In Exodus, God establishes the liturgical rites in the Tabernacle that prefigure the reality of Christ and the Church. God reveals the plans to Moses on Mount Sinai for the sacred space of the Tabernacle and the liturgical rites, and sacrifices. Yet, God also reveals “the appointed times” of the feasts to Moses, or, in other words, sacred time: the liturgical calendar of Judaism and the seven feasts. Just as Christ fulfills the typologies of sacred space and sacrificial rites, he also fulfills the Jewish feasts.
Is it not interesting that Christ fulfills in his First Coming all of the spring feasts of Exodus down to the exact day? Christ fulfills his Paschal sacrifice on the Cross at the time of the Jewish Passover, and he fulfills the feast of Unleavened Bread during the very same time with the Last Supper and inaugurating the first Catholic Mass; Christ fulfills the feast of First Fruits on the exact day as his Resurrection on Easter Sunday; and that the Holy Spirit comes on Pentecost Sunday on the exact same day as the Jewish feast of Pentecost. Jewish Pentecost was 50 days after the feast of First Fruits, just as the Holy Spirit comes fifty days after Christ’s Easter day Resurrection. Certainly, this was designed by Providence. The feasts are divinely appointed times by God which Christ fulfills to the exact day.
At the theophany on Mount Sinai, the original Pentecost, Moses and the Israelites ratify the Covenant, as “they beheld God, and ate and drank” (Exodus 34:11). From that point on, God says of the Israelites, “and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). After the coming of the Holy Spirit, the new Pentecost, St. Peter speaks these same words of Moses for the Church in fulfillment of Exodus, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Peter 2:9). The Church is the fulfillment of God’s original intention at Mount Sinai for his people to be a holy and priestly nation. The blueprint set out in Exodus is realized in the Catholic Church. Catholics are “a holy priesthood” who “offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). We offer up our daily lives, of spiritual sacrifices, intercessions, and atonement, in union with Christ, for ourselves and for the world.
The whole point of living the sacramental life is the salvation of our souls. In loving Christ through the Church, the sacraments, and neighbor, we hope to awaken from death to hear those most beloved words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). Exodus is the preview of the Redemption. We are living the fulfillment now. As Catholics, we strive to stay close to Christ through the Church in our desert wanderings of this world, in hope of one day reaching the eternal Promised Land of heaven.
This post concludes Brian Kranick’s series on how the miraculous in Exodus becomes the supernatural & sacramental in the New Covenant and the Catholic Church. Please move through the whole series to explore the wonders of God’s marvelous work that culminates with Christ and made present in the Sacred Liturgy of the Church:
- Part I: From Exodus to Easter – Old Testament Typologies Reveal New Testament Realities
- Part II: From Exodus to Easter – Jesus, The New Moses
- Part III: From Exodus to Easter – The New Joshua
- Part IV: From Exodus to Easter – The Passover Lamb
- Part V: From Exodus to Easter – Baptism and the Waters of Exodus
- Part VI: From Exodus to Easter – The Manna, the Quail, and the Bread of Life
- Part VII: From Exodus to Easter – The Sacrifices
Brian Kranick is the author of Burning Bush, Burning Hearts: Exodus as Paradigm of the Gospel. He has a master’s degree in Systematic Theology from Christendom College and writes about theological issues at sacramentallife.com. He resides with his family in the Pacific Northwest.
Image Source: AB/Rijksmuseum Resurrection of Christ. Date: c 1485 – c 1500.