An Enslaved People

MEMORY SELECTION: “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.” —Psalm 130:1,2

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Exodus 1:7-14; 2:11-15

ISRAEL had its origin as a nation with the twelve sons of Jacob. In Genesis 32:24-28 is recorded the account of Jacob wrestling with the angel, and as a result of this encounter Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (vs. 28) Professor Strong defines the word Israel to mean “he will rule as God.”

From this point forward the name Israel became the name of the natural descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, eventually applying to all of the twelve tribes headed by the twelve sons of Jacob. These twelve tribes, by the Lord’s arrangement, became the nation of Israel.

The Lord confirmed his intention to deal with the descendants of Abraham in a very special way, as recorded in the 15th chapter of Genesis: “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. … But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”—vss. 13,14,16

Our selected scripture tells us of the terrible oppression suffered by the Israelites at the hands of the Egyptians. We read in Acts 7:17-19: “But when the time of the promise drew nigh [that is, the time for their deliverance], which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.”

Then, when the prophesied time had come for them to be delivered out of Egypt, the Lord raised up a deliverer, Moses. He became the Lord’s arm in executing judgment against Egypt, forcing Pharaoh eventually to release the children of Israel. We read in Exodus 12:40,41: “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. “

It was God’s purpose to use the nation of Israel as an example and illustration for his people, Israelites indeed, during the Gospel Age. For confirmation, in I Corinthians 10:6,11 we read: “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. … Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Also, in Romans 3:19: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth maybe stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

The sojourn of the children of Israel in Egypt is an illustration of the predicament of the world of mankind. They are subject to and oppressed by the god of this world—Satan (the antitypical Pharaoh). The people are groaning under the burden of sin and death and are crying for deliverance. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 8:19,22, says, “For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. … For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”

God will deliver them as he delivered the children of Israel. But first there must be the antitypical passover of the anti-typical firstborn, the church, who are dealt with in a very special manner during the Gospel Age. The Apostle Paul states it this way: “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [sonship], to wit, the redemption [deliverance] of our body.”—Rom. 8:23

Dawn Bible Students Association
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