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 Cover the basics of the Exodus narrative  Speak of some of the most significant aspects of the story ◦ The promise made by God to Abraham in Genesis.

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Presentation on theme: " Cover the basics of the Exodus narrative  Speak of some of the most significant aspects of the story ◦ The promise made by God to Abraham in Genesis."— Presentation transcript:


2  Cover the basics of the Exodus narrative  Speak of some of the most significant aspects of the story ◦ The promise made by God to Abraham in Genesis and its importance in Exodus ◦ Deliverance from slavery ◦ Giving of the Law in the wilderness  Connections between Exodus and Pascha

3  Remember the ending of Genesis: the sons of Jacob move to Egypt to be with Joseph and to have food during the famine  Problems for Israelites begin when a Pharaoh ascends to the throne who does not remember Joseph  First time in Bible Jews referred to as Hebrews is in Exodus 1 ◦ Name comes from root “to cross/be on a path” ◦ Biblical people should always be on a journey ◦ Preference of God is for shepherds vs. city builders

4  Moses introduced ◦ Discovered by daughter of Pharaoh as an abandoned infant  Emphasizes God’s election over human ascent  Note also Moses was younger brother to Aaron ◦ Connected to Noah and Joseph  Had been placed in an ark  Rose to prominence in Pharaoh’s house  Moses kills an Egyptian beating a Hebrew ◦ Similar to Jacob/Judah, Moses is far from perfect  Moses is refused by his own Hebrew people when he tries to break up one of their fights ◦ God chooses based on His own criteria, not on the people giving their consent

5  Important motif appears again ◦ God hears the cry of the Israelite people, remembering His (unilateral/unconditional) covenant with Abraham  God appears to Moses in the form of a burning bush that is not consumed ◦ No statue or temple nearby (i.e. would have been entirely counter-cultural for God to appear there) ◦ Importance of fire: can both burn and illumine ◦ Imagery of the burning bush often used in Orthodoxy to speak of the Mother of God holding Christ in her womb

6  God tells Moses his name is Yahweh, or “I AM WHO I AM” ◦ Often interpreted philosophically as “the one who exists” ◦ Perhaps more accurate to the time/context is “I am what I am” or “I do what I want to do”  Or, simply: mind your own business about who I am in my inner being and simply live by My will ◦ God again mentions He is the God of the fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

7  Aaron, Moses’ older brother, is appointed by God as Moses’ spokesman ◦ Moses says he is “slow of speech”  Shows God uses/works through imperfect people ◦ Aaron is associated in the Bible with the priesthood  Shows priests are not originators of the Law, but the hearers of the Law (i.e. they must submit to the Law as well)  The family of Moses & Aaron ◦ None of Moses’ progeny are mentioned  Similar to Abraham/Joseph in Genesis  We become children of God through trusting in God ◦ Text indicates Moses is uncircumcised

8  Long series of plagues/signs ◦ Initially, Pharaoh’s magicians are able to mimic the signs of Moses/Aaron ◦ Even after they are unable to mimic or defeat Moses, Pharaoh persists in, and even hardens, his slavery of the Hebrew people ◦ The people are unhappy with Moses/God for worsening their situation ◦ After essentially destroying the land/natural resources, God strikes the firstborn of the Egyptians  Reversal of what Pharaoh did to Hebrews  Emphasis on firstborn to indicate He is wiping out their inheritance/continuation on the earth

9  Passover Instituted ◦ Beginning of the notion of the sacrificial lamb ◦ Blood of lamb placed on door so God would know to “pass over” that house when striking the firstborn ◦ Unleavened bread (no time to wait for it to rise as they are on the move)  The “leaven” comes from the teaching of God/the Law ◦ Commanded to be kept throughout their generations as a memorial/feast to the Lord

10  The Exodus ◦ The bones of Joseph are taken with the Hebrews ◦ God leads them through the wilderness as a pillar of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night ◦ Hebrews complain against God when Pharaoh traps them by the Red Sea  God parts the Red Sea through Moses to allow Israel to cross; closes it over Pharaoh and his chariots ◦ Red Sea is actually the “sea of reeds”  Reeds are the material of which scrolls are made—i.e. the passing through this sea is connected to the Law ◦ No water for three days—the people grumble  Even after miracle of the Red Sea, the people disbelieve

11  The Manna ◦ Big problem in the wilderness: no food! ◦ God sends down manna, or bread from heaven ◦ Manna used to sustain the people for 40 years ◦ People received just enough for their daily need ◦ Any “leftovers” spoiled by the next day, except: ◦ God gave a double portion that would hold over for the Sabbath  Introduction of Joshua ◦ Joshua defeats Amalek and his army ◦ Ultimately, Joshua will be the one to lead into the promised land ◦ Jesus’ name is essentially the same as Joshua’s  It means “to rescue/deliver”

12  Israel at Mount Sinai ◦ God makes a conditional covenant with the Hebrews  If they obey God’s voice and keep His commandments, then they will be His people  Being God’s people requires you to keep His commandments  Being “chosen” does not mean you have special privileges by birthright  Quite different than the promise made to Abraham

13  The Ten Commandments ◦ The 10 underscores their universal application  10 is a more universal number than, say, 12  These laws are more general than the later laws issued ◦ Broken into three main sections  1-3: speak of our relationship with God  4: sets aside the Sabbath  During this era the Sabbath was a day to settle business  For Hebrews it should be to hear the Law so they would be corrected from previous 6 days and remember it the next 6 days  5-10: honor your parents and, essentially, “do no harm”

14  Additional Laws Given by God ◦ Dealing with Slavery  Big question: why does the Bible “support” slavery  As with issue of polygamy, the Bible subtly undercuts the common practice  Limits the length to six years, making it much less valuable for the slave owner  Prophets reference violation of these as reason for exile ◦ Harsh laws against mistreating strangers, oppressed, widows, poor, etc.  Why? Because YOU were strangers, oppressed, and poor in Egypt  Hebrews may not charge interest to the poor  Significance of offering the firstborn/firstfruits

15  Additional Laws Given by God ◦ No partiality in judgment against poor/weak ◦ Sabbatical rest (7 th day and 7 th year)  Wise, agriculturally, to let the land rest, BUT  God says to do it so the poor may eat from it  The Sabbath day allows slaves/animals time to rest ◦ Detailed instructions for worshipping God  Indicates liturgical (vs. spontaneous) worship  Includes images (“icons”) of the cherubim  i.e. images are not completely banned

16  Additional Laws Given by God ◦ Appointment of the Aaronic/Levitic priesthood  For no apparent reason, God chooses Aaron  Only descendants of Aaron may be priests, but all Levites are responsible for caring for the altar/tabernacle  Levitic tribe is not the eldest—this follows a pattern  Bells on garment of High Priest similar to those of bishops today in the Orthodox Church ◦ Sacrifices  Being a priest was, literally, a bloody business  Underscores the paradox of the “bloodless sacrifice” we reference at the Divine Liturgy

17  Uniqueness of the Writing of the Law ◦ Written in stone  We understand this: it cannot be erased ◦ Written by the “finger of God”  Indicates the Law is of divine origin  The Golden Calf ◦ The people become impatient waiting for Moses ◦ Aaron leads the people in making an idol  It’s not the outsiders who are the concern  The priests do not control the Law, but must submit to it ◦ God considers destroying all of the people and leaving only Moses (like he did with Noah)

18  Moses Pleads with God ◦ God changes His mind, BUT important as to why:  Moses convinces God it would look bad if God brought the people out of Egypt only for them to die in the wilderness; it would not dishonor the Hebrews, but God Himself  God relents not because of the people’s worthiness or repentance, but because of the covenant He made with Abraham  Ezekiel 20 confirms this, with God saying four times He saved Israel for His name’s sake!!!

19  Moses Breaks the Tablets of the Law ◦ Indicates the deal is off ◦ Symbolic/prophetic action of what people have already done (i.e. broken God’s Laws)  God instructs the Israelites to continue towards the Promised Land ◦ Indicates they will inherit the land not because of their own righteousness, but because God is gracious

20  Introduction of the Tent of Meeting ◦ Unlike the Temple later (which is problematic), the Tent of Meeting is moveable  Does not tie Hebrews to a geographic location  In John, Jesus is said to have “tented” among us  The Law is Given a Second Time ◦ Repetition of the first giving, with God once again writing it in stone ◦ Indicates Hebrews are already on their second chance  Being “under grace” sounds nice and warm and cuddly; in reality, it means you are “on thin ice” (cf. Ezekiel 16)

21  The promise of God to Abraham in Genesis ◦ “Drives” the whole story ◦ Referenced explicitly twice in Exodus as the reason God saved His people (i.e. not because of their own worthiness)  Deliverance from slavery ◦ God desires His people to be free in order to enslave themselves to Him, which is seen by:  God giving His Law in the wilderness ◦ Specifically not in the Promised Land ◦ The true protection comes not from being in the Promised Land, but from following God’s Law ◦ Not following God’s Law is the reason Jews are later again enslaved (to the Babylonians)

22  Before speaking of Pascha specifically, important to note broader Jewish understanding of Exodus ◦ Alexandria, Egypt had largest population of Jews at the time of Christ ◦ Clearly, the Jews understood Exodus more figuratively ◦ Not turning back to Egypt does not mean, literally, they should never again live in Egypt ◦ So, what does Egypt mean?  Broadly, Egypt refers to the slavery to sin or to living outside God’s Law

23  With this in mind, let’s examine the three main points I emphasized from Exodus from the perspective of Pascha  The promise of God to Abraham in Genesis ◦ God, through Jesus (the sacrificial lamb), opens up salvation to all humanity ◦ Why? Certainly not because of our worthiness— Jesus was left alone at the Cross ◦ Why? Because He promised Abraham he would be “the father of many nations” ◦ Those who put their trust in the crucified Messiah become children of “believing Abraham”  Literally, their sins are “passed over”

24  Deliverance from slavery ◦ We are no longer slaves to sin, having been freed by Christ ◦ However, we are not completely “free” per se, but now free to enslave ourselves to the Law of Christ  God gives His Law in the wilderness ◦ Jesus gives us the Law of God which is based on love of the needy neighbor ◦ Our only true protection is not in physical forts or military might, but in the resurrection of the dead ◦ In other words, in the end, God alone is the judge and He can make us to stand even if the rulers of the world oppose us or put us to death

25  How do we know this? ◦ God raised Jesus from the dead  Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill (Areopagus) ◦ “ Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) ◦ “Arise, O God, and judge the earth; for Thou shalt inherit among all nations.” (Psalm 82:8; used as the hymn to first introduce the Resurrection each year in the Orthodox Church)  Importance of the name Pascha/Passover instead of Easter

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