Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 17: Notes on Scriptural Messages (1), by Watchman Nee

(EXODUS 12:11)

"And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover."

The previous passage tells us how to eat; this verse tells us what one should do besides eating. "With your loins girded." The Jewish dress is loose and has no buttons. When one is walking around casually, he does not gird himself up, but when he works, he will have to gird up his loins. From Luke 17:8, 12:35, and Acts 12:8, we can see the meaning of girded loins. To gird the loins means to be ready to work.

"Your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand." The purpose of this is to prepare oneself to take the journey. Once the Israelites were filled in their stomachs, they had to leave Egypt immediately to take their sojourning way. Once the blood is struck and the flesh eaten, one becomes a sojourner, and he has to leave Egypt immediately. Our life is the life of a sojourner; therefore, we have to be ready to leave Egypt. Once we have struck the blood and eaten the flesh, God will not allow us to remain in Egypt anymore.

"Your shoes on your feet." According to Ephesians 6:15, which says, "And having shod your feet with the firm foundation of the gospel of peace," we know that to put on the shoes means to be prepared to journey. In Acts 12 the angels told Peter to tie on his sandals because he was about to take a journey. The Jews did not wear shoes when they were at home; they only put on their shoes when they were ready to walk outside. To walk is to take up our sojourning.

"Your staff." According to Genesis 32:10, which says, "With my staff I passed over this Jordan," we see that the staff is for traveling outdoors. Hebrews 11:21 says, "By faith Jacob, while he was dying...worshipped God, while leaning on the top of his staff." God paid attention to Jacob’s staff. Whether in his going out, on his return, or during his time in Egypt, Jacob never gave up his staff. This means that his whole life was a life of sojourning. This is why God was pleased with him. Henceforth, we should live a sojourning life; we should no longer live in the world. Once the Israelites struck the blood and ate the flesh, they left Egypt. Let me ask, are we still living on this earth? Which book of the Bible mentions the expression living on earth the most? It is the book of Revelation. Those who live on the earth are those who live in Egypt, not only physically but spiritually as well. Do we have a staff in our hand? Is our hope in Egypt, or is it to cross the wilderness to enter Canaan? The world, the place where we are, should only be a way to pass by while we live and a grave to us after we die. It should bear no relationship to us other than being our way and our grave.

If we dwell in the world, we will not be able to reign with Christ; we will have no share in the millennium. Philippians 3 says that our commonwealth exists in the heavens, while 1 Peter 2 says that we are strangers and sojourners. Our government, homeland, and inheritance are not here. If we think these things are here, we are mistaken. Why did the Israelites think of Egypt when they were already journeying in the wilderness? They had forgotten Pharaoh’s oppression. They remembered the leeks and garlic and all the other food. We were under Satan’s oppression. But sometimes we think back on the little favors he gave us and what we were like before we were saved. Oh, if God left us in Egypt, what would have become of us? We would not have been any better than we are now!

(EXODUS 12:15-20)

"Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel...Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread."

This matter is somewhat serious! A believer has to remove the leaven. Leaven is the yeast for the flour dough; it is what makes a dough rise. The Bible tells us that from the day we eat the Passover lamb, we have to remove all leaven, and we have to eat unleavened bread for seven days.

What is the meaning of leaven? It is malice and evil. To be unleavened is to be sincere and without sin (1 Cor. 5:8).

To strike the blood is to be justified, saved, and delivered from the harm of the Egyptians. To remove the leaven is to be sanctified and have a share among God’s people. The striking of blood is Christ’s work, while the removing of the leaven is what every saved person should do. It is something that we should do daily from the first coming of the Lord until His second coming. We have to remove the leaven for seven days.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 17: Notes on Scriptural Messages (1), Chapter 3, by Watchman Nee)