Angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent Angel to show the servants things that must soon take place.”
– Revelation 22:6
Biblical scholars describe the Bible’s theologically-motivated history writing as “salvation history”, meaning a history of God’s saving actions that give identity to Israel – the promise of offspring and land to the ancestors, the exodus from Egypt ( in which God saves Israel from slavery), the wilderness wandering, the revelation at Sinai, and the hope for the future life in the promised land.
A theophany is a manifestation (appearance) of a god – in the Bible, an appearance of the God of Israel, accompanied by storms – the earth trembles, the mountains quake, the heavens pour rain, thunder peals and lightning flashes. The theophany in Exodus begins “the third day” from their arrival at Sinai in chapter 19: Yahweh and the people meet at the mountain, God appears in the storm and converses with Moses, giving him the Ten Commandments while the people listen. The theophany is therefore a public experience of divine law.
The second half of Exodus marks the point at which, and describes the process through which, God’s theophany becomes a permanent presence for Israel via the Tabernacle. That so much of the book (chapters 25–31, 35–40) is spent describing the plans of the Tabernacle demonstrates the importance it played in the perception of Second Temple Judaism at the time of the text’s redaction by the Priestly writers: the Tabernacle is the place where God is physically present, where, through the priesthood, Israel could be in direct, literal communion with him.
The heart of Exodus is the Sinaitic covenant. A covenant is a legal document binding two parties to take on certain obligations towards each other. There are several covenants in the Bible, and in each case they exhibit at least some of the elements found in real-life treaties of the ancient Middle East: a preamble, historical prologue, stipulations, deposition and reading, list of witnesses, blessings and curses, and ratification by animal sacrifice. Biblical covenants, in contrast to Eastern covenants in general, are between a god, Yahweh, and a people, Israel, instead of between a strong ruler and a weaker vassal.
Election of Israel
Israel is elected for salvation because the “sons of Israel” are “the firstborn son” of the God of Israel, descended through Shem and Abraham to the chosen line of Jacob whose name is changed to Israel. The theme of election by birth will later narrow still further, to the line of David, the descendant of Judah, and further in Christianity to Jesus. The goal of the divine plan as revealed in Exodus is a return to man’s state in Eden, so that God can dwell with the Israelites as he had with Adam and Eve through the Ark and Tabernacle, which together form a model of the universe; in later Abrahamic religions this came to be interpreted as Israel being the guardian of God’s plan for mankind, to bring “God’s creation blessing to mankind” begun in Adam. Later, the “obedient son”, Jesus, ultimately brings about a new creation where the “old Adam and old Israel failed”.
And the angel said to me,
“Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”
– Revelation 19:9
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You are our Perpetual Help because of your eyes, those eyes that follow us from left to right, that see us from any point from which we seek you. They watch us as eyes filled with love and a desire to protect us. They follow us perpetually, whatever our situation be, our detours, our absences, and our returns. You are our Perpetual Help because, as the icon shows us, your gesture of sustaining Jesus is eternal, since you now are forever at His side as our faithful intercessor. To be Perpetual Help is your mission, Mediatrix of God’s inexhaustible grace, despite the immensity of our faults.
Grant us the favor of responding to your Perpetual Help by always coming to you in persevering prayer. Our Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us!
Marie has universal spiritual motherhood
1. Marie is mother of humanity in the order of grace. The Second Vatican Council highlights this role of Marie, linking it to her co-operation in Christ’s Redemption. “In the designs of divine Providence, she was the gracious mother of the divine Redeemer here on earth, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord”.