THE MIDNIGHT DELIVERANCE
The Passover. Exodus 12:3-14
Escape from the tenth and last plague of Egypt was possible only to the Israelites who sprinkled the blood of the slain lamb on the door-posts of their dwellings. As the angel of death passed through the land of Egypt he passed over the homes of those who had the sign of the blood. As far as the record goes, this is the only thing ever required of the Israelites to protect themselves from the plagues. Because their homes were passed over and their firstborn protected the deliverance was called the Passover and under divine direction a memorial was instituted to commemorate the event.
Mark of God. Exodus 12:13
The sprinkled blood on the door-posts was a token of redemption, a sign of God’s ownership, a pledge of security, and a mark of obedience. This mark secured the safety of those who exhibited it from the wrath and judgments of God. Deliverance from bondage and the last plague depended on their faith in the sprinkled blood which was symbolic of the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God. The angel of death passed over every home that had the mark of God’s approval and protection. His avenging sword was unsheathed in every other household in the land. The mark was an outward sign of obedience and showed that the inmates were worshipers of the true God and were obedient to His will.
The Antitype. Ezekiel 9:1-9
The angels of death here represent the seven last plagues and only those who have the mark of God will be delivered. This mark is an outward sign of the character of God which is imparted by faith in the sprinkled blood of the Lamb of God. It indicates that all sin has been washed away in the cleansing blood of Christ. Of them the Revelator says: "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Revelation 7:14. The marking angel in Ezekiel’s vision is followed by the angels of death who pass over those who have the protecting mark. This mark is a sign of their allegiance to the true God and insures their deliverance from the seven last plagues and from the bondage and persecutions of Babylon.
The Sabbath. Exodus 20:12, 20; Revelation 7:1-3
The Sabbath is the sign of the Creator or the true God, and also of redemption or sanctification. It is the outward sign of a character that has been cleansed from all sin by the blood of Christ. Isaiah 56:2. The Sabbath is therefore the sign of the sprinkled blood of Christ that alone can sanctify and make us holy. It is the seal or mark that secures the receivers from the weapons of the slaughter angels representing the wrath of God. "It is a sign of ownership, a mark of possession, a pledge of security, a badge of service, a token of redemption." —Pulpit Commentary. "This sealing secures the safety of the sealed ones as the judgment of the great day goes over the nations." —Seiss.
Delivered at Midnight. Exodus 11:4; 12:29
The deliverance of Israel under the Exodus from Egypt took place at midnight during the last plague. The preparation necessary was to have the blood sprinkled on the door-posts and to have everything packed up and ready to move. They were to be dressed with their sandals on their feet and their staves in their hands. Exodus 12:11-13. Exactly at midnight the angel of death to the Egyptians and of deliverance to the Israelites passed through the land. There arose a wail of woe from the Egyptians and a shout of deliverance from the people of God. The hosts of Israel had been organized for the journey and all preparations had been made. The 430 years were ended and the prophetic movement started from Egypt to Canaan, from bondage to freedom.
The Death Sentence. Exodus 14:5-31
The final deliverance of the Israelites took place at the Red Sea as they passed out of the dominion of Egypt. Here they were delivered from the sentence of death which was the final act in the drama of their Egyptian pilgrimage. Pharaoh’s decree was that they be brought back into bondage or destroyed. Exodus 15:9. God’s people were apparently in a trap with no human possibility of escape. The outlook from their viewpoint seemed hopeless. They must either return to Egypt to a more cruel bondage or face the sentence of death. It was a test of faith and the deliverance was sudden and unexpected. The Lord opened up the Red Sea and led them to freedom.
Also at Midnight. Exodus 14:19, 20
The deliverance at the Red Sea took place at night. All night they were protected by a guard of angels between them and the enemy. According to verses 24, 25, the Egyptians were destroyed during the morning watch which came between two in the morning and sunrise. Since several millions of men, women and children had to make the journey with all their belongings including live-stock, it doubtless required several hours to make the passage. The Red Sea at this point is estimated to have been at least one mile and probably five miles wide or even more. The 600 chariots of Pharaoh with perhaps 100,000 soldiers were in the midst of the passage in the morning watch. This would make the opening of the Red Sea for their deliverance about midnight.
George Stanley Faber declares that "The tongue of the Red Sea at that place is about twelve miles broad. … In the time of Diodorus it was three fathoms deep." (18 feet) George Rawlinson wrote: "The space may have been one of considerable width. The Israelites entering upon it, perhaps about midnight, accomplished the distance, which may not have exceeded a mile, with all their belongings, in the course of five or six hours, the pillar of fire withdrawing itself, as the last Israelites entered the sea-bed, and retiring after them like a rearguard. Thus protected, they made the transit in safety, and morning saw them encamped upon the shores of Asia." —Pulpit Commentary.
The sentence of death decreed upon the Israelites returned upon the heads of the Egyptians. Exodus 14:24-30. The enemies of God’s people were all destroyed and the Israelites were delivered from them forever. "There remained not so much as one of them." In connection with the destruction of the Egyptians, there took a place a terrific storm accompanied by thunder, lightning and earthquakes. Psalm 77:15-20. "Showers of rain came down from the sky, and dreadful thunders and lightning, with flashes of fire; thunderbolts also were darted upon them; nor was there anything wont to be sent by God upon men as indications of His wrath, which did not happen upon this occasion." —Josephus in his Ant. 2: p.16.
Song of Deliverance. Exodus 15
With their own eyes the Israelites witnessed the destruction of their enemies and saw their dead bodies along the shore. Josephus declared that an eastward wind with the tide carried the bodies of the Egyptians to the eastern shore where the hosts of Israel could see them and that Moses stripped them of their armor and weapons to equip his own army. —(Ant. Jud. 2, 16.) The song of deliverance is called "the song of Moses" because it was doubtless composed by him to commemorate the event and to celebrate their triumph. The song is divided into two parts. Verses 1-12 celebrate the deliverance that had just been experienced. Verses 13-18 are prospective of the results that were to come in the future because of the Red Sea deliverance. Verses 19-21 give us the sequel to the song, giving its historic background and the part Miriam played in the celebration.
Modern Israel will likewise experience a twofold deliverance from the power and wrath of modern Babylon. The first deliverance is from the sentence of death and the second from the world itself at the second advent. Daniel 12:1, 2. This text enumerates four important events: (1) The close of probation, (2) the plagues of time of trouble, (3) the deliverance of God’s people, and (4) the special resurrection. The final sentence of death is predicted in Revelation 13:15. Deliverance from this sentence will come before the partial resurrection and therefore before the second coming of Christ and the final deliverance out of the world.
No Apparent Escape
Like Israel of old at the Red Sea, God’s remnant people will apparently be trapped with no possibility of escape. They must either yield their allegiance to God and return to Babylon or be killed. "When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honor the law of God, there will be in different lands, a simultaneous movement for their destruction. As the time appointed in the decree draws near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to strike in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and reproof. —G.C. 635. "It was an hour of fearful, terrible agony to the saints. Day and night they cried unto God for deliverance. To outward appearance, there was no possibility of escape." —E.W. 283.
Guard of Angels
Just as a company of mighty angels stood guard between the Israelites and the Egyptians all through the night of their trial and deliverance, so modern Israel while under sentence of death will be protected by angel messengers. Isaiah 4:5, 6; Psalm 91. "Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who have kept the word of Christ’s patience. With sympathizing tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress, and have heard their prayers. They are waiting the word of their Commander to snatch them from their peril. … Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment-keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified, will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul." —G.C. 630, 631. "As the saints left the cities and villages, they were pursued by the wicked, who sought to slay them. … Angels of God shielded the saints." —E.W. 284. This is what happened in the flight of ancient Israel from Egypt.
Delivered at Midnight
All laws go into effect at midnight and this will be true of the law with the death-penalty. Therefore the deliverance of God’s people from the wrath and power of modern Babylon will take place at midnight. "It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people." —G.C. 636. "It was at midnight that God chose to deliver His people." —E.W. 285. Then follows a description of their deliverance, of the special resurrection, and later of the coming of Christ and the general resurrection of the righteous. It seems evident that the final deliverance from the world at the coming of Christ takes place at night and probably at midnight. It may be during the same night as the deliverance from the sentence of death although there is a train of events between the two that may take more time.
Death Sentence Reversed
The wicked will never be permitted to execute their sentence of death against the righteous, but God will execute His death-sentence against them. Revelation 14:9-11; 18:5-8; 19:19-21. There will not be one wicked person left. The righteous will behold the destruction of their enemies. Psalm 91:3-8. Protected by guardian angels from the wrath and devices of their enemies, the faith and patient endurance of God’s people are finally rewarded. Like the Israelites at the Red Sea they witness the vengeance of God upon their persecutors, and see them rewarded with the very sentence of death they had expected to execute upon the righteous.
An Awful Storm
In connection with the deliverance of God’s people and the destruction of the wicked there will be a great rainstorm with hail stones, thunder, lightning, and a great earthquake. See Jeremiah 4:24-27; Ezekiel 38:19-22; Revelation 16:17-21. "There is a mighty earthquake. … The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of the hurricane, like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness, are swallowed by the angry waters. … Great hailstones are doing their work of destruction. The proudest cities of the earth are laid low. … Fierce lightnings leap from the heavens, enveloping the earth in a sheet of flames. Above the terrific roar of thunder, voices, mysterious and awful, declare the doom of the wicked." —G.C. 637, 638. This is what happened in the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea only the latter is on a world-wide scale.
Song of Deliverance. Revelation 15:2-4
Just as triumphant Israel on the shores of the Red Sea celebrated their deliverance in song, so the delivered advent people will repeat the same song on the sea of glass because they have gone through the same experiences. "By the sea of glass." (R.V.) God’s people rejoice over their enemies who, "like a great millstone" "cast" "cast into the sea," go down to rise no more forever. Revelation 18:20, 21; 19:1-3. In connection with the descriptions of the final deliverance and song of victory the same terms and illustrations are used as are found in the Exodus description of ancient Israel’s experience and the song of Moses sung at the Red Sea. As Miriam, the prophetess of the exodus movement led in the song-celebration at the Red Sea, it may be that the song of triumph of the remnant of Israel who go through the final crisis will be led by the Prophetess of the Advent movement. At least it seems appropriate that it should be so. The song of triumph is the song of the Lamb. Jesus, the Lamb of God, won His victory in the Garden of Gethsemane about midnight. His midnight victory made possible our midnight deliverance.
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