Then the children of Israel moved from Rameses and camped at Succoth. They departed from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. They moved from Etham and turned back to Pi Hahiroth, which is east of Baal Zephon; and they camped near Migdol. (Numbers 33:5-7)
As Israel began their trek toward the land of promise, the world as they and others knew it was turned on its ear, so to speak. For Egypt and its’ people it was a time of judgment that resulted in death and humiliation. By the culmination of the judgment, the God of Israel had greatly affected their future with the death of the firstborn and had completely obliterated their past with the overthrow of their gods. In short, the Egypt that was never rose again.
For Israel, the judgment had some of the same affects in that it overturned their recent past — i.e. it brought an end to their bondage — and greatly affected their future in that they were free men. In sharp contrast to their one-time oppressors, for Israel, God’s judgment resulted in life, joy and redemption. They went from Rameses (literally, “Ra’s burden”) to Sukkot which symbolized resurrection from the dead. I say that because it was at Succoth that they collected the bones of Joseph who would, in a sense, travel with them to the land of his birth.
All of this doesn’t ignore the fact that the future still presented its’ challenges to Israel; they still had to go to the “mouth of gorges” (Pi-hachirot) in order to be squeezed in a manner of speaking. They had to face the “Lord of the north” (Ba’al-Tzephon) and the fortress at the sea (Midgol). And as we know, other challenges awaited them in the desert, nevertheless — and this is the point — judgment upon the nations meant an end to Israel’s captivity and exile.
This leads me to conclude that we should expect this pattern to be repeated in the last days. In other words, what happened then will happen again. The gods of this world and everything that “Egypt” puts its’ confidence in — economy, military, philosophy – will be toppled. As it does, God’s people will be affected without a doubt, but as we see it unfold, remember, these are days of redemption.
Blessings and Shalom,