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Israel's Freedom

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By cheryl33
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Israel’s Freedom
Exodus begins where Genesis leaves off as God deals with His chosen people, the Jews. It traces the events from the time Israel entered Egypt as guests of Joseph, who was powerful in Egypt, until they were eventually delivered from the cruel bondage of slavery. Chapters 1-14 describe the conditions of oppression of the Jews under Pharaoh, the rise of Moses as their deliverer, the plagues God brought upon Egypt for the refusal of their leader to submit to Him, and the departure from Egypt. God’s sovereign and powerful hand is seen in the miracles of the plagues—ending with the plague of death of the firstborn and the institution of the first Passover—the deliverance of the Israelites, the parting of the Red Sea, and the destruction of the Egyptian army.
The suffering of the enslaved Jewish People increased. When Moses was 80 years old and his brother Aaron was 83 years old, they entered the palace of King Pharaoh to deliver a message: "The God of Israel said, 'Let My people go, that they may serve me." Pharaoh did not believe in the God of the Israelites, and he refused to let the Jewish slaves go free.
When Pharaoh continued to refuse to liberate the children of Israel, Moses and Aaron warned him that God would punish both him and his people with plagues. According to the book of Exodus, when Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let the Israelites leave Egypt, God brought a series of devastating “plagues” upon the people of the Nile.
The plagues were intended to be a “smiting blow” of judgment against the “gods” of Egypt, as well as “signs” or “wonders” of divine intervention. Each of the plagues was designed to neutralize confidence in the false deities of Egypt. Egypt was a land of thousands of gods, and the Israelite people were not unaffected by the idolatry of these polytheists. This is reflected in the worship of a golden calf at Sinai (Ex. 32:1-6), and later in Israel’s history as well.
For example, several gods were associated with the Nile River. When the water was thus turned to blood, the reputation of the river deities was destroyed. When the cattle were afflicted with disease, it was a blow to Apis, the bull god. The sun was darkened for three days; thus the light from Re and other sun gods was shut off.
First, the waters of the land of Egypt turned into blood. Then the entire land was covered by the plague of frogs. The third plague had lice crawling forth from the dust to cover all of Egypt. Despite the plagues, Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go.
The fourth plague consisted of herds of wild animals roving all over the country destroying everything in their path. After this plague, Pharaoh promised to let the Jews go on condition that they would not go too far. Moses prayed to God, and the wild animals disappeared. But as soon as they had gone, Pharaoh changed his mind and decided not to let the Jewish slaves go free.
Then God sent the fifth plague - a fatal pestilence that killed most of the domestic animals of the Egyptians. In the sixth plague, boils burst forth upon man and beast throughout Egypt.
Now Moses announced to Pharaoh that a violent hailstorm would kill everything that was outside and not sheltered. Pharaoh started to relent and agreed to let the Jewish men go free, but Pharaoh insisted that the Jewish women and children and all their possessions remain in Egypt. Moses and Aaron could not accept his offer.
With the eighth plague, swarms of locusts devoured everything green that had escaped the hail and previous plagues. The ninth plague was a blanket of darkness that enveloped all of Egypt except for Goshen, where the children of Israel lived.
Finally, the tenth plague involved the death of first-born Egyptians (men and cattle), including Pharaoh’s son, who was alleged to be a “fullblooded” god by birth. According to Exodus 12, a year-old male lamb (or goat), without blemish, was to be slain on the 14th day of the first month of the Hebrew religious year, “between the evenings” (12:6).At midnight all firstborn in the land of Egypt began dying, including the firstborn of King Pharaoh, exactly as Moses had warned. At this point, Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said to them: "Arise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve God as you have said, and go, and bless me also."
The Jews departed Egypt in haste. They assembled in groups to eat the roasted paschal lamb and the unleavened bread . Then after the sun rose on the 15th day of Hebrew month, the Jewish nation rose together to leave the land of Egypt.
It surely was an awesome spectacle as some two million Hebrews made their way from the land of Goshen toward the Red Sea, with Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit.
After three days, Pharaoh started to regret that he had permitted the Israelites to leave. He mobilized his army in hot pursuit of his former slaves. He reached them near the banks of the Red Sea. Moses led the Israelites onwards until they came to the very borders of the Red Sea. Then when the Israelites reached the water, Moses, at God’s command, stretched out his rod over the sea. God spoke to Moses: "Lift up your rod, stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it; and the children shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground." Moses did as God ordered. By an amazing miracle, the waters parted and the multitude crossed on dry ground. The Israelites marched along a dry path through the Red Sea until they reached the opposite side in safety. The Egyptians continued their pursuit, but the waters of the Red Sea closed over them and drowned Pharaoh's army. Thus, God liberated the children of Israel from the Egyptians. And the children of Israel saw God's great power and believed in Him.
The story of Passover recounts the birth of the Jewish people as a nation whose ultimate goal is to be a "light unto the nations."The numerous sacrifices required of the Israelites were a picture of the ultimate sacrifice, the Passover Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. The night of the last plague on Egypt, an unblemished lamb was killed and its blood applied to the doorposts of the houses of God’s people, protecting them from the angel of death. This foreshadowed Jesus, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish, whose blood applied to us ensures eternal life. Among the symbolic presentations of Christ in the book of Exodus is the story of the water from the rock in Exodus 17:6. Just as Moses struck the rock to provide life-giving water for the people to drink, so did God strike the Rock of our salvation, crucifying Him for our sin, and from the Rock came the gift of living water. The provision of manna in the wilderness is a perfect picture of Christ, the Bread of Life, provided by God to give us life. God’s provision for the Israelites, from deliverance from captivity to the manna and quail in the wilderness, are clear indications of His gracious provision for His people. God has promised to supply all our needs.

The middle portion of Exodus is dedicated to the wandering in the wilderness and the miraculous provision by God for His people. But even though He gave them bread from heaven, sweet water from bitter, water from a rock, victory over those who would destroy them, His Law written on tablets of stone by His own hand, and His presence in the form of pillars of fire and cloud, the people continually grumbled and rebelled against Him.
The passover lamb was a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus and his atoning death. The Savior was introduced by John the Baptizer as “the lamb of God” Paul emphatically stated that “our passover” lamb is Christ. Jesus was “without blemish,” i.e., sinless and during the crucifixion not a one of his bones was broken He died at 3 o’clock in the afternoon (Mt. 27:46), and his blood became a propitiation for sin (Rom. 3:25) —for all who access the application of it by obedience to his will (Heb. 5:9). We are cleansed by his blood (Heb. 9:14) when we receive the word (the gospel), and submit to immersion (Eph. 5:26).

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