June 19-30 1992
v. 11, message against antinomians, 2 tim 3
v. 13, the purpose of powerful Pharaohs of our day: to show the power of God when God's time is right.
This chapter opens with the fifth plague. The previous plagues had petty well been restricted to destroying the moral of Egypt as well as the authority of Pharaoh and establishing the authority of Moses. With this plague, the Lord is going to start destroying Egypt itself. Egypt, through the bondage of Israel, had made Israel poverty stricken. Now the Lord is going to destroy Egypt's economy and give its wealth to Israel; He will reduce Egypt to a poverty stricken nation.
The Lord instructs Moses to go again and warn Pharaoh, Let my people go, that they may serve me. He gives Pharaoh warning and a chance to obey the voice of the Lord. Moses makes it clear who is causing the plagues and what He is demanding of Pharaoh: Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews... We can imagine what Pharaoh and the Egyptians are thinking here: the Hebrews had been slaves of the Egyptians for several hundreds of years and now a representative of their God comes to their master and says, "Let My people go, or else..."
The Lord through Moses is making it clear for everyone to see that it is none other than Pharaoh's hardness which is destroying Egypt.
Here is the warning of the fifth plague: the hand of God against the cattle (living property, Keil) of Egypt with a very grievous murrain. The disease against the livestock would be and was so terrible that a great portion of Egypt's livestock died.
Vs. 4, 5.
The naturalistic explanation is that the previous plague of flies spread a plague among the cattle.
The warning is that the hand of the Lord is going to sweep away the living property of Egypt.
There were three things which militate against any kind of naturalistic explanation, and prove to everyone that the very grievous murrain which was about to take place was not merely some natural disaster which wiped out Egypt's herds and flocks.
1) The difference between Israel and Egypt is emphasized by Israel's livestock remaining unaffected. The murrain did not effect Israel's cattle.
A) Israel's cattle belonged to Jehovah God; therefore, they are sparred. While, on the other hand, Egypt's cattle were worshiped as gods. Therefore the plague against the cattle was a plague against many of their gods. The Lord is showing that the gods of Egypt are totally without power. They are no more than animals at the mercy of almighty God.
"For the kine were in Egypt reverenced as symbol of Isis, the goddess of earth as the nourisher; and in the hieroglyphics the cow is taken to mean earth, agriculture, and nourishment." ISBE
B) This separation between cattle and cattle would prove beyond any doubt that it was the God of the Hebrews which was bringing this death about. If the death was caused by the gods of the Egyptians, only the Hebrew cattle would die (furthermore, if the gods of the Egyptians had any power, none of their cattle would have died); if it was caused by the gods of the pagan nations, all would die, both Egyptian and Hebrew; if it was caused by a natural plague that happened to come into the land, then all would die.
2) A time was given: To morrow.. It came according to the timing of the Lord through Moses.
Pharaoh was given a chance to stop the plague. We would think that by now he would know that the words of Moses would come to pass and he would take steps to stop it.
A) God's mercy is evident even in His judgement against sin. He gave Pharaoh an opportunity to change.
B) As in all of these plagues, we are reminded of the hardness of a heart that is without the working of God within.
3) Not all of the cattle died; only the cattle which were in the field, v. 3.
Their cattle died as Moses said they would. With this plague the Lord starts to sweep away the economy of Egypt. We cannot imagine the economic loss when Egypt's cattle died because their entire economy was centered around livestock (as would be the economy of any agricultural nation before the industrial age). The Hebrew's cattle remained unaffected.
This plague forced the Egyptians, whose economy depended upon livestock, ie. horses, asses, camels, oxen, &c, to purchase replacements immediately anywhere they could find the stock to do so which starts to transfer Egypt's wealth to others.
1) They had to buy replacements from, probably, Israel.
2) Most certainly they had to buy replacements from surrounding nations. I would suppose that they had to pay greatly inflated prices for the animals. These nations would have known what happened in Egypt.
3) Furthermore, Rom 8:19-23, even the animals suffer for man's sin. All of creation pays the price for man's warfare and hardness against the God of creation. (Cf. Jer 7:20; 12:4; 21:6; Ez 14:13, 17, 19-21; Joel 1:18-20.)
4) Egypt worshiped the calf, and Israel learned to worship the calf in Egypt. Both knew that the calf was useless as an object of worship after this plague, yet both continued to worship it. The hardness and commitment of fallen man to the gods of this world is amazing, in fact, it is supernatural, 1 Cor 4.
5) Israel was spared. The providence of God protects even the
animals, for not a sparrow falls apart from His knowledge.
Pharaoh checked out Moses' words, and found them to be true, yet the heart of Pharaoh was hardened.. Every one of the ten plagues, as well as the serpent before Pharaoh, drives home the fact that the sinners heart is only hardened in his sin by every circumstance unless the Spirit of God moves to give him repentance. This does not stand to reason with the natural mind, so man dreamed up the idea that he can make his own choice; therefore, we present the sinner with facts and/or circumstances to convince him to change his mind. (Romans 9 deals with this point. We will cover it latter.)
Personal note, illustration:
Yesterday (June 19, 1992), a pastor (McElroy) on our mailing list called from Washington state. He told me about a close friend of his who has an Assemblies of God church in Texas; it is the fastest growing and largest Assemblies Church in the US, seating about 6,000 (they probably learned from Jack Hyles).
McElroy told me his friend said to him, "You should have been here last Sunday." Then he proceeded to explain what he did. He rigged up a trick enabling a cloud of smoke (dry ice) to ascend up around him blocking him from the congregation's view. Furthermore, he had some wires fixed so he would start ascending up toward the ceiling when the smoke appeared. As he ascended, he told his congregation that the rapture was taking place and they had better get right with God. The alter was filled.
This Assemblies pastor had sent his associate pastor to Las Vegas to learn how to do such. [This is not any different than what Baptists have done for years, only these same Baptists will say that because they had large crowds, it was the Spirit of God moving; they will say that it is pure emotionalism when an Assemblies church uses the same message and method. The Baptists are now between a rock and a hard place. The people they condemn as being not of God are using the same bag of tricks and message which the Baptist used to draw large crowds. The Baptists pointed to their own large crowds and said that they (the Baptists) were godly and right because they had the crowds to prove it. But now the ones who they stood against, the charismatic, have the crowds along with the same massage and gimmicks. WHAT ARE THE BAPTISTS GOING TO DO AND SAY NOW?]
What are we saying under this point in Exo 9:7? All the Vegas' shows in the world, including apparent supernatural miracles, will not convert one person; only the moving of the Spirit of God in the heart will bring conversion. The basic premise of Arminianism is that Salvation is man's choice. The result of that premise is Vegas shows which play on emotions to get the individual to make the 'right choice.' Therefore, we muse carefully present God's word in a manner which is conducive to the moving of God's Spirit, AND GOD'S SPIRIT MUST NOT BE MISTAKEN FOR MAN'S SPIRIT, or the person will be given a false hope. (Cf. Romans 8:24, 25.)
The sixth, as the third, had no warning to Pharaoh. Moses took ashes from the furnace, sprinkled them toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. The ashes would became small dust in all the land of Egypt which then became boils upon man and beast throughout the land of Egypt. (Boils breaking forth in blisters. A common disease upon people but not on animals in Egypt, Deut 28:27, Keil.)
And again, the Lord takes care to show beyond any doubt that this plague had no natural explanation. Pharaoh had to know without any doubt the source of this plague, so Moses stands before him and sprinkles the ashes.
1) This is identical to the first vial which the angel poured out upon the unrepentant men upon the earth, Rev. 16:2. The beast is statism, and the plague is against all who are involved in statism.
2) Not only does the Lord use small bugs to destroy Egypt, but He here uses ashes and dust. Previously, the dust had turned into some kind of biting insect: lice. Observe that when man is at war against God, all of God's creation is at war against man; even the dust of the ground from which he was taken turns against him.
Extremely interesting to me here is that evil men believe that they have the world by the tail and all of creation will move in terms of their evil desires, but here we see that the even the dust of the ground, which God has cursed for man's sake, can defeat evil men. Man, with all his strength and might, is helpless before God and His creation. All the Lord has to do is speak, and the whole of creation moves against the lawless in an astounding way that will subdue the wicked to Himself. The ashes and dust of Egypt defeats Egypt. Men, as a whole, see only that a great caticlisism(?) will turn the evil men and nations today from their wicked ways. In these plagues, we see that the Lord can use anything to accomplish His purpose against evil.
This plague afflicts every man and beast in the land of Egypt, except the Israelites.
3) The ashes of the furnace would be sprinkled up into the wind to be carried throughout all the land of Egypt, bringing forth boils upon man and beast. According to Keil, this was ashes or soot from the smelting-furnace, representing the industrial strength of Egypt to build the splendid cities and pyramids.
The original covenant with Abraham, Gen 15:12-18, promised that Abraham's seed would be afflicted four hundred years, serving in the fiery furnaces of Egypt. Behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp, spoke of the coming Egyptian furnace of affliction which would not put out the burning lamp of Israel. (Cf. Deut 4:20; 1 Kg 8:15; Jer 11:4.) Furthermore, the furnace speaks of refinement; Israel was refined in the iron furnace of Egypt for God's service. During this time they would serve in the Egyptian furnace, they would build many of the great works of Egypt. I do not know that they built the pyramids, but we do know that they build many great cities of Egypt.
Moses took of the ashes of the furnace and, in sight of Pharaoh, sprinkled them up toward heaven. Observe:
A) Exo 2:23, out of the furnace of bondage, the people's cry ascended to the throne of God.
B) The ashes (soot) becomes a dust which affects every person and animal in the land of Egypt. All of Egypt's people participated in the Israel's bondage; now all of Egypt's people must pay the price.
C) The Egyptians afflicted Israel with the furnace of bondage, now God afflicts Egypt with the very furnace which which Egypt had afflicted Israel.
Rev. 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
There is no way that we can identify with the severity of this plague of boils which was upon the Egyptians because they were in retribution for the many generations of hard bondage which Egypt enforced against Israel. Egypt afflicted Israel under hard bondage to the furnaces; the God of Israel now afflicts Egypt with the ashes of the furnaces. The terror of the ashes would have been every bit as bad as the terror of the taskmasters were to Israel.
Although the book of The Revelation (of Jesus Christ's judgment against sin) was written before the destruction of Jerusalem and spoke of that destruction, it clearly shows us God's continuing judgment against sin .
The very things that are being used to oppress God's people today will be used against the oppressors.
D) One more point about the furnace: the furnace would represent the industrial might and pride of Egypt. It now becomes a curse against Egypt. Be not deceived, God is not mocked... Egypt mocked God by oppressing God's people; God now mocks Egypt by turning their pride against them.
shall be a boil..throughout the land of Egypt.
The Egyptians were extremely sensitive about cleanliness. Furthermore, they emphasized purity of body to worship their gods. Pharaoh would have been particularly required to be pure. He was regarded as the god's (Ra, the sun god especially) representative upon earth. He was the go-between the people of Egypt and their god, Ra. Pharaoh's defilement with the lice, flies, frogs and now the boils, would have disqualified him to minister for the Egyptians before their gods. Pharaoh was refusing to allow Israel to worship their God as He required of them; God is refusing to allow the Egyptians to worship their gods as they felt their gods required of them. The Lord is totally destroying Pharaoh's authority in the eyes of the Egyptians. "After all, if Pharaoh cannot intercede for us with our gods to protect us from this God of the Hebrew slaves, what good is he?"
Moses stood before Pharaoh and did as the Lord instructed him. I wonder if Moses said anything to Pharaoh. Evidently he didn't because there is no record of any exchange. I also wonder what Pharaoh thought when he saw Moses take the ashes and sprinkle then toward heaven. I wonder if he made the connection as Moses plainly took the ashes from the furnace where the Israelites had been forced to labor to build his great cities?
In this plague of the boils, the Lord makes special mention of the magicians who had withstood Moses before Pharaoh. This "honorable mention" of the magicians must not be dismissed lightly because Paul refers to them specifically by name in his warning to Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:8, 9. These two men did all in their power to undermine and discredit the command-word of the Lord delivered to Pharaoh by Moses and Aaron. Paul identifies these two magicians as typifying corruption found within the church in the last days.
1) Because of the wording of this verse, this plague seems to be primarily against the magicians who had withstood Moses and Aaron, and had been instrumental in hardening Pharaoh's heart against the commandments of the Lord God through Moses.
2) Of course, with this plague God confronts the magicians with the fact that He alone is the Divine Sovereign over all of creation. They could not stand before Moses.. Evidently the boils were from the sole of their feet to the top of their heads, rendering them absolutely helpless.
3) When Moses offered his credentials to Pharaoh, the rod into a serpent, these magicians were there to discredit Moses' words. The first "stroke" (plague) against Egypt, the river into blood, was duplicated by the magicians to discredit Moses' words; the second "stroke," the frogs, was duplicated by these magicians to discredit Moses' words; the third "stroke," the lice, was vainly attempted by these magicians, and they admit it was the finger of God (but they did not repent of their evil deeds).
The point about these magicians is that they stood against Moses before Pharaoh to discredit him and Aaron, so that Pharaoh would not believe the command-word of the Lord as given by Moses.
Paul, by inspiration and purpose of the Spirit, makes a direct reference to these magicians by name, 2 Tim 3:8, 9.
A) Jannes and Jambers withstood Moses.
B) Their folly was made manifest unto all men with the plague of boils: they could not stand before Moses and His God.
C) The context of Paul's reference to these two magicians is important. He is identifying certain evil men in the last days (starting with the time of Christ, Acts 2:17) with these two magicians. In other words, the time frame for these evil men's activity is from the time of Christ until the end of time, 1 Cor 15:24-28.
2 Tim 3:1-9, lists some identifying marks of these ceratin man:
a) The first mark given by Paul is worth a point all of its own, v. 2, lovers of their own selves.. high-minded.. Obviously, this is a reference to self-love and self-esteem. The deceiving and deceived teachers of the last days are rampant, and the situation is not improving, v. 13. We are certainly living in a generation of self-loving and covetous people, encouraged on by so called "Christian" teachers. (Furthermore, thanklessness indicates a decline of religion. It is not difficult to see all of these things which Paul mentions prevalent in society and in the church.)
b) They are corrupt, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, cf. Rom. 2:20. With these words, Paul identifies these men as hidden within the church for the purpose of corrupting the church.
The power of God is manifested in His gospel, Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18. Note the complaint in Isa 29:13, is that God's people honour Him with their lips but not with their hearts and actions (ff. Ez 33:30-32). The power to restrain sin is found in the law of Moses, Deut 31:11-13; Rom 3:18; 1 Jn 3:4. The power to change the sinner is found in the work of Christ: regeneration. Therefore, as "Moses" is undermined, sin abounds in the church.
c) Paul tells us that they present a smooth, soothing and deceitful message winning themselves into the hearts and homes of their victims; then they draw after themselves those controlled by their own lusts. Usually the first ones to follow after them are women as Eve did after the Seducer in the Garden.
d) Furthermore, the ones who follow after the certain men may learn a great deal about the doctrines of the word of God and be extremely active in religion, but they are not able to come to the true knowledge of Christ; they follow a false gospel.
e) They resist the law of God, have corrupt minds and are reprobate concerning the faith. (The truth of God is the law of God, Ps 119:142.)
f) Paul continues to identify them, v. 13. They are seducing evil men who deceive others (by appealing to the lusts of the flesh, among other things) for the gain which is involved for themselves; therefore, as a result of deceiving others they themselves are deceived (they honestly believe that they are doing right). Note here that these evil men are self-deceived as described by James 1:22, But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. Thus, these teachers which Paul is warning Timothy of are men within the church who study without doing the word of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (the power of God which is revealed in godly living according to the words of Moses). Note the order given by Paul: deceiving and being deceived.. The more they deceive others in undermining Moses, the more they themselves are deceived.
g) The significant point about Paul's warning here to Timothy is that Paul uses an OT illustration to further identifies these men; he names Egypt's magicians who withstood Moses before Pharaoh: Now as Jannes and Jambres..
V. 8, Paul clearly identifies the seducing religious teachers within the church of the last days with the two magicians: they are men who resist the truth (of Moses); they are men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
The description of the ones within the church who Timothy is to avoid might be a little vague, but when Paul named the two men who withstood Moses, he threw a revealing light upon his whole warning. What did the magicians do which is a common mark of the evil men of the last days? They resisted the truth and withstood Moses before Pharaoh; they worked to undermine Moses and convince Pharaoh that the command-word of God through Moses was not valid upon Pharaoh and Egypt; by their deception, they sought to neutralize the word of God through Moses.
The power of God is revealed through Moses; it is by the preaching of Moses that knowledge of sin is revealed so that the power of the gospel can do its work, Rom 3:20. Without the words of Moses, there is no truth about Christ, Luke 24:44-48; John 5:46, 47.
So what do these evil men of Paul's warning do? From inside the church, they do what Jannes and Jambres did: they withstand Moses and the command-word of God as delivered by Moses. Furthermore, they make the law of Moses of non effect by their smooth words and winning ways, and they lead astray those who want to follow their own lusts.
1 Tim 3:9, notice Paul's encouragement to Timothy: the evil men and their undermining doctrine against Moses will only be permitted to go so far. With smooth words and apparent supernatural deeds, they deceive, allure and draw vast multitudes after themselves and away from the commands of God as given through Moses. But in God's good time, their folly shall be manifest unto all men, the same as was Jannes and Jambres' folly.
God is the One Who permits them to operate; He alone establishes their boundaries of operation. When they reach their God-defined limit of authority and time, the Lord will openly reveal their evil and put a stop to it, Ps 76:10. Jannes and Jambres had boils from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet. The professors of religion within the church, whose smooth deceitful words and actions lead God's people away from the command-word of God, will suffer the same plagues of God as will the open enemies of God.
Paul was probably talking of some particular men, maybe as in 2 Thes 2, but what he says will stand until time stands no more. Those who withstand and undermine (the words of) Moses, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 5:18, 19. And, of course, if their message is not according to the true message of the blood atonement, they will be judged with the ungodly, Matthew 7:13-23.
Two final points here in Paul's warning to Timothy:
1) Timothy is warned to expect the evil men and seducers to wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. They will grow in their ability to quietly seduce those laden with lusts to follow themselves; in their ability to deceive others and in their own deceit. In other words, as time proceeds in these last days, they will more fully develop their ability, as Jannes and Jambres, to withstand the commands of God as delivered by Moses.
2) To expose these teachers within the church, Paul reminds Timothy of the holy scriptures which Timothy had learned as a child. It is extremely significant that Paul's oft-quoted statement, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, is found in Paul's conclusion of this chapter, V. 16.
In a word, in this chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul compares the teachers of Antinomianism (anti-law; thus against Moses) to the two magicians, significantly identified by name, who withstood Moses before Pharaoh. Furthermore, he encourages Timothy to continue on in the scriptures which he had learned as a child, the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms (Lk 24:44), because they contained all the instruction which he needed for life and action.
Final observation: The Lord has some special words to say about those who would, as Jannes and Jambres did, pervert the right ways of the Lord, Acts 13:10, and who would pervert the gospel of Christ, Gal 1:7. And those words are not pleasant.
v. 12, see 8:15.
The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh... I have heard this hardening in 9:12 mentioned as the first hardening of Pharaoh's heart; thus, Pharaoh resisted several times previously and the Lord only continued on his resistance for His glory. [The Lord gave him over to a reprobate mind, Rom 1:28.] But this is not the first time the Lord is mentioned as hardening Pharaoh's heart; rather, it is the second time. The first time was when, upon Moses second meeting with Pharaoh, the serpent appeared: and he [the Lord] hardened Pharaoh's heart, 7:13. Pharaoh hardened his own heart the first time Moses confronted him.
But no matter how we look at the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, we must view it all in the light of Paul's words in Romans 9:14ff. Paul states emphatically that God raised Pharaoh up that He might destroy him for His purpose. The Lord, through Pharaoh, shows that He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy, and He will harden whom He will harden. Man's fallen nature militates against the fact that he is not his own god with control over his own destiny. All of Romans 9 is directly contrary to the "free-will" of man, and man's desire to be his own god. This is why Romans 9 is hated so much by the Arminians: they refuse to admit that they do not control their lives. Romans 9:20, refusal to see the sovereignty of God over the heart of every individual is to dispute with God. Our best bet is to simply accept what the Lord says and praise Him for making known the riches of his glory upon us.
A personal note which I have no answer for: If God does indeed control every heart, and He does indeed soften and harden who He will, and He does indeed show His mercy and wrath as it pleases Him, then why is there apparently so few softened to the sovereignty of God and love for Him and His law-word? The only answer to this perplexing question that I know of is in Eph 3:9-13. In God's eternal purpose, He has chosen to make known His manifold wisdom before all His creation through a small faithful remnant, the church. This would also fit in with 1 Cor 1 & 2. All I can do is praise Him that He saw fit to make me a vessel for His honour, and praise Him that He has provided a few for me to watch over and train in His word.
As the Lord had spoken unto Moses. The Lord had already told Moses exactly what would happen.
The last section of three plagues now begin. These last three plagues which are called down from the Lord by Moses, will be upon the heart of pharaoh, his servants and upon the Egyptians: these were against the hardened heart of Pharaoh and upon all the Egyptians. These three final plagues set the stage for the final stroke against Egypt by the Lord Himself. They will be far more terrible than the preceding 6, creating fear in the Egyptians.
The heart of the Egyptian's trusted in nature; these three remaining plagues will be against what their heart trusts in: nature. Egypt worshiped the "natural" elements as a god; today we call these natural elements, "Mother Nature." These last three plagues which are brought about by Moses' command, 7-9, will destroy all confidence which the Egyptian's had in nature, and will replace their faith in nature with a terror of nature. Nature, which they worshiped as a god because of its blessing upon Egypt, will now turn against her and become Egypt's enemy. The very foundation of Egypt's faith will be destroyed in these final plagues, bringing great fear upon the Egyptians.
1) upon thine heart...
A) The primary purpose of these final three plagues is to deal with Pharaoh's heard heart. They will show beyond any doubt that there is none like the Lord God in all the earth, and that the Lord is the One who controls all earth and its elements.
V. 14, These plagues will be upon the heart of Pharaoh, his servants and all the Egyptians, for the purpose that thou mayest know that here is none like me in all the earth. - The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.. the Lord, from this point on, is going to show Himself strong in such ways as will affect the hearts of the Egyptians and show that there is none other like Him in all the earth. Again, a direct salvo against the many gods of Egypt. The Lord is going to continue to show that Egypt's gods are not like "our God."
2) The forces of "nature" uses:
A) The magicians had claimed to be able to control nature through their connection with the powers of death, darkness and the underworld. These plagues will prove beyond any doubt to Pharaoh, the Egyptians, the magicians, Israel and the whole earth for all time, that the Lord God of Israel alone controls nature and all of nature moves at His command. Moses will make it clear that it is the Lord who is bringing these things about. The very forces of nature which the magicians claimed to control are now, at the command of Moses, going to unite against Egypt for her destruction.
B) They will show that "Mother Nature" is a myth.
This seventh plague clearly reveals that the Lord God controls the elements by turning them against the Egyptians. The result of this plague was fear in the hearts of the Egyptians, and that Egypt would know that there was no god in all the earth like the Lord God of Israel. Their naturalistic hope and worship (faith in the blessings and dependability of nature) would be destroyed.
The conclusion of these three plagues will be that their faith in nature would be replaced by a fear of nature. There seems to be a reference to this fear by our Lord in Luke 21:26, when Christ described God's judgment against Jerusalem for her sin of putting their Messiah (Himself) to death: He tells about men's hearts failing them for fear.
In all the above, I think we see that the Lord replaces faith in the false gods with fear through His judgment against the false gods. The God of Heaven will have no other gods before Him in the heart of His people or in the hearts of the pagans. In His judgment against the false gods of our age, He will change men's hearts from a trust in the false gods to a fear of them. I believe we are in for some extremely difficult times as the Lord judges the false gods of this world and turns men's hearts against them.
V. 13, Moses is sent again to Pharaoh, this time to announce the seventh plague. Again, he goes with a warning from God: Let my people go, that they may serve me. And again, Moses is told to Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh.. (see 8:20).
1) Even though Pharaoh's heart is supernaturally hardened, Moses is told to confront him again (and a couple more times yet). Sinful hardened man is still accountable to the God of heaven. It is our responsibility to continue to speak and warn them.
MH makes a couple of very good points here:
A) "God suspends his grace and yet demands obedience,
to punish him for requiring bricks of the children of Israel when
he denied them straw."
B) "Note, God sometimes raises up very bad men to honour and power, spares them long, and suffers them to grow insufferably insolent, that he may be so much the more glorified in their destruction at last.. Pharaoh was a great king; God's people were poor shepherds at the best, and now poor slaves; and yet Pharaoh shall be ruined if he exalt himself against them, for it is considered as exalting himself against God. "
First, either Pharaoh must obey or he and his nation will be ruined. He cannot obey without the grace of God, which God is withholding from him in punishment for his sin.
Sadly, we are seeing this very thing take place in, not only our nation, but world wide. The whole world is on the fast track to destruction as the result of their evil, but there is no grace of God evident as of yet, to change them to obedience. We have two options: a) pray for God's merciful grace to open eyes so that men can turn back in obedience to the Lord, or b) prepare for the worse. I would suppose that we need to do both.
Second, the power, authority and hardness of Pharaoh against the command-word of God (to let the people go) was no more than God's preparation of Pharaoh and Egypt for a great and glorious destruction to God's praise and glory on behalf of His covenant people. Furthermore, the people of God did nothing to deserve the Lord's intervention on their behalf; the Lord intervened because of His covenant with their fathers.
The hardness against God's command-word and people, the misuse of power and authority to rebel against God which is evident all over the world, is no more than God preparing the rulers of this world for a glorious show of His power and might on behalf of His people. See Eph chapter 1. God has and will reprove kings in behalf of His people, in spite of His people. He will brig glory to His own name through His people because of His covenant with their fathers.
The promises for God's people which are evident in these plagues are to numerous to mention.
2) In spite of the evil which is coming upon Pharaoh, he is still rising up early in the morning. He is neither discouraged nor lazy in his service to his false gods even though they are less than useless to him in the face of the difficulties at hand: all Egypt is being destroyed.
Notice how easily Christians become discouraged when their service for the Lord God does not produce the immediate results which they desire.
A) Moses is told to get up early and confront Pharaoh. No doubt, Moses consistently rose early in the morning, but it is sad when Christians cannot be more dedicated to their God than what the world is to their gods.
B) It will require many early morning rising if we expect to successfully confront the evil Pharaohs of our day. We cannot lay around in bed and expect God to provide what is needed for needed victory.
The following plagues are announced as pestilence, and consist of hail, locusts and darkness. In other words, pestilence is not necessarily illness and disease. Here pestilence is identified as acts of God against a people through nature to the intent of cutting off Pharaoh (and all faith in the false gods of 'nature') from the earth. Again, when the creature is at war with God, God's creation is at war with the creature.
We have already mentioned Romans 9 above. The Lord through Moses tells Pharaoh to his face exactly what is being done to him and the reason it is being done. Edersheim points out that the Lord here tells Pharaoh that he is not destroying him all at once because He wants to show His power through Pharaoh. The Lord is going to show the whole earth for all time that He is in control, and that He can subdue the hardest of hearts to obedience. All the best efforts of sinful men and nations will not stop His purpose.
1) The Lord can show Himself strong through blessing good.
2) The Lord can show Himself strong through judging evil.
exaltest... This pagan ruler is told here that he is exalting himself against God's people for not letting them go serve the Lord as they are commanded to do by the Lord; therefore, He is judging him.
1) The pagans are also required to obey the commands of God and will be judged for refusing. Isaiah 26:21, will be a wonderful day (when the Lord does judge the pagan's disobedience). It will be a glorious day when every knee shall bow before the Lord of Glory. But the kings of this earth despise the very thought of bowing before the Lord. They are doing all within their power to prevent this from taking place. (See my notes in my old bible.)
2) Things are not as they appear. God's people were a poor, oppressed and seemingly powerless people, yet they were God's people. Pharaoh's action against them was considered action against God Himself.
A) Deut 32:10, He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. Pro. 7:2, Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Zech 2:8, For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
Regardless of what the dispensational crowd says, Zechariah 2 is talking about the restored and rebuilt city of God: the church (see my notes in Zech 2). Furthermore, Proverbs 7:2 tells us that the law of God is to be regarded and protected as the apple of one's eye. Therefore, the people who have God's protective attention, as one would protect the apple of his eye, are the faithful covenant people.
They may appear to be poor, oppressed and downtrodden by the lawless men of our day, but they are the apple of God's eye. If they will remain faithful, God will step in when His timing is right. The lawless, as they move or even lift their tongue against the law-abiding, are moving against God Himself.
3) The pagans will be judged for interfering with the obedience of God's people to Himself, even though the people did not really want to serve the Lord.
4) God has and will continue to reprove kings for the sake of His people. (He gave the first-born of Egypt for His people.)
Vs. 18 - 21.
to morrow about this time.. Pharaoh has a chance to think on it and to repent. Moses announces the plague as a very grievous hail which would kill man and beast which were left in the field, and strip all vegetation. This plague will kill all that was not killed by the very grievous murrain. Furthermore, I would say that Egypt had started purchasing cattle from Israel and surrounding nation. But then again, these plagues are moving quite rapidly one after another. The Egyptians probably did not have time to purchase many, if any, cattle.
1) God provides mercy in the time of terrible judgment.
This is the first mention of people dying in a plague. But, in God's grace and mercy, not willing that any should perish, offers even the hardened Egyptians shelter. If they will believe and heed His warning, they will be spared. Furthermore, the Lord is leading up to the final plague; all who will believe Him and His man Moses, will live. The Lord gives them sort of a reprieve by telling them how to protect their property. The ones who remained heard-hearted toward Israel and toward the God of Moses and Israel were wiped out financially again.
2) This plague caused fear in the hearts of the people.
A) Romans 1:18, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness. And this plague will be directly from the heavens.
B) This plague is also referred to in Revelation, 16:18-21. In God's great judgement against sin as mentioned there, we see men blaspheming God rather than repenting of their sin.
C) Fear of the Lord obeys the word of the Lord. Upon the heart.. Moses gives a warning to Egypt about the coming hail, and tells them that if they will protect their cattle and servants they will be spared the death which will come as the result of the hale. Upon the heart... Were the Egyptians beginning to believe Moses? If so, they would be spared this one.
It would be interesting to know if Pharaoh believed enough at this point to bring in his servants and cattle.
The Lord brings these things to pass, but in these 9 plagues, He uses Moses to do them. God uses people to do His plan and purpose. We cannot imagine how terrible and frightening this rain, hail and lightening would be. Lightening running along the ground would make every place unsafe, except in the house. We know that the houses were safe because the Lord had told them they would be save in their houses.
The Lord inflicted terror upon Egypt by thunder, hail and fire (ground-lightening) mingled with the hail. Thunder is represented as the voice of God in Revelation 10:3, 4.
This plague's supernatural cause is proven by:
1) It came at Moses' command.
2) The provision for protection made by the Lord. Evidently, any existing shelter was protected by the Lord from the lightening.
3) Israel was spared this one also.
"God makes the clouds, not only his store-houses whence he drops fatness on his people, but his magazines whence, when he pleases, he can draw out a most formidable train of artillery, with which to destroy his enemies," Job 38:22, 23. HM.
Judges 5 records for us the "Song of Deborah" which she sang after the destruction of Sisera. Deborah there describes the war which the Lord waged against the oppressors of His people, and the war was won by the Lord's intervention from heaven, They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera, v. 20. Who can stand when the Lord draws out His "artillery" from its heavenly "magazines?" Man can do nothing but hide in fear and blaspheme the God of heaven. (Compare this seventh plague upon Egypt with the seventh vial in Revelation 16:21. See also Ps 18:6-17.)
True to its purpose, this plague created fear in Egypt's heart. For the first time, Pharaoh called for Moses and confessed I have sinned this time.
1) this time.. I sinned by allowing this to come about... Or something similar.
2) Note that his confession of sin was in order to get the hail to stop, not to change his ways. How like human nature which confesses sin when fear strikes the heart.
3) Obviously Pharaoh only feared the consequence of his and his people's sin. He tries to 'repent' that he might have the consequences shortened.
How like fallen man! He will do anything except obey God to avoid the consequences of his sin.
4) The Lord.. Pharaoh is forced to recognize that Jehovah God is the One Who is causing the elements to turn against Egypt.
5) I and my people are wicked.. At least he admitted that he has sinned, which he had not done previously. We see a faint glimmer of realization on Pharaoh's part that they have done wrong by placing Israel in servitude. But he doesn't say much, just enough to get the plague to stop. (We also see a faint glimmer of the fearfulness of this plague.)
Intreat the Lord.. This plague of thunder, fire and hail was fearful enough to cause Pharaoh to plead with Moses and promise anything, even freedom.
1) Moses departed the city. This appears a simple enough fact, but we need to remember that the hail and lightening is bad enough throughout the land of Egypt that every Egyptian, including Pharaoh, is remaining indoors in fear of their lives. Yet Moses departs Pharaoh's presence and moves about midst the terrifying events unafraid and confident in God's protection. Moses walks out of the city, extends his hands, intreats the Lord for Pharaoh and the lightening and hail stops.
The Lord cares for His faithful servants who are moving in obedience to Him. Such a servant is indestructible. But the one who presumes upon the Lord to care for him as he goes about doing his own thing, is taking his life in his own hands.
2) The hail and fire started at Moses' word and would stop at his word. There would be no doubt about who brought it about. Everything about this plague (and all the others, for that matter) would prove beyond any doubt that the Lord God of the Hebrews controlled nature. Nature was/is not a god to be worshiped; rather, nature is a creation of God in which goodness of God is to be seen, Romans 1:20.
Everything about this plague was for the purpose that Pharaoh would know how that the earth is the Lord's: that God was absolute and total sovereign over all the earth.
Moses knew that Pharaoh's promise was only empty words, and tells his so right to his face.
Vs. 31, 32.
Here we are given an account of the damage. Everything except the ungerminated seed in the ground was destroyed.
Moses intreated the Lord for Pharaoh anyway, knowing that Pharaoh would not keep his word. Notice the emphasis is upon Moses intreating the Lord and the Lord immediately stopping the hail and fire. It could not have been more obvious that the Lord sent this pelage of nature against Egypt.
This is what Elias did with the rain, James 5:17, 18. This is what the two witnesses do in Rev 11.
Pharaoh saw that the hail stoped, so he hardens his heart even more. Pharaoh's agreement to obey the Lord was conditioned on the circumstances, now upon a changed heart; "Stop the hail and fire, and I will let you go." The hail stope, and he did not keep his word.
Note the emphasis on Pharaoh's harness. In spite of all the plagues and their obvious source, the Lord, Pharaoh absolutely refuses to obey the Lord.
1) The point which stands out the clearest in all these plagues is the control over the heart by the Lord. Only a changed heart will serve the Lord in honesty and truth. The worse plagues in the world against sin and sinful man (as recorded here in Exodus or as recorded in the book of the Revelation), will not change one heart toward the Lord.
2) We must even see the evils in high places as God moving in the hearts of the leaders to bring about God's judgment against an evil people. The King's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whethersover he will. Pro 21:1
"Consequently the plague of hail occurred at the end of January, or at the latest in the first half of February; so that there were at least eight weeks between the seventh and tenth plagues." Keil.
September 2, 1992
In conclusion to Exodus chapter 9, we must also see here that ungodly rulers, the evil Pharaoh's of our day, are raised up for a purpose: to show God's power. Here in Exodus, an ungodly ruler was for the good of God's people. He was needed to bring God's people to the place where they were no longer satisfied in Egypt, then they cried out to God for deliverance. Same today... God is raising up ungodly rulers to sift out His people who have become lazy and happy with all the good things of the land of Egypt. When things get oppressive enough, God's people will get dissatisfied enough with Egypt to cry out to the Lord for deliverance.
I think a conclusion we can safely draw here is that Clinton will be elected president. Even though Bush and Clinton are identical in almost every aspect, Clinton is more socialistic than Bush. Clinton will take us down the road farther and faster to total centralized and one world government than will Bush. My personal opinion is that the Lord will permit this increased socialism, and along with that, increases oppression against Christianity. It is going to take an extremely strong and oppressive centralized government to persuade God's professed people that they must move out of their churches and take the law of God into society and into civil government.