“James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad (James 1:1).”
In His book, Out of the Shadows, John Kachelman, Jr., identifies three themes that run throughout the Bible; Bondage, Deliverance, and Passover. He identifies the narrative of Exodus and the wilderness wonderings of the children of Israel as a whole that interweaves the three types into a connected story typical of the Christian walk (1). Monser asked, “Who is it that does not recognize the wilderness as a type of that journey the Christian is making, while he ‘confesses himself a pilgrim and a stranger seeking a better and a heavenly country?’”(2)
After the death of Joseph a new Pharaoh came to the throne who oppressed the Israelites and put them under bondage (Exodus 1:8-10). Jesus and Paul likened sin as a slave master who owns the sinner (John 8:34, Romans 6:15-16). In this way, Pharaoh’s enslavement of the Hebrews is typical of the dark prince of this world (Ephesians 2:2) who takes men captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). Under such bondage we are in desperate need of a Deliverer, which God is pleased to send to rescue those who call on His name (Judges 3:9, 15, 2 Kings 13:5, Nehemiah 9:27).
When the Israelites cried out because of the harsh conditions of their bondage God heard them (Exodus 4:23-24). God appointed Moses to be the deliverer of His people from the bondage of Egypt (Acts 7:35) and to lead them within sight of the land promised to them centuries before (Genesis 15:13-16). Moses foreshadowed Christ’s role as the Deliverer for all of mankind from the bondage of sin in many ways. He ushered in a covenant in blood between God and His people (Exodus 24:8) which Jesus also did with His own blood (Matthew 26:27-28). Moses was a prophet who delivered the words of God to His covenant people as Jesus fulfilled this direct type (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, John 12:49, Matthew 17:5). For the sake of righteousness Moses chose to forego the riches, power, and prestige as Egyptian royalty to suffer with the children of Israel (Hebrews 11:24-25) which typifies the character we are all to model after the example of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8).
In leading the Hebrews out of Egypt there were many trials and hardships along the way. They first had to separate themselves from the sinful world they were being called out of by crossing the Red Sea. By inspiration Paul likens this event with Christian’s baptism as they were “all baptized into Moses,” their deliverer, we are all baptized into Christ leaving the enslavement of sin (Romans 6:1-3).
Along their journey through the wilderness of Sin, God provided drink from the rock and food from heaven to feed them (Exodus 17:1-6, 16:4). Christ Himself is that Rock (1 Corinthians 10:3-4) and is Himself the true bread that came down from heaven to nourish the people of God (John 6:48-58).
Just as that first Passover meal required a sacrificed lamb, whose blood spared them from death (Exodus 12:3-24) Jesus is that Passover Lamb that delivers us from death (John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:7). As they were commanded to purge the leaven from their dwellings (Exodus 12:15) we are to remove the corrupting influence of sin and false teachings from our lives (1 Corinthians 5:7, Matthew 16:12, Galatians 5:7-9).
As the people were bitten by serpents along the way that threatened to take their lives Moses raised up a brazen serpent so that those who looked to it by faith were healed (Numbers 21:9), Jesus puts Himself forth as the antitype of this figure for all who look to Him for eternal life (John 3:14-15). As with this example, and all the types used in the Bible, the antitype is always superior to the figures that point to it.
“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).”
- John L. Kachelman, Jr., Out of the Shadows, p.57 Hester Publications, Henderson, Tennessee, 2006
- J.W. Monser, Types and Metaphors of the Bible, p.59 F.L. Rowe Publisher, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1936