Key To The Understanding Of The Scriptures


(11) Israel Called Out Of Egypt

Following the death of Abraham, the covenants of promise were confirmed with Isaac his son (Gen. 26:3-4), and Jacob his grandson (Gen. 28:13-16).

These dwelt in Palestine (or Canaan as it was then called - Gen. 46:5-7), until famine drove Jacob and his sons to Egypt to obtain food (Gen. 42:1). In Egypt, the children of Israel received great kindness, and gradually grew into a numerous people. As Abraham had been told (Gen. 15:13-14), his descendants remained there for some hundreds of years.

The record of this is contained in Genesis 37 to 50. This section of the Bible is full of interesting detail, woven around the life of Joseph, the beloved son of Israel. In a wonderful manner, Joseph's experiences prefigured those of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was loved of his father, but hated by his brethren; be learned the depths of suffering and tragedy but also rose to the heights of happiness and glory. In all this, he typed the Lord Jesus himself, so that in his life the children of Israel had foreshadowed the life of their Messiah, the Redeemer of humanity.

This was all summed up in a remarkable prophecy (Genesis 49), in which the future of Israel was outlined, and the glory of the latter end of the nation was clearly predicted.

Moses The Deliverer.

Hated by his brethren, Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt, but through the providence of God, he was elevated from this humble state to become ruler in the land.

In that, he foreshadowed the Lord Jesus.

His skill and wisdom in administering the affairs of Egypt in times of both plenty and famine, saved the nation from disaster, and, as a result, he and his brethren, the children of Israel, were treated with great respect and kindness by Pharaoh (Gen. 45:17-20).

For a time, the Israelites prospered in the land of Egypt, and grew into a numerous people.

But there arose a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph (Exod. 1), and who viewed with greatest concern, the growing power

of Israel in Egypt. He withdrew the privileges that bad been granted the people, and reduced them to abject slavery and hardship.

In their misery, the Israelites cried unto God, and He sent Moses to deliver them (Exodus 3:3-12).

Egypt was afflicted with ten great and dreadful plagues, at the conclusion of which, Pharaoh agreed to let the people go. The last plague brought death to all the first-born in Egypt, but Israel escaped this affliction by obeying the commands of God.

How Israel Was Delivered From Death.

Israel was strictly warned that unless the people observed the commandments of God they would likewise suffer the death that was threatened against Egypt.

Each family was required to select a lamb without blemish; to slay the lamb in sacrifice; to sprinkle its blood on the side posts and lintels of the doors of their homes; to shelter in the house all night; to eat the Lamb with "loins girded, shoes on feet, and staff in hand," ready to depart at the call of God.

The circumstances are outlined in Exodus 12. The lamb was called the Passover Lamb, because through it the angel of death "passed over" the Israelites, and it pointed forward to the offering of the Lord Jesus Christ who is described as our Passover Lamb (John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7).

The Iamb had to be without blemish -- and Jesus was without sin;

Its blood was splashed on the door posts and lintels, but not underfoot -- and believers are warned not to "tread underfoot" the Son of God (Heb. 10:29);

It was eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs - speaking of sinlessness and the bitterness of trial.

It was eaten In haste in readiness to depart -- and believers should likewise recognise the urgency of their need, and live In constant expectation of Christ's coming;

The people were warned to remain in the house all night -- and we must shelter in the "house of God," among His children; It saved the people from death -- and Christ's offering can do likewise.

The Passover Lamb in Egypt thus pointed forward to the work and offering of the Lord Jesus. Through it, the people escaped the death that afflicted the firstborn of Egypt. But they were not completely saved as yet. Under the leadership of Moses, they were taken out of Egypt, and separated from that land and people by passing through the waters of the Red Sea (Exod. 14:21-22).

As in the case of Noah, water saved the people of God. This deliverance is described by Paul as a baptism: "They were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" (1 Cor. 10:2). They saw Pharaoh's army (representative of the powers of darkness and sin) overwhelmed and destroyed; they found themselves delivered from the slavery in Egypt to worship God in truth.

It is all representative of baptism. Through baptism past sins are blotted out (Acts 2:38); a person rises to a newness of life (Romans 6:4); being delivered from servitude or slavery to sin (Romans 6:18).

All this was typified and dramatised in the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt.

The Mosaic Covenant.

But though delivered from Egypt, the people of Israel were not yet saved. The wilderness lay before them, separating them from the land of Promise. They had left Egypt, but they had to learn to worship God.

Accordingly, Moses led them down to Sinai where a Divine law was delivered them, and the nation entered into covenant with God to obey that law (Exod. 19:5-8).

This law and covenant is based upon the Ten Commandments (see Exod. 34:28; Deut. 4:13-14), and made provision for the civil, religious and domestic life of the nation. But it warned that the penalty of sin is death, and as all broke the law, it impressed the reality of sin and the inevitability of death.

It could not give life, because of the nature of flesh.

It emphasized the need of a Redeemer, one who could take away sin in forgiveness. Therefore, it was a schoolmaster leading to Christ (Gal. 3:24). Discerning Israelites recognised that the Law revealed them to be sinners (Romans 7:7), and thus led them to look to that one whom God had promised to provide to take away the sins of humanity (Hebrews 9:26).

The effect of Christ's offering, therefore, is to deliver mankind from the curse of the law. In Christ it is done away; and replaced by the Law of liberty (not of licence) styled also "the law of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:20-21).

Therefore, all the experiences of Israel at that time, and the very enactments of the law and covenant to which they were related, emphasized the reality of sin and death, and the need of one who can lead mankind away from its influence.

Thus the Passover Lamb and Baptism did not save Israel, even nationally, for the people had to yet reach the Promised Land. And so real was the very sin that the Law revealed, that the generation that was taken out of Egypt and so readily accepted the covenant of Moses, perished in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10: 5).

They believed God, they were baptised, but they did not remain obedient.

Moses: Mediator And Prophet.

In bringing Israel under the covenant that God made with them, Moses acted the part of Mediator between God and the people (Gal. 3:19). He was also a prophet, and had no false illusions as to the future of the nation that he led (Deut. 9:6, 13; 31:16- 18, 29).

In a remarkable chapter of Scripture (Deut. 28), he listed the calamities that would overtake Israel because of their disobedience, and then predicted that the people would be scattered among all nations.

He foretold that they would be subjected to invasion and siege:

"The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far ... a nation of fierce countenance, and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high walls come down ... " (Deut. 28:49, 53).

This predicted siege came to pass some 1500 years later, when Vespasian and Titus, the military leaders of Rome, attacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

The war was disastrous for the Jewish nation. The state was overthrown, Jerusalem was destroyed, and the people were scattered into all parts as Moses predicted:

"The Lord shall scatter thee among all people ... and among those nations shalt thou find no peace ... the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes and sorrow of mind; thy life shall hang in doubt before thee" (vv. 64-66).

The history of Jewry since Christ shows how literally all this has been fulfilled. The Jewish people have been scattered among all nations, and have been subjected to fearful persecution during the course of their wandering. At the same time, the land they once inhabited fell into a condition of desolation, as Moses likewise predicted it would (Deut. 29:24- 28).

But Moses' prophetic vision enabled him to see beyond the scattering of Israel to its regathering again, and its ultimate glory. Abraham had been promised that the Jewish people would develop into "a great nation", and Moses revealed how this would be brought about. He declared:

"It shall come to pass when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee ... that then the Lord will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee" (Deut 30:1-3).

We are witnessing the beginnings of this today. The Jews are returning to their ancient homeland after 1900 years of wandering, and have re-established their State once more. This is all as a basis for the future purpose of God when the Lord Jesus shall return to reign from Jerusalem as king (Isa. 24:23). It is a feature of God's purpose that is very clearly enunciated throughout the prophetic word. Over 100 years ago, long before the current return commenced, a Christadelphian writer on Bible prophecy declared:

"The pre-adventual colonisation of the Holy Land will speak in unmistakable and infallible terms to the believer. It will be surely a certain sign of the speedy appearing of the Son of Man in power and glory. No one need expect that appearing to be manifested until the Jewish Colony be lifted up 'as an ensign upon a hill'; for to snatch that ensign out of the hand of Gog (Russia) is the proximate cause of the Lord's appearance again." (From "The Herald of the Future Age?" by J. Thomas, 1852.)

The Jewish colony made its appearance in the Holy Land some time back; the state of Israel has since come into existence, and these are sure signs that we are living at the time of Christ's second coming:

"Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion; for the time to favor her, yea, the set time is come ... When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in His glory" (Psalm 102:13, 16).

Moses: Type of Christ.

Both the Edenic and Abrahamic covenants promised that one would arise who would conquer sin and death, would lead the way to a resurrection unto life eternal, and subduing the nations, would reign as monarch, bringing blessings to all mankind.

Moses looked forward to the coming of this one. Paul wrote that Moses: "Esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt because he had respect unto the recompense of the reward" (Hebrews 11:26).

Moses had been brought up in the luxury of Egypt as son of Pharaoh's daughter, and as such had tremendous opportunities of great advancement in the world. But the prospects of worldly glory faded in comparison with those of eternal glory on earth, such as God's promises reveal. In confident anticipation of this time yet to come, when he will inherit eternal life with Abraham, Moses preferred to endure temporary reproach with the "people of God" rather than jeopardise his future with Christ.

Moses was Deliverer, Lawgiver, and Ruler in Israel, and as such typed Christ. He told the people:

"The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken."

God added these words:

"Whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he (the Christ) shall speak in My name, I will require it of him!" (Deut. 18:15,18,19).

Christ, in fulfilment of this, "spake the words of God" unto the people (John 3:34), and when they refused to hearken unto him, God "required it of them." He will yet require it of all those who knowingly reject His word, for they will be raised to condemnation and the second death (John 12:48; Rev. 20:6).

From Moses' description of Christ, as a Prophet whom God would raise up from the midst of Israel, as one of the people, it is obvious that he did not subscribe to the current doctrine of the Trinity, or consider the Lord as a pre-existent angel. He recognised that he would be the Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, and as such, though acknowledging Divine parentage as far as his Father is concerned, would be of a nature identical with all mankind.

This is the consistent teaching of Scripture. Many years later, Peter taught:

"Jesus of Nazareth, a MAN APPROVED OF GOD among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you" (Acts 2:22).

God is consistently set forth as the God of Israel in both Old and New Testaments; and the theory of the Trinity finds no expression in Scripture.


  1. In what land did the children of Israel settle in the time of a severe famine?
  2. Which of the sons of Jacob, or Israel, was loved of his father and hated by his brethren, and yet preserved their lives in the time of famine?
  3. Who did God raise up as deliverer when Israel was afflicted in Egypt?
  4. By what means was Israel saved from death at a time when Egypt's firstborn were slain by the angel of God?
  5. Who is likened unto a lamb "without spot and blemish", and how can we come under the protection of his saving power?
  6. Why did the people that had been delivered from Egypt die in the wilderness?
  7. What did Moses predict in regard to the future experience of the children of Israel?
  8. Which words of Moses do clearly indicate that Christ was of the nature of Adam and not God Himself or a pre-existent angel?

MAP of Sinai and Land of Promise

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