Remembering the Passover and Exodus
by Steve Clark
The Exodus was the greatest of God's acts of deliverance in the Old Testament. It was the series of events in which God freed his people from bondage, established a relationship with them, and gave them a land and a life as a people. The Exodus was the great example of God's salvation, God's victory, God's redemption. The Exodus, therefore, was a type of God's work of redemption and a type of Jesus' death and resurection. By understanding the Exodus, we can understand better what God did in Christ's death and resurrection, and so understand better the celebration of the Christian passover (Easter).
The Exodus as a type
From the earliest times, Christians have understood the different elements of the Exodus as types of Christian realities. Most of these interpretations can be found in the New Testament. Others can be found in the earliest Christian writings after the New Testament.
Pharoah: The ruler of Egypt, a type of Satan
Armies of Pharoah: A type of the demonic spirits, the armies of hell
Passover: The sparing of the people of Israel, a type of God's sparing of us through the work of Christ
Paschal lamb: Christ, the lamb of God
the blood of the lamb: the blood on the doorposts which caused the destroying angel to pass by, a type of the atoning blood of Christ's sacrifice which pays for our sins
the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire: the visible signs of God's presence, types of Christ or of the Holy Spirit and Christ
the crossing of the Red Sea: the destruction of Pharoah's armies and the transit out of Egypt, a type of conversion and baptism, the destruction of the hold of Satan on us and deliverance from the life of sin
the water from the rock and the manna (the bread from heaven): God's provision of life in the wilderness, a type of the life of Christ and the Spirit and of the Lord's Supper or Eucharist
the portion: the promised land of Israel was divided up and everyone received a portion, except the Levites. Their portion was God--they lived from the temple worship and offerings. When the Lord is our portion, then, the Lord and our worship of him are the source of our life (Psalms 16:5; 73:26).
Sinai: the place of the old covenant, the giving of the law and the establishment of the people, a type of Pentecost and the new covenant in Jesus
the promised land: primarily a type of the life of the Spirit and of heaven (the life of the age to come)
The word Easter is the English word for the celebration that in Greek is called The Passover. In Greek and in many other languages, the word for Easter is the same as the word for passover (in Greek: pascha, the word we get paschal from). There is a Jewish passover celebration and a Christian passover celebration. In the early church they were probably one celebration. The Jewish Christians celebrated Easter by celebrating the Jewish passover, but they celebrated it in a different way. The celebrated the Exodus from Egypt, just like the other Jews, but they celebrated it as fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus' death and resurrection was the true passover, the true deliverance from bondage. The Exodus was a type that was fulfilled in Christ.
When we remember or commemorate Jesus' death and resurrection, we do more than just let a recollection pass through our minds. We first of all hold a celebration in honor of what God did in Jesus; we proclaim what he did in Jesus and praise him for it. Finally during that time we make the events a subject of our meditation, not just to fix it in our minds but increasingly to live our lives in the light of it.
Excerpted from: The Psalms: The Christian Prayer Book, A Course Workbook by Stephen B. Clark, © 1989, published by Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, MI. U.S.A.
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