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also see: The Purpose & Heart of the Law


'Moses and the Exodus'

images/T9.gifhe man Moses was born about 1500 BC. He was chosen to lead Israel out of slavery and give them God's laws. When the Book of Exodus begins, the Hebrews were living in Egypt and after time they grew in number and the new Pharaoh didn't remember Joseph and put the Hebrews into bitter slavery. The Hebrew slaves had, in time, begin to reproduce so fast that the king felt threatened by a potential revolt against his authority. He gave orders that no more male Hebrew children should be allowed to live. To save the child Moses, his mother made a little vessel of papyrus waterproofed with asphalt and pitch. She placed Moses in the vessel, floating among the reeds on the bank of the Nile River.

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The Sphinx of Gizeh. A royal beard and a royal headdress with its symbolic cobra marked the head of a king with the body of a lion. The colossal Sphinx is 240 feet from haunch to forepaw and was sculptured out of natural rock and probably originally plastered and painted.

By God's providence, Moses-- the child of a Hebrew slave-- was found and adopted by an Egyptian princess, the daughter of the Pharaoh himself. He was reared in the royal court as a prince of the Egyptians: "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds" (Acts 7:22). At the same time the Lord determined that Moses should be taught in his earliest years by his own mother. This meant that he was founded in the faith of his fathers, although he was reared as an Egyptian (Ex. 2:1-10).

Moses was educated in a civilization unsurpassed by any people at that time. His training was designed to prepare him for a high office, or even the throne of Egypt. He became familiar with life at Pharaoh's courts and the pomp and grandeur of Egyptian religious worship. He was schooled in the writing and literary ideas of the time. He witnessed the administration of justice. When he was 40 years old, Moses became angry at an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew slave; he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand (Ex. 2:12). When this became known, however, he feared for his own life and fled from Egypt to the desert land of Midian where he married a daughter of Jethro in agreement to tend Jethro's flocks.

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The three pyramids of Gizeh are the largest and most spectacular of their kind. The Great Pyramid at Gizeh near Cairo (2680 BC) is one of the seven wonders of the world. It was originally 756 sq. feet and 482 feet high. The pyramid was made of limestone bricks.

After about 40 more years, God spoke to Moses from a bush that was on fire but didn't burn. God sent Moses back to Egypt to lead the Hebrews out of slavery, and into the land promised to Abraham. God demonstrated His power to Moses and revealed to Him His holy Name "YHVH" or "Yaweh" (Jehovah became a popular pronunciation in the 16th century through German translators although there is no "J" sound in the Hebrew).

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The Hebrew consonants Yod (Y) Hey (H) Vav (V or W) Hey (H), or Yahweh, in Winchester Cathedral. YHVH is called the Tetragrammaton, Greek meaning "four letters." The Hebrew word is Shem Ha-meforash. The masoretic scribes left out the vowels so no one would pronounce this holy name. (Jehovah became a popular pronunciation in the 16th century through German translators although although there is no "J" sound in the Hebrew). The Mishnah laid down the rule "In the sanctuary, the name of god is to be pronounced in the Priestly Benediction as it is written: YHVH but outside the sanctuary it must be paraphrased and pronounced as Adonai.

God anointed Aaron to go with Moses to be the spokesman and they persuaded the people of Israel to follow them but Pharaoh would not let them go.

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Jewish Tradition

The Midrash gives an account of the first interview which took place between Pharoah and Moses and Aaron. When the Egyptian king asked them, "Who is your God that I should hearken unto His voice?" they replied, "The universe is filled with the might and power of our God. He existed ere the world was created, and He will continue in being when the world comes to a final end. He formed you and infused into you the breath of life. He stretched forth the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. His voice hews out flames of fire, rends mountains asunder and shatters rocks. his bow is fire and His arrows flames. His spear is a torch, His shield the clouds and His sword the lightning. He fashioned mountains and hills and covered them with grass. He makes the rains and dew to ascend, and causes the herbage to sprout. He also forms the embryo in the mother's womb and enables it to issue forth as a living being." (Exod. R. v. 14).

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Then God sent 10 devastating plagues on the Egyptians, the last plague being the death of the firstborn in every home whose doors were not marked with blood. When the judgement plagues had struck Egypt it was devastating. The plagues not only mocked the Egyptians in all of their pride but also mocked the gods that they worshipped because none could help. The 10th plague struck the Egyptians.

  1. First Plague: Blood
  2. Second Plague: Frogs
  3. Third Plague: Lice
  4. Fourth Plague: Flies
  5. Fifth Plague: Disease on Livestock
  6. Sixth Plague: Boils
  7. Seventh Plague: Hail
  8. Eighth Plague: Locusts
  9. Ninth Plague: Darkness
  10. Tenth Plague: Death of the First-Born
All of the other plagues put together had failed to release the Hebrews from slavery, but the tenth plague touched every Egyptian family and left the first-born son dead at midnight. Including the house of Pharaoh.

Exod 12:29-31 And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the LORD as you have said.

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Some of "The gods of Egypt"

Ptah Nut Shu Geb Seth Osiris Isis

Horus Hathor Min Anubis Maat Thoth Amun-Re

"Hail you gods! I know you as I know your names."

With this salutation, an Egyptian worshiper might address these gods and goddesses. The illustrations seen when clicking on the names were displayed on temple walls. Ancient Egyptians took their beliefs very seriously. Their devoted saying was this:

"You will not disappear."

For the Egyptians it was a sure tragedy and an an embarrassment when the God of the Hebrews made an open display in the sight of all the world of His awesome superiority.

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God commanded the Israelites to celebrate yearly the "Passover", where the death angel passed over the houses that had the blood of a lamb.

Exod 12:1-14
Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 'And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. 'Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

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The fat-tailed sheep was recognized by its fat, fleshy tail. The color of its wool was normally white, with brown or sometimes black legs and head. Sheep were described as kind-hearted, not willful, fearful, defenseless, patient in suffering and were abundant in Israel.

'Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 'And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 'Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. . . roasted in fire . . . 'You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.

'And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD'S Passover. 'For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 'Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations.

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Jewish Tradition

Pesach

The Passover (Pesach) is the festival of freedom. Pesach is a combination of 2 words, peh meaning mouth, and sach meaning to speak. According to Jewish tradition the slavery and bondage was so severe because they were forced to work and to keep silent. And they were to keep silent about their God. On the Passover night the Jews became free and were given the right to freely speak out His praises.

Exod 15:1-2 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: "I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; he is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will exalt Him.

The Modern Passover

In contemporary Jewish homes the Passover service is celebrated annually. The ceremony is called a Seder which literally means "the order" of the service. The actual order of the ritual, which was designed to remind them of the bitter slavery of their ancestors in Egypt and the tremendous deliverance and freedom that God wrought for them, is contained in a prayer book called a Haggadah. The dinner table is decorated with festive items that will stimulate questions which lead to the telling of the Passover story. The items include:

Salt Water and Greens (Representing the life that comes forth at spring).

A Roasted Bone (To recall the Passover Lamb).

Unleavened Bread or Matzos (Eaten throughout the whole week).

Bitter Herbs or Moror, such as Horse Radish (Reminds them of the bitterness of slavery).

Apples, Nuts, and Wine, or Haroseth (the color mixture reminded them of the mortar that bricks are made from but sweet to the taste, to symbolize the hope of freedom that sweetens the taste of slavery).

Children begin the discussion portion of the Passover service by asking four questions about this night which make it different than any other night:

  1. On all other nights we can eat leavened bread or matzah, why on this night do we eat only matzos?
  2. On all other nights we can eat any kind of herbs, why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs?
  3. On all other nights we do not even dip once, why on this night do we dip greens into salt water, and bitter herbs into haroseth?
  4. On all other nights we eat sitting erect or reclining, why on this night do we eat at the table reclining? (In ancient times a free man ate his dinner without haste reclining at the table).
Meshiach Y'shua Jesus Our Passover

1 Cor 5:7 "... For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us."

1 Pet 1:18-19 "... You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold ...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

The New Testament teaches that Egypt was a type of the world, and Pharaoh was a type of Satan, and Egyptian slavery was a type of sin, and the Passover Lamb speaks of Jesus our Paschal Lamb who died on our behalf and by His stripes we are healed. The Death Angel passing over the house of the Hebrews after seeing the blood pointed to the Messiah who would one day deliver His people from death.

According to the Rabbinic writings it was believed that the Messiah, upon His coming, will conquer death [Pesikta Rabbah 161b].

Heb 2:14-15 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

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After this Pharaoh finally gave in and agreed to let Israel go (and with all the wealth of Egypt),

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Examples of "All the wealth of Egypt"

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After this Pharaoh finally gave in and agreed to let Israel go (and with all the wealth of Egypt), but as soon as they left, Pharaoh changed his mind. He sent his army after them where Israel was cornered against the Red Sea. God parted the waters and led them through on dry ground.

Exod 14:21-22
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

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Pharaoh leading his troops in a war-chariot. On the right are broken chariots and dying soldiers. The two wheeled chariot became a powerful striking force in Egypt around 1700 BC. Each chariot had a driver and a fighting man, who was armed with a bow, spear, and shield.

Then the waters closed in on Pharaoh's armies:

Exod 14:28-29
Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

The Israelites were guided by the mysterious Shekinah glory cloud that led them to Mount Sinai. On the way their faith was tested as they experienced intense heat, hunger, thirst, and war. God did many miracles including "manna", bread that fell from heaven.

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Jewish Tradition

The desert was a place of misery and death with the temperature sometimes reaching over 120 degrees. Without the Lord the Jews never would have survived it. After the deliverance from Egypt and the cruel human taskmasters the Jews had to face the cruel and unpartial punishment of the bitter cold and blistering heat of the desert. They survived through the protective glory cloud that hovered over them day and night. The Jews make little protective huts or booths still today as a reminder of the perils they faced during the feast of Booths (Heb. Sukkah). According to Jewish tradition Sukkah is the mizvah that commemorates the divine care provided by the Lord and the letters of the word Sukkah are an acronym for:

somekh - upholding

kol - all

ha'noflim - who fall

Ps 145:14 The LORD upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.

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Copyright 1998 The Bible Knowledge Accelerator