by R. Edward Miller
THE PASSOVER LAMB
When I visited Taiwan for the first time I noticed something that aroused my curiosity. I saw that many houses had red rectangular shaped spots on the upper part and on both sides of the door. I tried to investigate this with the villagers but got no results. To me, it was the shape of the cross, implying the head and arms. If we look back through human history, the symbol of the cross has remained immutable. As you will remember in the sanctifying ceremony of the high priest, his hands, as well as his head and forehead, were anointed with blood. The Word tells us in Exodus 12:3-7, "...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. 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."
In this passage six words stand out: "...the lamb shall be without blemish." Before the Father's presence, our Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, was also without blemish. Isn't that true? Years ago, I was in a service where the Spirit of God was moving. While the praises of the congregation, and mine also, were being raised to heaven, I found myself saying, "God, I wish I had something better to offer You." We were indeed praising, but the praise seemed so insignificant. I wanted to have something of more value to offer Him. God did not delay in answering, "Your lamb shall be without blemish." He was talking about Jesus. We do have something acceptable to offer: the Lamb of God that is without blemish. God gave us Jesus and we can give Him back again. We can give Him a marvelous offering!
In Exodus 12:13 we read, "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." It accounted for absolutely nothing if the blood was inside the house, or if there were a dozen dead lambs on the back patio, or a dozen vessels full of blood; if the blood did not appear on the door posts of the house, death would fall on them. The blood had to be applied.
God ordered that they maintain the blood visible and exhibited during the whole night. In the Holy Scripture "the night" is associated with the present day, while "the light of day" represents the coming of Jesus Christ. This means to me that it is not sufficient that He was crucified and died, and that His blood was shed on the Cross of Calvary. I repeat: That's not it! There is something left pending; the blood has to be APPLIED. The command should be honored. "...when I see the sign (that is the blood), I will pass over you,..." We need to apply it to our lives; we need to continue with the cleansing of our lives during the "night." We fall into all sorts of things which require cleansing, but this is not the point. The point is that when the angel of death passes over the land of Egypt, he will only look for something visibly practical and that is "the blood applied on the house." The Word tells us, "...when I see the sign, I will pass over you..." This is the only thing that really matters.
I Corinthians 11:27 says, "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." And in I Corinthians 11:29-30 Paul says, "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." Paul clearly states that a powerful curse comes from taking communion and holding the cup of the blood of Jesus in our hands but not applying it. This is a mockery.
Infirmities are the weapons of the angel of death, isn't that so? Remember the plagues that fell upon the people? Let me remind you that in World War I more soldiers lost their lives because of the flu than because of weapons. We like to ignore the day in which the angel of infirmity will come and pass with a legion of sicknesses of one type or another. II Kings 19:35 says, "...the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand:..." This was obviously a very virulent plague. The angel of death swept over the Assyrian army. What plague did he use in this case? I don't know, and it doesn't really matter the exact numbers of how many died, but Paul expressed it clearly, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (1Corinthians 11:30)."
COMMITMENT AND REPENTANCE
It is of vital importance that the blood be applied "personally". I need to daily commit myself to my own washing and cleansing. Repentance is not a brief process; it's a constant renovation that is needed our whole life long. We often avoid the act of repentance because, as Paul said in Romans 7:19, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." The fountain of His blood continuously flows, and it is necessary that we return to it. The high priest, each time that he was going to offer a sacrifice at the altar, had to cleanse himself. We need to keep ourselves clean. We don't know in what day or hour the angel of death will pass by. He didn't say that he would pass by at 2:39 am, or at 12:15pm, or at 4:17pm. He just said, "When I come..."
THE GREAT SYMBOL
In our church, we don't take Holy Communion lightly because it involves something very, very precious in the eyes of God. We often have it ready, but I don't always feel that we can participate in it. The conditions have to be right; there is not always the right spirit or it isn't always the right moment. At such times we don't serve it. When the anointing and faith draws near to the table of the Holy Communion, it's as if (and I emphasize these words) "as if" it were the blood of Jesus, because it is His symbol. The symbols are very important and we should not play with them. The wine symbolizes His blood. To play with this symbol is an insult and a terrible wound in the heart of God, and makes us vulnerable to a multitude of problems. I remind you, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
In II Corinthians 7:10 we read the following: "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." We come to the altar to ask for pardon, repentant by faith; we come to wash our hands, repentant for the bad things we have done through the disobedience of our hands, feet, ears or whatever. Cleanse yourself! Apply the blood on the house - your temple - so that when the angel of death comes the blood is applied on the upper part and on both posts according to the command of God. I don't believe that Paul was just raving on when he said that each one should judge himself. The sacrificed lamb is a precious symbol to the Father because it has to do with His only begotten beloved Son.
A long time ago the Lord told me, "Do not take communion lightly." Don't do it! On three occasions in my life I've had to leave the congregation because I couldn't bear to watch the way in which communion was being celebrated. They were acts of insult to God. We ought to be conscience of the fact that we are touching a very dear subject to God; we are touching His beloved only begotten Son that was murdered because of our sins so that we could obtain redemption through the spilling of His blood. His blood is powerful - as powerful as His own creation. It was the very life of God that was offered for us.
As a consequence we have an obligation, but a marvelous obligation: to remember that we have to apply the blood to our lives. I ask you to drink the bitter herbs of repentance, draw near to the altar and cry out to the Lord, "Jesus, wash me completely and please apply Your valiant blood on my mouth, on my ears, on my eyes, hands and feet, because I have committed offenses against You."
Allow me to share this personal testimony. Because of our ministry, my wife and I traveled for seven consecutive years to seventy different countries. We shared their food, and we lived alongside them, experiencing many different situations, but we never had to call a doctor. Do you believe it was because we did everything right? Of course not! It was because we obeyed His mandate, and we kept the blood applied. Always take to heart the words, "When I see the sign, I will pass over you." We are close to celebrating Easter, and I invite you to reconsider the true and beautiful meaning of the same.
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