services, no matter how far from God Israel has wandered, she always seems to keep the Passover; brit in Atheistic Jewish homes, or in Ghettos, or in bitter bondage to Roman,Greek, Babylonian, or Muslim, Jews still observe this day. There were passover seders observed even in Nazi death camps. The Jews witness to the salvation of God even in an estranged state.
And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto 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. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.(Exodus 12:29-32)
Not one house was exempted, other than the ones which had the bloody marks upon them. Pharaoh himself had but to mourn and sorrow for his dead son.. Everywhere one went in the world’s most powerful nation, people were crying bitter tears of loss, fear and anguish over the shattering of everything they once had and above all else, the shattering of the excellency of all that they held dear. The idols had failed them and even PHaroah was impotent.
And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.(Exodus 12:32-36)
One more detail. As far back as 430 years, God showed Abraham the captivity and redemption, and told him that Israel would come out of Egypt with great riches. That word was fulfilled on that night for the Egyptians took whatever gold,silver or wealth they had left and pressed it upon the Hebrews begging them to leave.