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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Let the reader mark the style here.

"Israel is my son, my firstborn".

What does this import?

Did not God tell Abraham, that He had constituted him a father of many nations?

Then these nations are in effect his sons; for a father implies sons.

But of this family of nation-sons, which of them is the first-born son?

The testimony before us declares that Israel is.

The nation of Israel then is the heir, and nearest to the throne in the empire of the world.

But it is now, and will be for a few more years, as it was in the days of Pharaoh.

Israel, God's first-born, is scattered, oppressed, and destroyed, by the tyrants of the nations, and a subject of reproach among the people.

But the sentence of God is still unrepealed; and at a coming crisis, he says to the Autocrat, "Let my son, Israel, go, that he may serve me; and if thou refuse, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn".

When the events in Egypt shall be re-enacted in the latter day, "a nation," even Israel, "shall be born in a day"; and other nations will soon after follow him in a birth into Christ and the political family of Abraham.

When this comes to pass, all the nations of the earth will be Abraham's sons, and rejoice in Israel their elder brother.

But, when Israel was brought to the birth, and stood trembling on the shore of the Red Sea, they were about to be introduced into Moses.

They had been begotten of God as His national firstborn; but were they to be born of water into the everlasting possession of Canaan?

; or into a possession in which they were only "strangers and sojourners" in the land?

That would depend upon the question of their national baptism into Moses, or into Christ: if into Moses, they could only inherit according to his law; but if into Christ, then they would obtain an everlasting national possession of the land, of which no other nation, or confederacy of nations, could deprive them.

But they could not be nationally baptized into Christ, for Christ had not come; and until he came, and as the mediator of the New Covenant, suffered death, neither individual nor nation could have everlasting inheritance in the land; for the covenant was of no force while the testator was undeceased.

But there is an end of all question in the case.

The apostle, in reference to the passage of the Red Sea, writes, "I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized into Moses (eiv ton mwshn) in the cloud and in the sea (en th nefelh kai en th yalassh) This was the national baptism: an entire obscuration of a whole nation from the view of all beholders on either shore.

It was buffed, not in the sea only, but in the cloud and in the sea -- a cloud, which was black with darkness to the Egyptians, but light to Israel between the icy walls of the sea.

But though buried, the nation rose again to a new life upon the opposite shore, leaving all their tyrant taskmasters, and all their bondage behind them, washed away by the returning waters of the deep.

First, then, believing in Moses and in the Lord, they were baptized into Moses, and so "saved that day out of the hands of the Egyptians," who were washed up "dead upon the sea-shore".