In Exodus 2, we are introduced to what shall become the deliverer of Israel. I find it interesting that the Hebrew word that is used for “basket”, or “ark”, is also used for only one other object. The Hebrew word is tebah, the plural being tebat, and simply means “box” or “chest”. It is almost explicitly translated ark (depending on your English translation). In Genesis 6:14, God tells Noah to make a tebah of cypress wood (some translate gopher wood) and to cover it in pitch both inside and out. Here, in Exodus 2, the mother of Moses makes a tebah and covers it in pitch…
There is a pattern here. There is something happening where the book of Exodus continually draws from the stories of Genesis. There is an interconnectedness that we find here. Somehow whatever it was that was happening in Genesis 6 is being reiterated again to us here in Exodus chapter 2. The wickedness of man was so great that God would send a flood to destroy the people of the earth. Yet, God looks with favor upon Noah and redeems him through the ark. Here in Exodus, God looks at the Egyptians and what they are doing to His people, and He decides that He will bring salvation to His people through another ark, but this time a different kind of ark. These nuances and subtleties are too minute to begin to discern.
Notice some of the parallels with the ark in Genesis and Christ Jesus. The ark has “rooms” for the animals (Gen 6:14); Jesus says that his father’s house has many rooms (John 14:2). The ark had one door (Gen 6:16); Jesus claimed to be “the door” to salvation (John 10:9). God invited Noah to come into the ark (Gen 7:1); Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary” (Matt 11:28). Because God saved him, Noah “remained alive” (Gen 7:23); Jesus gives us eternal life (John 10:28).
With Genesis 6-9, we can see the ark being the means of salvation, just as Christ is the means of salvation. In Exodus 2, the ark changes slightly. The ark is the means of salvation for the deliverer, just as in Matthew 2 Jesus was delivered from the hand of Herod. Something profound is happening here with these parallels. Just as “only a few people were saved through water” (1 Peter 3:20), so now Moses is also being saved “through water”, which is symbolic of baptism.
And what is baptism but the death, burial, and resurrection of the person? Somehow the old is passed away, that when Noah got off the ark he was looking at a completely different world than what he previously knew. Somehow the old is passed away, that when Moses was taken out of that ark, he no longer lived among the Hebrews but was raised in the home of an Egyptian. Somehow the old is passed away, that when Jesus raised from the grave, He no longer had the same restrictions bodily as He did during His earthly ministry. Somehow the old is passed away, that when you and I are baptized in Christ Jesus, we are baptized into His death. Just as the glory of the Father was what raised Jesus, so too you and I are raised. Therefore, there is all things have passed away and all things have become new. You are a new creation.
The significance of this being at the very beginning of Exodus should be dwelt upon. Why is it that God would have a Moses to go from death to life before Israel? The same question could be asked of Jesus. Why must Jesus be resurrected before you and I can taste of that resurrection? And why must you and I be grafted into Israel’s roots, sucking the nourishment of everlasting life, before the natural branches themselves shall be redeemed? Doesn’t it make sense that Israel would have been the one to enjoy the benefits of her own everlasting covenant before the Gentiles? Yet, God postponed His marriage unto Israel that you and I – mere Gentiles – could be grafted in and inherit the promise with them.
It is in this last point that I find great challenge. If it be true that God has given redemption unto the Gentiles before Israel, then it is true that you and I are to be their Moses. We’ve been redeemed, and yea even raised in the house of royalty before the hope of redemption is even spoken of in Exodus 2:24-25. Why? It can only be that we are to drive the Jew to jealousy, as Paul would say (Rom 11:11), or to make them envious, as Moses would say (Deuteronomy 32:21), or to be that place of refuge in the wilderness when Israel shall flee (Revelation 12:6).
What this ark speaks to us is that there is always an ark. There was in the days of Noah, there was in the days of Moses, there was a path of escape for Jesus from Herod, and there shall be an ark in the wilderness for the Jewish people in the days to come. The question is this: will you be that ark of God to them, or will you be the flood that is spewed out after them? This question stems from the question of other believers. Are you of kinship with them, or do you find Christians rub you the wrong way, and especially those Baptists, or Pentecostals, or Anabaptists, or dare I say Catholics? The way that you treat your brethren of different denomination/belief will reflect only a small degree to how you will treat the Jew in the last days.