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The Blood Shall be a Sign for you...

Blood on the Doorposts

Further thoughts on Parashat Bo

by John J. Parsons

In our Torah for this week (parashat Bo), we saw how the Israelites were commanded to slaughter the Passover and daub its blood on the two sides and top of the doorway of their houses (Exod. 12:7). The LORD would then see the blood and "pass over" their dwellings during the plague of the death of the firstborn. Based on this description, we might assume the blood was put on the outside of the door, though Rashi reasoned that it was placed on the inside, where they themselves could see it as a sign for them (i.e., הָיָה הַדָּם לָכֶם לְאוֹת [Exod. 12:13]). Indeed, after the blood was applied, the doors were shut and no one was permitted to leave the house until the following morning (Exod. 12:22).  The blood of the sacrifice was intended to be seen as a sign for those who were trusting in the redemption of God. Likewise, by faith we apply the blood of the lamb to the "inside" of our hearts...

Some have claimed that God intended the blood to be smeared on the doorway in the shape of a cross (represented by the pictogram for the letter Tav, which means "sign"). However, it is difficult to see how the shape of this pictogram resembles the outline of a doorway. Moreover, it is likely that the ancient Israelites wrote using ktav Ivri, which does not have a letter that resembles either a cross or a doorway. In Biblical Hebrew (called ketav Ashurit), the letter that most clearly resembles a doorway is the letter Chet (ח). This letter, signifying the number 8, is connected with the word chai (חי), short for chayim (חיים), "life." Based on this connection, a drash could be made that the blood of the lamb (דַּם הַשֶּׂה) not only saved from the judgment of death but it also symbolized divine life.


At any rate, there is no need to try to find a "literal sign" formed by the smearing of the blood, since the blood of the sacrifice itself was the sign that foreshadowed the greater sacrifice of Yeshua as the Lamb of God (שֵׂה הָאֱלהִים). In other words, it is clear that the sacrifice of Yeshua completely fulfills and reveals the inner meaning of Passover.

הִנֵּה שֵׂה הָאֱלהִים הַנּשֵׂא אֶת־חַטַּאת הָעוֹלָם

hin·nei  seh  ha·E·lo·him,  han·no·sei  et-cha·tat  ha·o·lam

"Behold the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world!"
(John 1:29)

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רָאוּי הַשֶּׂה הַטָּבוּחַ לְקַבֵּל גְבוּרָה
עשֶׁר וְחָכְמָה וְכּחַ וִיקַר וְכָבוֹד וּבְרָכָה

ra'uy  ha·seh  ha·ta·vu·ach  le·ka·bel  ge·vu·rah,
o·sher  ve·chokh·mah,  ve·ko·ach  vi·kar,  ve·kha·vod  uv·ra·kha

"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom
and might and honor and glory and blessing"
(Rev. 5:12)

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Ultimately, the story of the Exodus - and the deliverance indicated by the blood of the lamb - reveals the drama and glorious redemption of Yeshua, the Redeemer of Israel (יהוה גּאֵל יִשְׂרָאֵל) and Savior of the world.

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