© 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 47 – Exodus Continued: YHWH and Jehovah
23 Jan 1997
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
We are still working our way through the Exodus event. Last time we started in by trying to show some verses of Scripture throughout the Exodus that, in fact the Exodus was a momentous event. This is the kind of thing I can’t emphasize too much, because if you don’t emphasize it you get in trouble. What happens is that we like to sweep Biblical events like the Exodus under the rug and make them incidental to the flow of history, so the story goes somewhat like this when you study history: gee, the Egyptian civilization and the Babylonians and the Sumerians, those were the key players and the great events of history were, say, the rise of Sennacherib and his invasion of the middle part of the Mesopotamian area and out southwest etc., or the Pharaohs campaigns into Palestine, never mentioning the fact that one of the most momentous events is the Exodus. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest” they receive the gospel truth. [2 Corinthians 4:4] We often quote that like it’s applicable only to Jesus and the cross but we have to remember that the god of this world is busy reconstructing history and he’s trying to reconstruct history so as to make the Word of God not true, to have it mythologized, to have it not quite really true true and that will eat away your faith because no matter how much you want to try, if you are really secretly harboring unbelief it’s like a fifth column, it just wipes you out.
It takes and saps your spiritual strength if you harbor unbelief and frankly, most of us harbor unbelief because of the way we were educated. We were educated in a world view since we were children that basically is unethical of the whole view of history and it takes you years of your life, it takes decade after decade to get your head straight after indoctrination like this. The only way to do it isn’t reading books; it is just reading THE book, the Bible. What I am trying to say in this class is, that when you read the Scriptures, you want to read them as history and really mean business, that when the Bible says something happened in such and such a reign, it really did happen. It is not a storybook. This is history and it should be put on the shelf with all the other history books. It is the same thing, because if we do not have that, then everything else falls apart.
This is why on page 48 I pointed out this strange Egyptian papyri that was found and anybody reading the papyri, just go down through the seven or eight different citations I got from that papyri and you can see that it is talking about something very, very remarkably parallel to the Exodus. The problem is that scholars stumble over this piece of evidence because this happens six centuries before the Exodus, according to the existing chronology. It’s sort of like, golly, three quarters of the world’s surface is covered by sedimentary rock and sedimentary rock only happens in water, but, that cannot be the flood, that’s billions of years before the flood. It’s the one thing. We see the evidence in front of our face but because of our presuppositions, the basic starting point we look at, the perspective with which you look at these things, is so messed up that the evidence is effectively nullified, even though it’s all around us.
Someday when Jesus comes back and there is such a catastrophe when He does come back and the physical universe is altered and the sun and the moon are affected and this meteoric showers and there are all kinds of geologic catastrophes on earth, when that event happens, all of a sudden people will say, gee were we right about the evidence of all those rocks. Maybe those were a previous catastrophe. But it won’t be until we get shook up with that kind of a cataclysm that it’s ever going to change the way most people think. So we cannot stress enough as we work through those events that these are real events. The fact that people can say, well, you don’t really have any extra Biblical support for this, yes, we do, but the extra Biblical support is being explained away.
We continue looking at the Exodus and I want to start by turning to Deuteronomy 4:34. For those of you who are new to the Old Testament, remember the way the Bible is built, the first five books of the Bible is the Torah. The Jewish way of dividing the Old Testament was Torah, Prophets, and Writings. That’s their organization of the Old Testament and that’s why it is referred to in the New Testament, you can see that in the Gospels. So those are the three divisions, and those three divisions, at first glance, look kind of not right, because when I’ve used the word “prophet,” the word “prophet” sounds like somebody who prophesies about the future. But the word “prophet” the way they are using the word means somebody who is depicting the works of God, whether it’s past or future, and for the last year and a half we’ve been looking at the Torah. The Torah is the first five books of the Scriptures, the books of Moses. These books are seen by liberals in university campuses, and in some religious history courses in school, we have five books of the Scripture that can’t possibly be written by Moses. That’s the prevailing view, and that they were written later on and put into the name of Moses. So once you do that, then you don’t have genuine history, so you can kiss off those five books, there they go out the window. I remember growing up in a liberal church where a guy got up to preach and he’d go into the Gospel of John and he’d give the whole introduction to the Gospel of John, it wasn’t what the book was about, it was who wrote it, we can’t really tell who wrote it but we know for sure the Apostle John didn’t write it, there were a million people living in that day, a million other people could have written it, but we’re sure that John didn’t write it. And that’s how we start teaching the reliable Scripture.
Deuteronomy is the last of those five books. And the thing about Deuteronomy is … you know the chemical table, Deuterium 2, Deutero and Nomi “nomos” is law, the second law. This is the second giving of the law. So that’s how you can remember as we go through these in the Old Testament. If you can kind of get your mind in gear about these events and have little tricks to memorize their names of the Scriptures, it will help you through the Bible, because very few Christians, frankly, are too well versed in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 4:34, which is Moses second giving of the Law, he quotes God, and verse 34 is God’s own interpretation of the Exodus event. Remember last year every time we would go into the flood, or we would go into the fall, or we would go into Adam, or we would go into Eve, I always try and go back to the New Testament and other passages of the Bible to let you see how other authors of the text interpret that text. I mean, here we are, twenty centuries away, and we are telling these guys that you really did not get the word. This is how it ought to be understood. No, these guys understood it very well; we’re the ones that are the stupid ones, going back 20 centuries trying to tell them how to interpret their own Bible. So it’s good to go back and find out how these guys interpret it. Here’s God’s own interpretation, right here in verse 34, and the importance of verses 34-35 is that it undeniably asserts that the Exodus event, was a critical event in history, unique and never repeated.
Let’s look at the text carefully. Deuteronomy 4:34, God’s being sarcastic here, “Has there ever been a god who tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” In other words, it’s a rhetorical question, go ahead, name a god, did Horus do that? Did the gods of Mesopotamia do that? Tell me one. It’s a challenge, it’s an open, frank challenge to show Me, show Me any evidence of history of this ever occurring like this, name it. And this is the sort of challenge the Bible throws out. But what we’ve done in our modern time is we’ve totally wiped the whole thing out by reinterpreting history such that we’ve lowered the profile of the Exodus.
Now we want to move on in our notes on page 49 to the other side of the event of the Exodus. We are still looking at the meaning of the event. We are trying to get our hands on this thing that is mentioned here called the Exodus. We will never get into all the details. But we want to be sure that we understand some of the emphases in the scripture about this event, so that we know and understand what God wants us to think about when we think about the Exodus. We said, try to use the Old Testament text as an imagination loading device, to load your imagination with pictures and the pictures you get are plentiful. The Old Testament is full of imagery that is tremendous to load our minds with because ultimately this is the nature of our God and we can even in Christian circles get false notions because we read only sections of the Bible. The only way we correct our notions of who God is and what He is really like is to go through all the Scriptures and get some sort of panoramic view and it’s fresh to go into new areas of the Scriptures to see how God looks as he appears here versus how he looks when he appears over here. So, what we want to do tonight is we want to move to the other side of the work.
We said that the work that is in here, basically what we are going to see next time is the work of judgment, salvation, the same kind of theme we saw in the Noahic flood. This is the great doctrinal picture of the Exodus. We have looked at the judgment on Egypt. Now what we want to do is come to the other side of that equation, the salvation, see what it looks like a little bit more. And, we are going to deal with the problem as I pointed out from my notes on page 49, the reluctant Israelites. And, it may strike you as odd, and we want to look at these verses, why were the Jews reluctant to be saved? They were not rushing to get out of Egypt. It is remarkable that God not only has to judge the Egyptians, he has to go through all sorts of contortions, as it were, to get his own people out of the world system and coax them, and eventually force their hand, to make them leave Egypt.
To see how well embedded they are, look at Ezekiel 20. The reason Ezekiel is quoted here, why Ezekiel’s involved with this, we’ll get later on, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah are the prophets that lived when the national fell. And these guys are looking back to see the pattern of God’s working in history, so they are very good historians, all of them. In Ezekiel 20:6, he sees God and God speaks to him, the Word of the Lord comes to him. “I swore to them, to bring them out from the land of Egypt into a land that I had selected for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.  And I said to them ‘Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.  But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.  But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made Myself known to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt. So I took them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.” You see God is not really too pleased with this Exodus process. It didn’t go smoothly.
Let’s see another evidence of this. Turn to Joshua, the next book after Deuteronomy. Joshua rehearses the same sad tale. It’s a commentary on human nature. Joshua 24:14, “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.” This is why in the notes I went over and showed some of the Egyptian art forms and we’ll review these for just a minute, just to think about this, here’s the god they’re talking about. This is the artistic picture of what was on their minds. This is how they thought about the universe, their lives, their nation, reality in their life. In that picture we’re looking at Pharaoh, painted at the same height the gods are, so Pharaoh was the grand integrator, as the king-dictator he was the state. All hope was pinned to Pharaoh because Pharaoh kept the cocoon together. In the midst of a chaotic universe, Pharaoh gave order, Pharaoh gave peace, Pharaoh gave security.
This is the world view of Egypt, and when it says they worshiped gods we’re not talking about little statuettes. We’re also talking about the world view that went along with those little statuettes. Remember this particular art form, the pillar. We said that there’s an artistic rendition of the faith of Egypt, where we pointed out that here is earth, here is heaven, the sun, and here very carefully separated from the earth, very carefully separated from the those two lines, the welfare scepters, and in between the name of Pharaoh, that Pharaoh is the mediator between heaven and earth, it is Pharaoh who holds everything in it’s place. So the state, the grand integration of the environment, of man, of government, and we must not disturb that. The highest calling of an Egyptian is to preserve the order, not overthrow the order.
So you can see when we talk about the reluctant Israelite, they had fallen into the same thing. As much as they complained about the state and the slavery to that state, when it really came to the issue of freedom, they weren’t too excited. So we want to also turn for the grand climax to the analysis to Deuteronomy 9:24. All the other verses I’ve put in the notes, but I’m just emphasizing some of the key verses where you have God’s analysis of this. Why are we going through this? Because one of the things we want to learn about ourselves in this Exodus event is that the nature of the people who were saved is not too removed from our own nature. The Bible presents man warts and all, and we don’t kid ourselves, but we are sinners, and being attracted to God isn’t coming naturally, whatever attraction we have for God is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, but our hearts apart from that work are in pretty sad places. Here’s an example, here’s God’s own analysis of the heart of the people. It’s not them, it’s also us.
Deuteronomy 9:24, “You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day I knew you.” How’s that for a real neat analysis of the people who were saved in the Exodus. We romanticize in our fantasies about this Exodus event, it was so catastrophic, so wonderful, oh gee, these people just singing praises to God and going out of Egypt. Yet the analysis you get in the text is very sober, that they were reluctant to leave, it was a strange work, they weren’t quite trusting this God of Moses, and they were much more comfortable in this sort of structure than they were listening to Moses. This gave security, this gave order, they were familiar with this. This business of going out in the desert with your wife and children, and God knows where we’re going to go. That wasn’t too favorable in their eyes. So now we come down to an analysis, on one hand we see a terrible judgment on the Egyptians, on the other hand we see a reluctant Israel, sort of dragged out of Egypt kicking and screaming, and we want to see if we can pull this together. As I said on page 49, “What is the big picture of the Exodus? What we’re going to do now is look at the Exodus event from the perspective of Abraham. We go over this again and again but we can’t have too much review.
The call of Abraham preceded the Exodus. So the call of Abraham was a set up for the Exodus, so to get the meaning of the Exodus, what we are going to do is we are going to go backwards just briefly to the call of Abraham and ask ourselves, what do we learn about God’s program with Abraham, the very program now that triggered this Exodus event. And if you remember when we are doing that we said that the big things that we learned with Abraham is the truth of election and the truth of justification because in the New Testament those two things, every time you see Abraham’s name, those two things are in the background. So since the Holy Spirit, every time He talks about Abraham, He talks about those two things, he says okay, well that is what I am supposed to learn about that narrative of Abraham. If that’s the modus operandi, if that is the way God is going to work, then the Exodus event is going to show those in action. In Abraham’s case it was the individual; in the Exodus, it is a nation. This is Abraham’s family expanded. So, what we want to look for is evidences in the Exodus event of these two things; these two works of God operating.
The first thing we want to do, which I am doing on page 50 is we are going to deal with the evidence of election. What is election? Election is God’s choice among a field of sinners as to His plan of salvation. The plan of salvation has shape, it has boundaries to it. And God beforehand designed the plan of salvation with boundaries. Everybody finally is not saved and so there are boundaries there. And election deals with that boundary problem. Why is it bounded this way and not that way? Because God willed that history operates that way and it is the only answer that you can come up with finally. So, in the Exodus event, what is the boundary? The boundary simply is that in this Egyptian society, that looked like this, God chose a subset of that to extract out of it. And that people, that nation, was elected and chosen and removed from that world system. The Exodus is a picture of believers being yanked away from the world. Christian commentators have talked about this for centuries, this is not new; devotional literature has emphasized this. You read the great devotional literature, it’s always talking about making an analogy between Egypt, and the world, the Exodus is the believer being saved out of the world. That’s good theology; that is the parallel, this goes on.
On page 50, this quote I have, Rushdoony is talking about it in political terms, but it applies spiritually, and in the case of the Exodus it was both spiritual and political. Slaves, and I’ve got a misquote here so please correct it. “Slaves, true slaves, don’t want to be rescued from freedom; their greatest fear is liberty …. Even as a timid and fearful child dreads the dark, so does the slave mind fear liberty: it is full of the terrors of the unknown. As a result, the slave mind clings to the statist or state slavery, cradle-to-grave welfare care, as a fearful child clings to his mother. The advantage of slavery is precisely this, security in the master or in the state.” A marvelous statement!
What’s good about slavery? It’s an institution that has happened again an again in history, so it cannot be all that bad. It is to a degree kind of, shall we say, popular. Why is slavery popular? Why is it popular with the slaves? Because their destiny is all set for them. It’s secure, the master provides and so there is a comfort, strangely, there is a comfort in servitude. So that means that when Moses comes to the slaves, the Jewish slaves, he is disturbing this. Everything at least is orderly here. But when Moses walks in, just like when God called Abraham out of Ur, this is an unknown. Now we have a surprise event, now we have some unpredictable new factor in our lives. Now all of a sudden everything else has to be jerked around and reorganized around this strange new thing. This is discomforting, this is disturbing.
So the Exodus was disturbing, and it’s disturbing because it’s an insertion that instead of this where man organizes it from alpha to omega, from a to z, it’s all man’s organization, the wonderful organizing of man, all of that is sort of pushed aside and in its place we have this. We have an invisible God, unlike Pharaoh. We have no kingdom. Pharaoh has a kingdom, he has pyramids, he has an organization. This God does not have anything yet, He promises but He has not shown us anything. And we’re supposed to risk the wrath of rebelling against Pharaoh, risk our home, risk our wives, and risk our children on the word of Moses, to abandon this wonderful order that man has structured. Do you see the tension here? That’s election interfering and it is a revelation of the fact that, going back to God’s character now, God has character and those attributes keep showing up all over. Here is God’s sovereignty, God is holy, God is love, and God is omniscient. This attribute over here is omnipresence. His holiness shows up. These attributes start showing up when these acts occur and we become face to face with a God who is dangerous.
That is why C. S. Lewis in his book has such a neat passage in The Chronicles of Narnia and one of the girls, one of the little boys in the story sees Aslan and he talks to the beaver and he says to the beaver, “Is he a good lion?” And the beaver says, “Yes, he’s a good lion, but he is not a tame one.” Now just think about that for a moment. Lewis captured it beautifully. He is a good lion, but he is not tame. Now put those two words together and what do you have? You have the fact that if he is not tame, he’s wild and if he’s wild, who’s in control, him or you? He is in control! So this lion is not tame, he’s not part of this, this order. So that’s kind of scary, but the fact that he is a good lion means, that even though he is a wild one, he is good, so I wind up not able to trust my leashes, my plans, my cages, but I have to trust his what? His character! And what is faith? It’s trusting God’s character. So this whole fight and struggle of the Exodus has to do with whether the Jews are going to realize that they are being called out as a unique people to bear testimony to God’s character and to trust it.
To see how God works, let’s turn to a series of verses beginning with Exodus 5. We want to deal with these verses that are quoted in the New Testament. In Exodus 5:15 there is a little story. It is one of the many instances; I’m going to take you through four or five of these instances. See if you can see the common thread. “Then the foreman of the sons of Israel,” this is the slave chain gangs that were building the pyramids or building whatever needed to be built. “…came and cried, ‘Why do you deal this way with your servants?’” they cried out to Pharaoh.  “There is no straw given to your servants, yet they keep saying to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are being beaten; but it is the fault of your own people.  But he said, ‘You are lazy, very lazy; therefore, you say ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’  So go now and work; for you shall be given no straw, yet you must deliver the quota of bricks.  And the foreman of the sons of Israel saw that they were in trouble because they were told, ‘You must not reduce your daily amount of bricks.’  When they Pharaoh’s presence, they met Moses and Aaron and as they were waiting for them.  And they said, to them, ‘May the LORD look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh’s sight and in the sight of the servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us’.”
What was happening here? There’s a rupture happening, there used to be order here. The Jews at least got halfway along with the Egyptians. Now along comes Moses and he is a troublemaker, he stirs up. To quote a recent speech “we haven’t got unity.” The fragile unity is being shaken here by this Moses, and he says that now you stirred up trouble in verse 21, you’ve made us odious in Pharaoh’s sight. And Moses, of course, feels the heat, what am I doing here? I am not having success; all I am doing is irritating people. So he goes to the Lord and says Lord, why have you brought harm to these people? Why did you ever send me? Ever since I have come to Pharaoh to speak in your Name, he has done harm to these people and you have not delivered your people at all.” Now think about what’s the meaning of this is. The Holy Spirit put that in the text of the Scriptures. What is he teaching us here? About God and His work! What does God have to do to the people in calling them? There has got to be a separation.
So let’s watch the separation take place. Turn to Exodus 8:15. It doesn’t happen overnight. In the middle of the plagues, all of a sudden the frogs are dealt with. They pile them up in heaps and they stunk, verse 14. “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart,” just as the Lord had said. Now verse 19, “Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.’ But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.” Verse 32, “But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.” Exodus 9:34, “But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.  And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.”
What do you think is going on here? What is this work? How discouraging for Moses. He is not getting Pharaoh to let them go. But what is the big work here? Think about the whole significance of this Exodus event and ask yourself this question. Suppose Pharaoh had let them go, then what would have happened differently if he had not let them go this way. Think about that question a minute, because there is part of the meaning of this whole elective disruption that is going on here. What would be the difference between the Pharaoh saying, “Okay, go ahead, you’ve got my permission,” and “no you don’t have my permission, you are staying here,” and boom, he gets nuked. Now what’s the difference between those two scenarios from the big viewpoint of history in God’s works? Okay, who is ultimately in charge? If Pharaoh had said yes, by whose permission would be Jews have their freedom? The work of man. Man’s work would be the ultimate principal. The final say would be in man’s mouth. But by having Pharaoh say, “no, you’re not,” and breaking him, it becomes now the work of God and God becomes the ultimate cause. So that is the difference. The Exodus is like a modern political movement or a revolution, but it’s a strange revolution because man isn’t in control of it, God is in control of it. So there is one of the central points.
The Bible is also quick to add, because you notice every one of these verses we said “his heart was hardened” or “he hardened his heart,” and then it always qualifies it. Remember what that clause was? What was that clause we saw after every one of those? “As the LORD had said.” So Pharaoh was hardening his heart but God knows about it all along. So who’s finally in charge of even Pharaoh hardening his heart? God is. See the elective power of God? When God chooses to work His way in history, there is nothing that stands in his way, even the rebellion against him has been ordained. Now that’s the hard thing. Even the rebellion against him, He has ordained. Why has he ordained it? Let’s review the question again. If Pharaoh had not hardened his heart and let the people go, you would see this much of God. By letting Pharaoh harden his heart, and nuking him, you see this much of God. So what is the controlling principal of history? The glory of God, whether it is the plan of salvation, whether it is sanctification, whether it is creation, or whether it’s the end judgment. The ultimate rationale between why history flows the way it does is for the glory of God. God will be glorified! And that’s tough for us, because we want to sort of have God on a committee and we want Him to help us. I mean, we are willing to join God on a committee where we have a vote too. But God does not seem to work by committee and this is offensive, this is deeply offensive to the flesh. To deal with a lion that is not tame, good and I have to trust his character instead of my plans on taming him. I guess what I am struggling to do here is, this is the nature of how the Old Testament looks at faith. It is a very meaty, powerful view of faith. It is not a mystical view of faith, totally misinterpreted and if you just read the New Testament and if you just get kind of a gooey, mystical view of faith. In the Old Testament it doesn’t work that way. In the Old Testament these guys always had faith, but it was always this God that we can’t control whose character we have to trust and He even hardens Pharaoh’s heart. That’s the one with whom we have to do, so it is a big God.
Look at some of the verses that show Him hardening Pharaoh’s heart. In Exodus 9:12,”And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.” Who’s the subject of the verb in verse 12? Is it Pharaoh hardening his heart or is the Lord hardening Pharaoh’s heart? You see, God is doing the hardening. In Exodus 10:20, “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.” Who is hardening Pharaoh’s heart? The Lord is hardening Pharaoh’s heart. Verse 27, “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.” Who is hardening Pharaoh’s heart, Pharaoh or the Lord? The Lord is hardening Pharaoh’s heart.
Now this is the mystery that we cannot reconcile because remember, we said last year, that when we look at the attributes of God, the thing that we always have to keep in mind is that God is infinite. We are creatures that are finite and therefore, these attributes, as for example the attribute of sovereignty, while they correspond to our choice, this is a creature characteristic, this is a Creator characteristic and there is a similarity between these. But there is not a one to one correspondence between these and we said that is the doctrine of the incomprehensibility of God. The doctrine of the incomprehensibility of God does not say that God can’t be known; it says yes, He can be known, but He can only be known by what He reveals of Himself to us. We’re the receivers; we can’t conquer him by our brains. We can’t think through a perfect theology in which He fits because He’s always there with stuff that we do not know about or maybe even never will know because of who He is.
So that’s what is happening here. In some way Pharaoh is choosing but in another way, God has already chosen. And this is sort of a picture of Satan. Pharaoh here is almost like a Satan picture. God is hardening Satan’s heart. Let’s think about how God hardens Satan’s heart, how God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. What were the processes that God used to harden a heart? This is where it gets kind of scary, because the process happens in every church service. How did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? By giving him more revelation? Think about it. Every time Moses walked into the Pharaoh, he operated as a god.
Do you want to see this? Exodus 7:1. When Moses starts out, God calls him as an analogue to himself. Notice this; this is a real strange verse. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.” Now in that case, if you read the context there, Aaron had the mouth and Moses had the brains. Now most of us, usually we either have good mouths or good brains, but we usually don’t have both, and too many of us have diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain. The point here is that the prophet was the one who is speaking. Apparently Aaron was the guy what was doing all the preaching, even though it says it was Moses talking to God about it. But Moses was reticent, we don’t know why, whether he really had a speech impediment or not, but he confesses in an eloquent dialog with God in Exodus 4 that I don’t want to speak, I can’t speak, I am not a speaker, I can’t be the representative of this. And that’s when God… in a verse that a friend of ours years ago had a son with a congenital defect, he had operation after operation to fix this little boy. And the mother, who is a Christian friend of mine, said she sat with her son time after time, going through Exodus 4. You know what verse she used? When God talked to Moses and Moses was saying, I can’t do it because I have an impediment, I’m just not normal, I can’t speak well, and God says “who made the blind and who made the deaf? I did.” And it was such a comfort, this woman would use that verse for years to help her son through all these trials and this trauma of these constant visits to the hospital and the surgical procedures that had to be done. It was a tremendous verse.
But in Exodus 7:1, God says to Moses “you are going to be as a God to Pharaoh.” Now the problem here is, is that if Pharaoh is here, and Pharaoh thinks he’s God and along comes Moses, and Moses actually has the Word of God coming to him, Pharaoh’s got a choice. Now Pharaoh can go positive or he can go negative when faced with this. So what happens? Number one trial comes in, which way does Pharaoh go? Pharaoh goes negative. Number two trial comes in, what happens? Pharaoh goes negative. So what’s happening to Pharaoh’s heart? Every time advanced revelation pours in, I reject it. More revelation; I reject it. More revelation; I reject it. More of the Word of God; I reject it. More of the Word of God; I reject it. What kind of process is that analogous to today?
[Blank spot] If the Holy Spirit doesn’t work with us and we submit, we harden our hearts every time we face God and our work. And it’s sort of scary but this is how God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, He didn’t harden it out of contact with truth. He kept giving him more truth and more truth and more truth and Pharaoh rejected and he rejected and he rejected, until finally, he got himself in such a position that he could not believe. He had gotten to the point where, I will destroy these people, I hate them! He had trained himself, so to speak, sanctified his rebellion till it became so much a part of him that he would destroy Moses, the people and everything else. It was God that was challenging his authority. So that’s one side of the question and on page 50 in the notes so we sort of summarize it, “As we learned in the last chapter, when God elects, He intervenes in a situation already evil. Pharaoh as a fallen creature was already in rebellion before the hardening process began. What God did was to present him repeatedly with further revelation which only served to strengthen his rebellion.”
What we want to do is we want to show how all this process of hardening Pharaoh’s heart was linked to the covenant of Abraham. We just got through saying that God is incomprehensible, that we will never figure him out completely, but God is rational, God is not inconsistent. We said when He gave the covenant to Abraham, remember the three blessings were: the land, the seed, worldwide blessing, okay? And we said that that contract was laid down in history so that we would have a yard stick and we could measure God’s behavior. The Exodus is God’s behavior. So look at many times, let’s start again a chain reference, turn to Exodus 2 and let’s observe how many times during this Exodus event, it is related to none other than the covenant with Abraham and his call. The Exodus is not unconnected, not something that hangs by itself. Exodus 2:24. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” [25, “And God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.”]
Exodus 3:15, “And God, furthermore, said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is my memorial-name to all generations.” Exodus 4:5, “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” Exodus 6:2, “God spoke further to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the Lord,  and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as God Almighty….” I have all the verses on page 51 if you want to look at the chain.
What I am trying to say here is that the Bible presents a coherent, rational purpose to history. History is not a pile of marbles. There’s a plan to it. Here’s the application for us and our lives: if the big place has a plan then that means your life and my life are planned. So we take comfort in the fact that if the big place has a plan, we’re part of the plan. Now that is exactly opposite of the way we are taught in the world. The whole existentialist motif in the 20th century is that there is no plan, everything is chaos. And then, gee, we wonder why the kids are on drugs, we wonder why nobody wants to learn anything. Well, why should they want to learn? I mean, if the kids are smart, they’ve just taken up the worldview. The worldview says the whole idea, the whole picture is meaningless so, hey, live that way then, don’t come to me and tell me I have to do this, I have to do that, this cause and effect, when you just have also told me that there is no big purpose or plan in my life. You can’t have it both ways.
That’s one of the things that the Scriptures give that nothing else gives. And we Christians, we Bible-believing Christians, are the only people left that have a rationale for the big picture. Nobody else has a plan out there, it’s all guess work, it’s all hot air, the bologna people. And then there are sober people that have really thought this through, the real dark people, the dark existentialists, they’ve thought it through and they have come to the conclusion that there is no purpose. And what did Hemingway do to end his life? Put a shotgun in his mouth and blew his brains against the wall! Now that’s the logical results. If I believed that way, that’s probably what I’d do. That’s living consistently with your worldview. The mystery is why more people don’t blow their brains out. I was just reading a statistic yesterday. Do you know how many suicides we’ve got in the military? The United States Air Force right now has a suicide every five days, because of the way we’ve treated the military, the morale is so low that people are willingly taking their lives once every 5 days. Now that is a logical result of pressure, it’s a logical result of tension; it’s a logical result of not having the big idea. But we have the big idea here and that is what God is saying. Moses, what you are observing here is the work that I planned back four generations ago. I haven’t changed my plan; the big idea is still in place.
Now what we want to do is come to the other half. We want to come to the other part of the meaning of the Exodus. We said actually there was election and there is also justification. God not only elects, intervenes, separates sovereignly, but what did we argue about justification? What was necessary for God to come into the heart of a believer? God cannot come into our hearts, unless our hearts are made righteous in some way, unless we are credited with a righteousness. But we can’t have a righteousness until God comes in our hearts. So what comes first, the chicken or the egg? That’s the problem. And that was what separates Protestants and Catholics because Catholicism insists that God cannot do anything until the heart is changed, so if God changes the heart that is the source of righteousness. The Protestants say no, first God has to make the person righteous judicially and then He can do something in their hearts, and you can’t have it both ways. I mean, that was the Protestant Reformation. In the Exodus something very similar happens and we want to look at Exodus 3 because now God is going to take up residency in a sinful nation and it’s remarkable to see how He does this, because this is analogous to Himself taking up residency with us. Paganism, because it is built on unbelief, doesn’t resolve guilt. Now every man is guilty, all men and all women, deep in their heart of hearts know very well they’re sinners before God, and have a residual guilt. Psychologists can see evidences of this, but Freud has his theory about it and someone else, Adler has his view and this and that and there are all kinds of views of this. But basically when you dig down deep in the heart, you find a mess. And the question, what’s this mess all about? Well, the mess is that we are guilty before our Creator; that’s the mess.
On page 51, again quoting Rushdoony, he has some very astute insight although I don’t agree with everything he says, but he has some astute things here. If you look at those two we’ll start to set up for Exodus 3, which we finish next time. “For a man with all the limitations of man to claim to be as God is to indulge in a dangerous fantasy; for a state, with all the limitations of man compounded, but the power of the sword added to it, to claim to be as God is desperately dangerous and suicidal as well.” This is the power of the grand pagan estate. “The politics of the anti-Christian will thus inescapably be the politics of guilt. In the politics of guilt, man is perpetually drained in his social energy and cultural activity by his overriding sense of guilt and his masochistic activity. He will progressively demand of the state a redemptive role. What he cannot do personally, i.e., save himself, he demands that the state do for him, so that the state, as man enlarged, become the human savior of man.” And that’s Egypt, that’s an exact profile of Egypt. Pharaoh was the savior.
Now along comes God and God is going to live in this mess. And if you turn to Exodus 3:13, a revelation is made. And the question is: what is this new name of Jehovah? This is one of the most famous verses of the entire Bible, verse 13, because it’s when a man went face to face with God and asked Him who he was, “Then Moses said to God, ‘Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?’  And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’” Now the question Bible scholars have tried to ask is, what is this I AM, where does it come from?
Remember I said watch the burning bush; remember the burning bush incident. Moses was out there and he saw this bush burning and the bush wasn’t consumed and he’s going what is going on here? And so he goes over and God speaks to him out of the fire. Well, to make a long story short, what we have here in this name and we’ll start with this next time, but the name I AM appears to have this connotation, I AM understood with you. Just as God was in that burning bush, the bush almost being a picture of Israel, in their affliction God spoke out of the fire, “I am with you.” There’s always the connotation, and this is why justification enters in because a Holy God cannot be with you unless somehow He, God, has dealt with the righteousness issue, “I am with you.”
Here’s what that name looks like. In the Hebrew, the verb “to be” looks like this [ ] and like all verbs, it goes from right to left, you read Hebrew that way, you start here and go left and you have prefixes on these verbs so if you have done Latin or Greek, you know about prefixes and suffixes and if you put a prefix like this, it means “He is”. Well, now interestingly, down through history, the Hebrew name for God looked like this [ ]. In Hebrew there are no vowels so these are all consonants. So when reading from right to left, this is “y” or “j” in English, “h” and this is “w” or “v” and this is “h”. And what has happened over the years is that there would be these little pointers and these little vowels stuck in there and people would remember that and they’d write it in the text. The problem was, the Jews were so afraid of this name that they wouldn’t pronounce it and down over the centuries they lost the vowels, so nobody knows where the vowels are in this name. All we know is it’s called the Tetragrammaton, meaning “tetra” four, there are four letters there and it’s anybody’s guess on how to pronounce it. So what the English Bible translators did, is they took the words out of Adonai, which is the word for master and they made this thing sort of a short “a” which became an “e” and this “o” and this is kind of an “ae” type sound and they injected those vowels in here. And what does that spell? J-E-H-O-V-A-H.
However, Jehovah can’t be His name because those vowels that you see in that word didn’t come from the same noun; they were borrowed from another noun that means “master”. So that gets back then, well what is this? I always like to bring this up every time the Jehovah’s Witness come to the door. The point is that only the closest pronunciation to this that anybody has come up with is, instead of trying to do this stuff, go back to the verb “to be;” take the hint from the verb to be and its vowels, and you come up with “y” or “j”, Yahweh, and that’s why in scholarly work you’ll see the God of the Old Testament called Yahweh, and that’s because they are filling the vowels back up from the verb to be, not borrowing the vowels from Adonai to get it stuck in there.
So in the King James text, there were translating teams that did that at a convention, and if you look in your King James Bible and I think the American Standard Version, I don’t know committees, you have to read, in translations it’s become increasingly important to read the preface, because in the preface in your Bible you’ll see where the translating team gives their conventions, their translating conventions, and you will want to read that. But in the King James the translating convention was this. That Adonai, whenever that occurred would be translated like this in the English text. Capital “L” lower case o-r-d, Lord. Whenever this thing was translated, they wanted to distinguish that from Adonai, so that the translating team would put capital L-O-R-D, LORD. When I first became a Christian, I thought when you read that out loud you were supposed to read that word louder. But what that was, was not that at all, it was a translating convention so you could distinguish those two. The team was just telling you, we at this point weren’t dealing with Adonai; we’re dealing with the Tetragrammaton. And then, of course, you have God.
That is the story of God’s name and we are going to start there next time because the name I AM occurs and becomes a code. The remarkable thing is that you often hear “Oh Jesus never claimed to be God.” What we are going to do next week is go to the New Testament and find out that Jesus takes that code and at various points in His ministry He drops that code word out and every time Jesus drops the code word out, there’s all kinds of ramifications, powerful ramifications in the immediate environment. So it is one of these small little things but it is a sign of who wrote this book and how over the centuries He was self-consistent, no mistakes, plan still in progress.