Does Exodus 14:16 teach that we need to cross the Red Sea?

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Beth Moore is considered by most evangelicals I speak with to be one of the “good ones”.  While I will concede that her false teaching isn’t as obvious as some I have addressed in this series, it is no less dangerous.  I listened very carefully to a sermon of hers (which you can find HERE) on the Crossing of the Red Sea and she teaches an error similar to other celebrity preachers.

The idea is this, the story of the Israelite’s crossing the Red Sea is actually just about you!  It was written by Moses thousands of years ago as type and shadow pointing to your personal life and struggles.  Afterall, who would think something crazy like the Bible being about Jesus or something?  No it’s totally about you.

What many, including Beth Moore, teach is that when trials in life strike you are supposed to remain “still” in faith like the Isrealites at the Red Sea.  It doesn’t matter how bad it is, even if it’s cancer or something.  Just stand firm in faith that you will be healed or delivered and it will happen.  If you are not healed or delivered from your trials, well that of course means that  you don’t have enough faith to stand in and are probably going to hell.  So buck up and get it right.

To her credit, Beth Moore doesn’t take it quite that far.  What I presented above is however an accurate representation of typical Charismatic/ Pentacostal theology.  Keep in mind though, she does use the same framework to twist the passage that the Charismatics do, she just stops right before arriving at those conclusions.

Let’s take a look at the passage in question and see if that is what it is actually teaching.

 

“13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.; 14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.; 15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:; 16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Exodus 14:13-16 KJV 

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but it looks like Moses was talking to a specific group of people.  Even if you try to draw it out to believers in general, notice that he identifies those being spoken to as individuals who actually saw literal Ancient Egyptians in the past 24 hours.  There is no getting around this, the nature of this blessing is very specific and doesn’t apply at all to anyone living today.

Don’t believe me?  Read the rest of the chapter, notice that Moses doesn’t expound or extrapolate on this.  He doesn’t explain any deeper or how the experience can or will apply in the future.  It’s really a one time event recorded in the Biblical Historical Narrative.  To glean anything prescriptive out of this requires eisegesis (reading into the text).

This doesn’t mean we can’t learn anything about Jesus in the passage.  Rather than apply what we do is receive, what do I mean by that?  Well to figure this one out we need to cross reference with the New Testament.

 

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39 KJV

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27 KJV

 

The above two passages are pretty straight forward, they are prooftexts I use quite often to present to the reader that we should expect the Bible to be about Jesus.  This is something I go into greater depth to prove HERE.  But if you’re already in agreement with that feel free to move on.

 

“1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Cor 10:1-4 KJV 

 

Above we see that the passage of Israel through the sea was something that points typologically to Baptism.  But as such things are, the antitype always supercedes the preceding type.

 

Antitype:  “Something that is foreshadowed by a type or symbol, as a New Testament event prefigured in the Old Testament.” –Dictionary.com

 

In this case our type/shadow depicts Israel about to be destroyed by the Egyptian Army.  They have nowhere to go, and in their lineage contains the promised seed of the Messiah.  If they don’t make it out of this mess not only will they die in their sins but all of humanity along with them.

Likewise, in our New Covenant antitype fulfillment, we receive Christ himself as his death burial and resurrection is poured out upon us.  In this we drown in the waters of baptism.  Instead of a mere Egyptian Army being washed away it is our sins.  The antitype is much greater than the type.  A Human army could possibly be defeated with another, but we can never escape our sins without Christ washing them away.

 

“11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:; 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Col 2:11-12 KJV 

 

Conclusion

 

Did notice how I definitively interpreted that passage with the New Testament?  This is what we are supposed to do.  The New Testament is the fullest Revelation given by God to man.  If someone is interpreting the narratives through the lens of their own life instead of through the New Testament, then they are essentially claiming superiority to Christ.  The Bible is about Jesus, not you and me.

 

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About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Armchair Lounge, Frequently Twisted Passages, Heresy & Heterodoxy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Does Exodus 14:16 teach that we need to cross the Red Sea?

  1. Roy Ficek says:

    “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:6-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    You choose not to mention the rest of the context of your 1 Cor. 10 proof text.
    Paul specifically says those things God ordained to happen as examples for us… and Paul says he’s writing “To all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”. 1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    I know you are saying that God’s revelation is theocentric or Christocentric meaning that the overall message is about God not man, not that things can’t apply to God’s people. Correct? I agree we shouldn’t make the overall narrative of the Bible about us, but it does include commands and instructions to us that we can obey has Jesus lives His life through us.

    Like

    • ACTheologian says:

      Example yes but to what end? As a prescriptive example? So you’re gonna allegorize it about your life and play with snakes? No.

      As Paul says, these examples warn us against sin. They are not magic spells to unlock Gods power for your riches.

      We can learn object lessons from the stories in the Bible. But there is no prescriptive application to historic narrative.

      Just as he does elsewhere Paul teaches the law and the gospel. But the celebrity teachers all to often remove the gospel and eisegete the law.

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