The Gospel and Exodus

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Much of the Old Testament falls into one of four major Christ-centered categories:

  • Clear prophecies of the coming Messiah.
  • Stories that show God’s work to preserve the lineage of Christ .
  • Stories that are pictures of the coming Christ, His work, and His kingdom.
  • Stories that reinforce our inability to save ourselves and therefore, our need for salvation through Christ.

The story of the exodus of the children of Israel after their slavery in Egypt has elements in three of these categories. While it is light on outright prophecies directly describing the coming Messiah, it is overflowing with pictures of Him. Moses foreshadowed Jesus Christ from the moment he was spared death among the widespread killing of other children around him. The Passover lamb prepared the hearts of the Israelites to recognize their need for cleansing blood in order for God’s wrath to pass over them.

Exodus also shows God’s hand to preserve the lineage of Christ. Though the Israelites are great in numbers at the beginning of Exodus, they are still without the means to provide for themselves. From the parting of the Red Sea to the manna provided to feed them for 40 years in the wilderness, God again and again protects His people from being wiped out so that the Messiah may be born through the line of Abraham as God first promised in Genesis 12-17.

Exodus tells a story of people who cannot save themselves and who again and again fail their faithful God. They are unable to save themselves physically. And they are unable to save themselves spiritually. Yet, despite their complaints and unfaithfulness, God keeps both sides of the covenant He made with Abraham.

Along with these categories that link the gospel to Exodus, God teaches us much about Himself through Exodus. He reveals His names and attributes …

Profound insights into the nature of God are found in chs. 3; 6; 33-34. The focus of these texts is on the fact and importance of his presence with his people (as signified by his name Yahweh … and by his glory among them). But emphasis is also placed on his attributes of justice, truthfulness, mercy, faithfulness and holiness. Thus to know God’s “name” is to know him and to know his character (see 3:13-15; 6:3).”1

…  as He lays out his plan for redemption.

The Biblical message of salvation is likewise powerfully set forth in this book. The verb “redeem” is used, e.g., in 6:6; 15:13. But the heart of redemption theology is best seen in the Passover narrative of ch. 12, the sealing of the covenant in ch. 24, and the account of God’s gracious renewal of that covenant after Israel’s blatant unfaithfulness to it in their worship of the golden calf (see 34:1-14 and notes). The apostle Paul viewed the death of the Passover lamb as fulfilled in Christ (1Co 5:7). Indeed, John the Baptist called Jesus the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).”2

Perhaps more than any other book of the Old Testament, the gospel themes of redemption are clearly seen in Exodus. Jesus, though unnamed, is pictured throughout the book. God’s faithfulness to His people is key to the book, as He reveals Himself to them and then makes a way for them to be in relationship with Him.

1 Corinthians 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

For further study: Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry

1 NIV Study Bible. Accessed at http://www.biblestudytools.com/exodus/

2 Ibid.

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