The Resurrection of Christ is spoken many time in many ways in the New Testament writings and also in the prophets. But do we see this spoken of in the “Torah” – The Five Books of Moses. Christ Himself called the disciples walking to Emmaus “fools” for not knowing this fact.
Luk 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
I believe there are many hints given about Yeshua in the Torah, but we are going to look at one significant occurrence today.
The Text in question
Exo 15:22-27 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.
At first sight we see nothing significant here. But let’s look at a few other details and ask some questions from the Book of Exodus before examine the above text.
The Three Day Journey in the wilderness
The 3 day journey in the wilderness mentioned in Exodus 15:22 is not the first time we see it in Exodus. There are at least three times that this exact phrase is mentioned – once by God Himself and twice by Moses & Aaaron. The three day journey in the wilderness(Midbar) is also connected to a sacrifice made unto YHVH, which we do not see afterwards in the text in Exodus 15.
Exo 3:18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness(Midbar), that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
Exo 5:3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert(Midbar), and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.
Exo 8:27 We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness(Midbar), and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us.
So the first question we should ask is where was the sacrifice done that God and Moses had mentioned would be done, as soon as they had gone three days into the wilderness. The Wilderness began after they left Egypt by crossing the Red Sea. They had journeyed three days into the Wilderness, but there was no sacrifice made. Or is there a hint of a coming sacrifice mentioned here?
Water filled with Bitterness
Water is most often seen as a metaphor for Life – John 4:14, 7:37-39, Rev 21:6, 22:17. But in this text, the Waters of Life are filled with Bitterness.
Exo 15:23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
Bitterness (Marah in Hebrew) also means Rebelliousness in Hebrew. Thus the bitterness can be equated to the wickedness of the people.
Jer 2:19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts
Jer 4:18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.
So metaphorically they journey into the wilderness by being redeemed from Egypt by the Blood of a Lamb and reach the Waters of Life which are filled with Rebellion and Wickedness, so that they see the Waters of Life, but they cannot drink it because it is Bitter. They have Life, but not something that they can consume.
The Sacrifice on the Third Day and the Tree that removed the Bitterness
After receiving Redemption, Israel can see Life on the other side, but they still cannot consume the Life as it is filled with their own rebellion. What was the Sacrifice that was supposed to be done on the third day as mentioned in Exo 3:18, 5:3, 8:27, and where was it?
Exo 15:25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
Would Christ’s Death have been of any value if He had not risen from the Dead?
As Paul mentions in 1Cor 15:4, Christ rose on the Third day according to the Scriptures. His Death can be clearly seen in the Passover Sacrifice that led the Israelites out of Egypt. But where do we see His Resurrection on the third day mentioned in the Scriptures? I believe the passage in question points us towards this future event. The Tree which is a metaphor for the cross as seen in Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, 1Peter 2:24, Gal 3:13 was cast into the Life filled with our Rebellion and Wickedness so that His people redeemed from the slavery to Sin would enjoy fullness of Life. Christ’s Death would not have its full meaning if He had not risen from death on the third day. Yeshua did not give us just this life, but the life beyond the grave, as He Himsel said “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”.
“I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee“.
So even today, God tells us that He will not put the punishment proclaimed on Egypt on us, and that He will heal us completely from our fallenness and give us Eternal life, as He is the one who heals us from our disease which is Death.
Exodus 15:22-27 shows us that the people who were redeemed from Egypt by the Blood of the Lamb had a Sacrifice which was done on the Third day of their journey in the Wilderness so that they could be satisfied of their thirst. The Tree which was cast into the water to make the Life which was bitter and rebellious, sweet and enjoyable was the resurrection of our Lord, which completed our redemption by giving us Eternal Life after the price for our sins were paid on Passover. The Passover Sacrifice on the cross/tree was completed on the Third Day as that is when the Water/Life which could not be enjoyed (which was bitter) was made sweet, so that His people were quenched of their thirst. As Paul mentions in 1Co 15:13-17 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Thank God for redeeming us from Egypt/Sin and completing His Sacrifice on the Third Day by the Resurrection, showing us the tree which was cast into the water on the third day, to remove the bitterness from Life, so that we could enjoy Abundant Life in the World to come!