Exodus 9 Continued

17. As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go.

Still, in spite of all the LORD’s warnings and all His plagues against him, Pharaoh exalts himself against the LORD’s people. He continued to hold them as slaves in his land and refused to let them go to serve their God as He demanded. In light of this hubris, he deserved the next and seventh plague that was about to be leveled against him and against his people.

18. Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now.

In light of these actions, a new plague is coming on them the next day. Jehovah will cause it to rain in Egypt. This would be radical by itself, for Egypt never got rain, but was irrigated by the waters of the Nile. For it to rain even a little bit in Egypt would be strange, not to mention for a great rain to fall. Moreover this will not be just any rain, but a very heavy hail with the rain. We know that small hail is by far the most common, but a strong updraft can cause the hail to grow and grow before it falls at a very large size. That is what was about to happen in Egypt.

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When friends or acquaintances are dealing with the death of someone close to them, it can be difficult knowing exactly what to say that will be comforting. We realize that words cannot take away their pain and hurt, but we want to say something to show sympathy and compassion. In such situations, many fall back on clichés or generic words of comfort. Yet whatever we say, we will often find that the grieving person will answer by revealing what he is using to comfort himself in his terrible time of loss.

What kinds of things do I hear people say when they tell me what they are using to comfort themselves? Sometimes, it is that the dead person lived a full life; other times, that the person had been sick for a long time and so death was something of a relief. Some express the opinion that the dead person is now in a better place or is enjoying heaven. When the death is somewhat sudden and unexpected, I will often hear people comfort themselves with the idea that everything that happens is for a reason, so there must be a purpose in this death having happened when and how it did.

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I received the following question:

We have recently been studying/discussing the meaning and definition of “sin.” Does the definition change between the Old Testament, the Gospel Period, the Acts period, and now in the Dispensation of Grace?

In II Corinthians 5:20 & 21, since Jesus “knew no sin”, it has been suggested that his only sin was the fact that he died. Can the unavoidable reality of death be a sin? I have a hard time accepting this concept. I lean towards the belief that death is the consequence of the original sin, not a sin itself.

To “sin” is to miss the mark. I John 5:17a offers further information: “All unrighteousness is sin.” So the “mark” is righteousness. Everything that misses that mark is sin. Let us consider the things the Bible specifically mentions as sins.

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Exodus 9

1. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

Now once again a sixth time the LORD sends Moses to Pharaoh with His demands. He is to again appear before Pharaoh and make this demand in the name of the LORD God of the Hebrews. What He requires is that Pharaoh let His people go, so that they may serve Him. Again, as we have pointed out throughout this confrontation, the LORD claims prior ownership of the Hebrews, and demands those whom Pharaoh has taken possession of for himself be returned to Him to serve Him.

2. For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them,

Jehovah is well aware of the fact that Pharaoh is not likely to obey His command. Therefore, He tells the king just what He will do if he refuses to let His people go and still retains his strong hold on them.

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Exodus 8 Continued

16. So the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the land, so that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’ ”

When Pharaoh fails to let the people go, as he said he would, the LORD gives him no warning before striking his nation again with a third plague. Bullinger points out that this is true of the third, sixth, and ninth plagues: they all fall without warning. Thus the ten plagues are divided into three groups of three, with the tenth and final plague standing apart by itself.

Now Aaron is to act by stretching out his rod. No doubt this is again the rod Moses took with him from the wilderness to work signs with, and what was earlier called the “rod of God.” Then, he is to strike the dust of the land. Yet the word “dust” probably implies too much dryness for this word, and it makes us think almost of him waving the rod in the air to strike floating dust. No, the idea here is more of the soil of the land, the topsoil that one would strike if one struck the ground with a rod. This topsoil will become lice, probably meaning that there will be these lice threaded through it that will then crawl out of it throughout all the land of Egypt and attack man and beast. Bullinger says this word is actually an Egyptian word that means “mosquito-gnats.” Mosquitos are actually in the gnat family, as we classify them today. That these were a tiny, blood-sucking bug seems clear. They are more than just a gnat, which we think of as perhaps annoying but not as blood-sucking. These creatures would bite all men and animals they landed on.

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For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (New King James Version throughout unless otherwise noted).

This is the straightforward teaching of Scripture regarding the ultimate destiny of man. It is not, as many insist, the difference between spending eternal life either in heaven or hell, but instead the difference between life itself and death. The wages (payment or natural outcome) of sin is death, the eventual lot of all, as Hebrews 9:27 declares: It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. In judgment, some will receive God’s gift of life.

How is the gift of eternal (eonian) life received? It is given by God to those whom He judges worthy to live in the eon of His glorious government on earth. I charge you therefore before God, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall make a determination concerning the living and the dead at His blazing forth, even His kingdom. II Timothy 4:1 (The Resultant Version). We can receive this gift through faith, which in our dispensation must be in the record God has given of His Son.

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Exodus 8

1. And the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

The LORD speaks to Moses once again and tells him to go to Pharaoh. This will be the fourth time he will have brought His demands before him. The first time was in Exodus 5:1-5, when the demands of the LORD God were first brought before Pharaoh. He responded with refusal, and merely made things harder for Israel. The second time was in Exodus 7:1-13, when they presented the LORD’s demands again and showed Pharaoh the sign of the rod turning to the monstrous snake. Pharaoh, after seeing his magicians do the same, in spite of the fact that their snakes were devoured by the LORD’s snake, still refused His request. The third time was at the Nile River, when they demanded that he let the people go or the Nile would be turned to blood, and he had again refused. Now is recorded their fourth encounter with Pharaoh.

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Exodus 7 Continued

14. So the LORD said to Moses: “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go.

Now Yahweh speaks to Moses. He has looked into Pharaoh’s heart, and seen that it is hard. Moses could have seen the result of Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness when he did not let them go, but he could not have known just what caused it unless Yahweh told him. He is the One Who looks within and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart, as Hebrews 4:12 says. He sees what is going on in Pharaoh’s inner being, and He explains it to Moses.

Now what He says to Moses about Pharaoh’s heart is not, as we would expect, the same word as is used in the previous verse. Verse 13 told us that Pharaoh hardened or strengthened his heart. He resolved not to let the people go, and convinced himself he was being a strong and firm master by doing so. Yet Yahweh characterizes his heart as heavy, and the Hebrew idea of a heavy heart is not so much of a sorrowful heart as of a dull and stupid heart. Pharaoh’s heart is dull. If he had any wits, any understanding, any real comprehension of what he was doing, he would never have defied the living God like this. Yet Pharaoh was dull in his inner being, and little realized what He was doing in defying Yahweh. He shall learn it eventually, but, alas, he will be very slow to do so, and disaster will come on him and his people because of it.

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Exodus 7

1. So the LORD said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.

Now the LORD speaks to Moses and tells him that He has made him as a god to Pharaoh. “God” is used at times in the Hebrew Bible for one who represents the Absolute, particularly when to comes to judging or setting in order a people. It is used that way in Psalm 82, when the mighty congregation of representatives in Israel who represented God in their government of the people are called gods. Here Moses is elevated to the place of representing God as a god to Pharaoh. This word could also be used of a false god, as when King Ahaziah sent to Baal-Zebub the god of the Philistine city of Ekron. The Philistines, as well as King Ahaziah, believed that Baal-Zebub represented the absolute, and yet he did not. In this case, however, Moses was a god who truly did represent the true God to Pharaoh.

Aaron, Moses’ brother, is to be Moses’ prophet. A prophet is the Hebrew nabiy’, and refers usually to one who speaks for God and is His representative. In this case, Moses is to represent God and Aaron is to speak for Moses as his prophet. Thus Pharaoh gets his message from God through two mediators: first Moses standing in for God, then Aaron speaking for Moses. This was very indirect, but did Pharaoh deserve any more? He had already scoffed at God. He did not deserve to have God Himself work with him personally after that. He could deal with God through His mediators. Yet this was a true interaction with God. To hear from God’s mediators was to hear from God, and to speak with God’s mediators was to speak with God. He is fully represented by those He chooses to stand in His place.

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Exodus 6 Continued

14. These are the heads of their fathers’ houses: The sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. These are the families of Reuben.

Scripture stops for a moment to discuss the genealogy. These types of pauses, not uncommon in the Word of God, to discuss genealogical records do not seem very important to us today, and we might wonder just why God bothers to do this. Yet God has done so, and so I believe it is our job to try to discover just why He has done so, and what significance these things might have and what we can discover from them.

One thing we should keep in mind is that these names, while they belong to people long dead, do not belong to people who will always stay dead. These men who own these names will someday rise from the dead, when God raises the entire seed of Israel in order to fulfill His many promises to them. At that time, these names that God has put in Scripture will be very important. Nevertheless let us not confine ourselves to benefiting from this passage only in the future, but let us see what we can learn of God’s truth in these genealogies even now.

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