Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Second Exodus, Part 3.

The Apostle Paul, who is perhaps the most influential early Christian missionary also noticed the resemblances between the first exodus of National Israel and the ministry of Jesus. One of the most interesting things about Paul’s gospels is his Old Testament links to the story of the first exodus of the nation of Israel as well. Through his missionary activity and writings, he eventually transformed religious belief.

During their ministry the apostles did their best to win the hearts and minds of the Jewish people away from the types and shadows that were under the old Mosaic, covenant. The apostles did this by pointing them back to the experience of their ancestors during the history of Israel. (1 Corinthians 10:11)

When the Apostle Paul wrote about the scene at the Red Sea, he recalls, ’their ancestors’ being baptized into Moses. (1 Corinthians 10:2) If you go back to Exodus 14 and 15, you will find where the nation of Israel crossed the sea with Moses there they were baptized into Moses.

The Israelites were not baptized in the sense that they were baptized literally in water, but in the sense that they were literally surrounded by water, though the water did not touch them. In the figurative sense, the children of Israel were submerged in the Red Sea.

This is why Paul uses the figurative language that Israel was baptized into Moses. To be figuratively baptized is to be joined to a head, and devoted themselves to Moses leadership (and law) through him, God’s leadership. In this context, Paul is attempting to show us a certain experience of the Old Testament typological of baptism. Throughout scripture, God points his people to what he has already done in the history of the nation of Israel.

Jews were well acquainted with the concept of baptism prior to Paul using this figurative language. In order to understand Paul’s point we have to go back into the ancient history of the nation of Israel because it is there we will find many of the examples we need to understand this spiritual journey. Water baptism (immersion) was not originally a Christian act.

Many Christians today think that water baptism is something that began with John the Baptist or when the New Covenant began, but water baptism has deep roots in biblical Judaism. All through the (old testament), whenever the children of Israel, come before God, they cleansed themselves.

Although the term “baptism” is not used in the Old Testament to describe the Jewish rituals, the purification rites (or mikvah-ritual immersion) in Jewish law and tradition have many similarities to water baptism that are almost identical. A good example the Priest Washing. Exodus 29:4 "And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water. Leviticus 8:6 Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.

The Israelite Washing. Leviticus 22:6 'the person who has touched any such thing shall be unclean until evening, and shall not eat the holy offerings unless he washes his body with water. The Jewish law was very strict in this ceremony.

The Jews did not understand these washes to be taken out of a scrub brush and taking the dust and filth off the body. Nor did they understand these washes to be a simple sprinkling of water. The Jews believed that immersion in water was necessary and that the water much touch every part of the body to become ritually clean. The water also has to be “living water” for example from springs or groundwater wells.

So the Jews were well acquainted with the concept of baptism and how Paul was using the term in relation to Moses. 1 Corinthians 10:2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. The entire exodus theme that applied to the nation of Israel devoted themselves to Moses leadership and God’s.

Is now being applied to God’s spiritual Israel under the leadership of Christ. Romans 6-2-3 Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by 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.

The dying-rising theme, in, Romans 6-2-3 gave deeper meaning to that allegiance, with Christ, namely that the believer is connected to Christ leadership because the believer has died with his savior and has received Christ’s life in place of his own. Paul is demonstrating a change in the life of the believer (eternal life) with regard to a change in allegiance from the head and leadership of Moses to Christ.

Everything has a parallel, everything in the new covenant can find their physical counterpart in the old testament. The foundational meaning of baptism to Paul is a declaration of the acceptance of Christ’s lordship.

Jesus wanted to be baptized to demonstrate His solidarity with Israel in her need, and thus to “fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15) At that moment the first century saint were baptized in Christ it demonstrated their exodus out of the old dying covenant body of Moses into the new covenant body of Christ. They openly devoted themselves to the leadership of Christ and through him, God’s leadership.

In the first exodus out of Egypt the nation of Israel was baptized into Moses who gave temporary deliverance from bondage and slave of sin. The priest of Israel offered up the daily sacrifice (Lev. 8) Daily sins had to be met by the sacrifice of the day. The conscience of sin before God was never at rest.

In the second exodus out of Egypt through God’s Son (Jesus). Spiritual Israel was baptized into Christ, which is eternal deliverance from bondage and slave of sin. Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. The second exodus is much greater than the first.