The Blood of Sprinkling

“When he seeth the blood … the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer … to smite you.” —Exodus 12:23

THE PASSOVER SEASON, as celebrated by the Jews, draws near, beginning this year on April 22nd (the Jewish 15th day of Nisan actually starting at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 21st.) The interest of Christians centers especially in the slaying of the lamb, which preceded this Passover Feast. The Passover lamb was slain on the 14th day of the month, Nisan, which date this year begins at 6 p.m., Sunday, April 20th.

Usually Christians observe Good Friday and Easter, and these can be close in time to the Jewish Passover, but this year they are far apart. How much we regret that while millions of Christians and Jews will, in some formal ceremonies and in a perfunctory manner, celebrate this great event of history, only a few of either religion will discern the real significance of this event.


Could the minds of all these be awakened thoroughly to its true significance, a religious revival would be started such as the world has never yet known. But alas! as the apostle declares, the god of this world has blinded the minds of many; and even some whose eyes of understanding are partially open, Peter describes as being blind and unable to see the deep things of God in respect to these ceremonies, even things that have been celebrated in the world for more than 3,500 years.

It must be admitted even by Higher Critics and agnostics in general, that an event so prominently marked and so widely observed for so long a time must have foundation in fact. There must have been just such an occurrence in Egypt; the firstborn of Israel must have been preserved from it—all who observed the injunction to remain under the blood—else this widespread celebration of the event would be hard to explain.

We are reminded that the Israelites were held in a measure of serfdom by the Egyptians and that when the time of the Lord’s providence arrived for their deliverance, their masters sought selfishly to maintain their bondage and refused to let them go forth to the land of Canaan. One after another the Lord sent nine different plagues upon the people of Egypt, relieving them of one after another when their king craved mercy and made promises which he afterwards broke.

Finally, the servant of the Lord, Moses, announced a great, crowning disaster—that the firstborn in every family of Egypt would die in one night. In the home of the humblest peasants as well as in the home of the king there would be great mourning as a result of which the Egyptians would be glad finally to yield and let the Israelites go. Yea, he urged them to go, and in haste—lest the Lord should ultimately bring death upon the entire people if their king continued to harden his heart and resist the divine mandate.—Exod. 12:33

The first three plagues were common to all in Egypt, including the district in which the Israelites resided. The next six plagues affected only the district occupied by the Egyptians. The last—the tenth plague—it was declared, should be common to the entire land of Egypt, including the part apportioned to the Israelites. The latter were to show faith and obedience by providing a sacrificial lamb whose blood was to be sprinkled upon the sides and lintels of their doorways. The flesh of the lamb was to be eaten in the same night, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The eaters, standing staff in hand and girded for the journey, expected that the Lord would smite the firstborn of the Egyptians with death and make them willing to let the Israelites go. They had full faith that they would not share in the calamity because the blood was upon their doorposts and lintels.


The Israelites were commanded to celebrate this Passover as the first feature of the Jewish Law and as one of their greatest memorials as a nation. As a matter of fact, we find that in some degree the Passover is celebrated by Jews in all parts of the world—even by those who claim to be agnostics and infidels. They have a measure of respect for it as an ancient custom. But is it not strange that, with the bright minds which many of them possess, our Jewish friends have never thought it worthwhile to inquire into the true meaning of the celebration.

Why was the lamb slain and eaten? Why was its blood sprinkled upon the doorposts and lintels? Because God so commanded. But what reason, motive, object or lesson was there behind the divine command? Truly, a reasonable God gives reasonable commands, and in due time will be willing that his faithful people should understand the significance of every requirement. Why are the Hebrews indifferent to this subject? Why does prejudice hold their minds?

Although Christianity has the answer to this question, we regret that the majority of Christians, because of carelessness, are unable to give a reason and ground for any hope in connection with this matter. If the Jew can realize that his Sabbath is a type or foreshadowing of a common epoch of rest and blessing and release from toil, sorrow and death, why can he not see that, similarly, all the features of the Mosaic Law institution were designed by the Lord to be foreshadowings of various blessings to be bestowed in due time? Why can it not be discerned by all that the Passover lamb typified, or represented, the Lamb of God, that its death represented the death of Jesus, the Messiah, and that the sprinkling of its blood symbolizes, represents, the imputation of the merit of the death of Jesus to the entire household of faith, the passed-over class?

Blessed are those whose eyes of faith see that Jesus was indeed “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)—that the cancellation of the world’s sin is effected by the payment of Adam’s penalty—that the whole world lost the favor of God and came under the divine sentence of death.

With its concomitants of sorrow and pain, it was necessary before this sentence or curse could be removed that a satisfaction of justice should be made! Therefore, as the apostle declares, Christ died for our sins—the just for the unjust, that he might bring us back to God. Thus he opened up “a new and living way”—a way to life everlasting.—I Pet. 3:18; Heb. 10:20


Those familiar with the Bible have noticed that therein the church of Christ is called “the church of the firstborn,” and again, “a kind of firstfruits unto God of his creatures.” (Heb. 12:23; James 1:18; Rev. 14:4) This implies others ultimately of God’s family later born are to be the after-fruits. Christian people seem to have overlooked these scriptures so far as making application of them is concerned, and have generally come to believe that only those who are of the firstfruits will ever be saved, that there will be no after-fruits. But let us look at this type of the Passover. Let us notice that it was God’s purpose to save all Israelites, and that as a nation they represented all of mankind that will ever come into harmony with God and be granted eternal life in the Land of Promise.

Let us notice also that there were two passovers. There was a great one, when the whole nation, by divine power, was miraculously delivered by the Lord and led on a pathway across the channel of the Red Sea especially prepared for them by the accentuation of winds and tides. That picture, or type, shows the ultimate deliverance from the power of sin and Satan of every creature who will come into accord with the Lord and desire to render him worship. Not an Israelite was left behind.

But that passover at the Red Sea is not the one we are discussing particularly on this occasion—not the one whose antitype we are about to celebrate. No, the event which we celebrate is the antitype of the passing over, or sparing, of all the firstborn of Israel. Only the firstborn were endangered, although the deliverance of all depended upon the salvation of the firstborn.

Applying this in harmony with all the Scriptures, we see that the firstfruits unto God of his creatures, the church of the firstborn, alone, are being spared at the present time—being passed over. These are ‘under the blood’. We see that the remainder of mankind who may desire to enlist and follow the great antitypical Moses when he shall ultimately lead the people forth from the bondage of sin and death, are not now endangered, merely the firstborn whose names are written in heaven.—Heb. 12:23


The firstborn—the “church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23)—are those of mankind who, in advance of the remainder, have had the eyes of their understanding opened to a realization of their condition of bondage, and their need of deliverance and of God’s willingness to fulfill to them his good promises. More than this, they are such as have responded to the grace of God, have made a consecration of themselves to him and his service, and in return have been begotten by the Holy Spirit.

With these firstborn ones it is a matter of life and death whether or not they remain in the household of faith under the blood of sprinkling. For these to go forth from this condition would imply a disregard of divine mercy. It would signify that they were doing despite to divine goodness, and that, having enjoyed their share of the mercy of God as represented in the blood of the Lamb, they were not appreciative of it. Of such the Scriptures declare, “There remaineth no more sacrifice” for their sins. (Heb. 10:26) They are to be esteemed as adversaries of God, whose fate was symbolized in the destruction of the firstborn of Egypt.

We do not mean to say that the firstborn of Egypt who died in that night, and any of the firstborn of the Israelites who may have departed from their homes contrary to command and died therefore, have gone into the Second Death. Quite to the contrary, we understand that all these matters were types, figures, illustrations, foreshadowing matters on a higher plane, and that the realities belong to the church of Christ during this Gospel Age since Pentecost. If we sin willfully after we have tasted of the good Word of God, after we have been partakers of the Holy Spirit and thus become members of the church of the firstborn-if we should then fall away, it would be impossible to renew us again to repentance. God would have nothing further for us; our disregard of his mercy would mean that we would die the Second Death.—II Pet. 2:12; Heb. 6:4-6

From this standpoint the church of the firstborn, through the begetting of the Holy Spirit and the greater knowledge and privileges they enjoy every way, have greater responsibility than the world, for they are the only ones as yet in danger of the Second Death. This is the lesson of the type, and applies to Christians only.

By and by, the night will have passed, the glorious morn of deliverance will have come, and the Christ, the antitypical Moses, Head and body, will lead forth, will deliver all Israel—all the people of God. All, when they shall know, will be glad to reverence, honor and obey the will of God. That day of deliverance will be the entire Millennial Age, at the close of which all evil and evildoers, symbolized by the hosts of Egypt, will be utterly cut off in the Second Death.


The apostle clearly and positively identified the Passover lamb with our Lord Jesus, saying, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed [slain] for us: therefore let us keep the feast.” (I Cor. 5:7,8) He informs us that we all need “the blood of sprinkling,” not upon our houses, but upon our hearts. (Heb. 12:24; I Pet. 1:2) We are also to eat the unleavened (unfermented, pure) bread of truth, if we would be strong and prepared for the deliverance in the morning of the new dispensation. We also must eat the Lamb, must appropriate Christ, his merit, the value that was in him, to ourselves. Thus we put on Christ not merely by faith, but more and more to the extent of our ability we put on his character and are transformed day by day into his glorious image in our hearts.

We are to feed upon him as the Jews fed upon the literal lamb. Instead of the bitter herbs, which aided and whetted their appetites, we have bitter experiences and trials, which the Lord provides for us, and which help to wean our affections from earthly things, and give us increasing appetite to feed upon the Lamb and the unleavened bread of truth. We, too, are to remember that here we have no continuing city, but as pilgrims, strangers, travelers, staff in hand, girded for the journey, we are en route to the heavenly Canaan, and all the glorious things which God hath in reservation for the church of the firstborn in association with their Redeemer as kings and priests unto God.

Our Lord Jesus also fully identified himself with the Passover lamb. On the same night that he was betrayed, and just preceding his crucifixion, he gathered his disciples into the upper room, saying, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15) It was necessary as Jews that they should celebrate the Passover Supper on that night-the saving of the typical firstborn from the typical ‘prince of this world’. But as soon as the requirements of the type had been fulfilled, our Lord instituted a new memorial upon the old foundation, saying, “As often as ye do this [celebrate the memorial of the Passover season—annually] do it in remembrance of me.—I Cor. 11:24,25)

Those who recognize the Lamb of God, who in God’s purpose had been slain from “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:4)—who recognize that Jesus gave his life as the world’s redemption price—will note this Passover season with peculiar and sacred significance that others cannot appreciate. Henceforth they will not celebrate the type any longer, but memorialize the antitype, for Jesus died as the Lamb of God and provided the blood of sprinkling for the church of the firstborn, and meat indeed for the entire household of faith.


That the Lord’s followers should no longer gather as the Jews had done previously to eat the literal Passover Supper of lamb in commemoration of the deliverance in Egypt, our Lord shows by choosing new emblems—unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine—to represent him as the Lamb. Thenceforth his followers, in accord with his injunction, celebrated every year his death as their Passover Lamb, until after the apostles had fallen asleep in death, and a great falling away had confused the faith of Christendom, producing the epoch known as the Dark Ages. Even during the Dark Ages the teaching that Christ was the antitypical Passover Lamb persisted, though the celebration of his death which was instituted by Jesus at the Passover Supper fell into disuse. Some believe that the Mass is a celebration of the Memorial Supper, Others who do not observe the Mass, celebrate weekly, monthly, or several times during the year.

Christian people generally have overlooked the fact that our Lord’s death was as the antitypical Passover Lamb, and that its celebration is the antitypical Passover Supper. “This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (I Cor. 11:25) These have misunderstood our Lord’s words to mean, Do this as often as you please. Whereas, the words really signify, As often as you, my disciples, all of whom are Jews and accustomed to keeping the Passover, celebrate this occasion, do it in remembrance of me. This is not in remembrance of the literal lamb and the typical deliverance from typical Egypt and its bondage through the passing over of the typical firstborn.

Those who celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly consider that they have scriptural precedent for so doing because in the Bible we read that the Early Church met together on the first day of the week and on such occasions had the “breaking of bread.” (Acts 2:42) It is a great mistake, however, to confound such breaking of bread with the Memorial Supper, for the former was merely an ordinary meal. There is absolutely nothing in the record to indicate otherwise; the wine, the fruit of the vine, is not mentioned in connection with it, and the bread was not said to represent the broken body of our Lord. It was a cheerful social custom in the Early Church to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection on the first day of the week, and this common social custom helped to unite the bonds of brotherhood and fellowship. In many places the Lord’s people follow this custom still.


As we all know, the Jews used the moon more than we do in the reckoning of their time. Each new moon represented the beginning of a new month. The new moon which came closest to the spring equinox was reckoned as the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, the first day of the month Nisan. On the fifteenth day of that month, the Feast of the Passover of the Jews, lasting a week, began. The Feast of seven days represented the joy, the peace, the blessing, which resulted in the firstborn of Israel being passed over, and typified the complete joy, peace and blessing which every true Christian experiences through a realization of the passing over of his sins through the merit of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. All true Christians, therefore, in their hearts have a celebration of this Feast of Passover continually—the completeness of the matter being represented in the seven days, seven being a symbol of completeness: Not seeing the matter from the same standpoint, the Jews thought less of the killing of the Passover lamb when Jesus announced himself as its antitype, and when he invited us to celebrate his death on its anniversary. We do this until, at his Second Coming, our entrance into the kingdom would signify the complete fulfillment of all our blessings.—Matt. 26:29

It would be a great blessing, doubtless, to many Christians if they could see this subject in its true light, could lay more weight upon the value of the death of Christ, and join more heartily in its celebration on its anniversary, instead of at various other times and seasons, irregularly and without special significance. However, there have sprung up all over the civilized world little groups of the Lord’s people who are taking heed to this subject, and whose delight it is to celebrate the Master’s death according to his request: ‘As oft as ye do this [annually] do it in remembrance of me’. We believe that such a celebration brings special blessings to both heart and head. The nearer we come to the divine requirements, the greater is the measure of our blessing, the more closely are we drawn to our Master and Head and to each other as members of his body.

The date of the celebration this year will fall on April 20, after 6 p.m., because at that hour begins the 14th day of Nisan according to the Jewish reckoning. We urge upon all of the Lord’s people everywhere to gather as may best suit their convenience in little groups or families, to do this in remembrance of our Lord’s great sacrifice. The fact that it is the anniversary of his death makes the matter the more impressive.


We recall the circumstances of the first Memorial—the blessing of the bread and of the cup, the fruit of the vine—of our Lord’s exhortation that these represented his broken body and shed blood, and that those who are his followers should participate—not only feeding upon him, but being broken with him—not only partaking of the merit of his blood, his sacrifice, but also in laying down their lives in his service, in cooperating with him in every and any manner. How precious these thoughts are to those who are rightly in tune with the Lord.

Following these thoughts, they may think of the course of Judas, who, though highly favored, loved filthy lucre to the extent that he was willing to sell his Master, and was bold enough, even while his treachery toward the Lord was being exposed, to cry, “Is it I?” (Mark 14:19) The very thought that any who had companied with the Lord could thus deny him and betray him to his enemies, causes a proper loathing of such conduct, and should properly fill us with caution, if not fear, lest in any sense of the word we should for the sake of honor or wealth or any other matter sell the truth or any of its servants, the members of the body of Christ.

Let our minds, then, follow the Redeemer to Gethsemane’s death. The Master, in his conversation with the apostles, said: “I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matt. 27:29) Our Lord was here contrasting two great days—the day of suffering and the day of glory. This Gospel Age has been the day of suffering. The Millennial Age will be the day of glory, and is especially spoken of as “the day of Christ.”—II Thess. 2:2

The fruit of the vine, the literal cup, represents two thoughts. The cup of wine is produced by crushing the grape. The grape loses its own individuality. The juice is pressed out, and the fruit of the vine is made ready for use. The cup of wine—the juice of the grape—represents, however, not only the crushing of the grape, but also the exhilaration that comes as the result. This is also true in our drinking of this literal cup. To us it symbolizes our Savior’s sufferings and death, and our own participation with him in these sufferings. But wine also represents joy, gladness, and is thus used in the Scriptures. So in the sense in which the Lord used the words, ‘fruit of the vine’ in the Matthew text quoted above, it represented the joys of the kingdom.

The Father marked out for our Lord Jesus in his earthly experience a certain specific course. This course constituted his cup of suffering and death. But the Father promised him that after he had drunk this cup faithfully, he should be given a different cup, a different experience—glory, honor, and immortality. And then the Savior was authorized by the Father to make the same proposal to those who might desire to become his followers—that if they would suffer with him, would drink of his cup of death with him, then they should participate with him in his future cup of joy.


“Whosoever will save his life shall lose it.” (Luke 9:24) We are all to pass through the trying experiences represented by the winepress. We are to submit ourselves to the crushing experiences, to crucify the flesh, and to become New Creatures. “If we suffer [with him], we shall also reign with him.” (II Tim. 2:12) So we joyfully accept the invitation to drink of his cup. And not until the cup has been drained to the last, shall we receive the other cup—the cup of kingdom joys. While our Lord had a great blessing in the obedience which he rendered to the Father, yet it was a trying time for him down to the last moment, when he cried, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) And so with the church. We must drink all of the cup. We must endure all of the experiences. None of the cup is to be left.

All the sufferings of Christ will be complete when the body of Christ shall have finished its course. The new cup of joy was given our Lord when he was received up into glory. Then all the angels of God worshiped him. Soon our cup of joy will be given to us. Surely there was a joyous time when the sleeping saints were awakened and entered into their reward and received the cup of blessing! And one by one those who are alive and remain to the presence of the Master are being gathered home. Undoubtedly we shall all partake of this joy with them soon, if we are faithful. We believe the fullness of joy will not be reached until all the members of Christ are with him beyond the veil. Then we shall share his throne and partake of his glory. Then with our beloved Lord we shall drink of the new wine in the kingdom; for the promise is to all his faithful saints.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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