A Fawning Farewell

August 8, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Q&A | 1 Comment
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Question: I don’t understand why the Egyptians would give the Israelites their gold and silver and jewels when they were leaving.

Answer: There are a couple of possible reasons found in Exodus 12:33-36. One, it could be that the Egyptians were anxious to get rid of them, since the plagues were obviously because of their presence in Egypt. They had come to recognize the truth: God was going to keep sending plagues until the Egyptians let them go, and they already thought of themselves as “dead men” because of all they had suffered. That is indicated by Verse 33.

And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.

Exodus 12:33

Giving them gifts was a way to encourage them to hurry up and leave.

Second, Verse 36 indicates that this was a supernatural phenomenon where the Lord simply made it so that the Egyptians “favored” the Israelites with gifts without fully understanding why they themselves were doing it.

And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:36

It says that they “spoiled” the Egyptians, which is language used when a victorious army takes away the property of a defeated army after a battle. The Irsaelites had won a war without lifting a finger (which means that God actually fought and won it for them).

There is another possibility which I stumbled upon while researching something else. Apparently all ancient cultures practiced some form of “exorcism” (casting out demons). In most cultures this was done by berating or commanding demons, trying to force them to come out of their hosts and leave. However, the form of exorcism practiced in ancient Egypt was quite different. Egyptians priests believed that the way to get rid of demons was to be extremely polite to them. This is pure speculation, but it is fun to imagine the Egyptians (wrongly believing that the children of Israel were under the influence of agents of Yahweh, whom they considered “demons”) trying to coax them to leave the land. “Would you mind taking my coat, sir? I shan’t need it anymore. Oh! and here you are mi’lady, please take this gold necklace and these silver earrings. We fixed you a canteen and a picnic basket for your trip into the wilderness. So sorry to see you go!”

The Lambs that Were Silenced but Still Speak Today

April 10, 2014 at 11:23 am | Posted in Exodus | 2 Comments
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The Passover lamb was a foreshadowing “type” of Christ. It continued the Bible’s theme of a sacrificial lamb, which had already shown up in Genesis.

And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Genesis 22:7

We know from the New Testament that the Abraham and Isaac account is a clear foreshadowing of the death of Christ, so when the lamb becomes relevant in Exodus we can keep that same connection.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 1:29

The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

Acts 8:32

Most gentiles do not observe the Passover – and neither should Jews really any more – but it is still a crucial subject to study, because its significance helps us to understand the Gospel more clearly.

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

I Corinthians 5:7

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

I Peter 1:18-19

The title “Lamb” is so significant that Jesus will keep that title even in eternity.

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Revelation 6:16

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

Revelation 21:9

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Revelation 22:1

Other similarities worth noting about the Passover lamb as a picture of Christ:

1. The Lamb was examined – just as Christ was examined – and found to be without blemish. There was no other reason for the Jews in Egypt to kill their best lamb – except that God had commanded it and had attached His promise to it.

2. The Lamb was slain “between the evenings.”

And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

Exodus 12:6

This may mean around twilight – the same time that Jesus laid down His life on the Cross.

3. The lamb’s blood was applied.

And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

Exodus 12:22

It is not simply the fact of Christ’s death that saves us. It is the application of that blood to each individual personally – which is done by faith.

4. The lamb was consumed.

In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.

Exodus 12:46

The Passover lambs were not boiled, but roasted. They were kept whole, with no bones broken, to help make the preparation and the meal go more quickly, but also to complete the type of Christ.

We can also note that bitter herbs were a part of the meal.

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Exodus 12:8

This reminded the people of their suffering and tears, and it pointed to Jesus, the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

The Passover: Killing, Purging, and Eating

March 19, 2014 at 11:07 am | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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Exodus Chapter 12 features the institution of the Passover.

And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

Exodus 12:1-3

The reference to “the congregation of Israel” is significant because it is the official proclamation by God of the uniting together of the Jewish people into a nation.

Let’s look at some the central features of the “Passover.” This was not going to be something they were going to do once; it was given to them as something to be done every year from that point forward.

1. The killing of the Lamb

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

Exodus 12:5-6

The deliverance of the children of Israel was going to come by death – for both believers and unbelievers. For the Egyptians it would be a judgment-death. For the Israelites it would be a substitutionary sacrificial death.

2. The purging of leaven

Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

Exodus 12:19

Leaven is a picture of sin. It starts small, but it permeates a whole loaf. It works in secret (although the results are ultimately exposed). It “puffs up,” which is a picture of pride. Christians today are not commanded to observe the Passover as a religious ritual, but certainly the principle of purging spiritual “leaven” – both sin and false teaching – from our homes must be an ongoing activity.

3. Eating a feast (my favorite!)

Could you imagine if Christianity required taking a vow of hunger? How would we get people to come to Sunday School without donuts!

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

Exodus 12:8-10

They were to eat the lamb, along with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs, so, while we are to take joy in feasting, we must remember the call not to burden ourselves down with physical pleasures – because we have work to do.

Evil Angels

March 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Posted in Exodus | 5 Comments
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And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.

Exodus 11:4-5

“Midnight” was the time when most of the Egyptians were the most likely to be the most soundly asleep, so this was a actually an act of mercy on the part of God. We know that the Israelites avoided this final plague or judgment by painting the blood of a lamb onto the door posts of their homes. How exactly, though, did God carry out this judgment on the unbelieving Egyptians?

For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

Exodus 12:23

The LORD Himself, rather than “passing over,” passed “through” and smote the Egyptians, but He also “passed over” the homes of the obedient Israelites and would not let the “destroyer” come in. The way this is often portrayed in popular media depictions is to show a shadowy entity called the “death angel” coming through and doing the killing. We might get the impression that this death angel sort of checks the door posts, passing over some homes and entering in to others.

https://swimthedeepend.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/49307-passover-angelofdeathatdoor.jpg

That idea may have partially come from Psalm 78, which is a very good synopsis of these events.

Psalm 78 gives insight into how we’re supposed to think about these plagues and the deliverance, and what God wanted His people to remember about them later on. It’s worth studying, and I would highly recommend it in connection with these lessons, but for now let’s just look at one particular passage:

They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy. How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan. And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink. He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost. He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.

Psalm 78:42-49

What does this mean? Did God send special angels to deliver the plagues and the last was the “death angel?” That’s possible. Does God have a dark side and a secret undercover team of “evil angels” that He sends when He wants to do something wicked? That’s impossible. Could this refer to the false gods of Egypt, lending credence to the possibility that they were in fact representative of demonic entities that were being ultimately controlled by God, and were now being allowed to turn against the people that worshiped them? Possibly. (Being evil, it is logical to think these demons would have no qualms about doing such a thing.) Does the “evil” in Psalm 78:49 refer not to moral evil, but to catastrophic events – what we would call “calamities?” Possibly. The point is – and it has been throughout the deliverance narrative of Exodus – that God is in control. He was keeping His Word and fulfilling what He said He would do. God has the power and the right and the authority to give and take life as He chooses.

Remembering the Garlic

February 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Exodus | 8 Comments
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Exodus 12:38 contains a seemingly minor detail at the climax of the plagues account that would have larger repercussions later on. In order to get the context, though, we will start here:

And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

Exodus 12:30

This is the final plague/sign, commonly known as “the death of the firstborn.”

And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.

Exodus 12:31

The Lord had arranged a complete capitulation by Pharaoh, not a compromised or negotiated softening of his heart.

Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.

Exodus 13:32-34

The rules for observing the Passover feast would require the use of unleavened bread.

And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

Exodus 12:35

These jewels and clothing were “borrowed” in the sense that the Egyptians gave them freely, not in the sense that they expected to get them back. God had arranged this “civilized plunder” of the Egyptians in order to make it clear that it was not the might of the Israelites that accomplished their deliverance; it was purely and completely the work of the Lord.

And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:36

These things were “lent” from the perspective of the Egyptians, again meaning that they did it freely and voluntarily, although, from God’s perspective, these were the “spoils” of the war He had waged (and won) against Pharaoh and the false Egyptian gods. If the Israelites were more mystified than victorious in their demeanor when they received these spoils, it was because God had done all the fighting, not them.

And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

Exodus 12:37-38 (emphasis added)

This “mixed multitude” consisted of non-Jewish people who decided to leave Egypt along with the children of Israel for whatever reason. The term connotes the idea that these were some of the “rabble” or “riffraff” of Egyptian society. In other words, they were not the best and the brightest of Egypt. They may have included some escaping slaves or criminals – or maybe even people who were hoping to get back some of the stuff they had just given to the Israelites. They may have also been scared that the plagues would continue, and wanted to get out while the getting was good.

When you have a group of people who are truly following and fearing God, and another group of people mixed in who have an ulterior motive for being there, we might predict that a recipe for trouble is forming. Let’s see what happens when they turn up again in Scripture.

The Israelites didn’t have enough faith to go straight into the promised land, so they wound up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. God was feeding them with manna, which was “heavenly bread” that fell from the sky.

And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?

Numbers 11:4

A great number of Israelites had just been burned up for complaining and being ungrateful and blaspheming God. Now they are being influenced by these hangers-on – the mixed multitude.

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

Numbers 11:5

Discontentment and a lack of faith can really play havoc with the memory. Cucumbers? What about the forced slave labor? Melons? What about the lack of freedom to worship? The onions? What about the beatings and torture and abuse? The garlic? What about when Pharaoh wanted to kill all the firstborn sons? Instead of rational analysis, and instead of looking on the bright side, they expressed ingratitude:

But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased.

Numbers 11:6-10

Here’s three simple lessons we can take from this account:

1. We need to be careful about who we allow to influence us.

The mixed multitude were in the Israelite crowd, but they were not really God’s people. Not everybody who claims to be a Christian really is. Not everybody who comes to church comes to worship God. Jesus taught about the difference between wheat and tares.

2. Don’t fall for the lie that the world tastes better.

Our flesh has a short memory. The Word of God tells us what is truly good for us.

3. God provides what is best for us whether we recognize it or not.

Satan and this world’s system will always attempt to counterfeit things to meet what we perceive as our own “needs.” Only God can truly meet our needs.


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