Friday, October 11, 2013

DOUBLE PLAGUES, PART 5

THE DOUBLE PLAGUES UPON BARACK OBAMA'S PRESIDENCY

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4:  the Pharaoh of the Oppression

Part 5: THE PHARAOH OF THE EXODUS

When I first started this series, I had only intended to write parts 1 and 2. I found it quite interesting that at least nine “plagues,” a word meaning “troubles” or “calamities,” in less than one year’s space of time had come upon President Obama between July 11, 2012, and May 2013, and seemed to be “repeats” of troubles that had come upon previous presidents. Only those previous troubles had spanned over decades, whereas the same troubles that were repeated upon President Obama were compacted down over a series of just months. I outline these in parts 1 and 2 of this series.

To say the word “plague” most likely brings to mind the deadly bubonic plague of the Dark Ages. The word “plagues” most likely brings to mind the ten plagues that came upon the Pharaoh of the Exodus who refused to relent to Moses and would not allow the Israelites to leave Egypt following their enslavement by the Pharaoh of the Oppression.

It is clear that the double plagues that have come upon Obama in the space of less than one year are not similar to the plagues that came upon the Pharaoh of the Exodus, yet if we look at some of the reasons why the plagues came upon Egypt, we can ask if there is a parallel to the double plagues that have come upon Obama.

I think there are.

In part 4 of this series, I briefly noted that scholars and researchers are not in agreement as to who was the Pharaoh of the Oppression, primarily because it depends upon the date one chooses for the pharaoh “who knew not Joseph.” For the sake of part 4 and for this post I have chosen to accept Ramses II as the Pharaoh of the Oppression and his son Merneptah (1) as the Pharaoh of the Exodus with absolute understanding that history may someday prove substantially the exact name of each Pharaoh.

PREPARING MOSES

As noted in the previous post about the Pharaoh of the Oppression, there arose a Pharaoh who “knew not Joseph.” He resented the large number of Hebrews living in Goshen, a province on the border between Egypt and Canaan. He began to have doubts about their loyalty and became afraid that if Egypt should be invaded by outside forces, the Hebrews might actually join the invaders. He saw them as a “national security threat,” (2) and thus purposed in his heart to reduce their numbers.

Fausset tells us:

“Having first obliged them, it is thought, to pay a ruinous rent, and involved them in difficulties, that new government, in pursuance of its oppressive policy, degraded them to the condition of serfs - employing them exactly as the labouring people are in the present day in rearing the public works, with taskmasters, who anciently had sticks -- now whips -- to punish the indolent, or spur on the too languid. All public or royal buildings, in ancient Egypt, were built by captives; and on some of them was placed an inscription that no free citizen had been engaged in this servile employment" (3).

With the Hebrews living on the border, Exodus 1:11-14 tells us the Pharaoh had them build two store cities which housed weapons and supplies to use in case of attack, and that he “made their lives bitter with hard bondage in mortar, in brick, in all manner of service in the field.”

Service in the field “refers to the construction of irrigation canals and embankments, as well as to the making of bricks for building" (4).

It was during this time that Moses was born. Because of a decree by the Pharaoh that all baby boys born to the Hebrews were to be thrown into the Nile, Moses’ mother made him a small basket and placed him in the Nile where the sister of the Pharaoh found him and adopted him.

Moses’ grew up in the household of Pharaoh and learned much about Egyptian culture and life, and though it is not mentioned in Exodus, we learn in Acts 7, when Stephen spoke before being stoned to death, that “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds" (v. 22).   At some point, we are not told how or when, Moses learned of his heritage with the Hebrews and chose to identify with them. While in a field one day, he observed an Egyptian striking a Hebrew so he killed the Egyptian. When his deed was found out, Moses fled into the wilderness.

Moses spent the next forty years living with the household of Jethro, a priest of Midian (5). Moses married Jethro’s daughter, Zipporah, and they had two sons together, and he tended sheep in the deserts of Arabia for a living. It has been said that Moses spent 40 years in Egypt learning to be somebody then 40 years in Midian learning to be a nobody.

One day as he was tending sheep he saw an unusual fire on the side of Mt. Horeb. As he came close to it, he saw that it was a bush on fire yet not being consumed by the flames. Then a voice spoke to him out of the burning bush to remove his shoes for he was on holy ground. It was Jehovah speaking, and he was sending Moses back to Egypt to deliver His people out of bondage.

Speaking from the burning bush, God told Moses that He had seen what was happening to the Hebrews in Egypt.

And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.

Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. --Exodus 3: 7-10

Walvoord tells us that the word used for “oppressed” is the same word God used in Genesis 15:13 (where it is translated “mistreated”) when He predicted the Egyptian bondage. This slavery in Egypt was like being in an ‘iron-smelting furnace’ (Deut. 4:20) (6).

Moses was resistant to this idea of him being the one to deliver God’s people, saying, “Who am I?” (v. 11), but God insisted that he go, promising Moses, “I will be with you” (v. 12).

The elders will want to know your name said Moses (v. 13), and God said to tell them, “I am that I am” (v. 14), and that God had seen their troubles (v. 16) and would be bringing them to Canaan (v. 17).

God gave a very specific instruction to Moses.

. . . ye shall say unto him (Pharaoh), The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God (v. 18).

Then God warned Moses:

And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand (v. 19).

Then God gave Moses a promise:

And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go (v. 20).

Unfortunately (and stunningly), Moses was not easily persuaded.

But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee (Ex. 4: 1)

God had Moses take the staff that was in his hand and throw it on the ground. The staff transformed into a serpent, and it must have been impressive because a grown man, 80 years old, in fact, FLED from it (v. 3). Then God told Moses to pick up the serpent, BY THE TAIL.

It would be only natural to pick up the serpent BEHIND THE HEAD, to control the snake from biting. Nevertheless, Moses obeyed and picked it up by the tail; it then transformed back into his staff (Exodus 4:5). This must have been done to show Moses that GOD would control the snake, thus the events that He was sending Moses into, not Moses.

But isn’t it also interesting to note that it was the serpent who appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden and spoke LIES to her -- that he spoke deceit? He spoke deceit about God and what God “hath said” to Eve and deceived her into disobedience. Was God, perhaps, here with Moses, cautioning him not to be deceived about what God was saying?

Perhaps, by transforming the staff into a serpent, God was saying, “I will control the lies and the deceit I will control the disbelief, but you control it, too. Fight that battle.  Don’t listen to the doubts being whispered to your mind; listen to Me.”

A battle that Satan still assaults upon, undoubtedly, most, if not all, Christians to this day.

Almost immediately, before the wonder of that demonstration of the power of God had passed, God spoke again to Moses and had him place his hand inside his cloak. When Moses withdrew his hand, it was white with dreaded leprosy. The worst form of leprosy is implied here, the kind the Greeks called “the white disease" (7). Moses didn't run from this -- sometimes running will only take the problem with you. No, Moses could only stare in horror at his hand.

Then God told Moses to place his hand back inside his cloak. When Moses withdrew it this time, his hand was normal (v. 6, 7). God was showing Moses that He has power over illness, even the most loathsome and incurable ones.

God told Moses that if the elders of Israel did not “hearken” to him then to take some water from the Nile and pour it upon the ground and it would turn to blood.

Moses still objected. He claimed that his speaking abilities weren’t so good.

At this, God became angry and responded that he would send Aaron, his brother, with him to speak for Moses as needed.

Resigned, Moses left the burning bush and returned to Jethro and told him all that had happened and that he would be returning to Egypt. At some point, while still in Midian, the Lord spoke yet again to Moses and assured Moses that the ones in Egypt who were seeking his life were now dead.

As Moses began his journey to Egypt, the Lord spoke to Aaron.

. . . the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.

And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.

And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:

And Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.

And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. --Exodus 4: 27-31

Now, onto Part 6, into Egypt and her Pharaoh.

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FOOTNOTES:

1. Merneptah was the first pharaoh to mention the Hebrews on any inscription found so far by archeologists.   Everyone in the Bible, William P. Barker, 1966, pg 283

2. The Heart of Hebrew History, H. L. Hester, 1949, pg. 110

3. Commentary on the Whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, undated, pg 48

4. The One Volume Bible Commentary, J. R. Dummelow, 1958, pg 49

Herodotus notes that 120,000 workmen lost their lives in the construction of a canal connecting the Nile and the Red Sea in the time of Pharaoh Necho. In modern times Mohammed Ali’s canal from the Nile to Alexandria cost 20,000 lives.

5. Jethro was a descendant of Abraham thru Keturah, the woman he married after Sarah died. Genesis 25: 1, 2

6. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, 1985, pg 108

7. All the Miracles of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, 1961, pg 47