What is the meaning of the Night to be Observed? Why are we here?
Last night we observed the Passover in commemoration of Christ's death, which was necessary to pay the penalty of our past sins and to reconcile us to the Father. However, our acceptance of Christ's sacrifice in payment of the penalty of our sins is only the first step toward salvation. Once we have repented of our sins and been forgiven by God, He wants us to forsake sin!
In Romans 6:1-2 the Apostle Paul plainly stated: V1 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? V2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?"
Jesus Christ was once asked by a rich young ruler: "...Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" So He [Jesus] said to him, "...if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:16-17).
We must be striving to come out of all sin. That is our part, with God's help, in God's Master plan of salvation. The Days of Unleavened Bread follow the Passover and picture the keeping of the commandments, which is another way of saying the putting away of sin. The Night to be Observed commemorates the Israelites delivery from Egypt - a type of sin. Today, this night has even deeper significance - as we have been called out of this present evil world and given the precious knowledge of the truth. Jesus Christ said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Their journey out of Egypt and slavery began on this night many centuries ago.
Let's review the order of events, as recorded in the Old Testament, leading up to the Exodus.
- When was the Passover lamb killed?
Exodus 12:6 "Now you shall keep it [the lamb] until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation shall kill it at twilight."
The Hebrew from which "twilight" [New King James Version] or "in the evening" [King James Version] literally means "between the two evenings" - between sunset and dark.
- After each Israelite family killed the lamb it had selected what were they to do with some of the blood?
Exodus 12:7 "And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.
This protected those who obeyed from the plague of death.
Exodus 12:12-13: V12 "For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
V13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt."
- How long were the Israelites to remain in their houses on the night the angel passed over?
Exodus 12:22 "And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning."
The Hebrew word "morning" means "the breaking forth of daylight," "the coming of daylight" or "the coming of sunrise." It can include that period of time when light begins to show, but it cannot include any part of the darkness affiliated with night.
Exodus 12:23 "For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you."
Exodus 12:29-33: V29 "And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock.
V30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, 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.
V31 Then He called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise and go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the LORD as you have said.
Note: The Scriptures indicate that Pharaoh sent His chief officers(Exodus 11:8) while it was still night (Exodus 12:31) to inform Moses and Aaron that they must leave Egypt in haste, with all the people, and their flocks and herds - and that they had their last face-to-face meeting with Pharaoh after the ninth plague.
Exodus 10:28-29: V28 "Then Pharaoh said to him, 'Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!'
V29 And Moses said, 'You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.'"
V32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also."
V33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, "We shall all be dead."
The Israelites were protected as a result of applying the lamb's blood to the lintel and two doorposts of their houses, and by remaining inside, when the angel passed over at midnight.
Very early in the morning they burned the leftovers of their roasted lambs (Exodus 12:10)..
- What else did they do throughout the daylight portion of the fourteenth of Abib?
Exodus 12:35-42: V35 "Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.
V36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
V37 Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.
V38 A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds - a great deal of livestock.
V39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves.
V40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.
V41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years - on that very same day - it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
V42 It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations."
Exodus 13:18 shows us that "...the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt."
- What did the people do on the night of the fifteenth of Abib?
Numbers 33:3 "They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians."
Deuteronomy 16:1 "Observe the month Abib, and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD brought you out of Egypt by night."
The Bible clearly shows the Passover is to be observed on the fourteenth of the first month shortly after sunset - and the Night to be Observed is to be observed after sunset on the fifteenth of Abib which coincides with the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread - according to God's sacred calendar.
Leviticus 23:5-6: V5 "On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD'S Passover.
V6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread."
- What does the Night to be Observed represent?
We just read in Exodus 12:42 - "It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt..." Israel's departure from Egypt has great symbolic meaning.
In the Bible Egypt is a symbol for sin (Revelation 11:8; Hebrews 11:24-27). John 8:34 tells us that "whoever commits sin is a slave of sin."
Romans 6:16 "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?"
The next two verses show that God wants us to escape the slavery of sin by obeying Him.
Romans 6:17-18: V17 "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
V18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."
Romans 6:22 "But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life."
Sin enslaves! Sin has consequences. It brings sorrow, remorse, unhappiness, and anxiety. It afflicts us with sickness and disease. It leads to death.
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Just as the Israelites had to walk out of Egypt, we must willingly, of our own accord, come out of sin and begin walking in newness of life! Even so, it is God's goodness and mercy that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
Just as Egypt is a type of sin, Pharaoh is a type of Satan. And just as Pharaoh did not want the Israelites to escape his bondage, Satan does not want a sinner to escape his bondage, which is slavery to sin.
As it was humanly impossible for Israelites to escape from Pharaoh, so it is humanly impossible for the people of God to overcome Satan's influence without God's help. "But with God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26; Philippians 4:13).
As God made it possible to escape from Pharaoh's army through His miraculous power, God through His Spirit, makes it possible for those He has called to obey, overcome, and grow spiritually.
We have been called out of this present evil world - the Israelites came out of pagan Egypt. We must utterly forsake the sins of the world to escape the plagues God will soon pour out upon them.
Revelation 18:4 "And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues."
God wants those He has begotten to be overcoming sin - to be growing in His character by striving to put sin out of their lives through obedience to Him. As the Israelites came out of Egypt, so must we come out of the sinful society in which we live.
Tomorrow we learn more about the next step in God's Master Plan of salvation and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Before the meal ? pray, giving thanks for the food God has so abundantly supplied, and asking His blessing over it. Also thank God for calling us out of the world and opening our minds to the truth.
Reference: Ambassador College Correspondence Course Lessons
Lesson 25 - "Passover - The Beginning of God's Master Plan"
Lesson 26 - "Feast of Unleavened Bread - Our Part in God's Master Plan."