Echoes of the Exodus

(Posted by Paige)

All right, Bible scholars, let me employ you in doing some of my homework for me. Can you think of any mentions of or allusions to the Exodus event in the NT, besides Hebrews 10:1-2? Unless I am completely blanking on something obvious, I think that they must be more indirect than direct. I can easily think of echoes of the Passover or the wilderness wanderings, but echoes of the Exodus are harder to hear. Which is intriguing, given the prevalence of such echoes in an inner-Testamental way, as the prophets rehearse the most significant acts of God in Israel’s history.

A related historical question is whether theological parallels that we see between Jesus’ redemptive work and the Exodus developed from NT teaching or from reading the OT with NT spectacles.



  1. Rowland Ward said,

    June 23, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Lots of indirect stuff. Consider Matthew 2.15 out of Egypt I have called my son and Luke 9.31 the exodus that he would accomplish at Jerusalem.

  2. paigebritton said,

    June 23, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Good ones! Thank you. Do you think that “exodus” in Luke 9:31 implies a full parallel with the first Exodus event, so that Jesus (or Luke?) means to convey that by his death-resurrection-ascension he is accomplishing the ultimate Exodus, the ultimate deliverance of captives? It seems a heavy theological implication for the one Greek word to bear. Might it have a simpler meaning, such as Jesus’ “exit” from the stage of human history?

  3. Rowland Ward said,

    June 23, 2012 at 7:52 am

    There are so many allusions in the NT! So I do think the Luke passage
    means far more than a mere exit. The Matthew passage only makes sense if in some sense Jesus recapitulates Israel’s history. N T Wright among others has said some good things on this, leave aside his peculiarities on justification.

  4. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I know it’s probably not worth mentioning, but the Road to Emmaus would have been an interesting scene to have been a fly on the wall:

    What did Jesus say, as he explained how the Exodus event pointed to ultimately to him? And not just the Exodus, but everything. All I think is, “Whoa.”

    I love these questions that make me think of how God was working with His people as he unfolded over history His plan to call a people to himself. The Israelites saw dimly through their event what we see clearly, since we look back. We should wonder at the Truth, that is Jesus, as having been revealed to us. Why were we made to see these things, things into which angels long to look:

    Peace, brothers and sisters.

  5. ben inman said,

    June 23, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Colossians 1:13-14 has relevant vocabulary and divine action transferring them from darkness to the kingdom, and the whole results in them praising God. Tolerably clear parallel to exodus from Egypt.

  6. K H Acton said,

    June 23, 2012 at 8:37 am

    1 Co. 10:1-1-10, refers mainly to the wilderness but also includes the passage through the sea. I count that as a reference to the exodus.

  7. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 9:00 am

    And my google search yielded an interesting paper from some “biblical studies” department, dot UK. Something by RE Nixon. I really do like the internet. And forums like GB. Google, “exodus event in the new testament” and you should find what I am talking about, about 9 hits. I also just pulled my, “According to Plan” by Graeme Goldsworthy off my shelf, and if I find any sage advice from Goldsworthy, I will pass along. Ooh, this is a good one folks. If you haven’t read Goldsworthy, I’m gonna say, you gotta check it out. Here’s a link. It’s more broadly about a topic called, “Biblical Theology.” I read it maybe 5 years ago. Coming from a non-reformed background growing up, I needed writers who were very simple, down to my level, I needed to start at the milk. Not that Goldworthy is child’s play. It’s just I have a real appreciation for those in the reformed and Biblical studies communities that can explain clearly and simply the issues and the key points to a topic. I really like Bilbical theology. I could really read this Goldsworthy book for another time, I think I have already read it twice:

    It’s a great book if you are wondering how Bible fits together as a complete unit, and one story of God’s work from beginning to end, all pointing to Christ. And it’s relevant in this post, because we are putting our thinking caps on, to consider, how do we view the Exodus in light of NT teaching? Anyway, so many good books out there, and I know there are many that I still don’t know about! So pass along a book recommendation any time to me. Here’s the learning and reading in general. peace.

  8. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 9:21 am

    But getting back to the question, Graeme pulls out 1 Cor 5:7. Check it out.

    He devotes 10 pages (chapter 13) to the exodus. If you want more ‘sage advice’ from Goldworthy, I will read the chapter and e-mail you my thoughts.

    peace, friends.

  9. Chris said,

    June 23, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Check out 1 Peter 1-2. The parallels gripped me after I learned more about the OT at the Gospel Coalition’s National Conference on Preaching Christ in the OT in 2011.

    Specifically look at 1 Peter 1:17-21: notice “throughout the time of your exile” and linking Christ to the Passover lamb.

    Also, 1 Peter 2:9-1: I think that whole passage could be put into the OT and we wouldn’t even notice! :)

    So yes, I think 1 Peter 1-2, when read in light of the exodus and the redeemed people of God, certainly has some sweet connections and allusions :)

    God bless!

  10. Chris said,

    June 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Oh and in 1 Peter 1:1 he calls them “elect exiles.” Not sure if that occurs anywhere else in the NT, but that might be a hint that 1 Peter 1-2 is indeed written with an eye towards the Exodus and OT.

    God bless!

  11. June 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

    John 6 contains a couple references to the “manna from Heaven”.

  12. paigebritton said,

    June 23, 2012 at 11:20 am

    These suggestions are great — although I want to narrow the focus to the actual “exit” or deliverance, the parting of the Sea, which I think is explicitly celebrated in the OT as the ultimate example of God’s mighty work, but is only implicit in the NT. Just trying to tease out where we get the idea that there are parallels between Christ’s work and this OT event.

  13. paigebritton said,

    June 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

    yes, “Beginning with Moses” is the idea here (from Luke 24) — how did Jesus “interpret” the Exodus concerning himself? At times the NT writers clearly connect dots for us, and at times we are left to piece things together ourselves. I’ve been wondering how much help we get with this one in the hints and clues that the NT writers drop, often just in passing.

  14. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Whoa. Good question. Let me read 10 pages of Goldwsorthy before I lay my head tonight. Good question! I’ll see about putting my brain out there in about 10 hours. Not expecting to write an essay. Maybe just a one liner. Pascal says, apologies, “I would have written a shorter letter, if I had the time.” And being the biggest bag of hot air, here on GB, its time I get some sleep :-)

    Thanks, Paige. Thanks for GB


  15. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 11:49 am

    No, don’t need 10 hours. As I understand the question, please direct to a minister of the Gospel.

    I don’t want to speak.

    See Psalm 62:1

  16. paigebritton said,

    June 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Andrew —
    Sorry your Graeme Goldsworthy book recommendation was held up there. Other good authors with the same message include Edmund Clowney (The Unfolding Mystery) and Christopher Wright (Knowing Jesus Through the OT).

  17. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    NP. I heard a great Fesko sermon about the mind of Christ, on Sermon audio. I think fesko delivered it on Good Friday this year.

    So many good authors.

    I really do think understanding Jesus’ perspective, on the Exodus, is valuable. Its just, since I am not a minister, I try to listen more than opine, on such matters.

    This whole blog world of comments etc still leaves me with ‘why’ questions. But seeing as I have found value in my own growth, I wish GB all the best.

    Now to those around me,


  18. michael said,

    June 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Simple minded I know. I would make this notation that every time Jesus in the Gospels makes reference to or quotes from the book of Genesis He is establishing a foundation and foothold to the question being asked ( Can you think of any mentions of or allusions to the Exodus event in the NT, besides Hebrews 10:1-2? ).


    Two reasons why, in my view. First is the fact that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God without beginning and being such He was with God and the Holy Spirit overseeing the writing of the first five books, Genesis—Deuteronomy. Second is the fact that there isn’t any dispute that Moses is the author of those books. So the linkage in my view is established every time Jesus draws from them in His public ministry to the Jews, the lost sheep of Israel recorded in the four Gospels.

    The exodus has great symbolic value for God’s Elect in every generation in understanding the new life of slavery in Jesus Christ we are called into. And because the message of the Gospel established in the four Gospel books, Matthew—John is the place our unique slavery of new life begins to be made plain in written form and further developed in the Epistles and finally in the book of the Revelation to John the echo should grow louder and louder whenever we read from those books, Matthew to the book of the Revelation to John?

    To cite one example of what I mean would be the entire chapter 8 of John’s Gospel ending with these words:

    Joh 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

    Here we have the Son of Man, the Son of God, giving an understanding of “what” Abraham saw. We know that God put Abraham into a deep sleep and showed him the harsh persecution that in time would come upon his very children who would go through and suffer such sufferings. It is these sufferings that brought about the rise of Moses to lead Abraham’s children out of Egypt by the exodus; Jesus quoting from Genesis fully understanding the role of Moses, who wrote Genesis—Deuteronomy, who led the exodus out of Egypt!

    My question then comes to this: “what exactly was Jesus’ unique role back then historically when They were parting the Red Sea so Moses could lead so many people across the dry sea bed of the Red Sea, which ties directly into your question?”

  19. rfwhite said,

    June 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Rev 1.5

  20. Peter Green said,

    June 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm


    Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan river. Of course it has typological connections to Joshua’s Jordan river crossing (as well as Elijah and Elisha’s river crossing as well–I could write a whole essay on the subject), but Joshua’s river crossing has very significant links to the Red Sea crossing in the OT. There are a number of very rare Hebrew words used in both Exod 14-15 and Josh 3-4. Furthermore, somewhere Paul says that the Israelites were “baptized into Moses” (1 Cor 10? One of the other NT passages already referenced)? So the Red Sea crossing was a baptism initiating Israel as a New Creation (cf. the Flood story). Likewise Jesus is baptized in the Jordan signifying that he is the “firstborn” (“this is my beloved Son…”).

    The Red Sea crossing is as much about deliverance as it is about initiation as the New Creation and into the mission of God (i.e., deliverance is always deliverance to mission–i.e. the creation mandate). So Jesus’ baptism signified his initiation as the New Creation (to whom we are united through baptism) and into the mission of God.

    Also see Acts 1 where the parallel Moses->Joshua // Elijah->Elisha // John the Baptist->Jesus which plays out through the OT and the Gospels gets changed. In Acts 1, Jesus is the New Moses (Acts 1:2-3) and the disciples are the New Joshua (cheap shot: this is why postmillennialism is true–we are the Joshua generation, not the wilderness generation and not the exile generation).

  21. David R. said,

    June 25, 2012 at 12:25 am

    This essay covers a good amount of that ground:

  22. Richard said,

    June 25, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Hi Paige, the most immediate one that springs to mind and which hasn’t been mentioned above is Rom. 6-8. Below is NT Wright:

    I have a new proposal to make, which builds on some previous suggestions. In Romans 4:13 Paul declares that God’s promise to Abraham and his family was that they should inherit the world—not, as one might expect, the land of Israel. The language of inheritance is rooted in the biblical theme of Exodus, including the promise, and eventual possession, of the land. Paul uses this language to describe his larger vision, of the whole world as the inheritance of Abraham’s Jewish-plus-gentile children.

    The same theme emerges at the climax of Romans 8, in a context replete with echoes of Exodus. The “children of God” are led by the Spirit, must not go back to slavery, and are declared to be God’s heirs, fellow heirs with the Messiah (Romans 8:12-17). Their inheritance will be granted when all of creation experiences its exodus from slavery and shares the freedom of the glory of God’s children (Romans 8:18-25). Romans 8 thus explains what Romans 4 had promised.

    Does the thought, then, simply leap over the intervening chapters, or is Paul working towards this point throughout? After the summary statement of Romans 5:1-11, which sets out the results of the argument so far (because of Jesus’ messianic death and resurrection, all believers are assured of God’s love and of the promise of glory), Paul tells an overarching version of the biblical story from Adam to Christ, in which the whole human race prior to the coming of the Messiah is enslaved to sin as Israel was to Egypt. Shockingly, the arrival of the Torah (the Law) (Romans 5:20) only intensified Israel’s state of Adamic sinfulness. Within that narrative the problem is, How is liberation then effected?

    The answer appears in chapter 6, in which liberation from slavery is a major theme (Romans 6:16-23). Baptism then becomes the Exodus moment, the equivalent of the Red Sea for the renewed people of God. Just as Paul speaks of the Israelites being baptized into Moses when crossing the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:2), so here the whole renewed people is baptized into the Messiah. His dying and rising were the real Passover and Exodus (compare 1 Corinthians 5:7); now all his people are the truly liberated ones.

    When the children of Israel came through the Red Sea, they arrived at Sinai and were given the Law. In Romans 7:1-8:11 Paul declares that the renewed people are given the Spirit to do “what the law could not” (Romans 8:3). He argues (through the device of the “I,” speaking of himself as the embodiment of Jewish history) that when the Law was originally given Israel recapitulated the sin of Adam (Romans 7:7-12, looking back to Romans 5:20), that in her continuing life under the Torah Israel finds herself simultaneously desiring the good and unable to avoid the buildup of sin, and that Israel, despite her great vocation, remains “in Adam” (Romans 7:1-6, 13-25). God, however, has dealt with sin and given new life, to those who share the resurrection of Christ through the Spirit (Romans 8:1-11).

  23. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

    That NT Wright passage is great! What a great reminder in Rom 8:11 that if the Spirit dwells in us, our mortal bodies are given life through that Spirit. I don’t think I have yet found a chapter in the Bible as powerful as Romans 8, it’s great hearing it used in this context. Thanks, Richard.

  24. paigebritton said,

    June 25, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Wow, Richard, great find. Interesting how NTW’s view supports (in what to me is an entirely new way) a past-tense reading of the moral struggle Paul describes in Rom. 7. (I am used to the arguments Doug Moo makes for this reading, which are structural rather than redemptive-historical.) Fascinating connection of the progression of these chapters with the Exodus. I would love to hear others’ evaluations of what Wright proposes here.

  25. paigebritton said,

    June 25, 2012 at 7:45 am

    David, thanks for the article you referenced (by James Dennison). It’s similar to NTW’s take on the reflection of the Exodus pattern in Romans, only Dennison uses a wider lens to note how the events of Jesus’ life (Gospels) and their implications (Epistles) show forth the “pattern of prophetic eschatology: from the point of the old beginning, a new beginning — a new exodus, a new passage of the sea, a new sojourn in the wilderness, a new covenant, a new entrance into the land.”

  26. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 25, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Ok, I’m gonna type up the summary from Goldsworthy’s book I mention above. I think the question in this blog post is broad. And you will see in my answer and analysis from below the quote that we could say much since the question is broad. Quote:

    “God’s covenant promises appear to have no substance when the chosen people find themselves in slavery to a foreign power. But God’s faithfulness is shown in the redemptive act by which he saves Israel from their captivity. Signs and wonders demonstrate that entry into God’s kingdom is only possible through a supernatural work of God himself.”
    -Page 138

    (AB Comment – I mean, “wow.” I love that last sentence. We see the resurrection, perhaps, as the ultimate supernatural work of God himself rescuing you and me from our captivity and bondage in sin as we have faith in the living Christ today. Let’s avoid 40 years of wandering if we can, brothers ans sisters. The promised land is ours. Believe on Christ, and enter in to the land flowing with milk and honey. Which all points to the true promised land, the true home to which we long for each day as we roam this earth. I do see the exodus event as a very striking example that we can all allude to, as we all experience captivity to sin, and a recognition that without the supernatural act of God on our behalf, in the sending of His son, through the incarnation, we would not have hope. So therefore trust with me in the promises of our covenant God. As we look forward to our eternal home, which will not be a piece of real estate, but true communion with God.)

  27. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Paige, I like that comment / quotation at the end. The word I keep seeing is, “new.” What a wonderful word.

  28. Richard said,

    June 26, 2012 at 6:54 am

    The reference for the quote is ‘The New Inheritance According to Paul’. The same idea is in his Romans commentary.

  29. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I’ve heard of NPP, but not NIAP. I’ll have to read this in the coming days. Thanks, Richard. GB sure is managing to keep my reading list chalk full! I’ve got a lot of commuting days ahead of me, and Kindle’s text to speech feature means you too can listen to a book or any text, albeit in a rather computerized voice. It’s actually not that bad… Just saying, Kindles are awesome (and no, I don’t yet own Amazon stock…)

  30. michael said,

    June 26, 2012 at 11:31 am


    excellent article! Reading that reminds me of this:

    Rom 5:16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.
    Rom 5:17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
    Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.


    Rom 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

  31. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I really enjoy the straight up scripture comment post. Romans is a great book. I actually used Dr. Tim Keller’s study on Romans to lead our Bible study. We only got through 8 chapters. Believe you me, it’s a tough book of the Bible to lead a Bible study with, even with the aid of Dr. Keller, and all his questions and answer key…

  32. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    And more to your comment, Michael, I think my favorite of your selections is this one:

    Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

    It’s almost too good to be true!

  33. michael said,

    June 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm


    what made it significant to me was when I learned that in Romans 5:16 the English word “justification” meant something different than the English word “justification” in verse 18.

    In verse 16 justification means an “equitable deed” while in verse 18 it means one’s “acquittal”.

    Because of Jesus’ “equitable deed”, His dying on the cross for guilty souls as we are, God then declares us acquitted!

    Hmmmmmm? How can these things be? That is just as amazing a revelation as the revelation that came over Mary when Gabriel announced to her her selection and election to be the Virgin that would bear Him so He could go on to be able to do that equitable deed! And as you say, “it’s almost too good to be true!”

    You better bet the devils are complaining about our guilt before them accusing us to God’s face day and night Who sent Christ to die on the Cross for our sins according to the Scriptures notwithstanding His innocence in His deed done for us His Elect by suffering at the hands of ungodly and wicked men! :)

    The Apostle Paul made this point earlier in chapter 3:

    Rom 3:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

  34. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Michael, you tie Scripture together beautifully. It reminds me of a quote, along the lines of, “deep down, we are all poets.”

    Let your heart sing, Michael. And when Scripture is your guide, it will know no bounds.


  35. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I’m still thinking about it too, Michael. J Gresham Machen distinguishes between active and passive obedience of Christ, I hear that tension in your separation of the meaning of justification.

    If only I knew some greek and hebrew…

    No time like the present, I guess, to learn such things!

    I appreciate your bringing your insight. Take care.

  36. Mike said,

    June 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Mark 12:26. Jesus refering to Moses and the burning bush in part as synechdoche for exodus story as resurrection story.

  37. Henry said,

    July 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I’m not sure if its what you’re looking for, but Stephen discusses the Exodus events in his defense in Acts 7. I just remember it because my pastor preached this chapter a few weeks ago.

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