Christian’s Library Press has now released Exodus, the second primer in its Opening the Scriptures series. Written by Dutch Reformed pastor and preacher Cornelis Vonk, and translated by Theodore Plantinga and Nelson Kloosterman, the volume provides an introduction to the book of Exodus.
Like others in the series, it is neither a technical commentary nor a sermon, but rather an accessible primer for the average churchgoer, walking readers through the “immense building” of Scripture while “tracing the unfolding” of God’s ultimate plan.
Much of this is accomplished through Vonk’s continual highlighting of each book’s unique place in the grand totality of Scripture. How, for example, should the law in Exodus be understood in light of the New Testament?
An excerpt from the first chapter:
From the law we get to know God, our Creator, who out of free grace made a covenant with Abraham the idol worshiper. From the law we get to know Christ and his works as a great picture book that the Lord employed to give his church visual lessons in what he could mean to her. From the law we learn much about the will of our heavenly Father for the life that has been restored in Christ. We must respect the authorities, have mercy on widows and orphans and on the poor and the strangers in our midst, pay the laborer his full wage, not condemn anyone without hearing his story, and so forth.
From the law we learn our place with God as baptized Christians. That is surely not a lesser place than Israel enjoyed with the Lord. We are not servants working for a master who pays us by the hour; we are children in the home of their Father, children called from all nations and chosen to receive a beautiful inheritance, which is destined for us and will indeed be ours unless we reject it, as Esau did (Heb. 12:26). Such is the wealth of the newborn child in a Christian setting. And that’s the fearful future a Christian people must face if they scorn the blood of Christ with which they are sanctified (Heb. 10:29–30). For we are not less than Israel, and therefore no less responsible. Through Moses God gave the law to the Israelites, but the “body” and “truth” of the law have come to us today through Jesus Christ (John 1:17; 4:23; Col. 2:17; Heb. 10:1)…
… Through the law Israel knew how the Lord wished to he served, namely, through a continual honoring in his sanctuary with sacrifices and prayers, with praise and songs, with obligatory tithes and freewill offerings—and also through piety in daily life, by walking with joyful hearts down the path of his loving commandments (Deut. 28:47). Already in those days it could be said that God’s commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).