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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
 
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, March 22, 2010

**In This Issue**

  1. The Lessons of Passover
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...?
     

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.
 


The Lessons of Passover

Passover begins next Monday, March 29th, at sunset.  The feast of Passover is a celebration, a time when Jewish people remember how God used Moses to free Israel from bondage and slavery in Egypt.  There have been few dramas that can equal the story of the Exodus.  Yet while most Christians are familiar with the events of the Passover as told to us in Exodus 12:12, few are aware of the significance behind the other nine plagues.  Each of the nine plagues targeted specific ancient Egyptian gods.  They were part of an invisible war against the demons of darkness.  The plagues were a powerful and dramatic demonstration of the supremacy of the true and living God of Abraham and Moses.

Waters Turned to Blood

The first of the judgments was upon the waters of Egypt.  The Nile was the highway of this ancient land, as it is today.  Not only was the Nile turned to blood, but the other waters of the land were as well, including the water drawn for use in the houses that was stored in wooden and stone jars (Exodus 7:19).  For seven days the whole land was in horror, with dead fish and a stench from the river.

To better appreciate what was going on, we must examine the numerous gods of the river:  Osiris, one of the several gods of Egypt, was the chief of all the gods of the Nile.  He, with his companion, the mother god, Isis, and their child, Horus, were human-headed gods (in contrast to the many that had heads of birds, beasts, and reptiles).  There were other gods of the Nile, too: Hapimon in the north, and Tauret at Thebes, and the hippopotamus goddess of the river.  There was also Nu , the god of life in the Nile.  The supernatural pollution of the waters of the land were a humiliation to these gods whom the Egyptians worshiped.

The Frogs
The second of the plagues further proved the powerlessness of the gods of Egypt. The land was covered with a plague of frogs in such abundance that they infested the Egyptians' houses and beds.  One of the principal goddesses of the land was Hekt, the wife of the creator of the world, who was always shown with the head and the body of a frog.  The frogs came out of the sacred Nile and Egypt's devotion to frogs prevented the Egyptians from hopping into action: they soon had decaying carcasses throughout the land, resulting in a stinking horror.  It is interesting that the climactic war against God in Revelation is assembled by three frog-like spirits.

The Sand Flies
The third of the judgments on Egypt came out of the soil in Egypt.  The Hebrew word
ken (pronounced kane), is translated "lice" in our English translation, with "sand flies" or "fleas" in some marginal notes.  The Hebrew word comes from a root meaning to dig; it is probable that the insect was one which digs under the skin of men.  This was an embarrassment to their great god of the earth, Geb, to whom they gave offerings for the bounty of the soil.  Also, the presence of the fleas or lice was a barrier to their officiating in their priestly duties!

The Scarabs
The fourth of the plagues were "swarms of flies."  The word is `arob, a swarm, possibly suggesting never-ending motion.  The adoration of the scarab beetle is still conspicuous,  even today, in the jewelry and artifacts celebrating ancient Egypt. Amon-Ra, the king of the gods, had the head of a beetle.  Some of the giant scarabs were even accorded the honor of mummification and entombment with the Pharaohs.

This is particularly bizarre since the scarab is actually a dung beetle.  The insect is about the size of a nickel and feeds on dung in the fields or the side of the road. When animals defecate, these insects swarm from their holes in the ground and collect their provisions for future meals by forming it into round balls about the size of golf balls, which they roll across the ground to their underground dwellings.  Since they seemed to "come from nowhere," and perhaps because these perfectly round balls were possibly associated with the sun, these beetles became associated with creation.

The plague of swarming scarabs, with mandibles that could saw through wood, and destructive qualities worse than termites, must have caused extreme consternation since they were so venerated and thus were not to be interfered with!  Pharaoh called Moses, pleaded for a cessation, hinted at the possibility of compromise, and even asked to be prayed for.  But God does not compromise; the judgments continued.

The Plague of Pestalence
The fifth plague was against the domestic animals of Egypt, and thus Apis, the bull god, and the cow-headed Hathor, goddess of the deserts.  These were so widespread that even the children of Israel had become tainted by their worship, which led to the fiasco of the golden calf in the image of Apis.

The plague was “a murrain," a contagious disease among the cattle, and even the sacred bulls in the temple died.  Other domestic animals were sacred also, and their images adorned many of the idols, such as Bubastis, the cat goddess of love, feminine matters and fashion, etc.   The veneration of cows still creates a sight in India, when cows appear on the streets and even in stores and shops.  The cattle of the Hebrews were not touched.

Boils
The sixth plague was manifested against the bodies of men.  The plague of
shechiyn, translated "boils", may indicate something more terrible.  The root means "burning," and the same word can be translated as leprosy, and as the Egyptian botch, which was declared to be incurable.

Among the gods to which cures would have been ascribed were Thoth, the ibis-headed god of intelligence and medical learning, and Apis, Serapis and Imhotep. Here even the magicians did not escape and could not carry on their priestly functions.  It was their custom to take the ashes of human sacrifices and cast them into the air.  Borne by the wind over the milling populace, they were viewed as a blessing.  Moses launched this plague, and may even have had access to the very furnaces used in the sacred precincts of the royal temple.

Fiery Hail
Egypt is a sunny land with virtually no rain.  The seventh of the plagues was a tempest of hail and fire.  Where were Shu, the wind god,  and Nut, the sky goddess?  Where was Horus, the hawk-headed sky god of Upper Egypt?  When Pharaoh confessed his sin and the sin of his people, he even used the Hebrew names for God:


"And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Entreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thundering and hail…”          Exodus 9:27-28  KJV ER


Locusts
Some of the earlier plagues may have been separated by extended intervals, but the eighth plague followed immediately on the heels of the seventh:  locusts came upon the land.  Every twig and leaf that had somehow escaped the hail and fire was now taken by the locusts.  Where were Nepri, the grain god, or Ermutet, goddess of childbirth and crops?  Where was Anubis , the jackal-headed guardian of the fields, or Osiris, great head of their senior trinity who was also their agricultural god? Having lost faith in their gods, rebellion was now in the air.

Thick Darkness
The ninth plague was a darkness that could be felt!  Josephus wrote:

"But when Moses said that what he desired was unjust, since they were obliged to offer sacrifices to God of those cattle, and the time being prolonged on this account, a thick darkness, without the least light, spread itself over the Egyptians, whereby their sight being obstructed, and their breathing hindered by the thickness of the air, they were under terror lest they be swallowed up by the thick cloud.  This darkness, after three days and as many nights was dissipated."     Antiquities of the Jews, Book Two, Chapter 14, Number 5.

So, where was Ra, god of the sun?  In the school of On, or Heliopolis, city of the sun, the worship of Ra was virtually almost monotheistic.  He and Aten, the sun's disc, were worshiped with the ankh, symbol of life from the sun, as almost a sort of trinity. Where was Horus, the god of the sunrise, or Tem, the god of the sunset, and Shu , the god of light, or the deities of the moon and planets?

The Firstborn
And, of course, the well-known tenth and final plague was the death of the firstborn, on those homes not covered by the lamb's blood on the doorposts or lintels.  We all know the story of the Passover in Egypt, remembered by Jewish people all over the world to this day.  We know that Jesus is our Passover, the Lamb of God.  John the Baptist introduced Christ Jesus twice as "The Lamb of God."

And Lessons for Today?
The invisible war goes on.  These same demons are worshiped today.  The Scriptures tell us that we become like the gods we worship.  Visit Egypt today and when you leave Cairo you will see villages living on dung hills.  And this is not a typical "third world" country.  Egypt once ruled the known world!  

Are idols of stone cold, unresponsive, and immovable?  If you worship idols of stone, you, too, will become cold, unresponsive, and immovable.  Is the world materialistic, harsh, and unforgiving?  If you worship the world, you, too, will become materialistic, harsh, and unforgiving.  You will become like the gods you worship.  But, if you worship Christ Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us, you will become more like Him.

 


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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory


What Does the Bible Say About...?

 

In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having it printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at biblequestions@reflecthisglory.org.  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801.302 -1111.

The question for this issue is, "How could God love Jacob, but hate Esau?"

The Scripture that prompted this question is found in the Book of Romans, where Paul is reminding us that God has not forsaken Israel.  He says:

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.   Romans 9:13 KJV ER

Here, Paul is referring to the Book of Malachi, which says:

And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.  Malachi 1:3  KJV ER

Jacob and Esau were twin sons of Isaac.  The posterity of both developed into tribes and nations.  Even before their births, Jacob was the one chosen by God to be the forefather for the tribes of Israel.  Speaking to Rebekah, the boys' mother, shortly before their birth, God said:

...Two nations are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. Genesis 25:23   KJV ER

God showed HIs love for Jacob by giving him twelve sons and preserving the nation Israel to this very day, and He will continue to do so in the future.  On the other hand, Esau, whom it is said that God "hated," had his land, Edom, brought to desolation.  The reasons for this are discussed in the Book of Obadiah.  Esau's rejection by God was because he "despised his birthright."  This is found in Genesis 25:34.

A parallel can be found in the words of Jesus when He set down a requirement for being His disciple:

If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.  Luke 14:26  KJV ER

Jesus did not really expect us to hate our parents, for this would be a violation of the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12).  But He was illustrating the fact that one must love Him so intensely, that the feelings that one shows towards one's family members, whom we love so much, must seem like hate in comparison. 

Likewise, the words "love" and "hate" in discussing Jacob and Esau are relative rather than absolute.  The love and hate spoken of here are related more to the exercise of God's will rather than His emotions.  God, by the act of His sovereign will, chose Jacob, rather than Esau, to carry on the line of the people Israel.

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Your name above the earth! who have set Your glory above the heavens.

Psalm 8:1  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
"
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
."

John 8:31-32

  
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory