One Law

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:38-39, 12:43-51[2]

The Hebrews ate the Passover lamb, packed unleavened bread and then waited for the order to leave. In the middle of the night Pharaoh received word that Egyptians’ were dropping dead. He ordered the Hebrews immediate departure.

The soldiers or army of the Hebrews were numbered at 600,000. That number did not include their families that departed with them. Therefore the number of people that walked out of Egypt to worship God easily numbered over a million Hebrews. In addition to that number a mixed multitude left with them. The Hebrew words for “mixed multitude” indicate they were also a large group.

They traveled as far as Succoth and stopped. In accordance with God’s instructions they must have a holy convocation and Sabbath on the first and seventh day. They were in the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread and have a problem. All uncircumcised persons were forbidden from participating. Anyone who ate leavened bread during these seven days would be cut off from the community whether they were Hebrews or strangers.

What about the mixt multitude who forsook their homeland to worship the Hebrew’s God. Should they tell them to go back to Egypt where they would be considered traitors? Should they exclude them from the festival when they wanted to worship God too?

God had a solution. Make them “one of us” but not on their terms. If they want to worship the Hebrew’s God they must meet the same requirements God gave the Hebrews. If the mixt multitude is willing to be circumcised they “shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.”[3]

Man will find a way to exclude you. Love finds a way to include you.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 12:48-49

A Way Out

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Numbers 33:1-4 [2]

There was no shortage of religion in the story of the Hebrews deliverance from oppression. Both the Hebrews and the Egyptians were very religious. The problem with religious practices is the delusion it creates that the worshiper actually loves the God he or she worships. Pharaoh used religion to control his people. His denial of religious freedom brought death and sorrow to the home of every family he ruled. The Egyptians embrace of leaders who did not love them and used the concept of god to control them cased this tragedy.

While the Egyptians buried their dead, the Hebrews walked out of Egypt with great joy to worship the only God who loved both the Hebrews and Egyptians. The Hebrews’ were no better than the Egyptians. All of them worshipped a false image of God. The Hebrews’ were delivered because their ancestor Abraham loved God.

At this point in the chronological narrative a passage from Numbers 33 is injected. “And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord…”[3] God had a greater purpose than the recordation of the Hebrews history when he commanded Moses to keep a diary of their experiences. Their journey to worship God unfolded a part of God’s nature that is necessary to understand the depth of his mercy.

The Apostle Paul sent a letter to the Corinthian church explaining that the things Moses wrote were examples of God’s dealings with his people and a warning to fear the consequences of bad behavior. Idolatry, sexual immorality, testing God’s love and grumbling will not be tolerated. Religious practice does not exonerate one from the consequences of doing these things. Paul tempered the warning with a promise. When our fallen human nature tempts us to do wrong, God is faithful to limit the temptation to that which we can bear and will provide a way out.[4]

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Numbers 33:2 KJV

[4] 1 Corinthians 10:11-12

A Misconception

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:40-42[2]

The writer of Exodus paused the story of the Hebrews deliverance with a side note that birthed a misconception. A surface reading leads one to believe God abandoned his people to Egypt’s tyranny for 430 years. The NIV Bible ingrains that thought as does the MSG, NASB and AMP. All of them state the Hebrews’ lived in Egypt 430 years. A side note in the NIV states other text say the Hebrews lived in “Egypt and Canaan” 430 years.

According to the Chronological Bible the accurate translation is Egypt and Canaan. Abraham entered Canaan on April 15, 1892. His descendants through Isaac departed Egypt 430 years later on April 15, 1462. Jacob relocated his family to Egypt in 1677, which means they lived in Egypt for 215 years, not 430 years.

Joseph’s wisdom had made Pharaoh wealthy beyond imagination. Jacob and his family came to Egypt highly favored and given the best of Egypt. The oppression of the Hebrews began 91 years later in 1580 when a new King of Egypt came to power who did not know Joseph.

The new King of Egypt knew the Hebrews had grown stronger than Egypt and feared them. His oppression of the Hebrews grew increasingly severe, yet the Hebrews continued to grow stronger. After wrestling with the Hebrew problem for 23 years, he commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill the male babies. The midwives feared God and ignored the murderous command. Eleven years later, in 1546, the king realized his plan failed and order the Egyptians to cast every newborn Hebrew son into the river.

On March 6, 1543, three years after the Egyptians began murdering the Hebrew’s male babies; Moses was born and raised in Pharaoh’s house. When Moses was 40 he tried to help his people and they rejected him. If they had accepted Moses their oppression would have ended 40 years after it began. Instead, their misery was extended 40 years while the generation that rejected Moses died.

If you read this far, you may be wondering why I find this important. Understanding what really happened in Egypt gives us a true image of God to worship. At no time did God condemn his people to 400 years of the kind of slavery practiced in America. Oppression came upon his people because the Hebrews had abandoned the God of their fathers and given their hearts to Egypt’s king. The events after God delivered them prove it. They cried to return to Egypt and a live under the rule of a sadistic government until God let that generation die in the wilderness. Their slavery lasted 80 years, and would have been a mere 40 if they had accepted the man God choose to deliver them.

430 Year Timeline of the Hebrews Sojourning

1892 Abram entered Canaan

1882 God tells Abram his family will be strangers in a “land not theirs” for 400 years

1677 Jacob relocated his family to Egypt

1580 Pharaoh commands midwives to kill male babies

1546 Pharaoh commands his people to kill male babies

1543 Moses born to deliver the Hebrews

1503 Moses rejected by the Hebrews

1463 God appears to Moses in burning bush

1462 Hebrews depart Egypt with great wealth

__________________________

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

Saving Egypt

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:35-36[2]

God instructed the Hebrews to do three things on the day of their deliverance. Slaughter a lamb for dinner and put its blood on the door frame to protect their firstborn. Remove all leaven from their homes. Ask the Egyptians for silver, gold and clothing. God gave his people favor so the Egyptians would part with their wealth and then the Bible says this is how they “plundered” the Egyptians.

I have a huge problem with the word “plunder”. According to Webster’s dictionary, plunder means to take especially by force as in war, to steal, commit robbery or looting. Do the translators really believe the God who said, “do not steal” commanded his people to steal. The Hebrew word translated plunder is a primitive root meaning to snatch away, defend, deliver, or preserve.

The last thing the Hebrews did before they left to serve their God was snatch away the Egyptians from total destruction. When God gave the Egyptians a willing heart to give the Hebrews gold, silver and clothing he stopped the cruse Pharaoh brought upon his nation through his willful disobedience.

The basis from my reasoning is founded in more than the translation of words. God’s law explains why he wanted the Egyptians to give the Hebrews their wealth. God’s law says when you release a Hebrew man or woman from service “do not send them away empty-handed.”[3] If you give to them liberally when you send them away “the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”[4]

God was concerned about his people, but he was also concerned about the Egyptians. Their nation lay in ruins, so he made a way to bless everything they did. In so doing he preserved the nation of Egypt.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Deuteronomy 15:13

[4] Deuteronomy 15:18

Unleavened Bread

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:14-20 [2]

On the day the Passover lamb was slaughtered the festival of unleavened bread began. On the 14th of Abib the Hebrews’ were required to remove yeast from their houses and hold a sacred assembly. Yeast must not enter their houses for the next seven days, because the penalty for eating anything with yeast in it was severe. That person would be cut off from the community. On the 21st of Abib another sacred assembly was held. The first and last days of the festival were also Sabbath days. The preparation of food was the only work permitted.

Jesus interpretation of leaven gives the lasting ordinance of annually removing yeasts, which leavens bread, and eating unleavened bread for seven days greater significance. Jesus admonished his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Having only one loaf among them, the disciples assumed Jesus warned them not to take bread from the Pharisees and Sadducees. A frustrated Jesus who had just fed 5,000 with a few loaves reminded them of that fact. Then the disciples understood he was talking about the doctrine or teaching of the religious leaders.[3]

Teaching leavens societies just as bread leavens a lump of dough. Regardless of the source of the teaching, the kingdom of heavens or the teachings of man, everyone will be affected. Hypocrisy filled the teachings of the religious leaders.[4] They taught people rituals and practices crafted in human minds thinking these things proved their love for God. Yet when God walked among them, they hated him and wanted him dead.

The Apostle Paul, who had been a leading Pharisee proud of his devotion to God, learned he had loved religious practice but never loved God. He later called himself the chief of sinners because he was a hypocrite.[5] When he later addressed the acceptance of sexual immorality in the Corinthian church he warned them that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. Their teaching that had created an acceptance of sin in the church did not reflect a love for God and would eventually destroy all of them.

Paul reminded the Gentiles in the Corinthian church that they also have a Passover lamb in Jesus. Jesus did not need to be slain annually. His one sacrifice accomplished what the blood of an animal could not. Therefore the Gentiles must stop eating bread leavened with malice and wickedness and eat the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Let go of teachings that fill us with malice and wickedness. Embrace teachings that fill us with sincerity and truth.

Christians would do well to stop once a year and exam the teachings they have embraced. Is our service toward God a heavy burden of dos and don’ts that make us arrogant? Do we truly love God? Would God walk among us and we would not recognize him just like the leaders of Jesus day? Worse, would we recognize God among us and hate him because the things we teach are lies?

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Matthew 16:6, Mark 8:15

[4] Luke 12:1

[5] 1 Timothy 1:15

The Way of Escape

Follow Me: Deliverance[1] follow

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:1-28 [2]

God’s plan spans generations and his instructions are usually detailed and specific. The lessons taught in each generation are building an image of God that becomes clearer as knowledge about God is added to the knowledge of past generations. The harsh lessons of the Old Testament will be softened by God’s sacrifice in the New Testament. The deliverance of the Hebrews in the final plague foreshadows future events that make a way of escape for everyone.

Before the final plague that would release the Hebrews from Pharaoh’s control into God’s control, God had a lot to say. He made the month they departed Egypt the first month of their year. The Roman calendar used today calls the month April. The Canaanite called it Abib. Later the Babylonian name Nisan was adopted during the Hebrews captivity.

Abib means “young head of grain.” Throughout the Bible nations are compared to trees. The seed of a nation God planted in Abraham has finally sprouted. God was not reacting to circumstance. The things that took place under the ministry of Moses had been on God’s mind from the time, probably long before, God brought Abraham outside to look at stars and affirm his promise.[3]

On the 10th of Abib each family would choose a lamb based on their need. Small families who could not consume an entire lamb were expected to join with larger families, so there would be no waste. The lamb or goat must be less than a year old and without blemish.

On the 14th of Abib the lamb must be slaughtered at twilight. Some of the lamb’s blood must be put on the side posts and the upper door post of the house, and they must remain in their houses. This was the most important part of the ritual. The blood on the door is the only thing that saved the firstborn Hebrews.

An aspect of God grasped by few is the impartial nature of his judgments. God did not exempt the Hebrews from this plague as he did some of the other plagues, but he did tell them how to escape. Since the blood on the door spared those within the house, any firstborn Egyptian could have escaped death if he was willing to spend the night in the house of a Hebrew. The Egyptians’ religion doomed them to death. Their religion made them feel superior to others. They considered the Hebrew shepherds an abomination.[4] The only firstborn Egyptians saved when the death angel passed through the land were those who overcame the racism their leaders taught them.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 15

[4] Genesis 46:34

The Last Word

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 11:4-8[2]

Pharaoh is obsessed with power and control. It doesn’t matter that his nation is ruined. It doesn’t matter that his people are suffering. He will not give the Hebrews religious freedom. He ordered Moses to leave  and threatened him with death if he returned. Pharaoh could sever Moses from his life but he can’t remove God. God was Pharaoh’s problem, not Moses. Did Pharaoh think he could kill God and be done with him?

Before Moses returned to Egypt, God said he would kill the firstborn son of Pharaoh if Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews, who God considered his firstborn son, serve him.[3] Moses now knows God spoke the truth. There is nothing God can do to change Pharaoh, which made the final plague, death of the Firstborn, easier to accept.

Moses replied to Pharaoh’s threat saying, “You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.” A rather subdued response compared to God’s who had the last word. The next words out of Moses mouth were prefaced by “This is what the Lord says.”

The man who threatened God’s messenger with death brought death upon his nation. At midnight, every firstborn son in Egypt would die. God’s judgment showed no favoritism. From Pharaoh’s firstborn son to a servant’s firstborn and even the firstborn of cattle would die. Then the thing Pharaoh feared most would come upon him. He would lose control and become irrelevant. Pharaoh’s people would come to Moses, bow before him and grant Moses request for religious freedom.

In this final judgment upon Egypt and its god’s Pharaoh would know that “the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.”[4] That distinction rested upon the Hebrews obedience because no one in all Egypt was excluded from the death of the firstborn, including the Hebrews. The difference between Egypt and the Hebrews is this. God told the Hebrews how to escape death when the death angel passed through the land.

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Exodus 4:22-23

[4] Exodus 11:7