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Jesus Christ and the Exodus

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 6:
“The Spirit of the Lord Is upon Me”




A number of the scriptures describing the life and ministry of Jesus Christ make deliberate allusions to the Exodus. Jesus’s life parallel’s the Exodus to a remarkable degree and it seems that the patterns of deliverance set in the Exodus were set in such a way so as to point forward to Jesus who in some sense is the ultimate fulfillment of the mission of the covenant family. It is, after all, most strikingly through Christ that all the families of the earth will be blessed. On this occasion though, we are going to mostly restrict our focus to the Exodus and point out the similitude that exists between the Exodus and the life of Christ. To do this, we’ll take pieces of each story and cast them as similes with related circumstances in the Lord’s life.

As Israel went down into Egypt to preserve their lives in consequence of Joseph’s dreams (Genesis 37:5, note also JST, Genesis 48:5–11), so Jesus went down into Egypt to preserve his life in response to Joseph’s dreams (Matthew 2:13).

As the children of Israel passed through the clouds and through the sea (1 Corinthians 10:1-2), so Christ was baptized by water and received the holy ghost descending upon him in the form of a dove (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34).

As the children of Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness and were tried and tempted (Jacob 1:7 ), so Jesus fasted forty days in the wilderness and was tempted of the adversary (Luke 4:1-13; note especially quotes of Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:13 and 6:16 used in Luke 4:4, 4:8 in reply to his temptations), but he gave no heed to these temptations and was without sin. Indeed, Jesus quotes deliberately from the lessons of the children of Israel in the wilderness in his rebuke of the adversary.

As Moses went up upon the mount to receive the law which he then delivered until the children of Israel the law (Exodus 24:12-18; 34), so Jesus taught the higher law upon the mount (Matthew 5-7) to his disciples.

As Moses went not himself into the promised land but led the people there and saw it with his eyes (Deuteronomy 34), so the law of Moses pointed and led men to look forward to the Messiah (Alma 25:15-16) but did not continue with them after Christ’s death and resurrection (3 Nephi 15:4-6).

As Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness and those who looked upon it were healed (Numbers 21:7-9), even so should Christ be lifted up (John 3:14) for the healing of all who will look to him in steadfast faith.

As Moses fed the children of Israel with manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:15) so the Lord miraculously fed the multitudes (Matthew 14:13-21, Matthew 15:32-39) but, more than this, he fed them with the word of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3) and gave himself a ransom for us.

Indeed, he is our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), and it is because of his atoning blood that the angel of death can pass over us (Exodus 12) in the final and most significant sense.

To tie up, not only do Jesus’s life, ministry and sacrifice fulfill in important ways the prophetic precedents set by the Exodus, but his sacrifice prepares the way for each of us to escape from the bondage of sin.

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