The Tenth Plague 1 - RR171Q29

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Tenth Plague I
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 29
Length: 0:34:49
TapeCode: RR171Q29
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. This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. Having these promises, let us draw hear to the throne of grace with true hearts with full assurance of faith. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, oh Lord. In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we thank thee that thou dost hear our voice morning, noon, and night. We thank thee that thou art more ready to hear than we to speak, and we come unto thy presence acknowledging how great thy mercies are, how small our gratitude. Give us grateful hearts that we may praise thee as we ought. Give us joy in thy word and in thy so great salvation, and make us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus, our Lord. In His name we pray. Amen.

Our scripture is Exodus 11:1-10. Our subject: The first of our series on the Tenth Plague: The Announcement. Exodus 11. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold. And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people. And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill (that is the lowliest position of all); and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. And all these thy servants shall come down to me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger. And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt. And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.” [00:04:21]

The tenth plague is a very important one because it...[edit]

The tenth plague is a very important one because it is also the institution of the Passover. It tells us a great deal about the meaning of communion, and much, much more, as we shall see on subsequent weeks. But in these verses, we have the introduction to the tenth plague on Egypt. The land by now was devastated and economically crippled. God now planned to strike directly at the people. Death had come to crops, it had come to animals, now it would strike at families. The devastation in Israel, in Egypt was very great and the suffering of the people was no doubt very real and very severe. Earlier, Pharaoh’s own men had cried out to him, “Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?”

In terms of the modern mood, many would say that Egypt had suffered enough. Joseph Parker’s comment was a very healthy corrective to this attitude, when more than a century ago he wrote, “Suffering is often mistaken for penitence. When we think of punishment instead of thinking of sin, we are very likely to think that suffering is the equivalent of contrition. We then say, ‘This poor man seems to be suffering intensely.’ So he may have been, but there may have been no contrition in his heart. It was a physical or mechanical suffering, not a moral pain.” So the idea that someone has suffered enough doesn’t mean that they are repentant. But, modern views of criminal justice are governed by this kind of sentimental thinking. Many people think that time spent in prison, and the average now is about six years for murder, is an atonement for murder. Suffering on a criminal’s part has come to replace restitution. Restitution is biblical. Suffering is not.

The spoiling of the Egyptians was God’s requirement of restitution to Israel. The Israelites had to require restitution for their and for service. Now it is ordered here, but it comes after the death of the firstborn. The meaning of the English word, “borrow,” is changed. They were to ask of their neighbor, of all their Egyptian neighbors and masters, restitution, because they had been forced labor. [00:08:04]

This last plague, God declares, is going to compel...[edit]

This last plague, God declares, is going to compel Pharaoh’s courtiers to demand the total expulsion of Israel. Moses told Pharaoh this plainly. The palace revolt against Pharaoh was gaining ground on a pragmatic basis. Moses, we are told in verse 9, left Pharaoh in great anger. We can assume that a like anger was felt by many Egyptians, anger at Pharaoh, not repentance. Pharaoh’s authority was now almost altogether broken.

The same was true of Egyptian religion, it had been broken. As Allison{?} pointed out, perhaps no other country, and I quote, “in Antiquity was more obsessed with death than Egypt.” Their religion offered a safe passage through death to the western world, and to Osiris. So, the big guarantee of believing in Egyptian religion was that all would be well with you when you died. Unfortunately, many preachers are turning Christianity into Egyptian religion as though it’s a guarantee of what’s going to happen to you after the grave, rather than God’s marching orders for this life. But now, it was clear to all of Egypt that Israel’s God, not Egypt’s, was Lord over all things, over nature, life and death.

This chapter is an announcement of the tenth plague. It’s not an account of the plague itself. The death of all the firstborn of man and beast is declared. It will affect, we are told in the fifth verse, the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. After this boll, God says, Egypt will beg Israel to leave instead of trying to hold them. Eighty years before, Egypt had drowned the male babies of Israel. The judgments on Egypt began with the river in which the Israelite babies were drowned, the Nile, and now it ended with the death of all their firstborn. The Egyptians, in many cases, may have forgotten what occurred eighty years before, but God had not forgotten. And Americans may forget, and Europeans and people the world over, things that happened ten and twenty, and eighty years ago, and think nothing of the holocaust they are perpetrating through abortion, but God does not forget. [00:11:38]

Up until now, God had commanded Moses and Aaron to...[edit]

Up until now, God had commanded Moses and Aaron to begin each plague with their outstretched staffs. Not this time. Now God acts directly to bring in the final judgment, and in verse 1 God says, “Yet will I bring one more plague upon Pharaoh,” and this is the first usage of the word, “plague,” which in Hebrew means, “a stroke,” “a plague,” a wounding.” We are again told that God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart in verse 10. Judicial blindness is imposed on men after a certain point, lest as Isaiah 6:10 tells us, “They see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts and convert and be healed.” A murderer cannot restore life to the man he kills. Similarly, after a certain point he is morally, irrevocably dead in his sin, and there is no turning back. Then God blinds him because there is only judgment.

F.B. Meyer said, and I quote, “Judgments compress into a sudden flash the inevitable results of wrongdoing.” We are told in verse 3 that the man, Moses, was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of all the people. This is an ironic fact because it was clear that the center of power had shifted, although not religiously. Egypt made no move to expel Pharaoh and retain Moses. But they knew that power was now in Moses and not in Pharaoh. They recognized the power of Moses and the God behind Moses, but they later begged him to leave Egypt. They saw the power that was manifested, but they were by no means interested in the source of that power. Today we have clergymen as well as unbelievers who refuse to say that AIDS, the drought, and other judgments are coming from the hand of God. They will not see. Seeing, they will not see.

The end was near. Very soon Israel would leave Egypt. This meant a very severe dislocation as well as freedom. Remember, Israel had been in the land of Goshen for generations, and while they had been subject to forced labor, this meant a severe dislocation as well as freedom. Homes had been built, and local roots, despite the sufferings, were now deep. The purpose of the demand for compensation was that God did not want His people to leave in poverty, in a time of judgment they suffered, but they were also enriched. It had to be a break, but it was a break that was compensated. [00:16:07]

In verse 6, we are told that the death of the firstborn...[edit]

In verse 6, we are told that the death of the firstborn would result in a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt. In our time, it’s an ironic fact that any great cry is limited to sports events, to rock and roll music, and similar artificial and superficial occasions. Have you ever stopped to consider the implications of that; how warped we have become? That the only time there can be that kind of exuberance expressed is at the cheapest, most trifling occasions. A rock and roll concert. You can hear a rock and roll concert and the shouts of the people, I am told, some distance from where it may be taking place. But we have been so schooled into superficialities that very great griefs no longer affect us. It was not true fifty, and sixty, and seventy years ago. The world has shifted and there is no longer the natural expression.

Otto Scott and I were discussing, at one of our staff breakfasts, the fact that people no longer sing. It used to be that, if you got in a car to go any place, everybody started singing. It was routine in the twenties and thirties. People sang readily and freely. Now, the only emotional expression is a warped one. But in most of history, the basic events of life and death are the ones that have evoked strong responses. There’s something wrong with a culture where that’s no longer true, when it’s the most superficial that evokes the most. You have to say that culture is dying.

C.D. Ginsburg noted of this fact the great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, and I quote, “The shrill cries uttered by mourners in the east are well known to travelers. Mr. Stewart Fool heard those of the Egyptian women at Cairo and the great cholera of 1848 at a distance of two miles. Herodotus, describing the lamentations of the Persian soldiers at the funeral of Masistius{?}, said that all Boatia responded with their clamor. The Egyptian monuments represent mourners as tearing their hair, putting dust on their heads, and beating their breasts.” Now, those were ritualized ways of mourning, and that necessarily is not desirable, but the natural expression of emotions goes at the end of age. [00:20:08]

According to Egyptian belief, Pharaoh and his order...[edit]

According to Egyptian belief, Pharaoh and his order preserved the realm of Egypt from disorder and death. Pharaoh was a living god. He was seen as the incarnation in the political realm of the son, the life of the natural realm. Each night, the sun supposedly kept the great snake, Apothos, at bay, and maintained peace and order amid the darkness. Egypt’s faith was being shattered as well as its economy.

The ninth plague, darkness. The ten plague, death. All the firstborn were to die. The Hebrew word for firstborn means male firstborn. To announce the death of the firstborn at midnight, was to reduce Egypt’s families, economies, and faith to confusion and defeat. In the midst of darkness, death. It was the signing of the death warrant for Egypt. Their hearts were hardened. They would not repent. Even the poor who suffered would not say, although there were some that left with Moses and Israel, for the most part they would not say, “Obviously, our faith is false, and the faith of the Israelites is the true faith.” No, they felt that if they could expel the Israelites, perhaps they could go back to their old status quo, anything but the truth, that still marks fallen man. Let us pray. [00:22:41]

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we thank thee that...[edit]

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we thank thee that thou art the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God of Moses, the God of Jesus Christ. The same yesterday, today, and forever. Thou hast not aged nor thine arm grown weak but thou art God, the Almighty. And thy judgments yesterday, today, and forever are sure, altogether righteous, altogether holy, altogether certain. We thank thee, our Father, and we pray that in the time of judgment thou would strengthen us in thy service, make us zealous for thy kingdom, and confident in faith. Grant us this, we beseech thee, in Christ’s name, amen.

Are there any questions now in our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] With the remark about the Israelites and had their roots there for many generations, I’m sure there was a great number that didn’t want to leave anyway.

[Rushdoony] Yes, we’re not told whether some stayed but it is possible. What people do not realize is that while slavery can be very difficult, it’s also very comforting. It’s cradle-to-grave security. A few years ago in Maryland, I met a family who still had the descendents of their slaves from an earlier era in the deep South, depending on them. The slaves, their descendents, had followed them, lived near them, and looked to them for decisions, and they said “They’re good people, they’re devout people, they’re not into any trouble, but they always want one of us to make up their minds for them, and to decide things, to counsel them, to tell them what they do.” Now, this is why we move into socialism, because of that mentality in the general population. So, Israel had this problem also, and even after deliverance they tried to continue that kind of dependent attitude. They were very quickly saying that they remembered the leeks, and the garlics, the melons and all the marvelous vegetables they had in Egypt, and they were rebellious against the freedom they had and therefore, that generation, except for Joshua and Caleb, had to die in the desert. They were not ready for the responsibilities of freedom, and it’s because men have abandoned the responsibilities of freedom that we have the problems we do today. Are there any other questions or comments? Yes? [00:27:02]

[Audience] In light of the information here the command...[edit]

[Audience] In light of the information here the command of God to the Israelites to ask the Egyptians for gold and silver, in effect, disclaim it, could you comment on the popular teaching now a days that’s been called the “name it and claim it” teaching whereby Christians are just to appropriate something that they believe God has given to them?

[Rushdoony] That’s, yes, the modern attitude “name it and claim it” is a totally irresponsible one because it reminds me of Cornfeld’s{?} statement to the suckers who wanted to invest in his organization, “Do you sincerely want to be rich? If you do, I’ve got the plan for you.” And there are some evangelists who’ve had variations of that, “God wants you to be rich, name it and claim it,” and so on. As though the whole point of being a Christian is to tap all the resources that God can make available to you, not that you are called now into the army of God. So then, the church becomes a place where you name it and claim it rather than the barracks room, where you have you basic training for the wars of the Lord. Now, in this instance, what God said is, “You have been for generations slaves here. And you are entitled to a compensation because you’ve worked without pay, you’ve worked without pay for the Egyptian state, you’ve taken the place of Egyptian slave labor, or tax labor because it was a tax levy. Every Egyptian had to work so many days. Well, by using the Israelites, the Egyptians were off the hook. The Egyptians could be compelled to work months on end without compensation. They were paying the tax as it were, for everyone, so they had a right to say, “We should be compensated,” and they were to require it of their neighbors. And, of course, they were ready to give it, they wanted rid of these people. They wanted rid of their God and all that He represented. Any other questions or comments? Yes? [00:30:06]

[Audience] I’m kind of amused at the thing that’s going...[edit]

[Audience] I’m kind of amused at the thing that’s going on now with Yellowstone National Park, the omnipotent state can’t even put out a fire, it’s gotten so big and gotten away from them they can’t put it out.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Modern man feels he can control everything, life and death, and it is ironic that they have used all kinds of justifications to vindicate themselves, “Fire is a natural thing, it has a cleansing effect,” and so on. Anything but to say, “We’re living in a time of judgment and we’re paying a price.” A book was written not too long ago on Yellowstone and what has been done to it by the environmentalists, and what a shambles they’ve turned it into as far as the wildlife and the trees are concerned. It’s a very, very devastating book, and it’s written by a man who is a biologist.

[Audience] The only intelligent comment that I’ve heard by any one of the commentators on TV is that man has intervened, and a part, there is no long a natural place.

[Rushdoony] Well, it is interesting that some of the national forests now have become sterile of life. They’re beginning to alter that policy by thinning out the trees but by allowing no cutting whatsoever, they prevented grass from growing. Very few, because no sunlight hit the floor of the forest. Very few realize how commonplace cannibalism was among the American Indians for lack of food, in the eastern half of the country, because you could begin on the Atlantic seaboard and except in the shores of lakes and on the edges of streams, see no sunlight as you walked westward well into Illinois. The forests had grown and the wildlife had died out. There was only a very limited amount, no one could live off the land. The Indians had a terrible time, and the reason for the Indian/White trouble was that as soon as the whites cleared the land and planted it, there was an explosion of wildlife in the area because there was something to feed on, so they would move into that area, and problems would ensue. The wildlife would grow there and then the Indians would come to kill it and for them, a cow and a deer were both the same, they were meat. Any other questions or comments? Well, if not, let us conclude with prayer. [00:30:38]

Lord, thy word is truth...[edit]

Lord, thy word is truth. Thy word is a guide upon our way, a reprimand to us in our waywardness, a delight to us as we think of thy greatness. Make us ever mindful of thy word and faithful, obedient, and joyful in thy service. 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. [00:34:25]

End of tape.