The Exodus has reverberated through world history”, and is such a significant biblical event, perhaps second only to creation, that it is as vehemently denied by Bible critics as creation itself.There is no question that belief in the Exodus requires faith in an infinitely omnipotent Creator including the ability to control the triggering, timing and intensity of what could very likely have been a cascade of natural events comprising the plagues on Egypt. For the persons who are at the least willing to consider the biblical narrative, the point I would like to drive home in this post is that the Exodus occurred to Hebrews, NOT Jews or Israelites.
“God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses…I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and… I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the…king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go. (Exodus 3)
The Hebrew people are the source of a unique but vital contribution to our Western heritage…it is the treasure of sacred literature which constitutes the Hebrew legacy. The tradition of a monotheistic religion upon which Christianity would build and out of which the modern world would emerge, has arguably served as the wellspring of Western civilization. Monotheism (the belief that God is one) set the Hebrews apart from the other ancient Near Eastern civilizations…The Hebrew belief that each individual was equal before the law became a fundamental notion in Western culture, establishing for the first time the greater worth of the human person over physical propertyThe LORD God reiterates himself as the God of the Hebrew to be rescued out of Egypt.
“God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said…I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham the Hebrew, the God of Isaac the Hebrew, and the God of Jacob the Hebrew. I have surely seen the affliction of my [Hebrew] people which are in Egypt…And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians…Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel [only one of Abraham’s many nations in the Hebrew federation of ethnicities with a unique promise of inheriting the land described above] is come unto me:
Come now therefore, and I will send thee…And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee [as my representative / embassador / vicar / priest]: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God [as a priest] upon this mountain…Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning…And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness. (Exodus 3, 9:1,13, 10:3)The text plainly states that the children of Israel did not become identified as a unique nation ruled by God until after the Exodus from Egypt and the establishment of the Mosaic Covenant with God on Mount Sinai.
“And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, saying…O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt therefore
- obey the voice of the LORD thy God,
- and do his commandments and his statutes”(Deuteronomy 27:9-10)
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai…in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: So were all those that were numbered…603,550 (Numbers 1)And that doesn’t include women, children and infirm. “Based on historical data, the adult population in a typical polity in the Middle Ages could support one fighting man for every 15 adults maximum.” In terms of proportion of fighting men per extended family of geriatrics, other infirm, women and children, this is realistic. So multiplying 600,000 fighting men x 15 we calculate a census o 9 million people. But the alert reader protests – this says the children of Israel, families, fathers! Follow the chronology. During the Passover and three months into the Exodus the group was a mixed bag of nationalities within the Egyptian Empire who, for personal benefit, had joined the Hebrew nation led by its Fighter God who had proven himself superior to the Egyptian gods. Two years later there was a nation of Israel. We need to track what happened in between, starting at three months into the Exodus at Mount Sinai when God addresses the multi-ethnic Hebrew nation within which is contained the genetically and spiritually related nation of Israel. The Exodus from Egypt wasn’t unique in the history of the Hebrew Nation. Recall that many nationalities left Nimrod’s Empire under Abram. In both case various ethnicities within an oppressive empire renounced their allegiance to their source of daily bread and joined the Hebrew nation, which specifically meant trusting in the Hebrew God for provision and protection of their lives. Why did a polyglot multitude of people have the faith to do so? Because they heard about the marvelous exploits God worked on behalf of his people. At the time of the Egyptian Exodus the amazing rescues of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were as recent as our own heroic events of World Wars I and II. Instead of watching television or reading books, the tales of the gods were recounted around the fires at night. The Hebrews’ accounts of their God’s empowerment were the source of their identity. Even more compelling were the current eyewitness accounts of Moses surviving unscathed from confrontation after confrontation with Pharoah. God was proving that he would protect the people who served him by obeying his word.
“Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.
- He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
- And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field…(Exodus 9:19-23)
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether...the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people. And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die…Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house.It is vitally important that we ascertain understanding of an ancient cultural practice that is taken for granted in this passage. “House” in this context includes both concrete meaning of a building for safety from the environment, and abstract meaning of all the people who were under the head man’s authority / protection. Not just family members, but servants as well.
- “when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house” [indicative of others not born in his own house therefore not as trustworthy, good example being Theon Greyjoy] (Genesis 14:14)
- “Abram said…I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus…one born in my house is mine heir.” (Genesis 15:2-3)
- “Pharaoh said unto Joseph…Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou…I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:39-41)
- “And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, Joseph’s brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh…and his servants.” (Genesis 45:16)
- “Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, LORD, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?…For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech.” (Genesis 20)
- “And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother…saying…I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants…Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him…” (Genesis 32:, 35:2)
- “Esau cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him…And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house [a substantial number of servants required to herd all the animals], and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. For their riches [in cattle and consequently herdsmen] were more than that they might dwell together (Genesis 32:6, 36:6-7)
- “Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me…thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and thy household…And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house [two different groups], which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me; And the men are shepherds [obviously lots of them, not just Jacob’s immediate family] (Genesis 45:9-11, 46:31-32)
- “Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob…And [making a distinction between servants] all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled [with their households including servants.]” (Exodus 1:1-7)
- “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us…ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” (I Corinthians 5:7, Ephesians 2:19)
- “when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair…and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house…And Pharaoh called Abram and said…Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife [in his harem, but he didn’t, she was simply a guest]..” (Genesis 12:14-19
- “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and…Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and…he pressed upon them greatly; and they…entered into his house; and…the men of the city…called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said…unto these men do nothing; for therefore [for my protection] came they under the shadow of my roof.” (Genesis 19:1-8)
“In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai…And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house[hold] of Jacob, and tell [a separate entity] the children of Israel, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself [both the children of Israel and the larger group of genetically unrelated household members].” (Exodus 19:3-4)Who is the household of Jacob which Moses brought unto the God of the whole world? No doubt some are the generational servants of the children of Israel who came with them into Egypt in Jacob’s household four generations earlier, but don’t forget the Hebrews had become slaves. Like the Jews in Hitler’s Germany, they would have had their wealth confiscated when they were sent to labor camps. The household of Jacob the Hebrew would have consisted mainly of the Hebrews’ non-Israelite house guests who joined them in accepting their Fighter God’s offer of salvation through the Passover.
- if ye – the household of Jacob and the children of Israel – will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant
- then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:
for all the earth is mine:
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the word which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:3-6)Now, don’t hastily jump to the conclusion that “the children of Israel” in this context is referring to the political nation of Israel. Take your time, read carefully and most importantly keep the history in accurate chronological order. For example, did you pay attention to the big IF at the beginning of what is an OFFER to BECOME a special nation? It hasn’t happened yet! The passage clearly states that God is addressing the multi-ethnic Hebrew nation. Even Judaism itself acknowledges that the original offer at Mount Sinai was to all the nationalities, not just the children of Israel.
The message of the Torah is for all mankind. Before giving the Torah to Israel, God offered it to the other nations, but they refused it.Read on in Exodus 19. The passage describes how God does not arbitrarily impose service on anyone. His plan develops as he interacts with people who willingly work with him.
“And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And…the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud [shielding his death-dealing brightness], that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever.
- Go unto the people, and sanctify them [spiritually clean them up to encounter holy God by leading them in confessing, repenting, and renouncing their sins]
- And let the priests also, which [already are used to] come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves
“And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders, and lightenings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.”So far so good. Things going according to God’s plan.
“The LORD…rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved / united with the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.” (Deuteronomy 33:1-3)If you’ve seen Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind you’ll recognize where he got his light and sound concepts.
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled…
- And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount:
- and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
- And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
“And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire)…even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; And ye said…this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? [Unbelief!] Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us [refusing responsibility]…
and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee, they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always…Go say to them, Get you into your tents again. But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 5:23-31)(Sigh) Notice how their reaction is completely the opposite of Moses’ when he first met God in a fire on this same mountain. I think we can all empathize with the unwillingness of Moses’ Hebrew people to share the burden of government with him. How many of us are willing to serve a few hours a week on so much as a PTA committee, or a few days on a jury? Consider what Moses was asking them to do. Become full time priests! Consume all one’s waking hours in service to God! And if everyone in the kingdom were priests, who needed their intercession? Why, their competitors, adversaries, enemies. That would seriously cut into the quality of life. Plan B. The Melchizedekian priests’ responsibilities towards their clans were given to another brotherhood / nation. What the text clearly states, but what has been glossed over in the various religions’ application of this passage to their paradigm, is that the Melchizedekian priests within the multiethnic Hebrew nation rejected election to government in God’s kingdom. So God simply gave it to another nation deserving it. He did not exterminate the Hebrew nation just as he did not exterminate the Jewish nation when their priests rejected YVHH’s Savior as their kings. Follow the patterns of history. As on wallpaper, they repeat and reveal what came before and what comes after.
“Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom [rulership] of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits [productivity] thereof.“ (Matthew 21:43)And here is when the nation of Israel comes into its own, as God’s elect. As a tight-knit royal family with a generations-long heritage of personal relationships and experience with YHVH and proven partnership with him in action, it’s just common sense that the Israelites would be elected to positions of responsibility in the new government.
“What advantage then hath the Jew? …chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:1-2)The nation of Israel became a specialized offshoot of the existing and ongoing Hebrew Nation. Its function was to detail and exemplify specifically, what it means to “walk before me and be thou perfect” as stated by YHVH to Abraham.
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added…”Added! To what? An existing covenant! And that is detailed as the passage continues:
“because of transgressions, till the seed / Melchizedek should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator…Is the law then against the [pre-existing] promises of God? God forbid: for…the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of YHVH’s Promised Savior / Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe…Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Melchizedek / Christ, that we might be justified by faith.“Just like our modern individual states are subsets of the United States of America with laws applicable only to them but subject to federal regulations, all the tribes, not just the Levites, can have rules and boundaries that apply only to them while being primarily subject to the regulations governing all Israel. Likewise the nation of Israel can have laws that apply only to them while remaining subject to the larger Hebrew nation led by Melchizedek. Although treated as such thousands of years later, “Hebrew” is not the equivalent of “Israelite” or “Jew”. Israel was constituted as a subset of the Hebrew nation. Each serves a different purpose with a different population, as explained in Hebrews 7-8.
- Levitical: under it the people received the law
- “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the [seed [of the Woman should come to whom the promise was made [to deliver from death through resurrection]” (Galatians 3:19)
- “Now we know that what things soever the law saith it saith to them who are under the law [follow rules of good behavior to be accepted by God into everlasting life after death]: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [every religious system of good works] may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified [including the Jews] in his sight:”” (Romans 3:19-20)
- Melchizedekian: “able also to save them that come unto God by him”
- Levitical: under it the people received the law
- Levitical: “the house of Israel and the house of Judah”
- Melchizedekian: “the uttermost parts of the earth i.e. the whole world
- Time frame
- Levitical: “that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
- Melchizedekian: “he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
“(Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto….And this I say, that the covenant [with Abraham the Hebrew], that was confirmed before of God in The Promised Seed / Christ, the law [of Moses], which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise [to Abraham to Abraham the Hebrew] of none effect. (Galatians 3:10-17)
The citizens in the newly constituted nation of Israel along with the other Hebrews gathered at Mount Sinai were saved just like their forefathers – and those after as well – by believing and proving their faith in their actions.
- Believing on the power of the LORD / YHVH / Creator’s Word
- “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said…YVHH / I AM THAT I AM / Singularity / Creator / Sound Energy…say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you….the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Exodus 3:13-15)
- “He that is of God heareth God’s words…Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day [promise of resurrection] – and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
- Professing their faith through the Passover,
- the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt…Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God…in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there. Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it…neither shall there any thing of the flesh…remain all night until the morning….at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 16:1-6)
- “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (I Corinthians 5:7)
- United as one body / corporation with the savior in baptism
- I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” (I Corinthians 10:1-2)
- “We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk…in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:4-6) signifying death to the old life and resurrection to new.