Israel’s Threefold Exodus – Part 1

Arno Froese

God is the originator of all things, and He in His wisdom chose one man through whom He intended to bless all the families of the earth. That man was Abraham. What was the purpose of choosing Abraham? In short, to bring forth salvation for mankind through faith. That means, long before Israel became a nation and later received the law of God through Moses, the avenue of faith was already a reality.

The Faith Issue
At the very beginning, in paradise, Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden; it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We know from reading Genesis chapter 3, that the serpent presented to Eve a lie. She believed the lie more than the truth of God. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6). Therefore, for man to be saved, he must reject the lie of Satan and believe the simple truth of God’s Word; that is as plain as day.

Abraham’s Calling
Here are the first three verses of Genesis 12: “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

This reveals the great “I will” of God. It is His will that in Abraham, “…all families of the earth be blessed.” How did Abraham react? “So Abraham departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him” (Genesis 12:4a). Abraham believed and obediently followed God’s instruction!

Genesis 15:6 reads: “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

Israel’s Beginning
“And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel” (Genesis 35:10).

Israel’s beginning, at least the name, goes back to Jacob. Jacob (Israel) was the grandson of Abraham. Abraham, however, is called in Scripture, “…the father of all them that believe…” (Romans 4:11). Verse 16 confirms: “…the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” And verse 18 adds: “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.” Therefore, Abraham is not limited to Israel, but to “all them that believe.” The key word is “faith”: believing in the only true God who created heaven and earth.

The Name Change
The name Israel came to being when a name change took place. Jacob, the supplanter, the deceiver, becomes Israel, meaning “fighter with God.” The reason? “…For as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).

Reading chapter 32, we notice that Jacob did everything in his power on the one hand, and on the other he relied on God. “Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude” (verses 11-12). He based his prayers on the promises God had made to him.

Jacob’s Self Help
Jacob does what comes naturally. Genesis 32:13 reads: “And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother.” Jacob was very generous; apparently, he could afford to be, for God had blessed him abundantly.

Jacob instructs his servants to leave a space between each group, and when they saw Esau, they were to tell him that the abundance of livestock was a present. “Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us” (verse 18).

Jacob did everything in his power to appease his brother Esau. “And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me” (verse 20).

“Jacob Was Left Alone”
Next comes Jacob’s separation from all that he had: “And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had” (Genesis 32:22-23). Now Jacob was separated from all that he had. The next verse reads, “And Jacob was left alone.”

God-Given Name: Israel
What happened next? “There wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day” (Genesis 32:24b). It is important to realize that Jacob did not wrestle with the man, but in the first place the man wrestled with him. In other words, the initiator of this wrestling match was the Lord.

Then comes the moment of the decisive question: “What is thy name?” The name Jacob carried the guilt, the sin, the character of his deceptive works. Jacob confessed: “Jacob,” and that’s precisely the point where this unnamed heavenly identity proclaims: “...Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel…” (Genesis 32:28). From that point on, we read the word “Israel” 2,570 times in our Bible.

While he was told he “shall be called no more Jacob,” we notice when reading Scripture that the old name, Jacob, appears repeatedly. Even in the New Testament, Jacob appears 27 times.

If we ask why, the answer is rather simple: Jacob represents the old nature, while Israel represents the new nature. The name Jacob was given by his parents, but the name Israel was given by God.

Beginning in Egypt
Jacob had twelve sons, and one was special; his name was Joseph. His brothers did not favor Joseph, and one day he was sold to a Midianite merchant, an Ishmaelite, and he was brought to the land of Egypt.

Because of a severe famine in the land of Canaan, as well as Egypt, Joseph’s brothers—in search of food—found out their sold brother was second in command of Egypt. This resulted in Jacob moving his clan to the land of Egypt. We read in Genesis 46:26-27: “All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six; And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.” That was the family and the beginning of the nation of Israel.

Serving in Egypt
While in Egypt, something strange happened. Israel grew into a mighty nation. As a matter of fact, mightier than Egypt, as documented in Exodus 1:7: “And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.”

The new king of Egypt realized the danger: “…Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we” (verse 9).

Fear created a solution. Pharaoh ordered the killing of each newborn Israeli male. There must have been much weeping and mourning as the newborn male children were murdered. But the law is the law, “Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive” (Exodus 1:22).

Israel Did Not Rebel
It seems strange that Israel did not rebel against the Egyptians. After all, Pharaoh stated: “…the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we” (Exodus 1:9). They could have rebelled; they could have subdued the Egyptians.

There are a number of reasons why Israel did not fight, but two need to be mentioned. First, prophecy had to be fulfilled. We read in Genesis 15:13: “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.” That simply means Israel had to serve Egypt.

Second, Israel had to learn to be enslaved, to be obedient to the government, and to wait for the redeemer.

Moses the Redeemer
The redeemer came; it was Moses, who went to Pharaoh and requested, “Let my people go.” But Pharaoh did not let the people go. The opposite was the result; he added an additional burden to the Israelis. “And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw” (Exodus 5:10-12). Instead of being liberated from their burden and bondage, their burden  increased significantly. Why?

The Straw Issue
There was a reason for it; before the children of Israel moved out of the land of Egypt, they went to the Egyptians to collect silver, gold and valuables: “And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians” (Exodus 12:35-36).

How did they know where to go and who had the money? Remember, they went throughout the land of Egypt to gather straw. That means the Israelis knew who lived where, who had the financial means. They went right back to the places they knew to go. We may say, they collected payment for their labor. That was the real reason why Pharaoh told the Israelis to get their own straw.

Israel in the Desert
The people of Israel saw the supernatural miracle when they crossed the Reed Sea as on dry ground, while the Egyptians following drowned. That should have given the people confidence in the God of Israel, who was on their side.

The Prepared Promised Land
It is helpful to read the prophecies Moses made before Israel entered the Promised Land. “And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).

Thus, we learn that God had everything prepared for the children of Israel to take possession of the land:
• Cities they built not
• Houses full of goods
• Wells of water they did not dig
• Trees they did not plant

This reminds us of the words of Scripture: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

Israel’s first Exodus produced the Old Testament, the tabernacle, and later the temple. God the Father was introduced to the people of Israel.

(This is an abbreviated message from the book Israel’s Threefold Exodus, Item #1088.)

Midnight Call - 02/2019

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