On Sunday, January 24th, 2016, I began a Core Seminar on Redemptive History & Biblical Theology at my church, Lake Drive Baptist Church. During the course of this series I’ll be sending out emails recapping lessons and directing recipients to resources for further study.
Rather than just share these recaps with my church family, I’ve decided to share them here on the blog for anyone else who might be interested. I will be posting them occasionally over the next couple of months on a weekly basis or so.
See previous posts:
- Introducing Biblical Theology and Redemptive History (LDBC Recap 1/24/16)
- The Significance and Relevance of Biblical Theology and Redemptive History (LDBC Recap 1/31/16)
- Foundational Principles and Basic Frameworks for Redemptive History and Biblical Theology (LDBC Recap 2/7/16)
- Redemptive-Historical, Biblical-Theological Hermeneutics (LDBC Recap 2/14/16 Pt. 1)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 1 | Creation (LDBC Recap 2/14/16 Pt. 2)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 2 | The Fall (LDBC Recap 2/21/16)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 3 | The Flood & Noahic Covenant (LDBC Recap 2/28/16)
- Redemptive-Historical Survey: 4 | Abrahamic Covenant & the Patriarchs (LDBC Recap 3/6/16 Pt. 1)
We finish this week’s recap by reviewing the role the Exodus serves in redemptive history.
Overview of the Biblical Material
Exodus 1-18(Cf. Joseph bringing his family down to Egypt.) With a change of Pharaoh, Israel found itself in harsh slavery in Egypt.
- God revealed Himself to Moses through a burning but unconsumed bush and commissioned Moses to lead Israel out of captivity in Egypt.
- But God hardened Pharaoh’s heart; and Pharaoh would not let them go.
- God sent several wonders (or plagues), e.g., the Nile turned to blood, gnats, frogs, darkness, hail, boils, etc.
- These plagues culminated in the final plague in which God killed all of the Egyptian firstborns but sparred Israel through the Passover sacrifice.
- Finally, Pharaoh released Israel who left with great wealth from the Egyptians.
- But soon after, Pharaoh changed His mind. Nonetheless, God miraculously parted the Sea of Reeds to allow Israel to escape. And when the Egyptians followed them into the sea, God destroyed them with it.
- God performed this great Exodus in order to reveal Himself, that He might be known as God (Ex 5:2; 9:16; 14:4), and that He might establish Israel as His people (Ex 19:5-6).
Role within Redemptive History
We summarized the role of the Exodus in redemptive history as follows: God begins to execute his covenant-bound, new-creational kingdom purposes by means of a deliverance.
We noted several dimensions to this role:
- The Exodus is based on and is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.
First of all, we see that the Exodus event is promised in the Abrahamic Covenant.
Gen 15:13-14, 16 – 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. … 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
Cf. Gen 50:24.
But, secondly, we see that the Exodus aims at the new-creational kingdom blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant.
We see a variety of details that evidence this:
- While in Egypt, Israel had already become a great nation (Gen 47:27; Ex 1:7; Deut 26:5), just as Abraham was promised numerous descendants (Gen 12:2; 13:16; 15:4-7; 17:4-7, 15-21; 18:19; 22:17).
- The aim of the Exodus was Mt. Sinai (Ex 3:18; 5:3; 7:16; 9:1, 13) where God would make of covenant with Israel, establish them as a nation, and promise them great blessings upon faithfulness to that covenant.
- And from there, God would lead Israel to the promised land (Ex 3:8, 16-17; Deut 6:23; 26:8-9).
The captivity in Egypt, on the other hand, posed a “challenge” to the covenant promises. Note…
- God’s people are enslaved.
- Rather than being under God’s rule, they are under the captivity of another.
- They are in exile (they are not in God’s land).
God overcomes those obstacles in the Exodus. Thus, the Exodus is God “making good” on his Abrahamic Covenant purposes, so to say. It’s God’s Abrahamic covenant “in action,” executed, or brought to bear. “God acts to fulfill his promises of which the captivity in Egypt is a denial.”
Ex 2:24 – And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
Cf. Ex 3:16-17; 6:3-5.
- The Exodus serves as the basis of the upcoming Mosaic Covenant.
What we commonly call the “10 Commandments” is literally the “ten words.” This is the essence of the Mosaic Covenant. Interestingly, the first of these “words” is a statement of the Exodus event.
Ex 20:2 – “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Cf. Ex 19:4; Deut 6:20-25.
In other words, the Exodus is the basis of the covenant. It is the starting point when God lays out these ten words that function as the central essence of the Mosaic Covenant. Israel is God’s covenant people by nature of the fact that he redeemed them. He owns them. Thus they are to [insert Mosaic Covenant commands and obligations here].
- The Exodus reveals to us the nature and pattern of God’s new-creational kingdom.
Up until this point we have focused on the top four elements of the new-creational kingdom pattern (the white rows). With the Exodus we see the addition of the distinctive new-creational kingdom elements (the gray rows).
(1) First we see that the achieving of God’s new-creational kingdom (which is foreshadowed in OT Israel as God’s people, in the land, under God’s rule, experiencing his presence) is only accomplished through God’s deliverance. As a result of the fall and the mess we’ve made of things, the restoring of God’s creational-kingdom purposes (i.e., the new-creational kingdom) requires God’s deliverance. We cannot by our own effort achieve the new-creational kingdom or deliver ourselves from our fallen condition (here, that is typified in the Exodus-situation in terms of bondage to Egyptians). Redemption must precede our freedom and participation in God’s new-creational kingdom.
(2) Second, we see that the realization of God’s new-creational kingdom requires sacrifice and mediation. We’ll talk about this more when we get into the Mosaic Covenant and look at the sacrificial system instituted there. But, even here, with the Passover Lamb, we see something of the fact that, if not for the sacrifice of this lamb, even God’s own people would not be spared. In other words, the people need sacrifice to be in right relationship with God and avoid his judgment.
Finally, a significant theme emerges here that we can see throughout the rest of scripture–the theme of salvation through judgment. The observation is this: in scripture, judgment nearly always accompanies deliverance (or salvation). In fact, deliverance is frequently through judgment—both in terms of executing it on enemies from which God’s people are rescued but also in terms of being spared from that judgment (i.e., saved from or out of judgment). (Note: we already saw this theme in God’s interaction with Noah as Noah and his family is saved in the midst of God’s judgment of the flood waters.) For example, the deliverance of Israel in the Exodus is executed through, or by means of, God’s judgment of the Egyptians. And Israel herself is spared from that judgment by means of the Passover Lamb (bringing the themes of “salvation through judgment” and “sacrifice and mediation” together).
In summary, the role of the Exodus in redemptive history is this: God begins to execute his covenant-bound, new-creational kingdom purposes by means of a deliverance.
 Goldsworthy, According to Plan, 133.