The New Exodus
An Introduction to the Bible's Great
And the LORD your God will bring you
into the land that your fathers possessed,
that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers.
And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring,
so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Part One (printable)
Just what exactly is the New Exodus?
The New Exodus is the amazing and mysterious Gospel story of the redemption of God's people and the restoration of God's kingdom taught through the form of a parable using true historical events.
We find promises of a New Exodus given most graphically in the book of Isaiah, notably in Isaiah 35 and throughout all of Isaiah 40-55. Yet the roots of the New Exodus go back to Genesis 3, where Adam and Eve became the first exiles after they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. This great end-times parable appears throughout the Bible using the story of Israel's original exodus from Egypt as the template, yet the final goal is not merely the redemption of one nation, but of all humanity! Furthermore, the "promised land" of this New Exodus is not a limited portion of real estate in today's Middle East, but an entire New Earth where the Tree of Life is planted and where God and mankind will be re-united once again in one eternal family. Yes, the New Exodus is nothing less than the epic story of how the Creator enters into His creation, seeks out the lost children of Adam and Eve, and leads them back home. 
An epic drama from Genesis to Revelation
In the saga of the New Exodus the story of redemption comes full circle from Genesis to Revelation. When Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden they found themselves in a wilderness where they had to labor for food and where they became subject to aging, disease and death, which are the natural consequences of sin. Compared to the abundance of the Garden their new home was indeed a physical wilderness, yet the Bible portrays it as primarily a spiritual wilderness.
Separated from God and driven by animalistic impulses to eat, fight and breed, humankind became slaves to their own biology and to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. In the setting of this spiritual wilderness the Bible records the first sin after the exile: the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. After the wicked deed was discovered Cain was marked for protection and then driven from the community, wandering in the wilderness for a time and then settling to build the world's first city—the original Babylon—a city built in the wilderness (Gen. 4:17) on a foundation of bloodshed, a metaphor for all of fallen human civilization! The Greeks gloried in ancient Greece, the Romans were filled with patriotic awe for their Roman Empire, and Americans today get teary-eyed in their love and admiration for the USA, yet God sees these temporary human kingdoms as mere beasts, established and perpetuated with violence and lies, and destined to be ground into bits by the coming Kingdom of God.
The epic conflict between worldly kingdoms and God's kingdom is described in Revelation as a conflict between two cities. The Kingdom of God is symbolized by the New Jerusalem, portrayed as a pure virgin Bride who keeps herself spotless from the world. In contrast, the Kingdom of Darkness is Babylon the Great, portrayed as a Great Harlot who is completely given over to selfish desires and to the unfettered pursuit of comfort, luxury and prestige. This violent and worldly Queen is named as the mother of harlots and the mother of abominations who carries the guilt of all human bloodshed, which is intentionally pointing us back to Genesis 3 and the legacy of disobedient Eve. It was back in the Garden where Eve was seduced into eating the "forbidden fruit" through the three-fold temptation of lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. In Revelation we find the Queen of Babylon shamelessly perpetuating Eve's legacy and finally crying out in dismay when the "forbidden fruits" of the world are taken from her, proving to be both temporary and worthless (compare Gen. 3:6 with Rev. 18:14).
At the beginning of John's apocalyptic vision of Babylon the Great we find that the location of this great worldly city is "in the wilderness" (Rev. 17:3). Later, when a voice from heaven calls out saying, "Come out of her my people" (Rev. 18:4) we are hearing Jesus' invitation to step out on a New Exodus highway and to follow Him as He faithfully leads His people out of Babylon, through the wilderness, and on to the promised land of the New Jerusalem. This New Exodus is at first spiritual but will finally be physical when the redeemed are gathered before Babylon is judged. This "Fall of Babylon" is nothing other than a symbolic description of the passing away of the sin-corrupted old heavens and old earth, to make way for the New Heavens and the New Earth where the eternal city of Zion is established. This eternal city is the true destination of the "New Exodus" predicted for Israel in the poetic passage of Isaiah 35:
And the ransomed of the LORD
shall return and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 35:10
The picture of a redeemed multitude finally arriving at their destination after a lengthy journey "through the wilderness" is also shown in Revelation 7. In this passage we can read the term "great tribulation" as a synonym for this great eschatological "New Exodus":
And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:14-17 ESV
The imagery and promises found here speak clearly of the end of an epic exodus journey. We are pointed back to Israel's first exodus, yet we are also intended to recognize a final resolution of the original exile of Adam and Eve. Instead of Adam and Eve's nakedness that was first covered up with the skin of an animal, this group is clothed with robes that indicate good works and sanctification purchased by the blood of Christ. The original Garden of Eden was a type of "first temple" where God and man fellowshiped together , and finally here we find human beings once again serving God in perfect relationship. The imagery of an exodus comes through in the promises regarding shelter, food, water, and a faithful guide. When Israel first left Egypt they travelled through the scorching heat of the day dependant on God's provision when they suffered from hunger and thirst. Furthermore, they would have been lost in the desert without the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22) which acted as a shepherd leading them in the right direction. All of these exodus elements appear here in Revelation 7 describing the great multitude finally reaching the end of their ultimate exodus journey led by the Lamb—Jesus Christ—mankind's faithful and true Shepherd.
Abraham saw the final Promised Land
In Genesis 12 the calling of Abraham marked the start of God's program to redeem all of humanity back to Him. It must be noted that the choosing of Abraham was not simply to bless Abraham. God never desired to elevate Abraham at the expense of everyone else, and He did not even desire to elevate the physical seed of Abraham, which was the nation of Israel, at the expense of the surrounding nations. No indeed, neither Abraham nor Israel was the end that God had in mind. Rather, God chose Abraham as a means to an end, and that end was the redemption of all humanity, regardless of genetic ancestry.
The choosing and blessing of Abraham was intended to work its way out from Abraham, on to Isaac, to Jacob (Israel), to the tribes of Israel's twelve sons, and then to ultimately break out and extend worldwide:
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Genesis 12:1-3 KJV
The scope of the New Covenant includes the blessings and cursings of the Abrahamic promise in Genesis 12:1-3. The blessings and cursings that were originally spoken to protect and encourage Abraham are viewed by many as having been transferred to the nation of Israel that Abraham birthed. There may be some truth to this, but ultimately this promise came to rest upon Jesus Himself (the singular "seed of Abraham" - Gal. 3:16). It is now Jesus who says of Himself in Matthew 25:31-46, "I will bless those who bless me, and curse those who curse me." However within this teaching Jesus goes on to ironically direct its emphasis away from Himself and on to the people who are the least-blessed in this fallen world: the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the poor, the sick, and the prisoners. In this hugely significant Kingdom passage Jesus taught that those who bless these social outcasts will find themselves blessed by the King and given entry into the Kingdom (the "promised land" of King Jesus). On the other hand those who ignore "the least of these my brethren," who are accused of ignoring the needs of King Jesus Himself, are depicted as essentially cursing Jesus, and will find themselves cursed by the King and denied entry into the Kingdom. In this way Jesus re-applies Genesis 12:3 away from Abraham, on to Himself, and then on to "the least of these." For this reason it is very important that we learn to identify King Jesus wherever we might find Him and bless Him in the way that He taught us to!
The same transformation from ethno-centric to universal takes place regarding the covenant promise of physical land for Abraham's seed to occupy. When we study these covenant promises we must be sure to interpret them through the lens of the New Covenant. When we do this we find that the "land promise" to Abraham was both physical and spiritual, as well as both conditional and unconditional. The promise of physical land for Abraham's physical descendants was a conditional promise based on obedience, and this is reiterated within the Mosaic Covenant at the beginning of Israel's exodus from Egypt. The Israelites were allowed to enter the land on condition of obedience to the laws given at Sinai, yet they were also warned that disobedience would result in being exiled from the land. Eventually Israel's stubborn disobedience led to their judgment and exile, so clearly the physical part of the promise was never unconditional.
On the other hand, there was also a spiritual and unconditional aspect of God's "land promise" to Abraham. God was emphatic that in Abraham all the nations of the earth would be blessed, and that Abraham's descendants would have a land. This was an unconditional certainty fulfilled through Jesus who now has every right to claim the land promised to Abraham. However, Jesus does not come alone, because all who are in Him are also recognized as the true spiritual offspring of Abraham, regardless of their genealogy or what nation they might come from. So today it is not ethnic Jews who have the legal right to claim the Promised Land, but the redeemed of every nation who are in Christ. For this reason the New Testament is clear that the ultimate Promised Land is not a limited piece of real estate in the Middle East, but an entire New Earth cleansed of the effects of sin and death. It is a heavenly Promised Land that can only be reached if we embark on a New Exodus out of this world and follow Jesus as He leads us into the New Creation.
Today, after Jesus has ratified the New Covenant with His blood, any so-called "promised land" in which sin and death still run rampant is a counterfeit promised land. Claims about these counterfeit promised lands are all based on misunderstood promises that are themselves based on errors regarding the true nature of the New Covenant. Bible teachers that limit the authority of Jesus and the scope of the New Covenant  fail to realize that the New Covenant is the single covenant that fulfills and transforms ALL of the previous covenants made between God and Man, including the "land promise" to Abraham:
Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you ... was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:19-20
Jesus does not hold back the "land promise" of the Abrahamic Covenant from Gentiles who are in Him and reserve it only for the pure genetic desendants of Abraham. Even in the Old Covenant this racial barrier did not exist, because Gentiles were often adopted into Israel! Why would God then raise such a racial barrier in the New Covenant? God's plan from the beginning was to lead all of redeemed humanity back to the promised land, and not just Jews!
The eventual transformation of the Old Testament covenants is something that was recognized even by Abraham himself, if only dimly. It is true that Abraham was given the land of Canaan, yet Abraham realized that the promises God made to him were so big that this small piece of real estate would never be enough! The book of Hebrews explains that God gave Abraham a glimpse beyond Canaan, and Abraham recognized a future Promised Land that is not of this world that would be the final fulfilment of God's promises to him:
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10
Even Abraham saw that the New Jerusalem was the final destination in a Promised Land created for all of God's redeemed children!
Moses predicted Israel's final Exodus
We have seen how the New Exodus is the epic conclusion of the human drama that began with mankind's original exile from Eden, but now we will examine how the New Exodus is also the central theme embedded within the hopes and dreams of the traditions of Israel. We will find that the New Exodus redemption is the end-point that Israel is prepared for through the Old Covenant at Sinai. The reality is that without the Old Covenant Israel would not have even recognized their need for redemption in the first place! It was all beautifully orchestrated from the beginning to point to Jesus.
We have to go now to the end of the life of Moses and pay close attention to the final words that he spoke to Israel, just before he passed away and the nation entered into the Promised Land. Beginning in Deuteronomy 28 Moses lays out the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience before the children of Israel. For fourteen verses Moses declares the blessings, and then for fifty-four verses he declares the curses. Then in Deuteronomy 29:4 Moses makes a stunning observation when he declares that "to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear."
Yes, Israel was commanded to obey the Law delivered at Sinai, but they were expected to do so while remaining spiritually ignorant, blind, and deaf! The Law of Moses was a carnal Law for a carnal people, holding out blessings like a tiny carrot in one hand, but holding a big stick in the other. Moving on into Deuteronomy 31:15-21 we find that the blessings would only be temporary, while the cursings were prophesied to one day inevitably fall upon Israel. The reality is that the entire Mosaic Covenant, which is represented in stone by the Ten Commandments, was given with the full knowledge that it would be broken. The Mosaic Covenant was never intended to last forever and was certainly not predicted to last forever.
This left Israel in a strange pessimistic paradox right from the beginnning, yet in Deuteronomy 30 the Lord speaks through Moses to extend a ray of hope. Moses predicts that yes, Israel will break the covenant, and yes, Israel will be driven from the Promised Land some time far off in the future, but if a remnant turns back to the Lord after these things have occurred and sincerely repents, then God will forgive His people, gather them up, and bring them back to the Promised Land. This is the final Exodus predicted by Moses, promising a happy ending to Israel's turbulent story.
Now we can look at this predicted final Exodus on a superficial level and simply read it in the way that Moses may have understood it, or we can recognize that even Moses saw the future only dimly and only through the lens of the Old Covenant. Yes, Moses does seem to predict that obedience to the Old Covenant is the key to the final Exodus, and he does seem to predict that the final destination of this future Exodus is the very same spot of real estate that Abraham pitched his tents on. But if we read it this way we are missing a much bigger picture, and we are ignoring the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles regarding how we are to read the Old Testament from a New Covenant perspective.
You see, it is through Jesus that our spiritual eyes and ears are opened and our minds and hearts can understand, and today we see with a clarity that far exceeds what the saints of the Old Covenant saw. In a rather scandalous declaration (at least as far as the Pharisees were concerned) Jesus declared that John the Baptist, and not Moses, was the greatest of the prophets of old. Yet Jesus went even further, declaring that those least in the Kingdom of Heaven are greater than the greatest of the prophets of old (Matthew 11:11). He taught that the New Covenant perspective is a greater revelation than the Old because the prophets were not given a complete revelation of God's plan (Matthew 13:17). Jesus also taught that to understand the Kingdom you must first be trained as a New Covenant scribe, making you like the master of a house bringing out treasures old and new (Matthew 13:51-52). It is only from this perspective that we can identify the spiritual treasure embedded within the prediction given by Moses concerning Israel's final Exodus.
(1) And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you,
(2) and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul,
(3) then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.
(4) If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you.
(5) And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers.
(6) And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
From a New Covenant perspective this passage is absolutely filled with treasure, and it is this passage that one of the greatest New Covenant scribes uses when he teaches about salvation. I am talking about the Apostle Paul and his teaching in Romans 2. Paul recognized that the great final Exodus had already begun (see 1 Cor. 10:1-11) and that it was being led by Jesus. Paul took Deuteronomy 30:6 and declared that it was "heart circumcision" that was now the new defining marker for members of the renewed Israel of God. Paul clearly understood that Jesus came to draw everyone to Himself, and not only circumcised Jews, therefore physical circumcision as a covenant marker was now replaced by heart circumcision that could only be performed "by the Spirit" (Romans 2:29). The New Exodus is first a spiritual Exodus, and it begins by the power of the Holy Spirit with a change in the heart that brings true life. Jesus taught this in the Sermon on the Mount and throughout His ministry, and Paul understood this perfectly as a faithful scribe of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Law that was given to Israel through Moses was a limited revelation of the will of God, of the nature of God, and of the ultimate purposes of God. For instance, Moses did not foresee that Gentiles would be gathered into Israel's final Exodus, and Moses did not foresee that a New Covenant would replace the covenant delivered at Sinai that was predicted to be broken. Yet there was one important thing that Moses did foresee that was the most important key to unlocking Israel's future:
The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.' And the LORD said to me, 'They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. Deuteronomy 18:15-19
From a New Covenant perspective we can see that the biggest test that loomed up ahead in Israel's future was not, "Will you be sure to faithfully follow all the precise and specific details of the Mosaic Law?" This wasn't the primary issue, because Israel was destined to fail this test and to bear the consequences of disobedience by being exiled among the nations. This was a bitter but neccessary chapter of Israel's history written into the script by God Himself. Israel needed to be reduced to the very same wretched status as the Gentiles so that they could comprehend their need for a Savior, recognizing that none of their own efforts could ever bring life. Even though Moses taught that life would flow from obedience to the Law, and even though Israel was encouraged to follow the Law ("You can do it, it's not too hard for you!" -Deut 30:11), we know that the Mosaic Law never held out the possibility of granting true spiritual life to Israel (Rom. 8:1-4, Gal. 3:21-22, 2Cor. 3:6-11).
Truthfully, obedience to the Mosaic Law was never the ultimate test in the history of Israel. The true test, and the only test upon which eternal life was and is dependant upon is the test of...
"Will you follow the new prophet like Moses when he appears?"
In Deuteronomy 18:15-19 Israel is warned that when this new prophet appears Israel must listen. And if they don't the Lord Himself "will require it of Him." In other words, to follow Torah is to follow the new prophet like Moses when he appears, and to reject him is to disobey the Torah and to reject God Himself, which carries with it some very serious consequences. Torah-breakers were never intended to be allowed to remain within the community. They were to be either executed or kicked out of the community and reduced to the same status as the heathen, stripped of their Israelite identity and rights. Moses only briefly speaks of this new messenger from God, but His coming was destined to divide the nation with eternal consequences for both sides. Once this new "prophet" showed up, everything changed and the transformation from Old to New began to kick into high gear! Moses does not connect this enigmatic "prophet like Moses" with Israel's final Exodus, but Isaiah does in a very intentional and powerful way. And it is the prophecies of Isaiah, more than any other Old Testament prophet, that became the foundation for the four-fold Gospel presentation of Jesus of Nazareth as Israel's Messiah leading the long-awaited New Exodus.
Continue on to Part Two
Peter D. Goodgame
July 28, 2015
New Exodus Resources
Exodus Typology in Second Isaiah : A short and concise overview of the New Exodus theme in Isaiah.
The Gospel of Mark As a Fulfilment of Isaiah’s New Exodus : Rikki Watts presents a very thorough argument that the major themes, structure, and narrative details in the Gospel of Mark were drawn directly from the Book of Isaiah, and in particular from the last chapters of Isaiah that speak of a New Exodus for Israel from captivity to various nations and back to Jerusalem.
The Lord's Prayer and the New Exodus : A comprehensive analysis of the Lord's Prayer that reveals it as a prayer for the eschatological New Exodus.
Acts and the Isaianic New Exodus : In the Book of Acts the early Apostolic Church is shown fulfilling the prophecies of the faithful remnant of Israel embarking on Isaiah's New Exodus, with Gentiles added as members of "renewed Israel" just as Isaiah had predicted.
1.Unfortunately because of the widespread acceptance of Dispensationalism and its superficial "literal interpretation" of Old Testament prophecy, the parabolic nature of many of these prophecies is almost completely lost on the modern American evangelical audience. Within Dispensationalism many of these epic prophecies are diluted and misconstrued to apply to the modern nation of Israel and its re-establishment in the Middle East in 1948. Yet the Biblical vision of the New Exodus is much bigger than that, and it is in fact Isaiah who recognizes that the ultimate Promised Land, the sole destination of the New Exodus, is the New Earth and its capital city → the New Jerusalem. For evidence readers may look up Revelation 21-22 and take note of all the references that are drawn from Isaiah.
3. Most American Bible teachers work out of established theological systems such as Dispensationalism or Covenant Theology. Both of these systems limit the authority and scope of the New Covenant, causing a great deal of theological confusion. No comprehensive system works everything out perfectly, but in my view New Covenant Theology (NCT) is doing a great job addressing and fixing the errors of both Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. For a good explanation of NCT I highly suggest readers download New Covenant Theology: Questions Answered by Steve Lehrer. For more information check out the book New Covenant Theology: Time For A More Accurate Way, by Gary D. Long.