From Exodus to Exile (II)
At the birth of Moses, the Israelites were in Egypt…hopelessly enslaved to Pharaoh. Moses was God’s man for the Exodus generation (Ex 1–14).
God’s intention to deliver His people from bondage could not be thwarted by the whims of a human despot. Even when Moses and the Israelites were between a rock and a hard place, God was with them. He delivered them through the waters of the Red Sea, a type of baptism to show that He was their God and they were his people (Ex 14).
With the revelation of God’s eternal covenant, to be in relationship with His chosen people, partially revealed to Adam, to Noah, and to Abraham — Moses was now given revelation. The Law of God was given to Moses on two stone tablets at Mount Sinai (Ex 20). God is a covenant God, who is further revealed by His holy Law.
The Israelites had the Law from Sinai, but they produced a history of disobedience to it. This was true through the Conquest, the Judges, the Kings, and through to the time of Christ Jesus.
Learning war would serve as a type of God’s people relying on Yahweh to deliver the victory. He was able and willing, but just as the Israelites faced external opponents in the Conquest, they also had internal divisions through their history as a nation.
The promised land proved to be as challenging as their forty-year wilderness wandering. After a few hundred years of judges, the Israelites began to demand a king. The prophet/judge, Samuel attempted to dissuade this idea, but the people insisted. God gave them a king in Saul. Political trouble ensued.
After forty years of reign by King Saul, God raised up a king after God’s own heart. David, the son of Jesse of Ephrathah, would serve imperfectly, but he would reign as a foreshadowing of the righteous King to come.
After political intrigue, David’s son with Bathsheba, Solomon, reigned for forty years in Jerusalem. Despite Solomon’s wealth, peace, and famous wisdom, he was not the king to reign in righteousness. In fact, at his death, Solomon’s kingdom was divided.
The anticipation of a prospering, peaceful Israel was shattered as the tribes warred against one another from 930 B.C. to 722 B.C. The northern kingdom of Israel was decimated by Sennacherib of Assyria and dispersed into exile. The southern kingdom of Judah survived until 597 B.C. It was plundered of its finest citizens, who were removed to Babylon in three waves (1. 597 B.C.; 2. 586 B.C.; 3. 572 B.C.).
For seventy years, Judah remained in Babylonian exile. The restoration of the walls of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple were crucial to the generations following Zerubabbel, Nehemiah, and Ezra. With the prophet Malachi came the closure of the Old Testament era of revelation from God.
Prior to the four-hundred-year silence of God (Malachi to Matthew), the prophets had spoken as messengers from God. The prophetic words of Moses, David, Elijah, and Elisha were joined by the sermons and writings of major and minor prophets. Their message to Israel was one of judgment for disobedience, but it also included a message of hope and restoration under Messiah.
The messianic prophecies of the Old Testament number some 350. They vary greatly in their content. The identity and works of the Messiah were foretold. The types and shadows of the Old Testament remained until the voice of one crying in the wilderness was heard. John the Baptist closed an era of anticipation, and he signaled the new era of prophetic and type fulfillment, which we will consider in Part III.
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 20, 2021