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Exodus 14:14

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Exodus 14:14, ‘YHWH will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’

Moses speaks this promise to Israel as they stand on the banks of the Red Sea. Death is before them in the churning waves of the abyss, death is behind them in the hammering hooves and flashing swords of the Egyptian army, and into this crushing press of death, Moses calls God’s people to, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of YHWH…YHWH will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’ And we know what happens: the abyss is torn in two, Israel passes trough the waters unscathed, the pursuing army is destroyed, and the majesty of YHWH is made known to all the nations.

However, Israel’s passage through the abyss points to—and is only possible because of—the passage of True Israel through the True Abyss, namely, Christ’s descent to the depths of the Curse on Calvary and His ascent to new and indestructible life through the Resurrection. This is the supreme fulfillment of Moses’ words. The Beloved Son passes into the Sea of Death and Damnation in the silence of perfect submission to His Father’s will, and as He lies silent in the grave, the Father ‘fights for Him,’ splitting the Abyss in two, bringing His Son—His Beloved ‘Israel’—out into Life, shattering the enemy, and manifesting His majesty to the nations.

And this is how God ‘fights for’ us as well. Every salvation, every victory, every redemption is achieved in the moment of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and we receive and enter into this salvation by virtue of our union to Him. Our silent faith in the face of *this* trial is participation in Christ’s silent faith on the cross and in the grave…and God’s fighting for us in *this* trial is our reception of yet another aspect of that single, omni-temporal master stroke of salvation He achieved with Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

So, in this image, the scene beneath the wave represents not only all the trials under which we might ‘be silent’ and wait for the Lord’s salvation, but it ultimately represents Christ’s vicarious death for His bride. Beneath the Sea, Jesus’ hands are crossed as in a tomb and he is bound in the linen cloths of his burial. The cloths are red both because of our sin that demanded death and His blood that overcame death.

But see that the cloths are being stripped away even as the Sea is parting around Jesus head. This represents Christ’s resurrection from the dead, whereby Death itself is torn asunder and made the pathway into the promised land of life in God’s presence (pictured by the mountain in the distance) for all who trust in Jesus.

The Bride of Christ is pictured as held in the wounds of Christ’s hands. She joins Him in both His death and resurrection…silently waiting for salvation under trial, and yet knowing beyond doubt that the Lord Himself will fight for her, applying in her present the eternal victory of Jesus’ resurrection. This is true in every small scale trial that she faces, and will be finally true when each of her members passes through the final trial of death itself.

Lastly, the face of the risen Jesus is shining brightly and superimposed over the distant image of Sinai / Zion. This is a reminder that the glory of YHWH God—the glory revealed to Moses on Sinai, the glory beheld on the eschatological Zion—is the glory that was definitively manifest on Calvary. It is in the ‘face’ of the crucified and risen Jesus that the beauty of the One True God—the God of Israel, the God of the Exodus, YHWH Himself—is perfectly and savingly revealed to the eyes of faith (2 Cor.4:6).