Egypt to Canaan

By Lloyd Ellefson

The land of Canaan was also called the PROMISED LAND, the land which flowed with milk and honey. It was the desire and hope of Israel, and the purpose of their pilgrimage from Egypt. It is a type of heaven, a foreshadowing of our land of promise.

1 Cor. 10:1-12 refers to some of the happenings during the exodus from Egypt. Verses 6 and 11 call these things EXAMPLES. They are types and patterns that are fulfilled in the new covenant, and were written for our admonition. They are not just history, but patterns of truth that were recorded for our instruction.

Only two men, out of the millions of Israelites led out of Egypt (the house of bondage) and who were 20 years or over at that time, actually crossed the Jordan River into the promised land. (Exodus 20:2) The rest were destroyed in the wilderness because of their unbelief. (Jude 5)

We will now look at the fulfillment of what these people were foreshadowing. Israel was God's chosen nation, but the promise came into being because of God's promise to Abraham; it was not given to them corporately. This promise would find fulfillment in his seed - the son born of a promise. The birth of Isaac was a miracle; it did not come about by natural means. So in type, Isaac foreshadows the birth of Jesus. He was born of God according to promise; one seed bringing forth a nation. As Abraham became the father of many, so the Lord Jesus brings forth a nation of people, after His seed.

"Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say `And to seeds,' as referring to many, but rather to one, `And to your seed,' that is, Christ." (Gal. 3:16) Israel came out of Jacob and became a corporate son only because of the promise to an individual. Israel did not become God's people when they ate the lamb in Egypt. They were sent into the land by prophecy and were brought out by the same Word of God. (Gen. 15:13)

They were in slavery and bondage to Egypt and its Pharaoh. When the 400 years which had been prophesied were up, God began to make His promise good. Pharaoh had commanded all male babies to be killed, but God spared Moses and gave him a heart to liberate His people. Moses first tried to free his people in his own strength by killing an Egyptian who was fighting an Israelite. However, this did not convince his people that he ws on their side. They refused his fellowship; he was a complete failure in his fleshly sincerity. Moses, fearing Pharaoh, fled into the desert. About 40 years later, God appeared to him and gave him signs to convince the people and the authority to face Pharaoh. It took many signs, plagues and much affliction before Pharaoh was willing to let Moses lead the people out of Egypt.

When the time came for the Israelites' departure out of bondage, Moses came with the power of God. With his rod he brought forth miracles and plagues. The final plague was God's retribution for the killing of Israel's sons. Pharaoh had commanded the midwives in Israel to kill the male babies as soon as they were born. They were not doing this, so Pharaoh ordered his people to throw them into the river; the females could be spared. This pictures the spiritual battle satan is waging against God. The evil one wants to cut off the males, the firstborn, and in that way destroy the inheritance. This is also seen when King Herod tried to kill Jesus as a child by killing all children his age in Bethlehem - the area where He was born. (Matt. 2:16) Again, at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus for confessing He was God's Son.

The time was now ready for all the firstborn of Egypt to be destroyed. Initially, God had brought the Israelites into Egypt so the famine would not kill them. Joseph and Mary also fled to Egypt as an escape from King Herod when he wanted to kill the baby Jesus. In both cases it was mercy on God's part - though at the time it may not have seemed so. (Exodus 4:22-23) "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, `Thus says the Lord, `Israel is My son, My first-born....Let My son go, that he may serve Me;'." Israel is also called God's son in Hosea 11:1, "When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son." This is a figure of those who are in Christ being called out of the house of bondage; they are no longer slaves to sin. At this time Israel was away from their God-given land.

To escape this judgment and be released from the land of captivity, God instituted the first passover. At this point instructions came to Moses for the passover - which is what the Christian communion is related to. This is found in Exodus 12. We will point out a few of the types of Christ in this passover - v.2 a new life a beginning of months - vv3-4 a lamb for all (every house) -v.5 like Christ, a lamb without blemish, a male, of the first year, (first-born) - v.6 it shall be killed (by the whole assembly), all Israel gathered together and called "crucify Him" - v.7 the blood shall be applied to the door post of the houses (the portals of our hearts) - v.8 they shall eat the flesh. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves." (John 6:53) Eating the lamb gave them strength for the journey they were about to take.

Remember, this did not make them children of Israel. They were circumcised Israelites before they came to Egypt. This is a type of deliverance for those who have repented and want to serve God. V.11 they were to eat the supper, loins girded, and shoes on and staff in hand - ready to go - to take up a new life - because God had struck a blow to the house of bondage and its Pharaoh. God struck the firstborn of all things of Egypt that night, and it became a release to the children of Israel. The Passover was not for the uncircumcised - the one who was not of God's household, so also the communion is not for the unsaved, the uncircumcised of heart (vv.43-46).

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