Exodus and Genesis reveal the creative power  and majesty of our God and by many types  and figures, point forward to Jesus Christ.  While Genesis is the ‘seed-bed’ for the Truth’s  doctrines and promises and primarily dealt with  faithful individuals like Noah, Abraham and Joseph,  Exodus established Almighty God’s dealings with  His nation. Genesis closed with Israel numbering  just 70 souls; Exodus, in its first chapter, sees those  70 grow into a mighty nation. The way Yahweh fed  and led His nation is especially relevant to us living,  as we do, in a vast worldwide ecclesia. Exodus  saw Israel delivered from bondage, brought into  covenant with God (Exod 19:4–6) and promised  that they could be “a kingdom of priests” (Exod  19:6; Rev 5:10). We share this hope in Christ.

The second book of Moses abounds with  revelation, education and hope; yet the only time  “exodus” appears in the Bible is in Luke’s record  of Christ’s transfiguration: “and spake of (Jesus’)  decease [‘exodus’] which he should accomplish at  Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31).

Exodus abounds with divine ways: think about  the following facts and principles as you read  Exodus this month. As a family exercise find and  colour in items below that repeat:

  1. Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – 2:24; 3:6,15,16; 4:5; 6:3,8; 32:13; 33:1
  2. The Name of Yahweh revealed in Exodus 3:14
  3. “ye shall know that I am Yahweh” –– 6:7;  7:5,17; 8:22; 10:2; 14:4,18; 16:12; 29:46;  31:13 (10 times)
  1. “Israel is my son, my firstborn” 4:22,23; 11:5; 12:12; 13:2,13 … 34:20 (19 times)
  2. The angel of God’s presence “went before the camp of Israel” 14:19; 32; 34, etc
  3. “make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them” 25:8
  4. Find and mark each time Moses ascends and descends Mt Sinai; and
  5. “See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” 25:40 and Hebrews 8:5.

These facts and principles open our eyes to the  things that are important to God. Romans 10:17  reminds us that “faith cometh by hearing, and  hearing by the word of God”. Obedience and love  thrive in minds that know the Father and our Lord  Jesus Christ. Exodus provides the knowledge that  enables us to know Yahweh and His Son.

The early chapters in Exodus direct us to  Abraham because his faith draws us closer to God  and Christ. Similarly, the Memorial Name focuses  our thoughts on the time when Yahweh’s glory will  fill the earth and exclude sin and death. We hope  for the day when we will “know Yahweh”, when  Israel will return to Him and “the hope of Israel”  will energise every man and woman. We want to  be God’s firstborn: we aspire to be part of “the  ecclesia of the firstborn” (Heb 12:23), to live with  “Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (v24).  While eternal life cannot be earned, Jesus Christ  expects us to be faithful to the “pattern … shewed  … in the mount”. God’s way of reconciliation is  the only sure way to life.

Outline of Exodus

Chapter         Event

1–7:13              Israel in Egypt

7:14–12:30      The 10 plagues

12:31–15:21      Israel delivered

15:22–27        On the way to Sinai

16                    Bread from heaven: manna

17                    Water from the rock, war with Amalek

18                    Jethro’s good counsel

19–24              Israel at Mt Sinai

25–31              The Tabernacle

32                     Aaron and the golden calf

33–34            Yahweh shows His glory to Moses

35–39            Israel makes the Tabernacle

40                  The Tabernacle set up, the Glory enters

Notable events and lessons

Amram and Jochebed save Moses. Exodus opens  with a picture of faith in action. Pharaoh decreed,  “Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river” (1:22). When Moses was born to Amram and  Jochebed, “she saw him that he was a goodly child,  (and) she hid him three months” (Exod 2:2).

Acts 7:20 records that “Moses was born, and  was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s  house three months”; and in Hebrews 11:23 that  “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three  months of his parents, because they saw he was  a proper child.”

Amram and Jochebed obeyed Pharaoh by  placing Moses in the river; however, by faith they  also placed him in an ark and sent Miriam to follow  his journey on the river current to where Pharaoh’s  daughter was known to bathe. Jochebed’s faith was  rewarded by being made Moses’ nurse. She was  therefore able to educate Moses in godly ways.

The three accounts tell us why the man Moses  chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of  God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season”  (Heb 11:25). His parents worked together with God.  Exodus says his mother saved Moses, Acts says it  was his father, Hebrews tells us it was both. This  was typical of Jesus’ childhood. God’s truth and  power worked through a faithful couple who were  united in serving Yahweh.

Memorial Name and special titles

  • Exodus 3:14 “I will be who I will be” ehyeh asher ehyeh – the first-person version of Yahweh
  • Exodus 6:3 “I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh was I not  known to them.”
  • Exodus 15:26 adds, “I am Yahweh that healeth thee.” – Yahweh raphekah
  • Exodus 17:15 “Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Yahweh-nissi” – ‘Yahweh my banner’ – a title that foretold the promise of  Isaiah 11:10 that Jesus Christ would be “an  ensign of the people”.

The clause, “they shall know that I am  Yahweh”, begins in Exodus and will be fulfilled  when Christ goes forth as a conquering king in  Revelation 19.

The Name climaxes in Exodus 34:6–7 “Yahweh,  Yahweh El, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and  abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for  thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and  sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty ….”

Moses ascends and descends Mt Sinai

1st Ascent 19:3–6 “Moses went up unto God”;  Descent v7–8

2nd Ascent 19:8 “Moses returned the words of the  people unto Yahweh”; Descent v14–19

3rd Ascent 19:20–24 “Yahweh called Moses up to  the top of the mount”; Descent v25

4th Ascent 20:21 “Moses drew near unto … where  God was”; Descent 24:3

5th Ascent 24:9–32:14 “Then went up Moses, and  Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu”; Descent 32:15

6th Ascent 32:31–33 “And Moses returned unto  Yahweh”; Descent 32:34

7th Ascent 34:4 “Moses rose up early … and went  up unto mount Sinai”; Descent 34:29.

“Let them make me a sanctuary”

Exodus 25:8 “And let them make me a sanctuary;  that I may dwell among them.”

We cannot expound the details and the glory  of the tabernacle here; all we can do is sketch the  grand picture and hope that reading Exodus will  stimulate you to study this parable.

Exodus 25–40 reveals the form of divine  worship that pleases the Father. In symbol and  ritual, Yahweh systematically elaborated the  worship and glory that would be revealed in His  Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Ark, the Mercy  Seat and the Cherubim showed first and foremost  that our heavenly Father is underived holiness.  He dwells in light we cannot approach to. On one  hand, He placed these objects in the Most Holy  and prohibited men from entering His sanctuary;  thus underlining His absolute holiness. On the  other hand, He placed the Most Holy in the centre  of the encamped nation to tell them and us that He  desires to be in us, with us, ever in our hearts. This  was the tabernacle’s purpose: He tells us that He  will always be near us even though we cannot yet  behold His Presence.

Two words are used for the tabernacle in  Exodus: mishkan meaning dwelling place (derived  from shakan, to dwell, 25:8) and ohel meaning tent.  The ohel was the tent that the people saw; but the  mishkan was what those who thought about the  tabernacle understood. The tabernacle taught great  lessons but none of its detail was visible (other than  the door and the linen wall). People had to study  what Moses told them in order to learn its parable of  salvation. The first lesson was offering: “Speak unto  the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering… willingly” (25:2). Those who volunteered their  service learned the way to true worship.

Israel’s offerings (25:3–7)

  • Gold, silver, brass; blue, purple, scarlet; fine linen, goats’ hair, rams’ skins, badgers’ skins, shittim wood, oil (12)
  • Spices and incense: myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia (30:23–24); stacte, onycha, galbanum, frankincense (30:34–36) (8)
  • Stones for the breastplate: sardius, topaz, carbuncle, emerald, sapphire, diamond, ligure, agate, amethyst, beryl, onyx, jasper (28:17–20) (12).

Total materials = 32. The Israelites took these  precious metals and jewels when they plundered  the Egyptians (11:2–3).

Mortal men were forbidden entry to the Most  Holy with the exception of the High Priest, who  went in once each year with blood typifying Jesus’  entry into immortality through his own blood. No  mortal person can survive the shekinah glory of  God’s immortal presence (1 Tim 6:16). Yet the  Almighty showed that there was a way into the  Most Holy through the Holy Place where the  mortal priests served God. Their work was lit by  a Lampstand (= walking in the light of the Word);  there was the Shewbread Table (= walking in  fellowship) and the Golden Altar next to the veil  (= the way through the veil to God by prayer). The  glorious veil separated the Holy Place from the  Most Holy and represented Jesus Christ’s body  (Mark 15:37–38; Heb 10:20).

Yahweh placed a washing Laver at the entrance  to the Holy Place to show that we must be baptised  to start the journey. Near it stood the Altar of  Burnt Offering telling us that to please God and  Christ we must sacrifice our self-will. Following  baptism, we live as Christ’s priestly ambassadors  in his Holy Place. He leads us to the Kingdom  where death will be swallowed up in immortality  and we will then enter Yahweh’s Most Holy Place.  The Father enclosed the mishkan (dwelling place)  and ohel (tent of His presence) in a wall of linen  with one doorway which is Jesus Christ (John 10:7;  14:6). The linen wall showed that there must be a  difference between the profane world and our life  in His tabernacle.

Last of all, He gave the priests garments “for  glory and for beauty” (28:40), garments that typifiedthe moral and personal glory of His Son (Isa 61:10).  God also gave the formula for the anointing oil  (30:25–33), and the incense (30:34–38), showing  that only He can anoint us with gladness and none  but God designs and hears acceptable prayer. Our  approach to God through Christ is grounded in these  chapters and deserves our study.

The Sadducees’ trick question Luke 20:27–38

When the Sadducees (who deny “that there is any  resurrection”) came to Christ, they asked him about  a hypothetical woman who had seven husbands:  “in the resurrection whose wife of them is she?”  The Sadducees taught “that there is no resurrection,  neither angel, nor spirit”( Acts 23:8). The Sadducees  insisted that Moses did not unambiguously teach the  resurrection of the dead. So, how did Jesus answer  their error? He went straight to Exodus 3 and Moses’  record of the burning bush. Quoting Moses, Jesus  said: “that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed  at the bush, when he (called) the Lord the God of  Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of  Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the  living.” But Exodus 3:6 was only part of Christ’s  answer; read what Exodus 3:2 says, “the angel of  Yahweh appeared unto him in a flame of fire” and  “the bush was not consumed” because the fire Moses  saw was Almighty God’s spirit. Exodus 3 showed  that there is a resurrection, angels and spirit power!  What a complete answer to all the Sadducees’ errors!

Consecration of Aaron and his sons – Exodus 29

When Aaron and his sons were consecrated  and dressed in their garments “for glory and for  beauty”, everything that was done to Aaron was  also done to his sons. In Exodus 29 there are 16  occasions where Moses washed, clothed, offered  sacrifices for, and anointed “Aaron and his sons”  (v4,5,8,9,10,15,19, 20,21,24,27,28,29,32,35,44).  Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners  and everything he did was for his brethren as well  as for himself.

This matches the relationship of Jesus Christ to  his own death as explained by John Carter in the  Unity Book. “He needed redemption, he needed  salvation from death. The confusion arises when  we isolate him from his work. He was there to be  our saviour …” (p21). Jesus Christ can never be  separated from the work he came to do; that is why  he shared our nature, our temptations, our need for  salvation, and why he was the first to benefit from  his work. Back in Exodus, at the consecration of  the Aaronic priesthood, everything that was done  for Aaron was also done for his sons. In this figure,  Aaron represents Christ and his sons represent us.

The golden calf – Exodus 32

In Exodus 24:9, Moses ascended Mount Sinai with  Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, 70 elders and Joshua  (v13). They saw the angelic glory (v10–11) and  then Moses and Joshua were invited to receive the  stone tables “and a law … which I have written”  (v12). “Moses was in the mount forty days and forty  nights” (v18). The impatient people asked Aaron to  “make us gods” (32:1); “as for this Moses … we  wot not what is become of him”. Could this be us?  How quickly people forget God’s benefits! In just  40 days, they forgot the 1st and 2nd commandments.

The people willingly offered their golden  earrings which Aaron melted and cast into a form  the people saw as a calf – an Egyptian deity; and so  they “sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to  play” (32:6). Paul cites this verse and diagnosed the  problem as lusting “after evil things” and as idolatry  (1 Cor 10:6,7). Covetousness and idolatry was the  scourge of Corinth and it is everywhere today. As  Moses answered Joshua (32:18), “It is not the voice  of [war] … but the noise of them that sing do I  hear”. As we read Chapter 32, may we remember  how impatience, indulgence and ignorance of God’s  commandments delivered them to idolatry, and so  thousands lost their lives eternally (32:26–28). Let  us beware (1 Cor 10:5–12).

Yahweh shows Moses His glory

Moses’ love for Israel was seen in his appeal for  God’s forgiveness (32:31–32). Yahweh promised,  “I will send an angel before thee” and lead you to “a  land flowing with milk and honey” (33:2–3). Moses  felt inadequate for this great task; so Yahweh assured  Moses of His “presence” (v14), which led Moses to  ask, “shew me thy glory” (v18). God so loved Moses,  spoke with him “face to face, as a man speaketh unto  his friend” (v11), and He showed him His glory.

Thus in Exodus 34:5 we read that the Almighty  “descended in a cloud” and in verses 6–7 “ Yahweh  passed by before him, and proclaimed, Yahweh,  Yahweh El, merciful and gracious, longsuffering,  and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy  for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression  and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty;  visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children,  and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to  the fourth generation [of them that hate me, 20:5].”


New Testament citations and allusions

Jesus Christ, Paul, Peter and James were drawn to  Exodus for examples of God’s words and the hand  of providence. For example, think how often the  manna is mentioned in the New Testament. The list  includes most of the New Testament references to  Exodus. Can you find more?

  • “a new king … knew not Joseph” (1:8) Acts 7:18
  • Moses’ parents (2:1–3) Acts 7, Heb 11:23
  • Moses killed the Egyptian (2:11–14) Acts 7:22–28
  • Moses at the burning bush (3:2–3) Luke 20:37
  • “I am the God of Abraham …” (3:6) Matt 22:32; Acts 7:32
  • “serve God upon this mountain” (3:12) Acts 7:7
  • God gave Moses a mouth (4:12) Luke 21:14–15
  • Egyptian magicians (7:11) 2 Tim 3:8
  • “I have raised thee up” (9:16) Rom 9:17
  • “Christ our passover” (ch 12) 1 Cor 5:7
  • “not a bone broken” (12:46) John 19:36
  • firstborn males (13:2) Luke 2:23
  • baptised in Red Sea (14:21–22) 1 Cor 10:1–2
  • the manna (16:18) 2 Cor 8:15
  • “your fathers did eat manna” (ch 16) John 6:49,58
  • water from the rock (17:6) 1 Cor 10:4
  • “a peculiar people” (19:5) 1 Pet 2:9
  • “a kingdom of priests” (19:6) Rev 5:10
  • Mt Sinai burned with fire (19:13–19) Heb 12:18–21
  • “thou shalt not kill” (20:13) Matt 5:21
  • “not commit adultery” (20:14) Matt 5:27; Rom 2:22
  • “thou shalt not steal” (20:15) Rom 2:21
  • Corban – 5th commandment (20:12) Matt 15:4–6; 19:19; Mark 7:10,11
  • commandments (20:2–17) James 2:11; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Rom 13:9
  • “an eye for an eye …” (21:24) Matt 5:38
  • make the tabernacle as shown (25:40) Heb 8:5
  • Passover – memorial Matt 26:26, Luke 22:15
  • mercy seat, propitiation Rom 3:25
  • tabernacle and furniture Heb 9:1–5 • Pharaoh’s heart hardened (9:16) Rom 9:17–18 • golden calf idolatry (32:6) 1 Cor 10:7