What About the Coming Saviour? In our last lesson, we learned several significant things: (1) humanity disobeyed God's command to replenish the earth and God punished us with different languages resulting in various ethnic groups. (2) God began to narrow the lineage by which He would bring about the perfect human sacrifice to pay for our sins. He chose Abraham and promised him a son, Isaac. Then, (3) God tested Abraham by ordering him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham obeyed and God graciously intervened and spared Isaac. In this test, we saw a picture of the future perfect human blood-sacrifice that would be needed to pay for our sins. (4) We also met Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, and his twelve sons whose descendents are the twelve tribes of Israel. (5) Our study ended with the chosen family (Israel) suffering as slaves in Egypt, as God had foretold to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-16. The Chosen Family--Slaves In Egypt And suffer they did. Initially, they were welcome guests, a national leader's family moving to Egypt to avoid a tremendous famine. (You can read how God arranged for Joseph to lead Egypt and provide food for the chosen family in Genesis chapters 37-50.) Soon, the Egyptian attitudes changed. "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said..., Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour" (Exodus 1:8-14). Unfortunately for the Egyptians, God's blessing remained on Israel. They continued to grow in number and strength in spite of even more vicious attempts to control them. "And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. And 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 1:15-22). Egypt was a pagan society. They tried to use infanticide to keep the Israelite nation from growing. Notice the discrimination against young males. Obviously, the Egyptians wanted to weaken Israel's ability to defend itself by preventing boys from growing into manhood. Fortunately for Israel, the midwives feared God and refused to kill the baby boys. This caused Pharaoh to order the parents, instead of the midwives, to kill their own sons. God Raises Up A Deliverer An eighty-year-old man emerges from the dusty wilderness. He has a message from God, "Let my people go." But the Egyptian king is not impressed, he orders the stranger out and makes Israel's burdens worse. The man is Moses. (You can read about his birth and life in Exodus chapters 2-4.) Moses tells Pharaoh to let Israel go, but the Egyptian king refuses to give up his slave laborers. Moses warns Pharaoh of God's judgments that will come if the people are not freed. Pharaoh continues to refuse even though many annoying, disgusting, and downright terrifying judgments from God curse Egypt. (You can read about it in Exodus chapters 5-13.) To learn more about the deliverer God would one day send to pay for our sins, we need to examine the last plague. "And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether" (Exodus 11:1). What would be so horrible that Pharaoh would throw the Israelites out of the country? "And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 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. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel" (Exodus 11:4-7). God would kill the firstborn of all humans and beasts throughout all of Egypt in one night. But how would God spare Israel from this slaughter? By a blood sacrifice that again pictures the still-future Saviour of humanity. "And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying...Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house… Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it...And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:1-13). God could spare Israel from the judgment He poured out on all of Egypt because of the blood sacrifice. Because Israel obeyed, they were spared the slaughter and God "passed over" them. Thus, this event and the feast that commemorated it were called the Passover. Notice again that the substitute had to picture sinlessness by having no blemishes or defects. To ensure it had no defects, it was to be selected on the tenth day and watched until the fourteenth day. Also, the blood had to be applied to the doorposts of the house. The sacrifice was useless if not properly applied. Israel Leaves Egypt The nation of Israel did as God commanded and offered the sacrifice, applying the blood to the door frame as instructed by God. "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men" (Exodus 12:29-33). God delivered Israel by His miraculous power. The next few books in the Old Testament detail the laws God gave them and how they returned to Canaan. From Egyptian Bondage to Roman Conquest As we look back on history, we can see God setting the stage for His great plan to rescue us from our sins. In appreciation of this, we traditionally date the years before Christ's arrival as BC, meaning "Before Christ." The years are then counted down (or backwards) from the beginning of human history approximate when Christ was born. God called Abraham around 2000 BC. Somewhere in the 1400s BC the Israelites left Egypt. God gave them the land of Caanan and they were ruled by judges until King Saul was anointed by Samuel the prophet. King David and his son Solomon ruled the Israelite kingdom around 1000 BC. Although God blessed Israel, Solomon and his sons turned from worshipping God to false idols. This wicked sin of idolatry and ingratitude eventually led to the deportation of the northern ten tribes by the Assyrian empire about 722 BC. Not heeding God's warnings, the remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin (mostly the tribe of Judah, hence the name "Jews") were captured by the Babylonian empire about 586 BC. About ten years before this, God's presence and glory left His Temple in Jerusalem where He had appeared since Solomon's reign. About 500 BC, a remnant of the Jews returned to Israel from their Babylonian deportation and set up a small nation. They rebuilt the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, but God's presence did not return. By 300 BC, Alexander the Great had come and gone and established the Greek empire. After Alexander's death, His generals quickly split up the empire, but the conquest spread Greek language and philosophy across the entire Middle-East. The Egyptian and Syrian splinters of Alexander's empire marched through, conquered, and trampled the Jews time and again for several hundred years. Around 165 BC, the Maccabees led the Jews in establishing their own little nation and freed them from the leftovers of Alexander's domain. Finally, just before 50 BC, the Roman empire dominated Israel and all regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea as well as parts of what would become France, England, and various central European countries. More Details About God's Perfect Sacrifice During these centuries, God revealed His plan for the coming Saviour. Moses wrote that the Saviour would be a prophet: "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him" (Deuteronomy 18:15, 17-19). In Psalm 22, God uses the psalmist to paint a startling picture of what would happen to the coming Saviour. "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture (Psalm 22:14-18). The coming Saviour would pay for mankind's sins and be our substitute, bearing the punishment we deserve. His pain and suffering would be more than we can imagine. But, He would also reign over a righteous kingdom. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6-7). Throughout their captivity and even when the small remnant returned to the land, the Jews hoped for that ruler who would bring the kingdom that would never end. That ruler would come. But first, He must suffer and die. And that is not what they expected or wanted.

Lesson #8 Review

1.How did the Egyptians make life hard for Israel?

2.What resulted during Israel’s stay in Egypt?

3.How was the Passover a picture of the coming Saviour?

4.What do we learn about the Saviour in Deuteronomy 18?

5.What do we learn about the coming Saviour in Psalm 22?

6.Why did God remove His presence from the Temple?

7.What does Isaiah 9:6-7 tell us about the coming Prince?