5/22, 23, 26, 27 6/2-11/92
The God of the future, the promise of future victory.
V. 11, magical praying
V. 11, sovereignty of Satan.
V. 11, the MAGICIANS, 9 POINTS
Chapter 6 closes with Moses giving up all hope of Pharaoh listening to him. Now he obeys God because he has no choice, not because of any hope of being successful before Pharaoh.
This chapter introduces us to two important fixtures of Egypt: the magicians and the Nile. We will look the both when we come to them in the text.
7:1, A god to Pharaoh.. Pharaoh sure did not respect Moses as such, so what did the Lord mean? Just as the Lord God has a prophet, so Moses has a prophet: Aaron. Just as the pagan gods which Pharaoh worshiped had prophets to speak for them, so Moses had a prophet to speak for him. And don't think that this did not catch Pharaoh's attention. Even though Pharaoh refused to listen or take the words of Moses seriously, he had to take notice that Moses was standing before him as a god with his own prophet. Moses did not speak to Pharaoh, but told Aaron what to say and do. This had to be impressive to Pharaoh. This is no doubt a primary reason Pharaoh did not cast Moses out on his ear and chop off his head at their first meeting.
God assures Moses of what He has done to Pharaoh; See, I have made thee a god... This speaks in present tents, I have made thee.. It has already been done even though Pharaoh ignored them the first time.
Moses is authorized to speak and act in God's name and stead, invested by the Lord God to demand obedience from a wicked sovereign prince of this world and given authority and power, in God's stead, to punish disobedience. Moses was a god, but only a made god and only a god to Pharaoh.
The Lord tells Moses again that he must speak to Aaron and Aaron will speak to Pharaoh. There will be several results of their speaking to Pharaoh:
1) Pharaoh will send the children of Israel out ot his land.
2) And I will harden Pharaoh's heart... This is indeed a difficult statement. [See the Mailout about the hardness of Christians. It is from and in Exodus 4:21.] It was a direct result of God hardening Pharaoh's heart which led to the mighty works and the destruction of Egypt by the Lord. The hardening of Pharaoh's heart was with a purpose. We saw in Chapter 6, that God was going to make Israel understand that He indeed was their God, their redeemer and deliver. How is He going to do this? By hardening Pharaoh's heart.
Observe: we desire to see the mighty hand of God without the hardening of Pharaoh's heart and his exhibited hatred against God and God's people.
3) The Lord will use Pharaoh's hardness to show Himself strong. Furthermore, the Lord will use Pharaoh's hardness to judge Egypt.
4) Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go." (5:2) The Lord is going use Pharaoh's hardness to show him and the Egyptians Who He is, v. 5. In addition, notice v. 5, when; in other words, the only thing Egypt understood was military might and power. God was going to destroy Egypt's power through judgments. The result would be that Egypt and Pharaoh would indeed know who the Lord is.
Observe: It is sad that the only way men learn who the Lord is through judgment, but it is one of his fallen characteristics.
Furthermore, v. 5, Egypt is made to know God by His pouring out His wrath and judgment against her sin; Israel is made to know God by fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, which is interesting. God's covenant-people are to act by faith. This showed up with Moses at the bush, 3:12. In other words and strangely enough, we know that God is in something when the promised results come to pass. Of course, we must operate by Biblical law, so we place His law into action and we know His presence as He honors our faithful obedience.
Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them, so did they. Notice that the word did is used twice in this verse. The Lord only repeats Himself when it is important; therefore, why is the obedience of Moses and Aaron at this time any more important than before?
1) They had tried and failed: Pharaoh had been anything but receptive to the message from the Lord; the pressure reveled Israel's true faith, they turned against Moses and the Lord; Moses was ready to list his experience with Pharaoh as a hopeless case, call it quits and go back to his sheep.
2) V. 7, notes that Moses was 80, Aaron 83. Both Moses and Aaron die at around the age of 120, so their lives were 2/3 complete, yet they are just now starting on their life's most difficult task.
Observe: Let's say that today's average age is 75; the world says that it is time to retire at 50 and let the younger generation take over. With Moses we see that 2/3 of our life is spent in learning that we do not have the answers, and that the Lord alone must do anything; we spend 2/3 of our lives really learning our trade or occupation, then they encourage the individual to take an early retirement. This last US News had a series of articles about the career of those who retired at an early age, say around 50, and the occupations which they went into after they retired.
Notice that it looks to me like the most productive age of a person is the last 2/3 of his life. Sam Walton, Kernal Sanders and a multitude of others, didn't get started until they were well into this last 1/3 of their lives. Think of the talent and abilities being lost by industry through their early retirement programs. If anything, it is the younger ones who should be cut back because the skills of industry is found in the older generation.
It is not uncommon to meet younger people who feel that because
the Lord hasn't done great and mighty things through them by the
time they are 30, there is no chance of being used (i.e., David
Brennenman as I talked with him last Saturday. He was thinking
about joining the service at 27 because the Lord hadn't used him
Exodus 7:6, 7, Moses and Aaron obeyed God without complaint, did as He commanded and entered into their life's work when they should have been retiring (according to the world's thinking).
How many good individuals do I know that are "retired" from not only their life's occupation, but from the Lord's work also. Such an attitude is unbiblical and anti-Christian.
THE PROMISE OF FUTURE VICTORY
Pharaoh refused to listen; the people refused to listen; Moses wanted to give up, but God reassures Moses with His word of promise.
Observe: The word of God which was to assure Moses and urge him to go again to Pharaoh was a promise of future victory. This was the same basis that he was to go in the first place, 3:12. This is difficult for human nature to endure: motivation by only a promise.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Christ, the author and finisher of faith, completed His work by faith: faith in the final victory over death caused Him to be faithful to the will of the Father. His faith caused Him to endure the cross, despise the shame.. which was involved in obedience to the Father. Despised the shame..; Christ lightly regarded the shame that was involved in the cross. Why? Because of what lie before Him: the joy of His exaltation to the right hand of the throne of God.
For us: The God who appeared in the Garden to Adam, was the God of promise. The God who appeared to Noah, both before and after the flood, was the God of promise. The God who appeared to Abraham was the God of promise. The God who appeared to Joseph was the God of promise (Gen 50:24). In fact, the God of Hebrews 11, the "Faith Chapter," is the God of promise. Notice Hebrews 11 is followed by chapter 12:2; Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, was a faithful high priest because of a promise.
In other words, faith must be defined as hope in the future; the future will hold the fulfillment of the promises of God. Therefore, to limit the Lord to the present is anti-Christian, for the Christian God is the God of the FUTURE. Notice the many things from Hebrews 12 which are based upon faith (i.e., the future, immediate and distant, is controlled by Divine Providence):
1) v. 3, strength to endure: without faith one will grow weary and faint in his mind.
2) v. 4, a lack of faith results in an inability to resist and stand against sin.
3) v. 5, a lack of faith results in faintness in the chastening of the Lord.
4) vs. 6-12, faith strengthens the individual in the Lord's chastening. Note that only by faith do we understand that the chastening of the Lord is for our future good: that we might be partakers of his holiness. Faith looks past the present chastening to the resulting peaceable fruits of righteousness. (Cf. v.6, Rom 8:28.)
5) v. 13, faith straightens our path and heals the lame; otherwise, the lame would wander from the "strait and narrow."
6) v. 14, faith leads to peace (and holiness) with all men (except, of course, those who are against God's law, Pro 28:4).
7) vs. 15-18, faith is the condition for the grace of God to turn from the lusts of the flesh and the profane things of this world. Faith results in holiness, without which no man shall see God.
8) vs. 19-26, faith looks to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. Faith will not refuse to obey the words spoken by the Lord from the new city of the living God, the church, as Israel refused to obey the words spoken from the mount.
9) v. 27, faith will not be shaken as the world around us, built without Christ and the law-word of God, shakes so hard that it collapses.
10) v. 28, faith provides the grace to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear as the kingdoms of men shake and collapse.
The first promise given to Adam was of future victory to the obedient people of God; every promise, including the promise of the Father to the Son, was of future victory to the obedient people of God. Without this faith in the God of the future it is impossible to please God.
Our strength to stand comes from faith in the future victory of our Lord over all the opposition of the enemy. Moses' confronted Pharaoh only after all hope was gone and his total confidence was in the Lord: "If anything is going to be done, the Lord will have to do it."
The command of God for Moses to confront Pharaoh again after all else had failed was based upon faith that God 1) had indeed made him a god to Pharaoh, 2) that Pharaoh would send Israel out of his land, 3) that Pharaoh's heart would be hardened, and 4) that God would perform all His covenant-promises.
Christianity has lost its strength to stand against evil Pharaohs of our day because it has lost its faith in the covenant-promises of God. The premil doctrine has no hope. It is a hopeless faith; therefore, no faith at all.
No wonder all the above mentioned hopelessness has have overtaken the church. Obviously, the sin will not be purged until faithlessness is purged.
Vs. 8, 9.
Moses and Aaron obeyed God, v. 6. Now the Lord gives them further instructions. And we are reminded again that only as we obey the Lord will He give us instructions and power for the next step.
V. 9, Pharaoh will demand a supernatural sign to confirm what Moses and Aaron is saying to him. Supernatural signs and wonders has been common-place in Scripture, starting with Pharaoh here. Their purpose was always to confirm the message of the speaker as being from God. They continued in history until the conclusion of the written revelation from God, 1 Cor 13:10. Christ and the Apostles used signs and miracles to confirm their new message of the redemptive work of Christ. But since the complete revelation of God in His word, there is no longer any need for such things. In fact, Romans 8:24, 25 tells us that if one must see the supernatural before they will believe, they cannot be saved.
At their first appearance, Moses and Aaron only presented their message to Pharaoh; this time they will present their credentials (see Keil and Edersheim below).
V. 9, Moses is told that Pharaoh will demand a sign. Moses will give him a sign: the rod to a serpent, which is the original sign which the Lord gave to Moses at the bush to convince him to return to Egypt.
Moses and Aaron do as the Lord commanded them in front of Pharaoh and all those with him, and the rod becomes a serpent.
Egypt religion was naturalistic, ie. they worshiped nature and all parts of nature. Pharaoh was a pagan king who represents all of the natural forces which were worshiped, especially the god, Ra (the sun-god), are used to the literal physical show of power. V. 11, his magicians could do the same thing; therefore, we know that they had used supernatural power to keep the king under their influence. It would take some mighty workings of God to break their hold over him.
Egypt's religion was naturalistic, i.e., they worshiped nature and all parts of nature. They used a supernatural magic to control nature, and thus control the people. The Lord through Moses is going to totally destroy all authority of Egypt's gods in the people's eyes.
At the Lord's command, Aaron cast his rod to the ground and it became a serpent. Pharaoh may have said: "That's nothing. Let me show you what my men can do." And they imitated the hand of the Lord doing in like manner with their enchantments. It is said that the magicians of Egypt can charm a serpent so that it will become as stiff as a rod. Was this something like that, or did they actually duplicate the 'trick' of Moses? I am inclined to follow the Scripture's account and say that they did indeed duplicate what happened to Aaron's rod.
The wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt...
"We know not only that magic formed part and parcel of the religion of Egypt, but we have actually restored to us their ancient magical Ritual itself! We know their incantations and their amulets, with a special reference to the dead ; their belief in lucky and unlucky days and events, and even in the so-called "evil eye." But what is most to our present purpose, we know that the care of the magical books was entrusted to two classes of learned men, whose titles exactly correspond to what, for want of better designation, is rendered as "magicians," or perhaps "scribes," and "wise men!"" (Edersheim on Joseph before Pharaoh, pg. 156.)
The magicians held almost total sway in Egypt. Note the words, the magicians of Egypt, not the magicians of Pharaoh, v. 11. These were the absolute best in the nation, and were considered as belonging to Egypt. Obviously, their control over Pharaoh would depend upon their magical abilities; it was when they failed to interpret Pharaoh's dream that Joseph was called for. Egypt's religion was centered in Pharaoh and Pharaoh was supported by these magicians acting in his name. (I wonder what would have taken place if the magicians had turned against Pharaoh? Did they have enough power to usurp the throne or set up someone of whom they approved?)
Moses was initially looked upon as just another magician by Pharaoh. When his magicians duplicated in the slightest any of Moses' 'tricks,' Pharaoh's suspicion was confirmed and his heart hardened. Hastings (Encyc of Religion & Ethics, vol. 5, pg. 237) tells us that "it seems not too much to say that an Egyptian was dominated throughout his life by the belief in the magical control exercised upon the gods, upon spirits in life and in death, and upon material objects."
When Moses confronted Pharaoh, and Pharaoh called for the magicians of Egypt, Moses and Aaron were facing the very foundation of the religious and social center upon which the structure of Egypt, the world-power of that day, was build. When this structure fell apart, Egypt ceased being a world-power. God destroyed this power, not with a mighty army, but with frogs, bugs and blights. When Egypt's religion was destroyed, Egypt was destroyed.
1) First and foremost, the actions here before Pharaoh show us that there is a battle going on; a battle between the forces of evil and the force of God. It is a real battle, requiring real action and cost.
2) The devil's crowd has power to do signs and wonders. The NT idea is that Satan disguises himself as an angle of light. These were live serpents (one of the 'gods' of Egypt), not figments of one's imagination.
3) The Wicked one has genuine power, but his power comes from the Lord Who has all power. Signs and lying wonders would refer to genuine signs and wonders, but the idea behind them is a lie. The sign which these evil men did was true, but it represented a lie.
4) Note that though the devil and his followers have power:
A) It is subject to, not only the approval of, but the power of God, v. 12.
B) It is limited by God, 8:18.
5) Logically, we can be assured that the same enemy has the same power today which he uses for the same purpose: to undermine the message of the Lord to the heart of the sinner. An important point is that the message of the Lord was being delivered through Moses. The enemy is still today undermining the command of the Lord as delivered by Moses.
6) One reason the Lord gives power to the enemy is found in Deut 13.
7) How many good sincere people have fallen for the devil's lie and into his trap because they mistook all supernatural power for God's power. They accept the working of the enemy of God for the working of the Spirit of God.
A) Furthermore, they assume that because the enemy of God has supernatural power, he is in sovereign control of the world today. They feel that Satan's power is independent of God's power; therefore, Satan is acting on his own and is to be feared. This is a totally corrupt view of power because all power belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, Mat 28:19. (I find it strange that many who believe in the sovereignty of Satan in this present age, also believe Mat 28:19. This kind of thinking is extremely illogical.)
8) An important point here is the fact that supernatural signs and wonders do not prove that the messenger is from God; in fact, I would say just the opposite today. The indication from Romans 8:24 is that supernatural signs which might accompany a message point more to the fact that the message is probably false. I am sure that there are exceptions, but they would be that, exceptions.
9) Another point which should be made here is that dependance on any answer to the surrounding ills other than repentance and obedience to the word of the Lord (as delivered basically through Moses, Jn 5:46, 47), is to depend upon magic. Fallen man, including the saved, desires anything except the word of God, and there are an abundance of magicians around to provide the magic. The natural man loves the wisdom of this world.
10) Pharaoh's magicians could increase the first two plagues, but could not do anything to ease them. The devil's crowd can only kill and destroy; they can only make a devastating situation more devastating. The antinomians promise life, but can only deliver more death.
Observe that all the wisdom of this world cannot improve one iota upon the conditions around us. These magicians could only make matters worse; they could make more blood for a people who were being destroyed by blood; they could make more frogs come up from the river for a people who were being overrun by the frogs, but they could not make anything better for anyone, not even for themselves.
I can imagine what the people thought in both instances, the blood & frogs, as they see the magicians only making matters worse: "We don't need any more blood or frogs. Give us something to relieve the suffering which we are going through."
And we must say this about all of the world's answers to the difficulties facing society today: they are only making matters worse. The only hope in hopeless situations is repentance and obeying the voice of the Lord.
And this is the cry of mankind today: "Give us something which will address the desperate situation in which we find ourselves." The magicians rush in with their answers, but the situations worsen. How long will it be before people discover the truth that there are no answers apart from every word which proceeds from the mouth of God?
10) Finally, when Pharaoh saw that the magicians indeed could do something (even make matters worse), Pharaoh's heart was hardened.
As the saying goes: "Any old port in a storm," and Pharaoh's port in the storm so he would not have to obey the Lord was the fact that the magicians could do something. How many people have we met with hardened hearts, looking for an excuse to refuse to obey the word of the Lord; any excuse will justify their rebellion. Why do they refuse to obey - becasue of the fact upon which they are excusing their lawless actions? No! They are hardened in sin and they will accept any answer other than repentance and obedience to God.
Before we go to the next verse, we should look at some of the false gods of Egypt. This will help us to understand the plagues.
(Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vol 5, pgs.236ff.
A) The baboon was adored as the emblem of wisdom, and of Tahuti, the god of wisdom.
B) The lion and lioness.. The goddesses with the head of a lioness are named as Sekhmet of Memphis and Jubia ; Bast of Bubastis, Leontopolis, tell el-Yehudiyeh.. The destructive power of Ra, the sun, was personified as the lioness Sekhmet, who destroyed.. at the bidding of Ra.
C) The lesser felidae were also reverenced, including the cheetah and cat.
D) The bull was worshipped mainly in the Delta, where four names used it as a standard. 1) Hapi, or Apis, of Menphis; 2) Ur-mer, or Mnevis..; 3) Ka-nub, or Kanobos, from whom the city was named; and 4) Bakh, or Bakis, of Hermonthis.
E) The cow was apparently not worshipped except as an emblem of Hathor..
F) The ram was also worshipped as a procreative god; at Mendes in the Delta he was later identified with Osiris..
G) The hippopotamus was called 'the great one,' Tarurt, and always remained an entirely animal-god, never partly humanized.
H) The jackal was the god of the dead, owing to his haunting the cemeteries and the Western desert where the soul was supposed to pass. He was regarded as the maker of tracks in the desert, for the jackal-paths are the best guides, avoiding the valleys and precipices; thus he could guide the soul to the blessed West, and was called the 'opener of ways,' Up-uat, and also entitled 'he who is in the Oasis.' He is shown as a jackal-headed human figure seated on the judgment-seat of the future world. The dog was also honoured, buried with the dead with, at times, special tombs for dogs.
I) The ichneumon, or mongoose, was sacred at Herakleopolis; and was in antagonism to the neighboring worship of the Fayyum crocodile, as it fed on the beast's eggs.
J) The shrew-mouse was sacred at Buto and Athribis..
K) The hawk was mainly adored, almost entirely in Upper Egypt. The soul of the deceased king was believed to fly up as a hawk to heaven.
L) The vulture was the emblem of maternity, worshiped mainly at Thebes, where the idea was latter embodied as a mother-goddess, Mut. The vulture head-dress was worn by the queen-mother ; and the vulture is represented spread out for protection over the king, and across the passage of the tombs to protect the soul.
M) The goose and the wagtail was adored at Thebes.
N) The ibis was identified with Tahuti, the god of wisdom, probably from its habit of searching and examining the ground for food.
O) The crocodile was worshipped as the god of the providence of Fayyum. It was united with Osiris and with Ra.
P) The frog was an emblem of multitudes of reproduction, and of Heqt, the goddess who assisted at birth. There is no evidence of it being worshiped. After the Nile flooded and receeded, the frogs would appear from their small holes in the mud.
Q) The cobra serpent was much reverenced in prehistoric times. The great pythons are shown in the mythological serpent Apap, and combined in the serpent-necked monsters upon the slate carvings. The cobra with expanded hood, became the emblem of judgment and death, and appears on the cornice of the judgement-hall and on the royal head-dress. Serpents were specially honoured, commonly represented by two intertwined. The serpent-goddess of harvest was named Rannut, who was 'adored' after the harvest and storage of the grain. (I wonder if the serpent was depended on to keep the rodents out of the stored grain?)
The cobra was considered the king of the gods (pg. 246).
R) Several fish were sacred, including the eel.
Now, let's mention some of their gods in nature which are relevant to our study:
a) Ra, the sun-god. Every king after the Vth dynasty (about 4050 BC, with the Exodus about 1200 BC) of rule in Egypt had a Ra-name, such as Ra-men-kau, "Ra establishes the kas'... The connection is obvious: Pharaoh was regarded as the mediator between the god Ra and man. Pharaoh was Ra's representative on earth.
b) Hapi, the Nile-god. He is always shown in human form, a man, but with female breasts, and often barred all over with wavey blue water-lines.
c) And of course, the Nile itself. It was worshiped as the source of Life for Egypt.
I) Every plague was a direct confrontation against an Egyptian deity. Note that the first plague against the river was against what the Egyptians considered their source of life; it became a source of death. Furthermore, notice that the last plague was darkness and was again against what Egypt worshiped as the source of life, the sun-god Ra.
The Lord, through Moses, proved each Egyptian god to be no more than a figment of the imagination which could do nothing. (Paul gives an excellent description of false gods, 1 Cor 8:4. The Lord is proving that Egypt is worshiping nothingness.)
II.) Even though each plague might have had something similar in nature (ie. the Nile annually turned red as it carried down the red fertile silt from upriver to be deposited in the Egyptian valley of the Nile), we must conclude that what Moses did in every instance was supernatural enough to set the plagues apart from any naturalistic explanations which rebellious sinful men could develop.
Egypt worshiped these vain gods of nature; therefore, they all would have recognized any connection with natural events. After a couple of attempts, even the magicians had to admit that what Moses was bringing upon the land was totally beyond any naturalistic explanation.
II) Obviously, the plagues were against particular gods of Egypt, showing their absolute vanity. They were nothing before the lord God of the Hebrews.
As a side note before we go to the next verse: From Exo7, v. 11.
"As soon as man comes to see in the beings [context-any spiritual beings, angelic or demonic] by whose power marvels are wrought, personalities capable of emotions like himself and susceptible to persuasion, his magical art becomes an intelligent effort to propitiate these superior beings and his incantations become hymns and prayers. In all religions, Jewish, Moslem, Christian or pagan, when the act or prayer as such is held to produce certain results or to secure certain desired boons, we have to do with a species of magic. The word "religion" is inapplicable, unless it includes the idea of personal faith in a God or gods whose favor depends on moral acts and on ritual acts only in so far as they have a voluntary and ethical character..." ISBE also points out that sorceress [AV "witch"] is to be put to be condemned to death. (Emph mine. ISBE, pg. 1963, 4.)
Prayer on the part of the child of God which seeks to influence God or His angles to do the petitioner's wish or desire, is little more than an exercise in magic. There are a tremendous number of passages which appear to give a "blank check" to the child of God; these passages appear to make God his servant as He either comes personally or send His holy angles to do the individual's personal pleasure. But these passages will not stand alone.
We pray and receive from God because: 1) we pray according to His will, 1 John 14, 15, and 2) we follow His commandments and do those things which are pleasing in His sight, John 9:31; 1 John 3:22. Thus, the primary purpose of prayer is for the Lord to shed His Divine grace upon the petitioner enabling him to know and do God's will that he might inherit the then part of the covenant, Hebrews 4:16. In other words, through prayer we gain Divine aid, grace, enabling us to meet the conditions of God's if-then covenant.
Not long ago, we heard of a National Day of Prayer when all Christians were urged to join together in prayer for God to restore righteousness in this nation. I heard no mention of any kind of effort toward the command-word of God on the part of the petitioner. Therefore, from what I heard and understood of it, it sounded more like an effort in witchcraft than in Godly prayer. According to ISBE, any effort to influence any supernatural power (God or Satan) to gain desired benefits through chants, hymns, &c, is an exercise in magic. Thus, Biblical prayer requests are based upon doing what is pleasing in the sight of God (obedience to the command-word of God) and praying for His will to be accomplished in any given situation.
What kind of praying do we do?
but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. The enemy of God, the perverter of all good, has power, but his power is subject to the power of God. Furthermore, we are here shown that the power of God will not only overcome evil, but it will totally obliterate evil. The final victory, after much conflict, will be the Lord's, for He is the One who gave evil the power to do any action at all.
Aaron's rod swallowing Egypt serpents before Pharaoh shows that Egypt is about to be destroyed by the God of the Hebrews: He will swallow Egypt. How many rods did Aaron's swallow up? Probably two according to Paul's NT statement.
First, even in the OT, it is the Lord that must move in the hearts of the hearers. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and He turnneth it whethersoever He will. Note that even in the OT, supernatural signs and wonders are useless without the hand of the Lord working in the heart. Even in the OT, Rom 8:24, 25 is true. It one must see signs and miracles to be saved, they cannot be saved.
Second, supernatural sings and wonders are nice to consider, but the only hope for mankind is the hand of the Lord moving in the hearts of the people.
Third, the supernatural sign presented by Moses before Pharaoh "right up front" protected Moses from the personal wrath of Pharaoh latter on. Pharaoh, as did all the ancient pagans, worshiped nature. Moses and Aaron's ability to turn their rod into a serpent showed Pharaoh that they did indeed have some kind of supernatural power working through them. This placed enough fear in Pharaoh's heart of them that he dared not lay his hands upon them personally. He would lie to them and use every means to avoid having to obey them, but he would not harm them.
Now some comments on these verses, 1-13.
Keil makes some interesting observations here.
The first sign with the serpents has a direct relation to the art of snake-charming. "What the magi and conjurers of Egypt boasted that they cold perform by their secret or magical arts, Moses was to effect in reality in Pharaoh's presence, and thus manifest himself to the king as Elohim (v. 1), i.e. as endowed with divine authority and power." In other words, the magicians summoned by Pharaoh understood how to charm snakes into a stick-like rigid state.
But, Keil does not stop there. He goes on to say that we must not overlook the fact that the demonic powers of darkness were working in an unbroken manner, for their power was not broken until Christ's work on the cross. Therefore, Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim 3:8) could well have been able to summon the demonic powers to actually turn the rods into serpents. "The supremacy of Jehovah over the demoniacal powers of Egypt manifested itself in the very first miraculous sign, in the fact that Aaron's staff swallowed those of the magicians; though this miracle made no impression upon Pharaoh (v. 13)."
I believe that the demonic explanation fits best into the situation. The Lord starts at the ground-floor so to speak.
Furthermore, according to Edersheim (& Keil), the serpent here before Pharaoh is not the same serpent as appeared at the bush and before the elders of Israel. This serpent of 7:10 was one specifically used by the "egyptian conjurers, and bore pointed reference to the serpent as the great symbol of Egypt. Hence also the expression "dragon," which is the proper rendering of the word, is frequently in Scripture used to denote Egypt. Accordingly Pharaoh should have understood that, when Aaron's rod swallowed up the others, it pointed to the vanquishment of Egypt, and the executing of judgment "against all the gods of Egypt."" Edersheim.
Before we move on, let's consider Edersheim's assessment of the plagues, pg. 69.
1) Though the plagues were miraculous, they were not wholly unknown in Egypt. "The supernaturalness of the plagues consisted in their severity, their successive occurrence, their coming and going at the word of Moses, their partial extent, and the unusual seasons and manner in which they appeared.
2) They are divided up into three groups of 3 for a total of 9. The tenth was actually the judgment by Jehovah Himself: He personally "went out "into the midst of Egypt" to slay its firstborn. Of these nine, the first three were in connection with that river and soil which formed the boast of Egypt, and the object of its worship. They extended over the whole country. and at the third the magicians confessed: "This is the finger of God." By them the land was laid low in its pride and in its religion. The other six came exclusively upon the Egyptians, as the Lord had said: "I will put a division between My people and thy people," "to the end that thou mayest know that I am Jehovah in the midst of the land." If the first three plagues had shown the impotence of Egypt, the others proved that Jehovah reigned even in the midst of Egypt. Finally, the three last "strokes" [the literal meaning of the word rendered "plagues"] were not only far more terrible than any of the others, but intended to make Pharaoh know "that there is none like Me in all the earth." To show that Jehovah, He is God; that He was such in the midst of Egypt; and finally, that there was none like Him in the midst of all the earth--or, that Jehovah was the living and the true God--such was the threefold object of these "strokes.""
Edersheim's final statement before he deals with the "strokes" of God against Egypt is worth repeating. "There is... a terrible irony about "the plagues" of Egypt, since in the things in which Egypt exalted itself it was laid low. We seem to hear it throughout: "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision." pg. 70, 71.
"Note, Great is the truth, and will prevail. The cause of God will undoubtedly triumph at last over all competition and contradiction, and will reign alone, Dan. 2:44." MH.
As mentioned above, the events of these plagues were not unknown in Egypt; they were familiar with a annual reddening of the Nile, frogs, lice, flying insects, &c. The miraculous part about them could be the seasons in which they appear, the force of their destruction and Moses' ability to control them with his word. I would suppose that the current Environmental movement is a close facsimile of Egypt's paganism revived. In these plagues, the Lord is going to show beyond any doubt that He alone controls all the earth.
But their purpose was clearly that all people everywhere would know that the Lord, He is God, and that He alone rules all nature, owns the whole earth and dose as He pleases in the kingdom of men.
In considering these plagues, we need to keep some things in mind, especially when we do any research: the 'scholars,' more often than not, try to give the plagues a natural explanation.
1) The might and power of a god in the ancient world would be judged by the military might of that people. Therefore, Pharaoh, because Israel was his slave, saw Israel's God as a powerless figment of Israel's immigration. "After all," Pharaoh would say, "If Israel's God were someone to be concerned about, wouldn't the Egyptians be serving him instead of Israel serving us?"
2) Israel! They had been in Egypt for several hundreds of years. Israel knew what the Egyptians believed, the natural events which took place and the power of the magicians. Furthermore, they believed what the Egyptians believed; no doubt they also said, "If our God is so great and mighty, why has He left us in this bondage?" In other words, the covenant people would have picked up the pagan definition of might and power of a god: physical rule over His enemies. The NT idea is that rule with a "rod of iron" is necessary to force conformity to the Lord God, and if this rule is not present, then God is powerless. The world identifies might and power as physical authority over another. God's people had been in Egypt, corrupted with this same idea. God's people today have been corrupted in the same manner.
3) We must take into account that the pagan world, especially Egypt, worshiped the many forms of nature; therefore, a freak of nature would be unimpressive.
4) The workers of magic did and do indeed have a limited influence or control over the forces of 'nature.' (We use the term 'nature' even though there is no such being. The natural things we see around us is a direct creation of God and it all moves in terms of His command-word and being.) But what ever influence they might have, they have because God permits it.
5) Lastly and most significantly, the purpose of the plagues: That both Israel and Egypt would know that it was indeed the Lord God which was delivering them, 4:5, that Israel would know that I am the Lord, 6:7, and that Pharaoh and the Egyptians would know that I am the Lord, 7:5.
These three reasons require that the plagues be so far above and beyond any kind of natural event that the hardened Egyptians, Pharaoh and Israel would have no doubt that the Lord God whom Moses represented did, beyond any shadow of doubt, represent the Lord God and that it was the God of Israel who was bring these things about.
The Plagues! Consequently, what the Lord brought about through Moses and Aaron had to be completely beyond any type of naturalistic explanation; they had to be so sever that they could not be misinterpreted in any way. In other words, the blood red Nile was just what the Lord said, BLOOD: smelly, sticky, thick, red, sickening and the same kind of blood that He covered the streets in Jerusalem with in 70 AD when He destroyed it by His Roman army.
The plagues are divided up into three sections of three each, with the tenth standing alone. The first nine are all brought about by Moses and Aaron at the command of the Lord. The tenth is brought about by the Lord Himself. The first two of each group are announced to Pharaoh, and each group closes with an unannounced plague.
The first group, which also afflicted Israel in the land of
River to Blood.
Frogs from the river throughout the land.
Dust of the land changed into lice. (Unannounced.)
The second group. From here on, the Israelites were not effected;
therefore, there are 7 plagues against Egypt. The first three
only brought great discomfort upon all involved. The rest of the
seven will bring great material hardship upon the Egyptians. They
will cost them their wealth. (See 8:22 for reason)
Swarms of Flies
Murrain upon all of Egypt's cattle causing them to die; special mention that Israel's cattle were unaffected. (Pharaoh sent to check it out.)
Ashes to boils upon man and beast throughout Egypt. (Unannounced.)
The third group is identified as pestilence from the Lord.
(See 9:15.) Grievous hail (and fire along the ground) which killed
all it fell upon; man, beast and plants.
Locust to eat all that the hail missed.
Total Darkness for three days. It was so total that no one could leave their houses. (Unannounced.)
Then the tenth plague is in a class by itself. This one the Lord Himself brought about, and all Moses had to do was prepare for it.
A) In these plagues we clearly see that when the creature is at war with the Creator, God's creation is at war with the creature.
1) But notice in the tenth: when man works with the Creator according to His command-word, man is with creation and is given life.
B) The first group was a major inconvience, but really no death involved. The second group, starting with the files, brought death. (See 8:21-23 for reason.)
C) The Lord was going to bring all of these things upon the evil ruler and his kingdom, but the Lord is going to use a man to do it. (See 8:16.)
D) The confrontation of Moses against Pharaoh was clearly a religious confrontation. The Lord, through Moses, is going to systematically destroy all of the false gods of Egypt. He will do more than destroy them, He will turn the people of Egypt against them.
Pharaoh's hardness is obvious, but the Lord tells Moses anyway.
1) J. Parker makes an excellent point about the plagues and Pharaoh's hardness: "Many would be struck by the plague who would not be impressed by the hardness of heart which is was intended to chasten,--hence you will hear more criticism about the miracle of the plague, than about the infinitely greater miracle of human obduracy. We miss the point: we wonder about the river turned into blood, and wonder not about the heart turned into stone." (Vol 2, pg. 59.)
A) I believe that the most obvious teaching from this whole experience with Pharaoh is that only the Spirit of God can give fallen man a spirit of repentance. In other words, if God's Spirit does not work in the fallen heart, then no matter what kind of evil comes his way, there will be no genuine repentance. God raised Pharaoh up into the place of world dominating authority to prove this very point: without the Spirit of God convicting the heart of the sinner, there will be no repentance.
[Thus, I sure do not understand how people can believe that salvation can be based upon any kind of willingness of an individual to pray a prayer &c. Pharaoh shows to us that there cannot be any genuine salvation apart from the calling and convicting work of the Spirit of God, without which the heart of man is unbelievably heard.]
B) We cannot overestimate the importance of reconizing the working of the Spirit in the heart of the sinner when dealing with a person. We must be able to distinguish between Pharaoh's type of worldly sorrow and genuine Spirit conviction over sin.
2) Let's not mistake sorrow over the results of sin for actual repentance. Pharaoh several times expresses sorrow and asked forgiveness, but at no time did he exhibit true repentance.
3) It would be easy to feel sorry for Pharaoh and the Egyptians that their land was being totally destroyed by God, but we must not forget the reason for the destruction: Pharaoh refused to obey the voice of the Lord.
A) In our day, it is easy to feel sorry for those who appear to be well on their way to total destruction, but let us not forget that they are being destroyed because of their refusal to obey the word of God. The more we get involved in trying to evangelize and/or meet the social needs of the community, the more people we meet in Pharaoh's condition. They are in the process of being destroyed because they refuse to turn to the Lord. Where is the line drawn; where is the balance in helping those in this situation?
B) Pharaoh was willing to spend all of his and Egypt's wealth rather than obey the voice of the Lord; he will grasp any straw, cling to any hope and use any means to avoid obedience to the word of the Lord. This hardened attitude is evident on all around us. I have talked to more than a few people who are spending their livelyhood on psychanalyst ($75.00 for a 30 min session), but they would rather declare bankrupsy than intertain the idea that if they would obey the word of the Lord, a very large portion of their problems would be solved.
4) The hardness of Pharaoh could not prevent God's purpose from being accomplished.
Parker gives this summation of the plagues:
"So, allowing all that may be called romantic, supernatural, to fall off from this story of the plagues, there remains all that God wanted ot remain--three things: -first, the assertion of the Divine right in life. God cannot be turned out of his own creation: he must assert his claim, and urge it, and redeem it. The second thing that remains is the incontestable fact of human opposition to Divine voices. Divine voices call to right, to purity, to nobleness, to love, to brotherhood; and every day we resist these voices, and assert rebellions claims. The third thing that remains is the inevitable issue. We cannot fight God and win. 'It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.' Why smite with feeble fist the infinite granite of the infinite strength? who will lose? The certain result will be the overthrow of the sinner: the drowning of every Pharaoh who hardens himself against the Divine wail and voice. Stripped, therefore, of every thing of the nature of romance-if you will import that word into criticism so solemn-there remains the threefold fact that God has rights amongst us; that man resists those rights; that the battle comes, and the battle ends in but one way-'The Lord reigneth.'"
Parker concludes his thoughts on the plagues with the fact that the plagues were not restricted to Egypt thousands of years ago. Plagues always follow obstinacy.
Moses is sent to Pharaoh in the morning when he goes to the rivers edge. Pharaoh lived next to the river, v. 23, where he conveniently, every morning, could go to the river for his religious ceremony. Moses is going to meet him there and interrupt the ceremony. Moses is to take the rod which was turned to a serpent. The Lord makes a point to mention what rod Moses was to take. The significance of this rod is that Pharaoh's religious men used enchantments to promote their god and influence Pharaoh. When their religion turned their rods into serpents, Moses' rod ate theirs. The rod which turned to a serpent would be a reminder to Pharaoh and his sorcerers that Moses' God was stronger than theirs even in the 'simple' matter of the serpents.
It was a religious confrontation before the throne with the serpents and here at the river.
The same message is repeated. Moses will sound like a stuck record, but the Lord wants to be sure that Pharaoh knows why he is being destroyed.
Again the purpose of the confrontation is stated. The Lord is going to impress upon Pharaoh, Egypt, Israel and all the world of all time, that He indeed is the Lord, and that He is over all things. It will take terrible plagues to make the unbelieving faithless people know that He indeed is the Lord over heaven and earth, but they will know.
For us: What will it take to make the faithless people of our day know that the Lord, He is the Lord?
Shall be turned to blood... The marg. reference is Rev. 16:3-6. The water to blood is God's judgment against a bloody people. The Egyptians had killed the Hebrew babies in their attempt to control the Hebrew population. In Revelation 16, blood is God's righteous judgment against mankind for its persecution of His saints.
Remember what the Lord told Abel: "The voice of thy brother's blood crith unto me from the ground." What will God do today in His judgment against the bloody lands of the world, and there is not a land that I know of that is exempt from blood. America encourages the death of the unborn. The Soviets enforce death upon Christians and dissidents. China had both death to Christians and dissidents and forced abortion. The evil is abundant in every land, and the American brand of Christianity keeps silent. The Lord will justly judge the earth and all that are in it, for the blood which is shed by man and for the silence of the Christians against the evil.
Later in the giving of the law, Moses will tell the people that the land itself is at war against its bloody inhabitants. What will the righteous Lord do to cleanse the land?? Although I do not know, I do know that He promises His care for His faithful people.
There are several naturalistic explanations for what took place here, but I am sure the Lord meant just what He said: the Nile turned to literal blood which stank.
Vs. 18, 19.
and the Egyptians shall lothe.. As we saw back in chapter 2, the River Nile was a life-giving god to the Egyptians, and it was worshiped as such. The first plague is against their primary god, the Nile. All water throughout the land of Egypt is regarded as water from the Nile, because all standing water and well water was the Nile River percolating through the porous Egyptian soil. Further more, all streams would run to the Nile.
The Nile River
"the fertility of the land (Egypt) depends on the overflowing of the Nile, which commences to rise about the middle of June, and reaches its greatest height about the end of September, when it again begins to decrease. As measured at Cairo, if the Nile does not rise twenty-four feet, the harvest will not be very good ; anything under eighteen threatens famine. About the middle of August the red, turbid waters of the rising river are distributed by canals over the country, and carry fruitfulness with them. On receding, the Nile leaves behind it a thick red soil, which its waters had carried from Central Africa, and over this rich deposit the seed is sown. Rain there is none, nor is there need for it to fertilize the land. The Nile also furnishes the most pleasant and even nourishing water for drinking, and some physicians have ascribed it healing virtues. It is sparely necessary to add that the rive teems with fish." Edersheim, Vol. II, pg. 19. The Nile is "the sacred stream of Egypt, on which its fertility depended... Egypt depends for its produce entirely on the waters of the Nile..." Vol I, pgs. 156, 8.
The Nile was seen and worshiped as the giver of all life under the name of "Hapi, the Nile. In early times it divided the honors with Ra, the sun-god. No wonder it was so. If the Egyptians set out to worship Nature-gods at all, surely then the sun and the Nile first. The origin of the Osirian Myth is still much discussed. Very much evidence, perhaps conclusive evidence, can be adduced to prove that it rose originally from the Nile; that Osiris was first of all the N., then the water of the N., and then Egypt, the N. and all that it produced. Egypt was the Egyptian's little world, and Egypt was the Nile. It was thus quite natural for the Egyptians in considering the celestial world to image it in likeness of their own world with a celestial Nile flowing through it. It is so represented in the mythology, but the conception of the heavens is vague." (ISBE, pg. 2147.)
The first plague: All the standing water of the Nile turned into blood. "The startling charactor of the plague is apparent when it is remembered that Egypt is the product of the Nile, the fvery soil being all brought down by it, and its irrigation being constantly dependent upon it. Because of this it became one of the earliest and greatest of the gods. (ISBE, pg. 2404. ISBE goes on to give as a reference work, "Hymn to the Nile." Therefore, we see that the Nile was worshiped as a god because it was considered the giver of all life to Egypt. It even had hymns sung to it.)
Thus we see in this first plague that the Lord starts at the very heart of Egypt; He strikes the Nile, one of the largest rivers in the world. In doing this, He reveals the total vanity this Egyptian god.
This false god of nature which Egypt worshiped as the source of all life now, rather than providing life, produces so much death that it stinks. The result of this plague will be 1) it will no longer support life, and 2) the people will lothe (the old english spelling for loathe-stronger than hate) the Nile. The object of their love and adoration, the Nile, will be turned into an object of their hatred.
Some purposes of this plague:
1) First and foremost, the Lord is going to show that He is the Lord of all creation; He is going to prove that nature is no more than His servant to do His every biding. When foolish man worships and serves the creation more than the Creator, death results.
2) I believe that it shows how our God regards Egypt's gods, they stink.
3) The Lord clearly shows that the very thing that Egypt regards as the giver of life, the Nile, is death at His word.
A) I am reminded of Jeremiah's words in Lamentations 3:22, It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
B) Sinful man warring against God is not only at war with the Creator, but he is at war with all of His creation; creation works for the death of the sinner.
C) Our Lord said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Egypt was totally dependant upon the Nile for its life, now God shows the foolishness of that dependance. The people of our age are little better: they depend upon everything for life, except, that is, the true God.
4) God will have no other gods before Him. This includes not only the professed Christian but also the pagans. The supposed "life-giving" gods of this world are under God's curse and death sentence. The ones who continue to seek life from them will die. The difference in the bloody Nile and the current bloody gods of death is that the Nile was readily recognized as being death and the current gods of death are well concealed.
The false gods of our age will be the death of the ones who trust in them.
5) Not only the Nile was effected, but all water in the land of Egypt was effected; even the water in the houses became blood.
6) Israel, in the land of Goshen, was affected just as was the Egyptians in these first plagues. The destruction of the power of the false gods of Egypt from the heart of God's covenant people was also required; Israel also had to understand the death in Egypt's gods.
There is no avoiding God's wrath against the false gods of this world which promise life, for His death sentence is upon them everywhere.
We are living in a day of God's judgment against the false gods of this world. These false gods promise life and it seems that the whole world has gone lusting after them, but they can only deliver death. They not only will deliver death, but they are right now delivering death to all who trust in them.
Vs. 20, 21.
Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded and things happened like the Lord said they would. We are specifically told that Moses acted in the sight of his servants. This thing was not done in secret, and all of Egypt would know what caused the blood. Pharaoh would not be able to hide the truth. Therefore, part of the purpose of the plagues was to break Pharaoh's power over the people; he was viewed as a living god who received his strength from the Nile. We see Pharaoh's power broken in 10:7 when his servants urge him to submit to Moses' demand.
Notice also the speed at which the river turned to blood. We underestimate the speed with which the Lord can work. Why is it so difficult for people to believe that the Lord can turn the events of the world around overnight if He so desires and when His time is right? Moses' and Aaron's responsibility was to do as the Lord commanded; the Lord's responsibility was to turn the river into blood. Divine justice, mercy and/or grace can intervene and the complete situation world-wide can be changed in an extremely short time.
(Personal note: Am I the only one who thinks that the Lord can indeed correct things at His convince? I am confident that there are others, but I have not really read anyone on this. I think maybe the tax protest & patriot movement, even though they claim to follow God and be Christians, have lost sight of the Divine providence of God who works all things to His glory. They seem to think that everything depends upon them.)
This verse says that the magicians of Egypt imitated Moses' actions upon the water, but how could this be? All of the water throughout the land was already blood; therefore, where did they get water to change into blood?
Notice that the magicians could imitate Moses actions which brought death to the land by turning the water into blood, but they could not bring life back to the Nile. They could not make the water pure so that man, animal and fish could live. And we would think that they would want to turn the blood into drinkable water; after all, the land was dying of thirst. Obviously, the devil's crowd is neither interested in preserving life, nor improving life for man. The Lord said it like this: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly, Jn. 10:10. According to the Lord's words, the devil's power is strictly to deceive, rob and to destroy. He has many deceitful signs, messages and lying wonders for the purpose of keeping men in his grip.
The gods of this world offer life, but they can only produce death. Only the power of God can bring life out of death. (We did a MO on this some time ago, Jn 17:2, #59 in file.) In other words, the magicians could only imitate death; they could do nothing to bring life back to the dead situation, yet Pharaoh believed them. Observe that sinful hardened man will believe what he wants to believe which will allow him to retain his hardness and sin.
All of the collective power in the world apart from God can only offer death. It is impossible for the world's power to produce one spark of life even though they are spending untold amounts of money in their vain attempts to produce life.
The basic reason for suicide is sinful man's attempt to control life and death. He cannot bring life into a situation, but he can bring death.
We might mention here that the magicians could have been permitted by God to do this miracle. The Lord had said that He would harden Pharaoh's heart; therefore, this could have been one method He used to harden him. In other words, the magicians could have been as surprised as was Pharaoh as the water turning to blood.
As the Lord said, Pharaoh paid no attention to what happened. His heart was hardened and he chose to believe the magicians. He turns from the bloody river and goes back in the house.
All the people in the land of Egypt were affected, including Israel. The indication is that they could dig around the river and get drinkable water. It was probably ground water which was not turned to blood.
The people must pay the price for evil hardened leaders.
The plague lasted for seven days.
Let us be reminded that Israel was also included in this plague. They had adopted Egypt's religion and were influenced by Egypt gods. Therefore, they also had to see that the gods of Egypt were less than nothing in the eyes of the God of heaven.
As I look at these plagues, I wonder what the Lord will have to do to separate His people today from their love for and trust in the gods of Egypt?
Now, some comments on this plague.
I. Keil points out that Pharaoh was going to the river to present his daily worship of the Nile, which was honored as the supreme deity by the Egyptians and the giver of life. He says that the changing was not a chemical change into literal blood, but is to be seen as Joel 2:31, where the moon is said to be turned into blood. It was a common occupance for the Nile to become red during its annual rising, but it remained drinkable. The miracle here is the fact that, at Moses' word, the river changed everywhere immediately. Furthermore, there was enough of a chemical change that the fish died and the water was unfit to drink. The change brought about by the Lord at Moses' word occurred wherever river water was standing in any kind of pool. The mention of the vessels, according to Keil, does not refer to water standing in them, but to any water which was added to them after the miracle. The water already drawn remained usable, which accounts for the water available to the magicians to work the same miracle. He also points out that there is no reference in this plague to the innocent blood which Egypt had shed in the land.
Regardless of how we view this, the fact remains that the primary and most important god of Egypt which brought life to the land, the Nile river, is turned into an instrument of death. The Egyptians, Pharaoh included, were forced to see that the Lord God controlled their most important god, the Nile river; he (the Nile) was no more than another element under the rule of the sovereign God of Moses and Israel.
MH points out that this plague alludes to the prediction of the ruin of the enemies of the New Testament church, Revelation 16:3, 4. Furthermore, he points out that the Lord warns before He sends judgment; therefore, He sends Moses to speak to Pharaoh before each plague because: 1) did not want Pharaoh to think the plague was a natural event, and 2) the Lord always warns before He sends His judgements. This is what Amos 3:7 says: the Lord will do nothing without first revealing it to His servants. Of course, He does not reveal as He did in Amos, but He still reveals through His word. I did a Mailing on this some time ago.
Another point here is that Moses and Aaron do these mighty signs and wonders out in the open, unlike Satan who works under the cover of darkness. "Truth seeks no corners" to hide in.