The Old Testament Presents... Reflections of Christ
by Paul R. Van Gorder
- The overriding theme of the book of Exodus is redemption. The Hebrew title of this book is translated, ''these are the names.'' This is in perfect harmony with the subject of the book, for redemption is an individual matter. The word ''exodus'' comes from the title in the Septuagint version, and means literally, ''going out.''
Israel had been in Egypt for 400 years in bondage and slavery. God remembered them, raised up Moses as a deliverer, and brought them out of the land of Egypt. This book records the redemption of Israel from bondage, and it is typical of all redemption. Redemption is:
- Totally of God. Israel was helpless. Pharaoh represents Satan and the bondage he inflicts. Egypt pictures the world.
- Through a person. Moses, Israel's deliverer, pictures the Lord Jesus Christ, our Deliverer.
- By blood. The apostle Peter wrote, ''Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your vain manner of life received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot'' (1Pet 1:18,19).
- By power. God demonstrated His power in putting a difference between the people of Egypt and the people of Israel (Exodus 11:7). By His mighty arm, He brought Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea (see Ex 14:21,22; Rom 3:25,26).
- OUTLINE OF THE BOOK
[Actually, three distinct outlines, from different perspectives.]
- Slavery (Ex 1-14)
- Emancipation (15-18)
- Reconstruction (19-40)
- Egypt (Ex 1-13)
- Red Sea (14)
- Sinai (15-40)
- Moses' 40 years in the palace of Pharaoh (Ex 1:1 - 2:14)
- Moses' 40 years of preparation in the desert (2:14 - 4:31)
- Moses' 40 years of service with the nation of Israel (5 - 40)
- PROPHETIC PICTURES OF CHRIST
- If the theme of Exodus is redemption, then the book must be filled with foreshadowings of Christ and His work. We will look at five specific prophetic pictures in detail. We will also consider the life and ministry of Moses and Aaron and see them as types of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The Burning Bush--
- Exodus 3 contains the account of the burning bush and the call of Moses. This was a common little thorn bush, and Moses no doubt had seen many of them in the desert. This one looked like all the other bushes, yet it was different. The little acacia shrub burned, but it was not consumed. A voice coming out of the bush said, ''I AM THAT I AM'' (v.14). Only an eternal, self-existent, immutable Being could say that He always will be what He always has been. Centuries later, One stood upon the earth as a man. He was born in Bethlehem, was brought up in a carpenter's shop, and was tempted in every way we are, without ever sinning. We hear Him say, ''I AM the door, I AM the bread of life, I AM the light of the world, I AM the good shepherd, I AM the way, the truth, and the life, I AM the true vine-- [before Abraham was] I AM!'' [All of these statements are recorded in the gospel of John.] John wrote, ''The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth'' (John 1:14). The One born in that human body in Bethlehem was God manifest in the flesh. He was made in the likeness of man, yet He was aglow with deity. Only He could dare say to the Father, ''Glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was'' (John 17:5).
- The Passover Lamb--
- Israel was enslaved by a powerful monarch in Egypt. How was God to get them out and yet execute His justice, maintain His holiness, and show His love and mercy? Exodus 12 tells the story. He accomplished their release through the blood of the passover lamb. First Corinthians 5:7 states unequivocally, ''For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us.'' How beautifully that paschal lamb portrayed the death of God's Lamb, the Lord Jesus!
- The lamb was a male, a firstling of the flock, and without blemish (Ex 12:5).
We are redeemed ''with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot'' (1Pet 1:19).
- The lamb was kept 4 days for examination (Ex 12:3-6).
What scrutiny our Lord came under by friend and foe! Only He could say, ''Which of you convicteth Me of sin?'' (John 8:46).
- The lamb must be slain (Ex 12:6). Christ said of Himself, ''Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit'' (John 12:24). It was not His life as an example, nor His words as a teacher, but the shedding of His blood as the perfect sacrifice that secured our redemption.
- The blood had to be applied (Ex 12:7). John 3:36 says, ''He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.''
- The blood was applied and that alone brought salvation (Ex 12:23).
The writer of Hebrews said, ''By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. For by one offering, He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified'' (Heb 10:10,14).
- Not a bone of the passover lamb was to be broken (Ex 12:46).
Consider the account of Christ's crucifixion and the record of John 19:33. ''But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they broke not His legs.''
- Sheltered by the blood, they were nourished by the roast lamb.
This typified Christ as the believer's sustenance and food (see Mat 26:26).
How does a mother bird protect her nest? Not by flying by it, but by fluttering over it. That night in Egypt, Jehovah Himself stood guard over (literally, hovered over) the houses of Israel where the blood had been applied and kept their firstborn safe from death. [The word translated 'pass over' in Ex 12:13,23,27 is also used in Isaiah 31:5.]
- The Manna--
- When redeemed Israel was marching toward Canaan, God gave them manna, food from heaven. In John 6, the Lord Jesus said, ''My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall never hunger'' (John 6:32,35). Consider the amazing analogy between the manna and the Lord Jesus Christ! The manna came down from heaven; it was a gift of God; men tried to explain it naturally; it was given at night; it was sent when Israel was about to perish; it came to the place they were; it was gathered only by stooping; it had to be gathered individually; either they gathered it or walked upon it; it was despised by the mixed multitude; it was mysterious to Israel; it was preserved over the Sabbath day; it was laid up before Jehovah; it met the daily need; and it was eventually hidden in the ark.
- The Water from the Rock--
- Exodus 17 records the experience of the people of Israel at Rephidim, where ''there was no water for the peopel to drink'' (v.1). God commanded Moses to smite the rock, and water gushed forth. That smitten rock was a type of Christ, as we are told in 1Corinthians 10:4. The people were murmurring and complaining and were totally unworthy of this act of grace (read Ephesians 2:1-8). God's grace is free, abundant (Rom 5:20), near (Rom 10:8), and available to all who will take it (Isa 55:1). The water gushing forth pictured the Spirit given freely (John 7:37-40). The people of Israel could not drink of the refreshing water until the rock was first smitten. Before the Holy Spirit could be given, Christ had to die at Calvary.
- To a sinning, murmurring people God had displayed His grace. It was as Paul said in Romans 5:20, ''But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.''
- The Tabernacle and Priesthood--
- While only two chapters in Genesis are occupied with the creation of the world, fourteen chapters in Exodus are taken up with the tabernacle. This shows the esteem God places upon the work of redemption, and that Christ is the center and object of the Spirit's revelation. For your further study, I mention the following elements of the tabernacle that graphically portray the way of approach to God.
- The entire tabernacle was a figure of the heavenly (Hebrews 9:23,24).
- The ark of the covenant-
- Acacia wood and gold: the humanity and deity of Christ.
- Contents of the ark: a type of Christ.
- The Law: Christ had God's law in His heart;
He was the fulfillment of the law.
- Manna: Christ is sustenance to believers on their pilgrimage.
- Aaron's rod: Christ's resurrection.
- The ark: A type of the throne of grace;
the mercy seat: the Lord Jesus.
- The table of showbread: Christ our communion.
- The candlestick: Christ our light (Heb 1:9; Rev 1:9-18).
- The altar of incense: Christ our advocate and intercessor.
- The laver: the cleansing by the Word and by Christ.
- [The] Bronze altar: the cross of Christ and His atonement.
- [The] Anointing oil: the Holy Spirit's anointing for service.
- [The] Garments [of the High Priest]: gold for righteousness [and Deity];
blue for heavenly; purple for royalty; scarlet for sacrifice.
- The writer of Hebrews said, ''And they, truly were many priests, because they were not allowed to continue by reason of death; but this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them'' (Heb 7:23-25). Aaron fell short in his priesthood because he was a sinful man and subject to death. The type is therefore seen in contrast. Christ is able to understand our need to the uttermost because He is a perfect man. He is able to meet all our need because He is God. At the cross He was qualified to bear the whole world's sin in His atonement. At the throne He is able to care for our need through His intercession.
- Christ is ''a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek'' in that He is our intercessor forever. But His priesthood is after the pattern of Aaron. First, Aaron was appointed by God (Ex 28:1). We read in Hebrews 5:5, ''So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest, but He that said unto Him, Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee.'' Second, only Aaron could make atonement in the holy place (Leviticus 16:1-3). Of our Lord it is written, ''Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us'' (Heb 9:12).
- THE GREAT QUESTION--
- How is it possible for a holy God to receive sinners without violating His righteousness and justice? The inspired answer comes from the book of Exodus: ''When I see the blood, I will pass over you'' (Ex 12:13). Sin was judged, and the blood was shed; Israel was saved and received.
See the Book Notes on Exodus for a verse by verse study of this book,
and an extended study on Christ in the Tabernacle.
Return to table of contents for ''The Old Testament Presents... Reflections of Christ,''
written by Paul R. Van Gorder, Copyright 1982 by RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.
Used by permission [within The Book from thebookwurm.com].
Further distribution is not allowed without permission from RBC.
For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in Christ in All the Scriptures, by A.M. Hodgkin.
Go to The Book opening page.