Brought Out of Egypt, Why?

Brought Out of Egypt, Why?


Calvin Lashway

March 2008 Revised


In Leviticus 23 we find a listing of God’s annual festivals, with the Passover being the first of these festivals, followed by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:1-8). One of the themes of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the departure of the nation of Israel from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 12:15-17; 13:3-10). Egypt is a type or representative of sin (Hebrews 11:24-27). As Christians, once freed from sin, spiritual Egypt, we must come out of it, and leave it behind (Romans 6:1-23). Throughout the Old Testament, there are numerous references to God bringing Israel out of Egypt. Why did He do this? God wanted to deliver Israel from Egypt for several reasons, and we will examine some of these. However, knowing why God brought Israel out of Egypt isn’t enough. As we study this subject, we will learn why God brought us out of spiritual Egypt.


That I May Dwell Among Them

One reason God brought Israel out of Egypt, was to dwell among them: “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the LORD their God” (Exodus 29:46, all scripture quoted are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted). In the Old Testament God dwelt with Israel in different ways: between the Cherubim (Exodus 25:18-22; 1 Samuel 4:4), in the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:8-9; 29:42-46), and later, in the Temple (2 Chronicles 5:7, 11, 13-14; 6:1-6).1


As God brought Israel out of Egypt to dwell among them, so He has brought us out of spiritual Egypt to dwell among us. It’s through the Spirit dwelling in us (Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:14; James 4:5), that the Father and Son dwell in us. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). The apostle John expands upon this when he writes, “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:12-16).


To Be Our God

God brought Israel out of Egypt so He could be their God: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God” (Numbers 15:41, also see Leviticus 22:23; 25:38; 26:45). As God brought Israel out of Egypt to be their God, He has brought us out of spiritual Egypt to be our God. “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:16); “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel2 after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Hebrews 8:10). God has declared that He will be our God.


To Give Us an Inheritance

God brought Israel out of Egypt to give them the land of Canaan as an inheritance:


“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God” (Leviticus 25:38).


“And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 4:37-38, also see Number 34:2; Joshua 14:1).


In like manner, God has brought us out of spiritual Egypt so we can inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God. Christians have a promise of an eternal inheritance. “And for this reason He [Jesus] is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15). This eternal inheritance involves eternal life and a kingdom. Jesus said that in the regeneration when He is sitting on His throne of glory that “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:28-29). Jesus also speaking of this time said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. . . . Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:31-34). From the foundation of the world, God has planned for us to inherit a kingdom.


The kingdom promised to us, is the Kingdom of God. Inheriting this kingdom is the same as being changed from mortal to immortal:


Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:50-57).


Presently God holds our inheritance in reserve for us. An inheritance we’ll receive at Jesus’ second coming: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).


To Free Us from the Slavery to Sin

God brought Israel out Egypt so they would no longer be slaves: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright” (Leviticus 26:13). Likewise, God has brought us out of the slavery of spiritual Egypt, that is, sin. As the Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians, we were slaves of sin: “Jesus answered them, Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). We have freedom from our bondage or slavery to sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:


For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. . . . But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:5-8, 17-23).

To Be His People

God brought Israel out of Egypt, so they could be “His people”: “But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day” (Deuteronomy 4:20). Similarly God brought us out of spiritual Egypt so we can be “His own special people”: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). As the people of God, He also calls us “My people”: “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).


Conclusion

During the original Feast of Unleavened Bread, God brought Israel out of Egypt for several reasons: to dwell among them, to be their God, to give them an inheritance, to deliver them from slavery, and to be His people. For Christians, this festival helps us focus on some of the reasons God brought us out of spiritual Egypt: to dwell in us, to be our God, to give us an inheritance of eternal life, to deliver us from the slavery of sin, and to be His people.




Notes:

1 Obviously, God did not literally dwell in the Tabernacle and later the Temple. Even in the dedication of the Temple, Solomon asked the questions: “will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” (2 Chronicles 6:18, also see 2 Chronicles 2:6; Isaiah 66:1-2; Acts 7:47-50). The Tabernacle and Temple were where God “appeared” or “manifested” Himself in a cloud, with His glory filling the Tabernacle or the Temple (Exodus 40:34-35; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14).


2 Under the New Covenant, Christians, whether Jews or Gentile are now the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:15-16; Romans 2:28-29; 9:3-8; 11:11-27).


© Calvin Lashway 2018  -  Contact: cinfowritings@gmail.com