He Casts His Shadow Back Into the Old Testament

In other words, it is a prolepsis. The coming event of Jesus casts its shadow before it in the coming of Israel out of Egypt. It is a foreshadowing of Jesus. This is pretty marvellous and even mind boggling. Why did Israel go down to Egypt and come out of Egypt? Because, in the ultimate, that is what would happen to Jesus. It was because it would happen to him in the future that it happened to them in the past. Their past experience caught the shadow of the coming Messiah, and the Word of God was fulfilled in ways that you would never have thought. Indeed this feature of prolepsis may have been in Matthew’s mind throughout his introduction of Jesus. In parallel with Exodus 4: 22– 3, Jesus is the Son of God in Egypt (Matt. 2: 15); in Exodus 14 Israel came to the water (of the Red Sea) and grumbled (vv. 10– 12), Jesus came to the Jordan and committed himself to ‘fulfilling all righteousness’ (Matt. 3: 13– 17); Israel’s record in the wilderness (Exod. 15– 17) was one of grumbling and discontent, Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4: 1– 11) met and conquered Satan; in parallel with Exodus 19, Jesus came to the mount (Matt. 5: 1), not as another Moses, to act as intermediary, but to sit as God (Exod. 19: 18; 20: 1) teaching his people his law. That the pre-history of God’s people was thus ‘shaped’ by the shadow of the Coming One not only enhances the wonder of biblical prophecy but also adorns the dignity and greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ.”Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament

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