What we call “The Old Testament,” Jews often referred to as “The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.” One remarkable thing about living after Christ’s resurrection is having the opportunity to look back and notice the many fulfilled prophecies and symbols that these ancient inspired works contain.
The New Testament refers to the Law of Moses as “a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Colossians 2:17). The historical account of Noah and the Ark, for instance, is spoken of as “symbol” or “antitype” which corresponds to baptism (1 Peter 3:21). Many such “shadows” and “antitypes” can be seen in the account of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and pilgrimage to the promised land.
· Israel became a great nation in the land of Egypt, so that the Pharaoh feared what they might accomplish (Exodus 1:7-10). In the same way, we each have the potential to do great things for God, which the devil will try to thwart.
· The Pharaoh decided to “deal shrewdly” with the Israelites in order to keep them under control (Exodus 1:10). In the same way, Satan has been using trickery and scheming since Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:13) and continues to do so (John 8:44).
· The Pharaoh’s plan was to force the people to do hard labor as a means of controlling them (Exodus 1:11-14). Likewise, the devil seeks to enslave us to sinful desires (Romans 6:20).
· Help came to the enslaved Hebrews in the form of a newborn baby (Exodus 2:2). Our help, also, was prophesied with the words: “unto us a child is born.” (Isaiah 9:6).
· Moses fought for his people to be free, displaying many signs and wonders (Exodus 5-11). The Christ also suffered many things (Luke 17:25) and did many miracles (John 21:25).
· In the end, the oppressors were swept away and drowned in the same water that the Israelites passed safely through (Exodus 14:21-30). We also pass through water, that it might wash our sins away (Acts 22:16).
· God’s salvation of His people was commemorated by a feast of unleavened bread and the marking of doorposts with the blood of a lamb (Exodus 12:14-27). We also remember what God has done for us in a feast of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, which represents the blood of the Lamb of God (Luke 22:15-20).
· A land of milk and honey awaited the Israelites as they left Egypt (Exodus 3:8, 33:3). We, as sojourners, also seek a better land, in heaven (Hebrews 11:16).
· While they sojourned, the people of Israel needed to be careful that they did not turn aside to foreign gods (Joshua 24:14-15). We also must be faithful until death in order to receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
Hidden away in an Old Testament book like Exodus are many symbols that still have great power today.