L. Michael Morales. Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption. Essential Studies in Biblical Theology. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2020. 207 pages. $22.00 (Paperback).
The Exodus of God’s people out of Egypt serves as not only the backdrop for their history, it helps us fully understand the realities accomplished by Jesus’ death and resurrection. In this addition to the Essential Studies in Biblical Theology, L. Michael Morales, Professor of Biblical Studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, looks at the historical Exodus as the “archetypal expression of Israel’s future hope.” (4)
Morales divides his argument into three parts. Part 1 looking at the event of the Exodus: God’s people called out of Egypt. Part 2 looks at the pattern provided by this key event in Israel’s history and how this pattern resurfaces as the biblical writers foresee a second exodus. The book culminates in part 3 with the new exodus inaugurated by Jesus the Messiah.
Looking closer at part 1, we encounter a theologically rich argument for the use of the Exodus theme prior to the historical event. Morales traces the theme of exile from the Garden of Eden to the tower of Babel and including exile of Cain into the world. Each of these events set the stage for “God’s solution” (15) which is to call a people to himself to live in perfect harmony. Morales furthers this argument, showing the exilic language in the calling of Abraham and the slaying of the Sea Dragon. This section culminates in the introduction of the Passover, or “the heart of the Exodus” (66). The Passover unifies the mentions of exile thus far in the biblical narrative. Morales states: “Such a momentous paradigm shift served to define Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt as inaugurating a new beginning, not merely in terms of a fresh but as a new creation” (67).
In part 2 Morales highlights the triad pattern of exodus in sacred history: (1) redemption, (2) consecration, and (3) consummation. This pattern resurfaces repeatedly throughout the prophetic writings as the prophets of God’s people “declared that the whole pattern of sacred history would be repeated” (117). In other words, there will come a time when a new exodus leads to the consecration of a new people, and life in a new land with Yahweh where God and man can dwell together in harmony once again. But unlike the first exodus, this second exodus will be greater than the first. The prophetic language heightens the historical exodus and reveals that this second exodus will bring glory to Yahweh’s name from all nations; bring a new Moses in the lineage of David; bring a visitation from Yahweh, prepared for by an Elijah-like prophet; an outpouring of the Spirit; and a resurrection from the dead (123-131). In part 3, Morales offers the crescendo of his argument: the messianic shift in the prophets finds its culmination in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Through Jesus, God’s people are called out from sin and bondage, into a covenant relationship with him, and will dwell with him forever in perfect harmony.
Morales offers an in depth and captivating survey of the biblical storyline and makes a compelling argument for the Exodus motif in both the Old and New Testaments.
Eddie LaRow III is a Ph.D. Student in Biblical Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.