Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Exodus 20 through 23 is a section containing the decree of the Mosaic law. In these chapters we first have the decree of the Ten Commandments and then the decree of the ordinances of the law. In the foregoing messages we have pointed out that if we would get into the depths of the ordinances in chapters twenty-one through twenty-three, we shall see that in them the economy of God with the redemption of Christ is portrayed.
It is very significant that chapter twenty-three concludes with a word about the Angel of Jehovah (vv. 20-33). Verse 20 says, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee to guard thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared” (lit.). The Angel was to bring the people into the promised land. The two main things regarding the land here in these verses are the frustraters and the boundaries. There were people inhabiting the land and frustrating the children of Israel from taking possession of it. Verse 23 says, “For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.” In verse 31 we have a word concerning the boundaries of the land: “And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness unto the river” (lit.). If we would take possession of the promised land, we must deal with the frustraters and also pay attention to the boundaries of the land. Because the Angel of Jehovah plays an important role in leading the people into the land, this message is entitled, “The Angel of Jehovah for His People to Take Possession of the Promised Land.” The concluding word of the decree of the law and the ordinances refers to the Angel of Jehovah and the promised land.
Both the Angel and the promised land are types of Christ. The Angel typifies Christ as the One sent by God to guard us in the way and to bring us into the land. Christ is such a sent One, the One sent from God. The good land typifies Christ in His all-inclusiveness. Thus, Christ as the sent One brings us into Himself as the good land. This good land is the goal, the aim, the mark, of God’s purpose. Since the good land typifies Christ, this means that Christ is the goal. Who will bring us to this goal? No one other than Christ Himself. On the one hand, Christ is the good land; on the other hand, He is the One who brings us into the good land.
The ordinances in Exodus 21 through 23 portray at least nineteen different aspects of Christ. Christ is the sacrifice, the slave, the Sabbath, the One delivered to us who were the mistaken sinners that put Him to death, the city of refuge, and the One who brings the things of life to His enemies and releases those who hate Him from their heavy burdens. Furthermore, in these chapters the cross of Christ is typified in two ways. First, the altar in 20:24 and 25 typifies the cross. Hebrews 13:10 says, “We have an altar, from which they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle.” This altar refers to the cross on which the Lord Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. The children of Israel had an altar, but that altar was merely a type. We have the fulfillment of this type, the cross as the true altar. Second, the cross is typified by the wine and oil presses which produce the “tears.” These tears signify the outflowing of the experience of Christ through the suffering of the cross. Exodus 22:29 speaks of the fullness and the tears (lit.). The fullness signifies the fullness of the harvest of the produce of the good land, and the tears signify the outflow of wine and oil from the presses.
On the one hand, the church is a lovely place, and the church life is wonderful. On the other hand, the church life is a wine press and an oil press. Our family life is also a press. We are pressed by our husband or wife and by our children. If we did not have the experience of the press in the church life and in our family life, there would be no tears, no outflow of wine and oil.
After presenting at least nineteen aspects of Christ and two types of the cross, these chapters conclude with a word about the Angel of Jehovah bringing the people into the promised land. Even the King James Version capitalizes the word Angel in 23:20. This indicates that the translators realized that the Angel here is unique and extraordinary. This Angel signifies Christ Himself.
The fact that the decree of the law concludes with a portion regarding the Angel and the good land indicates that the purpose of the decree of the law is that those who received the law would enter into the good land. It was not God’s intention simply to give the law to His people. His intention was to bring the children of Israel into the good land. Exodus 23:20 says, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee...to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” It seems as if the Lord was saying to His people, “I have given you the law and the ordinances. However, this is not My goal. I did not bring you out of Egypt merely to give you regulations. My intention is to train you, discipline you, and regulate you so that you may be a proper people for Me to bring into the good land. Behold, I send an Angel before you to guard you in the way and to bring you into the promised land. This is My goal.” For this reason, immediately after the decree of the law and the ordinances, God speaks of the Angel bringing the people into the good land.
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