The importance of the Book of Exodus cannot be overstated, for it clearly presents the basis of the Christian faith: redemption by the Lamb of God, the Altar and the necessity of the blood sacrifice for Atonement.
The modern church of our day considers itself a New Testament church, and sees no doctrinal purpose in studying the Old Testament. Especially anathema are the books of the law. The result of cutting themselves off from the Old Testament is that they cannot understand the basic premises of the Christian faith as given in the law, psalms and the prophets, and illustrated out in the lives of the Saints of Old.
How can a Christian not be amazed that many professed Christians now readily accept people living in the most gorse immorality; moreover, their wicked life styles are never challenged by most churches. There is no Christianity when those who profess Christ can live, talk and look like the world, and the Spirit not deal with them. Sin and heresies are not new, and are needed to expose the sheep from the goats. (Heresies are thoroughly examined, http://biblicalexaminer.org/topics.html#h)
The prevalence of heresies and apostasies are not only a sigh of God's judgment, but also evidence of the shallowness of the teaching of the word of God.
Exodus was written as a continuation of the book of Genesis after about a 350 - 400 year gap. (I have heard speakers say that Genesis is basically a family history kept alive down through the ages and through the flood.) After a 400-year period of silence, God remembers His covenant. Remembering His covenant, He raised up Moses. After an 80 year training period and Moses very vociferous objections to Gods call, he very reluctantly surrendered.
The Exodus of Israel from Egypt into Canaan was from slavery into freedom; thus, Exodus speaks of victory even in the face of overwhelming odds. The word Exodus is carried over into the New Testament where it implies victory for the people of God, not defeat. Paul says it like this: Oh, death where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victory?
The founding fathers of the Christian faith passed through many trials and tribulations as recorded for our instruction---the New Nation of Israel, or the Gospel Church. We should keep in mind that the first century church was primarily a Jewish or Hebrew church; the epistles were written in the context of the Hebrew culture, e.g., the Book of Hebrews. The Jews or Hebrews were very will versed in what had happened to their ancestors, so they knew the context of all the quotes from the old Hebrew Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 10:1-12 gives us the reason for these historical records of the old National Israel of God; the most obvious and complete record that we have of their trials and tribulations is the Book of Exodus. Paul gives us the reason for the preserved complete record:
V. 11. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
From the above passage, we see several reasons why their record is preserved for us:
1. That we should not lust after evil things as they did.
2. That we should not be idolaters as some of them were.
3. That we should not commit fornication as some of them did.
4. That we should not tempt Christ as some of them did.
5. That we should not murmur against Gods providence as some of them did.
Paul harkens back to the Book of Exodus as he points out that hardness in sin has serious results. Being a member of the Israel of God does not exempt one from the deadly results of sin.
(1 Cor 10:1) He sets out that which he said, laying before them an example of the horrible judgment of God against those who had in effect the very same pledges of the same adoption and salvation that we have. And yet nonetheless when they gave themselves to idols feasts, they perished in the wilderness, being horribly and manifoldly punished. Now, moreover and besides that these things are fitly spoken against those who frequented idols feasts, the same also seems to be alleged to this end and purpose, because many men think that those things are not of such great weight that God will be angry with them if they use them. And so they frequent Christian assemblies and are baptized, and receive the communion, and confess Christ. (Geneva)
Paul appeals to the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness in confirmation of his statement concerning himself in #1Co 9:26 and as a powerful warning to the Corinthians who may be tempted to flirt with the idolatrous practices of their (Hebrew, ed.) neighbours. It is a real, not an imaginary peril. (Robertsons NT Word Pictures.)
The indication in 1 Cor 10 is that they were tolerating sin because they refused to heed their own nations history, or maybe they thought it did not apply to them.
The church at Corinth had lost its zeal and had gone to sleep, 15:34. (See Tongues, Biblical? Ecstatic? Demonic by this writer. Also, his message on 1 Cor. 13, and the partial list of 30 evils mentioned in that Book.)
Paul tells them that the reason those things happened to the Old Nation of Israel and for the preserved record; that is, to prevent the New Israel of God from falling into the same sin. Therefore, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of studying and knowing this record.
Worldliness (sin) has overwhelmed the church because the holiness of the God of justice and mercy has not been taught; the covenant people are ignorant of the books of Moses, and inherit have no fear of God before their eyes. (2 Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness). Many times, the Books of Moses and what happened to the children of Israel are not studied as inspired Christian doctrine for our day. Rather, they are seen as interesting historical facts from which to draw a few spiritual lessons. Worldliness is a nice name for wickedness and sin, and it is the natural result of ignoring Gods instructions given through Moses.
In addition, we cannot count the number of times that our Lord and the New Testament authors mention the Exodus from Egypt, the giving of the law, the wilderness journey and many Old Testament events.
Without understanding Moses, it is impossible to properly understand the teaching of the New Testament. Everything Christ said and did, everything Paul preached, as well as every word uttered by the rest of the New Testament authors, is based on what is established in Moses. When Moses is not studied and developed, any man-pleasing doctrine can be taught from the New Testament, for a text without a context is a pretext. How many Christians are trusting in a pretext for their hope both here and there?
The entire message from the Redemptive God to man is based in the Books of Moses, and all Christian doctrine is built on Moses.
In his Old Testament history, Edersheim said:
In all this we see not only the history of the ancient people of God, but also a grand type of the redemption and the sanctification of the Church. There is yet another aspect of it, since this narrative exhibits the foundation of the Church in the Covenant of God, and also the principles of Jehovah's government for all time. For, however great the difference in the development, the essence and character of the covenant of grace are ever the same. The Old and New Testaments are essentially one--not two covenants but one, gradually unfolding into full perfectness, "Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone" of the foundation which is alike that of the apostles and prophets, Eph. 2. 20. (Vol II, p 3. The Old Testament traces and develops the Covenant to Christ that was made with Adam.)
Thus we see that Exodus is a key book of the true Christian faith. It records:
1) the birth of the people of God as a nation through the blood-sacrifice
which speaks so clearly of Christ;
2) the law of the covenant and its applications, and
3) God's dealings with His people according to His covenant, both is mercy and in judgment.
The New Testament only expanded and explained the position of the new Hebrew believers in Christ, all with the assumption of a good understanding of the law, prophets and the Psalms.
Exodus is the first stage of the fulfillment of the Covenant-Promises of God given to Abraham and passed down to his seed. We live in the last days of that Covenant, as it progressively moves to its complete fulfillment.
Exodus covers a period of 350-400 years, starting with the close of Genesis and death of Joseph; it continues to the building of the Tabernacle a year after the departure from Egypt.
Klassen, in his Chronology of the Bible (Regal Publishers, 961 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN 37206, pg. 19) gives this account:
Seeing as how this is one of the most important events of our faith, let's look a little at Egypt. In order to properly understand Scripture, one must examine the circumstances around various Scriptural situations.
Edersheim points out that all history is servant to God.
The world, Babylon, was at its peak of power and wisdom, 1) when Moses was called, 2) when Israel was brought out of Egypt, 3) when Jerusalem was rebuilt under Babylon (God used the pagan king to finance Jerusalem's rebuilding), 4) when the new Gospel of Christ came upon the scene and 4) when the apostles took the gospel world-wide.
Greek Thought was the predominant thought in the days of our Lord; the world of New Testament times believed that there was no wisdom outside of the Greeks. But God took 12 men from Galilee (see notes in Isaiah 9) who were considered ignorant in the eyes of man, and ground all Greek wisdom to powder. God overturned the wisdom of this world for His own glory. Egyptian thinking was the peak in Moses' time, yet God took Moses with all of Egypt's learning and destroyed Egypt.
Today: The wisdom of this world appears to be in total control as it seeks to stamp out the Covenant people (as did Egypt and Rome), yet in the fullness of time, God will bring it all down as though it were nothing but powder and chaff on the threshing floor. (1 Cor. 1:27-2:5, etc. Sadly, even Christian homeschooling families are seeking after the pagan wisdom, even anti-God Greek wisdom that God spoke so clearly against, i.e., Classical education, as well as reading authors who follow after Greek wisdom. See Apostate. The Men who Destroyed the Christian West. Kevin Swanson. The men he identifies are Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jeremy Bentham, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, John Dewey [father of modern education], Jean-Paul Sartre, William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck.)
In both Exodus and in the New Testament, we see that the greatest triumph of God through His people has been when the world's power is at its peak, and the oppression against His people was its greatest.
While history appears to be perusing its independent course totally contrary to God, His servant, history is working His Divine purpose for His glory and for the good of His Elect. Exodus illustrates Divine History and Divine Providence beautifully. Even what we might consider secular, anti-God history is the servant of the Most High God. (And by anti, we mean at war against God no matter where that war is found, even in the church.)
Moreover, with both the Gospel under pagan Rome and Exodus under pagan Egypt, God's deliverance took place in the most conspicuous manner possible. As Paul pointed out to king Festus, God did not work His marvelous deliverance in a corner where no one could see those works, but in the open where the whole world could see the humiliation of the world's powers.
This deliverance from Egypt was very well known. Remember what Rahab told the spies 40 years after the Exodus in Joshua 2:10?
To better understand the significance of what took place in Israels Exodus, we should look a little at Egypt. The population of Egypt today is not the same as was in ancient history, sons of Ham, i.e., Mizraim, but sons of Shem, Ishmael, who make up the Arabian Muslims. (Gen 16:12)
The connection of Israel with Egypt started with Abram's first visit (when he lied about his wife). A document currently in the British Museum, called THE TWO BROTHERS, shows us that Abram had just cause to fear for his wife. In that document (the oldest known document of fiction), there is a story of a Pharaoh who sent two armies to take a fair woman from her husband and then murdered him.
There are 30 dynasties, or rules, accounted for in Egyptian history, giving us a history down to 343 B.C. From the evidence on the monuments in Egypt, we learn that the country in the 12th dynasty (which lasted for 200 years) obtained to a very high state of prosperity and civilization. As for the culture and civilization of ancient Egypt, Edersheim says that it would "be difficult to form too high an estimate." Egypt had the knowledge of electricity, batteries and battery powered lights.
At the start of the 12th. dynasty, it is believed Abraham visited Egypt. About 200 years latter at the close of the 12th, or the start of the 13th, Joseph came and ruled. From the 13th to the start of the 18th, another period of about 200-300 years, Egyptian history is almost blank.
That blank period of rule was covered by what is known as the HYKSOS or Shepherd Kings, although Keil denies their existence. They were a hated, opposed, foreign and barbarous race of invaders; they were probably Semitic who brought with them the worship of Baal and human sacrifice.
Joseph's marriage to the daughter of the Priest of On. (Gen 41:45) The priest was probably a near relative to Pharaoh, so how could Joseph, the most devout servant of the Most High God, marry a pagan princes?
Adam received the gospel from God. From Adam it went down through the godly line of Seth, preserved in Noah who preached the gospel of righteousness for the 120 years he was working on the Ark. Furthermore, Paul tells us that the gospel is presented clear enough in creation that the pagans are without excuse.
Egypt was settled by the son of Ham, Mizraim. (Gen. 10.6) Noah lived after the flood 350 years. Thus Abraham and Noah were alive at the same time for 58 years. Shem lived 502 years after the flood, and was still living when Jacob deceives his father and fled to Laban. Jacob was about 50 when Shem died.
All of that to say this: According to the secular historical records, the gospel which was preached by Noah and continued on through the line of Shem, appears to have remained the purest for the longest period of time in the land of Egypt. Egypt, before the invasion of the HYKSOS with their Baal worship, basically believed the same thing about their 'Unknown God that they worshiped, as Joseph believed about the Lord God. Egypt worshiped an unknown god who was very similar to Jehovah God. Thus it would have taken very little instruction on Joseph's part to convert the daughter of the pagan priest. Furthermore, there is a good possibility that Joseph converted her father and Pharaoh himself.
Egypt was invaded after Joseph was gone, and for 200 years suffered under pagan Baal worshipers. By being shepherds, these pagan kings evidently had had a good relationship with Israel in the land of Canaan before Israel came into Egypt. Apparently they had also shown kindness to Israel's children after they conquered Egypt.
Exodus 1:8-10 indicates the Egyptians had overthrown these pagan kings and reinstalled a native king. Their new king knew Egyptian history and what Joseph had done, but the Egyptian's alarm over Israel's strength far outweighed any remaining respect for Joseph. 350 years after Joseph, the Hebrews in Goshen were viewed with alarm that they would unite with the disposed and despised Shepherd Kings who would retake the throne, and Israel would return to Canaan.
Egypt's answer to the problem of Israel's numerical strength is recorded in v. 10. Egypt decides to afflict the Hebrews, hoping to weaken them enough to prevent such a thing from taking place. Pharaoh then used the Hebrews to fortify his land against the possible invasion, v.11.
God knew that His covenant-people would not be strengthened under a religious system close to their own, (i.e., Josephs time) so He raised up a system that was in mortal combat against the truth (the Baal worshiping Shepherd kings).
Accordingly, the closer that the false and destructive ideas of humanism are to the truth, the more deadly those destructive, man-centered ideas are. Prosperity and toleration (religious freedom and support from the state) has destroyed Christianity.
Throughout history, God has revealed humanistic Christianity for what it actually is: paganism. It takes take the fires of a pagan state's oppression of the Covenant People to mold them into a world-conquering fighting force.
Note: An army of physical numbers of God's people will not prevail over the pagan world today any more than could the multitudes of Israel prevail over Egypt. Righteousness will not be voted in. The Spirit of God must bring in righteousness through the preaching and teaching of every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Physical war to take Canaan! Israels conquest of his promised land of rest was neither by physical might nor by power, but was by the Spirit of God. The Book of Hebrews points that the land of rest for the new Israel of God is found in Christ, and is entered by obedience to every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Ch 4)
The histories of Egypt as recorded on the monuments indicate that the Exodus takes place under THOTHMES II. His reign began very brilliantly, then suddenly all record of him stops. Then the monuments record a general revolt of the nations his father had conquered, including the ones in the land of Canaan. THOTHMES II is left with no son to take the throne, so from a prosperous reign there is a total collapse. Because THOTHMES II had no son, the throne is taken by his widow, who was a proud and bitterly superstitious woman. (Which fits in with the events recorded here in Exodus.)
Egypt had controlled and ruled Canaan for many years. Egypt's collapse as a result of the plagues upon it left Canaan in a very disoriented way. Canaan had no organized military might, because Egypt had subdued it militarily. Canaan had not yet fallen apart into small independent city-states the first time Israel sent the spies. But by the time 40 years went by, Canaan had dissolved into small independent city-states, allowing Israel to easily conquer it one state at a time.
End of Lesson 1.
Lesson 2 contents
Egypt, its prosperity
The Divine purpose of Israels servitude
The Man, Moses
Exodus, The Book