Exodus: A Greek word meaning departure, exit or death. The Exodus from Egypt represents a great deliverance, and carries the same meaning in the New: That is, a great deliverance from bondage to freedom, victory over the world, flesh and the devil. (See decease, Luke 9:30-31, 2 Peter 1:14, 15.)
The first word Now, tells us that Exodus is a continuation of Genesis. God passes over the many generations between so Joseph died to Now as though it were the next day. Thus, we are shown that the writers knew that they were recording a continuing history of Gods dealing with His Covenant people.
Now these are the names of the 12 men who carried the bloodline of Jacob. In Gen 14:14, Abraham armed 318 men when he went to rescue Lot. The command to circumcise all the males is in chapter 17, so there was at least 1000 males circumcised. Klassen estimates about a 200 year period from the command to circumcise until going down into Egypt. By the time Jacob went into Egypt, there was such a huge amount of people with him that a separate area of land had to be assigned to them, Goshen. So the actual bloodline from Jacob in Exodus was very minute.
Exodus 1 only lists the male heads of households who were in the direct bloodline to Abraham. The word household included everyone in that house, servants, children, &c.
In Genesis 17:9-14, the command was to circumcise every man child among you, regardless of their origin, foreign or of the bloodline of Israel. Accordingly, every family who was attached to Israel, bloodline or not, was a member of the Covenant people.
Of the many thousands who went down into Egypt with Jacob, only 75 (counting Joseph, his sons and grandsons) were of the actual bloodline of Abraham, Acts 7. This means that Covenant nation from its very beginning in Genesis 17 was not united by blood, but by faith in the God of Abraham.
The great error of our Lords day was that the Pharisees saw the descendants of Abraham as a bloodline, not a faith line. (We be Abrahams seed ) The only supposed connection with the old national Israel today is a common anti-Christ Jewish religion.
Modern theology restricts ancient Israel to the bloodline of Jacob, when nothing could be farther from the truth: The covenant members included far more from outside the bloodline of Abraham than from within his bloodline. The bloodline was only important in the matter of the priesthood and later, the kings. Those two offices spoke of Christ, who had to come from this bloodline of Abraham. The bloodline had to be meticulously recorded up unto Christ. Then God destroyed all records. We will see when we get to the civil rulers, that the captains over 10s, 50s, 100s, etc., did not have to prove their bloodline.
We are confronted with this critical fact from the very beginning: The Covenant people were far more inclusive than just the bloodline of Abraham. The Covenant people, national Israel here in Exodus, included all of the households of the 12 Patriarch---many thousands of people. It included any and all who willingly connected with the household of faith, whether bought with money, taken in war, or born into the house. Note that a war captive could convert to Israels God, and thus could no longer be held as a captive.
No doubt the objection may be raised, "But they were servants, bought with money. What choice did they have? How can they be considered Covenant-members of their own free will?" Here are two answers:
First, Gen. 17:14. Any one who did not want to be brought into the covenant did not have to be. It was not 'either join or death.' It the male did not want circumcision for himself or for his children, the only consequence was that he was separate from the Covenant family of Israel.
Second, the only kind of servitude permitted in Scripture was voluntary, Deut. 23:15, 16. Therefore, a runaway servant could not be returned. However, servitude could be involuntary as punishment when a thief could not make restitution, Ex.22:33. Or a man could be sold for his debt, Deut. 15:12. A man could also renounce his freedom and make himself a bondservant, and remain one if he so chose, Ex. 21:5-7. In addition, a servant could become the heir to the masters estate, Gen. 15:2, and he could marry into the 'bloodline.' (Slave is only used twice in the KJV, Jer 2:14 & Rev 18:13.)
Abraham would not have forced anyone to follow him who did not want to. The law that was given latter bears this out; a runaway servant could not be returned to his master. (See Edersheim, II, pp. 82, 83.)
According, we must conclude that Abrahams servants were not forced to remain in his household. They would have been free to refuse the Covenant sign and leave the Covenant nation that started with circumcision.
Observe: According to John 8:56, the gospel of the substitutionary work of the sinless sacrifice of Christ was preached to Abraham. Abraham was either shown or knew the Gospel of Christ in Genesis 22 where he was told to sacrifice thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest. (Gal 3:8, 9, Hebrews 11:13, 39, 1 Peter 1:10-12.)
The Lord knew that Abraham would command his household after him in the ways of the Lord. (Gen 18:18, 19) Accordingly, Israel was established as a nation, united with a common faith in the coming Sacrifice for sin, and the resurrection of the dead. Israel never was a bloodline race. The nation was founded upon the promise of the Covenant God, with circumcision as the outward sign. (Noah and Abraham were both alive for 58 years, so they no doubt knew each other.)
In both Testaments, the true covenant-membership in the true Israel of God was not through the circumcision made with hands, but the circumcision of the heart, Romans 2:25-29. That circumcision is proved by the circumcised life: Be ye holy, even as I am holy.
Moses refers to the Covenant people as the Children of Israel, not the children of Jacob. Israel is the covenant name of the people of God from the time of Jacob. Children of Israel indicates that all the people, servants included, were the Children of Israel; that is, they were part of the covenant household because of their faith in the promise given to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.
When the Exodus takes place, Israel had a 600,000-man army, which was not a small army. (Exodus 12:37, 51. God calls Israel his army, as is the new Israel of God as it goes forth to battle under the Captain of the Lords hosts, or Army.)
In Exodus 1, there were already many thousands of followers of this religion who had gone through the rite of circumcision, but their only relationship to Abraham and to Jacob was a common faith.
The command in Genesis was to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth with the instruction to subdue the earth for the glory of God by obeying his law-word. In Exodus 1:7, we see that Israel was fruitful and multiplied. God is now creating a chosen people that He will deliver unto Himself. He will give them His law. In His deliverance from bondage, we have illustrated both a new creation and regeneration.
V. 6, Joseph. Joseph saw Egypt through a major famine. Joseph had used Pharaoh's power to store up a huge surplus of food in order to care for the people through the draught years. Joseph had reconfigured the tax structure to reduce the tax to a simple 20% of the grain crops only, and no property tax nor income tax. (Gen. 47:24) Furthermore, 20% of the increase for seven years was plenty to see not only the nation of Egypt through 7 years of famine, but provide extra grain for those around Egypt. According to Rushdoony,
Egypt had an interesting crop rotation. One year wheat was grown, the next other crops such as barley, rye, onions, or something else. Then on the third year, the land was left empty. This meant that orchards and vineyards were not taxed; only the wheat harvests was taxed.
Joseph's tax was close to a Biblical tax, with the tax only on the increase from the crops, not on the land itself.
The priests were supported from Pharaoh's receipts that, until the time of Joseph, had been the major portion of every crop. Therefore, even though Joseph might be accused of being a socialist, he was far from it. The people considered him a deliverer, thou hast saved our lives, Gen. 47:25.
Under Joseph, the land was transferred to Pharaoh and then returned to the people who then only had to pay a small tax on their grain. (Old Testament History, Edershime, p.160) Note that Joseph bought the land with tax money, but the tax was not an oppressive tax. Moreover, it was the people's own fault, for they did not prepare according to Josephs warning. Joseph did not confiscate the land as is done today.
How like us today: Times are good; pursue the desires of your heart, for we have plenty. We, husband and wife, have a good job, so let us take on this debt. The Egyptians lost their land to the state as they ignored Josephs warning.
(If you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet ... you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans.)
Joseph reformed the tax system and cut it to the bone so that they were paying a smaller tax than we pay. We pay at least 40% when all taxes are taken into account. The majority of government spending is courtesy of borrowing from the private bank, the Federal Reserve. Joseph wisely did not tamper with the land held by the priests. At the present, church real and personal property is not taxed by the state, nor is the pastors real property taxed.
Joseph transferred all of the land from the landowners to the crown, then back to the people. He stripped the ruling class of their power, and gave it to the crown. No doubt this caused a continuing hostility from the ruling class against the Hebrews because of what Joseph did to their power.
The purpose of the Jubilee in Canaan was to prevent power from being assembled into the hands of a select few.
V. 7 abundantly, swarmed.
We see the promises of God fulfilled precisely as God said
to Abram in Genesis 15:13. The people of the Covenant had come
into Egypt and had settled in the best of the land. Though not
a supernatural increase, the increase definitely was a result
of the promised blessings of the Lord. They were blessed in their
increase so that the land was filled with them.
Over the centuries they had multiplied and grown into a great nation that Egypt now saw as a threat. Egypt's response was to oppress them to the point of the danger of crushing them completely.
Accordingly, it was the Lord's blessing upon them that led to their persecution. Egypt resented and felt threatened by the increase and the prosperity of Israel. This prepares us for what is to follow: Egypt's efforts to destroy Israel.
First, because this is a fallen world, men resent and envy the success and prosperity of others, and commonly use it for political purposes, i.e., "The Politics of Envy." The simple actually believer that the politicians are interested in the people, but all we have to do is look at facts, as they seek to increase their own power and wealth.
God's blessings upon His people commonly creates hostility in evil men. Evil men assume that God's people have no place in society except a silent and subordinate place.
Envy leads to the persecution of all Christian associations: Christian Schools, Churches, Homeschools, Parents, Businesses, &c. All who are prospering in the name of the Lord apart from the State have the envy and wrath of evil men against them.
Second, only when the world see Gods kingdom as a threat to their power and authority will they oppresses the kingdom of God on earth (the church and the individual Christian). As long as the activities done in the name of Christ are no threat to the wicked, they not only leave them alone, but will support them, e.g., Rev. Jessie Jackson as well as the many feel good ministries, e.g., Joel Osteen. Men like them are exalted by the world as they present themselves as representing the kingdom of God. They are no threat to the kingdom of men, for they are humanistic to the core, promoting the kingdom of men. We know them by their fruit.
On the other hand, the Lord promised that those who will live godly will suffer persecution. The church that is not at odds with the kingdoms of this world is not representing the kingdom of God. The more we represent the kingdom of God, the more the kingdom of men will stand against us, just as Egypt did to the children of Israel.
Some years ago, I received a flier about the reprinting of the GENEVA BIBLE. The flier pointed out that the KJV was commissioned by King James to counter the GENEVA BIBLE, because it contended with the kingdom of men (King James' kingdom) too much. The KJV is obviously basically the Geneva with the notes removed. Schofield put his notes in the KJV in the early 1900s, and moved the hearts of men into the kingdom of men.
Observe: The world has become and is becoming so corrupt that it does not take much to excite their ire and raise their wrath. (I personally learned this lesson in WV.) Therefore, we cannot say that persecution proves a godly cause, for world will seek to crush anyone whom it sees as a challenge to its ungodly agenda.
The society is so far down the road to total socialism that any shadow of Biblical principles will produce great wrath against the godly who might seek the enter the Parthenon where the gods of this age set, the US Congress. Political campaigns today avoid issues, but try to paint opposition in a bad light. Those who live by the Truth are treated as a worse threat to the US than are the followers of Allah, and many voters believe the lies.
The early church proclaimed Christ as Lord and Savior. The theology of the Roman state held the emperor to be lord and savior. The good character of Christians did not commend them to Rome: it only made them a more effective threat. The vices of our enemies trouble us, but their virtues threaten us even more. So it was with the early Christian.
The matter has not changed much since then. In the 20th century, pastors and Christian School administrators are amazed at the hostility and venom of state and federal officials. After all, it is the Christian Schools that produce the best students and the finest citizens. In a time of growing delinquency, anarchy and crime in the state schools, and social disintegration, why do men not welcome the stability which Christian schools give to society? The answer is that, at their worst, the state school delinquents and the criminals in society are preferred to Christians by these humanists, because these lawless elements do not constitute an intellectual, theological, and moral challenge to their statist plan of salvation. The Christians clearly do. Humanism today has a militant plan of salvation by statist action. To institute that plan means silencing Christians and obliterating Christian institutions. (Salvation and the State, Rushdoony, pp. 26, 27.)
1. The first half of the Book of Exodus records the confrontation between the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light, Gods Kingdom on earth. In the closing of the first section of Exodus, we see the kingdom of God leaving the kingdom of man in the dust. This book reminds us that the victory is the Lord's, and He is not restricted to the means that men identify with warfare. Exodus destroys the strange doctrine that Christ must use a bloody two-edge sword to conquer the kingdoms of this world.
2. Exodus reminds us that no matter what the odds are against the Kingdom of God on earth, or how mighty and dedicated the kingdom of man might be against the Kingdom of God on earth, the kingdom of man does not stand a chance. Psalms 24:8, Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. The first 15 chapters of Exodus show us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal weapons. The kingdom of man shall crumble when God's purpose is accomplished.
The New Testament authors and Christians knew the Old Testament, so they knew that the kingdom of men would be ground to dust, and subdued to King Jesus. However, starting in the late 1700s and for reasons known to Himself, God started rising up heretical teachers to undermine the gospel. (1 Cor 11:19)
Lack of faith in the promises clearly given through the ancient Hebrew prophets has turned the victorious nature of the Christian gospel into an hopeless gospel that waits for a supernatural intervention, which will not come.
3. God is mindful of His people no matter how small the number. He is just as ready to deliver His faithful people today as He was for Israel in Egypt. Sodom and Gomorra also.
4. It was the persecution resulting from God's blessings that drove the Israelites to cry out to God, Ex. 3:7. But even then, when God sent Moses to deliver Israel, the leaders turned against him when the first step of resistance to Pharaoh led to reprisals against Israel.
5. Israel was not delivered because of his merits or virtues. Moses makes it abundantly clear how difficult it was to lead Israel; it was only God's sovereign covenanting grace and mercy that delivered Israel. God made a promise to Abraham, and by His grace, He shall keep that promise. His Covenant promise is stressed throughout this book.
The Lord intentionally shows us many times that Israel came through the trial of his faith with failing grades. Maybe a reason the Books of Moses are ignored by modern Christianity is that Moses glories in the Lords mercy and grace, and not in the efforts of men, himself included.
God always has a Remnant who is willing to stand for Christ in the face of everything the world, flesh and the devil can throw against them. They humbly stand for righteousness in society, in the courts, in the jails, and even through horrible persecution to the death, as is common in Muslim societies.
We must conclude from Exodus that God will not deliver His covenant people, the new nation of Israel, the Israel of God, because of any goodness in them, but because of His sovereign grace. Sovereign Grace is the common theme starting in the Garden and to the end when all things are subdued to Him.
1 Corinthians 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
Gods mercy and grace is the common story throughout the Scriptures. We see in Exodus that God will not exalt His Church because of any goodness on man's part, but because of His Covenant with Abraham.
Our blessed hope is in the same God as was the Israelites in Egypt.
Psalms 124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.