April, 2012

Reflections on Exodus

The Hebrew title for the book of Exodus is “And these are the names.” These are the opening words of the book in Hebrew. The book begins with the word, “And,” showing a continuation of the story of Genesis, and it repeats the phrase in Genesis 46:8. Additionally, the beginning of the book of Exodus intentionally mirrors the ending of the book of Genesis. Genesis ends with the sons of Israel, numbering seventy (Gen. 46), sojourning in Egypt. Exodus opens with the sons of Israel, numbering seventy, residing in Egypt (Ex. 1) and then quickly multiplying in size and strength.

The primary theme of Genesis, Israel is the chosen seed, is further worked out in the book of Exodus. God delivers his people from their misfortune in Egypt so they might worship the LORD in the land.[1] This going out from Egypt is where we get the more familiar title, “Exodus.” This title comes from a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (viz. the Septuagint) which means, “going out.” This is a crucial theme for understanding not just Exodus but the whole story of Scripture. God’s deliverance of his people from slavery is the paradigmatic story of the Bible. During the Transfiguration, Jesus was speaking with Moses and Elijah about his “departure” (Luke 9:30). The Greek word behind departure is “exodus.” Wouldn’t that have been a fascinating conversation to have heard! Jesus was about to accomplish his exodus which is also our exodus. Jesus’ victory over death was the firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:20-23) of all his children being raised from the dead. Jesus is leading the exodus from death to life!

When we read the story of the Exodus, we must do so within the context of Jesus’ exodus. The story of Jesus leading his people out of slavery to sin and death is the archetype for Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. This is the good news of the Gospel. We who were dead in our sins have been brought out from death to life by the work of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.

[1] Bruce Waltke, An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach, 1st ed. (Grand Rapids  Mich.: Zondervan, 2007), 347.

Reflections on the Resurrection of Jesus

I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.   John 14:18 (ESV)

 I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.  John 14:18 (KJV)

        When we are going away from our connections to some distant place, we may speak of our return; but it must be conditionally; for we are not sure of the event; it does not depend upon us, and we ought always to say:  “If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that.”  But when we die, we know our return is impossible, and our friends know it, and weep most of all that they will see our faces no more.  The dying pastor cannot say to his anxious flock, I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you, and again feed you with the bread of life.  The dying father cannot say to his family, mourning around his bed, I will come again, and provide for you.

. . . . But Divinity here speaks, as well as friendship.  “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.”  This is the language, not only of foreknowledge, but of sovereign dominion; the language of one who had the keys of hell, and of death; of one who said, “No man taketh my life from me; I lay it down of myself – I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  Even death would not interrupt his goodness, nor his entering another world affect his intercourse with his people in this.

William Jay, Morning Exercises, April 16