The apostle Paul wrote, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). A prime example of this is seen in the parallel of the exodus of Israel from Egyptian captivity to the promise land and our own exodus from sin to our promise land, heaven. The parallel is obvious and especially after Paul makes note of it to the Corinthians (I Cor. 10:1-11). Let us consider the journey to the two promise lands.
First, consider the bondage. The Nation of Israel was in bondage in Egypt. The Bible says, “And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: And they made their lives bitter with bondage…” (Ex. 1:13-14). When Jacob (Israel) had learned that Joseph was alive in Egypt, that there was food aplenty in Egypt and they were invited to come there to live during the famine, they voluntarily went. They were not forced to go to Egypt, but invited by the Egyptians and allowed by God. It was by their own free will that they went. No doubt, Jacob was influenced by the desire to see his beloved son whom he thought to be dead all these years. “And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die” (Gen. 45:28). No doubt, the allurement of plenty in a time of famine played a big role in attracting him to go. It would have certainly looked good to him, and he could see no harm that could come from it. So, Jacob rose up and took all that he had and went to Egypt, where eventually they found themselves in bondage.
Our bondage is that of sin. Paul said, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Rom. 6:16). Peter said, “…for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (II Pet. 2:19). We too, enter into this bondage of our own free will. Each is responsible for his own sins (Ezek. 18:20). God has given man the choice to obey Him or to disobey Him. Moses wrote, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19). As with Israel, there may be many influences and allurements that cause us to enter into the bondage of sin, but ultimately, the choice is ours.
Next, consider getting out of that bondage. God sent a messenger to Egypt. God spoke to Moses in Midian from the burning bush (Ex. 3:2-3) and sent him to free His people (Ex. 3:10). God equipped that messenger with all that he would need to accomplish the task. He gave him the words that were to be spoken (Ex. 3:13-17), the miracles to confirm the message (Ex. 4:2-9) and Aaron as a spokesman (Ex. 4:10-17). But, the people themselves then had a responsibility. They had to hear that messenger, which they did (Ex. 4:29-30). They had to believe the word of God delivered by the messenger, which they did (Ex. 4:31), and then they had to obey the instructions given. Concerning that obedience, certain instructions were given during the first nine plagues that they had to follow or suffer as did the Egyptians. Very specific instructions were given concerning the tenth plague that had to be followed, for instance, the blood of the lamb on the door post and staying inside. When they reached the Red Sea they had to “go forth” or all was lost. Again, it was all up to them. It was within their hands to obey or to disobey. God did His part, the messenger did his part, now it was up to the people.
The actual transition from bondage to liberty took place when they crossed the Red Sea. They were out of Goshen, but not free from that which held them bondage. The Egyptian army pursued them. “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned” (Heb. 11:29). No one questioned whether it was foolish or wise to step out between the waters, they just believed God and obeyed. The end result was that they were delivered from that which had held them in bondage, they were washed away by the waters of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:23-28). Then, and only then, were they free from the bondage of Egypt.
Concerning freedom from our bondage to sin, God sent a Messenger for us (Acts 3:22-23; Matt. 17:5; Heb. 1:1-2), His dear Son. This Messenger was equipped with all that He would need to accomplish the task of freeing us from sin. All power had been given unto Him (Matt. 28:18), He was given spokesmen, the apostles, to speak the message to the people (John 17:6-8). And the Holy Spirit was at His disposal to send upon these earthly vessels as they spread the message (John 14:26). However, as with Israel, the people have a responsibility to hear the words of the Messenger (Matt. 17:5), to believe the words of the Messenger (Mark 16:16) and to obey the words of the messenger (Heb. 5:8-9). It is our choice. God has done His part, the Messenger has done His part and His spokesmen did their part.
As with Israel, there is one step that makes the final transition from bondage to liberty. That step is baptism in water for the remission of sins. Paul who wrote of Israel being baptized unto Moses when they crossed the Red sea (I Cor. 10:2), clearly shows us at what point we are finally free from the bondage of sin. He said that when we are “buried with him in baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:4). He writes that “our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom. 6:6-7). Later in the chapter he wrote that when we have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). Then, and only then, will that which has kept us in bondage be washed away as were the Egyptian army (Acts 22:16).
One might notice that Israel was not yet in their promise land, though they had been freed from bondage. In like manner one is not yet in our promise land upon being made free from sin. Not all that crossed the Red sea made it to Canaan! Certainly not all that have their sins washed away by the blood of the Lamb will be found in heaven in eternity. With both Israel and the one freed from sin, there is a wilderness wondering period that must be passed through.
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