Notes on the Exodus (108)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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One More Plague   (Chapter 11 Verses 1-10)

Do we listen to God’s word, are we responsive to it? We can hear, we can understand and yet not respond as we should. We can even be as Pharaoh and resent God’s interference into our lives. We can only wonder what Israel’s attitude to all this was. I mean were they critical of Moses and Aaron? Did they carp and complain each day at the lack of progress being made? It seems from their consequent history they never lost that kind of attitude. It had become needful to bring the situation in Egypt to a crisis level or Israel would never have been released from their bondage. Moses, now he has grown in stature before God and men. All the former timidity, nervousness and argumentativeness has disappeared. It appears he is not in the least disappointed with the rebuffs from Pharaoh and his courts, or the criticism of his fellow Israelites. He knew that he was doing God’s will and that is enough. There is a lesson for us all in that, for if we are in God’s place doing what God has given us to do, we can cope with all the rest. That is or should be enough for us too. This is the last act of judgment upon Egypt there is no escaping it. Yet Pharaoh still claims to wield a power that he just not have. At the end of the previous chapter he claims the power over life and death, “for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die” (Exodus 10:28). What Moses is told here is a repetition of what he has been told before (v1-3). After this, the tenth plague Pharaoh will push Israel out his land and Israel shall make their escape (Psalm 136:1-10). Of course, the modern mind would say haven’t the people of Egypt suffered enough? But suffering is not penitence, contrition, godly sorrow. A few years in prison doesn’t atone for murder or whatever sin puts a person in such a place. Yes, as fellow sinners we ought to empathise with people in their sufferings however it is they come by them. It is only a deep heart repentance unto faith in the blood of God’s Lamb that atones for sin, nothing else. But the masses of Egypt never came to that place, they clung to their idolatrous religious ideology.

You can project that into modern Western society. There are those with a measure of honesty amongst the socialist elite who can see that their socialist experiment hasn’t worked but gone awfully wrong. But here is the thing, they won’t turn, they won’t acknowledge it publicly. Why won’t they turn? The loss of friends, careers, positions or just simply the loss of face? With the end of the cold war, the end of all our heavy industry, the mines and the steel and so on, they need new masses to serve as a replacement for the proletariat. With an utter mindlessness and especially for the far-reaching consequences, they have accepted the Muslims as a substitute for the white working class. They have embraced Islam. But it will come back and bite them where their mothers never kissed them. They will accept any bed-fellows whatsoever rather than admit that they were wrong. Witness the fury and rage of them against family life as God ordained it, and the legislation increasing the powers of parents over their own children. Witness if you will the legislation and government support for the hom0-jihadists. They have destroyed the moral and spiritual foundations of our society, it’s falling apart before them. But they will not admit that they were wrong and the ultimate reason for that is what they fear most. A surrender to what they fear and loathe most, what they absolutely hate with all their beings, the opposite to their humanism, Christianity. Just like Egypt, they are at war with God. And no matter  how much and far down God takes them, they will stubbornly cling their socialist agenda, they will go to hell clinging on to it, and raging at the Almighty as they go. And the reason for their rejection of God, it is not on intellectual grounds but on moral, on ethical grounds. They will have anything but God’s biblical moral and ethical standards (Psalm 2:3). And God will judge them, and he will judge this nation, yes the masses that have stood by these socialist creeps, empowering them generation after generation. They won’t shift, they cling to the socialist nanny state that has become their god. That they think feeds them, provides medical care for them, and so on. For their nanny to be taken away from them would be unthinkable. They would have to rely on God then and that’s not going to happen. Just like the people of Egypt did with Pharaoh. But in the midst of it all, God will not fail his people, he will save them.

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on Christian Warfare (8)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

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The Wiles of the Devil   (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

We are still in verse eleven where we are told to stand not just against the devil, but his wiles also. He has much experience, an expert, deception is his primary tool. He leads an army which is at his disposal and is no mean general when it comes to the art of warfare. However, cares for nothing of the Geneva convention in his tactics, no holds barred. He has many devices (2Corinthians 2:11). And most of these are performed in a sheep’s skin. There are some who have been ensnared by him and need to be recovered (2Timothy 2:26). We, Christians, are warned by the apostle that we don’t be taken captive by him (Colossians (2:8). In his wiles he is capable of taking the wise and the simple, the hypocrite and the upright, the timid and the bold, the rich and the poor, the aged and the young. We learn to be discerning. We must be equipped to know the difference between the hissings of Satan and the inspirations of God, to see the hook behind the bait. The word “wiles” (v11), indicates scheming cleverness, craftiness. He appeared to our first parent Eve as a shining one, he beguiled her with spiritual talk very appealing to her. He implanted the seed of pride into her (Genesis 3:1-6). He can appear as an angel of light (2Corinthians 11:14). You will find him the realms of the aesthetic, the artistic, the intellectual, rather than the gross, the ugly and the perverse. He has his failures, they are to be found in the gutter and of little further use to him. For he is ambitious he does not seek a kingdom that consists of human wrecks. His ambitions are higher than that, better, more powerful. He has a lust for power over others that exceed any. His targets include Ministers of the gospel. This is one of the reasons Jesus seeks to quench the notion of popularity amongst his men. He himself walked away from any suggestion of this himself, “when Jesus, therefore, perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone” (John 6:15). Crave it not my friends, crave it not. The cunning of the Devil takes some matching for efficiency. He studies situations and personalities, he lays snares where you are at your most vulnerable. He often knows the Christian better than the Christian knows themselves. He watches for where and when we are on our guard, watchful and waits for a more opportune time when we are careless and tired.

His strategies and activities can be learned from some of the Old Testament saints. Take for instance Elijah’s suicidal depression. After a mighty victory over the false prophets of Baal he is found under a tree convinced of the failure of his ministry. He is convinced that his ministry is finished. But the truth is he had already been used tremendously and God yet had more work for him to do. The devil will make black look white to us and white black. He suffered from tiredness and confusion inspired by the Devil. But God cared for his servant, he held him, ministered to him, restored him. The Devil was defeated. He will put poison in a golden cup. He will present you with much profit if only you will yield to sin. He hides from view God’s wrath that you would incur and the misery that is a reality as a result of the sin. Again with Eve, he offers her the bait but he hides the shame, the holy displeasure, and wrath of God, he hides the loss that follows her taking the bait. He puts enormous fallacies before men, he leads and leaves them with a fools paradise. He will promise them prosperity, perhaps even give them such. He will promise them pleasures unlimited, success if only they will sell their souls to him. Then he will sink them into the deepest hell. Therefore, “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1Peter 5:8).

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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Notes on Exodus (107)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The Mind of a Reprobate   (Chapter 10 Verses 21-29)

Israel, as God’s chosen people, is called out of Egypt to worship God in God’s way (v25). Not according to Pharaoh’s, Egypt’s, the world’s way. And central to God’s acceptance of us and our worship is that of propitiation (Exodus 20:24). The law has been violated by us all. By all mankind that is, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If there is no God-provided sacrifice there can be no rightness, no justification and therefore no worship of God. The proposed animal sacrifices (v25) typified God’s coming Lamb (John 1:29). It is God himself who fulfils the laws demands in Christ. All the covenant conditions are met by Jesus. It is by grace God’s people are brought in unconditionally to this covenantal relationship. This covenant of grace is unilateral, it is formed, established and kept by God. For we ourselves cannot fulfil the covenant’s demands, for sin remains, corruption yet eats at the vitals of the soul of the holiest of saints. All the conditions are met by God himself. So there will be no compromises Moses tells Pharaoh (v26).

Is there a momentary pause here as Pharaoh considers the consequences of his response (v27-29)? Whatever, he seals his own judgment. This is the crowning touch of a man given over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28). Some of course foolishly think that they can deal with God later on, that there will be another chance. That is not always the case. There are times when the Saviour calls, the message is sent, considered, but he returns that way again. But this is obviously not the case with Pharaoh, God’s purpose for this man has been stated and worked out here. “The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (v27). The predestination purposes of God are inevitably worked out in all men’s lives. The purpose of God in election must stand. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (Romans 9:14-18). This chapter in the book of Romans is the most neglected and hated chapter in the Bible. There is no doctrine like the doctrine of predestination that declares God to the God, the one who does as he pleases amongst the kingdom of men. The king of Egypt is what he is by nature and choice and God has, again and again, confirmed him in his choice. Here he severs, cuts the line, between him and God’s mediator, Moses. Get out of my face he tells Moses (v28). The words of Saul king of Israel are a fitting epitaph for Pharaoh as well, “I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly” (1Samuel 26:21). To be remonstrated with by God’s servant, to be warned to flee the coming judgments of God is no small thing. Many treat them so lightly, mock and scoff at such in these days. “but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy” (2Chronicles 36:16). Nothing left but sudden destruction. Pharaoh drives from his presence the only source of mediation. Moses seals his words and his fate, “thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more. It brings to mind the words of Jesus on that day, “then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). Never to see the lovely face of the Mediator again.

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on Christian Warfare (7)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

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The Attacks of the Enemy   (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The enemy, Satan, the devil (v11). “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). He is cunning, crafty, a deceiver. His expertise lies in deception. This is one of the main reasons for his being chained during the New Testament age, to keep him from deceiving the nations (Revelation 20:1-2). He has an army and is no mean commander of his forces, he knows his business. We need to be realistic, both he and his temptations are real. He has to be discerned, resisted and refused on the basis of truth (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 1Peter 5:9). He is not beneath using even your best friend to fulfil his purposes (Matthew 16:22). He is filled with rage, “woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” Revelation 12:12). Those of course who have fallen asleep at the wheel, spiritually speaking, or the backslidden, the complacent will nothing of the battles with the devil. He has them exactly where he wants them to be they are of no danger to him at all. In fact, it’s most probably his doing that they are in that state. Or if you truly belong to Christ are in any one of these spiritually defective conditions, it is possible that he, the devil, maybe loosed upon you to awaken you to your perilous position. We must all be resolved to go on with Christ, knowing that we have such a formidable foe to deal with. For this is a battle we will never win on our own or in our own strength. You say well I know nothing of these fights of which you speak, I have never been confronted with the devil. I am at peace, all is well, all is smooth sailing. Well, could that be because you are travelling in the same direction as he is? Examine yourself (2Corinthians 2:13:5). We must face up to him courageously when he attacks, but keep him and his filthy dealings in perspective. He is a defeated for, he has been conquered, he is a junkyard dog, he is chained and under the control of the sovereign Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:1-2).

He has been comprehensively beaten (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:15; 1Jon 3:8). In times when he is attacking us we need to be calm, stand still, in our minds take hold of the gospel facts. That Christ has defeated him once for all. This will help us to be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (v10). If we take hold of what we are ‘in Christ,’ what we have been made, and understand that ‘in him’ we are strong. Think of how we have blessed in limitless ways (Ephesians 1:3-8; 2Peter 1:3-4)? We have been raised to new and immortal life. We are, or should be, living on the victory plane (Ephesians 2:4-6). Be strong! And yet he is cunning, he is crafty, he is not called the serpent for nothing, he is wily, and we must seek to understand his wiles. He can make us think and feel weak. He has the ability to make us think that the odds against us are too great, and therefore give up the struggle too soon. And especially so in terms of our personal victories over sin and our sphere of service. He will tauntingly, and powerfully suggest to you that you will never get the victory over a peticular sin that you are fighting. Or that your service for the Lord is valueless. He will certinly seek to discourage you when it comes to prayer. One thing Satan cannot abide is to see a Christian on their knees. Therefore, to make the stand that we commanded to here, he we need the full armour of God, at all times. The apostle Paul now begins to show us what that armour is and how we are to put it on and use it. But foremost he would have you to know the enemy and his stratagems that you are up against. He comes in many guises, he will even appear as a Minister of the gospel. So we need to be able to recognise him to be able to stand against him. We need the tools to out-think this grotesque monster. Our God has provided us with all we need.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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Notes on the Exodus (106)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The Danger of Compromise   (Chapter 10 Verses 21-29)

The descent of the darkness (v22), is a manifestation of God’s wrath, as at Calvary (Matthew 27:45). The created order is at God’s disposal to do with as he pleases. The save it or destroy it. To intervene in what we call the natural order. What is possible and what is impossible is not determined by man’s fallen mind, but determined by the sovereign Lord who made everything. And here at the behest of God Egypt is plunged back into the chaos (Genesis 1:1).  This again is a revelation of who and what God is. But also a revelation of his wrath and the fact that he will brook no idols (Romans 1:18). The Pharonic religions of Rome and Mecca will fall in similar fashion. They are too are manifestations of the Anti-Christ. Darkness is death it has no communion, no fellowship with God. This also is a foretaste of the outer darkness of hell that those who choose to belong to the darkness shall encounter, “shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12). The question in the mind of the Egyptian people now is, is this the end? Once again there is a sharp distinction between them and Israel, the children of the light. This is an awesome manifestation that is always true yet not realised by the wicked of this world. God is gracious, but to his alone, the elect of God. To the wicked and unbelieving there but the darkness of death, and wrath. They,  walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19). To walk in disobedience is to walk in darkness, disobedience to the gospel. The physical darkness here is symbolic of the spiritual darkness, a down payment, a guarantee of the darkness to come. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). These… clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13).

The temptation to compromise is put before Moses once again (v24-26). This, after the darkness, has been lifted, obviously. There is fear with Pharaoh, but no humility, no repentance. The offer put to them is conditional. He yet wants God to accommodate his will, his unbelief. They, the people of Israel, can go on holiday as long as they pledge to return. He wants a conditional surrender from them. There are many who want God to be their God as long as they remain in control. This is Pharaoh’s sin, he wants to be his own God. He had no excuse, he knew what was required of him, bit by bit he concedes until the final shown down. He seeks to convince Israel that they can serve him and God as well. This is like modern-day Christianity. I am a Christian, yes, but I don’t have to attend church. I don’t have to be baptised. I don’t have to support the church financially. I don’t have to be involved in things Christian. I don’t have to take up the cross. All this is a bit fanatical, extreme. They think they can live for self in other words and still go to heaven. They think they can serve two masters, self, and God. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46). “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” (Luke 16:13). A crossless Christianity.

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on Christian Warfare (6)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

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The Saints Ability   (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The ability of the saints to stand, to be invincible in the face of the enemy lies here (v11). The alternative is not just flight, but utter capitulation, ending in a rout. We are to stand as victors in Christ, unvanquished. Therefore, perseverance in the use of the whole armour of God is indispensable. To pray without ceasing. The general’s command is, stand! To be on our guard at all times. The sentry may not fall asleep, nor leave his post until he is relieved.In a war zone, the sentry who does either would face an immediate court martial and be shot. And if you are a believer in Christ living in this world you ought not to be asleep (Ephesians 5:14). And neither have you as yet been relieved of your duties (Mark 13:13). God’s grace flows to us through the armour. For putting on the full armour of God is the same as putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, thus, the grace of God comes to us through Christ (Romans 13:14). We pray but we pray in the Spirit, without the grace of the Lord we cannot pray as we ought (Zechariah 12:10). Why are our prayer meetings throughout the land today dull, boring, dead even? Because we lack this very thing of which the prophet speaks, “the spirit of grace and of supplications” (v10). There is no spiritual life without the life-giving Spirit of grace. In the ongoing battle against the flesh, Paul, in a very real sense disowns the stirrings of sin as alien intruders to his new life in Christ. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:15:20). These intruders have no right to intrude, he has no desire for their interference now that he is a new man. But he has to fight them off, he has to slay them. How? “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). He says, “evil is present with me” (Romans 7:21). Put the letter ‘D’ in front of the ‘evil’ and you have the enemy that Paul has to fight. And so too do we. It is the Devil who stirs up the evil, kindles the fires of sinful thoughts, feelings, and desires. Then he stands back and accuses us (Revelation 12:10).

Our forgiveness is real, but Satan does not want us to enjoy that forgiveness. He tempts and he taunts and accuses us. If he can get us preoccupied with our sins and failures, or keep us bound to our besetting sin or sins, he will leave us bereft of any enjoyment of God and our new life in Christ. He is ever seeking to destroy our peace and to distract us from serving God. But if he can get you in a downward spiral, burdened with feelings of guilt and shame, he knows you will consider yourself totally unfit for service. How he loves to keep you there. If he can blot out all thoughts of Jesus who tells you over and over, you are forgiven, “be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2)! He has the upper hand, he has drained you of that good cheer, the joy of your salvation. Yes, there are times when we have sinned and we need to put it away (1John 1:7). We need to make restitution if we can. But, we need to resist the Devil. Instead of submitting ourselves to his relentless taunting and accusing, we need to, submit, therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). That is the answer, we have the God given ability through the Lord Jesus Christ, put him on, and, “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). To be clothed in Christ is to be clothed in the whole armour of God.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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Notes on the Exodus (105)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The Blackness of Darkness   (Chapter 10 Verses 21-29)

The darkness here is not just the darkness of night, this is a supernatural darkness. God is light, this darkness is a total withdrawal of God (John 3:19). Pharaoh, Egypt is abandoned, God-forsaken, “my spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). There comes a time when a man crossed the line and God will have no more to say to him. Pharaoh has reached that place. Egypt’s darkness will not be lit and Israel’s light will not be unlit. One either belongs to the light or the dark. We are not told what the reaction of people is to this, it must have been awful. Think of all that they have been through already, one plague after another, now this. Their nation is in ruins they themselves are totally demoralized. Pharaoh pronounces his own judgment as he dismisses God’s accredited Minister (v28).Get out of my face, I never want to see you again. For God to walk away from a man and leaving in the darkness is an awful, awful thing. Surely the worst calamity to befall a human being. He still thinks he can negotiate (v24). He is wrong, he is dealing with God, not Moses. This is a sheer act of God in judgment (v23). The liberal, unbelieving commentators, yes, and some who claim to be evangelical,  pass this off as being the result of some natural cause. For instance, the wind causing a sandstorm so that nobody could see. This is simply unbelief. Evolution has made such inroads into the church, resulting in people making shipwreck of their faith, refusing to simply accept the authority of God’s word, as it stands in scripture. No, this is a direct supernatural  act of God. There is absolutely nothing at all in the text that would even suggest it could have been a sand storm. A Christian a person who stands on the authority of God’s word, not on the authority of science or even theological commentators. This strikes at the heart of Egypt’s religion. The sun is unique in their religious system, they sang hymns to the sun. You are the unique one, there is none like you, you rise faithfully everything morning and give us warmth, and light. Praise be to the sun. Amon-Re is the sun god of Egypt. God shuts the sun down, he immobilizes their deity and leaves them with an awesome darkness that could be felt (v23). Ernest Shackelton the polar explorer wrote, “In all the world there is no desolation more complete than polar darkness. It is is a return to the ice age, there is no warmth, no life, no movement. It is only those who have experienced it that can fully appreciate what it means to be without the sun day after day, week after week. A few men who are unaccustomed to it can fight off its effects altogether. But it has driven some men completely mad.”

What Shackelton speaks in comparison to this darkness is nothing. Some of the Egyptian people would be in a terrible state of fear. Remember they are already demoralized. Madness, yes, some would have gone completely insane. How many suicides do you think there would have been during these three days? Or heart failure? The king, Pharaoh is the personal embodiment of this solar deity. He was reckoned to the son of the sun. He was reckoned to the incarnation of Amon-Re the sun god. He claimed attributes that belonged only to God, the true and living God. Do you see, he claims to be in the place of God, that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2Thessalonians 2:3-4). Pharaoh is the head of the world-power, he is an Old Testament type of the Anti-Christ. So God, the God of the Bible that is, our God, here shows, demonstrates the falsity of all this. That the sun in the sky that the Egyptians worship and adore, and Pharaoh who is his supposed representative, that all this is a hideous false, blasphemous religion. He shuts out the light, completely, utterly. He takes them back to the primeval darkness, to where there was no light, he shows them who the real Creator is, the one who created the sun. It is there at my disposal, “I form the light, and create darkness” (Isaiah 45:7). 

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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