The previous week, I begun looking at the Old Testament survey and I begun in the first book of Moses known to us as Genesis, the book of all beginnings and this week the focus will be on the second book of Moses called EXODUS. Moses is the chief character in the book of Exodus. He is also one of the greatest leaders who has ever lived. His lifetime of 120 years can be divided into three periods:
1 – 40 years in Pharaoh’s palace in Egypt
2 – 40 years in the desert in Midian
3 – 40 years in the wilderness as leader of Israel
Key People in the book of Exodus are:
Key Words are:
Key Concept– God as Redeemer.
Moses is the human author of the book of Exodus. The book itself claims Moses as its author (Exodus 17:14; Exodus 24:4). Jesus said Moses wrote Exodus (Mark 1:44; John 7:19-23). The Apostle Paul also gave Moses credit for writing Exodus (Acts 26:22,23). From ancient times the Jews have believed Moses wrote Exodus. It was written during the time Israel was in the desert. This was sometime between 1500 B.C. and 1400 B.C.
Genesis and Exodus are very closely connected. Genesis closes with Israel in Egypt. Exodus begins at that point and continues Israel’s history. Exodus covers a period of about 360 years. It begins with the death of Joseph and continues to the building of the tabernacle at Mt. Sinai.
Exodus is a continued story of the account that was begun in Genesis. Genesis recorded the beginning of God’s chosen family through which the Savior would come into the world. Exodus continues their history by showing how they actually grew from a family into a nation. Although there was a lapse of at least three and a half centuries. Genesis 15:13 says that the seed of Abraham would spend 400 years in a land that was not theirs. It is difficult to bedogmatic about the chronology of the patriarchal period and it has been omitted purposely because the word that opens Exodus is a conjunction, which is better translated “and” rather than “now.” Exodus has been called the sequel to Genesis as Dr. G.Campbell Morgan wrote, and I quote, “In the book of Exodus nothing is commenced, nothing is finished.”
In Hebrews 11:23-29 gives us the themes surrounding the book of Exodus which means “the way out.” There are two themes this book deals with:
- It deals with deliverance
- It deals with the Law
and the key verse is found in Exodus 20:2 which says “I am the Lord thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
The book tells how Jacob’s family grew into a nation in Egypt. It tells how the Egyptians became afraid of God’s people and made slaves of them. Exodus also reveals how God delivered His people from Egypt.
Genesis 46:27 gives us a total number of 70 souls of Jacob who entered Egypt. It is
conservatively estimated that 2.1 million left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. Although we cannot be certain of dating during this early period, it would seem that Joseph entered Egypt under the Hyksos or shepherd kings. This was the 15th to 17th dynasty. They were Semitic conquerors from Mesopotamia, Bedouin princes from the desert. They were related to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Actually, the Israelites were their only friends, as they were hated by Egyptians. Amasis, military leader of Egypt, led a rebellion against the Hyksos kings, deposed them, and was made Pharaoh. The people of Israel multiplied rapidly in Egypt. After a time, a new Pharaoh came to the throne. He did not know about Joseph and how he had saved Egypt from famine. He feared the people of Israel because of their growing numbers. Therefore, he made them slaves. The people of Israel were treated very badly. However, the more they were afflicted, the faster they grew. Pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill the male babies, but they did not do it. Finally, in order to stop Israel from growing so rapidly, Pharaoh commanded that all male babies should be cast into the river. It was Ramses II in this line who was the Pharaoh of the oppression and the one “who knew not Joseph.”
Moses was born during this time. His parents feared God. They refused to kill their baby. They hid him for three months. Then they made a little ark (boat) of bulrushes and put Moses in the river near the place that Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe. Miriam, Moses’ older sister, watched nearby. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby. At her request Miriam called Jochebed, Moses’ mother, to be his nurse. Therefore, Moses was brought up as a prince in the palace of Pharaoh. He was cared for by his own mother who must have told him about the true God and his people.
When Moses became a man, he gave up the pleasures of Egypt. He chose to be a slave with his own people instead of a prince (Please read Hebrews 11:24-26). One day he saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite. He defended the Israelite by killing the Egyptian. When this became known, Moses fled from Egypt. He went to the land of Midian where he met Reuel (also called Jethro), a priest of God. He married Reuel’s daughter Zipporah and became the father of two sons.
The training in Egypt, evidently in the Temple of the Sun, did not prepare Moses to follow God in leading Israel out of Egypt. God trained him in the desert for 40 years to reveal to him that he could not deliver Israel alone.
“And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:22). The wisdom of Egypt is not to be despised even today. The construction of the pyramids and the retention of brilliance in the colors they used
reveal they knew architecture and chemistry. Also, they knew the distance to the sun. And writing was a highly developed science hamong them.
After forty years the Lord spoke to Moses out of a burning bush. He told him that he must deliver His people from bondage. Moses made many excuses, but God answered them all. Aaron, Moses’ elder brother, was sent to be Moses’ spokesman. Moses asked Pharaoh to let Israel go, but the wicked ruler refused. God sent a series of ten plagues upon the land of Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to free His people. First, the water was turned to blood, but Pharaoh hardened his heart. Then the land was filled with frogs, but Pharaoh’s heart was still hard. After this the dust of the land become lice. Still Pharaoh refused to let the people go. God then sent a plague of flies upon Egypt. Only the Egyptians were affected. The land of Goshen where Israel lived was not touched by the flies. This time Pharaoh said Israel could go. Then he changed his mind and refused. Next, God sent a murrain (sickness) upon all the cattle, sheep, camels, horses, and donkeys of Egypt so that they died. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened once again. After this God sent boils (sores) upon the Egyptians. The Bible says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. He did this by giving him a command which Pharaoh refused to obey. Then God sent hail (ice) upon the land. All the crops were destroyed. Pharaoh confessed he had sinned. However, when God took away the hail, he hardened his heart again. After this God sent a plague of locusts. Again Pharaoh admitted he had sinned. Then he changed his mind and would not let Israel go. The next plague God sent was thick darkness over all of Egypt. This lasted for three days. Still Pharaoh would not let Israel go.
Finally, God sent the last plague. All the firstborn of both men and animals would die. Israel, however, was spared. They were told to kill a male lamb. It had to be one year old. It also had to be without spot or blemish. It was to be eaten the night God destroyed all the firstborn. The blood of the lamb was put on the doorposts of the houses where God’s people lived. If the blood was seen on the door, God passed over them and the firstborn lived. If the blood was not applied, the firstborn died. This was the beginning of the Feast of the Passover. Jesus Christ is the passover sacrifice for us today (1 Corinthians 5:7). If His blood has been applied to us, we will be saved. If not, we will be lost forever.
That night Pharaoh let the people go. Israel marched to the Red Sea. Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army after Israel. The sea was in front. The Egyptian army was behind. Moses raised his rod and God parted the waters. Israel crossed over on dry land. When Pharaoh’s army tried to follow, the waters closed over them. They were all drowned.
Pharaoh was a representative of the gods of Egypt. Egypt was dominated by idolatry —“gods many and lords many.” There were thousands of temples and millions of idols. Back of idolatry was Satan. There was power in the religion of Egypt—“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8). Pharaoh asked, “Who is Jehovah?” He had never heard of Him. “And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2).
In the wilderness God provided for His people by giving them manna and quil for food and met every need of the people. He gave them water from a rock. He also gave them victory over the Amalekites who attacked them, yet they still grumbled and complained about difficult circumstances and some even longed to return to Egypt and die there.
Two points of significance arise from this episode:
A.Why the 10 Plagues?
They were God’s battle with the gods of Egypt. Each plague was directed against a particular god in Egypt. “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord” (Exodus 12:12).
1 – The Nile was turned to blood—the Nile was the lifeblood of Egypt and sacred to Osiris.
2 – Frogs—Heka was the frog-headed goddess. It was an offense to the goddess to
3 – Lice—Geb was the earth god.
4 – Flies (beetles or scarabs) were sacred to Ra (the sun god), Ra-Ammon, and Khepara. Gold scarabs have been found in the tombs.
5 – Murrain on cattle—Egypt was a land of “zoo-olatry.” They worshiped animals. Apis was the black bull that was worshiped. Mummified bulls have been found in a pyramid near Memphis, Egypt. There is a note of humor that God injects here. Imagine the Egyptians worshiping a sick cow!
6 – Boils—the priests had to be spotless. They could not serve in their temples with boils.
7 – Hail—Egypt is a land of no rainfall. There is less than one inch a year in Cairo. Isis was the goddess of air.
8 – Locusts are a judgment from God (compare locusts in Joel and Revelation).
9 – Darkness—Egyptians worshiped the sun (Ra).
10 – Death of firstborn—the firstborn in Egypt were set aside for the service of the gods.
B. What does it mean to HARDEN the Heart of Pharaoh?
The word “harden”’ has in it the idea of “to twist with a rope.” The suggestion is that God hailed Pharaoh into court and made him reveal what was already in his heart. He was not permitted to cover up or compromise. He had to reveal his true intent and thought.
See Exodus 4:21; 7:3; 14:4 and Romans 9:17-24.
The Passover is the oldest religious holy day or holiday in continuous celebration. It sets forth redemption by blood. God delivered His people out of Egypt by blood and power. This was the grace of God described to them in this fashion, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself” (Exodus 19:4). God wanted to reveal to His own people that He had power to deliver them.
The Giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai (Chapters 19-24)
The Israelites camped at Mt. Sinai where God had appeared to Moses in the burning bush. God called Moses up into the mountain. Moses was alone with God for forty days. God revealed His Law for the people of Israel to Moses during this time.
The Law was then instituted with their permission. The Ten Commandments are a segment of the Mosaic Law. Legislation that regulated the social life in relationship to the Ten Commandments was given in the remainder of the Pentateuch.
The great emphasis was upon the construction of the tabernacle and the service of it. The sacrificial system was the heart of the worship of God. Sin must be dealt with before God can dwell with His people. “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8).
The first four commandments concern man’s responsibility to God. The last six concern man’s responsibility to his fellow man. These commandments are found in Exodus 20:1-17. The Law given at Sinai was God’s Law for Israel. It continued until Christ died on the cross (Colossians 2:14). Now we live under the Law of Christ, which is also called “the New Testament” (Hebrew 7:12; 8:6-13).
The Building of the Tabernacle (chapters 25-40)
The tabernacle was a tent made up of two rooms. These rooms were known as the holy place and the most holy place. It was surrounded by an outer court. Here the priests offered up sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. The tabernacle was a tent which could be taken down and moved whenever Israel moved. It was built according to the pattern (plan) God gave to Moses (Exodus 25:9, 40).
Finally, the tabernacle was completed and the glory of God filled it. The Hebrews spent about a year at Mt. Sinai receiving revelation from the Lord. They were being prepared to enter the promised Land of Canaan in fulfiment of the Abrahamic Covenant.The plan of the tabernacle and the furniture of it should be learned by every student of the Bible at Light of Hope Missions Bible Training Centers.
As God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, so today He delivers us from slavery to sin. Moses was Israel’s Lawgiver and Deliverer from physical bondage. Jesus Christ is our Lawgiver and Deliverer from spiritual bondage.
Main Teachings from Exodus to Remember
▶God alone is to be worshipped and Served.
▶God is faithful to His promises.
▶When God calls a person for service, He enables them to perform.
▶There are no acceptable excuses for refusing God’s call.
▶God takes responsibility for creating people the way they are.
▶God’s power is infinitely superior to that of man’s “gods.”
▶God honors division of responsibility and delegation of authority to capable, godly, trustworthy men.
▶Salvation from death and redemption from sin comes only when the blood of an acceptable sacrifice is applied by faith.
▶God provides for every basic need of His people.
▶God’s laws are holy and meant to be obeyed.
▶God expects men to relate properly to Him and each other.
▶God hates idolatry and must judge sin.
▶God desires to dwell among and relate to His people.