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Old Testament Survey

Exodus




Key Verses

6:6
19:5, 6


Key Chapters

Chapters 12-14


Key Concepts

Redeem


Thoughts for Reading

Has God redeemed you?
If so, how have you repaid Him?


This is the book about the movement of the promised and chosen people from Egypt to the promised land. It is the first obvious step in God’s plan of bestowing upon the descendants of Abraham the promises of the covenant. But, the promises come in an unlikely manner.

Title

The English title, Exodus, comes from the Septuagint. It is from the Greek word which means “movement” or “departure.” In the Hebrew, the title comes from the first few words of the book, “these are the names.”

Date of Exodus

The Exodus from Egypt should be dated about 1446 B.C. This date emphasizes the literal interpretation of the biblical numbers in Exodus 12:40, Judges 11:26, and 1 Kings 6:1. This is referred to as the “early date.” Not all modern scholars accept this date. Many prefer a “late date,” placing the Exodus closer to 1250 B.C. This late date does not, however, allow for all of the events of history to occur in a “normal” fashion. Therefore, a plausible (and approximate) reconstruction would be as follows:

This matches 1 Kings 6:1 where 966 + 480 = 1446! If you add 430 years, the time that Israel lived in Egypt before the Exodus (Exod 12:40), Jacob moved to Egypt in 1876.

A conservative view of Israel&s early history is:

Either Thutmose III or Amenhotep II would have been the pharaoh of the Exodus. It is possible that Hatshepsut (1490-1469 B.C.) may have been the princess who reared Moses.

The actual date for the writing of this book is unknown. It is possible Moses wrote while the people camped at Mt. Sinai, some three months into the Exodus. This would place the date in 1446 B.C. On the other hand, the book may have been written at some point during the wilderness journey, so it could have been written closer to the end of the journey in 1406 B.C.

Purpose

Exodus is a book of history, promise, and fulfillment. God prophesied to Abraham that his descendants would be strangers in a foreign land for 400 years (Gen 15:12-16). In Exodus, the fulfillment of their removal from the bondage of this foreign land sets the stage for God’s deliverance of the people. Further, Exodus records the basic structure of the cultural and religious traits of the Nation which is to be God’s chosen people. In this sense, it is a book of beginnings, for it is the national beginning of Israel as the recipients of the promise.

This new constitution under which Israel will relate to God is known as the Mosaic Covenant. It involves God’s revelation of Himself as Yahweh or Jehovah. The emphasis of Exodus is on the importance of the people maintaining the covenant relationship with God.

A major portion of the book of Exodus deals with the background of the ritualistic or cultic religious services of the Nation. These are set against the background of the Ten Commandments and the other laws given by God to Moses. These laws were designed to teach the Nation what it means to be unique, a peculiar people unto God (Exod 19:5). These laws would separate the people from their neighbors. These laws look forward to the spiritual aspects of how man should treat God and his fellow mankind. This is why Jesus could declare that the entire law stands on one of the Ten Commandments and the commandment given later in Leviticus 19:18.

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. [Deut 6:5] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [Lev 19:18] 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The cultic nature of the worship was to be centered around the Tabernacle. This portable Temple would serve as the center of Israelite worship for some 400+ years until Solomon builds the first Temple at Jerusalem. The Tabernacle itself is an amazing type of Christ. This will be discussed in more detail as you read on.

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

Notice in reviewing the Pentateuch and the balance of the Old Testament, that there are major differences in God’s dealing with mankind in areas other than salvation. One of these is highlighted by the workmen of the Tabernacle. God’s Spirit came upon these men to empower them to accurately construct the Tabernacle and all of its furnishings. This emphasizes one important Old Testament / New Testament difference, the actions of the Holy Spirit on man. We all know that when one accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, an immediate action is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer. While God’s Spirit will not create a robot, He is there to help us as we struggle to move closer to God. Such was not the case in the Old Testament.

In the Old Testament there was no universal indwelling of God’s Spirit. The Spirit comes and goes as God determines most appropriate for His plans. The workmen chosen to build the Tabernacle are an example of those specifically empowered by the Holy Spirit. This empowering was almost always for a set time and purpose. Consider the following instances of Old Testament empowerment and ponder them as we review the balance of the Old Testament.

The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
PURPOSE PERSON REFERENCE
Skill Bezalel Exodus 31:3; 35:30-31
Leadership Moses Numbers 11:17
Leadership Joshua Deuteronomy 34:9
Leadership Othniel Judges 3:10
Leadership Gideon Judges 6:34
Leadership Jephthah Judges 11:29
Leadership Samson Judges 14:6; 15:14
Leadership Saul 1 Samuel 10:10; 11:6; 19:23
Leadership David 1 Samuel 16:13
Prophecy Seventy Elders Numbers 11:25
Prophecy Balaam Numbers 24:2
Prophecy Messengers of Saul 1 Samuel 19:20
Prophecy Amasa 1 Chronicles 12:18
Prophecy Azariah 2 Chronicles 15:1
Prophecy Zechariah 2 Chronicles 24:20
Prophecy Isaiah Isaiah 61:1
Prophecy Ezekiel Ezekiel 3:24; 11:5

Remember that as part of the transition from the Old to the New Testament, one of the traits given to John the Baptist is that he was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). This is the empowerment of the Old Testament given in a New Testament form, a fitting transitional picture for the last of the Old Testament prophets. Note also that both of his parents received fillings of the Holy Spirit in order to have prophetical insight into the events surrounding the births of John the Baptist and Jesus (Elizabeth at Luke 1:42 and Zacharias at Luke 1:67).

The Structure of Exodus

Exodus breaks down into three simple groupings.

A key passage here is the call of Moses into service. God has supernaturally protected him from the hand of Pharaoh, causing the male child to be raised in Pharaoh’s household rather than being killed. At the age of forty, Moses feels a strong affinity for the Israelites, killing one of the Egyptian taskmasters. When Moses learns that this event is public knowledge, he flees to the wilderness of Midian where he spends forty years being a shepherd. At this time, God determines that Moses has been trained enough and steps into the picture.

Exodus 3:2-4
2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I..

God tells Moses to remove his sandals, for he is standing on holy ground. Moses complies with the demand.

To be holy or sanctified
Something which is holy is something set apart. In the case of people following God we are made holy because we are set apart for God and away from the world. This is being sanctified. In both Hebrew and Greek “holy” and “sanctify” are translations of the same word.

Moses, however, had doubts that he was ready for the task of leading Israel from under Pharaoh’s hand. Moses presents several arguments against his assignment. God has a response for each one, including revealing the identification of a new name of the covenant God.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

God’s overall response is based upon Who He is!

Exodus 3:14
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

This is important in our study of looking for Christ, for Jesus reveals to the Jewish leaders that He is this same God.

John 8:57-59
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

The Contest, the Plagues, and the Passover

At the center of Jewish worship lies a single event, the deliverance of the nation by the blood and power of the Holy Spirit. The contest between Pharaoh and Moses is really a contest between God and the gods of Pharaoh. Moses goes to Pharaoh with a request to set the nation of Israel free. Moses came with the signs God had provided. We learned in Genesis 46:27 that seventy souls came with Jacob to Egypt while Joseph reigned. At the time of the Passover, the nation has grown to 600,000 men plus women and children! This potentially makes the population something between 2.5 and 3 million people. God has blessed the nation richly.

And it is easy to understand why Pharaoh would not want to loose this much slave labor. So, the contests begin. While on the surface it is a contest between Moses and Pharaoh, it is actually a demonstration by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He is vastly superior to the wooden, stone, and metal idols of the Egyptian Gods.

Notice, too, that the plagues touch first the comfort of the people (##1-4), the property of the people (#5), their persons (#6, 7), then render them helpless (#8, 9), and, finally, bring death and doom (#10).

The plagues of Exodus and the Gods of Egypt
Plague Egyptian God Defeated
Water into blood (7:19-25) Osiris, Nile god
Frogs (8:1-15) Heka, frog goddess
Lice (8:16-19) Geb, earth god
Flies (8:20-24) Khepara, beetle god
Death of cattle (9:1-7) Apis, cattle god
Boils (9:8-12) Typhon, physical god
Hail (9:22-35) Isis, air goddess
Locusts (10:12-20) Serapis, insect god
Darkness (10:21-23) Ra, sun god
Death of first born (11:4-7) Against all the gods

There are a multitude of other Egyptian gods. Several could fit into this list.

Notice that it is always God at work, not man. God make this plain to Moses and, ultimately, makes it plain to Pharaoh

Exodus 3:11-12
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

The Passover is still celebrated by the Jewish nation. It is the national ceremony which looks back on this great deliverance by God. Not only does God lead the people out of Egypt, He protects them along the way. He fights their battles for them. His power is displayed at the Red Sea (Chp 15). His graciousness is demonstrated as He provides water from a rock (Chp 17). He fights the Amalekites (Chp 17). He provides bread (“manna”) from heaven (Chp16). God is at work for Israel.

Passover comes from a Hebrew word meaning to “pass or leap over.” It commemorates God’s deliverance of the nation from Egypt. The Angel of Death “pass-over” the Israelites. You will see that the great Old Testament revivals are all accompanied by a renewal of the Passover ceremony (2 Chron 30:14). Jesus celebrates Passover with His disciples (Matt 26:2, 18). Jesus is our Passover sacrifice (John 1:29; 1 Cor 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19).

The people are led to Mt. Sinai, just as God promised Moses. There the Law is given to the Moses for the nation. The point of the law is to create a unique people for God.

Our God is a God who works in history. Notice as we read through the Old Testament, the rulers of the foreign nations are real, historical people, not myths. In the case of the nation of Israel in Egypt:

The Law

Exodus 19:1-6
In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. 3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

This is the Mosaic Covenant – the Covenant of the Law. Unlike the covenant God gave to Abraham, the Mosaic Covenant is conditional.

It is based upon God’s acts in history.

But, it requires obedience on the part of Israel.

Israel is promised they will be a treasure, will have possession of the land, and will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

Notice this is all based upon the original promises given to Abraham.

Christians

Peter says the church has the same spiritual promises as were given to Israel in this covenant.

1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

The Ten Commandments are properly given in Exodus 20:1-17. There are many ways to view the law, but the major view should be that the Commandments govern everything which follows. However, many feel that these interpretive laws should be divided into specific areas of coverage. These include:

Many call the section following the Ten Commandments (Exod 20:22-23:37) the Book of the Covenant. This title is based upon the language of Exodus 24:7. The entire section discusses “if / when” situations and is designed to demonstrate to the people how to apply the broader, more general principles of the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 24:7
And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

The law was given to provide a standard of righteousness (Deut 4:2, 8). When viewed in this fashion one can understand Paul’s statement that the law is good.

1 Timothy 1:8
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully

The law should be viewed as an insertion into the Abrahamic Covenant. Paul speaks of the law as a school master or tutor designed to watch over the child (Israel) until the coming of maturity (the Cross and the Resurrection) (Gal 3:19-24). As such, the view must be held that the end and fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant lies in Jesus. Scripture teaches that the law also exposes and identifies sin (Rom 3:20; 5:20; 7:7) as well as revealing the holy character and power of God (Deut 4:32-36).

 

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