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The Egyptian Ransom

Posted Jan 13, 2016 by Adrian Ebens in Character of God
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I discussed previously in the article the Ten Plagues Preach the Cross the fact that the plagues of Egypt reveal the cross of Christ. This thought is further confirmed by the words of Isaiah

Isa 43:3  For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

Christ is the one given as a ransom

1 Tim 2:5-6  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  (6)  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

So we see that the light which lights every man that comes into the world (John 1:9) was afflicted in all the afflictions of the Egyptians (Isa 63:9), thus revealing the sufferings of Christ slain from the foundation of the world.

If we dig a little deeper into the death of the first born in Egypt we notice something very interesting

Exo 11:4-5  And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out [H3318] into the midst [H8432] of Egypt:  (5)  And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.

The word for go out is yâtsâ' (יצא) which means to come out, go out, exit or go forth. The word for midst is tâvek (תּוך) means middle, through, among, between, from among, out (of). Depending on the context the word midst can mean to move into the middle or something or out from the middle.

Some translations interpret these verses as follows

Exo 11:4-5  So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.  (5)  Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. (NIV)

When we understand that God protects every person on this planet from the destroyer, then a different emphasis is seen in the text

Exo 11:4-5  And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out through Egypt:  (5)  And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die.

The thought here is that God will move out of a position of protection for the firstborn of Egypt and this allows the destroyer to kill them. The key point is that God does not simply remove himself but He goes through the middle of Egypt. This thought is important because the same word is used when Abraham laid out a sacrifice in two parts.

Gen 15:10  And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, [H8432] and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

The same Hebrew word is used to describe the dividing of the animals as passing through the midst.

Gen 15:13-17  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;  (14)  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out [H3318] with great substance.  (15)  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.  (16)  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.  (17)  And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

The Lord describes to Abraham the sufferings of his children and Egypt and how they would then come out (same Hebrew word H3318). This will not take place until the iniquity of the Amorites is full. When the cup of iniquity is full then God no longer can protect them from the destroyer. When the Israelites had been in Egypt for 400 years the cup of the Amorites became full and the way became open for Israel to move into that territory because the Lord could no longer protect them.

The Lord then demonstrates the moving out process when the smoking furnace and the burning lamp representing the Father and Son pass through the divided animals. This process is a symbol of the sufferings of Christ when He cried “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” When the Lord passed out through Egypt he made a path for Israel to be released from their bondage but the firstborn of Egypt was sacrificed. The only way for the Lord to make a way for Israel was through the death of the firstborn. Egypt was given as a ransom for Israel; it was a symbol of the cross.

When we consider the death of Christ, what was is it that killed him? The Father passed through the midst and moved away causing Christ to cry out “Why have you left me?” At the same time Satan had him nailed to a cross and was doing all he could to physically destroy Christ. In the case of Christ, the separation caused his death rather than the physical suffering. When Rome placed its spear in His side he was already dead. If He was not, Satan would make sure of it physically.  

In Egypt when the Lord passed through, He left Egypt to the mercy of the destroyer. As they had no relationship with Him, they did not feel the crushing blow of that separation for they were already dead in trespasses and sins but when the destroyer was allowed to move in, he caused the death of the first born; he put his spear into their side as it were. The Lord should have let all of Egypt perish but he limited the power of the destroyer to the firstborn to reveal what this act of moving away did to Christ. It caused His death.

Truly the gospel was preached to Israel and oh how much suffering Christ experienced in the death of all the firstborn of Egypt. It was a prototype experience of what Christ would suffer on the cross.

The act of Abraham in laying out the flesh and the passing through the middle by the Lord revealed the process of what would happen 400 years later, revealing the gospel was preached to Abraham also. Abraham was longing for the manifestation of his only begotten Son and the Lord revealed what would happen to His only begotten Son in Egypt and on the cross in order that Abraham might have his son.

Isa 43:3  For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.