Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Prescribed Law Concerning the Passover -- Exodus 12:40-42:


Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.  And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.  It is a night to be observed for the Lord for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the Lord, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.
We last looked at our Chronological Timeline we are developing back in Book 2 of this series when we were studying Genesis chapter 50.  At that point we wrote:
·      (Year) 3461           The meeting of Jacob and Pharaoh when Jacob’s family moved to Egypt (based on Genesis 47:9 and the dates we had arrived at above)(Jacob was 130 years old)
·      3478          Jacob’s death in Egypt at the age of 147 (based on Genesis 47:28,29)
To this we would, if we could, add the next event.
·      ????          Joseph dies at age 110
This presents our own “chronological timeline” with a problem.  While we know this occurred some time after Jacob’s death around 3478 years from the start of Genesis, we do not know exactly when. The reason is that we have information of how old Joseph was when he died, but not the year in which he was born.  We can only hope that later in Scripture, more information is given to us to allow us to continue down this avenue of time measurement through the Bible.

So, it appears to me, in the absence of more enlightened information, that we can start with the year 3461 (that is, 3,461 years from the beginning of our chornology) when Jacob first moved to Egypt, and based on our current text in Exodus, add 430 years to that number.  Thus we arrive at the following elapsed number of years:
·      3891          When the Israelites began their Exodus from Egypt           

It is interesting that our text says it is 430 years “to the very day”.  Why would God have Moses write that phrase?  Is there significance to it?  Perhaps there may well be.  There are two possibilities here.  The first is the literal interpretation – that is, it was exactly 430 years from the time Jacob’s family came to Egypt until the great Exodus.  Another possibility is that the phrase is interpreted as “on that same day” or “on the day it came to pass” – meaning that the whole actual start of the Exodus was all done in one day.  The rest of that sentence then makes sense if the phrase “to the very day” is understood like that.  What should matter to us is that God cares about time and exactness.  If we accept that, then we have a better chance of understanding His schedule for things.

The text then goes on to say, “… all the hosts of the Lord went out of Egypt”. That is, all the children of Israel, all the “armies” of the Lord if you like, left Egypt on that day.  The commentator David Guzik points out also that the phrase “out of Egypt” appears 56 times in the Bible after this reference here which to him indicates that God wants us to remember not just our deliverance, but from what (or where) we were delivered.  I believe that is central to living a victorious life for God.

And all of this happened during the day because once it is completed, that ‘night’ will be observed by all generations of the sons of Israel “for the Lord” and because He brought them out of the land of their bondage.  Fast-forward now several thousands of years and find yourself in modern Israel – the Promised Land.  There you will find a remnant of orthodox Jews that keep all the Old Testament commandments of the Lord. Then you will find the great majority of Jews going about their merry way remembering their history and the God of their Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but wondering what good such a God is doing them now as they struggle to survive against their enemies.  And then there’s a growing group of Jews in Israel who have already decided that they want nothing to do with that God and prefer to become, in their own opinion, truly free by being masters of their own fate, ignoring all truth, and pursuing their own evil and unnatural pursuits.  In fact, the Israeli city of Tel Aviv has become known as the mecca of homosexuality and lesbianism in that part of the world.  So much so that recently certain groups have begun promoting tourism to Israel using that characteristic as the main drawing card.  That’s a far cry from “this night of deliverance is to be observed by all generations”.

So, as a spiritual child of God, aware of Christ’s saving grace, where would you fall in this spectrum of modern-day responses?  Are you staying true to what He has asked of you?  Are you only a weekend Christian and just forcing yourself to simply going through the motions of Christianity for old times’ sake?  Have you managed to shut Christ totally out of your life to the point where you conveniently even avoid Christmas and Easter services with your family?  If you are in either the second or third group, having once considered or even tasted the grace of Christ, perhaps you need to go back and reconsider not just what He offered in the way of salvation, but more importantly, what He offered to deliver you from.  Because chances are you are slipping back to your own land of bondage, you’re slipping back to your own Egypt.
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