The Fifth Plague - RR171M24

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Fifth Plague
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 24
Length: 0:30:27
TapeCode: RR171M24
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. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who have thy grace and mercy has made us thy people, has made us rich in Christ, and rich in the material things of this world. Has surrounded us day by day by thy providential care and mercy. Be merciful unto us, oh Lord, that so often we are heedless of all thy blessings, mindless in all our ways, forgetful of what thou art, and what thou dost require of us. Make us grateful, joyful, and faithful in thy service. Grant that we study thy word, obey thy word, act in terms of thy word, and know how great is the blessing of faithfulness. Bless us now, by thy word and by thy spirit and grant us thy peace. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Our scripture is Exodus 9:1-7. Our subject: The Fifth Plague. Exodus 9:1-7. “Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: There shall be a very grievous murrain. And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel. And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.” [00:03:23]

The fifth plague is often said to have been a plague...[edit]

The fifth plague is often said to have been a plague of anthrax, which can kill men and animals alike, but this plague only affected the Egyptian cattle in the field. The term however, that is translated as cattle means all varieties, cows, horses, camels, and donkeys. Since various animals personified for Egypt differing natural forces, such as the bull gods, Apus and Amebus{?}; the cow god Hathor, and the ram god, Khnum and other gods had animal heads on human bodies, this plague also struck at Egypt’s belief. Nature was failing them. However, as Kate has pointed out, this plague struck directly at Egypt’s property. It was no longer as the first four plagues were, a matter of inconvenience and humiliation. It was an economic disaster. Egypt was in process of being broken, religiously and economically. At the end of an era, at the end of an age, collapse in these two eras is commonplace. Whenever God brings an age to an end, we see their false faith and their false economy collapse. So, to witness the break-up of a false faith and a false economy means to witness the coming collapse of the culture, as we shall.

Egypt had a horror {?} of animal sacrifices. Israel was unable to offer sacrifices within Egypt’s boundaries. Now their false faith had led to the sacrifice of all their animals in the fields, only those that were under shelter were spared. A set time was appointed for the beginning of the plague. This was so that none could attribute the deaths to a chance epidemic. Moreover, since livestock belonging to the Hebrews was not affected, it was very, very obviously a judgment against Egypt. An investigation revealed that not one of the Israelites’ livestock had died. [00:06:20]

This plague widened the gap between Pharoah and Egypt...[edit]

This plague widened the gap between Pharoah and Egypt, which the plagues were creating. After all, Pharoah was a living god, and how long would these people respect a living god who was deaf to them? The military’s horses, chariot horses, and protected household livestock were not affected, so at least those who had shelter, the upper class, were spared. So, the poor peasants were affected in this plague most of all. As a part of Egypt, the peasants were being judged by God for their assent to all that Egypt was. In time, God would take care of the others as well. But God let’s no one get off scott free, no class, no group. As a part of Egypt, the peasants were being judged by God, because God’s judgments and His ways are without respect of person, whether they be rich or poor.

In our civilization, we’ve had eras when respect of the rich prevailed, and there was one law for the rich and another for the poor. Now we have a reversal of that and it’s the middle classes that are getting it in the neck, through legislation and in the courts, and the poor who are the favored, and the criminals.

Since Pharoah knew what the situation was in Goshen, it is obvious also that he knew of the disaster among Egypt’s peasants. The fact the he further hardened his heart may be, in part, due to this fact. Because his own authority among his own people was being challenged and it was being shaken, and shaken badly.

Earlier, we saw that the Egyptian sorcerers said, “This is the finger of God.” Now God says in verse 3, “His hand is upon Egypt.” The judgment grows more intense and stronger with each successive one. Destruction of en enemies property is an act of war. God’s war against Egypt is carried on in their own land, and Egypt is helpless to combat it. Pharoah did not trust the reports which came in from the field. He sent his own investigators out to check on what happened. Since Goshen was a low, flat area near marshes, under normal circumstances, more diseases would be expected in that area. So, Pharoah expected Israel to be harder hit. Now with his directed investigation, he saw that Israel was spared. [00:10:22]

Now there’s a notable aspect to God’s work in all of...[edit]

Now there’s a notable aspect to God’s work in all of this, and it is His patience. If we had our way, we’d slap people down immediately. Nobody would get away with anything more than sixty seconds, but eighty years had passed since the murder of the male infants, since they were taken from their Hebrew parents and drowned in the Nile. Instead of a single, devastating judgment, we have a series of them. One result was that before the plagues ended, some Egyptians and other foreigners in Egypt were converted, and according to Exodus 12:38, Israel left Egypt a mixed multitude, that is of diverse peoples. In this instance, Pharoah did not ask for the removal of the plague, the damage was already done, and the dead livestock could not be restored to life. So, he maintained a hard and bitter silence. Both his hostility and his bitterness were increasing. The property loss was clearly enormous. Think of the loss say, in North Dakota where all the farmers have lost, in most of the state, their crops, totally, and the cattle men are losing their livestock. The property loss in Egypt was far more drastic.

And Egypt saw an economic disaster of devastating implications developing. Where a field crop is destroyed, there is a possibility of recovery in a year, because field crops require a short season to mature. Livestock, however, take more time to reach maturity, and the loss of breeding stock, of work animals, and food animals is very, very serious. Purchasing new animals from neighboring countries, which they no doubt proceeded to do, meant a serious drain of capital. We must also never underestimate the fact that, in Antiquity, every state had its ways of gathering news. Informants regularly supplied a head of state with important data. They had ways of making sure that news reached them quickly, so you can be sure that all the enemy countries of Egypt were aware of what was happening. The economic and the military implications of the plague thus were quickly known elsewhere. At present, it was the economic consequences that was paramount, and it would mean that livestock at high prices would begin to move toward the Egyptian market at once. [00:14:22]

At the same time, there is another and very important...[edit]

At the same time, there is another and very important aspect of the plagues which we must remember. At Exodus 5:2, at the very beginning of the confrontation of Moses with Pharoah, we have Pharoah’s contemptuous statement, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” We have like contemporaries in the United States, whose references to God can be heard in American courts, and I hear them, and in the hallways of the courts, and I hear them. God is nothing to them. And God’s answer to Pharoah was clear. “And the Egyptian shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth my hand upon Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” And I submit that before the present world crisis in civilization ends, people will know, as God said Pharoah would know, “That I am the Lord, when I stretch forth my hand upon them.”

Egypt was going to know the Lord first by His judgments on Egypt, and second, by His deliverance of Israel. The deliverance of Israel was to be both physical and religious. They had become Egyptianized to a degree. Their redemption therefore, had to be both physical and spiritual. Therefore, God declares through Moses, “And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God, and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God which bringeth you out from under the burden of the Egyptians.” Now, in these plagues, Egypt was being taught to know God, know Him and His judgment. And Israel in the wilderness journey was going to be taught to know the Lord. The meaning of their deliverance was religious, and this they had to know to inherit the Promised Land, and because they refused to learn, that generation that was delivered die in the Wilderness. To escape from bondage without religious faith was and is anathema to God. Therefore, the stress is first, Egypt had to know that God is the Lord and second, that Israel must know this also, and to neglect this fact is to sin. [00:17:50]

And both Jews and the church have seen redemption as...[edit]

And both Jews and the church have seen redemption as their privilege rather than an overwhelming requirement for covenant faithfulness and responsibility. God’s judgments in history have, as their purpose the bringing of the knowledge of God and His ways, to both His enemies and to His people. He declares, “Ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Those words are indeed later in the theme of all that Ezekial had to say. “Ye shall know that I am the Lord.” If they will not learn, they shall be broken. Let us pray.

Our Lord and our God, we thank thee that, by thy grace and mercy, thou hast through Jesus Christ, taught us to know thee. Teach us now as we face an era of judgment, to know that it is thy gracious hand in all these things, and though we suffer in the process, it is that we be delivered. It is that we have a world in which the kingdoms and realms thereof shall be those of our Lord, and of His Christ. Make us joyful therefore, in thy calling, and in the fact that thou art the ruler here and now, in our midst, and amongst the nations. Grant us this in Christ’s name. Amen. Are there any questions now, first of all, on our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] Well, the captivity is used today to compare to the lack of freedom, excluding Jews to emigrate, but here in the United States we have a different situation where Christians are held in intellectual {?} captivity by our elite. And those voices are being raised over that, to the same extent.

[Rushdoony] Yes, we are failing to see the nature of the captivity and the only nature of freedom. “If the Son make you free then ye shall be free indeed.” Not otherwise. So, around the world we have a growing captivity because men will not see the issue. And as far back as the Colonial era in this country, we have the statement of William Pen, that “if men will not have God to rule over them, they will have men to enslave them,” and so we are being enslaved because we will not have God to rule over us. Any other questions or comments? I think one of things we need to remember that people do forget is the patience of God. God waited and in the fullness of time He moved against Egypt, and our idea of judgment today is such that no one would have the freedom to sin because they’d be clobbered instantly after. So, God lets people pursue the implications of their thinking, to develop the sin that is in their heart, and to bring their own judgment upon themselves in due time. Yes? [00:22:43]

[Audience] This plague, the distinction that the Israelites...[edit]

[Audience] This plague, the distinction that the Israelites were exempted, as we face judgment in our own day, what extent can Christians expect to experience similar {?}?

[Rushdoony] Yes, if you didn’t hear the question is, if God made a distinction after the third plague between Israel and Egypt, and in time delivered Israel. Now in the judgment that we face, what can we as Christians expect? Well, we must remember that God did judge, and did judge Israel very severely, and the whole generation, except for the two older men; Caleb and Joshua, died in the wilderness. Now God may choose to do the housecleaning simultaneously as He judges our age, or subsequently. But we know from the judgment that came and culminated in the Babylonian captivity, that God said He would preserve His faithful remnant. That this preservation would not mean that they wouldn’t be hurt, that they would be preserved to rebuild. So, we can assume that we’re not going to go through this without hurt. But God is going to preserve us and use us as the building blocks for His future. So that we have a marvelous opportunity. Moreover, consider what would happen if God did not judge this generation. We would move into a Soviet-like tyranny the world over. We would see the triumph of humanistic statism. We would see the kind of thinking that prevails in the courts, and I encounter it when I go to court, whereby Christians really have no right to be Christians. Whereby there is no freedom, there are only privileges granted by the state which are revocable by the state. Most of you cannot recall the world of the twenties or thirties, or even the teens, and even then we had begun to depart from freedom. Now, the departure that would take place from what we have today, in another twenty, thirty, forty years, if God did not judge and destroy, smash, the world around us would be one of the most abject slavery. So, we’re going to be privileged because God is judging this world, and we’re not going to have slavery for our children and our children’s children. We’re going to have hardships, but we are going to have deliverance. Any other questions or comments? Yes? [00:26:31]

[Audience] How do you think we can counteract the consequenc...[edit]

[Audience] How do you think we can counteract the consequences of the widespread belief that this might be a tribulation period or something, need deliverance {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, how do we counteract the belief the widespread belief that this is only a tribulation period, and of course, many believe they’re going to be raptured out of the tribulation. Here it is, the seventh of August, and I’ve received two things; one a paperback book, and another a magazine all of which announce that the rapture is going to take place in September 1988, next month, and in October World War 3 will begin. Well, that tells you why we don’t have to counteract it. It’s dying of its own absurdities, and it’s not our responsibility. We simply make a witness and stand in terms of our faith, and the Holy Spirit will work in the hearts of those who will hear, and that’s the only answer to that. Any other questions or comments? Well, if not, let us conclude with prayer.

Lord, it has been good for us to be here. Thy word is truth and thy spirit healing and empowering. Thou hast called us to serve thee, and thou hast made clear that for those in Christ, there can only be victory, that greater is He that is in us and with us than he that is in the world, and thou hast declared that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. Oh Lord, our God, how great and marvelous are thy ways and sure thy promises. Make us joyful therein. Make us mindful that having given thy only begotten Son to suffer and die for us, nothing can equal that gift. Nothing can be termed other than small compared to it. We have, therefore, received thy greatest gift, and the rest is little by comparison. Our God, we thank thee. 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. [00:30:04]

End of Tape.