Easter — Exile and Exodus

Jesus’s Death and Resurrection

After Adam sinned and ate the fruit, “the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man” (Gen 3:23–24). When Adam and Eve sinned, they were “exiled” cast out of the Garden of God’s presence—the garden of blessing. From this, a pattern emerges.

After hearing God’s promise that a male offspring would bring deliverance (3:15, 20), Eve had a son, Cain, and thought his might be the one (4:1), but he killed his brother Abel (4:8), and consequently, God cast (exiled) him away (4:12–14). After the flood, the peoples are together, but plot in pride, so God disperses (exiles) them away from each other (11:8).

Then, in Exodus, we see that the people are in a sort of “exile” since they are enslaved not of their own accord, which Genesis 15:13 predicted: “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.”

Though after their exodus out of Egypt and conquering the Promised Land, due to disobedience, God exiled Israel and Judah out of the land in the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles (722 and 586 BC), and Jerusalem, along with the temple, was ransacked and destroyed by the Babylonians. Nevertheless, God had mercy, and the people returned to Jerusalem. 

While the people returned and the city and was in repair, the tone of exile was still ringing loud. “The returnees continued to suffer under foreign subjugation, the glory of the Lord had seemingly not returned to the temple, a Davidic king did not sit on the throne, and the vast majority of Israelites remained among the Gentile nations,” and further, the surviving remnant continued to disregard [God’s] decrees . . . (Mal 1:6–14; 2:10–16; 3:7–8).[1] So, the people, though they have returned, still seem to have the characteristics of exile. These exiles all foreshadow another exile, namely, Jesus’s.

 When Jesus died on the cross, he was in a sense exiled from God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matt 27:46). Jesus was exiled through suffering and death, and he was exiled so that “that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet 3:18). But as we established before, Jesus never sinned and so was perfect (Heb 4:15)—he didn’t deserve to be exiled. And so there was an exodus of Jesus: God raised him from the dead—God brought him out of death and so vindicated him (1 Tim 3:16).[2] And so by Jesus’ exile (and exodus), we are brought into God’s presence.

[1]Thomas Richard Wood, “Exile and Exodus,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible, ed. D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 2660.

[2]I take the vindication in 1 Timothy 3:16 to be referring to Jesus’s vindication by his resurrection. “By the Spirit,” perhaps could be best taken with the notion of resurrection as vindication, since Romans 8:11 indicates that the Spirit raised Christ.