Saturday, October 1, 2016

A quick summary of the Book of Exodus

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

Yesterday's post considered a quick summary of the book of Genesis. Genesis ends with the death of Joseph. Whenever we fast-forward hundreds of years later, we arrive at the days of Moses and the book of Exodus. Whenever we consider most of the books of the Hebrew Old Testament, many of their Hebrew titles correspond to the first word in their text. For the book of Exodus, the Hebrew title is "we-ay-lay she-moath" (וְאֵ֗לֶּה שְׁמוֹת֙ ), which translated means "these are the names".  So which names is Moses referring to in his introduction to Exodus? No doubt, the initial first sentence reveals the identity of those "named": specifically, all those who had went down with Jacob in the days of Joseph. Exodus' purpose is to function as a sequel to the end of the book of Genesis. Just like many movies today that have sequels telling the story of certain characters and their lives many years later, the book of Exodus continues on the story of those "sons of Israel" who had traveled with Jacob down to Egypt back in the days of Joseph. 

So we could say that the book of Exodus, at least from its Hebrew name, is going to detail the lives of those descendants of Jacob and his relatives recorded in Genesis. But Exodus is so much more than a sequel and is not focused just primarily on the Hebrew people. The title "Exodus" which appears in our English Bibles derives from the title given to the book as seen in the Greek translation of the Old Testament - the Septuagint. This title conveys the Divine focus of the book in how God was going to deliver His people out of Egypt to go and worship Him in the desert in and around Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:11-12). God's preservation of the Hebrew peoples from the days of Jacob was evidence of what He had promised to Jacob's father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. 

With respect to the main character in the book of Exodus: God is center-stage. In Genesis we find God revealed as "Elohim". In Exodus, especially in His encounter with Moses in the burning bush in Exodus 3:14, we find God revealing His Personal, covenant name: "Yahweh". Yahweh in the Hebrew language is a variation from a verb "to be". Quite literally, not only does it mean "I am who I am" but it could just easily be translated "I am the One who is, am and ever will be". This Yahweh, Jehovah God is not only the Creator of the Heavens in earth in Genesis 1-11, He is the Author who brought forth the Hebrew people through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Genesis 12-50. Exodus was written to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to remind them of who they are and whose they are.

Yahweh of course will be the One who will call Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, to Mount Sinai and to build the Tabernacle - the worship center of Yahweh amidst the people. Without going into the technical details, we can date the Exodus event itself to 1446 b.c chronological information offered in 1 Kings 6:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1-2; Acts 7:6 and Galatians 3:17.

So much more could be said about Exodus. Since the purpose of this post is to summarize the book, I will simply offer a brief outline below. We will then conclude with a few observations concerning how the book of Exodus points the way to Jesus Christ.  

A summary outline of the Book of Exodus. 

Prologue: Exodus 1

Calling of Moses: Exodus 2-6

The Exodus: Exodus 7-15

Journey to Mount Sinai: Exodus 16-18

God's Covenant to Sinai: Exodus 20-23

The Tabernacle is revealed: Exodus 24-31

The Treachery of the Golden Calf: Exodus 32-33

The Tabernacle is completed: Exodus 34-40

Closing thoughts and applications
As Jesus Himself noted in Luke 24:44, all the Old Testament scriptures point to Him. The book of Exodus is no different. In Exodus, we see Moses the lawgiver and mediator of the Old Covenant, praying for the people and sent by God to lead the people out of bondage. This of course reminds us of Jesus, a new Moses of sorts, Who was sent by God to be the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8-9) and lead those whom He calls and who respond in faith out of darkness and into the light of salvation (John 5:24-25; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6). 

A second picture of Christ we find in Exodus pertains to the Levitical Priesthood. Aaron was Israel's first High Priest, serving as Intercessor for the people. Jesus is designated the Christian's High Priest, serving in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7) and ever praying on behalf of His people (Hebrews 4:14-16).

A third picture of Jesus from Exodus is that of the tabernacle. Entire books and studies have been written over the years detailing how the tabernacle in Exodus illustrates Jesus and the relationship He has with His people. The arrangement of the seven main pieces of furniture, for example, are in the shape of a cross. I don't find this arrangement to be a coincidence. It is by Divine Design. New Testament passages such as John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 10 and Hebrews 7-10 indicate that the Tabernacle in some way foreshadowed what would be the ultimate Tabernacle of flesh and bone, God in human flesh - Jesus Christ.   

These are but a sample of the ways we see the Lord Jesus Christ in Exodus. Exodus portrays the central principle of salvation in the Bible: salvation is of the Lord. So much richness resides in the Book of Exodus. The Lord Jesus saw fit to formulate His institution of His own Lord's table (Mark 14:12-31; 1 Corinthians 11:23-27) from the Passover over ritual initiated in Exodus 12-14. On and on we could go, but the reader ought to see why the Book of Exodus merits our study, meditation and application. To God be the glory!  

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