Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1997
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 3: Disruptive Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 3: The Exodus: The Disruptive Truth of Israel’s Separation from Egypt
Lesson 49 – Exodus 11–12, Atonement, Redemption, Propitiation, Reconciliation
06 Feb 1997
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
We’re still going to be in the Exodus tonight. We hope to finish that up so next week we’ll start with Mt. Sinai and the giving of the Law. There’s some stuff that we need to spend a little time on. I’d like to start, if you’ll open your Bibles to Exodus 11 just so to make sure that you’re familiar with this second book of the Bible. We’ve spent a lot of time in Genesis and going through the highlights of Genesis. I remind you again, that the approach of this class is not that of a typical Bible class. Sometimes I cringe when I see that in the bulletin, that there’s a Bible class on Thursday night. I guess it’s a Bible class in that we come and use the Bible, but it’s a not a classical verse by verse approach. It’s designed that way because what we’re trying to do is look at the overall biblical world view so that we understand the major parts of that world view so when we do go verse by verse we have perspective. We’ve looked at themes as we’ve noticed in each one of these great events. We’ve noticed that Genesis takes us all the way down to these first five events that associate with those five events, each of those five being filled with details and narrative that are entertaining, they are imaginative, they are heart filling. There are ways that we have of putting connotation on words so that words mean something to us and not just what the world likes to do.
I was noticing today, an organization I belong to is like a lot of different organizations in the business world. They get these guys to come into your company or into your organization and give seminars on management and leadership and all the rest of it. This particular person that they’ve hired to do this out at Aberdeen Test Center is one whose gone around to the Fortune 500 companies and given them all these little management things. I started looking at the front page of his book and I noticed that he made the statement (we were looking at a condensation of his book), I’m supposed to read a 250-page book for tomorrow, but everybody cheated and got a seven-page review, life hasn’t changed since high school, the deal is that this man starts out by saying that before ... Now from what we’ve gone through now, this is a good test. This is a typical kind of response. We’ve all gone through Genesis and we’ve gotten a little bit of the framework of Scripture. Just think of this, you’re reading this thing and you see on the first page he says before World War I, the emphasis in the business world was upon character, that this was the most important thing, but after World War I the emphasis has been on personality, positive thinking, principles, gimmicks and all the rest of the hoopla stuff. His whole approach is a pitch to get back to principle leadership, to character based leadership. And I said, oh well, that’s interesting.
From what we know, what is true, let’s think this through, this is a little test, this is a little application exercise here, because you’ll encounter this and you need to, as a Christian, think through, well, wait a minute, what am I listening to? First of all you have to watch it because a lot of businesses, particularly large corporations, are hiring all kinds of queers to come in and do this kind of stuff. We’ve got Scientology and all the touchy feely people and all the rest of it. I don’t know what these corporate executives think about, but they get these people in here and if a Bible-believing Christian came in, they’d have the Supreme Court involved in it right in about the first five and a half minutes. But they can invite all these characters in with their touchy feely gooey stuff and of course, that’s religiously neutral, that doesn’t infringe upon anybody’s religious freedom because nobody thinks about what’s being said. Anyway, on the first page of this we read this little statement and it’s a great remark. The guy’s right, that has happened, but let’s think through why did that happen, because the rest, from page one on through the rest of the whole operation it’s “we’ve got to get character.” Then from character you go out and do other things and then you interact with groups and you get the team working and all the rest of it. Hey, that’s great. That’s great, but the problem is, what happened at World War I? If it’s really true that before World War I we thought this way and after World War I we thought that way and you’re coming to us and telling us that what we need to do in our business organizations is go back to the pre-World War I mode of thinking, well, how do we do that, because we don’t live now before World War I. The world has changed; the whole intellectual climate has changed.
He goes on and says “there are certain unalterable principles of human character, that control human character just as much as the law of gravity.” Of course, as a Christian that reverberates and we say, yeah, yeah, yeah. Then he talks about that we have to anchor our character in values and you have to think through what your value is. So now we’ve got character and value we’re talking about. But watch what happens; now this is the sneaky part. And we have got to learn how to handle this stuff because we get hit with it all the time. The noun, “character,” the noun, “value,” now I put those two words up there and you, as Bible-believing people, read those words one way because you’ve been biblically informed. The Joe who comes out of a non-Christian, pagan background, how does he read those? He points out how it’s the principle of value over impulse.
Let’s just reverse the role a little bit and I happen to be the assistant commander of Auschwitz and my value in the SS is to purge Europe of gypsies, Jews, and blacks to purify the gene pool so we all have blond, blue-eyed people when we’re done. But I happen to come across, on impulse, a poor, starving Jewish person. Now what do I do? I overcome my impulse of my value because my value is Heil Hitler, the Third Reich, let’s cleanse and purify the Germanic race. I’m sure that that is not what this man has in mind, but the point is you can load character and value with anything if you don’t have the framework for it.
And then he goes on and makes the statement, which I found fascinating, in fact, remember when we went back through Creation what did we say were the three divine institutions? We said the first divine institution was responsibility, for dominion, that we are responsible for our lives before God, and we talked about marriage and we talked about family. What did we say when we went to the fall? We said what happened to the first divine institution, dominion? Dominion wasn’t taken away. The evil person still dominates. What was changed was the orientation of the dominion. Now instead of in a good direction it’s in a bad direction, but it hasn’t been taken away. We’ve fallen. So now instead of having people who are free to choose, we have people who are free to choose in a limited domain. Namely, what sin do you want to do today? That’s fallenness.
So, ignoring creation and the fall, all of a sudden we read in chapter so and so of this guy’s book, oh, gee, human beings have the right of choice. It’s not stimulus response. Well, ever since World War I what has biochemical evolution told us? That the results of our behavior are determined by what? Our body chemistry. Isn’t that you’re reading about, well, I can’t help it, I mean, I’m a homosexual because my gene got screwed up somewhere. Aren’t I biochemically determined? Isn’t this stimulus response? Of course it is. Here this guy’s pleading that really that’s not true, that man has a right to choice between the stimulus of the environment and that man’s response, he really has a genuine choice. That’s nice, Mr. So and So, but excuse me, where are you getting that from and why should I believe that? It’s funny, the first three of four pages of this, I mean, all the big guys in corporate America sign on to this fellow, that this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, oh, this guy’s great. And I’ll bet you that if you walked into those same corporate executives and said have you thought about what this guy’s saying? He’s totally, philosophically at odds with everything you’re doing and you’re trying to take the techniques that he’s talking about, without the gospel, or without Christ, or without the Christian framework, and you’re trying to make it work in your business. How do you do that? You don’t do that, but everybody is giving this guy kudos and thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of dollars to go around the country and tell them that we need character in the work place. Gee, no kidding! That’s not the problem; it’s how do you get it?
My point is that this is the kind of gooey stuff that’s out there floating around. The sad thing about it is, because in the final analysis it’s an admission the pagan is making that he really does like the fruit of Christianity, that it is pragmatically attractive to him. The problem is he doesn’t want the root that goes with the fruit. He doesn’t want the Christ that goes with the character so he’s never going to get there. He can talk about it from now until Hell freezes over, but he’s never going to get there because he can’t, he’s just bypassed something. And what that bypasses is what we want to look at here in Exodus.
In Exodus, chapter 11, let’s go through the text and look at it a moment because this is so utterly unlike what you would read in a how to improve your life book. This is really not the kind of material that wins friends and influences people. And yet, from God’s point of view this is the only way. That’s the interesting thing about what we’re learning here. The Exodus comes very sharply to the point of defining what salvation’s all about. That’s what the Exodus picture is. This is salvation in the raw, the blood and the guts of salvation. And you’ll notice it’s barren of how we feel. There’s not a word in this passage about how we’re supposed to feel. It’s all on, basically, what God thinks of us and what He’s trying to do to get us back in a relationship with him. Let’s look at it.
Exodus 11:1, “Now, the LORD said to Moses, ‘One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely.” Now you notice what is said in verse 1. What is said is exactly opposite to what’s been happening. Every other plague has done what to Pharaoh’s heart? It’s hardened his heart. We said that’s part of God’s chess game because had God let the Jews off earlier, it could have been interpreted as a Mosaic-Pharaohnic deal that was negotiated in a smoke-filled room, it was a human arrangement that happened. But by making Pharaoh reject and reject and reject, God set up such a messy situation that the only way out of it was by some catastrophic, miraculous way. Notice how it ends in verse 1, after that he’s going to let you go, not only is he going to let you go, he’s going to kick you out. He’s going to be so glad to get rid of you when I get done with him that he will gladly let you leave.”
Verse 2, “Speak in the hearing of the people that each man ask from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and articles of gold.” We mentioned that in passing and we’ll mention it later on when we get into the law. What verse 2 is all about is the capitalization of the nation, Israel. Verse 2 shows you where their economy got the money to start with. Think about it for a minute. You’ve got a million people wandering around the desert. How do they get wealth? How does the machine of business start? You say, well, they conquered the land. Sure, they’ve got real estate assets. They’re going to get real estate assets, but what do they do in the meantime? Where do they get their food? It isn’t completely all manna because when they get the land they’re not going to have the manna. They’ve got to have money for clothing, for food, the things of life. How does that nation get the treasury started? What is the initial surge in the treasury? It can’t be taxes. They don’t have any money to give to taxes. Well, verse 2 is where they do. Verse 2 is an historic irony because who was it that built a lot of the Egyptian architecture for free because they were slaves? In effect, what verse 2 is, it gives the Jews back their salaries that they didn’t get for all those years. So verse 2 is important as a sub note because that initializes the economy of the state of Israel.
Verse 3, “And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and the sight of the people.  And Moses said….” By the way, if you check this out, you’ll find, if you look and ask yourself, of all the books I’m sure you all ask yourself this over every dinner, of all the books of the Old Testament, which ones have the highest frequency of Egyptian words? It’s Genesis, Exodus, and the first five books. Isn’t that ironic? The liberals don’t even believe Moses wrote it, they believe somebody else later on in history wrote it. Well, that’s strange, isn’t it? Here’s a guy who was brought up in Pharaoh’s household. Of course he knew Egyptian; he could read Egyptian hieroglyphics. So it was no accident that there are Egyptian words sprinkled throughout the text of this work.
Verse 4, “And Moses said, ‘Thus says the LORD, ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt.  And all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die.’” Let’s just try to place yourself, let’s read this slowly and imaginatively, pretend you are there, your family’s there, your children are there, your neighbors are there. Let’s just read this and see if we can emotionally identify with what’s going on here in the text. Verse 5, “All the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the first-born of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the-first born of the cattle as well.” Notice that one, the cattle, see how miraculously detailed this is? This isn’t an accident. This isn’t some sort of a plague that happened to get loose and the health department couldn’t contain it. This is something very, very specific, “the first-born of the cattle as well.” Verse 6, “Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as there shall never be again.” Do you see how hard the text is working to make this a unique event in history? This isn’t something that was a minor little pimple in Egyptian history. This was a major disruption.
Verse 7, “But against any of the sons of Israel, a dog shall not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.  And all these your servants will come down to me and bow themselves before me saying ‘Go out, you and all the people who follow you,’ and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.  Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not listen to you so, that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’ ” Look at that verse. That summarizes exactly what we’ve been saying all along, isn’t it. Look at that verse again. Pharaoh will not listen to you so My wonders will be multiplied. The harder he resists, the more my glory is seen. See, with God you cannot lose and if you’re against Him, you cannot win. People hate to hear that. That’s why Romans 9 strikes people as so unfair, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy and I will harden whom I will harden.” God is the final authority for history. Verse 10, “And Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.”
Let’s think about this episode of the blood. In chapter 12, which is the central theme of this,  “Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,  ‘This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year for you.” So the Jewish New Year (one of the two Jewish new years) starts here because that’s when they come into existence as a free people, as a redeemed nation. It’s like when we become Christians. We have a new life that starts at that point. So here, the national calendar begins.
Exodus 12:3, “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, on the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.  Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.” He goes on to describe what we call now the Passover. Verse 7, “Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  And they shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” And he describes some of the details.
Verse 11, “Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’s Passover.” Verse 11 is labeled as the Lord’s Passover. Let’s look at the word “Passover.” Who’s passing over? It’s a common word. We use it for a holiday, but think of what Passover means. Verse 12, “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and I will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD.  And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.” Therefore, every Jew, loyal, orthodox, conservative Jew today celebrates Passover. They may not understand why they’re still celebrating it, but this verse tells you why, because God said that they are going to do that and they will do it forever and ever and ever. It is a commemoration of a great historic act.
We want to go back and look at this event and what it teaches us about salvation. We’re looking here, not at a psychological feeling; we’re looking here at something that happened, such that if you were there with your video camera, you could have taped it, the door, blood on the top, blood here, blood here. You can just see the sign of the cross in that door. It wasn’t due to somebody’s personality in that house, it wasn’t due to their race, it wasn’t due to anything, any merit on the fact of the personality merit or what have you of who’s in the house. The issue was whether they had faith to trust that there was going to be a judgment to start with and, two, if there’s going to be a judgment, here’s how I keep it out of my door. So it was all a faith transaction here, utterly unrelated…well, you can’t say utterly unrelated because, obviously, an evil person isn’t going to trust the Lord to do this, but the idea here is that the merit on the passing over is in the blood that’s displayed on the door, not on the personality of the person inside. It’s an objective passing over of God in his judgment wrath. We want to spend some time on that.
In the notes, on page 55, I’ve dealt with some of the aspects of salvation. We’ve seen two pictures of salvation, the flood and now we see the Exodus. What we want to do in our mind’s eye is load the databanks with the material of these two historic events because this balances your theology. This keeps you tight to the truth. This locks you in so that even though we may have questions about this or that detail, if you will keep these two pictures in mind and review them in your mind’s eye, in your imagination, then you’ve got a handle on the gospel and you should readily see why in the New Testament things are said in the epistles the way they are said in the epistles. We noticed that there are certain common things that we see in both of these pictures. We could label some, these are just some, you could probably pick out more, it’s not a comprehensive list.
First, we see that God is always gracious before He judges, that He doesn’t just lower the boom, but He always give us warning. He is very patient, so patient and so gracious, in fact, that we very sloppily at times get our eyes on His grace before His judgment and figure the judgment’s never going to come. That’s how we get out of line as Christians. God says I’ll be gracious to you, but I’m also going to discipline you. That’s technically not judgment, it’s judgment salvation, but the idea here is that God is very gracious. The world has interpreted the delay in the return of Jesus, the delay in the righting of wrongs, the delay in the end of evil and suffering and cruelty in the world, the world has interpreted that sloppily to mean that God isn’t serious, or if He is, He’s a little anemic God in his rocking chair in Heaven, unable to do anything about the wickedness in the world. That’s always a feature, it’s always a characteristic, it was a characteristic with the flood, it was a characteristic with the Exodus. God gave warning, He gave revelations, He gave events, He gave all kinds of messages and so on as part of his grace before the judgment.
Then when the boom does lower, we notice that all of God’s judgments have this discrimination, this razor sharp, surgical discrimination. It’s never a sledge hammer blow that sort of statistically wipes out a population subset or something that just happens to be there. No, this is surgically administered. We’ve seen evidence of that in the text, didn’t we? The first-born, come on, how did he pull that one off? How did he go into households who might have a set of twins and one of those twins dies? The first-born only may be by minutes. How does the angel of death, as he goes into that house, know who was the first-born? How does the angel of death, when he goes into the barn, know which of the young of a particular litter was the first born? How does he know? I don’t know how he knows. We know God is omniscient, but the point we’re trying to make here is this is razor sharp. That’s sort of sobering because it means that God, when He judges, He judges not only in his holiness, but in His omniscience. He omnisciently knows our hearts; He knows all the details of our hearts.
We said that salvation involves nature as well as man, so it’s not just a case of a psychological phenomenon on the inside of our hearts. It also involves all the world around us. After all, God is the Creator of the world around us and the fall affected the world around us, did it not? Did we not read in Genesis that the physical universe was contaminated by sin just like the moral, spiritual part of the universe? Of course we did. Therefore, if evil is to be separated from good in the act of salvation, doesn’t God have to deal with evil in nature? Yes, he does. Nature has to effected and redone by his works. We also noted that every time God judges, it’s always a judgment that is…or saved when he offers salvation in the middle of the judgment, it’s always appropriated by faith. Noah didn’t have the knowledge to build a boat to sustain his family and the gene pool of the biological kingdom in a flood that he never saw before it came. He couldn’t forecast that. He didn’t have the principles of naval architecture to design a boat that would be stable as that boat was. The issue, then, is that he received it by faith. He had to trust that these instructions he was getting on how to build that boat were to be followed. He had to cut the wood a certain length. It had to go at a certain angle and this is the way it had to be. He was operating from the blueprints from heaven and he had to follow those blueprints for something he didn’t understand or know.
The same thing here, the people had to kill the lamb. It must have looked foolish, they must have looked foolish. You know, you can just see so and so, I just painted my front door and I’ve got to put blood all over it now and mess it up? That’s a trivial kind of response, but think of what the neighbors might think. Here’s a Jew and here’s maybe some Egyptians next door. It’s late in the evening and here the Jewish person is going out there and splattering blood all over the door. What the heck’s wrong with him? From a non-Christian perspective, it’s totally stupid, totally unimaginable. It’s foolish, but not from God’s perspective.
We want to spend time on this because this is going to get us into what blood atonement is all about and we’ve got to understand this. We’ve got to make it central in our thinking. If it’s not central in our thinking then the cross can’t be central in our thinking. This is all a prelude to understanding the cross of Jesus Christ, and why you can go through all the character building seminars and leadership and management tools and all the rest of it, but you can’t build character apart from Jesus Christ.
We’re on the one way of salvation and clearly, and clearly in the case of Noah, remember that strange word. When we studied that passage, I told you there was a strange word for the covering of the ark, kaphar. That Hebrew word equals the word, atonement. It’s just strange and nobody knows if that’s the color of the paint, whether it was pitch or what was going on. But when they built that ark to survive the flood they covered it with something called this kaphar and we don’t know what that means. All we do know is that it’s semantically linked with the word for atonement. That’s not an accident. That happened because the guy who planned the flood was the guy who planned the Exodus. He wanted to show that I always do things this way; they always have these same common elements. So sure enough, when we come down to the Exodus, because it’s an advance over the flood, we now begin to say ah, we learn more about how God atones, how God provides this atonement.
We want to look a little about life. Last time we left off by saying that in the creation narrative, remember we had this little formula, body plus spirit equals the soul. That’s what we get from Genesis 2 when God makes Adam. Then we said there’s a certain principle, a life for a life, and when the curse happens, we lose life, so we die. If the restitutionary principle of God’s justice is at work, I can’t get a positive over here if I don’t have a positive over here. If I’m dead, I can’t use my dead life to atone for the life that I’ve lost. I haven’t got any assets. That’s the problem in salvation. Here’s where we part company with the pagan mind. The pagan mind always wants to define salvation in terms of the pagan diagnosis. What is the pagan diagnosis of our ill? The pagan diagnosis is, well, we’ve had behavioral problems from youth; the problem with human society is its economic background. Poverty causes crime. Do you know what a quick refutation of that one is? Everybody thinks that poverty causes crime. Anybody over 70 or 80 has lived through the counterpoint to that argument. In the depression, most people were poor. Check the crime statistics. Did they go up during the 1930s when you had a depression in the country? No they didn’t, in fact, they went down. Oh-oh, how about that statistic? If crime is caused by poverty then crime should have gone up in the middle of the depression; it didn’t. Crime is not caused by poverty, it’s caused by envy. Crime has other causes called sin. That’s what causes crime.
The reason the pagan misdiagnosis it, is for the same reason the pagan puts away and wants to bury all the truths of the creation, the fall, the flood, and the covenant. Remember all those buried truths of origins? Why does he want to bury those? Because it reminds him of the presence of the holy God Creator to whom he is responsible. So having buried all those things, he’s still faced with evil and all the stuff that goes on so he has to figure out, I’ve got to come to some sort of rational explanation for suffering and evil in society so I’m going to blame it on my genes, I’m going to blame it on my environment, I’m going to blame it on.... You fill in the blanks. It’s always I’ve got to blame it on something because we said last year that what happens if you don’t accept the Christian doctrine of God as the Creator and man as the responsible agent then your definition of evil changes very quickly.
In the Christian position, evil is rebellion against God. I start out being a criminal against God long before I start out being a criminal against society. That’s an outworking of a first crime; the first crime is against God, then after that we have crimes against man. In the pagan position, the pagan position is that I’m not going to be responsible to God so I’m a victim. So all the blame shifting is always poor, poor me. I’m a victim, I’m a victim of this, I’m a victim of that, I’m a victim of something else. The pagan theory is a victim theory. Victimization is the content and opposite of the biblical worldview.
The Bible says we are responsible for this situation, now having said that, that leaves us open and vulnerable, because now we admit responsibility. We’ve lost it, literally we have lost it and now we can’t get it. That throws us into a dilemma. Apart from the Holy Spirit causing repentance, our hearts don’t like to hear that. That’s not really good news because that mean’s I have to bow my knee and I have to receive from God. That’s makes me have to submit to Him. I don’t like in my flesh to submit to him, I like to feel like I can do it myself. So right here up front we’ve got a big problem. It’s a serious heart problem. Are we going to be submissive and receptive or are we going to be independent and defiant. It’s so strange. That’s why the pagan has all these emotions going on. On the one hand, he wants “operation bootstrap,” I will generate all this righteousness myself, I will do this. I want to feel independent. But yet on the other hand his theory of victimization doesn’t make him independent, does it? It’s all in my genes, my mother dropped me on my head when I was a baby and blah, blah, blah, I’ve got all these things that are going on. On the one hand, I want to be independent, on the other hand, here I am whining and moaning and fussing about my environment and what a poor victim I am. That’s the oscillation that the pagan forms.
We don’t face that tension, we’ve got other tensions. Our tension isn’t between being a victim and over here trying to do it all ourselves. Our problem is of getting underneath the umbrella of God’s grace and receiving it on His terms. When we think of that reception of His grace, it’s not just warm, cuddly, gooey, it’s a bloody mess. That’s what this passage is teaching us. This is what it’s all about. It is blood and guts, the salvation message of Christianity. So much so that liberals over the years have laughed at the fundamentalist gospel and said, ah, slaughterhouse religion. You’ve probably heard that term. Don’t believe that. How cruel, how backwards, how primitive, the natives out in the jungles believe that. No. The natives out in the jungle just have forgotten less of the Noahic gospel than the educated people. They remember that there’s some sort of placation problem here. They get it all screwed up how they do it, but at least give them credit; they do recognize that somehow it’s associated with blood.
We want to see something about blood and the human body, and blood and life. We’re going to compare 1 Corinthians 15:50 with Luke 24:39. 1 Corinthians 15 is a big long, long, major passage in the New Testament. We want to observe something about our bodies. Paul is talking about the difference between our body, our mortal body, and the resurrected body. Keep in mind that salvation is not complete until both body and spirit have been saved. The word that applies to the new creation with respect to the human spirit is “regeneration.” The word that applies to the body is “resurrection.” It’s two “r” words and both of them are required for full salvation. The spirit has to be regenerated and the body has to be resurrected. We are not saved completely until that happens. We’re wandering around as half saved in one sense. We’re regenerated folks, but we have this flesh and bone thing that we cart around with us all day long and that is the mortal body. There’s a feature to this body that’s different, that shifts. When you go from the natural body to the resurrection body, apparently, we have no data except what’s in Scripture, that some things change and some things don’t.
One of the things that changes according to 1 Corinthians 15:50 is flesh with blood in it; it says “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” Apparently the physiological anatomical design of our bodies that now is centered around blood, because blood is the key transport mechanism in the body, that that transport system is not functioning; is not needed in the resurrection body, because the resurrection body is designed for eternity. It never wears out. You can’t sell a life insurance policy on this thing. You’d go bankrupt paying the premiums because you’d just pay them forever because you’re never going to die. The resurrection body is undamageable. That’s why salvation, our choice, whether we’re going to receive Christ or reject Christ, that choice has to be done before the resurrection body is received because once the resurrection body has been received, you’re locked into it. A person who participates in the second resurrection that goes to the Lake of Fire is locked into a body that can never be destroyed. That’s why anybody can feel forever and ever. That’s the horror of it. In the positive sense, the people who are regenerated receive resurrection bodies and they do not participate in the second death. They are to be in the presence of the Lord forever and ever. And they can’t destroy their body either. The resurrection body does not have blood in it. Therefore, the resurrection body cannot be used to atone for sin either. It can’t be destroyed and it is not a tool for atonement.
Luke 24:36 is one of the few pieces of data that we have on the resurrection body. [Blank spot] [“And while they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst.” It’s been a while since I studied this in the Greek, but I remember when I translated this years and years ago, it startled me to see the language here. The language reads as though the disciples are there talking and all of a sudden, Jesus stands there as though he’s been standing there all the time and they suddenly saw Him. It’s real kind of sneaky and spooky. It doesn’t say He, Himself, came. It says they saw Him as they were standing there, and they were startled and they were frightened and thought they were seeing a spirit [37, “But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.”] Now watch this because this is a passage central to the fact of the resurrection body because their first image is that they’re seeing a ghost. Verse 38, “And He said to them, Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?”
Verse 39 is the key, “See My hands and My feet that it is I, Myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” So there’s the bones and flesh. There is flesh in the resurrection body. It looks somewhat like our flesh. I mean, they thought it did. But whatever it is, it is not blood soaked flesh. It’s some strange material that we know nothing of, apparently, it goes through doors, it can disappear, it can eat. Jesus ate in his resurrection body. It wouldn’t be heaven if people couldn’t eat. There’s a eating of the resurrection body, apparently, though, not because it has to, not because it has to be sustained. The interesting thing is there are bones in it, verse 39. You can go on skateboards and not break ankles in the resurrection body. The resurrection body is totally different and Jesus Christ could not give atonement in the resurrection body. He had to share a body like ours. He had to partake of a mortal body like ours in order to pay the price for sin.
We want to look at what happened and we want to look at three vocabulary words for the atonement, each playing a role. Turn to page 57 in the notes. Each of these three terms have a particular kind of image, so what I’m trying to do is give you the imagery to associate with these three words. These are three vocabulary words that talk about salvation. Obviously, you could spend years on each one of these: redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation. The thing to remember about these is that they all focus on the same thing, but from a different angle. You’ll see these words again and again. The first word, redemption. We use that word in the English language just like it was used in Hebrew and Greek, when you redeem something. We use that economically. Immediately the word, redeem, has in the background an economic picture. The picture, the book of Ruth in the Old Testament is a good example of it, and I give you that in the notes, where a person who is in bondage, in debt, must be redeemed. That’s the image. The image, because it’s an economic image, refers to going from being in debt to having positive assets. Therefore, it means that somebody has given; somebody has given something of value to change a negative number into a positive number. It’s not just going from minus one to zero, it’s going from minus one to plus one. Just like justification. What do we say?
If it’s an economic term and God has designed the universe around the gospel, then it follows that being in debt or having this awful thing where creditors are calling you, your check bounced or something like that, the feeling that goes along with that, that actually is an analogue to real spiritual debt. The creditors in this case are God’s righteous demands. They’re saying you’re supposed to be this way, you’re supposed to be that way, etc. Come on, I can’t, I can’t make the payment this month. That feeling of being in debt and being hounded by creditors is almost a one to one analogue to the feeling of needing to be redeemed. When you have the Chapter 13 syndrome, that’s the feeling that God wants us to remember is to be associated with our spiritual state, that, we can declare bankruptcy in our human society, but it doesn’t do any good to declare bankruptcy in the spiritual realm because He already tells us we’re bankrupt. Big deal! The creditors don’t stop coming to the door in this case. The righteousness and holy standards of God keep on coming and there’s no way to stop them. It’s just constant harassment. In an unredeemed state our consciences tell us that we’re unredeemed, that we don’t measure up. How do most people cope with this? How do you cope with somebody who keeps calling you on the phone and annoying you? Disconnect the doggone thing. Cut the wire. What answers to the phone? Conscience!
What is the typical pagan response to a conscience that keeps telling you “you don’t live up, you don’t live up to the standard, you don’t live up to the standard”? Shut up! Drown it with alcohol, go out on drugs. That’s where the dynamic is in all this stuff. It’s not just somebody has low blood sugar. It’s because deep down there’s a problem here and I don’t want to listen to the thing. It’s like somebody has a break light or warning light on the dash panel. “I’m going to solve the problem, I’ll take a hammer and knock it out and five miles down the road you’ll be buying a new engine. That’s the problem with God. You don’t solve the problem by destroying or nullifying or putting the conscience to sleep with some sort of gimmick. The redemption, then, this is hard, it’s painful. God causes us to have this pain in our temporal lifetime so we understand a little bit about the spiritual reality that goes along with it. That’s the connotation of the word, “redeem.” I give you some verses there where you can see that played out in the New Testament.
The second word is a little more difficult to understand. It’s “propitiation.” Propitiation is probably closest to what happened in the Passover. The word “propitiate” means to satisfy somebody who needs the propitiation. In this case it’s to satisfy God’s holiness. In redemption the picture was I’ve got to have a certain amount of assets to qualify. In this case I have to meet a person’s character, God’s holiness in this case. I have to feel accepted to this. What’s the human analogue in everyday life? Just as there’s an awful experience in life of being in debt and being hounded by debtors, so is there an experience that answers to this in our everyday life. We all know it because we’ve all been hurt. We’ve all been subject to it, and that’s when you feel rejected by somebody. You feel that somebody can look you right in the eye and say hello, and there’s a door ten feet thick between them and you, and you know, you get the message; you’re locked out of their life. It can be a hostile environment. It can be a friendly environment, but you know, the signals are all there. That I’m living my life, baby, and you’re not part of it and I’ll make sure of that—you’re excluded. We’ve all had that feeling.
We’ve all felt excluded or kicked out or neglected by somebody. That’s the analogue in human experience to the spiritual side that we are not accepted, apart from Jesus Chris, to God. He’s not interested in the clothes we wear. He’s not interested in all the little things and the gimmicks that we try to put on to satisfy Him. He’s not interested! He’s not even interested in good things we do to be accepted by Him. We don’t come to God bribing Him to accept us with our wonderful good deeds. In this case, it’s like this, in the redemption side of the house, I’m in debt and in this case I can’t pull the phone out of the wall unless I break my conscience, but I’m constantly hounded, constantly hounded, somebody give me money. I don’t have it, I’ve got to get out of debt and I’ve got to be given the cash to get to that asset level.
In propitiation, if I’m being excluded by somebody, somebody has kicked me out of their life, somebody has rejected me, then the initiative has got to come from them. What can I do? The door’s shut, the lock is on the other side and I don’t have the key to it. They do. If I am going to satisfy, I have got to be accepted to God, and in this case God is not satisfied with me. He’s not satisfied with anybody in Egypt in the middle of the Exodus until they did something, until they put blood on the door and then He was satisfied. It was one, concentrated, focused effort at the one way of salvation. It wasn’t two ways. There weren’t two and half different versions of the ark. There weren’t three or four ways to be saved from the angel of death in the Exodus. There’s only one ark and there’s only way to be saved in the Exodus. This is what offends people so about Christianity. Christianity would be perfectly accepted if we could walk in and say, gee, would you add this religious faith to the 108 that you already have, we’ll have a museum of religious faiths and we’ll all eat in the cafeteria. You pick yours, I’ll pick mine and we’re one big happy family while we eat together. Unfortunately, in the Christian gospel, we come walking in and say, oh the food’s rotten and I’m not interested in eating in this cafeteria, it’s pukey. Therefore, there’s only one Bread of Life and that is Jesus Christ and that’s the only one I’m interested in. If you don’t have it, no deal. That comes off as arrogant to people.
The problem is that it’s arrogant only if you think you can qualify before God some other way. See the point? It’s not that we are arrogant. It’s not that we’re trying to be obnoxious to somebody. It’s just to say that’s the way God is. You want to walk into his presence without the blood of Jesus, you try it, I’m not interested because it’s pretty high voltage there and I’m not going to play that game. You can if you want to. That’s more the spirit of the idea of propitiation; that God is going to be propitiated by His own atonement. His divine atonement alone propitiates his holiness.
There used to be a hymn that was sung in evangelical circles, something about whether I’m satisfied with Jesus or something. That hymn is pretty stupid, that’s a stupid lyric in there. It’s not whether I’m satisfied with Jesus. It’s whether God, the Father, is satisfied with God, the Son. That’s the issue. If God, the Father, is not satisfied with the atonement, we’ve got problems, big ones. The focus needs to be less on what we’re satisfied with and more on what God’s satisfied with in propitiation.
The third and last term is “reconciliation.” That’s pretty familiar. Reconciliation has in the background a relationship, not so much as propitiation, but a relationship that’s been badly fractured. In fact, it describes hostility. The classic reference for this is Rom. 5:10. We all know the verse. Here’s a way the apostle, Paul, took this third word to describe salvation. In that whole section of Romans 5 he expands on that word. The idea of reconciliation is more a peacemaking and the issue is that it’s the end of war. In propitiation I feel excluded from somebody in sort of a passive sense, in reconciliation I’ve been at war with the person, and now we need to come and have a peace treaty. Look at the nouns, just the nouns, in Romans 5:10, “For if while were enemies” While we were what? While we were “enemies.” Now the verb, “we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled,” past tense “we shall be saved by his life,” talking about the Christian life.
The reconciliation occurs at the point the person trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation. This is when that atonement is applied. Just as the doors in the Passover, blood, blood, blood, angel of death passes by, I’m no longer considered an enemy. But the angel of the Lord, as He went over the houses of the Egyptians and there was no blood on the door, He attacked them, He destroyed them, He crushed them, He was at war with them because they were at war with Him. On the Jewish homes with blood, there had been reconciliation and peace. Again, not because of who and what they were, but because they trusted and received the one way of salvation.
We’d like to conclude this section of the Exodus if you’ll turn to those wonderful verses of praise. Turn to Exodus 15. Handel is famous for Messiah, but he also wrote another piece; if you can ever get a hold of this, it’s well worth it. Handel wrote a piece called Israel in Egypt. In that piece is Handel’s interpretation of Exodus 15, musically. What he did, he has a choir and he has a soloist, a male soloist and he read through Exodus 15. Evidently his eyes came down to verse 20 because in verse 20, what happens is that Moses, notice verse 1, “the sons of Israel,” there the men are singing and then you come down to verse 20 “And Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.  And Miriam answered them...” The word “answer” there is to answer antiphonally back to the men. The men were singing the text and then the women, now notice in verse 21 the beginning of what the women started to sing, “Sing unto the LORD for He is exalted, The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.”
In the Hebrew, when you have a passage like that, what will often happen, they don’t want to write the whole passage out, they just take the first verse. So it appears, and Handel I think was right, that the women, if you compare verse 21 to verse 1, the last part, the men, when they start singing “I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.” Then the women respond “Sing unto the LORD for he is highly exalted, the horse and his rider as he hurled into the sea.” It’s a wonderful antiphonal back and forth between the male and the female as Handel builds it. It’s well worth it if you can hear it.
The other reason I like this song is because in the days of Handel, theology was taken so seriously that the music had majesty to it. If you look at these verses, this is pretty fierce stuff, isn’t it. I mean, think of what they’re saying. “I will sing to the LORD for He is exalted. The horse and his rider, he’s thrown into the sea.” Isn’t that pretty brutal? We have churches today that want to eliminate “Onward Christian Soldiers” from the hymnal like there’s no war going on. Oh, that’s violent! Of course it’s violent; we live in a violent world. What world are you living in? But this is righteous violence. When Jesus comes back and His garments are coated with blood, where do you suppose he gets the blood? He didn’t prick his finger on his razor. That is an assault that He is making on planet earth. There’s violence in that. It’s not that we worship violence and such, that’s just part of our American character to be violent, but this is righteous violence. There’s a proper time and place for it.
Look at the text as it goes on. Exodus 15:3, “The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is His name.  Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; and the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.  The deeps covered them; They went down to the depths like a stone.  Thy right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Thy right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.  And in the greatness of Thine excellence Thou dost overthrow those who rise up against Thee,  And at the blast of Thy nostrils the waters were piled up The flowing waters stood up like a heap, The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.  The enemy said ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoils.’ ”
Handel has a neat interpretation of this musically when he gets to this point,  “Thou dost blow with Thy wind, the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.” Then there’s this refrain and this is the magnificent praise of the Old Testament.  “Who is like thee among the gods, O LORD? Who is like Thee, majestic and holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” Do you see the emotional power of this? You can imagine what somebody skilled in music can do with this. This is a ripper. When you put this with good music, now we’re talking about lyrics that really mean something, that have depth and motive and power to them. Why is it that they have power?
Let’s conclude with this. Why is it there’s something so mighty and powerful about this? It’s because it was a real act that happened in the real universe, that happened to thousands of people in an overtly miraculous way. So miraculous, so unique that only the God of the Scripture could have pulled it off. To the believer’s heart, that’s comforting; I need to know that the God who saves me can smash all comers. I need to know that for my own benefit when I get high and might and lifted up. I need to know that my God can crush me too. But in all of that there’s a freedom that grows because suddenly now you’re protected. Look who is on your side, the God who does this. That’s something to get excited about. That’s why there’s a whole hymn here dedicated to praise of God. This, by the way, Exodus 15 is one of the first psalms in the Bible. It’s not in the Book of Psalms, but this is a classic psalm structure. It was typical of how the Jews sang, and they praised and they worshipped this way.
Question asked: something about ... debate earlier when you were talking about ? just kind of walked away from it. Something about the other option is where you change the standard.
Clough replies: That’s a good point, is that there’s two ways of handling the conscience. There’s pull the plug on the phone, but also redefine it, redefine standards. Of all people, I was intrigued to see...it was in either New Republic or American Spectator, I read neither of them, but I saw the quote. Daniel Moynihan had an interesting article which he titled “Defining Deviancy Down.” That was the title of the article. His whole point was what we do in society is we define deviancy down by either officially, such as for example courts, perhaps now recognizing homosexual marriages as marriage. That’s one way you officially do it. Or you can unofficially do it by careful use of vocabulary. “Alternate lifestyles.” What about fornication? I’ve often said that what you’re really doing in a lot of the sex education courses by stressing plumbing rather than character is ultimately you’re trying to make the world safe for fornication. Why don’t we just s, hey, we want to fornicate and we want to do it efficiently and safely, this is fornication 101. We don’t want to do that because if we label the course that way then that brings the conscience into action and we don’t like that word. That word isn’t a nice word to use. It’s a case where you can pull the plug on the conscience in many ways, but defining deviancy down like Senator Moynihan said, that’s a great one.
Question asked, something about language and changing the words: Clough replies: Language gets slaughtered in an environment that can’t respect truth. It’s interesting to watch. You start out as little children name calling. That’s the first gimmick that we use to destroy language, by slandering character through the use of language. We have that little nursery rhyme “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” That’s not true; names will cut far deeper than any stone. Language distortion begins very early on, but it gets more sophisticated as you get to be an adult. What we’re seeing is... see, in our country we have a little problem because we had such a residue of Christian influence that when the paganism tries to take over, it has to do it through this convoluted method of redefining this, and we redefine that and we label that good and evil, you know. We go through a little labeling game. Whereas, if you were in France or, say, a country further on advanced, they don’t quite resort to all this stuff. They just say what they want to say and that’s it. In a way it has more integrity in the language than the language games that are being played. A lot of it is just simple language games. It ties back to the same thing that we want to see in this framework series, that everything we touch, whether it’s language, money, the physical universe out there, whatever it is it’s locked in to the plan of God in some way shape or form. You will sooner or later get to this piece if you start here, you’ll wind up over here through the word of God. It always is that way.
The Exodus is just another case. We’ve finished with that event, now we’re going to go on to the law and the giving of the law. Now, we’re going to move into a whole new area where people have the idea that, for example, law starts out with the mind of man. I’m sure in history courses… remember back when they start teaching history in the early chapters they would say how did governments get started?, and they usually give you some sort of a social contract idea that all men got together and they decided to relinquish this right and that right to get along. That’s bologna. Government came with what? We know how government got started. It came right after Noah and the flood. God gave man the right to take life. Then we have people that don’t believe in capital punishment. If you don’t believe in capital punishment, then what, in effect you are, is you’ve destroyed the center of the whole institution of civil government. That is the authority of central government. It doesn’t have any other authority. It doesn’t have the authority to have kids. It doesn’t have the authority to raise children. It doesn’t have the authority to assume responsibility, but it does have authority to take life. That’s the one thing that we studiously bow away from. See how it’s so interesting and convoluted our society has become.
When you get into law, the issue there is that we have traditionally in government three branches. We all learn this in sixth and seventh grade, well, we believe about the executive and the legislative and the judicial. Well, if you look at the Mosaic Law and think about it for a minute, what branches of government do you observe in Israel. You observe elders and Moses. That would be kind of like the executives, so you’ve got a little executive branch there. What else do you observe? You observe in the Mosaic Law laws of evidence, court and judicial proceedings. So, you’ve got the judicial branch. But where’s the legislature? Where’s Congress? Where’s the upper and the lower house? Missing. Why? Because the Law was given by God.
What does that tell you about the three branches of government, then? Which is the most crucial because it’s defining the faith of the society? It’s the lawmaker. It is the lawmaker, not the law enforcer because that’s subservient to the lawmaker. The function of generating law is a sacred function that defines the absolute values of a society. That’s how important lawmaking is. And when you have fallen man making law, you’ve got a problem. It’s not accidental that in our country it was the Declaration of Independence that was the most Christian document, far more Christian than the Constitution, by the way. What phrase is there in the Declaration that roots our whole faith nationally to God? “We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.” You see that language? Very carefully polished by men who knew what they wanted to write and they spent hours thinking, what’s the right word for this? Inalienable rights.
I never will forget in Bel Air High School when one of my sons was in a social studies course there, coming home with a quiz that he had been given and the social studies teacher was intriguing. He was a very nice guy, we had meet debates. He was a Unitarian atheist, but he was really a nice teacher. Jonathan would go to class and he would have a discussion, he just couldn’t stand it that this guy was getting “A’s” in his course and he was one of those Bible-bleeding fundy’s. This teacher undertook for his personal sense of destiny and mission to try to convert my boy to real life, you know, you’ve got to give up that kind of thing kid, you’re going to college in a year or two. I mean, come on. So, he’d come home and we’d have a discussion about what the teacher said and Jonathan would go back and have another discussion with so and so. He’d come back the next week and we’d go through this again. It was great because Jonathan really learned how to handle himself because he was in the middle of this crossfire.
He came home one day with this quiz and it was to identify different passages out of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. One was “Man is endowed...with certain inalienable rights.” I thought how intriguing that the dots were there because the issue of an inalienable right is where did it get it’s inalienableness? What does the word inalienable mean? It means that that right can’t be taken away. Well, who says? If I’m the lawmaker, of course I can take a right away, right? Don’t we define rights in laws? Therefore, the lawmaker can take rights away or he can give them. But isn’t it perceptive that the Christian influence was so strong when the Constitution was written, you can imagine as Englishmen they had gone through this mess with Parliament, they had gone through the mess with King George. George and the Parliament had messed around with the law for the colonies and they were sick of this stuff.
So they wanted to get back to the issue that neither King nor Parliament is going to change this so we say that all men, not some men, and you can argue well, therefore why did they have slaves, and so forth and that was blindness on their part, but all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. It’s a magnificent statement and in six or seven words you have the whole biblical view here of law. That all human law can do or ought to be able to do is to reflect and codify these rights that God has given, and no other. It doesn’t make rights and it can’t take rights. Watch the language of your newspaper today. We get a group that’s going to demonstrate, they want their right, their right comes out. Then the courts have got to think this thing through. So, what has happened is that the courts have become legal institutions.
One of the things that you want to understand about the law as we approach it, and this is a very important lesson, probably one of the most important political debates that we have had in the last twenty years happened before the senate hearings for a Supreme Court Justice. That man’s name was Robert Bork. Robert Bork was nominated by Reagan to be a Supreme Court Justice. Bork came before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Judiciary Committee at the time was chaired by the Delaware guy, Biden. I’ll never forget this. Joe Biden and Teddy Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee were going after Bork. What was ironic about this is Bork was a professor of law and here Teddy graduated with a “C” average from Harvard Law School. He was the one who was telling this professor all about the nature of law. Kennedy and Biden were furious at Bork. The newspapers treated this guy like he had horns.
Very few people understood the debate. I’m not saying that Bork is a Christian and I’m not arguing that we agree 100% with his legal things. But what Bork was standing for was a very important principle that applies to our Bibles. There’s a parallel between law and theology in that both rely on interpretation of literature. The law relies upon interpretation of a set of codified law and theology depends on the interpretation of this book. The rules of interpretation are critical in both cases. There is a parallel actually, between theology, law and literature. Those three fields are very closely interlocked. What Bork was arguing for, and they smelled it, Biden and Kennedy saw it and it was so neat because they’re smart men and they knew what Bork was up to.
Here’s Bork’s position. Bork came and volunteered to be on the Supreme Court and if he were to be on the Supreme Court, he would start what he called the doctrine of strict interpretation. The doctrine of strict interpretation says that the Supreme Court cannot pass judgment on any case that is not strictly addressed in the original Constitution and its amendments. What terrified Kennedy and Biden was that all major judiciary decisions of the past thirty or forty years have been based on sociology, not on the Constitution, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Here you have the spectacle of a Reagan nominee coming before the Senate Judiciary Committee, getting possibly on the Supreme Court, and have this man who is very influential as a professor of law arguing to the other justices, hey guys, you can’t read that in there and it’s not in there and if it’s not in there, we can’t decide it. If somebody wants to write the law, that’s Congress’ prerogative, not the court’s. I as a judge cannot go beyond the written law, period. I may not like that. I may have to let people off, but I will not pass judgment on laws that I don’t have.
That’s called the strict interpretation position and that’s analogous in law to what we fundamentalists are doing in the Bible. We are the strict interpretation people in the Bible. The liberal clergymen who hits grease when he does this, I’ve often said that what we need is the first liberal edition of the Bible made of rubber and you can stretch it any way you want. That is the liberal theologian. But then you come to the liberal judge. What is he doing? He’s doing exactly the same thing to the law. All of a sudden we’re inventing rights that aren’t even in the law. The argument of Bork was, Bork was not saying, by the way, in his defense, he was not saying I’m going to do away with civil rights. He was just as much recognizing…, he just said there’s a proper way of doing this, folks, and we didn’t do it right. If you want the civil rights, you pass an amendment to clarify it in the Constitution. Well, nobody wanted to resurrect the Constitutional conventions and go through that. That’s too inefficient. Bork’s argument was that it’s a lot more inefficient to allow the law to be interpreted the way you guy’s are interpreting it because you wound up finally, as liberal theology has, this book physically sits there but it’s useless because nobody pays any attention to it. Nobody cares what’s written into it and we’re not interested in interpreting it. Isn’t that what’s happened to the law?
As we head now into the next week as we go into the Mosaic Law we’re heading into a very contemporary issue. What is law all about? You’re going to find that we are in as much conflict with the society around us in this area as we were in Genesis with the biologists, as we were with the flood and the geologists. Now we’re going to be at logger heads with all the lawyers and the judges. That’s the political thing we were talking about and that’s where the Scriptures are going. Not that the gospel is a political gospel, I’m not saying that. We’re simply saying that this book has a total claim on our lives. It speaks to every area of life and you cannot teach the word of God as though it’s some just sort of little religious thing over here. Now that’s true, we want to focus on the gospel, but if we disregard things like the nature of law, things like origins and these other things that people think are peripheral, you know what you wind up doing? You wind up changing the gospel because now God isn’t God any more. He’s just a religious figurehead. Jesus really isn’t the atoning Jesus Christ for sin because he really is only a Jewish carpenter. So you change meanings if you don’t buy the whole thing, you change the vocabulary; if you change the vocabulary, you change the thought.
As we proceed, if you read Exodus 19 and 20, two chapters, just read it. If you’re really fascinated by law and you’d like to kind of get a running start on it, a parallel to Exodus 19 and 20, if you want to read more, is Deuteronomy 4 through 9. That’s another parallel passage and you might want to look at that. Pay particular attention, as you read, to what the people saw on Mt. Sinai. Watch the text. Watch what Moses does. Then watch what the people do. They get down to this and they get spooked out. They come to Mt. Sinai and they see this fire and the smoke and there’s a reaction. The question is, why did they react that way? What was going on in their hearts? It’ll be interesting to study. That’s what we’re going to do next week.