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Exodus, the message of.handout

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The recurring theme in the book of Exodus is                                    (3:8, 10; 6:6-7; 13:8; 20:2; 32:11-12). 

Three major motifs in the book contribute to this central theme: 




The first of these three motifs is the historical act in which God delivered His people with a mighty hand.  The last two set forth God’s two key purposes for delivering His people:  (1) to enter into a covenant relationship with them; and (2) to dwell among them and be their God.  The book of Exodus pictures for us the mighty deliverance accomplished at a believer’s conversion and reminds us that God redeems in order to make us His special people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).  Redemption is without price (to us), but not without a purpose.

I.           The Exodus from Egypt:  Redemption!

WORDS OF DELIVERANCE ·         “brought out” (acy; 6:6; 12:42)·         “brought up” (hl[; 3:8, 17)·         “delivered” (lcn; 3:8; 18:9)·         “redeemed” (lag; 6:6; 15:13)·         “saved” ([vy; 14:30) 

A.    Bondage (The need for deliverance):  chs. 1-2



Israel’s physical bondage in Egypt pictures the spiritual bondage of those in the kingdom of darkness.  Tyranny under a Pharaoh is nothing compared to the bondage of the King of Terrors.  The bondage of sin prevents a man from performing any spiritual service.  Deliverance from sin’s bondage provides the freedom necessary to serve Yahweh.

B.   Call of Moses (The                                                        ):  chs. 3-6

Many times, God raises up human instruments to accomplish His purposes of deliverance.

C.   Ten plagues (The                                                           ):  chs. 7-12

The ten plagues against Egypt exalted Yahweh as the one true God, greater than all the gods and magicians of Egypt.  Even the crafty magicians confessed, “This is the finger of God” (8:19).  Israel’s future commemoration of the Exodus event (see ch. 13) was intended to point up the “strength of hand” by which God freed them from bondage (13:3, 9, 14, 16).  The divine power displayed in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt reminds us of the mighty hand by which God saves any believer out of the bondage of sin. 

D.    Passover (The                                        center):  chs. 12-13

“…when I see the blood, I will pass over you” (12:13).

At the theological center of the deliverance from Egypt is the Passover event.  Theologically, the  Passover shows that deliverance, even God-provided deliverance, must involve blood atonement.  Paul echoes this very thought in Romans 3:25-26:  God set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in His blood in order that He (God) might be just and the justifier of the one that believes.

E.  Journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai (Lessons in the wilderness):  chs. 13-18

The road from salvation to that special relationship with the Lord is sometimes precarious.  It is an admixture of miraculous deliverances and personal trials.  Certain lessons in those early days after salvation are often necessary in order to lead a person to that special relationship with the Lord that He so desires.



 !!!!! BASIS

·         “I brought you unto myself” (19:4). CONDITION·         “if ye will obey my voice [the stipulations in chs. 20-23]…and keep my covenant” (19:5a)  RESULT (PROMISE)“ye shall be…” (19:5b-6)·         a treasured possession·         kingdom of priests·         holy nation     |

II.        The Sinai Covenant:  Relationship!


A.    The summary of the covenant (19:4-6)

Biblical scholar Roy B. Zuck calls this passage the most significant passage in Exodus.  Its significance lies in its summary of God’s covenant with Israel.  The basis of the covenant was Israel’s release from Egypt.  The condition of the covenant was obedience to God (this was a bilateral covenant).  The results were threefold:  a special relationship (“a treasured possession”), a special purpose (“kingdom of priests”), and a special distinctness (“a holy nation”). 





But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (I Pet. 2:9). 

B.   The stipulations of the covenant

1.       The                                               (20:1-17)

2.       The Book of the                                        (20:22-23:33)  [The Decalogue applied!]

C.   The ratification of the covenant (24:4-11)


Ratification ceremony:


·         24:4: 

·         24:5: 

·         24:6:  

·         24:7-8: 

·         24:9:9-11:  


D.  Breach and renewal of the covenant (chs. 32-34)

Less than two months after the ratification of the covenant, with its promise of covenant obedience (24:7), Israel had breached the covenant.  As a bilateral covenant, God was then free to end His covenantal obligations.  Moses pleaded with God to forgive the people and to renew His covenant with them.  God heeded the intercession of Moses and promised to renew the covenant with His people (34:10).  Exodus 33-34 provides a rich glimpse into the gracious character of God.  He reveals Himself as compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth (34:6).  Four of the key OT words for mercy and faithfulness occur in this one verse.

III.     The Tabernacle and Priesthood:  Residence!

The ratification of the covenant between God and Israel laid the groundwork for the instructions for the Tabernacle.  One of God’s stated purposes for bringing Israel out of Egypt was to dwell among them (29:46).  However, in order to reside among them, certain conditions had to be met in order to safeguard His holy nature and character.  In the divinely patterned Tabernacle and divinely ordained Aaronic priesthood, God provided the means by which the Holy One could reside among His people.

A.    The Tabernacle and its furniture (chs. 25-27, 30-31, 35-38; 39:32-40:11, 17-38)

The Tabernacle made possible the                                                        of God among His people (25:8).  In fact, the word tabernacle (mishkan) literally means dwelling place.  Every detail of the Tabernacle was designed by God (25:9) and was intended to instruct the people in the nature and character of their God.  (For further details, see hand out.)



B.  The Aaronic priesthood (chs. 28-29; 39:1-31; 40:12-16)

Only a special class of people, the Aaronic priesthood, could enter God’s house.  The Aaronic priests functioned as representatives of the people before God, suggesting the need of mediation between God and man.  Man must have a Mediator to approach God!  Exodus gives instructions for the priestly garments.  God designed every aspect of the priests’ clothing (ch. 28).  His instructions for the vestments of the high priest were especially detailed.  The high priest’s garments symbolized his holiness unto the Lord and his role as the people’s representative (before God).  Even with these holy garments, the priests had to be consecrated.  While all God’s people must be holy, those who approach Him on behalf of others must be doubly so.  The priesthood ultimately typified Christ, our High Priest and Mediator, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26).      






Sources consulted:  Southwestern Journal of Theology (Fall 1977); Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (II:188-197); Mid-America Theological Journal (Fall, 1977); Review & Expositor (Fall, 1977); Vos, Biblical Theology; G. Oehler, Theology of the Old Testament; Roy Zuck, OTT; Ramm; Murphy; Davies; Kaiser, EBC; ZPEB; ISBE; Biblical Viewpoint (12:54-58); Cole, Exodus (Tyndale); B. Childs, The Book of Exodus (OTL); Royce Short, “Saved to Serve” (BJU dissertation, 1980).

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