Composition of Book of Exodus
The book of Exodus has 40 chapters in it. For understanding the composition of the book we can divide the book into two major halves. The first half (chapter 1 to 15), deals with the life of Israelites inside the land of Egypt and their redemption. The second half of the book (chapter 16 to 40) deals with the life of Israelites outside Egypt – i.e. their crossing the Red sea and moving from there to the foot of Mount Sinai. Second half deals with laws given to them at Mount Sinai and the building of tent of the tabernacle. Below is the composition of the book of exodus chapter wise.
- Chapter 1 – Birth of the nation of Israel from the 12 sons of Jacob
- Chapter 2 – Birth of the deliverer and his early life
- Chapter 3 – the Deliverer escapes from Egypt into the wilderness
- Chapter 4 to 12, – Miracles of Moses and the ten plagues
- Chapter 13 to 15 – The Redemption (Passover and Red sea experience)
- Chapter 16 to 18 – Murmuring of the Israelites for water & food
- Chapter 19 to 24 – The Ten Commandments and other laws
- Chapter 25 to 31 – The Design of the tabernacle
- Chapter 32 to 33 – The Golden calf incident
- Chapter 34 to 40 – Building of the tabernacle
The similarity of Exodus with Synoptic Gospels and Acts
If you carefully observe the composition of the book, and the series of events described in it, you will observe a close similarity with the events described in the Gospel books of the New Testament.
- Firstly, in the book of Exodus, we are told that Israelites are in the slavery of another nation (Egypt – Exo 1:14). Similarly, in the Gospel book, we read that Israelites are in the slavery of the Roman Empire.
- Then in Exodus, we read about Israelites praying to God for redemption (Exodus 2:23). Similarly, in the Gospel of Luke, we read Simeon and Anna keeps praying to God for the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:25.36).
- After this initial introduction, we are told about the Birth of Moses the deliverer of Israel. So likewise in the New Testament, we are told about the birth of Jesus.
- Then we read in exodus about miracles which Moses performs. So also in Gospel, we are briefed about miracles of Jesus.
- Then we read about ten plagues on Egypt. So we read about apocalyptical predictions of last days prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13.
- Then in Exodus, we read Israelites sacrificed the Passover lamb. So likewise Jesus was crucified in the gospel books.
- Then in Exodus, we read about first worship of Israelites after crossing Red sea in (Exodus 15). Likewise in the New Testament, we see the first worship of the church in Acts 2.
- Then we read Israelites erected tabernacle and God’s glory came into the tent of the tabernacle. So likewise we see the apostles teaching in the New Testament that God dwells in human temples through his Holy Spirit.
Moses as a Prophecy of the Redeemer
If we look in backwards i.e. from Gospel towards Exodus, we will see that writer of the Gospel of Matthew, presents Jesus as the new Moses (Refer theologian Craig Bloomberg’s book on Matthew). However since we are studying the book of Exodus and not the gospel of Matthew, we will see how Moses foreshadows Jesus Christ. See the table below for similarities between the two.
|1||Pharaoh orders to kill all male child of Israel||Herod orders to kill all male child under the age of 2 years|
|2||People rejected Moses (Acts 7:35)||His own people rejected him (John 1:11)|
|3||Married gentile lady (Ex 41:45)||Has a Bride that includes Gentiles.|
|4||His face shone (Ex 34:30)||His face shone like sun (Matt 17:2)|
|5||Interceded with God for the sins of his people (Ex 32:31)||Intercedes with Father on our behalf|
|6||Mediator of the Old Covenant||Mediator of the New Covenant|
|7||Most humble man on earth (Num 12:2)||Jesus said “I am meek and humble in heart”|
|8||Rescues Israel from Pharaoh and Egypt||Rescues people of God from Sin and Satan|
|9||Put his own soul at risk for the people (Ex 32:32)”||Gave his own life for the sins of Mankind|
As Moses was a type of Jesus the redeemer of the church of God, so were Israelites as the church in the wilderness. The similarities between the two needs no stressing.
The doctrine of Depravity (Exodus 2)
The doctrine of depravity which unfortunately is hardly preached in churches of contemporary times, says that human heart is corrupt. It has an evil disease (Jeremiah 17:9). The good it wants to do it cannot do it, but the evil which it would not, that it keeps doing (Rom 7:19). This doctrine teaches humanity to the futility of trusting in our own strength and goodness. It essentially says that God wants humanity to humbly accept their inability to save themselves from his wrath, by their good works. Therefore we see God asking people in the Old Testament to humble. To humble themselves means to accept their state of wretchedness. The whole idea of God in giving laws to his people was to teach them their futility in trying to get to righteousness by their own attempts.
Apostle Paul says “Law was our schoolmaster bringing us to Jesus Christ (Gal 3:24). The Law cannot make us righteous (Rom 3:20). Israelites who tried to get justified by following rules and regulation of good and evil, were not able to achieve the righteousness, which they were seeking, even though they zealously stalked behind it, but gentiles achieved that righteousness by mere faith in Jesus (Rom 9:30-32 paraphrased).”
Exodus chapter 2 gives us a glimpse of this depravity of humanity’s belief in its power to do good. First, we note that Mother of Moses tried hard, (by her wisdom and strength) to save Moses by hiding him in a basket. But soon she realized that she won’t be able to hide the child by her strength. When she broke down, God took the matter in his hand. Then we see Moses was nurtured and educated in the teachings of Egypt. He was an excellent orator which is a must requisite for a leader (Acts 7:22). He had confidence in his ability and knew his high calling as the redeemer of Israelites (Acts 7:25). But when he tried on his own, he failed miserably. He had to run for his life (Acts 7:29). The first martyr Stephen, being full of the Holy Ghost, explains this incident and mentions that at it took forty years for Moses to unlearn all the belief that he had in his own strength and wisdom (Acts 7:30). It took him forty years to break down. God broke the positive man in him, the self-confident man in him, to such an extent, that he became a timid man who could not speak without stammering (Ex 4:10). Imagine what happened to the self-confidence in Moses, that he says “I am not eloquent. I am of slow tongue and slow speech (Acts 7:22, Exodus 4:10).” Once who was mighty in words and deeds became a man of slow speech and tongue (Acts 7:22, Exodus 4:10). It was then that God started using him.
When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man, And skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
WATCH HIS METHODS, WATCH HIS WAYS!
How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!
How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,Anonymous
And which every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him To try His splendor out-
God knows what He’s about.
This is the way to the gospel. A step before the man finally submits to God. God breaking him down to nothing! He lays tortured, alone, crying in wilderness, broken, wounded, abused, and nothing left in him to rise. This is how the story of Moses begins. A man who was once a prince was brought to nothing. A man who soared high in clouds, merry in God’s call for him, lay rejected by people whom he thought he would redeem. He failed miserably. Running for his life, hiding in the wilderness for years and years! Nothing left in him.
“Nothing in my hands I bring. Simply to thy cross I cling.
Naked I come to thee for dress, Helpless I look to thee for grace,
Foul I to the fountain fly, Wash me savior or I die.”Rock of Ages (Augustus Toplady)
The Burning Bush (Exodus 3)
One day as Moses kept the sheep, he saw a burning bush. The bush burned with fire but it was not consumed (Exo 3:2). And Moses wondered and decided to check why the bush is not consumed. And God spoke to Moses. He told him not to approach near the bush and take off his sandals, as he stood on holy ground (Mount Horeb). Then God revealed to him that he has heard the prayers of Israelites and told him how they will come out of Egypt with blessings. The symbolism is quite simple. In Deuteronomy God clears the air out by saying “I brought you out of Iron furnace (Deut 4:20).” We also know that tree or bush is a symbol used in scriptures by God to refer to his people. We read Israel compared to the olive tree, vine tree, garden, fig tree etc quite often in scriptures. Now, bush not getting consumed, spoke about Israelites surviving the persecution. They survived their persecution and the plagues which God brought upon the land of Egypt. It is no brainer to conclude that it was foreshadowing of the New Testament Church passing through the end days, through persecution, through God’s wrath on this world, and yet not getting consumed, because of the presence of Jesus in their midst. Yeah, it was because of an angel in the bush, and the appearance of someone like the Son of God in the burning furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, that the fire did not harm God’s people.
Then we read God saying, “Every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, gold, silver and raiment and spoil Egyptians (Exo 3:22).” Likewise, when Jesus defeated the enemy, he gave gifts unto men (Eph 4:8). To some, he gave the gift of apostleship, to some to be a prophet, to some to be teachers. All of these gifts were necessary for perfecting of the global universal body of Christ (Eph 4:11-13). Not one gift was sufficient. Not just gold was required to build the tabernacle. Gold, silver and raiment each of them had a place and role to play to get tabernacle built. Likewise, not just one kind of ministry of apostleship can make the church as the body of Christ. We need all kinds of gifted ministers from all over the earth, not just confined under one brand name limited to one human-made organization.