Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
If we read the book of Exodus in the spirit with much prayer and thereby enter into the spiritual significance of this book, we shall see that it portrays God’s salvation from the beginning to its consummation. Exodus is composed of two main sections, chapters one through eighteen and chapters nineteen through forty. In the first section we see God’s salvation, God’s provision, the victory over the flesh, and, in chapter eighteen, a portrait of the kingdom of God. After God’s chosen and called people had been brought into the kingdom, they were ready to accomplish God’s purpose to build His dwelling place on earth. In this message we come to the second section of Exodus, which is concerned with God’s dwelling place.
The main point in chapters nineteen through forty is that God’s saved people are brought into the presence of God and into the knowledge of God. Using New Testament terms, the people are brought into fellowship with God.
There is no indication in the first eighteen chapters of Exodus that the children of Israel had been brought into fellowship with God. Although God’s people had experienced God’s salvation, had enjoyed God’s provision, and had been brought into God’s kingdom, they had not yet been brought into such fellowship. However, beginning in chapter nineteen, they are brought into fellowship with Him.
Exodus 3:1 speaks of the mountain of God, Horeb. In 3:12 the Lord said to Moses, “When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” In chapter nineteen we see the children of Israel at the mountain of God, Mount Sinai, the place where God could contact His people. In 3:12 God said that His people would serve Him on the mountain of God. It is a very significant thing to serve God. In 5:1 Moses told Pharaoh to let the people go so that they might hold a feast unto the Lord in the wilderness. According to 5:3, the people were to make a journey of three days into the desert and there sacrifice unto the Lord. To sacrifice unto God is to offer something to Him, and to hold a feast unto God is to enjoy with God what is offered to Him. Up to the end of chapter eighteen, we have not yet seen the service, the sacrifice, or the feast. Although God’s people had many experiences and much enjoyment, they had not yet begun to serve Him.
We have seen that in chapters twelve through fourteen God’s people experienced His redemption and salvation. In chapters fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen they enjoyed God’s provision. The bitter water was made sweet, the people enjoyed the twelve springs and seventy palms at Elim, and they partook of the manna and of the living water from the smitten rock. Through God’s salvation and provision, His people were brought into a position of being in the kingdom of God. In the foregoing message we saw that chapter eighteen is a picture, a type, of the kingdom. We thank the Lord for the light He has shown us from this chapter.
In the early years of my ministry, I gave a number of messages on Exodus 19. Most of those messages, however, were on the negative points. In these messages, I prefer to stay away from the negative points and emphasize the positive ones. We need to have a positive impression of Exodus 19 and 20. Many Christian teachers emphasize the negative aspects of these chapters by pointing out that the law is good and spiritual, but we are fleshly, and the law cannot help us. Chapter nineteen of Exodus is actually very positive, for here God’s chosen people are brought into fellowship with Him.
The distance between Egypt and Mount Sinai was a journey of about three days. I believe this was the reason Moses told Pharaoh that the children of Israel had to take a journey of three days into the wilderness. Furthermore, 4:27 indicates that Aaron was charged by God to meet his brother, Moses, at the mount of God in the wilderness. Although the distance from Egypt to Mount Sinai could be traveled in three days, it took the children of Israel more than two months. Although we could have entered into fellowship with God immediately after we were saved, in our experience most of us travel, journey, wander, instead. But in our wandering we enjoy God’s provision. Even though our journey may be under God’s care and according to His leading, we are not yet in fellowship with Him. But in Exodus 19 we have a very precious point—that God now brings His redeemed people into His presence. Prior to that time, they had heard about God. However, they had not heard God’s voice directly. The same is true among many Christians today. Although they have heard about God, they have not experienced God’s direct speaking. Before they came to the mountain of God, the children of Israel heard about God through Moses’ preaching and teaching. But here God brought them directly into His presence. He came down upon the mountain, appeared to the people, and spoke to them. Thus, they heard the voice of God directly and personally, not indirectly through a mediator. In the presence of God they heard His direct speaking.
We should not read the book of Exodus simply according to the letters in black and white. Rather, we should regard everything in every chapter of this book as a picture. We have pointed out that every item in Exodus is a picture. Egypt is a picture of the world, and Pharaoh is a picture of Satan. Likewise, the Passover lamb, the crossing of the Red Sea, the manna, the living water from the cleft rock, and Amalek are also pictures. Moreover, Zipporah, Jethro, and the captains in chapter eighteen are pictures related to the kingdom. Now in chapter nineteen we have a portrait of the fellowship between God’s redeemed people and God Himself. Here His people are brought into the presence of God and into the knowledge of Him. They are brought into the fellowship of God and with God. According to the portrait presented in this chapter, God is present on earth, on the mountaintop, and the people are gathered around the mountain. What a marvelous sight!
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