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What is the symbolic application for us today of God's historical deliverance of His people from Egypt, their wanderings in the desert, and final entrance into the Promised Land?

Is it accurate to say:

1. The deliverance from Egypt is symbolic of the salvation experience

2. The wandering in the wilderness, and God's dealings with the people during this time is symbolic of our sanctification process

3. Their entering the Promised Land is symbolic of,

 a) our passing from this life to eternal life with Jesus (passing the river Jordan symbolic of our bodily death), or, 

b) being filled (not just indwelt) with the Holy Spirit


I'm particularly interested to know if the second point is accurate. When I read about God's dealings with the people in the wilderness, and how they were prone to complaining, unbelief, idolatry and rebellion, I wonder if it's accurate to put believers in their place (recognizing we still commit these sins in our hearts after salvation), and how God sanctifies us by how He dealt with them. 

For example, is Psalm 78 about the sanctification process, or salvation/lack of salvation?


Is is accurate to assume that the born-again salvation experience isn't symbolized by Israel's deliverance from Egypt, but their entering into the Promised Land, in which case those who perished in the wilderness are NOT saved. If this is the case, I would have to apply the wilderness years in a very different way. 

I hope this is clear enough. 



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The fact that Hebrews 3:17 says that those who fell in the wilderness would not enter His rest makes me think that even though they were delivered from Egypt, they aren't saved. 

Because Hebrews 4:3 says, "For we which have believed do enter into rest ..."

I'm assuming the belief being described in 4:3 is salvation-belief. If this is the case, then if they didn't enter into His rest, they didn't believe, and thus weren't saved. 


I'm going to do more studying of the things LT suggested about the Old vs. New Covenant etc. below. 

I'm glad God is using this to bless you and show you more!

It's nice to get to bring these questions to people who actually want to hash it out:)


I think it's interesting that the Israelites are mentioned in Hebrews 11:29 among those who had faith in action. Was their's a saving faith? It reminds me of one of the questions I had in last night's hangout -- Since being justified and regenerated is separate from sanctification, can someone be ready for Christ to justify them, but not to sanctify them? You'll have to listen to the video from last night's study to hear the answer :)

In the OT people weren't born again. However, they were justified, as I understand it. I understand, also, that there are different areas of faith and one can trust in God for salvation, and yet have no faith or little faith in other areas, such as in God's protection and providence and so forth. Did this apply to the Israelites? Might we see them all in heaven after all and might they all be part of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 11? Food for thought.

That is interesting they're mention in that list of the faithful in Hebrews 11.

It reminds me of the song Moses and the Israelites sang to the Lord after the Red Sea crossing:

"Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.

The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.

Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.

And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea."

Verse 7 says He sent forth His wrath, and verse 8 tells us that the floods of water was His wrath. So the water symbolizes His wrath.

"But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left." Exodus 14:29

If this is a proper way to interpret this, then there is no wrath for those Israelites who crossed over on the dry land. 

Then, more food for thought, was everything they suffered thereafter just divine discipline for sinning and not punitive, even their dying in the wilderness and not entering the promised land? Moses didn't get to enter it, either, but I'm certain he's in heaven. There has always been a remnant of Israel left no matter what consequences they have suffered for being disobedient and the remnant was left so that God's plan would move forward.

I have no clue, especially after considering the scripture Tammy posted above from Hebrews 3 about how those who fell in the wilderness, God swore wouldn't enter His rest, and then Hebrews 4:3 says "we which have believed do enter into rest". 

I'm assuming the belief being described in 4:3 is salvation-belief. If this is the case, then if they didn't enter into His rest, they didn't believe, and thus weren't saved. 

But maybe Hebrews 4:3 is not talking about salvation belief, but that "extra" belief of promises etc. 

I was expecting a pretty easy answer to this question originally, but clearly God has other plans in this case.

Yes, which means I would agree more with your second position than your first. It is not those who begin the journey that are saved but those who finish the journey.

Heb 3:14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. NIV


So all of the gifts of God the Israelites partook of from Egpyt and into the wilderness, the sacrifices, etc, even though it may seem that they were near God, almost there, yet the point is that even if we're religious to the point of seemingly being very near God, the truth is that without faith, we're without hope.  Many are called, but few are chosen. 

I've thought how it seems like God's relationship with the Israelites was all about works. It seems almost like a different gospel- like salvation was by works. But even if He gave them the law, do's and dont's, the fact is no one will see the Father without faith. 

Was the point of the law so that all of those Israelites under the law would see their need of a saviour because they'd realize they couldn't possibly keep it? Is it true that any one of them could have recognized the impossibility and trusted that God would have mercy on them, even if they didn't yet understand the gospel, and be saved?

I think you have put it very well. The Law was very real. Only through obedience to the Law can any of us be saved. It does show our great need of someone coming and doing it for us since we all fail so often. Yet, God demanded that the Law be fulfilled and so came and did it Himself for us. Since He became a man like us, He could do that for us. Our part is to trust in the One that came and did that for us. This is how we know we belong to Him. We believe in Him and have love for Him and one another. 

The Israelites believed to the point of crossing the Red Sea. Yet, they kept reverting back to their Egyptian gods. Jesus said:

Matt 24:12-13 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. NIV84

We do see this happening. So many revert back. How many times have you witnessed to someone only to hear them say that they were doing their best to live a good life. Perhaps they even went through certain orders of the church for membership and maybe even baptism. Yet, none of that saves. What causes God to save us from our sin is that knowing in our heart that Jesus has come and died in our stead and letting that faith rule our hearts consistently and constantly. 

When the Jews rejected Jesus, once again they rejected God for another. Once again they fell in the wilderness. Now, He has brought them home. Will they again reject Him? The Gospel is still there. My son will be going over there again to share the Good News of God's love. Yet, they still reject Him. It is not just there; it is all over this world. People are rejecting God for another. I see us here in the states growing weaker and weaker in our faith. Do we really believe in Him? Will it become ever more difficult to confess our abiding faith in Jesus? Some people even today here in America are having to choose who they will serve. Just recently a strong candidate for president made the statement that our religious beliefs have to change. Is our faith strong enough to face the onslaught of this challenge? Will we stand to the very end? 

The one that overcomes to the end - that is the one that is saved. You have brought that to light with your comments. 

Thanks for this, 

So for the Israelites who were given the law, did God expect them to try their best to keep it, but also recognize that they couldn't possibly keep the whole law, and trust Him for grace as they did their best?

I'm trying to understand the Old Covenant and how the law fit into it. 


Why did God put into place this Old Covenant which seems to be a somewhat very exclusive covenant? Then, it appears this Old Covenant Law which was exclusive to the Jews was no longer applicable once Jesus came. 

The Jews didn't understand their purpose and that, of course, was to bring to the world God's Word and God Himself. This was the chosen nation. Through this nation God has blessed us all. However, once the purpose of the Old Testament Law was eternally fulfilled, it was done away with. 

All the focus is put upon one person. That person is Jesus. The Law was given and it was up to one person to fulfill it. Eternal salvation for all of us was on the line. He must love unconditionally God and man. Then, once having fulfilled all the Law, He must die for those who wanted salvation but could never fulfill all the conditions for it. 

Scripture is very clear. God gave Peter a vision telling him to eat all kinds of food that he had before been forbidden to eat. Peter understood the vision and immediately went out preaching the Gospel of Jesus to the uncircumcised Gentiles demanding only that they believe in order to be saved. A great dispute erupted between believing Jews and believing Gentiles. Would the Gentile believers be forced to obey the Old Testament Law? It was decided that they would not need to obey that Old Law but live in newness of life through faith in God. The rest of Scripture was given through Paul and the Apostles and here we are today, all following this New Testament given for the believers today.

So, the Law was exclusive to the Jews for a very important reason which was fulfilled in the coming of our Messiah Jesus. Yet, to study the Law is still very important for us. In that we can find God's will for His people. We are also a very holy people even though somewhat different than the holiness of this chosen race. There is a very holy people that yet remain on this earth and it is those who learn to trust in a very holy God that has ordained all these things to come to pass. 

Holiness is achieved through believing and not through our actions. We are a holy people because we believe. We have been separated from this very evil world and walk in a new and different way. We are a set apart people. We are a holy people. We are most blessed to know God and His purpose. We are also a chosen people. We cannot brag as we don't really know why we were chosen. Why do I believe when it appears that most do not really believe. Why did He save me from my sins and not everyone. Those are questions that I cannot answer. Yet we are a chosen generation. 

Eph 1:3-10

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. NIV84

These are very holy Words for those who believe in them. We have been greatly blessed. 


There's much to learn, but it's nice to rest in the hope we have, the finished work. 


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