Sermon

The Tenth Plague (Exodus 11:1-12:51)

The Lord (Yahweh) saw the misery of the Hebrews and sent Moses and Aaron to tell Pharaoh to let them go out from Egypt. Pharaoh condescendingly remarked: “Who is Yahweh that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” (Ex 5:2). In response, Yahweh sent plagues upon the Egyptians for the following reasons: 1) To demonstrate to Pharaoh and the Egyptians that their gods are powerless and false and 2) To demonstrate to Israel that Yahweh was fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to bring them to the Promised Land. With each plague Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not relent on letting the Hebrews go until the final plague. Last week we discussed the first nine plagues and today we will discuss the tenth and final plague.

Yahweh said to Moses, “One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely.” (Ex 11:1). Whereas the first nine plagues each targeted specific Egyptian deities, the tenth plague was “against all the gods of Egypt” (Ex 12:12). The first three plagues came upon both the Egyptians. Beginning with the fourth plague, Yahweh told Pharaoh that He has “set apart…where My people are living…in order that you may know that I, Yahweh, am in the midst of the land” (Ex 8:22). In the tenth plague, Yahweh would “strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt” (Ex 12:12) of both Hebrews and the Egyptians.

The Plunder & Provision

Yahweh prepared Israel for the last plague so that they would be spared. They were not automatically spared from the wrath of God because they are sinners in need of redemption. He told them to ask their Egyptian neighbors “for articles of silver and articles of gold” (Ex 11:2) and thus “plunder the Egyptians” (Ex 3:22 & Ex 12:36). He told them to select an unblemished one-year old male lamb on the 10th day of the month and four days later (14th day) every house was to kill the lamb at twilight. They were to put some of the blood of the lamb “on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it” (Ex 12:7). They were “to eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs” (Ex 12:8). They should not leave any of it over until morning. If anything is left it should be burned. They were to eat it “with your loins girded [dressed for travel], your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste” (Ex 12:11). They were also told not to leave their house during the night.

The Plague, Passover, & Plea

At midnight, the Lord passed through Egypt and killed the firstborn in the land of Egypt. Who killed the firstborn? Exodus 11:4 says, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die.” Exodus 12:12 says, “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt…I am Yahweh.” Exodus 12:13, Yahweh continued: “When I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:23, “For Yahweh will pass through to smite the Egyptians…Yahweh will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you.” Exodus 12:29 says, “the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.” Make no mistake about it, the death of the firstborn in Egypt is because of Yahweh. He most likely utilized numerous angels (see Psalm 78:49 & Hebrews 11:28) to carry it out but it was His decision to bring this plague upon Egypt. Every house that had blood applied to the doorpost was passed over. Yahweh would not allow “the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you” (Ex 12:23) if He saw the blood on the lintel and doorposts. Yahweh said, “The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you” (Ex 12:13). Yahweh “struck all the first born in the land of Egypt” (Ex 12:29). Pharaoh told Israel to go, saying: “Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go. And bless me also” (Ex 12:32).

The Promise

The Tenth Plague and the Passover is a monumental event in the life of the nation of Israel. Justin Dillehay wrote, “The message of the 10th plague is that God is holy and just. But the message of Passover is that God is also merciful.” The nation of Israel was told to memorialize this event in the annual Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They were to remember how Yahweh led “passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians but spared our homes” (Ex 12:27). This event is also monumental for the Church. It was during the Passover Feast that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper as a memorial for His death on our behalf. The Passover is a vivid picture of the Gospel. Consider:

  • The wrath of God is coming for sinners. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23a says, “For the wages of sin is death.
  • God provides a way to escape His wrath. Romans 6:23b says, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 5:8 declares, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Salvation is by Grace through Faith. Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:13 says it again, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Just as the Hebrews applied the blood to their doors in faith, so we must have the blood of Jesus applied to us.
  • Those Saved Belong to God. Romans 5:1 gives us this wonderful promise, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 8:1 adds this glorious truth, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”