Passing Through the Red Sea

Our apologies, it has been awhile since the last post. Been trying to sort out how to proceed after finishing the Bloodstained Door series. This time, we will finish up the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Also, we will present info about dramatic event at the Red Sea.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

First, let’s add to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast marked the Hebrews as a unique people. In Exodus 13:9, it was as though they were branded on their hands and forehead. In Exodus 13:6–9, God gave them their instructions for this feast. During this feast is a time of remembrance.

Remembrance of:

  1. The hardships of Egypt.
  2. The exodus.
  3. God’s protections and miracles.
  4. The promise land.
  5. God’s love.

The story is to be taught to their children and their children’s children. During this feast, There were holy days and festive days. God wants to fellowship with His children.

Redeem the Firstborn

Exodus 13:12–14 (NIV)
12you are to give over to the LORD the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the LORD. 13Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.
14“In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

What did it mean to “redeem every firstborn among your sons“? During the night the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God spared the oldest son (firstborn) of every house marked with blood on the door frames. Because God saved the lives of the firstborn, he had a rightful claim to them. But God commanded the Israelites to buy their sons back from Him.

Later on, God set apart the Levites for Himself in place of all of the firstborn (Numbers 3:11–13,50–51; 18:15–16).

Nugget: In Luke 2:22–24, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem when He was a month old. Since Jesus was their firstborn, He was presented to the Lord in accordance to the Law. The offering of a pair of doves indicates that Joseph and Mary were very poor (Leviticus 12:8). This event occurred before the Magi gave the three gifts.

This ritual served three main purposes:

  1. It was a reminder to the people of how God had spared their sons from death and freed them all from slavery.
  2. It showed God’s high respect for human life in contrast to the pagan gods who their worshipers believed.
  3. It foreshadowed the day when Jesus the Messiah would buy us back paying the price for our sin once and for all.

Because God had saved all Israelite firstborn and rescued them from the Egyptians, He now considered them His property.

Read Ruth 3:1–9.

A kinsman-redeemer is a relative who volunteers to take responsibility for the extended family. When a woman’s husband died, the law (Deuteronomy. 25:5–10) provided that she could marry a brother of her dead husband or nearest relative.

We have a kinsman-redeemer in Jesus the Messiah who, though He was God, came to earth as a man in order to save us.

By His death on the cross, He has redeemed us from sin (separation from His Father). He purchased us to be His own possession (1 Peter:1:18–19). This guarantees our eternal inheritance.

First Born Donkey

In some Bible translations, Exodus 13:13 specifically mentions donkeys. Where else in the Bible are donkeys mentioned? Read on to discover an amazing but rarely mentioned aspect of the Messiah’s entry into Jerusalem.

Leviticus 11:3–4 (HCSB)
You may eat any animal with divided hooves and that chews the cud.  But among the ones that chew the cud or have divided hooves you are not to eat these:
the camel, though it chews the cud,
does not have divided hooves — it is unclean for you;

Donkeys are unclean animals.

Exodus 13:13 (HCSB)
You must redeem every firstborn of a donkey with a flock animal, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. However, you must redeem every firstborn among your sons.
Matthew 21:2 (HCSB)
telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.

Jesus rode an unclean animal into Jerusalem. Bible doesn’t specifically say, but it is likely the colt was a first born donkey AND it had not been redeemed according to Exodus 13:13. Thus, Jesus could had been demostrating that He was going to pay the redemption price for this colt.

Nugget: Ishmael is referred to as being like a wild donkey. God also promised redemption for his decedents.

Patterns and Cycles

When we started “The Feasts Blog,” we had a general idea about shadows, foreshadows, patterns within patterns, etc. Through these interesting studies, we have been observing many layers of spiritual facts and truths being revealed. It has been a spiritual treasure hunt looking for nuggets. Ruth is a good example of patterns and shadows.

We pray that these nuggets:

  1. Strengthens your faith.
  2. Gives you joy unspeakable.
  3. Elevates your love for God.
  4. Brings forth a stronger will to follow Jesus.
  5. Opens a spiritual ear to hear and obey the Holy Spirit.
  6. Increases your godly love toward others.
  7. Spurs a desire to strive for holiness.

Now, we are seeing cycles:

  1. Full circle (a return to the starting point):
    1. From the earthly garden to the heavenly garden.
    2. Crossing of the Red Sea and back again (Jeremiah 49:21).
    3. Same places and towns in which several Biblical events take place.
  2. Life cycles that repeats:
    1. Our natural birth, spiritual birth, natural death, and eternal life for each of us.
    2. A seed is planted to die to produce more seeds (life).
    3. Tilling, planting, watering, harvesting, tilling, …

The story behind the crossing of “Red Sea”

The exodus started at the blood stained door (see blog on The Blood Stain Door). Entering the door was life, protection, provision, God’s love, and amazing grace. Remember Gentiles were also behind that door. Finally, exiting the door for the promise land (including our heavenly land) which carries the same promises.

Throughout the Old Testament, the exodus story is told over and over. God instructed His people to tell and retell it. WHY?

It is a story of redemption for His wayward children. Redemption is full circle and life circles all rolled into His only begotten Son, Jesus! Salvation and complete forgiveness for our shortcomings. The exodus is a love story.

We should always read it with spiritual eyes and a fresh understanding. There are life lessons for us today. Let’s put the exodus under the spiritual microscope finding cycles and His amazing love.

An Agape Love Story

The word agapeo (and its cognate agape) is rarely used in extra biblical Greek. It was used by believers to denote the special unconditional love.

It is used with phileo to designate:

  1. God the Father’s love for Jesus (John 3:35).
  2. God the Father’s love for an individual believer (John 14:21).
  3. And of Jesus’ love for a disciple (John 13:23).

The ultimate example of God’s love is Jesus, who said, “I give you a new commandment: that you love another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another” in John 13:34. The ultimate love is Jesus (read or reread blog on Torn Veil, Torn Flesh)

Agape is also primarily a love of will as well as emotion.

God loves us with His will (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). The reason for this is that God can find nothing enjoyable about a sinner on whom His wrath still abides. So He loves by His will. It is His nature to love.

These were taken from Holman and Nelson Bible dictionaries. Agape

Isaiah 49:15–16 (NIV)
15“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
16See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.

Evidence of God’s great love is that he has engraved us on the palms of His own hands, so that He can never forget us.

The scars in his hands are always before His eyes as a reminder of:

  1. The great love He has showered on us.
  2. His desire to care for us.
Psalms 17:8 (NIV)
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings

In this passage, the psalmist summarized Deuteronomy 32:10–11.

Two figures of speech describes God’s love and care for His faithful people:

  1. The “apple of the eye” is the pupil and is a Hebrew metaphor expressing something greatly valued and dear.
  2. The “shadow of your wings” is a metaphor drawn from the imagery of a hen protection here young with her wings; thus it expresses tender protection (cf 36:7; 63:7). Jesus used this metaphor to express His love for Israel (Matthew 23:37). See blog post on Adam and Eve.

All believers should pray that God will reach out to protect us in times of danger. Protect us just like someone who instinctively reacts to guard the pupil of his eye from harm. Also the Heavenly Father will always be ready to hide and shield us as a mother hen covers her chicks. See the story about a mother bird protecting her baby in the blog post Genesis: Adam & Eve.

Traveling to the “Red Sea”

The Red Sea, Yam Suph (or Suf), is a body of water that stretches in a southeasterly direction from Suez to the Gulf of Aden for about 1,300 miles. The true translation of Yam Suph has been under contention. The KJV used the name “Red Sea“. Other scholars say it is the “Rede (Reed) Sea“.

From ancient times, the Red Sea has been an impressive body of water covering some 169,000 square miles. It measures 190 miles at its widest part and almost 9,500 feet at its greatest depth. And it extended further north to what, today, we call the Bitter Lakes.

No one knows the exact location of the place where they cross the “Red Sea” during the exodus out of Egypt. Four primary theories have been suggested as to the place of the isthmus of Suez. The area that was crossed is very close to where the Suez Canal is today which is along the Eastern border of Egypt. The canal goes from the Gulf of Suez to the Mediterranean Sea. As of 2010, the canal is 120.11 mi (193.30 km) long, 79 ft (24 m) deep and 673 ft (205 m) wide.

The four suggested places of crossing:

  1. The northern edge of the Gulf of Suez.
  2. A site in the center of the isthmus near Lake Timsah.
  3. A site at the northern edge of the isthmus and the southern edge of Lake Menzaleh.
  4. Across a narrow stretch of sandy land which separates Lake Sirbonis from the Mediterranean Sea.

Most of the biblical evidence is on the side of site #2. We are going to follow the biblical path according to the Holy Word.

Succoth (Sukkot): A place-name meaning “booths“:

  1. Where the Israelites camped upon leaving Egypt (Exodus 12:37; 13:23; Numbers 33:5–6).
  2. An ancient town in Transjordan where Jacob built booths for his cattle and a dwelling for his family after he and Esau separated (Genesis 33:17).

Nugget: The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is also called Feasts of Booths. After the exodus Succoth is the first place where God dwelt (tabernacle) among His children. The Feast of Tabernacle is the prophetic place where God will dwell with His children for eternality.

Etham: A place-name meaning “fort“:

  1. In Exodus 13:20 is the second encampment of the Israelites after they left Rameses in Egypt.
  2. It was near the end of the western branch of the Red Sea, near Suez.

Migdol: A place-name “watchtower“:

  1. In Exodus 14:2 is another encampment of the Israelites. In the exodus led by Moses ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth.
  2. After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar, some Israelites fled to Egypt and lived in Migdol.
  3. Ezekiel prophesied that the land of Egypt would be laid waste, “from Migdol to Syene.” Ezekiel 29:10; 30:6 (RSV)

Pi Hahiroth: A Hebrew place-name derived from the Egyptian, “house of Hathor” and interpreted in Hebrew as “mouth of canals“:

  1. The site of the final encampment in Egypt before they crossed the Red Sea.
  2. It is described as being between Migdol and the sea and opposite Baal Zephon.
  3. The alternate form Hahiroth appears at Numbers 33:8.

In Exodus 14:2 it tell them to camp opposite of Baal-Zephon. It seemed strange that God said opposite. Let’s do a study.

Baal-Zephon is a place-name meaning “lord of the north” or Baal of the north.”

Baal is the chief male deity of the Phoenicians and Canaanites. The Canaanite god most often referred to is Baal, which means “lord” or “master” (Exodus 20:3–5).

He was worshipped as the god who provided fertility. He proved to be a great temptation for Israel. Could this be the reason God told them to camp opposite? “Baal” occurs in the Old Testament as a noun meaning “lord, owner, possessor, or husband.” Of all of the false gods, God (YHWH) detested the practice of following Baal the most. For it is God (YHWH) who has these attributes: LORD, Owner, Possessor, Husband.

Trapped against the sea, the Israelites faced the Egyptian army sweeping in for the kill. Their response was fear, whining, and despair. (Glad we were not there). This is the first instance of grumbling and complaining.

In Exodus 14:13–15 God assured the people who He would fight for them. But, they had to move forward (action) toward the sea in faith.

In darkness the cloud miraculously protected Israel by moving between the Egyptians and the people. At the same time God’s pillar of fire flooded with light the way across the sea so that the Israelites could cross over. Darkness on the Egyptians side and light on Israel side. Even an angel of God withdrew from the front and moved behind them for protection.

The forming of two great walls of water by a strong east wind was a miracle. The water was piled up on both sides, leaving a path that may have been several miles wide (Exodus 15:8; Psalm 74:13).

They went through the sea on dry ground not muddy sand. God made the trip across the sea as easy as possible. This same God will see us through our sea of troubles.

Exodus 14:24 states the Egyptian Army started across the Red Sea during the last (fourth) watch. Medical studies have shown between the hours of 3 AM and 4 AM our biorhythm is out of kilter. So, it was the worst time of the night to start an attack.

The Egyptian Army:

  1. God threw them into confusion.
  2. Made the wheels of their chariots come off so they had difficulty driving.
  3. When the water returned to normal, it was sufficiently deep and wide enough to cover the Egyptians 600 war chariots and drown their entire army (Exodus 14:9).

On page 214 of the book Israel in Egypt (1999), James Karl Hoffmeier suggests the word “suph” is derived its meaning from what happened at the Red Sea instead of being the name of an actual name of the place of the parting.

The crossing of the sea signaled the end of the sojourn in Egypt and it certainly was the end of the Egyptian army that pursued the fleeing Hebrews (Ex 14:23–29; 15:4–5). After this event at yam suph, perhaps the verb soph, meaning “destroy” and “come to an end,” originated (cf. Amos 3:15; Jer 8:13; Isa 66:17; Psalms 73:19). Another possible development of this root is the word suphah, meaning “storm-wind“…The meanings “end” and “storm-wind” would have constituted nice puns on the event that took place at the yam suph.

Teach your Children

God commanded the Hebrews to pass down to their children the stories about the miracles God performed in getting the People out of Egypt, in the Wilderness, and in the Promised Land. The children were to be assured the same God that help their parents will help them in time of need.

Deuteronomy 6:7 (NKJV)
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

“Teach diligently” uses the Hebrew word shanan (שָׁנַן – šānan) [h8150] which means to sharpen So, the Hebrew were commanded by God to teach their children diligently AND often to shape and sharpen the young minds. This also helps the adult as much as the child.

This is a lesson for Today. We need to teach our children about spiritual matters.

Spiritual topics:

  1. Jesus Christ is our true Savior
  2. How to walk with Jesus in our daily lives
  3. Importance of prayer
  4. What God has done for us
  5. The power of the Holy Spirit
  6. How the World views Christians

There is so much a child needs to know. Start with the basics of Salvation and build up from there. Don’t be afraid of the difficult questions. This will cause you to do you own research and help expand your knowledge. Like the Hebrews, our children should be assured that God will be with them!

From the original Exodus Passover to the Calvary Passover is a story of love and total forgiveness. But, the story has no ending. It will go on for eternity!

Blessed Assurance by Frances J. Crosby, 1873

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Next time, we will cover the Jewish Calendar.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)