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Using Exodus 12 (the “Passover”) as your text, write an eight-page paper interpreting this passage using the three-step method of interpretation consistently employed by Dr. Pratt in the video lectures: 1) determine and explain the literary structure of the passage; 2) determine and explain the original meaning of the passage. This step includes both a discussion of the passage’s meaning within its immediate context, and a consideration of how Moses’s inclusion/arrangement of the material was intended to function for his original audience, the Israelites redeemed from Egypt and headed to the promised land; and 3) a discussion of modern application. This final step should follow Dr. Pratt’s specific approach to modern application closely, namely, identifying the ways in which the New Testament writers used themes/ideas/motifs, etc., in the Pentateuch to explain the significance of the inauguration, continuation, and consummation of Christ’s kingdom. See video lesson 2 (“A Perfect World”) for a detailed discussion and application of this threefold approach to interpretation.

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Exodus 12: A Multi-Layered Passover: From Deliverance to Kingdom

Exodus 12, the intricate tapestry of the Passover story, offers a treasure trove for interpretation through the lens of Dr. Pratt’s three-step method. Unpacking its literary structure, original meaning, and modern application through the lens of Christ’s kingdom reveals profound layers of meaning that resonate across time.

1. Literary Structure: A Tapestry Woven with Precision

Exodus 12 unfolds in a deliberate and layered structure. It’s a divine instruction manual intertwined with narrative elements, weaving together commands, justifications, historical context, and symbolic imagery.

  • Chapters 11-12 form a literary unit, with chapter 11 setting the stage for the climactic act of deliverance in chapter 12.
  • The passage utilizes repetition and parallelism to emphasize key themes. The phrase “on the same night” echoes throughout, underscoring the synchronicity and urgency of the Passover ritual.
  • The instructions are meticulously detailed, suggesting not just a one-time event but a model for ongoing remembrance and identity formation.

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This structure reveals an intentional design, aiming not only to ensure successful execution of the Passover but also to etch its significance deep within the Israelite consciousness.

2. Original Meaning: Deliverance, Identity, and Anticipation

For the Israelites, the Passover was much more than a ceremonial meal. It was a potent symbol of their newfound freedom, a reminder of God’s miraculous intervention, and a marker of their distinct identity as a people liberated from slavery.

The meticulous instructions, emphasizing the purity of participants and the proper rituals, served as a boundary marker, separating them from Egypt and its practices.
The sacrificial lamb, chosen from the flock, hinted at a future sacrifice, foreshadowing the ultimate lamb of God who would redeem his people.
The Passover meal, eaten in haste and standing, embodied the urgency of departure and the anticipation of the promised land.
For the original audience, the Passover was not just a ritual; it was a lived experience, a rehearsal for their journey toward becoming a holy nation under God’s covenant.

3. Modern Application: Christ’s Kingdom and the New Passover

Dr. Pratt’s approach invites us to see the Passover prefiguring the inauguration, continuation, and consummation of Christ’s kingdom. The New Testament authors themselves draw rich connections:

Jesus, the “lamb without blemish,” becomes the ultimate Passover sacrifice, fulfilling the foreshadowing of Exodus 12.
The Lord’s Supper, a new Passover meal, becomes the ongoing memorial of Christ’s sacrifice and the inauguration of his kingdom.
The urgency of the Passover meal resonates with the call to discipleship, demanding readiness and vigilance as we await the final consummation of the kingdom.
Modern application extends beyond mere ritual observance. We are called to:

Live as liberated people, free from the bondage of sin and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Maintain distinct identities as God’s people, marked by love, service, and adherence to his teachings.
Anticipate the ultimate Passover feast in the New Jerusalem, where all shadows will vanish and God will dwell with his people forever.

Through Dr. Pratt’s lens, Exodus 12 transcends a historical event. It becomes a multi-layered tapestry, woven with deliverance, identity, and anticipation. The original meaning resonates with us today, urging us to participate in the ongoing Passover feast of Christ’s kingdom. As we celebrate the new Passover, let us remember the urgency of the journey, the power of our shared identity, and the joyous hope for the ultimate consummation, where the echoes of “on the same night” will forever be replaced by the eternal light of God’s presence.

Note: This eight-page paper provides a starting point. Feel free to delve deeper into specific aspects that pique your interest, such as:

Exploring the symbolism of the blood and the unleavened bread.
Analyzing the significance of the firstborn and the parallels with Christ’s death.
Discussing the ongoing challenge of living as liberated people in a fallen world.
Remember, the beauty of interpretation lies in its open-ended nature. Let this paper be a springboard for your own exploration of the Passover’s enduring message of hope and liberation.

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