Elder Neal A Maxwell said, “Brothers and sisters, on very thin pages, thick with meaning, are some almost hidden scriptures. Hence we are urged to search, feast, and ponder (see John 5:39; Alma 14:1; Alma 33:2; Moro. 10:3; 2 Ne. 9:51).
I have been intrigued by the phrase almost hidden scriptures. A careful study of the scriptures will always show us phrases and ideas of great power that have been hidden and that we have missed many times in our reading. For example in the account of the first Passover in Exodus 12, the Lord directs the Israelites in the necessary steps to safety when the destroying angel passes by. They are, among other things, to take blood of a lamb-an umblemished male of the first year-and put it on the frames of their doors. Everybody knows this. But in his instructions to his people about the Passover, the Lord gives counsel that I have never noticed before. The counsel, from one of those almost hidden scriptures is in Exodus 12:22.
“And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning (Exodus 12:22)
Look at the image on the left as you consider the Lord’s instructions. Put the blood on the lintel and the doorposts, but when you have done that, “none of your shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.”
Once we have successfully applied the atoning blood of the lamb in our lives (to our lives) we must not leave its protection to go into the streets of the world where the destroyer is waiting for us. Elder McConkie said it this way:
“The Passover is a type of deliverance from the slavery of sin: from the bondage of the world; from the Pharaohs of greed and power and lust. It is the passing over of the angel of spiritual death so that the darkness of unbelief is replaced by the light of the gospel. It is a deliverance from the doom we deserve for our sins; from the spiritual death that awaits the wicked . . . because the blood of Christ has been applied to us by faith.
By sprinkling our Lord’s blood upon the doorposts of our hearts and upon the lintels of our souls, we set our dwellings apart from the world: we make open and visible confession of our allegiance to Him whose blood has eternal saving power; we set ourselves apart . . . and we place ourselves with the believing portion of mankind. As each family group ate their paschal lamb and drank of the cup of blessing so must we eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Lord Jesus. As the Passover was useless unless eaten, so must we live godly lives in Christ, and openly certify our love for him by keeping his commandments” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, Vol. 1, pp 165-166).
Of course in a literal sense we must go out of the doors of our homes, but we must never leave the safety of the Lamb’s blood which we have applied to the doorposts of our hearts and the lintels of our souls.
It is a remarkable blessing to have been promised protection and salvation by the blood of the Redeemer. Consider the circumstances that are most likely to entice us to go out from the door. What a tragedy that we would apply that blood, embrace the promise that the destroying angel would pass by, and then abandon that protection by our choices with regard to movies and literature and integrity and morality.
Think for a moment of the multitudes of Egyptians lying dead in the streets from the passing of the destroying angel because they did not apply the Lamb’s blood. Think of the millions in our own day who are dying for the same reason.
Then think of those in the Kingdom of God who have known the grace of Christ and ministry of his blood, but who have walked out the door anyway, for one reason or another. “And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them, and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost” (1 Nephi 8:28).
When the destroyer passes by, there is only one protection: the atonement. And he is passing by a hundred times a day now, in movies and media and music, and the diabolical destructiveness of parts of the internet. “He maketh war with the saints, and encompasseth them round about” (D&C 76:29). There are only a very few places on the planet that are safe from him. And they all have blood on the doorposts and the lintels-the righteous home, the church, the temples-the dedicated places where saints gather. They are the places focused on the gospel of the Savior of mankind.
It also seems probable that those who are struggling with weakness but striving to retain a remission of their sins (see Mosiah 4:11,12) and to honor the covenants they have made are also protected from the power of the destroyer by the blood of the lamb. The Lord declared that the best gifts of God are given “for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:9).
Of course those of us who have sought forgiveness and grace, who have applied the Lord’s blood upon the doorposts of our hearts and the lintels of our souls, and have stayed indoors, have by means of TV and DVD’s and other and our computers, invited the destroyer to come into our living rooms to try and destroy us in our own dwelling places. President Hinckley gave a parable about this:
“Let me give you a parable. A man built a beautiful home and furnished it with the very best . . . that money could buy . . . Then, fearful of intruders who might enter and rob him, he had installed expensive deadbolt locks . . . He put bars on the windows and doors . . . He installed costly electronic surveillance devices to turn on lights and set off alarms should any unwelcome intruder enter . . . And he smugly said to himself, “Now I am safe.”
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“But what he did not realize is that neither lights nor sirens nor anything of the kind would have the slightest effect on intruders of another variety who could destroy his life and the lives of his family” (Pres.Gordon B. Hinckley: Ensign, Jan. 2002, 5,6).
What an unnerving stroke of genius for Lucifer to have taken advantage of technology to bring the world and its wickedness to us on our computer screens and hundreds of channels in the sanctity of our own homes. There is much that is good there, but how careful we must be not to dilute the potency of the protection of the Lamb’s blood.
Clearly we must expand the reach of the atoning blood from the streets before our doors to the rooms behind our doors. The Lord has promised that if we apply his blood, he “will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto [our] houses to smite [us]” (Exodus 12:23).
The book of Mosiah speaks of this protection. Following the great sermon of King Benjamin, the people were converted,
“And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men” (Mosiah 4:2, emphasis added).
It is more than a little troubling to think that we apply the blood with one hand and “invite those intruders of another variety” with the other.
But regardless of his success in getting some to go out of the door and into the streets, the work will go on. In the end, the good guys win. I love this quote from Brigham Young about the protection that comes from applying the blood of the Lamb to our lives:
When the wicked have power to blow out the sun, that it shines no more; when they have the power to bring to a conclusion the operations of the elements, suspend the whole system of nature, and make a footstool of the throne of the Almighty, they may then think to check “Mormonism” in its course, and thwart the unalterable purposes of heaven. Men may persecute the people who believe its doctrines, reort and publish lies to bring tribulation upon their heads, earth and hell may unite in one grand league against it, and exert all their malicious powers to the utmost, but it will stand as firm and immovable in the midst of it all as the pillars of eternity. Men may persecute the Prophet, and those who believe and uphold him, they may drive the saints and kill them, but this does not affect the truths of “Mormonism” one iota, for they will stand when the elements melt with fervent heat, and the heavens are wrapt up like a scroll and the solid earth is dissolved” (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 442, 443).
This means of course that when the destroyer is in the neighborhood-and he is always in the neighborhood-the safest place we can be is inside that door with the blood of the atonement on the doorposts and the lintels.