Exodus 12-13 Redemption of the Firstborn

Today we focused on how the Lord helps us to remember Him and the importance of understanding our relationship to Him.  He has purchased us and we are like the Israelites, spared from certain death and perpetual bondage by the Savior’s blood.

Suppose you were condemned to die in another land.  Before your execution, someone made arrangements, at great cost, to purchase your freedom.  How would you feel about that individual?  What would your relationship to that person be for the rest of your life?

This scenario is like the situation for the firstborn males in Israel.  They would die as part of the tenth plague unless they had the blood of a lamb on their doorposts.  The blood literally redeemed, or saved, them from death.  Exodus 13 records what the Lord said to these firstborn who from that time forward, in a sense, lived on “borrowed time” because they were unable to save themselves.  Only through the blood were they spared from death.

I had the students read 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 2 Nephi 2:8; 9:7-9; and D&C 18:10-12 and write about how they are like the firstborn in Israel.  What can you do to always remember what the Lord has done and show Him your gratitude for the redemption provided through His Atonement?

Collectively these verses of scripture demonstrate that we would be completely lost and forever destroyed without the Savior’s Atonement.  I have a special appreciation for Jacob’s words in 2 Nephi 9 – “…save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption.  Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man (“ye shall surely die” – see Genesis 2:17) must needs have remained to an endless duration.  And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more… if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.  And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God…” (2 Nephi 9:1-7)

The Passover was implemented by the Lord to teach Israel the importance of remembering by what power they were redeemed.  Today we have the sacrament to help us in this endeavor.

Elder Holland asked: “Do we see [the sacrament] as our passover, remembrance of our safety and deliverance and redemption?  “With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is. It should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 68).

The following story was brought to me several years ago by a student.  Although the story is fiction, it teaches the importance of remembering the Savior and puts things in a perspective that reaches students personally.

The mystery flu

The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio. You hear something on the your favorite station about a village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before.. it’s not influenza, but three or four people are dead, and it’s kind of interesting, and they’re sending some doctors over there to investigate it.

You don’t think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear another radio spot. Only they say it’s not three villagers anymore, but 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it’s on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb; people are heading there from the Center of Disease Control because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. Now it’s not just India; it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you’re hearing this story everywhere and they are now calling it the mystery flu. The President has made some comment that he and everyone is praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, how will it be contained?

That’s when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this disease has been seen. And that’s why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English: There’s a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu.  It has come to Europe. Panic strikes.
As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week before you know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms, after which you die.

Britain closes their borders, but it’s too late. Southampton and Liverpool have been hit.  It’s Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: “Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this horrible sickness.”

Within four days the nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear.  People are selling little masks for your face. People are asking “What if it comes to this country?” Preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It’s the scourge of God.” It’s Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Turn on a radio, turn on a radio.”  And while the church listens to a little radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made that two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu.

Within hours it seems, it sweeps across the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California. Oregon. Arizona. Florida. Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s just sweeping in from the borders. And then, all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken.  A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of someone who hasn’t been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken.  That’s all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospitals.

Sure enough, when you and your family gets down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they’ve got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it.  Your wife and your kids are out there, and they take your blood type and they say, “Wait here in the parking lot and if we don’t call your
name, you can be dismissed and go home.”

You stand around, scared, with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on and if this is the end of the world.

Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me.” Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. Wait a minute. Hold on! And they say, “It’s okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he has got the right type.” Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another – some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says,” Thank you, sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine.”

As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, “May we see you for a moment? We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor and we need… we need you to sign a consent form.”

You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. “H-h-h-how many pints?”

And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades and he says, “We had no idea it would be a little child.

We weren’t prepared. We need it all!”

“But-but … You don’t understand.”

“We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We-we need it all!”

“But can’t you give him a transfusion?”

“If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign? Would you sign?”

In numb silence, you do. Then they say, “Would you like to have a moment
with him before we begin?”

Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?” Can you take his hands and say, “Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything, happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”

And when that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying.” Can you leave?

Can you walk out while he is saying, “Dad? Mom? Dad? Why – why are you leaving me?”
And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don’t even come because they go to the lake, and some folks come but don’t really want to, they just come out of social obligation, only pretending to care.

Would you want to jump up and say, “My son died!  Don’t you care!?  He gave his life so that you might live!  Don’t you get it?”

About LDS Scripture Teachings

I write about ways scripture applies in our lives: LDSScriptureTeachings.org
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