Exodus: Moses and Israel, Jesus and the Church

In previous blogs, we’ve already encountered several instances of the beautiful artistry of the Book of Exodus.  It’s hopefully becoming apparent that the author of Exodus is big on hinting at where the story is going.  We’re going to look at another instance of foreshadowing involving Moses and the people he will lead—Israel.

The gist is this: What happens to Moses will happen to Israel.  Moses will embody the future life of corporate Israel in himself (and vice versa).  Let’s take a look at Moses’ life and along the way, there should be some light bulbs turning on.  As a baby, Moses is saved through the water of the Nile among the reeds (סוּף, suf).  Note that Miriam is the recorded witness of this salvation.  Additionally, after this salvation through water, Moses becomes Egyptian royalty.  When Moses grows up, he leaves Egypt because of the death of an Egyptian, fleeing from Pharaoh, and subsequently spends forty years in the wilderness.  He has a climactic encounter with YHWH on Mount Horeb (otherwise known as Sinai) that involves fire and God speaking (the burning bush). The content of YHWH’s speech is the revelation of His name, which reveals His character.

Likewise, Israel was saved through water—the Sea of Reeds (סוּף, suf)—and Miriam was the witness and sang a praise song about it.  Israel also became royalty after this salvation (a kingdom of priests).  Israel was finally able to leave Egypt because of the death of the firstborn, had to flee from Pharaoh, and then spent forty years in the wilderness.  Israel had a climactic encounter with YHWH on Sinai that involved fire and God speaking to them (God descended upon the mountain in fire).  The content of YHWH’s speech was the Law, which reveals His character.

This correlation has a counterpart in the New Testament.  Just as Moses is the representative of Israel, Christ is the representative of the Church.  The New Testament sometimes uses a bodily metaphor—Christ is the head of His body, the Church.  What happens to Jesus will happen to His Church.  Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  The Church is conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was sent and empowered by the Spirit.  The Church is sent and empowered by the Spirit.  Jesus was baptized.  The Church is baptized.  Jesus ate the Last Supper.  The Church eats the Last Supper.  Jesus lives for others.  The Church lives for others.  Jesus encountered suffering.  The Church encounters suffering. Jesus was declared the Son of God.  Believers are declared the sons of God.  Christ has been raised up.  The Church has been raised up.  Christ has been seated in the heavenly realm.  The Church is seated in the heavenly realm.  Christ was resurrected from the dead.  The Church will be resurrected from the dead.

In both cases, the people’s lives follow after their leader.  So take heart brothers and sisters!  If you are a believer in Jesus then you have been united to Him.  Your future is bound up with His future and His future is pretty good.

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