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Posts Tagged ‘Exodus


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It would be difficult to call a single book my best theological purchase ever, because of the different ways that books can come to us at just the right time and can interact with and build upon each other. Lewis was a particular help to me because I was in a season of doubt. If Van Til hadn’t taught me to be a conscious Calvinist, I would never have needed Carson to steer me out of the hyper-Calvinist ditch, nor would I have been willing to work hard enough at Vos to learn more. And Middle-earth and Narnia are clearly in the running. Plus, I just haven’t read enough to be making such lofty pronouncements.

But realizing this, and even though I’m only partway into it, in my own small way I think the James Jordan audio collection will stand as my best theological purchase ever. Jordan has really incredible insights into the Bible. There are many books worth of material here; five months in and I have only made it through his Genesis lectures and partway into Exodus. But I am hooked, and if nothing else, I feel much better prepared and much more excited for family Bible reading. Jordan has the ability to illuminate many of the “weird” parts of the Bible so that they begin to make sense, and I’m having to give up some patronizing attitudes toward parts of history. It’s exciting to see someone wrestling with why God gave us particular details or obscure passages, even if we don’t have yet have enough information to answer that in every case. Jordan is constantly drawing out vast connections throughout Scripture, including rich symbolism and typology. Here’s a small but surprising example: combining Genesis 39:1, 39:20-23, and 41:10, we see that Joseph never left Potiphar’s house in his imprisonment! It is not clear whether the “keeper of the prison” is Potiphar himself or another of Potiphar’s servants. Regardless, Potiphar seems to have recognized that God blessed him through Joseph, and perhaps even recognized Joseph’s innocence (which would heighten the injustice of Joseph’s imprisonment).

This week I am listening to Jordan’s comments on Exodus 21. While drawing connections to related passages elsewhere in the Pentateuch, he observes that Hebrew uses a single word, goel or ga’al, to convey both the idea of the kinsman redeemer and the avenger of blood. So the word conveys a person’s status as next-of-kin as much as it does these distinct responsibilities attached to it. Jordan has several valuable observations to make on the blood avenger; in particular, he distinguishes it from a mere family feud by showing it to be a real civil responsibility to guard against bloodguilt (Numbers 35:30-34). Otherwise the land itself will rise up to serve as avenger instead (as in Genesis 4:10-12, Leviticus 20:22, Leviticus 26:18-20). Considering the cities of refuge, Jordan points out that the death of the high priest’s cleansing the land (Numbers 35:28) is another type of Jesus.

Jordan also makes the fascinating offhand remark that this dual use for goel lends further support for the doctrine of particular redemption (or limited atonement). First, it is not possible to identify Jesus as redeemer in the abstract: he is the redeemer of particular individuals who share a kinship with him. Second, we cannot separate the office of redeemer from that of avenger: as a redeemer there are others estranged from him who will suffer his vengeance. Like so many other things, it comes back to adoption.

I’m not trying to prove the doctrine of particular redemption in offering this, and if I were I would take pains to guard against the hyper-Calvinist idea that there is simply no sense in which Jesus shows kindness to those who perish, or in which he died for the sins of the whole world. But as someone who holds to particular redemption, this is a neat confirmation, as well as a great example of the sort of depth that Jordan routinely offers even in passing comments.

Picture source: Rembrandt.


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Chapter summaries in Exodus.

Exodus 1 – A new Pharaoh subjugates Israel into hard labor and seeks to kill all male babies.
Exodus 2 – Moses is spared; Moses kills an Egyptian and flees to Midian; God hears Israel’s cries.
Exodus 3 – God appears to Moses and calls him to lead Israel out of Egypt into Canaan.
Exodus 4 – God encourages and rebukes Moses, appoints Aaron, foretells Pharaoh’s hardening. Return to Egypt; Israel encouraged.
Exodus 5 – Plea to Pharaoah; work is increased. Displeasure with Moses and Aaron; plea to God.
Exodus 6 – God encourages Moses; Israel despairs. Generations of Israel; Moses despairs twice.
Exodus 7 – God encourages Moses, foretells hardening and deliverance. Sign of rod, plague of blood.
Exodus 8 – Plagues of frogs, gnats, insects; Pharaoh remains hardened.
Exodus 9 – Plagues of disease on livestock, boils, hail; God purposes to proclaim his name. Pharaoh remains hardened.
Exodus 10 – Plagues of locusts and darkness; Pharaoh remains hardened.
Exodus 11 – Israel finds favor with Egyptians. God plans to kill Egypt’s firstborn, “make a distinction” between the nations, display his wonders.
Exodus 12 – Institution of the Passover. Israel is sent out of Egypt, in haste with plunder.
Exodus 13 – Firstborn sanctified to God; God leads Israel to the Red Sea.
Exodus 14 – Pharaoh pursues Israel; Israel rebels, but God delivers them through the Red Sea and they fear God.
Exodus 15 – Israel praises God for their deliverance. Israel grumbles and God makes the waters of Marah sweet.
Exodus 16 – Israel grumbles; God provides quail and manna.
Exodus 17 – Israel grumbles and God provides water from a rock. Moses raises his hands for the battle with Amalek.
Exodus 18 – Jethro returns with Moses’ wife and children, and sacrifices to God. Jethro counsels Moses to establish able leaders.
Exodus 19 – Pentecost: God, holy and merciful, charges Israel to obey and live as his people.
Exodus 20 – On the basis of their deliverance, God commands Israel to obey ten commandments, promising blessing to all who remember his name.
Exodus 21 – Laws about slaves, murder and livestock.
Exodus 22 – Laws about livestock, theft, negligence, idolatry, injustice and honoring God.
Exodus 23 – Laws about lying and injustice, Sabbath year, Sabbath, feasts, sacrifice. Promise of victory in Canaan.
Exodus 24 – Confirmation of the covenant, with sacrifices; Moses on the mountain with God.
Exodus 25 – Instructions for giving; instructions for the ark of the covenant, table for bread, and lamp stand.
Exodus 26 – Instructions for the tabernacle.
Exodus 27 – Instructions for the bronze altar, courtyard, and lamp oil.
Exodus 28 – Instructions for the clothing and ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests.
Exodus 29 – Instructions for the consecration of Aaron and his sons by anointing and sacrifice; instructions for daily sacrifices.
Exodus 30 – Instructions for the altar of incense, census tax, bronze basin, anointing oil, and incense.
Exodus 31 – Bezalel and Oholiab gifted and called to fashion the temple and its implements; command to keep the Sabbath; giving of the tablets.
Exodus 32 – The golden calf; Moses intercedes; the sons of Levi destroy 3000, and God sends a plague.
Exodus 33 – God will not go with Israel from Sinai; Moses appeals, and asks to see God’s glory.
Exodus 34 – God proclaims his name to Moses and renews the giving of the covenant; Moses’ face shone.
Exodus 35 – Moses reviews Sabbath law; Israel donates to the tabernacle.
Exodus 36 – Bezalel and Oholiab oversee the construction of the tabernacle.
Exodus 37 – Bezalel makes the ark, table, lampstand, altar of incense, anointing oil and incense.
Exodus 38 – Bezalel makes the altar of burnt offering, the bronze basin and the court. Accounting of materials used in the tabernacle.
Exodus 39 – The high priest’s garments; Moses blesses the work.
Exodus 40 – The tabernacle is erected and consecrated; Aaron and his sons are consecrated. The glory of the LORD fills the tabernacle.

Written by Scott Moonen

September 27, 2007 at 3:04 am

Posted in Bible Chapter Summaries

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