Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Exodus and the Cross

On the mount of transfiguration Moses and Elijah appear and speak with Jesus about the coming "Exodus" that He will accomplish at Jerusalem (Lk. 9:31). While this is commonly translated "decease" (e.g. NKJV), the word in the Greek is "exodus" which, incidentally, means "exodus." The word is used throughout the Septuagint to mean "going out" or "going forth" beginning with the Exodus from Egypt (e.g. Ex. 19:1, Num. 33:38).

Interestingly, the word is only used in two other places in the New Testament: first, in Hebrews 11 where Joseph is remembered as prophesying the coming Exodus of Israel out of Egypt, and secondly, it is used in 2 Pet. 1:15 where Peter does seem to be speaking about his coming death. But even there, this reference comes immediately after him speaking about his "tent" that he will soon be putting off. Obviously "tent" is used elsewhere to refer to the body (e.g. Jn. 1:14, 2 Cor. 5:1-4), but a form of the same word is also used for the tabernacle. The Exodus story moves from one house to another, from the house of bondage to the tent of Yahweh. Similarly, later in Israelite history, they will be freed from the tent in Shiloh under Eli's wicked sons and David will construct his tent on Mt. Zion. Still later, Ezekiel will see the entire exile story as an exodus, freeing Israel from the bondage in Jerusalem and the Solomonic temple and bringing them to a new, heavenly temple.

Thus, the death and resurrection of a human is this exodus story. We put off the old tent of the body, the body that is in bondage to sin and death, and we go into the "wilderness" in the heavenly presence of Christ until we are re-clothed with a new, heavenly house in the resurrection of the body (2 Cor. 5:1-8). In this sense, Israel "died" in the Passover/Unleavened Bread/tenth plague. They were putting off the "tent" of Egypt so that they could put on a new, heavenly tent, a new resurrection body in the tabernacle. They "went to heaven" in the presence of God at Mt. Sinai, and they were finally "re-clothed" in the body of the tabernacle.

And this makes sense of Christ's description of His own death and resurrection as an Exodus. His death is the great Passover/Unleavened Bread/tenth plague all wrapped up into one. And His body is the temple, the old tent of Israel, which is being destroyed so that it can be rebuilt in three days. In His body on the tree, Jesus became the old Israel in the tent of bondage, the tent of Egypt, so that He could free us from that tent, free us from that house of death, and re-clothe us with a new heavenly tent, a new body, a new temple in Him.

No comments: