Shavuot is [Read more…]
In this section of the Bible we have the account of the ultimate judgment of Egypt which led to the exodus of Israel from Egypt. God demonstrated that He was able to deliver His people from the strongest world power of that day. In the process, God executed judgment of the gods of Egypt in order to demonstrate His power.
“For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments – I am the Lord.” (Exodus 12:12)
As we consider the plagues which were brought upon Egypt, we realize that each plague was aimed at one of the Egyptian deities. For example, one of the prominent gods worshipped by the Egyptians was the sun. The plague of darkness for three full days revealed the impotency of the sun as a god. Also, the Pharaoh was seen as a god. The death of the first-born of Pharaoh demonstrated the dominance of the God of the Bible over the supposed god, Pharaoh.
I maintain that one of the most important revelations given to us through Biblical revelation is that God intends to deliver the entire human community from the bondage of satanic domination. I believe that this will be accomplished at the coming of Messiah Jesus and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. The exodus account is most likely prophetic of this greater deliverance. [Read more…]
In the Exodus account, God revealed important aspects of His name. In the previous section, we discussed the importance of the name “I will be that which I will be”. God declared that He was not only self-existent but also that He could not be defined. Obviously, the human mind desperately wants to define who and what God is. God simply declared that we cannot. He has chosen to reveal a great deal about Himself through the Bible. This is sufficient for us to serve Him and His purpose. The process of “knowing” His name will, I believe, be an infinite task lasting throughout eternity.
There are two aspects of the concept of “name” that we must consider from a Biblical perspective. Name can mean “an identifier”. God declared this name also in the previous section. He is the “God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. This is the name by which God chooses to be known as throughout all generations. This is the God revealed in the Bible. We should always be careful to insure that we clearly utilize this name when we are speaking of God. It is our responsibility to insure that there is no misunderstanding here. There are many “gods” in this world. There is only one who is revealed in the Bible.
Another aspect of the concept of “name” used in the Bible is a description of a characteristic or function. The name “I will be that which I will be” fits into this category. The name “El Shaddai” also describes a characteristic of God.
“God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My Name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them.” (Exodus 6:2-3)
The Hebrew expression “El Shaddai” is translated here as “God Almighty”. I like to consider the construction of the word “Shaddai” as “that is enough”. The God revealed in the Bible is the “God that is enough for_______”, for whatever troubles you, you can fill in the blank.
It is always interesting to consider what the Bible tells us and what it does not. The end of Genesis focused on the life of Joseph after the death of Jacob. The beginning of Exodus focuses on the people of Israel almost 400 years later. No account is given of events between these points. Even though extremely interesting, these events are evidently not necessary for us to understand God’s redemption process, therefore, the Bible is silent on this era.
When the time was right, God chose Moses to be His instrument of deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. He was supernaturally protected from death at birth. He was rescued by the daughter of Pharaoh and raised and educated in Pharaoh’s house. He must have been aware of his heritage. This is evident from the fact that he intervened to save another Hebrew from the hand of an Egyptian. This, of course, led to his exile into the Sinai peninsular. These events occurred in the first 1/3rd of Moses’ life. Afterward, he would spend the second 1/3rd of his life as a shepherd in the desert as the son-in-law of Jethro. The final 1/3rd of his life was spent leading Israel from Egypt to Mt. Nebo.
God’s call of Moses happened when he was 80 years old. Moses was on the mountain herding the flock when he noticed the phenomenon that we know as the “Burning Bush”. The Bible declares,
“And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.” (Exodus 3:2)
This was not an ordinary fire but was the “Glory of God” being manifested to Moses. This same “Glory” was seen throughout the Biblical account. It passed between the halves of the sacrifices made by Abraham (Genesis 15:17). This “Glory” stood between Israel and the Egyptian army as Israel escaped through the “Sea of Reeds” (Exodus 14:19-20). When the tabernacle was completed, the “Glory” descended upon and dwelled within the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34). The same was true when Solomon dedicated the First Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).
The Bible is very clear that this phenomenon will occur in the future. Jesus declared:
“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels….” (Matthew 16:27a).
“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY”. (Matthew 24:30).
This theme reveals a concept almost lost to Christianity. The Holy One of Israel intends to come to planet earth and dwell in the midst of the human community. Everyone talks about going to heaven but the truth is that God is in the process of “coming to earth”. Many Christians are dreaming of escaping earth to fly off to some heavenly abode. What a surprise it will be when they return to “old planet earth”!
Finally, in this section God revealed some very important aspects of His name. He declared to Moses,
“And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14)
This is almost universally translated incorrectly as “I am who I am”. The verbs are future tense. It should be translated as “I will be that which I will be”. The important difference here is that the present tense translation implies self-existence. The future tense expression implies not only self-existence but also that God cannot be defined. This will become a crucial issue in the 4th and 5th centuries (AD/CE) because the Church Fathers will violate this name by attempting to define God as the “mystical Holy Trinity”.
Furthermore, God declared the name by which all Bible believing people should refer to Him. He is,
“And God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.” (Exodus 3:15)
So God should never be confused with the gods of the peoples. He has a very specific name which we are to use. This name is obviously identified with Israel. As we utilize this name we identify not only with the God of the Bible but also with His people. As we advance toward the time of His coming, real Christian believers will be challenged to assume a common identity with Israel. People worry about “taking” the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 13:16-17) on their forehead and their right hand. Sons of Israel already have marks on their forehead and on their hand. They are called “tefillin”. If we put on “tefillin” either symbolically or in reality, we will not take the “mark of the beast”. Actually, the “beast” will reject you as he will all of Israel.
As a part of the covenant that God made with Israel, the land of Israel was given to him and to his descendants forever. In the past I have considered this part of the covenant as a reward to Abraham for his participation in the covenant. This would be like a piece of property awarded to a favorite son [Read more…]