Significance of the Exodus

What is the most influential event of all time?

Historians’ opinions in response to this question vary.
Some historians are for Industrial revolution and some others support the French Revolution as the most influential event in human history.
It is natural for the Marxist historians to argue in favour of Russian Revolution and Muslims in favour of the revelations received by Prophet Mohammed.

But the most important event of all time is indeed the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt.
Why I make this claim?
Because Exodus directly or indirectly generated many of the important events cited by other groups.
Exodus is the mother event that generated all other historical events afterwards.

Let me tell you an example:

The Ten Commandments open with these words:

Exodus 20:2 & 3
2     "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
 3    "You shall have no other gods before Me.   (NKJV)

This statement cancels all absolute status not only of all other divinity but also of all other human value system.
That means, neither money nor power, neither economic nor political system has the right to demand absolute loyalty.
Thus God cancels all value system of the world that caused discrimination between men.
God stands as the only true and worthy source of life demanding all loyalties of men.
All human loyalty is assigned only to God and thus all human stand equal before God.

This is the key to democracy.

The Exodus transformed the Jewish people and their ethic.
Christianity and Islam adopted the covenant at the Sinai as their core value system.
More than half of the world is profoundly shaped by the aftereffects of the Exodus event.

In modern times, the widely disseminated concept of human freedom carries the same message of redemption.
The secular concept of redemption says:

“Do not accept disadvantage or suffering as your fate;
Rather, let the world be transformed!”

In a way, humane socialism is a secularized version of the Exodus’ final triumph.
The liberator is dialectical materialism, and the slaves are the proletariat–but the model and the end goal are the same.

What I mean is that the story of the Exodus of Israelites has all claims for the most influential event in human history.
It has been influencing human history and the influence is an ongoing process.
The secret of the impact of the Exodus

What is the secret of the impact of the Exodus on human life?
The Exodus event has a unique place in God’s plan.
After this great incident it is referred to about 120 times throughout the Old Testament and it symbolizes God’s power.
It is an example of why Yahweh is worthy to be worshipped.
The Exodus is not just a symbol; it really happened.
The secret of the impact of the Exodus is that it does not present itself as ancient history.
The Exodus is not a one-time event.
Exodus is remembered by all Jewish family at least once in a year by the reenactment of the event.
Thus the event is as an ongoing experience in human history.

The Jewish understanding of God has two foundations:

1)   God created the world - Shabbat is the testimony
2)   God intervenes in human affairs - Exodus is the testimony.

Judaism proclaims that nothing happens in the cosmos -- no electron encircles an atomic nucleus, no cell divides, no star is born or dies -- without Divine will animating it at every nanosecond.

An example is the Jewish blessing before drinking a glass of water that states: "Everything exists by Your word."
That means the glass is filled by H2O at this moment only because of God’s will.
Otherwise it simply would not exist.

This is the real meaning of the oneness of God.
There are no forces of any kind independent of God.

The Slavery

Israelites were in Egypt for more than 400 years.
Their former years were peaceful and prosperous.
They went there as special invitees of the King Pharaoh because of Joseph.
Joseph gave Egypt life during the great famine and helped to build the great nation.
Joseph was considered to be a man of special divine revelations by the Egyptians.
Even after the death of Joseph, his bones were kept safe in the kingdom.
There were prophesies by fortune tellers of Egypt that a great doom will fall upon on the nation if the bones of Joseph were taken away from the country.

But the later years of Israelites were of hard slavery.
All the stories of Joseph and divine intervention through him for the country were forgotten.
The Israelite community grew in number to the size of a nation.
The Israelite community was foreign and considered to be a threat and financial burden to the nation.

The first attempt of the king pharaoh was to reduce the number of the Israelite population.
When that failed, he decided to treat them as slaves and torture them.
No slaves were paid salary except the base necessities like food, shelter and clothes.
In this way they would help to build the country and the country will not suffer a financial burden.
Thus day by day their slavery became more and more hard.
They were tortured by the Egyptian slave masters.
So they cried to God for deliverance.

Israelites were aware of the promise that God made to their father Abraham.
God promised to Abraham to deliver them from the slavery after a certain period.
A land of prosperity and peace was promised to their father Abraham through a blood covenant.
They believed in it and cried for deliverance.

They did not know how it will happen.
The crying generation of Israelites never experienced the mighty Yahveh, the Lord.
They never had a meeting with Yahveh.
All they knew was the numerous god’s of Egypt.
At the same time they knew that their God is Yahveh, the Lord, the God of their fore fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
They believed that He is mighty and faithful to deliver His people.

Moreover, the Children of Israel were slaves to the strongest nation on earth.
Egypt was surrounded by potent fortifications and daunting deserts.
No slave ever escaped from Egypt.
By the laws of nature, there was no possibility for the Israelites to achieve freedom.
Only God could deliver them from the slavery in Egypt.

Even against all odds they had hope that Yahveh will intervene in their life.
This is the faith Abraham had in Yahveh when he went up the mountain to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
This is the last hope of the people.

And God cannot forget His people because of the covenant with Abraham and the promise to Isaac and Jacob.
God has pronounced their deliverance and inheritance of the Promised Land and it will never go void.
God’s promises started working as it is spoken by Him.

So God decided to intervene.

Thus there came Moses to the scene announcing the imminent Exodus to a kingdom in the Promised Land.
Moses was absent and forgotten for 40 years.
Moses was never a part of their sufferings.
Moses did not grow as a slave; he was never tortured by Egyptian slave masters.
Moses grew in the palace and then ran away to another safe place.

Now he is here announcing the exodus and entry into a new Kingdom prepared for them by the God of their fathers.

Moses did announce not only the exodus to a promised land but introduced the God of their fathers to the people.
The people must know that Yahveh is their God
Israelites must know who Yahveh is.

Being slaves for many years, Israelites would have accepted it as a way of life.
There is always a comfort in slavery too.
They accepted Egyptian gods and worshiped them.
They enjoyed the food in the country.
They expected the ceremonious burial of the dead in Egypt.

They cried because of the torture.
But Moses came not to announce comfort in slavery, but exodus to a new Kingdom.
So they should start the journey, consistent in the journey and conquer and inherit the Kingdom.
For this purpose they first should know who Yahweh is.
They must know the strength and authority of Yahweh.
Yahweh controls the whole world and no other deity has any part in it.

Exodus 10: 1,2
1    Now the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,
 2   "and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD."
Egyptian gods and Yahweh
As I have said before, Egypt was the richest and mighty nation during the time.
They had a history of overcoming the great famine 400 years ago.
Not only that they had food, but also they provided food for neighboring nations.
Thus they became richer.

All nations of the time had their own gods.
They had a chief deity and other subordinate gods.
Myths surrounded them was the official religion of the nation.
The people of the nation believed that all blessings, victories and power came from their gods.
All other nations surrounding them also had to admit it, as long as the nation remained prosperous and powerful.

Let us keep in mind that each and every nation had their own gods and myths.
So wars between nations were really war between gods.
Wars tested and proved the might of their gods.

Yahweh the Lord had no nation at that time.
Worship of Yahweh existed from Adam, throughout the centuries.
But He had no nation like Egypt.

Yahweh had been intervening in human history for more than once.
Once Yahweh the Lord destroyed all human beings except the family of Noah by a huge flood.
Then He destroyed the attempt of man to build a huge tower called Babel to worship the sun god during the time of Nimrod.
Yahweh had been telling the people again and again that He is the creator and sustainer of the whole universe.
He is in control of the universe.
But people forgot all these incidents after a few years.

No nation accepted Yahweh and worshipped Him.
People like Noah were lonely figures in the larger community which worshiped gentile gods.

So Yahweh, in order to fulfill His purpose of redemption of humanity chose Abraham to create His own nation.
Abraham and his descendents generally worshiped Yahweh.
They believed in Him, His might and blessings.

But now the people of Yahweh were living in a foreign land as nomads and slaves.
Yahweh was not considered as a great God by Pharaoh or any other neighboring kings.

In this scene, God appeared, announced His nation, His community of people.
He commanded Pharaoh to set free His people, Israelites to worship Him.

God’s intervention in human history

So far Yahweh was not an important God for the majority of nations.
They had their own gods and they provided them protection and prosperity.

God intervenes in human history at this junction.
God has to prove His might and authority
Yahveh had to prove that He is in control of the universe and not the gentile gods.
It must be proved that Yahweh is the only true god and all else are false concepts of divinity.

Every component of the Exodus was meant to reveal that God is in control of the universe.
This is why the Exodus is repeatedly mentioned and continually remembered by the Israelites.
Yahweh is always in control of the universe.

The Exodus demonstrated God's love for humanity and how he intervenes in human destiny for the sake of their collective and individual redemption.
God continues to intervene in human history to fulfill his purpose about the human race.

The Exodus of Israelites from the slavery of a mighty nation to freedom and the Promised Land is a pattern set by God.
There after God continues to work again and again for His people in this pattern of deliverance and inheritance.

Exodus was also a national introduction to God.

Hereafter God will have a nation who He will deliver and preserve His people.
And this nation will always stand as a foil to other nations and their deities.

God meets His own people for the first time as a nation at Mount Sinai.
There he established a covenant with His own people that declared that He will be their God and they will remain always as His own people.
Exodus 6:7  'I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.   (NKJV)

The meeting of God and Israel at Sinai was not a meeting where God dictated numerous laws with the purpose to kill His people.
Here Yahweh met His own nation for the first time.
It is the place where the nation and their God were declared.
And unlike the gentile gods and nations, Yahweh entered into an everlasting covenant with His people.

By this covenant, God delivers and preserves His people for a great purpose.

Exodus and Jesus

The Exodus is a portrayal of the physical deliverance of His people of Israel out of the land of bondage.
At the same time, Exodus was a spiritual deliverance also.

Exodus 14:31   Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.   (NKJV)

The ten plagues destroying the false power of Egyptian gods and the might of Egypt as a nation was the way of war that Yahweh chose to fight against the nation.
After destroying the might and wealth of the Egypt, God commanded His people to walk out of it.
God was not satisfied by destroying the power and wealth of the enemy kingdom, He wanted to separate His people forever from the slavish masters.
The parting of the Red Sea, the passing of Israelites through it and the final closing of the sea once again separating the Egyptians and the Israelites for ever has a deeper implication in the Kingdom planning of God.
God wanted to separate, protect and preserve His people.
Yahweh will have a nation of His own that will influence the human history hereafter.

Prefigured Christ
All these incidents also prefigured the greater spiritual reality of God’s redemption of His people from slavery to sin through the work of Christ into the Kingdom of God.

The Exodus event is a foreshadowing of the deliverance from bondage of satan – namely, the resurrection of Yashua.
Yashua yielded to death in order to identify Himself with the people who are under sin and satan.

His resurrection from death is the deliverance from the slavery of sin, forever.

The resurrection of Yashua displays God’s great power.
Like the Exodus, it really happened.
And believing in this event is linked with the deliverance from the bondage of sin.

The God who worked in history for Israel is alive and working today.

The exodus from Egypt, though a real, historical event, prefigures the saving work of Christ for His people.

What God did through Moses was to provide physical salvation from physical slavery.
What God does through Christ is to provide spiritual salvation from a spiritual slavery.

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt, and all those live today without Christ are slaves to sin.

The passing through the Red Sea is symbolic of the believer’s identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Israelites were separated from the slave masters of Egypt for protection and preservation in a new Kingdom in the Promised Land.
And those who believe in Christ’s death and resurrection are separated from the slavery of sin for protection and preservation in the Kingdom of God.

Since the death and resurrection of Christ, a great Exodus is happening.
This Exodus is of people from all nations, races and languages through Christ.
All those who call upon the name of Yashua are delivered from the slavery of sin and satan’s kingdom.

The meeting of Yashua and His people happens at the Cross where the great sacrifice for the salvation is done.
There a progressive covenant is signed with the blood of Yashua to inherit the Kingdom of God.

God’s intervention continues

God’s intervention in human history does not end with salvation through Christ.
It goes beyond to the eschatological deliverance.
Another greater Exodus is going to happen.
Apostle Paul is speaking about this eschatological Exodus in the following passage.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 & 17  
16   For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
 17  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

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