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Smiting Pharaoh

Query for the Month

of

July 2012

Next up-date: August 1st 2012 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in.  Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )

In the meantime, try this site.    And here's one where you can read it online.

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


Query: 

Exodus 3:18-20.   

 [God said to Moses] And they [the elders of Israel] shall hearken to your voice: and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and you shall say to him, “The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us: and now let us go, we beseech you, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God”.

And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.  And I will stretch out My hand, and smite Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.   

What an unequal contest!  Did Almighty God really “smite” the poor little Egyptian king with TEN plagues?  And even then he wasn’t vanquished; only beaten for a while, for he chased after the Hebrews and was drowned in the Red Sea.  Those who think that the Father of Jesus Christ did that are worshipping the Baal god without realising it.

 

Answer:  

Not only is such an idea completely wrong, it would be totally unfair and unrighteous because of the great difference in abilities between the contestants.  Even sinful human beings know that unless there is a relatively even match then the dispute is “rigged” and we cry “foul”!

Although it is written in many places as though the God of heaven brought these plagues as a punishment upon an obstinate opponent (“I will stretch out My hand, and smite Egypt” etc.), we know that God of life does not harm, destroy or punish in any way at any time to any person.  So why is it written as if He does? 

In the end any power in the universe comes from Him, and even when it is not under His direct command He knows that He is responsible for it.  is direct command, command,     

As the saying goes, “The buck stops here”, and ultimately every power and action in the universe can be seen to stem from the power and action of God.  But on the way many of them are perverted, and cause destruction rather than growth.  An impartial jury, which is what we are, would not judge Him guilty when they know the circumstances.

The whole purpose of leaving life on earth to be under Satan’s (and human) leading is to show that when it is left alone it self-destructs from within, and that God is guiltless of death, the separation from Him.

Here’s a thought from my library:

***************(Begin Quote)

In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation.  It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth.  It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field.  “His strength set fast the mountains”.  “The sea is His, and He made it”.  Psalm 65:6; 95:5.  It was He that filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song.  And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky, He wrote the message of the Father's love. 

Now sin has marred God's perfect work, yet that handwriting remains.  Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence.  There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives to itself.  No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life.  There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry.  Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf.  The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world.  The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds.  The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give.  The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud. 

The angels of glory find their joy in giving, – giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy.  Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know.  

But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus.  Looking to Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give.  “I do nothing of Myself,” said Christ; “the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father”.  “I seek not Mine own glory,” but the glory of Him that sent Me.  John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18.  In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. 

All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. 

So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father's life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all.  And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life. 

In heaven itself this law was broken.  Sin originated in self-seeking.  Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven.  He sought to gain control of heavenly beings, to draw them away from their Creator, and to win their homage to himself.  Therefore he misrepresented God, attributing to Him the desire for self-exaltation.  With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator.  Thus he deceived angels.  Thus he deceived men.  He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness.  Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving.  Thus he drew men to join him in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled down upon the world.  

The earth was dark through misapprehension of God.  That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan's deceptive power was to be broken.  This could not be done by force.  The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God's government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority.  Only by love is love awakened.  To know God is to love Him;

His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. 

This work only one Being in all the universe could do.  Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known.  Upon the world's dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in His wings”.  Malachi 4:2.  

The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam.  It was a revelation of “the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal”.  Romans 16:25, R. V.  It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God's throne.  From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency.   {DA 20.1- 22.2}

***************(End Quote)

Here’s a site which goes into this subject more fully:

http://ancient-sda.com/ancient/ftw_wrath.html

With that in mind we should be able to see with our spiritual eyesight that God was operating BETWEEN the plagues of Egypt, not IN them.  We are continually surrounded by natural disasters waiting to happen, as well as events inflicted by Satan.  He loves conflicts – because people are swept off into extinction without being saved.  Kill or be killed is his motto.  His great delight is to hurt God and this is his ultimate way.  Humans to him are like animals are to hunters – something to kill and boast about.

What God does is save us from as many of these problems as He can whether we know about them or not, but He has to be careful not to step over the line and take away our free choice.  In the case of the Pagan Abimelech which we saw last time He said, “. . . I also withheld you from sinning against Me: therefore suffered I you not to touch her . . . because deep down the man did not want to do any wrong, and therefore the LORD was not going against his desire.

But with Pharaoh it was different – he outright rejected God’s position as Saviour from trouble and claimed that he could do it on his own.  “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD [as my boss or guide], neither will I let Israel go”.  Exodus 5:2.  He knew of the God of Israel, but did not consider Him important. Therefore the LORD had to withdraw His hidden support and allow the elements and other problems to have their natural way.

But first He demonstrated with Aaron’s rod His power as a creator in that He turned it into a living serpent.  Exodus 7:10.  Satan’s agents were able to duplicate the scene without the life (possibly with hypnotism?) but in this they were able to convince the king that it was all magic.  We should note that every plague which followed was indicated by that rod, for in this the LORD was showing His relinquishing of power over that object.  For the next seven days the waters of the river (which was worshipped as a god by the Egyptians) turned into blood in many places and this killed all the creatures which were in those areas.  However, God did not remove His power from the cleansing earth around the water, so the people were able to dig wells and find clear water.  But the magicians and priests of Egypt were also able to replicate this feat, because the same destroying power was with them!

Then came the abundance of frogs – and so on and so on.

All these things were either natural events which the LORD normally protected from by the laws of physics and nature, or engineered by Satan, which required added protection.  After the first three plagues, God then announced that He could re-impose His protection on the land of Goshen (Exodus 8:22) and subsequent events would not affect that countryside.  (The Hebrews had obviously now come to believe that He was working for them, for like Moses at the beginning, they did not really believe.  See Exodus 5:19-23. )  This meant that any Egyptians living in Goshen were also protected, for it was the land that was covered by His righteousness. 

But, “Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go”.  Exodus 8:32.

Eventually, as we all know, it came to the point where the rejection and withdrawing of protection was so great that the lives of the firstborn sons were threatened.  Here was involved an age-old principle, for as a picture of the position of the Son of God in the universal family, God had asked that the position of every firstborn son of humanity be especially recognised.  Joseph, as the prime minister of Egypt, had done this.  “And they [his brothers] sat before him [Joseph], the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another”.  Genesis 43:33.

Moses had been told to say to the king, “And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the LORD, Israel is My son, even My firstborn: and I say to you, Let My son go, that he may serve Me: and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, even your firstborn”, because the role of the firstborn was to be the priest under the father (in this case Pharaoh) who was the high priest of each clan or nation.  Exodus 4:22-23.

This first-born principle was to be changed during the exodus because of the repentance shown by the men of Levi after the golden calf debacle.  “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that opens the matrix [womb] among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine; because all the firstborn are Mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed [separated] to Me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the LORD [who gives life]”.  Numbers 3:11-13.

At that time, in an excess of zeal for the honour of the LORD, “Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, ‘Who is on the LORD'S side?  Let him come to me’.  And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.  And he said to them, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother [and sister], and every man his companion [wife], and every man his neighbour’.  And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men [plus women and children].  For Moses had said, ‘Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that He may bestow upon you a blessing this day’.”  Exodus 32:26-29. 

What a misunderstanding!  Moses himself while on the mountain had just told God in no uncertain terms that He could not destroy the people.  Here is what he said:

***************(Begin Quote)

Exodus 32:

9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked [proud] people: 10 now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation”.

11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, why does Your wrath wax hot against Your people, which You have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?’

“Turn from Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Your people!   

13 “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever’.”

14 And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do to His people.

***************(End Quote)

Now, however, Moses seemed to think that it was alright to kill some of the people, but not all of them!

However, when the blood-lust and religious fervour had subsided, the Levites bitterly repented what they had done AND IT WAS THIS that earned them the blessing of being able to serve the LORD in His sanctuary.  In a little-recognised statement made just before the LORD had to leave them for centuries, God one day reminded the priests and the Levites of what had happened there that day.  “And you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant might be [or remain] with Levi, says the LORD of hosts.  My covenant was with him OF LIFE AND PEACE; and I gave them to him for the fear [respect] wherewith he feared Me, and was afraid before My name [character]. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with Me IN PEACE and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.  For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.  But you are departed out of the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts”.   Malachi 2:4-8.

Conclusion:

God did NOT engage in a life and death struggle with the Pharaoh of Egypt so that His people could leave Egypt.  It was because Pharaoh (and his people) rejected God and His care that His protection had to be withdrawn at times, and the plagues came upon the nation.  God’s character is such that He is a Saviour ALL of the time, unless forcibly removed from that role by the deliberate choice of an individual human or nation.

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Next query. To be discussed from August 1st 2012,

Revelation 20:7-9

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.  

 

Where did John get this idea from?

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