SLAVERY VS LIBERTY
Having traced the very evident revelation of our Lord's consciousness of the coming Cross during the three years of His public ministry, and having endeavored, moreover, reverently to come as near to that Cross as it is right that we should in contemplation of His suffering, and having stood before the Cross and considered its revelation of sin and grace, we are now to approach it from a new standpoint.
This article is devoted to a consideration of the Cross in relation to the Kingly position of Christ, and in the course of it we shall endeavor to observe Him as He wins the victory which issued in the redemption of His people from the slavery of a false authority, and opened the way into a new land of freedom under government.
The SLAVERY of sin is a part of its penalty. When man yielded himself to sin, he became the servant of sin. By the way of the Cross the King made provision by which man could be redeemed from that SLAVERY. In the mystery of His passion, the King led the exodus of all such as following Him, leave forever behind them the tasks and taskmasters of evil, and pass into the glorious LIBERTY of the children of God.
In Luke's account of the transfiguration we read, "And behold, there talked with Him two men, who were Moses and Elijah; who appeared in glory, and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke 9:30-31)
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says, "By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the decease of the children of Israel." (Heb. 11:22) The word used by our translators is not the word "decease," but "departure," and such translation is undoubtedly correct. The word translated "departure" in Hebrews is the identical word translated "decease" in Luke, and a more literal translation of the Greek word in each case would convey the correct meaning on both occasions, that word being “eteron.” The simplest translation would be in the use of our word exodus. Use the word exodus in both connections, and it will be seen how it perfectly fits each: "Behold, there talked with Him two men, who were Moses and Elijah; who appeared in glory, and spake of His exodus which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." "By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the exodus of the children of Israel." Peter, in referring to his own approaching end wrote, "Yea, I will give diligence that at every time ye may be able after my departure to call these things to remembrance." (2 Peter 1:15) Here again we have altered the word, for it is translated "decease." In the alteration on this occasion no incongruity was discovered. Here again adopt the suggested word, "Yea, I will give diligence that at every time ye may be able after my exodus." This word “eteron"only occurs in the New Testament on these three occasions. It is a word which means very literally, a highway out of, and so in use, a going out. This is the word which describes the subject of conversation between Jesus, and Moses and Elijah. The word "decease" is not wrong, always providing that it is understood correctly. It is derived from the Latin word "decessus," which means a going from, so that the true meaning of the word decease is not death, as cessation of being, but a going out, or liberation of life, a leaving of the harbor as a ship at port into the open sea where its real purpose is achieved. This decease is really a word marking THE CHRISTIAN THOUGHT OF DEATH, although so seldom understood in that way. Upon the mount of transfiguration the heavenly visitors conversed with Jesus of His exodus. Joseph, when his end was nigh, spoke of the exodus of the children of Israel; and Peter, referring to his approaching end, used the word concerning it which our Lord had used of His, on the holy mount, "after My exodus."
We have occupied so much space with this word in order that we may be brought face to face with this particular aspect of the Cross of Jesus. We have considered our Lord as He passed into the place which was the necessary outcome of His assuming the responsibility of sin. We are now to consider Him as leading the way out from that very place, and so are to consider His death as in the pathway of His exodus. In this exodus He broke down all barriers, and left behind Him open doors through which those submitted to His Kingship, surrendered to His government, might have their exodus also from the bondage and slavery of sin into the glorious liberty of the children of God. In order to our contemplation of this aspect of the Cross, we shall first make a statement of the case, and then take the utmost illustration of this truth given in the case of the criminal, who by faith in Jesus, passed with Him along the pathway of His exodus.