Lying Wonders - RR171K19

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Lying Wonders
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 19
Length: 0:31:39
TapeCode: RR171K19
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Exodus Unity of Law and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

Let us worship God. Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God, we come again into thy presence, mindful of all thy mercies and blessings which are new every morning. Thou hast made us for thyself, and ordained that we should serve thee. Make us ever joyful in thy service and confident that all things indeed work together for good because thou hast so ordered it. As we face, oh Lord, a troubled, a sin-filled, and an evil generation, we pray that we may face it in a holy confidence as more than conquerors and that we may be sufficient unto every task and every challenge. We pray for thy suffering saints the world over who are under persecution, and in prison. Delivery them, we beseech thee, and confound the enemies of thy kingdom. Bless us now, by thy word and by thy spirit, and strengthen us for thy service and thy praise. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Our scripture is from Exodus 7:8-13. Exodus 7:8-13 and our subject: Lying Wonders. “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” [00:03:34]

We now have come to a text which makes many, many churchmen...[edit]

We now have come to a text which makes many, many churchmen cringe, because they believe it is scientifically ridicules. Other churchmen have used this passage as a means of proving that it is not the Bible which is to be trusted, but rather their enlightened scholarship. The problem in this text is that when Aaron cast down the rod, it became a serpent. Now the word in Hebrew in “tannin” which refers to a large reptile, and can mean a crocodile, which makes it even more amazing. In fact, Kasuto assumes that it here means a crocodile, so this increases the scope of the miracle. Recently, in fact within the past couple of weeks or so, it was reported that Dr. Amos Ner{?}, Chairman of the Department of Geophysics at Stanford University, commented on the biblical account of the fall of Jericho. When Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, their way was blocked by the powerful walled city of Jericho. To get in and out of Palestine, to invade it in other words, meant you had to face up to the fact that Jericho was the gateway. Earlier in history, Sodom and Gomorrah had been judged and destroyed by God. In both instances, earthquakes were apparently central to the judgment. So, Dr. Ner says, commenting on these and other incidents in the Bible, and I quote, “This unique combination, this destruction of Jericho and the stoppage of the Jordon is so typical of earthquakes in this region, that little doubt can be left as to the reality of such events in Joshua’s time.”

Now, this was on the front page of the papers recently, and the article went on to say that, “Using the Bible, scientists have been able to trace earthquakes in the Holy Land back four thousand years.” So, they found the Bible dependable in that respect. They refuse, however, to see anything but natural disasters in a series of events which were remarkably providential in their timing, as acts of judgment as well as of deliverance. We are told, and I quote again from this front page story, “But like many events of the Bible ascribed as Acts of God, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah probably was an act of mother nature, not divine intervention passing judgment on mankind.” [00:07:04]

Well, this statement is interesting on a number of...[edit]

Well, this statement is interesting on a number of accounts. First of all, there is the very poor use of language in that the word “ascribed” is used for “described.” And second, even poor science, and poor theology in stating that these events were probably an act of mother nature, rather than the moral acts of God. They can neither have morality in history nor God.

There is nothing scientific in personifying nature nor seeing acts which are providential in character as merely naturalistic and chance events. Those who deny the God of scripture are the great believers in miracles, because they see the universe as a product of chance. They affirm spontaneous generation. They reject purpose because it points so clearly to God. In the name of science and reason, they are the ones who embrace the greater superstition of all, unbelief in God, and that’s a superstition that can kill you.

We have, in this text, a strange episode. Aaron’s rod is turned by God into a reptile. Pharaoh’s scientists, wise men, and sorcerers do the same, but Aaron’s rod devours them all. Now, in the years before World War II, missionaries, especially those under the Sudan interior mission working deep into the interior of Africa, at times reported on episodes very, very similar to this, as well as a variety of other manifestations which they saw as supernatural and demonic. And more than one said that he witnessed incidents that reminded him of this particular section of Exodus 7. However, as modern men, they were at first skeptical but later convinced of the reality of the events they saw but unable to explain them. Almost nothing was written by these men, because most westerners feel uneasy at the thought of such things existing, and it would have harmed their ability to further their work and gain support if they talked too freely about such things. They would have been assumed to be a bit kooky. [00:10:21]

Well, since then, the rise of occultism and Satanism...[edit]

Well, since then, the rise of occultism and Satanism has been an increasing force in the West, and more than a few people have reacted with panic to the demonic and very evil manifestations they have witnessed and cannot account for. In fact, many people are now more ready to believe in demonic miracles than in Christian ones, and the film world has catered to this new interest and fear. Where the fear of God is weakened and gone, the fear of evil powers grows very, very rapidly. The rod of Aaron was comparable to a royal scepter. Moses had been given great power in the kingdom of God. His challenge to Pharaoh is thus centered on the rod, the shepherd’s staff of royal and divine power. The wise men and sorcerer’s, as agents of Pharaoh’s, challenged Moses’ calling and power. In Pharaoh’s name, they cast down their rods. Their destruction at the hand at Aaron’s rod tells us of the outcome of the developing conflict. Behind both is a power, and behind both scepters, or rods, a power. God on the one hand, and demonic powers, on the other.

One scholar, Royale Honeycutt, has called this incident demonstration of one’s legitimacy. It was that, but much more than a contest between men. It was a conflict between the living God and the demonic powers, which Egyptians trusted in.

Now St. Paul refers to this episode and gives us the names of the two Egyptians who apparently performed the demonic miracle, Jonas and Jambres, and speaks of them as representatives of all who, quoting from 2 Timothy 3:8, “resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” Calvin spoke of this incident as typical of the refusal of the ungodly to recognize God’s truth and power, he wrote, and I quote, “For this is usual with unbelievers, to demand proofs of God’s power which they may still discredit. Not that they professedly scorn God, but because their secret impiety urges them to seek after subterfuges. The message is disagreeable and full of what is annoying to the proud king in this instance, and because he does not dare directly to refuse God, he invents a plausible pretext for his refusal by asking for a miracle, and when this is performed he seeks still deeper lurking places, as we shall very soon perceive. Since therefore it was certain that he would not pay a willing obedience to the divine command and would not yield before he had been miraculously convinced, God furnishes His servants with a notable and sure testimony of His power.” [00:14:23]

Now, as we have seen, the word translated as ...[edit]

Now, as we have seen, the word translated as “serpent,” is the Hebrew “tannin” which is different from what is given in verse 15, also translated as serpent, which has a root meaning “to hiss.” Tannin comes from a root meaning large, powerful, mighty, monstrous. Kasuto resolved the difference between the two words used in these passages and translated as serpent, by pointing out that in verses 9 and 10, the reference is the Aaron’s rod, whereas in verse 15 it is to Moses’ rod, and the text apparently does distinguish between the two rods and what happened. The word “tannin” has a number of meanings. In one instance, in Genesis 1:21 it is rendered “whale.” Elsewhere it is translated as “dragon,” which is often used for crocodiles. In Psalm 74:13, in a reference to the Egyptians, Asaph speaks of the dragons in the waters. The dragon, or crocodile in the seas or waters, was a reference regularly to Egypt and to Pharaoh. We find such usage again in Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 51:9. It’s in the first verse in Isaiah 27. We find a similar reference in Ezekiel 29:2-3 and it is specifically addressed to Pharaoh, king of Egypt and against all Egypt. Again, Ezekiel makes a similar reference in 32:2. It is interesting that in the Medieval world, when dragons were pictured, they retained the image of a crocodile because that’s where the term comes from.

Now, viewed in terms of this, the episode becomes even more clear. God declares through Aaron that He is the creator of the crocodile, that is of Egypt and Pharaoh, as well as everything else, and therefore, He is their judge and destroyer.

A further light on this in 2 Thessalonians 2:9, Paul speaks of Satan and his agents working after Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. The word “lying” is pseudos, which we have in the English, pseudo, as a prefix. P-S-E-U-D-O, meaning false, and in the Greek that was its original meaning. Something which is not what it appears to be. It means moreover, a trust in something other than God. A trust in a lie. It means living by a lie. [00:18:10]

In 2 Corinthians 11...[edit]

In 2 Corinthians 11:26, Paul refers to false brethren, and the word in the Greek is “pseudes adephos.” Pseudes, false. Adephos, brother. For Romans 1:25, when we are told of the ungodly exchanging the truth of God for a lie the word is pseudae. We can therefore say that the lie is not in the thing seen, but what is behind it. In other words, there was a real appearance. There was an actual crocodile. The lie was in what was behind it. Lying wonders have behind them the deception that God is not our Lord and creator. Lying wonders lie about the nature of reality.

This is a very interesting point, because it tells us that so much that is impressive to modern man, all the things created by science, we have to say they are lying wonders. They are true, they are real. But the fallacy behind them is that the makers thereof too often presuppose a world without any mean {?}, and they assume an order in the universe whereby they work while denying that order, and that’s a lying wonder. They assume that all that is around us developed out of nothing, our of shear chance. They convert the universe into a lying wonder, because they lie about the truth behind it, so that we are surrounded in our time by lying wonders. These people, as they face the episode of our text, refuse to believe such a thing could happen. Of course, everything developed out of nothing. Of course, everything came out of spontaneous generation. Of course, chance created order and it’s all still chance so they reject now even the probability concept, that there is any probability of what has occurred up until now, the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, that it is certain to occur tomorrow, because that’s to indicate a design, a purpose in the universe. Now this is the length to which the philosophers of science and many scientific thinkers will go. These are all examples of lying wonders. [00:21:45]

Now, however, because the time of judgment has come...[edit]

Now, however, because the time of judgment has come, the lying wonders shall be smashed, even as in Egypt at that time. God and Moses triumphed and the lying wonders were smashed. Let us pray.

Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto thee work thy word and the certainty of thy government. We thank thee, our Father that thou art the same, yesterday, today, and forever, and thy judgment upon Egypt is thy judgment age after age, and in our day as well. And so, our Father, we come to thee to cast our every care upon thee who carest for us. To wait upon thee, to serve thee, to rejoice that thou art He who dost reign and it is thy justice that shall prevail. Great and marvelous are thy ways, oh Lord, and we praise thee. In Christ’s name, Amen. Are there any questions now in our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] I didn’t quite understand the last couple of sentences that you said, “Now as judgment comes upon us, the lying wonders will be smashed.” What do you mean exactly by that?

[Rushdoony] The whole world of unbelief that ascribes everything to nothingness.

[Audience] Oh, I see.

[Rushdoony] The whole of our culture which denies that there can be any moral stand in anything, that insists that we must deny the right of moral judgment with regard to homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion, or anything else, that wants to strip the whole of life of any moral and religious meaning. Yes?

[Audience] Of course, there are exceptions. Hitler is not proof.

[Rushdoony] Yes. It’s surprising how when they choose, they can give forth moral judgments.

[Audience] He opposed communism, that’s why.

[Rushdoony] What?

[Audience] He opposed communism, I think that may be the reason why they don’t like Hitler, not that they care about his morality. [00:24:56]

[Rushdoony] Well, and they conceal the fact that Hitler...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Well, and they conceal the fact that Hitler’s goal, after the war, was to use his birthplace, and create their scientific community to cope with all man’s problems and bring about a solution. Because it was going to be the temple of Germany, a temple of science. That was his dream because that was his faith, and that’s why the universities loved Hitler, he was their man. Any other questions or comments? Yes?

[Audience] Since the 60’s when the {?} revival and interest in the occult begun, many people including Christians have often referred to Satan’s powers as almost tantamount to God’s powers, opposite of course, but almost as strong or as pervasive as God’s powers. How are we to view that?

[Rushdoony] Yes. If people do not believe in the sovereignty of God, they are going to believe in some kind of sovereignty. So that, with the rise of Armenianism, state sovereignty has arisen, and now you’re seeing the sovereignty of evil. A recent study, soon to be published, a biography of Picasso, says that he believed that evil was the ultimate power in the universe and must, at all points, be pleased. Now he was very vocal about it apparently. Many people are not. Years ago, a good many years ago when I was young, I recall this summer conference conducted by ultra-Armenian believers, and at every turn, for example, when they were going to have their outdoor campfire service and try to bring the kids to a decision for Christ, and so on, after working on them all week, and their decisions very commonly were worthless, because it was an emotional pressure. Well, at this particular conference, lightening, thunder, and a tremendous drenching downpour broke up the campfire service before it got underway, and the camp director ascribed it to the working of Satan, who is the god of this world, he said. And, for him, the God of scripture was only God of some world out beyond this world, because one of the young people asked him about that. Now, that kind of thinking has been potent in creating false sovereignties, whether of the state or of demonic forces, so it’s not surprising we have what we do have. Yes?

[Audience] Is there any historical trend where countries which have gotten tyrannical have started by rejecting pre-destination and have turned Armenian? [00:28:41]

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes. Those areas of the world which were most dedicated to the sovereignty of God and the reformed faith have been the last to fall sway because it took longer for the forces of totalitarianism to work in them, because totalitarian forces presuppose the sovereignty of the state. That’s what it means. Total power, totalitarian. But if you believe in a God who has total power, it’s going to take a lot more time for the society to depart from that particular type of faith which distrusts man as the source of power. Yes? Did you have a point to make?

[Audience] Lying wonders, I guess, would include television? [laughter]

[Rushdoony] Yes, a good inclusion. Any other comments or questions? Well, if not, let us conclude with prayer.

Our Lord and our God, we live in a world surrounded by lying wonders. But even as thou hast said, the nations are before thee a drop as in a bucket, as nothing and less than nothing in the face of thy power. And so too are the lying wonders of our time, and therefore, we wait on thee. We look onto thy hand for deliverance and for justice, and we thank thee that thy ways are altogether righteous and holy, and thy judgment sure. Make us ever faithful to thee and to thy word. And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always. Amen. [00:31:15]

End of tape.