Jesus saved a people out of the land of Egypt?

Jude 5 says,

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

For some this verse gives people pause. Obviously, Jesus is not directly mentioned in that Exodus account. So what gives?

El Shaddai1 (yes, that’s his real name!), helps shed light on this issue. He explains, “I submit that another verse has more meaning and impact on the process of translation. That is, Luke 24:25-27 –

“He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (HCSB)

He continues,

“If Jesus himself provided interpretation, should we be using Christian Bibles? That is, Bibles that emphasize and underscore the connections of Christ between OT/NT rather than separate them into the partial and perfect. Do we need two versions of the Hebrew texts? One for original context studies and one for Christian interpretation?

What does it say about non-evangelical Bibles like the RSV, NRSV, NET, REB, etc. that don’t deliberately draw this out? The context of Christ is the OT; the context of Christianity is the NT. How many times has a translation been rejected or criticized because the translators didn’t “jump to Jesus” and interpret messianic fulfillment back into the (OT) Scriptures? Are they not Christian Bibles? Or should that be, not Christ Bibles?”

I confess that many would claim this is not “proof” of concept, or another way of saying it, the way Jude 5 expresses that Jesus led the Exodus is not sufficient enough to use Jesus as the interpretive key of the Old Testament.

Theological Musings directly addresses this issue with Jude 5 from the perspective of manuscripts.

“…regarding the variant reading of Jude 5. There are a number of differences one encounters when dealing with the Greek text of Jude 5. I would like to list the variant reading and the manuscripts that support them before I tell why I chose the reading Ιησους over Κυριος.”

I suggest you read TM’s full article; it’s short and a good read, plus he offers other resources for study regarding this issue. Go on. I’ll wait…..

Done? Good….

“The reason that I chose Ιησους over Κυριος was because I felt it to be the reading with the strongest manuscript support as well as the difficult reading. The fact the name Ιησους is connected with the Exodus makes this reading harder than if it was Κυριος or even θεος. Scribes had the tendency to not make a reading more difficult, but rather to try to smooth it out. Because Jesus is not mentioned in the Exodus, the presence of Ιησους seems to be out of place, therefore a scribe may want to change it to fit the Exodus account where it is God that leads the people out of Egypt.

I would therefore agree with the editor of the NET Bible:

The reading Ιησους (Iēsous, “Jesus” is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or1739mg), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange Κυριος (kurios, “Lord” or θεος (theos, “God” for ᾿Ιησοῦς (though P72 has the intriguing reading θεος Χριστος [theos Christos, “God Christ“] for Ιησους). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA27 for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424c 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading Ιησους is, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate.
– Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.-

Can we say that Jesus led Israel in the Exodus? With a confident answer, “yes!” Jesus is (and should be) the interpretive key to all of Scripture- even in the Old Testament.

1El Shaddai’s website is gone, and I do not know if he has started blogging elsewhere.

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