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BIBLE BOOK: Exodus – The Way Out

A summary of this Old Testament book…..


The title given to a book can be significant and may prove to be an accurate summary of its content. The name “Exodus” (meaning “the way out”) presents to us the theme of the second book in the Old Testament. It is an account of the departure (i.e. the exodus) of the people of Israel from Egypt. The previous book (Genesis) is the book of beginnings and is often referred to as “the seed-plot” of the Bible. Subjects of great importance that we encounter later in the Bible are generally found to have had their origin in Genesis. It concludes with God’s chosen people, Israel, living in Egypt following a severe famine. But God’s purpose for His people was not a future in Egypt. His intention was that they should inhabit their own “promised land” – and Exodus introduces us to the first steps that God took to bring them there. It all began with them being brought out.


Although Egypt had initially been a safe and pleasant haven for God’s people, social conditions changed dramatically. A new king arose who did not know or remember Joseph, who had been the “saviour” of the nation (1:8). He treated the Israelites harshly and caused them to become slaves in the very land where they had previously been so comfortable. In their bondage, the people of Israel sighed and cried unto God – and He heard them (2:23-24). He had a man already chosen to be their deliverer – Moses, one of their own number. With the other books of the Bible in our possession, we discover that Moses prefigures the Lord Jesus Christ who was to come. Egypt pictures the world, and the Pharaoh who oppressed the Israelites typifies Satan, our great enemy. Israel was in need of deliverance, and their release from Egypt is a picture of our salvation in Christ.


The first twelve chapters of Exodus show how difficult that deliverance was. Pharaoh did all that he could to keep the Israelites enslaved – just as Satan puts all kinds of obstacles in the way of the sinner needing salvation. After a series of plagues that increased in intensity, Pharaoh’s will was eventually broken. Exodus 12 describes the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt at the time of the Passover when the LORD “passed over” the land in judgment. Each Israelite family was instructed to carefully select a young lamb, kill it, and sprinkle its blood upon the doorposts of their houses. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you,” (12:13) the LORD declared. But if the blood was not applied, the firstborn son in the household would die. The believing Israelites were spared from judgment because a lamb had been slain, just as today those who trust in the work of the Lamb of God will be spared from future judgment.




After the Passover the real exodus from Egypt began. Pharaoh soon had a change of heart and determined to pursue with the Egyptian army. With the waters of the Red Sea before them and the armies of Egypt behind them, the people of Israel cried out to God. “Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD” was God’s response, “for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever” (14:13). God led His people safely across the Red Sea as on dry ground, but the pursuing Egyptians perished as the walls of water crashed down upon them (14:22,27). “Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians” (14:30). Chapter 15 contains their song of praise following their dramatic deliverance. Their question, “Who is like unto Thee, O LORD, among the gods?” (15:11) can be answered simply. He is beyond compare! “Fear and dread” would fall upon all the other nations around when they heard of what the LORD had done for Israel (15:16).


The Israelites’ journey brought them to Sinai where God gave them the Law, including the Ten Commandments (20:1-17), and instructions relating to the construction of the tabernacle. This movable structure became the place where God met with His people. It was to be pitched in the centre of the camp, and it typifies Christ who today is to be at the centre of our worship. The amount of space devoted to the tabernacle indicates its importance. Detailed instructions were first given relating to its design (chapters 25-31) before an account of the actual construction in the last five chapters of Exodus. The closing verses describe how “the glory of the LORD” was seen resting upon the completed tabernacle (40:34) with “the cloud of the LORD” stationary above. This signified His presence with His people (40:38).


The New Testament reminds us that events recorded in previous ages were written “for our admonition” and instruction (1 Cor.10:11). It is therefore important for us to read Exodus in order to learn of Christ and of what God has done for us through Him.