Wed. Night in Review: Exodus

As we continue going through a study based on Stephen Dempster’s wonderful book “Dominion and Dynasty: A Biblical Theology of the Hebrew Bible“, the last two weeks have brought us to look at Exodus.  The discussions have been wonderful as we continue to see the twin themes of Genealogy and Geography.  Here is a brief recap of the last two weeks:

The Struggle of the Seed of the Woman

The beginning of Exodus shows us clearly that this is not just the resumption of a historical time line, but the resumption of the story of the God’s promise of the seed of the woman.  Here, the seed of the serpent seeks to kill all of the firstborn males of Israel, raging against God Himself.

Deliverance Through Water: Moses

Why do the nations rage?  God providentially spares Moses from death and his deliverance comes in a rescue through water.  This hearkens back to Noah’s rescue (and even to creation itself as the land was covered by the water) and anticipates the rescue of the entire nation through the Red Sea.

The Burning Bush: God’s Action based upon the Covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

The burning bush is not just a strange site in the land, it is a flame that ought to remind us of Genesis 15:6-18.  This is an amazing text that ties the two books together perfectly!  God is about to act as He considers the promise to Abraham.

God Reveals Himself

Who would be the Deliverer of Israel?  God reveals his name name in repetition.  In most of our translations, it is “I am that I am”, but this does not reflect the imperfect tense well in the English language.  Dempster puts it as “I am/will be that I am/will be”.  In other words, the Deliver is God…who will continue to be with Moses in the future as the battle heats up against Pharaoh.  We discussed the typology of this name as Jesus reveals Himself in Revelation to the Church who is undergoing persection from the nation of Israel and others.  Jesus says he not only is the One who was, but is, AND is to come.  This led us into a discussion of the importance in realizing how the tables have turned in the New Testament (God’s judgment comes against Isreal in ways that He once judged Israel’s enemies in the past).

The Showdown with Pharaoh

As Pharaoh asked “Who is the God of Israel that I should obey Him?” God answers.  The genealogical aspect comes forth as God reveals that Israel is His firstborn Son.  Pharaoh tries to destroy Israel, but the God of Israel brings the Passover in during the last plague and brings death upon Pharaoh’s firstborn.

Deliverance Through Water: The Red Sea

As Moses was delivered through water, so Israel is delivered as well.  This clearly calls back to the beginning of the Divine story when the water was divided for the land.

In the Way of the Promised Land: Mount Sinai

As Dempster states, “These texts show that Sinai, not Egypt, is Israel’s largest roadblock to Canaan”.

The Law

God then makes the Covenant specifically with Israel.  It is different from the previous two covenants established by God in the Text (Noah and Abraham) in that this covenant is marked by specific conditions for both parties.  Obedience will bring blessing and fullness of life in the land, but disobedience will bring curse and death.

We discussed the wonderful New Covenant implications from Exodus 19:5-6.  First, God states that they will be His possession (or allotted inheritance) because “all the earth is mine”.  In Ephesians, we see that it is not the nation of Israel who received this wonderful blessing in fullness, but the Church.  In Ephesians 1.11-14 (See the NET Bible for the most accurate translation), we are told that we have been claimed as God’s own possession…His inheritance that He will redeem (take possession of) at the return of Jesus the Lord.

Then, in Exodus 19:5-6, we see the hope of being a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.  In 1 Peter 2:8, we see the fulfillment of this is in the Church, not in the physical descendants of the nation of Israel (see Revelation 1.6, 5.10, and 20.6 for more references).

The Tabernacle

The Covenant was not only characterized by the giving of the Law (as often viewed), but it also included the giving of the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle.  We discussed the seven acts of the construction plans, corresponding with the seven acts of creation.  As Dempster says regarding his brief discussion of the correlation of the Creation and the Tabernacle, “These are enough clues to suggest that the tabernacle is a microcosm of the creation of the world, and its innermost sanctuary a Garden of Eden.”

It just so happens that as Jaime and I were travelling to Texas the previous weekend, she picked up G. K. Beale’s “The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God” and she read during our trip.  This book gives much more discussion and compelling evidence that we need to have a much greater understanding of this subject as it pervades the Scriptures from beginning to end.

Israel’s Sin

Juxtaposed in the middle of the giving of the specifications of the Tabernacle and the actual construction is the sin of Israel.  Moses does not plead with God on behalf of the recent covenant, but instead appeals to God on behalf of the Covenant with Abraham in Exodus 32:12-14.  Moses even asks that God would blot his name out of the book instead of judging Israel…which is exactly what Paul states in Romans when he is speaking of the judgment of God upon the unbelieving Jews of his day.

God then does something that should be quite striking to us as we continue to read the Divine story.  Although he rescued Israel from Egypt, he now sends plagues upon Israel as judgment for their sin.  Again, this is critical to understand in Revelation.

God Reveals Himself

God removes Himself and now meets with Moses outside the camp.  As Moses pleads with God to reveal his glory, God shows the trailing parts of His glory.  Just as He revealed Himself in repetition at the beginning of the book, He does so again at the end.  He is “I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” and “I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy”.

The Construction of the Tabernacle

The rest of the book details the construction of the Temple.  As Dempster states, “Such meticulous detail to the description is a labor of love on the part of the author and reveals a powerful theological perspective.”  He then concludes, “Questions linger.  How will Israel be able to maintain its relationship with Yahweh?  What obstacles lie ahead on Israel’s journeys to the Promised Land?  What enemies lurch in wait to snatch its blessing?  Leviticus answer the first question and Number the latter.”

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