Blood on the Doorposts

Up until the tenth plague, it was enough to just be an Israelite. Beginning with the flies of the fourth plague, God “set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell” (Exodus 8:22).

The Bible makes specific note that the Egyptians had swarms of flies while the Israelites didn’t. The Egyptians’ livestock died while the Israelites’ livestock survived. The Egyptian fields were pelted with hail while the Israelite fields were not. The Egyptians were shrouded in unnatural darkness for three days while the Israelites had light. In every instance, it was God who made the distinction (Exodus 8:23; 9:4, 26; 10:23).

The tenth plague was different. As God prepared to strike the firstborn of Egypt, He made it clear that there would still be a distinction between His people and Egypt: “Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel” (Exodus 11:6-8).

But this time, Israel would be required to distinguish itself.

Before the Passover meal, each Israelite family would have to use the blood of a sacrificial lamb to mark their doorposts:

And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.

(Exodus 12:22-23)

Did God not know who His people were?

Obviously He did. The preceding plagues were irrefutable proof to Egyptians and Israelites alike—the Egyptians were being targeted by a God who claimed the Israelites as His own. And yet this time, there were expectations. This time, if the blood was missing from the doorposts, or if the Israelites were foolish enough to wander outside, the implication is that they too would be destroyed in the wake of God’s judgment.

It’s not that the blood was magical somehow. And it’s not that “the destroyer” was set to autopilot and God’s hands were tied.

It was simply a condition.

Any Israelite firstborn who wanted to survive the coming plague would only find deliverance by sheltering in a house marked with the blood of a lamb.

There were two basic requirements here:

  1. Put the blood on your doorposts.
  2. Don’t step outside.

This year, as Passover approaches, we don’t have to be concerned about the tenth plague. But we should be thinking about something much, much bigger.

Something dangerous is coming, and the condition for survival hasn’t changed very much. It still involves the blood of a Lamb, and it still involves staying somewhere safe.

But this time, it’s not just about the firstborn.

It’s about everyone.

The wages of sin is death.

We know this. But are we living like it?

The blood of Jesus Christ, which paid the penalty we earned for ourselves, is not a blank check to live however we want to live.

We know this. But are we living like it?

It was entirely possible, on that first Passover, for an Israelite to go through all the proper steps—slaughtering the Passover lamb, painting the doorposts with its blood—and still wander outside. To accept the protection of that blood and then step outside what it was protecting.

I don’t think it would have ended well for anyone who chose to do that. “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29).

The destruction that is coming will be total and complete. God is bringing judgment on not just the firstborn of a single nation, but on the entire human race. And once that judgment is concluded, the world that we know is going to pass away:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

(2 Peter 3:10-12)

The only way—the only way—to escape that destruction is to find shelter under the blood of Christ.

Nothing else is going to work.

It’s not even enough to just be God’s people. John the Baptist warned his unrepentant countrymen, “Do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones” (Matthew 3:9). Israel couldn’t escape the tenth plague by just being Israel, and we can’t escape what’s coming by just being in the Church. God requires action from us.

The world’s opportunity to understand will come later. But you and I, our turn is now. If we aren’t putting the blood on our doorposts—if we aren’t coming boldly before the throne and seeking the forgiveness and transformation we so desperately need—then we’re putting ourselves in mortal danger.

And even then, it’s possible to accept that blood and still step outside. To peek beyond the doorframe. To let the adversary convince us there’s something better out there in a world that’s slated for destruction.

He can do it, if we give him the opportunity. He’s good at making it look good. But sin is sin, and sin destroys.


The blood does nothing for us when we choose to step beyond it.

This Passover, the condition—the two basic requirements—are unchanged.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

(1 John 2:15-17)

Put the blood on your doorposts, and don’t step outside.

Until next time,

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