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Why Through The Sea?
A simple statement about The Exodus route by the way to the sea:
"13:18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea" (Exodus 13:18 KJV)
But the Exodus was much more. It was profoundly symbolic of Christianity. Jesus Christ is The Way - and it was The Christ who led the Israelites in the Exodus (which was an analogy of living a Christian life in acceptance of Christ's Passover Sacrifice - see Christ's Passover and Christ's Feast of Unleavened Bread):
"14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:5-6 KJV)
But why did Christ have them go through the water? Why not around it? Because, after accepting His Passover Sacrifice and dedicating themselves to come out of the carnal world, it was their baptism for and by Christ (see Old Testament Baptisms):
"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 KJV)
The Sea: A Symbolic Baptism For The Israelites, A Symbolic Lake Of Fire For Pharaoh's Attacking Army
So the Israelites came out of Egypt on a baptism route - which would be a sea of destruction for those who refused to repent (see Planet On Fire!).
"13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go [see Let My People Go], that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 13:18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
The LORD led them on His Way.
"13:20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 13:22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people." (Exodus 13:20-22 KJV)
The Pharaoh's "repentance" in letting the people go free (of him, not of the LORD's Law - see Violence, which means violation) was short-lived.
"14:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses [see The Master's Messenger], saying, 14:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. 14:3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so." (Exodus 14:1-4 KJV)
And so the Israelites made way to the waters of their deliverance - and of the Pharaoh's destruction.
"14:5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? 14:6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: 14:7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. 14:9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon." (Exodus 14:5-9 KJV)
Fact Finder: What is "the way" to salvation?