Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption | Written by L. Michael Morales (InterVarsity Press, 2020, 196 Pages).
Some explanations of how the Bible is one unified storyline are better than others. We hear preachers claiming that every page of the Bible points us to Jesus, but when we’ve read the Scripture cover to cover, we’ve waded through entire chapters that seemed devoid of anything related to the gospel. So, we have doubts and are left wondering how vast portions of the Old Testament relate to each other and how they have anything to do with Christ. It is rare when one book changes the way I think about the unified message of the Bible. But this treasure of a book by Morales is such. It even changed the way I look at the book of Acts.
Like you, I already knew that Israel’s exodus out of Egypt was not only true history but that it also symbolised our exodus out of bondage to sin through Christ our Passover lamb. Before reading this book I already knew that the strange details of the sacrificial system in Leviticus had a lot to do with Jesus dying for us on the cross. What I didn’t know was the following: a) how Genesis is filled with types and shadows of the Exodus from Egypt; b) how the Exodus from Egypt prepares us to understand the exodus from Babylonian exile; c) what the Suffering Servant in Isaiah has to do with exodus and exile; d) how Israel was supposed to be God’s firstborn son, a brother’s keeper for all the other nations, bringing them back to God; e) how the Gospel of John intentionally presents Jesus as the fulfilment of the covenant promises.
Morales helped me see that exile is judgment, banishment from God’s presence, and exodus is return, resurrection into God’s presence. He excels in pithy one-liners that make you think: “Israel was to be a living catechism for the nations.” The book may be difficult for some readers, not because it’s boring but because it has so many fascinating details that it’s difficult to process them all: how is Cain related to Gilgamesh; what does the tower of Babel have to do with exile and exodus; how the five-fold blessing in Genesis reverses the five-fold curse in Genesis; how Egypt is a picture of Sheol; why Pharaoh is portrayed as a dragon and why God strengthened/hardened Pharaoh’s heart; how the near-sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah is nothing less than the foundation for the Passover and the sacrificial system; what Moses’ ascent to and descent from Mount Sinai has to do with Jesus. Prior to reading this book, I couldn’t keep all the sacrifices in the Old Testament straight: what’s the difference between a whole burnt offering and a fellowship offering (and why should I care). But now I am starting to see how they all fit together and why I should care.
This book is put together in such a way that once you start seeing the exodus thread running through the entire Bible, you won’t be able to unsee it. It would be excellent preparation for a preaching or teaching series through the Book of Exodus, or as preparation for a preaching series around Good Friday and Easter. Thinking about preaching through one of the prophetic books? Morales will help you see the underlying theology that reaches back to the Pentateuch and then necessitates the New Testament. The book also works as a standalone study, demonstrating how the entire Scripture pertains to the gospel. But it’s not like you necessarily need some special reason to read it. Anyone who already loves the Word but wants to understand it more will be challenged and blessed by it.