InterVarsity Press

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The God Who Makes Himself Known

The Missionary Heart of the Book of Exodus

Volume 28, New Studies in Biblical Theology

By W. Ross Blackburn
Series Editor Donald A. Carson

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The God Who Makes Himself Known

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The Lord's commitment to make himself known throughout the nations is the overarching missionary theme of the Bible and the central theological concern of Exodus.

Countering scholarly tendencies to fragment the text over theological difficulties, Ross Blackburn contends that Exodus should be read as a unified whole, and that an appreciation of its missionary theme in its canonical context is of great help in dealing with the difficulties that the book poses. For example, how is Exodus 6:3 best understood? Is there a tension between law and gospel, or mercy and judgment? How should we understand the painstaking detail of the tabernacle chapters?

From a careful examination of Exodus, Blackburn demonstrates that

  • the Lord humbled Pharaoh so the world would know that only God can save
  • the Lord gave Israel the law so that its people might display his goodness to the nations, living in a state of order and blessing
  • the Lord dealt with Israel's idolatry severely, yet mercifully, for his goodness cannot be known if his glory is compromised

In the end, Exodus not only sheds important light on the church's mission, but also reveals what kind of God the Lord is, one who pursues his glory and our good, ultimately realizing both as he makes himself known in Christ Jesus.

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