Chapter 36 The Lord And His Friends

The LORD…will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you (Exodus 12:23).

Ye are My friends (John 15:14).

The whole purpose of our Lord’s redeeming sacrifice is to have those with Him who shall be His companions forever. The fellowship with Him in the remembrance feast is a beautiful expression of that companionship.

Before the Lord instituted the feast, Judas had gone out. He had proved to be a traitor, not a friend. When Judas went out, a whole nation went out with him, for he was a representation of the whole—a nation which had rejected Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, and which was now rejected by Him. With Judas gone, the Lord was left with His true companions.

The Lord’s Supper is one of the great features of transition from Israel of the old covenant to the Church of the new. What the passover feast was intended to mean to Israel is made real in the Lord’s remembrance feast to His Church.

The Judgment Upon Evil

In the night the passover was instituted, the Lord was to bring judgment upon Egypt and its gods. The first of God’s commandments is: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” But the Egyptians had made gods out of frogs and those many other things brought out in the plagues.

God’s judgment was not only against Egypt but against the gods of Egypt. There was to be no compromise for His people Israel with such evil. All blessedness was in God, the living God, and this meant separation from all that was represented by Egypt.

After smiting the gods of Egypt, the judgment of God was to smite the firstborn. The firstborn represented the whole family, including parents. The firstborn also embodied the principle that that which is first is natural (1 Corinthians 15:46). In God’s scheme of things the natural is set aside. Natural birth has transmitted to all men a corrupt nature, and it has brought them into a world of sin.

It is important to remember that, as the Lord’s people through spiritual birth, believers have been transported into a new world of grace. There must be no compromise with sin and that which is false. This is the first principle of gathering unto the Lord. God’s judgment upon that which is the fruit of a corrupt natural life thus makes way for that which is spoken in 1 Corinthians 15:46: “afterward that which is spiritual”—which is “the church of the firstborn” or “first-born ones” (Hebrews 12:23).

The Importance of the Threshold

In the passover, the blood of the paschal lamb was gathered in a basin and put on the threshold. From that basin the lintel and the side posts were struck with blood. None were to cross that threshold. “None of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning” (Exodus 12:22). The threshold was a most sacred place. It divided between what was in, and what was outside, the house-friends or enemies of the Lord. If any Israelite went out of his house, he would be in the camp of the enemy and thus would be smitten in judgment. The sprinkled blood on the door insured their safety so long as they abode under its protective covering.

Before the Lord moved into His remembrance feast, Judas had already crossed the threshold into the camp of the enemy. He was not, as it were, under the sprinkling of the blood. The blood so despised and profaned by him brought upon him a tremendous woe. He scorned the grand reality. The doorposts of his heart were without blood, and thus there was no protection for him against the messenger of death. Betrayal brought him to that!

The blood-besprinkled threshold of old marked the division. When God saw the blood, He said to the destroying angel, if such there was: “Don’t go in there. They are My friends.” The friends were those within the shelter of the blood. God’s own word was: “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). Said Moses: “When He seeth the blood … the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you” (Exodus 12:23). The matter of judgment was settled on the threshold—judgment outside; security inside.

The Night of Betrothal

The passover feast was really a betrothal ceremony. “I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt … I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:32). That was the passover night when God made a covenant with Israel. It was a blood covenant—a blood relationship. It was because of the breach of this betrothal covenant by Israel that God called their departure to serve other gods “whoredom,” “fornication,” and “adultery.”

“My covenant they brake” (Jeremiah 31:32). That is why Israel was set aside. They trampled down the blood covenant—and the blood was precious since it typified Christ’s blood. Blood could flow only from an expiring victim. It spoke of death as the desert of sin. But it was also the witness to redemption—God’s method of accomplishing redemption— and thus it was linked to expiating grace. All this Israel despised in her breach of her betrothal to the living God.

So Jesus came and gathered a new society of friends with Himself as the Mediator of a better covenant, established upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6). So the night of the institution of the Lord’s Supper was not only the night of His betrayal by Judas, but of His betrothal to His Church. He betrothed the Church to Himself in a covenant of blood— His blood. “This is the new covenant in My blood”—and by that precious shed blood He has secured His believing people to Himself forever.

What a union!—a union which cements our hearts to the Lord Jesus, and the Lord Jesus to us. In this present age believers are betrothed to Him by covenant blood. Soon, soon now, the day of marital union will arrive—“Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” and so, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).

Oh, Christ! He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted
More deep I’ll drink above:
There, to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face:
I will not gaze at glory,
But on my King of Grace—
Not at the crown He giveth,
But on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land.

Anne Ross Cousin