Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ransom Captive Israel (Part 2)

2. The New Exodus
The dominant image used by the prophets to describe the hope for the restoration from exile is the Exodus. Just as the Lord had delivered his people from their bondage in Egypt, so too in the future the Lord would gather his people from all the lands to which they had been scattered. This is the dominant theme of Isaiah 40-55. Rikki Watts explains: “Although other canonical writings appeal to the Exodus tradition, here it is elevated to its most prominent status as a hermenuetic, and according to some commentators, shapes the heart of 40-55.” Examples of Exodus typology in passages that refer to the New Exodus include wilderness imagery, the theme of “the way,” sea imagery, and references to a "new song" to the Lord" (i.e., akin to the song sung after the parting of the Red Sea). These themes are especially brought out in Book IV of the Psalter.

Yet, the New Exodus would be greater than the first because, whereas in the first Exodus, Israel came out of the nation of Egypt and journeyed to the promised land, the New Exodus would bring about the conversion of the nations who would come with Israel to Zion. The prophet Micah states:
“Many nations shall come, and say,
‘Come, let us climb the mount of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
that we may walk in his paths.’
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”[1]

Isaiah, likewise states:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and to restore the preserved of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”[2]

The idea here is that in seeing the Lord restore his people the nations will be convinced that he is the true God and turn to him.[3]

Continue to Part 3...
[1] Micah 4:2.
[2] Isaiah 49:6.
[3] This is especially clear in Ezekiel 36:23-24: “I will prove the holiness of my great name, profaned among the nations, in whose midst you have profaned it. Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when in their sight I prove my holiness through you. For I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land.”

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