Overview of Exodus

The book of Exodus is about the children of Israel in Egypt under bondage and then God’s work of redemption – the name exodus means going out. It is a book of departure. Exodus flows from the end of Genesis, in mentioning the sons of Jacob and the children of Israel that went from Canaan into Egypt. There are two major divisions in this book.

  1. Chapters 1-18 Redemption from bondage.
  2. Chapters 19-40 The law of God: responsibilities of the children of Israel toward God and others. Also in this section is the building of the tabernacle and institution of the priesthood, a most vital section in the lives of the children of Israel and in which we can learn about the Lord Jesus Christ.

A geographic overview of Exodus is as follows:

Chapters 1-18 Egypt and the wilderness

Chapters 19-40 Sinai

There are many similarities between the book of Exodus and the New Testament. Most interestingly, there are similarities between Moses and the Lord Jesus Christ, and it would be profitable to look at just a few of them, as features in the book of ‘departure’.

When we open and read Exodus, we think immediately of Moses, and I am sure those who grew up in Sunday School heard stories about Moses many times. But how did Moses enter into the scene? In Exodus 2:1 we are told a man from the house of Levi married a woman from the house of Levi, and this is practical for Christians that are seeking the Lord’s guidance in marriage. I believe the man and woman were godly people, and as a result, Moses was born and they did not obey the command of Pharaoh to cast him into the river. The similar picture is with the Lord Jesus Christ, when He was born (see Matt 2) Herod sought to kill Him, and in fact, he had all the infants under two years old killed, just like when Pharaoh gave the command in Exodus 1:16,22. Both Moses and the Lord Jesus were in danger at their birth. Moses was put in a river eventually, but with an ark to protect him, and the ark speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ. Moses was eventually drawn out of the water, as his name signifies the meaning ‘drawn out’.

Some further similarities between Exodus and the New Testament are summarised and good for personal study:

Exodus 2:14

  • Who made you ruler and judge? The question that the Hebrew asked Moses.
  • His own received Him not; Jn. 1:11.

Exodus 3:7-8, 14

  • “I am come down”
  • “I AM” is from the same root word as “Jehovah” – translated to “the eternal” in French, but “LORD” in English.

Exodus 12:2, 6 – the chapter is a beautiful instruction of the Passover, and we see from 1 Corinthians 5:7 that Christ, our passover, was sacrificed.

  • Passover – Behold the Lamb of God.
  • The journey doesn’t begin until the lamb’s death. Just like Christ first had to die.

Exodus 14:21-22

  • Satan’s power broken — Egyptians drowned
  • We have died in Christ — Israel passed through the Red Sea
  • God doesn’t see us, He sees Christ

Exodus 15:1-2

  • First mention of Singing in the Bible
  • First mention of Salvation in the Bible
  • First comes complete deliverance than comes singing
  • It’s all by grace

Exodus 19-24

  • The giving of the Law
  • Jewish tradition is that the Law was given on the day of Pentecost (~50 days after the Passover)
  • Red Sea — Redemption
  • Mt. Sinai — Giving of the Holy Ghost.
  • Law was given on Mt. Sinai on stone tablets
  • Now He writes His law on our hearts 2 Cor. 3:3

Exodus 25-27

  • Pattern of the Tabernacle
  • He wished to dwell among them Ex. 25:8-9a
  • After the Passover
  • Red Sea — Redemption
  • Mt. Sinai — Giving of Holy Ghost
  • The Church doesn’t start until after these things
  • Eph. 2:20, 21-22
  • The assembly is a living building of all believers by the Spirit of God

Exodus 28

  • The High Priest: Picture of Christ
  • Priest bears stones representing Israel
  • On his heart (Ex 28 29-30) – nearness
  • On his shoulders (Ex28:12) – strength
  • We go directly to HIM, not through priest or building or … 
  • Hebrews is all about this.
  • Hebrews is based on
  • Tabernacle
  • Psalm 110
  • Leviticus 16 – The Day of Atonement

Exodus 31:1-3,6

  • Bezalel
  • Chosen skilled workman filled with the Spirit of God
  • Parallels to Paul
  • Chosen to explain the mystery of the Church; Ac. 9:15
  • 1 Cor. 3:10

Exodus 32:1, 4-5, 24

  • People jump to “Guess he’s gone” regarding Moses
  • “Let’s build something we can see”
  • Picture of Church’s fall
  • Lost hope of His return
  • Church turns to building cathedrals / incense / music
  • “Master has delayed his coming” – parable
  • Gold, feast, party
  • Gold formed with a tool into an image vs. 4-5
  • Calf creation is attributed to miracle, though earlier it’s clear it was man’s hand
  • 2 Thes. 2 – The end apostasy is “already at work”

Exodus 40:33-34

  • Building the assembly/church; going to complete it
  • Glory dwells there
  • Rev 21:1 – A new dwelling place – with them
  • Millennium – Vindication of God’s ways
  • Eternal State – Satisfaction of His nature
  • Rev 21:4
  • Death, tears, and pain are gone
  • God will be with us

We need to touch on some other features in Exodus. When Moses returned to Egypt to face Pharaoh, God sent 10 plagues on Egypt. Nine of them did not affect the dwelling of the children of Israel. However, the death of the first-born, the last plague, was a judgement on everyone, including Israel. We need to remember that there is a judgement of death on each of us as a result of sin, but this is where the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, comes in. His sacrifice is sufficient to purge our sins and when we put our trust in Him for salvation, we escape the judgement of death. God instructed Israel about the Passover in chapter 12, and the blood had to be seen on the door posts of each house, so that the angel of Jehovah will pass over them and not destroy them. That blood speaks of the precious blood of Christ, shed once, and through faith in His work on the cross we have redemption.

Another aspect of Exodus is that there was no hope for Israel in Egypt, just like with us there was no hope for us without Christ – Eph 2:1-9.

The next major event was the Red Sea and the children of Israel crossing through the sea as if they were walking on dry ground. Then there is the wilderness and all the trials that Israel experienced. God still provided for them and cared for them. We have the Law recorded, and the Law is much more than just the ten commandments in chapter 20. It is very difficult to even keep the ten commandments, and God showed them that while the Law is perfect, it could not save any person. He showed that the human is not capable of even keeping the simplest of commandments. If we, as Christians, rely on keeping the commandments as good works, we will be very disappointed. The good works comes as a result of the grace of God working in us (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The next major section is the tabernacle, and is full of pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ. A previous article on the Tabernacle, God’s dwelling place is on this website, along with another article providing a suggested division of the Tabernacle. God intended to dwell among the people back then, but today, God the Holy Spirit dwells in each born-again Christian who has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. May this overview encourage each reader to study the Word of God more closely, and look for the Lord Jesus Christ in every section of the Bible.

Published by philiptadros

Writer of various articles on bible topics

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