The Story: Exodus - A Typology - Part VI

After a round trip to Amarillo, Texas and back to my native Ohio soil last week, little time remained to post. Also, speaking of soil, it is gardening season again for those with thumbs of green. My family and I do a large amount of ground-keeping and cultivating every year. It keeps us busy and is a constant reminder of the beautiful, vibrant, life-sustaining qualities God has poured into our magnificent sphere. We are to be guardians and keepers that sustain it, rather than adding to it's compounding ecological deficit and rendering it nutritionally deficient. But, enough of my altruistic tirade and on with God's redemptive purpose and promises.

Here we are again, looking further into another hope-filled promise of life, salvation. Although it is not the primary interest here, and beyond the scope of this inquiry, the subject of covenant – as it pertains to the context of salvation-history – cannot be overlooked.

“The word ‘salvation’ would denote, to a first-century Jew, the hope . . . particularly in terms of Israel’s rescue, by her god, from pagan oppression. This would be the gift of Israel’s god to his whole people, all at once. Individual Jews would find their own ‘salvation’ through their membership within Israel, that is, within the covenant; covenant membership in the present was the guarantee (more or less) of ‘salvation’ in the future.”[1]

Ultimate salvation and the protection of God over his people was as secure as his covenant. He saves and forgives his people because he promised to do so. He will bring peace and restoration due to covenant fulfillment. This can be seen in Paul's writing. I have found interest in examining the New Perspective on Paul, and even Paul within Judaism (Radical New Perspective) relating to this topic, but that will have to be for another time.

There are several elements that lay at the heart of the Exodus story, and before continuing our investigation any further, have a quick look:

· Chaos, Evil, Bondage and Misery.
· The Chosen Leader and Partner of God.
· Dramatic Victory of God Over the Anti-Kingdom.
· Rescue Through Sacrifice and Faith.
· New Calling and Way of Life in Redemption.
· Presence of God.
· The Garden of God Restored.

“When we read the Old Testament, we must read it—as it manifestly asks to be read—as the long and winding story of how God chose a people to take forward his plan to rescue his creation, not the story of how God had a shot at calling a people whom he would save from the world and how this was aborted, forcing him to try something else (a caricature, I know, but one many will recognize). And this means that though the Old Testament must be read as part of ‘our story’ as Christians, we must not imagine that we are still living within that moment in the story. The story itself points beyond itself, like a set of parallel lines meeting in the infinitely rich narrative of the gospels and the sudden outburst of new life in Acts and the letters.”

The Exodus event was perhaps the foremost involvement of Israel’s God, which resulted in shaping the theology of Israel and the movement of salvation-history. Yawheh choosing Israel as a special people for a unique covenant-relationship with him made his promises hold great significance within their interpretation.[3] This God had become involved in Israel’s plight, saved them, and would continue to do so in indubitable ways. The story itself is revelation and illustrates God’s purpose and resolve to restore man and enter into relationship with him.

“Some argue that the concept of salvation/deliverance is the unifying plot of the Bible. This divine rescue found its paradigm in the deliverance of God's people from Egypt, persisted with military victories over enemies, and eventually was articulated in worship literature. Building on theological, historical and cultural themes such as these, the understanding of salvation in the prophetic books continues to find expression. God is still the one, the only one, who accomplishes salvation for his people, but they are rescued from even higher powers, those of God's wrath in their own sin, and delivered to an even greater and, that of eternal salvation.”[4]

God saves and is savior, but has more often than not used human agency to accomplish this.

Passover is perhaps the oldest religious festival to perpetually be celebrated. While the story of salvation has its roots beyond 3500 years ago, the story that was integral to the world of Jesus continues to be told and provide a portrait of God’s saving power. This story is first and foremost about salvation.

[1] N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 1 (Fortress Press, 1992), 334.
[2] Wright, Surprised by Hope, 206.
[3] Exo 6:6-8. The four promises are still acted out today: 1) I will bring you out; 2) I will set you free; 3) I will redeem you; 4) I will take you. Metaphorically the images evoked in the narrative are familial: firstborn, bride, marriage etc.
[4] Mark J. Boda, J. Gordon McConville, “Salvation, Deliverance,” Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets (IVP, 2012), 692.

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