THE NAME OF THE BOOK
The second book of the Pentateuch is called Exodus, Greek for “a going out.” The name is used because the book describes the “going out” of the Children of Israel from the Land of Egypt. However, the name properly describes only the content of the first part of the book, the first 18 chapters. The other 22 chapters are concerned with the giving of the Law and Covenant, and the preparation of the tabernacle.
THREE MAIN DIVISIONS
We can logically divide the Book of Exodus into three main parts:
1. The deliverance out of Egypt (1-18)
2. The giving of the Law and the Covenant (19-24)
3. The preparation of the Tabernacle (25-40)
THE FIRST MAIN DIVISION
The first 18 chapters of Exodus describe the deliverance out of Egypt. Nearly 300 years have passed since the death of Joseph, recorded at the end of Genesis. The Israelites (offspring of Jacob or Israel) had been welcome visitors in Egypt at the end of Genesis. At the beginning of Exodus, however, they are a nation of slaves living under a new Pharaoh who had forgotten the good things that Joseph had done for Egypt. Chapters 2-4 tell of the preparation for leadership that was given to Moses so that he might lead the Israelites out of Egypt under God’s direction. They tell of Moses’ birth, his youth in the household of Pharaoh’s daughter, his fleeing to Midian after killing a man, God speaking to him out of a burning bush, the special signs given to him, and his return to Egypt. Chapters 5-6 relate how Moses negotiated with Pharaoh for the release of the Israelites. Chapters 7-12 tell of the Ten Plagues that God brought upon Egypt, the institution of the Passover, and the killing of the first-born in Egypt. Chapters 13-18 describe the actual exodus of Israel from Egypt. In these chapters you read such events as the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, God’s providing of manna and quail for food, and the giving of water from the rock.
THE SECOND MAIN DIVISION
Chapters 19-24 describe the giving of the Law and the Covenant at Mount Sinai. Chapter 19 tells of the preparation of the people for receiving the Law. Chapters 20-23 record the giving of the Law. Chapter 24 tells of the establishing of the Covenant between God and His chosen people.
THE THIRD MAIN DIVISION
Chapters 25-40 tell of the preparation of the Tabernacle, the tent-like movable place of worship. Chapters 25-31 relate the specifications for the construction of the tabernacle and worship at the tabernacle. Chapters 32-34 tell of how the building was delayed by the incident of the golden calf. Chapters 35-39 tell of the actual building of the tabernacle. Chapter 40 records the setting up of the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle.
THE LAW OF MOSES
Through Moses God gave three different kinds of Law. They are: 1) The Moral Law, 2) The Ceremonial Law, and 3) The Civil Law. The Book of Exodus presents mainly the Moral Law, Leviticus mainly the Ceremonial, and Numbers the Civil Law:
1. The Moral Law. A summary of the Moral Law is the 10 Commandments. It tells man what is right and wrong as far as behavior or morals is concerned. The Moral Law is sometimes called the Natural Law because it was originally written into the hearts of Adam and Eve at creation, and all people by nature know at least part of it. The Moral Law is much as it was intended for the Jews of Moses’ time.
2. The Ceremonial Law. This kind of law given through Moses tells of all the ceremonies that had to be followed by the Old Testament Jews. It tells of the rules and regulations regarding the Sabbath, the Old Testament Festivals, the place of worship, the priesthood, and all the various sacrifices. The Ceremonial Law was intended only for the Old Testament Jews. When Christ came, God abolished the Ceremonial Law.
3. The Civil Law. This kind of law deals with the government regulations that God made for Old Testament Israel. Like the Ceremonial Law, the Civil Law was intended to regulate the lives only of the Old Testament Jews. Remember that when God gave the law to Moses, He was not taking away the promise that He gave to Abraham. [Galatians 3:17] reminds us: “The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.” Remember that when God gave the law, He was not giving man a way by which he must earn his own salvation. The law can save no one. [Galatians 2:16] says that “a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.”
TYPES FOUND IN EXODUS
The word “type” means “picture.” An Old Testament “type” is something that pictures and points forward to something in the New Testament. In Colossians 2:17 Paul calls a type “a shadow of the things that were to come.” The Book of Exodus contains some types of Christ. These may be things, people, or events that picture and point forward to Christ and His work. Here are some of the types of Christ in Exodus: 1) Manna. Manna was the bread that God provided from heaven for the Children of Israel to eat. But Jesus is the true manna, the Bread of Life who gives eternal life. (See John 6:48-51.) 2) The Rock, from which water came. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:4 to see that this rock pointed forward to Christ.) 3) The Passover Lamb. The lamb that was killed for the Passover pictured Christ and His death on the cross. Just as the firstborn in Israel were saved from death by the lamb, so we are saved by Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 4) Moses. Moses serves as a type of Christ in that he led his people out of slavery in Egypt, while Christ has lead us out of the slavery of sin.
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