Summary: God delivers his people from slavery to teach them how to worship him and to dwell with them; this “shadow” points us to Christ and eternal life with him!
Tonight we’re going to start a study through the book of Exodus, so I’d like to take a little time discussing how we’ll approach it and maybe give it a little outline. If I had to summarize it in a single sentence I’d say it’s about how God rescues his people from slavery, teaches them how to worship him, and begins to dwell with them.
You see, it doesn’t stray at all from the message of Genesis. This is just the next phase of the plan. It’s one step closer to Adam’s promised redeemer. But it’s important to recognize that it is only a step. What we’re about to study is a book of types and shadows. You’ll remember from our study of Hebrews that types and shadows are earthly things that point to heavenly things. More specifically, types and shadows are things that point us to Christ.
And so, like the rest of the Bible, Exodus is a book about Christ. I can’t stress this enough because too often it’s seen as one of those boring Old Testament books just full of regulations and measurements. There’s a thought that if we’re going to get anything out of it at all, then maybe we can find some morals to live by or maybe some principles for successful living. But Moses wasn’t writing about morals and principles; he was writing about God’s promise to Adam and Eve; he was writing about God’s promise to Abraham to make a people for himself; He was writing about Christ.
The New Testament makes this clear. Jesus fed the 5,000, and when they followed after him for more he said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven (Jn. 6:32).
Bread came from heaven in Exodus, but there’s more to it than that. This foreshadowed the true bread which would later come from heaven and sustain God’s people.
Move forward a little to some of Paul’s writing:
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:1-4).
Sometimes people have a hard time understanding when we say that Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, but we learn that it’s undoubtedly true from verses like these. That story of water from the rock isn’t just there for the sake of interest. It’s pretty far-fetched too, isn’t it? I mean, how can you get water from a rock? But Paul shows us that the drink was spiritual and the purpose was spiritual. Our Rock is Christ.
He later writes another letter to the same group that addresses the same theme. There he says the “vail is done away in Christ” (2 Cor. 3:14).
Skip ahead a little further into the New Testament where the writer compares the old, earthly shadows with their true, spiritual counterparts:
For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 25See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven (Heb. 12:18-25).
The New Testament believers were further along in God’s revelation. They could see that Mount Sinai is fulfilled as Mount Zion. Canaan is fulfilled as the heavenly city. Israel has no more need for Moses as a judge because God is their judge. In fact, it’s no longer about the DNA of Abraham; it’s the general assembly and church of the firstborn!