Take a look back at the inspiration for one of Christianity's most highly regarded traditions in this episode of BT Daily.
[Darris McNeely] "NTBO” – what does it mean? It means the “Night to Be Observed”. Where in the world do you get such an idea for a night to be observed? Well, you get it from the book of Exodus. You get it during the story of Israel’s exodus out of Egypt. We all know that story if we’ve watched the movie The Ten Commandments over the years in our generation. We understand that the Israelites left Egyptian slavery under Moses and they traveled to the Promised Land. But when they came out, the events that took place at that time are packed with a great deal of teaching and meaning, spiritually, for all of us. And for a Christian who sits down, as they will be very soon, to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, to keep the Passover observance, there is in Scripture an observance that has become a tradition for Christians, to observe something about the night that Israel left Egypt.
We can find it referenced in chapter 12 of Exodus, beginning in verse 37 through verse 42 (Exodus 12:37-42 Exodus 12:37-42  And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelled in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
 It is a night to be much observed to the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
American King James Version×), where it talks about the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. After they traveled from Rameses to Succoth, about 600,000 on foot there told. Others went with them, a mixed multitude. It says they even baked unleavened cakes because they left in such a hurry out of Egypt, they didn’t have the time to put in the leavening agents and in that, we get the understanding and meaning toward the Days of Unleavened Bread. But they were put out of Egypt – they did not wait, it says, neither had they prepared for themselves anything to eat. And in verse 42 is the critical verse. It says, “It is a night to be much observed, bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.” It was a nighttime departure. And it was done in a great deal of haste. They had to leave behind a lot of things, but they also took a lot from the Egyptians. And it’s a very interesting concept because in this, there’s a margin in many Bibles that say that on this night, there must be a vigil kept in honor of God for their generations.
Today, Christians who observe this night at the beginning of the Days of Unleavened Bread because it happens actually to be on the time of a Holy Day, the beginning of the Days of Unleavened Bread, that begin that period. There is a gathering and a time for Christians to come together to have a meal and to remember that God brought Israel out of Egypt, and for a Christian today, it is – the meaning is that God, through His Son Jesus Christ, Who is our Passover, has delivered us from sin, the penalty of sin. Egypt is a type of sin. So there’s a great deal of symbolism in what is done here. The leavened bread represents sin, but that’s a topic for another Daily that we will do. But on that night, they stopped and they considered what God was doing in their life. And in every generation, every annual commemoration of this from that point forward, they were to observe it and to remember through a vigil, for a period of stopping and considering that God had delivered them during that night.
A vigil. A vigil is a watching. Students of Scripture will know that throughout the New Testament and the Old Testament, there is ample instruction for us to be watchful – to be watchful of our spiritual lives, and of our spiritual condition. A Christian today lives in a world that is not too friendly toward his beliefs, toward her actions and wanting to obey God. We are in a very hostile world, much like Israel was in Egypt at that time. And so, it is important that we stop and we consider our own lives and the world we live in, and take note of where we are spiritually. As one begins the Holy Days – and I think there is a note of – built into what God says here in Exodus 12 and a great deal of teaching for us in the church, among Christians today, to observe this with an understanding that we live in a world today that seeks to drain from us the vitality of joy, hope, and our salvation. And we have to be on guard to guard against that. We live, as Paul said in the book of Galatians, in an evil world that is bent upon our spiritual destruction. No matter how affluent, wealthy, or even successful we might be, one who is obeying God is under a great deal of stress.
To keep this night, the beginning of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, after keeping the Passover service, is a very, very critical and important step to begin one’s observance of all of God’s Holy Days. In part 2 of this, we’re going to come back and we’re going to talk a little bit more about exactly how this can be done, and how a Christian today should observe the Night to Be Much Observed.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.