Exit

(Exodus 7:19 by Alyse Radenovic, acrylic on canvas, 16″x20″)

A burning bush, sorcery, plagues, a parted sea, mass emancipation, the ten commandments – the book of Exodus is nothing if not interesting.  The most interesting thing about the story of Exodus, however, is the way it anticipates Jesus.  From the very beginning, Moses acts as a type of Christ.  Both Moses and Jesus were spared death as infants under the tyrannical reign of no-good kings (Pharoah/Herod).  Both men’s mission was to rescue God’s people from bondage to slavery (Egypt/sin).  In preparation for their mission, both men withdrew in solitude to fast and pray for 40 days (mountain/wilderness).  Both men were scorned and rejected by their own people.  There are other noteworthy connections, but even these are sufficient to draw the reader into this unique period of Israel’s history.

Within the book itself there exist multiple layers of allusion.  For example, what happens to Moses early in his life foreshadows what happens to Israel.  In his book A House For My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament, Peter J. Leithart explains:

Everything that happens to Moses early in the book of Exodus will happen to Israel.  Moses is saved through the water, and the whole nation will be saved through the sea.  Jochebed places Moses in the “reeds” along the river (Exodus 2:3), and he will bring Israel through the “Sea of Reeds” (Exodus 13:18).  He flees to Midian, where he spends forty years (compare Acts 7:23 with Exodus 7:7), just as Israel will have to spend forty years in the wilderness because of her rebellion.  While Moses is among the Midianites, Yahweh appears to him in a burning bush on Mount Horeb (Exodus 3:1-2), just as the Lord will appear at Horeb to the whole nation after Exodus.  Moses is the head of Israel, and whatever happens to the head will happen to the body.” (page 77)

The story of the people of Israel under Moses is both captivating and fascinating.  But perhaps the most theologically poignant foreshadowing of all occurs in Exodus 20 with the Passover.  There we read of how through the tenth and final plague the wrath of God was kindled and His judgment swept through Egypt killing all firstborn children.  To be spared, the people of God were instructed to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark their doorposts with its blood so that the Spirit of God would pass over them.  Pharaoh had enough and he released the Israelites to their freedom.  The Passover anticipates Jesus beautifully.

So, in consideration of the broader narrative of Scripture, Jesus, the Christ, not only reflects Moses in His role as Emancipator, but He also functions as the unblemished Lamb, sacrificing Himself and granting lasting salvation through His blood for all who would believe by grace through faith.  In Christ we see true deliverance, true obedience, and the true fulfillment of the law that was first given to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

I hope as you read through the book of Exodus you find it rich and engaging.  And as we continue to make our way through Scripture I want to invite you to ask questions along the way.  You can either email me directly (mike@citychurchstl.org) or, if you’d like to start a broader conversation, you can post a public comment/question here on the blog.  Thanks for reading.

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